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Talk:First Epistle of Peter

Rome [ edit ]

"If Rome is its true origin, then that fact would strengthen the case that it was actually written by Peter, and if by Peter, then written around AD 60." There's no logic to this circular statement. I've removed it from the entry. The motivation for an early date is to link this letter with apostolic Peter. "If Roman, then of Peter. If Petrine then early. If early, then Petrine." The Shepherd of Hermas was also written in Rome. But it was not written by Peter. Wetman 18:11, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Yeah, but the Shepherd of Hermas doesn't claim to have been written by Peter. Tom129.93.17.174 02:58, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

"Apostle of hope" [ edit ]

" Peter has been called "the apostle of hope," because this epistle abounds with words of comfort and encouragement fitted to sustain a "lively hope." " This lovely thought, though appreciative and pious, conveys no useful information about this text, not even who called Peter the "apostle of hope," a connection based apparently on a conviction that Peter was the actual author of this text. If "hope" is indeed a theme of this text, the entry should develop its thematic uses. Perhaps the implications of Early Christian church organization might be apropos here too: this is also a political document, is it not? There should also be a link to pseudepigraphy in this entry, as with all pseudepigraphical works. --Wetman 19:05, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Reference in 1 Clement (for dating 1 Peter) [ edit ]

I think there should be reference made to 1 Clement, written around 100 AD, apparently quoting 1 Peter since that would be relevent to deciding the date. This quotation is in 1 Clement 49:5 and says "love covereth a multitude of sins" which matches 1 Peter 4:8. When I looked at the greek (see GreekBible.com) I think it matches exactly the Greek in the 1 Clement version (see Greek of 1 Clement, note: it works better if you make the font Symbol). I will add this information to the article if no one has a problem, though I would still like to find a better formatted version of the Greek for 1 Clement. --KyleT 19:42, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

Similarly, one could make reference to Pliny the Younger's correspondence with Trajan about Christian persecution in Bithynia-Pontus around the year 112 CE as a way of possibly approximating the date of 1 Peter's composition. — Preceding unsigned comment added by BCRW-Tuttle (talkcontribs) 15:31, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

"Is the Septuagint really an *inconceivable* source for the real Peter?" [ edit ]

This question was recently asked— rhetorically— in an edit summary. The "real" Peter was a fisherman of Galilee, speaking Aramaic. What are the chances he could read Aramaic, let alone read Greek? The Septuagint had recently been translated into Greek for the Greek-speaking, culturally assimilated Hellenized Jews of Alexandria, who were increasingly unable to read scripture in Hebrew. Yes, Virginia, the Septuagint really is an *inconceivable* source for the "real" Peter to be quoting. --Wetman 22:54, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

No, strictly speaking, based on the evidence cited, it would be *improbable*, not *inconceivable*. (Although perhaps it would be inconceivable for the Sicilian). The evidence cited is poor and poorly cited, BTW. (1) At the point of the writing of 1 Peter, it is possible that the LXX had been extant in some form for three centuries, not "recently translated." (2) A large number of more or less direct NT citations of the OT appear to be LXX citations, (340 of 386, categories A-E of Archer and Chirichigno's "OT Quotations in the NT"). Instances of citation from the LXX are true of less "Hellenized" authors such as Matthew (not Hellenized in terms of Jewish orientation in content), Mark (in terms of language), and John (language and content). All of this to say that you can't assume from LXX quotations alone that an author is a Hellenized Jew.

I think it would be fair to say the following: Many critical commentators think it quite unlikely that 1 Peter was written by a Galilean fisherman. The major reasons for this are (1) the relatively high quality of Koine evident in the epistle (2) apparent traces of rhetorical training evident in the letter (3) consistent quotation from the LXX. This hinges on rejecting the conjectured possibilities that (1) a Galilean fisherman could have gained considerable learning at some point in his life or (2) that cooperation with Sylvanus could have had a significant influence on the composition of the letter. Both are conjectures (although the second is based on internal evidence). Arguments for and against both conjectures are in the realm of conjecture. In my opinion, however, the existence and nature of the conjectures means that under a rationally defensible definition of inconceivable, it is not inconceivable that the LXX is a source for the real Peter. That puts us in the realm of the probable or improbable, where other presuppositions are going to color one's decisions.

