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Neues Testament


Ruf, Martin G.


Die heiligen Propheten, eure Apostel und ich. Metatextuelle Studien zum zweiten Petrusbrief.


Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2011. XVII, 687 S. 23,2 x 15,5 cm = Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament. 2. Reihe, 300. Kart. EUR 99,00. ISBN 978-3-16-150592-8.


Anders Gerdmar

This massive volume is a doctoral dissertation at the University of Utrecht, supervised by Annette Merz. The purpose of the dissertation is to study 2 Peter as ›meta-textual document‹, situating 2 Peter in its textual universe by studying the explicit and implicit comments and evaluation of other texts (2), such as Pauline letters, the Scriptural prophecy, texts of apostles, as well as other texts. 1 Peter is regarded as ›ständige Prätext‹, as is Jude.
Methodologically, Martin G. Ruf interacts e. g. with the intertextual theories of Genette, Kristeva, Pfister and Hebel, but implements the Flemish linguist Paul Claes’ three-step intertextual anal­ysis model. After the introduction, in the two main chapters, the »Peter of 2 Peter« and the »Lehre of Peter in 2 Peter« in turn are discussed, and the fourth sums up the results.
Characterising the textual world of 2 Peter, R. calls it a »Pauline apostolic letter with an own design« (557), and that it, even though the genres are not fully adhered to, integrates the testament and the apocalyptic genres. Secondly R. concludes that 2 Peter is using the First Testament as source and proof in his theologizing, but that he is not only dependent on the Septuagint text as such he notes that more than once another textual version than the Septuagint was used by the author but also through »die Brille der Auslegungsgeschichte in hellenistisch-römischer Zeit« (565). Referring to Davids who shows that 1 Peter, Jude and James were dependent on the oral and written tradition of Second Temple Judaism, he goes on to acknowledge the fact that 2 Peter draws on material which is found in the literature of rabbinic times, placing 2 Peter in »Hel-len­­istic Judaism«. The inference drawn is that also late New Testament literature can know an influence from Jewish thought. The letter is also close to the Baruch Apocalypse, and has themes and wordings in common with Philo and Josephus, however without R. suggesting any direct dependence. R. admits that he has not in­vestigated the relationship to the texts from Qumran, Targums, Mishna and the Midrashim, even though there to R. are indications of this being a further textual world of 2 Peter (568), and exemplifies this with the πληθυνθείν formula in the greetings of 1–2 Peter and Jude as standing close to »world of Jewish epistolary communication.« He shows that e. g., this analogy to the letters of Gamaliel speaks of a »christliche Sprachgemeinschaft, die aus dem zweiten Petrusbrief spricht, keinen im Judentum völlig analogie­losen Weg beschritten hat« (569). Moreover, 2 Peter presupposes 1 Peter and puts itself over it, and to R. the same is true for Jude, which the author of 2 Peter uses and corrects it. It is surprising that R. in his almost 700 pages does not at all engage in the discussion about the literary relationship between the two letters, which al­-ready is »allzu häufig geführt[en]« and the present state of research does not allow for the possibility of another solution than the priority of Jude. This is no risky position within the present re­-search tradition, but such a massive work precisely on intertextuality should have taken an own qualified stand on the most obvious and indeed intricate intertextual issue. Consensus is never an argument, but of course a signpost; and there are several arguments for dependence in the other direction, which at least could have been dismissed. The relationship to Paul is another issue. According to R. the letter prescript partly imitates Paul, and uses his apostolic letter as a pattern for his communication, showing possible parallels between Pauline letters and 2 Peter. For the Synoptics, R. finds that there is little, which speaks for 2 Peter knowing Mark, but that Luke and 2 Peter have similarities which point to a common background. There is a literary dependence on the Gospel of Matthew, whereas R. does not see any contacts with the Gospel of John. As for Revelation, there are similarities, which however are not due to direct contacts, but the convergence of ideas may point to a certain closeness in time and/or locale. As for the ›Apostolic fathers‹ R. finds affinities with 1–2 Clem and Hermas, and as for EpClem 2:1 he suggested that the latter has developed 2 Peter 1:14 (239–240), his reasons for which however do not seem strong enough for such a bold conclusion. Finally, the relation to a pagan textworld is rather little emphasise d– remarkably short in a book on intertextuality of 2 Peter, given the many suggestions as to pagan literary and thematical affinities. Having discussed the main topos in this regard, the θείας κανωνοὶ φύσεως (2 Peter 1:4; 298–303), he concludes that the authors which are closest to 2 Peter are Josephus and Philo, and not Plato. He rightly states: the author of 2 Peter wished to »möglichst wenig auf kosmologische Vorstellungen philosophischer Herkunft gründen, sondern um so mehr auf den Schriften des Ersten Testaments, der jüdischen Tradition und deren christlicher Rezeption« (598).
Finally R. concludes that 2 Peter is written as »Erinnerungshilfe« to refresh the prophetic and apostolic teaching with which the readers are already familiar, and this makes the text somewhat »epigonenhaft«, but is also itself contributes. It relates to the prophetic and apostolic intertexts as commentator rather than as an exegete of holy texts, yet not by the author of 2 Peter as canonical.
The results of these 100 pages per Nestle page are impossible to summarise in a short review. The greatest merit of the book is that R. through his close reading thoroughly investigates intertextual relations between 2 Peter and its pretexts. The format and detail also makes especially chapter two into a de facto commentary to the letter. On the other hand the very format perhaps is contraproductive; a book like this tends rather to becoming explorative than argumentative. When looking at the research of the last 10–15 years, seeing Paul, Matthew, 1 Clem, Hermas, the Syrian Baruch Apocalypse, and Jewish (Hellenistic) tradition as the primary literary matrix of the Secunda Petri is not all too new or original. On the other hand it is to be welcomed that R. does appreciate the letter’s Jewish background (566).
Perhaps R.’s book evidences a certain shift in the view of 2 Peter, but there are anomalies urging an even more radical rethinking. His quite frequent dealings with the epistolary prescript of the letter, still operating too much within a Pauline paradigm is an example. Evidently 2 Peter knows Pauline letters, with their consistent and unique developments of into an ›own‹ epistolography. That the prescript of 2 Peter does not agree more with the Pauline is thus surprising. But according to R., the letter »steht in der Tradition der paulinischen Korrespondenz … [which A. G. ] wird durch die nähere Gestaltung des Briefaufbaus bestätigt« (557). Even though he notes that 2 Peter is independent, and does not in every detail imitate Pauline convention, and even though he, eight times referring to Irene Taatz’ research, notes the affinities to the apostolic letter format in the Letters of Gamaliel, he does not leave the far less convincing idea of the prescript being close to Pauline epistolography. Neither the general structure, nor the literary form of the very prescript is very Pauline. The briefness of the prescript with the almost exact Greek translation of the Aramaic formula in the Gamaliel letters, the character of general letter (in 1 Peter explicitly to the diaspora), and lack of address to a specific church, all are closer to a Jewish apostolic letter than to the Pauline letter format, which rather indicates a closeness to an ›epistolary culture‹ to Jude, James, 1 Peter and a Jewish ›apostolic‹ (really Rab) letter. This makes 2 Peter more Pauline than it actually is. Also R. places 2 Peter at »a late stadium of the New Testament« (when seems not to be clearly indicated) and the question then remains how to explain the Jewish environment, and also the prominence of apocalypticism in this late time.
With these remarks, R.’s book is a welcome and thorough in-vestigation of the Secunda Petrine intertextual matrix with pro­-mising tendencies for future research.