The Paroikos Bible Blog exists as a resource to those interested in Biblical studies and Koine Greek. It is hoped that this blog will simultaneously provide food-for-thought to the reader while pointing him or her in the direction of valuable resources, both in print and on the internet, that will further help his or her studies in the Word.

Aug 20, 2020

1 Peter: The Essential Scholars

 I just completed a first for me: recording, via a translator in a professional studio, lectures on 1 Peter in a foreign language for Christians in a Restricted Access Nation. More details are withheld for obvious reasons.

When lecturing in such a setting to such an audience (some of whom are probably new Christians), obviously you do not want to be overly-technical or bore the audience with surveys of scholarship. Citation of sources has to be cut down significantly, especially since the audience is guaranteed to have no clue whom you are talking about.

Having said that, it is utterly impossible to completely eliminate secondary sources with a clear conscience. The development of my own perspectives on 1 Peter owes too much to various scholars for me not to mention them. Lecturing in this manner, however, helps you boil secondary sources into what I would call "the essentials." [Forgive me, but I am focusing on English resources here, though I do mention two German scholars that easily retain their value even across the Atlantic]

Now, I generally stuck to conservative evangelical sources, since this is an audience that really needs the basics of 1 Peter, not critical scholarship. Having said that, one or two non-evangelical scholars occasionally made it in to my notes, though I don't think I mentioned any by name in the lecture itself (something like "as one scholar said" can protect you from oral plagiarism well enough; preachers take note! It is better to say "As one scholar said . . ." than to make your congregation think you came up with that nifty quote).

Here, then, are the scholars that I absolutely could not live without in the formation of my notes. 

First, for general scholarship on 1 Peter: Karen Jobes, Wayne Grudem, and John H. Elliott. To that I might have added Paul Achtemeier, except that I didn't have access to him when I was making my notes, though I have cited him frequently in formal academic publication. I think any evangelical pastor with just Jobes and Grudem has enough material to preach through 1 Peter, but of course we academic lecturers need more (and reading Elliott was, probably more than anything, formative in the direction of my own dissertation and subsequent monograph). Also, if this had been a more advanced graduate-class instead of for young Christians in an RAN, I would have probably incorporated more work by Reinhard Feldmeier (though I believe I used him at least once or twice anyways).

[I would like to add as a side-note that for those who would like to publish more popular level work on 1 Peter, Catherine Gonzalez's "Belief" commentary on 1-2 Peter and Jude is extremely quotable. Although not "essential" in the same way as those above, it's probably more enjoyable!] 

Secondly, there are a number of scholars whom I consider essential in regards to a specific point or two, who also found their way into my notes. These are Travis Williams (especially on persecution in 1 Peter and the interpretation of 1 Peter 2:13), Leonhard Goppelt, because of his magisterial quote on Jesus as the Rock (though this may have to do more with John Alsup's translation; I have tried and so far failed to locate that quote in the German), and David Horrell's article in NTS on ethnic language in 1 Peter 2:9, all of which are essential to my own understanding of the second chapter of this epistle. The interested reader should note that Williams and Horrell are teaming up on the revised ICC on 1 Peter, which I am looking forward to greatly! Also, William Dalton has written what is probably the definitive examination of the infamous "spirits in prison" passage (1 Pet 3:19) and is able to show us how that passage can be viewed vis-à-vis the theme of the suffering Christ triumphant over spiritual powers and glorified, as comfort to suffering Christians.

Those are, more-or-less, the essentials, imo, though there were a number of other scholars whom I cited just because I liked something they had to say: my friend Tim Miller on apologia in 1 Pet 3:15; Dennis Edwards, who in his Story of God commentary noted the thematic contrast between humility and pride as the devil's sin in 1 Peter 5; Selwyn, who makes an interesting point about the purifying effect of suffering (and to be fair Selwyn is considered the "classic" commentary of the first 75 years of the 20th century!). Other scholars (Witherington, Kelly, Helyer, Davids) also found their way into my notes, but nobody plays as important role for me as Jobes, Grudem, and Elliott (with Williams coming in a close fourth).