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Peter in Early Christianity: New Book

November 17, 2015

I’m pleased to announce the new multi-author volume:  Peter in Early Christianity (Eerdmans, 2015), eds. Helen K. Bond & Larry W. Hurtado.  The online catalogue entry is here.  This volume arose from our conference on Peter held here in Edinburgh under the auspices of our Centre for the Study of Christian Origins in July 2013.

Long overshadowed by the apostle Paul, especially in Protestant scholarship and in the “secularized” scholarship descended from it, in recent decades there has been a small but interesting surge of interest in Peter.

This collection of studies is impressively wide in coverage of data and issues.  Margaret Williams focuses on the names assigned to him, Shimon (Simon), Kephas (Petros/Peter), in light of then-contemporary naming practices.  Other essays address Peter as portrayed in various texts, including the Gospel of Mark (Bond), Petrine speeches in Acts (Jonathan Lo), the Synoptic tradition (John Markley), the Gospel of John (Jason Sturdevant), Luke-Acts (Finn Damgaard), traditions of Peter’s literacy (Sean Adams), Petrine epistles (Matt Novenson), Apostolic Fathers (Todd Still), 1 Clement and Polycarp (Paul Hartog), Kerygma Petrou (William Rutherford), “Gnostic” texts/perspectives (Tobias Nicklas), other noncanonical texts (Paul Foster).

Timothy Barnes examines traditions and evidence about Peter’s death.  Paul Parvis explores traditions about Peter as bishop (in Antioch!).   Markus Bockmuehl engages the treatment of Peter in von Baltasar (Roman Catholic theologian).  My own contribution is an analysis of the treatment of Peter in three modern Protestant New Testament scholars:  Oscar Cullmann, Martin Hengel, and Markus Bockmuehl.

For me personally, the largest essay in the volume is the most fascinating and informative:  Peter Lampe, “Traces of Peter Veneration in Roman Archaeology.”  Lampe is internationally respected for his previous work on textual and archaeological evidence of early Christianity in Rome, and this essay further demonstrates his control of this sort of data.

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6 Comments
  1. Larry Hurtado,

    I find the Second Temple onomastics very important. In a related topic close to your heart, has the last word been spoken concerning nomina sacra, and do you think the phenomenon of χρηστιανὸς in the earliest NT manuscripts is somewhat connected?

    • Keion: On the “nomina sacra”, though some new discovery might alter things, for now, the dominant opinion is reflected in my book, The Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins, 95-134. χρηστιανος is simply an alternate spelling of χριστιανος. The iota and eta were pronounced the same. The technical term is “itacism” for the phenomenon.

  2. David Chumney permalink

    My copy arrived today. Thanks for mentioning the book in an earlier post. It looks like it’s going to be a great read.

  3. Lon permalink

    This book sounds exciting! The link didn’t work but I looked it up on Amazon and was encouraged that the price is reasonable. Unfortunately, it’s out of stock.😦

    I’d like to ask about suitability for the layman? Since I’ve not heard of most of the scholars, I wonder if you would characterize this work as conservative or more liberal scholarship? And, do you think a non-professional would be able to apprehend the content?

    -Lon

    • Lon: You pose two questions, one of which is appropriate and the other one isn’t. First, the contributions, though all are intended as contributions to scholarly analysis of Peter, are also readable for “lay” people who are seriously enough interested to read them. As for the terms “conservative” and “liberal,” I really don’t think they’re appropriate. All those in the book are simply trying to do good historical work.

      • Brian Lopez permalink

        Right, it has to do with data and objective interpretations of the data. Conservative vs Liberal has to be dispensed with when reading or doing critical scholarship.

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