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Bible Commentaries

Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

2 Peter

- 2 Peter

by Heinrich Meyer
























I N revising this Commentary on the Epistles of Peter for the present fourth edition, the work which I had chiefly to consider and subject to a careful examination was the Exposition of the Epistles by von Hofmann. This accordingly I did.

Von Hofmann often seeks to surmount the exegetical difficulties presented in the epistles by a new exposition, and, of course, no exception can be taken to this; but it is to be regretted that the interpretations are not unfrequently of so artificial a nature, that they cannot stand the test of an unprejudiced examination, and are consequently little calculated to promote the true understanding of the text.

As regards the origin of the Second Epistle, my renewed investigations have produced no result other than that which I had formerly obtained. I can only repeat what I said in the preface to the third edition of this Commentary: “If I should be blamed for giving, in this edition also, no decisive and final answer to the question as to the origin of Second Peter, I will say at the outset, that it seems to me more correct to pronounce a non liquet , than to cut the knot by arbitrary assertions and acute appearances of argument.”

Although this Commentary on the whole has preserved its former character, yet it has been subjected to many changes in particulars, which I hope may be regarded as improvements.

I would only add, that in the critical remarks it is principally Tischendorf’s Recension that has been kept in view. Tisch. 7 refers to the editio septima critica minor , 1859; Tisch. 8, to his editio octava major , 1869. Where the two editions agree in a reading, Tisch. simply is put.






T HE epistle on its own testimony professes to have been written by the Apostle Peter (chap. 2Pe 1:1 ; 2 Peter 1:14 ; 2 Peter 1:16-18 , 2 Peter 3:1 ; 2 Peter 3:15 ) subsequent to his first epistle (chap. 2 Peter 3:1 ; comp. also 2 Peter 1:16 ), and addressed to the same churches. Its occasion and aim are stated in chap. 2 Peter 3:17-18 . The author is in anxiety as to the false teachers who were about to appear, he nevertheless pictures them as actually present, and therefore he wishes to warn his readers against them, that they might not be led astray, and exhorts them to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The false teachers against whom the epistle is directed are the Libertines (chap. 2) and the deniers of the Parousia of Christ, and the destruction of the world connected therewith (chap. 3). It is commonly assumed that in chap. 3 the persons meant are the same as those described in chap. 2 But an identity of this kind is nowhere suggested; indeed, the way and the terms in which the ἐμπαῖκται are introduced in chap. 3 seem rather to indicate that by the latter although mention is also made of their sensual life ( κατὰ τὰς ἰδίας αὐτῶν ἐπιθυμίας πορευόμενοι ) different individuals are intended from those portrayed in chap. 2 (Weiss).

De Wette’s opinion, that the author had in his eye “vicious persons” simply, and not “false teachers,” is erroneous, it being abundantly evident from 2 Peter 1:18-19 that the persons described in chap. 2 based their actions on a definite principle; moreover, they are expressly termed ψευδοδιδάσκαλοι , 2 Peter 2:1 . It is also equally erroneous to take them to be Gnostics, properly so called, or more particularly, with Grotius, followers of Carpocrates. Bertholdt calls them Sadducee Christians; but this term is wanting in the necessary precision. Cf. my Introduction to Jude’s Epistle.

The epistle falls into two principal divisions, each consisting of two parts. In the first part of the first division (chap. 2 Peter 1:1-11 ), the author reminds the Christians of the blessings, more especially the ἐπαγγέλματα , of which by the power of God they had been made partakers, linking on to this the exhortation to give abundant proof of the virtues which are the fruits of faith, those especially in which he that is wanting is like unto one blind, and he only who possesses can enter into the eternal kingdom of Christ.

In the second part (chap. 2 Peter 1:12-21 ), the author, as the Apostle Peter, mentions first, what had induced him to give the exhortation at this particular time, and then refers his readers to the certainty of Christ’s advent, confirmed as it was both by the divine words which himself had heard at the Saviour’s transfiguration and by the prophecies of the Old Covenant.

In the first part of the second division (chap. 2), the author portrays the immoral character of the Libertines. He begins by announcing their coming, future as yet; calls them deniers of the Lord who would seduce many, but would not escape punishment (2 Peter 2:1-3 ); then he proves the certainty of their punishment by the examples of the fallen angels, those who perished in the flood, and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, not forgetting, however, in the last two cases to call to remembrance Noah and Lot, just men both, and therefrom to draw the conclusion as to the righteousness of God (2 Peter 2:4-9 ). In 2 Peter 2:10-22 follows the more minute description of the sensual character of the false teachers.

The author commences the last part of this division by stating the design of this second epistle, and then goes on to mention the scoffers who would walk after their own lusts, and would deny the advent of the Lord (chap. 2 Peter 3:1-4 ); this he follows up by a refutation of the arguments on which the denial is based, foretelling the coming destruction of the world by fire, and representing the apparent delay of the judgment as an act of divine patience (2 Peter 3:5-10 ); and to this he subjoins the exhortation to an holy walk, in expectation of the new heaven and the new earth (2 Peter 3:11-13 ).

The epistle concludes with the mention of the Apostle Paul’s epistles, coupled with the warning against wresting the difficult passages contained in them. Finally, the author gives forth exhortations by way of caution, in which he makes apparent the design of the epistle; on this follows the doxology.

The fundamental idea which runs through the whole epistle is that of the ἐπίγνωσις Χριστοῦ , which consists essentially in the acknowledgment of the δύναμις καὶ παρουσία of Christ. Advancement in this ἐπίγνωσις , as the ground and aim of the exercise of all Christian virtue, is the prominent feature of every exhortation. Hence the τίμια ἐπαγγέλματα are designated as that by which κοινωνία with the divine nature is effected, and which must move the Christian to show all zeal in supplying the Christian virtues. The author is therefore at pains to prove the certain fulfilment of those promises, and to refute the sceptical doubts of the false teachers.

As regards its structure, the epistle has encountered much adverse criticism from the opponents of its authenticity. Mayerhoff reproaches it, more especially, with a clumsy and illogical development; but it cannot fail to be observed that there is a clear and firm line of thought, by which all particulars are joined together and form a well-arranged whole (cf. Brückner, Einl. § 1 a; Hofmann, p. 121 ff.). The thoughts which form the commencement of the epistle prepare the way for the warnings against the false teachers, and have as their aim the concluding exhortations which point back to the heresy. The prominence given to the thought that τὰ πρὸς ζωὴν καὶ εὐσέβειαν are bestowed upon us (2 Peter 1:3 ), and the exhortation to furnish the Christian virtues (2 Peter 1:5-11 ), are all aimed at the false teachers, who would indulge in ἀσελγείαις , and by whom the ὁδὸς τῆς ἀληθείας would be brought into disrepute (2 Peter 2:2 ); whilst the emphasis laid on the ἐπαγγέλματα (2 Peter 1:4 ), as also the reference to the incidents of the transfiguration as a proof of the δύναμις καὶ παρουσία of Christ (2 Peter 1:16-18 ), point to the prophetic announcement of the coming of the ἐμπαῖκται who would deny the advent of the Saviour (2 Peter 3:3 ff.). Still it is surprising that the whole of the second chapter may be omitted without the connection of thought being in any way injured thereby. For, inasmuch as the scoffers are characterized as men who walk κατὰ τὰς ἰδίας αὐτῶν ἐπιθυμίας , the moral exhortations introduced in 2 Peter 1:3-4 , and to which 2 Peter 3:12 has retrospect, may be applicable to them also; and although 2 Peter 2:1 is closely connected with 2 Peter 1:19-21 by the words: ἐλένοντο δὲ καὶ ψευδοπροφῆται ἐν τῷ λαῷ , yet μνησθῆναι τῶν προειρημένων ῥημάτων ὑπὸ τῶν ἁγίων προφητῶν (2 Peter 3:2 ) can equally be joined with them. It may accordingly be conjectured that chap. 2 was afterwards added, either by the writer himself, or by some later hand; but again, opposed to such a supposition is the circumstance that chap. 2 in no way disturbs the unity of the whole.

Besides several echoes of the Pauline Epistles and the First Epistle of Peter, this letter, as is well known, presents in the second chapter, and in one or two passages of the first and third, a striking resemblance to the Epistle of Jude, which cannot possibly be considered accidental. Rather must one of these epistles be regarded as the original, of which the author of the other made use. In former times the prevalent view was that the Second Epistle of Peter was the original, thus Luther, Wolf, Semler, Storr, Pott, etc.; but afterwards the opposite opinion obtained most favour, thus already Herder, Hug, Eichhorn, Credner, Neander, Mayerhoff, de Wette, Guericke; and in more recent times it has been supported by Reuss, Bleek, Arnaud, Wiesinger, Brückner, Weiss, and F. Philippi; that is to say, not only by opponents of the authenticity of the Second Epistle of Peter, but by defenders of it also (Wiesinger, Brückner, Weiss). A different judgment, however, is passed by Thiersch, Dietlein, Stier, Luthardt, Schott, Steinfass, Fronmüller, Hofmann. Appeal is made chiefly to this circumstance, that at the time when the Epistle of Jude was composed the false teachers were already present, while in Second Peter their appearance is looked upon as future, and is the subject of prophecy. But this, as Weiss has shown, is an argument only in appearance, and is in no way capable of proof. That the passages Jude 1:17-18 have no reference to 2 Peter 2:1-3 ; 2 Peter 3:2-3 , is plain from this, that had Jude seen in the appearance of the Libertines the fulfilment of the prediction contained in Second Peter, he would have styled them, not ἐμπαῖκται κ . τ . λ ., but rather ψευδοδιδάσκαλοι . For in Second Peter it is not the Libertines described in chap. 2 that are called ἐμπαῖκται , but the deniers of the Parousia spoken of in chap. 3, whom Jude does not even mention. Nor is it easy to see why Jude, if in 2 Peter 3:17-18 he really had in his mind the prophecy given by Peter, should not have directly said so, but should rather have spoken of the actual word of the actual Peter as τὰ ῥήματα τὰ προειρημένα ὑπὸ τῶν ἀποστόλων τοῦ κυρίου . In favour of the view that the Second Epistle of Peter is dependent on the Epistle of Jude, is the latter’s entirely individual manner of thought and diction, which bears the distinct impress of originality; [1] whilst in Second Peter, on the other hand, there is apparent the endeavour to tone down the expression by simplification, addition, or omission. Further, the circumstance that the more the expression in Peter’s second epistle coincides with that of Jude, the more does what is otherwise peculiar to the epistle tend to disappear. [2] And finally, the absence of any tenable reason which might have induced Jude to collect together separate passages from a larger apostolic writing, in order to compose therefrom a new epistle, which, seeing that the former was already in existence, must have had the less significance that it omits from the delineation important particulars which are contained in Second Peter. [3]

[1] Herder: “See what a thoroughly powerful epistle, like a fire-wheel running back into itself; take now that of Peter, what introduction he makes, how he tones down, omits, confirms,” etc. “Jude has always the most precise and the strongest expression.” Even Schott grants, in opposition to Dietlein, “that the Epistle of Jude bears the impress of much greater literary originality on the part of the writer than that of Second Peter;” and that “it must be allowed to possess a by far greater intellectual originality and pithiness.”

