Whose Acts of Peter?
Text and Historical Context of the Actus Vercellenses
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Paperback / softback
Publisher: JCB Mohr (Paul Siebeck)
Number of Pages: 350
Width: 23.1 cm
Height: 15.5 cm
The Actus Vercellenses, a Latin text preserved in only one manuscript copy, is published widely in translation under the title Acts of Peter. The Acts of Peter is thought to be the title of an ancient work, originally in Greek, which is usually said to have been composed in the second-century in Asia Minor. Accordingly, the Vercelli Acts are often treated simply as evidence for second-century Christian discourse. However, many issues relating to the study of the Actus Vercellenses qua Acts of Peter have hitherto been inadequately established, especially: the character, extent, and original time of composition of the ancient Acts of Peter ; the antiquity of the manuscript copy and the Latin version; and the proximity of the Latin Actus Vercellenses to extant Greek parallels in the Martyrium Petri, the Vita Abercii, and the Oxyrhynchus fragment. Through a detailed examination of the external evidence for ancient Petrine acta writings, through a thorough paleographical and philological investigation of manuscript Vercelli Bib. Cap. CLVIII and the Latin text of the Actus, and through an extensive synoptic comparison of all the extant Greek parallels to the Actus Vercellenses, Matthew C. Baldwin investigates and settles all of these issues. Ultimately, the results show that the Actus Vercellenses is probably best understood as evidence for fourth century Christianity in the west. In its current form, this Acts of the Apostle Peter is effectively that of a later, Latin speaking scriptor from the west.