Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The Oldest Book Now In My Collection

This book arrived today from France. It is now the oldest book I have in my collection. Note the date:

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Osborne, Hebrews Verse by Verse

Lexham Press is announcing the publication of the following commentary:
Grant Osborne. Hebrews Verse by Verse.
"The letter to the Hebrews is unique in the New Testament for its focus on the priesthood of Jesus and its interaction with the Old Testament. But beyond this deep theology, Hebrews is a practical book that addresses the very real challenges believers face when life gets difficult.
In Hebrews Verse by Verse, the late Grant R. Osborne, with George H. Guthrie, shows readers how this beautifully crafted letter encourages believers to endure in faithfulness to Jesus. By using Scripture and theology to lay the foundation for these exhortations, the central message of Hebrews continues to be relevant for the church today. Osborne’s commentary delves into the grand implications of Christ’s identity and its importance for our spiritual lives."

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Review of Bateman and Smith's Commentary on Hebrews

Phillip Long has a brief review of Bateman and Smith's commentary:
Bateman, IV Herbert W. and Steven W. Smith. Hebrews: A Commentary for Biblical Preaching and Teaching. Kerux Commentaries.


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

New Article on the Christological Reading of Psalm 8 in Hebrew 2

This came out in February but I am just learning about this now:

Maston, Jason. “‘What Is Man?’ An Argument for the Christological Reading of Psalm 8 in Hebrews 2.” Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 112.1 (2021): 89–104. 
"Whether the author of Hebrews interpreted LXX Ps 8,5–7 as referring to humanity (the anthropological interpretation) or Christ (the Christological interpretation) has been widely debated. This essay strengthens the case for the Christological interpretation. After discussing the connections between Hebr 1,1–13 and 2,5–9, the article focuses on the citation and interpretation of LXX Ps 8,5–7 in Hebr 2,6–9. I contend that the author identified a three stage pattern in the psalm which he sees replicated in Jesus’ life. The next stage of the argument shows how in 2,10–18 the author only applies two stages to the lives of believers. Believers do not complete the third stage which indicates that, for the author of Hebrews, the psalm is first about Jesus and then applicable to humanity."

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Ken Schenck's YouTube Podcasts on Hebrews

Ken Schenck has a YouTube series of podcasts on Hebrews. I have made a link to them in my multimedia page.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

New Book on the Pragmatic Situation of Hebrews

Here is a new book that has just come out:

Thomas Witulski. "... da ihr ja träge geworden seid an den Ohren": Zur textpragmatischen Situierung des Hebräerbriefes. Beiträge zur Wissenschaft vom Alten und Neuen Testament (BWANT). 2021.

English translation of the title: 
"... because your ears have become sluggish": On the pragmatic situation of the letter to the Hebrews

Here is an English translation of the description of the book:
"It is usually assumed that the letter to the Hebrews is addressed to a church that is showing signs of fatigue in the faith and is to be encouraged, straightened up, and brought back to the living faith. On the basis of detailed observations, however, Witulski shows that the text itself hardly contains any indications for this assumption. Rather, he shows that a group of theological trainees who are preparing to take over a catechetical parish office is being written to. Its members - from the perspective of the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, of course - have apparently not yet sufficiently intellectually penetrated essential aspects of Christian theology. With his writing, the auctor ad Hebraeos attempts to overcome this theological deficit and to lead the group to which he has written to a comprehensive understanding of Christian thought and belief."

 Thanks to Jacob Brouwer for bringing the book to my attention. 

