The Martyrs - Responses


My replies are in bold


7th June 1998

Hi Steven, although I have not received a reply to my reply to your reply to my reply to your article on the martyrdom of Peter, I thought I'd send some more of my argument...

I was just reading 1Clement and now believe that it does allude most strongly to the martyrdoms of Peter and Paul.

First, I have several translations of 1Clement, and the words 'borne testimony' are sometimes directly translated 'received martyrdom'. I can't find the Greek version, but it seems to me that the translation may be a little ambiguous.

Second, Clement never uses the word 'martyr', 'martyrdom' etc. Does that mean that none of those 'saints' and 'pillars' he refers to were martyred? I think not. Clement is merely using a more stylistic way of referring to martyrdom by using the words 'borne testimony'. You argue that because Clement doesn't say 'martyrdom' then we cannot say they were martyred. Frankly, that sort of argument usually comes from the fundamentalists...

Third, Peter and Paul receive the same treatment from Clement - he doesn't distinguish between the two, except that Paul receives more detail about his life (not surprising, since Clement was obviously highly influenced by Paul). The formula is the same: by reason of jealously, Peter/Paul endured many labours (detailed in Paul's case), bore their testimony, and went to his appointed place in glory. You say that there is good evidence for Paul's martyrdom. Clement doesn't distinguish between Peter and Paul's fate - in fact, he strongly implies they received the same fate. Therefore there is good evidence for Peter's martyrdom.

Fourth, in 5:2 Clement says: lets remember those from our own generation who were persecuted, and contended even unto death (my paraphrase).

He then gives, as his first example, Peter! A rather odd first example if Peter was never martyred!

You argue that it could be a reference to a Joseph-type situation, where he was persecuted even unto (a natural) death. Again, that's a word game I'd expect from the fundamentalists. Clement is no doubt referring to Joseph being persecuted by his brothers *to the point of death*, even though they didn't actually kill him. Obviously Joseph was not persecuted 'even unto (his true) death' - he died in honoured old age and not persecuted at all, something which Clement's readers would have been well aware of (Gen. 50:1-26). I think it impossible that Clement was writing in the way you suggest.

I believe that the evidence continues to converge to the conclusion that Peter was martyred, and probably in Rome, given that Clement was bishop of Rome and most likely to use home-grown examples.

One final thought...I was wondering why you so strongly oppose the martyrdom of Peter. Having read your piece of the resurrection I may now understand. Peter dying for his faith would undermine your contention that the disciples were crooks, out to make money by creating a church. Its an ingenious idea, and one I've not heard seriously stated for a long time.

Its also an idea that has been utterly rejected by every scholar I know of. Sanders states explicitly (something like) 'I do not consider deliberate fraud on the part of the disciples a reasonable explanation (for the resurrection)'. Possibly the idea will catch on - people love conspiracy theories - but it seems highly unlikely.


The Greek word martyria means 'testimony'. Just look in any translation of the New Testament. 'Martyoreo' means I testify. It is never used to mean 'martyr' in the New Testament. See , for example, John 18:37.

Clement gives no details at all about how Peter and Paul died. He is so vague as to raise suspicion that he does not actually know where or how they died.

He never names the place where they died, or gives dates. He says that they gave testimony to the rulers. He never names the rulers.

We know from Acts that Paul gave testimony to rulers like Felix, Festus etc. Perhaps Clement means no more than that sort of testimony. Perhaps not. The evidence is unclear.

He never refers to people in Rome who knew how Peter and Paul died. He never refers to Peter being in Rome, let alone setting up a chain of bishops (Remember, Clement was supposed to have been ordained personally by Peter).

Neither Acts nor Romans has any idea that Peter was ever intending to visit Rome.

'contended even unto death' is used by Clement about OT people, who nobody considers to have been martyred.

I agree that it is obvious that Joseph was not martyred. Why that makes it obvious that Peter was martyred , because Clement was comparing Peter to Joseph, is beyond me.

I simply pointed out that the fundamentalist claim that Peter and the other apostles would have had no other motives is wrong, on the Biblical evidence.

