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question, precluded not only by natural inaptitude, but by the more pressing concerns (i^vnrfperoip.evoi are pfi(ovi na\ iirip avBpanov StaKwiq, Eus. HE, iii. 24) of practical organisation and propaganda.1 The avronrai became, in virtue of their position, un-ope'rat rov Xuyov (Lk l1"4); authorship was reserved for a subsequent generation. No motives existed among the first disciples for preserving a chronicle of their own lives or a register of their reminiscences.
1 For an interesting parallel compare some sentences written by John Knox upon himself, in view of the absorbing necessities of the church in his day: "Considering myselfe rather eald of my God to instruct the ignorant, comfort the sorrowfull, confirme the weake, and rebuke the proud, by tong and livelye voyce in these most corrupt dayes, than to compose bokes for the age to come ... I decreed to containe myselfe within the bondes of that vocation, wherunto I founde myselfe especially cald. I dare not denie but that God hath revealed unto me secretes nnknowne to the worlde ; and also that he hath made my tong a trumpet, to forwarne realmes and nations, yea, certaine great personages. . . . These revelations and assurances notwithstanding, I did ever absteyne to commit anye thing to writ, contented onely to have obeyed the charge of him who commanded me to cry" (Works, vi. 229, 230). An interesting study of Peter's character from the critical standpoint is given by Rapp (PM, 1S98, pp. 323-33"); more elaborately by Chase (DB, iii. pp. 756-779). But it is unsafe to argue directly from the tone of a purely practical and occasional letter (or homily) like 1 Peter, either to the character of its author or to the theological standpoint of the writing in question. Because these pages are dominated by the superlative temper of hope (l13), it does not necessarily follow that Peter (or the author of the prosopopoeia) was particularly characterised by that virtue, or that in the development of this idea the writing represents a divergence from orthodox Paulinism (Holtzmann, NTTh, ii. pp. 308-311). The epistle has a practical bent. It was composed for a special emergency. The author discoursed of nope, simply because hope was what his readers needed. The line of argument must have been congenial to him, of course, lor it is applied with great insight and sagacity; but because it is thus used at this epoch, it must not be inferred to have been normal to the writer. Its emphasis is due to the urgent situation of the moment rather than to any general idiosyncrasy upon his part, or to some dogmatic movement of his consciousness. Many other Christians might have written in much the same fashion under the circumstances; and, as Wrede (Ueber Aufgabe, etc., pp. 18, 19) correctly argues, the author of 1 Peter might easily have written another letter in another situation, which would have lacked any such preoccupation with hope.
fin the recently discovered (Gr.) fragment of the Ascen. Jsaiat, the death of Peter is closely connected with the Neronic persecution. As restored by Grenfell and Hunt,
the passage runs: i f}*riXtl>t ovrtt Tt.i fimi'si rii ^m^nvm of h&itxec «tstm^ rev iymtrfiTtv
itotlu, xmi rait hvlixtt iff r*7f xtprif alrou T*^«5e0iSiriTflti (Amherst Papyri, pt. i. 1900).
Weinel (Wirkungcn des Oeistes u. der Qeisler, 1899, pp. 49-50), with Wrede (below, p. 623, n. 3), considers that 1 Peter, like the other catholic epistles, is pseudonymous, despite its simple and impersonal tone. On the other hand, it appears "fully Petrine" to Charles (EBi, ii. 1379); and Bacon, like Coffin in part (AJT, 1901, 114), is driven to regard it as the adoptive work of Peter, written by Silvanus (75-85 A.D.), but bearing the imprimatur of the fisherman apostle. "A disposition to speak of persecution in Asia Minor in terms not yet strictly appropriate by one who writes from Rome under the immediate impression of the horrible foretaste of official persecution experienced in the last years of Nero, is less incredible than absolute pseudonyniity at so early a date."
