Second Epistle of Peter

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The Second Epistle of Peter, usually referred to simply as Second Peter and often written 2 Peter, is a book of the New Testament of the Bible, traditionally ascribed to Saint Peter, but in modern times widely regarded as pseudonymous.

It is the first New Testament book to treat other New Testament writings as scripture, 2 Peter was one of the last letters included in the New Testament canon; it quotes from and adapts Jude extensively, identifies Jesus with God, and addresses a threatening heresy which had arisen because the end and salvation had not occurred.

Contents

Composition

According to the Epistle itself, it was composed by the Apostle Peter, an eyewitness to Jesus' ministry. It criticizes "false teachers" who distort the authentic, apostolic tradition, and predicts judgment for them. 2 Peter explains that God has delayed the Second Coming so that more people will have the chance to reject evil and find salvation. It calls on Christians to wait patiently for the parousia and to study scripture.

The date of composition has proven to be very difficult to determine. Commentaries and reference books have placed 2 Peter in almost every decade from 60 to 160AD.[1]

Authorship

Although 2 Peter internally purports to be a work of the apostle, most secular biblical scholars have concluded that Peter is not the author, and instead consider the epistle pseudepigraphical.[2] Reasons for this include its linguistic differences from 1 Peter, its apparent use of Jude, possible allusions to second-century gnosticism, encouragement in the wake of a delayed parousia, and weak external support.[3]

Date

The questions of authorship and date are closely related. Self-evidently if Peter the Apostle wrote this epistle then it must have been written prior to his death in c 65–67AD. The letter refers to the Pauline epistles and so must post-date them, regardless of authorship, thus a date before 60 is not probable.

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