Sunday, May 12, 2024

Patterns of Repetition, Structure, and Meaning in Hebrews

"While many have recognized unusual patterns of repetition within the book of Hebrews, which seem to play a range of important functions within the text, the consistency of this patterning has not been fully appreciated and its function has been largely unexamined. This study investigates the location and function of what we have termed "link clusters" within Hebrews from the perspective of discourse analysis, to gain fresh insight into the language, structure, and genre of Hebrews; into the book's relationship to the Old Testament; and into the book's authorship and meaning. This work proposes, first, that Hebrews uses repetition to establish formal connections between words and phrases marked as significant by their location and context with respect to other similarly connected words and phrases; second, that link clusters serve to structure the book of Hebrews by uniting the text into a series of overlapping, concentric, and coherent units; and, third, that link clusters also serve an important topical function, clarifying and amplifying intended meaning as pairs of matching topic sentences that respectively introduce and conclude each section and subsection of the discourse by summarizing its content."

Friday, May 3, 2024

Amy Peeler's Commentary on Hebrews

The publication date is said to be May 21 but apparently Amy's commentary is available now:

Amy Peeler. Hebrews. Commentaries for Christian Formation. Eerdmans.


"How can the Letter to the Hebrews help Christians grow in their faith?

The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that God is trustworthy—that we can trust in Jesus’s defeat of death to lead us to eternal life. Complicating this crucial message, the letter’s enigmatic origins, dense intertextuality, and complex theological import can present challenges to believers wrestling with the text today.

Amy Peeler opens up Hebrews for Christians seeking to understand God in this learned and pastoral volume of Commentaries for Christian Formation. Her fresh translation and detailed commentary offer insights into Christology, the relationship between Judaism and Christianity, and the letter’s canonical resonances. She pays special attention to how the text approaches redemption, providing consolation for the anxious and correction for the presumptuous.

Peeler explains the letter’s original context while remaining focused on its relevance to Christian communities today. Pastors and lay readers alike will learn how Hebrews helps them know, trust, and love God more deeply."

Monday, April 29, 2024

Believers Church Bible Commentary on Hebrews

Debra J. Bucher and Estella Boggs Horning. Hebrews. Believers Church Bible Commentary. Herald Press.


"What constitutes a faithful life? At its most basic level, the New Testament book of Hebrews considers this essential question and pleads with its audience to find in faithful living the rest that Christ offers. The book begins with a poetic reflection on the one who lived the most faithful of lives—Jesus—and concludes with words of exhortation to go and do likewise.  

In the 37th volume in the Believers Church Bible Commentary series, scholars Debra J. Bucher and Estella Horning examine at great length one important aspect of Hebrews: Jesus as the “new covenant” and the “once for all,” better sacrifice who replaces the daily and yearly sacrifices offered in the temple in Jerusalem. The authors give attention to the ways this idea has been used to minimize the value of other religious traditions and even to legitimize the horrors of the mid-twentieth century. They carefully unpack the language around sacrifice and covenant based on the saving work of Jesus, drawing out encouragement found in Hebrews to live as individuals and as a community led by Jesus, the pioneer and high priest. 

Bucher and Horning don’t shy away from the difficult language in Hebrews, but rather help readers understand its historical context and then how to use the text with love within our own context. 

About the Believers Church Bible Commentary series 

This readable commentary series is for all who seek more fully to understand the original message of Scripture and its meaning for today—Sunday school teachers, members of Bible study groups, students, pastors, and other seekers. —From the Series Foreword."

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Consolatory Rhetoric in Hebrews (and Other Hellenistic Literature).

Christine R. Trotter. Hellenistic Jews and Consolatory Rhetoric: 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, 1 Thessalonians, and Hebrews. Mohr Siebeck.

"Christine R. Trotter elucidates how Hellenistic Jewish writers attempted to comfort those living in the midst of and in the wake of persecution and violence. While past scholarship has explored this question primarily in terms of the development of Jewish apocalypticism and afterlife beliefs, Christine R. Trotter takes a comprehensive approach by investigating how Hellenistic Jewish authors engaged with ancient consolatory rhetoric, that is, the means of persuasion intended to move a suffering person out of grief and into joy. Through studies on 2 Maccabees, the Wisdom of Solomon, 1 Thessalonians, and Hebrews, the author explicates how Hellenistic Jewish authors navigated the diverse traditions of consolation within their biblical heritage and Greco-Roman culture. Her work has important implications for the genre of 1 Thessalonians and the dates of composition of the Wisdom of Solomon and Hebrews."

