An Analysis of the Pre-Pauline Creed in 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

by Ryan Turner

The following is a detailed paper that I wrote on the pre-Pauline creed in 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, specifically verses 3-7.


The earliest available Christian texts are the letters of the apostle Paul.  Scholars date his epistles from approximately 50 to 60 C.E.  Therefore, many individuals think that there is at least a twenty year gap between the death of Christ and the earliest Christian writings.  However, most do not realize that the epistles of Paul contain creedal summaries of early Christian beliefs which possibly date as early as 35-40 C.E.1  The general nature of these creeds includes the death and resurrection of Christ.  Some of this material is found in Acts, while some is found in the letters of Paul.2  Perhaps the earliest creedal material that we have is found in 1 Corinthians 15.  The purpose of my paper is to explore the length, origin, and date of the creed in 1 Corinthians 15 and its implications for modern New Testament scholars’ views on the early Christian faith, especially for their understanding of Paul’s argument for the legitimacy of his apostleship.


Before we begin our study, we must understand a number of presuppositions that scholars use when analyzing the creed in 1 Corinthians 15.  First, there is unanimous agreement among New Testament scholars that Paul wrote the First epistle to the Corinthians around 51-55 CE.3  Second, the text of 1 Corinthians 15 is substantially stable.  This is not to deny that there are variants in manuscripts, but none of them significantly affect our area of study.  Third, scholars assume that Paul experienced some sort of conversion or transformation around 33 C.E.  These few presuppositions will be the basis from which I support my arguments for the possible date of the creed.

Context of 1 Corinthians 15 in Corinth

As we proceed to analyze the creed in 1 Corinthians, it is important to note the background of Paul’s statement on the resurrection.  In the first chapter of 1 Corinthians Paul is dealing with division in the Corinthian church.  Some members are stating that they are following Cephas, Apollos, or Paul.4  However, these divided Corinthians also question Paul’s apostleship and message of the resurrection of Christ.  For this reason Paul states in 15:12, “How can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?”  In defense of his message and apostleship, Paul continues his letter into Chapter 15 describing what he regards to be of primary importance:5

Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, 2through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain. 3For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.6

Creedal Nature

When scholars analyze 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 they note that it has a creedal nature.7  There are a number of reasons why scholars draw this conclusion from linguistic considerations.  First, the words “received” (Greek “parelabon”) and “delivered” (Greek “paredoka”) "are the Greek equivalents of the technical rabbinic terms qibbel min and masar le,”8  which are terms for the passing on of tradition.9  Orr agrees, “Here the correlation with delivered in vs. 3 points to a chain of tradition: Paul received the facts that he is relating from Christians who preceded him, and in turn he delivered them to the people of his churches.”10  1 Corinthians 11 contains a similar example using the same words “received” and “delivered.”  This indicates that 1 Corinthians 15 is not the only example of Paul using traditional material in his epistles.  Second, the thrice repeated hoti (translated “that” and italicized in the English translation above) indicates a streamlined formulaic pattern of creedal information.  Scholars have noted that hoti (or kai hoti, translated “and that”) function as quotation marks to link all of the sections.11  In fact, if one removed the hoti references, the material would still be grammatically and syntactically correct in the Greek.  Without the kai hoti the text would read, “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, he was buried, he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.”  It is likely that Paul added the kai (English translated as “and”) for emphasis.12  Third, there are non-Pauline words in the text such as for our sins, according to the scriptures, the ordinal number after the noun in the third day reference, and the twelve.13  Finally, the creed exhibits a four-fold pattern of death-burial-resurrection-appearances.  The burial reinforces the death while the appearances reinforce the resurrection.14  There is debate regarding the exact length of the creed which we will deal with later, but this evidence from linguistic clues substantially supports that 1 Corinthians 15 contains a creed whatever its length.  For reasons such as these scholars unanimously conclude that Paul   “. . . is adopting and passing on traditional material.”15

