I have seen it alleged that Matthew 25:12 (at the conclusion of the story
of the Ten Handmaidens) and Peter's denial (Matthew 26:72) involve
"precisely the same formula of denial." If true, this might be interesting,
but other than the "I don't know" (simple negative verb), what is so
distinctive about this formula? I've looked at the Greek, and all I see is
the negative particle and the first person verb.
One might throw in Luke's parable of the narrow door in this regard (Luke
13:25). The examples cited differ in that one refers to "you" while the
others refer to "the man." Is this the case of a proposition that is true,
but somewhat trivial? Or am I missing something? Is there a different but
equally common way to say in Greek, "I don't know you" or "I don't know the
man" that the synoptic authors might have been expected to use?
Taken together, the three passages, if linked, would seem to imply that
Peter was somehow beyond redemption because of his denial.
To pile speculation upon speculation, if these three passages are linked,
let's link another:
NRS Matthew 21:42 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the
scriptures: 'The stone that the builders rejected has become the
cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is amazing in our eyes'?
On this tenuous hypothesis, we see here a reference to Peter's rejection
because of his denial by James and the Jerusalem church, only to triumph
(become the cornerstone) in the end. I think this is a somewhat different
interpretation of Mat 21:42 than is usually offered, isn't it?
Northern Arizona University
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