Re: Wisdom of Solomon and Hebrews

Date: Thu Feb 08 1996 - 12:16:23 EST

Concerning the authorship of Hebrews, Adolf Harnack in ZNTW 1 (1900) 16-41
proposed that Priscilla, with the assistance of her husband, might have
written Hebrews, and he supported his contention by appealing to the enigma
of anonymity. The name of a woman as author would have been so prejudicial
to its acceptance that it would be omitted for reason of prudence. This pair
were illustrious teachers as indicated by their ability to instruct the
eloquent Alexandrian, Apollos (Acts 18:24-28). Priscilla must have been of
high intelligence (academically and spiritually) to instruct the
educated/LOGIOS Apollos. All had close associations with Timothy (Heb 13:23)
and had come under the influence of Paul. Harnack also notes that Paul
seems now to be dead and had in has last letter (2 Tim) mentioned Timothy,
Aquila, and Priscilla, and this seems to fit the circumstances of Hebrews (as
Harnack sees it). Moreover, since the author is so closely identified with
his readers and hopes to return to them, this would be intelligible if the
group were the churh in Aquila and Priscilla's house. In the list of heroes
in Heb 11, certain women are mentioned and this is supposed to indicate a
woman's interest. The use of the singular (13:19,22,23) along with the
plural (13:18), lends some support for joint authorship. In further support
or Harnack's view, the pilgrim approach (11:13-16), the reference to nautical
terms (3:6,14; 6:19; 13:9), the interest in SKnNn since Aquila and Priscilla
were tentmakers; and the interest in childhood (5:12; 11:23; 12:7) and
parenthood (7:3; 11:23).

The above view presupposes the Pauline authorship of the Pastorals, the
reliability of the evidence in Acts 18 and seeks to make a specific case from
general themes and motifs. In my book, THE LETTERS OF PAUL (Liturgical
Press, 1993), where I discuss Hebrews, I discuss these various authorship
theories. I conclude that the author is anonymous, at least a second
generation Christian (Heb 2:3), a Greek-speaking believer probably
unacquainted with the languages of Hebrew & Aramaic and the land of
Israel/Palestine, only casually familiar with Pauline Christianity (despite
13:23). His (or her) viewpoint regarding the obsoleteness of Jewish
tradition is similar to that of the second and fourth Gospel, Barnabas, and
Diognetus (the last two expanding more on this theme).

Charles B. Puskas, Jr., Ph.D.
Religious Studies Unit
College of Liberal Arts
Metropolitan State University
Phone 612-486-8659
FAX same

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