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Second Epistle of Peter

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Template:Books of the New Testament The Second Epistle of Peter is a book of the New Testament of the Bible. The opening verse identifies itself as having been written by Simeon Peter, who has been identified with Saint Peter, although nowhere else in the New Testament is he referred to as both Simeon (the Aramaic form of Simon) and Peter. It has been considered by some as evidence that Peter himself wrote the text rather than an amanuensis (as with the previous epistle). This understanding is also used to argue against a pseudepigraphal author in light of the unlikelihood of a late writer attempting to feign an original when all previous references have used the "Simon" form.

This epistle presciently declares that it is written shortly before the apostle's death (1:14). Arguments have been made both for and against this being part of the original text, but this debate largely is centered on the acceptance or rejection of supernatural intervention in the life of the writer.

The epistle also contains eleven references to the Old Testament. In 3:15, 16 a reference is made to one of Paul's epistles, which some have identified as 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11.

The book also shares a number of shared passages with the Epistle of Jude, e.g. 1:5 with Jude 3; 1:12 with Jude 5; 3:2f with Jude 17f; 3:14 with Jude 24; and 3:18 with Jude 25. Some scholars argue that 2 Peter depends on the Epistle of Jude and should be dated later than that epistle, perhaps as late as 140 while others argue the reverse. Those who argue for an earlier date for 2 Peter usually support this claim with the lack of references to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and for elements involving the "false teachers/prophets" that are regarded as more exemplary of earlier deviations than the Gnosticism of the mid-2nd century.

This is one of the last of the books accepted into the canon of the New testament at the Council of Laodicea in 372 due to the influence of Athanasius of Alexandria, and Augustine. Earlier, neitherIrenaeus nor Polycarp of Smyrna supply quotations from this text, but writers such as Origin and Polybius make comment on the work, discussing its debated status. Jerome, who is sometimes said to have argued in favor of the authenticity of the Epistle, stated in De viris illustribus (chapter i) "He wrote two epistles which are called Catholic, the second of which, on account of its difference from the first in style, is considered by many not to be by him."

Many scholars doubt that the Apostle Peter was the author and even in antiquity there were already widespread doubts. There are striking differences in the linguistic style from the First Epistle of Peter. The editors of Barclay's New Testament characterize the epistle's style as "florid, rhetorical and flamboyant." Some scholars explain this difference by explaining that Peter had assistance in writing his first epistle from Barnabas, and therefore the second epistle is actually Peter's own unaided writing. As mentioned above, the use of Simeon may support this idea.

Part of the case for a date no earlier than the second century is the internal evidence of 3:15, 16, where the writer assumes that the letters of Paul are well known to his readers. This implies that the letters of Paul had been collected and published and had become part of the literature of the church at the time 2 Peter was written. A critic who accepts Peter as the Simeon Peter is viewed, then, to assume that Paul's letters to the various churches were collected and edited and published for all to read Peter died in ~A.D. 67.

As an alternative to this viewpoint, it is significant that Peter in no way claims to have a complete collection of Paul's letters, and there is evidence within the Pauline corpus itself that suggests that local letters were being distributed among nearby churches at Paul's request. A full corpus, is not necessary, then, for Peter to reference it. As well, with tradition placing Paul and Peter in Rome at nearly the same time, he might have had opportunity to read material copied from originals in the possession of Paul or his companions.

There are several points of contact with the Apocalypse of Peter and it is for this reason that many early scholars were hesitant to accept the work (e.g., Polybius), in fear that it would lead to an eventual acceptance of the clearly pseudonymous Apocalypse.

External links

Online translations of the Second Epistle of Peter:

Related writings of the Church Fathers (early Christian scholars):

Related articles:

fr:Deuxième épître de Pierre nl:Tweede brief van Petrus fi:Toinen Pietarin kirje sv:Andra Petrusbrevet

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