Joost Holleman

Winner Dissertation Prize 1996

Resurrection and Parousia. A traditio-historical study of Paul’s eschatology in 1 Cor. 15:20-23

Supervisors: Prof. dr H.J. de Jonge, Prof. dr M. de Jonge
Nomination: Leiden University, Faculty of Humanities

Report by the selection committee

This thesis is primarily concerned with the earliest history of Judaeo-Christian literature and ideas. The book is a philological and traditio-historical study of the earliest Christian ideas relating to the resurrection of the dead. The author examines the historical origin of views to be found shortly after AD 50 in the earliest extant Christian writer, Paul: what are the traditions underlying Pauline ideas on the eschatological resurrection and how did Paul, or the Christians before him, come to hold these ideas? The author proposes that during the transition from Christianity to Judaism the conception of the resurrection of the dead underwent a number of changes. One of the striking changes was the linking of the eschatological resurrection with the resurrection of Jesus. Dr Holleman examines the origin of the belief that Jesus’ being taken up into heaven was the beginning of the resurrection of all righteous persons at the end of time; he also examines how the notion arose that Jesus would come again at the hour of the final resurrection of the departed righteous. The author aims to demonstrate that the linking of two forms of resurrection reveals their different nature. It is a somewhat forced linking of two different types of resurrection rather than two aspects of one and the same resurrection. Although the ideas examined are familiar to many people, the question of how they arose is highly original. By strictly applying the rules of the traditio-historical method, Dr Holleman has convincingly succeeded in relating the concepts concerned to earlier underlying Jewish traditions.