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Author Topic: The Epistle of Paul to the Hebrews  (Read 736 times) Average Rating: 0
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eyesmile
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« on: November 24, 2011, 01:16:04 AM »

I have been trying to prove that Hebrews is an Epistle of Paul. The only evidence against it seems to be a twist on Barnabas in Tertullian, a quote attributed by Eusebius to Origin in reference to an unknown (to me) homily on Hebrews, and the speculation of scholars. But the writings of Origin I do have only confirm multiple times that the Epistle is Paul's and very adamantly in his extant letter to Africanus: 
Quote
9.   . . .
However, some one hard pressed by this argument may have recourse to the opinion of those who reject this Epistle as not being Paul’s; against whom I must at some other time use other arguments to prove that it is Paul’s.   . . .

This is written after the hearsay statement of :  "Who wrote the epistle is known to God alone"  in the timeline but relied on as Origin's only opinion. What's going on, is it a theological issue I should drop for the sake of peace, or am I mistaken?

Thankful for any insights.   
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J.M.C
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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2011, 05:47:07 AM »


Orthodox lectionaries introduce Hebrews as "A Reading from the Holy Apostle Paul's letter to the Hebrews...", so that is the consensus of the Church on that. I don't think there any need to prove it though.
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Clare G.
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« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2011, 06:27:47 AM »

I happen to be reading at the moment the excellent commentary on this epistle by Archbishop Dmitri Royster (of blessed memory). About the authorship he says in his introduction:

Quote
It was taken for granted by many of the great Fathers of the Church that St. Paul was the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, but even in their times there were others who doubted it. Modern biblical scholars generally question his authorship and some reject it outright, bringing forth arguments based on style and language or on differences between the known epistles of St. Paul and that addressed to the Hebrews on a number of themes, such as justification. Neither this noun nor the verb "justify" occurs in this Epistle.

St. John Chrysostom, whose commentary in the form of homilies is the most complete analysis that has come down to us, has no doubt about it. In fact, he even defends and explains his stand:

Quote
Why, then, not being a teacher of the Jews, does he send an Epistle to them? And where were those to whom he sent it? It seems to me in Jerusalem and Palestine. How, then, does he send them an Epistle? Just as he baptized, though he was not commanded to baptize. For, he says, "I was not sent to baptize": not, however, that he was forbidden, but he does it as a subordinate matter. And how could he fail to write to those, for whom he was willing even to become accursed? [Romans 9:3] Accordingly he said, "Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you [Hebrews 13:23]." (On Hebrews, Homily 1, no. 2)

There is also an ancient testimony of Clement of Alexandria, cited by Eusebius in his History of the Church:

Quote
The Epistle to the Hebrews he attributed to Paul, but says that it was written for Hebrews in their own language, and then accurately translated by Luke and published for Greek readers. Hence, in the Greek version of this epistle, we find the same stylistic color as in the Acts. The usual opening—"Paul, an apostle"—was omitted, with good reason. As Clement says: "in writing to Hebrews already prejudiced against him and suspicious of him [Acts 21], he was far too sensible to put them off at the start by naming himself." (Book VI, no. 14)


It is not our purpose to enter into a discussion of the authorship of the Epistle; we only wish to explore the richness of its message for the edification of our people.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2011, 06:35:48 AM by Clare G. » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2011, 06:30:24 AM »

Duplicate post deleted.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2011, 06:35:24 AM by Clare G. » Logged
eyesmile
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2011, 11:06:32 AM »


Orthodox lectionaries introduce Hebrews as "A Reading from the Holy Apostle Paul's letter to the Hebrews...", so that is the consensus of the Church on that. I don't think there any need to prove it though.

Thank you J.M.C ,
As a stubborn independent believer I seem to run into these issues frequently among protestant friends and tracking them down as best I can always brings me back to the truth in the Orthodox and finding that I've been Orthodox all along. It really bothers me though that some have the hubris to mess with truth about scripture and this seems to clearly happen in the case against Paul's authorship of Hebrews. Seems to be a hidden agenda behind all the pseudo-sophisticated speculation against Paul that turns out to be flimsy at best on closer examination. I hear you though and am coming around to believe that I can always safely trust the Orthodox consensus without question.
    