Did Joseph Smith die for his faith? He was lynched, was he not? Why did he not explain to the lynch mob that he didn't really translate the Book of Mormon from golden plates?

The Christian scenario seems to be that the people that Nero made a scapegoat for the fire in Rome could have walked free (from Nero , of all people!) if they had said that they had decided after all not to continue being Christians. This is just as implausible as Joseph Smith pointing out to the lynch mob that the BOM was rather a fraud.

Nero wanted and needed scapegoats. Christians were a new and mysterious religion, with a god who said he was going to return soon and destroy the Empire. Dying for the faith did not come into it. These people died to save Nero's skin.

Note that I have never said that Peter and Paul were definitely not martyred. I have just tried to point out that the evidence is rather weak, and that the traditions grow in certitude as we move away from people, like Clement, who were in the best position to give details.


Steven,

I very much enjoy reading such sites as yours - the arguments are often well presented and passionately argued. I hope that you continue to post your thoughts...

Just a few of my questions/thoughts on the Martydom of Peter...

Do you actually believe that Peter existed at all? Why/why not?

What is so implausible about Peter being executed? I agree that the evidence is not conclusive (historical evidence rarely is) but it would be hardly surprising if he was martyred. If James was martyred, then why not Peter?

What is so implausible about Peter going to Rome? You argue vehemently against this, citing lack to evidence, all of which boils down to arguements from silence. Rome was the centre of the known world at the time - why wouldn't Peter go there?

Please note that I don't see this as 'proof' of Peter going to Rome or being martyred - I'm just pointing out that, in these cases, there is no real reason to doubt the tradition, especially in the absence of any competing traditions. Peter's travelling to Rome and finally being executed is not at all unlikely. I would suggest that you read Jeffey Jay Lowder's essay on the Resurrection of Jesus - the part of 'background probability'. I suggest that the 'background probability' of Peter's Rome visit and execution is so high as to demand very strong evidence that it did *not* happen.

Why this hyper-skepticism, demanding 'proof' for every detail? Do you want proof that Peter was a man and not a woman? Maybe Peter was a Roman secret agent - there's no proof that he wasn't. Obviously we must deal with probabilities - the traditions regarding the final days of Peter are not improbable. Peter doesn't get raised from the dead or anything - why doubt the account which we have? Possibly you feel that accepting the martyrdom of Peter in Rome mean that you are obliged to accept all the other legends which the same authors report? Obviously you don't. Rather, the fact that Tertullian is so keen to 'report' highly questionable supernatural stories (eg. regarding the Apostle John) and yet tells rather bland, non-miraculous accounts of Peter and Paul's martyrdom adds (a little) weight that those accounts had a very solid tradition behind them.

Clement not mentioning any details about the end of Peter is not evidence against the tradition. As you say, 'he is the only source we have' and he doesn't say anything, but what does that prove? As I remember (its been a while), 1Clement is not intended to be 'Acts of the Apostles - the sequel'. Far from it.

Why does Josephus mention the martyrdom of James and not Peter and Paul? That's easy. Josephus is writing a history of the Jews - events happening outside of Israel are of little importance unless they have bearing on what is happening in Israel. If Peter died in Israel, then maybe we could expect Josephus to mention it - the fact that he doesn't adds (a little more) weight to the tradition that Peter and Paul died on foreign soil. Josephus mentions the executions of Jesus (yes, I know that the passage is disputed - who doesn't? - but most agree that Jo does report the crucifixion) and James (the leader of the Jerusalem church) - the two major figures of Christianity from a Jewish perspective. So Josephus mentions *all* the Christians we would reasonably expect him to, if Peter had gone abroad.

Conclusion: I can understand questioning the various legends about the apostles which relate to miraculous happenings. However I cannot find any reason to question the tradition we have received on the final years of Peter.

Excuse me for making a small complaint. The use of the word 'forgery' when referring to when one author writes in the name of another is provocative at best. There is a correct word for this genre of writing and 'forgery' is not it.

