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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament

2 Peter

- 2 Peter

by William Robertson Nicol








Fourth Century . In considering the external evidence for the authenticity of 2 Peter, it will be found most convenient to proceed from the earliest date when its place was fixed in the Canon of the New Testament. This date must be found in the fourth century A.D. Even then, the Epistle was rejected by the Syrian Church, where it was not accepted till early in the sixth century, and only by the Monophysites. The view of the Church of Rome is represented chiefly by JEROME, whose influence was paramount in the formation of the Vulgate Canon. He mentions the doubts raised by the differences in style and character between 1 and 2 Peter ( Quæst. ad Hedib. Migne, Pal. Lat. , xxii. 1002). Jerome, however, is clearly expressing only the objections of scholars. He says: “Scripsit duas epistulas, quae Catholicae nominantur; quarum secunda a plerisque eius esse negatur, propter stili cum priore dissonantiam,” where “a plerisque,” and the nature of the difficulty expressed, both point to the opinion of the learned class, which he does not himself share. The Epistle is quoted in the last quarter of the fourth century by “AMBROSIASTER” 1 [156] and by AMBROSE OF MILAN ( de Fide , iii. 12). In an African list, CANON MOMMSENIANUS, belonging to the middle of the fourth century, 2 Peter is found inserted, but with a protest, which indicates rejection in the mind of the scribe. DIDYMUS, who wrote a commentary on 2 Peter, towards the end of the fourth century, uses the following words, which are a fragment come down to us in a Latin translation, “non igitur ignorandum praesentem epistolam esse falsatam , quae licet publicetur, non tamen in canone est”. How are we to explain the words in italics, in view of the fact that in the De Trinitate , a later treatise, Didymus quotes repeatedly from 2 Peter? Chase suggests that the phrase represents the Greek words ὡς νοθεύεται αὕτηἐπιστολή , which would mean that the writer was only stating the opinion of others, more or less contemporary. Zahn ( Gesch. Kan. , l. i. p. 312) urges that Didymus is here recording a judgment of the second or third century, but there appears to be no conclusive reason to doubt that he is recording a contemporary opinion. EUSEBIUS ( H. E. , iii. 3) discusses the canonicity of 2 Peter, and makes the following important statement: τὴν δὲ φερομένην αὐτοῦ δευτέραν οὐκ ἐνδιάθηκον μὲν εἶναι παρειλήφαμεν , ὅμως δὲ πολλοῖς χρήσιμος φανεῖσα μετὰ τῶν ἄλλων ἐσπουδάσθη γραφῶν “The opinion has been handed down to us that the so-called Second Epistle (of Peter) is not canonical, but it has been studied along with the other Scriptures, as it appears profitable to many”. In the H. E. , iii. 25, 2 Peter is placed among the ἀντιλεγόμενα , although “accepted by the majority” ( γνωρίμων δʼ οὖν ὅμως τοῖς πολλοῖς ). Eusebius had a second class of ἀντιλεγόμενα which he regarded also as spurious ( νόθα ), and 2 Peter is classed with James, Jude 1:2 and 3 John as disputed books which were also γνώριμα . The evidence of Eusebius is specially valuable (1) because he records the opinion that in his day 2 Peter was regarded as uncanonical; (2) because he records a judgment of the past against it; (3) he failed to find any recognition of the book as Petrine in the earlier literature known to him, and his knowledge was wide. There can be little doubt that Eusebius himself rejected the idea of Petrine authorship, but he was also one of those to whom it was a “profitable” book. Constantine entrusted Eusebius with the preparation, for use in the new Capital, of fifty copies of the Scriptures, which contained 2 Peter. This quasi-official standard practically did away with the distinction between ‘acknowledged’ and ‘disputed’ books (Chase, H. D. B. , iii. 806 a).

[156] 1 Cf . Souter, Study of Ambosiaster , p. 196 f., Pseudo-Augustine Quaestiones , etc. (Vindob. 1908), p. 499.

Another indication of fourth century opinion is the inclusion of 2 Peter in the catalogues of GREGORY NAZIANZEN (d. 391), CYRIL OF JERUSALEM (d. 386), and ATHANASIUS (d. 373). One catalogue which is contained in the CODEX CLAROMONTANUS (sixth century), and regarded by Tischendorf and Westcott as earlier than the fourth century, recognises seven Catholic Epistles, together with the Shepherd of Hermas, Acts of Paul, and Apocalypse of Peter. On the other hand, in the list of AMPHILOCHIUS, Bishop of Iconium (c. 380), only one Epistle of Peter is recognised. We have already seen that the Syriac-speaking churches unanimously rejected 2 Peter, and considerable importance is to be attached to the fact that CHRYSOSTOM acknowledges only the Catholic Epistles, and that THEODORE OF MOPSUESTIA describes five Epistles, among which Isaiah 2:0 Peter, as “mediae auctoritatis”. “Since Chrysostom’s expositions, at any rate, were addressed to popular audiences, the rejection of the Epistle by the great teachers in question must have reflected the usage of the Antiochene Church in general.” (Chase, op. cit. , iii. 805.)

If we pass in review the evidence afforded by the usage of the fourth century in regard to this Epistle, we find that there was a considerable prevailing feeling of doubt as to the Petrine authorship, along with instances of definite rejection. It is, however, specially significant, in view of the modern tendency to depreciate the Epistle, that it seems to have gained a place in the Canon by virtue of its contents and its useful opposition to the doctrines of false teachers.

Third Century . METHODIUS, a bishop of Lycia at the end of the third century, who suffered in the Diocletian persecution, explicitly quotes 2 Peter 3:8 in the fragment De Resurrectione . Zahn ( Gesch. Kan. , l. i. p. 313) has collected some passages in the same treatise which seem to echo 2 Peter 3:10-13 , and while in these the thought, rather than the language, recalls 2 Peter, there seems no reason to doubt the reference. Methodius regards the Apocalypse of Peter also as inspired (Comm.; Virg., ii. b ). A further presumption in favour of the use by Methodius of 2 Peter is found in the DIALOGUE OF ADAMANTIUS, written probably in the later years of Constantine, which makes large use of the works of Methodius. In this work 2 Peter is quoted. FIRMILIAN, bishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, evidently refers to 2 Peter in a letter to Cyprian (No. 75). His words are: “Stephanus adhuc etiam infamans Petrum et Paulum beatos apostolos … qui in epistolis suis haereticos exsecrati sunt, et ut eos evitemus monuerunt”. The allusion to heretics applies only to 2 Peter.

We come now to the evidence of ORIGEN. In his extant Greek works there is a reference to 2 Peter of a somewhat ambiguous kind. “Peter left one recognised Epistle, and perhaps a second; for it is disputed” ( Πέτρος δέμίαν ἐπιστολὴν ὁμολογουμένην καταλέλοιπεν · ἔστω δὲ καὶ δευτέραν · ἀμφιβάλλεται γάρ ); (quoted Eusebius H.E. , vi. xxv. 8) In the Latin translation of his works by Rufinus there are some passages expressly quoting 2 Peter, e.g. , 2 Peter 1:4 , “ad participationem capiendam divinae naturae sicut Petrus Apostolus edocuit” ( Ep. ad Romans 4:9 . Ed. Lomm., vi. 302). 2 Peter 1:2 , “Petrus in epistola sua dicit. Gratia uobis et pax multiplicatur in recognitione Dei” ( ib. , viii. 6. Ed. Lomm., vii. 234). 2 Peter 2:19 , “Scio enim scriptum esse, quia unusquisque a quo vincitur huic et servus addicitur” ( in Exodus 12:4 . Ed. Lomm., ix. p. 149). Also in a passage which contains an allegorical use of the trumpet blasts before Jericho, it is written, “Petrus etiam duabus epistolarum suarum personat tubis” ( Hom, in Jos. , 12:1. Ed. Lomm., xi. 62). These passages have had grave doubt cast on their genuineness by Dr. Chase ( op. cit. , p. 803 b ). There can, at least, be no doubt, judging from the one undisputed reference, that Origen reflects a serious division of opinion in his time, and that his own opinion tends towards rejection ( ἔστω δὲ καὶ δευτέραν ) of the Petrine authorship.

As regards CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA, the main question to be settled is whether in the Hypotyposeis he comments on 2 Peter. If we are to take the statements of Eusebius ( H. E. , VI. xiv. 1) and Photius ( Bibliothec , 109), he commented “on all the Catholic Epistles”. On the other hand, Cassiodorus, who wrote some 300 years afterwards, gives most conflicting evidence. At one time he says that Clement expounded the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments “from beginning to end,” and in another passage, where he is giving a list of the canonical Epistles expounded by Clement, he omits 2 Peter. Moreover, in Cassiodorus’ translation of Clement’s Expositions, none are given of 2 Peter. The difficulty may be solved by supposing that in Clement’s work, 2 Peter had a place beside the Apocalypse of Peter, which was included in the Hypotyposeis . (So Chase, op. cit. , 802 a , and Zahn. Forsch. iii. p. 154.) Clement distinctly quotes the Apocalypse of Peter as the work of Peter, and as Scripture ( Eclogæ ex Script. Proph. , xli., xlviii., xlix). Accepting the statements of Eusebius and Photius quoted above, and supposing that for purposes of exposition 2 Peter was merged in the Apocalypse of Peter, we may find confirmation of the first statement of Cassiodorus in certain passages of Clement’s writing which have been collected by Mayor ( The Epistle of St. Jude and the Second Epistle of St. Peter, Introd. , cxix.) and Bigg ( Commentary on First and Second Peter , p. 202). In these the word-parallels are striking, but they would not necessarily constitute valid evidence in themselves.

In the writings of CYPRIAN we find no trace of 2 Peter, but it must not be forgotten that Firmilian’s letter to him, quoted above, contains a clear allusion. In HIPPOLYTUS there are found passages that point to acquaintance with 2 Peter (Chase, 804 b , Bigg, p. 203). A portion of evidence that must not be omitted here is afforded by the division of sections in CODEX B. In this manuscript there are two divisions of sections, and one is older than the other. The double division is preserved in all the Catholic Epistles except 2 Peter, where the older division is wanting. The conclusion is inevitable that in the older form of Codex B, 2 Peter was wanting.

To sum up the evidence of the third century, we find that 2 Peter was in use so far as to influence the thought of Hippolytus in Rome, to be commented on by Clement of Alexandria, and to be expressly quoted by Firmilian and Methodius in Asia Minor. Although no reference is found in the writings of Cyprian of Carthage, yet Firmilian’s letter with the quotation is addressed to him. This is scarcely evidence, but it certainly implies Cyprian’s knowledge of the Epistle, and also that he would concur in its use as a source of quotation. Again, the two great Egyptian versions of this century, the SAHIDIC and BOHAIRIC, both contain 2 Peter. If we accept a conjectural emendation of Zahn’s in the language of the MURATORIAN CANON, there is contained in it a reference to the division of opinion in the Church with regard to this Epistle ( Gesch. Kan. i., p. 110 n.). [157] Origen’s statement that “it is disputed,” represents a widespread doubt as to its genuineness. This attitude, combined with a general willingness to respect its contents, must be regarded as the mind of the church about 2 Peter in the third century.

