- 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,
- Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep,
- Then he appeared to James,
- Then to all the apostles. (1 Corinthians 15:3-5)
Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.Paul's encounter is probably his addendum to the prior account. Note also that the parenthetical comment, "most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep," may also be an addition. Some place all of the material from the 500 brothers onward as Paul's addition.
Paul prefaces this list with
For I delivered (paradidomi) to you as of first importance what I also received (paralambano) (1 Corinthians 15)Apparently the combination of paradidomi with paralambano was understood by a the ancients to mean that the speaker is passing on an oral tradition that has been received from others. I am uncertain as to whether there is an implied expectation in these two words for the hearer to also memorise. The earlier use of this phrase by Paul directly to the Corinthians, and then his repetition in the letter seems to suggest so in this instance.
1 Corinthians was authored in the early 50s. However there are apparently clues that this phrase maybe an oral history originating several years earlier. Paul was writing in Greek though he also knew Hebrew and Aramaic*. The saying as recorded in 1 Corinthians has marks of translation from Hebrew/ Aramaic into Greek as it is written. Paul likely had the saying memorised in Hebrew/ Aramaic and translated it to his secretary.
These clues are possibly the use of the Semitic "Cephas" rather than the Greek "Peter", though Paul does use "Cephas" consistently in 1 Corinthians and uses it more than "Peter" in his other letters. And the construction "And that" (kai hoti), which is the Greek translation of the waw consecutive, a Semitic construction.
So recorded in 1 Corinthians is a very early oral tradition about Jesus that antedates all the New Testament documents probably within a few years of the resurrection of Jesus, in the Hebrew/ Aramaic language.
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,
Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time,
Then he appeared to James,
Then to all the apostles.
*Many scholars suggest that the language in Judea at the time of Christ was Aramaic, a language from Babylon (and Assyria) closely related to Hebrew. Others claim they spoke Hebrew.