The Historicity of Joseph of Arimathea
By Carey Bryant
The burial of Jesus by Joseph of Arimathea is a very important event surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus. If Joseph of Arimathea did not exist, then he obviously didn’t help bury Jesus. If this was the case, how would we know what happened to Jesus’ body after his death? How would we know if the empty tomb that was discovered by Jesus’ followers was the right one?
Using the “Indications of Authenticity” discussed here, there is a strong case to be made for the historicity of Joseph of Arimathea (JoA) and the burial account.
First, JoA has early, independent attestation. Second, the recorded details surrounding JoA fit perfectly with well-known historical facts about that time period (Historical Congruence).
The burial of Jesus by JoA has attestation in all four Gospels with each Gospel containing unique details (Matthew 27:57-60; Mark 15:42-46; Luke 23:50-53; John 19:38-42). Here is a breakdown of these details…