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Jesus' appearance to Peter

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#1 H. Smith

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 03:24 AM

Is there any tradition about Jesus' appearance to Simon Peter?

 

According to Paul in 1 Cor. 15:

 

I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ... was seen of Cephas [Aramaic for "Peter"], then of the twelve...

 

So Peter's meeting with Jesus happened before Jesus appeared to the disciples collectively.

 

Luke 24 relates how Jesus met two of his followers traveling to Emmaus and:


  •  
  • 24:30 took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.
  • 24:31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
  • ...
  • 24:33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together and them that were with them,
  • 24:34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon [Peter].
  • 24:35 And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

That is, the two travelers, on their return, reported to the disciples gathered in the room that Simon Peter had seen Jesus. There are two reasons to think that this was the travelers' report, and not the disciples' report.

 

First, grammatically the use of a comma between "them" (the eleven) and "saying" means that the eleven were not the ones who were speaking. For example, "Thomas shouted at Bob, running in the water" means that Thomas was running in the water, because the comma removes the verb "saying" from the noun immediately preceding it (Bob).

Alternately, "John gave the letter to the postman walking down the street" means that it was the postman who was walking, because no common is used.

 

In this case, the travelers "found the eleven gathered and them that were with them (the eleven), saying" that Jesus appeared to Peter.

 

Καὶ ἀναστάνεὗρον συνηθροισμένους τοὺς ἕνδεκα καὶ τοὺς σὺν αὐτοῖς,

...they found gathered together the eleven and those with them,

λέγοντας ὅτι Ἠγέρθη ὁ κύριος ὄντως, καὶ ὤφθη Σίμωνι.

saying indeed has risen the Lord.

 

Secondly, in Mark 16:9-16, it says that the disciples gathered in Jerusalem did not believe the reports that the women and the two travelers had seen Jesus, and then Jesus showed up and rebuked the disciples for their unbelief. This unbelief would contradict an idea that in Luke 24 it was the eleven disciples who announced affirmatively to the travelers that Simon Peter had actually seen Jesus.

 

If the travelers had announced to those already assembled that Peter had seen Jesus, then where was Peter?

He wouldn't have been one of the two travelers, since Luke says that both travelers had seen Jesus, not just one of them.

And he wouldn't be among the rest of those gathered, because it would not make sense for the two travelers to announce on arrival to Peter and the others that Peter had seen Jesus.

 

Maybe he was over in Galilee with the apostle Thomas? In John 16:32, Jesus had predicted about His Passion: "But a time is coming,
and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone."
Jesus' apostles' homes were mostly in Galilee, so is that where they would have been scattered to?

 

We know from John 20 that Thomas, despite being one of "the eleven" whom Luke 24 says were at Jesus' first appearance to the apostles, was not present at that appearance either. In John 21, Thomas is depicted as fishing with Peter in Galilee, albeit over a week later.

 

In the noncanonical Gospel of Peter, after Jesus' passion and before Jesus makes any appearances to the disciples, Peter does go with a few other Christians to fish in Galilee instead of staying in Jerusalem. However, I am aware that we cannot rely on the "Gospel of Peter".

 

So in conclusion, what and where was Jesus' first appearance to Peter? Naturally, it occurred sometime between Jesus' resurrection early on Sunday and His appearance that night to the assembled disciples, at some moment that he was apart from their assembly. And where was Peter at that time?

 

Is there any information passed down in our Church tradition about this particular appearance?

 

 



#2 Kosta

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Posted 26 July 2015 - 08:44 AM

According to the gospel of John, both Peter and John ran to the tomb where they found the burial linens. And in both Luke in 24.12 and in John 20.10 they parted ways and went into their own homes. The gospel of John makes clear they believed but were unsure what Christ taught as they were unsure of the scriptures (John 20.9. The two on the road to Emmaus also were unclear on what exactly Christ taught concerning Himself., Christ showing them the scriptures (Lk 24.27 & 24.32).

 

According to John gospel, Christ revealed himself to Peter first (Jn 21.7-13.) It seems the account in John is not in chronological order.  His appearance to the 10 disciples being described in John 20.19. We may not know the exact sequence but it seems to say that when Christ "showed" himself it means he revealed himself to be Jesus of Nazareth born of the Theotokos. 



