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The Gospel of Peter Summary and Commentary for Kids

Gathered by: John Henshaw

  • The Gospel of Peter, or Gospel according to Peter, is one of the non-Canonical gospels which were rejected by the Church Fathers and the Catholic Church’s synods of Carthage and Rome, which established the New Testament canon, as apocryphal.
  • It was the first of the non-canonical gospels to be rediscovered, preserved in the dry sands of Egypt.
  • A major focus of the surviving fragment of the Gospel of Peter is the passion narrative, which is notable for ascribing responsibility for the crucifixion of Jesus to Herod Antipas rather than to Pontius Pilate.
  • The Gospel of Peter explicitly claims to be the work of the Apostle Peter: However scholars generally agree that Gospel of Peter is pseudepigraphical (bearing the name of an author who did not actually compose the text).
  • Although there are parallels with the three Synoptic Gospels, Peter does not use any of the material unique to Matthew or unique to Luke.
  • A consequence of this is the potential existence of a source text that formed the basis of the passion narratives in Matthew, Luke, and Mark, as well as in Peter.
  • The relationship to the Gospel according to the Hebrews becomes more clear when Theodoret states that the Nazarenes made use of the Gospel of Peter, for we know by the testimony of the Fathers generally that the Nazarene Gospel was that commonly called the Gospel according to the Hebrews.
  • 2Clem 5:4 Jesus said unto Peter, Let not the lambs fear the wolves after they are dead; and ye also, fear ye not them that kill you and are not able to do anything to you; but fear Him that after ye are dead hath power over soul and body, to cast them into the Gehenna of fire.
  • From the passion sequence that is preserved, it is clear that the gospel was a narrative gospel, but whether a complete narrative similar to the canonical gospels or simply a Passion cannot be said.
  • J. Rendel Harris (1852–1941) decided to introduce it to the public in A Popular Account of the Newly-Recovered Gospel of Peter.
  • Classifying the work as a Docetic gospel, Harris defines the community in which it arose as well as its use during the Patristic age.
  • The opening leaves of the text are lost, so the Passion begins abruptly with the trial of Jesus before Pilate, after Pilate has washed his hands, and closes with its unusual and detailed version of the watch set over the tomb and the resurrection.
  • This, together with the claim that on the cross Jesus “remained silent, as though he felt no pain”, has led many early Christians to accuse the text of docetism.
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