If you remember back in late fall, I was reading through Markus Bockmuehl’s Seeing the Word: Refocusing New Testament Study. This book was the first volume in the Studies In Theological Interpretation series by Baker Academic (which I would recommend to you). He mentioned toward the end of the book that he would be making a specific application of his proposed method in an upcoming book on the apostle Peter. That was 2006, and now 6+ years later we have Simon Peter In Scripture And Memory: The New Testament Apostle in The Early Church.
The book is split into 3 parts. The first covers some general introductory concerns. First, in chapter 1 Bockmuehl explains what he means by “living memory,” and how that is a way of doing historical investigation. Then, chapter 2 gives a New Testament overview of the data we have on Peter, starting in the Gospels, and then stopping briefly at all the relevant passages elsewhere in the NT.
Part 2 forms the bulk of the book, though it is still just two chapters. The first chapter covers in minute detail all of the “living memory” we have of Peter in the Eastern church. This involves moving beyond a more detailed examination of NT writings that would have originated into the East and on to second century and later extra-biblical writings that show connections and echoes of Peter. The next chapter then repeats this exhaustive survey with respect to the Western church.
The final part of the book, still just two chapters long, offers a chapter on Peter’s call to be a disciple and one on some archaeological findings related to Bethsaida (Peter’s hometown). Both of these chapters together are shorter than either of the extensive chapters that made up Part 2. However, they provided very interesting insights into Peter’s background and early history.
Overall, this is an interesting book for anyone who wants to study the life of Peter further. It is very dense, and the two chapters in part 2 could have more profitably been split up (each one was over 50 pages long). As a case study in the method Bockmuehl proposed in Seeing the Word, this is an excellent extension of his scholarship. It is fairly academic, so it won’t find much traction on the popular level, but since that’s not the intended audience, that’s probably for the better. For serious students of the Bible who want to see how a valuable study wedding historical and exegetical work, this is a book worth picking up.
- Author: Markus Bockmuehl
- Title: Simon Peter In Scripture And Memory: The New Testament Apostle in The Early Church
- Publisher: Baker Academic (November 1, 2012)
- Paperback: 240pgs
- Reading Level: Bible School/Seminary
- Audience Appeal: Students interested in tracing the history of our understanding of Simon Peter
- Gratis Review Copy: Yes (courtesy of Baker Academic on NetGalley)
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