Such language only gives the impression that you would rather take pot-shots at Christianity than engage in constructive debate. If 1Peter is a 'forgery', then there is no evidence that the author's intentions in writing it were anything like the connotations which we associate with the motives of forgers today - quite the opposite - Peter's name is used to enhance the power of the words of encouragement to whoever the letter was sent to. It is the connotations of words, like 'forgery', which all sides should try to avoid, unless it is obviously appropriate.

Forgery is a perfectly good, accurate word. How would you describe 'Gospel of Peter', 'Gospel of Thomas', 'Protoevangelium of James'?

I quite agree that people used Peter's name to enhance the reputation of what they wrote. To be honest, a word like 'forgery' does not have the connotations to me that it may have to people unused to the idea that works in the Bible are not always written by the person named at the top of the letter (leaving aside the question of whether they are or are not really pseudonymous).

I quote Bart Ehrman's 'The New Testament - An Historical Introduction, Page 323 'Many scholars are loath to talk about New Testament 'forgeries' because the term seems so loaded and suggestive of ill intent. But the word does not have to be taken that way. It can simply refer to a book written by an author who is not the famous person that he or she claims to be. It is striking that few scholars object to using the term 'forgery' for books, even Christian books, that occur outside of the New Testament.... When I use the term 'forgery', I do not mean it in a derogatory sense.'.

I believe Peter existed as he is mentioned by Paul - this is contemporary, primary evidence.

The 'background probability' of a visit by Peter to Rome is rather less than a visit by Peter to Corinth, or Thessalonica, or Philippi, or Damascus or Malta, or Crete. If people want to say he went to Rome, then some contemporary evidence would be nice.

Paul only went to Rome because he was a prisoner. Why should the background probability of Peter going to be in Rome be so high that we need evidence it did not happen, when the background probability of Paul visiting Rome was so low that it took special circumstances for Paul to end up there?

The evidence for Paul's martyrdom is quite decent, but not for Peter. Tertullian wrote after people had written dozens of books about 'The Acts of Peter and Paul', 'Gospel of Peter', 'Apocalypse of Peter' etc, so early church tradition about Peter can hardly be called solid by the time we get to Tertullian - it was shot thru with legend.

Acts loses Peter after Acts 15. It is hard to believe Peter went to Rome without Luke thinking it worthy of mention.

Perhaps Josephus never mentions the martyrdom of Peter because Peter was never martyred.


By Peter Kirby

I thought you might like this addition to your page on martyrs:

Was Peter Crucified in Rome Under Nero?

Two pagan historians, Tacitus and Suetonius, record the persecution of Christians in Rome by Nero c. A.D. 64-67.

Writing in his Annals c. A.D. 116, Tacitus describes the response of Emperor Nero to the great fire that swept Rome in A.D. 64:

"But not all the relief that could come from man, not all the bounties that the prince could bestow, nor all the atonements which could be presented to the gods, availed to relieve Nero from the infamy of being believed to have ordered the conflagration, the fire of Rome. Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind." (Annals 15.44)

Suetonius confirms Nero's persecution of Christians at Rome:

"Punishment by Nero was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition." (Lives of the Caesars 26.2)

The patristic witness is unanimous in declaring that Peter went to Rome and was crucified there at this time. As near-contemporaries with access to streams of traditions, the Church Fathers were in a good position to know the facts of the manner and whereabouts of Peter's death. If an early, widespread, consistent tradition is to count for anything, then Peter did in fact go to Rome and suffered martyrdom by crucixion there. I will take the Church Fathers from latest to earliest, starting at A.D. 200:

Tertullian

"But if you are near Italy, you have Rome, where authority is at hand for us too. What a happy church that is, on which the apostles poured out their whole doctrine with their blood; where Peter had a passion like that of the Lord, where Paul was crowned with the death of John [the Baptist, by being beheaded]" (Demurrer Against the Heretics 36 [A.D. 200]).

Tertullian

"[T]his is the way in which the apostolic churches transmit their lists: like the church of the Smyrneans , which records that Polycarp was placed there by John, like the church of the Romans, where Clement was ordained by Peter" (ibid., 32:2).

