The right of II Peter to a place in the canon of the New Testament has been more widely disputed than that of any other book. No direct quotation from it can be found in the patristic literature prior to the beginning of the third century. Eusebius, in the fourth century (HE V, i, 36, 45, 55) classes it explicitly among the antilegomena or doubtful books rather than among those that were accepted as of apostolic origin.

AUTHORSHIP

External testimony to its Petrine origin, however, is not totally lacking. There are occasional allusions in the Shepherd of Hermas (c. 140 A.D.), 1 Clement (95 A.D.), the pseudo II Clement (140 A.D.), and the Didache (c. 150 A.D.) which resemble it, although there is no convincing proof that any one of these is quoting II Peter directly. Eusebius quoted Origen (c. 220 A.D.) as saying: “Peter … has left one epistle undisputed. Suppose also the second one left by him, for on this there is some doubt” (HE VI, xxv, 8). Origen’s language does not exclude the Petrine authorship, but merely indicates that it was not universally acknowledged.

The internal evidence is stronger. The writer claims at the outset to be “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ” (1:1). He announces that the time has come for him “to put off this my tabernacle even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me” (1:14), a statement which accords with Jesus’ prediction that Peter would die a violent death (John 21:18). He claims to have been present at the Transfiguration when the “power and coming” of the Lord Jesus Christ was exemplified, and when the divine Voice said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (1:16, 17; cf. Mark 9:5–7; ...

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