--21:35, 24 February 2007 (UTC)dkwright

Inconceivable for the "historical" Peter, a "fisherman of Galilee"— in spite of his unlikely name. The switch to the author of 1 Peter wasn't performed subtly enough to confuse any of us who are paying attention. Of course these texts, in the form they reach us, are thoroughly Hellenized. Everyone knows that. --Wetman 22:09, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
The claim about Hellenization is out of step with current scholarship (critical, liberal, conservative, you name it) on the 2nd Temple Jewish background of the NT, which has restored a sense of how deeply Jewish so much of the NT is in content and expression. There has been long and steady correction away from the notion of thorough Hellenization. In NT studies, there is now a much greater diversity of opinion on this across a wide spectrum of scholars. In fact, I think it would be fair to say that Hellenization in this sense is fairly "out", whether at Tuebingen or an evangelical seminary. Most assuredly, everyone no longer "knows that" (regardless of their other presuppositions).
I don't know what you are referring to with the posited subtle "switch to the author of 1 Peter." I am not trying to be subtle at all, or fool anyone. Surely, the specific argument about Peter and LXX is ultimately in the context of the overall argument about the authorship of 1 Peter, i.e. was it written by the historical Peter, a Galilean fisherman? "Yes" is the typical answer from the POV of Christian tradition. "No" is the typical answer from the POV of critical scholarship. Within that context, one of the many sub-arguments is "could a Galilean fisherman even know or be able to read the LXX?"
My intent was not to fool anyone, but to tweak you on your thinly argued blusteriness concerning this. I, too, have a distinct POV (very much traditionally Christian), which I have no desire to conceal. Yet, I appreciate informed and careful use of evidence, on any side of the issues. I am at this moment reading a highly respected commentary on 1 Peter by Paul Achtemeier. He argues for the pseudonymity of 1 Peter; he does so based on argument and evidence. I don't agree with his conclusions, but I respect his scholarly approach. (I tried to summarize three main strands of evidence above). I don't think your *inconceivable* and *Yes, Virginia* and *Everyone knows that* exhibit similar care. --dkwright 23:45, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Reorganization [ edit ]

After reading this article I felt as thorough it deserved a rather through overhaul. There were many fragments of useful information, but the arrangement of this information was frenetic at best. There was a certain lack of scholarship, particularly the dreaded “most scholars say X” without argumentative support or textual citations. However, I did not take it upon myself to omit any of the information found. Indeed I bolstered many of those arguments. Instead I simply arranged the existing material in a more sensible form and then added more information. Hopefully the new structure will encourage further contributions.

There is one exception in that I omitted the following line, partially because it was covered already, partially because I simply could not work it in smoothly, and partially because I thought it was silly. I encourage anyone to reintroduce it to the article, and I give it here in full to facilitate that.

”There is no evidence that Rome was called Babylon by the Christians until the Book of Revelation was published, i.e. circa 90-96 AD," say the editors of The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, who conclude, however, that Babylon on the Euphrates was intended.

Some areas that the article is lacking, and could use as a nice addition would be a nice textual explanation of the various themes of the work, or at the least a summary of the material contained. I am not well equipped for this task. Also the article could use a section in which various interpretations of the assertions of the epistle are discussed. Again, I’m not the proper source for this job. Lostcaesar 03:51, 25 June 2006 (UTC)



Should someone attempt to reorganize this page, I suggest that there should be more contextualization of 1 Peter (in terms of its date and the social situation that it describes), and less on the "Harrowing of Hell", which appears to be less consequential to the subject and significance of the letter itself. BCRE, High,

Questions [ edit ]

The article reads: “there was little debate about Peter’s authorship until the advent of biblical criticism in the 18th century.” Was there little debate, or no debate? I left the statement as is, but I would like to see a refrence to some debate in antiquity if the article is going to read as such.

Is the use of “c.f.” inappropriate, if so I will cease to use it?

The article reads: “Modern scholars are skeptical that the apostle Simon Peter, the fisherman on the Sea of Galilee, actually wrote the epistle…” To my knowledge there is no concensus among modern scholars. I changed the article to read “Some modern scholars…” – a minor change and on I think better represents the field of work. I am not entierly comfortable with the highly ambiguous “some”, but I am not sure what else to do here. There certainly are main stream scholars who think Peter was the author of this letter.

