Body of executed radical reported missing


Roman World News Service
17 Nisan, 786
Jerusalem — Followers of a Nazarene man executed by crucifixion on the 14th have reported that his body is now missing from the cave tomb in which it was placed. The man, Yeshua, was crucified at Gagulta outside of Jerusalem on Friday on orders of the Roman prefect, Pontius Pilate. Yeshua, a radical who had gathered a considerable following among Judea’s lower classes, came to be seen as a threat by pro-Roman religious authorities in the city.

A local prostitute was the first to discover the body was no longer in the tomb. It is quite unusual that any care was taken, as routine Roman practice is to not allow family or friends to do anything in the way of ceremonial disposal of the remains of crucified individuals. Wealthy followers are said to have arranged for the tomb for Yeshua. The woman who discovered his absence from it later made a fanciful report of seeing and speaking to the no longer deceased man.

Yeshua, from Nazereth in Galilea, possessed skills in woodworking but for the past several years had been an itinerant speaker, subsisting on whatever his followers would provide. He seems to have embarked on this lifestyle after falling under the influence of another radical, John the Baptizer, who was beheaded after running afoul of Herod, Tetrarch of Galilea. Yeshua only has minor infractions for tax avoidance and disturbing a house of worship on his record, but officials of the Sanhedrin considered him a threat to both Temple and Roman authority. After his arrest the prefect sought to have Yeshua extradited to Galilea but Herod declined to accept jurisdiction in the matter. Pilate, tasked with cooperating with the Sanhedrin in order to keep the peace in Judea, complied with their request for capital punishment despite the absence of serious charges.

Supporters of the crucified man initially believed that his enemies might have taken his remains in order to further suppress his teachings against all earthly authority, but the notion that he was not killed or somehow has been brought back from death seems to be taking hold. However, a number of his closest advisers have fled or are denying their association with him. There is little reason at this time to think Yeshua himself has made any lasting impression, but indications are that radical movements may continue to spring up among the Judeans, who continue to complain that they are oppressed and exploited by the Roman Empire with the connivance of local religious officials of their Temple. Critics of the widespread use of crucifixion and other harsh methods contend that it could result in relatively peaceful opposition in the region to turn to violent revolution.