Re: Wisdom of Solomon and Hebrews

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Thu Feb 08 1996 - 13:17:05 EST

Charles Puskas sent the following to me; it quite clearly needs to be
posted to the list as well, and he has authorized me to forward it.

>Date: Thu, 8 Feb 1996 12:16:23 -0500
>Subject: Re: Wisdom of Solomon and Hebrews
>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

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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