2 Peter in Canonical Perspective

2 Peter in Canonical Perspective November 27, 2011

I’ve noticed that when I post on Paul there are usually lots of comments. There are usually a few comments when I post on something to do with Gospels. But posts on the Catholic letters seem to generate very few comments.

Any way, on the plane ride home I read David Trobisch’s The First Editionof the New Testament, and I came across this quote about the canonical function of 2 Peter.

When 2 Peter is read as an integrated part of the Canonical Edition of the Christian Bible, the apparent cross-references to the collection [of] units are quite astonishing. The Old Testament is quoted abundantly. Biblical prophecy is explicitly addressed, its relevance for the present time of readers id demonstrated, and it is related to a theology of divine inspiration formulated in a manner applied to other New Testament writers as well. The letter clearly refers to the canonical Gospel collection by pointing to John (Jn 21), Mark, and the synoptic account of the Transfiguration. The references to 1 Peter and Jude serve as links to the Praxapostolos. It presupposes that the readers have access to a comprehensive collection of Paul’s letters. In addition to these literary links, the treatment of Peter and Paul as equals is another trait 2 Peter shares with the editorial interest of the Canonical Edition. (David Trobisch, The First Edition of the New Testament, 95).

I doubt Trobisch’s main contention that there was a single archtype “edition” of the NT that became exemplary for later compilations of the NT writings. Most of the inner-canonical unities that he finds look like incidental post-compilation observations, rather than deliberate editorial creations by the formulators of the first New Testament collection.  That said, I think that Trobisch does show how 2 Peter gives us a virtual precis of the NT itself with interwoven OT themes, references to synoptic material, veneration of Paul’s letter collection, and incorporation of Jude. Interesting stuff.

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