Not only do scholars suspect that Paul is referring to a creed in these few verses, but they almost unanimously argue it predates Paul.16  Gerald O’Collins, a resurrection expert, states that he knows no scholar who dates the creed after the mid 40’s.17  Wilckens states concerning the creed, “the material collected here indubitably goes back to the oldest phrase of all in the history of primitive Christianity.”18  Some scholars even give exact dates for the creed.  Dodd states that the conversion of Paul occurred approximately in A.D. 33-34 and his visit to Jerusalem was three years after that.  Thus, assuming the crucifixion of Christ occurred around A.D. 30, that would date the creed to “at the utmost, therefore, not more than seven years after the Crucifixion.”19  Likewise, Tom Wright argues that the creed is “. . . stemming from a primitive tradition of the mid-thirties . . . .”20  So it is at least reasonable to conclude that the material in the creed predates Paul.

What is the Length of the Creed?

Despite the essentially unanimous opinion that the material in 1 Corinthians has a creedal nature and it predates Paul, there is significant disagreement among scholars concerning the exact length of the creed and what are Pauline additions.  As one may notice by simply reading the passage above, verses 1-11 are not all part of the creed.  The most the creed extends is from verses 3b-7.  Very few scholars, if any, would even argue that verse 8 was part of the creed.  In fact, most would even suggest that 6b is an addition by Paul and not part of the original source.  There are two main positions regarding the length of the creed, including those who argue for a verse 5 ending and those who argue for a non-verse 5 ending.

Arguments for a Verse 5 Ending

The scholars who promote a verse 5 ending of the creed produce several arguments to support their position.  First, they argue the formula flows well with the repeated hoti, “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.”  As I mentioned earlier, the hoti serve as quotation marks.  However, these quotation marks end after verse 5.  Rather, the epeita references are used later at the end of verse 5 and into verses 6 and 7.21  Second, contextually the reference to the 500 does not seem to fit due to the lack of formulation.22  According to Murphy-O’Connor, the epeita references are Pauline.23  He argues that there are many Pauline words in verse 6 such as adelphoi, menein, koimaomai, heos arti.24  In fact, epano is the only hapax legomenon or one of a kind word.25  He thinks this linguistic evidence supports that Paul added the reference to the 500 to serve to objectify the experience.26  For example, one could question the appearance to several people as a possible hallucination, but 500 would seem unlikely.  Third, the mention of the 500 is hard to reconcile with the gospel tradition.  Some scholars posit that there is a parallel with Acts 2, John 20:22 or Matthew 28:16.27  However, each of these texts presents its own problems.  For example, Acts 2 is an example of glossolalia, not a manifestation of the risen Jesus.  Wright makes the interesting point that Paul knew the Corinthians had not seen the risen Jesus, but had experienced glossalia.28  John 20 and Matthew 28 contain a reference to group appearances, but there is no clear parallel with five hundred individuals.  Due to these reasons, Marxsen argues, “For the time being we are unable to account for the silence.”29

Arguments for a non-Verse 5 Ending

In the early part of the 20th Century scholars unanimously affirmed that verses 6-7 were part of the pre-Pauline creed.  However, now few hold that position.30  Often scholars who support this position “content themselves with magisterial assertions” rather than providing evidence.31  However, there are a few arguments.  First, verse 6 does fit with the formula stylistically.  The epeita references do not indicate that the creed ends.  Rather, it simply indicates a flow between verses 5 and 7.  Second, there is at least one non-Pauline word in verse 6, which is epano.  Also, there are some words that occur infrequently in Paul’s epistles, such as menein which only once has the exact parallel with the meaning in 1 Corinthians 15.32  Third, even scholars who argue that the creed ends in verse 5 admit that verse 7 contains traditional material.  For example, Murphy-O’Connor argues that Paul preserved the reference to hoi apostoloi and Iakobo in order to underline his apostolic authority.33  It has a traditional basis since it exhibits an abnormal linguistic pattern.  Murphy-O’Connor argues, “Were v. 7 a Pauline composition, one would expect him to begin with eita after the epeita in v. 6, as he in fact does in vv. 23b-24.  If he did not do so, it must be because eita already existed as the link between ‘James’ and ‘the apstles.’  Thus, it seems more probable that Iakobo eita tois apostolois came to Paul as a fixed formula.”34  Fourth, if Paul added the hoti and epeita references it would not seem to create a problem for a verse 7 ending.  Fifth, it is obvious that Paul wrote the latter part of verse 6.  However, this does not prove that the mention of the 500 is an addition to the text.  All it points out is that Paul is inserting comments on the tradition.


