Re: Did Paul Author Hebrews?

Date: Tue Sep 15 1998 - 10:11:06 EDT

Dear Ward,

In a message dated 9/14/98 2:12:16 AM Mountain Daylight Time, writes:

> 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?

That is a good summary. Luke is also suggested. As illustrated earlier,
Apollos is probably the most popular choice at this time. One very good
suggestion that has had a following in Britain but has not been picked up by
American Biblical scholarship:
Philip the Evangelist.

This has become my personal favorite because it coincides with with a number
of factors:

a. Philip was a Hellenist Jew,
b. Philip knew Paul and his ministry team (they visited with him on the way to
Jerusalem), c. he was located in Samaria--and Samaritans could possibly be the
recipients--it makes a lot more sense than Romans because:
    (1) according to Heb. 2:1-3: the gospel was comfirmed to them (as well as
Philip) by apostles (those who heard him); that really fits the Samaritan
Church in Acts 8;
     2) because of the cultic language--did you ever ask yourself why the
Hebrews author talks about the tabernacle instead of the temple? It could be
because the temple was already destroyed, but it could be because it was
addressed to Samaritans who were antagonistic towards the temple but not the
d. Many observations have been made about the parallels between Hebrews and
Stephen's speech in Acts 7. Philip was well-acquainted with Stephen--they both
were chose to be part of "the seven" in Acts 6.

I continue to be intrigued by the structure and I don't think that it matches
up with your basic Hellenistic books on rhetoric and grammar. It uses many
traditional rhetorical devices, but the way it is put together as a whole is a
horse of a different color. So I'm thinking (IMHO) that in Hebrews we are
dealing with a book written by a Hellenist Jew who wrote with the literary
patterns of a non-Palestinian sub-culture within the Hellenistic world--to go
a bit farther, the orality of the presentation could mean that it was a
recorded sermon, but it could also reflect patterns utilized by a culture that
passes on its information through oral tradition.

That's about enough rope to hang me!

Cindy Westfall
PhD Student, Roehampton

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