[157] The passage in question reads, as amended by Zahn, “Apocalypses etiam Johannis et Petri (unam) tantum recipimus (epistulam; fertur etiam altera), quam quidam ex nostris legi in ecclesia nolunt”. The emendations are apt, but is it possible, if we have regard to the loose grammatical construction everywhere in the document, that no change is needed? The Apocalypse of Peter may be referred to as the document “quam quidam, etc.,” and we have seen reason to believe ( e.g ., in case of Clement of Alexandria), that 2 Peter and the Apoc. Petri were sometimes regarded as one whole

Second Century . In a document which is preserved in a seventh century MS. entitled ACTUS PETRI CUM SIMONE (xx., ed. Lips., p. 67) there occurs a passage which contains several striking parallels with 2 Peter. The following phrases may be noted (1) “majestatem suam videre in monte sancto,” (2) “vocem eius audivi talem qualem referre non possum”. In (2) there is a parallel to the rather remarkable phrase, φωνῆς τοιᾶσδε , of 2 Peter 1:17 . It is true that the extant MS. only represents a Latin translation of the original Greek, and that editors and translators may interpolate. At the same time, it is difficult not to regard Chase as over-sceptical in seeking to discredit the parallel by regarding the whole passage as an interpolation ( op. cit. , 802 b ). There seems no reason why we should not accept the passage as an important second century attestation of 2 Peter, and as an indication that the Epistle had already some position in the Church. Turning next to the CLEMENTINE LITERATURE, we have in the Recognitions (1 Peter 5:12 ) what appears to be a reference to 2 Peter 2:19 : “Unusquisquis illius fit servus cui se ipse subjecerit”. Rufinus is again the translator of the Recognitions , and we are reminded of his translation of Origen ( In Exod. Hom. , 12), “Unusquisque a quo vincitur huic et servus addicitur”. The translations are both of the same passage in 2 Peter, and the variety in the language, so far from countenancing a theory of interpolation on the part of Rufinus may well indicate that he is translating at different times separate references to the same passage. In the Homilies (xvi. 20) there occurs a reference, pointed out by Salmon ( Introduction , p. 488 n.) to 2 Peter 3:9 , τοὐναντίον μακροθυμεῖ , εἰς μετάνοιαν καλεῖ . The context also is confirmatory. Peter is speaking of the blasphemies of Simon Magus, which appear to have been similar in character to the false teaching that is denounced in 2 Peter. All things have been as they were from the foundation of the world. The earth has not opened; fire has not come down from heaven; rain is not poured out; beasts are not sent forth from the thicket to avenge their spiritual adultery. Then come the words quoted, “But, on the contrary, he is long-suffering, and calls to repentance”. Yet Chase says, “It is difficult to see what there is in the context which specially recalls 2 Peter.” The coincidences mentioned by Salmon ( op. cit. , p. 488) in the writing of THEOPHILUS OF ANTIOCH are inconclusive, although the words in 2 Peter 2:9 , οἱ δὲ τοῦ θεοῦ ἄνθρωποι πνευματόφοροι πνεύματος ἁγίου καὶ προφῆται γενόμενοι recall 2 Peter 1:21 . In 2 Peter 2:13 , ὁ λόγος αὐτοῦ , φαίνων ὥσπερ λύχνος ἐν οἰκήματι συνεχομένῳ , may be compared with 2 Peter 1:19 . Similarly, in TATIAN, Or. ad Graecos , 15 (Otto vi., p. 70), σκήνωμα (= body) is reminiscent of its similar use in 2 Peter 1:13 . To found an argument, however, for the use of 2 Peter by these writers on such single words and expressions is precarious. They might well be part of the current vocabulary. In the Apology of ARISTIDES (129 130) a passage occurs that naturally suggests 2 Peter 1:11 ; 2 Peter 2:2 . ἡ ὁδὸς τῆς ἀληθείας ἥτις τοὺς ὁδεύοντας αὐτὴν εἰς τὴν αἰώνιον χειραγωγεῖ βασιλείαν ( Apolog. , xvi.). IRENÆUS introduces a quotation from 1 Peter with the words, “Petrus ait in epistola sua” (iv. 9, 2), but this does not necessarily imply that he knew only one Petrine letter. He knew 2 John, and yet quotes 1 John in the same phrase. The phrase in 2 Peter 3:8 occurs in Irenæus ver 23, 2, “Dies Domini sicut mille anni,” and in ver 28, 3, ἡ γὰρ ἡμέρα κυρίου ὡς χίλια ἔτη . In both passages, however, the words are connected with Chiliasm, which is absent from the thought of 2 Peter. In The EPISTLE OF THE CHURCHES OF LYONS AND VIENNE, with which Irenæus was closely connected (date 177 179) we find the words ὁ δὲ διὰ μέσου καιρὸς οὐκ ἀργὸς αὐτοῖς οὐδὲ ἄκαρπος ἐγίνετο ( cf. 2 Peter 1:8 ).

The most important question in the external evidence of the second century arises in connexion with the APOCALYPSE OF PETER, to which Harnack assigns the date 110 160, or probably 120 140. The work is used by the Viennese Church, and therefore the earlier date is more likely. Only a fragment of the Apocalypse is preserved to us, in which there are some striking coincidences with 2 Peter ( cf. , M. R. James, A Lecture on the Revelation of Peter ). Some of these may be quoted here: (1) πολλοὶ ἐξ αὐτῶν ἔσονται ψευδοπροφῆται , καὶ ὅδους καὶ δόγματα ποικίλα τῆς ἀπωλείας διδάξουσιν · ἐκεῖνοι δὲ υἱοὶ τῆς ἀπωλείας γενήσονται . καὶ τότε ἐλεύσεταιθεόςκαὶ κρινεῖ τοὺς υἱοὺς τῆς ἀνομίας (Apoc. § 1; cf. 2 Peter 2:1 ; 2 Peter 3:7 ; 2 Peter 3:12 .) (2) ὁ Κύριος ἔφη , Ἄγωμεν εἰς τὸ ὄροςἀπερχόμενοι δὲ μετʼ αὐτοῦ ἡμεῖς οἱ δώδεκα μαθηταί (Apoc. § 2; cf. 2 Peter 1:18 ). The passage goes on to say that the Apostles desired “that He would show them one of our righteous brethren who have departed,” ἵνα ἴδωμεν ποταποί (2 Peter 3:11 ) εἰσι τὴν μορφήν , καὶ θαρσήσαντες παραθαρσύνωμεν καὶ τοὺς ἀκούοντας ἡμῶν ἀνθρώπους ( cf. ἐγνωρίσαμεν ὑμῖν , 2 Peter 1:16 ); ἔχομεν βεβαιότερον (2 Peter 1:19 ). (3) τόποναὐχμηρὸν πάνυ ; … σκοτεινὸν εἶχον αὐτῶν τὸ ἔνδυμα κατὰ τὸν ἀέρα τοῦ τόπου (§ 6; cf. 2 Peter 1:19 ). (4) A frequent use of κολάζειν , or the noun ( cf. §§ 6, 7, 10, 11, 2 Peter 2:9 ). (5) οἱ βλασφημοῦντες τὴν ὁδὸν τῆς δικαιοσύνης (§ 6; cf. § 13 and 2 Peter 2:2 ; 2 Peter 2:21 ). (6) (a) λίμνη τιςπεπληρωμένη βορβόρου (§ 8. βόρβορος occurs in § 9 twice, and in § 16); (b) ἐκυλίοντο (§ 15; cf. 2 Peter 2:22 ). (7) ἀμελήσαντες τῆς ἐντολῆς τοῦ θεοῦ (§ 15; cf. 2 Peter 2:21 , 2 Peter 3:2 ). (8) (a) ἡ γῆ παραστήσει πάντας τῷ θεῷ ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως καὶ αὐτὴ μέλλουσα κρίνεσθαι σὺν καὶ τῷ περιέχοντι οὐρανῷ (quoted by Macarius Magnes, Apocritica iv. 6). (b) τακήσεται πᾶσα δύναμις οὐρανοῦ , καὶ ἑλιχθήσεταιοὐρανὸς ὡς βιβλίον , καὶ πάντα τὰ ἄστρα πεσεῖται Mac. Magn. op. cit. iv. 7; cf. 2 Peter 3:10-13 ; see Mayor, ed. pp. cxxx. ff.).

All scholars are agreed that these and other coincidences are more than accidental ( cf. Salmon, op. cit. , p. 591). Various hypotheses to account for them are suggested.

(1) Did 2 Peter borrow from the Apocalypse? (Harnack, Chronologie , p. 471). A comparison, however, of the language of the two documents suggests that 2 Peter is simpler and shorter in the expression of the same ideas; and in some cases, ideas and phrases, separated in 2 Peter, are gathered together in one passage in the Apocalypse ( cf. (1), (2), (8) above). Bigg ( op. cit. , p. 207) also contends against this hypothesis on the ground that the description of hell is suggested by Plato, Aristophanes, Homer, and especially Virgil, and points to a later date than the Epistle. The rare word ταρταρώσας is indeed used by 2 Peter of the punishment of the wicked after death, and the conception is undoubtedly derived from heathen mythology. The word, however, is found in Jewish writings, which 2 Peter may have read (see note on 2 Peter 2:4 ).

(2) Are 2 Peter and the Apocalypse by the same author? (Sanday, Inspiration , p. 347). This view is opposed by Chase ( op. cit. , 815) on the ground of the difference in style. “The Apocalypse,” he says, “is simple and natural in its style. There is nothing remarkable in its vocabulary.” The argument would seem to be conclusive, as the style of 2 Peter is unmistakable, and would be easily recognised. At the same time, the undoubted similarity between the two writings “not only in words or indefinitely marked ideas, but also in general conception e.g. , in both there is the picture drawn of Christ on the mountain with His Apostles, the latter being admitted to a secret revelation which they should afterwards use for the confirmation of their disciples seems to be an argument of some strength in favour of the view that the two documents are the product of the same school” (Chase).

(3) Does the Apocalypse borrow from 2 Peter? Some of the arguments already adduced against the contrary hypothesis (i.) are really in favour of this supposition. The “naturalness of the words and phrases as they stand in their several contexts in the Apocalypse,” which is brought forward by Chase as an argument against this third hypothesis ( op. cit. , p. 815 b ) is really only a compliment to the style of the writing, and an indication that the writer has no intention of slavishly imitating 2 Peter, or of forming a kind of mosaic of his own and another’s diction. As regards the absence in the Apocalypse of the strange and remarkable phrases of 2 Peter that they were strange and remarkable might be precisely the reason why they were avoided or modified. ἐβασάνιζεν in 2 Peter 2:8 is rendered by δοκιμάζω in Apocalypse, § 1; the reference to the Transfiguration in the Apocalypse is fuller than in 2 Peter, and would seem to indicate reflection on the Petrine narrative ( e.g., cf. addition of οἱ δώδεκα μαθηταί to simple ἡμεῖς in 2 Peter 1:18 ; and expression τὸ ὄρος for τῷ ἁγίῳ ὄρει ). Such a phrase as ἐν τόπῳ σκοτεινῷ , might well be a paraphrase of ἐν αὐχμηρῷ τόπῳ , a much rarer word, and it is extremely unlikely that αὐχμ . would be substituted for σκοτεινός . It is therefore most probable that the Apocalypse is indebted to 2 Peter, which would suggest a date for the Epistle earlier than 120 140 ( cf. p. 181).

In the so-called SECOND EPISTLE OF CLEMENT (130 170) there is a passage deserving of notice. γινώσκετε δὲ ὅτι ἔρχεται ἤδηἡμέρα τῆς κρίσεως ὡς κλίβανος καιόμενος καὶ τακήσονται αἱ δυνάμεις τῶν οὐρανῶν καὶ πᾶσαγῆ ὡς μόλυβδος ἐπὶ πυρὶ τηκόμενος καὶ τότε φανήσεται τὰ κρύφια καὶ φανερὰ ἔργα τῶν ἀνθρώπων (16:3). One or two interesting points are raised by this passage.

(1) Where does the writer derive the conception of the day of judgment as meaning the destruction of the universe by fire? He clearly quotes Malachi 4:1 , Isaiah 34:4 , but these passages are not sufficient to suggest the idea unless to one already familiar with the doctrine. Bigg ( Comm. pp. 214 15) argues at some length that this doctrine is ultimately to be traced to 2 Peter. Justin ( Apol. , i. 20) traces the belief in the world-fire to the Sybil (Book 4.) and Hystaspes. Bigg holds that both these belong to the same family as the pseudo-Petrine literature. The destruction of the world by fire was not an article of faith among the Jews, and Philo argues strongly against it ( On the Incorruptibility of the World ). The office of fire in the O.T. is to purify, and not to destroy (Isaiah 34:4 ; Isaiah 51:6 ; Isaiah 66:15-16 ; Isaiah 66:22 ; Malachi 4:1 ). In the N.T. ( e.g. , Hebrews 12:26-29 ; 1 Corinthians 3:13 ; 2 Thessalonians 1:8 ; Revelation 21:1 ) the conception of fire is distinctly that of a purifying agency. It is to be noted, however, against Bigg’s view, that the conception of 2 Peter is not altogether at variance with the doctrine of the N.T. about the office of fire. The destruction of the present universe is vividly described in Chapter 3, but the writer evidently has the idea of purification in his mind, and not of annihilation. “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13 ). Accordingly, if the passage quoted from 2 Clement is to be taken in the sense of annihilation by fire, it cannot be regarded as founded exclusively on 2 Peter.

(2) Is there anything in the language to connect the two? ἡμέρα κρίσεως is found in N.T. only in St. Matthew’s Gospel (Matthew 10:15 , Matthew 11:22 ; Matthew 11:24 ), in 1 John (1 John 4:17 ), and in 2 Peter (2 Peter 2:9 , 2 Peter 3:7 ). In 2 Peter 3:10 , however, the expression is ἡμέρα κυρίου . τήκομαι is also a word common to 2 Peter (2 Peter 3:12 ) and the passage in 2 Clem. An important coincidence is φανήσεταιἔργα , which may be an attempt to make sense of the very doubtful reading in 2 Peter 3:10 ( ἔργα εὑρεθήσεται ). On the whole, the similarity of language and the affinity of thought in the two passages must be regarded as establishing a connexion. (For other coincidences, see Spitta, Der zweite Brief des Petrus und der Brief des Judas , p. 534 n.)

