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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament


- Hebrews

by Heinrich Meyer

















T HE idea and aim contemplated in the Meyer series of commentaries, as also the general plan laid down for the work of translation, has been already explained by Dr. Dickson in his Preface to the Epistle to the Romans, and elsewhere. The merits, also, of Dr. Lünemann as a coadjutor of Meyer, have been sufficiently discussed by Dr. Gloag in connection with his translation of the Epistles to the Thessalonians. It only remains to add, that the aim in the translation of this commentary has been to give a faithful and intelligible rendering of Lünemann’s words, and in general to produce a worthy companion volume to those of the series already issued. It is hoped that a comparison with the German original will show the work has not suffered in the process of transferring to our own soil.

It will be admitted that the commentary of Lünemann on the Hebrews of which the first edition appeared in 1855, the second in 1861, the third in 1867, and the fourth, enlarged and greatly improved, in 1874 has claims of a very high order in a grammatical and lexicographical respect. He threads his way with a nice discrimination amidst a multitude of conflicting interpretations, and generally carries conviction with him when he finally gives his own view, or that in which he concurs. Even where, as in the case of some three or four controverted explanations, he may not have weighed the whole argument in favour of an opposite view, he has at least revealed to us the process by which his own conclusion is reached, thereby contributing to place the reader in a position for forming an independent judgment for himself.

The opinions of Dr. Lünemann, as regards the position occupied by the writer of our Epistle towards the Scriptures of the Old Testament, have been expressed with great candour. Unfortunately no one seems to have made the questions here raised a matter for any very prolonged and detailed examination since the time of John Owen. With the eventual answer which shall be given to these questions will stand or fall the claim of Barnabas to the authorship of the Epistle, and many other things besides.

It is, however, by his grammatico critical and purely exegetical labours that Lünemann has rendered the greatest service to the cause of sacred literature. The judicious use of his commentary can hardly fail to lead to a more intimate acquaintance with the letter and spirit of this apostolic writing, well styled by the Helmstädt professor Walther a “beyond all measure profound epistle.”

Of the very abundant exegetical literature pertaining to the Epistle to the Hebrews, our space admits of the mention of but a very few writings. Nor was it needful to give an account even of all that have been collated in preparing this translation. Most of the German commentaries published after the middle of the eighteenth century were entirely overshadowed by the appearing of the great work of Bleek, and those of subsequent writers. For many particulars concerning the authors specified in the following list, more especially of those who flourished about the time of the Reformation, I am indebted to the kindness of the Rev. James Kennedy, B.D., librarian of New College, Edinburgh. To the list of works enumerated might be fittingly added the suggestive translation of the New Testament made by Sebastian Castellio (1542 1550), mostly during the time of his retirement in Basle.

M. J. E.



CRAMER (J. A.), S. T. P.: Catena Graecorum Patrum. Tomus vii. 8vo, Oxonii, 1844.


JUSTINIAN (Benedict), † Hebrews 1622: Explanationes in omnes Pauli Epistolas. Lugd. 1612.

FRANCISCO DE RIBERA: Commentary. 8vo, Col. Agr. 1600.

CLARIO (Isidore) [Clarius]: Novum Testamentum Latinè, adjectis scholiis. Authore Isidoro Clario. 8vo, Ant. 1544.

LUDOVICUS DE TENA: Commentary. folio, Toleti, 1611.

LUDOVICUS DE TENA: Commentary. folio, Lond. 1661.

PRIMASIUS, Bishop of Adrumetum, sixth century: Commentary on the Epistles of Paul. That on the Hebrews is by some attributed to Haymo, Bishop of Halberstadt, † 853.


ABRESCH (Peter), Professor at Groningen, † Hebrews 1812: Paraphrasis et Annotationes. Leyden, 1786 90. [Continued by Vitringa to end of chap. vii. 1817.]

BAUMGARTEN (S. J.), † 1757, and SEMLER: Erklärung des Briefes. Halle, 1763.

BIESENTHAL (J. H. R.): Epistola Pauli ad Hebraeos, cum rabbinico commentario. Berol. 1857.

BISPING (A.): Exegetisches Handbuch zu den Briefen des Ap. Paulus [vol. iii.]. Münster, 1855 63.

BLEEK (Franz), † Hebrews 1859: Der Brief an die Hebräer. Berlin, 1828 40. Der Hebräerbrief erklärt. Edited by Windrath. Elberfeld, 1868.

BULLINGER (Heinrychus), † Hebrews 1575: In omnes Apostolicas Epistolas, Divi videlicet Pauli xiiii. etc. Commentarii. [P. 639 731.] fol. Tiguri, 1549.

CAMERON (John), Professor at Saumur, † Hebrews 1625: Annotationes in N. T. Edited by Lewis Cappel. 1628.

CAPPEL (Jacques), † Hebrews 1624: Observationes in Epistolam ad Hebraeos. 8vo, Sedan, 1624.

CARPZOV (J. B.), Professor at Helmstädt, † Hebrews 1803: Sacrae Exercitationes … ex Philone Alexandrine. 8vo, Helmst. 1750.

CRAMER (Johann Andreas), Professor at Kiel, † Hebrews 1788: Erklärung des Briefes an die Hebräer, 2 parts. Copenh. 1757.

DE WETTE (W. M. L.), † Hebrews 1849: Kurze Erklärung, etc. Die Briefe an Tit. Tim. und Heb. [vol. ii. part 5]. Leipz. 1844, al .

DELITZSCH: Commentar zum Brief a. d. Hebr. Leipz. 1857. [Eng. transl., T. & T. Clark, 1868.]

DICKSON (David), † Hebrews 1662: Short Explanation of the Epistle to the Hebrews 8:0 vo, Aberdeen, 1649. [See also ROMANS.]

D’OUTREIN (Jan.): Zendbrief … aan de Ebreen, ontleidet, uitgebreed en verklaard. 1711.

EBRARD (H. A.), Professor at Erlangen: Commentar über den Hebräerbrief. Königsberg, 1850. [Eng. transl., T. & T. Clark, 1853.]

EWALD (G. H. A.), Professor at Göttingen, † Hebrews 1876: Sendschreiben an die Hebräer. Götting. 1870.

GERHARD (John), † Hebrews 1637: Commentarius super Epist. ad Hebraeos. 8vo, Jenae, 1661.

GOMAR (Francis), Professor at Leyden, † Hebrews 1641: Analysis Epistolae Pauli ad Hebraeos. Opera [pp. 285 380]. Amstel. 1644.

GOUGE (W.), D.D., † Hebrews 1653: Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews 2:0 vols. fol. Lond. 1655. [Reprinted 1866, 1867.]

GUERS (E.): Etude sur l’Epître aux Hébreux. Genève et Paris, 1862.

HOFMANN (J. C. K. von), † Hebrews 1877: Die Heilige Schrift Neuen Testaments. Vol. v. 8vo, Nördlingen, 1873.

HYPERIUS (Andreas), † Hebrews 1564: Commentarii in Epistolam D. Pauli Apostoli ad Hebraeos. fol. Tiguri, 1584.

JONES (W.), D.D.: Commentary on the Epistles to Philemon, Hebrews, and the First and Second Epistles of John. fol. Lond. 1636.

KLEE (H.): Auslegung des Hebräerbriefs. Mainz, 1833.

KLUGE: Der Hebräerbrief, Auslegung und Lehrbegriff. Neu.-Ruppin, 1863

KURTZ (J. H.), Professor at Dorpat: Der Hebräerbrief erklärt. 1869.

LAWSON (George), Rector of More, Shropshire: Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews. fol. Lond. 1662.

M‘CAUL (J. B.), Canon of Rochester: A Paraphrastic Commentary, etc. Lond. 1871.

MANCHESTER (George Montagu, Duke of): Horae Hebraicae [Hebrews 1:1 to Hebrews 4:11 ]. Lond. 1835.

MENKEN (Gottfried), † Hebrews 1831: Homilien über das 9 te und 10 te Kap., nebst einem Anhange etlicher Homilien über Stellen des 12 ten Kap. Bremen, 1831.

MOLL (C. B.): Der Brief an die Hebräer [Lange’s series]. Bielefeld, 1861. [Translated by A. C. Kendrick, D.D. New York, 1871.]

OECOLAMPADIUS (Joannes), † Hebrews 1531: In Epistolam ad Hebraeos J. O. explanationes. 4to, Argentorati, 1524. [From notes taken by some of the hearers.]

OWEN (John), D.D., † Hebrews 1683: Exercitations on the Epistle to the Hebrews 4:0 vols. fol. London, 1668 74, al .

PELLICAN (Conrad), † Hebrews 1556: Commentaria Bibliorum. 9 vols. fol. Tiguri, 1532 42. [Vol. ix. “in omnes Epistolas.”]

PISCATOR (John), Professor at Herborn, † Hebrews 1626: Analysis Logica Epistolae Pauli ad Hebraeos. [Commentarii in omnes libros Novi Testamenti, 3d ed. fol. p. 674 718. Herbornae, 1638.]

REICHE (J. G.): Commentarius Criticus in Novum Testamentum. 3 vols. 4to, Göttingen, 1853 62. [Vol. iii. In Hebraeos et Catholicas Epistolas.]

REUSS (Ed.): L’Epître aux Hébreux. Essai d’une traduction nouvelle, accompagné d’un commentaire théologique. Strasbourg, 1862.

RIEHM (E. C. A.): Lehrbegriff des Hebräerbriefs. Ludwigsb. 1858, 1859.

ROLLOCK (Robert), Principal of the University of Edinburgh, † Hebrews 1598: Analysis Logica in Epistolam ad Hebraeos. Accessit brevis et utilis Tractatus de Justificatione. 8vo, Edinburgi, 1605. [Rollock carried the work only to xi. 6, the rest was finished and edited by Robert Charteris, at Rollock’s request.]

SCHLICHTING (Jonas), † 1664, and JOHN CRELL, † Hebrews 1633: In Epistolam ad Hebraeos Commentarius. 8vo, Racoviae, 1634.

SCHMID (Chr. Fr.), † Hebrews 1778: Observations … historicae, criticae, theologicae super Epistolam ad Hebraeos. 8vo, Lips. 1766.

SCHMID (Erasmus), † Hebrews 1637: Notae in Novum Testamentum. 1658.

SCHMIDT (Sebastian), † Hebrews 1696: In Epistolam ad Hebraeos Commentarius. 1690.

STEWARD (George): Argument of the Epistle to the Hebrews 8:0 vo, Edin. 1872.

STIER (Rudolf), † Hebrews 1862: Der Brief an die Hebräer, in 36 Betrachtungen ausgelegt. 2 parts. 1842.

STUART (Moses), Professor of Sacred Literature at Andover, † Hebrews 1852: Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews 2:0 vols. 8vo, 1827, 1828, al .

THOLUCK (Andreas), Professor at Halle, † Hebrews 1877: Kommentar zum Briefe an die Hebräer. 8vo [1836], 3d ed. Hamburg, 1850.

VALCKENAER (Lewis Casp.), Professor of Greek at Leyden, † Hebrews 1785: Selecta e Scholiis. Edited by Wassenbergh. Tom. 2. Amst. 1817.

WALTHER (Michael), Professor at Helmstädt, † Hebrews 1662: Gründliche, erdeutliche und ausführliche Erläuterung der … Ep. St. Pauli an die Hebräer. fol. Nürnberg, 1646.

WIESELER (Karl), Professor at Greifswald: Untersuchung über den Hebräerbrief, namentlich seinen Verfasser und seine Leser. 8vo, Kiel, 1861.

WITTICH (Christoph), Professor at Leyden, † Hebrews 1687: Commentarius in Epistolam ad Hebraeos. Edited by David Hassel. 1692.




T HE Epistle to the Hebrews is the work of an unknown writer. The question, by whom it was composed, was already variously answered in ancient times, and has not to the present day been solved in a way which has found general assent. The supposition that the Apostle Paul was its author has obtained the widest currency and the most lasting acceptance. And in reality this supposition must most readily suggest itself, since an unmistakeably Pauline spirit pervades the epistle, and single notices therein, such as the mention of Timothy as a man standing in very close connection with the author (Hebrews 13:23 ), might appear as indications pointing to Paul. Nevertheless, there is found nothing which could have the force of a constraining proof in favour of this view, and, on the contrary, much which is in most manifest opposition thereto. [1] For

[1] Comp. H. Thayer, “Authorship and Canonicity of the Epistle to the Hebrews,” in the Bibliotheca Sacra , vol. xxiv., Andov. 1867, p. 681 ff.

(1) The testimonies of Christian antiquity in favour of Paul as the author of the epistle are neither so general nor so confident as we must expect, if the epistle had been from the beginning handed down as a work of the Apostle Paul.

Not unfavourable to the claim of Paul, but yet by no means decisive, are the judgments of the early Alexandrian Church. Pantaenus, president of the school of catechetes in Alexandria about the middle of the second century, the first from whom an express statement as to the name of the author has come down to us, certainly assigned the epistle to the Apostle Paul. But yet it is to be observed that even he felt called to set aside an objection, which seemed to lie against the justice of this view, namely: that, contrary to the custom of Paul, the author has not, even in an address prefixed to the epistle, mentioned himself by name; whether it was that this difficulty first arose in the mind of Pantaenus himself or that, in opposition to others who had raised it, he wished to show the invalid nature thereof. (Comp. the notice of Clemens Alexandrinus on Pantaenus, in Eusebius, Hist. Eccles . vi. 14: Ἤδη δέ , ὡςμακάριος ἔλεγε πρεσβύτερος , ἐπεὶκύριος , ἀπόστολος ὢν τοῦ παντοκράτορος , ἀπεστάλη πρὸς Ἑβραίους , διὰ μετριότηταΠαῦλος , ὡς ἂν εἰς τὰ ἔθνη ἀπεσταλμένος , οὐκ ἐγγράφει ἑαυτὸν Ἑβραίων ἀπόστολον διά τε τὴν πρὸς τὸν κύριον τιμὴν διά τε τὸ ἐκ περιουσίας καὶ τοῖς Ἑβραίοις ἐπιστέλλειν , ἐθνῶν κήρυκα ὄντα καὶ ἀπόστολον .)

Clemens Alexandrinus, too, the disciple of Pantaenus (end of the second and beginning of the third century), makes repeated mention of the epistle as a work of the Apostle Paul ( Strom . ii. p. 420, iv. p. 514 sq., ed. Sylburg, Colon. 1688, al .). But yet he does not venture to ascribe it in its present form immediately to Paul. Not only is for him, too, the same objection, which his teacher already had undertaken to set aside, still of sufficient weight for him to attempt its removal in a new, though, it is true, equally unsatisfactory manner; but also the un-Pauline character of the language in the epistle does not escape his glance. Rather to Luke than to Paul does the garb of the letter seem to him to point. On this account he assumes that a Hebrew (Aramaic) original writing of Paul forms the substratum of the epistle, but that our present epistle is only a version or adaptation of that original writing by Luke, designed for Hellenes. (Comp. Eusebius, Hist. Eccles . vi. 14: Καὶ τὴν πρὸς Ἑβραίους δὲ ἐπιστολὴν Παύλου μέν εἶναί φησι , γεγράφθαι δὲ Ἑβραίοις Ἑβραϊκῇ φωνῇ , Λουκᾶν δὲ φιλοτίμως αὐτὴν μεθερμηνεύσαντα ἐκδοῦναι τοῖς Ἕλλησιν · ὅθεν τὸν αὐτὸν χρῶτα εὑρίσκεσθαι κατὰ τὴν ἑρμηνείαν ταύτης τε τῆς ἐπιστολῆς καὶ τῶν πράξεων · μὴ προγεγράφθαι δὲ τὸ Παῦλος ἀπόστολος , εἰκότως . Ἑβραίοις γάρ , φησίν , ἐπιστέλλων πρόληψιν εἰληφόσι κατʼ αὐτοῦ καὶ ὑποπτεύουσιν αὐτὸν συνετῶς πάνυ οὐκ ἐν ἀρχῇ ἀπέστρεψεν αὐτοὺς τὸ ὄνομα θείς .)

