Thanks to Mark Goodacre for giving me the link to the British New Testament Conference which was held this year at the University of Aberdeen, September 3-5.
Obviously the conference is now over, but there were a couple of papers relevant to Hebrews study:
CATHOLIC EPISTLES AND HEBREWS
Chair: Revd Dr Steve Moyter
Jonathan Griffiths (Cambridge University)
Christ as the personal “word of the oath” in Hebrews 6.13-7.28
It has long been suggested that Hebrews presents Christ as the incarnate Logos of God, an argument that has rested largely on exegesis of Hebrews 1.1-4 and 4.12-13. The debate concerning the existence and extent of this Logos Christology is ongoing. A significant, but often ignored section of Hebrews with respect to this discussion is the writer’s treatment of God’s oath in 6.13-7.28. This oath appoints Christ as high priest, enabling him to provide to others access to God’s presence and the related salvific benefits. In light of the suggestion that the writer presents Christ as the incarnate Logos elsewhere in Hebrews, it is worth considering whether in this passage the ‘word of the oath’ (7.28) has a personal and Christological significance. In this paper, I will argue that the ‘word of the oath’ does bear this significance, and, moreover that the statement in 6.17b that God ‘confirmed’ (emesiteusen) his promise by an oath should be read, ‘he mediated his promise by an oath’, with the implication that Christ’s personal mediation is there signified as the personalised ‘word of the oath’. As I demonstrate, a revised reading of 6.13-7.28 in light of a personal and Christological reading of the ‘word of the oath’ has significant implications for the broader study of Hebrews, in particular its soteriology, Christology and theology of God’s speech.
Georg Walser (Newman University College)
Jeremiah 31:31–34 (LXX 38:31–34) in Hebrews. The History of the Two Versions
of Jeremiah 31:31–34 and their Reception
The longest and one of the most interesting quotations from the Old Testament in the New is the quotation from Jeremiah 31:31–34 (LXX 38:31–34) in Hebrews 8 and 10. What is especially interesting is the fact that the text exists in two substantially different versions, a fact that hitherto has been almost totally neglected in the scholarly discussion. One version is mainly preserved in Hebrew and one mainly preserved in Greek. Consequently, in a Hebrew speaking context, of course, the Hebrew version was used, while in a Greek speaking context the Greek was used, and in a Latin speaking context both versions were used side by side. Moreover, the Greek version does not seem to be a rendering of an extant Hebrew version, but rather of another and more original Hebrew version, which is no longer extant. One of the most significant differences between the versions is the very rare use of the plural of no,moj in the Greek version (leges in the NT Latin), where the Hebrew version has Torah in the singular (lex in the OT Latin). The singular Torah apparently refers to the Torah in the Hebrew version, but to what does the plural of nomos in the Greek version refer, and how does this affect the interpretation of the text in Hebrews? This and a number of other questions raised by the different versions will be discussed in the present paper.
This paper also seems to touch upon Hebrews:
The Use of the Old Testament in the New: Engaging with Current Developments
in Jewish Studies
The relationship between the interpretation of the Old Testament in the New and early Jewish bible exegesis has long been a matter of debate in NT scholarship. Following the publication in the second half of the twentieth century of some significant studies comparing the exegetical techniques of various NT authors with Qumranic or rabbinic hermeneutics (e.g. those by Ellis, Fitzmyer, and, more recently, Lim), this subject is now commonly addressed in major NT commentaries. It is the argument of this paper that the Jewish context of the use of scripture in the NT should indeed be taken seriously, but that a closer engagement with current research in the field of Jewish Studies is necessary. The work of one of the leading rabbinic scholars of modern times, Arnold Goldberg, does not appear to have impacted widely on NT scholarship to date, for example. The paper therefore introduces the highly sophisiticated methods developed by Goldberg and his students, particularly Alexander Samely, for analysing the interpretation of biblical texts in midrash and targum, and for identifying the underlying axioms about the nature of scripture held by these early Jewish interpreters. The potential significance of their approach for NT study is illustrated by applying it to two passages from writings particularly characterised by dense citation and interpretation of the OT, Hebrews and 1 Peter. This analysis of the NT texts seeks to offer a very precise explanation of the exegetical techniques employed in them, and a new vocabulary for facilitating a comparison of NT interpretation with other forms of Jewish and Christian exegesis.