Date of Award

Summer 1997

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Hills, Julian V.

Second Advisor

Stockhausen, Carol L.

Third Advisor

Kurz, William S.


This dissertation has its origins in my interest in early Christian use of the Jewish scriptures. A primary focus of this interest has long been the twin references to scripture in the tradition related by Paul "that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that he was buried, and that he rose again on the third day according to the scriptures" (1 Cor 15:3-4). Do these phrases refer to scripture as a whole or to particular passages? If particular passages, which ones? What is the rhetorical force of "according to the scripture"? How did these references to scripture become part of an authoritative tradition accepted by Paul? The answers to these questions, it seemed, would take one back to the very beginnings of Christianity. As I began research into early Christian exegesis, my attention was quickly drawn to the so-called testimonia hypothesis--the proposition that the earliest Christians collected, edited, and gave authoritative interpretations to a select group of scriptural quotations which served as proof-texts for basic Christian beliefs. This theory, popular earlier in this century but little discussed today, attracted me as the most plausible explanation for common early Christian scriptural traditions. In this dissertation, I wish to recover the insights of the great testimonia scholars such as Rendel Harris and C.H. Dodd; at the same time, however, I wish to update their theories by engaging them with recent work on scriptural collections at Qumran and in the patristic era. The result, I hope, is to shed some light on an intensive and sophisticated exegetical activity which began prior to the writing of the New Testament documents...



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