"Affectionate, loving, lowly, humble," are the adjectives aptly chosen by Izaak Walton for the epistles of Peter, James, and John ; they apply to none better than to this Petrine homily, even although its immediate author may not have been the apostle himself. For, as Deissmann (I think) points out, in the catholic epistle', with the exception of 2 and 3 John, it is a great cause which comes forward to voice itself, the spirit of a movement rather than (as in Paul's letters) a distinct personality. In 1 Peter, at any rate, the style is pious rather than distinctively Petrine. '' En tout cas, la langue de l'epitre ne peut guere ftre la sienne. . . . Le style n'a rien de personel ni de spontane. II est a la fois aise et applique. On ne voit guere l'ardent Galileen equilibrant ses phrases, s'appliquant a enchainer exactement ses propositions" (Monnier, 315f., attributing the literary composition of the homily to Silvanus).]
Epistles were in fashion; from simple correspondence the epistle had become a literary form, on imaginary framework, which served as a setting for little religious treatises. . . ■ The epistle of Peter, in spite of its bad style, which resembles that of Paul rather than that of James or of Judas, is a touching fragment, in which the condition of the Christian consciousness towards the end of Nero's reign is admirably reflected. A sweet melancholy, a resigned confidence, fills it. The last times are approaching. ... If, as we readily believe, this epistle really belongs to Peter, it does great credit to his good senso, to his uprightness, to his simplicity. It is probable that, little versed in composition, and not hiding from himself his literary sterility, he did not hesitate to appropriate the pious phrases constantly repeated around him, which, although derived from different systems, did not contradict one another. It is useless to seek in his work for the rigour of a logical system.—Renan.
l'"1J Introduction i thanksgiving for the readers' Christian hope.
113-2U Moral Obligations of this hope i duties of
holiness towards God,
^S1 A table of duties: for Christians, in tho outside world — towards
authorities, in the household—as 218"25 slaves: patience under suffer
ing, the suffering of Christ. 31"6 wives,
5*-419 Common duties and thoir motives: patience and meekness under
suffering, 41'6 moral purity,
47-u mutual service.
4U-U Persecution: need of a good conscience under trial. 51-11 Duties in the church : the elders,
need of humility,
1 1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
to the exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Kappadocia, Asia,
2 and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification by the Spirit, to obey and to be sprinkled by the blood of Jesus Christ:
grace to you and peace be multiplied.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who out of his great mercy has begotten us anew to a living hope through the resur
4 rection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance imperishable and
5 undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by God's power are being guarded through faith for the salvation which is ready to be revealed
6 in the last time. Whereat you rejoice; although for a little while at
7 present (if need be) you are grieved by manifold trials, that your tested faith (a thing far more precious than gold which perishes and yet is tested in fire) may turn out to your praise and honour and glory at the revela
8 tion of Jesus Christ—whom you love without having seen him, on whom you believe, though at present you see him not, rejoicing with ineffable
9 and glorious joy, as you obtain the outcome of your faith, that is, the
10 salvation of your souls. A salvation in regard to which the prophets who prophesied of the grace which was meant for you, sought and searched out
11 eagerly, searching for the time or the nature of the time to which the Spirit of Christ within them pointed, when it predicted beforehand the sufferings destined for Christ and the majestic glories that were to follow
12 —to them it was revealed that not for themselves but for you were they ministering the things which are now disclosed to you through those who preached the gospel to you, by the holy Spirit sent from heaven; things into which angels desire to gaze.
13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, have perfect hope in the grace which is to be brought you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves after the former desires
15 of your ignorance, but like the holy One who called you, be you also holy
16 in every way of conduct; since it is written, Holy shall you be, for I am
17 holy. And if you call on him as Father who without respect of persons judges according to each man's work, conduct yourselves with fear during
18 the time of your sojourn. For you know it was not with perishable things, ■with silver or gold, that you were redeemed from the futile way of conduct
19 which your fathers handed down to you. Nay, it was with precious
20 blood as of a faultless and unstained lamb—even of Christ, who was indeed fore-known before the foundation of the world, but was disclosed
21 at the end of the times for the sake of you who through him believe upon God, who raised him from the dead and gave him majesty; so that your
22 faith and hope are directed to God. As you have purified your souls, in obedience to the truth, for unfeigned brotherly love, love one another
23 cordially, with the intensity of those who are born anew, not from perish
able seed but from imperishable, through the living and lasting word of 24 God. Since
All flesh is like grass,
And all its glory like the flower of grass:
2 1 And this is the word which was preached as gospel to you. Put away then all malice and all guile and hypocrisy 1 and envies and all defamations;
2 as infants newly born, long for the rational unadulterated milk, that by
3 it you may grow to salvation, since you have tasted that the Lord is kind.