Equally does Origen († 254) make the Epistle to the Hebrews stand, it is true, in some relation to the Apostle Paul, as he accordingly more than once cites passages therefrom as sayings of Paul ( e.g. Exhort. ad Martyr . 44, in Joh. , ed. Huet. t. ii. p. 56; ibid . t. iii. p. 64, t. x. p. 162, al .). But not only is he aware that in point of fact deniers of the composition of the epistle by Paul have arisen ( οἱ ἀθετοῦντες τὴν ἐπιστολὴν ὡς οὐ Παύλῳ γεγραμμένην , Epist. ad African . c. 9. Comp. also in Matthew 23:27 sq.: Sed pone aliquem abdicare epistolam ad Hebraeos, quasi non Pauli); he too, for his own part, is not able to bring himself to recognise the epistle as a work of Paul in the narrower sense. Only the thoughts of the epistle does he ascribe to Paul; the diction and composition, on the other hand, he denies to be his. Since he admits withal that the contents of the epistle are Pauline, he regards the ancient tradition, which traces it back to Paul, as not unfounded; he has therefore no fault to find if a church looks upon the epistle as the work of Paul. By whom, however, it was in reality composed is, he thinks, known only to God. Tradition, he tells us, speaks sometimes of the Roman bishop Clement, sometimes of Luke, as the author. (Comp. the two fragments of the lost homilies of Origen on the Epistle to the Hebrews, preserved in Eusebius, Hist. Eccles . vi. 25: Ὅτιχαρακτὴρ τῆς λέξεως τῆς πρὸς Ἑβραίους ἐπιγεγραμμένης ἐπιστολῆς οὐκ ἔχει τὸ ἐν λόγῳ ἰδιωτικὸν τοῦ ἀποστόλου , ὁμολογήσαντος ἑαυτὸν ἰδιώτην εἶναι τῷ λόγῳ , τουτέστι τῇ φράσει , ἀλλά ἐστινἐπιστολὴ συνθέσει τῆς λέξεως ἑλληνικωτέρα , πᾶςἐπιστάμενος κρίνειν φράσεων διαφορὰς ὁμολογήσαι ἄν · πάλιν τε αὖ ὅτι τὰ νοήματα τῆς ἐπιστολῆς θαυμάσιά ἐστι καὶ οὐ δεύτερα τῶν ἀποστολικῶν ὁμολογουμένων γραμμάτων , καὶ τοῦτο ἂν συμφήσαι εἶναι ἀληθὲς πᾶςπρος έχων τῇ ἀναγνώσει τῇ ἀποστολικῇ .… Ἐγὼ δὲ ἀποφαινόμενος εἴποιμʼ ἄν , ὅτι τὰ μὲν νοήματα τοῦ ἀποστόλου ἐστίν , ἡ δὲ φράσις καὶσύνθεσις ἀπομνημονεύσαντός τινος τὰ ἀποστολικὰ καὶ ὡσπερεὶ σχολιογραφήσαντός τινος τὰ εἰρημένα ὑπὸ τοῦ διδασκάλου . Εἴ τις οὖν ἐκκλησία ἔχει ταύτην τὴν ἐπιστολὴν ὡς Παύλου , αὕτη εὐδοκιμείτω καὶ ἐπὶ τούτῳ · οὐ γὰρ λὰρ εἰκῆ οἱ ἀρχαῖοι ἄνδρες ὡς Παύλου αὐτὴν παραδεδώκασι · τίς δὲγράψας [2] τὴν ἐπιστολήν , τὸ μὲν ἀληθὲς θεὸς οἶδεν · ἡ δὲ εἰς ἡμᾶς φθάσασα ἱστορία ὑπό τινων μὲν λεγόντων , ὅτι Κλήμηςγενόμενος ἐπίσκοπος Ῥωμαίων ἔγραψε τὴν ἐπιστολήν , ὑπό τινων δέ , ὅτι Λουκᾶςγράψας τὸ εὐαγγέλιον καὶ τὰς πράξεις .)

Only subsequently to the time of Origen, accordingly, was the epistle universally regarded within the Alexandrian Church, as within the Egyptian Church in general, as a writing which proceeded immediately from the Apostle Paul. Declarations thereof are appealed to, as simply the words of Paul, by the Alexandrian bishops, Dionysius, about the middle of the third century (in Eusebius, Hist. Eccl . vi. 41); Alexander, about 312 (in Theodoret, H. E . i.3, Opp. ed. Schulze, tom. 3. p. 736, and in Socrat. H. E . i.6, ed. Vales., Paris 1686, p. 11); Athanasius († 373), in his thirty-ninth epistola festalis , and elsewhere; Didymus, the president of the Alexandrian school of catechetes († 395), the Egyptian monks, Macarius the elder, and Marcus Ascetes ( c . 400), and others.

[2] That ὁ γράψας denotes the actual author, and not, as Olshausen (“De auctore ep. ad Hebr.,” in his Opuscc. Theol. , Berol. 1834, p. 100), Stenglein ( Historische Zeugnisse der vier ersten Jahrhunderte über den Verf. des Br. an die Hebr. , Bamb. 1835, p. 35), and Delitzsch (“Ueber Verf. und Leser des Hebräerbr.,” in Rudelsbach u. Guericke’s Zeitschr. f. die Luth. Theol . 1849, p. 259), assert, with the assent of Davidson ( Introduction to the Study of the New Testament , vol. I., Lond. 1868, p. 228 f.), the mere “scriba” or “penman,” is shown even by the analogy of the closing words: Δουκᾶςγράψας τὸ εὐαγγέλιον καὶ τὰς πράξεις . Wrongly does Delitzsch (in his Kommentar , p. xvii.) object that Origen, indeed, concedes to the apostle a part [in its composition], and that Luke also, in the Gospel and the Acts, was working up a material not of his own invention, but one ready to his hand. For the part which Origen assigns to Paul is not an active, but a passive one; that Paul exerted an immediate influence on the writing of the Epistle to the Hebrews, or was directly occupied with the same of this Origen says nothing; the dependence upon Paul is limited in his estimation to the fact that the epistle was composed by a disciple of Paul, and in the spirit of Paul. By the consideration, however, that Luke in his two works was using a material “ready to his hand,” his authorship in reference to these works is not annulled; for the notion of authorship is not destroyed by the mode in which it is exercised. Besides, if Origen had wished to denote the particular way in which the writings of Luke arose, he would have put, not ὁ γράψας , but ὁ συνταξάμενος , or something similar.

In the ancient Syrian Church the epistle, it is true, was held very early in ecclesiastical repute. For it is already received into the Peshito, belonging to the end of the second century. But that it was so soon as this held to be a work of Paul, does not follow from this reception. On the contrary, the fact that the Epistle to the Hebrews has been placed in the Peshito not already after the letters of Paul addressed to churches, but only after those of his letters addressed to private persons, might rather be interpreted as a sign that this letter, only on account of its similar character, had been attached, as it were, by way of appendix to the Pauline Epistles, while not assigned to Paul himself. Yet the later church of North-Eastern Syria seems to have ascribed this writing to the Apostle Paul. For while Jacob, bishop of Nisibis ( c . 325), cites declarations of the Epistle to the Hebrews only in general as utterances of an apostle (Galland. Bibl. Patr . v. pp. xvi. lxii al .), and this indefinite mode of citation is also the prevalent one with Jacob’s disciple Ephraem Syrus († 378); yet the latter, at any rate, seems not to have doubted the composition by Paul, since ( Opp. Graec . tom. 2., Rom. 1743, fol. p. 203) he joins together the passages Romans 2:16 , Ephesians 5:15 , Hebrews 10:31 , by the common introductory formula: Περὶ ταύτης τῆς ἡμέρας βοᾷ καὶ Παῦλοςἀπόστολος , and then abruptly separates from further citations by the words: Βοᾷ δὲ καὶμακάριος Πέτρος .

In like manner in Western (Grecian) Syria, after the middle of the third century, the epistle was probably assigned to the Apostle Paul; since, in the letter issued by the Antiochian Synod ( c . 264) to Paul of Samosata, Hebrews 11:26 and sentences out of the two Epistles to the Corinthians are connected together as sayings of the same apostle (comp. Mansi, Collect. Concil . t. i. p. 1038).

Elsewhere, too, in the Eastern Church, the opinion that Paul was the author became in subsequent times more and more general. Nevertheless, doubts as yet by no means ceased to be heard. Thus Eusebius of Caesarea (in the first half of the fourth century) often, indeed, quotes the Epistle to the Hebrews as the work of Paul, and without doubt reckons it, since he expressly accepts fourteen Pauline Epistles ( Hist. Eccles . iii. 3), in the chief passage on the New Testament canon ( Hist. Eccles . iii. 25), as a constituent part of the epistles of Paul, which are mentioned only in general, to belong to the Homologumena . But yet he regards the epistle only as a version from a Hebrew original of Paul ( Hist. Eccles . iii. 38), and can tell of Greeks who, in reliance upon the adverse judgment of the Roman Church, denied the Pauline origin of the epistle in any sense ( Hist. Eccles . iii. 3). Nay, in another place ( Hist. Eccles . vi. 13), himself even reckons the epistle among the ἀντιλεγόμεναι γραφαί ; [3] inasmuch as he places it in one line with the Wisdom of Solomon, that of Jesus Sirach, and the epistles of Barnabas, Clemens Romanus, and Jude! On the other hand, the epistle is acknowledged as directly the work of Paul, in the sixtieth canon of the Council at Laodicea after the middle of the fourth century, by Titus of Bostra († c . 371), by Basil the Great († 379), and his brother Gregory of Nyssa; by Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem († 386); by Gregory of Nazianzus († 389), in the Jambi ad Seleucum , where, nevertheless, the remark has been inserted: τινὲς δέ φασι τὴν πρὸς Ἑβραίους νόθον ; by Epiphanius († 402), Chrysostom († 407), Theodore of Mopsuestia († c . 428), and others. Yet Theodoret in his Prooemium to the epistle (comp. also Epiphanius, Haer . 69. 37) is still engaged in polemics against those of Arian sentiments, who rejected the Epistle to the Hebrews as νόθος , denying its Pauline authorship.

[3] According to Delitzsch, indeed ( Komment . p. xvii. f.), this supposition rests upon a misunderstanding of the words of Eusebius. But Eusebius’ words are surely clear enough. They are as follows: κέχρηται δʼ ἐν αὐτοῖς καὶ ταῖς ἀπὸ τῶν ἀντιλεγομένων γραφῶν μαρτυρίαις , τῆς τε λεγομένης Σαλομῶντος σοφίας καὶ τῆς Ἰησοῦ τοῦ Σιρὰχ καὶ τῆς πρὸς Ἑβραίους ἐπιστολῆς , τῆς τε Βαρνάβα καὶ Κλήμεντος καὶ Ἰούδα .

While thus the testimonies of the East in general are favourable indeed to a Pauline origin of the epistle, an immediate composition thereof by Paul, however, was for the most part asserted only in later times, whereas in the earlier period more generally only a mediate authorship was maintained; the West, on the other hand, during the first centuries, does not acknowledge an authorship of Paul in any sense.

A voucher for this statement is Tertullian, belonging to the North African Church, at the end of the second century and the beginning of the third. Only on a single occasion does he make express mention of the Epistle to the Hebrews, in order to cite from it the words Hebrews 6:4-8 , and it is here evidently his endeavour to rate as highly as possible the authority of the writing cited by him. Of a composition thereof by the Apostle Paul, however, he knows nothing; instead of Paul he names Barnabas as its author, and that not in the form of a conjecture, but simply and without qualification, in such wise that he manifestly proceeds upon a supposition universally current in the churches of his native land. (Comp. de Pudicitia , c. 20: Volo tamen ex redundantia alicujus etiam comitis apostolorum testimonium superducere, idoneum confirmandi de proximo jure disciplinam magistrorum. Exstat enim et Barnabae titulus ad Hebraeos, a Deo satis auctoritati viri, [4] ut quem Paulus juxta se constituerit in abstinentiae tenore: “aut ego solus et Barnabas non habemus hoc operandi potestatem?” Et utique receptior apud ecclesias epistola Barnabae illo apocrypho Pastore moechorum.… Hoc qui ab apostolis didicit et cum apostolis docuit, nunquam moecho et fornicatori secundam poenitentiam promissam ab apostolis norat.)

Also, in the time immediately following, the Epistle to the Hebrews cannot in Proconsular Africa have been regarded as a writing of the Apostle Paul. This is proved on the authority of Cyprian, bishop of Carthage († 258), who, with the single exception of the short Epistle to Philemon, makes citations from all the letters of Paul, and yet nowhere quotes passages from the Epistle to the Hebrews, but asserts, on the other hand, that Paul wrote only to seven churches (comp. Testim. adv. Jud . i. 20; De Exhortat. Martyrii , c. 11).

[4] Thus we have to read, with Oehler ( Tertull. Opp . tom, i., Lips. 1853, p. 839), in place of adeo satis auctoritatis viri .

But as the early Church of North Africa, so also the early Roman Church knew nothing of an appertaining of the Epistle to the Hebrews to the Pauline collection of letters. This is the more noteworthy, inasmuch as within the Roman Church the earliest trace is met with of the existence of the Epistle to the Hebrews. For a series of characteristic expressions of the latter is taken up by Clemens Romanus (towards the end of the first century) in his Epistle to the Corinthians (comp. specially cap. 36 with Hebrews 6:4 ; Hebrews 1:3-5 ; Hebrews 1:7 ; Hebrews 1:13 ; cap. 17 with Hebrews 11:37 ; and in general, Lardner, Credibility of the Gospel History , Part ii. vol. i., Lond. 1748, p. 62 ff.; Böhme, p. lxxv. sq.). These derived expressions, however, are not introduced as citations, but are blended with his own discourse. They prove, therefore, only that Clement was acquainted with the Epistle to the Hebrews, and highly prized it, but afford no information on the question as to whom he regarded as the author. That, however, Clement believed the Apostle Paul to be the author is rendered extremely improbable by the position which the Roman Church of the subsequent period assumed towards this epistle. In the fragment on the canon of the Roman Church, discovered by Muratori, belonging to the close of the second century, it is stated that Paul wrote to seven churches; upon which follows an enumeration of our present thirteen Pauline Epistles. Besides these two, other letters are then named, which have been forged as coming from Paul; but of the Epistle to the Hebrews not even mention is made. It cannot thus in the Roman Church of that time have been invested with any canonical authority, much less have been looked upon as a writing of the Apostle Paul.

In like manner Caius, presbyter at Rome at the end of the second century and beginning of the third, recognised, in express opposition to the περὶ τὸ συντάττειν καινὰς γραφὰς προπέτειά τε καὶ τόλμα , only thirteen epistles as the work of the Apostle Paul, to the exclusion of the Epistle to the Hebrews (comp. Eusebius, Hist. Eccles . vi. 20).

Even as late as about the middle of the third century the Epistle to the Hebrews was not in the Roman Church esteemed to be a work of Paul, nor indeed regarded as a canonical writing. This is evident from the fact that Novatian, in his dissertations, De Trinitate and De Cibis Judaicis (in Gallandi, Biblioth. Patr . t. iii. p. 287 sqq.), although these abound in Biblical citations, and although their subject might naturally suggest the employment of the Epistle to the Hebrews, nowhere so much as makes mention of the same; an omission which, supposing its recognition as a canonical writing, and one proceeding from Paul, would be the more inexplicable, inasmuch as Novatian could hardly have urged any passage of Scripture in favour of his severer view with regard to the receiving again into the communion of the church of those who had lapsed, with greater appearance of justification than this very text of Hebrews 6:4-6 .

So likewise Eusebius ( Hist. Eccles . vi. 20) expressly observes with respect to his age (first half of the fourth century): καὶ εἰς δεῦρο παρὰ Ῥωμαίων τισὶν οὐ νομίζεται τοῦ ἀποστόλου τυγχάνειν .

Of Irenaeus, moreover, the representative of the Church of Southern Gaul at the end of the second century and beginning of the third, Stephanus Gobarus relates, in Photius, Bibl. Cod . 232 (ed. Hoeschel, Rothomagi 1653, fol. p. 903), that he, equally as Hippolytus, denied that the Epistle to the Hebrews was composed by Paul. In harmony with this statement is the fact that Irenaeus, in his great work Advers. Haereses , often as he had occasion to cite this epistle, and frequently as he otherwise adduces proof passages from the epistles of Paul, yet nowhere appeals to the Epistle to the Hebrews. In the lost writing βιβλίον διαλέξεων διαφόρων , he did indeed, according to a notice in Eusebius ( Hist. Eccles . v. 26), cite some passages from the Epistle to the Hebrews (just as he did from the Wisdom of Solomon); but that Irenaeus regarded the Apostle Paul as its author is not said by Eusebius either.

Only after the middle of the fourth century did the opinion that Paul was its author gradually find acceptance in the West a change of views which, without doubt, is to be traced to the preponderating influence of the Greek Church upon the Latin. As a work of Paul it is cited by Hilary, bishop of Poitiers († 368); Lucifer of Cagliari († 371); his contemporary, Fabius Marius Victorinus; Philastrius, bishop of Brescia († c . 387); Ambrose, bishop of Milan († 397); Rufinus of Aquileia († c . 411), Jerome († 420), Augustine († 430), and others. That change of views comes out with special distinctness in the African synods at the end of the fourth century and the beginning of the fifth. In the thirty-sixth canon of the synod at Hippo (393), as in the forty-seventh canon of the third synod at Carthage (397), in the determination of those books of the New Testament to be held as canonical, the number of the epistles of Paul is declared to be altogether thirteen; and then is added: by the same, the Epistle to the Hebrews (Pauli apostoli epistolae tredecim; ejusdem ad Hebraeos una). This separate mention shows that at this time they did not yet venture to concede to the Epistle to the Hebrews a perfectly equal rank with that of the thirteen universally recognised letters of Paul. Presently after, however, in the twenty-ninth canon of the fifth Carthaginian synod (419), it is said, on the occasion of a similar enumeration: epistolarum Pauli apostoli numero quatuordecim. Yet, spite of this revolution of the judgments in general, doubts as to the canonicity and Pauline origin of the Epistle to the Hebrews were not entirely reduced to silence, even in this late period. Philastrius still remarks that the same was only rarely read in church among the Latins ( Haeres . 89); and in Haeres . 88 mentions, among the books which, according to the appointment of the apostles and their successors, were alone to be publicly read in the assemblies, only thirteen Pauline Epistles. The commentary of Hilary (Ambrosiaster), moreover, covers indeed the whole thirteen Pauline Epistles, but not the Epistle to the Hebrews; and even Rufinus adds, on a mention of the epistle ( Invectiva in Hieronymum 1, Opp. Hieronymi, ed. Martianay, t. v. p. 279), the words: si quis tamen eam receperit. With like wavering does Jerome also often express himself ( e.g. on Tit. i. 5, Opp . ed. Vallars, 2, t. vii. P. 1, p. 695: Si quis vult recipere eam epistolam, quae sub nomine Pauli ad Hebraeos scripta est.

Ibid . on Hebrews 2:2 , p. 714: Relege ad Hebraeos epistolam Pauli, sive cujuscunque alterius eam esse putas), and observes expressly, e.g. Epist . 125 ad Evagrium (ed. Martianay, t. ii. p. 571): Epistola ad Hebraeos, quam omnes Graeci recipiunt et nonnulli Latinorum.

Comment. on Matthew 26:8-9 ed. Vallars, t. vii. P. 1, p. 212): Paulus, in epistola sua, quae scribitur ad Hebraeos, licet de ea multi Latinorum dubitent.

Catalog . c. 59 (ed. Martianay, t. iv. p. 117): sed et apud Romanos usque hodie quasi Pauli apostoli non habetur; and similarly elsewhere. In like manner Augustine also observes ( De Peccatorum meritis et remissione , 1. 27, Opp. ed. Bened. t. x., Antw. 1700, p. 18) that the Epistle to the Hebrews is nonnullis incerta , although he himself is decided in his judgment by the auctoritas ecclesiarum orientalium, among whom this writing also is held in canonical repute.