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eyesmile
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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2011, 01:56:56 PM »

I happen to be reading at the moment the excellent commentary on this epistle by Archbishop Dmitri Royster (of blessed memory). About the authorship he says in his introduction:

Quote
It was taken for granted by many of the great Fathers of the Church that St. Paul was the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, but even in their times there were others who doubted it. Modern biblical scholars generally question his authorship and some reject it outright, bringing forth arguments based on style and language or on differences between the known epistles of St. Paul and that addressed to the Hebrews on a number of themes, such as justification. Neither this noun nor the verb "justify" occurs in this Epistle.

St. John Chrysostom, whose commentary in the form of homilies is the most complete analysis that has come down to us, has no doubt about it. In fact, he even defends and explains his stand:

Quote
Why, then, not being a teacher of the Jews, does he send an Epistle to them? And where were those to whom he sent it? It seems to me in Jerusalem and Palestine. How, then, does he send them an Epistle? Just as he baptized, though he was not commanded to baptize. For, he says, "I was not sent to baptize": not, however, that he was forbidden, but he does it as a subordinate matter. And how could he fail to write to those, for whom he was willing even to become accursed? [Romans 9:3] Accordingly he said, "Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you [Hebrews 13:23]." (On Hebrews, Homily 1, no. 2)

There is also an ancient testimony of Clement of Alexandria, cited by Eusebius in his History of the Church:

Quote
The Epistle to the Hebrews he attributed to Paul, but says that it was written for Hebrews in their own language, and then accurately translated by Luke and published for Greek readers. Hence, in the Greek version of this epistle, we find the same stylistic color as in the Acts. The usual opening—"Paul, an apostle"—was omitted, with good reason. As Clement says: "in writing to Hebrews already prejudiced against him and suspicious of him [Acts 21], he was far too sensible to put them off at the start by naming himself." (Book VI, no. 14)


It is not our purpose to enter into a discussion of the authorship of the Epistle; we only wish to explore the richness of its message for the edification of our people.

Thank you Clare G. and I agree with the statement attributed to Clement as it is consistent with every other reference of his I found in a search on 'Epistle to the Hebrews'. This was not the case with a quote attributed to Origin by Eusebius though and every extant reference in Origin contradicts the quote attributed to him unless he was speaking of who Paul's scribe was. One reason this bothers me is that it casts yet another aspersion at Chrysostom, and I don't like it. From what I have discovered Paul's authorship was questioned early on because of what Origin describes as scandal over censorship described in his letter to Africanus surrounding the quote I shared, and revived later in the Reformation because of denial of condemnation for unrepentant apostasy, Heb 6:6 for one. Does it matter? sure it does, to me at present anyway.

Thanks again for your answer Clare the Chrysostom reference is something I had not seen and fortifies my resolve on the issue.  
« Last Edit: November 25, 2011, 02:10:04 PM by eyesmile » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2011, 10:32:27 PM »

Stylistically speaking Hebrews is so different from the rest of the Pauline corpus I would not have even considered the possibility of Pauline authorship had it not been suggested to me.

But it's not a hill on which I am going to die or anything. Authorship and textual criticism is interesting, but my main concern is whether or not the Church has recognized it...And she has, so I do.
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« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2011, 11:25:05 PM »


Orthodox lectionaries introduce Hebrews as "A Reading from the Holy Apostle Paul's letter to the Hebrews...", so that is the consensus of the Church on that. I don't think there any need to prove it though.

Thank you J.M.C ,
As a stubborn independent believer I seem to run into these issues frequently...
    
Totally man. The hurdles one has to overcome as an independent believer is nothing short of mental gymnastics.
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« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2011, 01:56:33 PM »

As a stubborn independent believer I seem to run into these issues frequently...    

Totally man. The hurdles one has to overcome as an independent believer is nothing short of mental gymnastics.

And how, many thanks Achronos. You are truly refreshing as it's neither popular or easy being outside the outside in The Son of God.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2011, 02:01:48 PM by eyesmile » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2011, 03:12:54 AM »

Stylistically speaking Hebrews is so different from the rest of the Pauline corpus I would not have even considered the possibility of Pauline authorship had it not been suggested to me.

But it's not a hill on which I am going to die or anything. Authorship and textual criticism is interesting, but my main concern is whether or not the Church has recognized it...And she has, so I do.

