Looking over my news feeds today, I came across an interesting article by Stephan Huller entitled “Could the Editors of the Catholic Canon Have Thrown ‘Cephas’ as a Diversion from the Real Meaning of Simon’s Name.”
In essence, the argument is that the origin of the title “Peter” is not from כיפא [‘kefa’] but from פתור [‘pitor’].
Where I’m not sure I agree with some of their assertions (for example that כיפא [‘kefa’] means “little stone” when it is used in phrases such as “ארון דכיף” [‘arun d-kif’; “a coffin/chest of stone”] in Ham 575:152 etc., because both אבנא [‘ebna’] and כיפא [‘kefa’] are used in either sense) as well as some of their conclusions (I’m one who takes conspiracy theories with skepticism by default, especially when kephas as כיפא [‘kefa’] is a less-elaborate, more Occam’s Razon-friendly solution), it is certainly thought provoking and draws some interesting connections.
In Palestinian Aramaic (but rarely in other dialects) the root פתר [‘ptar’] did carry the sense of “to interpret” as the cognate to the Hebrew פשר [‘pesher’] which makes his connection between Peter as an “interpreter” an alluring one. However, interpreting πετρος [‘petros’] as פתור [‘pitor’; i.e. ‘interpreter’] is a bit sketchy, as besides being very rare, פתור [‘pitor’] was almost exclusively used in the context of interpreting dreams (i.e. פתור חלמיה).
(Also as a completely frivolous side-note, I must admit that when I first read the proposal, when I saw “pitor” I immediately though to myself, “Well then, what about פַתוּר [‘patur’ = table]?” a much more common homograph. 🙂 )
In either case, the blog post is certainly worth a read. 🙂