Markus Vinzent's Blog

Saturday, 23 April 2011

What was Easter like two thousand years ago?

Up to the end of the second century, Christians celebrated the death of Christ, not his Resurrection. It's not a new fact which I am developing in my forthcoming book on 'Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity', but scholars have never drawn conclusions from this liturgical
‘The original focus of the celebration was not on the resurrection of Christ but rather on “Christ, the Passover lamb, sacrificed for us”’,[1] ‘any reference to the resurrection is absent’ from the early accounts.[2] Or, as another scholar summarized: ‘The cross is the centre of Easter in the early Church, not from desperation of Good Friday, but from the dynamic perspective of salvation.’[3]

[1] P.F. Bradshaw, ‘Origins’ (1999), 82.
[2] S. Bacchiocchi, Sabbath (1977), 81.
[3] G. VisonĂ , ‘Ostern/Osterfest/Osterpredigt’ (1995), 520 (my own trans.); similar W. Kinzig, ‘Ostern’ (2003) 728.

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