Due to the evidence, Craig is justified to state, “It seems best to leave the question open and to regard the formula as extending at least through v. 5.”35  There has not been a significant response to Murphy – O’Connor’s arguments that verse 6 is a Pauline addition.  The creed extends through verse 5, but “. . . it is likely that Paul is still drawing on elements of earlier traditions, even if the formal ‘creed’ terminated with v. 5b.”36  In fact, there could have been more than one creed or source that Paul used in composing his argument.

What is the Origin of the Creed?

Despite the probability that 1 Corinthians 15 contains a creed that extends through verse 5, there is debate among scholars regarding the linguistic origin of the creed.  There are two positions including those scholars who argue for an Aramaic and Greek original.  It is helpful to explore the linguistic origin of the creed in order to determine a possible location and date.37

Semitic Origin – Jeremias’s Magnificent Seven38

Joachim Jeremias, the chief proponent of the Semitic origin of the creed, argued that the linguistic evidence favored a Semitic rather than a Greek original for the creed.39  He supported his thesis with several arguments.  First, the structure is a synthetic parallelismus membrorum:

that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures

and that he was buried

and that he was raised on the third day

in accordance with the scriptures

and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.40

According to Jeremias, the first and third lines correspond to each other.  Each clause “warrants the previous statement.”41  Second, he argues that there is an absence of particles, except kai, which demonstrates an independence from the Septuagint version of Isaiah 53.  Instead, he argues there is a dependence on the Hebrew original.  The absence of particles, except kai, demonstrates this independence from the Septuagint.  Fourth, there is an adversative kai at the beginning of the third line.  Fifth, the placing of the ordinal number after the noun in te hemera te trite is “the only possible order in a Semitic language.”  Sixth, the text uses ophthe instead of ephane, since the Hebrew nir’ah and the Aramaic ‘ithame have a double meaning ‘he was seen’ and ‘he appeared.’  Seventh, the text introduces the subject in the dative Kepha after a passive verb instead of the normal hupo with the genitive.  Since Jeremias notes that Paul prefers to use Kepha over Peter,42 one should not presume that the reference to Kepha indicates an Aramaic original.43  Therefore, Jeremias states, “These semitisms show that the kerygma was formulated in a Jewish-Christian milieu.”44

Despite his evidences for semitisms, Jeremias does acknowledge that there is no exact Hebrew or Aramaic equivalent for katas tas graphas (according to the scriptures) and egerthe (he was raised).  For these reasons, Jeremias admits that the statement in its present wording is not a translation of a Semitic original.  However, since Paul argues that his kerygma was the same as the apostles and there is an independence from the Septuagint, “the core of the kerygma was not formulated by Paul, but comes from the Aramaic-speaking earliest community.”45

