Peter—apocalyptic seer: the influence of the apocalypse genre on Matthew’s portrayal of Peter
Markley, John Robert
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This study fills a gap in previous research concerning the portrayal of Peter in Matthew, especially the research of narrative-critical studies. Although narrative-critical studies generally recognize that Matthew has portrayed Peter and the disciples as recipients of revelation at points, they almost entirely neglect the apocalypses or apocalyptic literature more broadly as a potentially helpful background for this motif, nor does the motif itself figure significantly into their conclusions. Therefore, Part 1 of this study examines fourteen different Jewish and Christian apocalypses in order to determine generic aspects of how the apocalypses portray their seers, and to identify specific textual features that support these generic aspects of a seer’s portrayal. These specific textual features then provide the guiding coordinates for Part 2, which assesses the influence of the generic portrayal of apocalyptic seers on the portrayal of Peter and the disciples in Matthew’s Gospel and main source, Mark’s Gospel. Like the apocalypses, both Evangelists deploy the features of exclusionary statements, narrative isolation, dissemination details, and emphasis of cognitive humanity and emotional-physical humanity to portray Peter and the disciples as the exclusive recipients of revealed mysteries, and as humans who encounter the mysteries of the divine realm. This leads to the conclusion that both Evangelists envisaged Peter and the disciples as apocalyptic seers in some sense. However, Matthew’s redaction of Markan source material, incorporation of Q source material, and his own special material yield a more fully developed, or more explicit, portrayal of Peter and the disciples as apocalyptic seers than his Markan predecessor. The study concludes by focusing directly on Peter’s significance for Matthew and his earliest audience. The research suggests that Peter’s significance was, in part, as principal apocalyptic seer, which requires revision to the predominant scholarly conclusions about Peter in Matthew.