In the EPISTLE OF BARNABAS (130 31, Harnack), in a Chiliastic passage, the words occur, ἡ γὰρ ἡμέρα παρʼ αὐτῷ χίλια ἔτη . αὐτὸς δέ μοι μαρτυρεῖ λέγων , ἰδοὺ ἡμέρα Κυρίου ἔσται ὡς χίλια ἔτη (15:4). It has been pointed out that παρʼ αὐτῷ is very close to 2 Peter’s παρὰ κυρίῳ and the repetition of the words points to the quotation of some recognised utterance of Scripture. Barnabas, also, is in the habit of using λέγει to introduce his quotations from Scripture. The question is whether he is quoting 2 Peter 3:8 or some other source. The context in Barnabas is different from that in 2 Peter. He is dealing with the mystical interpretation of the passage Genesis 2:16 . Also, in 2 Peter no Chiliastic meaning is attached, as in Barnabas. In all probability, 2 Peter 3:8 is regarded by Barnabas as an authority for Chiliasm, along with Revelation 20:4 ff., which he quotes. IN THE SHEPHERD OF HERMAS (110 140, Harnack) there are certain words and phrases that are found only in 2 Peter, μιασμός (Sim. 1 Peter 5:1-2 ); βλέμμα (in different sense = appearance ; Sim. vi. 2, 5); δυσνόητος (Sim. ix. 14, 4); αὐθάδεις , applied to false teachers (Sim. ix. 22, 1.) [158] IN CLEMENT OF ROME (93 95, Harnack) we find several phrases which, in N.T., are peculiar to 2 Peter: τοὺς δὲ ἑτεροκλινεῖς ὑπάρχοντας εἰς κόλασιν καὶ αἰκισμὸν τίθησιν (11:1); ἐπόπτης (used, however, of God) (59:3); αὐθάδη (1:1); μῶμος (63:1); μεγαλοπρεπεῖ δόξαὐτοῦ (9:2), but μεγαλοπρεπεῖ βουλήσει occurs previously in same paragraph; Νῶε ἐκήρυξεν μετάνοιαν (7:6). The passage in Clem. xxxiv. may also be noted: εἰς τὸ μετόχους ἡμᾶς γενέσθαι τῶν μεγάλων κ . ἐνδόξων ἐπαγγελιῶν αὐτοῦ ( cf. 1:4 ). [159] These coincidences in Barnabas, in Clement, and in the Didache are scarcely conclusive as quotations, but they suggest a milieu of thought corresponding to 2 Peter.

[158] Of the passages collected by Zahn ( der Hirt der Hermas , p. 431) as having affinity with 2 Peter, the most striking is Sim. vi. 4, 4: τῆς τρυφῆς καὶ ἀπάτηςχρόνος ὥρα ἐστὶ μία . τῆς δὲ βασάνουὥρα τριάκοντα ἡμέρων δύναμιν ἔχει . ἐαν οὖν μίαν ἡμέραν τρυφήστις καὶ ἀπατηθῇ κ . τ . λ . ( cf . 2 Peter 2:13 ).

[159] Spitta, p. 534 n., points out a passage in the Didache (iii. 6 8) having a remarkable affinity with Jude and 2 Peter. γόγγυσος , a rare word (Jude 1:16 ) is used. βλασφημία , αὐθάδης and τρέμων are twice repeated ( cf . 2 Peter 2:10 ).

To what conclusion does the evidence of the second century lead? Chase says, “If we put aside the passage from the Clementine Recognitions and that from the Acts of Peter, as open to the suspicion of not accurately representing the original texts, there does not remain, it is believed, a single passage in which the coincidence with 2 Peter can, with anything approaching confidence, be said to imply literary obligation to that Epistle” ( cf. Bacon, Introd. , 173). It ought, however, to be noted that the passage in the Clementine Recognitions can only be set aside on the ground that Rufinus can fairly be accused of interpolation; and the evident coincidences in the Actus Petri cum Simone can be dismissed only on account of distrust of the Latin translator of the work. We have also the evidence of dependence in the Apocalypse of Peter. It is doubtful whether any of the Apostolic Fathers make use of the Epistle, but the coincidences in word and thought in 2 Clement, Barnabas, Hermas, Didache, and Clement of Rome cannot be ignored. They at least suggest a possible atmosphere of thought for 2 Peter. On the whole, the evidence of the second century would suggest a date for the Epistle not much later than the first decade. There is an entire absence of evidence to the Petrine authorship.



1. The obvious first step to be taken is to examine the References to the Gospel History in the Epistle, and to consider what light they may throw on the authorship of the Epistle.

(1) Chap. 2 Peter 1:3 . τοῦ καλέσαντος ἡμᾶς . The reference of the participle is to Ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν ( cf. note). Does ἡμᾶς refer to the Apostles, and in particular to the call of St. Peter? This interpretation involves that ἡμῖν in 2 Peter 1:1 likewise refers to the Apostles. Other indications, however, in the Epistle point to a group of scattered Christian communities in Asia Minor as the recipients of the letter, and the sense in 2 Peter 1:1 seems to be that the readers of the letter, who are isolated and harassed by false teachers, are set on equal terms with “us,” who occupy a less difficult position, and enjoy greater outward privileges. Again, in 2 Peter 1:4 the best attested reading is ἡμῖν (not ὑμῖν ), and clearly there the reference is to the writer and readers together. So ἡμῶν ought to be taken in 2 Peter 1:2 . ἡμᾶς must therefore consistently be referred to the body of readers with whom 2 Peter identifies himself in thought, as united in their common faith, and not to the Apostles alone. Spitta ( op. cit. , pp. 37 ff.), arguing for the reference to the Gospel History, takes ἡμᾶς as referring to the calling of the immediate Apostles, in contrast to those who believed in response to their preaching. Such a sense would by no means suit ἡμῖν in 2 Peter 1:4 . Also, in 2 Peter 1:10 κλῆσιν clearly refers to writer and readers taken together. Moreover, καλεῖν in N.T. is by no means confined to the call of the first disciples ( cf. Matthew 9:13 ). In Romans 9:24 the thought is almost exactly parallel to this passage, “even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles”.

(2) Chap. 2 Peter 1:16 ff. The Transfiguration . If we compare the reference here with the Synoptic accounts, there emerge some interesting points of difference. All three Synoptics speak as though the glory had its source from within. Such can only be the significance of μετεμορφώθη (Matt. and Mark): and the ἐγένετοἒτερον of Luke is an indication that he interpreted the phenomenon as an inward change. He also tells us that it was ἐν τῷ προσεύχεσθαι , “as he was praying,” that the change took place (Luke 9:29 ). 2 Peter, on the other hand, seems to think of the glory as having an outward source, like what happened in the case of Moses (Exodus 34:29 ff.; 2 Corinthians 3:7 ff.), as a reflexion of the glory of God, an outward attestation in addition to the voice ( λαβὼν γὰρ παρὰ θεοῦ πατρὸς τιμὴν καὶ δόξαν 2 Peter 1:17 ). Spitta argues that this is a more natural and primitive account, and therefore independent of the account in the Synoptics, which shows traces of later thought playing upon the incident. There can be no doubt that the conception of the glory as external is found in 2 Peter, but it is not regarded as an altestation previous to the voice, as in the Synoptics. On the contrary, the two aorist participles imply coincident action, the first really taking the place of a finite verb ( cf. the common phrase, ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν ). “He received honour and glory when there came to Him,” etc. Moreover, τιμή can only refer to the attestation of the voice (see note on passage). To this extent 2 Peter differs from the Synoptic gospels. Are we then justified in regarding the disparity as a mark of the eye-witness? There are, however, other characteristics of the passage in 2 Peter which rather point to literary dependence on the Synoptic account, ( α ) The reading of [160] [161] [162] [163] [164] , adopted in the text, is οὗτος ἔστινυἱός μουἀγαπητός , εἰς ὃν ἐγὼ εὐδόκησα , which differs from Matthew 17:5 only in respect that ( α ) εἰς ὃν is substituted for ἐν ᾧ (see note on passage), ( β ) ἐγώ is inserted, and ( γ ) ἀκούετε αὐτοῦ is omitted. Again, σκηνώματι (2 Peter 2:12 ) σκηνώματος (2 Peter 2:14 ) and ἔξοδον (1 Peter 2:15 ) occurring together, seem to indicate that the vocabulary of the Synoptic account was lingering in the mind of the writer. σκήνωμα , a rare and unusual word in this sense, is used characteristically in the sense of the ordinary σκῆνος , and may have been suggested by the σκήνη of the Gospel narrative. ἔξοδος belongs to Luke’s own vocabulary in reporting the conversation of the three men, and its employment indicates acquaintance with his Gospel. “Omission of details of the history ( e.g. , the presence of Moses and Elias) in an allusion contained in a letter cannot reasonably be taken to show that a writer is giving an account independent of, or more primitive than, that of the Synoptists” (Chase, op. cit. iii. 809 b , but cf. Zahn, Introd. II., pp. 217 f.). Moreover, ἐν τῷ ἁγίῳ ὄρει indicates a later stage of thought than the simple εἰς ὄρος ὑψηλὸν (Mark 9:2 ; Matthew 1:7 ), or εἰς τὸ ὄρος (Luke 9:26 ). It implies not only the assignment of a definite locality, but also the ascription of a “sacred” site, “a known mountain which had now become consecrated as the scene of the vision” (Mayor, op. cit. , cxliv.) It is, of course, also possible to take ἐν τῷ ἁγίῳ ὄρει in sense of Isaiah 11:9 ; Isaiah 65:25 where it is used of the Messiah’s kingdom. “Perhaps 2 Peter means that in the Transfiguration the three Apostles were admitted to behold the glories of that kingdom, without alluding to any particular Jewish mountain” (Mayor, iv., note 1). The passage betrays reflexion on the original incident, and is written from the standpoint of one who is concerned chiefly to interpret the “glory” of Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration as prophetic of His δύναμιν καὶ παρουσίαν , which is the theme of the Epistle ( ἐπόπται γενηθέντες τῆς ἐκείνου μεγαλειότητος ), and as establishing the truthfulness of the Apostles who preached the παρουσία .

[160] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[161] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[162] Codex Ephraemi (sæc. v.), the Paris palimpsest, edited by Tischendorf in 1843.

[163] Codex Mosquensis (sæc. ix.), edited by Matthæi in 1782.

[164] Codex Angelicus (sæc. ix.), at Rome, collated by Tischendorf and others.

(3) Chap. 2 Peter 1:14 : Prophecy of the death of St. Peter . ταχινή ἐστινἀπόθεσιςκαθὼς καὶκύριος ἡμῶν Ι . Χ . ἐδήλωσεν μοι . Clearly there is here a reference to the incident in John 21:18 . In the notes, ταχινή is taken to mean “imminent” and not in the sense of sudden death Spitta, amongst others, has argued strongly (pp. 88 f., 491 f.) that there is here no reference to the Gospel history, and is supported by Mayor. It is contended that the words ὅταν γηράσῃς , in John 21:15 , imply that death was not imminent, and that in old age a man does not require a prophecy to tell him that death is near. Moreover, in the Johannine passage, the emphasis is not on the time but on the manner of St. Peter’s death. It is further suggested that some special revelation by Jesus to St. Peter of the near approach of death, not recorded in Scripture, must be meant, and that a reference may be intended to the story contained in the legend, “Domine quo vadis?” found in the Clementine Homilies, and in the Apocalypse of Peter. The foregoing argument is founded on the supposition that καθὼς necessarily refers to the whole preceding clause, ὅτιμου . It need not be so. The writer speaks as an old man, and the reference would then be to the prophesied death in old age. The objection that old age in itself is a warning of approaching death seems trivial. That fact would not prevent the mention of a prophecy regarding it. Again, it is not necessary to suppose that 2 Peter actually has the passage John 21:18 in his mind. He may be referring independently to the incident. It is suggestive to compare the use of καθὼς καὶ here with 2 Peter 3:15 . There the καθὼς καὶ is added as a kind of afterthought, and is not really dependent on the principal verb ἡγεῖσθε . It has really the significance of another principal clause. The syntax would seem to be similar in 2 Peter 1:14 . The matter of knowledge ( εἰδὼς ) is that death is near at hand, however that knowledge is suggested to him, and the clause καθὼς καὶ is added by way of further illustration. It is unreasonable to demand that the thought in 2 Peter must be an exact replica of the passage in John, if the reference is to be the same.

(4) Chap. 2 Peter 2:20 ( γέγονεν αὐτοῖς τὰ ἔσχατα χείρονα τῶν πρώτων ) is clearly a reminiscence of the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 12:45 , Luke 11:29 .

These four references to the Gospel history have now been examined. The first may be set aside, and the other three may be regarded as indicating no more than a knowledge of the Gospels, and especially of two incidents in the life of St. Peter. They do not nearly amount to evidence that the writer is the Apostle himself.