[2] This Weiss brings very decidedly forward: “It plainly appears that wherever in the parallel passages it strikingly coincides with that of Jude, the expression is to be found nowhere else in Second Peter; but wherever it deviates from that of Jude, or becomes entirely independent, it is at once in surprising conformity with the form of expression in this or the First Epistle of Peter.”

[3] When Luthardt thinks to explain this by observing “that Jude could certainly assume that his readers were acquainted with Second Peter, in which enough had already been said as to the παρουσία ,” he entirely overlooks the fact that the latter epistle treats equally at length of the false teachers, and that consequently Jude might have left his entire letter unwritten.

In discussing the question as to which is the original epistle, two points must be remembered, (1) “That in neither have we a slavish dependence or a mere copy, but that the correspondence of the one with the other is carried out with literary freedom and licence” (Weiss); and (2) The circumstance that this question is not identical with that as to the authenticity of the Second Epistle of Peter; Wiesinger, Weiss, Brückner, defend its authenticity, although they question its priority.

The reasons which Schott adduces for the priority of the Epistle of Jude are simple assertions, which a closer examination by no means justifies, inasmuch as they are either plainly arbitrary, or presuppose artificial interpretations and pure inventions. Steinfass thinks, strangely enough, that to accept the originality of Jude’s Epistle is somewhat hazardous for that composition itself, and not only for Second Peter, inasmuch as, on the assumption, he takes the repeated reference to the Pseudo-Enoch to be an offence, many examples a redundancy, much conciseness constraint, and the whole arrangement pretty much confusion. Fronmüller bases his argument for the priority of Second Peter specially on this, that it is inconceivable that Peter, the prince of the apostles, should have borrowed expressions, figures, and examples from one who was plainly less gifted than himself. Hofmann would completely settle the whole question by asserting that Peter composed his second epistle soon after his first, that is to say, before the destruction of Jerusalem, while Jude wrote after (2 Peter 3:5 !) that event. But when, nevertheless, quite superfluously, he by way of proof goes into particulars, he on the one hand bases his arguments on many unjustifiable assertions, as, for example, that Peter exhorts to an holy walk, but Jude to the aggressive maintenance of the Christian faith, or that Jude was dealing only with some unworthy members of the church in the present, whilst Peter had in view teachers who were to arise in the future; and, on the other hand, the proofs he adduces have also to be supported by erroneous interpretations and judgments purely subjective.

If, now, following the course of thought in the Epistle of Jude, we consider the individual passages in their relation to what is similar to them in Second Peter, these results are obtained:

In the opening of his epistle, Jude introduces his opponents without any bias as τινὲς ἄνθρωποι , without even hinting that they are those whose appearance Peter had before predicted. The first description of them by τὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμῶι χάριτα μετατιθέντες εἰς ἀσέλγειαν is peculiar to Jude. It is in no way probable that the expression ἀσέλγεια is taken from the passage 2 Peter 2:2 . The following δεσπότην ἀρνούμενοι is found in Peter also, but to whom it originally belongs cannot be concluded from the nearer definitions connected therewith. The fact that the particular features by Which Jude characterizes his opponents are to be found in 2 Peter 2:1-3 , others being here added, however, and with a less original turn of expression, tends to show rather that the Epistle of Jude had exercised an influence on that of Peter than vice versa (Wiesinger). In the one epistle as in the other, the examples of divine judgment follow the first and special description of the adversaries. Yet these are not in both the same, and in Peter’s epistle, in the second and third cases, there is added to the mention of the punishment of the ungodly a reference to the deliverance of the just, more especially of Noah and Lot. The order in which the examples of judgment are brought forward is in Peter’s composition chronological, and in so far eminently natural; still the selection of the first is striking, since in Genesis 6:2 ff. there is no mention made of a punishment of the angels. Now, as there is nothing in the connection of thought here which could have determined Peter to bring forward this example, he must have been moved to do so by something external to it, that is, by the influence which the Epistle of Jude had upon him. The order of examples of judgment in Jude is of so singular a nature, that so far from showing even the faintest trace of a dependence on Peter, it is rather on the assumption of any such quite incomprehensible. How could it ever have occurred to Jude, supposing he drew from Second Peter, to place the case of the unbelieving Israelites first, and to omit that of the flood? Jude’s manner of presentation is based on a conception so entirely original, that it cannot possibly have been suggested to him by that in Second Peter. It is difficult to see what could have moved Jude to avoid the two-sided character of Peter’s examples, if it really lay before him it was equally well suited to his purpose. Noticeable, also, is the latter’s prevailing tendency to generalization. The last two examples adduced by Jude have reference to a quite definite sin, the ἐκπορνεύειν καὶ ἀπέρχεσθαι ὀπίσω σαρκὸς ἑτέρας ; Peter, on the other hand, deals only with the general distinction between godly and ungodly; and whilst Jude characterizes the conduct of the angels as it lay to his hand in the tradition, or in the Book of Enoch itself, Peter contents himself with the more general ἁμαρτησάντων , and avoids all distinct reference to that tradition. But whence had he, then, the σειραῖς ζόφου κ . τ . λ ., if he did not write under the influence of Jude’s epistle? After the examples of judgment there follows, in both epistles, the description of the libertines, according to their sensual walk and their despising and defamation of the supernatural powers. Amidst much that is similar there are nevertheless many points of disagreement, so that, in general, it may be open to dispute in which epistle the more original expression prevails. This is, however, not the case as regards the difference between Jude 1:9 and 2 Peter 2:11 , for instead of Jude’s concrete description according to apocryphal tradition, we have again in Peter, as in the mention of the angels formerly, an entirely general expression, which, however, must refer to something special. It has indeed been asserted (Schott, Hofmann) that Peter’s expression finds its explanation in Zechariah 3:1 ; but if the apostle had this verse in view, he would have made more distinct reference to it; nor, again, could any reason be assigned why Jude should have alluded, not to the fact recorded in that passage, but to one entirely apocryphal. This also speaks decidedly in favour of the priority of Jude’s epistle. Dietlein asserts with regard to Jude 1:10 , as compared with 2 Peter 2:12 , “that the higher degree of pure elaboration proves Jude to have been the reviser;” but this is unjustifiable, as even Steinfass admits. Wiesinger and Brückner rightly say, that here also, in the whole mode of expression, the priority of Jude’s epistle is recognisable.

In Jude the woe follows, breaking in upon the text, and as the basis of it the comparison of the Libertines with Cain, Balaam, and Korah. To this is added a more minute description of them in a series of figurative expressions, coupled with Enoch’s prophecy of judgment. In the Epistle of Peter, subjoined to φθαρήσονται , 2 Peter 3:12 , is the reference to the reward of the ἀδικία of the Libertines, and on this a description of the ἀδικία itself, the false teachers being then at the end classed along with Balaam. It is only after this that several figurative designations follow, which are based on their propagandist doings. The grouping is accordingly different in each of the epistles; and otherwise, with much that is coincident in detail, there are many divergencies. The train of thought is in both epistles equally suited to the subject-matter, only it is somewhat strange that Jude, if he had the Epistle of Peter before him, should ever have thought of interrupting the connection of ideas here existing between 2 Peter 3:12-13 by a woe. This paragraph clearly shows that the dependence of the one author on the other is not to be looked upon as of such a nature that the later changed, and arranged with designed elaboration, the writings of the earlier, but only, that in the description of the same object the manner of presentation of the latter had wrought with manifold determination upon that of the former. The divergencies which here occur are more easily explained on the assumption that the Epistle of Jude, and not that of Peter, was the earlier. Were it otherwise, it would certainly be difficult to understand how Jude left unnoticed not only the characteristic ὀφθαλμοὺς ἔχοντες μεστοὺς μοιχαλίδος , but also the repeatedly recurring δελεάζοντες , and the references generally to the propagandist designs. With regard to this difference, that Jude speaks of Cain, Balaam, and Korah, whilst Peter mentions Balaam only, it is more natural to suppose that Peter, leaving the other two unnoticed, refers simply to Balaam because the latter appeared to him a particularly fitting type of the Libertines (on account of their πλεονεξία , to which special prominence is given, and to which the μισθοῦ of Jude alludes; whilst, in the case of the others, there is no such distinctive trait), than to assume that Jude added the two other illustrations to that of Balaam which he had before him in the Epistle of Peter. The priority of Jude’s epistle may be recognised in this also, that the somewhat striking expression μισθοῦ is, in the composition of Peter, supplemented by the explanatory: ὃς μισθὸν ἀδικίας ἠγάπησεν . Highly characteristic, too, is the relation of the two clauses Jude 1:12 a and Peter 2 Peter 2:13 b , especially in their corresponding expressions: σπιλάδες in Jude, and σπῖλοι καὶ μῶμοι in Peter, and ἐν ταῖς ἀγάπαις ὑμῶν there, and ἐν ταῖς ἀπάταις αὐτῶν here. In spite of the different expressions, the influence of the one on the other is unmistakeable; and it is equally plain that it was not Jude who wrote under the influence of Peter, but Peter under that of Jude. For what could have induced Jude to substitute for the clear expression of Peter the uncommon σπιλάδες , which, besides, has a different meaning, and to change the much more general idea ἀπάταις into the special conception ἀγάπαις ? Whatever may be thought of Weiss’ opinion, that Peter allowed himself to be guided simply by the sound of the words, we must certainly agree with him when he says that “Schott’s attempt to save the originality of Peter’s epistle rests on the entirely untenable assumption that the Petrine passage has reference to the love-feasts.”

