Does the “1 Corinthians 15 creed” date to about AD 30?

Reasons given for answering "Yes"
  • The creed dates to within 3 years of Paul's conversion

      The 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 material dates to within three years of Paul's conversion.1 This is relevant because Paul converted to Christianity in AD 32-33. (AD 32 + 3 years = AD 35)2

      1. We know this because Paul recieved the creed. This is relevant because the most parsimonious view is that he received it during his trip to Jerusalem three years after his conversation.
        Galatians 1:18-19 -- Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days. But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.
        Notice how in the creed he pays special mind to name these witnesses:
        1 Corinthians 15:5,7 -- and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. … then He appeared to James,
        Gary Habermas says this is the “most popular view” [“Experiences of the Risen Jesus: The Foundational Historical Issue in the Early Proclamation of the Resurrection” in Dialog: A Journal of Theology, Vol. 45; No. 3 (Fall, 2006), 288-297.].
        Michael Goulder: “goes back at least to what Paul was taught when he was converted, a couple of years after the crucifixion.” [“The Baseless Fabric of a Vision,” Resurrection Reconsidered, ed. D'Costa (Oxford: Oneworld, 1996), 48.]
      2. Gerd Lüdemann (Atheist NT scholar; professor of Early Christian Hist. & Lit.): “A fairly certain date can similarly be worked out for the conversion of Paul as well. The Acts of the Apostles credibly reports a stay of Paul in Corinth when Gallio was there as governor of Achaia (Acts 18). Now this Gallio was in office in 51/52. (We know this from fragments of a letter of the emperor Claudius (4154), chiselled on stone, which were found in Delphi, the so-called ‘Gallio inscription’.) If we calculate back from this date the intervals which Paul mentions in Gal.1.18 ('three years') and 2.1 ('fourteen years'), and add two years for travelling, the date of his conversion comes out at around 33. So we may state that the appearances mentioned in I Cor.15.38 took place in the time between 30 and 33 CE (the fact of the appearances) because the appearance to Paul is the last in this list and is not to be dated later than 33 CE. The final form of its tradition (what the appearances were like) had not yet been fixed.” [What really happened to Jesus?, Trans. by Bowden (Westminster, 1995), 14-15.]
  • The creed was circulating since the beginning

      The 1 Corinthians 15 creed had been circulating since the almost very beginning of the Christian movement.

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