The Gospels disagree on what happened at the empty tomb, on who was there, and on what they saw or heard. The fact that our earliest written witness to the risen Christ, Paul, says nothing of the empty tomb has long provoked the question, what did early believers know about Easter, and when did they know it? Daniel A. Smith seeks to get behind the theological and apologetic concern to "prove" the resurrection and asks, where did the accounts of the early tomb come from, and what purpose did they originally serve? He shows that Paul is a valuable witness to the development of Easter traditions; that Q was already interested in connecting the disappearance of Jesus with his future role; that Mark was interested in the disappearance of Jesus, rather than in the empty tomb as such; and that both sources had interests different from the later Gospels. Chapters provide careful and insightful discussions of the earliest traditions about Jesus' disappearance; in a conclusion Smith draws significant implications for a theory of Christian origins.
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Citation of this paper:
Smith, Daniel A. Revisiting the Empty Tomb: The Early History of Easter. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2010.