The Remembered Peter
in Ancient Reception and Modern Debate
[Der erinnerte Petrus in der antiken Rezeption und der neueren Forschung.]
2010. XIII, 263 pages.
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Published in English.Although Simon Peter was evidently a central figure in both the ministry of Jesus and the mission of the earliest church, his life and thought are shrouded in historical uncertainty. Markus Bockmuehl approaches this problem through focused studies of Peter's highly diverse profile and reception in subsequent Christian sources from Rome and Syria. In Part I of this book, Bockmuehl documents the persistent presence of Peter in personal and collective memory – a phenomenon that usefully illustrates his importance as a “centrist” figure in the early church. The author goes on to examine the apostle's place in recent historical Jesus research as well as in ongoing debates concerning the so-called “New Perspective on Paul” and the problem of Peter's relationship with Paul. Part II discusses the complexity of that Petrine memory in Syria and Rome in particular, paying specific attention to Ignatius, Justin and Serapion in the East, as well as to the significance of Roman memory for the long-standing debate about the place of Peter's death. Finally, in Part III of the book Bockmuehl reconnects this investigation of the apostle's “aftermath” to more conventional historical and exegetical problems, seeking to shed light on their generative function for his subsequent prosopographical profile. In this vein the author examines Jewish meanings and implications of Peter's names, the cultural and religious significance of his origin in the newly excavated village of Bethsaida, and the puzzling Lucan theme of Peter's “conversion” as this came to feature in early Christian faith and praxis.