Friday, August 13, 2021

Hebrews at the BNTS Annual Meeting

The British New Testament Society will be having its annual meeting in hybrid format at Durham University from August 19 to August 21. Two papers on Hebrews are of interest for this blog:

Session 3: Hebrews

Chair: Nick Moore, Durham University

Angela Costley, St Mary’s College, Oscott, ‘By faith, Abraham has offered up Isaac”: Death and Resurrection in Hebrews 11:17’

In Hebrews 11:17, we are told that by faith Abraham offered Isaac. In Hebrews 11:19, we read that Abraham’s faith consisted of the fact he believed that God is able even to raise someone from the dead. This seems a little strange if we take it as a reference to Genesis 22 as we now have it. In the Akedah, when Abraham attempts to sacrifice his son, his arm is stayed by an angel (Gen. 22:11). However, there is possibly another, darker, tradition that might lie behind Hebrews’ comment. In this other tradition, Abraham does slay Isaac. Indeed, various scholars have explored the redaction of the Genesis account and the suggestion that, originally, Isaac was indeed killed – T. Freitheim, RE Friedman, CTR Hayward, JD Levenson, to name a few – a tradition that persisted and is found in Rashi’s commentary and Pirke de Rab. Eliezer, where he also rises.   This paper will explore the fascinating possibility Hebrews knew this tradition and suggest Hebrews is reliant upon a typological theology in which Isaac was truly sacrificed. 

Owen Edwards, University of Chester, ‘A Scarlet Thread Leading Beyond the Camp: Yom Kippur, the Red Heifer, and Rahab’

Diverse texts in Hebrews – texts on the eternal Sabbath, the red heifer sacrifice, the journey of Jesus outside the Camp, and the example of Rahab, particularly – seem disconnected or only tangentially related, yet an investigation of the source and traditions of those subjects, as well as their rhetorical use in Hebrews, reveals that they are closely and intentionally connected. Drawing on parallel Rabbinic texts, Philo, and (especially) the Epistle of Barnabas, this paper will show that this network of texts is clearly connected in the tradition that Hebrews drew upon. Furthermore, this complex but clear example of intertextual exegesis spanning the whole letter furnishes an excellent example of the Epistle’s allegorical interpretation of Scripture – with even the lack of explicit textual links serving the author’s purpose, as the Christian is commanded to seek spiritual “meat” over “milk”.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

In Memoriam: Albert Vanhoye 1923-2021

While I was on vacation the news broke that Cardinal Albert Vanhoye passed away on July 29. Vanhoye was one of the most prolific Hebrews scholars and his work on the structure of Hebrews would prove to be most influential. I want to thank Nick Moore for preparing the following bio and selected bibliography for this blog:

Pope Francis mourns world's oldest cardinal 'authoritative biblical  scholar' Cardinal Albert Vanhoye

In memoriam Albert Vanhoye (1923–2021)

Albert Vanhoye was born on 24 July 1923 in Hazebrouck, in the far north of France, the second of five children in a devout Roman Catholic family of Flemish extraction. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1941; this was during the German occupation of France in the Second World War, and Vanhoye had to cross the demarcation line clandestinely in order to reach the noviciate. He spent brief spells in the chantier de jeunesse (the replacement for military service in Vichy France) and in the French Army following the Allied landings. After the War he completed his studies in literature at the Sorbonne, and went on to study philosophy at Vals-près-le-Puy and theology at Enghien in Belgium. At the completion of his training he was ordained priest, on 25 July 1954. He taught New Testament for a short period in Chantilly, at the Jesuit scholasticate recently relocated from Enghien. He completed a doctorate in sacred scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome in 1961, on the structure of the Letter to the Hebrews, which was to form the basis for his published work on this topic. In 1963 he began to teach at the Pontifical Institute, where he would spend the rest of his career. He was Dean of the Biblical Faculty there from 1969–1975, and Rector of the Institute from 1984–1990. Alongside his work at the Institute, Vanhoye had teaching responsibilities at the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Pontifical Lateran University, and supervised a number of doctoral students. He retired in 1998 at the age of 75.

