Given that Peter fades from view halfway through the book of Acts and that he left no gospel account in his name, it is tempting for many biblical scholars to dismiss him as a vague figure in Christian history and downplay his influence in the early church.
Martin Hengel rejects this understanding in his new book Saint Peter: The Underestimated Apostle and argues that Peter was in fact the Rock, central to the development of both the Jewish and the Gentile Christian communities. Hengel clearly shows how each of the four gospels specifically highlights Peter's foundational role. He considers what Peter's message must have been as an eyewitness of Christ, reflects on Peter's theology, and draws attention to Peter's work as an organizer and mission strategist. Hengel also examines the contributions of married apostles - like Peter - and their family communities to the rapid and enduring spread of the Christian message.
Paul J. Achtemeier
Union Theological Seminary in Virginia
"In this study of Peter's decisive role in shaping the theology of the early Christian traditions, Martin Hengel provides a wealth of material on the historical circumstances and background of both Hellenistic and Jewish/rabbinic thought and history. Revealing Peter as theologian and mission organizer, the book contains a gold mine of information not only about Peter but also about the early church and its development. A highly recommended study."
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