BOOKS: Upon This Rock: The Life of St. Peter, Walter F. Murphy

Is Upon This Rock: The Life of St. Peter by Walter F. Murphy accurate?

And not to be confused with the popular “Upon This Rock: St. Peter and the Primacy of Rome in Scripture and the Early Church” by Stephen K. Ray

It isn’t intended to be accurate, at least as as a biography, it is an historical novel. A couple reviews from Amazon:

From Publishers Weekly
The difficult task of reconstructing the ambiance of the early Christian era is accomplished in a colorful and credible novel by the author of the acclaimed Vicar of Christ. Murphy cautions in a prefatory note that his characterization of Peter, the disciple chosen by Jesus to be the “rock,” the foundation of the Catholic Church, is the “best fit” between what little can be gleaned from the New Testament and what scholars have attributed to the people of the time. He draws Peter as a man of conflicting emotions, a man who bears the stigma of betraying the Master, as attested by the Gospels, a man who may also be branded “the drunkard, the adulterer, the waffler,” as he is in a fictional dialogue with the latter-day disciple, Paul. The novel is shaped as a chronicle by Quintus, a Greek follower of The Way, who records Peter’s struggle with himself and with his floundering leadership. We hear his anger at God caused by his daughter’s paralysis; we witness the colloquial repartee between Peter and Paul as they attempt to reconcile Christian Jews and Gentiles. Although some of the author’s invention may be controversial, in this robust novel he captures the sweep of events that led to the martyrdom of the first Pope.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

  **From School Library Journal**

YA The pomp and grandeur of the Christian religion has served to obscure the fact that it was begun by fishermen and laborers led by a carpenter and that the first Christians came from the humble classes. Upon This Rock corrects that misconception while imbuing the story of the life and martyrdom of St. Peter with a stature all the more magnificent for his hum ble origins and very human nature. Murphy begins the story of St. Peter with the final Passover in Jerusalem and tells of the founding of Christian ity through the eyes of Quintus, a Greek and an unbeliever. It is the voice of Quintus in his detachment that constantly asks readers to believe the story and ultimately to share the experience. Quintus is an Everyman watching what he does not fully under stand until he, like readers, is profoundly touched. Young people interested in fiction that is at once exciting and uplifting will welcome this biblical tale. Mary A. Williams, Harris County Public Library

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