His omission of the passage from Enoch, quoted by Jude, can be easily enough explained, inasmuch as it was Peter’s predominating desire to allow what was apocryphal to recede, especially when by doing so no essential thought was omitted, and in chap. 2 Peter 2:1-2 , distinct enough reference had been already made to the future judgment. But it is difficult to see what possible reason Jude could have had for inserting the passage from the Apocrypha in addition to what he found in Peter.

In what follows, each epistle goes its own way, and there are to be found but few traces of any influence of either on the other. Those few are as follows: (1) The κατὰ τὰς ἐπιθυμίας αὐτῶν πορευόμενοι in Jude 1:16-17 , and Pet. 2 Peter 3:3 , and the ἐμπαῖκται closely connected herewith. With regard to this last expression, it is more than improbable that Jude borrowed it from Peter’s epistle, it being there applied to the deniers of the Parousia, whom Jude does not even mention. Peter, on the other hand, might easily have adopted this designation from the Epistle of Jude, as very applicable to those who called the advent in question, the more so that he had already spoken of the Libertines as ψευδοδιδάσκαλοι . Thus, too, is explained the addition from Jude’s epistle of κατὰ τὰςπορευόμενοι , which otherwise, as applied by Peter to a special heresy, is somewhat surprising. (2) The term ὑπέρογκα , Jude 1:16 and Pet. 2 Peter 2:18 ; Jude employs it without any nearer definition, but Peter in relation to ἐλευθερίαν ἐπαγγέλλεσθαι . This, too, speaks for the priority of Jude’s composition; for it is not conceivable that Jude, in adopting the expression, would have left unnoticed its nearer definition presented by Peter; whilst, on the other hand, the latter might easily have borrowed it from Jude’s epistle, as well suited to the end he had in view.

The result, then, of an unbiassed comparison can be no other than this, that the Second Epistle of Peter was composed under the influence of what Jude had written, and not vice versa . This has been proved by Brückner, Wiesinger, and Weiss in their investigations, which have, in part, been conducted with more attention to particular detail.


Eusebius ( H. E. ii. 23, iii. 5) rightly includes this epistle among the antilegomena, its genuineness having been called in question by many. Origen already expressly says (Eusebius, H. E. vi. 23): Πέτροςμίαν ἐπιστολὴν ὁμολογουμένην καταλέλοιπεν · ἔστω δὲ καὶ δευτέραν , ἁμφιβάλλεται γάρ . In spite of this verdict, Origen only, however, in the writings which we possess in Latin translation treats it as a genuine composition of the apostle, citing it several times; see Homil. in Josuam vii., Homil . iv. in Levitic., Homil . viii. in Numer ., and Comment. in Ep. ad Romanos , viii. 7.

If in his Comment. in Ev. Johannis he speak only of the First Epistle of Peter as catholic, saying, with reference to 1 Peter 3:18-20 : περὶ τῆς ἐν φυλακῇ πορείας μετὰ πνεύματος παρὰ τῷ Πέτρῳ ἐν τῇ καθολικῇ ἐπιστολῇ , it can at most be concluded from this, only that he refused to apply that name to the second epistle, perhaps because it had not found general acceptation, but not that he himself had any doubts as to its genuineness.

Origen’s contemporary, too, Firmilianus of Caesarea, seems to have known the epistle, and to have regarded it as genuine; for when, in his Epistle to Cyprian ( Epp. Cypr. ep. 75), he says that Peter and Paul have condemned the heretics in suis epistolis, this seems, as far as Peter is concerned, to be applicable to his second epistle only, as in the first there is no mention of any such persons.

It cannot be definitely asserted that Clemens Alexandrinus commented on this epistle in his Hypotyposes . According to Eusebius ( H. E . vi. 14): ἐν δὲ ταῖς ὑποτυπώσεσι ξυνέλοντα εἰπεῖν , πάσης τῆς ἐνδιαθήκου γραφῆς ἐπιτετμημένας πεποίηται διηγήσεις · μὴ δὲ τὰς ἀντιλεγομένας παρελθών · τὴν Ἰούδα λέγω καὶ τὰς λοιπὰς ἐπιστολάς · τήν τε Βαρνάβα καὶ τὴν Πέτρου λεγομένην ἀποκάλυψιν · καὶ τὴν πρὸς Ἑβραίους δὲ ἐπιστολὴν κ . τ . λ ., Clement commented on the whole of the N. T. writings, the antilegomena included, and therefore Second Peter, which Eusebius designates as an ἐπιστολὴ ἀντιλεγ . To this, however, the remark of Cassiodorus is opposed ( de instit. div. script. c. 8): in epistolis canonicis Clemens Al. i. e. in ep. Petri prima, Joannis prima et secunda et Jacobi (or rather Judae) quaedam attico sermone declaravit, etc.

Cum de reliquis epistolis canonicis magna nos cogitatio fatigaret, subito nobis codex Didymi … concessus est, etc. But as Cassiodorus expressly says in the Praefatio: ferunt itaque scripturas divinas V. et N. Testamenti ab ipso principio usque ad finem graeco sermone declarasse Clementem Alex., it may be concluded from this that he did not possess a complete copy of the Hypotyposes , but one only in which several epistles of the N. T., and among these Second Peter, were awanting. Whilst Brückner says that the remark of Cassiodorus is no certain refutation of the statement made by Eusebius, Weiss declares himself convinced that the epistle was not commented on by Clement.

Neither in the writings of Tertullian nor of Cyprian is there to be found any trace of an acquaintance with the epistle, though both of them know and quote First Peter.

The epistle does not stand in the older Peshito , nor is it mentioned in the Muratorian Canon . Previous to Clemens Al. it is sought for in vain in the apostolic and in the older church Fathers. As to whether in these writers certain echoes of the epistle are to be found which point to an acquaintance with it, Guericke, even, expresses himself very doubtfully: “The allusions, in the case of some of the apostolic Fathers, are not quite certain; but, on the other hand, Justin M., Irenaeus, and Theophilus, do really appear to have made unmistakeable reference to it.” Thiersch (p. 362, d. a. Schr .) denies still more decidedly a reference in the earlier church Fathers to this epistle. “The two thoughts only,” says Thiersch, “ ‘that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years,’ and that ‘the end of the world will come as a conflagration,’ had at a very early period obtained general diffusion throughout the church;” but he himself shows that these two ideas did not necessarily originate in this epistle. Most of the recent critics agree with Thiersch. Entirely opposed to this, however, is the judgment of Dietlein; he fancies he finds, not only in the three Fathers already mentioned, but in Polycarp, Ignatius, Clemens Romanus, Barnabas, and Hermes, not in some few passages merely, but “scattered in large numbers throughout the writings of each of them,” indisputable references to our epistle. In his endeavour to discover these, however, Dietlein has failed to observe that the writers of ecclesiastical antiquity all drew [4] from the same store of conceptions, expressions, and phrases, and that a correspondence must necessarily take place, without the dependence of any one upon another following therefrom. By far the most of the passages in those apostolic Fathers to which Dietlein appeals attest only a community of conception and expression, but not a dependence on Second Peter, the less so that the harmony consists almost only in accidental phrases and the like, and not in such ideas as are peculiarly characteristic of our epistle; nor has Dietlein been able to show a single sentence in which there is an exact verbal agreement.

[4] Even with regard to Philo, Dietlein says: “The coincidence between Philo and the N. T. and primitive ecclesiastical writers is by no means always fortuitous. Both draw abundantly from the same storehouse of views and expressions, only the use they make of these is very different.” This remark is very just; but why does not Dietlein apply what he says as to Philo to the relation between the primitive Christian writers and those of the N. T.? Is it because the application is in no way different? But, according to his own account, the material which the former drew directly from the latter was often applied in a very diverse manner; and though the difference here be not so great as in the above case, it is only natural it should be so, if the different circumstances be considered.

In the Epistle of Barnabas, the words, chap. 15: ἡ ἡμέρα παρʼ αὐτῷ (that is, κυρίῳ ) χίλια ἔτη , doubtless call up 2 Peter 3:8 ; but the thought to which they give expression is there entirely different from that here. Besides, it must be particularly observed to this Thiersch calls attention that the conception of the days of the Messiah as a Sabbath of a thousand years is found in the Mischnah, Tractat. Sanhedrin 97b, in connection with Psalms 90:4 ; as also that the authenticity of the Epistle of Barnabas is by no means so certain as Dietlein presupposes.

All the other passages in this epistle to which Dietlein appeals (especially in chap. 1 and 2, in the salutation and the conclusion of the epistle) show points of similarity only, which by no means prove the existence of definite references. [5]

So, too, with the passages from the Epistle of Clemens Romanus (chap. 7 init. comp. with 2 Peter 1:12 ; 2 Peter 3:9 ; chap. 8 comp. with 2 Peter 3:9 ; 2 Peter 3:16-17 ; chap. 9 comp. with 2 Peter 1:17 , etc.; chap. 11 with 2 Peter 2:6-7 , etc.), and from that of Polycarp (chap. 3 comp. with 2 Peter 3:15-16 ; chap. 6 fin. and 7 init. with 2 Peter 3:2 , etc.). [6] Had Polycarp really been acquainted with Second Peter, and had he wished to refer to it, it is impossible to understand why he does not quote even one sentence from it literally, as he certainly does from First Peter.

Still less than that of the above-mentioned Fathers is the dependence of Ignatius on Second Peter capable of proof, even in a single passage.

