Monday, 21 November 2016

More on Petrine Authorship

Hans Georg Lundahl has replied to my post on Petrine authorship on his blog:

http://notontimsblogroundhere.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/anonymous-author-for-saint-peter.html

I would like to take this opportunity to reply to his comments.
The question is not why an anonymous Christian would want to pass himself off as the Apostle Peter - two works prove fairly well some did or were thought to have done so.
Well it is an important question, but as you seem to concede it is established that it is not an obstacle at all.
The question is how an anonymous author would succeed in passing himself (as author ego) off as the Apostle Peter.
That is a different question, but yes, it is important too. However, as you say, two works prove fairly well that anonymous authors did believe they would successfully pass their works off as that of the apostles.
The rejection of the Gospel and Apocalypse which both bear that name, show that early Christians did have some checks.
Fair point, but these were not rejected out of hand as soon as they appeared. They were accepted by some Christians and were sufficiently well regarded that we still have both works.

If we look at the epistles traditionally attributed to Paul, most modern scholars now consider the Pastoral epistles to be written by another author. Yes, the early church did have some checks, but the evidence is that those checks were not perfect, and some works got through that were attributed to an apostle but written by someone else.
Now, saying that the Apocalypse of St Peter originally was canon is most probably not true. There were some rival canons before all the 27 books were complete in one collection, and that one accepted by all the Church.
That depends on what you mean by canon. If you consider canon to be only those works accepted by the church since ca. 400, then no. However, there is evidence it was considered canon prior to that, i.e., its mention in the Muratorian fragment.
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/apocalypsepeter-mrjames.html

It seems Clement of Alexandria considered it to be scripture, by the way.
So, this books never made it beyond one or two local Churches, either because another one knew it to be spurious, or because one had not sufficient proofs for considering it genuine.
This is just conjecture. We really do not know how many early churches accepted it, or what their reasons for rejecting it might be (it could have been that its theology was not aligned with that church). However, from the above link:

"There is no mention of it in the Gelasian Decree, which is curious. At one time it was popular in Rome for the Muratorian Canon mentions it (late in the second century?) along with the Apocalypse of John though it adds, that 'some will not have it read in the church.' The fifth-century church historian Sozomen (vii. 19) says that to his knowledge it was still read annually in some churches in Palestine on Good Friday."

This suggests it was considerably more popular than it "never made it beyond one or two local Churches" as you would have us think.
And that latter is, considering God has promised to preserve his word and no Church considers Apocalypse as St Peter canon, one sign it is probably not genuine either.
This presupposes God works to preserve his word. Given the amount of evidence of copying errors in the Bible, this seems unlikely to say the least.
http://helpmewithbiblestudy.org/5system_moses/dh13_copyistError.aspx
Supposing without proof that Sts Paul and Peter had very diverse theologies.
I thought this was well-established. Acts describes the arguing between Paul and the Christians in Jerusalem. Here are some web pages by, I think, Christians, acknowledging those differences.
http://doctrine.org/jesus-vs-paul/
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/december/9.25.html
http://www.voiceofjesus.org/paulvsjesus.html

Now, I am assuming Peter followed Jesus theology here, rather than Paul's, but given Peter was with Jesus for three years, this seems a valid assumption.
A letter of exhortation is not a personal narrative.
A valid point... but it hardly proves that Peter was the author.
St Peter can have had ample opportunity to explain the Gospel in terms of his personal memories and corroborated by Gospels like Matthew and Luke - Mark being their conflation, under his dictation - to the adressees on another occasion.
I stand with modern scholarship on this, and belief Mark was the original, and Matthew and Luke are derived from it.
But the reason why he can't have been in such a position is, if he had been, the guys who got this letter from an unknown person would hardly have taken him for Peter the Apostle, just because he said so.
So how do you think these guys did check the authorship? Letters were frequency written by scribes and carried by couriers. If the courier said the letter came from Peter, exactly how would that be confirmed?
The idea of someone succeeding to forge a writing by an apostle and get it accepted by the Church, well, why don't you try to forge an order by President Obama (who is still such) or by subsequent President Trump, just to know how easy it is to do so?
And yet modern scholarship seems reasonably sure the Pastoral epistles atre example of just that!

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