But as we are not able to appeal, in support of the hypothesis that Paul is the author of this epistle, to the decided and unanimous tradition of antiquity, so also

(2) The hints afforded by the epistle itself, with regard to the person and historic situation of its author, do not lead us to think of the Apostle Paul. The passage Hebrews 2:3 is absolutely decisive against Paul. For here the author reckons himself among the number of those who have received their knowledge of the gospel not immediately from the Lord Himself, but only through the medium of the first disciples and ear-witnesses. He claims thus no equal rank with the twelve apostles, but takes his place at the standpoint of Luke (Luke 1:2 ). That is, however, the direct opposite of the manner in which Paul expresses himself, when he sets forth, whether polemically or without any secondary aim, how he obtained his acquaintance with the gospel: he denies expressly that he had acquired his knowledge of the gospel from the teaching of men; it was communicated to him immediately, by revelation, from the Lord Himself, and on that account he stands upon a complete equality of apostolic dignity with the twelve original apostles (Galatians 1:1 ; Galatians 1:11-12 ; Galatians 1:15-16 ; Galatians 2:6 ; 1Co 9:1 ; 1 Corinthians 11:23 ; Ephesians 3:2-3 ).

Indications of a Pauline origin, it has been thought, may be discovered in Hebrews 10:34 , Hebrews 13:18 f., Hebrews 13:23 , Hebrews 13:24 . But altogether without reason. The first passage would favour a reference to Paul only in the case that the lectio recepta τοῖς δεσμοῖς μου were correct. It is, however, decidedly false; instead thereof we have to read τοῖς δεσμίοις . The second passage likewise affords no sufficient ground for thinking of Paul. For the statement that the author was a prisoner is not at all to be found in it; since the concluding words of Hebrews 13:23 plainly show that the author, at the time of inditing his epistle, was in a position of entire freedom. [5] Further, from the third passage we may certainly conclude that the author was on terms of friendship with Timothy, the well-known assistant of Paul. But this fact could be regarded as a sign indicative of Paul himself only if Timothy were characterized as a person who occupied a subordinate position towards the author, which is not the case. As the words read, the passage is appropriate to any disciple of Paul as the writer. To this the consideration must be added, that in the passage in question the deliverance of Timothy out of his captivity is announced: the readers must thus have had a knowledge of the imprisonment itself; it could not therefore have been either insignificant or of short duration. Of an imprisonment of Timothy, however, so long as he was the assistant of Paul, there is not found the slightest trace, either in the epistles of the latter or in the Acts of the Apostles. [6] Much more probable is it, therefore, that this notice refers to an imprisonment suffered by Timothy only after the death of the Apostle Paul. The fourth passage, finally, is supposed to show that the epistle was written from Rome, and on that account probably by Paul. But from ΟἹ ἈΠῸ Τῆς ἸΤΑΛΊΑς the author could send salutations only if he were somewhere outside of Italy. If he had himself been present in Italy, with the Italian Christians from whom the salutations come, at the time of the composition of the epistle, he must have indicated them as ΟἹ ἘΝ Τῇ ἸΤΑΛΊᾼ (comp. 1 Peter 5:13 ). At most, we could only assume that the author had meant by ΟἹ ἈΠῸ Τῆς ἸΤΑΛΊΑς Roman Christians out of the province, in opposition to ΟἹ ἘΝ ῬΏΜῌ , the Christians of the Roman capital. Then he would certainly have been dwelling in Rome. But how would it be explicable, in that case, that he should neglect to convey a salutation from these Christians of the capital? While, on the other hand, if the author was writing outside of Italy, the isolated expression of greeting from ΟἹ ἈΠῸ Τῆς ἸΤΑΛΊΑς is simply explained on the supposition, that in the place of his dwelling for the time being, a Christian church from which he could likewise send salutations did not yet at all exist.

[5] That the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews was in a state of captivity, and was begging of the church for intercession with God in his θλῖψις , Tobler (“Studien nach dem Codex Sinaiticus über den Hebräerbrief,” in Hilgenfeld’s Ztschr. f. wiss. Theol . 1864, H. 4, p. 357 f.) has nevertheless felt bound to deduce from the form of the text in the Codex Sinaiticus: προσεύχεσθε περὶ ἡμῶν ὅτι καλῆ . θα γὰρ ὅτι καλὴν συνίδησιν ἔχομεν ἐν πᾶσιν καλῶς θέλοντες ἀναστρέφεσθαι . According to Tobler, καλῆ . θα is to be derived from καλεῖν , and indeed is to be regarded as an earlier contraction for καλεω ̊ μεθα , in which the quantity of the crasis has remained resting on the former vowel (!); so that καλεῖσθαι , in this connection, would correspond to the Latin in jus vocari, citari , Acts 4:18 ; Acts 24:2 , and the sense would result: “Pray for us, for we are summoned before the tribunal, must plead in our own defence; that we may have a good conscience, a cheerful spirit, to give an account; for in all things, and in this case too, we wish to walk rightly.” But in order to perceive the erroneousness of such a mode of argument, a glance at the codex itself may suffice. This presents Hebrews 13:18 in the following arrangement:

[6] That Ebrard (p. 417 ff.) is very much inclined to bring out of the construction of Philippians 2:19 ; Philippians 2:23 an imprisonment of Timothy at Rome, at the time when Paul was held captive there, deserves to be mentioned only as a curiosity.

προσευχεσθε πε

ρι ημων οτι καλῆ .

θα γαρ οτι καλην

συνιδησιν κ . τ . λ .

Evidently καλῆ . is nothing else than the καλην following in the next line, inasmuch as a stroke at the end of a line is very often placed in the Cod. Sin. instead of an end letter; so that by a mere error of transcribing, of which there are very many in the Cod. Sin., οτι καλην , which belonged only to the third line, was wrongly placed in the second, and here pushed out the three first syllables of the πειθομεθα , which the copyist had before him in the text given him for copying. That the copyist really had πειθομεθα for which, moreover, the fourth hand has put πεποιθαμεν by way of correction before him for copying is clearly shown, as well by the θα , as also by the γαρ of the third line. Comp. against Tobler also Volkmar, in Hilgenfeld’s Ztschr. f. wiss. Theol . 1865, H. 1, p. 108 ff.

Against Paul as the author argue

(3) The style and manner of presentation characteristic of the epistle. Origen has already observed ( vid. supra , p. 3), that every one who is a judge of the diversities of language must admit that this writing is συνθέσει τῆς λέξεως ἑλληνικωτέρα than the letters of Paul; and the same fact, even before his time, drew the attention of Clemens Alexandrinus ( vid. supra , p. 2), as in general the widespread belief of antiquity in a Hebrew original of the epistle is based upon such divergency. But the epistle is distinguished not merely by a purer Greek, with which are found mingled Hebraisms, for the most part only in the citations borrowed from the Old Testament, it is also more perfectly rounded off into periods, and more rhetorical. Whereas Paul wrestles with the language in order to express in words the abundance of thoughts pouring in upon him, and irregularities of grammar, variations of structure, and anacoluthias are nothing rare with him, the language of the Epistle to the Hebrews always flows on in smooth facility. The harmonious symmetry of the sentences is preserved uninterrupted, even where parentheses of considerable extent are inserted (comp. Hebrews 7:20-22 ); nay, parenthesis is enclosed within parenthesis, and yet the writer steadily returns to complete the construction begun (comp. Hebrews 12:8-24 ). The greatest care is bestowed throughout upon euphony and musical cadence (comp. e.g. Hebrews 1:1-4 , Hebrews 7:1-3 ), upon the effective grouping of words (comp. e.g. Hebrews 7:4 ), and even the use of particles and participles betrays throughout an acquaintance with the art of composition and a learned rhetoric. While the Apostle Paul is everywhere concerned only about the matter itself which he is presenting, never troubles himself about a fair form of its clothing in language, and with him even the most affecting outbursts of natural eloquence are never anything but the immediate product of the moment, in the Epistle to the Hebrews the endeavour after euphony and adornment of style extends even to the details of expression and the turns of the discourse. Where, for instance, the plain and simple μισθός , of which Paul regularly makes use, might have been placed without any difference of sense, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews chooses just as regularly the fuller sounding μισθαποδοσία (Hebrews 2:2 , Hebrews 10:35 , Hebrews 11:26 ), and in accordance therewith makes use of ὁρκωμοσία (Hebrews 7:20-21 ; Hebrews 7:28 ), αἱματεκχυσία (Hebrews 9:22 ), and other sonorous compounds. Whilst, further, e.g. , the sitting of Christ at the right hand of God is indicated by Paul simply by ἐν δεξιᾷ τοῦ θεοῦ καθήμενος (Colossians 3:1 ; comp. also Romans 8:34 ; Ephesians 1:20 ), in the Epistle to the Hebrews the majestic formulas: ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆς μεγαλωσύνης ἐν ὑψηλοῖς (Hebrews 1:3 ), ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τοῦ θρόνου τῆς μεγαλωσύνης ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς (Hebrews 8:1 ), ἐν δεξιᾷ τοῦ θρόνου τοῦ θεοῦ κεκάθικεν (Hebrews 12:2 ), serve to express the same thought. Further, that which Paul predicates of Christ, in describing Him simply as εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ (2 Corinthians 4:4 ), or as εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ἀοράτου (Colossians 1:15 ), or as ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων (Philippians 2:6 ), is expressed by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews in more carefully chosen language by means of the characteristic ὤν ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως τοῦ θεοῦ . [7]

As, however, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews surpasses the Apostle Paul in respect of this external side of the diction, and of all writers of the New Testament comes nearest to a classical perfection, in such wise that only some portions in Luke bear comparison therewith, yet, on the other hand, he falls considerably behind the Apostle Paul in respect of the inner character of his mode of presentation. There is wanting to his argumentation that dialectic acuteness (comp. e.g. Hebrews 12:25 ), to his sequence of thought that severe and firm connectedness (comp. e.g. Hebrews 4:14 ), to his expression that precision and definiteness (comp. e.g. Hebrews 7:27 ), which are characteristic of the Apostle Paul.

[7] Many further differences of language in details, in part connected with the fact that in the Epistle to the Hebrews the language is preponderantly rhetorical, with Paul preponderantly dialectic, see in Schulz, Der Brief an die Hebr. , Breslau 1818, p. 135 ff.; Seyffarth, De ep. quae dicitur ad Hebr. indole maxime peculiari , Lips. 1821, p. 25 sqq.

(4) Deviations from Paul are shown, further, in the doctrinal subject-matter of the epistle. Certainly in the main, and regarded as a whole, its fundamental doctrinal conception is the same as in the Pauline Epistles, as also in details it affords manifold notes of accord with the doctrinal presentation of the latter. [8] Nevertheless, this dogmatic harmony is not without peculiar, individual, independent colouring in the Epistle to the Hebrews. [9] The Apostle Paul regards as the most important fact in the history of salvation, the resurrection of Christ; by this did the work of salvation first receive the divine sanction and attestation; by it was Christ first by a divine deed proved to be the Son of God. Of the death of Christ, therefore, Paul speaks almost always in connection with the resurrection. This importance, however, the resurrection of Christ has not for the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Only incidentally, in the invocation Hebrews 13:20 , is it mentioned by him; in the body of the epistle, on the contrary, stress is laid exclusively upon the death of Christ and the heavenly high-priesthood, of which office the Saviour Christ, exalted to the right hand of God, is the occupant and fulfiller. In addition to this, the notion of πίστις is different with our author from what it is with Paul. Whereas with Paul the ΠΊΣΤΙς involves an opposition to the ΝΌΜΟς and the ἜΡΓΑ ΝΌΜΟΥ , and has its object in particular in Christ, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, on the other hand, understands thereby in general the believing, humble confiding in God’s grace and promises, in opposition to the seeing of their realization, a phase of the conception which but rarely (comp. 2 Corinthians 5:7 ) is met with in Paul. It is, moreover, a remarkable fact that no reference is made to the participation of the Gentiles in the Messianic kingdom, although the author must have entertained the same views as Paul on this point, inasmuch as he regards Judaism only as an imperfect preparatory stage to Christianity, and demands a coming forth from the former, in order to become partakers of the blessings of the latter, whence it seems to follow that the author found his life’s task not so much in the conversion of the Gentiles, as in the conversion of his Jewish kinsmen. Peculiar to this epistle is, further, the prevailing fondness for a typico-symbolic mode of contemplation, [10] which is met with indeed in Paul’s writings ( e.g. Galatians 4:21 ff.; 1 Corinthians 10:1 ff.), but yet only in isolated instances; and other peculiarities besides. Comp. Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr . I. p. 221 ff., 385 ff., II. p. 632 ff., 821 ff.; Davidson, Introduction , I. p. 241 ff.

[8] Comparisons of points of coincidence, which, however, stand in need of critical sifting, see in Fr. Spanhemius, De auctore epistolae ad Hebraeos (Opp. t. ii., Lugd. Bat. 1703, fol. p. 171 sqq.); Cramer, p. lxix. sqq., lxxx. sqq.; Petr. Hofstede de Groot, Disputatio, qua epistola ad Hebraeos cum Paulinis epistolis comparatur , Traj. ad Rhen. 1826, 8.

[9] Yet on account of this independence to regard the epistle, with Riehm ( Lehrbegriff des Hebräerbriefs , Ludwigsb. 1858, 1859, II. p. 861 ff.), after the example of R. Köstlin ( Theol. Jahrbb . of Baur and Zeller, 1854, H. 4, p. 463 ff.), also Ritschl ( Entstehung der altkathol. Kirche , 2 Aufl., Bonn 1857, p. 159 ff.) and Weiss ( Studien u. Kritiken , 1859, H. 1, p. 142 ff.), as not the work of a writer of the Pauline school, but to discover in it a later stage of development of the primitive apostolic Judaeo-Christianity, is a proceeding not warranted by any sufficient ground. There is the less reason for such judgment, inasmuch as a very close personal connection of the author of the epistle with Paul and his disciples and fellow-labourers is conceded; in the doctrinal conception of the epistle not only no contradiction of Paul is discovered, but, on the contrary, a higher agreement with him on all essential points; and it is, moreover, taken for granted that the epistle arose through the incitement and under the influence of Paulinism.

[10] Comp. de Wette, “Ueber die symbolisch-typische Lehrart des Briefes an die Hebr.” (in the Theologische Zeitschrift of Schleiermacher, de Wette, and Lücke, Heft 3, Berlin 1822, p. 1 ff.).

(5) Decisive against Paul are, further, the citations from the Old Testament. While Paul not merely makes use of the LXX., but is also at home in the original Hebrew text, and often independently translates this for himself, for the most part also cites with more or less freedom and from memory; the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews follows the LXX. exclusively, and generally with great exactness. He even bases an argument upon its inaccurate renderings (comp. specially Hebrews 10:5-7 ), in such wise that he can have possessed no knowledge of the Hebrew, or at any rate but a very unsatisfactory knowledge, a fact which even in early times was not overlooked by the opponents of the Pauline origin of the epistle (comp. Jerome on Isaiah 6:9 , Opp. ed. Martianay, t. 3. p. 64: Pauli quoque idcirco ad Hebraeos epistolae contradicitur, quod ad Hebraeos scribens utatur testimoniis quae in Hebraeis voluminibus non habentur). The references in detail see in Bleek, Abtheil. 1, p. 338 369.

(6) The author describes, Hebrews 9:1-5 , the arrangement of the Jewish sanctuary, and presupposes (Hebrews 9:6 ) that this still continues in its original form in the Jewish temple of his time. In so doing, however, he falls into divers historic errors (comp. the exposition), such as would have been impossible with Paul, who had lived a considerable time in Jerusalem.

(7) If Paul were the author, he would not have deviated from his constant practice of mentioning his name in an address prefixed to the epistle. For a tenable ground for such deviation is not to be discovered. Comp. Bleek, Abth. 1, p. 295 ff.

(8) Regarded in general, it is very improbable that Paul should have written an epistle to purely Judaeo-Christian congregations, to whom the epistle is, however, addressed (see sec. 2). For he would thereby have been untrue to his fundamental principle of not intruding into another man’s sphere of labour (Romans 15:20 ; Galatians 2:9 ).

