Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September 2009 Hebrews Carnival

The book of Hebrews has garned considerable attention in the blogosphere this month:

Tony Siew offers a reflection on The Way of Prayer based on Hebrews 5:7.

William Varner proposes that Jude is the author of Hebrews. The evidence he cites is by no means decisive. The similarities between Jude and Hebrews--such as sermonic form, use of OT, references to non-canonical sources, use of extended benediction, and elevated style--seems to me to be rather generic and could be said of other early Christian writings. His argument that the "brief exhortation" of Hebrews 13:22 refers to another letter, the epistle of Jude, is highly conjectural.

Some possible objections: Why does Jude identify himself in the letter of Jude, but nowhere identifies himself in Hebrews (if in fact he is the author)? The writer of Hebrews frequently quotes the OT, but Jude only alludes to OT passages. It would be interesting to actually compare the literary style of the two books, but Jude is likely too small to say anything conclusive. At best Jude as the author only remains a possibility, but not a likely one.

The author of Diglotting claims that he has solved the authorship of Hebrews . . . and that it is Jude! He notes the similarity of the usage of hapax and deuterou in Hebrews and Jude. But, alas! he writes in jest.

Michael Bird announced the publication of the inaugural volumes of the New Covenant Commentary Series. For our purposes here on this blog, I note that Tom Thatcher is slated to author the volume on Hebrews.

Peter Lopez offers the next installments of his study notes on Hebrews chapter 3, chapter 4 and chapter 5. He also gives synopses of week 2 and week 3 of the Bible study he is leading.

Peter Head has been working his way through the Hebrews text of P46 which has led to a series of posts on the textual variants of Hebrews (see my previous carnivals). This month he first discusses a textual variant in Hebrews 1:8, "The Sceptre of His Kingdom." He also discusses textual variants and reading marks in P46 for Hebrews 2:5-8. He has another post on the variants of Hebrews 2:8 and the textual apparatus of NA27.

Patrick George McCullough has an interview with Michael Cosby in which he briefly discusses his doctoral dissertation on Hebrews 11. Cosby's dissertation was published with Mercer University Press as: The Rhetorical Composition and Function of Hebrews 11: In Light of Example Lists in Antiquity.

It appears that Rafael is beginning a series of posts on the essays in Hebrews: Contemporary Methods--New Insights, edited by Gabriella Gelardini. He begins with a review of Ekkehard and Wolfgang Stegemann's essay, "Does the Cultic Language in Hebrews Represent Sacrificial Metaphors? Reflections on Some Basic Problems." Next he reflects upon Christian Eberhart's essay, "Characteristics of Sacrificial Metaphors in Hebrews."

William Varner returns with another post exploring the Spirituality of the Letter to the Hebrews. He concludes that the heart of our spirituality is to focus on Jesus.

Rod Decker has posted his paper that he presented at the Second Council on Dispensational Hermeneutics, "The Law, the New Covenant, and the Christian: Studies in Hebrews 7-10." I will add this paper to my electronics articles page.

Ken Schenck promises that he will be continuing his Explanatory Notes on Hebrews again. He provides the links to all his previous posts in the series.

Peter Kirk believes that he has found "Manuscript Support for the TNIV Rendering of Hebrews 2:6," referencing Peter Head's post mentioned above.

George comments briefly on the participial and relative clauses in Hebrews 1:1-4, while Jason was impressed by William Lane's comments on Hebrews 2:5-9.

George also has a couple of "Words of the Day" which have particular relevance for understanding the name of this blog here and here. :-)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Additional Resources Added

Thanks to Mark Goodacre, I have added additional books, dissertations, and articles to the electronic resources pages.

Resources and Bibliography from J. Paul Tanner

Last night I came across the web site of J. Paul Tanner who provides a variety of resources primarily on biblical studies. He has extensive notes on the book of Hebrews and also includes a 37 page bibliography which contains numerous articles that I have not come across before (and that is saying something). Unfortunately, I cannot link directly to the bibliography, but if you go to his page, look for the link "New Test Notes" and then for the link to "Hebrews" you will find numerous pdf files with his notes and bibliography.

