[quote=Mystophilus]As for the Fathers, whom have you found who discusses this? I have looked a few times, and have yet to locate any early commentaries on this text except two. Origen says:if we too have said like Peter, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” not as if flesh and blood had revealed it unto us, but by light from the Father in heaven having shone in our heart, we become a Peter, and to us there might be said by the Word, “Thou art Peter,” etc. For a rock is every disciple of Christ of whom those drank who drank of the spiritual rock which followed them, and upon every such rock is built every word of the church,
John Chrysostom says:He added this, "And I say unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church;"that is, on the faith of his confession.Thus, the only Church Fathers from whom I have managed to locate comments thus far do not identify “petra” with “petros”, and Origen views the passage in the same way that I do: as a relation rather than an identification or a disjunction. Whom else have you found who comments upon this passage?
I believe that most of the Fathers would interpret Peter as the Rock and Peter’s confession as the rock. It usually isn’t one or the other. This is where the confusion comes in for many people. The fathers rarely meant their interpretation in an exclusive sense. Other church fathers even interpret Peter’s successors as the rock. I ask you to please read this link on St. John Chrysostom and the Petrine Primacy. Among the quotes they attribute to St. John Chrysostom (I assume they are genuine, but I can’t say they are because I haven’t gone and tracked them all down).
“Peter, that head of the Apostles, the first in the Church, the friend of Christ, who received the revelation not from man but from the Father…this Peter, and when I say Peter, I mean the unbroken Rock, the unshaken foundation, the great apostle, the first of the disciples, the first called, the first to obey.” (De Eleemos III, 4, vol II, 298)
But, anyway, read it. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
The idea of the Fathers using multiple interpretations, but not exclusive ones, became very clear to me when reading this wonderful argument for the Catholic interpretation of the Rock from Augustine’s work. Basically, depending on what heresy Augustine is combating, that depends on how he will interpret it. At various times:
"Number the bishops from the see of Peter itself. And in that order of Fathers see who succeeded whom, That is the rock against which the gates of hell do not prevail."
Psalmus contra partem Donati, 18 (A.D. 393),GCC 51
“When, therefore, He had said to His disciples, 'Will ye also go away?” Peter, that Rock, answered with the voice of all, "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.’ "
Homilies on John, Tract 11:5(A.D. 417), in NPNF1,VII:76
But then he identifies Peter as the Rock and counts his successors from there in another passage…
"For if the lineal succession of bishops is to be taken into account, with how much more certainty and benefit to the Church do we reckon back till we reach Peter himself, to whom, as bearing in a figure the whole Church, the Lord said: ‘Upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it !’ The successor of Peter was Linus, and his successors in unbroken continuity were these:[edited for character length]… whose successor is the present Bishop Anastasius. In this order of succession no Donatist bishop is found. But, reversing the natural course of things, the Donatists sent to Rome from Africa an ordained bishop, who, putting himself at the head of a few Africans in the great metropolis, gave some notoriety to the name of ‘mountain men,’ or Cutzupits, by which they were known."
To Generosus, Epistle 53:2(A.D. 400), in NPNF1,I:298
(Read the whole thing to see all his various references to Peter as the Rock.)
But Augustine also says Christ is the Rock. He also says the confession is the rock! Again, I stress, they aren’t exclusive.
Mystophilus, I encourage you to read both of those links. They’re enlightening, I think.