Getting the Burial Traditions and Evidence Right

In the article “Getting the Burial Traditions and Evidence Right,” Mr. Craig A. Evans presents a detailed and precise argument in support of the hypothesis that Jesus was buried in a tomb.  He does this in response to the arguments of Mr. Bart Ehrman, who believes that Jesus’ body was not laid in a tomb based on the facts that a) his burial was not mentioned in the early creeds of the Church and b) it was not the custom of the Romans to allow the burial of criminals.  Because of this, he believes that the story of Jesus’ burial, even the detail about a certain “Joseph of Arimathea,” was a legend that was added to the gospels at a later time.

To counter these arguments, Evans thoroughly lists ancient sources, both Jewish and Roman, as evidence to support his claims.  By citing historians and witnesses like Philo and Josephus, Evans is able to give substantial proof that, according to the ancient burial customs of the Romans and the Jews (especially of criminals), Jesus’ entombment is not only plausible, but probable.

I enjoyed Evans’ methodical and thorough approach to the issue.  Though he seemed repetitive and his evidence lengthy, all seemed necessary to adequately satisfy the doubts that Ehrman leaves in the mind of the reader.  However, my favorite part was the last section of the reading.  Here, Evans logically and concisely answers the issue of the tomb, wonderfully summing up the evidence he manifests throughout the article.  It is a perfect apologetic answer for the average person.



The agony at Gethsemane is very singnificant for the salvation of humanity. It is in this moment when Jesus Christ freely accepts his Father’s will. Though, here we see, how the two natures of Jesus enter into a fight. In this chapter, Cardinal Ratzinger wants us to explore certain characteristics of the person of Jesus. 

First, Jesus experienced a deep need of prayer. As the second person of the holy Trinity, Jesus keeps communion with his Father. It is not unusual for Jesus to separate himself from the disciples to have this intimate communion with the Father. However, his need of prayer, is not only because he wanted to avoid the horrific moments that were about to happen, but this fear, also came from the human destiny that he was assuming.  Jesus freely assumes all the responsibility of human sin in order to bring humankind back into a relationship with the God.

Second, Jesus experience sorrow and distress. The agony of Jesus in the garden shows that the divinity of Christ suffers with his humanity. At first, Jesus prays “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.” On the other hand, he prays “yet, not as I wil, but as you will.” Because of his humanity, Jesus felt tempted to avoid this moments of horror, he felt sad, and abandoned; but in his divinity God himself saved the entire humankind.

Jesus as the high priest. According to Ratzinger, by his auto-donation Jesus became the true priest. The word priest, means the one who mediates in religious service. Also it means one who is holy or set apart to perform those services. In his priesthood, Jesus is greater than any other priest because through him hour humanity is back into relationship with God the Father. He was the only one who could be the mediator between God and humankind.

I like it based on this reasons.

1- it clearly reflects both the human and divine nature of Jesus.

2- Gives a better sense of the suffering of the Cross. Without the Cross there is not resurrection.

3- The experience of the cross, shows how God brings good out of evil.


Chapter Seven- The Trial of Jesus

The Trial of Jesus, presented by Joseph Reisinger in his book Jesus of Nazareth, takes place in different scenarios: the first part is a meeting between Jewish leaders in Caiaphas’ house, the interrogation before the Sanhedrin, and the Trial of Jesus before Pilate. The aim of the Trail from the Sanhedrin’s standpoint is to kill Jesus and Pilate seeks to save Jesus; meanwhile, he wants social peace during the Jewish feasts. To each of the three scenarios, Ratzinger, provides reasons, misunderstandings, worries, and preferences from the Sanhedrin as well as from Pilate that led Jesus to the Cross. However, the third part, the Trial of Jesus before Pilate, has deep theological description behind the motives to what happened to Jesus. That is, Ratzinger describes the truth about Jesus’ kingship and his proclamation to be the Son of God, the two motives for Jesus’ condemnation and hidden theophanies to the eyes of Pilate and Jewish leaders. The Jewish expected the Messiah for centuries but when they had him in the fragile, tortured, and helpless person of Jesus their blindness to the truth unable them recognize him. For them, the truth is limited compared to the whole truth that is God, who is supreme and absolute truth.  Creation, for example, becomes what means to be as long as if it reflects God, the eternal Reason by which has emerged. Man, on the other hand, reaches his true nature when becomes according to God. That is, God is the measure of being for man. With it is understood that the truth is perceivable when God is known, an ability that Jewish leaders and Pilate did not possess.




