Peter the Rock – what the Roman Papacy was, and what it might become


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Who would dare to challenge the tradition that Jesus appointed Peter to be the rock, the foundation of the Christian Church? Who would even explore the possibility that Peter did not found the Christian Church and become the first bishop?  Who? Another Martin Luther?  No, a contemporary critic called Robert Crotty!  A brilliant critical analysis of a religious phenomenon called ‘The Papacy,’ …
Norman Habel ~ Professorial Fellow, Flinders University 

As in so many other times, the Church institution itself has to ask: who is ‘Peter’ today? The answer probably should be quite radical. It is not my place even to make suggestions as to a new structure – that is the role of the Church members. But it seems obvious that something must be done; the answer is not the Papacy as understood today. ‘Peter’ needs renewal. 
With the election of Pope Francis I, who shrugs off the trappings of high living and pompous ceremony there is a heightened interest in the Papacy, the line of Popes. 
This book claims to demonstrate that many statements are not at all historically valid and the seemingly logical conclusion must therefore be questioned. Here are some reasons for this position defended in the book: 
•    Jesus of Nazareth was a Jewish teacher, proclaiming the Reign of God to a Galilean audience and he had nothing to do with the foundation of a separate Church, different to Judaism.
•    There is no historical evidence, as against the Synoptic gospels, that Jesus of Nazareth appointed Peter to any office or any succession.
•    Peter was never a universal Church leader, never a Roman leader or Bishop, possibly not even a house-church leader.
•    There was no monarchic Bishop of Rome until well into the second century
•    It was many centuries before the Pope in Rome even claimed to be the Head of the universal Church
•    The affirmation of a line of Popes as successors to ‘Peter’ belongs to the Church Story not to history. 

The Author:
Robert studied Theology, Biblical Studies and History in Australia, Rome and Jerusalem. He has taught at tertiary level in the fields of Biblical Studies, Biblical Languages and Religion Studies for some forty-five years.  He has been a Visiting Scholar several times at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Oxford University, and a Visiting Fellow at the Woolf Institute, Cambridge University. Robert ended his formal teaching career as the Professor of Religion and Education at the University of South Australia. In 2004 that University made him an Emeritus Professor.
Robert Crotty
STL (Rome), SSL (Rome), MA (Melbourne), PhD (Adelaide), Élève Titulaire de l’École Biblique (Jerusalem)