Re: Did Paul Author Hebrews?

From: Ward Powers (
Date: Mon Sep 14 1998 - 00:51:00 EDT

At 00:10 98/09/14 GMT, Mark Goodacre wrote:
>On 13 Sep 98 at 22:15, Schling wrote:
>> If my memory serves me correctly (and it very well may not), Marie
>> Isaacs wrote a book that, as I recall, dealt almost solely with the
>> of Hebrews. You might want to check it out: Marie Isaacs, _Sacred Space_,
>> Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 73,
>> Academic Press, 1992). Hope this helps!
>Actually Marie Isaacs' (excellent) book does not deal much with the issue of
>authorship. For blurb and ordering information, see:

Re the authorship of Hebrews:

My understanding of the field is that the requirements are: to be a Jew,
well grounded in the Hebrew OT; to be well educated and able to write
excellent Greek; to be one of the second-generation of Christians (i.e.,
not an apostle or other high-level eyewitness) but one who is active in the
life of the early church; to have a penetrating insight into the essence of
the New Covenant in Jesus Christ.

Paul is excluded on a number of grounds, which have already been canvassed.
It is POSSIBLE that the author of Hebrews could be someone not otherwise
mentioned in the NT: but the kind of person who would write this epistle,
with its personal references (e.g., "I want you to know that our brother
Timothy has been set free" 13:23) and its contents, would almost certainly
have come to sufficient attention in the early church to be mentioned
somewhere in the pages of the NT.

When last I looked into this matter, there were four candidates for the
honour, and it was thought that there was about a 95% probability that the
author was one of these four.

The candidates were (alphabetically): Apollos; Barnabas; Priscilla; Silas.
Some people thought Priscilla excluded on principle (women do not write
Scripture) or because of a masculine self-reference in the epistle; others
held that the former is an a priori bias and that the latter can be
explained on the basis of general usage, so that Priscilla is as likely a
candidate as any other.

Is this still the state of play, or have there been recent developments?


Ward Powers

Rev Dr B. Ward Powers Phone (International): 61-2-9799-7501
10 Grosvenor Crescent Phone (Australia): (02) 9799-7501
SUMMER HILL NSW 2130 email:

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