As regards Justin Martyr, the earlier critics have traced back the expression in the Dialog. cum Tryph. c. 89 (p. 308, Morelli’s edition): συνήκαμεν γὰρ τὸ εἰρημένον , ὅτι ἡμέρα κυρίου ὡς χίλια ἔτη , εἰς τοῦτο συνάγειν , to 2 Peter 3:8 as their original source; but the words here have the same meaning as in the Epistle of Barnabas, and, besides, differ still more markedly from those of Second Peter.

Indeed, Justin himself seems to hint that the words are not taken from an apostolic writing; for he cites them as a saying not unknown to Trypho, whilst he expressly mentions the book of the N. T. from which a quotation immediately following is taken; ΚΑῚ ἜΠΕΙΤΑ ( i.e. “and then,” i.e. “and further”) Ἰωάννηςἐν ἀποκαλύψειπροεφήτευσε .

Subsequently, indeed, Justin designates the false teachers as ΨΕΥΔΟΔΙΔΆΣΚΑΛΟΙ (a word which occurs, no doubt, in the N. T. only in Second Peter), and that, similarly as in 2 Peter 2:1 , in connection with the false prophets among the Jews; but this need occasion no surprise, since in after times the name was not uncommon, and the application of it must have suggested itself at once to him in conversation with a Jew.

Nor in Hermas either is there any quotation properly so called from Second Peter. Still appeal has been made to various expressions (in Vis. iii. 7, iv. 3) which no doubt may be traced back to that Epistle; and yet more is this the case in Vis. vii. Whilst, however, Wiesinger admits the dependence on Second Peter, and Brückner is inclined to agree with him, Weiss remarks, that in the Greek text, now brought to light, the supposed references in Hermas lose every semblance of similarity. On the other hand, Hofmann maintains that in Sim . vi. c. 2 ff., the peculiar connection of τρυφή with ἈΠΆΤΗ , etc., as also the singular calculation, for how long a time pain would follow one day of luxurious living, can only be explained by a reference to Second Peter; and further, that the vision of the seven virtues ( Sim . iii. c. 8) could have had 2 Peter 1:5-7 as a pattern. Both of these assertions are very questionable.

In Theophilus ( ad Autol. ) it is two passages principally that recall our epistle; in the one it is said of the prophets (l. II. c. 11, ed. Wolfii, Hamb. 1724): οἱ δὲ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἄνθρωποι πνευματοφόροι πνεύματος ἀγίου καὶ προφῆται γενόμενοι ὑπʼ αὐτοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐμπνευσθέντες καὶ σοφισθέντες ἐγένοντο θεοδίδακτοι καὶ ὅσιοι καὶ δίκαιοι ; in the other (l. II. c. 1), with reference to the Logos: ΔΙΆΤΑΞΙς ΤΟῦ ΘΕΟῦ ΤΟῦΤΌ ἘΣΤΙΝ ΛΌΓΟς ΑὐΤΟῦ ΦΑΊΝΩΝ ὭΣΠΕΡ ΛΎΧΝΟς ἘΝ ΟἸΚΉΜΑΤΙ ΣΥΝΕΧΟΜΈΝῼ . The similarity of the former passage with 2 Peter 1:21 , and of the latter with 2 Peter 1:18 , is indisputable; but that the one had its origin in the other remains certainly doubtful, the points of difference being not less marked than those of agreement. The conception formed of the prophets is in both cases the same no doubt, but it was also the view generally prevalent, and is found even in Philo; cf. the exposition of 2 Peter 1:21 ; the manner of expression, too, is not a little different. As regards the other passages, it must be observed that there is agreement, neither in the figure employed ( ἘΝ ΟἸΚΉΜΑΤΙ ΣΥΝΕΧΟΜΈΝῼ instead of ἘΝ ΑὐΧΜΉΡῼ ΤΌΠῼ ), nor with respect to the object spoken of.

In Irenaeus the thought, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, is again found, and that in two passages ( Adv. Haeres. v. 23 and 28), but in neither of them is it hinted that the words are taken from an apostolic writing. If it had not its origin in some collection of proverbs then in circulation, it is very probable that Irenaeus borrowed it from Justin, since he too uses the expression: ἡμέρα κυρίου (not ΠΑΡᾺ ΚΥΡΊῼ ).

Dietlein, indeed, thinks that instances of reference on Irenaeus’s part to Second Peter may be richly accumulated, the more the finding of them is made an object of study (!). But Irenaeus nowhere mentions the epistle, nor does he anywhere make a quotation from it, a circumstance more surprising in his case than in that of Polycarp, if he really knew the epistle, and considered it to be an apostolic writing. Cf. Brückner, Einl. § 4.

[5] When Barnabas, in the introduction to his epistle, thus states the purpose of it: ἵνα μετὰ τῆς πίστεως τέλειαν ἔχητε καὶ τὴν γνῶσιν , this so entirely corresponds with the contents of the epistle that he certainly cannot have made Second Peter his guide; that he makes use of the verb σπουδάζειν is all the less objectionable, that the word is a very common one. The enumeration of the virtues (chap. 2.) is entirely different from that which occurs in 2 Peter 1:5-8 , and the words: magnarum et honestarum Dei aequitatum abundantiam sciens esse in vobis, have a very feeble similarity to: τὰ μέγιστα ἡμῖν καὶ τίμια ἐπαγγέλματα δεδώρηται , 2 Peter 1:4 , especially as the connection of thought is of quite another kind.

[6] Dietlein finds specially in Clement a mass of references to Second Peter; but it is here precisely that the way in which he strains the most natural phrases and expressions becomes apparent. There is no foundation for the assertions, that the expression: ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ ἐσμεν σκάμματι (which the words καὶαὐτὸς ἡμῖν ἀγὼν ἐπίκειται follow) had its origin, by association of ideas(!), in the ἐφʼ ὅσον εἰμὶ ἐν τούτῳ τῷ σκηνώματι of Peter; that Clement was stimulated by Peter to write the remarks in chap. 7. and 11.; that when he wished to account for the very special reverence in which Paul was held, he, in doing so, did not act without reference to 2 Peter 3:15 ! By what right are expressions such as ὑπακοή , μετάνοια , δικαιοσύνη , ταπεινοφροσύνη , etc., stamped as peculiarly Petrine? Dietlein attaches special importance both to the fact that Polycarp mentions Paul, and to the manner in which he does so, as also to his controversy with the heretics, who denied the ἀνάστασις . Yet here, too, it is presupposed that similarities are due entirely to direct reference; and, moreover, no account whatever is taken of the relation in which Polycarp stood to Clement.

The result of an unbiassed examination is, that in Ignatius there are to be found no references to Second Peter; in Clemens Rom., Barnabas, and Polycarp, none in any way probable; in Justin Martyr, Hermas, and Theophilus, none certain; and further, that Irenaeus cannot be looked upon as a guarantee for the existence and authority of the epistle in the church. If, then, the apostolic Fathers had already made use of this composition, more especially in the manner in which Dietlein holds that they did, it would be impossible to explain not only how the doubts, spoken of by Origen, arose, but also the circumstance that the epistle is mentioned neither by Tertullian nor by Cyprian. Dietlein’s assertion, that the older Fathers of the church, in making more frequent reference to the Pauline Epistles than to the Petrine, did, in doing so, but follow the hints which Peter himself gave in chap. 2 Peter 3:15-16 , explains nothing; for, on the one hand, no such hint is contained in that passage; and, on the other, the first epistle must have shared the same fate as the second, which is not the case.

Thiersch, as already remarked, whilst admitting that it cannot be proved that any of the early church Fathers made reference to Second Peter, at the same time allows that none of the reasons which explain the subordinate position held by the antilegomena as compared with the homologoumena, are applicable to this epistle. He is therefore driven to account for the fact that this epistle was not included among the subjects of regular anagnosis, by saying that this was due to the fear lest a too early disclosure as made in his words of thunder (?) of the evil, in its whole scope, would have had the effect of hastening on the outbreak of it, more especially at a time when all minds were being stirred to their very depths, as was the case when the canon of the homologoumena was fixed. But this reason is in itself very improbable, for there could certainly have been no better weapon against the advancing evil, than the word of an apostle, and especially of Peter. Thus, too, the reflection is cast upon Peter that he was here wanting in true apostolic wisdom, inasmuch as he composed an epistle which could have no other than a disturbing influence. And what, then, is to be said of Jude, who made into a special epistle the sharpest passages, and those likely to exercise that influence most strongly!

The circumstance that the epistle is not mentioned by the earliest Fathers of the church remains all the more surprising, when it is considered how important the polemic it contains against errors of the worst kind must have made it appear to them. Wiesinger thinks that the exception taken to it by Hieronymus on linguistic grounds (see below), as well as the dogmatic objections raised to it, would be less likely to recommend for use an epistle so special in its contents. But opposed to this is (1) That if the churches to whom it is addressed did receive it from Peter, they would hardly have compared it in the matter of style with the first epistle; (2) That it affords no ground for dogmatic objection; (3) That the special character of its contents is precisely of such a nature as to promote its use, rather than to be an obstacle in the way of it. Weiss justly maintains that the question, how it can be explained that there are no certain traces of the epistle in the second century, is as yet unsolved, in that what has been urged in the way of solution by the defenders of the genuineness, is in a great measure arbitrary and insufficient.

After the time of Eusebius, the epistle was generally treated as canonical; yet Gregory of Nazianzum already says ( Carm . 33, ver 35): καθολικῶν ἐπιστολῶν τινὲς μὲν ἑπτὰ φάσιν , οἱ δὲ τρεῖς μόνας χρῆναι δέχεσθαι ; and Hieronymus ( s. de Script. eccl. c. 1), who himself holds the genuineness of the epistle, remarks that its Petrine origin is denied by most, and withal propter styli cum priore dissonantiam.

Although it was not in the Peschito, Ephraem Syrus made no doubt as to its genuineness; meantime, and notwithstanding, doubt long maintained itself in the Syrian Church, as may be seen from the words of Cosmas Indicopleustes ( Christ. topographia , lib. vi.): παρὰ Σύροις δὲ εἰ μὴ αἱ τρεῖς μόναι αἱ προγεγραμμέναι οὐχ εὑρίσκονται , Ἰακώβου καὶ Πέτρου καὶ Ἰωάννου · αἱ ἄλλαι γὰρ οὔτε κεῖνται παρʼ αὐτοῖς .

