Just to be clear, this isn't a question about whether there were ten, eleven, or twelve in the group, but rather how certain we are, perhaps based on the syntax of the original Greek, that "and then to the Twelve" in 1 Corinthians 15:5 is a reference to an appearance of Christ to a group of apostles, as opposed to a series of individual appearances to the rest of the apostles besides Peter. Perhaps this is an odd question, as I've never seen it asked before. Is there any dispute about this among New Testament scholars?

  • 1
    Welcome to Christianity.SE. For a quick overview, please take the Site Tour. For more on what this site is all about, please see: How we are different than other sites. Though your question might work here, it might work better at Biblical Hermeneutics. Dec 22, 2016 at 20:32
  • Whether or not this is contentious, any opinions given will be just that, as there is no Biblical explanation given. It may e challenged as being only the opinion of Paul since he was not there for that particular event.
    – BYE
    Dec 22, 2016 at 20:46
  • @BYE I was inclined to agree with you at first, but then the question is asking for a clear boolean answer; If there is one dissenter, the answer is "Yes, there is a doubt."
    – Flimzy
    Dec 22, 2016 at 21:30
  • @Flimzy Good point. Perhaps I should have phrased it as "How certain are scholars..." or "Do any particular scholars argue this point.."
    – voltzart
    Dec 22, 2016 at 21:37
  • @voltzart: I think it's worded well enough as it is. Although the only possible answer you'll get is "No", since proving an affirmative answer would be impossible.
    – Flimzy
    Dec 22, 2016 at 22:00

1 Answer 1


"The Twelve" was a term used to refer to the Apostles as a group; this is accepted by all scholars as far as I know. Even while there were just eleven after Judas killed himself "The Twelve" still referred to those same Apostles, then after Matthias was chosen to replace him it didn't change. Paul was not part of this group despite being recognized as an apostle because he had not known Jesus during His period of ministry.

Here is the phrase in Greek: τοῖς δώδεκα. Both of these are masculine plural forms, and a plural means more than one, so the phrase definitely indicates a group. This is true regardless of whether it is taken as a technical term referring to the Apostles, so I would have to say that anyone saying it is not does not know Koine Greek and doesn't qualify as a New Testament scholar.

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