For a Shroud of Turin position paper I am working on, I wanted to summarize what I call The Inconsistencies. I decided to start out by asking ChatGPT, “What are the inconsistencies in the four gospels regarding the burial and/or resurrection of Jesus?”
Yep, that’s exactly what I typed into the query box. The following appeared on my laptop screen in less time than it took to pour a cup of coffee. This is a fantastic and scary tool. Here it is, word for word, between the separator lines:
There are several inconsistencies among the four Gospels regarding the burial and resurrection of Jesus. Here are a few examples:
- The individuals present at the tomb:
- In Matthew (28:1), Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” visit the tomb.
- In Mark (16:1-2), Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome go to the tomb.
- In Luke (24:10), Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and other women visit the tomb.
- In John (20:1), only Mary Magdalene is mentioned as going to the tomb.
- The timing of the visit to the tomb:
- In Matthew (28:1), it is “after the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week.”
- In Mark (16:2), it is “very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise.”
- In Luke (24:1), it is “very early in the morning on the first day of the week.”
- In John (20:1), it is “early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark.”
- The individuals or beings encountered at the tomb:
- In Matthew (28:2-7), an angel of the Lord descends, rolls away the stone, and sits on it, telling the women about the resurrection.
- In Mark (16:5), a young man dressed in white robes is found inside the tomb, who informs the women of Jesus’ resurrection.
- In Luke (24:4), two men in dazzling clothes suddenly appear and explain the resurrection.
- In John (20:11-13), two angels in white are seen inside the tomb after Mary Magdalene returns with Peter and John.
- The instructions given to the women at the tomb:
- In Matthew (28:7), the angel instructs the women to tell the disciples that Jesus will meet them in Galilee.
- In Mark (16:7), the young man also tells the women to inform the disciples that Jesus will meet them in Galilee.
- In Luke (24:6-8), the two men remind the women of Jesus’ words that he would rise again but do not mention Galilee.
- In John (20:17), Jesus himself appears to Mary Magdalene and instructs her to tell the disciples about his imminent ascension.
These contradictions may be attributed to the different perspectives and purposes of each Gospel’s author, but they remain points of discussion for scholars and believers alike.