Clement of Alexandria

"The circumstances which occasioned . . . [the writing] of Mark were these: When Peter preached the Word publicly at Rome and declared the gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had been a long time his follower and who remembered his sayings; should write down what had been proclaimed" (Sketches [A.D. 200], in a fragment from Eusebius, History of the Church, 6, 14:1).

Caius

"It is recorded that Paul was beheaded in Rome itself, and Peter, likewise, was crucified, during the reign [of the Emperor Nero]. The account is confirmed by the names of Peter and Paul over the cemeteries there, which remain to the present time. And it is confirmed also by a stalwart man of the Church, Gaius by name, who lived in the time of Zephyrinus, bishop of Rome. This Gaius, in a written disputation with Proclus, the leader of the sect of Cataphrygians, says this of the places in which the remains of the aforementioned apostles were deposited: 'I can point out the trophies of the apostles. For if you are willing to go to the Vatican or to the Ostian Way, you will find the trophies of those who founded this Church'" (Disputation with Proclus [A.D. 198] in Eusebius, Church History 2:25:5).

Irenaeus of Lyons

"Matthew also issued among the Hebrews a written Gospel in their own language, while Peter and Paul were evangelizing in Rome and laying the foundation of the Church" (Against Heresies, 3, 1:1 [A.D. 189]).

Irenaeus of Lyons

"But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. With that church, because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition" (ibid., 3:3:2).

Irenaeus of Lyons

"The blessed apostles [Peter and Paul], having founded and built up the church [of Rome], they handed over the office of the episcopate to Linus. Paul makes mention of this Linus in the letter to Timothy [2 Tim. 4:21]. To him succeeded Anacletus, and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was chosen for the episcopate. He had seen the blessed apostles and was acquainted with them. It might be said that he still heard the echoes of the preaching of the apostles and had their traditions before his eyes. And not only he, for there were many still remaining who had been instructed by the apostles. In the time of Clement, no small dissension having arisen among the brethren in Corinth, the Church in Rome sent a very strong letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace and renewing their faith . . . To this Clement, Evaristus succeeded . . . and now, in the twelfth place after the apostles, the lot of the episcopate [of Rome] has fallen to Eleutherus. In this order, and by the teaching of the apostles handed down in the Church, the preaching of the truth has come down to us" (ibid., 3:3:3).

Dionysius of Corinth

"You [Pope Soter] have also, by your very admonition, brought together the planting that was made by Peter and Paul at Rome and at Corinth; for both of them alike planted in our Corinth and taught us; and both alike, teaching similarly in Italy, suffered martyrdom at the same time" (Letter to Pope Soter [A.D. 170], in Eusebius, History of the Church 2:25:8).

These references indicate that it was generally accepted from the beginning that Peter and Paul went to Rome and were martyred there.

The Gospel of John underwent its final editing and publishing in the 90s, and its author(s) would have been contemporaneous with Peter. Peter's martyrdom by crucifixion was clearly known to the author of the twenty-first chapter, who puts a figurative prophecy of it in the mouth of Jesus: "'Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.' He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God." (Jn 21:18-19)

As is clear from references from Tertullian and Irenaeus of Lyons above, Clement of Rome was the fourth bishop of Rome and knew both Peter and Paul. Although it is somewhat vague (perhaps purposely?), his testimony is important becuase it is one of the earliest pieces of evidence we have. Clement wrote from Rome to the Corinthians:

"But, to pass from the examples of ancient days, let us come to those champions who lived nearest to our time. Let us set before us the noble examples which belong to our generation. By reason of jealousy and envy the greatest and most righteous pillars of the Church were persecuted, and contended even unto death. Let us set before our eyes the good Apostles. There was Peter who by reason of unrighteous jealousy endured not one nor two but many labours, and thus having borne his testimony went to his appointed place of glory. By reason of jealousy and strife Paul by his example pointed out the prize of patient endurance. After that he had been seven times in bonds, had been driven into exile, had been stoned, had preached in the East and in the West, he won the noble renown which was the reward of his faith, having taught righteousness unto the whole world and having reached the farthest bounds of the West; and when he had borne his testimony before the rulers, so he departed from the world and went unto the holy place, having been found a notable pattern of patient endurance." (First Clement 5 [A.D. 95])

