Friday, April 30, 2010

Hebrews Carnival April 2010

Stephen Hebert finally continued his series on the text-critical reading of Hebrews 2:9. In part 6 he reviews the variant reading of choris theou in Origen and Ambrose. He argues that choris theou was changed to chariti theou because of the christological debates in the early church. In part 7 he notes that Irenaeus was also dealing with the same christological issues. Part 8 appears to be the conclusion of the series.

Ken Schenck has a discussion about Hebrews and Hermeneutics. He argues that the author took Psalm 40 which had an original meaning in its context and gave it a new meaning within a next context.

Ken also gives an outline of the Christology of Hebrews.

Ken also opines on what kind of midrash Hebrews 7 is.

Tommy Wasserman announces the publication of his New Commentary on Hebrews in Swedish.

Michael Bird announces the arrival of Peter O'Brien's Commentary on Hebrews. He provides a quote on O'Brien's take on 6:4-6.

Peripherally related to Hebrews, Torrey S announces the publication of Gard Granerod's dissertation, Abraham and Melchizedek: Scribal Activity of Second Temple Times in Genesis 14 and Psalm 110. I am going to ask my library to purchase it.

Scot McKnight endorses Edward Fudges' new book Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today.

Jason reflects on Hebrews 4:1-10 in his post God's Rest and the New Creation. He muses that "entrance into the new creation (the Sabbath that remains for God's people) is not so much an eternity of relaxing, but of one ruling over creation."

Peter Head has two notes on P126.

Rob Bowman does an exegesis of Hebrews 1:1-13 in part 3 of The Great Trinity Debate.

New Article Added

I have just added the following article:

Thayer, J. Henry. "Authorship and Canonicity of the Epistle to the Hebrews." Bibliotheca sacra 24.96 (1867): 681-722.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New Arrival

I just received the following book today:

Kenneth L. Schenck. Cosmology and Eschatology in Hebrews: The Setting of the Sacrifice. SNTSMS 143. 2007.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New Book in French

It is rare to see new books on Hebrews come out in French anymore, but Bibbiablog is announcing the publication of the following book:

Jean-Marie Carrière. «Tenez bon !» Relire la lettre aux Hébreux.

Here is the blurb from their blog:

"Les circonstances historiques de la lettre aux Hébreux restent obscures. Sommes-nous après la guerre juive de 70 et le Temple de Jérusalem est-il déjà détruit ? Quoiqu’il en soit, c’est sur fond de graves bouleversements qu’un auteur anonyme décide d’écrire une lettre de « consolation » où il approfondit le mystère du Christ. C’est en fonction de la nouveauté radicale de l’événement «Christ» qu’il repense l’ancien système du sacerdoce et des sacrifices. Voici une lecture pas à pas de sa lettre. Pour entrer dans un mouvement qui, loin de la nostalgie des splendeurs passées, nous tire en avant : «Tenez bon !»

Jean-Marie Carrière (Né en 1948) est professeur d’Écriture sainte au Centre Sèvres (Facultés jésuites de Paris).

Two New Articles Added

I have added two new articles:

Ladd, Daniel. "Explanation of the ΤΗΣ ΠΡΩΤΗΣ ΣΚΗΝΗΣ, Heb. 9:8." Bibliotheca sacra 14.53 (1857): 46-61.

Mitchell, Edward C. "Whence Came the Quotation in Hebrews I.6?: Και προσκυνησατωσαν αυτω παντες αγγελοι θεου." Bibliotheca sacra 20.78 (1863): 301-11.

HT: Rob Bradshaw

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Arrival

Today I received in the mail a used copy of a book I recently learned about:

Gerald Thomas Kennedy. St. Paul's Conception of the Priesthood of Melchisedech: An Historico-Exegetical Investigation. 1951.

The book is a publication of a dissertation submitted to the Catholic University of America in partial fulfillment for the Doctor of Sacred Theology. As can be seen from the title, the author presumes Pauline authorship. Chapter 1 examines the person and role of Melchizedek in Genesis 14. Chapter 2 gives an interpretation of Psalm 110:4. Chapter 3 investigates the priesthood of Melchizedek in Hebrew 7. Chapter 4 and 5 deal with Melchizedek in the early church fathers and the ancient Jews respectively.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Hebrews within Its First-Century Contexts

Guthrie, George H. "Hebrews in Its First-Century Contexts: Recent Research." Pages 414-443 in The Face of New Testament Studies: A Survey of Recent Research. Edited by Scot McKnight and Grant R. Osborne. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004.
George Howard Guthrie (1959- ) is professor of Bible at Union University in Jackson, TN (1990-). He has written several monographs, commentaries, and articles on the book of Hebrews.
Guthrie provides a very fine survey of recent research on Hebrews. This essay is much broader, considering the research on Hebrews within its first-century context. Guthrie begins with an overview of overviews! The authors he highlights are McCullough, Feld, Hurst, and Koester. Standard critical commentaries also deal with many important background issues and interact with secondary literature. He highlights the commentaries of Lane, Attridge, and Weiss.
A number of studies have given attention to Hebrews’ use of rhetorical conventions, for example, the use of synkrisis (Seid), exempla (Cosby; Bulley; Eisenbaum), paideia (Croy), honor and shame language (deSilva), as well as a host of stylistic devices (Guthrie). Considerable discussion has centered around identifying the type of rhetoric Hebrews employs, whether it be deliberative or epideictic. Some scholars have attempted to identify the rhetorical structure of Hebrews according to Greco-Roman categories (Übelacker; Nissilä). Others have structured Hebrews by highlighting key literary devices (Vanhoye; Guthrie).
With respect to Hebrews’ relationship to Judaism, attempts to see connections with Merkabah mysticism (Schenke; Williamson; Hofius), Gnosticism (Käsemann; Grässer; Theissen) or Qumran (Yadin; Fensham; P. E. Hughes; Kistemaker; Kosmala) must be seen as largely a failure. Spicq is the most prominent advocate for seeing Platonic or Philonic influence on Hebrews, but Spicq’s thesis has been increasingly dismantled by the works of Barrett, Hanson, Schröger, Williamson, and Hurst. It has been increasingly recognized that Jewish apocalyptic is largely responsible for Hebrews’ thought world. Scholars have also attempted to demonstrate that Hebrews exemplifies characteristics of an early homily (Thyen; Wills; Black). Guthrie also surveys research on Hebrews’ use of the OT and its hermeneutical approach. This part of the survey is a distillation of Guthrie’s earlier survey, which I covered in my previous post. Scholars have also tried to note connections with emergent Christianity, for example, the Stephen tradition (W. Manson), Pauline Christianity (Windisch, Hurst, Koester), and First Peter (Koester, Attridge, Hurst). Very little progress has been made on discerning the specific circumstances (authorship, recipients, date) of the book and a variety of occasions have been proposed by different scholars (e.g., Lane; Isaacs: Lindars; deSilva).
Guthrie concludes his survey by noting some important work done on the theology of Hebrews. In addition to Lindars’ general overview of the theology of Hebrews, Guthrie highlights works devoted to “sacred space” (Isaacs), rest (Laansma), the “cloud of witnesses” (Rose), God’s speech (Wider), faith (Rhee), covenant renewal rites (Dunnill), and repentance and sin (Löhr).