In the Middle Ages all doubts were silenced, but at the time of the Reformation they immediately revived. Erasmus already said that, juxta sensum humanum he did not believe that the epistle was the composition of Peter; and Calvin is of opinion that there are several probabiles conjecturae, from which it can be concluded that the epistle is the work rather of some one other than Peter.

The older Lutheran dogmatists are not inclined to insist positively on its genuineness, on the ground that the church does not possess the power, quod possit ex falsis scriptis facere vera, ex veris falsa, ex dubiis et incertis facere certa, canonica et legitima (Chemnitz, Ex. Cone. Trid. , ed. 1615, Francof., p. 87 ff.). Although the later writers on dogmatics gradually obliterate, more and more, the distinction between homologoumena and antilegomena, and our epistle in ecclesiastical use is treated increasingly as a canonical writing, yet doubt did not wholly disappear. Indeed, since Semler it has grown to such an extent that Schwegler ( d. nachapost. Zeitalt . Bd. 1, p. 491) feels warranted in saying: “From Calvin, Grotius, Scaliger, and Salmasius, to Semler, Neander, Credner, and de Wette, the voices of all competent authorities have united in doubting and rejecting it.”

This is, however, saying too much, for there has never been any want of competent authorities to defend its genuineness. Still, the general voice had certainly become always more unfavourable to the epistle, till in recent times new defenders of its authenticity appeared. [7] Many critics hold that genuine and spurious parts may be distinguished in the epistle; thus Berthold in his Einl. z. N. T. and C. Ullmann in his work, Deuteronomy 2:0; Deuteronomy 2:0 Brief Petri kritisch untersucht , Heidelb. 1821. The former regards the second chapter as spurious, the latter the third also. The first of these two views is refuted by the fact that not the second chapter alone, but likewise several passages of the third, bear a similarity to Jude’s epistle; and against that of Ullmann are the circumstances that the first chapter has by no means the character of a completed whole, while, as § 2 proves, there is a firm line of thought running through the epistle, and binding into a unity its several parts, from beginning to end.

[7] As defenders of its authenticity may be specially named: Nitzsche ( Ep. Petri posterior auctori suo imprimis contra Grotium vindicata , Lips. 1785), C. C. Flatt ( Genuina secundae ep. Petri origo denuo defenditur , Tub. 1806), J. C. W. Dahl ( De authentia ep. Petri poster, et Judae . Rost. 1807), F. Windischmann ( Vindiciae Petrinae , Ratisb. 1836), A. L. C. Heydenreich ( Ein Wort zur Vertheidigung der Aechtheit des 2 Br. Petri , Herborn 1837), Guericke (who in his Beiträge had expressed doubts as to the authenticity); besides these, Pott, Augusti, Hug, etc.; and in most recent times, Thiersch, Stier, Dietlein, Hofmann, Luthardt, Wiesinger, Schott, Weiss, Steinfass; Brückner is not quite decided.

In discussing the question of the authenticity of our epistle, it will be necessary to consider its relation to First Peter. If this latter be held to be spurious, there is of course no need of any further investigation, for, appealing as the second does to the first, it must share its fate. But since First Peter must be regarded as genuine, a comparison of it with our epistle is of the highest importance.

The doubts as to the authenticity of the second epistle, which result from a comparison of the two writings with each other, are founded not on a dissonantia styli only (Hieron.), but also on a diversity (although not a contradiction) in the mode of conception. No doubt those who call the authenticity in question have not unfrequently gone too far in the production of alleged differences, but that such do exist cannot be denied. Of these the following are the most important:

The prominent feature in both epistles is, indeed, the Parousia of Christ, but the manner in which it is spoken of is in each different; in the first epistle the prevailing conception is the ἐλπίς ; in the second, on the other hand, it is the ἐπίγνωσις , the former expression not occurring in the second epistle, nor the latter in the first. In the first epistle the day of the second advent is looked upon as imminent; in the second, mention is indeed made of a sudden, but not of the near arrival of that day; rather is it expressly indicated as possible that it would not come till farther on in the future. In the first epistle the chief stress is laid on the glorification of believers which shall accompany the return of Christ; in the second epistle prominence is principally given to the catastrophe which shall overtake the whole creation in connection with the advent, that is, to the destruction of the old world by fire, to give place to the new heaven and the new earth. In addition to this, the advent is in the first epistle designated by the word ἀποκάλυψις , and in the second by παρουσία .

The existence of this difference cannot, as opposed to Hofmann too, be called in question. Even if, as Wiesinger strongly urges, the passage 2 Peter 3:14-15 indicate that the Parousia will be the glorification of believers, still the form under which this is represented as taking place is different from that of the first epistle. When Schott asserts that “the second epistle in no way, and least of all ‘expressly,’ alleges the possibility of a later realization of the Parousia,” the statement loses its justification in presence of 2 Peter 3:8 . Weiss’s objection, that by ἐπίγνωσις is not to be understood a “theoretical knowledge perfecting the Christian life,” is out of place here, for ἐπίγεωσις and ἐλπίς are certainly different ideas; and even if Weiss be correct in saying that the expectation of the near Parousia is not abandoned in the second epistle, the difference in question would not be removed.

Whilst in the first epistle the saving truths of the death and resurrection of Christ form the basis of the ἐλπίς and of the Christian’s moral life, in the second epistle these are nowhere mentioned. Nor in the latter epistle is there any trace to be found of the ideas peculiar to the former (cf. Introduction to the epistle); and, on the other hand, the conceptions characteristic of this epistle, as the view expressed in chap. 2 Peter 1:19 ; further, the idea of the κοινωνία with the divine nature secured by means of the ἐπαγγέλματα , and the belief that the world was framed by God, and would perish again by fire, are nowhere hinted at in the first epistle.

These remarks, too, maintain their full force against the objections taken to them; for the question here is, not as to how these differences (not contradictions) are to be explained, on the assumption of an identity of authorship, but as to the fact, which cannot be called in question, that they actually do exist. Is it beside the question for Schott, in reply to the remark that in the second epistle the death and resurrection of Christ are not mentioned, to adduce a mass of citations from it for the purpose of showing, what is no doubt true, that the person of Christ is very decidedly brought forward as the guarantee of a completed salvation, and the efficient origin of an holy walk; and all the more that, in proportion as the person of Christ is insisted upon, the stranger does it seem that an apostle like Peter should pass over those facts in silence?

As regards the style and mode of expression in both epistles, it should not be left unnoticed that Peter’s literary character, as seen in his first epistle, is not, like that of Paul or John, so sharply defined and original, that each of his productions reveals its authorship. And just as little must it be forgotten, that the first epistle in many passages recalls the epistles of Paul, that the second is, to no inconsiderable extent, dependent on Jude, and that consequently the peculiar character of Peter’s style is difficult to determine, the more so that his writings are only of small extent. [8] Still many linguistic differences are to be found, which even in Hieronymus’ time attracted attention, and which cannot be overlooked. It is not to be denied that the freshness of expression of the first epistle, and its richness in combinations of thought, are here wanting. Whilst in the first epistle one thought follows directly upon another in lively succession, the connection in the second epistle is not unfrequently effected by means of conjunctions which point back to what precedes, or by a formal resumption of what had previously been said, cf. chap. 2 Peter 1:8-10 ; 2Pe 1:12 ; 2 Peter 1:15 , 2 Peter 3:7 ; 2Pe 3:10 ; 2 Peter 3:12 . And whilst, too, in the first epistle there is a richness and variety in the use of prepositions expressive of manifold relationships, a conspicuous uniformity in this respect prevails throughout the second epistle. Many peculiarities which are characteristic of the diction of the first epistle (cf. Introd. to first epistle, § 2), are foreign to the second. In the use also of several single expressions there is an established difference: κύριος , when used without more precise definition, is in the second epistle a designation of God, cf. chap. 2 Peter 2:9 (11), 2 Peter 3:8-10 ; in the first epistle, on the other hand, except in quotations from the O. T., it is used of Christ, cf. chap. 1Pe 2:3 ; 1 Peter 2:13 . In the first epistle the name Χριστός , when not joined with Ἰησοῦς , is frequently treated as a proper name, cf. 1 Peter 1:11 ; 1 Peter 1:19 , 1Pe 2:21 , 1 Peter 3:16 ; 1 Peter 3:18 , 1Pe 4:1 ; 1 Peter 4:13-14 ; 1 Peter 5:1 ; in the second epistle, on the other hand, Χριστός never occurs except in connection with Ἰησοῦς . And these divergencies are all the more fitted to excite surprise, if, as Hofmann assumes, the second epistle was written very soon after the first.

[8] In opposition to what is said above, Schott maintains not only that the Epistle of Jude is dependent on Second Peter, but also that Second Peter contains echoes of the Pauline Epistles. He thinks that ἰσότιμος , 2 Peter 1:1 , arose from Ephesians 2:19 ; ἀποφυγόντεςφθορᾶς , 2 Peter 1:4 , from Romans 8:20 ff.; and the passage 2 Peter 1:12 ff. from Romans 15:14 , etc. The epistle, further, is supposed to show a special dependence on the Pastoral Epistles, 2 Peter 1:3-11 being only an adaptation of Titus 2:12-14 , etc. Schott attaches particular importance to this, that leading and fundamental ideas in the epistle are employed in the same prominent manner only here and in the Pastoral Epistles, as εὐσέβεια , εὐσεβής , ἀσεβής , σωτήρ , αώζειν , μιαίνω with its family, ἐπίγνωσις , βλασφημεῖν , ἐπαγγέλλομαι ; a dependence, too, on the Epistle to the Hebrews he considers hardly less evident. All these assertions, however, are unwarranted. As a matter of course, there are ideas expressed in Second Peter which correspond to those contained in other epistles; but this arises from the oneness of the Christian faith, and is no proof of a special reference to any of those epistles. As regards the individual leading and fundamental ideas of the Pastoral Epistles and of Second Peter, adduced by Schott, ἀσεβής ( ἀσέβεια ) is to be found equally in the Epistle to the Romans; σωτήρ occurs in other N. T. writings; σώζειν is not used in Second Peter, and as little is μιαίνω ; ἐπίγνωσις and βλασφημεῖν are terms which are to be found often enough in the N. T.; ἐπαγγέλλομαι in 2 Peter 2:19 has not the meaning which it has in First Timothy; the terms εὐσεβής , εὐσέβεια alone are almost the only ones which are peculiar to these epistles.