There is one final issue of some sensitivity. The article has the following passage: “These concepts eventually gave rise to the Christian myth of the "Harrowing of Hell", which flowered in elaborated anecdotal medieval imagery.” I do not object to its inclusion, but the cause for sensitivity is that the Harrowing of Hell is doctrine for most Christians, and so such phrasing might be better reviewed. There certainly was medieval legend which grew from this doctrine, and so I welcome the passage, but perhaps a bit more subtlety is in order. I attempted an amendment, please review.

Lostcaesar 04:23, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

There is a problem writing about scholarly views in articles such as these. There is a large group of biblical scholars who teach at public universities around the US and UK and Germany (and probably other countries). They teach classes on the bible, and bible as literature, and biblical criticism, and history etc. And they generally agree on some of the bigger issues. On the other hand, there is a group of scholars who teach at Christian universities and they would probably be considered "conservative" and they tend to agree on a number of major points as well, only there is a difference between what the "liberal" scholars and what the "conservative" scholars agree on. Both are clearly valid POV, and we need to present both sides with out giving either undue weight. This tends to run into some problems with weasel words. And how do we define these two positions. Whatever the solution may be, I feel we should use it consistently throughout the articles on the books of the bible. I do not want to force a particular view on this article if it isn't appropriate, or doesn't meet concensus, but I feel we should mirror the format found in the 4 canonical gospel articles because they seem to be the best NT book articles.
"c.f." isn't inappropriate (though I had to pull out a dictionary on that one), I just made a minor edit that I thought read a little better. It isn't a big deal, and if the other way is superior, I won't complain about it being changed back.
As for the debate about authenticity, the only thing I found was the argument from silence regarding the Muratorian Canon. I'll keep digging for more info, but maybe my edits were a little premature. And as for the 'Harrowing of Hell' edits seem fine to me. Good work! --Andrew c 16:22, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
I think “weasel words” are even more problematic on religious topics. It is possible that a person’s scholarly opinion will be swayed based on his religious or non-religious predisposition, entailing bias. It is also possible that someone’s religious / non-religious disposition may be formed based on scholarship. In other words, whether the person believes something is true because he has X disposition, or has X disposition because he believes something is true will result in the same result: a scholarly opinion. Ergo, scholars divide into secular and religious (liberal / conservative) camps, and to assume that a neutral POV is something besides one of these two camps is perhaps mistaken. A neutral analysis might well entail belief / non-belief. Whatever the case, I have no solution.Lostcaesar 20:48, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
Is there any reason to assume that most religious scholars, or even most conservative scholars (excluding apologists, professors at "bible colleges," etc.) accept Petrine authorship? I think Andrew c's categorization of a distinction between scholars at secular universities and scholars at religious universities is problematic. The largest set of religiously affiliated universities in the United States is that of Catholic universities. Catholic scholars, as far as I'm aware, tend to agree with the more liberal/secular scholars about most issues of authorship and such like, as far as I'm aware. I'm less familiar with scholars at protestant institutions, but I'm not sure it's that different. I'm very leary of saying there's scholarly disagreement, when really there's just apologists disagreeing with the scholarly consensus. john k 20:27, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
I understand your concerns, John, but in this case there really is scholarly disagreement. There are historical reasons to accept Petrine authorship of this letter. For example, this letter (unlike 2 Peter) is quoted in very ancient texts like the Didache and the wirtings of Justin Martyr. That's why "liberal" scholars can't get away with dating it any later than 70-90A.D. Lostcaesar 20:55, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
I apologize if my categorization was inaccurate to you. When I said "Christian Universities", I was refering to the unaccredited type (you know, the ones that teach creationism). I think your summary is more accurate, however, you have belittled a POV. Just because it is motivated by religious belief, and is clearly biased, does not mean we shouldn't mention it in this article. In fact, we should mention all relavent POV, as long as undue weight is not given to a minority position. The issue then goes: if someone is an apologist, does that exclude them from being a "scholar"? We always have to keep this stuff in mind when writing about these issues. All that said, are there any specific issues in this article, and how can they be cleared up?--Andrew c 21:05, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
I think when somebody is explicitly simply trying to find rationales to justify an answer that they already know before they've begun working, they are, in fact, not a scholar. We should certainly discuss the traditional vies of the origina of books of the Bible, or whatever, which these people hold. But we shouldn't pretend that what they are engaging in is comparable to actual scholarship. As to Lostcaesar's comments - the Gospel of John is from around that time, and very few people think John actually wrote it. john k 10:49, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree that many scholars have held that Peter is not the author of 1 Peter, but there are also many that do. I think I would state it as being a bit more controversial point. I'd also find a source that isn't someone from the Jesus Seminar. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.65.10.51 (talk) 10:48, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

