I have to wonder if the story of Peter denying Jesus three times in all four gospels – if it is not an allegory of sorts. It struck me like a lightning bolt just a few hours ago of my writing this.
I am using a time line to look at the development of the four gospels. I had the thought some weeks ago that maybe the meeting of Peter, James and Paul in Acts was merely a hypothetical event reconstructed from the histories of Josephus Flavius that mention the death of one James the Just, a brother of Jesus, a fairly common name back then.
I am not trying to be a heretic here. But with that thought of some weeks ago, I have done some research and found that others also think that maybe Josephus is the source material on this so-called brother of Jesus called James as well as other bits and pieces of the NT.
I have already written here that I think (I feel with my heart) that Acts is a bridge document to fill in some historical gaps not available to scholars after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 C.E.. The fall of Jerusalem is like the destruction of the city in a fire. Like in the middle of a struggle between life and death, do you save the local library or do you save yourself and your family? Good question.
Around this time, the so-called Dead Sea Scrolls seemed to have been hidden away. But speculation on who wrote them and why they got hidden could go on for decades. Interesting tangent though.
I recently got into some genealogical research on the internet trying to piece together some oral family history with real dates and places.
Alas, the only major help out there on the internet are copies of the U.S. Census. There is a privacy thing meaning that you cannot get to the 1940 census yet. So you pretty well have to look up your grandparents and great grandparents starting with the 1930 census and before. I lot of what I am looking for, need, is probably on hard copy at Philadelphia city hall in the form of deeds, marriage certificates etc.
And then there is the hassle of trying to get copies of birth certificates from the states. More privacy issues and cost to obtain computer printouts of a certificate if still on file over a hundred years later etc.. A lot of leg work is still necessary to figure out my family history before 1850.
There is also a great big gap in the middle of my family research. The U.S. Census of 1890 was destroyed in a fire. So you have a twenty year gap in material available if the census is the only reliable documents available. This at a critical juncture of my research. Oh well.
Still, it gives me pause to think. I am trying to fit oral history into historical fact. Still can't find the link that puts me as a supposed distant cousin of W.C. Fields. There is that 1890 historical gap and a lot of Smiths to look up etc. There are a lot of Smiths, even back then. But I keep trying.
It is strange but the hundred and fifty or sixty years that I am looking at is extremely limited, is awfully limited if you do not have family bibles or letters or photographs to go along with the oral history. The maiden name of women in the family tree are not so easy to find. Not mentioned on the census.
You can juggle the names around to fit your oral history exactly. You can also imagine what it was like for eleven people to live in a three bedroom Philly row house etc..
People on the internet site have constructed family trees that overlap with mine and list questionable names and dates. A lot of people go to the first Mike, Mary or Patrick and assume that that is their great grandparent. It is because I have written records from the national archives to contradict this - what I see is that some of these trees are sloppy, unprofessional genealogy. People believe what they want to believe and move on.
If you look at the hundred or so odd years between the life and death of Jesus in first century Palestine and consider that in that time Jerusalem disappeared and the Jews got dispersed several times, thrown out of Judea, you have to wonder where the historical paperwork for the four gospels came from. They probably did not get written in anything like the lifetime of any eyewitnesses of Jesus or his ministry.
Off on another tangent, I run into the fact or the supposed fact that depending on which ancient writings you read or interpret, that Linus was the “first” bishop of Rome from about 67-79 C.E.. If this is true, when and where does Peter the first pope come onto the time line.
The myth of Peter in Rome is found in the Acts of Peter, an apocryphal book that has talking dogs and Peter being crucified upside down after he gets the “quo vadis” line from the lord on the Appian Way when he tries to escape imminent arrest and death in Rome.
I do not want to make light of Peter, but this “first” pope Linus is supposed to have been made bishop by Paul. There was no doubt a possible Peter and Paul fight in the beginning of the church or was there such a fight or did either Peter or Paul really exist in the form as we traditionally visualize them in Rome at all.
Or was the Paul wing of the Christian church too powerful a thing to fight in the early days of the church? Did the follow up bishops or popes have to put the Paul wing of the party in its place. Did the gospels finally show a figure of Peter as more powerful than the Paul wing and its agenda?
Did the written gospels show Simon now called Peter in the gospel of John rewriting the first three synoptic gospels? Peter is proclaiming love for Jesus three times in the last chapter of that strangely written gospel to negate his three denials.
I always thought that this last appearance of Jesus to Peter in John was somehow a political statement.
You have Paul under house arrest at the end of Acts and nothing mentioned of Peter in Rome yet. Chapter 21 of the Gnostic style gospel of John is a bridge chapter, document to connect Peter directly to Jesus over the questionable self appointed, after the fact, apostle of Paul aka Saul of Tarsus. Enough of opinion.
Now for speculation on a time line.
Since I feel that the four gospels are written near the beginning to the middle of the second century, a time line about the final break of Jews and Christians is complete with not one but three so-called Jewish -Roman revolts in 66-70 C.E., 115-117 C.E., 132-136 C.E..
That if there is symbolism or hidden meaning of Jesus written into the official boiler plate gospels, it is perhaps this. That the three denials of Peter towards Jesus in the early hours of the first Good Friday in the four gospels are an allegorical reference to the denial three times by the Jews - in hope of independence, justice and a messiah - and in direct rejection three times of Jesus as that messiah.
Simon the Jew becomes Peter the Roman. This is the symbolic break in writing with the Jews.
That after Hadrian's final solution and holocaust of the Jews in Palestine in 136 C.E., Jews and Christians were separate political and religious entities from that time forward.
That even then, in a symbolic sense, Peter is somehow mythically transported to Rome and the “first” bishop in opposition to Paul's literate scholarly mission of faith. Paul and his writings won't get a thorough going over for another fourteen hundred years, not until the Reformation. Until then nothing but Roman pagan traditions, rituals and myth to hide the true social message of Jesus.
The Christians that count in 150 A.D., the Christians in Rome, anoint Peter in post apocalyptic literature as the chief honcho, the first pope, retroactively, into the imperial capital and center of the world. Great script writing. Fade to black. The end.