Recent Trends in Research on Hebrews' Use of OT

Guthrie, George H. “Hebrews’ Use of the Old Testament: Recent Trends in Research.” Currents in Biblical Research 1 (2003): 271-94.
George Howard Guthrie (1959- ) is professor of Bible at Union University in Jackson, TN (1990- ). He has written several monographs, commentaries, and articles on the book of Hebrews.
This is the first of two surveys by Guthrie that we will be looking at. This survey is more focused on current trends on the study of Hebrews’ use of the OT. This allows Guthrie to provide adequate summaries and evaluations of the works reviewed. Guthrie’s essay is divided into two unequal parts:
The first part is an introduction “detailing the phenomena surrounding Hebrews’ use of the Old Testament” (272). He first notes that no consensus has arisen regarding the number of OT quotations in Hebrews since the author also employs allusions, usages of biblical language, and general references to the OT. Scholarship needs to bring some sort of clarification to the various appropriations of the OT by Hebrews. Guthrie then offers his own definitions of quotations, allusions, summaries, and echoes (273). He comes up with the following numbers: 35 quotations, 34 allusions, 19 summaries, and 13 echoes (274). Hebrews does not use introductory formulas like Paul; instead the author places scripture in the mouths of God, Christ, or the Holy Spirit.
The second part of the article deals with four trends in Hebrews research:
Text Form: Bleek argued that Hebrews uses a form of the LXX similar to Codex Alexandrinus. Katz questioned Bleek’s argument. Thomas contended that the author used a more primitive text behind Codices Alexandrinus and Vaticanus. Howard claimed that the author used a form of the Hebrew text older than the MT. McCullough argued that one needs to evaluate the recensions used by the author on a book-by-book basis (275). Numerous other explanations can account for the differences in Hebrews’ quotations, including intentional changes by the author for stylistic or theological reasons. Numerous scholars have explored this possibility in recent years (Silva; Leschert; Bateman; Hughes; Enns; Jobes). (276)
Structural “Framing”: Caird suggested that Hebrews is organized according to expositions of OT passages: “Heb. 2 is build around Ps. 8, chs. 3-4 develop from Ps 95, chs. 5-7 play off Ps. 110, and Jer. 31 governs Heb. 8-10" (278). Caird’s suggestion was expanded by R. Longenecker, France, and Walters.
Exegetical Methods: A number of scholars have tried to identify the author’s exegetical methodology. Scholars have explored the following methods: midrash (Leschert; Hayes; Bateman; Ellis; Fitzmyer; Guthrie), chain quotations or haraz (Bateman), example lists (Cosby; Bulley; Eisenbaum), dispelling confusion, reinforcement, implications, capitalizing on the literal sense of the word or phrase, verbal analogy or Gezerah shavah and argument from lesser to greater or Kal vahomer.(Guthrie).
Hermeneutic: Spicq’s contention that Hebrews employs a neo-Platonic dualism has now been called into question (Barrett; Williamson; Hurst). At least seven approaches have arisen exploring Hebrews’ hermeneutical system: 1) Proof-texting: Hebrews disregards the original context of scripture and forces them into the service of Christian proclamation (Weiss). Motyer raised objections to this view; 2) Sensus plenior: the Holy Spirit gives the “understanding of the deeper, christological meaning of the Old Testament text” (284) (Beale); 3) Dialogical Hermeneutics: “Exegesis is for the author of Hebrews the hearing participation in the dialogue that goes on within God and between God and man” (quotation from M. Barth, p. 64; 285); 4) Christ’s preexistence as hermeneutical key (Ellingworth); 5) hermeneutic of permission: “the Old Testament forms ‘permit’ to the new covenant interpreter the meanings that may be found in light of Christ” (287) (G. Hughes); 6) hermeneutic of the living voice: “God is speaking; he speaks old words with new meanings at points” (288) (Blackstone); 7) typology: “correspondences in biblical history between persons, institutions and events” (288) (Enns; Ellis; Caird; France; Motyer).

Young's Survey of Research

Young, Frances M. “Hebrews, Letter to the.” Pages 129-32 in New Testament: History of Interpretation: Excerpted from the Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation. Edited by John H. Hayes. Nashville: Abingdon, [1999], 2004.
Frances Margaret Young (1939- ) is a Methodist minister and Emeritus Professor of Theology at the University of Birmingham (1971-2005).
In this brief entry Frances Young gives an overview of the history of interpretation of Hebrews under five topic headings:
Authorship and Background: Ancient interpreters often attributed Hebrews to Paul, but others attributed it either to Luke, Barnabas, or Clement of Rome. Martin Luther was the first to surmise that Apollos wrote it. Modern scholarship has generally concluded that Paul is not the author. Many other candidates have been proposed including Pricilla, but Apollos remains the most viable suggestion. Modern scholars have questioned the traditional stance that Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians. Some scholars have tried to find connections with the Pauline corpus or with Stephen’s speech in Acts 7. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and 11QMelchizedek, in particular, has prompted scholars to look for affinities with the Qumran community. Others have tried to make connections with early Gnosticism.
Platonism and Eschatology: Origen used Hebrews for the justification of his typological exegesis. For him, Christ was the key to the OT. But Origen also believed that Christians were still living in a shadow reality that finds fulfillment in a heavenly, transcendent realm. In modern times scholars have tried to demonstrate Platonic influence on Hebrews’ eschatology, but a more ready explanation can be found in Jewish apocalypticism.
Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible: Modern scholars are embarrassed by Hebrews’ typological exegesis. The author’s interpretation are based the Greek text which has scribal errors and misinterpretations of the Hebrew text. Young apparently believes that Hebrew’s exegesis is arbitrary and quite foreign to the modern reader.
Christology: The Christological controversies of the fourth and fifth centuries highly affected the interpretation of Hebrews. Modern scholars have noted the paradoxical character of Hebrews’ Christology: it has the highest Christology in the NT, apart from John, and yet also has the most realistic portrayal of Jesus’ human nature. The figure of personified Wisdom may underlie Hebrews 1:3. There appears to be some “Adam-typology” in the book.
Paraenesis: Modern scholars have noted the close integration of the author’s expository and hortatory sections which seem to be reflective of an early Christian sermon. It appears to be addressed to a community that is on the verge of giving up perhaps in the face of persecution. Both ancient and modern commentators have picked up on the pilgrimage them of the book.
This overview of the history of interpretation of Hebrews is much too brief to be of much use. Moreover, I found that Young chose at times to focus on idiosyncratic issues that are not reflective of the main issues being debated about the book. There are much better surveys of the history of the interpretation of Hebrews than this piece.

