Dear Brothers/Sisters in Christ,
For some time I have been reading and trying to reconcile several verses in Acts, Galatians and Corinthians and Church Father Eusebius writings. It is about Peter and Cephas.
In Acts 11:2-3, Peter is seen eating with the uncircumcised Christians. He defended his position and the circumcision party were silenced Acts 11:18.
In Gal 2:7, Paul mentioned Peter has been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised, but in the same sentence, in verse 9, he mentioned James, Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars. Many assumed this Cephas is Peter. But that is rather strange, why would Paul switched names in the middle of his sentence unless he is trying to identify different persons? Paul is highly educated and this would seemed sloppy writing. Then in Gal 2:11-13, Paul rebuked Cephas for fearing the circumcision party. This seem to contradict Peter’s position in Acts above. Gal 2:11-13 has been exploited by Protestants to diminished Peter’s standing.
However, one fine day when I was reading Eusebius Church History Book 1 Chapter 12 The Disciples of our Saviour, where he tries to identify the 70 disciples, I saw these:
- The names of the apostles of our Saviour are known to every one from the Gospels. But there exists no catalogue of the seventy disciples. Barnabas, indeed, is said to have been one of them, of whom the Acts of the Apostles makes mention in various places, and especially Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians.
- They say that Sosthenes also, who wrote to the Corinthians with Paul, was one of them. ***This is the account of Clement in the fifth book of his Hypotyposes, in which he also says that Cephas was one of the seventy disciples, a man who bore the same name as the apostle Peter, and the one concerning whom Paul says, “When Cephas came to Antioch I withstood him to his face.” ***Galatians 2:11
- Matthias, also, who was numbered with the apostles in the place of Judas, and the one who was honored by being made a candidate with him, are likewise said to have been deemed worthy of the same calling with the seventy. They say that Thaddeus also was one of them, concerning whom I shall presently relate an account which has come down to us. And upon examination you will find that our Saviour had more than seventy disciples, according to the testimony of*** Paul, who says that after his resurrection from the dead he appeared first to Cephas, then to the twelve***, and after them to above five hundred brethren at once, of whom some had fallen asleep; but the majority were still living at the time he wrote.
If Cephas is one of the 70 and not Peter, then it explains the contradicting verses mentioned above. I have included Eusebius Part3 to highlight “according to the testimony of Paul, who says that after his resurrection from the dead he appeared first to Cephas, then to the twelve, and after them to above five hundred brethren at once,” 1 Cor 15:5 which shows that Paul know Cephas is not one of the Twelve and therefore, there is no reason to presuppose that in Galatians 2:9 that Paul is taking Cephas and Peter to be the same person.
I’d like your inputs to see whether is there a fault in my analysis or is this at variance with Church teachings. If not, I think this analysis may help to clarify some of the inconsistencies. Indeed I have tried to brush off this alternative explanation for quite some time, but this tiny bit of information keeps nagging at me and I know my mind will not be at ease till I get reasonable enlightenment.