A listener named Hope calls in to the show and tells Father Dave, “I don’t understand why there aren’t any Gospels by Peter if the Church was entrusted to him.” Hope shares that her parish priest told her that it was probably because Peter wasn’t that smart. Father Dave laughs at this response but points out that the priest may have been on to something.
Father Dave explains that while Peter wasn’t dumb, it was quite common that people during that time were illiterate or couldn’t write well enough to put a Gospel together. “The people that we know, and know the backgrounds of, that wrote the letters of the New Testament, mainly Paul and the Gospel writers, they did have a particular education in that area.” Father Dave points out that while we do not know for a fact that Peter was illiterate, that’s certainly one explanation.
Father Dave also says that during the time of Jesus, people would pass stories along orally in order to retain them, which is different than what we’re used to today because we document things in writing. He points out that we must find it strange today that not every one of the Apostles wrote a Gospel, but we must remember that we’re looking at this through the lens of the 21st century. During Peter’s time, it was quite normal.
Father Dave shares one other idea, “Most of the [books of the New Testament] that are set to writing happened decades after Jesus rose from the dead. And even the Gospel of John happened after Peter was martyred. Perhaps, it was on Peter’s to-do list to write in his later years, and he didn’t get to write it before his death.” Original Air 09-06-17