Perceiving the Mystery of the Merciful Son of God: an analysis of the purpose of the Apocalypse of Peter
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date10/07/2020
Beck, Eric J.
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This thesis examines the primary purpose of the Apocalypse of Peter. While most scholars assume the intent of the text is to use its grotesque imagery of punishments in hell to serve as a warning to its readers against sinning, no thorough exegetical analysis of the purpose of the Apocalypse of Peter has yet been undertaken to verify this claim. This thesis is, therefore, the first sustained analysis of the primary purpose of the document. It begins by reviewing previous scholarship on the text and discussing terminological and methodological concerns. Chapter three then surveys ten ancient afterlife torment texts in order to demonstrate the diverse ways the genre was utilised and the importance of the context surrounding the hellish descriptions to the interpretation of these texts. Prior to an examination of the primary purpose of the Apocalypse of Peter, chapter four presents and discusses a new, composite translation of the text that is the first to compare all the available manuscripts on a verse-by-verse basis. Chapters five and six present the exegetical analysis of the purpose of the text first by looking at the context surrounding the tour of hell and then at the tour itself. In these chapters, it is argued that the primary purpose of the Apocalypse of Peter is to move its readers to have compassion on the wicked by integrating divine justice and mercy. The study concludes by examining the possible impact the proposed interpretation of the text may have on various readers.