The first letter of Peter remains a relatively neglected corner of the New Testament—the number of monographs devoted to it is tiny, compared with those on the Gospels and Pauline letters. This book argues that it offers insight into crucial processes in the development of Christian identity. In particular, 1 Peter illustrates with great clarity the complex ways in which Christian identity was forged from Jewish traditions and negotiated in the generally hostile Roman Empire.
Becoming Christian is a collection of essays that discuss the first letter of Peter in its social and historical setting. In some cases, authors use social-scientific and postcolonial methods to shed light on the ways in which the letter contributes to Christian identity formation. Author David G. Horrell also examines the persecution and suffering of Christians in Asia Minor, the significance of the name “Christian,” and the response of the letter to the hostility encountered by Christians in society. These essays offer significant and original engagements with this letter and will remain a resource for studies of 1 Peter for some time to come.
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“The description of the addressees as πάροικοι and παρεπίδημοι cannot serve as an indication of their socio-economic status.” (Page 129)
“1) This is the only New Testament text in which all three ‘people’ words occur together: γένος, ἔθνος, λαός.” (Page 144)
“A first step is to see the label Χριστιανός as a form of stigma.” (Page 198)
“Imperial precedent had effectively criminalized Christianity, but this stance was enacted only when and where popular hostility and prejudice—which could of course take many forms—escalated to the point where accusations were brought and where governors were disposed to hear such cases. The occasional and local nature of Christian persecution does not mean that there was no official stance towards Christianity, but is in fact reflective precisely of that stance.” (Page 197)
“Someone who bears a stigma is ‘the bearer of a ‘mark’ that defines him or her as deviant, flawed, limited, spoiled, or generally undesirable’” (Page 198)