Hellenistic Origin – A Response to Jeremias

Jeremias’s arguments were groundbreaking for the study of the creedal origin.  In fact, Jeremias’s arguments almost single-handedly changed the opinions of New Testament scholarship regarding the origin of the creed.  However, the debate was not over yet.  Conzelmann, Vielhauer, and later Kloppenborg, dissented from the majority opinion by producing a number of criticisms of Jeremias’s conclusions.46  First, they argued that the parallelismus membrorum is not necessarily proof of a Semitic Vorlage, but it could likely demonstrate a Hellenistic synagogue.  Also, kata tas graphas is the only repeated form, and 1 Cor 15 not a good example of parallelism.  In fact, it is prosaic compared with Romans 4:25.  Second, there is a stronger connection with LXX than Isaiah 53.  Third, the absence of hyper is not that uniqe: hyper and peri are used interchangeably in kerygmatic formulae.47  Fourth, the absence of particles, except kai, and use of adversative kai does not prove a Semitic original since it is found in New Testament passages and Greek papyri.  Fifth, te hemera te trite and opthe dative could indicate a Semitic base, but are not conclusive.  Sixth, having an ordinal number after the noun is simply good Greek.  Examples are found in the LXX4848 and Greek speaking Christian circles.49  Seventh, the ophthe with the dative is standard in the Septuagint and in Vulgar Greek.50  Finally, the circumlocution of the divine name by passive in Greek-Christian usage occurs Mt 16:21, and does not indicate Semitic original.51

However, Kloppenborg argues that not only are there rebuttals to Jeremias’s points, but there also are positive evidences for a Hellenistic source.  First, the reference to kata tas graphas (according to the scriptures) is likely from a Jewish Hellenistic church.  Second, te hemera te trite (he was raised on the third day) corresponds exactly to Hosea 6:2 in the Septuagint.  Third, opthenai “became something of a technical term for revelation, and hence was an obvious term for references to the resurrection appearances  . . .” in passages such as Luke 24:24, Acts 9:17, 13:31, 26:16.52  Fourth, Conzelmann points out that hyper ton hamartion hemon is better explained by appealing to the LXX, even though it is not found in the Septuagint.  However, the essential elements of the creed are found in the Septuagint: “peri hemon odynatia (v 4), memalakistai dia tas hamartias hemon (v 5) and dia tas hamartias auton paredothe (v 12).”53  Fifth, the debated anarthous Messiah only has three passages with parallels to a Palestinian usage.54  Also, there are only late Babylonian parallels for the use of Christos at the beginning of the sentence.  “Thus both the inconclusive nature of the rabbinic evidence and the possibility of Pauline editorial activity make it impossible to use the anarthrous 'Christ' as an indicator of provenance.”55


Due to the above arguments, it does not seem likely that the creedal material Paul cites took final shape in a Jewish mileu.56  In the present form it seems not to have definite signs of a Semitic original.  Paul definitely developed the creed.  However, Kloppenborg seems to leave open the idea that the formula originated in “at least one of its earlier recensions, came from the Palestinian church, although it may have been formulated in Greek.”57  Thus, it seems quite likely that the creed could have its origin in the Palestinian setting, but it was definitely the developed form that Paul received.58

Where Did Paul Receive This Creed?

Another important consideration in determining the date of the creed is the location where Paul received it.  As mentioned above, there are three locations that scholars promote for the possible location of origin: Antioch, Damascus and Jerusalem.  Theoretically, Paul could have received this creed almost anywhere.  However, the locations put forward here seem the most likely.


A number of scholars argue that Damascus is the location where Paul received the creed.59  They produce several arguments.  First, this is the location where Paul converted to Christianity.  As Cullmann argues, Paul probably was acquainted with apostolic traditions in Damascus.  Second, due to the importance of this creed, Paul probably received it quite early.  Craig states, “. . . it is difficult to imagine Paul’s not receiving at least the contents of this formula soon after his conversion . . . .”60  Paul mentions in Galatians that he returned to Damascus after leaving for a time, and he hints that he spent three years there.61  Second, since the creed shows Hellenistic influence, it is likely that Paul received it for kerygmatic (preaching) purposes in a Greek speaking environment.  Damascus certainly has that influence.