Update: Here is the link to the bibliography. Thanks to Nick Norelli.

Electronic Dissertations

The following are dissertations that are publicly available online on non-password protected sites. If you know of other dissertations that are readily accessible, please let me know. I will add a permanent link to this page under Resources.

British dissertations can be found at EThOS (Electronic Theses Online Service). Some dissertations are ready for download, while you may have to wait several months for delivery of other dissertations.

Allen, David Mark. "'Deuteronomic Re-Presentation in a Word of Exhortation': An Assessment of the Paraenetic Function of Deuteronomy in the Letter to the Hebrews." Ph.D. diss., University of Edinburgh, 2007.

Chivington, Ryan D. "An Investigation for Possible Parallels of the Roman Imperial Cult (Caesar-Nero) in the New Testament Book of Hebrews." M.Th. thesis, University of Pretoria, 2006.

Heemstra, Marius. "How Rome's Administration of the Fiscus Judaicus Accelerated the Parting of the Ways between Judaism and Christianity: Rereading 1 Peter, Revelation, the Letter to the Hebrews, and the Gospel of John in their Roman and Jewish Contexts." Ph.D. diss., Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, 2009.

Isaak, Jonathan M. "Situating the 'Letter to the Hebrews' in Early Christian History." Ph.D. diss., McGill University, 1999.

Kim, Daewon. "Perseverance in Hebrews." Ph.D. diss., University of Pretoria, 1995.

Manahan, Ronald E. "A Re-examination of the Cultural Mandate: An Analysis and Evaluation of the Dominion Materials." Th.D. diss., Grace Theological Seminary, 1982. [Contains a section on Hebrews 2:5-9]

Whitlark, Jason A. "Fidelity to God: Perseverance in Hebrews in Light of the Reciprocity Systems of the Ancient Mediterranean World." Ph.D. diss., Baylor University, 2006.

Monday, September 21, 2009

New Arrival from Germany

On Saturday the mailman delivered the newest arrival on the book of Hebrews: Studien zum Hebraerbrief by Claus-Peter Marz, professor of Exegesis and NT Theology at the University of Erfurt. The book contains a collection of essays on Hebrews by Prof. Marz from 1986-2005. The essays are divided into three groups: the first group of essays attempts to understand Hebrews as a whole; the second group focuses on particular texts or groups of texts; and the third group focuses on the reception of Hebrews.

Review of Matthew Marohl's Faithfulness and the Purpose of Hebrews

Review of Biblical Literature has a new book review on a Hebrews monograph. Renate Viveen Hood reviews Matthew Marohl's Faithfulness and the Purpose of Hebrews: A Social Identity Approach.

Description: Faithfulness and the Purpose of Hebrews offers fresh answers to several unresolved questions by employing that branch of social psychology known as social identity theory. Who were the addressees? With the categories of social identity theory, this study argues that the addressees arranged the world into two groups: "us" and "them." They understood their group, the "us," to be the "faithful." They understood "them" (a symbolic outgroup of "all others") to be the "unfaithful." Faithfulness, then, is the primary identity descriptor for the addressees and plays an essential role thoughout the text. How did the addressees understand the faithfulness of Jesus? The author of Hebrews describes the faithfulness of Jesus as "prototypical." The faithfulness of all others is described in relation to Jesus' faith, and together they are integrated into an ongoing narrative of faithfulness. What is the meaning of the promised "rest"? Utilizing a model of present temporal orientation, the study interprets the dynamic relationship between the "antecedent" faithfulness of many witnesses and the "forthcoming" promised rest of the addressees. The addressees of Hebrews were encouraged to "understand their futures by looking to the past." What is the purpose of the text? Social identity theorists explain that groups with a negative social identity have two broad options: social mobility or social change. The study concludes that the author of Hebrews provides internal constraints that are meant to prevent social mobility. The author utilizes social creativity (an aspect of social change) to provide a positive social identity for the addressees.

