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

Genre.

2 Peter has a letter format and, despite the generality of the address ( 1:1 ), the specificity of the questions dealt with (esp. 1:16–21 and 3:4–13 , not paralleled in Jude) suggests that a particular audience was in mind. The letter can be broken down into the standard features of Greek rhetoric: 1:3–15exordium (announcement of the topic and request for a hearing); 1:16–3:13probatio (presentation of the case); 3:14–18peroratio (recapitulation and final appeal). It has been suggested that 2 Peter is generically a ‘Testament’—a contemporary Jewish genre in which dying heroes give ethical admonitions and prophecies (e.g. Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs). 2 Peter does indeed have testamental features: the occasion of the writing is Peter's impending death ( 1:12–15 ), it includes prophecies ( 2:1–3; 3:3–4 ) and ethical instruction (esp. 1:3–11 ). Nevertheless it cannot be seen as a Testament: crucially Jewish Testaments alert their readers immediately to the fact that they are Testaments (e.g. Test. Levi, 1:1–2; cf. Rev 1:1 ); in contrast 1:12–15 is too late, by then readers would have concluded that it was a letter-essay. Furthermore, in comparison with Testaments, 2 Peter contains far more explicit argument, far less prediction (only 2:1–3; 3:3–4 ), is Hellenistic in outlook, and claims to have actually been written by the hero. Overall, therefore, 2 Peter is a letter-essay with testamental features, but not a Testament.

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