1. The objection raised against the last remark, that the combination of Χριστός with Ἰησοῦς occurs also in the first epistle (Wiesinger, Schott, Brückner), is without force, since this is not, and never could have been, denied. And it signifies equally little that, as Hofmann shows, in the second epistle (with the exception of 2 Peter 1:1 ) Ἰησ . Χριστός also is never to be found alone, but always in connection with ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν , etc.; since it cannot be denied that Χριστός is used by itself often in the first, but never in the second epistle.

Of still less consequence are the remarks of Hofmann as to the use of κύριος . When Schott asserts that Χριστός , with or without the article, wherever it stands in the first epistle, denotes the Mediator as such, but that in the second epistle there is nothing to lead to the mention of the Mediator, it must be remarked, in reply, that in the second epistle Christ is designated as the Mediator distinctly enough by the name σωτήρ .

2. Besides the differences here mentioned, Mayerhoff brings forward many others. In doing so, however, he has gone much too far. Thus he lays stress on the fact that in the first epistle the exhortations are commenced concisely with the imperative; in the second, on the other hand, with a circumlocutory expression, e.g. 2 Peter 1:12-13 ; 2 Peter 1:15 , 2Pe 3:1-2 ; 2 Peter 3:8 . But in the first epistle the latter manner of beginning could not occur, inasmuch as the apostle does not there remind his readers of what they had formerly heard from him, as he does in the second epistle; nor, in the second epistle, is the imperative without circumlocution by any means wanting. Further, Mayerhoff speaks of it as peculiar to the second epistle, that ἐν is inserted with a substantive, as in chap. 2 Peter 1:4 ; yet the same takes place in the first epistle. Of many of the phenomena which are supposed to be peculiar to the first epistle, Mayerhoff himself admits that they are to be found also in the second, only less frequently. To the assertion, that in the two epistles the conception of the Christian religion is not the same, it must be replied that the various expressions denote the different sides of the Christian life. As against Mayerhoff, cf. the discussions of Schott, Brückner, Weiss.

No doubt their diversity in thought may be traced to a difference in the tendency of the two epistles, nor is the diction either of the second by any means unjustifiable; [9] yet it does appear strange that, if Peter wrote this letter from the situation on which the second epistle is based, he should have done so in such a manner that it would present so many diversities in character from that of the first epistle. Nevertheless, there are between the two writings many points of coincidence which cannot be overlooked. In both attention is directed chiefly to the Parousia of Christ, and to preparation for it by an holy walk. In both the readers are expressly shown that to be Christians, as they were, is to be in the right and true state of salvation, and they are exhorted at once to give proof of it by an holy behaviour, and to confirm themselves in it. Both epistles, further, have this in common, that they are strongly dependent on the O. T. (on this see Schott and Weiss). In the mode of expression, also, there are to be found many points of coincidence. Thus it may be noted that in 2 Peter 1:4 the ideas καλεῖν and ἀρετή are connected together in a manner which, though not identical with 1 Peter 2:9 , is yet similar to it; that as in 1 Peter 1:19 the adjectives ἄμωμος and ἄσπιλος stand together, so in 2 Peter 3:14 ἄσπιλος and ἀμώμητος are conjoined, with which also the expression 2 Peter 2:13 : σπῖλοι καὶ μῶμοι , corresponds; that the word ἀπόθεσις is to be found only in these two epistles. It is also worthy of remark that the introductions and the conclusions in both the epistles show an unmistakeable likeness. The commencement points, in the case of each, to the future kingdom of God; 1 Peter 1:4 : εἰς κληρονομίαν ; 1 Peter 1:11 : εἰς τὴν αἰώνιον βασιλείαν Ἰησ . Χριστοῦ ; and as at the close of First Peter the purpose of the letter is stated by the παρακαλῶν κ . τ . λ ., 1 Peter 5:12 , so in Second Peter the design of the composition is given by: φυλάσσεσθεαὐξάνετε , where the φυλάσσεσθεἵνα μὴ ἐκπέσητε τοῦ ἰδίου στηριγμοῦ corresponds in a particular manner with the στηρίξαι and the ἐπιμαρτυρῶν , ταύτην εἶναι ἀληθῆ χάριν τοῦ Θεοῦ , εἰς ἣν ἑστήκατε , in First Peter.

[9] It is only these two points, here distinctly expressed, which Hofmann brings forward in order to remove all objections, arising from the different characters of the two epistles, to the view that both are the productions of the same author.

Like the opponents of the authenticity in bringing forward differences, its defenders have not unfrequently overstepped all bounds in the production of supposed points of coincidence. Of this Schott has been especially guilty. He goes so far as to say that even 2 Peter 1:1 “is an armoury from which all doubts concerning the Petrine origin of the second epistle are repelled,” and everywhere, wherever in thought or conception any resemblance between the two epistles is to be seen, he seeks to show that the second makes reference to the first, without in any way distinguishing what in conception is Christian and common from what is characteristic and peculiar; and Brückner has accordingly justly protested against many of the arguments advanced by Schott. But even Weiss often goes too far, as when, with reference to the doctrine of redemption, he maintains that the ideas of calling and of election in 2 Peter (2 Peter 1:10 ) seem to be synonymous as in 1 Peter, whilst the fact is that no such combination occurs in the latter epistle; when he compares the κοινωνία θείας φύσεως (2 Peter 1:4 ) with the thought that the calling is the motive to become like unto him who calls, after 1 Peter 1:15 ; when he thinks that the θεία δύναμις of Christ, which gives all that is necessary for the new life, corresponds with the divine δύναμις which preserves unto salvation (1 Peter 1:5 ); further, when he lays stress on the fact that in both epistles the δικαιοσύνη constitutes the central point of Christian moral life, whilst elsewhere also in the New Testament the essence of such life is often enough expressed by δικαιοσύνη ; when he considers that the falling a prey to φθορά (2 Peter 1:4 ; 2 Peter 2:12 ; 2 Peter 2:19 ) recalls the antithesis between φθαρτόν and ἄφθαρτον in the first epistle; when he states that in the second epistle (2 Peter 1:7 ) the φιλαδελφία forms the climax of the Christian virtues in harmony with 1 Peter 1:22 , since there it is not φιλαδελφία , but ἀγάπη which is spoken of as the climax, and φιλαδελφία is also made prominent elsewhere in the N. T. With regard to the doctrinal phraseology, Weiss, in the first instance, adduces a number of points of divergence, and then lays stress on the fact that many and, in part, striking points of agreement are to be found. But here again Weiss goes too far; the most of the substantives, adjectives, and verbs which he brings forward as significant of the agreement of the two epistles, being in current use in N. T. language. As regards substantives, with the exception of ἀρετή , the term γνῶσις (1 Peter 3:7 and 2 Peter 1:5 ) only can be adduced as of importance, for τιμή and δόξα occur elsewhere together; in like manner τέκνα , in a metaphorical sense, is to be found elsewhere; it is plainly incorrect to say that δύναμις in 2 Peter 2:11 is used of angels as in 1 Peter 3:22 ; in the latter passage it denotes the angels themselves, but not so in the former. How the adjectives adduced by Weiss should ever have a special significance it is not easy to see, used as they often enough are elsewhere. The same is the case with most of the verbs; ἀναστρέφεσθαι ἐν and αὐξάνειν ἐν at most can be brought forward as of importance in this connection. And in referring to kindred expressions, Weiss again goes too far. The following at most are to be noted here as worthy of attention: ἰσότιμος in the second, and πολύτιμος in the first; ἄθεσμος there, ἀθέμιτος here; the already mentioned ἄσπιλος καὶ ἀμώμητος in the first, and ἄσπιλος καὶ ἄμωμος in the second, but hardly ἀκαταπαύστους ἁμαρτίας and πέπαυται ἁμαρτίας .

In spite of all points of accord, real and asserted, the verdict of Weiss comes only to this, that if these be taken into account there will be an inclination to see in the divergencies no hindrance to an identity of authorship; that the points of agreement are more than those of divergence; and that the old complaint as to the complete difference of style, was founded on very great exaggeration. Similar, though more moderate, is the judgment of Brückner. Schott, however, expressly admits that the outward form of the second epistle as a whole shows, at first sight even, quite other features from those of the first epistle. The question as to how the undeniable difference in thought and expression is to be explained, has been variously answered. On the assumption of the authenticity of the epistle, it will not do to explain the difficulty by supposing that Peter wrote “in advanced old age, and when at the very gate of death” (Guericke), for the period between the composition of the first and the second epistles can have been, comparatively speaking, only a brief one, at most four years a time certainly too short to account for the difference. Hieronymus tries to make the dissimilarity of style intelligible by assuming that Peter made use of different interpreters for each of his epistles. But this hypothesis of the use of interpreters is without any valid reason, and, besides, is inadequate to the end it is meant to serve. It is certainly more correct to find the ground of the diversity in the different tendencies of the two epistles. The purpose of the first is to lay down to the readers their true course of conduct in the midst of the persecutions they had to suffer; that of the second, on the other hand, is to protect them against the heresies of the libertines which threatened them. [10] These different tendencies must naturally lend to each of the epistles its own peculiar character. Yet even Schott admits that this alone is insufficient for the solution of the problem. Schott thinks it can be solved only in this way: that Peter in his first epistle, “for the sake of his readers to whom he was unknown and in his own interest, of set purpose kept his individuality assiduously in the background, and sought with the utmost possible fidelity all through the epistle to write in a manner to which the Gentile-Christians and the Pauline churches were accustomed. For this reason he elaborated his first epistle with special care, even as to form; but after he had entered into near personal relations with his readers, he had not the same occasion as in the first epistle to keep his own individuality out of sight.” This manner of answering the question under discussion, which Weiss justly calls “hyperartificial,” needs certainly no refutation. As, then, the difficulty is not to be removed either by separating, with Weiss, the two epistles by an interval of more than ten years, for the assumption, that the first epistle was written before the letters of the Apostle Paul to the churches of Asia Minor, is an untenable hypothesis, it must be admitted, with Brückner and Weiss, on the supposition of the authenticity, that there is presented here a problem which has not yet been satisfactorily solved. And the difficulty is increased if it be considered that in the two epistles quite different conditions of the churches are presupposed; for whilst in the first there is no trace of any dread of heretical trouble, there is wanting in the second all reference to persecutions to which the readers were exposed, a circumstance which is not to be passed over so lightly as Hofmann does.

