In Section I: The Easter Texts and Historical Criticism, we discuss the
methodological question of the place of historical criticism for our investigation.
Clarifying the positive and negative relationship of historical criticism to
theological understanding, we assume that historical criticism is to be used both
to trace and observe the process of the traditions which precede the texts, and
to investigate the texts themselves in order to understand the evangelists'
intentions, rather than to make the abortive attempt simply to harmonize
chronologically the accounts of the Easter texts which contradict one another on
major points, e.g. the locality of the appearances. The question of the relation
of historical criticism to theological understanding is resumed in the concluding
chapter where we attempt again to explicate the problem more extensively in view of
the logical structure of understanding'.
Section II: A Study of Pauline Easter Texts, consists of two chapters.
Here, we attempt first to obtain a clue to solving the question how the unusual
experience which was vouchsafed to Paul, whose Sitz im Leben was different in
many ways from those of the first disciples, could lead to the certainty that
Jesus had been raised, and then secondly we examine the text of 1 Cor 15.3ff.,
using the methods of form-criticism and tradition history. Problems of the
difference between the christology of Paul and of the Corinthians are also dealt
with and an attempt is made to explicate that, so far as 1 Cor 15.3ff. is concerned,
for Paul the Easter event meant an eschatological expectation, which, though it
had already been fulfilled in Jesus' case, yet for the believer remains an
expectation, in which one can participate by hope alone. At the end of this section,
we also, to a limited extent, try to view Paul's contribution to the theology of
resurrection, which in his epistles follows two lines, viz. the dogmatic and
In Section III, we turn our attention to the Easter texts in the synoptic
gospels, and this section consists of three chapters:
In chapter 4, on the Markan texts, our main concern focusses on two points,
that is, the empty tomb tradition and the significance of the Easter texts especially
in view of redaction history. We attempt to show the apologetic and the theological
interests in the empty tomb stories in the synoptic gospels and also attempt to
examine Mark's interpretation of the Easter tradition which is orientated towards
and conditioned by the redactor's own theological assertion, viz. "the miraculous
being of Jesus".
Chapter 5 deals with the Matthean Easter texts. In this chapter, we try
to examine the appearance story, especially in regard to the discrepancy between
the appearance stories in 1 Corinthians and in the gospel narratives. Then, we
investigate the texts, their tradition and redaction history and thereby we come
to the understanding of how emphatically the mission motif is accentuated in the
Finally, the Lulcan Easter texts are dealt with in chapter 6. Together
with form critical study, and adopting the same methodology as we used in the
preceding chapters, viz. tradition and redaction history, we again attempt to
clarify how the redactor's theological positions and ideas, e.g. the sacred history,
are evidently effective in the evangelist's interpretation of the tradition. Our
concern in this chapter is also directed towards the two ascension accounts, viz.
Lk 24.50-53 aad Acts 1.9-11. In this connection, although this study is limited
to the investigation of the Easter texts of the Synoptic Gospels and 1 Corinthians
15, we attempt to clarify the distinctive contribution of the fourth evangelist to
the Easter tradition.
We conclude our study of the Easter texts of the New Testament by the
attempt to restate the main thread of our theme, summarising and analysing the
results of our investigation and examining them from the hermeneutical point of view.
Some suggestions for the task of translation of the Easter texts into contemporary
idioms bring the thesis to a conclusion.