The Coptic/Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter must be dated to 140-333 AD because:
1) The reference to Hermas could be to the Shepherd of Hermas because it may be criticizing the Shepherd of Hermas as a forgery made in the name of Hermas who was dead at the time of the 1st century Hermas. The Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter says that the Christians would "create an imitation remnant in the name of a dead man, who is Hermas, of the first-born of unrighteousness, in order that the light which exists may not believed by the little ones." The Muratorian Fragment says "but" the Shepherd of Hermas was "very recent", by Hermas the brother of Pius I under the latter's papacy of 140-155 AD. Some scholars think that the Shepherd of Hermas was forged to make itself look like it was from the 1st century under Clement's Papacy (88-99 AD) because of the reference to one "Clement" sending epistles to churches. In that case, if the text was considered by the author of the Gnostic Apo. Peter to have been made in 140-155 to make itself look like a 1st century text, then the Gn. Apocalypse of Peter would have been written after 140 AD.
Regardless of whether the text is criticizing Hermas' work as being a forgery, it's still apparently referring to Hermas' work that is likely dated to 140-155 AD.
2) The Gnostic Apo. Peter would tend to be based conceptually (as an apocalypse of Peter) on the widespread, orthodox "Apocalypse of Peter", because Marcion rewrote orthodox texts into Gnostic versions. It's also more likely that the Gnostics, as an offshoot of orthodox Christian community, would create Gnostic texts based on orthodox ones with widespread acceptance rather than the other way around. Domitian ruled in 81 to 96 AD, and the Early Writings website's entry on the orthodox Apocalypse of Peter says that DeSilva notes "most scholars... suggest that the book was written during the last years of Domitian's reign." This would imply that the Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter was written likely after 90 AD.
3) According to J. Warner Wallace, "The surviving text is a 4th century manuscript written in the Coptic language" (https://coldcasechristianity.com/writin ... -to-peter/
), referring to the Nag Hammadi discovery, so it was likely written in the 4th century or earlier.
4) Henrietta Havelaar notes in her book The Coptic Apocalypse of Peter: Nag-Hammadi-Codex VII,3
: "in the leather cover of Codex VII some paper scraps, used to strengthen the cover, were found on which the dates 333, 341, 346 and 348 are written." Thus, the work was likely composed before those dates
, since it's in Codex VII.
5) Andrea Molinari writes that T.V. Smith theorizes that the Gnostic Apo. Peter
"is related to other Petrine traditions and pseudo-Petrine writings." He singles out particularly the Gospel of Peter which he understands as having been written by a Jewish-Christian "predecessor of the Gnostic group behind [Gnostic] Apoc. Pet."
It makes sense that the Gnostics might make a Gospel of Peter before forging a Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter, since thematically gospels Precede Apocalypses. But since the time when the Gospel of Peter is uncertain, ranging from the mid-1st century until Bp. Serapion of Antioch mentioned it in his letter of 190–203 AD, this doesn't provide much certainty about a beginning potential date.
(Question) How separate are Christ the Savior and the suffering Jesus in the Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter? Are they two fully separate persons?
The Orthodox and Catholic Churches, following the Councils of Nicea and Chalcedon, teach that Jesus and Christ are the same person with the same one soul, with both a human substances and a divine one, a person who took on flesh - a human, physical body - at His Incarnation. The Church came to call the idea that Christ is actually two persons (a divine one and a human one) "Nestorianism", and to call another belief, that Christ only appeared to be human or only appeared to suffer, "Docetism".
Some scholars seem to think that the Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter considers Jesus Christ the Savior and the suffering Jesus to be two different persons with different, separate souls. Wikipedia considers the possibility that the text is Docetist:
Like some of the rarer Gnostic writings, this one also doubts the established Crucifixion story which places Jesus on the cross. Instead, according to this text, there was a substitute:
"He whom you saw on the tree, glad and laughing, this is the living Jesus. But this one into whose hands and feet they drive the nails is his fleshly part, which is the substitute being put to shame, the one who came into being in his likeness. But look at him and me."
