While I have enjoyed this theological pissing contest as to whether Peter actually wrote these two epistles or not, a question came to mind earlier today. That is, why does this matter who wrote these epistles? I think the content is more important than determining who wrote it.
Put another way, if it could be proven that Peter wrote (or at least dictated) these two epistles how would that make the content of these epistles any more important? Conversely, if it could be proven that Peter did not write (or dictate) these two epistles how would that make the content of these epistles any less important?
I will admit to being torn here. There is a part of human nature that looks to authority and accepts it without much thought
. And the misuse of authority is to be frowned upon.
If I use the name and image of a well-respected and famous person without their authority to sell my product, I am in trouble.
If I use the name and image of a well-respected and famous person as an approved endorsement to sell my product, I will expect sales to go well.
If I am a well-respected and famous person and make a statement, it is likely that I will be believed.
The Petrine Epistles are basically "trading on a name
." His authority should be great, far greater than of Paul who never knew Jesus yet reinvented and rebranded Christianity.
If there is deception here, what does it say of all the associated writings? Yet, as you say, if a person finds help in it, does it matter if Peter wrote it?
Does it matter if a painting is a Da Vinci or a forgery if you like the painting? Well, if you have paid a fortune to own it or even merely see it, then "Yes, it does." That aside, to an extent the forgery is a deception and speaks to the character of the forger, not to that of Da Vinci.
If the Pauline Epistles were the work of someone else yet claiming to be original and authentic, would those words be "inspired by God", as opposed to being "helpful"? Would God approve a forger? Why would God not simply ensure the words of whoever wrote it were broadcast?
Much is helpful, even if it isn't true. (Conversely, if it is true, it need not be helpful.) But I suppose you are thinking: "Does it matter? Helpful is enough in itself.” Yet if this be so, then let us rid the Bible of the supernatural entirely because that way, it transcends religious affiliations.
Looking at the Petrine Epistles, it basically says, "Be reasonable" but takes 4 chapters to do this and it pads it all out by adding a lot about a reward in another life.
This is no different from anybody
saying "Be reasonable." so at that level: no, it doesn't matter. What does matter is all that padding requires you to accept the macguffin
of a series of rituals and impossibilities in order to achieve this reasonableness. Does the greater good justify deception?
Before you explain where I am wrong, please consider we do not know the authors of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, much less Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Kings, Chronicles, etc. Yet, as theists, we do not reject these writings because we don't know who wrote them.
Of the Gospels, it would help if they were reduced to one as the writers fail to be consistent on major points.
Of the first six of the OT books, it is now generally accepted there are four competing writers and an editor. Like all knowledge, the knowledge of the writers is valuable, it sets the whole in perspective and no longer demands that what we know conflicts with what is written - thus faith is aided by not having to believe the impossible
The final three need cleaning up in order to present a proper history
However, I can do nothing but bow to your trump card: Faith. In a recent post, I gave this by Ambrose Bierce, who always makes me laugh:
FAITH, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.
If that is so, then, indeed, anyone could have written anything as long as it is believed
that the words are God inspired.
I’m not sure I’ve answered the question, so I’ll say, “To the faithful, probably not but it is interesting.” I find the more I know and understand of the Bible, and its history, the more it recedes into mythology.
I honestly believe we should know as much as is possible that we can come to informed conclusions. Relying on any deception, no matter how well-meaning, is building castles on sand.