Die heiligen Propheten, eure Apostel und ich. Metatextuelle Studien zum zweiten Petrusbrief

M.G. Ruf

Research output: ThesisDoctoral thesis 1 (Research UU / Graduation UU)


Of all New Testament writings, the Second Letter of Peter bears the most explicit witness to the varied literary activity of Early Christianity and most expressly reflects on its use of Scripture as prophecy. The present dissertation applies itself to this metatextual character of the Second Letter of Peter in a comprehensive study on the whole of its text comprising direct metatextual remarks as well as implicit statements on other writings. The main question is: Which place does the Second Letter of Peter attribute to the writings of his textual world and where does he locate himself within this world? The first chapter is concerned with theoretical and methodological questions. While basic ideas and terminology of intertextual theory are mainly taken from Julia Kristeva and Gérard Genette, a suggestion made by Paul Claes provides the methodological steps for the analysis of the text: The intertextuality of each passage is studied successively from the perspectives of the classical three branches of semiotics, i.e. syntactics, pragmatics and semantics. Pseudepigraphy, literary dependence on the Letter of Jude, and the composition as a sequel to the canonical First Letter of Peter, three views on Second Peter, widely held among biblical scholars, are presupposed. The bulk of the study is subdivided into two chapters. Chapter II analyses the passages where the fiction of Petrine authorship is created and where most direct metatextual references occur. Passages without explicit reference to Peter, but the contents of which have to be considered as Petrine teaching in the context of the overall Petrine fiction are treated in chapter III. The fourth and last chapter joins the results of the analytic parts of the study together to an outline of Second Peter’s textual world and his own place therein. In contrast to his alleged canon consciousness the textual world of the letter goes far beyond the boundaries of the Hebrew Bible. While the letter’s theology is to some extent indebted to late writings of the Septuagint, other sources of inspiration are apocalyptic literature and various forms of farewell speeches. Scripture provides Second Peter with examples and models that help to interpret the present situation, but also with ideas of what has to be expected from the future. However, the comparison with other readings of the same biblical texts in Philo, Josephus and others shows that the author does not directly revisit the text of Scripture, but Scripture in the range of contemporaneous interpretation. The other main pillar of authoritative teaching is taken from the author’s Christian background. He was acquainted with synoptic tradition, most probably in the shape of the Gospel of Matthew. The letter form can only be explained by his being familiar with the tradition of Pauline letter writing and insinuates the claim to be read with the same authority as Paul’s letters. Points of contact with e.g. the Lucan writings and the Pastoral Epistles on the one hand, with the Apostolic Fathers and other second century Christian literature on the other corroborate a placement in the layer of the latest New Testament writings.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Utrecht University
  • Merz, A.B., Primary supervisor
Award date5 Mar 2010
Print ISBNs978-90-393-5297-7
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2010

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