Article Series on Burial in Ancient Israel Concludes with Burial of Jesus

imageThomas L. McDonald has an interesting posting in the Catholic Channel of Patheos: Burial in Ancient Israel Part 7: The Burial of Christ:

This 100,000 year history of human burial converges on a single point and a single day: a Friday in Jerusalem around the year 30 AD. Jesus of Nazareth dies on the cross, and his body is taken down at the request of a wealthy man from Arimathea named Joseph. The sun is setting and the sabbath is about to begin, when no burial will be allowed. Joseph must get the body of Jesus in a tomb or it will not be properly buried within 24 hours after death, as required by Jewish law.

As the author tells us, this latest posting concludes a series about graves and tombs in the ancient Levant, from the Paleolithic Period until the time of Christ. The entire series can be found here.

I recommend the entire series.

2 thoughts on “Article Series on Burial in Ancient Israel Concludes with Burial of Jesus”

  1. There may be an error in McDonald’s assumption that no burial was permitted on the sabbath. In fact, completion of a burial may have been one of the works permitted on the sabbath. Needs checking!

    1. I have read something of the same Dave, in that a burial on the eve of a holy day, (sabbath, special sabbath etc;) the body must not be left hanging overnight. Anyone attending to the burial were given special leave of the law and time to atleast place the body in a preliminary state to a final burial, (i.e not a completed burial), even if it meant working INTO the sabbath. These person(s) attending to the burial would be deemed unclean for 7 days and would have to attend to ritual cleansing twice within the seven days to be deemed clean again. Hense they would be allowed to work passed sundown and partially into the night, into the sabbath, but in haste. (Babylonian Talmud, if memory serves me correct)


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