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Robert Wall on Reading Hebrews

I have just discovered this book which is newly published:

Robert W. Wall. Reading Hebrews (Second Series):A Literary and Theological Commentary. Smyth & Helwys.

Book Description

The New Testament’s letter “To the Hebrews” presents one of Scripture’s most influential interpretations of Jesus as God’s Son and exalted Messiah, who is both the essential revelation of a covenant-keeping God and the faithful agent of God’s eternal salvation. Yet Hebrews is routinely neglected in its study and proclamation in part because of its exclusion from either of the two canonical collections of apostolic letters, Pauline and Catholic. But context matters. This commentary argues that the context that matters most for a close reading and careful practice of Hebrews as Scripture is the one that surrounds the letter within the final edition of the New Testament canon. Rather than a rival of Paul’s crucified Christ or someone other than the exemplary Jesus of the Catholic Epistles, the priestly Christ Jesus of Hebrews, both divine and yet “made like his human sisters and brothers in every respect” (2:17), is received as their canonical complement to provide a more complete inspired interpretation of the church’s Lord and Savior than is possible by one or another biblical witness.

Friday, April 5, 2024

Bible Study Method and the Key to Hebrews

Here is a new podcast with Andy Miller and Rick Boyd on the topic of "Bible Study Method and the Key to Hebrews."

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Robert J. Cara Commentary on Hebrews

Newly published:

Robert J. Cara. Hebrews: A Mentor Commentary. Christian Focus Publications, 2024.


"New Testament professor Robert J. Cara’s addition to the Mentor Commentary series highlights the timely message of Hebrews to persevere in Christ.

Bringing a particularly Reformed viewpoint, Robert J. Cara underscores the presentation of Jesus as the Son and high priest. In a letter written to encourage and exhort the believers, Cara uncovers how the superior person and superior work of Jesus is broadcast loud and clear to draw back hearts tempted to drift from this glorious reality.

Cara’s love for studying God’s word shines through this comprehensive and clarifying commentary. He connects God’s word to God’s world and brings each section to a close by culminating with a personal reflection that encourages us to delight in and absorb the glorious truth on display.

An essential guide to understanding, enjoying and applying Hebrews; rediscover the supremacy of Christ and respond with rekindled affection."

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Loader Reviews Urga, Intercession of Jesus in Hebrews

William R. G. Loader reviews Abeneazer G. Urga, Intercession of Jesus in Hebrews: The Background and Nature of Jesus’ Heavenly Intercession in the Epistle to the Hebrews in RBL.


New Irish Theological Quarterly Article

Moore, Nicholas J. “Supersessionism and the Cult Attitude of Stephen and Hebrews.” Irish Theological Quarterly (2024): 1–18.

"In the face of continued debates about Christian supersessionism with regard to Judaism, this article revisits two texts which have been thought to display the harshest anti-temple attitudes in the New Testament: Stephen’s speech in Acts 7, and the Letter to the Hebrews. Many scholars believe these two texts are connected, and a perceived anti-cultic attitude forms one of the key alleged similarities between the two. The article first examines shared lexical and conceptual points between the two texts, affirming their proximity. It then examines each text’s cult attitude in turn. Stephen portrays the temple as divinely given yet always subordinate to God’s heavenly presence. Hebrews frames deficiencies in the Levitical cultus as divinely intended in light of the heavenly tabernacle. These texts therefore do not condemn but instead relativize Israel’s earthly sanctuary/ies, in keeping with themes in Israel’s Scriptures, and thus should not be regarded as supsersessionist."

New NTS Article

Cole, M. I. “‘Somewhere Someone Testified’: TheHermeneutical Function of Indefinite Citation Formulae in the Epistle to theHebrews.” New Testament Studies 70.1 (2024): 99–110.

"The author to the Hebrews makes the seemingly strange choice to introduce two quotations from the LXX with indefinite markers (Heb 2.6; 4.4). While some commentators do not consider these introductions, others have argued that they function either rhetorically to engage the audience or theologically to highlight the divine speaker. This article argues that a hermeneutical function better explains the author's choices: the author uses the indefiniteness to guide his audience in how to interpret each quoted passage. The author uses the indefinite marker of place (που) to remove both Gen 2.2 and Ps 8.5–7 LXX from their salvation-historical context; this results in the rest of God (Heb 3–4) and the role of humanity within creation (Heb 2) applying equally to the present and the coming ages. He pairs this with the indefinite marker of person (τις) in his introduction to Ps 8 to indicate that the audience should not interpret it prosopologically as the speech of the Son to the Father; rather the Psalm testifies to the role of humanity within the present and the coming worlds, a role which the Son incarnate fulfils. This hermeneutical explanation aligns with other instances of indefinite citation markers in Second Temple Judaism, most notably in Philo. This argument, therefore, both adds depth to the characterisation of the author as a careful reader of Scripture and brings out the intended meaning and function of Ps 8 and Gen 2 in the discourse of Hebrews more clearly."