Koester's Survey of Research

Koester, Craig R. “The Epistle to the Hebrews in Recent Study.” Currents in Research: Biblical Studies 2 (1994): 123-45.
Craig Koester (1953- ) has been Professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota since 1986. He has published a commentary on Hebrews for the Anchor Bible Commentary, as well as several articles on Hebrews.
This review of research on Hebrews nicely compliments J. C. McCullough’s two articles of the same year. While McCullough focuses on introductory issues such as authorship, recipients, genre, structure, style, and date, Koester concentrates on the following topics: 1) Commentaries, 2) Literary and Rhetorical Aspects, 3) Historical, Social, and Religious Context, 4) Theological Themes and Major Passages, and 5) History of Interpretation and Influence. Koester’s article concludes with an eight-page bibliography. Koester’s article covers the previous ten years since the publication of Helmut Feld’s survey.
Commentaries: Koester provides brief overviews of English commentaries by Attridge, Lane, and Ellingworth (NIGTC). Passing references are made to Wilson, Ellingworth, Bruce, Kistemaker, and Evans. Koester then makes brief comments on the German commentaries by Weiss, Grässer, Hegermann, and Braun, and the French commentary by Bénétreau. Passing references are made to Laub and März. Basically, Koester enumerates the contents of the introductory sections and excurses and the general layout of each commentary.
Literary and Rhetorical Aspects: Numerous scholars have paid attention to the various literary and rhetorical devices employed by Hebrews (Attridge; Lane; Jobes; Cosby; Lindars; Mitchell). Wills attempts to identify the features of Hebrews’ self-designation as a “word of exhortation,” while Black attempts to relate this form to classical rhetoric. Scholars differ on the type of rhetoric employed in Hebrews: some argue that Hebrews is a kind of deliberative rhetoric (Übelacker; Lindars), while others consider it epideictic (Attridge). Koester remarks that Hebrews does not fall neatly into either category. Scholars have tried to relate the different sections of Hebrews to the parts of ancient speeches.
Regarding structure, Vanhoye proposed a five-part concentric structure of the book, while others hold to a tripartite structure (Michel; Weiss). Various proponents have sided with both proposals. Alternative structures have also been presented by Übelacker and Brawley. Dunnill investigated the relationship between the “forward, linear movement of Hebrews” and its “repetitive or circular quality” (127).
Historical, Social, and Religious Contexts: Scholars agree that the author is unknown (e.g., Attridge; Ellingworth; Grässer; Lane; Weiss). Scholars either date the work before 70 AD (e.g., Bénétreau; Lane; Lindars; Ellingworth) or after it (e.g., Hegermann; Grässer; Isaacs; Weiss). Many situate the recipients of Hebrews in Rome (e.g., Attridge; Bruce; Ellingworth; Lane; Weiss), while Dunnill locates them in Western Asia Minor.
Concerning the social situation of the recipients, scholars have noted that Hebrews is addressed to a specific group within a wider Christian community (Weiss; Lindars) and that they are probably members of a house church (Lane). Scholars have determined that the ethnicity of the recipients were either Jewish (Bruce; Rissei; Feld; Lindars; Isaacs), Gentile (Braun; Weiss; Delville), or mixed (Ellingworth; Grässer). Scholars have surmised various scenarios for the occasion of the writing: crisis of faith triggered by Neronian persecution (Lane); a relapse into Judaism as a means of dealing with their need for atonement (Lindars); moral lethargy (Schmidt); a weariness of the faith of second-generation Christians (Grässer); a “preoccupation with sacred space . . . connected with the loss of Jerusalem and its temple” (129). Attridge argues that the author constructed a complex response to an equally complex situation in which no one problem is the key to understanding the situation.
Regarding Hebrews’ relationship to other early Christian groups, affinities with 1 Peter suggest a common Christian tradition, possibly in Rome (Hurst; Weiss; Attridge; Witherington; Backus). Manson’s proposal of a connection with Hellenistic Christians as exemplified by Stephen in Acts 7 was adopted with modifications by some scholars (Hurst; Lane; Lindars). Many scholars have also tried to locate Hebrews within the larger religious and intellectual context such as Hellenism (including Philo), Gnosticism, and apocalyptic Judaism. Scholars recognize that Hebrews utilizes extra-biblical Jewish sources, but mystic traditions and Samaritan sources are of little help in interpreting Hebrews. Much attention has been given to similarities between Hebrews and the Dead Sea Scrolls, but it is likely that neither the author nor the audience were related to the Qumran community in any way (Lehne; Scholer et al). Greco-Roman sources have also been used to help in the interpretation of Hebrews (Aune; Neyrey; van der Horst).
Theological Themes and Major Passages: Dunnill examined the concepts of sacrifice and covenant from an anthropological perspective. Isaacs investigated the notion of sacred space as a way of drawing together all the themes of Hebrews. Rissi claimed that the problems arising for the recipients of Hebrews originated from their idea of realized eschatology. Lindars contended that Hebrews addresses the audience’s problems of atonement for sin and guilt. Numerous studies have been done on the various aspects of the Christology of Hebrews (Meier; Dunn; Caird; Hurst; Savey), and in particular the author’s high-priestly Christology (Vanhoye; Estrada; Casalini; Laub; Bénétreau; Levoratti; Pursiful). Other studies have focused on the subject of the sanctuary (Lindars; Gordon; Löhr; Koester), the relationship between the high-priestly work of Christ and the priestly understanding of Christian life and community (Vanhoye; Fernάndez; Scholer; Nardoni; Swetnam), or the concept of faith (Hamm; Söding; Attridge; Weiss).
History of Interpretation and Influence: Commentators have examined the canonization process of Hebrews (Weiss; Lane; Ellingworth) and its role within the debates of the early church and the Reformation (Feld). Scholars have also begun to examine the history of Hebrews’ influence “by noting how the text is used in theological, devotional and polemical writings, liturgy and art, as well as in commentaries” (137). Grässer and Feld have engaged in special studies on the history of influence.