My Orthodox Study Bible has this introductory note:

"In the early centuries of the Church, several differing opinions circulated as to who wrote Hebrews. By the fourth century most witnesses ascribed Hebrews to St. Paul, including St. John Chrysotom (d. AD 407) and St. Athanasius (d. AD 373). Church historian Eusebius (d.c. AD 340) included Hebrews in his list of Paul's epistles, but noted that Rome rejected the letter because it was not Pauline. A Council at Carthage (AD 397) canonized Hebrews as one of fourteen epistles of Paul. All Orthodox lectionaries introduce Hebrews with 'the reading from the Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Hebrews.' Nevertheless, most biblical scholars today agree authorship of the letter is uncertain."

Whoever wrote the epistle didn't include himself or herself among the people who had directly heard the Lord (Hebrews 2:3). The apostle Paul, in contrast, said the Lord had directly revealed the gospel to him (1 Corinthians 15:8; Galatians 1:12). So, I can't help thinking the epistle's human author is someone other than Paul. Of course, obeying the epistle is far more important than figuring out who wrote it.
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« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2011, 12:48:56 PM »

Stylistically speaking Hebrews is so different from the rest of the Pauline corpus I would not have even considered the possibility of Pauline authorship had it not been suggested to me.

But it's not a hill on which I am going to die or anything. Authorship and textual criticism is interesting, but my main concern is whether or not the Church has recognized it...And she has, so I do.

My Orthodox Study Bible has this introductory note:

"In the early centuries of the Church, several differing opinions circulated as to who wrote Hebrews. By the fourth century most witnesses ascribed Hebrews to St. Paul, including St. John Chrysotom (d. AD 407) and St. Athanasius (d. AD 373). Church historian Eusebius (d.c. AD 340) included Hebrews in his list of Paul's epistles, but noted that Rome rejected the letter because it was not Pauline. A Council at Carthage (AD 397) canonized Hebrews as one of fourteen epistles of Paul. All Orthodox lectionaries introduce Hebrews with 'the reading from the Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Hebrews.' Nevertheless, most biblical scholars today agree authorship of the letter is uncertain."

Whoever wrote the epistle didn't include himself or herself among the people who had directly heard the Lord (Hebrews 2:3). The apostle Paul, in contrast, said the Lord had directly revealed the gospel to him (1 Corinthians 15:8; Galatians 1:12). So, I can't help thinking the epistle's human author is someone other than Paul. Of course, obeying the epistle is far more important than figuring out who wrote it.


Thank you both for the response and I agree that it is far more important to recognize Hebrews as being divinely inspired than to worry about who wrote it. There seems to be far more historical evidence in favor of Paul being the author and it surprises me that there is so little apologetic consensus. Seems like most biblical scholars are also somewhat secular these days.  
« Last Edit: November 27, 2011, 12:50:46 PM by eyesmile » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2011, 06:09:11 PM »

Thank you both for the response and I agree that it is far more important to recognize Hebrews as being divinely inspired than to worry about who wrote it. There seems to be far more historical evidence in favor of Paul being the author and it surprises me that there is so little apologetic consensus. Seems like most biblical scholars are also somewhat secular these days.  
Please share some of that evidence. I am curious. Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2011, 08:04:00 PM »

Thank you both for the response and I agree that it is far more important to recognize Hebrews as being divinely inspired than to worry about who wrote it. There seems to be far more historical evidence in favor of Paul being the author and it surprises me that there is so little apologetic consensus. Seems like most biblical scholars are also somewhat secular these days.  
Please share some of that evidence. I am curious. Smiley


Being curious also, I did a search for  "Epistle to the Hebrews" in an early Church Fathers program and found that every result in Clement of Alexandria and Origin confirmed Paul as being the author of Hebrews.

A well written article I recently found is a pretty good summary of what I'm finding except for the reliance on a quote attributed to Origin by Eusebius that casts uncertainty yet would have preceded his letter to Africanis (quoted above) and be contrary if accurate to every other available reference in Origin. Other than that this article explains it better than I can. Smiley   http://www.ao.net/~fmoeller/hebrew.html    
« Last Edit: November 28, 2011, 08:18:57 PM by eyesmile » Logged
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