Was Peter In Rome, And Bishop Of The Church At Rome? -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 016:61 (Jan 1859)
Article: Was Peter In Rome, And Bishop Of The Church At Rome?
Author: Anonymous

Was Peter In Rome, And Bishop Of The Church At

Part II—The Tradition

[Concluded from Vol. XV. p. 624]

§ 22. Opening Of The Subject

The holy Scriptures thus not only furnish no proof that Peter was at Rome, founded the church there, and presided over it as bishop; but they beyond doubt prove the contrary.

If now, in spite of this, an attempt be made to save that position, the proof must be taken from tradition. And this has been done without further ceremony.

Had any of the Fathers, or of the authors of the first century, unquestionably testified to those pretended facts referring to Peter, weight might have been attached thereto, and it must be respected; but it is not so. The older witnesses, who are wholly unquestioned, proceed from the third century, and deserve not unconditioned belief. Let us see.

§ 23. The Apocryphas

Already in the first century of the church, by pious fraud or the craft of errorists, a multitude of fables and inventions respecting the person of the Saviour, his blessed mother, the apostles, etc., were put into circulation and interpolated into the gaps which the holy Scriptures had left in their representations. Here belong also those writings which have come down to us under the names of Linus, Clemens, Pro-chorus, Marcellus, Dionysius the Areopagite; of which those of Linus and Dionysius contain a history of the sufferings and death of Peter and Paul; those of Clemens, namely his letter to James, and his Recognitions, similar

accounts; but those of Prochorus, a history of the life and acts of John the apostle.1 They are plain, open, and bold fictions, filled up with pious conversations, reflections, and fabulous, strange stories. Here, for instance, belongs the statement that John the apostle was a furnace-heater, and a water-carrier to a bath-woman at Rome. Among them are likewise to be found heretical opinions, for example, that the apostles persuaded many women to leave their husbands against the will of the same.

From these and similar corrupt sources, in the tenth century, a certain Metaphrastes composed a description of Peter’s travels, in which are marked out all the places where he touched, the churches he founded, and his memorials and monuments, which he everywhere left behind him.

From these writings interpolated, or unworthy of credit, are taken all those data and special accounts, respecting Peter’s life, and particularly of his abode in Rome.

These authorities are naturally precisely the most important legends, and th...

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