Among his ecclesiastical appointments and responsibilities, Vanhoye was part of the commission which prepared the Apostolic Constitution Sapientia Christiana (1979), on ecclesiastical universities and faculties. He was a member and for two terms secretary of the Pontifical Biblical Commission; during his first term of office the Commission published L’Interprétation de la Bible dans l’Église (1993; English version The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church, issued 1994), an important and well received document open to Catholic engagement with the full variety of interpretative methods being used in biblical studies. He was also Consultor of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (1980–1996), and a member of the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In the scholarly community Vanhoye joined the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas in 1964, and served as its President in 1995. His presidential address was subsequently published in New Testament Studies and is included as the third essay in this volume. He served on the editorial board of the journal Biblica from 1969, and was editor from 1978 until he stepped down from the board in 1984. In later life he was appointed Cardinal, with as his titular church the Deaconry of Santa Maria della Mercede and Sant’Adriano in Villa Albani. This was in 2006, when he was over 80 and therefore excluded from an elective conclave of the College of Cardinals, and thus the appointment was purely honorific, and Vanhoye was not consecrated bishop. The further honorific pro hac vice (temporary) elevation of the Deaconry of Santa Maria della Mercede and Sant’Adriano to a presbyteral title – and thus of Vanhoye to Cardinal-Priest – took place in 2016. In 2008 he led the Lenten retreat for the Roman Curia, using the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises and focussing on the theme of Jesus as High Priest. Vanhoye was the oldest member of the College of Cardinals, having turned 98 just days before his death in Rome on 29 July 2021.

The nature of Vanhoye’s appointments reflects a lengthy and distinguished career in which he has made a significant contribution to the life of both the church and the academy. This is reflected by his numerous publications in several European languages, across eight decades, and at both scholarly and more popular levels. Among numerous publications on Hebrews he made notable contributions on the letter’s structure and on its portrayal of priesthood, as well as writing two commentaries on the letter in later life.

[This tribute includes material excerpted and modified from the introduction to Albert Vanhoye, A Perfect Priest: Studies in the Letter to the Hebrews, ed. and trans. by Nicholas J. Moore and Richard J. Ounsworth (WUNT II/477; Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen: 2018)]


Selected publications

Vanhoye, Albert. 1963a. La Structure littéraire de l’Épître aux Hébreux. Paris: Desclée de Brouwer.

———. 1963c. Traduction structurée de l’Epître aux Hébreux. Rome: Institut biblique pontifical.

———. 1964c. Structured Translation of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Translated by James Swetnam. Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute.

———. 1967b. Structure and Theology of the Accounts of the Passion in the Synoptic Gospels. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press.

———. 1969a. Le Christ est notre prêtre. Supplément à ‘Vie chrétienne’ no. 118. Paris.

———. 1969c. Situation du Christ : Hébreux 1–2. Paris: Cerf.

———. 1976a. La Structure littéraire de l’Épître aux Hébreux. 2nd edn. Stud-Neot 1. Paris: Desclée de Brouwer.

———. 1977b. Le Message de l’Épître aux Hébreux. Cahiers Évangile 19. Paris: Cerf.

———. 1977c. Our Priest Is Christ: The Doctrine of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Translated by M. Innocentia Richards. Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute.

———. 1980. Prêtres anciens, prêtre nouveau selon le Nouveau Testament. Parole de Dieu 20. Paris: Éditions du Seuil.

———. 1986. Old Testament Priests and the New Priest: According to the New Testament. Translated by J. Bernard Orchard. Petersham, MA: St Bede’s Publications.

———. 1989. Structure and Message of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Translated by James Swetnam. Subsidia Biblica 12. Rome: Editrice Pontificio Istituto biblico.

———. 2005. Le Don du Christ: Lecture spirituelle. Christus. Paris: Bayard.

———. 2008. Accogliamo Cristo nostro sommo sacerdote : esercizi spirituali predicati in Vaticano, 10-16 febbraio 2008. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

———. 2010b. L’Epistola agli Ebrei : “un sacerdote diverso.” Translated by Carlo Valentino. Bologna: Dehoniane.