It is unclear whether this text advocates an adoptionist or docetist Christology, but based on its literary parallels with the Second Treatise of the Great Seth, it may well subscribe to the latter.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnostic_A ... e_of_Peter
Gerard Luttikhiuizen in his essay "The Suffering Jesus and the Invulnerable Christ in the Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter" sees the text as portraying Christ in two realms simultaneously in the opening of the text, which begins:
"As the Savior was sitting in the temple, in the inner part of the building at the convergence of the tenth pillar, and as he was at rest above the congregation of the living, incorruptible Majesty, he said to me... "
If we assume that this emendation and its translation are correct, what does the text mean? Is this a reference to the earthly temple in Jerusalem or, rather, to a spiritual temple in the divine world? It is quite probably that the reference is to both places at the same time. ... GApPt[this work] frequently directs the attention to a spiritual dimension in visible reality. In particular, the subsequent phrase, 'and as he was at rest above the congregation of the living incorruptible Majesty', suggests that the Saviour is in his true spiritual environment together with all those who belong tot he Father.
The concluding statement of the text's opening passage goes: "When he (Jesus) had said these things, he (Peter) came to himself." (Bullard's translation)
Luttikhiuizen notes about this statement:
I suggest that the relevant Coptic phrase is laden with far more meaning: after Christ's teachings Peter 'came to himself (ie to his true self)'. This interpretation means that when the Savious had completed his teachings, Peter achieved the state of perfection to which he was called before by Christ: 'You too, Peter, become perfect.... just like me, the one who has chosen you.... (71.5-21).'
The scholar also tries to summarize the difference between the divine Jesus and the substitute:
In Christ's explanation, the human body of Jesus was merely a temporary dwelling-place. Moreover, he repudiated this sarkikon as the product ('the son') of quasi-glorious cosmic powers. ... As Christ disclosed in his first words addressed to Peter, 'the principalities [who wanted to attack him]' sought him but could not find him. Christ himself was fully immune to the attacks of the forces of evil. His followers could attain this level of protection if they allowed themselves to be enlightened by Christ's teaching and, accordingly, were prepared to live in this world as strangers and children of light.
It sounds like it is saying that the body is the sufferer and what is seen is the substitute, and that the followers can also achieve this protected state. Perhaps then, the "substitute" is not really a fully separate, other soul, but rather the physical body or a physical, earthly form, since the apostles also have the potential to go from their frail, vulnerable state to Christ's blessed state?
What happens is that in the dialogue, the Savior is in the Temple talking to Peter about how "He whom you saw on the tree, glad and laughing, .... the living Jesus", is different from "the son of their glory", whom "they have put to shame". And while the Savior is talking to Peter, the Savior who resembles the laughing one and is filled with the Holy Spirit approaches the Savior and Peter.
Here is the extended passage in the Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter that talks about the difference between the Jesus laughing on the cross and the one who suffered and received pain:
When he had said those things, I saw him seemingly being seized by them. And I said "What do I see, O Lord? That it is you yourself whom they take, and that you are grasping me? Or who is this one, glad and laughing on the tree? And is it another one whose feet and hands they are striking?"
The Savior said to me, "He whom you saw on the tree, glad and laughing, this is the living Jesus. But this one into whose hands and feet they drive the nails is his fleshly part, which is the substitute being put to shame, the one who came into being in his likeness. But look at him and me."
But I, when I had looked, said "Lord, no one is looking at you. Let us flee this place."
But he said to me, "I have told you, 'Leave the blind alone!'. And you, see how they do not know what they are saying. For the son of their glory instead of my servant, they have put to shame."
And I saw someone about to approach us resembling him, even him who was laughing on the tree. And he was <filled> with a Holy Spirit, and he is the Savior. And there was a great, ineffable light around them, and the multitude of ineffable and invisible angels blessing them. And when I looked at him, the one who gives praise was revealed.