#3 H. Smith

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Posted 27 July 2015 - 08:34 PM

According to the gospel of John, both Peter and John ran to the tomb where they found the burial linens. And in both Luke in 24.12 and in John 20.10 they parted ways and went into their own homes. The gospel of John makes clear they believed but were unsure what Christ taught as they were unsure of the scriptures (John 20.9. The two on the road to Emmaus also were unclear on what exactly Christ taught concerning Himself., Christ showing them the scriptures (Lk 24.27 & 24.32).

According to John gospel, Christ revealed himself to Peter first (Jn 21.7-13.) It seems the account in John is not in chronological order. His appearance to the 10 disciples being described in John 20.19. We may not know the exact sequence but it seems to say that when Christ "showed" himself it means he revealed himself to be Jesus of Nazareth born of the Theotokos.

Dear Kosta,
It's interesting writing to you about this.

Thanks for clearing this up about Peter going home to Galilee after the resurrection. You must have paid better attention to this than many other people. I didn't even notice it myself. Luke 24:12 says:
12 And Peter having risen, did run to the tomb, and having stooped down he seeth the linen clothes lying alone, and he went away to his own home,
wondering at that which was come to pass.


Peter's home was in Galilee, and most of the apostles were only staying as Galilean pilgrims in Jerusalem, right? Galilee is 60-70 miles from Jerusalem, so it would take at least about two to three days to get there. That creates a question about when and where Peter saw Jesus. If Peter saw Jesus on day one of the resurrection, wouldn't he go back to Jerusalem to talk with the other apostles?

Emmaus is west of Jerusalem and Galilee is far to the northeast. How is it that the travelers coming from Emmaus would hear about Jesus' appearance to Jesus without the apostles in Jerusalem knowing about it? It would make better sense if the travelers were coming from Galilee to tell the apostles in Jerusalem about it.

If Peter on the other hand saw Jesus once he got to Galilee a day or two later with Thomas, that suggests that: (1) The apostles in Jerusalem didn't see Jesus on Day one of the resurrection as Luke and John portray it, because Paul says that Peter saw Jesus before the apostles did. And (2) That Peter wasn't there in Jerusalem with the other nine apostles (ie. without Thomas) when they saw Jesus, even though Luke says that "the eleven" saw Him.

Plus, as you said about John 20:10, John would have gone back to his home in Galilee too. So this creates a different narrative than the one we have in Luke and John, because it means that John, Peter, and Thomas weren't in Jerusalem on Day one to see Jesus there. And in John 21, it says that the sons of Zebedee were with Peter when he saw Jesus- John being one of the sons of Zebedee. So there we have in John 21 a story of John, Peter, and Thomas seeing Jesus in Galilee apart from about half of the other disciples.

You also picked up on a strange issue in John's gospel:
" Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead."

What was it that he believed? Naturally it must mean the resurrection. But why does it say "for as yet they did not understand the scripture"? "For" means "since" or "because". How can it be said that "they believed, since they didn't understand the scripture"?
It's strange.

Yes, I am inclined to agree with you that "the account in John is not in chronological order". After all, it would seem strange that the apostles would be going fishing in galilee after Jesus had just appeared to them in Luke 24 on Day one of the resurrection and told them to stay in Jerusalem until Pentecost and also told them to spread the gospel around the world, "starting in Jerusalem", ie. not Galilee. By the way, the view that John 21 represents Jesus' first appearance to Peter was taken up by some leading 19th century German scholars and has at least a few advocates today among other modern Christian ones.

But this account is not just out of order, it would have to be mistaken as to the order, because John 21 specifies that Jesus' "third" appearance was in Galilee. And this creates two challenges:

First, I think that traditional interpreters are going to be reluctant to say that John was simply mistaken about the chronology. The traditional interpreters among Christians I think do not want to say that a gospel writer was clearly mistaken.

Second, it creates a problem because it suggests that Luke's and John's gospels gave the wrong impression. In those two gospels, "the eleven" disciples are gathered in Jerusalem on day one of the resurrection and together they see Jesus. As John 20 explains, Thomas wasn't actually there. But if the alternative version of Jesus' Galilean preceding fishing appearance is correct, then Peter, John, and John's brother James bar Zebedee weren't there either. In fact, Jesus' appearance in Jerusalem to apostles didn't take place at all on Day One, because it took about two days to get to Galilee and go fishing. So at best, some of the disciples saw Jesus when they were fishing in Galilee a few days after the resurrection, and about that time the other apostles saw Jesus in Jerusalem without them.

