Author Topic: Was Simon called PETROS before John 1:42?  (Read 614 times)

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Offline Alfred Persson

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Was Simon called PETROS before John 1:42?
« on: February 27, 2013, 01:10:21 AM »
40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's [Πέτρος] brother.
41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah " (which is translated [μεθερμηνεύω], the Christ).
42 And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, "You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas " (which is translated [ἑρμηνεύω], A Stone). (Joh 1:40-42 NKJ)
40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's (Πέτρου) brother.
41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted (μεθερμηνευόμενον), the Christ.
42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation (ἑρμηνεύεται), A stone. (Joh 1:40-42 KJV)

14 …’The proper name Peter does not appear at all in pagan literature; it first appears in Tertullian.’ There was, on the contrary, as already mentioned (note 12), an Aramaic name פטרוס (Petros), which perhaps is to be connected with פטר (patar) “firstborn.” The theory that the Greek Petros was first derived from it and gave occasion for a false retranslation Kepha into Aramaic is quite impossible, in view of the fact that in Paul’s letters Cephas is already the usual designation and Peter clearly was only a derivation from it.”-PETER Disciple-Apostle-Martyr, by Oscar Cullmann, translated from the German by Floyd V. Filson (Westminister Press, Philadelphia, 1953), p.19.

So spoke Lutheran theologian Oscar Cullman when correcting A. Dell's claim the name Πέτρος doesn't appear as a name until Tertullian. On the contrary, it existed before that in Aramaic with perhaps the meaning of "firstborn".

Professor Cullmann made two claims I want to treat here:

1)That the Aramaic Πέτρος name perhaps meaning "Firstborn" already existed centuries before the Greek Πέτρος name meaning "Rock".
2)That its "impossible" those "retranslating the Greek NT back into Aramaic" confused Πέτρος as being Πέτρος.

Taking #1 first, John 1:40 parsimonously shows Simon had the Aramaic name Πέτρος before he met Christ. Therefore its odd Jesus didn't say "You shall be called Πέτρος" if He believed it equivalent to Κηφᾶς. In other words, John 1:40 shows its "Simon Πέτρος" who is surnamed Κηφᾶς, proving Christ did not consider his Aramaic Πέτρος (proper noun) to be a Κηφᾶς (proper noun).

The apostle John confirms they aren't equivalents when he "translates" the Aramaic "Messiah" into the Greek "Christ" in vs. 41 but "explains" "Cephas" is a πέτρος "stone" in vs. 42. As one does not "explain" what "Cephas" is by translating it as "Peter"---the lower case "a stone" KJ reading is justified.

Cephas occurs 6 times in scripture, Petros/Peter 192 times, once meaning "stone." If the apostles and writers of the New Testament believed "Cephas=Petros", then why did they use Cephas and Petros dissimilarly. In the following texts "Cephas" communicates an authority "Petros" seems to lack:

1 Corinthians 1:12 Now I say this, that each of you says, "I am of Paul," or "I am of Apollos," or "I am of Cephas," or "I am of Christ."
1 Corinthians 3:22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come-- all are yours.
1 Corinthians 9:5 Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?
1 Corinthians 15:5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.
Galatians 2:9 and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

According to John 1:40 Christ surnamed "Simon Πέτρος" "Cephas" in John 1;42, not "Petros".

So when did Jesus "put upon Simon" the meaning of the name Πέτρος?

14 Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach,
15 and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons:
16 And Simon he surnamed (ἐπιτίθημι) Peter (Πέτρος)
17 And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed (ἐπιτίθημι) them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder. (Mark 3:16-17 KJV)

Mark seems to place the surnaming event when Christ appointed the Twelve. Matthew 10:2 and Luke 6:14 seem to agree. Does this rule out Matt 16:18? Not at all, in all three we read Judas betrayed Jesus which we know happened much later, therefore the actual sequence of events is not being followed. As Jesus' surnaming Simon Peter affected his place in these lists, its reasonable that is where it would be mentioned. Confirming this is Mark's usage of "Simon" and "Πέτρος---he identifies Peter as "Simon" in Mark 1:16, 29, 36 and only once switches to Πέτρος in 5:37 when relating Simon's place in the inner circle. Mark doesn't refer again to Peter until Mark 8:29 "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered and said to Him, "You are the Christ". Afterward there is a burst of Πέτρος references- (Mark 8:29, 32-33; 9:2,5; 10:28; 11:21; 13:3; 14:29, 33, 37, 54, 66-67, 70, 72; 16:7). That phenomena is consistent with Christ "putting upon Simon the meaning of Πέτρος" at Matthew 16:18, not John 1:42.

Boanerges is a characterization, not a proper name, hence it can describe more than one person. As the same ἐπιτίθημι occurred to Simon, Christ put upon Simon the meaning of the name Πέτρος, He didn't give him that name.

