Saturday, January 10, 2009

Is the Book of Hebrews Addressed to Samaritans?

Richard Anderson who wrote the article "The Cross and the Atonement from Luke to Hebrews" (Evangelical Quarterly 71 [1999]: 127-49) has a posting on his blog site about the recipients of the Book of Hebrews. He argues that the recipients were Samaritans, in part, it seems, on the title itself, "The Epistle to the Hebrews." He says that the Samaritans called themselves Hebrews, while the Jews did not. Since the the title is not original to the book, it would seem to me to be a dubious argument to identify the recipients of the book on this basis.


  1. sorry for the lousey typing. it's more than the title. forgive me. i've forgotten the precise source (maybe schonfield or goulder?) but i read a convincing detailled expostion that the text is samaritan in tone. it is tabernacle not temple based therefore jerusalem oriented. (as opposed to gezrim the samaritan cultic center). i'm just a layman but i remember reading that the terms and the bounds of the religious description used were samaritan sensible.that is no reference to the prophets (which you would think obligatory in describing jesus) which again the samaritans didn't accept. jesus sacfrice as a perfect high priest are tabernacle not temple based. since you are doing a phd. on this, you should be able to find it.

  2. Thanks. It is an interesting theory which I never heard before a couple of days ago. I have just started working my way through the secondary literature in a systematic way, so perhaps I will come across it again, or perhaps one of my learned readers will point me to a more precise source where this theory is posited. If I am not mistaken, though, the Samaritans only deemed the Pentateuch authoritative. But the author of Hebrews makes extensive use of the Psalms in his exhortation. So, I am wondering whether this poses a problem for the Samaritan theory?