Easter Tradition

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This page is part of the Jesus Database project.


This table lists the literary witnesses to the Easter traditions, along with links to relevant items from the Jesus Database inventory. Following the suggestions of Stephen J. Patterson [Forum 10,3-4 (1994) = The God of Jesus (1998) ch. 7], the data is grouped according to three categories:

(1) Affirmations that God had raised Jesus from the dead
(2) Appearances (Lists or Stories) by the risen Jesus to various people
(3) Empty tomb traditions

Within these traditions it should be noted that we have the only surviving Christian text that attempts to narrate the resurrection moment itself:

/9.1/ Early, at first light on the sabbath, a crowd came from Jerusalem and the surrounding countryside to see the sealed tomb. /2/ But during the night before the Lord's day dawned, while the soldiers were on guard, two by two during each watch, a loud noise came from the sky, /3/ and they saw the skies open up and two men come down from there in a burst of light and approach the tomb. /4/ The stone that had been pushed against the entrance began to roll by itself and moved away to one side; then the tomb opened up and both young men went inside.

/10.1/ Now when these soldiers saw this, they roused the centurion from his sleep, along with the elders. (Remember, they were also there keeping watch.) /2/ While they were explaining what they had seen, again they see three men leaving the tomb, two supporting the third, and a cross was following them. /3/ The heads of the two reached up to the sky, while the head of the third, whom they led by the hand, reached beyond the skies. /4/ And they heard a voice from the skies that said, "Have you preached to those who sleep?" /5/ And an answer was heard from the cross: "Yes!" (GPeter 9:1-10:5) [Complete Gospels]

 

See also the Passion Narrative traditions


Affirmation—Jesus has been raised from the dead by God

002 Jesus Apocalyptic Return
017 Resurrection of Jesus
029 Descent into Hell
240 Passion Resurrection Prophecy
These links will provide full texts for the examples cited below as well as for other early Christian sources.

40s

underlying source in GPeter
"P" according to Arthur Dewey
"Cross Gospel" according to J. Dominic Crossan


GPet 5:5

cf. 1 Peter 3:18c

50s
Paul's Letters


1Thess 1:10
1Thess 4:14
Gal 1:1
1Cor 15:12-50
Rom 1:3
Rom 6:3-10
Phil 2:8-11

Phil 3:10-21

70s
Mark

Mark 16:6
80s
Matthew

Matt 28:1-6
90s/early 2C
Luke

Luke 24:6
90s/early 2C
John

John 20:9

John 20:29

Appearance Tradition—Lists and stories about appearances by the risen Jesus

006 Revealed to Peter
018 Revealed to Disciples
030 Revealed to James
184 Transfiguration of Jesus
185 The Guards Report
186 Apostolic Grief
480 Ascension of Jesus
522 Later Markan Endings

These links will provide full texts for the examples cited below as well as for other early Christian sources.

40s

underlying source in GPeter
"P" according to Arthur Dewey
"Cross Gospel" according to J. Dominic Crossan


GPet 9:1-10:5 (Jewish elders and soldiers)

50s
Paul's Letters

Gal 1:11-16 (Paul)
1Cor 9:1 (Paul)
1Cor 15:5 (Peter)
1Cor 15:5 (The Twelve)
1Cor 15:6 (more than 500 disciples at same time)
1Cor 15:7 (James)
1Cor 15:8 (Paul)

2Cor 12:1-10 (Paul)
50s??
GHeb

GHeb 9:1-4 (James)
70s
Mark

Mark 9:2-8 (Peter, James, John = Transfiguration)
80s
Matthew

Matt 28:9-10 (the women at the tomb)

Matt 28:16-20 (the Eleven on mountain in Galilee)
90s/early 2C
Luke-Acts

Luke 24:13-35 (Cleopas & companion at Emmaus)
Luke 24:34 (Peter)
Luke 24:26-43 (disciples in Jerusalem)
Luke 24:50-51 = Acts 1:1-11 (Ascension)
Acts 7:55-56 (Stephen)
Acts 9:1-9 = 22:6-11 = 26:12-18 (Paul)

Acts 23:11 (Paul)
90s/early 2C
John

John 20:14-18 (Mary Magdalene)
John 20:19-23 (disciples)
John 20:24-29 (Thomas)
John 21:-14 (lakeside in Galilee)

John 21:15-23 (Peter)
mid 2C
Pseudo-Mark

Mark 16:9-11 (Mary Magdalene)
Mark 16:12-13 (2 disciples in the countryside)

Mark 16:14-19 (the Eleven at table)
mid 2C
GPeter

GPet 14:1-3 (??Peter lakeside??)
mid 2C
GMary

GMary 7:1-6 (Mary Magdalene)
mid 2C

Secret James (=ApJas)


SecJas 2:1-3 (Peter and James)

Empty Tomb—Legends about the discovery of an empty tomb

183 Crowds Visit the Tomb
185 The Guards Report
275 The Empty Tomb

70s
Mark

Mark 16:1-8 (women find tomb empty and stone rolled away)
80s
Matthew

Matt 28:1-8 (women find tomb empty and stone rolled away)
90s/early 2C
Luke-Acts

Luke 24:1-11 (women find tomb empty and stone rolled away)

Luke 24:12 (Peter confirms tomb is empty)
90s/early 2C
John

John 20:1-2,11-13 (Mary Magdalene)

John 20:3-9 (Peter and another confirm tomb is empty)
mid 2C
GPeter

GPet 11:1-13:3 (Mary Magdalene and friends find tomb empty)