Hughes on the History of Research

Hughes, Philip Edgcumbe. “The Epistle to the Hebrews.” Pages 351-70 in The New Testament and Its Modern Interpreters. Edited by Eldon J. Epp and George W. MacRae. Philadelphia: Fortress; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1989.
Philip Edgcumbe Hughes (1915-1990) was an Anglican clergyman and New Testament scholar whose life and career spanned four continent including Australia where he was born, South Africa, England where he was ordained, and the USA where he died. He has degrees from the University of Cape Town, University of London, and Australian College of Theology. He taught at Tyndale Hall, Bristol (1947-1953), was editor of the Churchman (1959-1967), and from 1964 on he taught in American Seminaries, including Columbia Theological Seminary (Decatur, GA), Westminster Theological Seminary and Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry (both in PA). He has authored a commentary on Hebrews, as well as several articles.
In this essay Hughes gives a brief overview of recent scholarship on Hebrews under four headings: Hebrews and Qumran, Destination, Author, and Structure. He concludes with a considerable bibliography which includes works in several languages (including, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Latin).
Hebrews and Qumran: Yadin argued that Hebrews was written to counter Qumran teachings. He determined that the recipients were converts to Christianity from the Dead Sea sect. Publication of 11QMelchizedek prompted numerous studies on Melchizedek and his relationship to Hebrews. Several scholars theorized that the recipients were priests prior to the martyrdom of Stephen and many tried to demonstrate some sort of Essene connection (Spicq; Cullmann; Braun; Daniélou; Kosmala; Flusser; Fensham). Others, however, rejected any close connection; the background to Hebrews can be connected to the wider Jewish milieu (Coppens; Bruce). Williamson suggested that Merkabah mysticism provided the background to Hebrews’ thought.
Destination: Scholars have proposed numerous locations for the recipients of the book, ranging across the entire Mediterranean. Those adhering to an Essene connection advocate for Palestine. The greeting at 13:24 has prompted many scholars to posit Rome as the destination. T. W. Manson favored the Lycus Valley as the destination, while others have opted for Ephesus (Clarkson; Howard). Lo Bue, by contrast, advocated for an Ephesian origin and a Corinthian destination. Montefiore and Davies also supported a Corinthian destination. Spicq concluded that the book was sent to someplace in Syria or Palestine; Buchanan determined that Palestine was the location.
Author: Since many scholars see a strong Philonic influence on Hebrews, many scholars surmise that Apollos is the author (Spicq; Lenski; T. W. Manson; Ketter; Howard; Lo Bue). Another strong candidate is Barnabas because he was a Levite and this tradition has ancient support in Tertullian. Scholars who support the Barnabas theory include Javet, Badcock, Mulder, and J. A. T. Robinson. Williamson severely criticized Spicq’s contention for Philonic influence, while Sowers believed that the author came from the same school of Alexandrian Judaism as Philo. Several scholars have noted connections with Paul’s letters, while some have detected affinities with the Johannine writings. W. Manson observed similarities with Stephen’s perspective in Acts 7 which may form the backdrop to Hebrews’ theological ideas. Several other candidates have been proposed with little success: Silvanus, Timothy, Epaphras, Priscilla, and even Mary the mother of Jesus!
Structure: Several scholars have contributed to the understanding of the literary structure of Hebrews (Thien; Vaganay; Descamps; Gyllenberg; Nauck; Bligh), but the most elaborate analysis has been set forth by Vanhoye, who highlights various literary devices that reveal a concentric symmetry. Swetnam judged that Vanhoye’s structure did not take into consideration the content of the book.
Obviously, Hughes’ essay is very brief by necessity and more suggestive than anything else, but his extensive bibliography allows one to track down the various scholars mentioned. Space limitations prohibited Hughes from considering other critical issues in the interpretation of Hebrews such as its use of the OT and theological matters.

