Hello, Dr Witherington.
I am a great fan of your work regarding Jesus and your apologetic material. Thank you!!!
A few weeks ago I responded to a blog post that asserted that Jesus told his disciples that he would return in their lifetimes and because he didn't Jesus is no better than Harold Camping. You can see my post on that here: http://mmcelhaney.blogspot.
Of course I disagreed and an atheist kept the conversation going in the comments. To make the story shorter, one of the arguments I gave was that Peter in 2nd Peter explains what Jesus meant by "soon" and that he didn't understand Jesus to be saying what the atheists were saying Jesus said. The atheist argued against me by saying that most Biblical scholars, including you, don't believe that the Apostle Peter wrote most if not all of the epistles attributed to him. He then concluded that who ever wrote the letters lied and both epistles should by tossed because the author was a liar. Of course I disagree. I was wondering if you could point out any papers/books you have written about 1 & 2 Peter's authorship, reliability, and if you consider these letters scripture every bit as much as the rest the New Testament?
On another blog, there was a good article about why some Biblical scholars think that there is good evidence that Apostle Peter wrote the epistles written for them: http://beggarsallreformation.
blogspot.com/2011/06/good- evidence-for-2-peter-as- written-by.html
I was wondering what your take on that is? Thanks for your time and I thank God for how God has used you. You have been a blessing to me and many, many others!
Thankfully, Dr Witherington was gracious enough to respond.
I've heard of much the same argument made for authorship of Isaiah and other Old Testament texts. I think that this explanation is viable, buyt I believe I need to do more research into this. Witherington is not by any means saying toss out 2 Peter or calling it worthless as Andrerson seemed like he was trying suggest. If anyone else is interested in Dr Witherington's rebuttal of Dr. Ehrman's "Forged" use the link below.
Thanks for this. You can always read my Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians Volume 2 on 1-2 Peter for more info. The short answer is that 2 Peter is a composite book. It contains a large chunk of Jude in it, it contains Pauline traditions in chapter three, and it contains some authentic Petrine material in Chapter One. It follows the tradition of attributing a document to its first and most famous source, in this case Peter. I think the story of the Transfiguration does go back to Peter himself. I would say this document was assembled at the end of the first century when there was actually a collection of Paul's letters circulating in the church (see 2 Peter 3). If you want to see my rebuttal to Ehrman's Forged, I posted a whole series of blog posts on this on my blog back in the spring. A composite document attributed to one of its genuine sources is no forgery. But the ancient concept of what counted as authorship is different from ours.
Dr. Ben Witherington, III
Amos Professor of NT for Doctoral Studies
Asbury Theological Seminary
Doctoral Faculty St. Mary's College, St. Andrews University, Scotland
Thank you, Dr. Ben Witherington III.