(e) As to 2 Peter, Jude, and 2 and 3 John, the epistles most frequently held to be spurious, we may say that although we have no conclusive external evidence earlier than AD 160, and in the case of 2 Peter none earlier than AD 230-250, we may fairly urge in favor of their genuineness not only their internal characteristics of literary style and moral value, but also the general acceptance of them all since the third century as the actual productions of the men or class of men whose names they bear.

Firmilianus (250), Bishop of Cesarea in Cappadocia, is the first clear witness to 2 Peter. Origen (230) names it, but in naming it, admits that its genuineness is questioned. The Council of Laodicea (372) first received it into the Canon. With this very gradual recognition and acceptance of 2 Peter, compare the loss of the later works of Aristotle for a hundred and fifty years after his death, and their recognition as genuine so soon as they were recovered from the cellar of the family of Neleus in Asia; DeWette?s first publication of certain letters of Luther after the lapse of three hundred years, yet without occasioning doubt as to their genuineness, or the concealment of Milton?s Treatise on Christian Doctrine, among the lumber of the State Paper Office in London, from 1677 to 1823; see Mair, Christian Evidences, 95. Sir William Hamilton complained that there were treatises of Cudworth, Berkeley and Collier, still lying unpublished and even unknown to their editors, biographer?s and fellow metaphysicians, but yet of the highest interest and importance; see Mansel, Letters, Lectures and Reviews. 381; Archibald, The Bible Verified, 27. 2 Peter was probably sent from the East shortly before Peter?s martyrdom; distance and persecution may have prevented its rapid circulation in other countries. Sagebeer, The Bible in Court, 114 ? ?A ledger may have been lost, or its authenticity for a long time doubted, but when once it is discovered and proved, it is as trustworthy as any other part of the res gestu .? See Plumptre, Epistles of Peter. Introduction, 73-81; Alford on 2 Peter, 4: Prolegomena, l57; Westcott, on Canon, in Smith?s Bib. Dictionary, 1:370, 373; Blunt, Dictionary Doct. and Hist. Theol., art.: Canon.

Those who doubt the genuineness of 2 Peter that the epistle speaks of ?your apostles? urge it (3:2), just as Jude 17 speaks of ?the apostles,? as if the writer did not number himself among them. But 2 Peter begins with ?Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,?? and Jude, ?brother of James? (verse 1) was a brother of our Lord, but not an apostle. Hovey, Introduction to New Testament, xxxi ? ?The earliest passage manifestly based upon 2 Peter appears to be in the so-called Second Epistle of the Roman Clement, 16:3, which however is now understood to be a Christian

<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment