Prooemium (1:3–12)

From: 1 Peter

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Prooemium 1 Peter 1:3-12 Analysis Following the epistolary opening, these ten verses provide an introduction to the subject matter of the letter. Cast in the form of a singe if rather complex sentence, 1 these verses divide themselves into three major parts, the second and third with two subparts each, by means of relative clauses introduced with relative pronouns.2 The major divisions occur at 1:6 and 1:10, each introduced with a preposition and a relative pronoun (1:6, {v ci>; 1:10, 7T£pl i/s). The sections are further subdivided by means of relative pronouns at 1:8 (iiv) and 1:12 (ots), with the concluding verse containing three relative pronouns (ols, Ci, ds Ci), perhaps as a way of indicating the conclusion of this introduction.3 Thus the sentence has three major sections: 3-5; 6-9, with two subdivisions, 6-7 and 8-9; and 10-12, with two subdivisions , 10-11 and 12.4 that then reflects respectively Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, has also been proposed,6 but such a division is weakened by the mention ofjesus three times in the first section (vv. 3 [bis], 7) and twice in the third (v. 11), thus indicating that the author did not have such a division of subject matter foremost in his mind as he wrote this material. While such a division based on content thus has less to recommend it, there is little question that the triadic reference to God found in v. 2 is also present here, thus linking the epistolary opening to this first sentence.7 The complex nature of this opening sentence has also led to the conclusion that the author is here either using or adapting a previously existing hymn,8 with the mention of rebirth perhaps even suggesting its origin in a baptismal ritual.9 The difficulty in identifying length of strophes, or even their number, along with the rather elegant compositional elements that appear in the rest of the text of 1 Peter, would suggest to the contrary that A different division into three segments comprising vv. 3-7, 8-9, I0-12,5 sometimes on the basis of a content 90 Reicke, 79. Despite its complexity, it is "eine kunstvolle Periode" "an artistic period" (Windisch, 52). On 5 that basis, Lohse ("Parenesis," 47)judges it to be "clearly distinguished from the rest of the epistle in style." It would probably be closer to say it is an expansion of the style found in such sentences as 1:17-21 ; 2:1-5;or4:3-6. 6 2 So also Dalton, "So That Your Faith," 267-68. 3 Coutts ("Ephesians," I 16-17) notes that the introduction to Ephesians (I :3-14) is divided into three parts by the threefold use of the phrase s Oapror describes God's 1TVpovptw and niun~ in Gal 3:23 hardly argues for literary dependence, as Barnett (Literary Influence, 55) contends. Even dependence on 60 a common source, as suggested by Boismard ("Litur- 61 gie" [1], 189-90), seems unlikely, given the total 62 divergence in context. 52 Cf. Best, 77. The parallel passive perfect participle 63 T6ijval in this same verse reinforce such an understanding. 53 Against Perdelwitz, Mysterienreligion, 51; Brox, 63. 54 I.e., in an instrumental sense, rather than in the sense of the dative of sphere, as Hort (38) implies. 55 While Arichae ("God or Christ?" 414) suggests the implicit object of faith isJesus Christ, the subject of the sentence in v. 3 is God; it is trust in him, including his act of raising Christ from the dead, which seems implied here. So also Hort, 38; cf. P. Gerhard Dautzenberg, "uwrTJpia "ljlvxwv (I Pt. I:9)," BZ 8 (1964) 271. So, e.g., Beare, 84. Schelkle (33) points out that uwr~p ("savior") was a common title for pagan deities, as it was for Hellenistic rulers, but I Peter shows no evidence of borrowing from such sources, as it does in the direct quotations from the OT. So, e.g., Kelly, 52; Schelkle, 33. The use of the words uwr~p and uwr7Jp{a some 340 times in the LXX is sufficient to explain the source of this language in I Peter, given our author's predilection for quoting the OT. As Brox (62-63) notes, such a construal would overload the phrase describing inheritance; cf. also Arichae, "God or Christ?" 414. So Schelkle, 32. E.g., Goppelt, 97. With Michaels, 23. Cranfield...