Should women discovering the empty tomb be considered evidence?

One piece of evidence for the resurrection that I find compelling is the fact that the inclusion of women being the discoverers of the tomb made it more unlikely that the resurrection was fabricated. I recently saw a counterclaim to this however, stating that women were ones who were supposed to anoint the body, so it would be a unbelievable detail to invent a story where men arrive at the tomb. Does this damage women being the discoverers of the empty tomb as evidence?

Someone also told me that it wasn’t the discovery, but the testimony where the evidence is made. What are your opinions on that?

Thank you!

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Why would men being the first ones at the tomb be unbelievable? They could have been there for many other reasons aside from anointing the body – spying, walking by, meeting someone. And either way, men show up there eventually. Both Peter and John saw the empty tomb and the grave clothes there. Regardless of who was first, both men and women testified to seeing the empty tomb and encountering the risen Jesus afterwards.


Thank you very much!

If one cannot accept Paul’s testimony for it, what’s the chance that someone will accept, Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John’s testimonies for it.

Did anybody in this forum actually see Jesus crucified?
Did anybody in this forum actually see him placed in a tomb?
Does anybody in this forum actually know where the tomb is that he was allegedly buried in?
Has anybody in this forum actually seen Jesus Christ recently?
Whose testimony shall we shall we rely on?

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The counter claim is absurd. Third rate rationalization.The gospel account(s) are utterly compelling. If Jesus is not God incarnate they are part of the greatest work of fiction of all time. So good its tellers believed it.Their sources believed it.

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To be honest without faith already existing, I don’t think either one would matter. Like I don’t see this being the thing that changes someone’s decision on if it’s real or not. But then again, I guess the same could be said on any isolated event.

But I usually hear that because of the male driven world of Romans and Jews , it would not carry as much weight from women as from men.

I think it’s sort of like how in horror films often a woman will say they think they heard something , and the guy will just dismiss it, but once the first dude is like “ what’s that sound” the other guys suddenly go into “warrior mode”. Or like if a girl tells a guy that she felt creeped out by a guy in a ally way, one of the guys there will potentially head down the alley way. But if a guy came out and said some dude just creeped him out , the other guys are more likely to think cautiously. I think since most men are bigger, stronger and faster than women ( presuming they are average guys and not old and out of shape ) the guys typically feel more challenged by what they are saying scared the woman vs if some other dude said it, they feel more threatened by it. If that makes sense.

So if it’s similar to that, then it could make sense in a patriarchal society that the claims of a woman was taken was serious than that of a guy. So back to the original case, if I was trying to prove to some guy that I was not a coward for running away from another dude that scared me, I would rather have fled with another guy vs a woman because the other guy may think “ well of course the woman was scared but why were you not a man” type of thing. But two dude fleeing would probably have the third dude wondering how scary is the other guy vs how cowardly were we.

So maybe they had multiple negative marks against them as women.

  1. Maybe the more emotional / cry argument was used back the. also.

  2. Maybe the “ oh you just scared yourself women” mark was there.

  3. Maybe they thought they probably were just confused and went to the wrong spot similar to the idea that women are worse drivers with less directional instincts.

So maybe part of it was “ oh those overly emotional women probably got lost and went to the wrong grave and scared themselves “ coupled with just being treated as less would have made them a worse testimony in the eyes of other men.

But I don’t know. I can’t pretend to know what they believed back then. Now days you don’t really hear a lot about goddess worship. But I often feel like when reading about times back then there was way more goddess worshiping including things like priestesses and ect… in a lot of folk horror films women are the leaders. It’s a woman pulling the strings and ect… and I sometimes get the impression that temple women and goddess worship could have elevated them within Roman worlds. But I’m not sure.

They serve as evidence in favor of historicity of some of the details but it’s not the end-all clincher it’s often made out to be.


No…why should it make any differenece?

There are six Marys in the NT. Those present (Mary’s) at the empty tomb received great honor and a revelation of the risen Christ before the men plus given the honorable duty to declare this good news of what happened.

They were blessed!

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I guess I am failing to understand why some people think this is such compelling evidence. It’s a bit like saying the sailors were men in the story of Jason, the Argonauts, and the Golden Fleece. Since most sailors of that time were men, it lends credence to the story.

I get moved every time I re-encounter Himself saying, ‘Mary’. Right now.


The argument is based on the idea that the testimony of women was not very valuable in antiquity. This can be disputed a bit but if you accept it that is how the argument goes. So if you are going to invent a story which provides the only evidence you have for where Jesus was buried, why have women discover it and not men?

Matthew creates a guard to answer or forestall the claim the disciples stole the body. Likewise, of the 900 tombs so far discovered, only 4 have rolling stones (Kloner). Mark is describing a kingly tomb—like a Herod-rich type tomb. It’s apologetically motivated. Mt Luke and John claim the tomb was new and Luke says no one was buried there before. This is so no one would confuse the remains of Jesus with anyone else. It forestalled or answers an objection to the resurrection story. Mark may suppose this as well. The bodies were buried on the right first and then around the tomb. That’s where the angel or man is on entering in the account. Ancient listeners might have recognized this and especially since Joseph of Arimathea has a tomb in Jerusalem. The women provide the only link to its location as the author points out “Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body[m] was laid.”

Given the apologetical interests of the authors. It’s odd Mark would invent women discovering the tomb of its pure fiction.

You can claim the disciples all fled so they were the best option or just say sometimes people tell stories in ways we find odd. But most see the women as evidence indicating the entire account was not created. The same goes for Joseph, a member of the Sanhedrin, the group who just unanimously agreed Jesus deserved death and handed him to Rome in Mark, courageously asking for his body to bury him. Attributing a kind or courageous deed to one of these individuals is against the grain in Mark.

I think the Jews would naturally bury victims of capital punishment in a common tomb reserved for this out of adherence to the Law. I think that is extremely probable. Jesus most definitely was buried, but by the Jewish religious leaders, possibly with the two criminals next to him. I think Joseph was one who buried him because of his status and the fact that Arimathea is incidental and means nothing.

“Was the tomb empty?” only works if the tomb is new. Otherwise most tombs housed multiple bodies. The better question is “how empty was the tomb?” Mark Goodacre wrote a good piece on this in 2021 I believe. Apologists have assumed the newness of the tomb is historical and been asking the wrong question for a long time now.

But Mark is engaged in apologetics, maybe not as explicitly as the three other accounts, but why women and why a member of the Sanhedrin burying Jesus are two points that don’t strike one as being fabricated.

Not giving us the certitude some desire but surely they argue for historicity of burial in a tomb for a Jesus. When both are combined the evidence is even stronger. Two details that go against the grain in the account.


Ultimately, it is men reporting on the account in the gospels, so that seems a massive stretch. I would agree that it hinges on the argument that people of that time saw women as untrustworthy witnesses.

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