was a Pharisee,
A leader of
ἄνθρωπος ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων, Νικόδημος ὄνομα αὐτῷ, ἄρχων τῶν Ἰουδαίων·
uniquely introduced the Pharisees not as a group of people, but with an
individual man who was a Pharisees (Ἦν δὲ ἄνθρωπος ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων). This Pharisee was named or called Nicodemus (Νικόδημος
ὄνομα αὐτῷ). Nicodemus was probably a
leader (ἄρχων τῶν Ἰουδαίων) of the Jewish Sanhedrin or council, but his exact
role is not specified, other than as a Jewish leader. This Nicodemus will appear three times in the
Gospel of John, here and later in the Jerusalem Sanhedrin, chapter
7:50-51, and at the burial of Jesus with Joseph of Arimathea, chapter
19:39-42. However, he was never
mentioned in any of the other synoptic canonical gospels. Could this be Nicodemus ben Gurion, a wealthy
Jewish leader who was opposed to the Jewish rebel Zealots in the first century
CE. The Pharisees were the most devout
Jews, but usually the theological opponents of Jesus. These Pharisees were a political party, a
social movement, and a religious school of thought that became the basis for
later Rabbinic Judaism. They had they
own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical
or arrogant, with the letter of the law above its spirit. They had a form of Judaism that extended
beyond the Temple. The Pharisees in the
New Testament engaged in conflicts with Jesus and his disciples. However, Paul the Apostle may have been a
Pharisee before his conversion. Maybe Jesus
and some of his followers were Pharisees, so that these arguments with the Pharisees
may have been internal arguments. Or is
this portrait of the Pharisees in the New Testament a caricature, since the late
first century Christians were fighting with the emerging Rabbinic
Pharisees? What do you think about the
“Then Joseph bought
A linen cloth.
He took the body down.
He wrapped it
In the linen cloth.
He laid it
In a tomb
That had been hewn
Out of the rock.
He then rolled
Against the door
Of the tomb.”
καὶ ἀγοράσας σινδόνα καθελὼν αὐτὸν ἐνείλησεν τῇ σινδόνι καὶ κατέθηκεν αὐτὸν ἐν μνήματι ὃ ἦν λελατομημένον ἐκ πέτρας, καὶ προσεκύλισεν λίθον ἐπὶ τὴν θύραν τοῦ μνημείου.
This is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:59-60, and Luke, chapter 23:53, almost word for word. John, chapter 19:38-41 introduced Nicodemus into this burial ritual. Mark said that Joseph brought a clean linen cloth (καὶ ἀγοράσας σινδόνα). He took the body down from the cross (καθελὼν αὐτὸν). These biblical texts do not explain if he needed help with this task. Then he wrapped the body in the linen cloth (ἐνείλησεν τῇ σινδόνι). Finally, he laid Jesus’ body in his own new tomb (καὶ κατέθηκεν αὐτὸν ἐν μνήματι), that he had carved or hewn in a rock (ὃ ἦν λελατομημένον ἐκ πέτρας). He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb (καὶ προσεκύλισεν λίθον ἐπὶ τὴν θύραν τοῦ μνημείου). This seemed like a private one-person burial ritual.
“Joseph took the body.
He wrapped it
In a clean linen cloth.
He laid it
In his own new tomb,
Which he had hewn
In the rock.
He then rolled
A great stone
To the door
Of the tomb.
Then he went away.”
καὶ λαβὼν τὸ σῶμα ὁ Ἰωσὴφ ἐνετύλιξεν αὐτὸ ἐν σινδόνι καθαρᾷ,
καὶ ἔθηκεν αὐτὸ ἐν τῷ καινῷ αὐτοῦ μνημείῳ ὃ ἐλατόμησεν ἐν τῇ πέτρᾳ, καὶ προσκυλίσας λίθον μέγαν τῇ θύρᾳ τοῦ μνημείου ἀπῆλθεν.
This is similar to Mark, chapter 15:46, and Luke, chapter 23:53, almost word for word, while John, chapter 19:38-41 introduced Nicodemus into this burial ritual. Matthew said that Joseph took the body of Jesus (καὶ λαβὼν τὸ σῶμα ὁ Ἰωσὴφ). He wrapped it in a clean linen cloth (ἐνετύλιξεν αὐτὸ ἐν σινδόνι καθαρᾷ). The texts do not explain if he needed help with this task. Then he laid Jesus’ body in his own new tomb (καὶ ἔθηκεν αὐτὸ ἐν τῷ καινῷ αὐτοῦ μνημείῳ), that he had carved or hewn in a rock (ὃ ἐλατόμησεν ἐν τῇ πέτρᾳ). He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb (καὶ προσκυλίσας λίθον μέγαν τῇ θύρᾳ τοῦ μνημείου). Finally, he went away (ἀπῆλθεν). This seemed like a private one-person burial ritual.