The arguments enumerated are in their totality of such constraining force that we can feel no surprise if, upon every revival of the critico-scientific spirit in the church, doubts, too, with regard to the Pauline origin of the epistle should always be excited afresh, after they had long seemed to have died out. At the time of the Reformation, Cajetan and Erasmus within the Catholic Church declared themselves against the claim of Paul to the authorship of the epistle. The former was on that account assailed by Ambrosius Catharinus; the latter was compelled to defend himself against the Sorbonne, and the Council of Trent suppressed all further expression of a freer judgment, in decreeing the epistle to be the fourteenth epistle of Paul. [11] Yet more decidedly was the Pauline authorship of the epistle denied by the Reformers. Luther separated the Epistle to the Hebrews from the letters of Paul in his editions of the New Testament, and placed it, with the Epistles of James and Jude and the Apocalypse, after “the right certain main books of the New Testament,” since those four books “of old time ( vorzeiten ) had another estimation put upon them.” “First of all,” he says (see Walch, Thl. 14, p. 146 f.), “that this Epistle to the Hebrews is not St. Paul’s or any other apostle’s, is shown thereby, that it stands in chap. Hebrews 2:3 thus: this doctrine has come down to us through those who themselves have heard it of the Lord. By this it is made clear that he speaks of the apostles as a disciple to whom such doctrine has come from the apostles, perhaps long after. For St. Paul, Galatians 1:1 , powerfully attests that he has his gospel from no man, nor by man, but from God Himself. Besides this, it has a hard knot, in that it in chap. 6. and 10. straightway denies and refuses repentance to sinners after baptism, and in Hebrews 12:17 says Esau sought repentance and yet did not find it. The which, as it sounds, seemeth to be against all gospels and epistles of St. Paul. And although one may make a gloss thereon, yet the words after all sound so clear, that I know not whether it will suffice. To me it seems that this is an epistle put together out of several parts, and not in regular order treating of one and the same thing. However this may be, it certainly is a wondrously fine epistle, which speaks in a masterly and solid way of the priesthood of Christ out of the Scriptures, and, moreover, finely and fully expounds the Old Testament. This is clear, that it comes from an excellent learned man, who was a disciple of the apostles, had learned much of them, and was firmly experienced in the faith and exercised in the Scripture. And though he, indeed, lays not the foundation of the faith, as he himself testifieth, chap. Hebrews 6:1 , that which is the office of the apostles, yet he builds thereon fine gold, silver, precious stones, as St. Paul says, 1 Corinthians 3:12 . On that account we shall not be troubled if perchance a little wood, straw, or hay be therewith mingled, but receive such fine teaching with all honour, without being able to equal it in all respects to the apostolic epistles. Who wrote it, however, is unknown, and will indeed remain unknown for a while yet; but that is no matter. The doctrine shall content us, since this is so firmly based on and in the Scripture, and likewise shows a right fine grasp and measure for reading and handling the word of Scripture.” As Luther, so also Melanchthon, the Magdeburg Centuriators, Lucas Osiander, Balduin, Hunnius, and others, denied the Pauline origin of the epistle; and of the Reformed Church, Calvin, Beza, Jos. Scaliger, Dan. Heinsius, cum multis aliis. [12] Later, however, even in the Protestant Church the supposition that Paul was the author became gradually again more general, and was after the beginning of the seventeenth century the ecclesiastically accepted opinion, from which only the Arminians and Socinians ventured to depart. A freer research was first set going again by Semler and Michaelis; it has almost universally decided unfavourably to Paul. Yet the theory of a directly Pauline origin has still found defenders in Storr, Hug, G. W. Meyer (in Ammon and Bertholdt’s Krit. Journal der neuesten theol. Literat. , Bd. ii. James 3, p. 225 ff.), Heinrichs (but comp. the preface to the second edition), Hofstede de Groot ( Disputatio, qua ep. ad Hebr. cum Paulinis epp. comparatur , Traj. ad Rhen. 1826), Moses Stuart, Gelpke ( Vindiciae originis Paulinae ad Hebraeos epistolae, nova ratione [13] tentatae , Lugduni Batav. 1832, 8.), Paulus, Stein, Bloomfield ( Greek Testament , 9th ed. vol. ii., Lond. 1855, p. 572 ff.), Biesenthal ( Epistola Pauli ad Hebraeos cum rabbinico Commentario , Berol. 1857; Ztschr. f. Luth. Theol. u. Kirche , 1866, H. 4, p. 616), J. Chr. K. v. Hofmann ( Der Schriftbeweis , II. 2, 2 Aufl., Nördling. 1860, p. 105, 378; Die heil. Schrift neuen Testaments zusammenhängend untersucht , Thl. 5, Nördl. 1873, p. 520 ff.), Robbins (in Park and Taylor’s Bibliotheca Sacra , vol. xviii., Andover 1861, July, p. 469 ff.), W. Volck (in the Dorpat Ztschr. für Theol. u. Kirche , Jahrg. 1869, Bd. Isaiah 4:0 , p. 504 ff.), J. B. M‘Caul ( The Epistle to the Hebrews in a Paraphrastic Commentary, with Illustrations from Philo, the Targums, the Mishna and Gemara, the later Rabbinical Writers , etc., Lond. 1871, p. 4, 329), Joh. Wichelhaus ( Akadem. Vorless. über das N. T., herausgeg. v. A. Zahn , Halle 1875, p. 3 f.), and Jatho ( Blicke in die Bedeutung des mosaischen Cultus , Hildesh. 1876, p. 1 ff.); while Woerner ( Der Brief St. Pauli an die Hebräer. , Ludwigsb. 1876, p. 253 f.) expresses himself with hesitation, and Guericke ( Einleitung in das N. T . p. 441), Delitzsch (in Rudelbach and Guericke’s Ztschr. f. d. Luth. Theol . 1849, p. 266, and in the commentary), Ebrard, and some others seek at least to trace back the epistle indirectly to Paul, inasmuch as they suppose it to have been written by his direction and under his oversight. But that this last modification also is an untenable and unjustified one, is evident. For, of a fact of this kind there must of necessity be some indication found in the epistle itself; whereas this writing everywhere gives the impression of an independent work of an independent Christian teacher. So likewise, inasmuch as then, too, Paul would surely be the only representative of the subject-matter of the epistle, the meaning of such expressions as Hebrews 2:3 and others would become more absolutely inexplicable.

[11] Fourth sitting of the 8th April Hebrews 1546: Testamenti Novi … quatuordecim epistolae Pauli apostoli, ad Romanos … ad Philemonem, ad Hebraeos.

[12] Yet, while the Lutheran Church preserved in its symbols a freer position towards the canon, the Reformed Church in the Confessio Belgica (cap. iv. p. 171 sq., ed. Augusti. Comp. also the Helvetica of 1566, cap. xi. p. 25 sq., xvi. p. 43, and the Bohemica of 1535, art. iv. p. 281, vi. p. 286, xx. p. 323) adopted the decision that Paul wrote fourteen epistles.

[13] The nova ratio consists in the circumstantial demonstration that the Epistle to the Hebrews betrays an affinity to the writings of Seneca(!), mainly to his little book de Providentia , which reaches so deeply that it cannot have arisen by accident. It is thus in all probability due to a personal intercourse of the writer of the epistle with Seneca, a fact which is applicable only in the case of Paul, who, according to a trustworthy early tradition, was brought into communication with Seneca.

If the Epistle to the Hebrews can thus be neither directly nor indirectly a work of the Apostle Paul, the question further arises, whether the true author is still to be discovered with any degree of probability. The decision of some has been in favour of Barnabas, others of Luke, others of Clemens Romanus, others again of Silvanus, and others, finally, of Apollos.

Barnabas has been looked upon as the author by J. E. Chr. Schmidt ( Histor.-Krit. Einleit. in’s N. T. , Abth. 1, p. 289 ff.), Twesten ( Dogmatik , Bd. 1, 4 Aufl. p. 95), Thiersch ( De Epistola ad Hebr. commentatio historica , Marb. 1848, p. 1 [14] ), Wieseler, Chronologie des apostoliscken Zeitalters , Götting. 1848, p. 504 ff.; Untersuchung über den Hebräerbrief, namentlich seinen Verfasser u. seine Leser , 1 Hälfte [Schriften der Universität zu Kiel aus dem Jahre, 1860, 4, Bd. VII.; also printed separately, Kiel 1861, 8]), Adalb. Maier ( Comment. üb. d. Br. an d. Hebr. , Freib. im Br. 1861, p. 13 ff.), Ritschl ( Theol. Studd. u. Kritt . 1866, H. 1, p. 89), and Renan ( L’Antechrist , Paris 1873, p. xvii. f. 210 f.). [15] According to Wieseler, of all the claims to the authorship, that of Barnabas is best vouched for by the tradition of antiquity. But in reality there remains only the single testimony (certainly a very definite one) of Tertullian ( vide supra , p. 7) in favour of Barnabas. For that it was also held in the majority of churches of the East to be a work of Barnabas, cannot be inferred, with Wieseler (comp. already Ullmann, p. 391), from the words of Jerome (Epist. 129, ad Dardan. , Opp. ed. Martianay, t. ii. p. 608): Illud nostris dicendum est, hanc epistolam, quae inscribitur ad Hebraeos, non solum ab ecclesiis orientis sed ab omnibus retro ecclesiasticis Graeci sermonis scriptoribus quasi Pauli apostoli suscipi; licet plerique eam vel Barnabae vel Clementis arbitrentur, et nihil interesse, cujus sit, quum ecclesiastici viri sit et quotidie ecclesiarum lectione celebretur. To supply a nostrorum to the plerique, with Tholuck and Delitzsch, out of the preceding nostris , is indeed impossible; plerique can receive its more precise definition only either from the last member of the sentence beginning with ab , or else from the two such members. But it is in an equal degree unjustifiable, in connection with the latter supposition, to assign vel Barnabae , in distinct separation, to the ecclesiae orientis, and vel Clementis to the Graeci sermonis scriptores, and then to help out the verdict thus gained to wit, that the majority in the East traced the epistle indeed to Paul, but derived its present Greek form from Barnabas with the conjecture “that the original tradition of those Eastern churches pointed to the sole authorship of Barnabas.” Rather is Jerome’s manner of expressing himself in the fore-cited passage in more than one respect inaccurate; inasmuch as he is, moreover, acquainted with Luke, as a third person who might be mentioned in the same category with Barnabas and Clement, and elsewhere is able to adduce only a single early authority in favour of the opinion that Barnabas composed the epistle, and this authority belonging not to the Eastern church, but to that of the West. The passage finds its corrective in the words of the Catalogus Scriptorum , c. 5 (Opp. ed. Martianay, t. iv. p. 103 sq.): Epistola autem, quae fertur ad Hebraeos, non ejus creditur propter stili sermonisque distantiam, sed vel Barnabae juxta Tertullianum, vel Lucae evangelistae juxta quosdam, vel Clementis Romanae ecclesiae episcopi, quem ajunt ipsi adjunctum sententias Pauli proprio ordinasse et ornasse sermone, according to which Jerome was acquainted only with Tertullian as the representative of the view that Barnabas wrote the epistle. If, further, Philastrius, Haer . 89, observes: Sunt alii quoque, qui epistolam Pauli ad Hebraeos non adserunt esse ipsius, sed dicunt aut Barnabae esse apostoli, aut Clementis de urbe Roma episcopi, it is likewise entirely unprovable that the aut Barnabae did not refer merely to Tertullian. In like manner it does not, of course, at all follow, from the fact that the Epistle to the Hebrews is placed after the Pastoral Epistles in the Peshito, that the early Syrian Church regarded the epistle as the work of none other than Barnabas. It is, in the last place, a mere assertion when we are told that in the Versus scribturarum sanctarum an ancient stichometric catalogue of the sacred writings of the O. and N. T., which is preserved to us, inserted in the Codex Claromontanus between the Epistle to Philemon and that to the Hebrews (comp. Cod. Claromontanus , ed. Tischendorf, Lips. 1852, 4, p. 468 sq.) the Epistle to the Hebrews bears the name of an Epistola Barnabae . (So first Credner in the Theol. Jahrbb . 1857, p. 307 ff.; Gesch. des Neutest. Kanon. , Berl. 1860, p. 175 ff.) That catalogue presents only the words: Barnabae, epist. : DCCCL; it simply mentions, therefore, the Epistle of Barnabas, and adds how many verses or lines ( stichoi ) it contains. The supposition is thus only natural, that the same writing is meant which elsewhere in the early church bears the name of the Epistle of Barnabas, and in the Codex Sinaiticus is bound up with the canonical books of the New Testament. Nay, this supposition is raised entirely beyond doubt by the fact that, in addition to the “Barnabae epist.,” and on the same level therewith, the Pastor , the Actus Pauli , and the Revelatio Petri , thus writings which in later time were just as little reckoned among the canonical books (the “sanctae scribturae” of the catalogue) as the Epistle of Barnabas, are likewise enumerated and stichometrically defined in this catalogue. Moreover, the Epistle to the Hebrews, if this had been thought of in connection with the “Barnabae epist.,” must at least have been denoted by the reading Barnabae ad Hebraeos epist .; as also Tertullian (comp. p. 7) did not deem the addition ad Hebraeos , for the designation of our Epistle to the Hebrews, redundant. It is true the assertion has been made, that the number of lines mentioned points to the Epistle to the Hebrews. But we should be permitted to make a deduction from this number of lines, only in case the number of lines for the several books of the New Testament were a fixed one in the MSS. It is, however, an altogether wavering and changing one. Thus the accounts of the lines for the Epistle to the Hebrews (comp. Tischendorf, N. T. Exodus 7:0 , P. ii. p. 596) vary between the numbers 703 and 830. Not one of these numbers reaches the sum of 850 mentioned in the catalogue. If, therefore, we are to make any deduction at all from these data, we must rather suppose that the number 850 is much more favourable to the epistle otherwise known as the Epistle of Barnabas than to our Epistle to the Hebrews, since the former exceeds the latter in extent by about a third. (In the Codex Sinaiticus the Epistle of Barnabas occupies 53½ columns, and the Epistle to the Hebrews 40½.) It is asserted, further, that the Barnabae epist . of the catalogue must be regarded as the Epistle to the Hebrews, because it has obtained a place in the enumeration before the Revelation of John and the Acts of the Apostles, and so by the intervention of the two latter writings is separated from the Pastor , the Actus Pauli , and the Revelatio Petri . But this order of enumeration does not warrant such conclusion, any more than a special mark of design is to be discovered in the unusual order of mentioning the Epistles to the Colossians and Philemon only after the Pastoral Epistles, which is observed in the same catalogue. The consideration that, if our view be correct, the Epistle to the Hebrews has been entirely passed over without mention in the catalogue, can present no difficulty. We need not even suppose that the mention thereof has been overlooked in consequence of a mere blunder in copying. This is indeed possible, since the Epistles to the Thessalonians and that to the Philippians have for a like reason been passed over unmentioned, and otherwise the negligence of the copyist displays itself in the catalogue, in the fact that the two Epistles of Peter, e.g. , bear therein the appellations ad Petrum I. and ad Petrum II. The non-mention of the Epistle to the Hebrews is rather to be explained simply from the fact, well known from other sources, that this epistle was not invested with any canonical authority in the early church of the West, from which this catalogue comes down to us.

Favourable to the claim of Barnabas might appear the historic incident of his receiving this his name ( υἱὸς παρακλήσεως ), according to Acts 4:36 , on account of his gifts of prophetic or spiritual utterance, with which the eloquent language of the Epistle to the Hebrews might be shown to accord. Nor would there be anything directly opposed to such view in the circumstance that in Acts 13:9 ff., Acts 13:16 ff., Acts 14:9 ff., not Barnabas but Paul is described as the chief speaker, and that consequently the former is in Acts 14:12 compared to Zeus; the latter, on the other hand, to Hermes. For although the Epistle to the Hebrews is superior in point of diction to the Pauline Epistles, a greater facility of graceful writing does not of necessity argue a greater facility of oral discourse. In favour of Barnabas, might, further, his birth in Cyprus be supposed to plead, and consequently since Cyprus was in various ways connected with Alexandria the Alexandrian type of thought which appears in the epistle would not be inappropriate to him. But absolutely decisive against Barnabas is the fact that, according to Acts 4:36-37 , he was a Levite, and must have long time dwelt in Jerusalem, since he even possessed land there. He must therefore have been more accurately informed with regard to the inner arrangements of the temple in Jerusalem at that time than was the case with the author of our epistle. [16] For the temple at Jerusalem is meant (see sec. 2), and not that at Leontopolis in Egypt, as Wieseler supposes.

[14] Yet Thiersch and similarly Meier assigns also a part in the composition of the epistle to the Apostle Paul. Thiersch says, l.c.: “Barnabam igitur, qui et ipse gentium fuit apostolus, et Paulum communi consilio et conjuncta opera literas illas elaborasse existimo. Ita quidem ut in maxima parte Barnabas, vir ille dono prophetiae et fervore παρακλήσεως insignis agnoscatur, epilogum vero Paulus sua manu adjecerit atque ita, concedente Barnaba, suam fecerit epistolam.” Comp. also Thiersch, Die Kirche im apostol. Zeitalter , Frankf. and Erlangen 1852, p. 197 ff.

[15] Joh. Cameron is also named as a representative of this view. Bleek (Abth. 1, p. 261, note 364) refers to Cameron’s Quaestio ii. in Ep. ad Hebr. , and Ullmann (p. 389, note) to his Myrothecium Evangelicum . But in the latter work, at any rate, there is found no statement of this kind. In this Cameron usually speaks of the author as Apostolus, but certainly distinguishes him from the Apostle Paul. Comp. e.g. on Hebrews 7:18 , ed. Salmur., 1677, 4, p. 270.

[16] If the so-called Epistle of Barnabas were genuine, the diversity of character between that and the Epistle to the Hebrews would likewise form a decisive counter-argument against the claim of Barnabas. But the genuineness of that epistle is, to say the least, doubtful.

Luke has been frequently regarded even in early times as at least the translator or the penman of the epistle; and a share in the work of its composition has been ascribed to him by Hug (in the later editions of his Einleit. in’s N. T .), and more recently Delitzsch (in Rudelb. and Guericke’s Zeitschr. für die Luth. Theol . 1849, H. 2, p. 272 ff., and in the Kommentar zum Hebr.-Br . p. 704) and Ebrard, as also J. V. Döllinger ( Christenthum u. Kirche in der Zeit der Grundlegung , Regensb. 1860, p. 86), inasmuch as the first-named attributes to him the linguistic garb of the epistle, and the others assign to him the elaboration of the thoughts furnished to him by the Apostle Paul. As the independent composer, on the other hand, Luke has been regarded by Grotius and S. Crell (in the pseudonymous writing, Artemonii initium ev. Joannis ex antiquitate ecclesiastica restitutum , P. 1, 1726, 8, p. 98); and Delitzsch also (comp. his commentary on the Ep. p. 707) now holds this view to be at least possible. To the Pauline Christian Luke, certainly the self-characterizing of Hebrews 2:3 is appropriate (comp. Luke 1:2 ), as well as the purer Greek and the more skilful formation of periods. There are also to be discovered certain peculiarities in the phraseology to which Grotius already calls attention which are met with only in the writings of Luke and in the Epistle to the Hebrews. Nevertheless, these points of contact are only of a subordinate nature, whilst side by side with them a thorough diversity of style and presentation is to be observed. In Luke, where he writes independently, there is displayed a mere smoothness in the flow of the language; in the Epistle to the Hebrews, on the other hand, a self-conscious majesty of rhetoric reveals itself. Moreover, there is nothing in Luke to correspond to the Alexandrian-Jewish spirit of the Epistle to the Hebrews. The proof which Delitzsch has recently sought to establish in his commentary namely, that the most decided similarity as regards the choice of words and the construction of the sentences connects the Epistle to the Hebrews with the writings of Luke, nay, that even in characteristic points of doctrine a striking coincidence is to be observed between the respective writings was therefore predestined to failure. The evidence for his assertion has been scattered by Delitzsch through his whole commentary; and it almost seems as though this, for the reader and critic highly inconvenient mode of proceeding, had been chosen under the unconscious feeling that the evidence was not in a position to admit of synoptical classification, without in such case at once being laid bare in all its weakness. For, so soon as we critically sift that which has been uncritically piled together by Delitzsch; so soon as we separate therefrom that which is not exclusively peculiar to Luke and the Epistle to the Hebrews; so soon as we also put out of the account that which Luke has only taken up out of the sources employed by him, and cease to lay any weight upon isolated expressions and turns of discourse which were the common property either of the Greek language in general, or of the later Greek in particular, and are only accidentally present in Luke and the Epistle to the Hebrews, there is nothing whatever left of an actual affinity, such as must of necessity admit of being traced out between works of the same author. That, namely, on which Delitzsch founds his argument is the following:

The particle τε , Hebrews 1:3 , and frequently, is but rarely found in the N. T. save in the writings of Paul, and more especially of Luke.