Antioch is another location where scholars believe Paul could have received the creed.  First, Paul spent time in Antioch preaching the gospel.  Second, Antioch had a large Greek influence.  Since the creed has a large Greek influence, it is quite possible that Paul received the material there.  Third, in the book of Acts, Antioch plays an important role as a location where Paul’s missionary activity happened.62  According to Acts, the early followers of Jesus were first called Christians in Antioch.  This indicates that Antioch was definitely a key center for early Christian activity.  However, the only reference to Antioch in undisputed, authentic, Pauline epistles is found in Galatians 2:11.  This reference does not indicate much regarding why Paul would have received the creed.  Antioch seems to be only a possibility.  Few scholars would exclusively argue for it.  For example, Hengel states, “. . . one could say that the form of the paradosis goes back to the early period of Paul’s activity in Antioch and Syria, and indeed even as far back as Damascus, but that its content in nearly all its statements refers back to Jerusalem.”63  Therefore, Antioch does not seem to be the best hypothesis.


The most likely location where Paul received the creed is Jerusalem.64  First, in Galatians Paul mentions that he travels to Jerusalem to visit the apostles.  He states, “Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days; but I did not see any other apostle except James the Lord's brother."65   Dodd makes an insightful comment regarding Paul’s purpose for the visit.  “We may presume they did not spend all the time talking about the weather.”66  Rather, the gospel was the reason Paul went to Jerusalem.  In Galatians 2, Paul mentions a possible second trip to Jerusalem.  This time it is for the purpose of verifying the gospel message.  Paul states, “Then I laid before them (though only in a private meeting with the acknowledged leaders) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure that I was not running, or had not run, in vain."67  Though there is debate among scholars whether Paul mentions two trips to Jerusalem in Galatians 1-2, the fact that the gospel was the subject of the Galatians 2 trip probably indicates that the Galatians 1 trip (if separate) had a similar purpose.  Second, the creed itself mentions two proper names: Cephas and James, which Paul mentions regarding his trip(s) to Jerusalem in Galatians 1 and 2.  Third, some scholars argue that the Semitisms in the creed point to a Jerusalem origin.68  However, this is problematical since “the Greek-speaking Jewish-Christian community had its roots in Jerusalem itself.”69  Therefore, we should not assume that the linguistic evidence really can tell us the location.

What is the Date of the Creed?

After surveying the various positions regarding the location of the creed, Jerusalem seems to be the best hypothesis due to the connection with the apostles in Galatians 1-2.  If Paul received it in Jerusalem, one would date the creed to approximately 37-38.  As mentioned earlier, C.E. Dodd states that the conversion of Paul occurred approximately in A.D. 33-34, and his visit to Jerusalem was three years after that.  Thus, assuming the crucifixion of Christ occurred around A.D. 30, that would date the creed to “at the utmost, therefore, not more than seven years after the Crucifixion.”70  However, Damascus seems to be the second best hypothesis due to its early date.  Craigs argues that the creed has its basis in Jerusalem, but it was the developed, Hellenized form that Paul received in Damascus.71  This argument serves to synthesize the Jerusalem and Hellenistic influence.  Therefore, one should date the creed to approximately 33-38 C.E.

What are Some Implications of the Creed?

First, there is a great possibility that Paul received this creed from the eyewitnesses to the appearances of Christ.  If he received the creed while going to Jerusalem in Galatians 1, he spoke with the apostles.  It is quite likely that “they did not spend all of the time talking about the weather.”72  Craig agrees, “. . . it implies that Paul’s visit to Cephas and Jerusalem was for the purpose of gaining information about the faith from first-hand witnesses.”73  Cullmann makes the following point, “. . . it must be understood that the legitimate agent of the tradition is the apostle – not only one of the Twelve, but apostle in the wider sense of an eye-witness, one who ‘had seen the Lord.’”74  The text clearly supports the authority of witnesses.  This is not to say that we have definitively proven that the creed has its basis in eyewitness testimony, but there is a possibility that it has such a connection.  Second, this creed clearly demonstrates that the early Christians right from the beginning believed in the resurrection of Jesus.  It did not take a long time for the belief to emerge.75

