Saturday, December 19, 2009

New Books Added

The following books have been added to the Electronic Books page, bringing the total to over 240 titles:

Bensley, Robert Lubbock. The Ḥarḳlean Version of the Epistle to the Hebrews, Chap. XI.28-XIII.25: Now Edited for the First Time with Introduction and Notes on this Version of the Epistle. 1889.

Clergyman, A. What is the Sanctuary and the True Tabernacle, which the Lord Pitched and Not Man, and Whereof Christ Is the Minister? or, An Analysis and Brief Exposition of St. Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews, by a clergyman. 1858.

Creyghton, Johannes. De sendbrief des apostels Pauli tot den Hebreen: ontleedet en kortelijk verklaart. 1699.

Fricke, F. R. Der Brief an die Hebräer. 1863.

Gordon, Elizabeth Anna. The Glories of Christ, as set forth in the Epistle to the Hebrews. 1879.

Govett, Robert. Christ Superior to Angels, Moses, and Aaron: A Comment on the Epistle to the Hebrews. 1884.

Grass, Karl Konrad. Ist "der Brief an die Hebräer" an Heidenchristen gerichtet?: aus Gedankengang und Inhalt des Briefes beantwortet. 1892.

Keil, Carl Friedrich. Commentar über den Brief an die Hebräer. 1885.

Klee, Heinrich. Auslegung des Briefes an die Hebräer. 1833.

Knowles, Edward Hadarezer. Note on the Epistle to the Hebrews, with Analysis and Brief Paraphrase. 1861.

Kurtz, Johann Heinrich. Der Brief an die Hebräer. 1869.

, Eugène. La théologie de l'Epître aux Hébreux. 1894.

Moll, Karl Bernhard. Der Brief an die Hebräer. 1861.

Newton, Adelaide Leaper. The Epistle to the Hebrews compared with the Old Testament. 1867.

Parry, Thomas. The Apostleship and Priesthood of Christ: Being a Practical Exposition of St. Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews: In a Series of Lectures with an Appendix, Containing a Tabular Analysis of the Epistle, &c. 1834.

Porter, Samuel Judson. The Epistle to the Hebrews. 1919.

Stein, Karl Wilhelm. Der Brief an die Hebräer theoretisch-practisch erklärt. 1838.

Stier, Rudolf. Der Brief an die Hebräer: In sechs und dreissig Betrachtungen. 1842.

Storr, Gottlob Christian. Pauli Brief an die Hebräer. 1809.

Tena, Ludovicus. Commentaria et disputationes in Epistolam divi Pauli ad Hebraeos. 1661.

Vermaten, Gulielmus. Ontleeding en korte verklaaring van Paulus Brief aan de Hebreen .... 1722.

Weiss. Bernhard. Der Brief an die Hebräer. Volume 13 of Kritisch-exegetischer Kommentar über das Neue Testament. 1897.

Wette, Wilhelm Martin Leberecht de. Kurze Erklärung der Briefe an Titus, Timotheus und die Hebräer. 3d ed. Edited by Wilhelm Moeller. 1867

Update: 3 volumes of Jean Mestrezat's sermons have been added, completing the set and bringing the total number of volumes to 252.

New Neotestamentica Article Added

The following article has been added to the electronic articles page:

Kalengyo, Edison Muhindo. "'Cloud of Witnesses' in Hebrews 12:1 and Ganda Ancestors: An Incarnational Reflection." Neotestamentica 43.1 (2009): 49-68.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dissertations in Italian

I just came across these dissertations on Hebrews in Italian:

MICHELE CICCARELLI, La sofferenza di Cristo nell'Epistola agli Ebrei: Analisi di una duplice dimensione della sofferenza: soffrire-consoffrire con gli uomini e soffrire-offrire a Dio (Associazione Biblica Italiana, Supplementi alla Rivista Biblica 49; Bologna: Dehoniane, 2008). Pp. 370.

This volume is based on his 2005 doctoral dissertation at the Pontifical Biblical Institute under the direction of Albert Vanhoye. Casimir Bernas reviews this volume in Catholic Biblical Quarterly 71 (2009): 397-398. He summarizes the thesis as follows: the author "expounds themes of the Epistle to the Hebrews dealing with the solidarity of Christ and Christians in their roles of priest and victim: Christ's sufferings are a share in the sufferings of human beings, who in turn are able to offer themselves to God as mediators in the manner of Christ. Their sufferings, like those of Christ (their model and head), have redemptive value" (397).

FILIPPO URSO, "Imparò L'Obbedienza dalle Cose Che Patì " Eb 5,8: Il valore educativo della sofferenza in Gesù e nei cristiani nella Lettera agli Ebrei (Tesi Gregoriana: Serie Teologia 119; Rome: Editrice Pontificia Università Gregoriana, 2005). Pp. 509.

This volume is based on the author's 2004 doctoral dissertation at the Gregorian University also directed by Albert Vanhoye. According to Edward L. Bode in his review in Catholic Biblical Quarterly 68 (2006): 350-352, it "explores the educational value of suffering for Jesus and Christians in the Letter to the Hebrews" (350).

Urso also has this book based on his dissertation: La sofferenza educatrice nella Lettera agli Ebrei.

FULVIO DI GIOVAMBATTISTA, Il Giorno dell'Espiazione nella lettera agli Ebrei (Tesi Gregoriana, Serie Teologia 61; Rome: Editrice Pontificia Università Gregoriana, 2000). Pp. 223.

This work is based on the author's 2000 dissertation at the Pontifical Gregorian University under the direction of R. Neudecker and S. Brodeur. It explores the Day of Atonement as the background to Hebrews. Sean P. Kealy reviews the book in Catholic Biblical Quarterly 63 (2001): 740-741.

FRANCO MANZI, Melchisedek e l'angelologia nell'Epistola agli Ebrei e a Qumran, AnBib 136. Rome: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 1997. Pp. xviii + 434.