———. 2010c. L’Épître aux Hébreux : “un prêtre différent.” Pendé: Gabalda.

———. 2010d. Let Us Confidently Welcome Christ Our High Priest: Spiritual Exercises with Pope Benedict XVI. Translated by Joel Wallace. Leominster: Gracewing.

———. 2011a. A Different Priest: The Epistle to the Hebrews. Translated by Leo Arnold. Rhetorica Semitica. Miami: Convivium.

———. 2011b. I carismi nel Nuovo Testamento. Analecta biblica 191. Rome: Gregorian & Biblical Press.

———. 2015. The Letter to the Hebrews: A New Commentary. Translated by Leo Arnold. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Colloquium Biblicum Lovaniense LXX

I had the honor of presenting a paper, "The God Who Communicates: A Study in the Characterization of God in Hebrews" at the 70th session of the Colloquium Biblicum Lovaniense (CBL). I want to publicly thank Régis Burnet for the invitation to present at this conference.

"The Colloquium Biblicum Lovaniense is an annual international conference on Biblical Studies jointly organised by the theological faculties of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and the Université Catholique de Louvain. The meetings take place in the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the KU Leuven and are alternately dedicated to a topic in Old and in New Testament Studies. 

The Colloquium offers a forum and meeting place for research and scholarly discussion in the field of Biblical Studies. As a rule the annual conference focuses on a biblical book or a collection of writings, but it also addresses thematic subjects."

The CBL met during the dates of July 22–24, 2021. Due to the pandemic, the CBL was held in an online format. This year's CBL was organized by the president, professor Régis Burnet, and the secretary, Reimund Bieringer. Papers and sessions were conducted in four languages. It was truly an international session. The following plenary session papers were presented:

Presidential Address: 
Régis BURNET (Université catholique de Louvain)
Quel but poursuit l’Épître aux Hébreux ? Une histoire des lectures du cadre interprétatif de la théologie d’Hébreux
Gabriella GELARDINI (Bodø, Norway)
Virtues in Hebrews
Jason WHITLARK (Baylor University)
Becoming Ideal Citizens of the Coming City: New-Covenant Naturalization in Early Christianity and Hebrews
Thomas WITULSKI (Universität Bielefeld)
Die Vorstellungen von Zeit und Raum im Hebräerbrief
Harold ATTRIDGE (Yale University) 
The Letter to the Hebrews and the Authority of Scripture
Antoine PARIS (Paris)
 « Car la parole de Dieu est vivante »
La productivité des intertextes dans l'Épître aux Hébreux
David M. MOFFITT (Saint Andrews)
Boldly Approaching While Still Waiting: The Dynamics of Heavenly Access and Jesus’ Awaited Return in Hebrews’ Soteriology
Brian C. SMALL
The God Who Communicates: A Study in the Characterization of God in Hebrews
Gert STEYN (Theologische Hochschule Ewersbach) 
Der "Brief" an die Hebräer und die Apolloshypothese
Albert COETSEE (North-West University)
"Through the eternal Spirit” (Heb 9:14): The Arguments for and Implications of Interpreting the Phrase as a Reference to the Holy Spirit
Martin KARRER (Wuppertal-Bethel) 
Textgeschichte und Theologie des Hebräerbriefs
In addition four parallel seminars were offered:
Joseph VERHEYDEN (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)
Het vocabulaire van de Hebreeënbrief: Woorden met privatieve α en andere vormen van ontkenning
Madison N. PIERCE (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)
The World Spoken through the Son: Divine Speech and Creation in the Epistle to the Hebrews
Steeve BÉLANGER (Université catholique de Louvain)
La figure de Melkisédeq dans l'épître aux Hébreux
Reimund BIERINGER (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)
Deutungen des Todes Jesu im Hebräerbrief
In addition, three parallel sessions consisting of offered papers were presented:
[Click the link for the abstracts]
Session 1:
Rémi Fatchéoun
Institut Catholique de Paris
Heb 1:1-4: A Prologue to a Discourse on the Son of God as Logos or a Son who is Prophet?
Justin Devassy Puthenpurackal
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
The Realized and the Future Eschatology of τελειωτής in Heb 12:1-2
Armin Kummer and Sarah Whitear
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Undefiled Beds and Unparted Ways: Hebrews 13:4 and Sexual Purity Practices
Session 2:
Martin Pochon
Centre d'Etudes Pédagogiques Ignatien, Toulouse
De l'utilisation du psaume 39/40 dans la lettre aux Hébreux
Kyu Seop Kim
Asia United Theological University, R. of Korea
Ἐπαγγελία in Hebrews in Light of Greco-Egyptian Documentary Papyri
Soeng Yu Li
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Πίστις in Heb 11:1-16: A Reading in Light of Text World Theory
Session 3:
 Jean Valentin
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Hébr. 1,1-4 en arabe dans le Vatican 13 et les manuscrits du Sinaï
Valentina Duca
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
A Syriac Case for the Reception of Hebrews: Isaac of Nineveh's Ascetic-Mystical Corpus
Vadim Wittkowsky
Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
Der Hebräerbrief als Hintergrund der "Exempla Biblica" aus Ankara (Mitchell-French 2019, Nr. 347, 348)

