homily from the middle of the second century.? Origen (born 186) testifies that Peter left one epistle, ?amid perhaps a second, for that is disputed.? he also says: ?John wrote the Apocalypse, and an epistle of very few lines; and, it may be, a second and a third; since all do not admit them to be genuine.? He quotes also from James and from Jude, adding that their canonicity was doubted.
Harnack regards 1 Peter, 2 Peter, James, and Jude, as written respectively about 160, 170, 130, and 130, but not by the men to whom they are ascribed ? the ascriptions to these authors being later additions. Hort remarks: ?If I were asked, I should say that the balance of the argument was against 2 Peter, but the moment I had done so I should begin to think I might be in the wrong.? Sanday, Oracles of God, 73 note, considers the arguments in favor of 2 Peter unconvincing, but also the arguments against. He cannot get beyond a non liquet. He refers to Salmon, Introduction to New Testament, 529-559, ed. 4, as expressing his own view. But the later conclusions of Sanday are more radical. In his Bampton Lectures on Inspiration, 348, 399, he says: 2 Peter ?is probably at least to this extent a counterfeit that it appears under a name, which is not that of its true author.?
Chase, in Hastings? Bib. Dictionary, 3:806-817, says that ?the first piece of certain evidence as to 2 Peter is the passage from Origen quoted by Eusebius, though it hardly admits of doubt that the Epistle was known to Clement of Alexandria? We find no trace of the epistle in the period when the tradition of apostolic days was still living? It was not the work of the apostle but of the second century? put forward without any sinister motive? the personation of the apostle an obvious literary device rather than a religious or controversial fraud. The adoption of such a verdict can cause perplexity only when the Lord?s promise of guidance to his Church is regarded as a charter of infallibility.? Against this verdict we would urge the dignity and spiritual value of 2 Peter ? internal evidence which in our judgment causes the balance to incline in favor of its apostolic authorship.
(f) Upon no other hypothesis than that of their genuineness can the general acceptance of these four minor epistles since the third century and of all the other books of the New Testament since the middle of the second century, be satisfactorily accounted for. If they had been mere collections of floating legends, they could not have secured wide circulation as sacred books for which Christians must answer with their blood. If they had been forgeries, the churches at large could neither have been deceived as to their previous
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