However, making the appearance in John 21 a reliable account of Jesus' first appearance still creates another problem. In John 21, Thomas announces that the stranger by the shore "is the Lord". However, back in John 20 when Thomas hears about Jesus' appearance in Jerusalem, he says that he won't believe until he gets to touch Jesus' wounds. This implies that Thomas was not believing at the moment that Thomas saw Jesus in Jerusalem for himself 8 days or more after the resurrection, even though according to John, during Jesus' previous appearance in Galilee Thomas had been seriously believing.

So if this "alternative version" is true and Jesus' first appearance to the apostles was a few days later in Galilee, it isn't clear why Luke and John got their stories wrong in several ways. Was it just a matter of the story getting jumbled after about 50 to 70 years of transmission?

Or was the story of Jesus' appearance to Peter widely known based on Paul's mention of it in Cornthians 15, the mention of it in the Gospel of Peter, and in John 21, but then Luke and John in 80-120 AD decided to intentionally rewrite the story. In this new version, instead of Peter and the others abandoning Jerusalem and the empty tomb and going fishing in Galilee, and Jesus showing up several days later, the apostles loyally stayed around Jerusalem where Jesus showed up thrice on the first day and in Luke's version told them to stay there until Pentecost.

Either explanation for this alternative version creates problems as to the reliability of the gospel stories, although the second one is more problematic because it involves intentional rewriting of the narrative.

Edited by H. Smith, 27 July 2015 - 08:36 PM.


#4 Kosta

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Posted 28 July 2015 - 10:25 AM

Dear Kosta,
It's interesting writing to you about this.


Peter's home was in Galilee, and most of the apostles were only staying as Galilean pilgrims in Jerusalem, right? Galilee is 60-70 miles from Jerusalem, so it would take at least about two to three days to get there. That creates a question about when and where Peter saw Jesus. If Peter saw Jesus on day one of the resurrection, wouldn't he go back to Jerusalem to talk with the other apostles?

Emmaus is west of Jerusalem and Galilee is far to the northeast. How is it that the travelers coming from Emmaus would hear about Jesus' appearance to Jesus without the apostles in Jerusalem knowing about it? It would make better sense if the travelers were coming from Galilee to tell the apostles in Jerusalem about it.

If Peter on the other hand saw Jesus once he got to Galilee a day or two later with Thomas, that suggests that: (1) The apostles in Jerusalem didn't see Jesus on Day one of the resurrection as Luke and John portray it, because Paul says that Peter saw Jesus before the apostles did. And (2) That Peter wasn't there in Jerusalem with the other nine apostles (ie. without Thomas) when they saw Jesus, even though Luke says that "the eleven" saw Him.


Or was the story of Jesus' appearance to Peter widely known based on Paul's mention of it in Cornthians 15, the mention of it in the Gospel of Peter, and in John 21, but then Luke and John in 80-120 AD decided to intentionally rewrite the story. In this new version, instead of Peter and the others abandoning Jerusalem and the empty tomb and going fishing in Galilee, and Jesus showing up several days later, the apostles loyally stayed around Jerusalem where Jesus showed up thrice on the first day and in Luke's version told them to stay there until Pentecost.
 

 

 

If you remember there were 120 gathered on Penetecost. I believe the term disciples when not specifically mentioning the 11 or 12 is referencing this expanded group who after the crucifixion dispersed into smaller groups.. According to Matt 26.31-32, Christ told Peter:

 

Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.

 

Now the two on the road to Emmaus were Cleopas (see Lk 24.18) and most likely James, the Lord's brother (in my opinion).  Cleopas being the uncle of James would make sense traveling together. There were numerous appearances in the aftermath but only the headlines made it into the gospels.  Here is Paul's chronology:

 

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.  After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. (1COR15.3)

 

Paul's chronology seems to follow that found in Luke 24.  It was getting late and Cleopas and the unidentified fellow traveler (James) restrained him to lodge with them. Once they broke bread he vanished and at that same hour at night the two went to Jerusalem finding the eleven (minus Peter and Thomas) and all the others telling them the news. The 11 were also told to hurry and gather in Jerusalem as well which is why they were found there. At that point Christ appeared to all of them:

 

And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” 33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.