This book is based on the author's 1996 dissertation at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, directed by Albert Vanhoye. Casimir Bernas reviews the book in Journal of Biblical Literature 118 (1999): 368-370. He says that "Manzi investigates possible literary and theological influences of Melchizedek-ideology at at Qumran upon the letter to the Hebrews" (368). It is also reviewed by George J. Brooke in Catholic Biblical Quarterly 60 (1998): 770-771.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Book on Philonic Hermeneutics and Hebrews

Eisenbrauns has announced the publication of a new book related to Hebrews:

Stefan Nordgaard Svendsen. Allegory Transformed: The Appropriation of Philonic Hermeneutics in the Letter to the Hebrews. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, Reihe 2. Mohr Siebeck, 2009.

Here is the description from the Eisenbrauns site:

"Scholars have long discussed whether the writer of Hebrews might have been influenced by Philo of Alexandria. In spite of any disagreement, though, academics have almost universally concurred that even if bits and pieces of Philo’s thinking should have filtered through to Hebrews, Philo and Hebrews certainly differed with respect to their biblical hermeneutics. Philo, the philosopher, read the Old Testament allegorically, whereas the Christian author of Hebrews committed himself only to typological exegesis. Stefan Nordgaard Svendsen challenges this consensus, arguing that the writer of Hebrews not only employed Philo’s allegorical method, but also developed his own readings of Scripture through critical rereadings of Philo’s exegetical results. This study sheds new light on the intellectual framework of Hebrews as well as on the letter’s purpose and rhetorical strategies."

I have added this book to the "New Books" link under Resources, as well as updated that page.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Proposal for SWCRS Accepted

Soon after I returned from SBL I got the news that my paper proposal for the Southwest Commission on Religious Studies was accepted. Two other papers will be presented in the same session. All of the pertinent information is below:

Saturday Afternoon, March 13 (4:00-5:30)

SBL: New Testament I

Theme: Hebrews

Presiding: James Thompson, Abilene Christian University

4:00 Brian Small, Baylor University

Scripture as Prosopopoeia in Hebrews

4:30 Jason Whitlark, Baylor University

The Eternal City and Its King: Roman Imperial Discourse and Hebrews

5:00 D. Jeffrey Bingham, Dallas Theological Seminary

Irenaeus and Hebrews

Newest Acquisitions

Since returning from the SBL meeting in New Orleans I have been busy with grading papers etc for the two classes I am teaching at Baylor, so I have not had much time to post anything.

While at SBL I made two new acquisitions:

Cynthia Long Westfall, A Discourse Analysis of the Letter to the Hebrews: The Relationship between Form and Meaning.
-At $50 it was the cheapest I had ever seen it, new or used, so I bit the bullet and bought it.

Jason A. Whitlark, Enabling Fidelity to God: Perseverance in Hebrews in Light of the Reciprocity Systems of the Ancient Mediterranean World.

Today, when I arrived home after getting some needed shopping done, I found a nice parcel from Germany with these two volumes:

Wendelini Steinbach, Opera Exegetica Quae Supersunt Omnia: Volumen II: Commentarii in Epistolam ad Hebraeos Pars Prima.

----------, Opera Exegetica Quae Supersunt Omnia: Volumen III: Commentarii in Epistolam ad Hebraeos Pars Altera.
-These two books contain Steinbach's lectures on Hebrews in 1516-1517. The volumes are edited by Helmut Feld. Even though I purchased them "used" the books look to be new; they are in beautiful condition.

Monday, November 30, 2009

November 2009 Hebrews Carnival

Here are the posts on Hebrews for the month of November:

Stuart Mizelle argues that we should retain the traditional title, "The Epistle to the Hebrews."

Peter Leithart believes that Hebrews 5:7-10 gives an alternative account of Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane. Jesus is delivered from death, but only through death. But do these verses really describe the Gethsemane incident?

Peter Lopez has posted his study notes on Hebrews 8 and reports on Week 7 of his Bible study.

Kenneth Schenck resumes his explanatory notes with Hebrews 11:1-7.

Μετοχος του Χριστου believes that "champion" is the best way to render αρχηγος in Hebrews 12:2.

Rod Decker announces a new commentary series, the Evangelical Exegetical Commentary. The list of commentaries is here. For our purposes here, I note that Buist Fanning is slated to write the volume for Hebrews.

Matthew Montonini announces the forthcoming commentary by Peter T. O'Brien in the Pillar Commentary series. Clifford Kvidahl also takes note of it here.

Clifford Kvidahl also reviews Matthew Thiessen's article "Hebrews and the End of the Exodus."

George has a review of the Hebrews, Life Application Bible Studies (NLT).

On a lighter note (or is that darker?), Hebrews 12:1-2 is now appearing on Tim Tebow's eye black.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

New Article Added

The following article will be added to my Electronic Articles page:

Cortez, Felix H. "'Seeing that you do not refuse the one who is speaking': Hearing God Preach and Obedience in the Letter to the Hebrews." Journal of the Adventist Theological Society 19 (2008): 98-108.

The article is available in doc or pdf forms.

HT: Charles Savelle

Saturday, November 14, 2009

SBL Paper Online

If you are attending the Hebrews session at SBL, Marius Heemstra's paper, "Letter to the Hebrews: Jewish Christians and the fiscus Judaicus" is available at the Hebrews Group site. I don't know if the other papers will be posted before the conference, but it is worth checking before you go. Also, the papers are sometimes posted after the conference is over.

Friday, November 13, 2009

New Article Added

The following article will be added to my electronic articles page:

Joslin, Barry. "'Son of Man' or 'Human Beings'?: Hebrews 2:5-9 and a Response to Craig Blomberg." Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 14.2 (Fall 2009): 41-50.

