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Κατά τας Γράφας ή Καθώς Γεγράπται;

21 Jul

According to the scriptures, or as it is written?

Here is an interesting exchange arguing that the Pauline resurrection account at 1 Cor 15:1-9 is a post-Mark, yet pre-Matthew addition to 1 Corinthians.

Jiri

It is my understanding, Andrew, that most exegets read a portion of this passage (3-7) as a ‘credal statement’ by Paul for which he uses phrases seen nowhere else in the corpus or ideas which at variance with what he says elsewhere. Examples of non-Paulinisms are, “according to the scriptures” (κατα τας γραφας, where Paul routinely uses καθως γεγραπται – “as it is written”), “was buried”, “the third day”, “he was seen” (note that the only other Paul’s “seeing” Jesus (1 Cr 9:1) is in active perfect, while the “seeing” Jesus in this passage is passive aorist – Jesus “being seen (by)”). Am I correct in accepting that it would be the majority view of NT scholarship that at least this portion of the passage, Paul would be using church credal formulas rather than his own customary conceptual framework ?

Let us say then, FSOA, that Robert Price was not first exeget who saw these non-Pauline turns, and the curious bunching of “novelties” here for the Pauline repertoire, i.e. the notion of ranking the apostolic mettle on the basis of Jesus appearances, the mention of “The Twelve”, the 500 to whom Jesus appeared before James and Paul, the idea of Paul “unfitness” to be an apostle (directly contradicting Paul’s “competence” granted by God – 2 Cr 3:5), Paul seeing himself as eκτρωμα, against everything else he says about himself vis-a-vis other men in flesh believed to be apostles. Now, if it is accepted by a large group of scholars that Paul articulates in the passage credal norms existing prior to his conversion rather than his own ideas, what is the evidence that would make this the preferred interpretation, say, to the notion that these credal manifests were written up later in Paul’s name ?

Much obliged.

Best,
Jiri

Andrew

Hi Jiri

I think we can agree that parts of this passage are in origin non-Pauline ie they are either pre-Pauline material that Paul is using (which in effect taking the passage as authentic is what Paul is claiming) or they are a post-Pauline interpolation.

I have argued on external grounds that they are not a 2nd century interpolation, when one could argue that the passage arose as a “catholic” attempt to counter the Marcionite and Gnostic use of Paul.

The problem IMO with the suggestion that the passage is both 1st century and non-Pauline is that the idea that the passage was added that early to counter mis-interpretations of Paul seems difficult for 2 reasons.

a/ We have no evidence that disputes about the right way to interpret Paul started that early and it seems more likely that serious controversy about Paul’s leters began in the 2nd century.

b/ What I meant by a possible 1st century interpolation was the possibility that the first publishers of 1 Corinthians (eg Onesimus or the Corinthian church or …) 80-90 CE, interpolated the passage. ie I was thinking of the idea that although the passage is non-Pauline there was never a generally available version of 1 Corinthians without this passage. In this case the interpolation by definition pre-dates any widespread controversy about the interpretation of Paul’s letters. It just doesn’t seem likely to me that the first publisher of Paul’s leters, trying to remind his fellow Christians of a partly forgotten pioneer, would have added material about Paul being unfit to be an apostle.

This argument obviously depends on my views of the 1st century history of Paul’s letters, you may well disagree. If you want to follow this up, please make clear what is your view of what happened to Paul’s letters after Paul’s death.

Andrew Criddle

Jiri

Thanks, Andrew. This is a significant point because agreeing that this dichotomy exists, is agreeing that Paul’s style here does not match his style elsewhere. That means there are internal textual grounds for doubting the passage’s authenticity. It is not some caprice.

I believe you are correct [they are not a 2nd century interpolation]. This insert would not have been made to defy Marcion. It could have been made in response to Markan Paulinists who would have scoffed at the idea that Jesus “appeared” to Peter “and the twelve” (at least until Matthew ratified it by re-writing the empty tomb mystery). So, I would say, if this is interpolation it would have to be defended as an early one. It seems clear that by Marcion’s time the gospel resurrection narrative perimeter would have been too firmly set to allow a variant as distant as 1 Cor 15:3-8.