 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”

 

The above is the same event being described in (Jn 20.19). Now the two Cleopas and (James?) who first proclaimed He had appeared to Peter seems to have gotten the info from Jesus himself or by revelation. According to Paul's chronology he first appeared to Cephas, then to the eleven, then to 500 'brethren' and then to James and finally to other 'apostles'.  Now is Paul claiming that all this occured on the Ressurection day? Matthew and Luke end their gospels with all the appearances occuring on that one day . So its plausible Paul is speaking of all the events that took place on the 'third day' as he puts it. Of course Luke authors a sequel to his gospel.  Part two is the book of Acts where he clarifies that Christ appeared for 40 days thereafter showing himself during the course of that time (acts 1.3).

 

 The thing with John's gospel is that it seems the final chapter 21 was added later. The original ending to his gospel being the appearance to doubting Thomas . The additional chapter was probably added shortly after John's death to clarify to his heartbroken community that the tradition that John would remain alive till the second coming was misinterpreted (see Jn 21.23)


Edited by Kosta, 28 July 2015 - 10:36 AM.


#5 Deacon John Martin

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Posted 02 August 2015 - 02:35 AM

It is problematic to make an assumption about the New Testament based on English grammar, since it was written in Greek, and moreover without punctuation! According to Bl. Theophylact (11th century), who in turn based himself on earlier writers such as Chrysostom, it was the Eleven, not the travelers to Emmaus, who related that the “Lord is risen, and has appeared to Simon.” Second, it makes no sense for the travelers to tell the Eleven that the Lord appeared to St. Peter, since he was not among them (what would be the point?), but rather that they told the Eleven their report, and the Eleven reported the Lord’s appearance to St. Peter.
 
The reason why according to the Gospel of Mark they did not believe the report of Luke and Cleopas is explained variously by Bl. Theophylact, and Archbishop Averky, a 20th century commentator and late abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York. Bl. Theophylact says that the “others” mentioned in Mark were not the Eleven Apostles, but other disciples. According to him, the appearance to Simon Peter occurred at the same time that Luke and Cleopas was going back to Jerusalem.
 
Archbishop Averky, on the other hand, presumes that it was indeed the Eleven who were incredulous, and explains it in terms of the confusion surrounding the nature of our Lord’s Resurrection. Although we are familiar with the nature of Christ’s resurrected body, the Apostles were not, and must have thought it peculiar to see Christ in Jerusalem, and then to be told that He appeared to some others at a completely different place (Emmaus being several hours walking distance from Jerusalem). Thus, when Christ appeared to them, the Eleven thought that He was a ghost.


#6 Deacon John Martin

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Posted 02 August 2015 - 03:13 AM

Moreover, the word λέγοντας is in the accusative, which indicates that it refers to the Apostles, not to Luke and Cleopas. If it were in the nominative (λέγοντες) it would have referred to them. In Codex Bezae (fifth century) we do find λέγοντες, but the other manuscripts read λέγοντας. It is possibly that there was a textual variant, which would explain why Origen considered St. Peter to have been the companion of Cleopas. However, the reading of the majority of manuscripts and that of the Church is λέγοντας.



#7 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 August 2015 - 01:08 PM

It is the Orthodox tradition that Cleopas's companion on the road to Emmaus was St Luke.



#8 H. Smith

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Posted 07 August 2015 - 12:40 AM

Dear Kosta,

You wrote:

 

If you remember there were 120 gathered on Penetecost. I believe the term disciples when not specifically mentioning the 11 or 12 is referencing this expanded group who after the crucifixion dispersed into smaller groups.. According to Matt 26.31-32, Christ told Peter:

 

Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.

 

Now the two on the road to Emmaus were Cleopas (see Lk 24.18) and most likely James, the Lord's brother (in my opinion).  

 

I am not sure what the basis is for saying that Cleopas' companion was James. I suppose it could have been Luke since Luke did not mention who the other one was, just as John's gospel referred to himself often in the third person as an unnamed "beloved disciple".

 

 

 

Cleopas being the uncle of James would make sense traveling together. There were numerous appearances in the aftermath but only the headlines made it into the gospels.  Here is Paul's chronology:

 

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.  After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. (1COR15.3)

 

Paul's chronology seems to follow that found in Luke 24.  It was getting late and Cleopas and the unidentified fellow traveler (James) restrained him to lodge with them. Once they broke bread he vanished and at that same hour at night the two went to Jerusalem finding the eleven (minus Peter and Thomas) and all the others telling them the news. The 11 were also told to hurry and gather in Jerusalem as well which is why they were found there.

