John Dominic Crossan
Crossan deals with the key passage in GPet 9:35-10:42 when discussing the death and burial of Jesus [Historical Jesus], (385-87). As argued in [The Cross That Spoke: The Origins of the Passion Narrative] (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988. Pages 297-334), Crossan holds that the "submodel" of innocence rescued -- one of two forms of Hellenistic Jewish narrative about the suffering of the innocent one -- was used to organise the disparate prophetic texts into a full passion narrative. He sees the Cross Gospel embedded within the Gospel of Peter as the earliest passion narrative and the ultimate source of the later Synoptic and Johannine accounts:
I propose a single stream of tradition for the passion-resurrection traditions from the Cross Gospel into Mark, from both of them into both Matthew and Luke, and from all of them into John. But although, in general, all later versions accepted the Cross Gospel's passion sequence, none of them was willing to accept its resurrection account. Mark would not do so because his theology was based on a dyad of passion and parousia. The resurrection was simply the departure of Jesus pending a now imminent return in glory. [Historical Jesus], (396)
Crossan suggests that Mark reshaped the resurrection narrative from GPet in the Transfiguration event and relocated it to an earlier point in Jesus' ministry where it pointed not to his resurrection but his parousia (see Mark 9:1,9-10). While Matthew, Luke and John do have traditions of Jesus' appearances, they involve epiphanies to the apostolic leaders rather than a risen Jesus leading the righteous dead into heaven.
In the epilogue to [Who Killed Jesus?] (1995:217), Crossan writes:
The resurrection of Jesus means for me that the human empowerment that some people experienced in Lower Galilee at the start of the first century in and through Jesus is now available to any person in any place at any time who finds God in and through that same Jesus. Empty tomb stories and physical appearance stories are perfectly valid parables expressing that faith, akin in their way to the Good Samaritan story. They are, for me, parables of resurrection not the resurrection itself. Resurrection as the continuing experience of God's presence in and through Jesus is the heart of Christian faith.
The views of the Jesus Seminar can be represented in the following color-coded statements:
- The resurrection of Jesus from the dead was the central claim of the church's proclamation. There was no period when this was not so.
- Jesus' followers did not know what happened to Jesus' corpse.
- The Cross Gospel embedded in the Gosple of Peter is the original passion narrative, on which the canonical gospels are dependent.
- The Gospel of Peter independently developed earlier exegetical traditions already in use in early Christian communities; it is not derived from the New Testament gospels.
- The formation of the appearance traditions mentioned in 1 Cor 15:3-8 falls into the time between 30 and 33 CE.