Needs sourcing for the following [ edit ]

I took these statements out of the "Critical view" section:

(However, Nazareth itself neighbored Tzippori/Sepphoris, which had been the capital of Galilee and was a center of Greek-speaking Hellenistic culture. Also, Jerusalem the capital of Judea had many Greek-speaking Jews, who could translate while taking dictation.) However, due to trade and other cultural interaction the Septuagint was widely available by the 1st century CE.It certainly would have been the Old Testament text the audience of I Peter was familiar with, if not the author.

The last two had been fact tagged for months, and the former was added recently. Could someone please source these statements. If the source isn't a critical scholar, then please feel free to restore the info, once sourced, to another section of the article. Thanks.-Andrew c 13:30, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

why pseudonymous? [ edit ]

I'm told the tradition (recorded by Papias) is that Peter didn't know Greek and needed Mark as an interpreter. If so, he could have written the epistle and Sylvanus could be the translator into Greek. Indeed, the second epistle could have been translated into Greek by someone else. That would explain the style(s). Tom129.93.17.174 02:56, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

years of authorship [ edit ]

Harris says most scholars prefer 95 or esp. 112. Can anyone provide a reference that says any scholars prefer any other years for authorship? There's a claim that Ehrman and Brown favor 70-90, but no citation offered. If Harris is wrong, fine, but we need an RS saying that Harris is wrong. Leadwind (talk) 16:13, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

This is all Ehrman has to say about it in his New Testament overview textbook: "It is difficult to say, however, when the author would have been writing, or even from where and to whom. If the letter is indeed associate with Asia Minor, as its prescript suggests, it should probably be assigned to the first century, possibly near its end, when persecution was on the rise but the later church hierarchy with a solitary bishop over each church had not yet developed. There is no trace of this hierarchy in the letter, where the churches of Asia Minor appear to be ruled by groups of "elders" (5:1-4). A hierarchy is in evidence in this region, however, at the beginning of the second century, especially in the letters of Ignatius." This does seem to me that Ehrman favors the 90s over the 110s. But I agree that we shouldn't remove sourced material and replace it with unsourced material just because someone doesn't like the source. Come up with a more recent/notable/authoritative source to replace the existing source instead of deleting it. (not sure if Ehrman can be that source or not)-Andrew c [talk] 14:39, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
The article now has sourced material for a variety of dates between 70 and 112. Therefore (and this was my original motivation) the lead should be changed to reflect what is in the body of the article. I'll do that shortly. Peter Ballard (talk) 22:58, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, Andrew. Ehrman's comment that the structure of solitary bishops over churches is a later development is also interesting, in light of discussions on other pages (Pope Clement I, etc.).

Peter, thanks for getting these references. That makes the page a lot better. I don't much care what the years are. I only care that they're properly cited. I think this is how WP is supposed to work. The references to the two no-name scholars who wrote maybe 90 years ago probably aren't necessary, or could at least be trimmed. Leadwind (talk) 14:42, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
I've cut the detailed discussion from the lead. There is now a summary in the lead (anywhere from 70-112), with the detail in the article (various scholars and the dates they propose). I don't think it is helpful to have too much detail in the lead, by my reading of WP:LEAD. I apologise if I removed anything, but I think it was all already duplicated in the article body below. Peter Ballard (talk) 23:20, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Well, my hat's off to anyone who actually reads WP:LEAD. A lead should be a concise summary of the topic, able to stand alone. The current lead isn't meaty enough because it defines 1 Peter without describing it. Lots of leads share that failing. I'm planning to beef it up. The only thing you cut, Peter, that I'd really like to see is some reference to persecutions. Traditionalists say that the epistle was written during Nero's persecutions. Harris reports Domitian or Trajan. A simple reference to such persecutions would do. The year 112 is oddly specific for a work whose possible year of composition is in such a broad range, and the only thing that leads anyone to think that this epistle was written in the 2nd century is the persecution of 112. No one thinks it was written in 105. It's 70-90, 95, or 112. Leadwind (talk) 14:41, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
I've no argument with the lead containing a short, concise mention of the arguments for pseudonymity, or for particular dates. But it needs to be a summary, which means in turn that the article itself needs to be expanded. In any case, the detail of who argues what doesn't really belong in the lead. p.s. I agree 112 is oddly specific. My understanding is there was no "persecution of 112" - rather it was an ongoing situation. But now I'm drifting into WP:OR so I'll stop. Peter Ballard (talk) 00:38, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
Persecution of Christians was both ongoing and sporadic. Since Nero, it was apparently against the law to be Christian, but hardly anyone bothered to enforce the law, and all a Christian had to do was perform oblations to the emperor to get off the charge. Every once in a while, though, the populace would get stirred up by threats of invasion, etc., and they'd blame the Christians. Then there would be an actual spate of persecution. Leadwind (talk) 14:40, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Peter's language skills [ edit ]