The middle ποιεῖσθαι , Hebrews 1:3 , is a favourite one with Paul, and particularly so with Luke. It is here similarly used, as, e.g. , in δεήσεις ποιεῖσθαι , Luke 5:33 ; Philippians 1:4 ; 1 Timothy 2:1 ; κοπετὸν ποιεῖσθαι , Acts 8:2 : ἀναβολὴν μηδεμίαν ποιεῖσθαι , Acts 25:17 .

παρά , after the comparative, Hebrews 1:4 , is also not foreign to Luke (Luke 3:13 ).

δέ , Hebrews 1:13 , in the third place, as Luke 15:17 ; Acts 27:14 ; Galatians 3:23 .

προσέχειν τινί , Hebrews 2:1 , like προσέχειν τοῖς λαλουμένοις , Acts 16:14 .

τὰ ἀκουσθέντα , Hebrews 2:1 , is the word of salvation, which in the Epistle to the Hebrews is nowhere called εὐαγγέλιον , as also Luke in his writings (with the exception of Acts 15:7 ; Acts 20:24 ) loves to express the idea of εὐαγγέλιον by various forms of periphrasis.

συνεπιμαρτυρεῖν , Hebrews 2:4 , is formed after the manner of συνεπιτίθεσθαι , Acts 24:9 .

ποικίλαι δυνάμεις , Hebrews 2:4 , has its analogon in Acts 2:22 (comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 ).

διαμαρτύρεσθαι , Hebrews 2:6 , is specially frequent in Luke, e.g. Acts 20:23 ; Acts 23:11 .

The construction ἐν γὰρ τῷ κ . τ . λ ., Hebrews 2:8 , corresponds entirely to that of Acts 11:15 .

ἀρχηγός , Hebrews 2:10 , Hebrews 12:2 , is the name which Jesus bears also in Acts 3:15 ; Acts 5:31 .

καταργεῖν , Hebrews 2:14 , a favourite word with Paul, is found besides in the N. T. only in Luke 13:7 .

δήπου , Hebrews 2:16 , occurs, it is true, only here in the N. T.; but yet δή , which also is rare in the N. T., occurs with the greatest comparative frequency in Luke 2:7 . The colouring of the expression is thoroughly Lucan. The ὅθεν , which is met with six times in the Epistle to the Hebrews, is foreign to the letters of Paul, but occurs Acts 26:19 . Ὁμοιωθῆναι is employed exactly as Acts 14:11 in the cry of the men of Lystra. Ἱλάσκεσθαι has in Luke 18:13 its single parallel in the N. T. Κατὰ πάντα is, Acts 17:22 , certainly to no less extent Lucan than Pauline. Τὰ πρὸς θεόν occurs, indeed, elsewhere only Hebrews 5:1 and Romans 15:17 ; but at Luke 14:32 ; Luke 19:42 , Acts 28:10 (comp. also Luke 14:28 , Acts 23:30 , according to the textus receptus ), τὰ πρός is likewise found as a current form of expression.

δύνασθαι , Hebrews 2:18 , here, as with few exceptions throughout the Epistle to the Hebrews, construed with the infinitive aorist , just as in Luke 1:20 ; Luke 1:22 ; Luke 3:8 ; Luke 5:12 , and often.

πέπονθεν πειρασθείς , Hebrews 2:18 , has again its parallels in Luke; inasmuch as, according to Acts 20:19 , sufferings, as such, are πειρασμοί ; and according to Luke 22:28 , the sufferings of the Lord in particular were so.

μέτοχοι , Hebrews 3:1 , Hebrews 6:4 , is found elsewhere in the N. T. only Luke 5:7 .

κατανοεῖν , Hebrews 3:1 , Hebrews 10:24 , is a favourite word with Luke, e.g. Hebrews 12:24 ; Hebrews 12:27 , and often; comp. especially Acts 11:6 .

The γάρ , Hebrews 3:16 , accentuating the question, is equally Lucan, Acts 19:35 ; Acts 8:31 , as Pauline, 1 Corinthians 11:22 .

ἀλλʼ οὐ , Hebrews 3:16 , is placed as in Luke 17:7 f.; comp. ἀλλὰ τί , Matthew 11:7-9 .

ἐπαγγελία , in the signification of assurance, promise , Hebrews 4:1 , is of most frequent occurrence with Luke and Paul; and the combination with the bare infinitive, instead of τοῦ εἰσελθεῖν , which recurs Hebrews 11:15 , is like that of Acts 14:5 .

εὐαγγελίζεσθαι , Hebrews 4:2 , used passively of the persons to whom glad tidings are proclaimed, is common to the Epistle to the Hebrews with Luke 7:22 ; Luke 16:16 .

καίτοι , Hebrews 4:3 , is a particle, attested also Acts 14:17 ; Acts 17:27 , as well as καίτοιγε and καίγε .

ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου , Hebrews 4:3 , Hebrews 9:26 , is not met with in the LXX., but is found in Luke 11:50 , and often elsewhere in the N. T.

With ζῶνλόγος τοῦ θεοῦ , Hebrews 4:12 , we may compare, in addition to 1 Peter 1:23 , also Acts 7:38 ( λόγια ζῶντα ); and τομώτερος ὑπέρ , Hebrews 4:12 , is construed as Luke 16:8 .

ἐνθυμήσεις , Hebrews 4:12 , occurs elsewhere only Acts 17:29 ; Matthew 9:4 ; Matthew 12:25 .

κρατεῖν , Hebrews 4:14 , Hebrews 6:18 , with the genitive, as Luke 8:54 .

Of ἀσθένειαι , Hebrews 4:15 , mention is made in Luke 5:15 and other places; comp. Matthew 8:17 .

περικεῖσθαί τι , Hebrews 5:2 , is found elsewhere in the N. T. only Acts 28:20 .

The construction ἐδόξασεν γενηθῆναι , Hebrews 5:5 , is similar to that of Luke 2:1 ; Acts 11:25 ; Acts 15:10 ; Colossians 4:6 .

καθὼς καὶ ἐν ἑτέρῳ , Hebrews 5:6 , is similar to the reading of Acts 13:35 .

μετὰ κραυγῆς ἰσχυρᾶς καὶ δακρύων , Hebrews 5:7 , reproduces the most salient features with which precisely Luke (Luke 22:39-46 ) describes the agony of prayer in the garden, as these now force themselves upon the mind.

In the use of εὐλάβεια , Hebrews 5:7 , and εὐλαβεῖσθαι , the Epistle to the Hebrews coincides in a characteristic way with the usage of Luke (apart from Acts 23:10 ).

ἀπό , Hebrews 5:7 , is employed exactly as in Luke 19:3 ; Luke 24:41 ; Acts 12:14 ; Acts 20:9 ; Acts 22:11 .

On αἴτιος , Hebrews 5:9 , we have to compare ἀρχηγός , Hebrews 2:10 ; Acts 3:15 ; Acts 5:31 .

φέρεσθαι , Hebrews 6:1 , expresses the idea of external impulse and forward pressing urgency, as Acts 2:2 .

λόγος τοῦ Χριστοῦ , Hebrews 4:1 , as ὁ λόγος τοῦ κυρίου or τοῦ θεοῦ = τὸ εὐαγγέλιον , most frequently in the writings of Luke, who hardly ever uses εἰαγγέλιον .

The construction μετάνοια ἀπό , Hebrews 6:1 , is Lucan, Acts 8:22 ; moreover, πιστεύειν ἐπὶ τὸν θεόν or τὸν κύριον , which is not entirely foreign to Paul’s writings, Romans 4:5 ; Romans 4:24 , is found with Luke, as well as πιστεύειν εἰς , at least more ordinarily than with any other N. T. writer, Acts 9:42 ; Acts 11:17 ; Acts 16:31 ; Acts 22:19 ; and as to the thing intended, Acts 20:21 is similar to Hebrews 6:1 , inasmuch as in the former place τὴν εἰς θεὸν μετάνοιαν is employed with as little apparent significance, and as really deep significance, as in the latter place πίστεως ἐπὶ θεόν .

With reference to the delineation of the sin against the Holy Ghost, chap. 6. and 10., the Epistle to the Hebrews has its immediate parallel in Luke 12:8-10 .

ἐπί with a genitive, after a verb of motion, Hebrews 6:7 , as Acts 10:11 , and frequently.

εὔθετος , Hebrews 6:7 , is in the N. T. a word of Luke’s, Luke 14:35 , Luke 9:62 .

In Hebrews 6:9 also we hear the language of Luke. For as ἡ ἐχομένη , Luke 13:33 , Acts 20:15 ; Acts 21:26 ; Acts 13:44 , denotes the day immediately following, so too ἐχόμενα σωτηρίας , that which stands in immediate connection with the salvation, which has reference to the salvation.

The classic ἔχειν with a following infinitive, Hebrews 6:13 , is Lucan, Luke 7:42 ; Luke 12:4 ; Acts 4:14 ; Acts 25:26 . Considering the Lucan form of the expression, it is doubly noteworthy that allusion is made precisely in Luke’s writings, as well Luke 1:73 as Acts 7:17 , to the solemn confirmation of the promise by an oath, Genesis 22:16 (comp. Genesis 24:7 ).

καὶ οὔτως , Hebrews 6:15 , is used as Acts 7:8 ; Acts 27:44 ; Acts 28:14 , and also frequently with Paul.

The μέν solitarium , Hebrews 6:16 , belongs to the number of the not rare anacoluths, as well of Luke, e.g. Acts 1:1 , as of Paul, e.g. Romans 11:13 f.

βουλή , Hebrews 6:17 , of God’s gracious will, is an expression current with Luke 7:30 , Acts 2:23 , and frequently. With Paul, only Ephesians 1:11 .

On πράγματα , Hebrews 6:18 , we have to compare πράγματα , Luke 1:1 .

καταφεύγειν , Hebrews 6:18 , is found also Acts 14:6 .

πατριάρχης is a Hellenistic word, and in the N. T. Lucan; it occurs elsewhere only Acts 2:29 ; Acts 7:8-9 .

ἱερατεία , Hebrews 7:5 , the epistle has in common with Luke 1:9 (comp. Hebrews 1:8 : ἱερατεύειν ).

τοῦτʼ ἔστιν , κ . τ . λ ., Hebrews 7:5 , is a Hebraistic mode of expression, as Acts 2:30 .

μαρτυρεῖσθαι , Hebrews 7:8 , Hebrews 11:2 , is a favourite expression as well in the Acts 6:3 ; Acts 10:22 ; Acts 16:2 ; Acts 22:12 , as in the Epistle to the Hebrews. It is found, besides, only once with Paul and once with John.

ἀνίστασθαι , Hebrews 7:11 , to be set up by God upon the theatre of history , as Acts 3:22 ; Acts 7:37 ; and according to the ordinary interpretation, also Acts 13:32 .

προσέχειν τινί , Hebrews 7:13 , as 1 Timothy 4:13 , comp. Acts 20:28 .

εἰς , Hebrews 7:14 , as Acts 2:25 ; Ephesians 5:32 .

εἰς τὸ παντελές , Hebrews 7:25 , is found again in the N. T. only Luke 13:11 .

The ἀνάγκην ἔχειν conjoined with the infinitive, Hebrews 7:27 , is Lucan, Luke 14:18 ; Luke 23:17 ; while Luke in the Gospel and Acts employs, instead of ἀναφέρειν in the sense of offering, the expression προσφέρειν , likewise usual in our epistle.

ἀληθινός , Hebrews 8:2 , the epistle has in common with Luke 16:11 and the three Johannine writings, and besides these only 1 Thessalonians 1:9 .

λατρεύειν , Hebrews 8:5 , is specially frequent in the writings of Luke.

The passive use of χρηματίζεσθαι , Hebrews 8:5 , is found also in Acts 10:22 , Luke 2:26 , and twice in Matt.

To the passage of Scripture cited, Hebrews 8:5 , Stephen refers in Acts 7:44 . This is again to be noted as a Lucan parallel.

ἄμεμπτος , Hebrews 8:7 , passively, as Luke 1:6 , and everywhere in the N. T.

The mode of expression, ζητεῖν τόπον , Hebrews 8:7 (comp. τόπον εὑρίσκειν , Hebrews 12:17 ), is similar to that of τόπον λαμβάνειν , Acts 25:16 ; τόπον διδόναι , Romans 12:19 .

ἐπικεῖσθαι , Hebrews 9:10 , with the subsidiary idea of pressing and burdening, as Acts 15:10 ; Acts 15:28 .

With μέχρι καιροῦ διορθώσες , Hebrews 9:10 , we have to compare Acts 24:3 , where the text wavers between διορθωμάτων and καθορθωμάτων .

παραγίγνεσθαι , Hebrews 9:11 , is the usual word for historic self-presentation and presence, Luke 12:51 ; Matthew 3:1 ; 1Ma 4:46 .

οὐ χειροποιήτου , Hebrews 9:11 ; Hebrews 9:24 , is a word of Luke’s in like connection, Acts 7:48 ; Acts 17:24 .

Το τὸ ἴδιον αἷμα , Hebrews 9:12 , Hebrews 13:12 , a parallel is presented in Acts 20:28 .

λύτρωσις , Hebrews 9:12 , is, along with ἀπολύτρωσις , a word of Luke’s, Luke 1:68 ; Luke 2:38 ; comp. ἀπολύτρωσις , Luke 21:28 (in the usage of Paul the only word); λυτροῦσθαι , Luke 24:21 ; λυτρωτής , Acts 7:35 .

διά , Hebrews 9:14 , of the inner principle, just as Acts 1:2 ; Acts 11:28 ; Acts 21:4 .

The mode of expression, λαβεῖν τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν , Hebrews 9:15 , Hebrews 11:13 , in the sense of the taking to oneself the very blessing promised, the epistle has in common with Acts 2:33 .

As to Hebrews 9:15 , the most apt N. T. linguistic parallel is Acts 13:38 f., so also in expression and thought everything is Lucan. To be compared is Acts 3:25 ; Luke 22:29 f.

On τοῦτο τὸ αἷμα , Hebrews 9:20 , which, as seems probable, consciously or involuntarily refers to the words of the Supper, we have to observe that in these the ἐστίν is wanting only with Luke 22:20 ; although they read similarly in Matt. and Mark.

σχεδόν , Hebrews 9:22 , occurs only twice besides in the N. T., and precisely with Luke, Acts 13:44 ; Acts 19:26 . On each occasion it stands in immediate connection with πᾶς .

ἄφεσις , sc . ἁμαρτιῶν , Hebrews 9:22 , commonly met with in Luke’s writings.

Το αἱματεκχυσία , Hebrews 9:22 , τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν ἐκχυνόμενον , Luke 22:20 (comp. Luke 11:50 ), forms verbally and really the most natural parallel.

ἐμφανίζειν , Hebrews 9:24 , Hebrews 11:14 , is a word common to the Epistle to the Hebrews, and especially Luke, who employs it as well in the signification “make known,” Acts 23:22 , as “present oneself, appear,” Acts 24:1 (= ἐμφανίζειν τινὶ ἑαυτόν = ἐμφαίνεσθαι ).

ἀποκεῖσθαι , Hebrews 9:27 , is in the N. T. common to Luke 19:20 ; with Paul, Colossians 1:5 ; 2 Timothy 4:8 .

ἐκ δευτέρου , Hebrews 9:28 , as Acts 10:15 ; Acts 11:9 , and elsewhere.

The construction of παύεσθαι with the participle, Hebrews 10:2 , for the rest the usual one, is the same as Acts 5:42 , οὐκ ἐπαύοντο διδάσκοντες .

ἀναιρεῖν , Hebrews 10:9 , is a favourite word with Luke.

περιελεῖν , Hebrews 10:11 , as Acts 27:20 , περιρεῖτο πᾶσα ἐλπίς .

παροξυσμός , Hebrews 10:24 , is found elsewhere in the N. T. only Acts 15:39 , there in a good sense, and here in a bad sense.

τιμωρία , Hebrews 10:29 , is found only here in the N. T.; to be compared, however, is Acts 22:5 ; Acts 26:11 .

τὰ ὑπάρχοντα , Hebrews 10:34 , with the genitive, as e.g. Luke 11:21 (with the dative, e.g. Luke 8:3 ).

προσδέχεσθαι , Hebrews 10:34 , of willing reception, as e.g. Luke 15:2 .

ὕπαρξις , Hebrews 10:34 , is a word of Luke’s, Acts 2:45 .

εἶναι τινός , Hebrews 10:39 , with personal subject and genitive of the property, as Luke 9:55 ( Rec .); Acts 9:2 .