Friday, July 9, 2021

Distributions of the Holy Spirit - Hebrews 2:4

In this brief podcast Madions Pierce argues that "distributions of the Holy Spirit" in Hebrews 2:4 refers not to spiritual gifts, as is commonly understood, but to the Holy Spirit himself. She does not mention this in the podcast but this means that she is taking πνεύματος ἁγίου as an objective genitive (the Holy Spirit is distributed) rather than as a subjective genitive (the Holy Spirit is distributing). This is certainly grammatically possible.

Distributions of the Holy Spirit: Hebrews 2:4 - with Dr. Madison Pierce


Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Hebrews Highlights June 2021

Ken Schenck has posted his explanatory notes on Hebrews 1:1–4.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

New Expository Times Article

O’Collins, Gerald Glynn. “‘The Faith of Jesus’: Translating Hebrews 12:2a.” Expository Times 132.9 (2021): 387–93.

"This article shows how a big majority of English translations (17 out of 22 that I examined) have introduced ‘our’ into the text when they identify the subject of the ‘faith’ spoken of in Hebrews 12:2a. Modern commentators on Hebrews, however, have overwhelmingly understood the faith in question as the faith exercised by Jesus and, at best only secondarily, our faith in him. It seems that many translators have been following their predecessors (e.g. the King James Version) rather than reading commentaries."

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Three Forthcoming Books

There are three books on Hebrews that are coming up on the horizon--all published in the The Library of New Testament series by T&T Clark:

Nick Brennan. Divine Christology in the Epistle to the Hebrews: The Son as God.

"Nick Brennan investigates the depiction of the Son in his divine nature in the Epistle to the Hebrews; despite little attention being given toto the Son's divinity, Brennan argues that not only is the Son depicted as divine in the Epistle, but that this depiction ranges outside the early chapters in which it is most often noted, and is theologically relevant to the pattern of the Author's argument.

Beginning with a survey of the state of contemporary scholarship on the Son's divinity in Hebrews, and a discussion of the issues connected to predicating divinity of the Son in the Epistle, Brennan analyses the application of Old Testament texts to the Son which, in their original context, refer to God (1:6; 10–12), and demonstrates how the Pastor not only affirms the Son's divinity but also the significance of his exaltation as God. He then discusses how Heb 3:3, 4 does witness to the divinity of the Son in Hebrews, explores the debate on the relation of the Son's “indestructible life” (Heb 7:16) to his divinity, and demonstrates how two key concepts in Hebrews (covenant and sonship) reinforce the Son's divinity. Brennan thus concludes that the Epistle not only portrays the Son as God, but does so in a manner which is a pervasive aspect of its thought, and is theologically salient to many features of the Epistle's argument."