Only once in Scripture does Jesus say, "Thou art Πέτρος"---in Matthew 16:18.

Yet to be decided is what meaning did Jesus put upon Πέτρος : "Firstborn" or "Rock?"

16 Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
17 Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
18 "And I also say to you that you are Peter (Πέτρος), and on this rock (πέτρα) I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.. (Mat 16:16-18 NKJ)

Most say vs. 18 is a pun of the words petros and petra. I disagree, its a pun upon one word only, petros using both its Aramaic "Firstborn" and Greek "Rock" meanings in a "Janus Parallelism. This type of parallelism hinges on the use of a single word with two different meanings, one of which forms a parallel with what precedes and the other with what follows. Thus, by virtue of a double entendre, the parallelism faces in both directions. An example is Gen 49:26."-Freedman, D. N. (1996, c1992). The Anchor Bible Dictionary (5:157). New York: Doubleday.

Is this "special pleading," is there evidence of Janus elsewhere in the NT?

Another characteristic [of the Gospel of Matthew] that marks off the five discourses is their careful positioning in the flow of the gospel, so that they take up a number of themes raised in the previous narrative, while also preparing for the narrative to come. The discourses thus act as pivots in the literary structure because of their Janus-like quality.
Meier, J. P. (1992). Matthew, Gospel of. In D. N. Freedman (Ed.), . Vol. 4: The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (D. N. Freedman, Ed.) (628). New York: Doubleday.

In return for Simon identifying Him, Jesus looks back and identifies Simon as the "Firstborn" of the divinely revealed Christ, Jonah Redivivus. The PeTeR having risen from the dead now preaches the divine word of life like a son of Jonah the prophet. Simon is the first born of the divinely revealed gospel of Christ (Rom 10:8-11), no other public confession of Christ's Deity was divinely inspired and no other resulted in a Makarism ("blessing") from Christ.

Then using "stone" meaning of Petros, Christ looks forward and speaks TO the "Firstborn" ABOUT (ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ) about the πέτρα he just confessed---that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God and upon this life giving Rock I will build my church.

Those two specific points of belief are the keys that open the door into the Kingdom.

The divine revelation the PeTeR confessed is carried forward in the Janus to merge with the πέτρα Rock of Christ just as in this parallel where the building occurs on the Rock according to the sayings of Christ:

24 "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock (πέτρα):
25 "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock (πέτρα). (Mat 7:24-25 NKJ)

Like a contractor following his building plan, so Christ builds His church on the πέτρα under the Rubric of a public confession Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. (John 20:31; Acts 8:37; 2 Cor 1:19 1 John 3:23; cp Rom 10:9-13)

Like a contractor following a building plan.

Given the unchanging Rock like nature of the divine revelation: "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God", the metaphor is consistent in all its aspects.

Jesus is the πέτρα Rock of living water (1 Cor 10:4) , Simon and the church lively stones (John 1:42 cp 1 Pet 2:4-10) from whose belly flows living water (John 7:38-39) because they have the keys to the Kingdom and are founded upon life gushing Petra upon which Christ built His church.

4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock(πέτρα) that followed them, and that Rock(πέτρα) was Christ. (1Co 10:4 NKJ)

Its no argument against only λίθος occurs in 1 Peter 2:4-6 not πέτρα or כֵיפָא , the metaphor is the same:

8 Take thy rod, and call the assembly, thou and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye to the rock (πέτρα lxx; כֵיפָא Targumim) before them, and it shall give forth its waters; and ye shall bring forth for them water out of the rock (πέτρα ; כֵיפָא), and give drink to the congregation and their cattle. (Num 20:8 LXE)
13 ...they sucked honey out of the rock (πέτρα ; כֵיפָא) and oil out of the solid rock. (Deu 32:13 LXE)

3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
4 Coming to Him as to a living stone (λίθος), rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious,
5 you also, as living stones (λίθος), are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, "Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame." (1Pe 2:3-6 NKJ)

And she is more valuable than precious stones(λίθος; כֵיפָא ). (Pro 3:15 LXE)

The context implies Simon's firstborn status, he can bind and loose on his own authority Mat 16:19 cp 18:18. Christ has given the keys to the Kingdom first to him.

It follows this is why Simon Πέτρος is called πρῶτος "First" in Matthew 10:2

Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first (πρῶτος), Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; (Mat 10:2 NKJ)

As Andrew isn't "the Second" or James "the Third", πρῶτος is not the start of a numbering of disciples. Therefore it parsimonously means what it says, "First Simon, who is called Firstborn"---which is Matthew's explanation why he is first on the list.

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« Last Edit: February 27, 2013, 01:21:03 AM by Alfred Persson »
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