Is there a resurrection or is there not a resurrection; Who were those that were causing all the problems? Part 1


18 12 2020

Introduction to 1 Corinthians 1512-19

Verses 12 – 19

There is a logical argument here.  The reason that Paul said this must have been that in the congregation there were people who didn’t believe in the resurrection.  Who could they be? Calvin suggested that it could have been the Sadducees.

I thought that Wayne. A. Meeks would have something to say in this section from a sociological perspective. I didn’t find any verses for this section that we are looking at. So, I looked at what Meeks said about the resurrection and I have to say I was disappointed.  He mentions something about the ‘death resurrection paradox’ and then he mentions Ephesians and Colossians as deutero-Pauline letters. 

The First Urban Chrsitians pages 182 – 183

Obviously, there were some groups that rejected the resurrection; Has he got nothing to say about these groups who did not believe in the resurrection?  There was evidence that there were Jewish communities throughout the whole known Roman world; for example, sometimes Jews were kicked out of cities because of their different values.  There were Saducees in Israel at the time of Christ because they were one of the opposing groups.  Did they as a group of Saducees not travel outside of Israel?

Yes, there were Jewish groups that were hostile to Paul in Corinth;

CORINTH, Greek city. The earliest evidence of Jews in Corinth is contained in Agrippa I’s letter to Caligula (Philo, De Legatione ad Caium, 281). The apostle Paul spent one and a half years in Corinth, preaching in the synagogue on Sabbaths (cf. the two Epistles to the Corinthians), and through his influence Crispus and his family were baptized. The Jews were embittered by Paul’s activities; they brought him before Gallio, procurator of Achea, who, refusing to judge in a religious matter, said they would have to resolve their differences themselves (Acts 18:2ff.). Corinthian Jewry apparently belonged to the lower classes. Aquila and Priscilla, with whom Paul dwelt, were weavers, and he worked with them for his bread. These Jews went to Corinth from Rome when Claudius expelled the Jews from the city. There were no direct links between the Jews of Corinth and Ereẓ Israel, but Corinthian products were known in the Holy Land. Josephus (Wars, 5:201) mentions the Corinthian copper that coated one of the Temple gates, the Gate of Nicanor (whose special copper is also noted in talmudic sources, Tosef., Yoma 2:4; Yoma 38a), and he similarly mentions the Corinthian candelabra in Agrippa II’s house (Life, 68). Vespasian, after his victory in Galilee, sent 6,000 captive youths to Nero to dig at the Isthmus of Corinth (Wars, 3: 540). Conceivably, some of them might have escaped and found haven in the nearby settlements including Corinth.”


If Meeks is looking at Corinth from a sociological perspective, he should have made more of the disagreeing groups. Death and resurrection were not a paradox.  The fact is that the Apostles including Paul believed in this message and they died for the message of the Gospel.   Yes, the Christian message vied with Pagans and Jews.  Actually, Christianity was at the time still in a sense a Jewish religion if it wasn’t seen as this Paul would not have been allowed to go into synagogues to preach!  We need to remember that there have also always been various schools of thought in Judaism.  Some hold to the First five books such as the Sadducees whereas the Pharisees had a wider view.  Both these groups would have definitely been represented in Corinth.  In various Wikipediaes even today we have Rabbinic Judaism and Karaite Judaism two forms of Judaism although there are a lot more.  By no way am I an expert but if there is someone with knowledge of the links between the saducees and the Karaites of today please point me in the right direction.

What I am saying is that Meeks could have argued that in Corinth there was a highly likelihood that there were two groups of Judaism.  Those that believed in a bodily resurrection and those that didn’t.

I found this article interesting for my above reflection.

Having looked at the evidence I am firmly in agreement with John Calvin that the Saducee type of groups were causing problems for the Corinthian church and St Paul.  St Paul gave a direct refutation to those who did not believe in a physical resurrection!

Next time we will start working our way through the text in 1 Corinthians 15. This was meant to be some background information to help us analyse the text in a way that respects the text and do exegesis rather than eisegesis.


  1. Exegesis is reading out of the text the original meaning for the writer and the original readers. This is a scientific endeavour in search of the truth
  2. Eisegesis is reading into the text our own imagnery assumptions. This is not scientific but can be dangerous. If we go down this road then it is safer to stick to the Noddy books series!

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