The paucity of references to the Gospel history, in an Epistle purporting to be written by the Apostle Peter, is remarkable. It contains only one reference to the actual words of Jesus (2 Peter 2:20 ), but indirectly these may be referred to in 2 Peter 2:1 = Matthew 10:33 ; Matthew 1:8 = Luke 13:7-8 ; Luke 3:4 = Matthew 24:37-42 . We would expect that the mind of an intimate disciple would have been saturated with reminiscences of our Lord’s teaching, and would have dwelt easily on the great events of His Life. In this respect we may compare 2 Peter most unfavourably with the genuine first Epistle. In the former there is no mention of the Passion or Resurrection, and there is a strange absence of that vivid sense of the Risen Lord as living and reigning in grace, which is so characteristic of the writings of the Apostles, who “had been begotten again unto a living hope”. It is also a matter for serious consideration as against the genuineness of the Epistle, that the references to the Gospel history are introduced apparently to support the character of one writing as St. Peter, and to distinguish his statements from σεσοφισμένοι μῦθοι (2 Peter 1:16 ). (But cf. Bigg. p. 231.)

2 The Personality of St. Peter in the Epistle . (1) Chap. 2 Peter 1:1 Συμεὼν Πέτρος δοῦλος καὶ ἀπόστολος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ . The significance of the form Συμεὼν is very obscure. The point to be emphasised at present is that St. Peter is here represented as the writer of the Epistle. If, however, the Petrine authorship is untenable, how is the expression to be justified? In this connexion, one or two questions call for consideration.

( a ) Does the form of the words afford any indication that the name of St. Peter is being used by a later writer? His own description of himself in 1 Peter 1:1 is Πέτρος ἀπόστολος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ . The form Συμεὼν is used only in one other passage, viz. , Acts 15:14 , in the address of St. James at the Council of Jerusalem. δοῦλος is found in Jude 1:1 , and in view of the evident dependence of 2 Peter on Jude, this fact may be regarded as significant. Again, if Spitta is right in supposing that by the use of the pre-Christian name, Συμεὼν , the writer puts himself on a level with those whom he addresses, and prepares the way for the epithet ἰσότιμον (“equally privileged,” as between Jew and Gentile), it is evident that the whole title given to St. Peter is carefully chosen by a process of reflection. There is, therefore, a presumption that another mind is at work here, which has also borrowed largely from Jude in chap. 2.

( b ) If the name of St. Peter has been thus used, the Epistle is pseudonymous. What is the distinction between pseudonymity in early Christian writings and forgery? Does pseudonymity imply ethical fault, and does it affect the authority of a writing? A most uncompromising position in this regard is characteristic of the older criticism. Westcott ( Canon , pp. 352 f.) in speaking of the disputed books of the Canon, says: “The Second Epistle of St. Peter is either an authentic work of the Apostle, or a forgery; for in this case there can be no mean.… It involves a manifest confusion of ideas to compensate for a deficiency of historical proof by a lower standard of canonicity. The extent of the Divine authority of a book cannot be made to vary with the completeness of the proof of its genuineness. The genuineness must be admitted before the authority can have any positive value, which from its nature cannot admit of degrees; and till the genuineness be established, the authority remains in abeyance.” In a note, Westcott adds, “These books (2 Peter, James, Jude, Hebrews) have received the recognition of the Church in such a manner that, if genuine, they must be canonical”.

The use of the term “forgery” in such a connexion ought to be avoided. [165] In the first place, the expression is an entire misunderstanding of the origin of much of the pseudepigraphic literature of the time, and on other grounds the term is equally objectionable. It is, in effect, an attempt to browbeat the judgment into the acceptance of such books as genuine, on account of the difficulty of believing that the Church could accept into the Canon what is supposed to be the product of fraud and deceit. The question of pseudonymity cannot be settled “by a profession of moral indignation”. The idea that literary property is guarded by ethical considerations is essentially modern. “Believers frequently borrowed from the books of other believers or of unbelievers, without mentioning any source, and without considering themselves in any way as thieves.” “With the best intentions and with the clearest consciences they put such words into the mouth of a revered Apostle as they wished to hear enunciated with Apostolic authority to their contemporaries, while yet they did not regard themselves in the smallest degree as liars and deceivers” (Jülicher, Introd. , E. Tr., p. 52). The standard of genuineness applied to the early Christian writings, and especially in the formation of the Canon, was their conformity to the teaching of the Church. Were they orthodox or heretical? A case in point is the story related by TERTULLIAN ( De Baptismo , xvii.) of the writer of the Acts of Paul and Thecla, who was compelled to give up his office “on the ground that he imputed to Paul an invention of his own” (quasi titulo Pauli de suo cumulans). He defended himself by saying that he wrote out of regard for Paul, and that therefore he had not an evil conscience. The plea was evidently accepted, and he was convicted, not of literary fraud as such, but because he dared to advocate the heretical view that women had a right to preach and to baptise. We must also take into account in our estimate of pseudepigraphy what Jülicher calls “the boundless credulity of ecclesiastical circles to whiċh so many of the N.T. Apocrypha have owed their lasting influence”. Eusebius ( H. E. , i. 13) quotes as genuine an Epistle purporting to be written by Christ to Agbarus. “It is evident,” says Mayor (p. xxv., note 1), “that there were among the early Christians good and pious men who had no scruple about impersonating not saints alone, but the Lord of saints Himself. We should gather the same from the readiness with which the orthodox worked up and expurgated the religious romances by which the heretics sought to popularise their doctrines.”

[165] Zahn, who himself upholds the Petrine authorship, says “The mere occurrence of Peter’s name in an ancient writing is no proof of authorship” ( Introd. , ii., p. 270).

The practice of pseudepigraphical writing is exemplified in the O.T. in Ecclesiastes, and in the apocryphal books of Wisdom, Esdras, Baruch, Enoch, and the Sibylline Oracles. The second century produced many pseudonymous books, such as the Gospel of Peter, which, after being read in the churches of Cilicia for some time, was at length forbidden by Serapion, bishop of Antioch, about the end of the century, on account of its docetic teaching. The unknown writer of 2 Peter made use of the name of St. Peter, both in order to mark his views as important, and because he believed them to be in accordance with what would have been St. Peter’s teaching under similar circumstances.

( c ) The foregoing may enable us to rid our minds of prejudice when we come to consider the question as to whether any genuine teaching of St. Peter is contained in this Epistle. Are there contained in the Epistle any actual reminiscences of St. Peter’s teaching, and is the work written by a disciple of St. Peter? [166] No attempt, of course, can be made to disentangle from the rest of the writing what might be regarded as the utterances of the Apostle, but a presumption in favour of the hypothesis of actual reminiscence may be obtained from a comparison of 1 and 2 Peter (see chap. 4.). Weiss has said that “no document in the N.T. is so like 2 Peter as 1 Peter”. Moreover, there is probably a reference in the second Epistle itself (2 Peter 1:15 ), which is corroborated by tradition, to the fact that St. Peter’s teaching was subsequently embodied in the Gospel of St. Mark (so Jülicher, Introd. , E. Tr., p. 240). Mayor (p. cxliii. ff.) also favours this view, and successfully defends it against the objections of Zahn ( Introd. , ii., pp. 200 9). [167] Bigg considers that the statement in 2 Peter 1:15 gave rise to the whole body of pseudo-Petrine literature ( op. cit. p. 265). It is to be noted also that in two passages in the Epistle the pseudonymous writer betrays the consciousness that he is faithfully and honestly setting forth nothing inconsistent with the teaching of the Apostle. In 2 Peter 3:1 he is not afraid to set the contents of his Epistle alongside those of 1 Peter without fear of contradiction, [168] and again in 2 Peter 3:15 , his concern is evidently to show that there is no inconsistency between the Petrine and the Pauline teaching. These, and the other considerations adduced above ought to be a guarantee at least of the good faith of the writer of this Epistle.

[166] Cf . Ramsay, Church in Roman Empire , pp. 492 3; Moffatt, Historical New Testament , p. 598.

[167] If the words μετὰ τὴν ἐμὴν ἔξοδον are taken as implying that the Apostle was not yet dead, we are immediately involved in all the insuperable difficulties connected with a date for the Epistle earlier than A.D. 64, the traditional date of Peter’s martyrdom. On the other hand, it is easy to see how this expression might be put into the mouth of Peter by a later disciple, who well knew his mind and the preparations he had made for preserving his teaching after his death.

[168] For consideration of the question whether the reference here is really to 1 Peter, see p. 113.

(2) Another instance where the personality of St. Peter is allowed to obtrude itself is found in 2 Peter 1:16 , in the use of the word ἐπόπται . The word means eye-witness, with perhaps an added sense, derived from Gnostic sources, of spiritual vision. In the Apocalypse of Peter, there is an account of the Transfiguration which contains the words ἡμεῖς οἱ δώδεκα μαθηταὶ ἐδεήθημεν ὅπως δείξἡμῖν ἕνα τῶν ἀδελφῶντῶν ἐξελθόντων ἀπὸ τοῦ κόσμου , ἵνα ἴδωμεν ποταποί εἰσι τὴν μορφήν ( cf. Mayor, cxxv. note). Similarly in 2 Peter 1:18 , of the Voice at the Transfiguration, 2 Peter has ἡμεῖς ἠκούσαμεν . Jülicher, in commenting on the pseudepigraphic character of 2 Peter, says that “the author never loses consciousness of the part he is playing,” and “constructs his fiction methodically”. Among other instances, he cites this passage describing the Transfiguration. He sees in the structure of the Epistle only “an artificial production of learned ingenuity” ( Introd. , E. Tr., pp. 240, 241). It may be granted that the choice of the Transfiguration as the only incident in the Synoptic account of St. Peter’s life, to which reference is made, is an indication that the writer has made choice of this incident as suitable to his theme. At the same time, if it was legitimate for him to write under the honoured name at all, he could hardly have done so more naturally than he does in 2 Peter 1:16-18 , especially as it is extremely probable that here he is making use of an actual reminiscence of the teaching of St. Peter himself ( cf. notes on the passage).

(3) Chap. 2 Peter 3:15 . ὁ ἀγαπητὸς ἡμῶν ἀδελφὸς Παῦλος . The examination of the whole passage in the Commentary leads to the conclusion that the Epistles of St. Paul are regarded as in the same rank with the O.T. Scriptures. The date thus implied makes it impossible that the actual writer is St. Peter. Why, then, the conjunction of the two names? There can be little doubt that 2 Peter wishes to impress upon his readers the consistency of the teaching of St. Peter and St. Paul against the Antinomian interpretation of the Christian faith. The affectionate terms in which St. Paul is spoken of are exactly those that might have been used by St. Peter himself of his fellow-apostle, and if St. Peter were known to be already dead, how could there be any sane intention to deceive the readers? The phrase ὁ ἀγαπητὸς ἡμῶν ἀδελφὸς is used by St. Paul of Tychicus (Ephesians 6:21 ; Colossians 4:7 ) and of Onesimus (Colossians 4:9 ; Philemon 1:16 ). No doubt the readers of this Epistle were acquainted with the disagreement between the two Apostles described in Galatians 2:11-14 . Galatians 2:2 Peter only reiterates the fact that there was never any fundamental opposition between their teaching. St. Peter’s full sympathy with the Pauline teaching is evident in the First Epistle, and this passage may easily be true to his mind. It is indeed significant that the attitude taken up towards the Pauline teaching is not without reserve (2 Peter 3:16 , ἐν αἷς ἐστὶν δυσνόητά τινα ), but the warm-hearted reference may be a real reminiscence.



We have next to examine any hints that may be given in the Epistle itself as to the Date of its composition.

(1) Chap. 2 Peter 1:15 . Here reference is made to the death of St. Peter as imminent. Other considerations render it impossible to hold that this Epistle was published during the lifetime of the Apostle who died c . 64 A.D. (see pp. 97 f.). The context shows that if the words μετὰ τὴν ἐμὴν ἔξοδον are put into the mouth of St. Peter by a later writer, the period of writing must have been some time after his decease. ἑκάστοτε (as occasion arises) in 1 Peter 1:15 implies that occasion has arisen more than once to refer to the posthumous teaching. ἔχειν ὑμᾶς , κ . τ . λ ., implies a document or documents already in the possession of the Church. Again, if we are to see in this verse a reference to the tradition connecting St. Peter with the Gospel of Mark, we know that this tradition is at least much earlier than the time of Papias (140 160), who is quoted by Eusebius ( H. E. , iii. 39) as saying, καὶ τοῦτοπρεσβύτερος ἔλεγε , Μᾶρκος μὲν ἑρμηνευτὴς Πέτρου γενόμενος ὅσα ἐμνημόνευσεν ἀκριβῶς ἔγραψεν , οὐ μέντοι τάξει , τὰ ὑπὸ τοῦ Χριστοῦλεχθένταπραχθέντα . Papias himself is reporting the testimony which he had received orally from the Presbyter. From the perfectly natural way in which the reference is introduced, we would conclude that 2 Peter has not in view a tradition which he found in such a writer as Papias, but betrays either a personal knowledge of the intentions of St. Peter himself, or an acquaintance with those who did know his mind. Hence a date not very much later than the end of the first century is probable.

