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Peter in Rome: A Prophecy of Peter’s Death in 2 Peter 1:14-15

Returning again to my notes on the Petrine Epistles here, one can review the arguments regarding the authorship and dating on 2 Peter. Richard Bauckham’s exceptional Word Biblical Commentary on Jude, 2 Peter compared 2 Peter to the Jewish testamentary genre that we may see in the example of The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs. In this literary genre, the hero is approaching death and utters a farewell discourse that pronounces blessings or curses and makes predictions about what is to come in the future. This hypothesis about the genre of 2 Peter has been challenged by Mark D. Mathews in the Bulletin of Biblical Research.

This background research is relevant to the exegesis of 2 Peter 1:13-15. “Peter,” facing his imminent “departure” (a euphemism for his death) and aware that he is about to leave his earthly body behind like a tent, is concerned to remind his audience about what he taught them. Particularly, “Peter” was worried about the powerful coming of Jesus since he foresees the emergence of scoffers who were going to place this doctrine into disrepute (see 2 Pet 1:16-21; 3:3-4). Furthermore, unless the author is talking about some other lost writing, 2 Peter 3:1 seems to presuppose 1 Peter, which would then locate Peter in “Babylon” and envision the same audience as Christ followers in Asia Minor. Thus, we have another New Testament tradition about Peter’s death, but there is still much scholarly debate over where to date this piece of evidence in the latter half of the first century or the first half of the second century CE.

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