Was Jesus Christ Really Buried After His Death?

Craig Evans’ article Getting the Burial Traditions and Evidences Right addresses the thought of Bart Ehrman who takes issue with the claims that Jesus Christ was buried after his death on the cross.  The basis of his argument rests on his faulty stance on Roman execution practices.  Yes, crucifixion was indeed a brutal and perhaps the cruelest method of torture and execution that the Romans could inflict on a person.  Ehrman believes that a significant part of the horror of crucifixion was the refusal of proper burial.  This is true in some cases, but Evans provides evidence that it was not always the result in many instances.  He sites Philo’s account of Flaccus in which it is stated that the bodies of those who had been crucified were given back to friends and families for burial as an act of mercy on Roman holidays.  This was done in an effort to keep peace and also to celebrate the emperor.  He also sites the Digesta which was the summary of Roman law.  Perhaps this source is one of greater credibility as it shows so clearly the Roman instruction that “the bodies of those condemned to death should not be refused to their relatives.”  Cases of those charged with high treason would be grounds for a denial of burial, but there are many other accounts which involve the return of a corpse to a family member.  In addition to this evidence, had there been a common practice of crucifying people with no intent to bury them, the Jewish people would have me furious and demanded that the rite practice of their faith be honored.  The last thing that the Romans would have wanted would be an uprising and a disturbance of the peace.  Furthermore, since Jesus was executed as a criminal, it would have been the responsibility of the Sanhedrin to arrange for a burial.  This was the practice of the time in Jerusalem, but it is not clear as to how far the practice was spread thought Israel.  The point is that it was perfectly normal, and in fact expected, for Joseph of Arimathea to request the body of Jesus for burial.  In short, the clear evidence provided by the burial traditions of the age lead anyone to the conclusion that Jesus Christ was buried after his death on the cross.