It is impossible to use one book to “prove” the content(s) of that same book. Scholarship demands that there be more than one source on a subject, and science insists that all things are repeatedly tested to substantiate fact or theory. That which cannot be tested repetitively is not a fact, and those volumes of lore that appear only in one genre at one time by one hand are at best fairy tales. It is into this cobweb of pseudohistory and pseudoscholarship we find the tattered tale traumatically threaded by a myriad of authors of what became the Gospels, focusing on a non-person that theology has labeled Peter ( Πέτρος Pétros, “stone, rock”; but he was called Simon bar Jonas: Simon the son of John).
Peter no more existed than did Paul. Peter is not a Greek name nor does it appear in any official record. The word is a native Aramaic Syriac word (ܟ݁ܺܐܦ݂ܳܐ or Kîpâ), and it has no relationship nor relevance with faith or firm foundation. Syriac was a dialect of Middle Aramaic that was once spoken across much of the Fertile Crescent from the first to the thirteenth centuries CE. The Hebrew כֵּיף is an indirect mistranslation of the Aramaic Syriac and does not carry the same weight, but then there were no schools of translation nor interpretation that relied on scholarship at that time.
Peter’s other name in Matthew 18 is Cephas/Kephas is the Greek: Κηφᾶς that is a direct transliteration of the Syriac ܟ݁ܺܐܦ݂ܳܐ and the Hebrew: כֵּיף a direct transliterationof the Greek (as is כאפא). Kephas, Hebrew for “rock,” was translated into Greek as Petros (which means “stone”), and into Latin as Petrus, from which are derived the English and German “Peter” and from there to all other languages from France (Pierre), Spain (Pedro) to Russia (Piotr, which does not come up as “stone” [камень] nor as rock [утес that can also be translated as “cliff” or “crag” or “bluff” and so forth]), and beyond. Peter, like Paul, was the rattled rantings of religious fanatics determined to create an ontology based on the psychological malaise of theophany and xenophobia.
Peter is only found in the New Testament Gospels (although there are some who argue that the Gospel of Mark was actually written by Peter) and the Book of the Acts of the Apostles–allegedly written by one of the gospel authors: Luke, the intimate friend of Paul. To be charitable, that is collusion.
Petrine apologists ascribe to the son of Jonas, two letters; and we do find the Acts of Peter (The majority of the text has survived only in the Latin translation of the Vercelli manuscript, but makes a point of discussing the conflict between Peter and Simon Magnus (who is called an “Angel of Satan”, and Peter’s request to be crucified head-down; more fantasy-filled versions have Peter resurrecting smoked fish, and making dogs talk, while allowing a woman to be paralyzed in preference to having sex), Gospel of Peter (Greek: κατά Πέτρον ευαγγέλιον, in which he ascribes the responsibility for the crucifixion of Jesus to Herod Antipas rather than to Pontius Pilate; however, the most startling statement is that after Peter visited the empty tomb where Jesus’ body was laid, he (allegedly) wrote: “I, Simon Peter, and Andrew my brother, took our fishing nets and went to the sea” (ibid., xiv.3), Preaching of Peter, Revelation [or Apocalypse] of Peter, (one of
Koine Greek and one in Ethiopic, but they diverge dramatically and considerably; it was revealed in IV Esdras, and parts were used in fashioning chapter 3 of Revelation by John of Patmos; the text is a fraud and can be dated to the Bar Kochba revolt (132-136) as I detailed in a previous essay. The Apocalypse of Peter is where most of the horrors that develop come from, following the Sibylline Oracles ii., 225ff–that led that Celsus to call Christians Σιβυλλισται(sibyl-mongers or believers in sibyls)–for it goes into elaborate detail about the punishment in hell for each type of crime, later to be depicted by Hieronymus Bosch, and the frightening fantasies of Mel Gibson; it
is only in this text that we find any condemnation of passive homosexuality, for it condemns men who take on the role of women in a sexual way [there is no mention nor condemnation of males who are active in sex with other men],
and lesbians [this is the first condemnation of lesbians], to be “driven” up a great cliff by punishing angels, and are “cast off” to the bottom. Then they are forced up it, over and over again, ceaselessly, to their doom; such condemnation does not exist in the Torah, Jewish Old Testament, or the Christian New Testament), and Judgement of Peter bearing his name, but these last five tracts are rejected by Christians as Apocryphal (the only “reliable sources” who claim that Peter came to them were Joseph Smith (who founded the LDS Mormon church) and Oliver Cowdery in 1829 in order to bestow the apostleship and keys of the kingdom as part of a restoration of priesthood authority, but that is discussed in another of my writings. The best argument against any authorship by a man called Peter is the fact that the Gospel refer to him as a fisherman (John i. 44)–and fishermen in age of Nero were ignorant: unable to read, write, or calculate, or even think coherently.
