Before I begin this article I would like to add that though I do hold Gnostic ideals, I am in no way arguing for the validity of the apocryphal books that were excluded from the mainstream biblical canon. This is a story spawned from many contested views. But it is a fascinating story nonetheless. After months of research I was able to piece together a fluid prose that I believe depicts the final times of St. Peter fairly. This will be the first of many blogs that will further detail some of the more obscure stories left out of the New Testament. To start this off I’d like to bring to light some of the fundamental aspects of the story of Peter.

The Acts of Peter is dated approximately 120-170 years after the crucifixion of Jesus.

Peter’s birth name was not Peter but Simeon or Simon in English. Jesus gave him the title of the rock that the young church of Christianity would be built upon metaphorically. The feminized Latin form for rock was Petra and this was masculinized, which translates into Peter in English.

After the Pharisees had Jesus arrested, Peter publicly denounced his association with Jesus three times. All three denials were foretold by Jesus at the Last Supper. When Peter witnessed the transfigured Jesus, he lavished him with three affirmations of his love. Numerology was often used in Judaic theology to maintain a cohesive theme; as in the Holy Trinity, and the three days between Jesus’ death and resurrection, and other events about to unfold throughout this series of blogs.

Jesus portended Peter’s crucifixion near the end of the Gospel of John: “When you are old you will stretch out your hands and another will gird you and take you where you do not want to go.”

St. Peter is considered by the Roman Catholic Church to be the first Bishop of Rome, thus being the seminal Pope, and every Pope after him was to be considered his successor.

It is a widely popular view; that St. Paul was crucified the same day as St. Peter.

The crucifixion of Peter is held by scholarly consensus to have taken place in 64 A.D. during the festivities that celebrated the ten year reign of the tyrannical Emperor Nero. These “festivities” were held three months after a great fire had set Rome ablaze. Many historians believe that Nero conspired to have this fire set and then blamed it on the early Christians. Quite possibly being one of the earliest false flag operations performed by a governing power. This would make sense because Christianity was quickly gaining ground in Roman territories. By pinning this fire upon them he was able to create an anti-sentiment against Christianity. He was then able to launch a violent persecution campaign against the Christians without making Romans sympathetic to the Christian plight.

Peter considered himself an apocalyptist. That is, he believed that the Kingdom of God was coming down to earth in his generation. A lot of Peter’s teachings contained ascetic ideals of celibacy. These ascetic teachings taught early Christians to not become attached to earthly possessions and desires for the day of God’s reckoning was at hand. This created a problem for the Christian church when this obviously did not happen. If these doctrines of sexual abstinence continued to be observed there would be an obvious decline in the Christian population. This may not be the only reason the Acts of Peter was excluded from the definitive biblical canon; but it certainly was a major factor in that decision. The Catholic Church countered this by branding such books as heretical and promoting reproduction.

After the resurrection of Jesus and the Pentecost in Acts, the Apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul set out on different paths proselytizing to Jews, Gentiles, and Hebrew Christians. Eventually Peter made his way into Rome to give testimony of the glory of Christ. Along with the testimony, he preached an ascetic doctrine of celibacy. This message was not well received, for the Emperor Augustus had passed a decree earlier in the first century that the birth rate amongst Roman aristocracy was not to decline under the penalty of law. Peter managed to enrage Agrippa, the prefect of Rome at the time. Peter knew that he would suffer severe consequences if he stayed in the city and he pragmatically decided to leave. While on a road that led out of Rome he encountered a man walking in the opposite direction towards the city. As the distance closed between the two men, Peter recognized the other traveler was Jesus.  Peter asked Jesus, “Where goest thou master?” and Jesus answered, “Peter, I go to Rome to be crucified again.” Maybe Peter recalled the omen Jesus had spoke of in the end of the Gospel of John. Maybe he felt it was his duty for thrice betraying his Christ. Whatever his motives, Peter turned around and walked back into the city to be crucified.

The upside down crucifixion of Peter has become an iconic imagine and there are many disputes as to why he was crucified that way. The Jewish historian Josephus Flavius gave a great many detailed accounts of the cruelty of bored Roman soldiers thinking of horrific new ways to execute their prisoners. It is also said that Peter believed that Adam came into this world head first and that he (Peter) would go out the way Adam came in and by hanging upside down he would see the world for what it really was. The one that I like to believe is that Peter requested to be crucified in this way because he was not worthy to be executed in the same manner as his savior. An upside down crucifixion would be especially agonizing because the strangulation that normally would occur from having all the victim’s weight supported by their arms would not even be a factor when hanging upside down. Some accounts say the Roman soldiers set Peter on fire but he still did not die. After three days of hanging in this manner, Peter was beheaded. And so we have the number three again.

Coming soon: The Questionable Authenticity of the Secret Gospel of Mark

  1. haydendlinder says:

    Hey Paul,

    I bumbled across this blog from the Sacred Struggeler’s blog, but I wanted to tell you i really like this post. i hope you do more.

  2. haydendlinder says:

    But the norm is so boring anyway:)

  3. I have a whole series on gnostic & apocyphral text which I found fascinating, but when they fell flat I got so disheartened I abandoned the whole endeavor. I/m really glad you came around. You just resurected this whole project.

  4. haydendlinder says:

    Very cool. I look forward to it. And I am very glad I could help to get you back on the horse. Makes me feel like I’m doin somethin.

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