Apocalypses: Revelation of Peter

Apocalypses / Revelation of Peter

Time Period

120–150 CE, with some possible hints of the Bar Kokhba Revolt.

Pseudonym

The author claims to provide a first-person account from Peter.

And I, Peter, answered and said to him …

Angelic Guide

The book purports to be a dialogue with Jesus while he was alive, so he takes this role for Peter.

And the Saviour answered and said to me … ‘I will show you their works’

Cosmogony

(n/a)

Primordial Events

(n/a)

Historical Review

(n/a)

After-the-fact Prophecy

The book adapts and modifies an earlier version of the Olivet Discourse prophecy from the synoptics, long after Rome destroyed Jerusalem in 70 CE.

‘Do you not understand that the fig-tree is the house of Israel? … he said to the keeper of his garden, “Uproot this fig-tree so that it does not make our ground unfruitful.”’

Persecution

The author expects Christians to be killed for refusing to submit to an antichrist figure.

‘But this deceiver is not the Christ. And when they reject him, he shall slay them with the sword, and there shall be many martyrs.’

Social Upheaval

(n/a)

Resurrection

All the dead are raised to face a final judgment.

‘And soul and spirit shall the great Uriel give them at the commandment of God; for God has set him over the resurrection of the dead at the day of judgement.’

Judgment

Most of the book is a survey of the various punishments inflicted on sinners in the final judgment.

‘And my Father shall set a crown upon my head, that I may judge the quick and the dead and recompense every man according to his works.’

New Creation

Though not called as such, the author alludes to a new world, necessitated by the first dissolving in fire.

‘I will cause the peoples to enter into my everlasting kingdom, and show them eternal good things to which I have made them set their hope, I and my Father in heaven.’

Sources

The apocalypse exists in two versions, Greek and Ethiopic, one significantly more damaged than the other. The author quotes Ezekiel once, and borrows heavily from the Gospel of Matthew. He also seems to have used the Revelation of John and 2 Peter. In the distant background is a cultural dependency on depictions of afterlife punishment in 1 Enoch and Greco-Roman myths of the likes of Sisyphus or Prometheus.

Units

1: Peter and other disciples ask about the signs of the end times (Matt 24.1–31).

2: Jesus teaches about the end times using a fig tree as an analogy (Matt 24.32; Rev 11.3–13).

3: Jesus shows Peter a vision of good and evil people separated in the final judgment (Matt 25.31–46).

4: Jesus tells about the resurrection.

5: Jesus tells how fire will melt the elements of the universe (2 Pet 3.7–10).

6–13: Jesus tells of the second coming and the many horrific punishments that will follow.

14: Jesus tells how the righteous will be rewarded.

15–17: Peter and other disciples see Jesus tranfigured (Matt 17.1–13; 2 Pet 1.16–18).

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