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Peter is regularly referred to as "Simon Peter". But in two places in the New Testament he is called "Simeon Peter".

At the Jerusalem conference in Acts 15:

13 and after they are silent, James answered, saying, `Men, brethren, hearken to me;

14 Simeon did declare how at first God did look after to take out of the nations a people for His name,(YLT)

(the previous verses indicate that it is Peter that James is referring to)

And in the salutation of 2 Peter 1:1:

Simeon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who did obtain a like precious faith with us in the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ: (YLT)

Some translations have rendered this as "Simon" nonetheless, although the Greek is Συμεὼν.

Notably the salutation in 1 Peter is just "Peter".


Questions:

  • Is Συμεὼν (Simeon) the more faithful transliteration of what they actually would have called him?
  • Does the use of Simeon in place of Simon in these two passages say anything about the author or context?
  • Why would Peter introduce himself under different names?
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The name Συμεών (Sumeón or Symeón) occurs only seven times in the NT:

  • Luke 2:25, 34 - Simeon the prophet
  • Luke 3:30 - an ancestor of Jesus
  • Acts 13:1 - a Christian at Antioch
  • Acts 15:14, 2 Peter 1:1 - the apostle, Peter
  • Rev 7:7 - the ancient tribe of Israel

Peter's other name was also spelled Σίμων (Simón) in most places such as Matt 4:18, 16:16, 17:25; Mark 1:29, 36; Luke 4:38; Luke 5:4, etc.

I note that Σίμων (Simón) occurs 75 times in the NT and the last mention is in Acts 11:13. After that we only have the two instances of Συμεών (Sumeón or Symeón) in Acts 15:14, 2 Peter 1:1. It does not occur in 1 Peter.

The difference in spelling is probably nothing more than a difference in a combination of transliteration, pronunciation, accent and Hellenization from Hebrew of שִׁמְעון (Shimon). In any case, people in the 1st century had several names whose spelling was not uniform such as Silas (Acts 15:22, 27, 32, etc) vs Silvanus (2 Cor 1:19, 1 Thess 1:1, 2 Thess 1:1, 1 Peter 5:12).

According to BDAG, Συμεών is likely the original name of Peter and Σίμων, being a similar in sound and a common Greek name, was commonly used as a simple substitute. It is therefore significant that the only two occasions that the more formal form, Συμεών, is used is by Peter himself (2 Peter 1:1) and James at the council of Jerusalem.

This process is extremely common - note the different forms of the name Ἰωάννης which becomes (in various languages) Johann, John, Ivan, Ian, Evan, Jan, Jean, Gjin, Jack, Sean, etc. Πέτρος suffers a similar fete becoming, Peter, Pierce, Boutros, Pierre, Pyotr, Pjetër, Pedro, etc.

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