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Disciple, Apostle, Martyr
Oscar Cullmann's 1962 revision of Peter in turn carefully treats the "Historical Question" and the "Exegetical and Theological Question" of the apostle Peter. While Cullmann cannot decisively confirm some of the details of Peter’s life—his residence in Rome and the location of his grave, in particular—other details are described as more probable, such as Peter’s travel to Rome and his martyrdom under Nero. Cullmann faithfully seeks Catholic-Protestant dialogue while maintaining that Jesus' words—"upon this rock I will build my church"—refer to the apostle alone and provide no historical basis for succession. The timeless quality of Cullmann's methods and his overwhelming concern for Christian unity are sure to inspire new generations of biblical scholars and contemporary theologians.
"Cullmann’s book is a model of careful exegesis, clear prose, and sensitive handling of potentially contentious issues. He is completely at home with the biblical texts, patristic sources, and (what was then) recent archaeological excavations but writes with a lightness of touch that completely brings the subject to life."
—Helen K. Bond, Senior Lecturer, New Testament, University of Edinburgh
"Here is a book that offers a fair and well-balanced approach to the problems considered. It is worth reading. It is worth a place in the pastor’s library."
—Review & Expositor
"Whether or not one agrees with the author’s conclusions, this book is important as an attempt to do equal justice to the archaeological, historical, exegetical, and theological aspects of the life of Peter and his significance for the apostolic and later Church."
—Journal of Biblical Literature
"Speaking to an age more committed to inherited ideological polarities, Oscar Cullmann's famously influential account of St. Peter represented an early deconstruction of the great 19th-century conflict narratives of (Protestant) Paul vs. (Catholic) Peter, Gentile vs. Jewish Christianity. Not long before the reforming impulse of the Second Vatican Council, Cullmann's was a new and unfamiliar picture of this apostle as building bridges, linking ancient opposites, and showing him to be the early church's bridge-builder and servant rather than divider and ruler. Thanks and congratulations to Helen Bond and Baylor University Press for commending this formative and still timely book once again to a wider audience half a century after its publication."
—Markus Bockmuehl, Professor of Biblical and Early Christian Studies, University of Oxford
Oscar Cullmann (1902–1999) taught Greek, New Testament, and Early Christianity at the University of Strausbourg, the University of Basel, and the Sarbonne in Paris. He is best known for his many books and prolific speaking about Christianity and history. Upon his death at age ninety-six, the World Council of Churches honored him for his extensive ecumenical work.