APOCRYPHA PETRINE

APOCRYPHA, PETRINE I. Gospel of Peter – II. the Kerygma Petrou – III. Apocalypse of Peter – IV. Acts of Peter. Several apocryphal Christian writings are collected under the name of Petrine apocrypha. They occur in a variety of literary genres, have the name Peter in common, and are dated between the 2nd and 4th c. We have a variety of evidence concerning them. I. Gospel of Peter. An untitled, incomplete narration of the passion and resurrection of the Lord attributed to Peter was found in a 8th-9th-c. Greek parchment discovered in the Christian necropolis of Akhm®m Upper Egypt in 18861887. The name Gospel of Peter given it by scholars derives from the testimony of Serapion of Antioch, mentioned by Eusebius of Caesarea HE VI,12.2; Origen, reported in the Comm. in Matth. X,17; Jerome, present in the De viris illustribus 41 testimony based on Eusebius; Theodoret of Cyrrhus, who, in the Haereticorum fabulorum compendium II.2, tells us that the Nazarites used the gospel called According to Peter. Two brief fragments attributed to this writing have been found in the P. Oxy. 2949 and the P. Oxy. 4009, thought to be 2nd c. The Akhm®m fragment is not divided into verses and chapters. The content of the 14 chapters and 60 verses into which scholars have divided the narrative contained in the fragment is as follows: 1 Conclusion of the trial; attitude of Pilate and Herod vv. 1-2; 2 Joseph of Arimathea, even before the crucifixion, asks that the Lord’s body be given him for burial; attitude of Pilate and Herod vv. 3-5; 3 the passion: the Lord is handed over to the Jews, who begin the derision and insults vv. 6-9; 4 the crucifixion between two criminals; dividing of the garments; one of the criminals acknowledges him as the Savior of mankind vv. 10-14; 5 death and exaltation of the Lord; the darkness; the mixture of gall and vinegar; the veil of the temple torn vv. 15-20; 6 deposition from the cross and burial; details accompanying the deposition; the funeral rite by Joseph of Arimathea vv. 21-24; 7 attitude of the Jews and of the Lord’s disciples vv. 25-27; 8 the tomb guards vv. 28-33; 9 the resurrection: the crowd from Jerusalem’s testimony of the sealed tomb; the apparition to the soldiers of two young men who descend from heaven to the tomb vv. 34-37; 10 apparition to all the tomb guards; the three men whose height reaches to heaven; the walking cross; a voice questions; the cross responds vv. 38-42; 11 new apparition: a personage descends from heaven and enters the tomb; the guards, having agreed together on what to do, go to Pilate; request of the Jews that silence be imposed on the soldiers vv. 43-49; 12 Mary Magdalene and friends set out for the tomb vv. 50-54; 13 discovery of the empty tomb: the young man seated at the tomb, his questions and message vv. 55-57; 14 after the Feast of the Unleavened Bread: attitude of the disciples; probable beginning of the apparition of the Lord to Peter in Galilee vv. 58-60. Various problems have been raised concerning this text: the place and date of composition; its relation with the canonical gospels and the Christian literature of the first centuries; the presence or not of docetist elements; the presentation of the Lord’s passion-death-resurrection-glorification according to a formulation considered popular or heterodox. A few scholars e.g., Vlter have proposed Egypt as the place of origin of the Gospel of Peter. The letter of Serapion, bishop of Antioch in the late 2nd and early 3rd c., to the community of Rhossos, however, makes clear that the Gospel of Peter had already been read for some time in that community and perhaps had penetrated or been read in docetist circles see Eusebius, HE VI,12,2. Syria is thus to be favored as the location where the text was written. This thesis has been further strengthened by the fact that Origen made allusion to the Gospel of Peter after his time at Antioch, and by the considerable dependency on the Gospel of Peter shown by the Syriac Didascalia and Aphraates. The close relationship with other texts of the Syro-Asiatic region, such as the Per Pascha of Melito of Sardis, the fragment IV on Easter of Apollinaris of Hierapolis and the homily In S. Pascha of the 2nd-c. anonymous Asiatic lead to a placing of the text in the Syro-Asiatic area. In fact the affinity of the Gospel of Peter with the Easter homilies, as well as with the Eusebian text, have