For example, Crossan affirms this event in the strongest terms: “That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be,” and this event resulted in Jesus’ death.^23 In an earlier volume he states: “I take it absolutely for granted that Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate.” This is followed, interestingly enough, by reasons for this conclusion.^24 Borg agrees: “The most certain fact about the historical Jesus is his execution as a political rebel.”^25
But when it comes to Jesus’ burial, Crossan takes a rather peculiar approach. He surmises that, consistent with crucifixion customs, Jesus was either left on the cross after his death to be torn apart by wild beasts or buried in a shallow grave where dogs would still have found the body. Thus, Jesus was not buried in Joseph’s tomb and his body was most likely consumed by animals. In the end, he asserts that “by
19 B.D. Chilton, “Exorcism and History: Mark 1:21–28,” Gospel Perspectives, Vol. 6, ed. by David Wenham and Craig Blomberg (Sheffield: JSOT, 1986), p. 263.
20 Crossan, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, pp. 82, 95.
21 Marcus J. Borg, Jesus: A New Vision, pp. 66–67, 70–71.
22 Funk, Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar, Five Gospels, pp. 126, 268, 397, 464–465.
23 Crossan, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, p. 145 along with pp. 154, 196, 201.
24 Crossan, The Historical Jesus:, pp. 372–376.
25 Borg, Jesus, p. 179; cf. pp. 178–184.
Easter Sunday morning, those who cared did not know where it was, and those who knew did not care. Why should even the soldiers themselves remember the death and disposal of a nobody?”^26
But Crossan’s approach is marred by numerous shortcomings. (1) All four Gospels agree on the basic burial scenario, which potentially provides even further confirmation if these texts are otherwise corroborated. (2) On the other hand, no early documents dispute these reports. One might ask Crossan for the specificdata that support his thesis, especially from the first century. A challenge such as his cannot rest on a surmisal, or even on a generalized practice among Jews.