OK, there is a chronology issue. In 1 Cor. 15:3, James is listed as seeing Jesus after the ofhers. However in Luke, Cleopas already saw Jesus on day 1 of the resurrection. It is hard to think that all those people saw Jesus already on Day 1 of the Resurrection before Cleopas and his companion did.

 

Besides that, in Mark 16 the apostles were supposedly incredulous about the women's testimony and about the two travelers from Emmaus. If all those apostles had already seen Jesus before Cleopas and James, then the apostles' incredultiy on hearing the travelers' testimony would not make sense, since they would have already known about Jesus' appearance from experiencing it themselves.

 

Secondly, that there is also a logistical issue. If the apostles saw Jesus in Galilee it would be hard for them to all get back to Jerusalem on Day 1, since it's about 70 miles away, that is, at least about a 35 hour walk.

 

Third, if the appearance to Cleopas and possibly James as a companion was the last one, it would not make sense that in Luke's narration somebody would announce that Jesus had appeared to Peter, since in fact he would have appeared to very many more people than just Peter.

 

At that point Christ appeared to all of them:

 

And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” 33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.

 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”

 

The above is the same event being described in (Jn 20.19). Now the two Cleopas and (James?) who first proclaimed He had appeared to Peter seems to have gotten the info from Jesus himself or by revelation.

Yes, it's curious how the two travelers would have known that Jesus had appeared to Peter. The two travelers supposedly didn't know that the stranger was Jesus until He broke bread, so it doesn't seem that the stranger would have told them "I appeared to Peter", although I suppose he could have said "Jesus appeared to Peter", but then the two travelers would themselves probably wanted to know how the stranger knew that. And how could their investigation have proceeded without them discovering that the stranger was Jesus?

 

 

According to Paul's chronology he first appeared to Cephas, then to the eleven, then to 500 'brethren' and then to James and finally to other 'apostles'.  Now is Paul claiming that all this occured on the Ressurection day?

Paul didn't specify on what day the appearances occurred, I think.

 

 

 

Matthew and Luke end their gospels with all the appearances occuring on that one day . So its plausible Paul is speaking of all the events that took place on the 'third day' as he puts it. Of course Luke authors a sequel to his gospel.  Part two is the book of Acts where he clarifies that Christ appeared for 40 days thereafter showing himself during the course of that time (acts 1.3).

 

 The thing with John's gospel is that it seems the final chapter 21 was added later. The original ending to his gospel being the appearance to doubting Thomas . The additional chapter was probably added shortly after John's death to clarify to his heartbroken community that the tradition that John would remain alive till the second coming was misinterpreted (see Jn 21.23)

Yes, I understand how John 21 could have been added to explain the tradition that John would have lived til Jesus' coming. However, I don't see that as sufficient explanation for John 21's existence, because there could be a much simpler way to address the issue. Namely, John's followers could have just added a few verses earlier in the gospels or made a parenthetical statement earlier in the gospels without writing out a full chapter on Jesus' appearance in which that particular issue is only addressed in a very small section.


I think that John 21 is rather primitive or original part of the story that existed already in Mark's time when Mark alluded to Jesus' appearance in Galilee with the angel who gave a special mention to give a message to Peter about it.

But it isn't clear to me what place John 21 originally had. I am inclined to think that John 21 represents Jesus' original appearance to Peter that Luke only mentions very briefly in passing. However were I to take that view, it would seem to go against the plain wording of John 21 that Jesus' appearance to Peter in Galilee was the "third" time Jesus appeared to the apostles. The only way to get around that would seem to be to consider the women at the tomb "apostles". But could the women really qualify?



#9 H. Smith

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Posted 07 August 2015 - 03:30 AM

It is problematic to make an assumption about the New Testament based on English grammar, since it was written in Greek, and moreover without punctuation! According to Bl. Theophylact (11th century), who in turn based himself on earlier writers such as Chrysostom, it was the Eleven, not the travelers to Emmaus, who related that the “Lord is risen, and has appeared to Simon.” Second, it makes no sense for the travelers to tell the Eleven that the Lord appeared to St. Peter, since he was not among them (what would be the point?), but rather that they told the Eleven their report, and the Eleven reported the Lord’s appearance to St. Peter.
 
