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In: James the Just and Christian Origins

Abstract

Second-century Christianity singled out Peter in order to identify itself with the apostolic gospel tradition in the face of perceived, and intermittently real, hostility from Romans and Jews. The apocryphal Gospel and Acts of Peter exemplify a tendency to seek analogies with the apostolic generation’s protagonists to make sense of present experiences such enmity. These texts do mobilize Peter in the service of a process of legitimation, but this is the legitimation not of institutional power but of a community – a minority experiencing at least perceived harassment and, at certain times and places, acute existential danger. Concern about power exists, too, but for these early writings this consistently privileges the superior power of God and of Jesus over human or demonic agents. Some such texts did in time come to tolerate a different narrative of inevitable Petrine triumph and the acquisition of papal power – though only ex post facto and in light of the Constantinian turn.

Open Access
In: The Early Reception and Appropriation of the Apostle Peter (60-800 CE)

Abstract

Second-century Christianity singled out Peter in order to identify itself with the apostolic gospel tradition in the face of perceived, and intermittently real, hostility from Romans and Jews. The apocryphal Gospel and Acts of Peter exemplify a tendency to seek analogies with the apostolic generation’s protagonists to make sense of present experiences such enmity. These texts do mobilize Peter in the service of a process of legitimation, but this is the legitimation not of institutional power but of a community – a minority experiencing at least perceived harassment and, at certain times and places, acute existential danger. Concern about power exists, too, but for these early writings this consistently privileges the superior power of God and of Jesus over human or demonic agents. Some such texts did in time come to tolerate a different narrative of inevitable Petrine triumph and the acquisition of papal power – though only ex post facto and in light of the Constantinian turn.

Open Access
In: The Early Reception and Appropriation of the Apostle Peter (60-800 CE)
In: Text, Thought, and Practice in Qumran and Early Christianity
In: The Missions of James, Peter, and Paul