The Purpose of the Creed

Now that we have analyzed the length, date, and origin of this creed, we must ask how this creedal material fits into the larger picture of Paul’s argument in 1 Corinthians.  What is its sitz im leben?  Clearly, Paul wants to support his authority as an apostle.76  It is likely that the Corinthians were questioning his authority, which is why he mentions his apostolic credentials.  Barrett agrees, “The Christian doctrine of the resurrection appeared to have been denied (xv. 12), and Paul’s own apostleship questioned (iv. 3, 15; ix. 1f.).”77   Therefore, Paul responds with a number of arguments.  First, Paul definitely wants to argue for the historicity of the resurrection of Christ.  His reference that the five hundred brethren are still alive clearly indicates that they were alive for questioning.  Wilckens argues, “Paul refers to the fact that the Christians participating in the experience of this manifestation are known and can be questioned at any time as witnesses.”78  Paul clearly wants to demonstrate to the Corinthians the legitimacy of the resurrection.  This definitely supports his contention that his gospel was valid.79  Second, not only does Paul argue that the gospel he preached is rooted in eyewitness testimony, but his gospel is the same as the apostles.  He received this valid gospel from an authentic source that the Corinthians would definitely respect since they had familiarity with them.80  His reference to all of the apostolic names serves to solidify the legitimacy of his office.81  Finally, though not part of the original creed, Paul continues in verse 8 to 11 to demonstrate that the Lord truly appeared to him, also even though he is last.82  Paul places himself at the end of a possible chronological list of appearances.


We analyzed four key questions relating to the material in verses 1-11.  The first question we asked was, What is the length of the creed?  We answered that the creed at least extends through verse 5.  Verse 6 may be an addition by Paul with an apologetical purpose, but verse 7 likely has a traditional basis, with the reference to the apostles and James.  The second question we pursued was, What is the linguistic origin of the creed?  There were two positions regarding scholars, such as Jeremias who posited an Aramaic origin for the creed and those such as Conzelmann and Kloppenborg who argued for a Greek origin for the creed.  I argued that the creed definitely was developed in a Greek speaking environment, though it is possible that the creed has a Semitic base.  However, the arguments put forward by Jeremias did not seem conclusive.

The third question we analyzed was a possible location where Paul received this creed.  Scholars have promoted three locations: Damascus, Antioch and Jerusalem.  I argue that the creed probably emerged in Jerusalem or Damascus due to their early dates.  I favor Jerusalem due to Paul’s mention of a trip to see Peter and James in Galatians 1-2.  Paul mentions both of these names in possible creedal material.  The fourth question we analyzed was regarding the date of the creed.  I noted that most scholars who give an exact date, state that Paul received the creed in the mid-thirties.  I argue that a middle to late 30’s date is the best hypothesis, given the possibility that he received the creed in Jerusalem and his gospel was fundamental to his preaching.  A later date would indicate that Paul did not know his gospel for quite a while.  Finally, I analyzed how Paul used this creed in his argument to support his apostleship.  For Paul, his message was valid because he had seen the risen Christ, just like the names in the creed.  He would use this argument to make himself the most influential Christian evangelist ever.