4 Drawing near to him as to a living stone, rejected by men but choice, valued
5 with God, you also as living stones are built up into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through
6 Jesus Christ. Since it is contained in scripture—
Lo, 1 lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, choice, valued;
7 The value is for you then, who believe;
The stone which the builders rejected,
8 And a stone of stumbling and a rock of hindrance." Disobedient to the word they stumble:
And to this they were also appointed.
9 But you are a chosen race, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a people
for possession, That you may show forth the virtues of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light,
10 Once no people but now God's people,
Who once had not obtained mercy, but have obtained mercy now.
11 Beloved, I appeal to you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the
12 fleshly desires which wage war against the soul. Maintain your good conduct among the Gentiles ; so that while they defame you as wrongdoers, they may, by viewing your good deeds, magnify God on the day of visitation.
13 Be subject to every institution of man for the Lord's sake, either to
14 the king as pre-eminent, or to governors as those who are sent by him for the punishment of wrongdoers and for praise to those who do what is
15 right (because the will of God is this: that you silence the ignorance of
16 those who are senseless, by doing good); as free men, yet not employing
17 freedom to veil wickedness, but as God's slaves. Do honour to all, love the brotherhood, fear God, honoxir the king.
18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respectfulness, not only to the kindly and equitable but also to the surly.
19 For it is a merit,
If thanks to the thought of God a man bears distresses though he suffer unjustly.
20 What sort of credit is it,
If you endure when you are buffeted for having sinned?
21 You were called to this: for Christ also suffered for you,
Leaving an example for you to follow in his footsteps.
22 He committed no sin nor was guile found in his mouth;
23 When reviled, he reviled not in retort; Suffering, he did not threaten,
But delivered up hia cause to him who judges uprightly.
24 Our sins he bore himself in his body on the gibbet,
That we might break with sin and live for uprightness;
25 For you were like sheep astray,
But now you are turned back to the shepherd and overseer of your souls. 3 1 In like manner, you wives, be subject to your own husbands; so that even if any of them obey not the word, they may be won over
2 without a word through the conduct of their wives, by viewing your
3 chaste and respectful conduct. Let your ornament be no outward orna
4 ment—braiding hair and wearing gold or putting on dresses; let it be the hidden man of the heart, with the imperishable nature of that gentle and
5 quiet spirit which is in God's sight most precious. For thus it was once that the holy women who hopea in God also adorned themselves, being
6 submissive to their own husbands (as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him "lord "; and you are her children), doing what is right and not frightened
7 by any terror. Husbands, in like manner, dwell considerately with the female, as with the weaker vessel; show honour to them as to those who along with you are heirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers be not hindered.
8 Now finally be all harmonious,
With sympathy, brotherly love, compassion, humility,
9 Not rendering evil for evil or reviling for reviling,
But on the contrary blessing;
That you might inherit a blessing.
10 For he who would love life
And see fair days,
11 Let him turn aside from wrong and do right,
Let him seek peace and aim thereat.
12 For the Lord's eyes are upon the upright
And his ears open to their prayer,
13 And who is it that will ill-use you, if you are bent upon what is
14 right 1 But even though you should suffer for the sake of uprightness,
15 happy are you. Have no fear of them nor be troubled, but hallow Christ in your hearts as Lord. Always be ready with a defence for everyone who demands of you a reason for the hope within you; but let it be with
16 gentleness and respectfulness. Keep a good conscience, in order that, defamed as you are, those who libel your good conduct in Christ may
17 be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing what is right,
18 should the will of God so be, than for doing what is wrong. Since Christ also died once for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us near to God: put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit—
19, 20 in which also he went and preached to the spirits in prison, who had
been disobedient at one time, while the long-suffering of God lingered on
in the days of Noah during the construction of the ark, into which a few,
21 that is, eight souls were safely brought through water. You also are