While he may not have explicitly said that Peter was crucified, the context of persecution "even unto death," coupled with the reference to the "place of glory," especially in light of all other tradition, make this a good affirmation of his martyrdom. Clement was writing of the "heroes nearest to our time" from Rome, speaks of Peter and Paul ending their lives together, says that Paul "reached the farthest bounds of the West" and "had borne his testimony before rulers," and elsewhere makes allusions (like Revelations) to the Neronian persecution - all of which indicate that Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome.

Ignatius of Antioch (c. A.D. 35-107) was a contemporary of Peter and Paul. On his way there to be thrown to the lions, Ignatius writes to the church at Rome:

"Not as Peter and Paul did, do I command you [Romans]. They were apostles, and I am a convict" (Letter to the Romans 4:3 [A.D. 105]).

Such a comment would only make sense if Peter was a leader, if not the leader, of the church at Rome.

The First Epistle of Peter is either by Peter himself c. A.D. 64-67 or a disciple of his c. A.D. 70-90. Either way, the author was in an excellent position to know the facts about Peter. He writes in conclusion:

"I write you this briefly through Silvanus, whom I consider a faithful brother, exhorting you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Remain firm in it. The chosen one in Babylon sends you greeting, as does Mark, my son. Greet one another with a loving kiss. Peace to all of you who are in Christ." (First Peter 5:12-14 [A.D. 64-67 or A.D. 70-90])

Babylon is a code-word for Rome. It is used that way six times in the last book of the Bible and in extra-biblical works like the Sibylline Oracles (5:159f), the Apocalypse of Baruch (2:1), and 4 Esdras (3:1). Eusebius Pamphilius, in The Chronicle, composed about A.D. 303, noted that "It is said that Peter's first epistle, in which he makes mention of Mark, was composed at Rome itself; and that he himself indicates this, referring to the city figuratively as Babylon." Consider now the other New Testament citations: "Another angel, a second, followed, saying, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of her impure passion" (Rev. 14:8). "The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered great Babylon, to make her drain the cup of the fury of his wrath" (Rev. 16:19). "[A]nd on her forehead was written a name of mystery: 'Babylon the great, mother of harlots and of earth's abominations'" (Rev. 17:5). "And he called out with a mighty voice, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great'" (Rev. 18:2). "[T]hey will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, 'Alas! alas! thou great city, thou mighty city, Babylon! In one hour has thy judgment come'" (Rev. 18:10). "So shall Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence" (Rev. 18:21). These references can't be to the one-time capital of the Babylonian empire. That Babylon had been reduced to an inconsequential village by the march of years, military defeat, and political subjugation; it was no longer a "great city." It played no important part in the recent history of the ancient world. The only truly "great city" in New Testament times was Rome. Rev. 17:9 even refers to the "seven hills" of Rome.

There is good reason to think that the author was referring to the Capital, not a certain village on the border of the Parthian Empire. All other occurrences of "Babylon" in early Christian literature are in reference to Rome. Silvanus was a companion of Paul (2Cor 1:19, 1Thess 1:1, 2Thess 1:1). Because it is generally accepted that Paul was in Rome (Acts 28), not the Babylon of the Euphrates, this implies that Peter was also in Rome. Moreover, the Christian recipients in Asia Minor, the home of Revelations, would have understood this as an indication that Peter was writing from Rome. We also know that the apostles sometimes referred to cities under symbolic names (cf. Rev. 11:8).

Excavations under the high altar of St. Peter's Basilica were undertaken in earnest after World War II and were concluded about a decade ago. The results were the contents of a tomb on Vatican Hill which was covered with early inscriptions attesting the fact that Peter's remains were inside. Evidence had mounted to the point that Pope John Paul II was able to announce officially something that had been discussed in archaeological literature and religious publications for years--that the actual tomb of the first pope had been identified conclusively, that his remains were apparently present, and that in the vicinity of his tomb were inscriptions identifying the place as Peter's burial site, meaning early Christians knew that the Prince of the apostles was there. The story of how all this was determined, with scientific accuracy is too long to recount here. It is discussed in detail in John Evangelist Walsh's book, _The Bones of St. Peter_.

