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The Footprints of Jesus' Twelve in Early Christian Traditions

A Study in the Meaning of Religious Symbolism


Heinz O. Guenther

The sudden disappearance of the twelve apostles from the pages of post-Easter Christian history is in B.H. Streeter's judgment 'one of the great mysteries of history'. The purpose of this publication is to shed some new light on this mystery and to examine, on the basis of the available New Testament evidence, the claim that the earthly Jesus himself had appointed the twelve. The book opens (Part I) with a redaction-critical inquiry into those New Testament writings which advance this claim, touching on both the origin and setting of the source materials used by the evangelists to support it. The question of how and why firmly established traditions are still suggestive enough to inspire visions entailing their reformulation on new levels of meaning is treated in this part. The book goes on (Part II) to discuss the role played by the symbolic number twelve in Hellenistic and Jewish milieux, concluding with the description of the substance and power added to early Christianity by the use of this prestigious number. The publication will be of benefit mostly to specialists and graduate students interested in deriving historical knowledge from religious materials.
Contents: The Twelve in Luke's Theology - Luke's Sources Revisi- ted - Traces of the Twelve in the Source Q, the pre-Markan and the pre-Pauline Tradition - The Interpretive Power of the Twelve in Hellenistic culture, in Judaism and early Christianity.