Thank you for writing, John. What did you mean that "it makes no sense for the travelers to tell the Eleven that the Lord appeared to St. Peter, since he was not among them (what would be the point?)". Wouldn't the point of the travelers telling the Eleven that the Lord appeared to St. Peter be that the travelers wanted them to know about that appearance, because Peter was an important apostle and because Jesus' appearance was an important event?
 
You might reply that if Peter was one of the eleven, and all the eleven were present in the room, then there would be no point, because the eleven should already know about Jesus' appearance to Peter. I would agree with you. But that is what makes me think that Peter was not present in the room, John. Peter's absence is not impossible, because even though Luke speaks of "the eleven" being present, we know from John 20 that Thomas was not present, even though he was one of "the eleven".
 
 

The reason why according to the Gospel of Mark they did not believe the report of Luke and Cleopas is explained variously by Bl. Theophylact, and Archbishop Averky, a 20th century commentator and late abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York. Bl. Theophylact says that the “others” mentioned in Mark were not the Eleven Apostles, but other disciples. According to him, the appearance to Simon Peter occurred at the same time that Luke and Cleopas was going back to Jerusalem.
Thank you for sharing. It makes sense to me that the appearance to Peter could have happened on the way back from Cleopas' journey.
 
However, as for Bl. Theophylact, it seems hard to think that the explanation of Mark 16's passage on the disciples' nonbelief is that the disbelievers were just other disciples and not the eleven. Mark 16 says:

Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

 

In Mark 16 there is no mention of others being present (which is not to say that there weren't of course), and so grammatically the plain meaning of Mark 16 is that "the eleven" were at meat and were the ones who were upbraided for disbelief.
 
The 19th century Russian commentator Lopukhin proposed a different explanation- that the apostles did believe Jesus appeared to Peter, but that the same apostles did not believe the women and the travelers nonetheless. This is at least a grammatically rational answer. Still, the impression that Mark 16 gives is that the eleven disciples were simply in disbelief when Jesus found them together. And if the disciples at least believed Peter and believed in the resurrection but just didn't believe in two of the appearances, Jesus wouldn't have needed to upbraid them so much. That is, they would be believers in Peter's experience and so Jesus would not have needed to make his main introduction about disbelief since they actually believed. And finally, it does not say that Jesus upbraided them for disbelieving those two particular appearances but for disbelief in general. Had they actually believed in Jesus' appearance, Jesus would not be upbraiding them for general disbelief, which is what it seems like.

So Lopukhin's explanation seems rational to me, but it seems more likely to me that Peter was not present and that the apostles were still in a state of disbelief or skepticism when Jesus showed up, since Jesus had to show them in John 20-21 that He was not a ghost.
 
 

Archbishop Averky, on the other hand, presumes that it was indeed the Eleven who were incredulous, and explains it in terms of the confusion surrounding the nature of our Lord’s Resurrection. Although we are familiar with the nature of Christ’s resurrected body, the Apostles were not, and must have thought it peculiar to see Christ in Jerusalem, and then to be told that He appeared to some others at a completely different place (Emmaus being several hours walking distance from Jerusalem). Thus, when Christ appeared to them, the Eleven thought that He was a ghost.

Abp. Averky's explanation is better. Still, it wasn't just their disbelief about him being physically real, as opposed to a ghost, that Jesus upbraided them for, but about the disbelief that they had before Jesus even showed up to them. And if they were disbelievers before He showed up, that contradicts the idea that it was the eleven who announced affirmatively that Peter had seen Jesus.

The fact that Jesus was seen in Jerusalem and on the road to Emmaus is not itself surprising in terms of distance. If it is only several miles, such a distance could be traversed at normal walking speed in a few hours (eg. three hours), and anyway Jesus met them on the road there, not already in Emmaus.



#10 H. Smith

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Posted 07 August 2015 - 07:50 AM

Moreover, the word λέγοντας is in the accusative, which indicates that it refers to the Apostles, not to Luke and Cleopas. If it were in the nominative (λέγοντες) it would have referred to them. In Codex Bezae (fifth century) we do find λέγοντες, but the other manuscripts read λέγοντας. It is possibly that there was a textual variant, which would explain why Origen considered St. Peter to have been the companion of Cleopas. However, the reading of the majority of manuscripts and that of the Church is λέγοντας.

