Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Who Wrote Hebrews?

Alright everybody - who wrote Hebrews? I know that we can't know for certain, but I was wondering what you folks thought. (I'm teaching a class on it tomorrow, 1 session, 1 hour, and I need to get my own speculation out so I don't clog up class).

Some say Apollos, some say Paul, there are a few other opinions, including my own. In the comments, say who you think, if you will.

As for me - I'm saying it's Mark after he leaves Rome at Peter's death and heads to Alexandria. Indeed, I think it might be one of his first sermons, right around 66 or 67 AD. Why do I think Mark?

Well, I don't think it's Paul, because the Greek is too good - however, the author has as much experience with Judaism as Paul does. That's also why I don't think it is Apollos... He'd probably be too Greek. Also, I think you have some Petrine interests - how so much of the Old Testament is focused upon (again, much more of a Peter thing than a Paul thing).

And who is the one person who has lots of experience with both Peter and Paul, who would be familiar both with Jewish culture and even a high style of Greek, having lived amongst the scholars of both Rome and Alexandria, home of the great library? Who would need to appeal to people to not rely upon the temple (for remember, Egypt to Jerusalem is the common, common pattern of the Old Testament and easily done) if not the first Bishop of Alexandria - Mark.

Why is this right by the Pauline Epistles, then, in most early copies. Because I'd argue it's the first book circulated after the death of Paul. And Paul would have approved greatly of the task of showing his Jewish brothers the same faith which he so zealously proclaimed to the Gentiles.

So - what do you thin - who wrote Hebrews.

1 comment:

George said...

Without going back into my own research here, I remember becoming less convinced that Paul didn't write it. That is, I wouldn't swear by Pauline authorship, but the main charge against it is that the Greek is "too good" as you say. This could easily be accounted for if we see it as a different genre than his epistles. Still yet, it might be possible that Paul preached this in Hebrew and it was translated...

So many Pauline themes are brought up throughout. The emphasis on the OT is something Paul does also, and why not so much more if the sermon were directed towards Jews? Perhaps this is what Paul would have sounded like as he taught in the synagogues wherever he went.

Anyhow, I don't necessarily think Paul wrote the book, but I'm much less convinced that it's Apollos (the original apostle of straw (cf. I Cor 3:12)). Mark is a possibility, but so is Barnabus.

We shouldn't discount the possibility that it wasn't the work of one individual also. Why not have Paul preach and Timothy or Mark compile and/or redact? I don't even know if the book is as late as 66-67 AD, but then again I think Matthew and James were written in the 40s.