If v4 didn't entail a counteracted burial, then mentioning a “burial” in v3-4 would be superfluous (it would instead simply read: “He died… and was raised.”).
- James Dunn (NT professor at Durham): “Why the second clause ('that he was buried')? Why not the immediate transition from death to resurrection, as in other accounts? (E.g., Acts 3.15; 10.39-40.) The most obvious answer is that the disposal of the body in burial was an important point in the earliest confessional statements. Which probably reflects the place of the tomb narratives — burial but also empty tomb — in the earliest traditions of Easter.” [Jesus Remembered (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2003), 839.]
1 Cor 15's “died-buried-raised” tradition involves the empty tomb when reported in sister passages.1 This is relevant because these sister passages give context to what was meant by 1 Cor 15, suggesting it too had the empty tomb in mind. >* William Lane Craig: “This remarkable correspondence of independent traditions reveals that the four-line formula is a summary in outline form of the basic events of Jesus's passion and resurrection, including his burial in the tomb.” ["Visions of Jesus: A Critical Assessment of Gerd Lüdemann's Hallucination Hypothesis" (Edwin Mellen Press) Online.]
|Acts 13:28-31, 36-37||1 Cor 15:3-5||Mk 15:37-16:7|
|Though they could charge him with nothing deserving death, yet they asked Pilate to have him killed… they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb … But God raised him from the dead … and for many days he appeared to those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people… He whom God raised did not undergo decay.||For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.||And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last… And he [Joseph] bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb… "He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him." … "But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him."|
“Buried” and “raised” stand in deliberate juxtaposition.1 This is relevant because it means the latter was undoing the former. Jesus's being “raised” and “appearing” was conceived of as being thoroughly physical (grave-emptying).2
Robert Stein (former NT professor at SBTS): “The words ‘died,’ ‘buried,’ and ‘was raised’ are unintelligible unless what ‘died and was buried’ was in fact ‘raised.’ While Paul does not anywhere specifically state that the tomb was empty, it would appear that in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 this is clearly implied. For Paul as a Pharisee, and no doubt for the Jerusalem Church also (which had a strong Pharisaic element; cf. Acts 15:5), the death-burial-resurrection of Jesus would have demanded an empty tomb.” [Was the Tomb Really Empty? Themelios 5.1 (September 1979):.]
In 1 Cor 15, “He was raised” refers to an immaterial resurrection.[Forthcoming] This is relevant because if Jesus was raised non-physically, then it would not affect his body (in other words, it would remain in the grave).