I tend to think you are right. I don't know Greek grammar, but if I saw it in Russian I think I would understand fully what you meant about the effects of Legontas being an accusative word. Unfortunately the Russian Synodal translation of this verse is not word for word or literal.

I have also read that there are textual variants:

It is an exegetical commonplace that the nexus between vv 33 and 34 is maladroit; that is, the story's conclusion is abruptly an announcement by the assembly to the legontas homecomers rather than, as expected, their relating of what had just occurred. Attempts to repair this dissonant twist in the narrative were made in the ancient manuscript tradition, where the Codex Beza and Origen already witness the variant reading legontas. (R.J. Dillon, From Eye Witnesses, 95.)

There is actually a third reason why I thought that it was the travelers who spoke the message to the disciples- In the next verse, it begins by saying that "they" spoke about meeting Jesus on the road to Emmaus. The preceding plural noun was the people gathered with the apostles, and if those gathered had just announced Jesus' appearance to Peter in v. 34, then in v. 35, in purely grammatical terms I would expect that the "they" would be the speakers in the two verses that are one after the other. But Dillon is suggesting that instead the announcement about Peter is a "maladroit" insertion. That would explain the discrepancy that I perceived between the speakers in v. 34 and the "they" speakers in v. 35.

 



#11 H. Smith

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Posted 07 August 2015 - 07:54 AM

So anyway, grammatically, if you are right about the accusative case definitely requiring the speaking of legontas in v 34 to be the people already assembled, then it means that it was the people already gathered who announced Jesus' appearance to Peter. And then this raises the question of how they would know about that appearance if Peter had already left for Galilee as Kosta said: "And in both Luke in 24.12 and in John 20.10 they (John and Peter) parted ways and went into their own homes."

And it also raises the question of why Peter would have ended up going home to Galilee if he had seen Jesus appear to him, with Jesus' goal in Luke being for the apostles to stay in Jerusalem (although in Mark 16 and Matthew 28 Jesus wanted them to go to Galilee).

Edited by H. Smith, 07 August 2015 - 08:02 AM.


#12 H. Smith

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Posted 07 August 2015 - 11:08 PM

Today I read William Kessler's book Peter as the First Witness of the Risen Lord. It has some interesting information, but it doesn't really solve the problem. It would be far more clarifying of course if we could go back to the 1st century to see what actually happened.

 

Kessler points out that in about the 2nd century AD there were several Christian accounts that are not in our Bible. Tatian's Diatessaron attempted to reconcile the gospels into a single account. In it, Tatian noted that Jesus supposedly appeared first to Jesus' mother, the Theotokos. Another account, the 2nd century Gospel of the Hebrews, said that Jesus appeared to James after Jesus gave his robe to the high priest's servant, and, it seems to me, this appearance preceded the other appearances of Jesus to the apostles. And one more account, the Didascalia by a Syrian Christian, has Jesus appearing to Levi (Matthew I think) after the resurrection first.

 

I will write some more of Kessler's observations next.



#13 H. Smith

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Posted 08 August 2015 - 12:27 AM

Kessler



#14 H. Smith

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Posted 08 August 2015 - 02:40 AM

As to the debate over whether Peter was Cleopas' companion, Origen (185-254 AD) wrote: "And in Luke's Gospel, when Simon and Cleopas were talking to one another..." Origen then explains that Simon was Cleopas' fellow traveler and repeats this explicitly. The scholar R. Annand concluded that Origen must have had a variant reading of Luke 24, since the most common one we have says that it was those already gathered in Jerusalem who announced to the travelers Jesus' appearance to Simon. Annand supposed that our current text had a mishap in this verse (namely in the word "legontas" as opposed to "legontes"), as shown by the contradiction of this verse by Mark 16's mention of the apostles' disbelief, and by the 5th century Codex's use of the word legontes instead of legontas.

 

Kessler points out that in John 20:9 it says that John the apostle believed when he found Jesus' tomb empty. And Kessler also notes that in Luke 22:31, Jesus had told Peter that his faith would not daith, and Kessler concludes that Peter kept the faith. This does not totally contradict the overall impression in the gospels that the disciples were as a whole demoralized or disbelieving about the resurrection before they saw Jesus' appearance.

