Biblical historians have many different opinions on who is responsible for the
authorship of the New Testament writings. Concentrating on 1 and 2 Peter, their
different conclusions can be analyzed. Scholars approach the study of authorship
by carefully going over the writings themselves. They discover the how, when,
why, who, and where of the writings. Each New Testament scholar has come to
their own conclusion of the authorship of 1 and 2 Peter through this. Their
different views of the authorship of 1 and 2 Peter will be discussed and
compared in this paper. 1 Peter is a New Testament writing. It has only five
chapters that seems to portray the purpose of bringing hope to Christians.
Christians should lead their lives by serving God and knowing that the judgement
of God will be coming. Their faith will be tested, but Christians are told stay
true to God. The point is to tell Christians that they should keep to their
faith no matter what is going on in the world. The people being addressed where
those of the church whom were estranged from their old life. This letter has the
same pattern of a Pauline letter, opening with a greeting and thanksgiving. Then
it gives the purpose and reflects on the identity of Christians. It ends with an
exhortation and closing. It is done neatly and kept in order. 1 Paul seems to
have been written in Rome. It is written for the churches in the area of
northern Asia Minor. The time period could range from 60-72 C. E. during the
time of Paul whom is considered to have traditional authorship. 2 Peter appears
to be the “last testament” of the apostle who had authorship of it.
Correct teaching is emphasized, showing that is a major concern of the author.
The letter gives a warning that judgement will condemn those without good
ethical conduct. This includes all heretics. In 2 Peter’s three chapters, the
author expresses his believe of the time when judgement will come. The author
uses the Hebrew Scriptures, the prophets’ testimonies, Peter’s eyewitness of the
transfiguration of Jesus, and the writings of Paul. The author’s point is that
the Parousia is real and not a myth. 2 Peter tells that the reason for the delay
of the Parousia is that God’s time is different from human time. So, the coming
has not occurred when it was believed it should have. It also says that God is
delaying the coming to give time for humans to repent. 2 Peter seems to also
have been written during the Apostolic Age and is one of the last New Testament
writings. In The New Oxford Annotated Bible, the authorship seems to be pointing
to Peter himself to be the author. It also says that Silvanus could have been
the author, but it is very doubtful. In the beginning, Peter is named, but at
the end, Silvanus is mentioned in the closing. In 2 Peter, the letter is
presented to have been written by Simeon Peter. He says that he is the servant
and apostle of Jesus, but there is doubt to this. By him saying this, doubts of
authorship is brought forth. The time period is confused by the author saying
this. The reason for this is Simeon Peter’s death was predicted by Jesus. If
this happened, then he could not have been an apostle of Peter. Also, he claims
to have had fellowship with Peter, but the way the author presents his
interpretation of Paul’s letters, it is doubtful. Another source is The
Interpreter’s Bible Volume 12. This source also expresses authorship concerns,
stating that 1 Peter was written by Peter with the help of Sylvanus who was like
a brother to Peter. The place where 1 Peter was written seems to have been Rome.
This is because of the fact Babylon is mentioned, and it is considered to be a
cryptic name meaning Rome. The time period seems to have been in 60 C. E.
because this is during the time of the lifetime of Peter. 2 Peter’s authorship
is also discussed. Simon Peter is said to have been the author but this source
doubts it. The difference is style with 1 Peter expresses that they do not have
the same authors. The author is unknown, but wrote in the spirit of Peter,
condemning heresy. Rome is considered to have been the place of authorship.
Since there is proof that 1 Peter was written in Rome, and due to the fact that
2 Peter is heavily influenced by it, then 2 Peter was also written in Rome. The
influence that 1 Peter has on 2 Peter proves this. 2 Peter is also considered to
have been written in the middle of the second century. A third source is The
Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible. It expresses that the beginning of 1
Peter definitely shows that the author is Peter himself. Also, the author
stating that he was an eyewitness to Jesus backs up the belief that he is the
author. There is no evidence why he wrote it. Only the belief that he did it to
fortify the faith of who he was writing to could have been the explanation.
There are arguments against Peter being the author. These come from claims that
he only speaks of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The only explanation is that he
is less concerned with his life, and more concerned with the fact that his death
brought grace. This source states that there is no proof that can say Peter was
not the author. If Peter is the author, then the date of the writings can fall
around 64 or 67 C. E. This source also discusses the authorship of 2 Peter. The
apostle Simon Peter is considered to have authorship. This is considered to be
an unclear fact though. The purpose of 2 Peter is clearer than the authorship.
It is to go against the skepticism of the Parousia. It is considered to be
written around the second century, long after the apostolic age. A fourth source
is The Anchor Bible Series. This source discusses that the question of the
author’s identity is raised in the text. Silvanus is questioned to be the
author. He could be Peter’s secretary, his collaborator, or the true author.
Paul is noted to be the author, but the mention of Silvanus in the text puts
questions on this fact. The theological character of 1 Peter seems to have some
of Silvanus’s touch in it. The language of 1 Peter also suggests this. The
author has heavy influence of Pauline writings, and this shows that Peter might
not be the author. For Peter to base a lot of 1 Peter on Pauline writings would
make him switch from his Jewish beliefs to a more Gentile Christianity. It could
be possible but very doubtful. The language of 1 Peter is more toward a Greek
style than that of a Galilean fisherman, which was what Peter was. This could
possibly show that he must have collaborated with someone, which was Sivanus. 2
Peter’s author presents himself as the apostle Peter. This would be Simeon
Peter. This source believes that it was a follower of Peter that wrote 2 Peter
though. The author’s purpose seemed to have been to preserve the apostolic
tradition. Also, 2 Peter does not have any personal information about Jesus,
showing that he could not have been Peter. The language is portrayed as
Hellenistic, and not of a Galilean fisherman. This shows that the author is
unknown. There is no other evidence that tells who the author could have been.
The latest 2 Peter was written could have been 90 C. E. It is also believed that
since the author wanted to have the identity of Peter, then the place of
authorship was Rome. As noted above, there are different views on the authorship
of 1 and 2 Peter. Some of the bible scholars contrast each other and others are
agree upon certain facts. For 1 Peter there is very many questions as to who the
author is. The evidence points mostly to Peter being the true author. Silvanus
has also been considered to be the author. If the evidence is examined closely,
he could have only been Peter’s scribe. Some say that he was the author, or
either he helped Peter write the letter. The text has many different influences
that come from Peter though, so Silvanus might not have had anything to do with
the writing of the letter. 2 Peter’s author will probably stay anonymous.
Although Simeon Peter could have been the author there is strong evidence that
he was not. It could have been someone who wanted to uphold the apostolic
tradition, so this person wrote as Peter. The author only portrayed himself as
Peter and was not actually Peter himself. Bible scholars will probably continue
to study the authorship if 1 and 2 Peter. One day they might find hard evidence
to who the author really was. Until then they can only use the text of the Bible
to research the authorship. For 1 Peter, the authorship has more evidence
showing Peter was the author. 2 Peter’s author could have been Peter but more
evidence points to an unknown author.
Beasley, James R., et al. An Introduction to the Bible. Nashville: Abingdon
Press, 1991. The Anchor Bible Series: The Epistles of James, Peter, and Luke.
New York, New York: Doubleday, 1964. The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible.
Nashville: Abingdon, 1962. The Interpreter’s Bible: The Holy Scriptures Volume
12. New York: Abingdon Press, 1957. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New York:
Oxford University Press, 1994.