The infinitive with τοῦ , Hebrews 11:5 , a not unclassic form of expression, is in the N. T. specially peculiar to Luke.

ἐκζητεῖν , Hebrews 11:6 , as Acts 15:17 ; Romans 3:11 .

The construction of ποῦ with the indicative, Hebrews 11:8 , is as Acts 20:18 ; Acts 10:18 ; Acts 15:36 , and frequently elsewhere.

παρῷκησεν , Hebrews 11:9 , is equivalent to παροικεῖν ἦλθεν , of which the style of Luke presents not a few examples. Apart from the most similar passage, Luke 24:18 , παροικεῖς εἰς Ἱερουσαλήμ , where this reading is too ill attested, we have to compare Acts 7:4 , εἰς ἣν ὑμεῖς νῦν κατοικεῖτε ; Hebrews 12:19 , εἰς τὴν Καισάρειαν διέτριβεν ; Luke 11:7 ; Acts 8:40 ; Acts 18:21 ; Acts 19:22 , Rec .

τῆς ἐπαγγελίας τῆς αὐτῆς , Hebrews 11:9 , is written instead of τῆς αὐτῆς ἐπαγγ ., as elsewhere only Luke 2:8 .

Corresponding to the καὶ αὐτὴ Σάῤῥα , Hebrews 11:11 , there is found also in Luke καὶ αὐτός in like position with proper names, Luke 20:42 , καὶ αὐτὸς Δαυΐδ ; Luke 24:15 , καὶ αὐτός Ἰησοῦς ; comp. Acts 8:13 , Σίμων καὶ αὐτός .

For the combination δύναμις εἰς , Hebrews 11:11 , only Luke 5:17 , δύναμις κυρίον ἦν εἰς τὸ ἰᾶσθαι αὐτούς .

The διὸ καί , Hebrews 11:12 , Hebrews 13:12 , bringing cause and effect, means and end, reason and consequence into very close reciprocal relation, is equally Lucan (Luke 1:35 ; Acts 10:29 ; Acts 13:35 ) as Pauline.

ἀποθνήσκειν , Hebrews 11:21 , to lie a-dying, as Luke 8:42 .

ἀστεῖον , Hebrews 11:23 , comp. ἀστεῖον τῷ θεῷ , Acts 7:20 .

ἐπί , Hebrews 11:30 , of the space of time, as Luke 4:25 ; Acts 13:31 ; Acts 19:10 .

The mode of expression ἐργάζεσθαι δικαιοσύνην , Hebrews 11:33 , recurs also Acts 10:35 (comp. James 1:20 ).

The phrase στόμα μαχαίρας , Hebrews 11:34 , is Lucan, Luke 21:24 .

To the ἵνα κρείττονος ἀναστάσεως τύχωσιν , Hebrews 11:35 , a parallel is presented by τυγχάνειν ἀναστάσεως , Luke 20:35 .

The heightening ἔτι δέ , Hebrews 11:36 , is met with also Luke 14:26 ; Acts 2:26 .

ὑστερούμενοι , Hebrews 11:37 , is used absolutely, as in Luke 15:14 ; Philippians 4:12 , al .

We are reminded as well by παράκλησις as by διαλέγεται , Hebrews 12:5 , of Luke in the Acts. There we meet with παράκλησις of apostolic address, going to the heart, Acts 13:15 ; Acts 15:31 (comp. also 1 Timothy 4:13 ); there also διαλέγεσθαι , in the inchoative sense: “to open a conversation, to enter upon it,” is the constant word for the standing up of Paul among the Jews, Acts 17:2 ; Acts 17:17 ; Acts 18:4 , and often besides.

On ἥτις διαλέγεται , Hebrews 12:5 , we have to compare Luke 11:49 : ἡ σοφία τοῦ φεοῦ εἶπεν .

μεταλαμβάνειν , Hebrews 12:10 , is (besides 2 Timothy 2:6 ) the word common to the Epistle to the Hebrews and the Acts for “to become possessed of,” i.e . to come into the enjoyment or possession of a thing.

δὲ μᾶλλον , Hebrews 12:13 , as Luke 10:20 ( Rec .).

The combination ῥίζα πικρίας , Hebrews 12:15 , comp. χολὴ πικρίας , Acts 8:23 ; and the verb ἐνοχλεῖν , Luke 6:18 (according to A B L, al .), comp. ὀχλεῖν , Acts 5:16 ; and παρενοχλεῖν , Acts 15:19 , is Lucan.

The accus. cum infin . μὴ προστεθῆναι αὐτοῖς λόγον , Hebrews 12:19 , governed by the παρτήσαντο , employed, as Hebrews 12:25 , Acts 25:11 , in the sense of “begging off from, declining with entreaty” (pure Greek, with μή in the infinitive clause), resembles Luke 20:27 .

ἔντρομος , Hebrews 12:21 , is found elsewhere in the N. T. only Acts 7:32 ; Acts 17:29 .

Ἱερουσαλήμ , Hebrews 12:22 , is the form of the name with Luke, Paul, and in the Apocalypse.

ἀπογεγραμμένων ἐν οὐρανοῖς , Hebrews 12:23 , has its parallel in Luke 10:20 : τὰ ὀνόματα ὑμῶν ἐγράφη ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς ; and the verb ἀπογράφεσθαι , in Luke 2:1 ; Luke 2:3 ; Luke 2:5 .

λέγων , Hebrews 12:26 , the Hebrew לֵאמֹר , is employed as in Luke 1:63 , and frequently in the N. T., specially with Luke.

The neuter plural of the subject, τὰ μὴ σαλευόμενα , Hebrews 12:27 , is combined with the singular of the predicate μείνῃ , as Acts 1:18 ; Acts 26:24 ; and the perfect is followed by the subjunctive (conjunctive) aorist, as e.g. Acts 9:17 .

ἔχειν χάριν , Hebrews 12:28 , to cherish and manifest gratitude, as Luke 17:9 ; 1 Timothy 1:12 ; 2 Timothy 1:3 .

The conception in the exhortation, Hebrews 13:7 , is out and out Lucan. For ἡγούμενοι is the Lucan appellative of the leaders of the congregation, Acts 15:22 , comp. Luke 22:26 , elsewhere only Hebrews 13:17 ; Hebrews 13:24 . Paul says similarly, προϊστάμενοι , 1 Thessalonians 5:12 . Then λαλεῖν τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ is the ordinary Lucanic expression for the preaching of the gospel, Acts 4:31 ; Acts 8:25 ; Acts 13:46 , and often. The verb ἀναθεωρεῖν , of continued penetrating contemplation, occurs again, outside of the Epistle to the Hebrews, only Acts 17:23 . And for ἔκβασις (1 Corinthians 10:13 ), of the end of life, or as it is here designedly termed, of the walk, Luke has at least the synonymous expressions ἔξοδος , Luke 9:31 , and ἄφιξις , Acts 20:29 .

ἀλυσιτελές , Hebrews 13:17 , does not occur elsewhere in the N. T., but λυσιτελεῖ is found Luke 17:2 .

πειθόμεθα , Hebrews 13:18 , is Lucan, according to Acts 26:26 .

ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ , Hebrews 13:21 , is with Luke, much more than with Paul, a favourite expression, and to the preface to the wish (Hebrews 13:20 ) there is no more fitting parallel than Acts 20:28 , where the church of the Lord is, as here, designated as a flock which He has purchased by His own blood. Hebrews 13:22 is altogether Lucan: ἀνέχεσθαι , to give a patient, willing hearing, Acts 18:14 , comp. 1 Corinthians 11:4 ; λόγος παρακλήσεως , Acts 13:15 ; ἐπιστέλλειν (like mittere), to write a letter, elsewhere only Acts 15:20 ; Acts 21:25 .

The ἀπολύειν , not occurring with Paul, is employed in the style of Luke, as well of release from custody or prison (apart from Luke 22:68 ; Luke 23:16 ff., e.g. Acts 3:13 ; Acts 4:21 ), as of official delegation, Acts 13:3 ; Acts 15:30 (for which Paul has πέμπειν ; e.g. 2 Thessalonians 3:2 ); solemn dismission, Acts 15:33 ; and in general, dismissal, Acts 19:41 ; Acts 23:22 .

οἱ ἀπὸ τῆς Ἰταλίας , Hebrews 13:24 , denotes the Italiotes, according to the usage of Luke, Acts 10:23 ; Acts 10:38 ; Acts 12:1 ; Acts 17:13 ; Acts 21:27 .

That which Delitzsch adduces besides (in the commentary, p. 705 f.) in favour of Luke as the penman of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and in favour of a joint-participation of the Apostle Paul in the composition thereof, namely (1) that the worldly calling of Luke as a physician (Colossians 4:14 ) is in striking keeping with the conformation of the Epistle to the Hebrews, inasmuch as this, so to speak, contains an anatomic (Hebrews 4:12 f.), a dietetic (Hebrews 5:12-14 ), and a therapeutic passage (Hebrews 12:12 f.), and much besides which would seem appropriate to the pen of a physician; as, e.g. , the use of νωθρός , Hebrews 5:11 , Hebrews 6:12 ; βρώματα καὶ πόματα (as with Hippocrates, ed. Littré, i. 622, iv. 380), in connection with which it might perhaps be observed that ἐπιχειρεῖν , as employed Luke 1:1 , is a favourite word of Hippocrates; (2) that it is hardly accidental that the Epistle to the Hebrews, according to its earliest location, followed immediately upon the Epistle to Philemon, among the last words of which occurs the name of Luke; (3) that it is hardly accidental, that just where the author of the Acts begins to relate with “we” (Acts 16:10 ), the account of the association of Timothy with Paul has preceded; and, finally, (4) that it is hardly accidental that the Epistle to the Hebrews begins in a manner so strongly alliterating on the name ΠΑΥΛΟΣ , all these are arguments which ought not to have been found at all, in a work which lays claim to a scientific character.

Fully decisive against Luke is the consideration that he, according to Colossians 4:14 as compared with Colossians 4:11 , was a Gentile-Christian, [17] whereas, as is universally admitted, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews can only have been a born Jew. That this counter-moment is not to be set aside by the shift of Delitzsch (in the dissertation, p. 274), to the effect that Luke, as is made manifest in his other writings, had “enough lived himself into that which was Jewish and Christian” to be able to compose the epistle “in accordance with the hints” of Paul, is self-evident.

[17] If J. N. Tiele (in the Theol. Studien und Kritiken , 1858, H. 4, p. 753 ff.) has sought to prove from the many Hebraisms in the writings of Luke that he must have been a Jew by birth, that is altogether wide of the truth, since those Hebraisms in Luke are to be set down only to the account of the sources from which he draws. Delitzsch also (in the commentary, p. 705) now holds that the deduction of Luke’s Gentile origin, made from Colossians 4:11 ; Colossians 4:14 , is by no means certain (yet without advancing his reasons for this judgment); and Hofmann, Schriftbeweis , II. 2, 2 Aufl., Nördl. 1860, p. 99f., directly disputes the soundness thereof. But neither do passages like Acts 20:6 ; Acts 27:9 , point to a born Jew as the author of this work, as is supposed by Hofmann; nor can, in Colossians 4:10-11 , the sense be found, with Hofmann, that while, on the one hand, Aristarchus had come to Rome with Paul and belonged to his well-known surroundings; of the number of Jewish-Christians, on the other hand, beyond those of his own company, who were teaching the word of the gospel in Rome, only Marcus and Jesus united with him in harmonious working. For of such diversity of character in the relations of the three persons mentioned, towards each other and towards Paul, neither ὁ συναιχμάλωτός μου , ver. 10, which, as is evident from ver. 23 of the contemporaneous Epistle to Philemon, can only be understood figuratively, nor any other expression affords a hint; οἱ ὄντες ἐκ περιτομῆς · οὗτοι μόνοι κ . τ . λ . (ver. 11) cannot therefore be referred back simply to Μάρκος and Ἰησοῦς , but must at the same time be referred to Ἀρίσταρχος , unless that which naturally belongs to one whole is to be unnaturally dislocated and rent asunder. The demonstrative force of Colossians 4:11 ; Colossians 4:14 continues accordingly to assert itself in undiminished vigour.

The claim of Clemens Romanus to the authorship has been favoured by some among the moderns. Erasmus was inclined to regard him as such; and, finally, Bisping, following the example of Reithmayr ( Einleit. in die kanon. BB. des N. T. , Regensb. 1852, p. 681 ff.), has decided in favour of Clement. In order, however, not to approach the declaration of the Council of Trent too nearly, Bisping assumes that Clement prepared the epistle independently as a sort of homily, only as far as Hebrews 13:17 , to which Hebrews 13:18 ff. was then added as a brief supplement by the Apostle Paul, in order thereby to adopt the whole letter as his own. But apart from the fact that Hebrews 13:18 ff. can proceed from no other author than that of the whole preceding letter, inasmuch as a change of the speaking subject is nowhere indicated, but, on the contrary, the opposite clearly presupposed in Hebrews 13:22 the sentences in the first, indisputably genuine, Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, which in point of contents and composition remind of the Epistle to the Hebrews ( vid. supra , p. 7 f.), have evidently only been taken over by him from this epistle, in consequence of a use and imitation thereof. For, as regards originality and grasp of mind, the Epistle of Clement is far inferior to the Epistle to the Hebrews. In other respects, the character of the respective writings is too greatly diverse for them to be able to proceed from one and the same author. Of the Alexandrian speculative mind, and the oratorical flight of the Epistle to the Hebrews, not a trace is found in the Epistle of Clement.

Of Silvanus have Böhme and Mynster ( Kleine theol. Schriften , Copenhagen 1825, p. 91 ff., and Studien u. Kritiken , 1829, H. 2) thought; and Riehm also ( Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr . II. p. 893) regards this supposition as possible. But Silvanus was, according to Acts 15:22 , originally a member of the Christian congregation at Jerusalem. He, too, must thus have had a more exact acquaintance with the temple of that day, than is displayed by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews.

The opinion that Apollos was the author of this epistle was first broached by Luther. Comp. on Genesis 48:20 (ed. Witeberg. 1561, t. vi. p. 710): autor epistolae ad Hebraeos, quisquis est, sive Paulus, sive, ut ego arbitror, Apollo.

Sermon von den Sekten , 1 Corinthians 3:4 ff. (with Walch, Th. 12. p. 1996): “This Apollo was a highly intelligent man; the Epistle Hebraeorum is of a truth his.”

Epist. am Christtag. , Hebrews 1:1 ff. (with Walch, Th. 12. p. 204): “That is a stout, powerful, and lofty epistle, which soars high, and treats of the sublime article of faith in the Godhead of Christ; and it is a credible opinion that it is not St. Paul’s, for the reason that it maintains a more ornate discourse than is the wont of St. Paul in other places. Some think it is St. Luke’s, some St. Apollo’s, whom St. Luke extols as having been mighty in the Scriptures against the Jews, Acts 18:24 . It is indeed true that no epistle wields the Scripture with such force as this; that it was an excellent apostolic man, be he whosoever he may.” Luther’s conjecture has been accepted by Lucas Osiander, Clericus, Heumann ( Schediasma de libris anonymis ac pseudonymis , Jenae 1711, 8, p. 38 sqq.), Lorenz Müller ( Dissertatt. de eloguentia Apollinis, viri apostolici , Schleus. 1717), Semler (in his “Contributions to a more accurate understanding of the Epistle to the Hebrews,” prefixed to Baumgarten’s commentary, p. 15 f.; yet he expresses himself with hesitation), Ziegler ( Vollständ. Einleit. in den Br. an die Hebr. , Götting. 1791, 8, p. 255 ff.), Dindorf (on Ernesti lectt . p. 1180); and recently by Bleek, Tholuck, Credner, Reuss, Bunsen ( Hippolytus und seine Zeit , Bd. I., Leipz. 1852, p. 365), Henry Alford ( Greek Testament , vol. iv. P. 1, Lond. 1859, Prolegg. p. 58 ff.), Riehm ( Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr .II. p. 894), which last, however, only claims the same degree of probability in favour of Apollos as of Silvanus; Bäumlein ( Commentar üb. d. Ev. des Joh. , Stuttg. 1863, p. 26), Samuel Davidson ( Introduction , p. 255 ff.), J. H. Kurtz ( der Br. an die Hebr. erkl. , Mitau 1869, p. 55 f.), Hilgenfeld ( Hist.-krit. Einl. in das N. T. , Leipz. 1875, p. 356, 386 ff.), and others, even by the Catholics Feilmoser ( Einl. in’s N. T . p. 359 ff.) and Lutterbeck ( Die neutestamentlichen Lehrbegriffe , Bd. II., Mainz 1852, p. 101 ff.). [18] It is, moreover, the only correct one. The mental portrait which we are compelled to form to ourselves of Apollos, in harmony with the notices of the Acts (Acts 18:24 ff.) and the First Epistle to the Corinthians (chap, 1 Corinthians 1-4., 1 Corinthians 6:12 ), harmonizes exactly with the traits in which the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews has unconsciously depicted himself. This agreement is so striking and reaches so deeply, that as against it, seeing the lack of a definite tradition coming down from the apostolic age, the circumstance becomes of no moment, that among the conjectures of the ancients not one has lighted upon Apollos as the author of the epistle. Apollos was no immediate disciple of the Lord, but belonged to a second generation of Christians. By friends of Paul he was more deeply instructed in Christianity, and lived on terms of intimacy with Paul himself. He was, however, as a Christian teacher, too original and prominent for standing merely in the relation of an apostolic helper. He was a Jew by birth, and his labours as a Christian teacher were directed by preference to the conversion of his Jewish kinsmen; on which account the personal acquaintance of the author of the epistle with the Palestinian Jewish-Christians, presupposed Hebrews 13:19 , can least of all surprise us in the case of Apollos. He was a native of Alexandria, versed in the Scriptures, and qualified for expounding and applying the same, and for deducing therefrom the proof that Jesus is the Messiah. Appropriate to him as an Alexandrian is the preponderantly typico-symbolic mode of teaching in the Epistle to the Hebrews, the endeavour to point out under the veil of the letter a deeper spiritual meaning. He was above all distinguished by the gift of brilliant eloquence. In him, finally, as an Alexandrian Jew, the exclusive use of the LXX., as well as the want of acquaintance with the internal arrangement of the temple in Jerusalem at that time, need cause no surprise.

