When I was redating the last post I found this comment by Ed Babinski:
Secondly, the high priest Ciaphas who condemned Jesus probably couldn't care less what happened to his body, so long as the disciples left town, and got out of his jurisdiction. And to make sure, he could (for all anyone knows) have had the body moved, and had a man in white wait at the empty the tomb to tell the scared ladies that morning, "He has gone before you to Galilee, for THERE ye shall see him." BECAUSE THEN THE JESUS MOVEMENT WOULD BE THE PROBLEM OF THE RULER OF GALILEE.
Charels Freeman argues the probability of just such an hypothesis in his new book, A NEW HISTORY OF EARLY CHRISTIANITY.
Interestingly, the priests did have white garments, and interestingly the earliest Gospel does mention a young man in white at the tomb telling the women to tell the apostles to go elsewhere to see Jesus (get out of town). And in Galilee they probably had "appearances" as Paul says, and even the ones who didn't actually "see" anything probably said they did because otherwise they would lose status and feel left out. And stories of a physical bodily resurrection with Jesus saying he has "flesh and bone" and "eating," and denying he was a "SPIRIT" at all came LAST in such late works as Luke-Acts, and the Gospel of John.
Interestingly, the earliest Gospel, Mark, has a young man in white at the tomb, and also has a young man following after Jesus at his arrest whom the soldiers try to capture, but who flees away naked into the night. Then a young man appears dressed at the tomb, the first to arrive. This young man thus is the last to leave Jesus at his arrest, leaves naked, then is the first at the tomb, dressed in white. He is probably employed as a sort of ideal follower, an example to Mark's readers. But if Freeman is correct, he's a real person, and the body was moved, and for a reason, to get the apostles and Jesus' followers out of Ciaphas' hair and so others would have to deal with them way off in Galilee.
Note that the later Gospels, the ones composed after Mark all change the young man at the tomb into an angel and even TWO angels! And they also drop the story about the young man following Jesus on the night of his arrest and then fleeing away naked. They drop that story of the young man, and change the young man at the tomb into an angel.
There are a lot of things you can say about Caiaphas. Stupid isn't on the top of the list. Wouldn't Caiaphas have learned from experience that movements that start in Galilee might have a tendency to find their way back down to Judaea? As Bilbo noted on that thread:
Caiaphas et al deliberately start the resurrection story of Jesus in order to get rid of his followers? You think that once Jesus was dead the movement would come to a grinding halt on its own. Was there any indication that the disciples would continue causing trouble? Did they mount an uprising to save Jesus either at his trial or crucifixion? No. Why give them new hope? Wouldn't that defeat the purpose? There's no guarantee that they would stay in Galilee. If Acts reflects actual history, the movement becomes centered in Jerusalem. In Galatians Paul goes to Jerusalem to confer with the apostles. I believe Josephus said that James was killed there.
The only question I have is why Babinski, who does read a lot of modern biblical scholarship, would tout such a theory. Are skeptics that desperate? Why are there so many just awful theories out there to explain away the events surrounding the founding of Christianity? Why not go back to the swoon theory? It's more plausible.
"I will never believe that an error against which so many and various weapons was deemed necessary was, from the outset, wholly lacking in plausibility. All this 'post haste and rummaging in the land' obviously implies a respectable enemy." -C. S. Lewis, "On Obstinacy of Belief"
Or is the passion for the sensational at work here? The Da Vinci Syndrome.
But, I suppose someone will say "At least he's not saying that the Sky Daddy revived a corpse. I mean, how do you know it wasn't the Flying Spaghetti Monster?"
Of course, skeptics are too sophisticated to say that. No?