HT: Charles Savelle

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, Volume 17

I want to thank Christy Wong and Tyndale House Publishers for sending me a copy of volume 17 of their Cornerstone Biblical Commentary on 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy & Titus, and Hebrews by Linda Belleville, Jon C. Laansma, and J. Ramsey Michaels respectively. I will be reviewing this volume on this blog in the near future.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hebrews and Hermeneutics

This post is in response to a inquiry by Andrew Bourne. I reposted the last post and so I am not able to publish the comments. Andrew wrote:

"Brian I am sorry to ask a question away from the particular subject. I am a MA in Theology student in the UK. I am preparing to do my 12,000 word dissertation and wish to do on `Hebrews and Hermeneutics`. I am aware of G Hughes monograph and in process of getting hold of it. Preliminary discussion with my possible supervisor is which to emphasise `Hebrews` or `Hermeneutics` which I am exploring. I would be very grateful for any advice with your apparent expertise in this letter. I look forward for your reply, if you feel unable do not worry. Thanks for your Blog site I find it very useful"

This is a rather broad question. What aspect of hermeneutics do you want to focus on? I know of at least two other books on hermeneutics:

Dale F. Leschert. Hermeneutical Foundations of Hebrews: A Study in the Validity of the Epistle's Interpretation of Some Core Citations from the Psalms. Edwin Mellen Press, 1994.

Herbert W. Bateman, IV. Early Jewish Hermeneutics and Hebrews 1:5-13: The Impact of Early Jewish Exegesis on the Interpretation of a Significant New Testament Passage. Peter Lang, 1997.

Perhaps these two books, along with Hughes', may help to focus your own investigation.

Hebrews at the SBL Annual Meeting in New Orleans

Here are the papers on Hebrews to be delivered at the annual meeting of the SBL in New Orleans:

Bible Translation
4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: Studio 3 - MR

Chang-Wook Jung, Chongshin University
Translation of Two Conjunctions, One Aorist Participle and One Present Verb, in Hebrews 4:3

The sentence in Hebrews 4:3 presents some interesting features concerning the translation. First, the usage and meaning of the two conjunctions ga,r and kai,toi in this verse, where five conjunctions appear, require an explanation. Some English versions (NIV, NJB) and Korean translations do not interpret the first conjunction as indicating a causal sense. It is also noteworthy that the second conjunction may mean either ‘although’ or ‘and yet’ and the punctuation problem emerges with the meaning ‘and yet’- period (NIV, NIB; cf. Luther’s German Version) or comma (NAB). Second, the translation of the participial phrase oi` pisteu,santej also draws our attention. While most English versions translate the phrase as ‘who have believed’, other versions like NJB and NLT understand it as ‘who have faith’ or ‘who believe’ (cf. Luther’s German Bible). The peculiarity of the Greek verb ‘believe’ needs to be investigated. Finally, the function of the present tense for the verb e;rcomai has to be decided in this verse, since the present tense may point to future as well as present action. This study will demonstrate that the careful look at grammatical features as well as translation theories is even today necessary to translate the Bible appropriately.

Syriac Literature and Interpretations of Sacred Texts
4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: Balcony N - MR

Theme: Codicology, Poetics, Performance

Gaby Abou Samra, Lebanese University (Beirut)

Biblical Syriac Texts in a Fifteenth-Century Maronite Manuscript

This paper offers an examination of New Testament texts (Matthew, Acts, Hebrews) contained in a Maronite manuscript, dated to 1468. The paper first presents and comments upon the Syriac texts of the NT materials and their translation into Arabic (Karshuni). It then discusses aspects of the translation from Syriac into Arabic. Linguistic observations will be joined by comparisons of the textual material to the Peshitta text and other Bible translations in the Syriac tradition


Greek Bible
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Room: La Galerie 4 - MR

John W. Taylor, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

From Proof to Text: Mapping Hebrews' Messianic Exploration of the Psalms

Older scholarship stressed the use within the early Christian community, including Hebrews, of a common pool of messianic proof texts, taken largely from the Psalms. But a feature of Hebrews’ use of the Greek Bible is how messianic resources are also found in places not frequented by other New Testament writers, both within recognized messianic Psalms, and in other texts altogether. A growing body of work has shown that the author of Hebrews not only reads scriptures with careful regard to their context, but also finds links to other passages on the basis of a network of thematic and linguistic parallels, often stimulated by the Greek translation which is used. This paper attempts to map the reading strategy of Hebrews, and suggests that the author has moved from proof text to context, and from familiar messianic passages to the unfamiliar, in an exploratory and creative process which is driven by both verbal connections and theological convictions.


1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Room: Napoleon B1 - SH

Theme: Reading the Book of Hebrews in its Jewish Context

Gabriella Gelardini, University of Basel, Presiding

Hananel Mack, Bar-Ilan University
Echoes of the Judeo-Christian Polemic in the Biblical Commentaries of the Sages

The sages did not interpret the Bible in a sequential fashion, in the manner of the medieval rabbinic scholars. Instead, in their halakhic and aggadic literature they primarily left us a non-sequential array of commentaries on the verses of the Bible. Many of these commentaries reflected the reality of their lives, including the religious polemic with the Christian world, particularly in the third and fourth centuries C.E. in Palestine. Sermons against the Jews appear already in the New Testament, and later, in the writings of the Church Fathers, such as Justin Martyr, Origen, Jerome. We will discuss several examples of anti-Christian components in the commentaries of the sages as well as a number of practices relating to prayer and the synagogue service which should be understood against the background of the religious conflict between Jews and Christians in the early centuries. Based on the verse “Write thou these words” (Exod. 34:27), the sages learned that the words of the Bible should be written out, but the words of the Oral Law should not. They thus underscored the distinction between the Bible, which is in written format and familiar to one and all, and the Oral Law, which belongs solely to the Jews. The sages understood the words of Balaam, “God is not a man, that he should lie” (Num. 23:19) as pointing to the clear distinction between God and man: should a man come and say, I am God, that man is lying! They interpreted the verse in the Song of Songs “Look not upon me, that I am swarthy” (1:6) as the words of the Jewish nation to the world, which explain the hatred towards the Jewish people. The verse “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts” (Isa. 6:3) was interpreted by the sages as referring to the holiness of God who is in the heavens, on earth and in the future, thus rejecting the Christian interpretation that the verse is referring to the Trinity. The important place of the verse “Hear, O Israel… the Lord is One” (Deut. 6:4) in Jewish liturgy was apparently intended to emphasize the oneness of God and thus negate the Christian Trinity. In addition, the reading of chapters of the Prophets in the synagogue, Haftara's (Heb.: Haftarot), reflects a distancing from chapters which the Christians regarded as the foundation stones of their faith.