I beg to differ [that we have no evidence that disputes about the right way to interpret Paul started (in the first century)]. Galatians speaks volumes about the precarious relationship Paul had with the Jerusalem missions, and therefore the reports of Epiphanius that he was considered an apostate by the “Jewish heretics” most likely originated in Paul’s own lifetime. Mt 5:19 can also be seen as an early ‘dissing’ of Paul.

Again, I would reply to [the idea that some would have added material about Paul being unfit to be an apostle] that we need not to assume a single source of controversy around Paul’s writings. The motive to rewrite Paul in order to cut him to size would have existed as soon as the Palestinian Nazarenes and Pauline Christians began mixing and converging which I have grounds to believe happened after the war of 66-70. The most significant impetus for an insert into 1 Cr 15 would have been Paul’s non-traditional, speculative view of resurrection, exhibited later in the chapter (48-54), which clashed with the emerging view of physicality of Jesus’ rising when Mark was digested by the Petrines.

I think the possibilities [about what happened to Paul’s letters after Paul’s death] are endless. To begin with, IIUC the prevailing view is that both Corinthians were assembled from several letters. If there were extant copies of whole letters or specimen of alternative arrangements of the chapters, we could perhaps glean more about the stages of transmission. But I am not aware of evidence of this sort. Was there a master of 1 Corinthians (in a master collection like ‘Apostolikon’) ? Was it kept at Corinth ? With Onesimus ? Onesiphorus ? Who had access to it ? How many copies were made ? I really don’t know where one would begin.

Thanks again for writing.

Jiri

Andrew

Hi Jiri

Can I clarify a point ?

You seem to be saying that although you don’t think the passage in 1 Corinthians is authentically Pauline you do regard it as our earliest surviving account of the resurrection appearances.

Am I understanding you correctly ?

Andrew Criddle

Jiri

Close to, yes. I believe Mark ended at 16:8, and described the experience of the resurrected Jesus as his Transfiguration. The passage of 1 Cr 15:3-8 might well have been from the period between Mark and Matthew, articulating for the first time Jesus post-mortem appearances as confirmation to the select witnesses that he had risen. It could have been written after Matthew, but not long after, because Matthew was superior writing which likely overturned Mark on short order. (I read the SE & LE of Mark as attempts to re-establish Mark as the premier gospel authority, a losing cause.)

Best,
Jiri

Andrew

I regard the eleven in Matthew 28:16 compared to the twelve in the best text of 1 Corinthians 15:5 as evidence that the Corinthians passage is pre-Matthaean.

Andrew Criddle

Jiri

Yes, it is a point to consider. My inclination is to view the mystical “twelve” as a literary creation of Mark which was “converted” into an explicit, ID-ed “twelve disciples” by Matthew. That Mark did not use the “disciples” to overlap with the “twelve” is apparent from 2:15, 4:10 cf. 4:34, and his other uses of the mystical number. The power of Matthew’s suggestion that this is what Mark meant permanently restricted the exegesis of the original narrative gospel even though I believe Matthew was well aware of the eschatological function of the “the twelve” (19:28). Mark 3:14 does not appoint a restricted group of disciples to preach but an eschatological cipher “twelve” representing the twelve tribes. The only character explicitly linked to “the twelve” in Mark is Judas.

So, if I am correct about the origin of “the twelve”, the theoretical terminus a quo for 1 Cr 15:3-11 would be the gospel of Mark, and ad quem, the writing of Matthew. In practical terms, since we do not know the rate of diffusion of Matthew, or its early oral deposits, the period would be extended somewhat. The situation is somewhat similar to Gospel of Peter, which does not know the reduction to eleven, but which most exegets see as dependent on Mark.

Best,
Jiri

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