Peter the apostle.

One of the twelve.


Attributed text(s).
Epistle 1 of Peter 1-5.
Epistle 2 of Peter 1-3.
Gospel of Mark.
Gospel of Peter.
Preaching of Peter.
Apocalypse of Peter.

Related text(s).
Catholic epistles.
Acts of Peter.

Useful links.
Simon Cephas in the Jewish Encyclopedia.
Peter in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Peter is also known as Cephas in the pages of the New Testament. The name Peter comes from the Greek word for rock, and the name Cephas comes from the Aramaic word for rock.

Peter is called along with his brother Andrew in Matthew 4.18 = Mark 1.16 and John 1.40-42, and witnesses a miraculous catch of fish in Luke 5.3-11, after which events he surfaces frequently in the gospel narratives. He makes the first quartet in every canonical list of the disciples in Matthew 10.2 = Mark 3.16 = Luke 6.14 and Acts 1.13. He witnesses the healing of his own mother-in-law in Matthew 8.14 = Mark 1.29 = Luke 4.38. He briefly walks on the water before sinking in Matthew 14.28-32 He, along with James and John, are the only disciples to witness the raising of the daughter of Jairus in Mark 5.37 = Luke 8.51 (refer also to Matthew 9.25), the transfiguration in Matthew 17.1, 4 = Mark 9.2, 5 = Luke 9.28, 32-33, and the Gethsemane agony in Matthew 26.37, 40 = Mark 14.33, 37 (refer also to Luke 22.39). He confesses Jesus as Christ in Matthew 16.16 = Mark 8.29 = Luke 9.20, and Jesus praises him for it in Matthew 16.17-19, before Peter rebukes Jesus and thus earns a rebuke of his own in Matthew 16.22-23 = Mark 8.32-33. He is one of four disciples to hear the Olivet discourse in Mark 13.3. Peter and John are the ones who Jesus sends to prepare the Passover in Luke 22.8. He first refuses then demands a dominical footwashing in John 13.6-9. He promises not to desert Jesus, who predicts he will indeed thrice deny him, in Matthew 26.33-35 = Mark 14.29-31 = Luke 22.31-34. Peter cuts off an ear when Jesus is arrested in John 18.10-11. He follows Jesus at a distance after his arrest in Matthew 26.58 = Mark 14.54 = Luke 22.54 and John 18.15-16. As predicted, Peter thrice denies Jesus in Matthew 26.69-75 = Mark 14.66-72 = Luke 22.55-62 and John 18.17-18, 25-27. Peter is promised a personal resurrection appearance in Mark 16.7 and runs to the empty tomb in Luke 24.12 and John 20.2-10 before being granted that appearance as of Luke 24.34. Peter is also mentioned in the shorter ending of Mark. He is one of the disciples on the lake of Tiberias when Jesus appears for the third time in John 21.2-11. Jesus takes him aside in John 21.15-22 to thrice restore him after his three denials. Other gospel references are Matthew 15.15; 17.24-25; 18.21; Matthew 19.27 = Mark 10.28 = Luke 18.28; Mark 11.21; Luke 8.45; 12.41; John 1.44; 6.8, 68; 13.24, 36-37.

In Acts 1.15 it is Peter who stands up to speak about replacing Judas, and in Acts 2.14 it is he who gives the sermon at Pentecost. In Acts 2.37-38 he tells how to receive the holy spirit. Peter and John perform a healing and are arrested for it in Acts 3.1-4.22. Peter presides over the strange case of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5.1-11. His very shadow heals whom it touches in Acts 5.15. Peter judges that he and the apostles should obey God rather than men in Acts 5.29. Peter and John go as emissaries to Samaria in Acts 8.14-15. Peter curses Simon Magus in Acts 8.20-23 and heals Aeneas in Acts 9.32-34 and Dorcas in Acts 9.38-43. In Acts 10.1-48 he welcomes Cornelius the Roman centurion to the faith, for which action with a gentile he has to explain himself in Acts 11.1-17. Peter is arrested and escapes from prison with angelic assistance in Acts 12.1-19. He participates in the Jerusalem conference in Acts 15.7.

