Who Wrapped Jesus' (a.s.) Body?


بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

There are some minor discrepancies in the canonical gospel accounts on who wrapped the body of Jesus (a.s.).

Matthew 27:59-60
59 Joseph took possession of the body, and wrapped it in a clean winding-sheet; 60 then he buried it in a new grave, which he had fashioned for himself out of the rock, and left it there, rolling a great stone against the grave door.

59 καὶ λαβὼν τὸ σῶμα ὁ Ἰωσὴφ ἐνετύλιξεν αὐτὸ ἐν σινδόνι καθαρᾷ, 60 καὶ ἔθηκεν αὐτὸ ἐν τῷ καινῷ αὐτοῦ μνημείῳ ὃ ἐλατόμησεν ἐν τῇ πέτρᾳ, καὶ προσκυλίσας λίθον μέγαν τῇ θύρᾳ τοῦ μνημείου ἀπῆλθεν.

59 Et accepto corpore, Joseph involvit illud in sindone munda, 60 et posuit illud in monumento suo novo, quod exciderat in petra.  Et advolvit saxum magnum ad ostium monumenti, et abiit.

The Gospels according to Mark and Luke, being synoptic with the Gospel according to Matthew have similar accounts:

Mark 15:46
46 Joseph took him down, and wrapped him in a winding-sheet which he had bought, and laid him in a tomb cut out of the rock, rolling a stone against the door of the tomb.

46 καὶ ἀγοράσας σινδόνα, καθελὼν αὐτὸν ἐνείλησεν τῇ σινδόνι καὶ ἔθηκεν αὐτὸν ἐν μνημείῳ ὃ ἦν λελατομημένον ἐκ πέτρας, καὶ προσεκύλισεν λίθον ἐπὶ τὴν θύραν τοῦ μνημείου.

46 Joseph autem mercatus sindonem, et deponens eum involvit sindone, et posuit eum in monumento quod erat excisum de petra, et advolvit lapidem ad ostium monumenti.

Luke 23:52-53
52 He it was who approached Pilate, and asked to have the body of Jesus.  53 This he took, and wrapped it in a winding-sheet, and laid it in a tomb fashioned out of the rock, in which no man had ever been buried.

52 οὗτος προσελθὼν τῷ Πιλάτῳ ᾐτήσατο τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ,  53 καὶ καθελὼν ἐνετύλιξεν αὐτὸ σινδόνι, καὶ ἔθηκεν αὐτὸν ἐν μνήματι λαξευτῷ οὗ οὐκ ἦν οὐδεὶς οὔπω κείμενος.

52 … hic accessit ad Pilatum et petiit corpus Jesu: 53 et depositum involvit sindone, et posuit eum in monumento exciso, in quo nondum quisquam positus fuerat.

We contrast this with the details provided in the Gospel according to John:

John 19:38-42
38 After this Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but in secret, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him leave; so he came and took Jesus’ body away; 39 and with him was Nicodemus, the same who made his first visit to Jesus by night; he brought with him a mixture of myrrh and aloes, of about a hundred pounds’ weight.  40 They took Jesus’ body, then, and wrapped it in winding-cloths with the spices; that is how the Jews prepare a body for burial.  41 In the same quarter where he was crucified there was a garden, with a new tomb in it, one in which no man had ever yet been buried.  42 Here, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus, because of the Jewish feast on the morrow.

38 Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα ἠρώτησεν τὸν Πιλᾶτον Ἰωσὴφ ὁ ἀπὸ Ἁριμαθαίας, ὢν μαθητὴς τοῦ Ἰησοῦ κεκρυμμένος δὲ διὰ τὸν φόβον τῶν Ἰουδαίων, ἵνα ἄρῃ τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ: καὶ ἐπέτρεψεν ὁ Πιλᾶτος. ἦλθεν οὖν καὶ ἦρεν τὸ σῶμα αὐτοῦ.  39 ἦλθεν δὲ καὶ Νικόδημος, ὁ ἐλθὼν πρὸς αὐτὸν νυκτὸς τὸ πρῶτον, φέρων μίγμα σμύρνης καὶ ἀλόης ὡς λίτρας ἑκατόν.  40 ἔλαβον οὖν τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ καὶ ἔδησαν αὐτὸ ὀθονίοις μετὰ τῶν ἀρωμάτων, καθὼς ἔθος ἐστὶν τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις ἐνταφιάζειν.  41 ἦν δὲ ἐν τῷ τόπῳ ὅπου ἐσταυρώθη κῆπος, καὶ ἐν τῷ κήπῳ μνημεῖον καινὸν, ἐν ᾧ οὐδέπω οὐδεὶς ἦν τεθειμένος: 42 ἐκεῖ οὖν διὰ τὴν παρασκευὴν τῶν Ἰουδαίων, ὅτι ἐγγὺς ἦν τὸ μνημεῖον, ἔθηκαν τὸν Ἰησοῦν.

38 Post hæc autem rogavit Pilatum Joseph ab Arimathæa (eo quod esset discipulus Jesu, occultus autem propter metum Judæorum), ut tolleret corpus Jesu.  Et permisit Pilatus. Venit ergo, et tulit corpus Jesu.  39 Venit autem et Nicodemus, qui venerat ad Jesum nocte primum, ferens mixturam myrrhæ et aloës, quasi libras centum.  40 Acceperunt ergo corpus Jesu, et ligaverunt illud linteis cum aromatibus, sicut mos est Judæis sepelire.  41 Erat autem in loco, ubi crucifixus est, hortus: et in horto monumentum novum, in quo nondum quisquam positus erat.  42 Ibi ergo propter parasceven Judæorum, quia juxta erat monumentum, posuerunt Jesum.

As can be seen, the synoptic gospels state that the body of Jesus (a.s.) was wrapped by Joseph of Arimathea, whereas the Gospel according to John states that it was Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.

An interesting point of note is that if we were to consider the halacha’, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus are now ritually impure for the Passover by touching a dead body, and that the burial was no conducted by any family.  Jesus (a.s.) was not an orphan, and he undoubtedly had a wider family including cousins.  The gospel accounts discount them to the extent that we know nothing of them, to advance the narrative that Jesus (a.s.) was alone, distinct from humanity.



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