Joshua Garroway, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
A New Sort of a Priest for a New Sort of People: Reconfiguring Descent in Hebrews and Romans

This study proposes that Hebrews in its primary socio-historical context was an interpretation of Paul's epistle to the Romans, designed to clarify aspects of that epistle for a readership devoted to its content. As others already have suggested, internal and external evidence bespeak a relationship between the two texts. According to this study, the grist for Hebrews‚ mill is Paul's claim, in Rom 3:21ff., that Christ's death as a hilasterion not only offers atonement apart from the Law for those who believe, but also enables such believers, most of whom are gentiles, to become the genuine descendants of Abraham and consequently to inherit the promises stored up for those of such status. The latter is a theme to which Paul will famously return in Romans 9-11. The link between faith in Christ's sacrifice and reconfigured Abrahamic descent and inheritance is hardly transparent, however. Hebrews, I will argue, clarifies and enhances this link through its identification of Christ as a self-sacrificing High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. On the one hand, this identification underscores the novelty of Christ's sacrifice and its ability to mediate a new covenant and a new (and superior) mode of atonement; on the other hand, it provides the prototype for the reconfiguration of descent experienced by believers, for just as Christ reckons his priestly status through an alternative to the old covenant and the fleshly descent of the Levites, so the people he serves in the new covenant reckons its descent from Abraham, and its pursuant claim to the promises, in non-fleshly terms. Hebrews, then, advances Paul's assertion that the genuine „descendants of Abraham" (Heb 2:16) and the „heirs of the promise" (Heb 6.17) are those who have hope in Christ's unique and unprecedented sacrifice, not those whose descent is reckoned through flesh and the Law.

Carl Mosser, Eastern University
Halakhic Controversy and Hebrews 13

New Testament scholars have found the study of first-century Jewish halakha beneficial for understanding the canonical gospels and the letters of Paul. Hebrews has not received similar treatment. However, the author of Hebrews warns his readers against diverse teachings related to meats or foods that "have not benefited those who walk" (hoi peripatountes) (Heb. 13:9). This phrase suggests that the teachings in view are halakhic in nature (halak = walk). Furthermore, 13:11-13 employs the terminology of “camp” and “outside the camp.” In the Qumran scrolls and early rabbinic literature these same terms are technical halakhic designations utilized in discussions about purity and sacrifice. References in the surrounding context to the Levitical “altar” (13:10), the "sacrifice of praise" (13:15), and "sacrifices pleasing to God" (13:16) strongly suggest that Hebrews 13 is likewise concerned with halakha. This paper shows how first-century halakhic disputes shed light on two important aspects of Hebrews 13:9-16. First, the sacrificial language in the passage appears to reference the activity of the Jerusalem cult and halakhic innovations regarding the shared sacrifices eaten by worshipers. The author addresses his readers’ concerns by redefining the most prominent of the shared sacrifices, the thank offering, commonly identified as the “sacrifice of praise” in Greek Jewish texts. Second, first-century halakhic controversy about the precise scope of “camp” and “outside the camp” helps us to firmly identify the referents of these terms in Hebrews and rules out many of the explanations commentators have offered. The “camp” is Jerusalem; “outside the camp” is outside Jerusalem. These two insights testify to the value of paying closer attention to the Jewish context of Hebrews than has been common in recent decades. If sound, they also have significant implications for the social setting and location of the recipients.

Marius Heemstra, University of Groningen
Epistle to the Hebrews: Jewish Christians and the Fiscus Judaicus

The Epistle to the Hebrews has often been called enigmatic and has caused a lot of debate among scholars. In this paper I will try and answer some of the most important questions that have not been fully answered until now: (1) when was this document written, (2) to whom was it addressed (who were the ‘Hebrews’), (3) how could the information about past and possible future persecutions in Hebrews be interpreted and (4) why had some people recently given up the habit of attending the community meetings? The combination of these answers should also present a consistent explanation for this document in the context of early Christianity. It will be argued that this document was written to Jewish Christians (indeed ‘Hebrews’), some of whom had been persecuted under Domitian as tax-evaders of the Jewish tax. For this purpose accused persons had been exposed in public for the inspection of their genitals to find out whether they were circumcised. Conviction would lead to the confiscation of their property. Both elements, the confiscations and the public examination of genitals (theatrizomenoi!), can be found in Hebrews 10.32-34 and in Suetonius, Domit. 12.1-2, as will be made clear. Furthermore a date will be suggested as well: the year 96, after Nerva’s reform of the Fiscus Judaicus. Nerva probably introduced the notion that the Jewish tax only needed to be paid by Jews who followed their ancestral customs. Jewish Christians (who under Domitian had been prosecuted as Jews for 'dissimulata origine imposita genti tributa non pependissent') were thus formally exempted from the tax and this exemption had one huge consequence: it formally led to the loss of their legal status as Jews under Roman law. This could have led to Jewish Christians returning to the synagogue, which the author of Hebrews wants to prevent.