  • 1. C.H. Dodd, The Apostolic Preaching and its Developments (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1960), 16.
  • 2. Rudolph Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1951), 81. Baultmann lists a number of creedal and formulaic statements in the New Testament including Romans 10:9, Colossians 2:12, Galatians 1:1 and Romans 8:11.
  • 3. C. K. Barrett, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (New York: Harper and Row, 1968), 4-5. Martin Hengel, The Atonement: The Origins of the Doctrine in the New Testament, trans. John Bowden (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1981), 37-38. Barrett and Hengel are just a few who date the composition of the epistle to that time frame.
  • 4. 1 Corinthians 1:10-17.
  • 5. William F. Orr and James A. Walther. 1 Corinthians: A New Translation (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1976), 320.
  • 6. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are from The New Revised Standard Version (Iowa Falls: World Bible Publishers, 1997). Italics mine.
  • 7. For the purposes of this paper, I define a creed as a formulaic statement of belief.
  • 8. Reginald H. Fuller, The Formation of the Resurrection Narratives (New York: Macmillan, 1971), 10.
  • 9. Joachim Jeremias,  The Eucharistic Words of Jesus, trans. Norman Perrin (London: SCM Press, 1966), 101.
  • 10. Orr and Walther, 320.
  • 11. Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, “Tradition and Redaction in 1 Corinthians 15:3-7,” Catholic Bible Quarterly 43 (1981): 582-89.
  • 12. Ibid.
  • 13. Jeremias, 101-2.
  • 14. Ulrich Wilckens, Resurrection-Biblical Testimony to the Resurrection: An Historical Examination and Explanation, trans. by A. M. Stewart (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1978), 7.
  • 15. Willi Marxsen, The Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Trans. by Margaret Kohl (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1970), 80.
  • 16. One of the very few exceptions is Robert Price who argues that it is a post Pauline interpolation (see “Apocryphal Apparitions: 1 Corinthians 15:3-11 as a Post-Pauline Interpolation” Journal of Higher Criticism 2, 69-99, available: Accessed 6 December, 2005).  However, his arguments fail for a number of reasons.  First, he assumes that it is an interpolation when he has no manuscript support.  Second, 1 Corinthians 15:3b-11 is not an interpolation.  There are many Pauline phrases in the text such as in verse 6.  It clearly seems that Paul has adapted the creedal material in his argument.  Third, the mention of the apostles fits well with the context of the 1 Corinthians letter.  Finally, there is no contradiction between Galatians 1 and 1 Corinthians 15.  Galatians describes that Paul did not receive his gospel from man, but contextually Paul verifies his message with the Jerusalem council of Peter and James (see context of Galatians 1 and 2).
  • 17. Gerald O’Collins, What Are They Saying about the Resurrection? (New York: Paulist Press, 1978), 112.
  • 18. Wilkens, 2.
  • 19. Dodd, 16.
  • 20. N. T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003), 966.
  • 21. Jeremias, 101.
  • 22. So argues Wilckens, 15-16.
  • 23. Murphy O’Connor, 586.
  • 24. O’Connor, 585, notes that menein occurs twelve times, koimaomai occurs eight times, heos arti is found three times in Pauline epistles including twice in 1 Corinthians.
  • 25. Ibid.
  • 26. Ibid., 586.
  • 27. Grant R. Osborne, The Resurrection Narratives: A Redactional Study (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984), 228.
  • 28. Wright, Resurrection, 325.
  • 29. Marxsen, 82.
  • 30. Murphy-O’Connor, 584, cites E. Bammel, “Herkunft,” 402-8; O. Glombitza, “Gnade – Das entscheidende Wort: Erwagungen zu I. Kor XV 1-11, eine exegetische Studie,” NovT 2 (1957-58) 285 as scholars who hold that position.  Fuller, Formation, 28, argues that verse 6a is part of the pre-Pauline creed.
  • 31. Ibid., 585.
  • 32. Ibid.
  • 33. Ibid., 587.
  • 34. Ibid.
  • 35. William Lane Craig, Assessing the New Testament Evidence for the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 1989), 6-7.
