[b-greek] Re: Some Porter comments

From: Rodney J. Decker (rdecker@bbc.edu)
Date: Wed Oct 11 2000 - 11:37:12 EDT

At 07:36 AM 10/11/00 -0500, you wrote:
>If I were not a pedantic schoolteacher, I would not have such a compulsion
>to annotate instances of what appear to me to be overgeneralizations. But I

No doubt! (i.e., re. "generalizations," not your "pedanticism" or
"compulsivity"! :)

>I think this really IS an interesting question. I do think that the Greek
>of Hebrews is beyond doubt the most difficult in the GNT, and although I
>have no way of knowing for sure, I would certainly suspect that there were
>believers who could make little sense of much of Hebrews. And is there

I agree. There are probably people of all historical eras who may possess
basic literacy but who struggle to understand technical writing--and I
suspect that the style of writing affects one's understanding as well. Most
modern English speakers struggle with Shakespeare (to say nothing of
Gadamer, etc.). Whether or not one wants to call Hebrews "technical," there
is certainly a stylistic issue. Would that we had a "native koine Greek
speaker" of whom to ask such questions!

>really any consensus or strong argument that Hebrews (6 or any other
>chapter) was intended originally for an audience of largely Jewish
>Christians in Rome? I was under the impression that authorship and
>Sitz-im-Leben for Hebrews remained to this day pretty much a NON LIQUET or
>a matter of opinions numbering roughly the same as the number of opiners.

No, of course there's no consensus, nor even unquestionably strong
arguments to sway the decision. Older, traditional views more often see a
Palestinian provenance; more recent scholarship tends to favor the Roman.
I'm merely reflecting my own tentative conclusions (published) in this
regard. I think that what we know of the Roman situation at this time and
what we know of the original readers of Hebrews meshes most neatly in Rome.
One must assume something in this regard to make much sense of the homily.
I mention it mostly to point out that the question of Greek literacy in
Palestine is only part of the question; the Greek literacy of the Diaspora
is also related.

Rodney J. Decker, Th.D. Baptist Bible Seminary
Assoc. Prof./NT PO Box 800, Clarks Summit, PA 18411
rdecker@bbc.edu http://faculty.bbc.edu/rdecker/
XNS Universal Address: =RodDecker
The *Resources for NT Study* site is accessible at:

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