Epistolary Opening (1:1–2)

From: 1 Peter

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1 Peter • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 1 Analysis Epistolary Introduction Peter, apostle' of Jesus Christ, to the elect2 who are sojourners of the diaspora of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,3 2/ (elect) in accordance with the purpose of God the Father by means of the sanctification of the Spirit for the purpose of obedience and the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: my wish is that God may multiply grace and peace for you. 2 3 1 Peter 1:1-2 Customarily, the second word is translated "an apostle," since there is no definite article, yet that tends to lessen the implied force of this claim. To be sure, Peter is one among at least twelve, but the force of the title is not that he is one of a group, but that what is being written carries apostolic authority. A very few MSS. (II(*, sy) insert "and" (Kat) between these two substantival adjectives, perhaps to emphasize that both words describe the readers and reduce the impression that "elect" modifies "sojourners." There is some uncertainty in the MSS. about the phrase that names the fourth and fifth areas; some minuscules omit the "and" (Kat) between them; B* drops "and Bithynia" ("purely accidental" omission: Spicq, 40); II(* and a few others omit"Asia"; some minuscules (e.g., 614, 1243, 1852, 2495) add "and" before Asia as well. None of these readings is significant, and the majority of the texts read as I have translated. These two verses form the epistolary opening of the letter,4 and are interesting for several reasons. First, the absence of definite articles in this epistolary introduction as a whole is noteworthy. Articles tended to be omitted expansion on the standard epistolary greeting that also characterized the Pauline letters, and includes the Pauline formula "grace to you and peace" (xapts vp.'iv Kat dp~v7J). 7 The conclusion from this that the author of I Peter is dependent on the Pauline letters,8 however, seems unwarranted in light of the greater similarity between this introduction and that ofJewish letters. In addition to a reference to readers in the diaspora, or other specific areas,9 such jewish letters characteristically used the salutation "may (grace and) peace (be) increase (d) for you," 10 and cast it in the optative, not the in formulaic language, and hence were often absent from epistolary introductions;5 these two verses, however, are longer than the normal ancient letter opening. As presently structured, the language has a solemn, even archaic flavor.6 Second, the opening of the letter shares in the kind of 4 5 6 This would be the case no matter how the composition of the epistle is envisioned, since, as Furnish ("Elect Sojourners," 2) notes, these verses would have been the last to be added even if I Peter were composite in origin, and would thus have had the remainder of the writing in view. 7 See Ludwig Radermacher, Neutestamentliche Grammatik (HNT I; 2d ed.; Tiibingen: Mohr [Siebeck], 1925) I I 3, 114; BDF § 252, 261. So also Goppelt, 78. Shimada (FonnularyMaterial, 8 II 9) suggested it may be explained in part by "the so- 9 called Apollonius' canon" (nouns in a regimen will all have an article or none will); see his n. I for further literature. But see A. T. Robertson (A Grammar ofthe I0 Greek New Testament in the Light ofHistorical Research [3d ed.; New York: Doran 1919]756): "The older language and higher poetry are more anarthrous than Attic prose"; and Berger("Apostelbrief und apostolische Rede," 197), who notes that this kind of epistolary introduction would have seemed strange and archaic to Hellenistic contemporaries of the late first century. Schelkle (23) argues that since this formula appears in all thirteen Pauline letters, but not prior to Paul, Paul is responsible for its formulation; cf. Shimada, Formulary Material, 125. E.g., Beare, 73. Such letters to exiles are already known in the OT (Jer 29:4-23) as well as in laterJewish literature (2 Bar. 78.2; I Mace I:I , IOb). E.g., Dan 4:1; 6:26 (LXX Theodotion); 4:37c (LXX), where the word 7TA7J0vv(J.{7J is used; cf. also 2 Bar. 78.3, and the letters of Gamaliel in b. Sanh. II b. For this form in Christian literature, cf. Jude 2; I 79 indicative, which is characteristic of Greek letters. 11 The further absence of characteristic Pauline words found in his epistolary introductions (e.g., aya'IT1jTOS, KA~TOS, Ciytos, 7Tiuros, fKKA1juta) 12...