Discussion (30 min)

Greco-Roman Religions
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: Balcony J - MR

Theme: Hybridization and Creolization in the Greek and Roman Worlds

George H. van Kooten, University of Groningen

Competition between Heracles and Christ

Many scholars take a wrong view on the uniqueness of Christianity in the ancient world. According to Mitchell, among others, ‘Faith in Christ the redeeming god, which was at the core of Christian self-definition, was extraordinary by pagan and Jewish standard’ (2007:233). This is, however, not the case and for that reason gives a wrong perception of the success of Christianity in the ancient world. This can be demonstrated by an extensive comparison between Christ and the concept of the immortals, who started off as half-god, half-human and gained immortality (Talbert 1975). Particularly a comparison with Heracles will be drawn whose deeds, according to philosophers such as Seneca and Epictetus, were accomplished ‘pro salute gentium’, for the salvation and well-being of mankind. Already the pagan philosopher Celsus gives insight into the competition between Christ and Heracles when he asks why Christians are not satisfied with Heracles (Celsus apud Origen, Against Celsus 7.53). This competition was very important in the first three centuries CE. The Christian author of Hebrews modelled Christ on the figure of Heracles (Aune 1990), whereas Heracles, in turn, ‘became paganism’s last, desperate choice to head off the appeal of Christianity’ (Galinsky 1972:106; cf. Simon 1955). A sustained analysis of the similarities and competitive dissimilarities between Christ and Heracles will reveal why actually Christianity did appeal to the pagan world, not by way of simple opposition and proclamation, but through a process of hybridization in which mutual encounters and reciprocal negotiations took place. In this paper I shall suggest that the appeal of Christianity had probably to do with the unambiguous morality of Christ, compared with the moral ambiguity of the Heracles figure even in pagan sources.


Society for Pentecostal Studies
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: Napoleon D2 - SH

Theme: Prophecy and Eschatology in the New Testament

Scott D. Mackie, Logos Evangelical Church

Eschatological Experience in the Epistle to the Hebrews

Hebrews quite possibly possesses the most developed, realized eschatology in the NT. The author everywhere assumes the community’s familiarity with the supernatural; he even wagers the success of his “word of exhortation” on it. Thus his calls to persevere, warnings against “falling away,” and promises of imminent vindication are all based on appeals to the community’s eschatological experiences (2:1-4; 3:14; 4:1-3; 6:4-6; 10:10-39; 12:22-29). These experiences include: “signs, wonders, and miracles,” heavenly “rest,” “partaking” of the Spirit and Christ, “tasting the powers of the age to come,” enlightenment, and a profound psychological cleansing. Perhaps the most remarkable occurrences of realized eschatology, the author’s exhortations to “draw near” and enter the heavenly sanctuary, have been largely overlooked or misinterpreted (4:14-16; 6:18-20; 10:19-23; 12:22-24). Though typically viewed as a denoting prayer or worship, these calls to enter the heavenly sanctuary are in fact essential to the author’s hortatory effort, and therefore must represent real and substantial access to the heavenly realm. They have as their goal the community’s participation in a divine adoption ceremony, which includes: (1) a dramatic enactment of the Son’s exaltation (chapters 1 & 2); (2) the Son’s conferral of family membership on the community (2:12-13; 10:24-25); (3) and their reciprocal confession of Jesus as the Son of God (4:14-16; 10:19-23). Hebrews is also notable for its emphasis on visuality. Besides numerous ekphrastic descriptions of the heavenly sanctuary and Jesus’ sacral actions, the author exhorts the community to both “see” the exalted Jesus (2:9; 9:24-28) and their involvement in the aforementioned divine adoption ceremony (2:13; 10:24-25). This visual program ultimately serves a hortatory purpose, reversing the recipients’ waning commitment by helping them “see” in Jesus that their steadfastness in suffering will surely issue in exaltation (2:6-10). Like Moses, they will “persevere by seeing him who is invisible” (11:27).

Jeffrey S. Lamp, Oral Roberts University

"He Has Prepared a City for Them" (Hebrews 11:8-16): Escapist Eschatology or Ecological Expedience?

In Heb 11:8-16, the author commends Abraham for his faith, citing the example of Abraham’s setting out from his home country to an unknown land in obedience to the command of God. The author notes that Abraham settled for a time in the land that had been given him in the promise of God, but that he did so as a stranger and alien upon the earth (v. 9). The focus of the author is not on Abraham or his posterity receiving the promised land, but is rather on an eschatological interpretation of the promised homeland that is aimed at exhorting the readers of the letter-sermon to keep their eyes fixed on the eternal reward of perseverance. Thus the example of Abraham is but one of many in ch. 11 that urges the readers to look beyond their present circumstances to the eschatological promise of eternal life. Frequently, however, this passage among others is used to justify an escapist eschatology that minimizes attention on the present order and its afflictions in favor of a rather singular focus on the world to come. If indeed believers are strangers and foreigners upon the earth, living as those just passing through, with eyes fixed on the eternal city God has prepared for them, then believers may be justified to pay little attention to a homeland not their own. This paper will attempt to put the passage into proper perspective by placing its teaching into the larger context of what the NT (Hebrews included) has to say about the place of creation in God’s redemptive scheme. The conclusion will affirm the integrity of Heb 11:8-16 within its own rhetorical context while maintaining the larger biblical picture of the believer’s responsibility to care for creation in light of its eschatological redemption.

