The Letters of 2 Peter and Jude

By Peter H. Davids | Go to book overview

Introduction to 2 Peter

I. INTRODUCTION

2 Peter has been termed the “ugly stepchild” of the NT. It is not just that the extended prophetic denunciation is unpalatable to some people and the apparent description of the destruction of the universe in ch. 3 is disturbing, but that many readers wonder whether the book is genuine and belongs in the canon at all.1 Furthermore, whether or not one determines that the work is or is not by Peter, it is often ignored. As John Elliott writes, “Down to the present day its canonical status and theological significance seem to have remained more a theory than a fact.”2

This uncertainty about the book is not just the product of modern biblical criticism. The same uncertainty about the book existed in antiquity. While the work found some relatively early acceptance at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, as witnessed to by its presence (1) in Greek in ᵑ372 (early A.D. 200s), (2) in Coptic translation (about A.D. 200), and (3) in quotations in some of the church fathers,3 it was rarely used in the western part of the Mediterranean (e.g., Rome, Carthage) from the second to the fourth century.4 In the fourth century Jerome reported that many re-

1. For instance, Kraftchick, Jude, 2 Peter, 75, states, “The fictive ‘farewell testament’ suggests that 2 Peter is pseudonymous, as acknowledged by almost every modern New Testament scholar.” Kraftchick, however, explicitly states that he does not believe that this implies that the book should not be in the NT canon.

2. Elliott, I-II Peter/Jude, 119.

3. For example, Clement of Alexandria and Cyprian apparently knew it, although they do not mention it by name.

4. It was possibly known by Irenaeus, and certainly at least some phrases from it were known by the churches of Lyons and Vienne. Cf. the Apocalypse of Peter’s use of the work — this is an apocalypse that was known in Vienne.

-121-

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The Letters of 2 Peter and Jude
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Pillar New Testament Commentary i
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Preface viii
  • Author’s Preface x
  • Abbreviations xii
  • Select Bibliography xxi
  • General Introduction 1
  • The Letter of Jude 5
  • Introduction to Jude 7
  • Commentary on Jude 33
  • The Letter of 2 Peter 119
  • Introduction to 2 Peter 121
  • Commentary on 2 Peter 159
  • Index of Modern Authors 319
  • Index of Subjects 322
  • Index of Scripture References 327
  • Index of Extrabiblical Literature 341
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