led many scholars to date the text toward the mid-2nd c. Regarding the relation of the Gospel of Peter and the canonical gospels, our author’s episodic narration harmonizes with the synoptic gospels and his theology with the gospel of John and the Apocalypse. A certain tendency to diminish the reality of the Lord’s sufferings seems to be present in some verses of the Gospel of Peter, suggesting that the text should be located, either as to its origin or its use, in docetist circles. There are, however, numerous passages that contradict this tendency. The text seems concerned to emphasize that the kyrios who suffers and dies on the cross is still the Lord of glory. This concern leads the author to present the passion-death-resurrection-glorification of the kyrios in such a concentrated fashion as to give the impression of diminishing the historicity of the individual details. In fact this is not the case: the passion and death of the kyrios are not ignored; rather, according to the Johannine perspective that associates the lifting up on the cross with glorification, the recapitulation in glory of the passion and death of the kyrios is stressed. Another fact of particular interest is the presence in the Gospel of Peter of two traditions regarding the Lord’s resurrection: one that describes the exit of the kyrios from the tomb in the presence of Jews and Gentiles, all witnesses to the event; and the other the same as in the canonical gospels, which entrusts the testimony of the Lord’s resurrection first to the empty tomb and then to the apparitions to the disciples. The theophany of the risen Lord seems to be the fruit, not of a desire for the spectacular, but of the recovery of a tradition, also attested by other texts; this tradition proclaims the same faith in Christ died and risen, but in a different setting in which the doctrine and images of apocalyptic literature are familiar. Among the numerous trans., see the most recent of L. Moraldi, Apocrifi del Nuovo Testamento. Vangeli, Casale Monferrato 1994 and, under the direction of F. Bovon – P. Geoltrain, Ecrits apocryphes chrtiens, Paris 1998. Beyond the numerous eds., trs. and studies, see esp. L. Vaganay, L’Evangile de Pierre, Paris 1930; M.G. Mara, Evangile de Pierre, Paris 1973; J. Denker, Die theologiegeschichtliche Stellung des Petrusevangeliums. Ein Beitrag zur Fr¼hgeschichte des Doketismus, Bern-Frankfurt 1975; W.J. McCant, The Gospel of Peter: Docetism Reconsidered: NTS 30 1984; R.E. Brown, The Gospel of Peter and Canonical Gospel Priority: NTS 33 1987; J.D. Crossan, The Cross That Spoke: The Origins of the Passion Narrative, San Francisco 1988; F. Bovon – P. Geoltrain, Ecrits apocryphes chrtiens, Paris 1998; E. Norelli, Situations des Apocryphes Ptriniens: Apocrypha 2 1991a; M.G. Mara, Il Vangelo di Pietro, Bologna 2003. II. The Kerygma Petrou or the Preaching of Peter. Ten fragments that have reached us through Clement of Alexandria, principally in the Stromateis, though there are some explicit references to passages of the Kerygma in the Prophetic Extracts. Our text is also referred to in the Letter to Diognetus, in Theophilus and in Origen, who says the text was cited by Heracleon Comm. in Jo. XIII, 17. Affinities have been noted between the Kerygma Petrou, the Apology of Aristides and the Ascension of Isaiah. Eusebius of Caesarea HE III, 3.2 counts the Kerygma among the ps.-Petrine writings. The fragments, which from the outset make reference to Peter, who in his preaching proclaimed the Lord to be law and word, recall a missionary discourse of Peter, who exhorts his listeners to recognize that there is only one God, creator of all things through the Son, and to adore him not as Greeks and Jews do, but in a new way, through Christ, as do Christians, who are called the third branch. The anti-idolatry and anti-Jewish polemic seems to be aimed not primarily at pagans and Jews but at catechumens or Christians needing consolation in their faith and needing to be made aware of the novelty this faith involves. Most scholars consider Egypt to be the source of the fragments. The presence of the Kerygma in 2nd-c. writings and the reference to the use of some fragments by Heracleon suggest a dating of the Kerygma Petrou not after the middle of the 2nd c. E. Bobschutz, Das Kerygma Petri kritisch untersucht TU XI,I, Leipzig 1893; E. Klostermann, Reste des Petrusevangeliums. Der Petrus