RE: Authorship of Hebrews

From: Albert Collver, III (
Date: Wed Feb 07 1996 - 16:15:09 EST

        Maybe this raises more questions about the authorship of Hebrews than it
answers, but consider Hebrews 2:3 especially the last part of the verse.
        Upo twn akousantwn eis hemas ebebaiwqh --> it was established by those who
        From the context of the rest of the verse, it seems that the author of the
Hebrews was not an eyewitness to Christ's deeds but heard it from those who
were. The author was someone who received the message of the Gospel from the
        While I haven't heard anyone on the list suggestion it, this would rule out
Paul or any of the other Apostles. As for Pricellia, I suppose this is
possible, but there doesn't seem to be any evidence that she is the other (or
even that the author was female).
Al Collver

From: Alan D. Bulley
Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 1996 8:47 AM
Subject: Authorship of Hebrews

On Wed, 7 Feb 1996, Carl W. Conrad wrote:

> Incidentally, I want to ask Ken Litwak another question. The first time
> that you referred to Priscilla as author(ess) of Hebrews, I assumed you
> were joking. But you've repeated it more than once, and I would really like
> to know where this notion comes from if it is not the purest idle
> speculation. It's not that I have any objection to her having written it--I
> just would like to know what on earth suggests the notion that she did?

Well, I'm not Ken but I thought I'd jump in anyway.

I believe it was Adolf von Harnack ["Probabilia uber die Adresse und den
Verfasser des Hebraerbriefes," _ZNW_ 1 (1900) 16-41.] who first put
forward Priscilla's name (in desperation?) as possible author of Hebrews.
The suggestion has also been argued for by Ruth Hoppin, _Priscilla:
Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and Other Essays_ (New York:
Exposition, 1969). I imagine the argument is built heavily upon the
anonymity of the author of Hebrews, which some might read as a cover for a
female author. Priscilla has a NT reputation as a missionary in her
favour, but there would appear to be few other reasons to put her
candidacy ahead of anyone else in the running and the masculine participle
at 11:32 argues against it. An even stranger suggestion, though, has been
put forth: Hebrews was written by Mary, the mother of Jesus [J.
Massyngbaerde Ford, "The Mother of Jesus and the Authorship of the Epistle
to the Hebrews," _Bible Today_ 82 (1975) 683-694]. I can't imagine what
there is to recommend Mary as author, except perhaps access to those
little insights that only a mother can have... (just kidding!).

I want to pick up the thread on WS, Platonism, and Hebrews in another
post, now that we've gotten the fringe out of the way. :-)
Alan D. Bulley
Faculty of Theology/Faculte de theologie |
Saint Paul University/Universite St-Paul |
Ottawa, Canada
Fax: (613) 782-3005

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