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Two New Novum Testamentum Articles

Jihye Lee. "Jesus’s Solidarity with Human Mortality and Perfection of Sonship in the Epistle to the Hebrews." Novum Testamentum 66.1 (2024): 95–111.

In relation to the discussion on the concept of perfection in Hebrews, the author’s emphasis on Jesus’s solidarity with human mortality has been considered as simple reference to the precondition of his Christological role and his sympathetic character, which shares human weaknesses. However, the substantial connection between the discussions on sonship in Heb 12 and on the Son in Heb 1–2 suggests a fresh reading of the text’s emphasis on Jesus’s mortality along with his role as ἀρχηγός of other sons. The author of Hebrews presents the notion that human mortality is a divinely designed opportunity for the sons of God to acquire the discipline necessary to be prepared to become the heirs of the eternal inheritance. The one who totally entrusts his own life to the Father is the genuinely obedient son, and this true obedience is cultivated when the sons choose obedience on the occasion of the test, i.e., “fear of death,” which is unaffectedly derived from the status of mortality.

Matthew C. Easter. "'Profane Like Esau': Sexual Immorality, Bitterness, and Community Abandonment in Hebrews 12:14–17." Novum Testamentum 66.1 (2024): 112–25.
The author of Hebrews accuses Esau of sexual immorality in Heb 12:16. This essay argues Esau’s sexual immorality is his marriage to foreign women, which sowed seeds of discord in the family and led ultimately to his unredeemable exclusion from the community. Esau’s exogamous marriage, as such, is not the concern in Hebrews, but rather how his mixed marriage introduced bitterness into the family and led ultimately to him abandoning the group. Like the wilderness generation in Num 13–14, Esau lost his inheritance by failing to persevere with the community. Tested against recent studies of conversion and deconversion, we see how Esau becomes a paradigmatic community-abandoning apostate and a warning against similar abandonment. 

Saturday, January 20, 2024

New Resources Added

I have added a link to the following resource under Theses & Dissertation:

Tomesch, Harald. "Genre and Outline: The Key to the Literary Structure of Hebrews." Th.D. diss., Concordia Seminary, 1996. 

I have added a link to the following resource under Books (Complete):

Bligh, John. Chiastic Analysis of the Epistle to the Hebrews. 1966.

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Cortez Reviews Lee

A link to the following review with RBL has been added to the Book Reviews page:

Lee, Jihye. A Jewish Apocalyptic Framework of Eschatology in the Epistle to the Hebrews: Protology and Eschatology as Background. Library of New Testament Studies 662. Review by Félix H. Cortez.


Wednesday, January 3, 2024

The Obedience of Sonship

I just discovered this new book:

Timothy J. Bertolet. The Obedience of Sonship: Adamic Obedience and the Heavenly Ascension in Hebrews. Fontes Press.

"The ascension of Jesus in the book of Hebrews remains an understudied theme in the scholarly literature on Hebrews. This study explores the relationship between the Sonship of Christ and his ascension in the book of Hebrews. Wading into recent debates by scholars over the nature Hebrews’ Christology, this study argues that Hebrews 1 and 2 show the Son is both divine and human. As divine, the Son radiates the glory of God, and that glory is put on display in the ascension. Equally, as the incarnate human, the Son fulfills the telos of humanity in his ascension where he is “crowned with glory and honor” and becomes the first human to participate in the age to come, having effected this transition of the ages. He ascends as the glorified eschatological man as a forerunner for the “sons of glory.” This aspect of Hebrews’ presentation of the Son can rightly be called a “Second-Adam Christology.” The Son fulfills the human vocation through his cries with loud tears in an exercise of Adamic-Davidic obedience and faithfulness. The Son’s trust in the Father through his suffering qualifies him to receive the eschatological glory of Adam and ascend up to the divine throne. Thus, for Hebrews, the Son’s ascension both confirms the Son’s fulfillment of humanity’s destiny and reveals the Son’s divine identity."

