Christology, Controversy, and Community: New Testament Essays in Honour of David R. Catchpole

By David G. Horrell; Christopher M. Tuckett | Go to book overview

PREFORMED TRADITIONS AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS
FOR PAULINE CHRISTOLOGY

E. Earle Ellis

My examination of preformed traditions in the New Testament began with an M.A. thesis,1 followed by a doctoral dissertation on Paul's Use of the Old Testament.2 This interest broadened, sparked by John Bowker's essay on the “Proem and Yelammedenu Form”,3 into studies of Old Testament expositions (midrashim) in Acts, the New Testament letters4 and the Gospels.5 In the mid-seventies initial work on a commentary on I Corinthians required an inquiry into various other kinds of preformed traditions in that letter6 and in other Pauline literature.

The same period marked the beginnings of the study recently published, The Making of the New Testament Documents,7 a full investigation of literary traditions and their implications for the authorship and dating of the Gospels and of the letters. The present essay can only briefly sketch the more comprehensive study with its new paradigm of the history of early Christianity. The chief purpose of the essay is to show the implications of certain preformed traditions in Paul's letters for the origins of the Apostle's Christology.

1 E.E. Ellis, “The Nature and Significance of Old Testament Quotations in the
Gospel of Mark”, M.A. Thesis, Wheaton (IL) College Graduate School, 1953.

2 E.E. Ellis, Paul's Use of the Old Testament (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1957);
cf. idem, “A Note on Pauline Hermeneutics”, NTS 2 (1955–56) 127–33.

3 J. Bowker, “Speeches in Acts: A Study in Proem and Yelammedenu Form”,
NTS 14 (1967–68) 96–111.

4 E.E. Ellis, “Midrash, Targum and New Testament Quotations” (1969); “Midrashic
Features in Acts” (1970); “Exegetical Patterns in 1 Corinthians and Romans” (1975);
“How the New Testament Uses the Old” (1977); “Prophecy and Hermeneutic in
Jude” (1978), Prophecy and Hermeneutic in Early Christianity (WUNT 18; Tübingen:
Mohr-Siebeck, 1978) 147–72, 188–208, 213–36.

5 E.E. Ellis, “New Directions in Form Criticism,” Jesus Christus in Historie und
Theologie. (FS H. Conzelmann; ed. G. Strecker; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1975)
299–315 = Ellis, Prophecy (n. 4), 237–53.

6 Given as a paper in an SNTS seminar led by Peter Stuhlmacher and myself,
and published later as E.E. Ellis, “Traditions in 1 Corinthians”, NTS 32 (1986)
481–502.

7 E.E. Ellis, The Making of the New Testament Documents (Leiden: Brill, 1999).

-303-

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