(2) In chap. 2 Peter 3:4 the words occur, ἀφʼ ἧς γὰρ οἱ πατέρες ἐκοιμήθησαν , πάντα οὕτως διαμένει ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως . Here οἱ πατέρες refers to the immediately preceding generation of Christians. The whole sentence reflects the disappointment and disillusionment experienced by those who saw men and women believing in the coming of the Lord in their life-time, and dying without having realised their expectation, and who felt that all signs of an immediate coming in their own day were absent. Such an atmosphere of thought would be most intense in the second generation of Christians, and much of the Epistle is meant for the encouragement of those who still expected the delayed Parousia of the Lord, and whose minds were likely to feel the element of truth in the words of the false teachers. ἀφʼ ἧς need not denote a long interval of time ( cf. Luke 7:45 ). It may therefore be possible that the Epistle is addressed to the second generation of Christians. Moreover, chap. 2 Peter 1:16-18 is most naturally regarded as addressed to those “who have not seen, and yet have believed,” and the superior position of the eye-witnesses therein implied is an idea that would be most prominent in sub-Apostolic times.

(3) Chap. 2 Peter 3:8 . As an indication of an early date for the Epistle, the absence of any millennial significance in this passage has been adduced (Bigg, pp. 214, 295). Against this, Mayor ( op. cit. cxxvi.) has pointed out that we learn from Justin Martyr ( Dial ., chap. 80) that there were also many orthodox believers in his time who refused to accept the millenial teaching. It may, however, be noted that the passage in Justin hardly negatives Dr. Bigg’s conclusion. There it is said that “many think otherwise,” i.e. , in opposition to a millenial doctrine. In 2 Peter, the context in which the words are used is entirely apart from any millenarian notion at all. The significant thing is that 2 Peter, unlike all subsequent writers does not employ Psalms 90:4 . in connection with the idea. He is dealing with the very verse out of which Chiliasm arose, and he could hardly have so completely ignored the opinion unless he had been writing at a date previous at least to its later widespread acceptance in the Church.

At what time the view became common in the Early Church is uncertain. In Barnabas xv. 5 we meet with the conception, but there is no trace of the doctrine in either 1 Clem., Ignatius, Polycarp, the Epistle to Diognetus, or the Didache. Hermas is not uninfluenced by the idea. In none of the apologists, except Justin, is there any trace of Chiliasm. 2 Peter 3:8 , therefore, with its peculiar use of Psalms 90:4 would indicate a date certainly much earlier than Justin Martyr (140 161), who refers to the belief as a tenet of the orthodox faith, and probably earlier than Barnabas. If the absence of reference to millenial doctrine in 1 Clem., Ignatius, and the Didache means the same as in 2 Peter, a date at the very end of the first century and the very beginning of the second is probable for our Epistle.

(4) Chap. 2 Peter 3:2 . τῶν ἀποστόλων ὑμῶν . The writer must be regarded as including himself among the Apostles ( cf. 2 Peter 1:1 ), and not as making any distinction between himself and them. The phrase need not necessarily mean “the Twelve,” but rather missionaries from whom the knowledge of the Gospel was first received. [169] Of these the writer is one (2 Peter 1:16 ). ἀπόστολος is so used Php 2:25 , 2 Corinthians 8:23 ( cf. discussion of term in Harnack, Expansion of Christianity , Bk. iii. ch. i.). The passage, therefore, does not exclude a date later than the Apostolic Age.

[169] Two conceptions of the term “apostle” are found in the early church, a wider, based on the Jewish official use of the term, and a narrower, confined to the “Twelve”. The two conceptions existed side by side, and “the narrower was successful in making headway against its rival” (Harnack, Expansion of Christianity , i. p. 408). If the wider use is found here, it would amount to an argument for an early date to the epistle.

(5) Chap. 2 Peter 3:16 . Two considerations are suggested by this reference to St. Paul that have a bearing on the date of the Epistle. ( a ) Paul’s Epistles are included in a body of writings called γραφαί , and we have reason to suppose that τὰς λοιπὰς γραφάς probably refers to the O.T. Scriptures. ( b ) The “unlearned and unstable” distort these Epistles of Paul to their own destruction. Both these statements require that the date of the Epistle be postponed so as to leave room for them. ( a ) renders it quite impossible to fix a date in the life-time of Peter. The statement implies not necessarily a collection of Pauline letters such as we have in the Canon of the N.T., but the epithet γραφή would be applied if certain letters of Paul were accustomed to be read in the churches. That interpretation would not require a date later than the end of the first century. At the same time ( b ) demands that time must be allowed to enable the Pauline Epistles to gain such a position of recognised authority in the Church as Scripture that they can be misinterpreted by “unlearned and unstable souls”. All these circumstances would be met by a date quite early in the second century.

(6) Chap. 2. The resemblances in this chapter to the Epistle of Jude are undoubted. There are parallels in thought and language also in Jude 1:1-2 = 2 Peter 1:1-2 ; Jude 1:3 ; Jude 1:2 = 2 Peter 1:12 ; Jude 1:17-19 = 2 Peter 3:1-3 ; Jude 1:20-25 = 2 Peter 3:14-18 . Spitta, Zahn, and Bigg are among the foremost defenders of the view that 2 Peter is prior to Jude. Irresistible arguments, however, may be adduced for the opinion that the relationship is the other way. For the discussion of the question the reader may be referred to the Introduction to Jude. At the moment we are concerned with the question only in so far as it has a bearing on the date of 2 Peter. A date not later than A.D. 90 is assigned to Jude by Chase, Mayor, Salmon, Plummer, Spitta. The limits 100 180 are accepted by Jülicher and Harnack. The arguments for the second century date are examined by Chase ( op. cit. , pp. 803 f.), and found insufficient. [170]

[170] A summary of the evidence may here be given:

1. πίστις , spoken of in Jude 1:3-20 , as a formulated deposit, is used in practically the same way in Galatians 1:23 ; Galatians 3:23 ; Galatians 6:10 , etc.

2. In Jude 1:17 the language need not imply that the apostolic period is long past. The mention of oral instruction ( ἔλεγον ) would quite suit a date in early sub-apostolic times, when some of the Apostles were dead and some scattered.

3. The argument from the use of apocryphal books is invalid. Of the two quoted by Jude, Enoch is assigned by most scholars to a date B.C., and the Assumption of Moses was probably written within the first thirty years A.D.

4. The Gnostic views attacked in the Epistle are not necessarily of late date.

If the date in the last decade of the first century be accepted for Jude, 2 Peter must be later; but there is not that evidence of advance in the Gnostic views opposed in 2 Peter upon those in Jude to warrant our assigning to 2 Peter a date much later than Jude.

To sum up the internal evidence for the date of 2 Peter, the considerations adduced in (3) would fix the terminus ad quem at least previous to 140 160, the probable date of Justin, in whose day Chiliasm was an orthodox belief. On the other hand, (1), (2), (5) would render it possible to regard the Epistle as the product of a time not very much later than the apostolic, and perhaps (4) may also be regarded as confirmatory in this connexion. The relationship to Jude would suggest a date not earlier than A.D. 100. The external evidence , as we have seen, would render possible a date not later han the first decade of the second century. Perhaps A.D. 100 115, may be tentatively suggested as the extreme limits.



IT is a very generally accepted result of criticism that the two Epistles of Peter are not by the same hand. Jerome ( Script. Ecclesiastes , 1 ), in connexion with 2 Peter, remarked on the “stili cum priore dissonantiam” (see p. 175). So marked are these differences between the two Epistles, that even Spitta and Zahn, who defend the authenticity of 2 Peter, are therefore obliged to give up the real Petrine authorship of 1 Peter. They admit that 2 Peter is a letter from the Apostle’s own hand, and attribute the First Epistle to Silvanus, under the direction of the Apostle, in accordance with their interpretation of 1 Peter 5:12 (Spitta, op. cit. , pp. 530 ff.; Zahn Introd. 11., pp. 149 ff.).

Space does not permit of a full discussion of this question, and the reader is referred to the minute and elaborate treatment of the subject in Mayor’s edition (pp. lxviii. ff.). Reference may be made briefly to the following points:

1. Resemblances in Vocabulary and Style . (1) Vocabulary ( a ) χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη πληθυνθείη , 2 Peter 1:2 , 1 Peter 1:2 ; use of καλεῖν , 2 Peter 1:3 and 1 Peter 1:15 ; 1 Peter 2:9 ; 1 Peter 2:21 ; 1 Peter 3:9 ; 1 Peter 5:10 ; with κλῆσιν καὶ ἐκλογὴν , 2 Peter 1:10 , may be compared the foregoing references to use of καλεῖν in 1 Peter, and the use of ἐκλεκτός , 1Pe 1:1 ; 1 Peter 2:4 ; 1 Peter 2:9 ; θέλημα 2 Peter 1:21 , and 1 Peter 2:15 ; 1 Peter 3:17 ; 1 Peter 4:2 ; 1 Peter 4:19 ; with ἐν ἐπιθυμίαις σαρκὸς ἀσελγείαις cf. πεπορευμένους ἐν ἀσελγείαις , ἐπιθυμίαις 1 Peter 4:3 ; ἐπόπται , 2 Peter 1:16 , and ἐποπτεύοντες , 1 Peter 2:12 ; 1 Peter 3:2 ; ἄσπιλοι καὶ ἀμώμητοι , 2 Peter 3:14 , and ἄμωμος καὶ ἄσπιλος , 1 Peter 1:19 ; ἀκαταπαύστους ἁμαρτίας , 2 Peter 2:14 , and πέπαυται ἁμαρτίας , 1 Peter 4:1 .

The foregoing resemblances are remarkable as extending to the uses of the same words or ideas in similar connexions. The following single words may be noted as being largely confined, in their use in the N. T. to 1 and 2 Peter:

2 Peter 1 Peter. Rest of N. T. ἀναστροφή 2 5 5 ἀπόθεσις 1 1 0 ἀρετή 3 1 (pl.) 1 ἀσεβής 1 1 6 (3 in Jude.) ἀσέλγεια 3 1 6 (1 in Jude.) ἄσπιλος 1 1 2 προγινώσκω 1 1 3 ( b ) Including these already mentioned, Mayor, op. cit. , pp. lxix., lxx. gives a list of 100 words common to both Epistles. He also gives a list of 369 words occurring in 1 Peter and not in 2 Peter, 230 words occurring in 2 Peter and not in 1 Peter.

( c ) One remarkable difference is in the word used for the Second Advent. In 2 Peter παρουσία (2 Peter 1:16 , 2 Peter 3:4 ; 2 Peter 3:12 ), in 1 Peter ἀποκάλυψις (1 Peter 1:7 ; 1 Peter 1:13 , 1 Peter 4:13 ) is used.

The facts contained in ( a ) are sufficient at least to suggest literary dependence between the two Epistles, but ( b ) and ( c ) entirely negative the possibility that they are by the same hand.

(2) Style . “The style of 1 Peter is simple and natural, without a trace of self-conscious effort. The style of 2 Peter is rhetorical and laboured, marked by a love for striking and startling expressions” (Chase, D. B. , iii. 812 a ). As against this estimate, it may be questioned whether the two Epistles are so far apart in style as it is usual to say they are. Mayor says, “There can be no doubt that the style of 1 Peter is, on the whole, clearer and simpler than that of 2 Peter, but there is not that chasm between them which some would try to make out” (p. civ.). As regards grammatical similarity , he sums up the results of a most learned discussion (chap. 4) as follows: “As to the use of the article, they resemble one another more than they resemble any other book of the N. T. Both use the genitive absolute correctly. There is no great difference in their use of the cases or of the verbs, except that 1 Peter freely employs the articular infinitive, which is not found in 2 Peter. The accusative with the infinitive is found in both. The accumulation of prepositions is also common to both. The optative is more freely used in 1 Peter than in 2 Peter. In final clauses 2 Peter conforms to classical usage in attaching the subjunctive to ἵνα , while 1 Peter, in one place, has the future indicative. 2 Peter is also more idiomatic in the use of such elliptical forms as ἕως οὗ , ἐφʼ ὅσον , ἀφʼ ἧς . On the other hand, 1 Peter shows special elegance in his use of ὡς in comparisons, and emphasises the contrast between the aorist and the present imperative by coupling τιμήσατε with τιμᾶτε in 2 Peter 2:7 ” (pp. civ., cv.). It is incumbent on scholars to give every weight to these utterances, especially in view of such extreme criticism of the style of 2 Peter as that of Dr. E. A. Abbott ( Exp. , ii., vol. iii.; From Letter to Spirit , §§ 1123 1129).

