Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Reconsidering the Context of Hebrews 13:7–14

Martin, Michael W., and Jason A. Whitlark. “Strengthened by Grace and Not by Foods: Reconsidering the Literary, Theological, and Social Context of Hebrews 13:7–14.” Novum Testamentum 65 (2023): 350–80.

"This study interprets the numerous veiled references of Hebrews 13:7–14 against the general problem addressed in the body of the speech, namely, the temptation to apostasy posed by the idolatrous, imperial culture. Specifically, the authors of this study argue that Heb 13:9 warns against idolatry and allegiance to pagan, imperial power broadly, and that the whole of 13:7–14 is a summons to embrace suffering by rejecting such identification in view of God’s promised future. Βρώματα, the authors argue, is shorthand for foods associated with pagan tables and imperial largesse. βεβαιοῦσθαι τὴν καρδίαν is an expression commonly used to depict literal nourishment, and in contexts where hunger was a real threat. Due to the perennial problems of food scarcity and chronic hunger, and to the critical role that foods derived from pagan and imperial sources played in alleviating these problems, the recipients of Hebrews likely were tempted to eat of these foods."

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