Epistolary Closing (5:12–14)

From: 1 Peter

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5 12 Analysis Epistolary Closing By way of Silvanus. the faithful brother as I regard him. I have written to you briefly.' exhorting and bearing witness that this is the true grace of God; take your stand2 in it. 13/ She who is the fellow elect one in Babylon3 greets you, along with Mark my son. 14/ Greet one another with the kiss of love.4 Peace to all of you who are in Christ.5 The letter closing, as the epistolary opening, is closer in form to that of the NT letters, particularly those of the Pauline tradition, than to the normal Hellenistic letter. The conclusion to the normal Greek letter was the imperative £ppwu8t ("be strong" or "farewell") or (oL)tvrJ)xu/ d Jrvxt'in) ("be well" or "prosper"), often 2 3 1 Peter5:12-14 P72 substitutes ota f3paxlwv (see Heb 13:22) for o•' oA.iywv ("briefly"), the reading of the overwhelming majority of MSS.; the meaning remains unchanged. Some MSS. (P, ~. h, r, vg"1 ) read £ur~.ovvav, 14 see below, "Comment," v. 12, and the Introduction§ I.A .2.f, "Role of Silvanus." On this point, see Brox, 241. Those who argue that Peter is the author do find here evidence of a conclusion in his own hand, e.g., Cranfield, I 37; Hart, 79; Wand, 128; cf. Windisch, 80; Bigg. I95. Combrini ("Structure,• 5 I) finds these verses "clearly I 5 structured as a chiasmus" consisting of A: Grace (v. 12b); B: Greetings (v. I 3); B': Greetings (v. I 4a); A' 16 Peace (v. I 4b). It is not clear that such was the I7 author's intention, particularly since v. I2a must be 18 ignored, as must the concluding exhortation in that I9 same verse (I 2) which follows the first element in this 20 An additional possibility is suggested by Gourbillon ("La Premiere Epitre," I7): Between missionary journeys, Silvanus requested Peter to write words of exhortation and witness in order to encourage the faithful who were undergoing calumnies and persecution; thus the letter owes its impetus to Silvanus. The suggestion owes more to imagination than to evidence. So, e.g., Goppelt, 347; cf. Windisch, 80- 81; Carrington , "Saint Peter's Epistle," 57; Best, 55. So, e.g., Kelly, 215; Selwyn, I I; cf. Moffatt, I69. So, e.g., Kelly, 2 I 4; Margot, 89. So, e.g., Brox, 242. So, e.g., Beare, 209; Chase, "Peter," 790; Best, 57. So, e.g., Cranfield, I4; Moffatt, 86. Bigg (6) suggests 349 we know nothing whatever of Silvanus's linguistic training, and hence assigning the Greek to him has no basis in reality.2 1 The Pauline flavor of the theology of 1 Peter can also be interpreted to point to the substantive role Silvanus played in the letter's composition,22 but that flavor is not to be exaggerated.23 To argue, finally, that the phrase means simply amanuensis, nothing more,24 is to overlook the fact that in the one example we have where a scribe is acknowledged (Rom 16:22), the language is quite different. 25 To assign Silvanus a hand in the letter's composition, therefore, lacks persuasive power. made the trip to all the places mentioned in the opening verse27 is countered by a glance at the kind of traveling that Acts reports of Paul on his missionary journeys. Obviously individuals could, and did, travel widely within the Roman Empire at this time.28 Silvanus ought thus to be seen as the one who delivered the letter to its readers. 29 b. In early Christian literature, including the NT, the phrase ypcufmv lluz Twos identifies not the author of the letter, or its scribe, but its bearer, the one who delivered it to its readers. 26 Indeed, that is precisely the language used in Acts 15:23 to identify Silas as one of the group of picked men who delivered the apostolic decrees. That he could not be the bearer since one person could not have To resolve this problem by affirming that Silvanus functioned as both drafter and bearer of the letter has little to commend it other than as a means preserving the obvious meaning of the phrase (sent by way of) while retaining the supposed advantage of allowing Silvanus to be responsible for the Greek employed in the letter.30 2. On the one hand, the name may refer to a Silvanus actually involved in some way with the letter, either to a Silvanus...