Ecological Hermeneutics
4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: Studio 3 - MR

Jeffrey S. Lamp, Oral Roberts University
The Promise of God's Rest (Hebews 4:1-11): Joshua, Jesus, Sabbath, and the Care of the Land

Hebrews 4:1-11 continues the rhetorical strategy of the letter by asserting the superiority of the Son to another key figure of the old covenant, Joshua. Specifically, the author asserts that the Israelites of Joshua’s day failed to enter God’s rest because of their disobedience, so that the promise of rest ostensibly given in terms of the land ultimately lay unfulfilled. The author contends that in the Son, the promise of entering God’s rest remains open to the present day, and that this rest is superior to that available through Joshua because it is connected with the Sabbath rest enjoyed by God since the conclusion of the works of creation. What the author of Hebrews has effectively done is both to spiritualize and eschatologize the promise of Joshua’s rest embodied in the land such that in Jesus the promise of rest is currently realized, to be realized in full in the eschaton. This is in keeping with the author’s anthropological and christological agendas throughout the letter. However, the voice of earth, in this context specifically the land, is heard through one of the scriptural citations proffered by the author in support of his argument (v. 4). The appeal to the establishment of Sabbath at the end of God’s creative work in Gen 2:2-3 allows for the voice of the land to assert for itself a place in the enjoyment of God’s rest, both in the present and in the eschaton. The land will appeal to traditions in the Hebrew Bible that demonstrate God’s concern for the land in terms of Sabbath observance. The resulting reading will be one that tempers the rhetorical concerns of the author, in which a denigration of the actual land is implied, with a call to expand the scope of God’s promised rest to include all creation.

Sacrifice, Cult, and Atonement
4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: Rhythms Ballroom 1 - SH

Theme: Topics in the Study of Sacrifice and Atonement

Wolfgang Kraus, University of the Saarland
Why Must the Heavenly Things have better Sacrifices?: Hebrews 9:23 and the Line of Argumentation in Hebrews.

According to Hebr 9:23 the sketches of the heavenly things have to be purified by blood rites at the earthly temple. The heavenly things themselves need better sacrifices. There is no consensus in today's commentaries about the understanding of this verse. The paper tries to show that Hebr 9:23-25 aims at a consecration/inauguration of the heavenly sanctuary. This is proven by analysing the passage itself and putting it into the line of argumentation in the letter to the Hebr as a whole, especially by showing the close relation of Hebr 9:23ff to Hebr 7:26-28 and 10:19-22, i.e. the heavenly ministry of Jesus, the High Priest in the order of Melchisedek


Book of Acts
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: Studio 4 - MR

Kenneth L. Schenck, Indiana Wesleyan University
Acts and the Temple: Possible Insights from Hebrews

William Manson suggested over fifty years ago that the author of Hebrews was a Hellenist of the same sort as Stephen had been. We might now more appropriately reverse his suggestion. The author of Acts, writing after the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple, portrayed Stephen similarly to a certain segment of Christian Judaism in his own day, a segment typified by the author of Hebrews. Several scholars have recently explored the possibility that Hebrews might be more of a “coping strategy” in the wake of Jerusalem and the temple’s destruction, rather than a polemic against the temple per se. If this interpretation is correct, it might have implications for our understanding of Acts 7, as well as of the author of Acts’ own understanding of the temple in general. This paper makes some suggestions as to what those implications might be. For one, this understanding of Hebrews potentially provides a via media between those, on the one hand, who see no word against the temple in Stephen’s speech (e.g., those in Acts 16:13 are false witnesses) and those who highlight some of its inflammatory language (e.g., cheiropoietos in 7:48). If Stephen is meant to resemble the author of Hebrews, we might take him to recognize the transitory and anticipatory nature of the Jerusalem temple, while not opposing it as a holy place per se, particularly at that point in time. His words ironically echo God’s judgment on the temple leadership and the foolhardiness of those who participated in the Jewish War, while not opposing the sanctuary itself. Meanwhile, we have no clear indication on the author of Acts’ own part from which to argue that he or she saw no role for a rebuilt temple in the future, particularly after the “times of the Gentiles” would be fulfilled.

Hebrews at the Evangelical Theological Society Annual Meeting

Here are the papers on Hebrews that will be delivered at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society:

Moderator: Herb Bateman
(Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary)

Carl Mosser
(Eastern University)
Bringing Sons to Glory: Hebrews 2, Psalm 8, and Christian Deification

Barry Joslin
(The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary)
The How and Why of It: New Covenant Promises and Direct Connection between Hebrews 8 and 9

John Taylor
(Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary)
From Proof to Text: Mapping Hebrews’ Messianic Exploration of the Psalms

Josh Walker
(Reformed Theological Seminary)
Authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews: A Pauline/Lukan Perspective

Open Session

Joseph Pak
(Taylor University)
False Believers in the Letter to the Hebrews

Study Group
Moderator: Douglas Blount
(Dallas Theological Seminary)
Theme: God in the Letter to the Hebrews

Nathan Holsteen
(Dallas Theological Seminary)
God in the Letter to the Hebrews

Herbert Bateman
(Southwestern Baptist
Theological Seminary)
Response to Nathan Holsteen

Open Section
Moderator: Jon Laansma
(Wheaton College and Graduate School)

D. Jeffrey Bingham
(Dallas Theological Seminary)
Irenaeus and Hebrews

Pamela Bright*
(Concordia Theological Seminary)
Hebrews in the Church Fathers: The Implications for Christology

Charles Kannengiesser*
(Concordia Theological Seminary)
Hebrews in Chrysostom

Mark Beatty
Personal Ethics in the Letter to the Hebrews: Clues from Word Order

Open Session

Charlie Bing
Is There Hellfire in Hebrews?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

October 2009 Hebrews Carnival

The book of Hebrews has been getting considerably more attention this past month.

We begin with some book reviews:

Rafael Rodriguez continues his posts on Gabriella Gelardini's edited volume, Hebrews: Contemporary Methods--New Insights, with a reflection and review of Scott Hahn's essay, "Covenant, Cult, and the Curse-of-Death: Διαθηκη in Heb 9:15-22." In a second post, More on Hebrews, he reviews essays by Gelardini, Ellen Aitken, Knut Backhaus, and Benjamin Dunning. I share his skepticism about Aitken's reading of Hebrews. He finishes his review with some comments on Pamela Eisenbaum's and James Millers' essays.

