Was Mary at the tomb before sunrise or after?

PROBLEM: Mark states that Mary was there “very early in the morning ... when the sun had risen” (Mark 16:2). But John says it was “early, while it was still dark” (John 20:1).

Mark 16:2

ESV - 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.

Clarify Share Report Asked December 16 2019 My picture Jack Gutknecht

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
I would say that plausible interpretations of the wording of John 20:1 leave open the possibility of the reference to darkness applying to the time when Mary Magdalene left her home. She then met the women mentioned in Mark and Luke (Mary, the mother of James, Joanna, and Salome, plus possibly "other women" referenced in Luke 24:10) on the journey, and by the time they arrived at the tomb, the sun had risen, as referenced in Mark 16:2. (Notice also that, although John mentions only Mary by name as having gone to the tomb, he also records Mary as saying to Peter and John in John 20:2 that "we" do not know where they have laid Him, implying that Mary was not alone.)

December 17 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Darrell Six
I. The Women Go to the Tomb

A.Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb (Mt. 28:1)
1. Does Matthew compress two separate visits into one?
2. Is this the second visit?
a.) no mention of spices
b.) do they know he is already risen?
3. It is more likely that this is the first visit 
a.) trying to read this as a second visit doesn’t really make sense contextually 

B. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him (Mk. 16:1)
1. It appears that some spices were prepared before the Sabbath (Lk. 23:56) and some were purchased after the Sabbath
a) Certainly approaching a task the magnitude of what these women were facing, they wanted to be sure they had adequate spices for their beloved rabbi. 
(1) This makes sense to anyone who has ever prepared for an event and realized they needed more supplies 
b) This could also be an explanation for the passage from “dark” to “early dawn” to “when the sun had risen”

C. when the sun had risen, they [Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome] went to the tomb (Mk. 16:2) 
1. note: the sun had risen

D. But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they [“[t]he women who had come with him from Galilee” (Lk. 23:55)/“Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them” (Lk. 24:10)] went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. (Lk. 24:1)

E. Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. (Jn. 20:1) 
1. note: Mary Magdalene goes “while it was still dark”
a.) some suggest Mary Magdalene made a visit to the tomb “while it was still dark” alone
(1) perhaps John conflates the first and second visit?
b.) others suggest a passage of time over the course of them going to the tomb from “dark” to “early dawn” to “when the sun had risen”
(1) this makes more sense, as in her report to John, Mary Magdalene indicated she was not alone (“we do not know where they have laid him”)


Dr. Gleason Archer carefully examined the original language used by the writers and concluded:

They [the women] apparently started their journey from the house in Jerusalem while it was still dark (skotias eti ouses), even though it was already early morning (proi) (John 20:1). But by the time they arrived [at the tomb], dawn was glimmering in the East (te epiphoskouse) that Sunday morning (eis mian sabbaton) (Matthew 28:1). (Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1, John 20:1 all use the dative: te mia ton sabbaton.) Mark 16:2 adds that the tip of the sun had actually appeared above the horizon (anateilantos tou heliou—aorist participle; the Bezae codex uses the present participle, anatellontos, implying “while the sun was rising”).

Gleason Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1982), pp. 347- 348.

cited at https://jashow.org/articles/an-examination-of-the-alleged-contradictions-in-the-resurrection-narratives-part-1/#cite_note-3

July 17 2023 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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