[18] According to Lutterbeck, however, the Apostle Paul must have added the last nine verses, and Apollos, in communion with Luke, Clement, and others of the Pauline school, have issued the epistle.

That, if we are to fix upon a particular person as the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, this can be no other than Apollos, because contents and form of the epistle are so admirably fitting to no other Christian teacher of the apostolic age as to this, is admitted also by W. Grimm ( Zeitschr. f. wiss Theol. 1870, p. 74 ff.). He finds, however, an instance of decisive counter-evidence against Apollos in the passage Hebrews 2:3 as compared with Acts 18:24-28 . For, according to Hebrews 2:3 , the message of salvation had come to the author of the epistle, equally with his readers, by the instrumentality of those who had heard the Lord Himself; whereas, according to the Acts, Apollos, as a disciple of John, had been only in the vestibule of Christianity, and had been first introduced into the sanctuary thereof by means of the Christians Aquila and Priscilla, who were converts of Paul’s. But apart from the fact that as Grimm himself acknowledges the narrative of Acts 18:24 ff. is so far obscure and not free from self-contradiction, as it represents Apollos, although he knew only the baptism of John, nevertheless as κατηχημένος τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ κυρίου , and an ἀκριβῶς διδάσκειν τὰ περὶ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ is attributed to him (Actis 8:25), we must remember that at Hebrews 2:3 recipients and author of the epistle are characterized only as belonging to a second generation of Christendom. Not that every single one of the persons mentioned Hebrews 2:3 had received the word of salvation at the mouth of immediate ear-witnesses, or were by these specially received into instruction, is expressed; but only that the message of salvation was handed down in a certain and trustworthy way from the original ear-witnesses to the totality of the Christian circle which is formed by the ἡμεῖς , and thus came to the knowledge of each single one of this totality. Even, therefore, if Apollos had not been directly brought into any intercourse with the ἀκούσαντες , yet the passages Acts 18:24 ff. and Hebrews 2:3 would not be irreconcilable the one with the other. But is it at all conceivable that such a leading Christian teacher as Apollos, who continued in such intimate association with the Apostle Paul, should come into no personal contact whatever with the original apostles?

To the further objections brought by Grimm against the Apollos-theory, he himself attaches no decisive weight. They are the following: (1) In connection with a former disciple of John, it must appear exceedingly strange that he makes no mention, Hebrews 1:1 , of the distinguished position occupied by John the Baptist, as the greatest prophet (Luke 7:28 , Matthew 11:11 ) and forerunner of the Lord, towards the kingdom of God; (2) Clemens Romanus, although making frequent use of the epistle, could hardly have known it as a work of Apollos, since it would otherwise have only been natural that he should, in the 47th chapter of his Epistle to the Corinthians, have reminded the Corinthian Christians of our epistle as a work of Apollos. But that Clement must necessarily have so acted cannot be maintained. For a reference to John the Baptist, however, Hebrews 1:1 offered no occasion whatever; because it was with the author only a question of contrasting with each other the revelations of the Old Testament and that of the New Testament as such.


[19] Comp. my Whitsuntide Programm: De literarum, quae ad Hebraeos inscribuntur, primis lectoribus, Gott. 1853.

That the epistle was designed for a Jewish-Christian circle of readers is not only universally acknowledged, but also becomes so palpably certain from contents and aim (comp. sec. 3), that Roeth’s supposition of the opposite ( Epistolam vulgo “ad Hebr.” inscriptam non ad Hebr. , i.e. Christianos genere Judaeos, sed ad Christianos genere gentiles et quidem ad Ephesios, datam esse , Francof. ad Moen. 1836, 8) can only be regarded as a manifest error. But likewise the view represented by Braun, Lightfoot ( Harmony of the New Testament , I. p. 340), Baumgarten, Heinrichs, Stenglein ( l.c. p. 61, note, p. 90), and Schwegler ( Nachapostolisches Zeitalter , Bd. II. p. 304), that the epistle was addressed, without respect to any particular locality, to all Jewish-Christians in general, is one which is characterized a priori as absolutely untenable. For everywhere throughout the epistle are individual wants of the readers presupposed, such as were by no means common to all Jewish-Christians; and even the personal references, Hebrews 5:12 , Hebrews 6:10-12 , Hebrews 10:32 ff., Hebrews 12:4 , Hebrews 13:7 ; Hebrews 13:19 ; Hebrews 13:23-24 , suffice to show that the author had before him a definite, locally-bounded circle of readers. How could the author, among other things, promise his readers a speedy visit (Hebrews 13:23 ), if he had thought of them as the Jewish-Christians scattered in all lands?

The Jewish-Christians in all Asia Minor, or at least in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Bithynia, and Asia proconsularis, have been regarded as the original recipients of the epistle by Bengel, Ch. F. Schmid ( Observatt. super ep. ad Hebr . p. 16 sq.), and Cramer; those in Asia Minor, Macedonia, and Greece, by W. Wall ( Brief Critical Notes , etc., Lond. 1730, p. 318) and Wolf; the Laodiceans, by Stein ( Komment. zu dem Ev. des Lucas , Halle 1830, p. 289 ff.); the Galatians, by Storr and Mynster ( Kleine theol. Schriften , Copenhag. 1825, p. 91 ff.); the Lycaonians, by Credner ( Einl. in d. N. T . Th. 1, Abth. 2, Halle 1836, p. 564); the Antiochians, by Böhme and Hofmann ( Die h. Schr. N. T. , Th. 5, p. 531); the Cyprians, by Ullmann ( Studien u. Kritiken , 1828, p. 397); those in one of the numerous Greek cities on the coast of Asia Minor, or of Syria and Palestine, by Grimm (Theolog. Literat.-Bl. to the Darmstadt Allg. Kirch.-Zeit . 1857, No. 29, p. 660; but not decidedly); the Macedonians, specially those of Thessalonica, by Semler (in Baumgarten, p. 37 ff.) and Nösselt ( Opuscc. ad interpretationem sacrarum scripturarum , Fasc. I., Halae 1785, p. 269 sqq.); those of Corinth, by Mich. Weber ( De numero epistolarum ad Corinthios rectius constituendo , Wittenb. 1798 1806) and Mack ( Theolog. Quartalschr . 1838, H. 3); those of an Italian congregation, perhaps of the great city Ravenna, by Ewald ( Gött. gel. Anzz . 1863, p. 286; cf. Gesch. Isr. , Bd. VI. p. 638, Das Sendschreiben an die Hebr. , Gött. 1870, p. 6); those of Rome, by Wetstein ( Nov. Test . II. p. 386 sq.), and recently by R. Köstlin ( Theol. Jahrbb . of Baur and Zeller, 1850, H. 2, p. 242), who, however, afterwards withdrew this opinion ( vid. infra ); by Holzmann ( Theol. Stud. und Krit. , 1859, H. 2, p. 297 ff., in Bunsen’s Bibelwerk , VIII., and in Hilgenfeld’s Zeitschr. f. wiss. Theol. , 1867, H. 1, p. 1 ff.), by Alford ( Greek Test. , vol. II. part 1, Lond. 1859, Prolegg . p. 62 ff.), by Kurtz, p. 42 ff., by Renan ( L’Antechrist , Paris 1873, p. 18. ff., 211), by Mangold (in Bleek’s Einleit. in das N. T ., 3 Aufl., Berl. 1875, p. 612 f.), and by Harnack ( Patr. Apostt. Opp . I. p. 82.); those of Spain, finally, by Nicolaus de Lyra (in the Prooemium to the epistle) and by Ludwig (in Carpzov’s Sacr. Exercitt. in St. P. ep. ad Hebr. , Helmst. 1750, p. 59. sq.).

All these opinions, however, which in part rest upon the erroneous supposition that the epistle is the work of the Apostle Paul, find their refutation at once in the fact that it cannot have been addressed to so-called mixed assemblies, consisting of Jewish- and Gentile-Christians, but only to an exclusively Jewish-Christian circle of readers. Not even the slightest reference is made to conditions such as must of necessity arise from the living together of converted Jews with converted Gentiles, and which, by reason of the manifold conflicts to which they would give occasion, were of too great importance to be passed over unnoticed. [20] Nowhere is the relation of the Gentiles to the Jews, and of both to the kingdom of God, spoken of; rather is everything specially referred to the Jewish people of God, already sanctified in their fathers. Unmixed Jewish-Christian congregations, however, cannot be historically proved, in the late time at which the date of the epistle falls (see sec. 4), in any of the fore-mentioned places. The fact, likewise, is opposed to those suppositions, that the readers of the Epistle to the Hebrews regarded the continued participation in the institutions of the Jewish temple-service and sacrifices as so necessary, that without this they thought they could obtain no complete expiation of their sins. Such a form of Judaism, still continuing to operate in the Christian state, does not apply to the Jewish-Christians of the diaspora, but only to those who had their dwelling-place in the immediate vicinity of the Jewish temple. For in the case of Jews who lived at a greater distance from the temple, the zeal for the Mosaic law manifested itself naturally most of all in a tenacious clinging to the rite of circumcision, to the injunctions regarding food and purification, to the observance of the Sabbath, and the like.

[20] For this reason it cannot be asserted, with Holtzmann ( Stud. u. Krit . 1859, H. 2, p. 298), that there is nothing at all contradictory in the supposition of the epistle being addressed to a large congregation, still outwardly composed of Gentile- and Jewish-Christians; that there the epistle had naturally sought out its Jewish readers; and on that account it leads us, without any address properly speaking, in mediam rem . That the epistle presupposes exclusively Jewish-Christian readers has been anew disputed by Wieseler ( Schriften der Univers. zu Kiel aus d. J . 1861, p. 21 ff., Stud. u. Krit . 1867, p. 695 ff.), by Holzmann (in Hilgenfeld’s Zeitschr. f. wiss. Theol . 1867, p. 26 f.), by Mangold (in Bleek’s Einl. in d. N. T . p. 612), and by Hilgenfeld ( Einl. in d. N. T . p. 380, 386), but in a by no means convincing manner. See the detailed and effective refutation of this supposition in Grimm ( Zeitschr. f. wiss. Theol . 1870, p. ff.).

A Jewish temple, however, besides that at Jerusalem, existed at the time of our epistle only in Egypt. The epistle can therefore only have been addressed either to the Christian congregation in Palestine, mainly in Jerusalem, or to Egyptian, specially Alexandrian, Jewish-Christians. The latter supposition has found defenders in J. E. Chr. Schmidt ( Hist.-krit. Einl. in’s N. T. , Giessen 1804, p. 284, 293), Bunsen ( Hippolytus und seine Zeit , Bd. I., Leipz. 1852, p. 365), Hilgenfeld ( Zeitschr. f. wissenschaftl. Theol . 1858, H. 1, p. 103; Hist.-krit. Einl. in das N. T. , Leipz. 1875, p. 385 f.), Volkmar ( Gesch. des Neutest. Kanon , von C. A. Credner, Herausgg. v. G. V., Berl. 1860, p. 182), Ritschl ( Theol. Studien u. Kritiken , 1866, H. 1, p. 90), and in particular Wieseler ( Chronologie des apostol. Zeitalters , Gött. 1848, p. 481 ff.; Untersuchung über den Hebräerbrief, namentlich seinen Verfasser u. s. Leser . Second half. [ Schriften der Universität zu Kiel aus d. J. 1861, 4, B. VIII.; also separately printed, Kiel 1861, 8.] Comp. also Studien u. Kritiken , 1847, H. 4, p. 840 ff.; 1867, H. 4, p. 665 ff.), and R. Köstlin ( Theol. Jahrbb. of Baur and Zeller, 1854, H. 3, p. 388 ff.); Davidson, too ( Introduction to the Study of the New Testament , vol. I., Lond. 1868, p. 265 ff., 270), although he does not decide, gives it the preference. The prevailing opinion, on the other hand, is the first one. Within recent times it has been maintained by Bleek, Schott, de Wette, Thiersch, Stengel, Delitzsch, Tholuck, Ebrard, [21] Bisping, Bloomfield, Ritschl ( Entstehung der altkathol. Kirche , 2 Aufl., Bonn 1857, p. 159), Riehm ( Lehrbegr. des Hebr.-Br. I. p. 31), Maier, Langen ( Tübing. theol. Quartalschr . 1863, H. 3, p. 379 ff.), Moll, and others. [22] And rightly so.

[21] Very arbitrarily, nevertheless, Ebrard represents the epistle as not being written to the whole congregation at Jerusalem, but only to “a private circle of neophytes” there. For it neither follows from Hebrews 5:12 “that all the readers had embraced Christianity at one and the same time, the one with the other;” nor from Hebrews 6:10 that we can think “only of a very narrow and limited circle of individuals in a community;” nor, finally, from χρείαν ἔχετε τοῦ διδάσκειν ὑμᾶς , Hebrews 5:12 , “that the readers were really again placed under instruction.”

[22] W. Grimm also supposes now that the epistle was addressed to a town of Palestine; only not Jerusalem, but Jamnia. Comp. Zeitschr. f. wiss. Theol. 1870, p. 71 f. Nevertheless we know nothing of the existence of a Christian congregation in Jamnia.

In favour of Alexandria as the place of destination for the epistle, the following arguments have been advanced:

(1) Even in ancient times the Epistle to the Hebrews bore likewise the title of a letter to the Alexandrians, and in general there is seen to be a wavering within the early church itself in the indication of the original circle of readers. Whether, indeed, the superscription Πρὸς Ἑβραίους proceeds from the author himself, a view to which Bleek and Credner are inclined, is doubtful. But not only is this superscription very ancient, since it is found in the Peshito, and with Tertullian, Origen, and many others; but the fact, moreover, is universally presupposed in Christian antiquity as beyond doubt that the Ἑβραῖοι , whose name the epistle bears at its head, were the Palestinian Christians. The evidence for this statement is afforded by Pantaenus, Clemens Alexandrinus, Eusebius, Chrysostom, Theodoret, and many others. It is now indeed supposed that we possess a testimony in favour of the Alexandrians as the original recipients of the epistle, namely, in the so-called Canon of Muratori, in which we read: Fertur etiam ad Laudecenses (Laodicenses), alia ad Alexandrinos, Pauli nomine finctae (fictae) ad haeresem Marcionis, et alia plura, quae in catholicam ecclesiam recepi (recipi) non potest (possunt). Fel enim cum melle misceri non congruit. For that by the words alia ad Alexandrinos the Epistle to the Hebrews is meant must be assumed, as is supposed, since otherwise the Epistle to the Hebrews would, remarkably enough, not be even mentioned in the fragment, which, forsooth, is a list both of the genuine and spurious epistles ascribed to the Apostle Paul. Now this epistle, it is argued, not being in the early Roman Church either regarded as a work of Paul, or indeed as canonical, must have been mentioned by name precisely in this passage, in which the writer is speaking of epistles of which the authorship is falsely imputed to the Apostle Paul. But against this it must be said that the characteristics of the epistle ad Alexandrinos , of which the fragment makes mention, are not suitable to the Epistle to the Hebrews. For the former was a forgery, composed “Pauli nomine,” the meaning of which is too distinct for us to be able, with Wieseler, to subtilize it into the statement that the epistle had only indirectly, from its contents and general bearing, left the impression of its proceeding from Paul; which rather can only indicate that this epistle, in a prefixed address altogether wanting to the Epistle to the Hebrews, put forth the claim to be a work of Paul. Moreover, it was fabricated “ad haeresem Marcionis,” which can mean nothing else but that its contents were in agreement with the errors of Marcion, and were designed to wage a propaganda for the same. With Marcionite errors, however, the Epistle to the Hebrews has confessedly nothing in common; but, on the contrary, “its fundamental doctrine of Mosaism as pointing forward to Christianity, as well as the idea of the incarnation of the Divine Logos, is in glaring contrast with Marcion’s Gnosis” (Grimm, Zeitschr. f. wiss. Theol. 1870, p. 55), as accordingly it obtained no reception into Marcion’s canon. [23] That, finally, the fragmentist must necessarily have mentioned the Epistle to the Hebrews cannot be asserted, inasmuch as, considering the non-currency thereof within the early Roman Church, it was quite possible that he should not be at all acquainted with it. Comp. also Fr. H. Hesse, das Muratori’sche Fragment neu untersucht und erklärt , Giessen 1873, p. 201 ff.

But as it cannot be shown that the Epistle to the Hebrews passed in antiquity for an epistle to the Alexandrians, so in like manner it cannot be shown that this epistle was regarded by others in early times as an epistle to the Laodiceans. This last has been inferred from the words of Philastrius ( Haeres . 89): Haeresis quorundam de epistola Pauli ad Hebraeos. Sunt alii quoque, qui epistolam Pauli ad Hebraeos non adserunt esse ipsius, sed dicunt aut Barnabae esse apostoli aut Clementis de urbe Roma episcopi. Alii autem Lucae evangelistae ajunt epistolam etiam ad Laodicenses conscriptam. Et quia addiderunt in ea quaedam non bene sentientes, inde non legitur in ecclesia; etsi legitur a quibusdam, non tamen in ecclesia legitur populo, nisi tredecim epistolae ejus et ad Hebraeos interdum. But manifestly the words Alii autem , etc., are only a concise expression for the declaration that others looked upon the evangelist Luke as the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and not only as the author of this, but also of the Epistle to the Laodiceans. The Epistle to the Laodiceans was not at all read in the service of the church; the Epistle to the Hebrews, on the other hand, was read indeed in the service of the church, not, however, as the thirteen Pauline Epistles, regularly, but only occasionally. [24] Just as little, finally, is there any indication of a controversy with regard to the original recipients of the Epistle to the Hebrews, when Chrysostom, in the Prooemium of his commentary, takes up the question: ποῦ δὲ οὖσιν ἐπέστελλεν ; and then answers this with ἘΜΟῚ ΔΟΚΕῖ ἘΝ ἹΕΡΟΣΟΛΎΜΟΙς ΚΑῚ ΠΑΛΑΙΣΤΊΝῌ . For Chrysostom perceived that the superscription of the epistle was in and of itself an ambiguous one, inasmuch as it admitted the possibility of thinking of the Jewish-Christians in general as the recipients of the letter; he thought it needful, therefore, to state the limitation with which in his estimation the ΠΡῸς ἙΒΡΑΊΟΥς , of such wide signification, is to be understood.

