n HTS : Theological Studies - The origin, function and disappearance of the "Twelve" : continuity from Jesus to the post-Easter community?




The group of the Twelve is mentioned 28 times in the Synoptic Gospels. However, the Evangelists were not familiar with the historical role of the Twelve. Even the pre-Easter origin of Matthew 19:28/Luke 22:30 is debatable. On the other hand 1 Corinth 15:3b-5 provides a solid basis for the assumption of a pre-Easter origin of the Twelve. They functioned as a group representing the twelve tribes of Israel as the eschatological people of God. Reaffirmed in this role by the risen Lord they had for a short time a leading role in the early Christian community in Jerusalem. But their importance soon declined because after a short time the twelve former disciples from Galilee could no longer be representative of a rapidly expanding community. In the last decades of the first century the Twelve got a new importance on the literary level of the Gospels.


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