The Empty TombThe situation for the Empty Tomb "fact" is rather more dubious. From here:
This is a fact that is not supported by the overwhelming majority of New Testament scholars as the other four facts are, however it is still considered to be historically reliable by 75% of New Testament scholars (Habermas and Licona 2004, 70). While this is not an overwhelming percentage, it is still a rather high percentage. There are good reasons for why three out of four scholars advocate for this fact. The evidence for why the tomb was empty on the third day is certainly compelling enough to still be considered a fact for this minimal facts argument.These people must have a different idea of what a "fact" is, if they admit 25% of scholars disagree with it. Worth noting that over 99% of biologists accept evolution, but Habermas nevertheless rejects it. Seems a little inconsistent to me!
But when we look at the 75% figure, even that is dubious. Habermas tells us.
A second research area concerns those scholars who address the subject of the empty tomb. It has been said that the majority of contemporary researchers accepts the historicity of this event. But is there any way to be more specific? From the study mentioned above, I have compiled 23 arguments for the empty tomb and 14 considerations against it, as cited by recent critical scholars. Generally, the listings are what might be expected, dividing along theological “party lines.” To be sure, such a large number of arguments, both pro and con, includes very specific differentiation, including some overlap.This statement by Habermas gets quoted a lot, for example here.
Of these scholars, approximately 75% favor one or more of these arguments for the empty tomb, while approximately 25% think that one or more arguments oppose it. Thus, while far from being unanimously held by critical scholars, it may surprise some that those who embrace the empty tomb as a historical fact still comprise a fairly strong majority.
But note that Habermas says: "Generally, the listings are what might be expected, dividing along theological “party lines.”" What he is conceding is that Christian scholars accept the Empty Tomb, and non-Christian scholars reject it. And who do you think has published more on that topic? His figure of 75% is not an insight into how certain the claim is, but is an indication of the type of scholar who publishes about the Empty Tomb.
Apparently 75% of scholars who publish about the Empty Tomb are Christian.
As an aside, if the Empty Tomb was real (which is very unlikely), the most likely explanation is that Joseph of Arimathea had the body moved as soon as the Sabbath was over, i.e., the evening before the women visited the tomb. As Mark states, Joseph just put the body there temporarily because the Passover Sabbath was approaching, and so we would expect the body moved as soon as the sabbath was over.