Advisor(s) - Committee Chair
William Lane, John Long
Department of Philosophy & Religion
Master of Arts
The book of I Peter, when compared to the rest of the New Testament corpus, has been a neglected book. Debate concerning its date, form, and authorship continues in New Testament scholarship. The focus of this study is the authorship of I Peter.
The internal evidence of the text as well as the external attestation of I Peter are examined for their bearing on the question of authorship. Analysis is made of the arguments used to support the authenticity of I Peter and those used to deny it.
The arguments examined to support the authenticity of I Peter include the following: 1) the document claims Petrine authorship; 2) the author claims to have been an eyewitness of Jesus' sufferings; 3) the content of I Peter coincides with the speeches attributed to Peter in Acts; 4) certain phrases in I Peter seem to recall sayings of Jesus; 5) the reference to Mark in I Peter is consistent with the tradition of a close association between the apostle Peter and the Mark who wrote the second Gospel; 6) the testimony of the postapostolic writings are supportive of the genuiness [sic] of I Peter.
These arguments are found to be consistent with the book’s claim of authorship. Significantly, opponents’ response to these arguments produce no interpretations of the text or conclusions that would be inconsistent with Petrine authorship.
The arguments used to deny authenticity concern the nature of the persecutions referred to in the epistle and the excellent Greek exhibited by the author. It is maintained that the persecutions envisaged could not have occurred in Peter's lifetime and that Peter would never have had the literary abilities necessary to write such good Greek.
These arguments do not bear up under scrutiny. The references to persecution in the text of I Peter reflect a situation similar to that found in Acts--Christians were under frequent suspicion and attack. Peter himself experienced such treatment. Further, the archeological evidence points to the widespread use of Greek at all levels of Palestinian Judaism during the first century. Peter's ability in Greek might have been sufficient to produce I Peter. Even if this were not the case, some type of an amanuensis theory to explain the quality of the Greek is suggested by the text (5:12).
I Peter possesses internal consistency and strong external attestation. The life-situation of the recipients is historically similar to what could have occurred in Peter’s lifetime. Thus I Peter is an authentic epistle of the apostle Peter.
Arts and Humanities | Biblical Studies | Christianity | Philosophy | Religion
Duff, John, "The Authenticity of I Peter" (1985). Masters Theses & Specialist Projects. Paper 3259.