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Cortez Reviews So Great a Salvation

Félix Cortez reviews So Great A Salvation: A Dialogue on the Atonement in Hebrews, edited by Jon C. Laansma, George H. Guthrie, and Cynthia Long Westfall, in Review of Biblical Literature.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Studies on the Letter to the Hebrews

Although I did not see it at SBL, apparently this book is now out:

Wolfgang Kraus. Studium zum Hebräerbrief. Biblische Zeitschrift - Supplements 6. Leiden: Brill, 2023.

Translation of the description:
"This volume deals with studies on various theological and literary questions of the letter to the Hebrews, including intention and objective, addressees, ecclesiology, covenant concept, Jesus as a “mediator”, meaning of Jesus' death, speech about God, Christology, Hebrews 13, reception of scripture, Church and Israel. The Epistle to the Hebrews enjoys lively interest in recent research. The author of it is increasingly seen as the third great theologian of the New Testament, alongside Paul and John. Many detailed questions are still unresolved. The studies were created over the last 15 years as preparatory work for a commentary on Hebrews. They address important questions in the interpretation of Hebrews and attempt to advance research one step further."

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Divine Action in Hebrews

New book, co-edited by my friend Gary Cockerill, and recently published:

Cockerill, Gareth Lee, Craig Bartholomew, and Benjamin T. Quinn, eds. Divine Action in Hebrews and the Ongoing Priesthood of Jesus. Zondervan Academic, 2023.


"Recent years have seen renewed interest in divine action, but much of the literature tends to focus on the science-theology discussion. Resulting from multi-year work of the Scripture and Doctrine Seminar, part of KLC's Scripture Collective, this book attends to the portrayal of divine action in one major biblical text, namely Hebrews. In the New Testament, Hebrews is on par with Romans in terms of importance but has too often been overlooked. Contributors to this volume explore the many different ways in which divine action is foregrounded and portrayed in Hebrews. As its name indicates, Hebrews overflows with Old Testament intertextuality, which also makes it a fertile ground for analysis of divine action stretching back into the Old Testament and opening out into different parts of the NT. The essays in this volume:

  • rigorously work the interface of theology and exegesis, all related to Hebrews;
  • offer an overview of the current state of discussion of divine action and the importance of exploring divine action in specific biblical texts, with special reference to William Abraham's recent 4 volume work with OUP;
  • provide an overview of the reception history of Hebrews in theologies of divine action;
  • explore how this has this played out in historical theology and what a retrieval of Hebrews for a theology of divine action might mean today;
  • explore the relationship between the doctrine of God and divine action in Hebrews, including an engagement with classical theism;
  • provocatively explore divine action in the OT, creation, and eschatology in Hebrews;
  • explore the major theme in Hebrews of divine action through the ongoing priesthood of Jesus as portrayed in Hebrews;
  • relate this all to preaching Hebrews today and to spiritual formation.

The book's conclusion reflects on the primary action of God speaking in Hebrews."

New Pillar Commentary on Hebrews

Eerdmans has rolled out the replacement volume for Hebrews in the Pillar New Testament Commentary series. I met Sigurd at SBL this year. He is from Norway.

Sigurd Grindheim. The Letter to the Hebrews. Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2023.

"What does the Letter to the Hebrews have to say to Christians today?

A compelling exhortation to hold true to the faith in the face of adversity. A sermon rife with iconic imagery and Old Testament allusions. A signal work of theology in the New Testament.

Above all, the Letter to the Hebrews proclaims the high priesthood of Jesus Christ. But the book’s textual complexity and long history of interpretation can be overwhelming. In this new Pillar commentary, Sigurd Grindheim illuminates the Letter to the Hebrews, paying careful attention to linguistic features and historical context—all while centering its relevance to modern readers.

Grindheim clearly and comprehensively addresses major issues about the text, including authorship, date, canonicity, formal qualities, and major themes. Following his thorough introduction, he explains each line of the text and its significance for believers today. Grindheim’s commentary offers pastors, students, and scholars the clarity and fresh insights they want in their scriptural study."

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Articles and Essays Page Taken Down

Blogger has taken down my Articles and Essays page making it unavailable for viewing. Someone flagged it to Blogger for some reason, but by doing so that person made the content unavailable for viewing. The page consists merely of links to other pages. If you have an issue with anything on this blog, please bring it to my attention first. I don't know if I will be able to fix the issue Blogger is pointing out because the email was not very specific. It has to do with Malware but I have hundreds of links on the page, so I do not know if I can identify the problem and recover the page.

Update: Blogger did restore the page, but I am requesting that if you find a bad link on this page or some other problem, please let me know.