Peter is a fascinating character in all four canonical gospels, not only as a literary figure in each of the gospels respectively, but also when looked at from an intertextual perspective. This book examines how Peter is rewritten for each of the gospels, positing that the different portrayals of this crucial figure reflect not only the theological priorities of each gospel author, but also their attitude towards their predecessors. Rewriting Peter as an Intertextual Character in the Canonical Gospels is the first critical study of the canonical gospels which is based on Markan priority, Luke’s use of Mark and Matthew, and John’s use of all three synoptic gospels. Through a selection of close readings, Damgaard both provides a new critical portrait of Peter and proposes a new theory of source and redaction in the gospels.
In the last thirty years there has been an increasing appreciation of the gospels’ literary design and of the gospel writers as authors and innovators rather than merely compilers and transmitters. However, literary critics have tended to read each gospel individually as if they were written for isolated communities. This book reconsiders the relationship between the gospels, arguing that the works were composed for a general audience and that the writers were bold and creative interpreters of the tradition they inherited from earlier gospel sources. Damgaard’s view that the gospel authors were familiar with the work of their predecessors, and that the divergences between their narratives were deliberate, sheds new light on their intentions and has a tremendous impact on our understanding of the gospels.