[10] Hofmann thinks that the different tendencies of the two epistles are erroneously stated here. He holds that the first epistle contains “nothing as to what are usually termed persecutions of Christians,” and that in the second epistle there is “no warning against teachers of false doctrine, to whom the readers were exposed, or who already had appeared in their midst.” Both assertions are false. To what is said above must be added only, that the two epistles, relating as they do to different circumstances, point to the exhortation to lead “an holy and godly life.”

The shorter the time between the composition of the two epistles, the more surprising is this phenomenon; the longer, the easier is it of explanation. For Weiss, who assumes an interval of over ten years, there is here hardly any difficulty, more especially as he thinks that Peter, after the composition of the first epistle, was personally present in the churches, and in that case did not need to mention the persecutions which had induced him to compose his first letter. Brückner reserves for himself a way of escape from the difficulty caused by this and other surprising phenomena, by holding that as to the close of Peter’s life the received tradition may be wrong. Schott, on the other hand, attaches no importance to these divergencies, although in his opinion the first epistle was written in the year 65, and the second in the year 66. For he assumes, on the one hand, that when Peter wrote his second epistle the persecutions were past; and, on the other, that even in the first there are references to errors already present, which Peter, “from his tender and fine feeling of the delicate relation in which he stood to a Pauline church as yet in reality unknown to him,” did not wish expressly to censure. Both assumptions are erroneous; for the persecutions which were the occasion of the first epistle are there clearly characterized as persecutions which, after they had arisen, continued (see Introd. to Ephesians 1:0 ); and as regards the heresies supposed to have been in existence when the first epistle was composed, Weiss justly remarks: “There is nothing to be discovered in it either of the connection with the heresy combated in the second epistle, which Brückner artificially brings out, nor of its clearly marked features, which Schott professes to have found.” It is not in any way to be inferred from the First Epistle of Peter, as Schott asserts, “that it shows a greater spread and inward intensity of the evil combated in the Epistle to Timothy,” or that 1 Peter 4:2-4 attests that “a comparatively large section of the readers was prepared, by a liberal concession to immorality in social life, to gain undisturbed security for themselves as professing Christians;” or that in 1 Peter 3:18 ff., 1 Peter 4:5-6 ; 1 Peter 4:17-18 , it is hinted “that the spiritualistic explaining away of the resurrection of the flesh led the readers to deny also a final judicial decision connected with the return of Christ in the body.” Schott, in what he here says, is moving, not on the ground of true exegesis, hut in the region of the most arbitrary fiction.

The less success has attended all efforts to overcome the difficulties which, on the assumption of the authenticity, lie in the relation of the two epistles to each other, the more justifiable does doubt as to the authenticity appear. It has, no doubt, been asserted that a Falsarius would have followed the first epistle so closely as to have avoided these differences; but it is equally conceivable that a pseudonymous author could have written under the influence of Peter’s epistle indeed, yet still in his own peculiar style, and without being anxiously careful lest the origin of his composition should thus be betrayed. On this assumption the existence both of similarity and divergence is explained. Several considerations have been urged against the authenticity of the epistle:

1. The intention of the author to make himself known as the Apostle Peter. To this it may be replied that, looked at from the situation in which the epistle was written, and which it presupposes (2 Peter 1:13-14 ), this so-called intention is neither unnatural, nor need it excite surprise. If Peter, conscious of his approaching death, felt himself impelled to write a last word to the churches with which he had before this become connected, reminding them of his former preaching, and warning them against doubts as to the second coming of Christ, it was certainly not out of place for him to mention himself, his relation to the churches, and more especially that event in his own life by which the glory of Christ was revealed to him in a manner so special. 2. The remark the author makes on the epistles of Paul and the other Scriptures. In itself, the fact is not strange that the epistle bears testimony to an acquaintance with the epistles of Paul, for that some of the latter were known to Peter is evident from the first epistle; nor do the words (chap. 2 Peter 3:16 ) imply that the author possessed a formally completed collection of them. But the expression: ὡς καὶ τὰς λοιπὰς γραφὰς , is certainly striking. For although it is arbitrary to understand by it the whole of the other books of the New Testament, yet the expression must have reference to writings which were already in general use in the churches. It is at least open to question whether this could have been said, in Peter’s time, of writings of the New Testament. Several interpreters (Luthardt, Wiesinger) understand by the term the oldest writings; on this point see the exposition. 3. The use made of the Epistle of Jude. It is certainly going too far to brand this as a plagiarism (Reuss); nor can it be said that to make use of another’s work was in itself unworthy of an apostle. Still it is surprising that an apostle should have incorporated in his epistle, as to the substance of it, a non-apostolic letter. [11] De Wette’s accusations are, however, unjust: that in Second Peter the simple expression of Jude is partly changed by rhetorical and artificial circumlocution, partly disfigured and singularly superseded, and that a vacillating line of thought takes the place of one firm and definite. The circumlocutions and additions of Second Peter do not bear on them the character of artificialness. If alterations in the latter composition are to be found (cf. Jude 1:12 with 2 Peter 2:13 ; Jude 1:12-13 , with 2 Peter 2:17 ), these cannot be said to be distortions (or, according to Schwegler, confusion and misunderstanding); and if the original course of ideas be not firmly maintained owing to the introduction of new relations (cf. 2 Peter 2:5 ; 2 Peter 2:7-9 ), and a transposition be resorted to (cf. 2 Peter 2:13-17 , comp. with Jude 1:11-13 ), yet the firmness of the line of thought does not in any way suffer thereby. Incorrect, too, is de Wette’s assertion, that “the heretics combated in Second Peter are mere nonentities, and a spurious copy of the seducers in Jude;” as also that of Schwegler, that they are characterized not after life, not from direct knowledge of them, but according to the vague representation of tradition. Not, however, without weight is the circumstance on which de Wette lays stress, that the false teachers are represented at one time as about to appear in the future, at another as already present. Wiesinger rejects the view, that while in 2 Peter 2:1-3 the future seducers are meant, 2 Peter 2:10 ff. has reference to those already present, and assumes that the future ἔσονται applies only to the relation of these seducers to the readers , and their work among them. Weiss combats this assumption, and in opposition to it defends that rejected by Wiesinger. If it be conceivable that the Libertines already present are “the beginning of the end,” and therefore not yet the ψευδοδιδάσκαλοι , 2 Peter 2:1 , still it must not fail to be observed that in the epistle itself no single word definitely points to any such distinction. Even less satisfactory is it to say, with Dietlein, that the first germs of opposition were already in existence; or, with Luthardt and Schott, to hold that if the author speaks of the false teachers as already present, he does so only in appearance, arising from the circumstance that he passes from the prediction to the description of them. It may perhaps be most correct to assume that the author, in the first instance, quotes the prophetic word in and for itself simply; and that he afterwards, in the description of the Libertines already in existence, hints that the predictions had begun to be fulfilled. Brückner seems to hold a similar opinion; only he unites this view with that of Wiesinger, and thus deprives it of its necessary clearness.

If the authenticity be rejected, the difficulty seems to disappear. It would then lie to hand to explain the vacillation by saying, that the author thought to combat the heresies of his time, with better result, by representing them as already predicted by Peter, and by allowing himself, in the description of them, to be guided by a composition in which they were treated as actually in existence. But it can hardly be conceived that the author should fail to perceive how incongruous his conduct was.

Worthy of remark, further, is the endeavour of the author to obliterate all apocryphal traces to he found in Jude. [12] The total omission of these would have argued nothing against the Petrine authorship; but it is only the words of Enoch (Jude 1:14-15 ) that are left out. The passage relating to the angels: τοὺς μὴ τηρήσανταςοἰκητήριον , is inasmuch as the case of the angels must not be omitted changed into the more general: ἀγγέλων ἁμαρτησάντων , whilst the punishment that befell them is given in almost the same words. The reference to the apocryphal narrative of the contest between the archangel Michael and the devil is likewise not wholly destroyed, but only effaced, a more general term being employed, which, however, causes the thought itself to lose its clearness and precision. [13]

[11] Weiss takes a too low estimate of the use made of Jude’s epistle when he says: “Second Peter intentionally seeks support in the highly realistic and vivid description given by Jude of his opponents; and that even apart from this intentional connection, an expression may involuntarily here and there have presented itself to the author’s pen from an epistle so important, and which he had probably just read.”

[12] Schwegler sees in this also a proof that the epistle was not written until the end of the second century, inasmuch as the dislike to quote apocryphal writings was still foreign even to an Irenaeus, a Clement, or an Origen. If importance must be attached to this, the epistle plainly cannot have been written till after the time of Origen, which is impossible.

[13] Wiesinger and Brückner think that Enoch’s prediction of judgment was omitted only because there was no appropriate place for it in the connection of thought in this epistle, and that the change in the two verses, 4 and 11, does not show a desire to efface what is apocryphal; that Peter only generalized the special fact mentioned by Jude, ver. 9, presupposing at the same time an acquaintance on the part of his readers with the apocryphal incident referred to. But does not such a presupposition contain what must appear unsuited to an apostle?

