". . .perhaps the most important creed in terms of the historical Jesus is I Cornithians 15, where Paul uses technical language to indicate he was passing along this oral tradition in relatively fixed form"
Blomberg located the passage in his Bible and read it to me.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. The he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
"And here's the point," Blomberg said. "If the Crucifixion was as early as A.D. 30, Paul's conversion was about 32. Immediately Paul was ushered into Damascus, where he met with a Christian named Ananias and some other disciples. His first meeting with the apostles in Jerusalem would have been about A.D. 35. At some point along there, Paul was given this creed, which had already been formulated and was being used in the early church.
"Now, here you have the key facts about Jesus' death for our sins, plus a detailed list of those whom he appeared in resurrected form - all dating back to within two to five years of the events themselves!
"That's not later mythology from forty or more years down the road . . . A good case can be made for saying that Christian belief in the Resurrection, though not yet written down, can be dated to within two years of that very event."
I am forever a skeptic. I never believe anyone. Okay, I usually don't believe anyone. And, when it comes to ancient history - especially religious history - that is especially suspect. However, the more I read and listen about the life of Jesus, the more reliable it all seems. I am impressed that while theologians have argued the validity of various aspects of Christ's life and ministry, almost all agree that the Resurrection must have happened. Maybe scripture is more reliable than we think . . .