McCullough's Second Survey of Research on Hebrews

McCullough, John C. “Hebrews in Recent Scholarship.” Irish Biblical Studies 16 (1994): 66-86, 108-20.
John Cecil McCullough, an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, was professor of New Testament at Near East School of Theology in Beirut, Lebanon and later at Union Theological College and Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland, and is (was?) editor of Irish Biblical Studies. His dissertation was on “The OT Quotations in Hebrews” and he has published several articles on Hebrews.
This survey of recent scholarship is a follow-up article that the author published in 1980. This article covers the years 1980-1993 in which, according to the author, Hebrews scholarship has proliferated. The survey proceeds in a topical fashion.
Author: Generally speaking, speculation about Pauline authorship has come to an end (although Hugedé leaves open the possibility). Some discussion has revolved around whether the author of Hebrews belonged to a Pauline school: Schröger rejected the notion; Strobel concluded that the author might have been part of the wider Pauline missionary work; Ruager said that he was a member of the Pauline circle; and Backhaus argued that he did belong to a Pauline school.
Others have attempted to identify an alternative author and numerous names have been proposed. J. M. Ford offered the novel suggestion that Mary the mother of Jesus wrote Hebrews. Jewett proposed Epaphras, while D. L. Allen (incorrectly listed as “Alan” in the article) has contended for Luke. McCullough opines that “Such efforts to pinpoint names may be judged largely to have been a failure” (68). He suggests that the two best candidates are Barnabas and Apollos, but the evidence is too scanty to prove either one. Scholars are beginning to accept that the work is anonymous (e.g. Attridge). Grässer argued that the work was anonymous because the author wanted it to be that way for theological reasons; exclusive authority belongs to Jesus alone.
Acceptance of anonymity has prompted scholars to ascertain what can be known about the author from the writing itself. 2:3 suggests that the author was not an eyewitness of Jesus and was likely two or three generations removed. 11:32 hints that the author was a male. The author evinces a strong Hellenistic education and was proficient in the Greek language, while there is no evidence that he knew any Hebrew. The author probably had training in Greek rhetoric.
The precise intellectual influence on the author of Hebrews still remains a matter of debate. Spicq’s argument for Philonic influence was thoroughly refuted by Williamson. Nevertheless, the author is thoroughly immersed in the Hellenistic thought world of which Philo was a part (Thompson; Dey; Ruager), so the question becomes “how the author uses the traditions which he has in common in Philo” (74). Other scholars want to see Gnostic influence on the thought world of Hebrews (Windisch; Käsemann; Grässer; Theissen). Others have advocated for the author’s Jewish background. Earlier scholars such as Michel, Barrett, Michel, Klappert, and Hofius have all noted the Jewish eschatological components of the book, and this has been recognized by other scholars (Thompson; Strobel).
Recipients: Scholars are divided over whether the recipients were Jewish Christians (Hagner; Kistemaker; Casey; Morris; Rissi; Bénétreau; Bruce; Ellingworth) or not (Braun; Grässer; Laub; März; Hegermann; Weiss). As for provenance, many scholars are undecided, but it is clear that Hebrews has a connection with Italy (13:24). Some scholars state that Hebrews was written in Italy or even Rome, while many others advocate for a Roman destination (Hagner; Attridge; Bruce; Wilson; Rissi; Weiss). R. Brown argues for a Roman destination in the fact that it was known to other Roman writers (Shepherd of Hermas; Clement of Rome; Hippolytus), and Rome’s reluctance to accept it as canonical because they knew it was not written by Paul.
As for the occasion of the letter, some scholars say it was generally a faith crisis (Laub) perhaps caused by the delay of the parousia (Weiss; Strobel). Others see a connection with current or impending suffering or persecution (Lane; Buchanan; Robinson; Guthrie; Schmithals) or the Fall of Jerusalem and the Temple and the recipients were in danger of lapsing in their faith (Brown; Isaacs). Manson, by contrast, states that the danger was not relapsing, but of not taking full advantage of the opportunities afforded by Christianity. Lindars contended that they were struggling with the idea of forgiveness for sins committed after becoming Christians; they were tempted to return to the old sacrificial system which provided an ease for their consciences. Hooker surmises that they were Christians who were already cut off from Judaism and the Temple.
Genre, Structure and Style: Ellingworth surmises that a descriptive first leaf that would have been attached to the beginning of the manuscript was lost early on. Grässer concludes that chapter 13 was added by a later hand since the author wanted to remain anonymous and would not have added the Pauline ending. Weiss, on the other hand, determined that the ending was added by the author since a later redactor would also have appended a letter opening.
Discussion has also revolved around the issue of whether Hebrews is a general treatise or whether it is addressing a particular situation. Some view Hebrews as a letter (e.g., Kistemaker), while many others consider it a sermon (Swetnam; Grässer; Weiss; Lane; Michel; Thyen; Schierse; Isaacs; Vanhoye), or tractate (Rissi; Windisch). Various attempts have been made to determine the rhetorical structure of the work (Spicq; Wills; Black; Übelacker), and the type of rhetoric employed, whether it be deliberative or epideictic. Numerous other studies have worked on the literary structure of Hebrews.
Date: The terminus ad quem is usually fixed at 96 AD because Hebrews is used by 1 Clement, although there has been some debate as to whether 1 Clement is actually dependent on Hebrews. Some scholars have concluded that Hebrews was written before 70 AD because it refers to the sacrificial cult in the present tense. However, it has been demonstrated that other writings post-dating the destruction of the temple continue to use the present tense to describe the sacrificial cult. So, McCullough concludes that “the destruction of the Temple cannot, therefore, be used with any certainty to date the Epistle” (119). Scholars have not come to a consensus regarding the dating of the book, with dates ranging from the 60s to the 90s.
McCullough ends part one with a considerable bibliography on commentaries and monographs on Hebrews. McCullough provides a nice overview of scholarship for the period covered. Naturally, he was limited by space considerations so other important issues such as the author’s use of scripture or his theology could not be addressed.