4. The heretical denial of the second advent of Christ, and of the final judgment of the world connected therewith. Although, already in Paul’s lifetime, many errors in the teaching as to the last things as, for example, the denial of the resurrection had begun to grow up, there is nothing in the other writings of the New Testament to show that the Parousia of Christ was called in question; yet the denial of it is so naturally connected with that of the resurrection, that it could quite easily have found expression even while Peter was yet alive. On the other hand, it cannot be questioned that the reasons assigned by the false teachers (2 Peter 3:4 ) are such as seem to belong rather to a time later than that of the Apostle Peter, although the words by no means imply that the Parousia had for many generations already been looked for in vain (Schwegler). And, further, there are the facts that the so-called Second Epistle of Clemens Rom. combats the same heresy, although in an advanced state of development, and that one similar, at least, is mentioned in the Epistle of Polycarp.

5. The view expressed in this epistle as to the origin and the destruction of the world. The opinion of Mayerhoff and Neander, that this view “is in harmony neither with the practical, simple mind of Peter, nor with the N. T. development of doctrine,” reaches certainly too far; it can only be said that it does not find expression elsewhere in the New Testament. Yet the conception that the world arose into being out of the water by the word of God, points back to the history of creation in Genesis; and that of its destruction by fire, though not indeed expressed, has nevertheless the way prepared for it in passages of the O. T., such as Isaiah 66:15 , Daniel 7:9 sq. (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:13 ; 2 Thessalonians 1:8 ), so that a more precise development of it by Peter is not inconceivable. In opposition to the appeal to the passage in the Clementine Homilies , xi. 24: λογισάμενος ὅτι τὰ πάντα τὸ ὕδωρ ποιεῖ κ . τ . λ ., Brückner remarks that it must not be overlooked that in Clement it is water, and in Peter God’s word, to which precedence is given.

When Credner thinks to prove the spuriousness of the epistle by saying, that an apostle would never have made reference to one of the mythical additions in the gospels like the narrative of Christ’s transfiguration; and Reuss, by asserting that “the apparent aim of the epistle is to defend the teaching as to the last things, according to the Judaeo-Christian conception of it, and that as much against unbelief as against a spiritualizing interpretation,” their views must be simply rejected. Not less unjustifiable is it, however, for Bleek to base his verdict of rejection on the circumstance that in 2 Peter 1:18 the mount of transfiguration is called τὸ ὄρος τὸ ἅγιον , inasmuch as the place is not even mentioned in the gospels, or more nearly described.

If the numerous difficulties and doubts above mentioned do not render the authenticity of the epistle absolutely impossible, many of them are yet of such a nature that the spuriousness of the epistle appears to be hardly less probable than its genuineness, especially as the only positive evidence for the latter is the statement of the author himself, that he is the Apostle Peter. On the other hand, many reasons seem to speak against its pseudonymity. Guericke insists that the passages characteristic of the epistle are, “living, spiritual, and truly apostolic;” but, apart from the circumstance that, e.g. , the want of any reference to the essential facts of salvation does seem strange in the case of the Apostle Peter, this in no way excludes the possibility of a non-apostolic origin. He further says that it is not apparent what purpose a Falsarius could have had in writing; but this is refuted by the epistle itself, which clearly enough states its design. Further, it has been remarked that the epistle, if it be written under a false name, is a palpable fraud, and to this its own moral character is opposed. But, in reply to this, the fact may be brought forward that men of earnest moral character have often thought more effectually to combat heresy by assuming a pseudonym. Thiersch asserts that it was in the period which followed the labours of Paul and preceded those of John that that Libertinism made its appearance in the Pauline churches; but from this it does not follow that the heresy did not maintain itself for a considerable time, so that after Jude had already combated it in his epistle, a later attack on it would have been no longer timely.

Weiss, too, has attempted to prove the hypothesis of a pseudonym untenable. He urges, in the first instance, that it is afflicted with an evil contradiction. For the author appears to play his role at one time cleverly, at another very awkwardly, inasmuch as, with all his endeavours to make himself pass for the apostle, he sometimes forgets his part, and thus betrays his pseudonymity; and, whilst the connection with Jude is made in full harmony with his design, it is carried out in direct opposition to it. Weiss in his remarks has omitted to observe that, like many of the opponents of the authenticity too, he attributes to the author various intentions, which the words of the epistle in no way entitle him to do. [14] Again, Weiss seeks to show that, on the assumption of a pseudonymous author, there is no uniform purpose discoverable in the epistle. But as far as its purpose is concerned, it is irrelevant whether the epistle was composed by the apostle or not. If the three passages in the epistle the polemic against the Libertines described according to the Epistle of Jude, that against the deniers of the Parousia, and the recommendation of Paul’s writings form a united whole, it is not clear how they should do so less if they had an author other than Peter. Finally, Weiss seeks to show that no suitable time can be adduced for the composition of the epistle if it be pseudonymous. But this difficulty is not less than that which arises in specifying the time in the life of Peter when he wrote the epistle; and if it be difficult to show how a pseudonymous composition could have found acceptation in the church, it is not less hard to explain how a genuine composition of the Apostle Peter could have remained for so long a time unused in the service of the church. If, then, the grounds for and against the authenticity are thus evenly balanced, there is here presented a problem which is not yet solved, and which perhaps cannot be solved, so that the guardedness with which Brückner, Wiesinger also, and even Weiss, with all his inclination to regard the epistle as genuine, express themselves on the question, deserves only acknowledgment.

[14] The author is supposed to have forgotten his part, from this circumstance, that whilst in the beginning of it he does not name a special class of readers, in order thus to hide the interpolation of his epistle, he indirectly mentions them in 2 Peter 3:1 . But there is no proof that the author intentionally, and for prudential reasons, omitted to name the class of readers whom he addressed. The same holds good with regard to the assertion that he intentionally chose the prophetic form, 2 Peter 2:1 ff. and 2 Peter 3:3 , in order that this epistle might contain the prophecy to which Jude in ver. 17 refers.

If the epistle be not genuine, the question arises by whom, when , and where it was written.

Mayerhoff seeks to show that it was composed by a Jewish-Christian in Alexandria in the middle of the second century. That the author was a Jewish and not a Gentile-Christian the whole character of the epistle shows; but that he lived in Alexandria, cannot be concluded from the reasons brought forward by Mayerhoff. [15] The date, too, to which he assigns the composition of the epistle is certainly too late, inasmuch as the description of the heretics contains no reference to Gnostic views properly so called. It would be more appropriate to look upon it as a production of the first century.

Schwegler considers Rome to have been the place, and the end of the second century, at the earliest, the time of the epistle’s composition. In Rome, he thinks, endeavours were made, by carrying out a Petrinism and a Paulinism, to realize the idea of the catholic church. In Rome, therefore, it was that like so many other writings which have reference to these two schools this epistle was composed. Its object an entirely conciliatory one is this, as is evident from chap. 2 Peter 3:15-16 , and 2Pe 1:14 ; 2 Peter 1:16 ff., “to bring about from the standpoint of Petrinism a final and permanent peace between the opposing views of the followers of Peter and those of Paul.” In confirmation of this, Schwegler asserts that the peculiarities of the Petrine system are apparent throughout the epistle, whilst that which is specifically Pauline entirely recedes. But if a doubt arise even here as to how a so decided follower of Peter who, according to the view of Schwegler, must as such have necessarily stood in opposition to him could have been the eulogist of Paul, it must excite most legitimate astonishment to see what are the reasons he brings forward in support of his view. [16] The evidence, too, which he leads for the late date of composition possesses no value. [17] The chief point, the so-called conciliatory tendency of the epistle, is a pure hypothesis, which has no support in the epistle itself; for neither in the passages quoted by him, nor in any others, are the differences between Petrinism and Paulinism touched upon, much less adjusted or surmounted. No doubt Paul is spoken of in terms of praise; but, according to the connection of the passage, only for the purpose of warning the churches to which the epistle is addressed, lest they should be led astray by the heretics, who wrested and changed many statements of the apostle for their own purposes. [18]

[15] These reasons are (1) The standpoint of γνῶσις , and the speculation as to how the world originated and how it will be destroyed. But the γνῶσις spoken of in our epistle is entirely different from the γνῶσις of Alexandrine-Jewish speculation; and that the view here expressed as to the beginning unjustly called a speculation of the world, had its origin precisely in Egypt, is not proved. (2) The use made of the Epistle of Jude; but that the latter was composed in Alexandria is at least very doubtful. (3) The coincidence between this epistle and the so-called Second Epistle of Clement of Rome, in opposing the same heretical tendency; but, as there is no proof that the quotation occurring in this epistle was taken from the εὐαγγέλιον κατʼ Αἰγυπτίους , it is also doubtful whether this fragment had its origin in Egypt.

[16] These reasons are the employment of expressions peculiar to Judaeo-Christian modes of thought: εὐσέβεια , ἅγιαι ἀναστροφαί , ἀρετή , ἁγία ἐντολή κ . τ . λ . (but almost all these expressions are to be found in the N. T. writings, which, according to Schwegler, favour Paulinism); the high place given to the λόγος προφητικός (as if Paul had set little value on it); the countenance given to angelological mysticism (which he thinks is proved by chap. 2 Peter 2:10-11 !); the demand for a tradition as a standard in the interpretation of Scripture (said to be contained in chap. 2 Peter 1:20 !); ὄγδοος κήρυξ δικαιοσύνης , as applied to Noah; and the reference to the Gospel of the Hebrews (in support of which chap. 2 Peter 1:17 is quoted).

[17] Thus, when, among other things, Schwegler brings forward as a reason for this, the writer’s acquaintance with such N. T. Scriptures as he supposes to have been composed only after the middle of the second century, i.e. the Pastoral Epistles, the Gospels of John and of Mark. He concludes that the author was acquainted with the Pastoral Epistles, from the fact that some expressions occur only in these and in the epistles of Peter; as also with the Gospel of John, by asserting that the writer, in chap. 2 Peter 1:14 , had the passage, John 21:18-19 , in his mind; and, fiually, with the Gospel of Mark, by supposing that chap. 2 Peter 1:12-15 contains allusions to that gospel(!).

[18] Heydenreich rightly observes: “For that (conciliatory) purpose, the little which chap. 3. says in passing of Paul would not have sufficed; if the writer had been chiefly anxious to show such a union, he would have adapted the construction and contents of the whole epistle to the conciliatory design.”