In a lecture I gave recently, I was talking about “forgeries” in the name of Peter, Jesus’ disciple — that is, books that *claimed* to be written by Peter but certainly were not.  They were written by Christians living later who *said* they were Peter — possibly in order to get more readers for their books!

There is a big question about the canonical books of 1 and 2 Peter.  The vast majority of critical scholars (i.e. those who make their historical judgments apart from questions of what they would personally like to believe about the Bible religiously) agree that 2 Peter was not written by Peter; whoever wrote it, it certainly was not the author of 1 Peter.  A lot of scholars, including me, somewhat forcefully, also argue that Peter could not have written 1 Peter either.  But that’s a topic for other posts (which I’ve made in the past).

In my lecture I mentioned three others, that no one disagrees about: the Gospel of Peter, the Apocalypse of Peter, and the Letter of Peter to James.  (There were yet others, but these are the ones I mentioned).  Readers of the blog have heard about the first two (do a word search for them if you’re interested).  The third is not well known, outside of scholarly circles.  But it’s both interesting and important.

In the New Testament book of Acts, Peter and the apostle Paul are shown to be in complete agreement on virtually everything, most especially on whether gentiles who convert to faith in Christ need to follow the Jewish law.  For Acts, the answer is a resounding NO and both apostles see eye to eye on the matter.  When Paul talks about the issue, it’s pretty clear he has a more nuanced, or rather quite different, view of the matter, as can be seen in his discussion of a major, public, knock-down drag-out argument he had with Peter about whether a Jewish apostle could even eat a meal with gentile followers of Jesus.  Peter said no; Paul said absolutely.  Fall-out time.

The forged work I’m talking about deals with the issue of the relationship of the two apostles — in a letter allegedly from Peter himself. The letter is found as one of the opening documents for the Pseudo-Clementine writings.

This gets a little complicated.

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