Reviews Of Books -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 16:2 (May 1954)
Article: Reviews Of Books
Author: Anonymous

Reviews Of Books

Oscar Cullmann: Peter: Disciple—Apostle—Martyr. A Historical and Theological Study. Translated from the German by Floyd V. Filson. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press. 1953. 252. $4.50.

This important study will serve to enlarge the already considerable influence of its author as one of the leading scholars in the fields of New Testament and ancient Church History. Something of the breadth of his impact is suggested by the observation that since 1938 he has been a professor in the University of Basel and since 1949 as well a professor at the Sorbonne in Paris. Appropriately enough his writings to a large extent have been published simultaneously in German and French; and most of them are also available in English translation. Besides his studies on various aspects of early Christianity including its worship, sacraments and confessions he is known, and best of all, for his analysis of the primitive Christian conception of time and history in his much discussed Christ and Time (1945, 2nd edit. 1948; Eng. Trans. 1949).

Whether the newest volume of Cullmann’s is as original as Christ and Time is open to debate, but that it will be even more widely read is not. This it owes to the contemporaneity and practical significance of its age-old theme, that of the place of Peter within the history of the Christian Church. The author regards his book as being, first of all, a contribution to the knowledge of early Christianity, and as only secondarily concerned with theology, apologetics and the ecumenical issues. Nevertheless, the subsidiary features, including especially the bearings of the theme upon the broader ecumenical debate, color the author’s approach and will contribute largely to its distribution.

The book is admirable in a great many ways. Its learning and lucidity are exceptional; its moderation and caution in general exemplary. Surveys of the history of opinion on various major topics are well done and make their own contribution to the maintenance of a high level of objectivity. Of greatest significance naturally are his distinctive positions on details of interpretation and overall evaluations, and while his conclusions do not always compel acceptance they are unfailingly thought-provoking.

Part I, devoted to “The Historical Question”, deals in turn with Peter’s position as a disciple, his apostleship in the early church, and the question of martyrdom in Rome. Part II, headed “The Exegetical and Theological Question”, contains an exceedingly valuable discussion of the meaning of Matthew 16:17–19 and more briefly inquires as to its doctrinal and theological significance for the later ch...

You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
Click here to subscribe
visitor : : uid: ()