2. Attitude to the Old Testament . It has been reckoned by Hort (Appendix, Notes on 1 Peter , p. 179) that there are thirty-one quotations from the O. T. in 1 Peter as against five in 2 Peter. Also, an examination of the quotations in 2 Peter (2 Peter 2:2 ; 2 Peter 2:22 , 2 Peter 3:8 ; 2 Peter 3:12-13 ), and of the references to O. T. history (Noah, 2 Peter 2:5 ; Lot, 2 Peter 2:6-9 ; Balaam, 2 Peter 2:15-16 ) show that they are not only much fewer in number, but that 2 Peter never formally quotes the O. T., and that the actual allusions are of a much less intimate and spiritual character than in 1 Peter. Incidentally it may be pointed out ( cf. Chase, op. cit. , p. 813 a ) that this is the opposite of what we would expect if St. Peter wrote the Epistle to Jewish Christians (so Spitta and Zahn).

3. Relation to the Pauline Epistles . 1 Peter displays a close connexion of thought with Romans and Ephesians in particular. “The connexion though very close, does not lie on the surface. It is shown more by identities of thought and similarity in the structure of the two Epistles as wholes than by identities of phrase” (Hort, 1 Peter , p. 5). 2 Peter, on the other hand, is extremely non-Pauline in thought. The idea of the μακροθυμία of God in chap. 3 might easily be the common property of the Christian consciousness. Even granting that there were special circumstances in the origin of 1 Peter, that would largely account for the presence of Pauline thought in the mind of St. Peter as he wrote ( cf. Chase, D. B. , 788, 789), it cannot be regarded as possible that the difference in the circumstances both of writer and readers which we find in 2 Peter would lead to such a complete freedom from Pauline influence.

4. Devotional Expression . There is a great contrast in devotional thought and feeling between the two Epistles. It has already been noted (pp. 186 9) that the references to the great events in the life of Christ are strangely few. The only allusion to His sufferings and death is contained in τὸν ἀγοράσαντα αὐτοὺς δεσπότην (2 Peter 2:1 ). The only crisis in His life that is mentioned is the Transfiguration. No mention is made of the Holy Spirit except as the source of inspiration of the ancient prophets (2 Peter 1:21 ). Prayer is not alluded to. The Apostles were essentially witnesses to the Resurrection, but on the Resurrection 2 Peter is silent. Instead, the writer guarantees the truth of the Apostolic teaching by an appeal to the Transfiguration ( cf. 1 Peter 1:2-3 ; 1 Peter 1:11 ; 1 Peter 1:19-21 ; 1 Peter 2:24 ; 1 Peter 3:18 ; 1 Peter 3:21-22 ).

There is also a striking difference between the two writers in their personal attitude and relationship towards Jesus Christ. A warmth and intensity of feeling is apparent all through 1 Peter, which displays a much more vivid and tender sense of the reality of the grace and presence of the Risen Chris in the individual heart ( cf. 1 Peter 1:8 ; 1 Peter 1:18 , 1 Peter 2:9 ; 1 Peter 2:21 , 1 Peter 4:12 f., 1Peter 5:16) than the second epistle. “The flame of love,” so bright in the first epistle, burns but dimly in the second. Peter contains what Mayor calls “reverential periphrases,” such as θεία φύσις , θεία δύναμις , μεγαλειότης , μεγαλοπρεπὴς δόξα , κυριότης . ἐπίγνωσις , ἐπιγινώσκω are the only words that are used of the deepest and most intimate religious experience, communion of heart with the Living Christ. It is true that the thoughts of God’s long-suffering (2 Peter 3:9-15 ) and His care of the righteous (2 Peter 2:9 ) are full of tender meaning, but we do not find in 2 Peter that sense of personal relationship to Christ, founded on memories of past, and an actual sense of present discipleship, which transfuses the thought of the first epistle, and we miss the penitential sense of cleansing through the death of Christ so prominent in 1 Peter ( cf. 1 Peter 1:18-19 ; 1 Peter 2:21-23 ). The references to the Risen Lord in 2 Peter are few, and are pervaded chiefly by a sense of His majesty ( cf. 2Pe 1:16 , 2 Peter 2:1 ; 2 Peter 2:3 ; 2 Peter 2:12 ; 2 Peter 2:17 ; 2 Peter 2:20-21 , 2 Peter 3:7 ; 2 Peter 3:10 ; 2 Peter 3:12 ). Even where the language is purely hortatory, as in 2 Peter, chap. 1, the difference of tone and manner compared with 1 Peter is quite clearly marked. Thus the religious and devotional atmospheres in the two Epistles are far apart. Allowance must no doubt be made for the varying circumstances under which they were written. The one is written to a scattered body of Christians who are suffering persecution, and are in special need of spiritual comfort and stimulus; the other is directed against the immoral influences of false teaching. At the same time external circumstances are quite insufficient to account for these fundamental differences in the religious attitude of the two writings. Such a change could not take place in the history of a single personality, unless through some crisis completely revolutionising thought and feeling.



THE extreme limit of depreciatory criticism of the style of 2 Peter is reached in the epithet applied by Dr. E. A. Abbott, ( Expositor ii., vol. iii.; From Letter to Spirit 1121 1135), who describes it as “Baboo Greek”. The most moderate treatment of the subject is found in the article, so often referred to, by Dr. Chase. We may briefly summarise the chief points of criticism.

[171] 1. The large number of words found in 2 Peter, and nowhere else in the N. T . The full list may be given: ἄθεσμος , [172] ἀκατάπαυστος , ἅλωσις , [173] [174] ἀμαθής , [175] ἀμώμητος , [176] [177] ἀποφεύγειν , [178] [179] ἀργεῖν , [180] [181] [182] ἀστήρικτος , [183] αὐχμηρός , [184] βλέμμα , [185] βόρβορος , [186] [187] [188] βραδύτης , [189] διαυγάζειν , δυσνόητος , ἐγκατοικεῖν , [190] ἑκάστοτε , [191] [192] ἔκπαλαι , [193] ἔλεγξις , [194] ἐμπαιγμονή , ἐντρυφᾶν , [195] ἐξακολουθεῖν , [196] [197] ἐξέραμα , ἐπάγγελμα , [198] ἐπόπτης , [199] [200] [201] ἰσότιμος , κατακλύζειν , [202] [203] καυσοῦσθαι , κύλισμα , λήθη , [204] μεγαλοπρεπής , [205] [206] μέγιστος , [207] [208] μίασμα , [209] [210] μιασμός , [211] μνήμη , [212] [213] μυωπάζειν , μῶμος , [214] ὀλίγως , ὀμίχλη , [215] [216] παραφρονία , παρεισάγειν , παρεισφέρειν , [217] [218] πλαστός , [219] ῥοιζηδόν , σειρός , στηριγμός , [220] [221] στοιχεῖον [222] (in sense of physical elements), στρεβλοῦν , [223] [224] ταρταροῦν , ταχινός , [225] τεφροῦν , τήκεσθαι , τοιόσδε , τολμητής , ὗς , [226] [227] φωσφόρος , [228] ψευδοδιδάσκαλος .

[171] Words marked 1 are found in LXX, 2 in classical writers, 3 in Papyri (for reff. see Comm .).

[172] words found in LXX

[173] words found in LXX

[174] words found in classical writers

[175] words found in classical writers

[176] words found in classical writers

[177] words found in Papyri

[178] words found in LXX

[179] words found in classical writers

[180] words found in LXX

[181] words found in classical writers

[182] words found in Papyri

[183] words found in classical writers

[184] words found in classical writers

[185] words found in classical writers

[186] words found in LXX

[187] words found in classical writers

[188] words found in Papyri

[189] words found in classical writers

[190] words found in classical writers

[191] words found in classical writers

[192] words found in Papyri

[193] words found in Papyri

[194] words found in LXX

[195] words found in LXX

[196] words found in LXX

[197] words found in Papyri

[198] words found in classical writers

[199] words found in LXX

[200] words found in classical writers

[201] words found in Papyri

[202] words found in LXX

[203] words found in Papyri

[204] words found in LXX

[205] words found in LXX

[206] words found in Papyri

[207] words found in LXX

[208] words found in Papyri

[209] words found in LXX

[210] words found in classical writers

[211] words found in LXX

[212] words found in LXX

[213] words found in Papyri

[214] words found in LXX

[215] words found in LXX

[216] words found in classical writers

[217] words found in classical writers

[218] words found in Papyri

[219] words found in classical writers

[220] words found in classical writers

[221] words found in Papyri

[222] words found in LXX

[223] words found in LXX

[224] words found in classical writers

[225] words found in Papyri

[226] words found in LXX

[227] words found in Papyri

[228] words found in Papyri

One or two remarks on the list may be offered.

(1) Largely on the ground of the use by 2 Peter of such a remarkably long list of ἅπαξ λεγόμενα the vocabulary of 2 Peter has been characterised as an “ambitious” one (Chase). It has also been described as “bookish,”* [229] with a strong inclination for striking and poetical words.

[229]* E.g . Moulton, Proleg ., pp. 97 8. But cf . note on 2 Peter 2:5 in Comm .

It is undoubtedly true that many of the words marked [230] are found only in the Greek dramatists or historians, but it is rash to conclude that at the time 2 Peter was written all of them were still poetical words. Moreover, the use of poetical language is not incompatible with the prophetic tone in 2 Peter. The words marked [231] are found in various Papyri, representing the vernacular of daily life, in which much of the N. T. was written. It will be noted that in four cases the so-called ἅπαξ λεγόμενα of 2 Peter are found both in the classics and in the vernacular. This suggests that most ordinary of all occurrences in the history of words, the passing of a word from the language of literature into the language of common speech. Again, the case of words such as ἀμώμητος , ἀργεῖν , etc., taken along with the fact that the study of colloquial Greek is in its infancy, suggests that caution is required in peremptorily condemning the use of certain words in 2 Peter as barbarisms. No less than sixteen words in the above list are found in Papyri.

[230] words found in classical writers

[231] words found in Papyri

(2) At the same time it is undoubtedly true that the style of 2 Peter is often rhetorical, and contains some most successful attempts after sonorous effect, ( e.g. , note the rhythm of 2 Peter 2:4-9 , and cf. the remarks of Mayor, p. lviii. and Bigg, pp. 227 ff.). The writer is himself impressed with the majesty of his theme, and it is of great interest to note that in some cases he may probably be making use of the liturgical language of his day. An inscription has been discovered in Stratonicea in Caria, dating from the early imperial period, containing a decree of the inhabitants in honour of Zeus Panhemerios and of Hekate. Deissmann ( Bible Studies , E. Tr., pp. 360 ff.) has pointed out one or two most suggestive parallels in the inscription with 2 Peter 1:3 ff. The phrases τῆς θείας δυνάμεως ἀρετάς , τῶν κυρίων Ῥωμαίων αἰωνίου ἀρχῆς , πᾶσαν σπουδὴν εἰσφέρεσθαι , and the Superlative μεγίστων ( θεῶν ) occur. In the case of θεία δύναμις , where 2 Peter was usually supposed to be employing philosophical language, he appears really to be quoting a current religious term, well known perhaps to the very readers of his Epistle. With the phrase θείας κοινωνοὶ φύσεως (2 Peter 1:4 ) may be compared φύσεως κοινωνοῦντες ἀνθρω [ πί ] νης from a religious inscription of Antiochus 1. of Kommagene (middle of first century B.C.). It is probable, also, that the use of words like μεγαλοπρεπής , ταρταροῦν and εὐσέβεια (which also occurs in the Carian inscription, and is a common N.T. word); δωρέομαι , ἀρέτη (2 Peter 1:3 ), ἐπιχορηγεῖν , and phrases like διεγείρειν ἐν ὑπομνήσει may be traced to the same liturgical source.

2. Solecisms . Chase gives a list of certain expressions in the Epistle “which, so far as our knowledge of the language goes , appear to be contrary to usage.” These are βλέμμα (2 Peter 2:8 ), καυσοῦσθαι (2 Peter 3:10-12 ), μελλήσω (2 Peter 1:12 ), μνήμην ποιεῖσθαι (2 Peter 1:15 ), μυωπάζεν (2 Peter 1:9 ), παρεισφέρειν (2 Peter 1:5 ), σειρός (2 Peter 2:4 ). For discussion as to the meaning of these see the Commentary in loc . That something may be said for their use is proved by the remarks of Mayor (pp. lx. ff.).

3. Reiteration of Words . There is a well-marked reiteration of words in the vocabulary of 2 Peter, e.g. , ἐπιχορηγεῖν (2 Peter 1:5 ; 2 Peter 1:11 ); βέβαιος (2 Peter 1:10 ; 2 Peter 1:19 ); ὑπομιμνήσκειν , ἐν ὑπομνήσει , μνήμην ποιεῖσθαι (2 Peter 1:12-13 ; 2 Peter 1:15 ; 2 Peter 3:1 ); ἐνεχθείσης , ἐνεχθεῖσαν (2 Peter 1:17-18 ); ἀπώλεια (2 Peter 2:13 , 2 Peter 3:7-16 ); ἐφείσατο (2 Peter 2:4-5 ); τηρεῖν (2 Peter 2:4 ; 2 Peter 2:9 ; 2 Peter 2:17 ; 2 Peter 3:7 ); στοιχεῖα καυσούμενα (2 Peter 3:10 ; 2 Peter 3:12 ).