The chapter talks about the distinction between the kingdom of God and that of men. The understanding of the phrase ‘gospel of the kingdom’ and references to the ‘the kingdom of God and ‘the kingdom of heaven’ are often in connection with the Lord Jesus and his works of redemption. The word gospel simply denotes ‘good news’ and the term ‘kingdom’ is the Greek word for basileia, meaning the realm in which a sovereign king rules. At the beginning of Christ earthly ministry, he preached that the kingdom of God is near (Matt. 4:17). his incarnation becomes the fulfillment in time and the establishment of the kingdom of God. We can possibly find out from the text that the word kingdom as used in the New Testament always refers to the reign of Christ in the hearts of those who believe and as we learn, christ’s kingdom is not of this world (Jn. 18:36). The good news of the kingdom means therefore, the proclamation of the message of repentance, redemption and restoration offered by God to all who welcomes Christ. This good news when received brings freedom from our slavery to sin and leads one to eternal salvation. Christ as the word made flesh is both embodiment of the good news of salvation which ultimately when accepted leads one to the kingdom of God which Christ represents and is the prince of the kingdom.


Whether it is a movie or a book, you take the time to find out what exactly it is you will be reading or watching. One of the most frequent questions we ask beforehand is, “what is it about?” In doing this we are basically asking for the genre. In this brief article, scholars have investigated what exactly a gospel is and what the four canonical Gospels aim to achieve in their own literary style. The many theories can be summed up into two categories, analogical (the gospels were written following the style of other documents of the time), and derivational (the gospels are a totally new and distinct literary style). With this in mind, I invite you to read this article and come up with your own opinion based on the research shared by Judith A. Diehl.   

Chapter five “The Lord’s Prayer”

The chapter entitled “The Lord’s prayer” is part of the first volume in Doubleday’s first edition of the three-part work, entitled Jesus of Nazareth (May 2007), by Pope Benedict XVI, formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Bishop emeritus of the city of Rome. The time frame for this volume (I) includes Jesus’ public ministry, beginning with Christ’s baptism of the Jordan up to and including the Transfiguration of the Lord. This book too advanced to be considered an introduction to the New Testament studies, nor would one study Jesus of Nazareth without someone prior knowledge of Christology. That said any reader might gain spiritual fruit from this theological literary vineyard. My comments here are based on a cursory reading of a review in Booklist:

The passage discussed in each chapter are interpreted within the prophetic context fo the continuous document that contains them, the Bible. The meanings of Jesus’s words, deeds, and person are always educed with the aid and understanding of the religious thought and practice of the preceding Hebrew Scriptures. (Olson, Ray Copyright © American Library Association. All right reserved).[i]

Benedict’s approaches the Lord’s prayer from the Matthean perspective: Jesus’ audience already know how to pray; it needs to experience prayer daily, integrally. Jesus, the new Rabbi, calls the Israel of old to new ways of approaching Yahweh in prayer; now they have permission to call God “Father,” “Abba.” Thus  the Pope is our 21st-century rabbi/philosopher who tells us to approach God heart, mind, and soul.

There are two ideas that are constant through the Chapter. One the importance of being in a constant communication with God through prayer. Following the example of Jesus, and that the result of prayer is, as he writes “overcomes all boundaries, and make us one family” (Ratzinger p.141). Ratzinger shows the Our Father to be a progressive prayer, with a structure, an introduction, and seven petitions. This structure gives readers, the idea that the author would like to let us know that this prayer comes from Jesus who is in constant communication with the Father. We the readers who desire to pray, have to let Christ pray in and through us, this means that the act of prayer comes from the individual and leads to the communal., to daily experience: I am not alone in this Journey a journey that leads us “Our Father/ not simply my Father, who is in Heaven.

Forever a teacher, forever a pastor, Benedicts provides two things here: a chapter of instruction; a chapter of inspiration. The author’s attitude/tone in Jesus of Nazareth is scholarly and pastoral: he desires, more than anything else, that his students, readers, parishioners grow in the knowledge of Christ Jesus. Our author hails from the Post-Vatican II Church of a more open, yet more scholarly approach to scripture and spirituality, honed from his association with thinkers like Karl Rahner and Has Kung.