Re: Pauline Authorship of Hebrews

From: Williams, Wes (
Date: Fri Oct 02 1998 - 16:28:47 EDT

I would like to ask a naive question and I hope it has not already been
covered. Is it really proper to say that Paul did NOT author Hebrews? The
author was evidently in Italy at the time of writing (13:24). Paul was
imprisoned twice. The author was also an associate of Timothy. In 13:23, the
author writes "Take note that our brother Timothy has been released, with
whom, if he comes quite soon, I shall see you." This seems to indicate that
the writer was expecting an early release from prison and hoped to accompany
Timothy, who had also been imprisoned but who had already been released.
This would suggest the first imprisonment, the final year of which is
suggested to be 61 C.E.

While the MS evidence is not conclusive, at the same time it does not appear
to be easily dismissed. Sir Frederic Kenyon wrote on P46: "It is noticeable
that Hebrews is placed immediately after Romans (an almost unprecedented
position), which shows that at the early date when this manuscript was
written no doubt was felt as to its Pauline authorship." "The Story of the
Bible," 1964, page 91. McClintock and Strong's Cyclopedia states pointedly:
"There is no substantial evidence, external or internal, in favor of any
claimant to the authorship of this epistle except Paul." 1981 reprint, Vol.
IV, page 147.

Granted that the author did not identify their self, it was common
presupposition to the congregations who the author was (13:23,24). If it was
Paul, he may have omitted his name simply because his name was such an
object of hatred in Judea. Granted that the style is different, Paul was one
who could "become all things to all people (1 Cor. 9:22).

I am not taking any particular position here. I simply wish to make the
point that while I appreciate that the author did not identify their self
explicitly, is it really proper to go the other way and say it was NOT Paul?

Wes Williams

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