McCullough's Survey of Research on Hebrews

McCullough, John C. “Some Recent Developments in Research on the Epistle to the Hebrews.” Irish Biblical Studies 2 (1980): 141-65; 3 (1981): 28-43.
John Cecil McCullough, an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, was professor of New Testament at Near East School of Theology in Beirut, Lebanon and later at Union Theological College and Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland, and is (was?) editor of Irish Biblical Studies. His dissertation was on “The OT Quotations in Hebrews” and he has published several articles on Hebrews.
The purpose of McCullough’s article is to trace and assess the trends in Hebrews scholarship in the previous two decades.
Part I:
Authorship: numerous authors have been proposed over the years. In recent years scholars have proposed Apollos (Roncaglia; Spicq; Manson; Héring; Lo Bue), Priscilla and Aquila (Hoppin), and Barnabas (Robinson). A consensus has emerged that Paul is not the author, even among Catholic scholars who now suggest that Hebrews was written by one of Paul’s pupils (142).
Religious Background:
Philo: after examining the author’s “vocabulary, literary style, theological arguments, exegetical methods, schemes of thought, [and] psychology,” Spicq concluded that the author was heavily influenced by Philo and was probably his pupil who later converted to Christianity (143). Friedrich Schröger more cautiously suggested that Philo and the author of Hebrews had a common Alexandrian background (144). Sidney Sowers similarly claimed that the author came from the same school of Alexandrian Judaism as Philo (144). Ronald Williamson dismantled Spicq’s thesis of Philonic influence in a detailed study of the linguistic evidence, themes, ideas, and use of scripture (144-145).
Qumran: the discovery and publication of the Qumran scrolls brought new interest to the religious background of the book of Hebrews. Scholars began to note some important parallels between Hebrews and the Dead Sea Scrolls (Michel; Yadin) and to surmise that the addressees had some connection with the Essene community (Yadin; Kosmala). But by the early sixties scholars began to urge greater caution about seeing direct connections with the scrolls (Bruce; Coppens; Braun). It was more likely that Hebrews and the Qumran community shared a common cultural milieu (Flusser). (145-146)
The publication of fragments containing references to Melchizedek again prompted Yadin to posit a direct connection with Hebrews; he claimed the author was addressing converted Essenes. But again, other scholars were more cautious; the Melchizedek figure in the scrolls merely helps us understand the Jewish environment within which the author of Hebrews was working (Van der Woude; de Jonge; Fitzmyer). Other scholars do not think that one needs to appeal to the Qumran scrolls to understand why Hebrews referred to Melchizedek (Horton; McCullough; Buchanan). (146-148)
Gnosticism: Some scholars have claimed that Hebrews was written to oppose a type of Gnosticism (Perdelwitz; Bornkamm; T. W. Manson), while others have proposed that Gnosticism provided the thought patterns for the book (Käsemann). While there is little evidence that Gnosticism existed during the first century, the discovery of the Nag Hammadi scrolls have prompted scholars to look for early forms of Gnostic thought in Judaism. Some scholars have tried to trace Hebrews and Qumran within a Gnostic trajectory (Batdorf; Dey). (148-150)
Merkabah Mysticism: Some scholars have suggested that the religious background to Hebrews is the Merkabah mysticism of Jewish Apocalyptic (Hofius; Schenke; Williamson thought it possible). More research needs to be done before this connection can be made tenable (150-151).
Date and Destination: no clear census has emerged regarding the destination of the book. The terminus ad quem for the dating is fixed at 96 AD since Hebrews is utilized by 1 Clement. Scholars are also divided about whether 70 AD is a relevant date for Hebrews. Some scholars have argued for a date prior to 70 AD because the fall of the Jerusalem cultus would certainly have been mentioned (Robinson; Buchanan; Strobel; Bruce; Montefiore). (151-152)
Literary Genre: Some scholars have argued that the epistolary ending is not original to Hebrews (Thyen; Buchanan), while other have claimed that the typical greeting is now missing from Hebrews (Spicq; Marxsen). Renner suggested that Hebrews is a pseudepigraphal letter. The prevailing opinion is that Hebrews is a sermon. Thyen has argued that Hebrews is a sermon in the style of the Jewish Hellenistic homily. (152-153)
Literary Structure: In 1940 Leon Vaganay proposed an outline with five sections that evince a symmetrical pattern; the center section being the largest and thus the central theme of the book (153). Albert Vanhoye also presented a symmetrical structure by highlighting six literary devices that the author employed (154). James Swetnam offered an alternative outline based on content rather than literary criteria. While the literary structure is still up for debate, McCullough concludes that literary devices must be taken into consideration when discerning the structure of Hebrews, but content is “the final decisive factor in determining what outline the author followed” (156).
Part II:
Use of the OT:
Text: scholars generally agree that Hebrews quotes from the LXX, rather than from the Hebrew OT. Some have proposed that the author knew no Hebrew at all (Sowers; Nairne). The question then became, what version of the LXX did the author use? Some argued that the author utilized a text resembling Codex Alexandrinus (Bleek; Büchsel; Swete), while others argued for Codex Vaticanus (Leonard). Various scenarios have been proposed to explain the divergences of Hebrews’ quotations from any extant LXX text (Padva; Spicq; Thomas). Schröger concluded that many of the quotations are from a version known to us, four quotations are from a version unknown to us, and some quotations are due to the author’s own emendation of the text. Others have suggested that the author utilized a testimony book (Harris; Synge), a pre-Massoretic Hebrew text (Howard), a synagogue lectionary (Burch), or that simply the author had a lapse in memory (Grässer). Recent text-critical work in the LXX has demonstrated that Codices Alexandrinus and Vaticanus are just two versions that happen to survive; one should not expect the precise version which Hebrews utilized to also have been preserved. Also the author’s textual vorlage might differ from one OT to another, so that one must examine the textual tradition of each book individually (28-30).
Exegetical Methods: scholars have tried to discern the exegetical methods employed by the author of Hebrews. Some scholars have detected rabbinic methods (Padva; M. Barth et al), while others find Qumranic pesher exegesis (Gärtner). Scholars have also tried to explore the underlying attitude of the author towards the OT. McCullough explains that Hebrews does not reflect the rabbinic attitude which tended “to find a complete code of life to serve the needs of the Palestinian Jewish community” (32). Schröger argued that Hebrews displays a Qumranic approach which viewed the OT as a mystery (raz) which could only be interpreted correctly by a pesher which would be given to God’s chosen person at the right time, i.e., in the end time (32-33). Yet, while scholars note the similarities between Hebrews and pesher exegesis (e.g., Bruce; Kosmala), there is no evidence that Hebrews viewed the OT as a mystery which had to be deciphered (Coppens). According to McCullough, Philo “assumed texts have a twofold meaning, a literal meaning and an allegorical meaning” (33). Kümmel claimed that Hebrews unambiguously employed the allegorical method, while Vénard states that the author only used it in a limited way, while Sowers asserts the lack of any allegory in Hebrews (33). Hebrews’ approach to the OT is best described as typological, which finds parallels between the OT and the NT; the OT prefigures the NT and finds its fulfillment in it (34). Some scholars believed that Hebrews frequently employed typology (Bleek; Riggenbach; Delitzsch), and many acknowledge that it occurs at least some of the time in the book (Westcott; Moffatt; Spicq; W. Manson; Michel; Bruce; Goppelt). However, some scholars suggested that Hebrews sought a sensus plenior in the OT passages (Van der Ploeg), while others denied this (Grässer).
Individual Themes and Passages:
Covenant: there has been considerable debate over the meaning of diatheke in Hebrews. Diatheke can mean either “covenant” or “last will or testament” (35). In 13 of the 17 usages in Hebrew, diatheke appears to mean “covenant.” However, the four occurrences in 9:15-17 seem to require the connotation “last will or testament.” Quell claims that the author of Hebrew envisages both meanings, but in doing so he contradicts himself. Campbell, however, attempts to defend Hebrews, claiming that Greek wills were similar to the OT covenant (36). Others scholars have attempted to argue that one consistent meaning runs through the whole work. Some scholars claimed that the meaning is “covenant” throughout (Moulton; Westcott; Kilpatrick; J. Hughes), while others assert that “last will or testament” is the meaning (Riggenbach; Deissmann; Payne; Swetnam).
Hebrews 6:4-6: Some scholars have tried to soften the teaching of this passage (Spicq; Proulx & Schökel; Sabourin; Elliott). Others have tried to determine how the author came to this opinion that appears to go against the grain of other early Christian writings (Carlston; Buchanan).
This article provides a useful survey of the period covered.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

New Article in Wesleyan Theological Journal

I received my newest copy of the Wesleyan Theological Journal and noted the new article on Hebrews:

David A. Ackerman, "The High Priesthood of Jesus and the Sanctification of Believers in Hebrews 7-10." Wesleyan Theological Journal 45.1 (Spring 2010): 226-45.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Limited Preview Books

While there are a lot of complete books available on the internet, Google Books has also made available numerous books via limited preview. The following are limited preview books dealing with Hebrews:

Allen, David M. Deuteronomy and Exhortation in Hebrews. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. Reihe 238. 2008.