Rafael now has begun a review of Barry Joslin's, Hebrews, Christ, and the Law: The Theology of the Mosaic Law in Hebrews 7:1-10:18.

Diglot has a review on Faithful to the End: An Introduction to Hebrews through Revelation by Terry Wilder, J. Daryl Charles, and Kendell Easley. He also reviews Ben Witherington's Letters and Homilies for Jewish Christians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on Hebrews, James and Jude.

Next we turn to the text of Hebrews:

Peter Head continues his posts on textual criticism of Hebrews in P46 with some notes on Hebrews 2:9.

Tommy Wasserman notes the registration of the newly-discovered Hebrews fragment as P126.

Wasserman also draws attention to an article by Martin Karrer on Hebrews and the LXX (Karrer has also written a two-volume commentary on Hebrews in German).

Next we consider specific passages on Hebrews:

William Varner ponders whether the the author of Psalm 8 (quoted in Hebrews 2) had Jesus in mind or whether Jesus is the fulfillment of the psalm in the sense he is the ultimate human being.

Jason quotes a passage from William Lane on Hebrews 2:14 regarding the devil and death.

Ken Schenck resumes his explanatory notes with posts on Hebrews 2:9-18, Hebrews 10:1-18 and Hebrews 10:19-39.

William Watson Birch has a discussion on the meaning of archegos (author) in Hebrews 2:10 and 12:2 in one of his discussions about Jacob Arminius' theology.

Joel Watts offers a comparison of translations on Hebrews 6:1-18.

Peter Lopez offers his study notes for Hebrews 6 and Hebrews 7. He also gives his reflections on Week 4, Week 5, and Week 6 of his Bible Study.

Stuart Mizelle revisits Hebrews 10:24, offering his own rendering of the verse.

Rick Saenz discusses the word peitho in Hebrews 13:17 and concludes that the word in context means more than to obey your leaders, but also to have confidence in them and to trust in them. Alan Knox concurs. See his older post, Obey and Submit?.

Finally, we conclude with some general reflections on Hebrews:

Clifford Kvidahl, in his post, Come, Let Us Go to the Wilderness, relates his view that the author "wanted his readers to see themselves as members with OT Israel in their wilderness journey." Could this be the reason why the author focuses on the tabernacle rather than the temple? In a second post, Faith in the Wilderness, he considers the placement of the faith chapter within the overall presentation of Hebrews.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Newly Arrived from Windows Booksellers

When I arrived home this evening, a package from Windows Booksellers was waiting for me. Inside was a Catholic commentary by Francois Cornelius Ceulemans, Commentarius in epistolas S. Pauli ad Ephesios, ad Philippenses, ad Colossenses, 1-2 ad Thessalonicenses, 1-2 ad Timotheum, ad Titum, ad Philemonem, ad Hebraeos. The original edition was published in 1902, but this third edition is from 1933.

It was the only available copy that I could find on the internet. The book is still in fairly good condition, but a number of pages are still uncut.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Dissertation

I just came across this new dissertation which was only completed last month:

Heemstra, Marius. "How Rome's Administration of the Fiscus Judaicus Accelerated the Parting of the Ways between Judaism and Christianity: Rereading 1 Peter, Revelation, the Letter to the Hebrews, and the Gospel of John in their Roman and Jewish Contexts." Ph.D. diss., Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, 2009.

The website is in Dutch, but the dissertation is in English.

Additional Resources Added

I continue to add links to articles and books to my resources pages. Among the most noteworthy additions are:

Bauckham, Richard. "Monotheism and Christology in Hebrews 1." Pages 167-85 in Early Jewish and Christian Monotheism. Edited by Loren T. Stuckenbruck and Wendy E. S. North. 2004.

Blair, Merryl. "'According to the Order of Melchizedek': Hebrews 7 and the Priesthood of Christ."

Colijn, Brenda B. "'Let Us Approach': Soteriology in the Epistle to the Hebrews." Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 39.4 (1996): 571-86.

Decker, Rodney J. "The Warnings of Hebrews Three and Four." Journal of Ministry and Theology 5 (2001): 5-27.

Gleason, Randall C. "Angels and the Eschatology of Heb 1-2." New Testament Studies 49 (2003): 90-107.

Irons, Lee. "Entering God's Rest by Faith: Realized Eschatology in Hebrews 3:7-4:11." 2007.

Kobelski, Paul J. "Melchizedek in Hebrews 7." Pages 115-29 in Melchizedek and Melchiresa'. 1981.

Koester, Helmut. "'Outside the Camp': Hebrews 13.9-14." Harvard Theological Review 55 (1962): 299-315.

Wallace, David. "The Use of Psalms in the Shaping of a Text: Psalm 2:7 and Psalm 110:1 in Hebrews 1." Restoration Quarterly 45 (2003): 41-50.

Welch, Charles H. Perfection or Perdition: An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews. 1973.

I have also added links to some public domain commentaries (A. W. Pink, Robert Jamieson, B. W. Johnson, Matthew Henry, F. B. Meyer etc.) for the sake of completeness.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Scott Hahn Articles Added

I want to thank Scott Hahn for alerting to me to his online articles on Hebrews. The following two articles have been added:

Hahn, Scott. "A Broken Covenant and the Curse of Death: A Study of Hebrews 9:15-22." Catholic Biblical Quarterly 66.3 (2004): 416-36.

Hahn, Scott. "Covenant, Cult, and the Curse-of-Death: Διαθηκη in Heb 9:15-22." Pages 65-88 in Hebrews: Contemporary Methods - New Insights. Edited by Gabriella Gelardini. Leiden: Brill, 2005.