Conclusion: We have every reason to believe that Peter went to Rome and was crucified there, and there is not a scrap of data to the contrary.


My response

I have put my replies in bold

The patristic witness is unanimous in declaring that Peter went to Rome and was crucified there at this time. As near-contemporaries with access to streams of traditions, the Church Fathers were in a good position to know the facts of the manner and whereabouts of Peter's death. If an early, widespread, consistent tradition is to count for anything, then Peter did in fact go to Rome and suffered martyrdom by crucixion there.

All of the quotes you give are dated at least a century after the events that you are trying to show happened, except 1 Clement. I dealt with 1 Clement in the main article and already dealt with the points that you gave. I won't repeat what I said. If you ignored it once...

Almost all of the quotes are from works against heretics. The orthodox church was trying desperately to impose the authority of bishops on Gnostic Christians who did not accept orthodox Church leaders. This does seem to have been a bit of a motive for the orthodox Church to write about how it, and it only, had the authority of the apostles, who had taught them personally. Naturally, the Gnostics claimed that the apostles , particularly Paul, had taught them personally. What you are quoting is part of a propaganda war about who was in charge of Christianity, not objective historical reporting.

Of course, I am well aware that Christians of the late second and early third centuries say that Peter was crucified in Rome. They never give any evidence why they should be believed.

I will take the Church Fathers from latest to earliest, starting at A.D. 200:

Tertullian

"But if you are near Italy, you have Rome, where authority is at hand for us too. What a happy church that is, on which the apostles poured out their whole doctrine with their blood; where Peter had a passion like that of the Lord, where Paul was crowned with the death of John [the Baptist, by being beheaded]" (Demurrer Against the Heretics 36 [A.D. 200]).

Tertullian

"[T]his is the way in which the apostolic churches transmit their lists: like the church of the Smyrneans , which records that Polycarp was placed there by John, like the church of the Romans, where Clement was ordained by Peter" (ibid., 32:2).

Tertullian was the man who claimed that John had been plunged alive into boiling oil. Are you sure that Clement was ordained by Peter? Later you claim that there were two bishops in between Peter and Clement.

Polycarp's letter never says that he knew John and he never quotes John's Gospel.

Clement of Alexandria

"The circumstances which occasioned . . . [the writing] of Mark were these: When Peter preached the Word publicly at Rome and declared the gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had been a long time his follower and who remembered his sayings; should write down what had been proclaimed" (Sketches [A.D. 200], in a fragment from Eusebius, History of the Church, 6, 14:1).

In your other repsonse, you say that the Gospel of Mark had undergone a long tradition history. One of my articles deals precisely with the issue of whether Mark was dependent on Peter. I won't repeat it here. If you ignored it once....

Caius

"It is recorded that Paul was beheaded in Rome itself, and Peter, likewise, was crucified, during the reign [of the Emperor Nero]. The account is confirmed by the names of Peter and Paul over the cemeteries there, which remain to the present time. And it is confirmed also by a stalwart man of the Church, Gaius by name, who lived in the time of Zephyrinus, bishop of Rome. This Gaius, in a written disputation with Proclus, the leader of the sect of Cataphrygians, says this of the places in which the remains of the aforementioned apostles were deposited: 'I can point out the trophies of the apostles. For if you are willing to go to the Vatican or to the Ostian Way, you will find the trophies of those who founded this Church'" (Disputation with Proclus [A.D. 198] in Eusebius, Church History 2:25:5).

This is very late and says nothing other than that Christians had built shrines to Peter and Paul, a century or more after the events in question.

Irenaeus of Lyons

"Matthew also issued among the Hebrews a written Gospel in their own language, while Peter and Paul were evangelizing in Rome and laying the foundation of the Church" (Against Heresies, 3, 1:1 [A.D. 189]).

Do you really believe that Matthew wrote his Gospel in Hebrew or Aramaic? If not, why do you believe the other half of the sentence?

