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The Letter of Peter to Philip: Text, Translation, and Commentary
Marvin W. Meyer
Publication Date
January 1997


“The gnostic Letter of Peter to Philip is a brief tractate which extends over about nine pages of Codex VIII in the Nag Hammadi Coptic library. Only a first brief portion of the tractate is actually in the form of a letter from Peter to Philip, while most of the work consists of a narrative of appearances of Christ to the apostles, with accompanying revelation dialogue/discourse material (in particular, one lengthy section in which Christ summarizes a myth much like the ‘Sophia’ myths found elsewhere in gnosticism), accounts of the apostles’ discussions among themselves, and brief allusions to their worship and missionary activities.
The first half of Meyer’s excellent 1979 Claremont dissertation … is devoted to introductory comments, text and translation, superb indexes of all names and Greek and Coptic terms in the text, and a chapter discussing the grammatical features of the work. In establishing the Coptic text, Meyer carried out his own ultraviolet collation of the manuscript in Cairo, but also had the benefit of similar collations performed by other scholars. … The latter half of the dissertation contains a commentary on the theological content of the tractate. … [T]he dissertation stands as a solid and praiseworthy contribution to scholarship, very carefully executed, and it will benefit all future research on this gnostic tractate.”
— Michael A. Williams, Journal of Biblical Literature

“Anyone who tries to read the Coptic texts or the English translations of the Nag Hammadi documents realizes very soon the need for volumes like this one. Before the old questions about the origin of Gnosticism and its relation to primitive Christianity can be profitably raised anew, we must have this kind of careful and thorough analysis of all the Nag Hammadi writings. Even those who do not read Coptic can use and profit from M.’s lively and illuminating exposition of the text. He captures the literary flow and spirit of the document, and explains in a clear way the technical terms and ideas of the Christian Gnostics.”
— Daniel J. Harrington, Catholic Biblical Quarterly