Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Hebrews Highlights March 2021

Justin Dillehay reflects on Hebrews 5:7–10: Not Born Ready: Why Jesus Went to High-Priest Training School.

Ronald Sloan argues that we urgently need a Book of Hebrews Project.

Monday, March 15, 2021

New Dissertation on the Theme of Promise in Hebrews

Stevens, Daniel Joseph. “A Promise Remains: A Study of Promise in the Epistle to the Hebrews.” Ph.D. diss., King’s College, 2019. 

"Despite receiving little direct attention, the theme of promise often features in scholars’ discussions of the central themes of the Epistle to the Hebrews, with some even asserting that promise is the foundational motif of the entire work. However, the way in which the author of Hebrews portrays divine promises and uses them to contribute to the structure of his theology has not yet been satisfactorily described. What the author means by promise, how promise relates to other types of divine commitments, and the content and timing of the promise’s fulfilment all need clarification and more precise attention. Through an exegesis of the relevant passages of Hebrews, this thesis provides a new reading of promise in Hebrews. After an exegesis of the epistle, I then describe Hebrews’ overall theology of promise. I argue that, unlike in previous analyses, rest is not the primary content of promise, nor is it the primary lens through which the other instances of promise language should be understood. On the contrary, I argue that the promise is most closely associated with the benefits promised to Abraham, and then mediated through the various subsequent covenants. Further, while previous studies have left it unclear how the divine promise relates to both the Old and New Covenants, I argue that Hebrews develops a view of salvation history in which covenants are founded upon promises and then bring those promises to fruition. This is true of both the Old and New Covenants, though in different ways. I then demonstrate the ways in which this understanding of promise sheds light on the author’s hermeneutic and on his method of achieving his hortatory purposes for the epistle. Finally, I conclude by re-asserting the consistency of the author’s thought regarding promise and by addressing questions raised by earlier studies of this theme."

New Dissertation on the Pneumatology of Hebrews

I have added the following dissertation to the Theses & Dissertations page:

Hodson, Alan. “The Pneumatology of the Letter to the Hebrews: Confused, Careless, Cavalier, or Carefully Crafted?” Ph.D. diss., University of Chester, 2019. 

"It is the majority position that Hebrews has little to add to NT pneumatology (see §1.1). However, that is far from the case. Indeed, on all seven occasions that the author of Hebrews refers to the Spirit, he does so using language and concepts that are unique in the NT. The Spirit both speaks (λέγω) words of Scripture (3:7) and testifies (μαρτυρέω) from Scripture (10:15) using words elsewhere described as God’s words to the congregation. Elsewhere in the NT, when the Spirit ‘speaks’ he does so through human agents (see §§4.3-4.4). However, in Hebrews he speaks directly to the hearers without the need for an intermediary (see §4.5). Furthermore, the Spirit interprets (δηλόω) Scripture (9:8) and this is the only place in the NT where the Spirit is said to function as hermeneut (see §§4.5.3, 8.3.1). The phrase ‘Spirit of grace’ (10:29) is also a NT hapax and ‘Eternal Spirit’ (9:14) is a Biblical hapax. In addition, the concept of believers becoming μέτοχοι of the Spirit (6:4) and the description of God validating the gospel message by ‘distributing’ (μερισμός) the Holy Spirit to followers of Christ (2:4) are also unique to Hebrews. After undertaking a close examination of all seven divine-πνεῦμα texts in Hebrews this thesis concludes that Hebrews has a significant, developed and unique pneumatology (§8.1). The author portrays the Spirit as personal, eternal and divine (§§8.2.2-8.2.4). He is actively involved in the atonement and the New Covenant (§8.3.3), showing the need for such a covenant (§8.3.1) and providing a partnership with each member of the New Covenant Community such that the Spirit enables that which the Covenant requires (§8.3.3). The Holy Spirit plays a crucial role in Hebrews. Both author and congregation experienced him as God, co-equal with the Father and the Son. In fact, Hebrews’ underlying pneumatology displays what might be called ‘Trinitarian coinherence’ (§§8.2.1, 8.4)."

Philip Church Articles

The newest article by Philip Church:

Church, Philip. “The Punctuation of Hebrews 10:2 and Its Significance for the Date of Hebrews.” Tyndale Bulletin 71 (2020): 281–92.

Also, I have added the following articles to our Articles and Essays page:

Church, Philip. “Hebrews 1:10–12 and the Renewal of the Cosmos.” Tyndale Bulletin 67.2 (2016): 269–86.

Church, Philip. “The Temple in the Apocalypse of Weeks and in Hebrews.” Tyndale Bulletin 64.1 (2013): 109–28.

Thanks to Philip for the heads up on these articles.

Monday, March 8, 2021

New Article on the Use of Psalm 40 in Hebrews 10

Ribbens, Benjamin J. “The Sacrifice of God Desired: Psalm 40.6–8 in Hebrews 10.” New Testament Studies 67.2 (2021): 284–304.
"Scholars often argue that Hebrews uses Psalm 40 in Heb 10.5–10 to emphasise obedience, either stressing Christ's lived obedience on earth or suggesting that obedience replaces sacrifice. However, Hebrews does not use Psalm 40 to highlight obedience but to identify another sacrificial offering. Christ's offering is the cultic offering that pleases God and achieves God's salvific will. While God did not take pleasure in Levitical sacrifices, he did command them and promise that they would achieve certain effects. The first covenant sacrifices achieved atonement and forgiveness because they were shadows that anticipated and participated in Christ's offering."