The various Gospel accounts of the resurrection have a similar style as those of the passion of Christ. They involve a frantic pace and a confusion of characters.
I really like Atwill's idea that different Gospels intentionally started their narrations at slightly different hours of the day. One begins before sunrise, another at sunrise, and a third early in the morning (after sunrise). The actors are excitedly coming and going, which leads to some humorous surprises, such as when Mary Magdalene confuses Jesus for the "gardiner". (As Eddie quized us earlier, the epithet of "Gardiner" was one associated with the god of resurrection, Osiris.)
I think there is still some need for refinement though in Atwill's reconstruction. The conclusion that Peter and Simon Peter represent two distinct characters is strained. (Of course in this particular forum post I am replying to myself, so who am I to talk!)
I also think that calculating probabilities for a literary passage is pointless. (Christian fundamentalists try to do the same thing to "prove" their own interpretations are correct.) In an email to Mr. Atwill on this topic I addressed him as "Joseph of Arithmatica". I'm not sure if he appreciated the satire!
Elsewhere in the book, Atwill argues that anomalies were a deliberate feature of the Gospels. As he says, it prompts the sophisticated reader to solve a puzzle and discern the "truth" behind the story. So, the aim of the adept is to rearrange the script in such a way that it reveals more profound relationships, but perhaps it is not always possible or necessary to remove all contradiction (unless we are convinced of God's literal authorship.)
Many modern day comedies tap the funny bone of mistaken identities and misunderstandings. One of my favorite movies of this genre is "The Man Who Knew Too Little" starring the 'clueless' Bill Murray.
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