Paul mentions Peter by that name in Galatians 2.7-8, and Cephas in 1 Corinthians 1.12; 3.22; 9.5; 15.5; Galatians 1.18; 2.9, 11-14.

Jerome, On Famous Men 1:

Simon Petrus, filius Ioannis, provinciae Galileae e vico Bethsaida, frater Andreae apostoli et princeps apostolorum, post episcopatum Antiochensis ecclesiae et praedicationem dispersionis eorum qui de circumcisione crediderant, in Ponto, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, et Bithynia, secundo Claudii imperatoris anno ad expugnandum Simonem magum Romam pergit, ibique viginti quinque annis cathedram sacerdotalem tenuit usque ad ultimum annum Neronis, id est, decimum quartum, a quo et affixus cruci martyrio coronatus est, capite ad terram verso et in sublime pedibus elevatis, asserens se indignum qui sic crucifigeretur ut dominus suus. scripsit duas epistolas, quae catholicae nominantur, quarum secunda a plerisque eius esse negatur, propter styli cum priore dissonantiam. sed et evangelium iuxta Marcum, qui auditor eius et interpres fuit, huius dicitur. libri autem, e quibus unus actorum eius inscribitur, alius evangelii, tertius praedicationis, quartus apocalypseos, quintus iudicii, inter apocryphas scripturas repudiantur. sepultus Romae in Vaticano, iuxta viam triumphalem, totius orbis veneratione celebratur.

Simon Peter the son of John, from the village of Bethsaida of the province of Galilee, brother of Andrew the apostle and chief of the apostles, after his episcopate of the church of Antioch and preaching to the dispersion of those who believed in circumcision, those in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, pushed on to Rome in the second year of Claudius to overthrow Simon Magus and held the sacerdotal chair there for twenty-five years until the last, that is the fourteenth, year of Nero, from whom he received the crown of martyrdom by being nailed to the cross, head reversed toward the earth and feet raised on high, asserting that he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord. He wrote two epistles which are called catholic, the second of which, on account of its difference from the first in style, is considered by many not to be by him. Then too the gospel according to Mark, who was his hearer and interpreter, is said to be his. On the other hand, the books of which one is entitled his acts, another his gospel, a third his preaching, a fourth his revelation, a fifth his judgment, are repudiated as apocryphal. Buried at Rome in the Vatican, near the triumphal way, he is celebrated by the veneration of the whole world.

Peter and Cephas.

The Epistula Apostolorum (middle of century II) apparently distinguishes between Peter and Cephas. It reads in section 2:

We, [that is,] John, Thomas, Peter, Andrew, James, Philip, Batholomew, Matthew, Nathanael, Judas Zelotes, and Cephas, write to the churches of the east and the west, of the north and the south, declaring and imparting to you that which concerns our Lord Jesus Christ.

This part of this text is extant only in Ethiopic, I believe.

Eusebius writes as follows of Clement of Alexandria in History of the Church 1.12.2:

Η δ ιστορια παρα Κλημεντι κατα την πεμπτην των υποτυπωσεων εν η και Κηφαν, περι ου φησιν ο Παυλος· Οτε δε ηλθεν Κηφας εις Αντιοχειαν, κατα προσωπον αυτω αντεστην, ενα φησι γεγονεναι των εβδομηκοντα μαθητων, ομωνυμον Πετρω τυγχανοντα τω αποστολω.

And there is a story from Clement in the fifth of his Hypotyposeis in which he also says that Cephas, concerning whom Paul says: But, when Cephas came to Antioch, I resisted him to his face, was one of the seventy disciples, one who happened to have the same name as Peter the apostle.

James M. Scott addresses the issue in his article, A Question of Identity in the Journal of Biblical Studies, available online.