41 Sanhedrin 43a.
42 Ibid., where this reference is apparently a third century addition to the earlier material in this section of the Talmud.
43 Sanhedrin 106b.
44 For instance, Yeb.IV:3, 49a.
45 Hagigah 4b; Sanhedrin 106a.
for thirty pieces of silver. The Jewish priests then dragged Jesus’ body through the streets of Jerusalem.^46
It is true that the Toledoth Jesuwas not compiled until the fifth century AD, although it does reflect early Jewish tradition. Even though Jewish scholars scorn the reliability of this source,^47 the teaching that the disciples were the ones who removed the dead body of Jesus persisted in the early centuries after Jesus’ death. As reported in Matthew 28:11–15, this saying was still popular when the Gospel was written, probably between AD 70–85. Additionally, Justin Martyr, writing about AD 150, states that the Jewish leaders had even sent specially trained men around the Mediterranean, even to Rome, to further this teaching,^48 which is confirmed by Tertullian about AD 200.^49 In other words, even if the Toledoth Jesuitself is too late or untrustworthy a source, in spite of its early material, the idea that the tomb was empty because the body was moved or stolen was common in early church history, as witnessed by other sources. Other Gentile Sources Lucian