Irenaeus of Lyons

"But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. With that church, because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition" (ibid., 3:3:2).

Is this the same Irenaeus who said that Jesus lived to be about 50?

Irenaeus of Lyons

"The blessed apostles [Peter and Paul], having founded and built up the church [of Rome], they handed over the office of the episcopate to Linus. Paul makes mention of this Linus in the letter to Timothy [2 Tim. 4:21]. To him succeeded Anacletus, and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was chosen for the episcopate. He had seen the blessed apostles and was acquainted with them. It might be said that he still heard the echoes of the preaching of the apostles and had their traditions before his eyes. And not only he, for there were many still remaining who had been instructed by the apostles. In the time of Clement, no small dissension having arisen among the brethren in Corinth, the Church in Rome sent a very strong letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace and renewing their faith . . . To this Clement, Evaristus succeeded . . . and now, in the twelfth place after the apostles, the lot of the episcopate [of Rome] has fallen to Eleutherus. In this order, and by the teaching of the apostles handed down in the Church, the preaching of the truth has come down to us" (ibid., 3:3:3).

I'm pretty sure that you don't believe that 2 Timothy was written by Paul. Irenaeus seems to have hit on the name Linus just because it is the last male name mentioned in supposedly the last letter written by Paul. This is history?

Anacletus, as I'm sure you know,comes from the next letter Titus. "A bishop must be blameless(anakletus)". Irenaeus seems to have taken this a little too literally.

Dionysius of Corinth

"You [Pope Soter] have also, by your very admonition, brought together the planting that was made by Peter and Paul at Rome and at Corinth; for both of them alike planted in our Corinth and taught us; and both alike, teaching similarly in Italy, suffered martyrdom at the same time" (Letter to Pope Soter [A.D. 170], in Eusebius, History of the Church 2:25:8).

Paul says that he planted in Corinth, not Peter and Paul certainly did not plant the Roman church. Neither Romans nor Acts say that Peter went to Rome. Both Paul and Acts are clear that Paul, not Peter, was the apostle to the Gentiles.

These references indicate that it was generally accepted from the beginning that Peter and Paul went to Rome and were martyred there.

The Gospel of John underwent its final editing and publishing in the 90s, and its author(s) would have been contemporaneous with Peter. Peter's martyrdom by crucifixion was clearly known to the author of the twenty-first chapter, who puts a figurative prophecy of it in the mouth of Jesus: "'Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.' He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God." (Jn 21:18-19) Ignatius of Antioch (c. A.D. 35-107) was a contemporary of Peter and Paul. On his way there to be thrown to the lions, Ignatius writes to the church at Rome:

"Not as Peter and Paul did, do I command you [Romans]. They were apostles, and I am a convict" (Letter to the Romans 4:3 [A.D. 105]).

Such a comment would only make sense if Peter was a leader, if not the leader, of the church at Rome.

It also only makes sense if Peter and Paul were not convicts as Ignatius was! Why do you have to be physically present in a place before your words can carry authority there?

1 Peter calls Rome Babylon, because Rome emulated Babylon and destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. The author need not have been a companion of Peter, just because he forged a letter in Peter's name.

Excavations under the high altar of St. Peter's Basilica were undertaken in earnest after World War II and were concluded about a decade ago. The results were the contents of a tomb on Vatican Hill which was covered with early inscriptions attesting the fact that Peter's remains were inside. Evidence had mounted to the point that Pope John Paul II was able to announce officially something that had been discussed in archaeological literature and religious publications for years--that the actual tomb of the first pope had been identified conclusively, that his remains were apparently present, and that in the vicinity of his tomb were inscriptions identifying the place as Peter's burial site, meaning early Christians knew that the Prince of the apostles was there. The story of how all this was determined, with scientific accuracy is too long to recount here. It is discussed in detail in John Evangelist Walsh's book, _The Bones of St. Peter_.

Amazing, Clement in 95 AD did not seem to know that Peter had ever been to Rome and now, 1,900 years later, Christians can put their hands on his body!

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