This review will be added to the electronic reviews list.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New JSNT Article

Peter S. Perry. "Making Fear Personal: Hebrews 5.11—6.12 and the Argument from Shame." Journal for the Study of the New Testament 32 (2009): 99-125.

The author of Hebrews directly shames his audience in 5.11-12: ‘you have become νωθροι in hearing ... you need someone to teach you ... You need milk not solid food’. Taking into account occurrences in other literature, νωθροι in Heb. 5.11 and 6.12 is best translated as ‘unambitious’, connoting a shameful failure to recognize and act on advantages. Mapping the use of emotion in Hebrews with Aristotle’s definitions reveals that this direct shaming is unique and critical to the argument of the epistle. The hearers may dismiss warnings of God’s wrath as relevant to others but not themselves. Shame in 5.11—6.12 makes this fear personal

Thanks to Charles Savelle for the notice.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Hebrews at the British New Testament Conference 2009

Thanks to Mark Goodacre for giving me the link to the British New Testament Conference which was held this year at the University of Aberdeen, September 3-5.

Obviously the conference is now over, but there were a couple of papers relevant to Hebrews study:

Room: KCS9
Chair: Revd Dr Steve Moyter

Session 1:
Jonathan Griffiths (Cambridge University)
Christ as the personal “word of the oath” in Hebrews 6.13-7.28

It has long been suggested that Hebrews presents Christ as the incarnate Logos of God, an argument that has rested largely on exegesis of Hebrews 1.1-4 and 4.12-13. The debate concerning the existence and extent of this Logos Christology is ongoing. A significant, but often ignored section of Hebrews with respect to this discussion is the writer’s treatment of God’s oath in 6.13-7.28. This oath appoints Christ as high priest, enabling him to provide to others access to God’s presence and the related salvific benefits. In light of the suggestion that the writer presents Christ as the incarnate Logos elsewhere in Hebrews, it is worth considering whether in this passage the ‘word of the oath’ (7.28) has a personal and Christological significance. In this paper, I will argue that the ‘word of the oath’ does bear this significance, and, moreover that the statement in 6.17b that God ‘confirmed’ (emesiteusen) his promise by an oath should be read, ‘he mediated his promise by an oath’, with the implication that Christ’s personal mediation is there signified as the personalised ‘word of the oath’. As I demonstrate, a revised reading of 6.13-7.28 in light of a personal and Christological reading of the ‘word of the oath’ has significant implications for the broader study of Hebrews, in particular its soteriology, Christology and theology of God’s speech.

Session 2:
Georg Walser (Newman University College)
Jeremiah 31:31–34 (LXX 38:31–34) in Hebrews. The History of the Two Versions
of Jeremiah 31:31–34 and their Reception

The longest and one of the most interesting quotations from the Old Testament in the New is the quotation from Jeremiah 31:31–34 (LXX 38:31–34) in Hebrews 8 and 10. What is especially interesting is the fact that the text exists in two substantially different versions, a fact that hitherto has been almost totally neglected in the scholarly discussion. One version is mainly preserved in Hebrew and one mainly preserved in Greek. Consequently, in a Hebrew speaking context, of course, the Hebrew version was used, while in a Greek speaking context the Greek was used, and in a Latin speaking context both versions were used side by side. Moreover, the Greek version does not seem to be a rendering of an extant Hebrew version, but rather of another and more original Hebrew version, which is no longer extant. One of the most significant differences between the versions is the very rare use of the plural of no,moj in the Greek version (leges in the NT Latin), where the Hebrew version has Torah in the singular (lex in the OT Latin). The singular Torah apparently refers to the Torah in the Hebrew version, but to what does the plural of nomos in the Greek version refer, and how does this affect the interpretation of the text in Hebrews? This and a number of other questions raised by the different versions will be discussed in the present paper.

