finallysomepride, that is always a possibility. However, my angle is to take it at face value and search for clues that might give a truer perspective than the twisted self-serving way these stories have been told by religious conspirators. I do not ascribe to sola scripture; I think there are pieces of evidence in history, archeology, geology, and all the other sciences that are coming to light and must be pieced together to bring a clearer meaning to these tales.
For instance, I happen to believe that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were very evil people; not the benevolent "secret disciples" that the church makes them out to be. I suspect they were a part of the inner circle of the 'winks and handshakes' cult that infiltrated the Sanhedrin.
Joseph of Arimathea did not "take up for Jesus" at his trial. It was a kangaroo court and Joe just played devil's advocate. If he had been a good Jew worth his salt he would have been at home in preparation for the Passover and not participating in such an atrocious event during those "high holy days". It was not a proper thing to be doing during that time period, especially for one who was a high counselor and voting member of the Sanhedrin.
Joseph of Arimathea has gradually been inflated as a "disciple of Jesus", a major saint, and a cult hero. It is said that he obtained the blood of Jesus in the cup which some refer to as the Holy Grail. If there is any truth to the legends, it would make me suspect that Joe was part of the blood drinking cult of Gauls. The Gauls were notorious for beheading their enemies and drinking their blood from the skull. This act was a victory ritual. Perhaps this is what Jesus was referring to when he sarcastically passed the cup of wine and made reference to it being his blood.
This passage (Isaiah 53:9) in Rotherham's Emphasized Bible also gives a very bold stark clue to support the evil aspect of Joseph of Arimathea:
9 And, appointed with lawless men, was his grave, And with the wicked, his tomb, - Though no violence, had he done, Nor was guile in his mouth.
Here is a little more information on this particular bible translation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emphasized_Bible