All posts tagged: St. Peter

Human Dignity Was a Rarity Before Christianity

In my theological writings over the past twenty years, I have often (some might say tediously often) returned to two episodes from the gospels that never quite lose their power to startle me: that of Peter weeping in the early light of dawn over the realization that, contrary to his fervent protestations of the night just past, he has denied Christ before the world; and that of Christ’s confrontation with Pilate (especially as recounted in John’s gospel). After so much time, one might reasonably expect that the fascination would wane, or at least cease to have the quality of surprise. But nothing of the sort. Recently, as I was preparing my own translation of the New Testament for Yale University Press, I found myself drawn to both episodes yet again, with the same old familiar feeling that they contain something at once momentous and uncanny, something somehow out of place and out of time. Something is happening in these passages, homely as they may seem, that never happened before. We speak today very easily, if …

A House Built on the Rock

Tucked into the eastern slope of Mount Zion is a beautiful church called St. Peter in Gallicantu (Peter at Cockcrow). It boasts beautiful, panoramic views of the city from its expansive grounds, which reveal the rolling contours of the Judean hills still undulating gracefully beneath the urban development which saddles them. The church’s location on the mountain’s shoulder does more than invite visitors to admire the view. Through its multiple levels, built one upon the other, St. Peter in Gallicantu invites pilgrims on a journey through its architectural explication of redemptive love. A visit to the church begins at its base, under the foundations. At this deepest level of the church, a visitor can access the archeological excavations which were traditionally believed to be the system of prisons underneath (or nearby) the first century house of the high priest Caiaphas, in which Jesus was kept the night of his arrest. The site was venerated by early Christians, as witnessed by the fourth century Pilgrim of Bordeaux, who, in 333, bears testimony to this site, remarking …