This paper also seems to touch upon Hebrews:

Susan Docherty
The Use of the Old Testament in the New: Engaging with Current Developments
in Jewish Studies

The relationship between the interpretation of the Old Testament in the New and early Jewish bible exegesis has long been a matter of debate in NT scholarship. Following the publication in the second half of the twentieth century of some significant studies comparing the exegetical techniques of various NT authors with Qumranic or rabbinic hermeneutics (e.g. those by Ellis, Fitzmyer, and, more recently, Lim), this subject is now commonly addressed in major NT commentaries. It is the argument of this paper that the Jewish context of the use of scripture in the NT should indeed be taken seriously, but that a closer engagement with current research in the field of Jewish Studies is necessary. The work of one of the leading rabbinic scholars of modern times, Arnold Goldberg, does not appear to have impacted widely on NT scholarship to date, for example. The paper therefore introduces the highly sophisiticated methods developed by Goldberg and his students, particularly Alexander Samely, for analysing the interpretation of biblical texts in midrash and targum, and for identifying the underlying axioms about the nature of scripture held by these early Jewish interpreters. The potential significance of their approach for NT study is illustrated by applying it to two passages from writings particularly characterised by dense citation and interpretation of the OT, Hebrews and 1 Peter. This analysis of the NT texts seeks to offer a very precise explanation of the exegetical techniques employed in them, and a new vocabulary for facilitating a comparison of NT interpretation with other forms of Jewish and Christian exegesis.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Articles on Hebrews in 2009 (Thus Far)

There is usually some lag time between when an article is published and when it finally gets recorded in a search engine database such as ATLA, so it is often difficult to track down the newest articles on a given subject. Here are the newest articles on Hebrews that I could find for the year 2009 to date. If you know of any others that I am missing I would appreciate it if you would let me know.

Backhaus, Knut. “Zwei harte Knoten: Todes- und Gerichtsangst im Hebräerbrief.” New Testament Studies 55 (2009): 198-217.

Docherty, Susan. “The Text Form of the OT Citations in Hebrews Chapter 1 and the Implications for the Study of the Septuagint.” New Testament Studies 55 (2009): 355-65.

Gelardini, Gabriella. “From ‘Linguistic Turn’ and Hebrews Scholarship to Anadiplosis Iterata: The Enigma of a Structure.” Harvard Theological Review 102 (2009): 51-73.

Granerød, Gard. “Melchizedek in Hebrews 7.” Biblica 90 (2009): 188-202.

Lamp, Jeffrey. “Creational Christology: A Rationale for Wesleyans to Care for the Created Order.” Wesleyan Theological Journal 44 (2009): 91-103.

Lampe, Peter. “Hypostasis as a Component of New Testament Christology (Hebrews 1:3).” Pages 63-71 in Who Is Jesus Christ for Us Today?: Pathways to Contemporary Christology. Edited by Andreas Schuele and Günter Thomas. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2009.

Ounsworth, Richard. “What Are They Saying about the Letter to the Hebrews?” Scripture Bulletin 39.2 (2009): 76-90.

Schmitt, Mary. “Restructuring Views on Law in Hebrews 7:12.” Journal of Biblical Literatue 128 (2009): 189-201.

Swetnam, James. “των λαληθησομενων in Hebrews 3,5.” Biblica 90 (2009): 93-100.

Thiessen, Matthew. “Hebrews 12.5-13, the Wilderness Period, and Israel’s Discipline.” New Testament Studies 55 (2009): 366-79.

Friday, September 4, 2009

New Articles Posted

I have just added some new articles to the electronic articles page, including articles by Hampton Keathley IV, Daniel B. Wallace, Frederic R. Howe, J. Paul Tanner, Richard B. Gaffin, Charles G. Dennison, Lee Irons, Lane G. Tipton, and Gard Granerod.