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Group 8: Peter

Page history last edited by Ms. McGuire 10 years, 6 months ago

Group 8: Joseph P, Cody, Fabrice G. and Sashanna J.







Peter is remembered by Christians as a saint; the fisherman who became the right-hand man of Jesus himself, the leader of the early church and a father of the faith. But how much of his fascinating story is true? How much do we know about the real Peter?

Of all the disciples that Jesus chose we know most about Peter. He is one of the most carefully described characters in the New Testament and yet the picture we have is a composite from various authors at various times and there are still many things the Bible does not tell us. However, there are other sources of evidence now available that can take us closer than ever before to the historical Peter. Great insight can be drawn from modern science, archaeology and countless other ancient texts, many of which have only come to light recently having been lost for centuries.

The Bible tells us that Peter was a fisherman by trade and that he lived in the village of Capernaum on the shores of Lake Galilee. Early in three of the gospel accounts there is a story of Jesus healing Peter's mother-in-law, which clearly implies Peter had his own house and that it accommodated his extended family. All these details are historically plausible but recent archaeology has been able to support them with hard evidence.

Excavations in Capernaum have uncovered the remains of a synagogue and several houses, one of which could be the very house of Peter himself. The original structure is a series of rooms around a central courtyard, easily big enough for a large family. Scholars agree they may never know for certain if it is the home of the apostle but it is clear that the site was venerated very early on by Christian believers. The evidence shows that the family home became a public meeting place and several shrines were subsequently built on the site. Today a Catholic church stands over the ruins.

Religious painting of Peter, shown holding a cross and what look like nails

6th-century icon of Peter from a Mount Sinai monastery ©

However, the house is not the only significant find in the area. In 1985 after several years of drought, the water level of Lake Galilee had dropped and one day two walkers saw a very distinctive shape in the mud. Archaeologists uncovered the remains of a boat, amazingly preserved since its use on the lake before the 1st century. The boat was partly made of expensive, imported wood and was so big that it would have needed at least 12 people to handle it. For the first time archaeologists had a precise idea of the type of boat Peter owned; the one that transported Jesus and his disciples.

Life was undoubtedly far from easy in first-century Galilee; the land was occupied by the Romans, taxes were high and labour was hard. However, both the house and the boat can help to dispel the romantic notion that Peter was a humble fisherman from a rural backwater. Galilee was in fact a strategic part of the Roman Empire and Capernaum and the surrounding settlements were centres of commerce where at least two languages were spoken. Could it be that Peter was not in fact a poor fisherman but a businessman with his own boat, hired help and a family to feed? 


Jesus' effect on Peter


Whatever Peter's life was like before, it was turned upside down by Jesus. The story goes that Jesus called Peter to follow him and Peter did not hesitate; he left everything and embarked on an incredible journey of discovery. In fact one could say that Jesus altered his very identity, for it was Jesus that changed his name from Simon to Peter. This was a hugely significant nickname, for in every language other than English Peter means 'The Rock'. Jesus appointed Peter as the rock on which he would build his church but the character revealed in the gospels seems far from stable, so did Jesus really know what he was doing?

In many episodes throughout the gospel narratives we get a great insight into Peter's character.

One stormy night the disciples were battling against the waves as they crossed the lake. As dawn was breaking they saw Jesus coming out to them, walking on the water. They were terrified, thinking it was a ghost, but Peter asked Jesus to call him out onto the lake with him. Peter took a few steps towards Jesus on the water but fear and doubt then made him sink. Peter is remembered in this episode for his lack of faith but, as commentators point out, although he failed he was the only one to try.

Peter, shown as a man with a grey beard and halo, with other disciples

Peter in a 1425 Florentine fresco by Masaccio ©

On another occasion Jesus asks his disciples who they think he is, Peter is the one who says "You are the Messiah". In Matthew's account Jesus commends Peter's observation; it seems the penny has finally dropped! But just moments later Peter receives Jesus' sharpest rebuke "Get behind me Satan!" because he tries to dissuade Jesus from the path of suffering and death. Peter shows he does not fully understand the nature of Jesus' Messiahship. Throughout the gospel narratives Peter seems so near and yet so far from understanding Jesus' message and yet he is consistently portrayed not only as one of the chosen 12 but as one of Jesus' most intimate group of three or four.

Peter is the spokesperson for the disciples but frequently says the wrong thing at important moments. He is constantly asking questions and is not afraid to argue with Jesus. He is rash, impetuous and even foolish at times but he is never slow to pledge his absolute loyalty to his master. However, he was not to know how much this would be tested. 




Lyrics to Peter:Where to Now St.Peter 

So where to now St. Peter

If it's true I'm in your hands

I may not be a Christian

But I've done all one man can

I understand I'm on the road

Where all that was is gone

So where to now St. Peter

Show me which road I'm on

Which road I'm on


Author:Elton John,Unknown Date,Elton John Song Lyrics,10/26/09 http://www.eltonography.com/songs/where_to_now_st_peter.html






Quotes from St. Peter

 "Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit,

hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind." - Peter 



"Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts" (Peter 3:3).

Author Unknown, unknown date, Gaia Community, 10/25/09,http://www.gaia.com/quotes/st-peter


YouTube plugin error


Link to Video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqXTIOEj5YA


Video was founded by Shashanna Joseph and was put up by Fabrice Gibbons


St. Peter's Basilica 


St. peters's Basilica was ordered to be built by


Emperor Constantine, the first Christian emperor of




This great building is the center of christianity. The
opulence of the building's interior bears testimony to
the wealth of the catholic church in the 16th century.




Biblical Reference


John 1:42 

42And he brought him to Jesus.

      Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas" (which, when translated, is Peter).



Peter Denies Jesus (Mark 14:66-72)

-Peter denies Jesus three times before realizing that Jesus was right all along.




Author,BBC, (September 18,2009):BBC Religions 10/22/09



Author,D.J.(1970) Elton John Music 10/26/09:



Author Elyrics, (Unknown) elyrics, 10/25/09,



Author Unknown, (2009), Gaia Community, 10/25/09,

      From http://www.gaia.com/quotes/st-peter


Author,ZC. (1995), Biblegateway, 10/26/09,



Video Author,Published Date could not be found,Date of Retrieval 10,22,09

From: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqXTIOEj5YA



Comments (2)

Ms. McGuire said

at 8:05 am on Oct 23, 2009

When you copy information from the website, you must write the name of the website you borrowed the information from. So at the end of the from the BBC just type BBC in parenthesis. Then at the end of the page,you should have a bibliography. See me if you are confused or you can e-mail me at sfpmcg@gmail.com.

gerilyn said

at 5:45 pm on Oct 25, 2009

Nice variety. Please make sure all members of contributing to page.
Also, remember to include at least one Gospel reference.
How about Movie's ?
you can also include note about movies we have watched with symbolism to Peter.

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