Peter was the only one that is expressly noted as being or having been married to a woman (Matthew viii.14-17, Mark i.29-31, Luke iv.38; cf. 1 Corinthians ix.5) as the scripture is silent if Peter was a widower or married but abandoned his wife. Peter’s role in “the church” in Jerusalem was marginal (he was never proclaimed a pope or leader in any record), for even after Jesus is alleged to have risen from the dead, the writers of the New Testament continue to note that Peter pursued his occupation as a fisherman (Luke v.1-11, John xxi.1-14, where Peter catches 153 fish, and although Jesus was/is thought to be dead, Jesus cooks the fish and eats some of them (John xxi.11-12). From this we know that (1) Jesus can start a fire, common in that day, (2) cook fish, uncommon in that day as women were expected to cook, and (3) eat after dying and being restored (resurrected) to life.
For a brief moment, Peter becomes Jesus and walks on water–before his “faith fails” and he sinks (Matthew xiv.28-31). Peter was to become a “fisherman of men [believers]” and the Book of Acts of the Apostles makes that claim when it states that Peter visited Lydda, Joppa and Caesarea (Acts ix.32-x.2), but there are no historical records from Lydda, Joppa, or Caesarea claiming that there was any Jew (Peter never claimed to be a Christian) visiting any of the cities to preach about any Messiah either living or dead. Furthermore, there are no historical records from the governors of these cities representing Rome that mention a Simon bar Jonas or a Peter; such a record would have been mandatory.
The idea that Peter was given “the keys to Heaven” and appointed the first pope comes from a misreading of ܐܳܦ݂ ܐܶܢܳܐ ܐܳܡܰܪ ܐ݈ܢܳܐ ܠܳܟ݂ ܕ݁ܰܐܢ݈ܬ݁ ܗ݈ܽܘ ܟ݁ܺܐܦ݂ܳܐ ܘܥܰܠ ܗܳܕ݂ܶܐ ܟ݁ܺܐܦ݂ܳܐ ܐܶܒ݂ܢܶܝܗ ܠܥܺܕ݈݁ܬ݁ܝ ܘܬ݂ܰܪܥܶܐ ܕ݁ܰܫܝܽܘܠ ܠܳܐ.
The contemporary English and other modern translations are wrong when they record the message:
I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven”.
There was no concept of “Hell” at that time. Even in the Peshitta, it is a form of darkness (Sheol). An eternal fire (Arab) or freezing ice as portrayed by Dante had not yet been transmogrified from the original languages of the scriptures.
The closest historical record concern Peter does not appear until the third century CE, when Eusebius, the Arian bishop of Caesarea (Eusebius Caesariensis, ca 260-ca 340), in his “Historia Ecclesiastica”, while naming some of the Seventy Disciples (Luke x.1 coming from the Codex Sinaiticus, and it is the only reference to 70 in all of the Gospels; some translations say seventy-two–most likely as the 72 translators of the Septuagint from the Letter of Aristeas and appears in Jerome’s Vulgate version), as seventy is a later addition to indicate the seventy nations in Genesis) of Jesus, says: “… and the history by Clement (of Alexandria, c.150 – c. 215), in the fifth (chapter) of Hypotyposeis; in which Cefas, the one mentioned by Paul (in the citation): «when Cefas came to Antioch, I confronted him face to face» (Galatians 2:11), it is said he was one of the Seventy Disciples, having the same name with Peter the Apostle”. This must not be read as an affirmation that there was a historical Peter, for Eusebius notes that “he was one of the Seventy Disciples, having the same name with Peter the Apostle.” Matthew and Mark write only of twelve disciples (the Greek Orthodox church calls them Apostles) who went out as missionaries: Mark
vi:6–13, paralleling Matthew 9:35, 10:1, 10:5–42); in the account of the 72, one was woman: Dorcas (Greek; also known as Tabitha in the Hebrew) was a disciple who lived in Joppa, referenced in the Book of Acts 9:36–42, and a millennium later gave justification for a woman to be a pope: Joan. The word “disciple” meant “leader”, “teacher” and “preacher”: a priest.
While Peter’s life is not recorded outside of the New Testament, his death does make note in the second century–but not by eye-witnesses. Tertullian, who for a while was a Christian bishop before renouncing Christian, gives a brief detail on the death but with little enthusiasm or collaboration at the end of the second century, and also by the self-castrated Origen in Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica iii.1 (written in Kione Greek; I am using my personal copy of P. Bedjan (editor, 1897). Eusebe de Cesaree: Histoire ecclesiastique. Editee (en syriac) pour le premier fois. Leipzig, Germany. Printed in the Nestorian hand, and comparing it with an Armenian translation printed at Venice by the Mechitarists in 1877 from two modern mss in a cursive hand).