Other translations of two key parts are (1) Jesus' words:
"The one whom you see above the tree, who is glad and is laughing, is the living Jesus. But that one, into whose hands and feet they are driving the nails, in his fleshly counterpart, the substitute... But look at him and Me."
And (2) Peter's narrative:
"Then I looked again and saw someone approaching that resembled the one who was laughing on the tree. He was filled with the Holy Spirit, and I knew him then to be the Savior." (Source: http://jacksonsnyder.com/sss/pages/Apoc ... nostic.htm
Next, Jesus explains the differences:
And he said to me, "Be strong, for you are the one to whom these mysteries have been given, to know them through revelation, that he whom they crucified is the first-born, and the home of demons, and the stony vessel in which they dwell, of Elohim, of the cross, which is under the Law. But he who stands near him is the living Savior, the first in him, whom they seized and released, who stands joyfully looking at those who did him violence, while they are divided among themselves. Therefore he laughs at their lack of perception, knowing that they are born blind. So then the one susceptible to suffering shall come, since the body is the substitute. But what they released was my incorporeal body. But I am the intellectual Spirit filled with radiant light. He whom you saw coming to me is our intellectual Pleroma, which unites the perfect light with my Holy Spirit."
Another translation of Jesus' explanation goes:
The one whom they crucified was the first-born in the home of demons, in a corruptible vessel with which the god of this world had his way by means of the Law and its cross. But near the first-born you have seen the living Savior, the first in spirit, whom they seized and released, who looks at his assassins with joy, while they are yet confused and divided among themselves. He laughs at their lack of perception, knowing full well that they were born blind and are blind still. The one susceptible to suffering suffered; that is, this one who they perceive with their eyes. But what they have released is my divine body. Yes, I am the all-knowing spirit filled with radiant light! The light which you saw about me is our Heavenly Host, which unite perfect light with my Holy Spirit.
The first translation above puts Jesus' persons as three, with the third person approaching Jesus and Peter, whereas the second translation consolidates Jesus' three into two.
NOTE FROM The Apocryphon of John II:
The phrase "to come to oneself"
"The Archons cast a trance over Adam which caused him to be sleepy, but it was his perception they dulled ... They make our hearts heavy that we may not pay attention and may not see. So we loose the reflection of the Divine Light within us ... The Archons burden the soul, attracting us to works of evil, and pull us down into oblivion, make us forget who we are. (The Apocrypha of John II 22: 14-10, though 27-20.)"
in modern speech can mean that a person woke up and gained consciousness. But in Apocryphon of John II, the writer doesn't mean that we have amnesia literally
like a doctor seeing a patient, but rather is talking about how we forgot our nature as we really are, which goes along with our real place in the true order of reality. It is talking about forgetting who we are spiritually. So remembering who we are would mean remembering our true nature as reflected in Gnostic teachings. Dulling Adam's perception and making our hearts heavy so that we may not see doesn't refer to literally a situation like a patient seeing a doctor for physical eye trouble, but rather "seeing" in terms of understanding.
So Peter coming to himself probably doesn't simply refer to a normal medical condition of a person regaining physical consciousness in the colloquial sense of "coming to oneself", but also in like of what you quoted would suggest that he came to who he really was in a spiritual sense.
This spiritual interpretation would also make sense in the context of how in Gnostic teachings, a person can learn something to rise to a higher spiritual order. So in the story's context, Peter learned things from Jesus and then came to his true spiritual self. The story ends with Peter coming to himself as a result of the teachings.
Finally, if we can look at the concept of Peter coming to himself as not teaching literally that there were two fully separate Peters, so that we should not interpret this phrase in some rigid literal, divisive sense, then we can also extrapolate from this that the Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter doesn't mean that there are literally two literally separate, fully divided Jesuses with two separate souls or inner beings.