Chase asserts that “the extraordinary list of repetitions” stamps the vocabulary as “poor and inadequate” ( op. cit. , 808). In reply, it may be urged, (1) This sweeping condemnation is scarcely consistent with the occasional use of very rare words on the part of the writer. (2) Reiteration may arise from other causes than a limited vocabulary. It may arise “either from a liking for resonant sounds, or from a desire to give emphasis by the use of line upon line, or from both” (Mayor, p. lvii. f.). (3) A similar habit of repeating words is found in 1 Peter ( cf. Bigg, pp. 226 f.).

The foregoing remarks on the vocabulary and style of 2 Peter are necessary and timely, in view of the current tendency to depreciate these. Many of the phrases in 2 Peter have found a permanent place in the religious language of the Christian Church. It would be rash to acquit the writer entirely of all faults of style that have been attributed to him, but his ordinary intelligence must at least be vindicated. Chap. 3, “On the Style of 2 Peter,” of Mayor’s edition is worthy of close study, as tending to restore the style of 2 Peter to that respect which enabled it to be studied in the time of Aurelius, though not regarded as canonical, along with other Scriptures, “as it appears profitable to many”.



1. Readers . To whom was the Epistle written? The crucial passage in this connexion is 2 Peter 3:1 , where the Epistle referred to is most naturally understood to be 1 Peter. The objection is urged by Spitta, Zahn, and more recently by Mayor, that the description of the contents in 2 Peter 3:1-2 is inapplicable to 1 Peter. Yet in 1 Peter 1:10-12 we have almost an exact parallel to τῶν προειρημένων ῥημάτων ὑπὸ τῶν ἁγίων προφητῶν , and 1 Peter is full of reminiscences of the teaching and example of Jesus ( τῆςἐντολῆς τοῦ κυρίου καὶ σωτῆρος ) ( cf. 1 Peter 1:15-16 ; 1 Peter 2:13-17 ; 1 Peter 2:23 , etc.; cf. also 2 Peter 2:1 , τοῦτο δέ ἐστιν τὸ ῥῆμα τὸ εὐαγγελισθὲν εἰς ὑμᾶς ). The ethical difficulty caused by this interpretation of the reference, if the two Epistles are not by the same author, is no greater than that aroused by the use of the apostolic name in 2 Peter 1:1 (see Introd. , pp. 97 99). Moreover, we have no reason to expect anything but a statement in 2 Peter 3:1 of what the two Epistles have in common. The words do not exclude the supposition that their contents differ in many respects. The readers, then, are, in general, those mentioned in 1 Peter 1:1 , viz. , Christian communities of Asia Minor.

Mayor ( op. cit. , pp. cxxxvii. ff.) has again defended the view that 2 Peter is written to the Roman Church. [232] He founds his argument on 2 Peter 3:15 , καθὼς καὶἀγαπητὸς ἡμῶν Παῦλος ἔγραψεν ὑμῖν , holding that καθώς must be explained by the immediately preceding admonition, τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν μακροθυμίαν σωτηρίαν ἡγεῖσθε , which is more distinctly stated in Romans 2:4 ; Romans 3:25-26 ; Romans 9:22 , than elsewhere. Various objections may be urged against this view. (1) It is extremely doubtful whether the reference καθώς can be thus narrowed, so as to include only Romans 9:14 . The introduction of the comparison with Paul seems to arise from a desire to show that in general there is no discrepancy between the Petrine and the Pauline teaching. (2) Even although the Epistle to the Romans is meant, it would be no proof that 2 Peter was written to the Roman Church, as it is evident from ἐν πάσαις ἐπιστολαῖς , and τὰς λοιπὰς γραφὰς (Romans 9:16 ), that the Epistles of Paul had reached the rank of γραφαί , and were known to the Church at large. (3) Even if the narrower reference of καθὼς is adopted, the idea of μακροθυμία is echoed also in 1 Corinthians and Thessalonians (1 Corinthians 15:2 ; 2 Thessalonians 2:16 ). If the wider reference is taken, almost any of the Pauline Epistles may be meant, as the doctrine of God’s free grace is reflected in many of them. It is also, of course, quite possible that the reference may be to a lost Epistle. [233]

[232] So Grotius, Dietlein.

[233] Hofmann (7:2, 113 ff.) argues that the reference is to Ephesians. An important discussion of whole question is found in Spitta (pp. 286 88).

That practically the same class of readers as in 1 Peter is meant, is confirmed by τοῖς ἰσότιμον ἡμῖν λαχοῦσιν πίστιν (2 Peter 1:1 ). [234] The phrase may be regarded as referring in general to the isolated position of the readers, who are made to feel, as in 1 Peter 1:1-2 , that they too are recipients of the grace of God and objects of His special choice. The words in 2 Peter may well be a succinct expression of the idea in the opening verses of the First Epistle. In the one case the readers are suffering persecution; in the other, they are being led astray and harassed by false teaching. In both cases the words carry a message of comfort.

[234] In connexion with these words, it has been argued whether they indicate Jewish or Gentile Christians. The presumption is in favour of the latter (see Commentary in loc .). The use of a word like ταρταρώσας (2 Peter 2:4 ) indicates a Hellenic atmosphere of thought, and the phrase in 2 Peter 2:20 , ἀποφυγόντες τὰ μιάσματα τοῦ κόσμου seems most applicable to Gentiles.

The question may be raised whether 2 Peter 1:16 , ἐγνωρίσαμεν ὑμῖν τὴν τοῦ κυρίουδύναμιν καὶ παρουσίαν , implies that the Apostle himself had preached to these readers, and whether this is compatible with an Asiatic community as recipients of the letter. In 1 Peter the Apostle does not appear to have been personally acquainted with his readers or to have himself laboured among them, and there is no trace in the career of St. Peter of an Asiatic ministry. The words, however, do not necessarily imply that Peter had himself preached the Gospel to those who are addressed. The plural may be used of a single person (. Moulton, Proleg. , p. 86). The mask would seem to be thrown off for the moment, and the actual personality of the unknown writer to obtrude itself in this pseudonymous Epistle. That he should have taken no special pains to prevent this, is itself an indication of good faith on the writer’s part, and of his lack of any intention to deceive. He himself is the preacher.

The general character of the address in 2 Peter is undoubted. The Epistle is written to a wide class of Christians readers who are not recent converts (2 Peter 1:12 ), “ein für weite Kreise der Kirche bestimmtes pastorales Rundschau” (Spitta, op. cit. , p. 483). 1 Peter also is general in its destination. 2 Peter may well be addressed to the same localities as 1 Peter, although to a later generation of Christians, under different circumstances. This would also supply a motive for the use of the Apostle’s name.

2. False Teachers . The description of the false teachers given in chap. 2 is taken in the main from the Epistle of Jude. It ought to be noted, however, that the object in view in the two Epistles is somewhat different. Jude is, above all, a polemic against the false teaching. 2 Peter is written with a view to confirming the faith of the Christian communities in the face of the delayed Parousia. The false teachers in 2 Peter “have brought a new idea into the field.… They cast doubt on the Christian eschatological expectation … appealing in support of their view to a deeper knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 1:2-3 , 2 Peter 3:18 , cf. 2 Peter 1:16-18 ), a particular conception of the O.T. (2 Peter 1:20 , 2 Peter 3:16 ), and certain Pauline positions (2 Peter 3:15 f., cf. 2 Peter 2:19 )” (Von Soden, op. cit. , p. 194). They are “mockers” ( ἐμπαῖκται ) who say, ποῦ ἐστὶνἐπαγγελία τῆς παρουσίας αὐτοῦ ; (2 Peter 3:4 ). In this fact, we may find a partial explanation of the use made by 2 Peter of Jude. He makes use of an authoritative description of their real character, making certain changes dictated by his own views as to the use of apocryphal books ( e.g. , omission of story of Michael), and by the special circumstances of those he addresses.

A remarkable circumstance in the language employed is that the writer speaks at one time of the false teachers as about to come (2 Peter 2:1 f., 2 Peter 3:3 ), at another as though they were already active (2 Peter 2:11-12 ; 2 Peter 2:17 f., 2 Peter 2:20 , 2 Peter 3:5 , 2 Peter 3:16 ). All such explanations as that the writer projects himself into the future, and from that point of view vividly regards future events as actually happening; or that he is at one time thinking of communities where the ψευδοδιδάσκαλοι are actually at work, and at another of communities where their influence has not yet penetrated, may be set aside. The simplest explanation seems to be that again the writer, when he speaks of them in the present tense, throws off the prophetic mask, and depicts what he knew was actually happening. [235]

[235] Henkel suggests that the False Teachers, who are active in other communities, are regarded as presenting only an imminent possible danger to the readers of 2 Peter ( Der Zw. B. des Apostelfürsten Petrus , p. 37 ff.).

Do the characteristics mentioned in this Epistle point to a Gnostic sect? It has been pointed out that there is one important difference between the libertines of Jude’s Epistle and those of 2 Peter ( cf Chase, op. cit. , iii. 811). In the former, not so much teaching as practice, was in question, while, in 2 Peter, they are called ψευδοδιδάσκαλοι , and seem to have been engaged in the active propagation of false doctrine. The use of γνῶσις in 2 Peter 1:5 f. can scarcely be without reference to that intellectualism, with its hidden wisdom, and exclusive mysteries, so characteristic of Gnosticism ( cf. Lightfoot, Colossians , pp. 73 113). The word ἐπόπτης (2 Peter 1:16 ) is a Gnostic term meaning one who has been initiated into the mystery. Jude, on the other hand, seems to feel that the movement he combats is also doctrinal in its import; for he urges his readers “to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints” (1 Peter 5:3 ), and the heresy he opposes must have had a certain materialistic basis ( κυριότητα δὲ ἀθετοῦσιν , δόξας δὲ βλασφημοῦσιν , 1 Peter 5:8 ). There is also implied a certain doctrinal process in the words, χάριτα μετατιθέντες εἰς ἀσέλγειαν καὶ τὸν μόνον δεσπότην καὶ κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν ἀρνούμενοι (1 Peter 5:4 ). Thus, in both cases, the readers are warned against what was really a matter both of life and of doctrine, and the situation in 2 Peter need not necessarily imply a stage at least much later in the development of the false teaching. In these Epistles it can scarcely be doubted that we are in the presence of an incipient Gnosticism, and the two directions in which the Gnostic tendency led, viz. , Intellectualism and Antinomianism, are clearly marked. On this latter aspect, the emphasis is laid, not only in the Epistles, but in the N.T. generally. The new movement caused great anxiety to the leaders of the Church, owing chiefly to its immoral tendency. For long the heretics were in communion with the Christian Church, and it was not until the second century that the cleavage widened out to its true limits ( cf. E. F. Scott, Apologetic of the N. T. , pp. 146 ff.). These false teachers in Jude and 2 Peter were partakers in the rites of the Christian Church (Jude 1:12 ; 2 Peter 2:13 ). Incidentally, it may be mentioned that their description in 2 Peter does not in itself warrant a date for its composition in the second century, and certainly not a date so much later than Jude, as is usually supposed.