  • 36. Anthony C. Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 1206.
  • 37. However, our conclusions from linguistic considerations are limited.  Hengel, 38-39, rightfully argues that linguistic considerations alone cannot tell us where the creed originated.
  • 38. Jeremias actually produced more than seven arguments. I am only mentioning seven of his main points.
  • 39. Jeremias, 102-3.  I am choosing to use the generic term Semitic, by which I mean Aramaic and Hebrew specifically.  Jeremias argues that the creed has a Hebrew and Aramaic influence.
  • 40. Ibid., 102.  The diagram with indentation was in the original.
  • 41. Ibid., 103.
  • 42. Galatians 1:18, 2:9, 11, 14; 1 Cor. 1:12; 3:22; 9:5 and 15:5.
  • 43. Ibid., 103.
  • 44. Ibid.
  • 45. Ibid.
  • 46. Hans Conzelmann, A Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians, trans. by James W. Leitch (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1975) 252-54; Joseph Kloppenborg, “An Analysis of the Pre-Pauline Formula 1 Cor 15:3b-5 in Light of Some Recent Literature” Catholic Bible Quarterly 40 (1978): 351-67.
  • 47. Kloppenborg cites Mark 14:24/ Luke 22:20/ 1 Cor 11:24 (hyper); Matt 26:28 (peri); I Pet 2:21 (hyper); 3:18 (peri).
  • 48. Hos 6:2; 4 Kgdms 20:5 and Lev 23:11.
  • 49. Luke 18:22; Mark 10:34; Mt 20:1 and John 2:1.
  • 50. Gen 12:7; 17:1; 18:1; 26:2, 24; 35:9; 48:3 etc.
  • 51. The preceding arguments of Conzelmann and Kloppenborg, were summarized in Kloppenborg’s article.
  • 52. Kloppenborg, 354.
  • 53. Ibid., 355.
  • 54. Num. Rab. 13:11; Midr. Prov 19:21 (44a).
  • 55. Kloppenborg, 357.
  • 56. Craig, Fuller, Kloppenborg, Dibelius, Conzelmann and Jeremias support this point.
  • 57. Kloppenborg, 357.
  • 58. Fuller, Formation, 11.
  • 59. Among many is Reginald Fuller, Foundation, 142. He states A.D. 33 is a possible date for the creed.  This would indicate Damascus as the likely location.
  • 60. Craig, 18.
  • 61. Galatians 1:17-18.
  • 62. This argument depends on whether one accepts the reliability of Acts.  I would argue that Acts is generally reliable as scholars such as A. N. Sherwin-White and Colin Hemer state.
  • 63. Hengel, 38.
  • 64. Scholars debate whether Paul took one or two trips to Jerusalem (see Acts 15 and Galatians 1-2).
  • 65. Galatians 1:18-19.
  • 66. Dodd, 16.
  • 67. Galatians 2:2.
  • 68. A. M. Hunter, Jesus Lord and Savior (London: SCM Press, 1976), 99-100.
  • 69. Hengel, 38.
  • 70. Dodd, 16.
  • 71. Craig, 18-19.
  • 72. Dodd, 16.
  • 73. Craig, 17.
  • 74. Oscar Cullmann, The Early Church: Studies in Early Christian History and Theology, edited by A. J. B. Higgins (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1956), 68.
  • 75. Note: this is not to deny that there was development in the specific nature of the appearances, but the essential fact that Jesus had risen was believed by the church right from the beginning.
  • 76. Gerd Luedemann, Opposition to Paul in Jewish Christianity, trans. by M. Eugene Boring  (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1989) 73.  Luedemann argues, “the object of Paul’s proof by means of the list of witnesses was Paul’s apostleship, and not the resurrection of Jesus . . . .”  In response, the appearances do serve to validate the resurrection which in turns validates Paul’s apostleship.  There is definitely a link between the apologetic for the resurrection and Paul’s apostleship (1 Corinthians 15:12).
  • 77. Barrett, 3.
  • 78. Wilckens, 15.
  • 79. 1 Corinthians 15:12.
  • 80. 1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 9:1.
  • 81. Wilckens, 13. Wilckens argues that these represent “legitimation formulae” in which a leader points to a specific appearance to validate their calling and message.  Paul desires to align himself with this calling.
  • 82. Wilckens argues that Paul is listing a chronological sequence of appearances.  The first appearance was to Peter and the last was to Paul.  This seems to be a plausible hypothesis due to the “last of all” reference in verse 8.




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