McDowell: Was Paul Unaware of Empty Tomb?

Narrative vs. Confessional Statements

The first involves a close look at the New Testament books Luke and Acts (Luke-Acts), both written by Luke after Paul wrote 1 Corinthians. Luke-Acts is unique in that it contains both a narrative of the resurrection (Luke 24) and confessional summary about the resurrection (speeches in Acts). Interestingly, the empty tomb is mentioned in the resurrection narratives in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 24:1-12; 24:23-24), but it is not mentioned in confessional summaries of Acts. Rather, these summaries, like 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, mention his death, burial, resurrection, and appearances–or sometimes merely the death and resurrection of Jesus (e.g., 2:22-32; 3:13-15; 10:36-41).

Here is the key: The empty tomb is implicit in the confessional summaries throughout Acts, even though it was never explicitly stated. When summarizing the proclamation of the earliest Christian faith, Luke felt it was sufficient to simply mention his burial and not the empty tomb. Ware concludes:

What do you think @dga471 and @vjtorley?

1 Like

Interesting. I will read this later, but I should remind us of a related argument by Cook which argues for the implied mention of the empty tomb based on semantics and cultural survey of resurrection:

On the basis of the semantics of ἀνίστημι and ἐγείρω and the cultural encyclopedia of resurrected bodies, one can conclude that Paul would have assumed that the tradition about the burial of Christ and his resurrection on the third day presupposed a tradition of an empty tomb. To put it another way: Paul would have taken it for granted that the resurrection of Christ was inconceivable without an empty tomb. Consequently, according to the normal conventions of communication, he did not need to mention the tomb tradition

1 Like