Evolution of the Kerygma (Proclamation) in early Christian communities: some theories

I. In Jesus's lifetime

--Jesus and his followers were all Jews
--Jesus announced the impending arrival of the Kingdom of God
--Disciples probably understood this message in Jewish apocalyptic terms
--Jesus’s death did not fit this picture

II. After Jesus's death

--Some members of the early community experienced Jesus as raised from the dead
--Kingdom of God was immanent (reversal of the natural order)
--In this interim period disciples were to prepare themselves and others for the End of days

III. Changing role of the messiah to fit new events

--Death viewed as sacrificial to bring about the End times
--Suffering atones for sin
--Son of Man may refer to Jesus as messiah
--The messiah must die for sins of Israel
--Son of Man is born on earth and raised by God at his death

IV. Gentiles in the synagogues

--Message of impending End spreads to diaspora synagogues
--Among those present: Gentile “godfearers”
--Some early Christians may have welcomed Gentiles into their community without requiring them to become Jews first
--Early message may have been perceived by some Jews as politically subversive

V. Paul's Kerygma

A. What he got from existing Christian communities

1. For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures. --I Corinthians 15:3
2. Isaiah language (Isaiah 53) of the suffering servant:

But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
11The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered among the transgressors, yet he bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

3. Raised on the third day (according to scriptures -- what scriptures?)

For you do not give me up to Sheol
Or let your faithful one see the Pit. (Psalms -- Hebrew view of the underworld

B. Paul's Contributions

1. Cosmic drama: Galatians 4

While we were children, we were enslaved to the elemental spirits of the world.
4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those under the law.

2. Flesh/spirit opposition: Galatians 5

Live by the spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh.
For what the flesh desires is opposed to the spirit, and what the spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other . . .
But if you are led by the spirit, you are not subject to the law

3. One God (Judaism) and One Lord:

For us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
--I Corinthians 8:6

C. Acknowledgement that the schema is difficult for both Jews and Gentiles

For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
We proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.
-- I Corinthians 1:18 and 23