The Resurrection: like the ancient mystery cults, the baptismal sect believed in the death and resurrection of people

Masada, Roman military camp
Masada, Roman military camp

and celebrated this in baptism. Death in baptism signifies laying down the old person and the resurrection in baptism signifies the transformation into a new person.

Jesus had not only undergone death in baptism symbolically, like the others who had been baptised; he had really died and was raised to life again by God, due to his merits. In other words he was transposed into the new creation that everyone anticipated.

The Easter resurrection narratives are later literary illustrations of the belief in the resurrection; the resurrection formulae quoted by Paul in 1 Cor. 15:3-5 are statements of faith, not accounts of actual experiences.

The accounts of Jesus’ resurrection describe an interpretation of his death; they do not describe a historical fact, nor can it be claimed that they give historical proof of God’s existence.

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