lundi 19 septembre 2016

Answering Richard Carrier on Corinthian Creed vs Rest of Christianity

Here is a post by Richard Carrier:

Dating the Corinthian Creed
by Richard Carrier on August 10

I'm here quoting what I spontaneously find most relevant:

Yes, maybe Paul’s letters are a forgery. But that’s very unlikely. Yes, Paul added at least one line (verse 8, appending his own conversion years later to the original). But the first three lines certainly are original components of the sect’s founding creed (written in non-Pauline style). Yes, the text may have become corrupted (I suspect verse 6 originally said something like, “then he appeared to all the brethren together at the Pentecost” and not “then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at once”; and verse 7 looks like a post-Pauline scribal addition, as it breaks the logic of the sequence and is too redundant, just repeating the same information already conveyed in verses 5 and 6, since everyone who saw Jesus was already an apostle and James the pillar was already one of the twelve: see Empty Tomb, pp. 192-93). But 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 it’s the only thing Peter (Cephas) and the other pillars (James and John) could have been preaching before Paul joined the religion. And Paul joined it within years of its founding (internal evidence in Paul’s letters places his conversion before 37 A.D., and he attests in Galatians 1 that he was preaching the Corinthian creed immediately thereupon: OHJ, pp. 139, 516, 536, 558).

The way Paul writes about the sect makes clear he believed this was the creed Christians were preaching before his conversion; and he claims that the original apostles confirmed this to him years later, and he could hardly have been making that up, as then he’d have been exposed the moment anyone checked this with them. 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).

No Christian would disagree with all content of the here so called Corinthian Creed being there from the first.

But the problem is how come Richard Carrier says all the rest was invented by Paul after his conversion.

Sure, St Paul certainly DID believe these things were taught from the first.

Sure, St Paul certainly DID have some occasion of checking that.

BUT he had occasion to check more than that and we have no solid reason to believe he would have been accepted as an Apostle if he had gone about adding a lot which wasn't already there.

We do have a reason to believe that if, by miracle, he had gotten a very solid instruction in Christian truth totally OUTSIDE his possibilities and opportunities for gaining any of it by human and social means, without any revelation, this would have been to them a very good reason to accept his revelation as true, his conversion as honest and his doctrine as trustworthy.

So, Richard Carrier has once again showed the talent of Higher Criticism of making topsy turvy cases.

Nevertheless, the quote is very welcome for what it contains as admission, and a hat tip goes to his original post!

If you keep it up, you may be joining Tim O'Neill in the club of Atheists suspected of being undercover Christians!

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Our Lady of LaSalette

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