Allen, David L. Hebrews. New American Commentary. 2010.

Anderson, Robert. Types in Hebrews. 2007.

Arthur, Kay, and Pete De Lacy. The Key to Living by Faith: Hebrews. 2009.

Backhaus, Knut. Der sprechende Gott: Gesammelte Studien zum Hebräerbrief. 2009.

Barclay, William. The Letter to the Hebrews. 1976.

Barton, Bruce B. Hebrews. Life Application Bible Commentary. 1997.

Bauckham, Richard, Daniel R. Driver, Trevor A. Hart, and Nathan MacDonald, eds. The Epistle to the Hebrews and Christian Theology. 2009.

Blackaby, Henry, Richard, Thomas, Melvin & Norman. Hebrews: Small Group Study. 2008.

Bruce, Frederick Fyvie. The Epistle to the Hebrews. New International Commentary on the New Testament. 1990.

Bullinger, E. W. Great Cloud of Witnesses in Hebrews Eleven. 1979.

Cosby, Michael R. The Rhetorical Composition and Function of Hebrews 11: In Light of Example Lists in Antiquity. 1988.

Croy, N. Clayton. Endurance in Suffering: Hebrews 12.1-13 in Its Rhetorical, Religious, and Philosophical Context. Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series 98. 1998.

Davies, J. H. A Letter to Hebrews. The Cambridge Bible Commentary on the New English Bible. 1967.

De Haan, M. R. Studies in Hebrews. 1996.

Demarest, Bruce. A History of Interpretation of Hebrews 7,1-10 from the Reformation to the Present. Beitrage zur Geschichte der biblischen Exegese 19. 1976.

DeSilva, David A. Perseverance in Gratitude: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on the Epistle "to the Hebrews." 2000.

Docherty, Susan E. The Use of the Old Testament in Hebrews: A Case Study in Early Jewish Bible Interpretation. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. Reihe 260. 2009.

Donelson, Lewis R. From Hebrews to Revelation: A Theological Introduction. 2001.

Dunnill, John. Covenant and Sacrifice in the Letter to the Hebrews. Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series 75. 1992.

Eisele, Wilfried. Ein unerschütterliches Reich: die mittelplatonische Umformung des Parusiegedankens im Hebräerbrief. 2003.

Ellingworth, Paul. The Epistle to the Hebrews: A Commentary on the Greek Text. New International Greek Testament Commentary. 1993.

Estrada, Carlos Zesati. Hebreos 5,7-8: Estudio historico-exegetico. 1990.

Gelardini, Gabriella. Verhärtet eure Herzen nicht: der Hebräer, eine Synagogenhomilie zu Tischa be-Aw. 2007.

Gench, Frances Taylor. Hebrews and James. Westminster Bible Companion. 1996.

Gheorghita, Radu. The Role of the Septuagint in Hebrews: An Investigation of Its Influence with Special Consideration to the Use of Hab 2:3-4 in Heb 10:37-38. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. Reihe 160. 2003.

Giovambattista, Fulvio Di. Il giorno dell'espiazione nella lettera agli Ebrei. 2000.

Girdwood, Jim, and Peter Verkruyse. Hebrews. 1997.

Gräbe, Sebastian. Exegese Hebräer 4,14-16. 2008.

Grant, F. W. Numerical Bible: Hebrews to Revelation. 1998.

Grässer, Erich. Aufbruch und Verheissung: gesammelte Aufsätze zum Hebräerbrief : zum 65. Geburtstag mit einer Bibliographie des Verfassers. 1992.

Guthrie, Donald. The Letter to the Hebrews: An Introduction and Commentary. The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. 1983.

Guthrie, George H. The Structure of Hebrews: A Text-Linguistic Analysis. Supplements to Novum Testamentum 73. 1994.

Hagen, Kenneth. Hebrews Commenting from Erasmus to Beze 1516-1598. Beitrage zur Geschichte der biblischen Exegese 23. 1981.

Hagen, Kenneth. A Theology of Testament in the Young Luther: The Lectures on Hebrews. 1974.

Hahn, Scott, Curtis Mitch, and Dennis Walters. The Letter to the Hebrews: Commentary, Notes, and Study Questions. 2d ed. 2007.

Harper, Lisa. Holding Out for a Hero: A New Spin on Hebrews. 2005.

Harrington, Daniel J. The Letter to the Hebrews. New Collegeville Bible Commentary. 2006.

Harrington, Daniel J. What Are They Saying about the Letter to the Hebrews? 2005.

Heen, Erik M. and Philip D. W. Krey. Hebrews. Ancient Christian Commentary Series 10. 2005.

Hofius, Otfried. Kapausis: Die Vorstellung vom endzeitlichen Ruheort im Hebraerbrief.

Hofius, Otfried. Der Vorhang vor dem Thron Gottes. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 14. 1972.

Horton, Fred L. The Melchizedek Tradition: A Critical Examination of the Sources to the Fifth Century A.D. and in the Epistle to the Hebrews. Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series 30. 1976.

Hübner, Hans. Biblische Theologie des neuen Testaments 3: Hebräerbarief, Evangelien und Offenbarung, Epilegomena. 1995.

Hughes, Philip Edgcumbe. A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews. 1988.

Hughes, Graham. Hebrews and Hermeneutics: The Epistle to the Hebrews as a New Testament Example of Biblical Interpretation. Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series 36. 1979.

Hughes, R. Kent. Hebrews: An Anchor for the Soul. Volume 1. 1993.

Hurst, Lincoln D. The Epistle to the Hebrews: Its Background of Thought. Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series 65. 1990.

Ironside, H. A. Hebrews. Repr., 2009.

Isaacs, Marie E. Reading Hebrews and James: A Literary and Theological Commentary. 2002.

