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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Literary Relationships.

1. 2 Peter and Jude.

2 Peter 2:1–3:3 is closely related to Jude 4–13 : the attack on the false teachers is very similar in both substance and order (except that 2:12, 13, 15 = Jude 10, 12, 11 ). Common authorship, however, founders on the difference in style and outlook and on the discordant use of the same metaphors (e.g. 2:11–15, cf. Jude 9–13 ). Two explanations are feasible: one used the other, or both used a common source. If direct dependence is assumed, Jude is demonstrably prior. For example, Jude 12–13 describes the false teachers successively as clouds, trees, waves, and stars for whom the darkness has been reserved (for wandering stars = angels consigned to darkness cf. 1 Enoch, 10:1–6; 83:1–11 , a text used elsewhere in Jude). 2 Pet 2:17 however, leaps from clouds to the darkness—bizarre but explicable as an abridgement of Jude (see also 2:11, cf. Jude 9 ). Furthermore, it would be difficult to explain the abandoning of much of 2 Peter's argument to produce the brief Jude, while the reverse seems more reasonable. However, the paucity of close verbal agreements means that a common source (similar to Jude 4–13 ) is quite feasible. 2 Peter's dependency on Jude would have the virtue of simplicity, but this is insufficient to prove the case. The approach taken here is that 2 Peter depended on a text similar to Jude 4–13 .

2. 2 Peter and 1 Peter.

2 Peter differs from 1 Peter in style, as recognized both by modern critics and by earlier commentators (e.g. Jerome, Epistles, 120.11; Calvin, Commentary on 2 Peter, Preface): while 1 Peter is elegantly simple, 2 Peter is grandiose and elaborate (affected by the emerging Asiatic style of Greek rhetoric). Similarly, the two letters differ in terminology: for example 2 Peter refers to Jesus' return as parousia (coming: 1:16 ; 3.4; cf. 3:12 ), 1 Peter as apokalupsis (revelation: 1:7, 13; 4:13 ). 2 Peter appears more Hellenistic with its stress on knowledge ( 1:2, 3,8; 2:20 ) and the ‘partaking in the divine nature’ ( 1:4 , contrast 1 Pet 1:9 ). Only three features connect the letters. First, both are ascribed to Peter and contain very similar salutations, but 2 Peter differs in using Simeon as the preferred name for Peter ( 1:1–2; 1 Pet 1:1–2 ). Secondly, 2:5 uses the example of Noah, absent from the Jude parallel (5–7) but present in 1 Pet 3:20 . However, the usage is different and the flood is a common image for judgement (e.g. Mt 24:38–9 ). Thirdly, 3:1 declares itself to be a second letter: apparently a reference to 1 Peter, although a lost letter is possible. Overall, there is no conscious attempt to imitate 1 Peter.

3. 2 Peter and Other Texts.

Although 2 Peter explicitly refers to Paul's letters ( 3:15–16 ), it is not dependent on them: the only connections, e.g. the Lord's return like a thief ( 3:10, cf. 1 Thess 5:2, 4 ), are part of the wider Christian tradition (cf. Mt 24:42–4; Rev 3:3; 16:15 ). 2 Peter's description of the transfiguration ( 1:16–18, cf. Mk 9:2–8 and par.) and prediction of Peter's death ( 1:14, cf. Jn 13:36; 21:18–19 ) show no clear dependence on any written gospel. Many of the later Petrine writings, such as the Apocalypse of Peter and Acts of Peter depend on 2 Peter. 1–2 Clement and the Shepherd of Hermas show some connection with 2 Peter (e.g. 1 Clem. 23.3 ǀǀ 2 Clem. 11.2, cf. 3.4).

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