Early creed – 1 Cor 15:3-7

It is acknowledged by Biblical scholars the creed in 1 Cor 15:3-7 originated very early in the Christian movement.

15:3 – For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures;
15:4 – And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures:
15:5 – And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
15:6 – After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
15:7 – After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

https://simple.uniquebibleapp.com/bible … s/15#v15_3

The strong majority of historians acknowledge that the creed dates back to AD 30-35. A very small minority go to AD 41.


“In the pre-Pauline formula of I Corinthians 15:3ff. alone we have an extraordinarily early tradition, arising within a very short time after the events themselves, reported by an apostle, who could very well have received it from other apostles who followed Jesus during his earthly ministry.”

https://www.str.org/w/an-early-and-reli … surrection

A popular argument that is wielded by Christian apologists, at both the scholarly and popular level, is based on 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, taken by many contemporary scholars to represent an ancient creedal tradition that goes back to within only a couple of years of Jesus’ death. Indeed, Michael Licona states that “In nearly every historical investigation of the resurrection of Jesus, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 weighs heavily and is perhaps the most important and valuable passage for use by historians when discussing the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus.”

https://crossexamined.org/the-evidentia … urrection/

Even skeptic Richard Carrier acknowledges this creed is early.

In fact the evidence for this creed dating to the very origin of the religion is amply strong; and there is no reasonable basis for claiming otherwise.

the essential elements of the creed (especially verses 3 to 5), even if we have to account for some transmission error (in verses 6 and 7), still dates to the sect’s origin. It’s what distinguishes Christianity from any other sect of Judaism.

So the Corinthian Creed, at least verses 3-5, definitely existed and was the central “gospel” Christians were preaching in the early 30s A.D. That’s definitely no later than a few years after the purported death of Jesus. And since the sect’s formation only makes sense in light of this being its seminal and distinguishing message, it must have been formulated in the very first weeks of the movement. We can’t be certain how soon that actually was after the death of Jesus (though the creed says Jesus was raised on the third day, it conspicuously does not say how much later it was when he appeared). But it can’t have been more than a few years, and could well have been mere months (though one can’t then assert that it was mere months; that would be another possibiliter fallacy).

So, yes, 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 is almost certainly a pre-Pauline text composed within a few years of when Jesus was believed to have died.


Of course, even though Carrier accepts this creed as early, he does not accept the resurrection actually occurred, but believes it can be explained by “ecstatic experiences”. However, the evidence of the shroud is not an “ecstatic experience”. All of us can see the shroud. We are all not having mass hallucinations about it.

If Jesus was a god and really wanted to save the world, he would have appeared and delivered his Gospel personally to the whole world. He would not appear only to one small group of believers and one lone outsider, in one tiny place, just one time, two thousand years ago, and then give up.


The TS is available for the entire world to see. It is the gospel in a single artifact that proclaims Jesus’s passion, death, and resurrection for the whole world.