Bart Ehrman wrote:
>The striking thing about the Gal. 2 passage of course, is that
>Paul uses both names in the same breath without indicating that
>he's talking about the same guy . . .

Larry Hurtado responded:
>My suggestion that Paul's use of Kephas is "context-sensitive"
>and has rhetorical purposes assumes in fact that Paul's readers
>had been acquainted with both names as attached to the same
>person . . . Paul's mention of a fortnight-long visit with
>"Kephas" (1:18) seems intended to claim a first-name
>acquaintance . . .

I'm with Bart.  I'm glad to hear Larry's suggestion because any
reasonable possibility ought to be considered.  But while I see
what you're saying Larry, it sounds too ad hoc to me.  It
doesn't explain why Paul switches names without missing a beat,
then switches back again, in Galatians.

I just looked up Bart's very interesting 1990 article again,
and recommend it to anyone following this discussion who has
not seen it.  Bart Ehrman, "Cephas and Peter," JBL 109 [1990]:

I would add a comment to Larry and others: if we didn't have
John 1, there would be no direct NT evidence indicating an
identity, apart from the indirect argument that the names 
Cephas and Peter have similar meanings and in certain ways
the two figures appear to correspond in roles.  As for the
meaning of the names being the same, this argument would
hold greater weight, it seems to me, if other instances
could be cited in the ancient world in which names were
translated in meaning across languages.  I don't know that
such instances don't exist; I just am not aware of any in
the case of names.  (Counterevidence welcome.)

But back to John 1.  While I think the Gospel of John has
very early and primary material in it, such that to me it
contains better-quality historical information than the
synoptics, yet it also probably has reached the form in which
we have it quite late.  We do not know how late.  A scrap
of text in Egypt from John of c. 120 only says at least a
proto-John existed at that date; it may or may not have been
our canonical John.  By the mid- to late-second century it
almost certainly exists in our form.  Now if Ireneaus had
not succeeded in his campaign to have John included in the
canon, and we found this book among the various apocrypha
and gnostic material floating around, we would notice that
somewhere in the second century some Christians appeared to
identify Peter with Cephas.  But we probably would not
accept this identification uncritically as being historical
fact without asking hard questions.  We might consider
the most natural reading of Paul in Galatians as speaking
of two persons, and ask if there is some explanation for
why a factually incorrect tradition could emerge.

We might consider such things as popular etymology, punning
and honest mistake as viable, perhaps presumptive, 
possibilities for interpreting John 1:42.  This is done all
the time with other traditions first attested in the second
century.  Why should this tradition that Cephas was Peter
be privileged from the same type of scrutiny?

Here is what I think: I think some non-Judean Christians
among the circles that produced the synoptic gospels and
Acts consciously set up their own chief three in contrast
and supercession of the actual "three pillars" of
Jerusalem known to Paul.  What we see in the NT is the
later, and surface, literary evidence of a Gentile
Christianity disconnected (unwillingly, if I read Paul
right) from continuity with the Jerusalem church.  In this
synoptic-Acts Gentile version of their origins (we don't
have the Jerusalem church's side of it), there is a 
Peter, James, and John trio which, however, are not the
same as the Jerusalem church's Cephas, James, and John.

As Cephas was apparently the original leader of the 
Jerusalem church, so Simon Peter replaces "Kepha" in
the Gentile Church's writing of its own basis and

(These figures and names are not being invented, so far as
I can see.  I don't doubt that historical persons with
these names and bearing some near or distant degree of
verisimilitude to the figures in the gospels and Acts
existed.  It is the shaping and selection and apologetic
uses of this material which creates the constructions
which may fool us if we are not aware.  e.g. a couple of
unimportant and incidental disciples of Jesus, the 
brothers Zebedee, could have risen to gospel prominence
simply because they happened to have the right names.
The Gospel of John knows nothing of these brothers
[until the appendix at 21:2].  Just a thought.)

Steve Johnson wrote:
>That Mark makes three disciples in particular, all with
>the same names as the pillars (the one difference being
>the Semitic Cephas vs. the Greek Peter) in Jerusalem,
>to be the heavies in the gospel, seems to be a bit too
>much of a coincidence.

I agree--it *is* too much of a coincidence.  The synoptic
writers (the Fourth Gospel has no such triumverate) are
consciously copying and promoting an alternative, but
similar-sounding, leadership-origin tradition, while
downplaying the "unbelieving brothers" of Jesus, who
represent the true Jerusalem church.  This is the 
literature of Gentile Judaizers (i.e. Christians--
Gentiles worshipping a Jewish savior) after an
excommunication--and by their conscious imitation and
reaction to the Jerusalem leadership they are troubled
and embarrassed, perhaps even shamed, by the 
disconnection.  This is a struggle over who gets to 
write the history and control perceptions.  There is no
one to speak for the original pillars known to Paul.
Others with the same names have taken their place, in
the new history being created.  

Greg Doudna
West Linn, Oregon