Heidegger's Bible Handbook: 2 Peter: Canonical Authority

2. Its Authority asserted. The reason on account of which it was not immediately acknowledged by all. Its Syriac version, when was it prepared?


Concerning this Epistle Eusebius thus writes, Historia Ecclesiastica, book III, chapter 3: Τὴν φερομένην (Πέτρου) δευτέραν οὐκ ἐνδιάθηκον μὲν εἶναι, παρειλήφαμεν. Ὅμως δὲ πολλοῖς χρήσιμος φανεῖσα μετὰ τῶν ἄλλων ἐσπουδάσθη γραφῶν, But we have received that that Epistle, which is called the second (of Peter), is not legitimate, or Testamentary: and yet, because it appears useful to many, it is used with the other Scriptures. And in chapter 22, he refers the same among those ἀντιλεγομένας ὑπό τινων, contradicted by some. It is also not found in that most ancient Syriac version. For that one, published by the Most Celebrated Pococke out of the Bodleian Library, was published, not by those first Interpreters, but a little later by Thomas, Bishop of Herqel, with Dionysius, who illustrated it with Syriac Commentaries, as witness in the same.[1] But, that the Epistle was not so quickly admitted, perhaps the reason is that it was not sent to a certain man, or to a certain Church, or to many Churches by name, like the first Epistle, but was written in a manner similar to the Gospels and a number of other things, which, having once been read to one Church, were gradually copied and sent to more Churches. In such a way by all, to whom writings of this sort came, it was to be judged whether they were genuine or not. Accordingly this Epistle also was received gradually into the canon, but not without scrutiny, which detracts nothing from its authority. Now, that it is Canonical, it stands as evidence, that it is analogous to the Prophetic and Apostolic books: that in it is a Prophecy, harmonizing with other Prophecies, especially that of Jude: that it was written by the Apostle Peter, and no sufficient reason for doubting this is able to be rendered. Whence Origen, Jerome, and others in that and the following age, agree, and number it among the Canonical books without any hesitation.

[1] Edward Pococke (1604-1691) was an Anglican Churchman, Orientalist, and Biblical scholar, one of the pioneers of the study of Arabic in the West. He published an edition of a Syriac manuscript of 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Jude, not found in the Old Syriac canon, but added by Thomas of Harqel, an early seventh century miaphysite bishop, in his translation, called “Harclensis” (616), annotated by Dionysius bar Salibi (died 1171), a Syriac Orthodox writer and bishop.

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