He also informed me of his recent volume in the Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library containing a lengthy chapter on Hebrews:
Chapter 10: "Hebrews 1-9: Covenant, Oath, and Royal Priestly Primogeniture." Pages 278-331, 467-482 in Kinship by Covenant: A Canonical Approach to the Fulfillment of God's Saving Promises. Yale, 2009.

As a bonus, you can click on his name above to access all of his online articles and his personal website. :-)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Even More Books Added!

I have added the following titles to the Electronic Books page (This puts the listing at over 200 volumes!):

Anonymous. Epistres de Saint Paul à Timothée, à Tite, à Philémon, & aux Hébreux, Volume 2. 1709. [Hebrews begins on page 390]

Arnaud, A. Essais de commentaires sur les épitres de S. Paul et des autres apotres. 1853. [Hebrews begins on page 272]

Bachasse, Frédéric. L'hypothèse de M. Chavannes sur l'épitre aux Hébreux et son appréciation critique. 1856.

Bacmeister, Lucas. Disputatio complectens summam et ordinem doctrinae, in epistola ad Hebraeos traditae, De sacerdotio et sacrificio Christi: instituta, ut studiosi ad lectionem eius epistolae invitentur. 1569.

Brenz (Brentio), Johannes (Ioanne). In epistolam, quam Paulus apostolus ad Hebraeos scripsit de persona et officio domini nostri Iesu Christi Commentarius. 1571.

Capillery, Adolphe. Christ et son oeuvre rédemptrice d'après l'épître aux Hébreux. 1866.

Daillé, Jean. XXIII sermons sur le XIIe chapitre de l'Epître aux Hébreux, prononcés à Charenton, avec un sermon sur le verset 1 du chapitre XIII. 1672.

Desprez, Guillaume and Jean Desessartz, eds. Epistres de Saint Paul a Timothée, a Tite, à Philemon, & aux Hebreux. 1711.

Galenus, Matthaus. Commentarius in D. Pauli ad Hebraeos Epistolam. 1599.

Grotius, Hugo. Annotationes in Novum Testamentum: Pauli Epistolas ad Ephesios-Philemonem et in Epist. ad Hebraeos. Volume 7 of Annotationes in Novum Testamentum. 1829.

Hemmingsen, Niels. Commentarius in epistolam apostolicam ad Hebraeos. 1568.

Hulsius, Paulus and Johannes Wilhelmius. Verklaring van de brief van den apostel Paulus ann den Hebreen: in hondert en vyf kerkredenen in de Academiekerk van Groningen, Volume 1. 1725.

Hulsius, Paulus and Johannes Wilhelmius. Verklaring van de brief van den apostel Paulus ann den Hebreen: in hondert en vyf kerkredenen in de Academiekerk van Groningen, Volume 2. 1725.

Hunnius, Aegidius. Exegesis epistolae ad Hebraeos. 1589.

Laharpe, Henry Louis. Essai critique sur l'authenticité de l'Epitre aux Hébreux. 1832.

Lomb, Conrad. Commentarius in divi Pauli apostoli epistolam ad Hebraeos. 1843.

Maunoury, Auguste François. Commentaire sur les Epîtres de saint Paul à Timothée, à Tite, à Philémon, aux Hébreux. Volume 4 of Commentaire sur les Epîtres de saint Paul. 1882.

Monod, Horace. L'épître aux Hébreux n'est pas de Paul. 1838.

Osiander, Lucas. Epistola ad Hebraeos, Iacobi, Prima et Secunda Petri, Prima, Secunda, & Tertia Ioannis, Iude & Apocalypsis Ioannis: Omnia iuxta Veterem seu Vulgatam Translationem, ad Graecum textum emendata . . . . 1584.

Peirce, James and Johann David Michaelis. Paraphrasis et notae philologicae atque exegeticae in Epistolam ad Hebraeos. 1747.

Reuss, Eduard. L'épître aux hébreux: essai d'une traduction nouvelle accompagné d'un commentaire. 1862.

Reville, Jean Auguste. Theses de epistolae ad Hebraeos authentia. 1817.

Ribera, Francisco de. In epistolam B. Pauli Apostoli ad Hebraeos Commentarij . . . . 1600.

Rosenmuller, Johann Georg. Scholia in Novum Testamentum: Pauli Epostolas ad Timotheum, Titum, Philemonem, et Hebraeos; Epistolam Iacobi, utramque Petri, Epistolas Ioannis, Epistolam Iudae et Apocalypsin Ioannis. Volume 5 of D. Io. Georgii Rosenmülleri Scholia in Novum Testamentum. 1808.

Seyffarth, Traugott Augustus. De epistolae, quae dicitur, ad Hebraeos indole maxime peculiari. 1821.

Streso, Casparus. Commentarius analytico-practicus in epistolam ad Hebraeos: CXX Concionibus Ecclesiae Christi, quae Hagae-Comitum colligitur, propositus, studio et opera. 1661.

Vidal, François. De l'authenticité de l'Epître aux Hébreux. 1829.

Friedrich Bleek Books Added

I have just added the following Friedrich Bleek books to the electronic books listing:

Bleek, Friedrich. Der Brief an die Hebraer erlautert durch Einleitung, Uebersetzung, und fortlaufenden Commentar. Vol. 1. 1828.

Bleek, Friedrich. Der Brief an die Hebraer. Vol. 2 Part 1. 1836.

Bleek, Friedrich. Der Brief an die Hebraer. Vol. 2 Part 2. 1840.

Bleek, Friedrich. Der Hebraerbrief. Edited by Karl August Windrath. 1868.

I don't know how I missed them!

Also I added the following book a few days ago:

Huyghe, P. Carolo. Commentarius in Epistolam ad Hebraeos. 1901.

I am continually adding new resources as I come across them, so if you know of something that is missing, I would appreciate it if you would let me know.