 

Kessler proposes three reasons why Luke didn't give more information on Peter's meeting with Jesus in chp. 24: (1) Luke wanted to focus on an appearance that had multiple witnesses, or Luke had only (2) limited information or (3) conflicting information about that appearance.

 

One idea that some scholars proposed is that there were different factionsamong the first century Christians, and this might explain how much prominence different groups would give to an appearance to Peter.  Another idea is that there was a faction in Jerusalem and another in Galilee and this explains why Luke emphasized Jerusalem and didn't mention Galilee, while Mark and Matthew did the opposite. We do know that to a certain extent factions or divisions existed. One gospel mentions how already before the Passion, the brothers James and John were arguing with other disciples over who would be first among the apostles, and Jesus answered that it depended on who was the lowest servant. There was a disagreement between James and Paul that Paul mentions over how much contact and interaction to have with non-Jews. Peter seemed to be stuck in the middle of that particular disagreement, because Paul mentions how Peter listed to James and avoided eating with some pagans or gentiles even though Paul said Peter was wrong about that. At the same time, the
records that we have don't seem to openly claim that there was a full schism between the apostles or among orthodox Christians, even between the Jerusalem church with a Jewish leadership and the gentile part of the Church.

 

The Pseudo Clementines mention a dispute between Peter and a Simon (apparently Simon Magus), and Peter's claim was that Simon was mistaken in relying on his (Simon's) vision of Jesus as a basis to give teachings that were against the apostles', since unlike Peter Simon had not spent a year with Jesus even before
Jesus' resurrection. Some scholars see in this indirectly a polemic between Peter and Paul, since Paul relied in part on his vision of Jesus for authority, although of course Paul did not claim that his teachings were in total contradiction  to the apostles', and to the extent that there was a contradiction, Paul didn't say that his position came from a vision of Jesus in particular, like Simon Magus did. Kessler mentioned the possibility that if visions were eventually looked down on as a source of authority, then it would have been more opportune to rewrite Jesus' delegation of authority to Peter to have happened during Jesus' lifetime. As such, while John 21 has Jesus delegating special authority to Peter after the Resurrection, Matthew and Luke mention a similar incident where Jesus gave authority to Peter, but place it during Jesus' life.

 

Kessler mentions that the noncanonical 2nd century Gospel of Peter does not mention an appearance to the women at the tomb of the kind that Matthew and John do, even though it narrates the women leaving he empty tomb. Instead, the first appearance appears to be Peter's by the sea, according to this Gospel.

 

When John 21 clarifies that Jesus' appearance to Peter by the sea was Jesus' third appearance, Kessler proposes that this was done in reaction to other accounts at the time that placed Jesus' appearance to Peter by the sea as Jesus' first appearance- or at least one preceding the appearance to the apostles as a group. Had John not made that clarification, people might have thought that the appearance to Peter could have been the first one, so long as they were not sure if the accounts were chronological. John 21 had already shown that it wanted to clear up an earlier confusion, when it explained that Jesus hadn't said that John the apostle wouldn't die. Perhaps the mention that Jesus' appearance at the sea was Jesus' third appearance could have been another clarification of confusion among the early Christians when chapter 21 was written in its final form.

 

However, not only do Matthew and Mark mention Jesus' promise to see the apostles in Galilee, but Luke 24 and John 20 both say in their story of John and Peter finding the empty tomb that after they found the tomb empty, Peter and John went home. Their homes were in Galilee, so this implies that John and Peter did go back home immediately after finding the tomb empty.

 

Finally, Kresler sees the existence of two different traditions about the resurrection appearances in Paul's own Letter to the Corinthians, written about 10 to 20 years after the resurrection. 1 Cor. 15 says:


 

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

 

Kessler suggests that the mention of Jesus' appearance to "all the apostles" is redundant. Paul had just narrated Jesus' appearance to "the twelve" and to five hundred, although I can imagine that there were apostles who did not fit in either category. Kessler proposes that here Paul is actually referring to two different traditions about Jesus' appearances to the apostles. He suggests that in one tradition, Jesus appeared first to Peter (Cephas), then to the twelve and then to 500. In the other tradition, Jesus appeared to James first among the apostles (like He did in the Gospel of the Hebrews) and then to the rest of the apostles.


Edited by H. Smith, 08 August 2015 - 02:41 AM.






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