David Young. The Concept of Canon in the Reception of the Epistle to the Hebrews

"David Young argues that the reception of the Epistle to the Hebrews in early Christianity was influenced by a number of factors which had little to do with debates about an authoritative canon of Christian writings, and which were primarily the concern of a relatively small group of highly educated scholars.

Through careful study of the quotations and reproductions of Hebrews in their own rhetorical and material context, Young stresses that the concept of canon had little bearing on its early reception. By exploring the transformation of authorship into authority, the patristic citations of Hebrews, the Epistle's position in edited collections of the Pauline corpus and the consequences of translation, this complex reception history illustrates the myriad ways in which early Christians thought of and interacted with their scriptures."


Jihye Lee. A Jewish Apocalyptic Framework of Eschatology in the Epistle to the Hebrews: Protology and Eschatology as Background.

"In contrast to scholarly belief that the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews envisions the transcendent, heavenly world as the eschatological inheritance of God's people, Jihye Lee argues that a version of an Urzeit-Endzeit eschatological framework - as observed in some Jewish apocalyptic texts - provides a plausible background against which the arguments of Hebrews are most comprehensively explained. Instead of transcendence to the heavenly world that will come after the destruction of the shakable creation, Lee suggests the possibility of a more dualistic new world.

By first defining Urzeit-Endzeit eschatology, Lee is then able to explore its place in both pre and post 70 CE Second Temple Judaism. In examining Enoch, the Qumran Texts, Jubilees, the Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum, 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch and finally the Book of Revelation, Lee compares a multitude of eschatological visions and the different depictions of the transformation of the world, judgement and the new world to come. Bringing these texts together to analyse the issue of God's Rest in Hebrews, and the nature of the Unshakable Kingdom, Lee concludes that Hebrews envisions the kingdom as consisting of both the revealed heavenly world and the renewed creation as the eschatological venue of God's dwelling place with his people."

The Paradox of Sonship

I just received my copy of this newly published book by Intervarsity Press:

R. B. Jamieson. The Paradox of Sonship: Christology in the Epistle to the Hebrews.

"What does the epistle to the Hebrews mean when it calls Jesus "Son"? Is "Son" a title that denotes his eternal existence as one person of the Trinity? Or is it a title Jesus receives upon his installation on heaven's throne after his resurrection and ascension?

In this Studies in Christian Doctrine and Scripture (SCDS) volume, which promotes fresh understandings of Christian belief through creative, faithful readings of the canonical text, pastor and New Testament scholar R. B. Jamieson probes the complexity of the Christology presented in the epistle to the Hebrews.

Exploring the paradox of this key term, Jamieson argues that, according to Hebrews, "Son" names both who Jesus is eternally and what he becomes at the climax of his incarnate, saving mission. Jesus is, in short, the eternal Son who became the messianic Son for us and for our salvation. This volume thereby offers a case study showing how the church's core convictions about Christ lead us not away from the text, but deeper into it."

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Deciphering the Worlds of Hebrews

I have just been alerted to the publication of this book, which apparently is a collection of Gelardini's essays:

Deciphering the Worlds of Hebrews: Collected Essays


"In the collection entitled Deciphering the Worlds of Hebrews Gabriella Gelardini gathers fifteen essays written in the last fifteen years, twelve of which are in English and three in German. Arranged in three parts (the world of, behind, and in front of Hebrews’s text), her articles deal with such topics as structure and intertext, sin and faith, atonement and cult, as well as space and resistance.

She reads Hebrews no longer as the enigmatic and homeless outsider within the New Testament corpus, as the “Melchizedekian being without genealogy”; rather, she reads Hebrews as one whose origin has finally been rediscovered, namely in Second Temple Judaism."