Isaacs, Marie E. Sacred Space: An Approach to the Theology of the Epistle to the Hebrews. 1992.

Johnson, Earl S. Hebrews. Interpretation Bible Studies. 2008.

Jordan, Clarence. Cotton Patch Gospel: Hebrews and the General Epistles. 1973.

Knight, George R. Exploring Hebrews: A Devotional Commentary. 2003.

Kosmala, Hans. Hebräer, Essener, Christen: Studien zur Vorgeschichte der frühchristlichen Verkündigung. 1959.

Kroll, Woodrow. Hebrews: Our Superior Savior. Back to the Bible Study Guides. 2008.

Lane, William L. Hebrews: A Call to Commitment. 2004.

Lee, Witness. A General Sketch of the New Testament in the Light of Christ and the Church. Part 3: Hebrews through Jude. 1999.

Lee, Witness. Life-Study of Hebrews: Messages 53-69. 1993.

Levine, Amy-Jill with Maria Mayo Robbins. A Feminist Companion to the Catholic Epistles and Hebrews. 2004.

Lincoln, Andrew T. Hebrews: A Guide. 2006.

Lindars, Barnabas. The Theology of the Letter to the Hebrews. 1991.

Löhr, Hermut. Umkehr und Sünde im Hebräerbrief. 1994.

Long, Thomas G. Hebrews. Interpretation. 1997.

Lucado, Max. Book of Hebrews: Incomparable Christ. 2007.

MacArthur, John. Hebrews: Christ--Perfect Sacrifice, Perfect Priest. 2007.

Mackie, Scott D. Eschatology and Exhortation in the Epistle to the Hebrews. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2 Reihe 223. 2007.

Manzi, Franco. Melchisedek e l'angelologia nell'Epistola agli Ebrei e a Qumran. Analecta biblica 136. 1997.

Marcheselli-Casale, Cesare. Lettera agli Ebrei. 2005.

Mitchell, Alan C. Hebrews. Sacra Pagina. 2007.

Mitchell, Alexander Ferrier. Hebrews and the General Epistles. 2009.

Newell, William R. Hebrews: Verse-by-Verse. 1947.

Pentecost, J. Dwight. Faith That Endures: A Practical Commentary on the Book of Hebrews. 2000.

Peterson, David. Hebrews and Perfection: An Examination of the Concept of Perfection in the "Epistle to the Hebrews." Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series 47. 1982.

Phillips, John. Exploring Hebrews: An Expository Commentary. 2002.

Pink, Arthur. W. Exposition of Hebrews. 2002.

Rascher, Angela. Schriftauslegung und Christologie im Hebräerbrief. 2007.

Reapsome, James. Hebrews: Race to Glory: 13 Studies for Individuals or Groups. 2001.

Rothschild, Clare K. Hebrews as Pseudepigraphon: The History and Significance of the Pauline Attribution of Hebrews. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 235. 2009.

Salevao, Iutisone. Legitimation in the Letter to the Hebrews: The Construction and Maintenance of a Symbolic Universe. 2002.

Schenck, Kenneth L. Cosmology and Eschatology in Hebrews: The Settings of the Sacrifice. Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series 143. 2007.

Schenck, Kenneth L. Understanding the Book of Hebrews: The Story behind the Sermon. 2003.

Scholer, John M. Proleptic Priests: Priesthood in the Epistle to the Hebrews. 1991.

Stedman, Ray C. Hebrews. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series. 1992.

Strobel, August. Der Brief an die Hebräer. Das Neue Testament Deutsch 9. 1992.

Tyndale House Publishers. Hebrews. 1999.

Vanhoye, Albert. Structure and Message of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Subsidia Biblica 12. 1989.

Waggoner, Ellet Joseph. Studies in the Book of Hebrews. 1998.

Weiss, Hans-Friedrich. Der Brief an die Hebräer. Meyers kritisch-exegetischer Kommentar uber das Neue Testament. 1991.

Westfall, Cynthia Long. A Discourse Analysis of the Letter to the Hebrews: The Relationship between Form and Meaning. 2005.

Wider, David. Theozentrik und Bekenntnis: Untersuchungen zur Theologie des Redens Gottes im Hebräerbrief. 1997.

Wiersbe, Warren W. Be Confident (Hebrews): Live by Faith, Not by Sight. 1982.

Wilder, Terry L., J. Daryl Charles, and Kendell Easley. Faithful to the End: An Introduction to Hebrews through Revelation. 2007.

Williamson, Ronald. Philo and the Epistle to the Hebrews. 1970.

Witherington, Ben. Letters and Homilies for Jewish Christians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on Hebrews, James and Jude. 2007.

Wright, Tom. Hebrews for Everyone. 2004.

96 Books

Carleston's Review of Hebrews Commentaries

Carlston, Charles E. “Commentaries on Hebrews: A Review Article.” Andover Newton Review 1 (1990): 27-45.

Charles Edwin Carlston served as Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Andover Newton Theological School.

Carlston’s essay surveys popular, semi-popular, and scholarly commentaries on the book of Hebrews. In the popular category he places Herbert Chilstrom, Juliana Casey, William Johnsson (in the Knox Preaching Guide series), and David Gooding. He classifies the works of Donald Hagner (NIBC), Donald Guthrie, and Robert Jewett as semi-popular. These works have a higher level of scholarship than those in the popular category and would be most useful to the pastor or Bible study leader. Under the heading of scholarly works which have the best scholarship and most detailed exegesis he includes Harold Attridge, Harald Hegermann, and Herbert Braun. William Lane’s popular commentary is mentioned in a postscript but not reviewed. This article appeared before Lane’s two-volume Word commentary came out.

Carlston’s general approach (with variation) to each work begins with an overview of introductory issues such as authorship, date, provenance, circumstances for the writing etc., and the overall message of the book. He also indicates each author’s general theological tendencies. He highlights each author’s interpretations of key passages (1:3; 2:9; 4:12-13: 5:7; 8:1; 9:16-18: 12:2 etc. seem to be some of Carlston’s interpretive cruxes) and how they treat textual variants. He discusses their treatments of the history of religions context and theological issues such as hermeneutics, faith, Christology, eschatology etc. He also mentions the general layout of each work and the nature of their bibliographies and indices. He concludes with an overall evaluation of each work and its usefulness for preaching. Naturally, Carlston interjects his own views throughout the reviews. Carlston gives a helpful, concise overview of the works involved.