apokalypse und des Kerygma Petri. Apocrypha I, Bonn 1933; M.G. Mara, Il Kerygma Petrou: Studi and Materiali di Storia delle Religioni 38 1967 314-342; P. Nautin, Les citations de la Prdication de Pierre dans Clment d’Alexandrie, Strom. VI,V, 39-41: JTS 25 1974 89-105; P. Paulsen, Das Kerygma Petri und die urchristliche Apologetik: ZKG 88 1977 1-37; E. Norelli, Situations des Apocryphes Petriniens: Apocrypha 3 1992 63-71; M.G. Mara, Note sulla Predicatio Petri, in Atti VI Simposio su Paolo Apostolo, Rome 2000, 147-154. III. Apocalypse of Peter. One of the earliest references to the Apocalypse of Peter is in the Muratorian Canon ca. 200, where it says: We also accept only the apocalypses of John and of Peter, noting that some Christians preferred that the latter not be read in church. Until the 4th c. see Codex Claromontanus it was still listed among the NT canonical books. Clement of Alexandria cites it multiple times Ext. Proph. 41; 48-49, considering it Sacred Scripture. The Apocalypse of Peter was used by Methodius of Olympus and mentioned by Eusebius and Macarius of Magnesia. In the Greek MS of Akhm®m, discovered in 18861887, besides the Gospel of Peter was a piece of an anonymous apocalypse that, based on its affinity with a citation of Clement of Alexandria, has been identified as the Apocalypse of Peter. In 1910 Grbaut found and translated an Ethiopian text of the Apocalypse of Peter, more extensive than that in the Akhm®n MS and considered by some to be earlier see Norelli. In both versions the basic theme is the revelation to Peter of the last judgment, of how the righteous and sinners will be separated, how it will be for the upright of heart, and how the wicked will be uprooted for all eternity. The text of the Ethiopian version opens with the scene of the Lord seated on the Mount of Olives, being asked by Peter and the disciples about the signs of his second coming and of the end of the world. The Lord, warning the disciples against false prophets, tells how unexpected his coming will be; as a sign from which the disciples can learn to recognize his actions at that time, he mentions the parable of the fruitful fig tree Mt 24:32; Mk 13:28ff. and that of the barren fig tree Lk 13:6-9, which refers to Israel, where an antichrist will appear in the last days and where there will be many martyrs. Christ then describes in detail to Peter the punishments that will be meted out to 17 categories of sinners; the fate of the righteous is stated with a few words: Then I will give to my elect and my righteous ones the salutary bath . The righteous will then be adorned with flowers and I will go to rejoice with them  and I will give them the promised eternal happiness with my heavenly Father. After inviting the disciples to follow him on the holy mountain, the Lord shows Peter the host of the fathers, their rest and Moses and Elijah, resplendent: the scene records Jesus’ transfiguration. The variations of the Ethiopian version vis- – vis that of the Akm®m MS have already been indicated see Norelli: in the Greek version, Peter and the disciples do not see Moses and Elijah, but some of the righteous brothers; Peter sees hell, but the punishments awaiting sinners are not described. Some scholars think it probable that the Ethiopian version preserves the original form of the text, even if from ch. 18 to the conclusion at ch. 36 there are obvious later additions. The date of the work is proposed as 2nd c.; Egypt, as the place of composition. Regarding the relation between the Apocalypse of Peter found in the MS of Akhm®m and the text of the Gospel of Peter of the same MS, it does not seem as though they come from a Petrine school or from Peter’s followers, or even from the same geographic area see D.H. Schmidt, The Peter Writings: Their Redactors and Their Relationships, Illinois 1972. The placing of the two texts in the same MS in the tomb of a Coptic monk in the necropolis of Akhm®m can probably be explained as an anthological collection of passages on the mystery of the afterlife. M. Erbetta, Gli apocrifi del Nuovo Testamento, III. Lettere e Apocalissi, Turin 1969, 208-233; L. Moraldi, Apocrifi del Nuovo Testamento, III. Lettere, Dormizione di Maria, Apocalissi, Casale Monferrato 1994, 319-368; D.D. Buchholz, Your Eyes Will Be Opened: A Study on the Greek Ethiopic Apocalypse of Peter, Atlanta 1988; E. Norelli, Situation des Apocryphes Ptriniens: Apocrypha 3 1992 31-83; Id., Pertinence Thologique et canonicit: les premi¨res apocalypses chrtiennes: Apocrypha 8 1997 147-164; P. Marrassini, L’Apocalisse di Pietro, in Studi in onore di Lanfranco Ricci, Istituto Universitario Orientale, Naples 1994; R.J. Bauckham, The Apocalypse of Peter: An Account of Research, in W. Haase ed., Aufstieg und Niedergang der r- mischen Welt, vol. 2.256 Berlin-New York 1988; Id., The Apocalypse of Peter: A Jewish-Christian Apocalypse from the Time of Bar Kokhba: Apocrypha 5 1994 7-111. IV. Acts of Peter. Written originally in Greek perhaps in Syria toward the end of the 2nd c., the Acts are in large part lost, with the exception of a text in which Peter’s martyrdom is narrated and a Coptic fragment in which is reported the episode of the healing of his daughter of the paralysis that came upon her to save her from Ptolemy. The Latin version of the Vercelli MSS, dated 4th-6th c. and considered the text closest to the original, has preserved most of the Acts of Peter. Various ancient testimonies Muratorian fragment, Clement of Alexandria, Hippolytus, today considered unreliable, refer to details of Peter and his family. Only from the 3rd c. do we have citations that with a high probability depend directly or indirectly on the Acts of Peter. The Acts of Peter seem also to have been known perhaps by Origen, who tells of Peter’s crucifixion with his head down; and certainly, in the first half of the 3rd c., by the author of the Didascalia, who in Didasc. 6,7-9 relates a passage with some details present in Acts of Peter 4; 5; 32. Eusebius of Caesarea HE III,2.25 does not name the Acts of Peter among the ps.-Petrine writings he cites, though some of his data does seem to depend on them. From the 4th c. on, possible references to our text by ecclesiastical writers multiply: see Cyril of Jerusalem Catech. VI, 14-15; Arnobius of Sicca Adv. gent. 2,12; Commodian Carmen apol. vv. 624-626, 629-630; Jerome Adv. Iovin. 1,26; Comm. in Gal. 1,18; De vir. ill. I. It is probable that Ambrose see De interp. Iob. et David, I,1; In Ps. 118, Sermo 21; In hexaemeron 4,8 had direct knowledge of the Acts of Peter through the Vercelli MSS. The Vercelli MSS open with three paragraphs dedicated to Paul’s departure from Rome for Spain, then narrate the arrival of Simon Magus at Rome, his preaching and Peter’s being sent by the Lord from Jerusalem to Rome to refute Simon there as he had at Jerusalem. Peter’s preaching and miracles cause Simon to flee Marcellus’s house, where he had been staying. The confrontation between Simon Magus and Peter began with Simon’s denial of the real birth and crucifixion of Jesus. After correcting Simon’s Christology, Peter works various resurrection miracles in the name of Jesus Christ. Exhorted by the crowd to do the same, Simon cannot; Peter then saves him from the wrath of the crowd. Trying to regain the crowd, Simon, after attracting them with false prodigies, tries to levitate, but falls to the ground and is definitively defeated by Peter. The following text narrates Peter’s martyrdom MSS P. L. Vouaux, Les Actes de Pierre. Introduction, textes, traduction et commentaire, Paris 1922; var. aus., Les Actes Apocryphes des Ap´tres, Geneva 1981, 299-301; A. Leloir, Ecrits apocryphes sur les Ap´tres, I, Turnhout 1986 for the Armenian texts; P. Lampe, Die stadtrmischen Christen in den ersten beiden Jahrhunderten, T¼bingen 2 1989; W. Schneemelcher, Petrusakten, in W. Schneemelcher, Neutestamentliche Apoktyphen II: Apostolisches, Apokalypsen und Verwandtes, T¼bingen 5 1989, 252- 253; Apocrifi del Nuovo Testamento. Atti degli Apostoli, ed. L. Moraldi, Casale Monferrato 1994, 41-104; var. aus., The Apocry phal Acts of Peter: Magic, Miracles and Gnosticism Studies on the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles 3, Louvain 1998, ed. J.N. Bremmer; the most recent redaction is by G. Poupon, Les Actes de Pierre et leur remaniement: ANRW II, 25,6 1988 4363-4383; E. Norelli, Sur les Actes de Pierre:   propos d’un livre rcent: Apocrypha 11 2000 227-258, prefers, to Poupon’s thesis of a primitive text and a redactor, that of a composite work from different sources, not well-integrated in the text; Chr. Thomas thinks of the Acts of Peter as a mixture of written and oral data, see in The ApocryphalPeter’s Reinstatement | Gospel of Christ Crucified travelquaz

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