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Introduction I. Authorship The very first words of this letter, "Peter, apostle ofjesus Christ," pose a problem for many modern interpreters. To be sure, for centuries, and in some quarters still, the identification of the author as Simon Peter of Galilee has been accepted at face value and the letter understood as coming from the mind, if not the pen, of the apostle himself. Arguments to support such a judgment point to the early and continued identification of the author as Peter,1 or to the use of the first person singular, which is taken to reflect Peter as the author,2 or to the faith and personality of Peter reflected in the content of the complicated to the point of distraction. Yet the nature of the letter, its destination, and its content impose such complication on any attempt to resolve the problem.6 Among the first things that will strike the reader of this letter is the quality of its Greek, and the fact that its structure often reveals a certain facility in rhetoric, an anomaly for one who in another context is identified as "unlettered" (Acts 4: 13). The overwhelming dependence on the Greek version of the OT is also found surprising for the historical Peter. The solution that finds in Silvanus the source of the actual language is a familiar one, but poses its own problems. letter,g or to the perception that the objections to Another element often noted is the apparent lack of references to events in the life ofJesus, references that would be appropriate for one who had accompanied him during his ministry. Such a connection is often sought in similarities between what Peter says in his speeches in Acts and the content of this epistle. In a similar vein, the Petrine authorship are simply "unpersuasive."4 For many other contemporary scholars, however, authorship constitutes one of the major literary problems of this epistle.5 Its solution involves a consideration of many different kinds of evidence, all of which are interdependent , so that discussion of authorship may seem 2 3 4 See F. H. Chase, "Peter, First Epistle," Dictionary of the Bible (ed. J. Hastings; Edinburgh: Clark, 1900) 3.781; Everett Falconer Harrison, "Exegetical 5 Studies in I Peter," BSac 97 (1940) 201. See, e.g., Ernest Gordon Selwyn, The First Epistle of St. Peter (2d ed.; London: Macmillan, 1955) 28, who cites 2: II ; 5: I, 12; he also finds an eyewitness reflected in 1:3, 7, 8, 9, 10-12; 2:20-25; 3:15; 5:1, 2. See Ceslas Spicq, "La I• Petri et le temoignage evangelique de saint Pierre,• StTh 20 (1966) 39: "Toute I'Epitre reflete Ia foi de Pierre" "the entire epistle reflects the faith of Peter"; the content reflects 6 "de cette spontaneite et de cette ardeur" "that spontaneity and that zeal" which characterized Peter's temperament (52). So Wayne A. Grudem, The First Epistle ofPeter: An Introduction and Commentary (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988) 33; Uwe Holmer and Werner de Boor, Die Briefe des Petrus und der Briefdes judas (Wuppertal: Brockhaus, 1978) 18; see also Peter Ketter, Hebriierbriej . Jakobusbrief, Petrusbriefe, judasbriej(Herders Bibelkommentar; Freiburg: Herder, 1950) 191, who identifies it as "the first encyclical of the first pope." Edouard Cothenet lists a number of recent authors who support (and others who deny) Petrine authorship ("Les orientations actuelles de l'exegese de Ia premiere lettre de Pierre," in C. Perrot, ed., Etudes sur Ia Premiere Lettre de Pierre [LD I02; Paris: Cerf, 1980] 37). For a sophisticated discussion of Simon Peter as author, see]. H. A. Hart, The First Epistle General ofPeter (ed. W. R. Nicoll; 5 vols.; Expositor's Greek Testament; reprinted Grand Rapids: Eerdmans , 1974)5.9-17. Authorship has been such a dominant concern of modern scholarship that, as Norbert Brox notes, I Peter is typically evaluated more on the basis of its authorship than its contents ("Situation und Sprache der Minderheit im ersten Petrusbrief," Kairos, NF 19 (1977]1). E. G. Selwyn'sjudgment that Petrine authorship lends a coherence to its argument otherwise lost is an example ("The Problem of the Authorship of! Peter," ExpT 59 (1947/ 48]256). For a convenient summary of the points that argue against Petrine authorship, see Grudem, 25; Francis Wright Beare, The First Epistle ofPeter: The Greek Text with Introduction and Notes (3d ed.; Oxford: Blackwell, 1970) 44; Karl Hermann Schelkle, Die Petrusbriefe, der judasbrief(3d ed.; ThKNT; Freiburg: Herder, 1970) 13; William L...


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