A Suggested Harmonization of the Resurrection Narratives

1. After the actual resurrection had taken place, but before dawn, 
   an earthquake occurred, an angel rolled away the stone from 
   the entrance of the tomb, and the guards trembled and fled 
   (Matt. 28:2-4).

2. As Sunday morning was dawning, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother 
   of James and Joses, and Salome approached the tomb, intending 
   to anoint Jesus with the perfumed oil brought by other women 
   who evidently set out later (see #7). To their amazement they 
   found the stone rolled away (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:1-4; John 20:1).

3. One or more of the women entered the tomb and announced that 
   the body was not there (an inference from John 20:2, where 
   Mary Magdalene does not simply say, "The stone has been taken 

4. Mary Magdalene immediately returned to tell Peter end John 
   that the body had been removed John 20:2).

5. Mary (the mother of James end Joses) and Salome saw an angel 
   (= "a young man" in Mark) inside the tomb who announced the 
   resurrection and directed the women to tell the disciples 
   that Jesus would meet them in Galilee (Matt. 28: 5-7; 
   Mark 16: 5-7).

6. These two women returned to the city without greeting anyone 
   on the way, for their holy awe rendered them temporarily 
   speechless (Matt.28:8; Mark 16:8).

7. Certain women from Galilee, along with Joanna (cf. Luke 8:3), 
   arrived at the tomb, carrying perfumed oil to anoint the body 
   of Jesus. They met two "men" (= "angels"; cf. Luke 24:4, 23) 
   and then returned to report the angels' message of the 
   resurrection "to the Eleven and to all the rest" (Luke 24:19, 
   22-23) who have evidently now gathered together (cf. Matt. 26:56).

8. Meanwhile, informed by Mary Magdalene, Peter and John (and 
   others?; Luke 24:24) ran to the tomb without meeeting Mary 
   and Salome, observed the grave-clothes, and returned home 
   (John 20:3-10; and Luke 24:12, if this is the correct textual 

9. Mary Magdalene followed Peter and John to the Tomb, saw two 
   angels inside, and then met Jesus (John 20:11-17; cf. Mark 16:9).

10. Mary Magdalene returned to inform, the disciples that Jesus 
    had risen (John 20:18; cf. Mark 16:10-11).

11. Mary (the mother of James and Joses) and Salome met Jesus 
    and were directed to tell his brethren to go to Galilee 
    (Matt. 28:9-10).

12. The disciples had now had reports concerning the empty tomb 
    or the resurrection from three sources (viz., Mary Magdalene, 
    Joanna and the women from Galilee, Mary [and Salome]), but 
    they refused to believe these reports (Luke 24:10-11; 
    cf. Mark 16:11).

13. During the afternoon Jesus appeared to two disciples on the 
    way to Emmaus. They then returned to Jerusalem to report 
    the appearance to the Eleven and others (Luke 24:13-35; 
    cf. Mark 16:12-13).

14. Jesus appeared to Peter (Luke 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5).

15. That evening Jesus appeared to the Eleven and others 
    (Luke 24:33), Thomas being absent (Luke 24:36-43; 
     John 20:19-23; 1 Cor. 15:5; cf. Mark 16:14).

16. One week later Jesus appeared to the Eleven, Thomas being 
    present (John 20:26-29).

17. Seven disciples had an encounter with Jesus by the Sea of 
    Tiberias in Galilee (John 21:1-22).

18. The Eleven met Jesus on a mountain in Galilee (Matt. 28:16-20;
    cf. Mark 16:15-18)

19. Jesus appeared to more than five hundred people 
    (Luke 24:44-49; 1 Cor. 15:6).

20. He appeared to James (1 Cor. 15:7).

21. Immediately before his ascension, Jesus appeared to the 
    Eleven near Bethany (Luke 24:50-52; Acts 1:6-11;; 1 Cor. 15:7; 
    cf. Mark 16:19-20).

Source: "Three Crucial Questions about Jesus" by Murray J. Harris, Baker Books, 1994, ISBN 0-8010-4388-3; from the appendix, pages 107-109.

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