There is no historical or scientific evidence that Peter ever was in Rome or died (crucified head to the ground) in Rome. That is legend. Both 1 Clement and the writing of St. Ignatius of Antioch have come under scrutiny and been found wanting, being apologia for a fiction to buttress condemnation of groups or individuals who did not side with developing christian communities. Irenaeus of Lyons adds to this fantasy with his ἔλεγχος και άνατροπή της ψευδωνύμου γνώσεως (commonly called in Latin editions: Adversus haereses or in English Against Heresies) Book III, Chapter III, paragraphs 2–3, but the style and word order and choice does not match the second century and not before 180 CE. As Otto Zwierlein (de) concluded in 2009, in a critical study that “there is not a single piece of reliable literary evidence (and no archaeological evidence either) that Peter ever was in Rome” (Zwierlein, Otto (2009). Petrus in Rom: die literarischen Zeugnisse. Mit einer kritischen Edition der Martyrien des Petrus und Paulus auf neuer handschriftlicher Grundlage. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter). As even the legendary St. Paul attests, there was no need for a Peter to go to Rome to Christianize it as Rome already had a growing and thriving christian community: of combatants who were going awaken a sleeping Jesus so that he would return with a sword and bring about the End Times (Matthew x.34). Even more telling is the fact that the Pauline Epistle to the Romans does not even mention St. Peter as a preacher, missionary, pastor nor pope. The infamous “keys to the kingdom of heaven” appear but once and only in Matthew; they are a relic from the religion of Janus, which was taken from far older faiths of Babylon, Samaria, and even Egypt. The line was added to encourage “nonbelievers” to give up far older faiths and adopt the new faith coming out of the impoverished city of Jerusalem that was built over the highly educated and wealth capital of ancient Canaan, with the Temple built above the Temple of Asherah as was the Vatican built on Mons Vaticanu: the original Temple of the God Vates (“seer, soothsayer”) also known as Vagitanus (Vaticanus or Vatikanos), who was an Etruscan god of prophecy and had a high priest who was crucified with his head near the earth. There is no historical record of any bishop or pope (a word that means “father”) being in Rome before 90 CE, as the city was divided between chrestianos and christianos: those who believed in an immediate Epiphany (second coming) of a great war-god (Mars now called Messiah) and the others seeking a peaceful kingdom. In 2008, the Vatican opened the pagan tomb of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. While Pope Paul VI announced that his crew found the bones of Peter buried under the Vatican, a similar claim for such bones has been announced in Jerusalem (P. B. Bagatti, J. T. Milik (1958). Gli Scavi del “Dominus Flevit” – Parte I – La necropoli del periodo romano. Gerusalemme: Tipografia dei PP. Francescani).
What became the Vatican (over pagan ruins) and the papacy is filled with ancient non-Christian (pagan) symbolism and practices. This ranges from the obelisk, to the Babylonian culture of its priests drinking wine, and praising the gods of gold, and of silver, and of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone” (Daniel v.4). The Pontifex Maximus was a general, with Julius Cesar hailed as Pontifex Maximus in 63 CE, with Cesar Augustus (Augustus Cesar) claiming the title as head of religious mysteries in 27 BCE – 44 CE. The Roman Emperors held on to the title of Pontifex Maximus until 376 when Gratian, for Christian reasons and a substantial bribe, refused it. in 378, Demasus, bishop of Rome, was elected the Pontifex Maximus – the official high priest of the mysteries! Demasus was the first bishop of Rome to use the title and did so in order to control rebellion among the various Christian cults each claiming supremacy. After that the bishops of Rome slowly began to claim the Chaldean title peter as a sign of god that each had a special privilege of being an “interpreter” of the will and demands of god. This explains why Jesus is alleged to have said, “And on you, Peter, my peter (rock) I will build my church” for Peter and peter are both used but have different meanings (Matthew xvi.18: 18καγὼ δέ σοι λέγω ὅτι σὺ εἶ Πέτρος καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν καὶ πύλαι ᾅδου οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς; emphasis mine). The idea of Peter being a “rock” was embellished with the pagan idea of intercession, with a backtracking to the name Simon that was coupled with Peter, as Simon was a man who had practiced sorcery in Samaria (Acts viii:9) . More on the pagan origins of the Vatican and Christianity will follow as the text of my next article.