Peter is a fascinating character in all four canonical gospels, not only as a literary figure in each of the gospels respectively, but also when looked at from an intertextual perspective. This book examines how Peter is rewritten for each of the gospels, positing that the different portrayals of this crucial figure reflect not only the theological priorities of each gospel author, but also their attitude towards their predecessors. Rewriting Peter as an Intertextual Character in the Canonical Gospels is the first critical study of the canonical gospels which is based on Markan priority, Luke’s use of Mark and Matthew, and John’s use of all three synoptic gospels. Through a selection of close readings, Damgaard both provides a new critical portrait of Peter and proposes a new theory of source and redaction in the gospels.
In the last thirty years there has been an increasing appreciation of the gospels’ literary design and of the gospel writers as authors and innovators rather than merely compilers and transmitters. However, literary critics have tended to read each gospel individually as if they were written for isolated communities. This book reconsiders the relationship between the gospels, arguing that the works were composed for a general audience and that the writers were bold and creative interpreters of the tradition they inherited from earlier gospel sources. Damgaard’s view that the gospel authors were familiar with the work of their predecessors, and that the divergences between their narratives were deliberate, sheds new light on their intentions and has a tremendous impact on our understanding of the gospels.
Table of Contents
The power of differences
Survey of scholarship
Intertextuality, intertextual intensity and irony
Outline of chapters
Chapter 1: Rewriting a Paradigmatic Apostolic Portrayal: The Figure of Peter in the Gospel of Mark
1.1 Introduction: In the shadow of Paul
1.2 Previous research on the figure of Peter in the Gospel of Mark
1.3 Reading the Gospel of Mark on the basis of Papias’ note
1.4 The figure of Peter in the Gospel of Mark
1.5 The Gospel of Mark and the figure of Peter in the letters of Paul
1.5.1 The figure of Peter in the letters of Paul
1.5.2 Encountering Peter: Galatians 1:18-2:21
1.5.3 Parity and superiority: 1 Corinthians 9:1-27 and 15:1-11
1.5.4 Peter, Paul and Mark
1.6 Paul’s self-portrayal as a persecutor of the church and later developments of this portrait
1.7 A parallel between Mark’s portrayal of Peter and Paul’s biography of reversal?
1.8 Conclusion: In the footsteps of Paul
Chapter 2: Alienating Peter: The Figure of Peter in the Gospel of Matthew
2.1 Introduction: Superseding the Gospel of Mark
2.2 Previous research on the figure of Peter in the Gospel of Matthew
2.3 Matthew’s rewriting of Mark’s portrayal of Peter
2.3.1 Matthew’s loss of memory
2.3.2 Peter and the marks of fallibility
2.3.3 Flesh, blood and irony
2.3.4 The stumbling stone
2.4 Conclusion: Peter the battlefield
Chapter 3: Rehabilitating Peter: The Figure of Peter in the Gospel of Luke
3.1 Introduction: The author of Luke-Acts, his predecessors and the question of order
3.2 Previous research on the figure of Peter in Luke
3.3 Rewriting Matthew’s and Mark’s portrayal of Peter
3.4 Rehabilitating Peter: Rewriting Matthew’s portrayal of Peter
3.4.1 Introduction: The figure of Peter in Matthew’s substantive additions to Mark
3.4.2 Luke 5:1-11 as a counter narrative to Matt 14:22-33?
3.4.3 On Peter’s brother, Andrew
3.4.4 A perfect confession
Finn Damgaard was a postdoctoral researcher in the Biblical Studies Department of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Copenhagen. He is now a minister in the Danish Church. He is also the author of Recasting Moses (2013).