Indulge me, please, with another resurrection post ... we are still well within the "50 Days of Easter"! It will be last one for Pascha 2022.
I have never noticed before the unusual character of the verse, Luke 24:12.
But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened. (NRSV)
1. Not all ancient manuscripts have this verse. That means it may not have been known to Luke himself and may have been added later (e.g. to bring Peter into the story at an earlier stage than otherwise, see Luke 24:34). REB confines the verse to a footnote.
2. The verse is reminiscent of aspects of Peter and the Beloved Disciple's racing/running to the tomb and seeing into it, in John 20:3-10: thus:
20:3 Then Peter and ... set out and went toward the tomb.
20:4 The two were running together ...
20:5 He [the Beloved Disciple] bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there ...
20:6 ... Simon Peter ... saw the linen wrapping lying there ...
20:10 Then the disciples returned to their homes ...
The emboldened words in Luke 24:12 and John 20:5 are exactly the same in Greek.
3. How to explain the relationship between Luke 24:12 and John 20:3-10. Did one copy/adapt from the other? Did they both draw on a common tradition?
C.F. Evans, in his commentary, Saint Luke (SCM/Trinity Press International, 1990), pp. 899-900 lists three explanations for Luke 24:12:
A. "Luke wrote the verse, and it was later used by John." He then observes, "Against this is that some of the common language is characteristic of John rather than of Luke."
B. "Luke and John have used a common tradition of the empty tomb story in which disciples (Peter) were connected with the tomb, each doing so in his own way. Luke has combined it with Mark's story, while John has incorporated the beloved disciple into it." Evans then observes, "Against this, apart from the Johannine character of the language referred to above, the verse would be the only evidence for such a common tradition to be found in Luke's version, which is otherwise based on Mark's, and it follow awkwardly after 'an idle tale', giving the impression of something tacked on.
Yes, explanation C is the one!
C. "The verse is a later harmonizing addition to Luke's text, formed largely out of language borrowed from John 20:1-10, with the object of improving the transition to the narrative of appearances, and of brining Peter (cf. v. 34) into relation to the tomb." For Evans, "This is the most likely explanation of the presence of the verse here, and of its clumsiness."
Now various things can be contested here (e.g. I have seen a commentator deny that the language in v. 12 is Johannine), but the verse is a clumsy one relative to the verses preceding and succeeding it, and explanation C has a certain plausibility to it.
What does this mean for insight into the composition of the resurrection narratives?
Perhaps there are many insights!
Here is one insight:
The narratives across Mark, Luke and John are interested in the role of Peter as a witness to the resurrection - noting that Paul's tradition in 1 Corinthians 15:5 reports a specific appearance "to Cephas" prior to an appearance "then to the twelve."
Matthew, who follows Mark to a significant degree in Matthew 28:1-7, fails to follow Mark 16:7, where the messenger from God at the tomb says, "But go, tell his disciples and Peter ...".
Luke (who avoids any talk of appearances of Jesus in Galilee, in both Luke 24 and Acts 1) notes in 24:34 a specific appearance to "Simon", but via an indirect report. Luke 24:34 is consistent with 1 Corinthians 15:5.
Luke 24:12 places Simon Peter at the tomb but without account of an appearance of the risen Lord to him.
Otherwise, we assume in Matthew's Galilee appearance (28:16-20) and Luke's Jerusalem appearance to all the gathered disciples, that Peter is present in that group.
Similarly, in John 20, we assume that Peter is present in both accounts of appearances to the gathered disciples - only Thomas is noted as missing from the first account.
Nevertheless, in John 21, the appearance of the Lord to seven disciples gathered together at the Sea of Tiberias (i.e. in Galilee) becomes a major encounter between Jesus and Simon Peter.
Is there a developing interest in the role of Simon Peter as a witness to the resurrection, through the decades in which the gospels are composed (and, in the case of Luke 24:12 edited)?
But, why then does Matthew show no interest in Peter in his post resurrection narratives?
A possible deduction is that Matthew is a Palestine-based gospel and Peter is long gone from Palestine to Rome.
By contrast, if Mark is Rome-based (as many have supposed), then his interest in Peter is understandable. Luke is not as interested in Peter as he is in Paul, but Peter is important, and Paul himself does not omit the "appearance to Peter" tradition from his list in 1 Corinthians 15.
John, as best we can tell, is neither a Palestine nor a Rome based gospel. Possibly he composes his gospel in Ephesus. But his gospel represents a distinctive form of early Christianity, Johannine Christianity and this development is in contrast, if not in tension with the Pauline - Petrine Christianity across the water in Rome. So Peter figures prominently in John's Gospel, especially in the epilogue which is chapter 21. But the emphasis on Peter is not about boosting Petrine Christianity; it's about defending Johannine Christianity as a worthy form of Christianity, with as strong a foundation in the ministry of Jesus Christ as Petrine Christianity has.
All this is pretty well known.
Luke 24:12 offers the possibility of a strengthening of this analysis.