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Petrus im Neuen Testament.
Stuttgart: Kath. Bibelwerk 1996. XIV, 230 S. 8°. Kart. DM 59,. ISBN 3-460-33122-4.
The monograph to be reviewed here is authored by Peter Dschulnigg, a former student of Eugen Ruckstuhl and now professor of NT exegesis at the Catholic faculty of theology at the Ruhr University in Bochum.
The author has a double purpose with his book: to illuminate the figure of Peter as he is described in all the books of the NT and to delineate a "biblical" view of the Petrine authority in the church. It is thus a book which could hardly have been written a generation ago, when scholars emphasized history of tradition and the development and background of the biblical books. Instead, it is typical for the present trend to focus upon narrative criticism and consequently to discuss the final version of the gospels and its influence upon theology.
After a short introduction (pp. 1-7), the author discusses every passage in the NT where Peter is mentioned explicitly, dealing with one book at a time, the gospels incl. Acts (pp. 8-147), the Pauline corpus (pp. 148-171) and finally the Petrine epistles (pp. 172-201), before he summarizes his findings and points to their importance for the question of a central Petrine authority in the church (pp. 202-214). The book includes a 15page bibliography.
It is of course convenient to get all biblical data on Peter summarized in this way, and I have nothing to object against the summaries. This is, however, also the main weakness of the book: The isagogical data presented are very much of a mainline character, and the discussion of all the pericopes, each comprising about one single page, hardly gives the reader anything really new. Most of what is written is fairly self evident, and it is seldom that the reader finds any reason to object or to rise his/her eyebrows. The book contains too little about too much. It would have been much more rewarding for the reader, if the author had focused upon one biblical book and tried to analyze in depth what is really to be found there by narrative analysis.
The views on 2Pet and its relationship with Matt make up one of the more interesting parts of the book, at least for me who wrote a dissertation on 2Pet twenty years ago and mainly worked with Matt in the 1980s. The question whether the central place occupied by Peter in Matt 16 is directly related to the use of the apostle as an authority in 2Pet is certainly well worth a much more careful study than it could be given in a monograph on all Petrine texts in the NT. D.s book certainly gives the indepth reader stimulating ideas for further research.
Of course the bibliography is highly selective, something that correctly is pointed out by the author himself, and it is hardly meaningful to mention additional titles which ought to have been included. It is, however, clear that the author has disregarded the non-German discussion in a way that can hardly be defended: Of the 209 titles listed under the heading "Übrige Literatur" 187 are in German (only a few of which are translations from other languages), not more than 22 in English and not a single one in French or any other language.
To sum up: The work is carefully done, and it is a good exponent for present-day trends in exegetical scholarship with its emphasis upon narrative analysis and its openness to "Wirkungsgeschichte". The topic, Peter and his importance for the question of central authority in the church, is of basic importance. The main weakness is certainly the sheer fact that it is impossible to discuss all the passages on Peter in depth within the space available for the author. It is my hope that Dschulniggs monograph will stimulate further research on these texts along the lines that he has drawn up for us, finally aiming at greater understanding between Christians of different persuasion as regards the Petrine authority in the church.