I see a lot of discussion regarding Peter not writing the letter because he was not fluent in Greek. According to the Bible (at least the Catholic version), didn't Peter and all the apostles acquired the skill to know several languages after the holy spirit appeared to them in the form of a tongue in flames. If there are no concerns, I will add that as part of the explanation on how Peter managed to write the letter.

How on earth could anyone claim to know that Peter was not fluent in Greek? Sure, it wouldn't have been his native tongue, and he started out as a poor fisherman, but (assuming he really did write 1 Peter) it would have been much later; and it would have been perfectly logical for someone engaged in preaching to different peoples to learn the major languages of the time. 165.91.173.15 (talk) 23:13, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
Peter would likely not have actually 'penned' the letter even if he is the author of it. Scribes were commonly used by most people (not just fishermen). He would likely have known Greek, even though it wasn't his native tongue. It would be kind of like assuming that someone from Mexico living in the USA wouldn't know English because their native tongue was Spanish. It could be the case, but certainly shouldn't be assumed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.65.10.51 (talk) 10:54, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

I commend your efforts of highlighting the issues that surround the authorship of 1 Peter, concerning Peter's language skills. I would disagree that the “speaking in tongues” experience at Pentecost (Acts 2: 4) would have made Peter a proficient Greek speaker/writer. I would agree with you that dismissing Peter as the author just because he spoke in Aramaic and the epistle was written in Greek is ridiculous. I would suggest that Peter's native language and his ability to speak in the Greek language is not the issue behind the authorship controversy. Scholars debate the authorship of 1 Peter because of the author’s demonstrated proficiency in the Greek language. Peter could have possibly spoken in the Greek language, but it is highly unlikely that he could have shared the same level of proficiency demonstrated by the author of 1 Peter. Although this letter is regarded as pseudonymous by many scholars, Silvanus could have possibly served as Peter's amanuensis (1 Peter 5:12), and wrote this epistle while Peter dictated its content to him. — Preceding unsigned comment added by BCRW-Harrison (talkcontribs) 03:15, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

Changes to authorship section [ edit ]

IP 108.235.228.92 added the uncited statement "This argument, of course, presumes that two authors could not write on similar topics with similar opinions (by supernatural inspiration or otherwise)" after "Many scholars also doubt Petrine authorship because they are convinced that 1 Peter is dependent on the Pauline epistles and thus was written after Paul the Apostle’s ministry because it shares many of the same motifs espoused in Ephesians, Colossians, and the Pastoral Epistles.". A statement such as that requires a citation to a reliable source. The IP also made quite a few other changes with the edit summary "Attempting to smoothen biased language" but all the "biased language" is cited to reliable sources, so I have reverted the IP's edit.Smeat75 (talk) 01:25, 7 October 2013 (UTC) >>You said "all the "biased language" is cited to reliable sources." What makes those sources reliable and/or authoritative? Given the clear bias of of the article and the lack of balanced scholarship, it is highly dubious to think the author's sources are reliable. -Kendzie — Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.21.16.155 (talk) 22:50, 28 April 2018 (UTC)

Babylon? [ edit ]

The lede states "The text of the letter states that it was written from Babylon." but this is not mentioned in the body of the aticle. Tigerboy1966  07:49, 1 June 2018 (UTC)

It would be worth someone considering changing this as by my (fairly limited) understanding, many scholars think "Babylon", as elsewhere in the New Testament, is used in an allegorical sense to refer to Rome. MannersMakythMan (talk) 11:24, 7 August 2019 (UTC)

What is this?