The theory Peter is derived from Cephas is a Petitio principii fallacy
People ask "how could the early Christians mistake Simon's Proper Name פטרוס/ Πέτρος/Petros/"Firstborn"--- likely from the Hebrew פֶּטֶר (Strong's 6363 PeTeR), with being a derivative of the common noun כֵּיפָא Κηφᾶς/Kepha when its so obvious from Jewish literary sources(1) Simon's name פטרוס/Petros existed well before he met Christ?" (Matthew 4:18; 16:18 "You ARE Petros"; John 1:40)
I reply, How could they NOT
mistake the Greek transliteration of פטרוס/πέτρος/Petros as being πέτρος/petros/"stone" when these are spelled precisely the same in Greek and the knowledge of Palestinian Jewish names current in Jesus' Day vanished as Christianity spread throughout the Gentile world? Of course they assumed Simon "Petros" meant Simon "Stone."
BUT why should we perpetuate the mistakes of yesterday, today? Why does this issue receive just passing mention in scholarly circles?Petros as a Jewish Name?
But it remains desirable to ask what Jewish dimensions, if any, this name is likely to have had. And is it conceivable that even the Greek name could have featured in a Hebrew or Aramaic source? It is after all only John 1:42 which, on a certain reading, might be taken to suggest that ‘Peter’ is a secondary translation of an existing name Ke¯fa ' . It is instructive to note, however, that two verses earlier the evangelist seems to undermine even this conventional assumption of the priority of ‘Cephas’ by referring casually to ‘Simon Peter’ (1:40).
-Markus Bockmuehl, Simon Peter's Name in Jewish Sources, Journal of Jewish Studies, Vol IV, No. 1, Spring 2004. p. 71
The ASSUMPTION Simon/Petros is from the common noun kepha is unsound:"Fr. the beginning it was prob. thought of as the Gk. equivalent of the Aram. כֵּיפָא= Κηφᾶς: J 1:42; cp. Mt 16:18 "- A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Bauer; University of Chicago Press, 1979) p. 654.
As Jesus didn't call Simon Petros in John 1:42, nor give him the name Petros in Matthew 16:18 (You ARE Petros), there is no logical connection to Christ predicting Simon would be called Cephas in John 1:42. It was decades later that John explains the noun "cephas" is a "petros/stone"---PROVING these are not proper names as proper names are not explained in translation.
Therefore the argument the proper name Petros is derived from Kephas according to these texts has been "From the beginning, a Petitio principii fallacy."
Its interesting to note an early Aramaic translation from the Greek renders this verse thusly:
ואוף אנא אמר לך דאת הו פטרוס ועל הדא כיפא אנא בני כנישתי
"And Ι say to thee, Thou art Petros, and on this kepha Ι shall build my church"
-Chrys C. Caragounis, Peter And The Rock (Walter de Gruyter, Berlin; New York 1990), p. 34
Matthew 16:18 is an obvious Janus Parallelism on the Homonym PETROS using both meanings "firstborn" and "rock."
The precise wording found in our Greek texts preserved perfectly the meaning of Christ. This likely is why the context wasn't repeated in other gospels...any change in wording would destroy the pun.
Confirming Peter's New Birth---First born of the divinely revealed Christ and under that Rubric Christ will build His Church---is the clear Romans 10:6ff dependence upon Matthew 16:15-20:
6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, "Do not say in your heart,`Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down from above)
7 or, "`Who will descend into the abyss?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart " (that is, the word of faith which we preach):
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
(Rom 10:6-10 NKJ)
(1) Markus Bockmuehl, "Simon Peter's Name In Jewish Sources", Journal of Jewish Studies, Vol IV, No. 1, Spring 2004: "The currency of Peter's name is confirmed in Tal Ilan's identification of three additional first and second century Palestinian Jewish individuals who bear the name Petros." pp. 71-71 cf. Ftn 88-91.
Note: Aramaic words are in Hebrew font.
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