BEN: This is clearly a large study after a large amount of research. What prompted you to take on such a formidable task of ‘resurrecting’ Peter in a Protestant context, and how long did the work on this book take?
GENE: As you know, Ben, some projects take a while to cook. I started work on 1 Peter back in the mid-70s during my doctoral studies at Aberdeen where I explored the relationship between the epistle’s theology and ethics. My first book beyond the doctorate was a Spanish commentary on 1 Pedro y 2 Pedro (Comentario Bíblico Hispanoamericano) followed by the BECNT commentary on Jude and 2 Peter. Add to these studies all the classes taught in the US and Latin America on the Petrine epistles. You could say my work on Vox Petri has spanned over four decades. But during those years I had not carefully considered Peter’s theology witnessed elsewhere in the New Testament and how the various strands of the apostle’s teaching might be brought together into some unified whole. About fifteen years ago I received an invitation to write a theology of Peter and, after a year of weighing over the possibility of undertaking such a work, I accepted the challenge. The book, however, quickly expanded beyond the confines of the series where it was going to appear. Michael Thomson, my current editor, graciously invited me to submit the manuscript to Cascade. It’s been a long journey.As anyone who has worked on Peter knows, there’s a paucity of literature out there on the apostle’s thought in comparison to the reams of literature of Paul. This was a wide and open field for study. I also became convinced that Peter stands at the very beginning of Christian theology. Oscar Cullmann first suggested this back in the 1950s in his Peter: Disciple, Apostle, Martyr. Although he did not believe that we could reconstruct a comprehensive theology of Peter, he threw down the gauntlet. I simply asked how in the world we could lose the voice of the apostle whom Jesus called Cephas, the Rock. Though the task of reconstructing Peter’s theology seemed quixotic at times, I felt compelled to be the best listener I could be.