2 Peter, then, gives us in general a picture of the prevalence of Antinomian heresy, which has as its results the corruption of morals, and a certain materialistic tendency which led to disbelief in the Person of Christ (2 Peter 2:1 ), and a denial of the ethical nature of God (2 Peter 3:8-9 ; cf. also Philipp. 2 Peter 3:18 f). 2 Peter is throughout eminently ethical in its tone. Religion and life are inseparably connected, ὡς πάντα ἡμῖν τῆς θείας δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ τὰ πρὸς ζωὴν καὶ εὐσέβειαν δεδωρημένης διὰ τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως τοῦ καλέσαντος ἡμᾶς (2 Peter 1:3 ). The true γνῶσις must contain ethical qualities (2 Peter 1:6 ). The Christian must take pains “to make his calling and election sure” by godliness of life (2 Peter 1:10 ). We are not, however, left without traces of the doctrinal position of these false teachers. The Gnostic position which demanded γνῶσις , or a hidden wisdom which leads to perfection, is tacitly opposed in the use of the word ἐπίγνωσις , which is used by St. Paul to denote “complete knowledge” or “saving knowledge” ( cf. 1 Corinthians 13:12 ; Philemon 1:6 ). Mayor suggests ( op. cit. , p. 171) that ἐπίγνωσις came into use to distinguish the “living knowledge of the true believer from the spurious γνῶσις which had then begun to ravage the Church”. The true ἐπίγνωσις carries with it “all that is needed for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3 ). These Gnostics evidently held that Revelation in itself was incomplete. Those, however, who possess ἐπίγνωσις are made θείας κοινωνοὶ φύσεως , a phrase which originates in a philosophic atmosphere, and no doubt reflects a sense of opposition to the pure intellectualism of these false teachers, who would claim to be κοινωνοὶ θείας φύσεως by means of wisdom or γνῶσις alone. τυφλός ἐστιν μυωπάζων (2 Peter 1:9 ) is a reference to the darkness which was mistaken for light, because the γνῶσις that accompanied it was so unethical ( cf. the whole passage, 2 Peter 1:5-9 ). σεσοφισμένοις μύθοις (2 Peter 1:16 ) refers to those fictions connected with the emanation of æons, so characteristic of the Gnostic system ( cf. 1 Timothy 1:4 ; 1 Timothy 4:7 ; 2 Timothy 4:4 ; Titus 1:14 ), by virtue of which the Person of Christ was regarded as the emanation of an æon, in union with a human body. In contrast to this idea, the writer claims that the Apostles were ἐπόπταιτῆς ἐκείνου μεγαλειότητος . The Voice proclaims Him to be actually ὁ υἱός μουἀγαπητός μου (2 Peter 1:17 ). What seems to be a denial of the Person and Work of Christ is referred to in 2 Peter 1:1 τὸν ἀγοράσαντα αὐτοὺς δεσπότην ἀρνούμενοι . πλαστοῖς λόγοις (fictitious words) of 2 Peter 1:3 may be compared with σεσοφισμένοις μύθοις of 2 Peter 1:16 . κυριότητος καταφρονοῦντας (2 Peter 2:10 ), δόξας οὐ τρέμουσιν (2 Peter 2:11 ) evidently cannot refer to any denial of human authority, but rather to sceptical views regarding the influence of spiritual powers, good or evil, upon the life of the individual. Such a belief was part of the orthodox Jewish thought of the time (see Commentary in loc .). ἐλευθερίαἐπαγγελλόμενοι (2 Peter 2:19 ) may he set alongside the passage dealing with the misuse and misinterpretation of the Pauline doctrine of free grace (2 Peter 2:16 ), which provided the theoretic basis for Antinomianism. These false teachers questioned the truth of the Parousia expectation (2 Peter 3:4 ) on the ground (1) of the uniformity of nature ( πάντα οὕτως διαμένει ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως ) which is met by the argument that the heavens and the earth were created by the word of God, and that the earth has already been flooded by the same divine agency (2 Peter 3:5-7 ). (2) The indestructibility of matter , against which it is asserted that in the day of the Lord οἱ οὐρανοὶ ῥοιζηδὸν παρελεύσονται , στοιχεῖα δὲ καυσούμενα λυθήσεται (2 Peter 3:10 ). Finally, we are told that the false teachers use the Scriptures of the O.T. as a basis for their heretical teaching (2 Peter 3:16 ).

It is thus apparent that in 2 Peter, far more than in Jude, the doctrine as well as the life of the false teachers is in question. Their ethical character is described in words largely borrowed from Jude, and in no measured terms. They speak evil of the way of truth (2 Peter 2:2 ); make merchandise of their followers (2 Peter 2:3 ); are fleshly and lustful (2 Peter 2:10-12 ); practise a vulgar hedonism (2 Peter 2:13 ); defile the love-feasts by their presence (13); deceive the hopes of their followers, like waterless fountains (16). They are Christians in name, steal into the Church without disclosing their impious views (2 Peter 2:1 ; 2 Peter 2:20-21 ), and are boastful and irreverent (2 Peter 2:10 ; 2 Peter 2:18 ).

The question arises whether these false teachers can be identified with any known heretical sect. Some critics have sought to distinguish between the libertines of chap. 2 and the mockers of chap, 3, but there is really no difficulty in identifying the two. [236] The denial of the Parousia by the mockers is really the outcome of a materialistic philosophy, and the denial of a future judgment would have the tendency to emancipate from all moral restraint. “There may have been shades of difference between them; some, perhaps, had a philosophy, and some had not; but in the eyes of a Christian Preacher, judging the party as a whole by its practical results, they would all seem to wear the same livery” (Bigg, op. cit. , p. 239, cf. Henkel, op. cit. , p. 37).

[236] Cf. Henkel, op. cit. , pp. 21 ff., where the question is fully discussed.

Harnack, who holds that Jude was written 100 130, suggests that the attack in that Epistle is aimed at some of the older forms of Gnosticism, among which he mentions the Nicolaitans. This sect is known to have had considerable influence in Asia Minor, and is mentioned by name in Revelation 2:6 ; Revelation 2:15 , in the Epistles to Ephesus and to Pergamum. In the case of the latter Church they are represented as existing side by side, and probably as identical with a sect of “Balaamites” (2 Peter 2:14 ). No doubt the same sect is accused of immorality in the Epistle of Thyatira (2 Peter 2:20 ). In 2 Peter 2:15-16 the example of Balaam is adduced as a parallel to the conduct of the false teachers, and it would appear that the name of Balaamites was given as a nickname to the Nicolaitans. lrenæus (iii., c. 1) tells us that the Nicolaitans held the doctrine of two Gods the God who created the world, and the Father of Jesus; that an æon descended upon Jesus, and again returned into the Pleroma before the Crucifixion. The language of 2 Peter 2:5-9 , relative to the creation and the present government of the world, through the long-suffering of the Creator, might well have in view some such doctrine as this. The accusation, also, of distorting the Scriptures of the O.T. (2 Peter 3:16 ) would also be explained, as also the statement in Jude 1:4 and 2 Peter 2:1 about the heretics’ denial of Christ. It is probable that these views were common to the Nicolaitans along with other early Gnostic sects, such as the followers of Simon Magus ( cf. Mayor, op. cit. , pp. clxxviii. ff.).

On the intellectual side, Gnosticism originated in a compromise with Greek thought, and an attempt to adapt the Christian teaching to the current philosophy. It is probable that, on the side of conduct, the immoralities that are so vividly denounced in Jude and 2 Peter were due to a similar compromise with the customs and ideas of the Græco-Roman society of the day. The Nicolaitan teaching, as described in Revelation 2:0 , was “evidently an attempt to effect a reasonable compromise with the established usages of Græco-Roman society, and to retain as many as possible of those usages in the Christian system of life. It affected most of all the educated and cultured classes in the Church, those who had most tern tation to retain as much as possible of the established social ideas and customs of the Græco-Roman world, and who by their more elaborate education had been most fitted to take a somewhat artificial view of life, and to reconcile contradictory principles in practical conduct through subtle philosophical reasoning” (Ramsay, The Letters to the Seven Churches , pp. 337 ff.).

It had evidently become the custom in the Early Church to use the most unsparing language in denouncing these Gnostic errors. Both in Revelation and in Jude, the language is violent, and 2 Peter deals with the false teachers in the same temper. This may render it difficult, at the present day, to understand the exact theoretic position of a sect like the Nicolaitans, and it is a well-known fact that certain philosophic positions in religion, adopted and advocated by men who are themselves of blameless life, may really lead in the case of weaker followers to great moral laxity. If we consider the picture of Græco-Roman society drawn by St Paul in Romans 1:0 , it is not to be wondered at that these heresies, which led to such moral compromises, should be vigorously denounced by the Christian teacher. Nothing else “could have saved the infant Church from melting away into one of those vague and ineffective schools of philosophic ethics … An easy going Christianity could never have survived; it could not have conquered and trained the world; only the most convinced, resolute, almost bigoted adherence to the most uncompromising interpretations of its own principles could have gained the Christians the courage and self-reliance that were needed” (Ramsay, op. cit., ibid. ).

3. Place of Writing . On this topic, there is very little ground for judgment beyond vague conjecture. Chase favours the view that 2 Peter is of Egyptian origin. He founds his opinion (1) on the supposition that the Apocalypse of Peter and 2 Peter belong to the same school, (2) that Clement of Alexandria appears to have placed the two documents side by side, and commented on them together in his Hypotyposeis, (3) certain resemblances in thought and word with Philo and Clement of Alexandria ( op. cit. , p. 816 f.). Jülicher ( Introd. , E. Tr., p. 239) suggests that the Epistle originated either in Egypt or in Palestine. Palestine is selected on the ground that the Epistle is directed against one of the earlier and less known Gnostic sects which flourished in that country or in Syria. Deissmann, on the basis of the Stratonicean inscription already quoted ( op. cit. , pp. 367 f.) inclines to the view that the local colouring of the Epistle belongs to Asia Minor. He awaits the result of further inquiry “how far its peculiar vocabulary has points of contact with that of literary sources (of the imperial period) from Egypt, or Asia Minor, including those of the papyri and the inscriptions”. There can be little doubt that the readers are in Asia Minor, but does not the form of address, τοῖς ἰσότιμον ἡμῖν λαχοῦσιν πίστιν , point to a writer at some distance from his readers, though well acquainted with their circumstances? ( cf. p. 114).


Friederich Spitta. Der zweite Brief des Petrus und der Brief des Judas . 1885.

H. v. Soden. Hand-Commentar Zum N.T. , vol. iii., 1892.

F. H. Chase. Art. 2 Peter in Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible ., vol. iii., 1900.

Charles Bigg. “A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude” ( International Critical Commentary ). 1901.

J. B. Mayor. The Epistle of St. Jude and the Second Epistle of St. Peter . 1907.

Amongst older commentaries of the present century referred to are those of Alford (ed. 1898), Hofmann (1875), Huther (in Meyer, 1852. E. Tr., 1881), A. Wiesinger (in Olshausen, Bibelwerk , 1862), Dietlein (1851).

The general question of authenticity is discussed in the following:

Salmon’s Introduction , pp. 481, ff. 1894.

Jülicher’s Introduction , E. Tr., 1904, pp. 232 ff.

Zahn’s Introduction , E. Tr., 1909, vol. 2., pp. 134 ff.

B. Weiss. Studien und Kritiken , 1866, pp. 256 ff.

Grosch. Die Echtheit des zweiten Briefer Petri , 1889.

McGiffert. History of Christianity in the Apostolic Age , 1897, pp. 600 ff.

Sanday. Inspiration , 1893, pp. 346 ff., 382 ff.

E. A. Abbott. Expositor , Jan. March, 1882. “From Letter to Spirit,” §§ 1121 1135.

Karl Henkel. Der zweite Brief des Apostelfursten Petrus, geprüft auf seine Echtheit. (From R. C. Standpoint), 1904.


P. Amh. The Amherst Papyri , edd. B. P. Grenfell and A. S. Hunt. (London, 1900 01.)

P. Fay. Fayûm Towns and their Papyri , edd. B. P. Grenfell, A. S. Hunt and D. G. Hogarth (Egyptian Exploration Fund. London, 1900.)

P. Fior. Papiri Fiorentini , ed. G. Vitelli. (Milan, 1905 06.)

P. Gen. Les Papyrus de Genève , 1. Papyrus Grecs , ed. J. Nicole. (Genève, 1896 1900.)

P. Grenf. I. An Alexandrian Erotic Fragment and other Greek Papyri, chiefly Ptolemaic , ed. B. P. Grenfell. (Oxford, 1896.) II. New Classical Fragments and other Greek and Latin Papyri , edd. B. P. Grenfell and A. S. Hunt. (Oxford, 1897.)

P. Hib. The Hibeh Papyri I., edd. Grenfell and Hunt. (Egyptian Exploration Fund. London, 1906.)

P. Lond. Greek Papyri in British Museum , 3 vols. (London, 1893, 1898, 1907.)

P. Oxy. The Oxyrhynchus Papyri , edd. Grenfell and Hunt. (Egyptian Exploration Fund. London, 1898, 1899, 1903, 1904.)

P. Par. Paris Papyri in Notices et Extraits , xviii., ii., ed. Brunet de Presle. (Paris, 1865.)

P. Petr. Flinders Petrie Papyri in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, “Cunningham Memoirs” (Nos. viii., ix., xi.), 3 vols. (Dublin, 1891 1893.)

P. Tebt. The Tebtunis Papyri , 2 vols. (University of California Publications. London, 1902, 1907.)

B.G.U. Griechische Urkunden , from the Berlin Museum.

C.I.A. Corpus Inscriptionum Atticarum . Berlin, 1873 .

O.G.I.S. Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones Selectac , ed. W. Dittenberger, 2 vols. (Leipzig, 1903 05.)

For the references to Papyri I am indebted to the “Lexical Notes from the Papyri,” appearing in Expositor , 1908 9, by Rev. Professor J. H. Moulton, D.D., D.Lit., and the Rev. George Milligan, D.D., and to private communications from these scholars.


ZNTW. Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, herausgegeben von Erwin Preuschen.

MME. Notes from the Papyri in Expositor , 1908, by Professor Moulton and Dr. Milligan.

Moulton Proleg. Grammar of New Testament Greek, vol. i. Prolegomena by Professor J. H. Moulton.

Abbott, J. G. Johannine Grammar by Edwin A. Abbott.

WM. Winer’s Grammar of N.T. Greek, 3rd edition, by W. F. Moulton.

H.D.B. Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols.).