[23] This counter-moment Wieseler now, indeed, seeks to deprive of its force, by giving to the words in Muratori’s fragment another punctuation than that given above, as also formerly by himself, in supposing the comma after Marcionis is to be deleted, and one placed after fictae ; so that the sense shall be: “There is also in circulation an epistle to the Laodiceans, another to the Alexandrians, which have been fabricated under the name of Paul; with the sect of Marcion there are also several other things current, which, etc.” But what unnatural twisting and rending by such construction of that which is simply and naturally connected; and how little can it serve to the recommendation thereof, that ad haeresem Marcionis must be taken in the sense of apud Marcionitas!

[24] The opinion, still entertained by Wieseler, that the quia addiderunt in ea is to be referred to the Epistle to the Hebrews, is manifestly untenable in face of the contradiction in that case arising from the conflicting statements non legitur in ecclesia and in ecclesia legitur interdum . The new punctuation, moreover, by which Wieseler seeks to help his acceptation of the words of Philastrius out of the difficulty, is no happy one. According to Wieseler, namely, we have to divide as follows: … Episcopi, alii autem Lucae evangelistae. Ajunt epistolam etiam ad Laodicenses conscriptam. Et quia, etc. Against this arrangement of the words argues (1) That the proposition Ajunt … conscriptam would then stand forth quite abrupt and without any connection, whereas when we make the beginning of a new proposition with Alii autem , the grammatical nexus of the sentence is an entirely simple and natural one; (2) That if Philastrius had wished first to begin a new proposition with Ajunt , he would have appended the closing member of the previous sentence, not in the form: alii autem Lucae evangelistae , but in the form of expression corresponding to that which precedes: aut Lucae evangelistae ; finally, (3) that the position assigned to etiam points to the fact that it serves specially to bring into relief ad Laodicenses , and consequently opposes the Epistle to the Laodiceans to another epistle already mentioned. If Philastrius had only intended to say that the Epistle to the Hebrews too, so far as its destination is concerned, was considered as belonging to Laodicea, then etiam inasmuch as it would in that case belong to the whole proposition must have been placed immediately after Ajunt .

(2) The description of the Jewish sanctuary (Hebrews 9:1-5 ), as well as the acts of ritual performed in the same (Hebrews 7:27 , Hebrews 10:11 ), is supposed to point to the temple at Leontopolis in Egypt. But even if it could be proved that the temple arrangements at Leontopolis furnished the standard for that description, and that the original regulations of Moses were identified with these, yet only the conclusion would be warranted with respect to the author, that he must have been by birth an Egyptian Jew, but it could not be inferred with equal necessity that his readers also were to be sought in Egypt. Nevertheless, that assertion itself by no means admits of proof. For Josephus, to whose testimony Wieseler appeals, where he is describing in general that ἱερόν at Leontopolis, designates the same as ὅμοιον ( Antiq. xii. 9. 7), or as παραπλήσιον ( Antiq. xx. 10) τῷ ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις , but then observes, Bell. Jud. vii. 10. 3, where he is relating somewhat more exactly, as follows: Ὀνίας τὸν μὲν ναὸν οὐχ ὅμοιον ᾠκοδόμησε τῷ ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις ἀλλὰ πύργῳ παραπλήσιον , λίθων μεγάλων εἰς ἑξήκοντα πήχεις ἀνεστηκότα , τοῦ βωμοῦ δὲ τὴν κατασκευὴν πεὸς τὸν οἴκοι ἐξεμιμήσατο καὶ τοῖς ἀναθήμασιν ὁμοίως ἐκόσμησε , χωρὶς τῆς περὶ τὴν λυχνίαν κατασκευῆς . Οὐ γὰρ ἐποίησε λυχνίαν · αὐτὸν δὲ χαλκευσάμενος τὸν λύχνον χρυσοῦν ἐπιφαίνοντα σέλας χρυσῆς ἁλύσεως ἐξεκρέμασεν . Josephus accordingly relates that the temple of Onias in Egypt was indeed as to its outward form different from the temple at Jerusalem, inasmuch as it stood upon a foundation or sub-structure [25] of great stones rising sixty cubits high, and thereby acquired a tower-like appearance; that, on the other hand, its inner arrangement, with the single exception of the golden candlestick, was constituted in the same manner as that of the temple at Jerusalem, for the altar of burnt-offering and the other sacred objects were similar in both. Now, how does it follow from these statements that the golden altar of incense in the Egyptian temple occupied the very site which the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews assigns to it at Hebrews 9:4 , in contradiction with the actual position thereof in the temple at Jerusalem, namely, in the Most Holy Place? Of such a difference and surely just this point would have called for proof

Josephus says in truth not a single word, but, on the contrary, leaves the opposite impression. And then how could the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, if he had had the temple of Onias before him in his description of the sanctuary, have written ἐν ᾗ ἡ λυχνία , Hebrews 9:2 , when, according to the express statement of Josephus, there was not therein a lamp-stand resting on the ground, as in the temple at Jerusalem, but a chandelier suspended by a golden chain?

In Philo, too, Wieseler has subsequently (comp. Studien u. Kritiken , 1867, p. 673 ff.) fancied he could discover a support for his opinion. In de sacrificantibus , § 4 (ed. Mangey, II. p. 253), and de animal. sacrific . § 10 (ed. Mangey, II. p. 247), it is thought that Philo expressly testifies that in the temple of Onias the altar of incense, as well as the vessels mentioned Hebrews 9:4-5 , were present in the Most Holy Place. Yet how entirely unsuccessful this attempted proof of Wieseler’s is, has been already convincingly shown in detail by Grimm, Zeitschr. f. wiss. Theol. 1870, p. 60 ff.

But just as little do the notices, Hebrews 7:27 ; Hebrews 10:11 , lead to think of the temple of Onias. For even supposing what is far, however, from being the case that it could be historically proved, with regard to the Egyptian temple, that the high priest entered into the Most Holy Place every day, yet such fact would not so much as accord with the presuppositions of the Epistle to the Hebrews. For, Hebrews 9:7 , it is expressly said that the high priest went into the Most Holy Place only once in the year. Nor, as we need hardly remark, can this passage, in connection with Hebrews 9:4 , Hebrews 7:27 , Hebrews 10:11 , contain the sense which Wieseler would put into it, that the high priest entered indeed the Most Holy Place every day, but only once in the year with blood. For to εἰς μὲν τὴν πρώτην σκηνὴν διὰ παντὸς εἰσίασιν οἱ ἱερεῖς only the words ΕἸς ΔῈ ΤῊΝ ΔΕΥΤΈΡΑΝ ἍΠΑΞ ΤΟῦ ἘΝΙΑΥΤΟῦ ΜΌΝΟς ἈΡΧΙΕΡΕΎς form the opposition, and not until after the laying down of this opposition is the nearer modality for the final member added, namely, that the high priest, in the (special) case of his entering the Most Holy Place, enters it not without blood.

[25] If Josephus had, as Wieseler supposes, ascribed to the ναός only a total height of sixty cubits, he would neither have characterized it as tower-like, nor have designated it as unlike the ναός in Jerusalem. For the latter also had, at any rate, a height of sixty cubits. It is true Wieseler finds actually expressed by ἀλλὰ πύργῳ παραπλήσιον not a dissimilarity, but a resemblance to the temple erected at Jerusalem by Zerubbabel; but he reaches this result only by unwarrantably translating ἀλλά as “but yet,” and accordingly taking ἀλλὰἀνεστηκότα as a kind of parenthetical insertion: “Onias erected the temple not indeed equal to that one in Jerusalem, but yet tower-like, since it was built up of large stones sixty cubits high; in the construction of the altar, however, he imitated that of his native land.” That ἀλλά , on account of the preceding οὐχ , can signify only but, on the contrary [sondern], and introduces the particular point of difference by which the before-mentioned dissimilarity is evidenced, ought not to have been called in question.

The fact, however, in general, that the original recipients of the Epistle to the Hebrews attached so high a value to the temple service and the sacrificial ritual, that even as Christians they regarded continual participation in the same as necessary for the attaining of salvation, is one which points not to Alexandrians, but only to Palestinians. For, quite apart from the consideration that we do not even know from other sources whether the Christian congregation of Alexandria was an unmixed Jewish-Christian one, nay, whether an organized Christian congregation existed there at all so early as the time of our letter, the Alexandrian Jews had been so greatly affected by Grecian culture and philosophy, that their whole bent of mind had become a spiritualistic one. Far from all narrow-minded cleaving to the letter of the Mosaic law, they sought by allegoric interpretation to discover and bring into recognition the deeper spiritual sense underlying the precepts and institutions of Judaism. In addition to this, the temple of Onias in Leontopolis was not able to boast even in Egypt itself of any high estimation. The Egyptian Jews were to a great extent displeased that it did not stand upon Moriah; the Egyptian Samaritans, that it did not stand upon Gerizim (comp. Jost, Allg. Gesch. des Israel. Volks , in 2 vols., Bd. I. p. 515 ff.). The yearly temple-gifts, too, were on that account for the most part sent not to Leontopolis, but to Jerusalem (comp. Frankel, Histor.-krit. Studien zu der Septuaginta , Bd. I. Abth. 1, Leipz. 1841, p. 186, note d ); and pilgrimages of Alexandrian Jews to Jerusalem, to offer prayers and sacrifices in the temple there, did not cease so long as this temple continued to exist. Even Philo vouches for this. (Comp. Opp., ed. Mangey, t. II. p. 646: καθʼ ὃν χρόνον εἰς τὸ πατρῷον ἱερὸν ἐστελλόμην εὐξόμενός τε καὶ θύσων .)

(3) In favour of the supposition of Alexandrian readers is the fact further thought to plead, that the epistle is not composed in Aramaic; a Greek epistle to Palestinian Jews would at any rate, it is argued, be less probable than an Aramaic letter. But as it is absolutely certain, on the one hand, that the Palestinians understood not only Aramaic, but also Greek; so, on the other hand, it is altogether doubtful whether the author, who by his whole epistle proclaims himself to be a non-Palestinian, was in an equal degree qualified for writing not only a Greek, but also an Aramaic epistle.

(4) “The whole manner of conducting the argument and the spiritual exposition of the ideas employed,” is said to accord best with the supposition of Alexandrian readers. But that this mode of argumentation is thought of “at once as familiar to the readers,” cannot be maintained. There can thus be found therein only an indication as to the author, and not as to his readers.

(5) That the author so exactly follows the Septuagint in his Old Testament citations, even in the case of striking deviations of the same from the original text, is said not to harmonize with the hypothesis of Palestinian readers, since with them the Septuagint was held in no estimation; but certainly with that of Alexandrians, for whom the Septuagint had long been the accepted book of the synagogues. But were that translation really in so little credit in Palestine, then neither would the Apostle Paul, educated as he was at Jerusalem have made such frequent use of it, nor would the Palestinian Josephus have fallen back upon that oftener than upon the original text. Moreover, the fact that the Alexandrine recension is to be traced in the text of the Septuagint used in the Epistle to the Hebrews (comp. Bleek, I. p. 372 ff.), and (Hebrews 11:35 f.) reference is made to the second Book of Maccabees (Köstlin, l.c. p. 402), i.e. a writing peculiar to Alexandrian Judaism, admits only of an inference pointing back to an Alexandrian author, but not to Alexandrian readers.

(6) To the Alexandrians as original recipients of the epistle, is the circumstance, finally, supposed to point, that the first mention of the epistle is met with in the Alexandrian fathers. These same Alexandrian fathers, nevertheless, confessedly agree in speaking of the epistle as addressed to the congregations in Palestine.

As, however, no valid ground is to be adduced in favour of Alexandria as the place of destination for the epistle, so are the objections urged against the claim of Palestine very easily disposed of. They are the following: (1) That the readers, according to Hebrews 10:32 ff; Hebrews 12:4 , had already endured persecutions, but not μεχρὶ αἵματος , which consistently with Acts 8:1-3 ; Acts 12:1-2 , could not have been said of the Palestinian Christians; (2) That the readers, according to Hebrews 6:10 ; Hebrews 13:16 , had exercised liberality towards other Christians, and were still further enjoined to do so, whereas, according to Acts 11:30 , Gal 2:10 , 1 Corinthians 16:1-3 , 2 Corinthians 8:9 , Romans 15:25 ff., these very Palestinian Christians appear as poor and in need of assistance; (3) That according to Hebrews 2:3 they had received their knowledge of the gospel only from a secondary source; (4) Finally, that (Hebrews 13:18-19 ; Hebrews 13:23 ) they are represented as standing in friendly relations as well towards the author, who was surely an adherent of Paul, as towards the Pauline disciple Timothy. That, nevertheless, these relations were of a particularly close and intimate nature does not follow from the passages adduced; a friendly footing, however, of a more general kind with Apollos, and, after the death of the Apostle Paul, also with Timothy, has nothing surprising about it. The other statements to which allusion is made all find their justification in the fact that, as is also clearly apparent from Hebrews 13:7 and Hebrews 5:12 , the recipients of the letter already belonged to a second generation of Christians.

Whilst the above-mentioned arguments are common to the majority of those who dispute the Palestineo-Jerusalemic destination of the epistle, Köstlin has sought to confirm his position by the following additional counter-moments peculiar to himself:

(1) The author, as is shown by his entire dependence upon the Septuagint, was acquainted only with Greek. But it results from Hebrews 13:19 that he himself belonged to the congregation to which he is writing. If, therefore, the epistle were directed to Palestine, the author himself would have been a Palestinian Christian; as such, however, hardly of so exclusively Hellenistic culture, but without doubt familiar with the vernacular of Palestine, and notably acquainted with the original text of the Old Testament. Reply: But that the author himself was a member of the congregation to which he is writing, does not at all follow from Hebrews 13:19 . Comp. the exposition of the passage.

(2) It cannot be assumed that in the Palestinian Christendom, or rather in the chief congregation thereof, that of Jerusalem, in the first century, and notably in the years 60 70, there could have been found such great indifference as regards the knowledge of the central truths of the Christian faith, so great want of capacity for understanding the mysteries of the Christian doctrine, such culpable lukewarmness and weakness of faith, a discontent on account of Jewish reproaches and persecutions, which was altogether unworthy of their position, while they must long have been accustomed to these, and such a disloyal inclination to a relapse into Judaism, as the epistle presupposes in its recipients. But where, we ask, could there have been a Jewish-Christian congregation in connection with which the conditions described would have been more easily explicable, than precisely in Jerusalem, where the ancient ritual, with its seductive splendour and its charms for the sensuous nature, stood before the very eyes of the Christian converts, and the tenacious power of resistance on the part of the ancient Judaism most vigorously exerted itself? Comp. also Acts 21:20 ff.

(3) If Jerusalem had been the place of destination for the epistle, the author (Hebrews 2:3 ) could not have omitted to remind the readers that the Lord Himself had walked, and taught, and wrought among them, had in their midst, nay, before their eyes, suffered the death of the cross, among them had found the first witnesses of His resurrection and ascension; and the more so, since during the years 60 70 there must still have been a large number of the immediate disciples of Jesus present in Jerusalem. But, in reply, we cannot at all expect to see the personal life and labours of Jesus described Hebrews 2:3 , because the connection does not lead thereto. For that which is essential in Hebrews 2:3 is not the relation to author and readers of the epistle, but that about which the writer is concerned is only to oppose to the Old Testament λόγος , as something higher, the salvation of the Christians. The question thus, in connection with this opposition, is that of the Christians in general, or of the salvation which is the common possession of all Christians; while, then, only as a mere secondary consideration, which might have been wanting without prejudice to the connectedness of thought, the remark is yet further added, that the knowledge of this Christian blessedness has been transmitted in a sure and trustworthy manner to the present (second) generation of Christians, to which alike author and readers of the epistle belong. An occasion for speaking more fully of the erewhile personal activity of Jesus among the readers did not accordingly at all present itself; and a reason for urging the declaration Hebrews 2:3 against the supposition of Palestinenses as recipients of the epistle is the less to be thought of, inasmuch as the fact that the Lord had once Himself proclaimed the salvation to the ancestors of the present church members is not excluded by the words. But that a great number of the original disciples must have been still living in Jerusalem during the years 60 70 is a gratuitous assertion, to which may be opposed the consideration that surely Luke too, in the prologue of his Gospel i.e. of a writing, the composition of which at any rate falls within the decade of the seventies, which thus is only a few years later in date than our epistle without hesitation reckons himself and his contemporaries as belonging to a second generation of Christians. Even supposing, however, that immediate disciples of Jesus were still to be found in Jerusalem, yet these could number towards the close of the sixties, to which time the origin of the Epistle to the Hebrews is to be assigned (comp. sec. 4), only a few solitary individuals; a possible exception here and there would have been no hindrance in the way of characterizing the members of the congregation of that day as belonging to a second generation of Christians, just because only the character of the congregation in general, or as it presented itself in the main and on the whole, was being taken into account.

(4) The author presupposes, in various passages, what does not apply to the case of the primitive congregation, that his readers have been for only a comparatively short time members of the Christian church. But from Hebrews 3:14 , Hebrews 6:11 , Hebrews 10:32 , Hebrews 6:1-5 , Hebrews 10:23 , this conclusion does not follow; on the other hand, the opposite is to be inferred from Hebrews 5:12 .

(5) The Jerusalemic Christians, he asserts, consisted partly of members who became believers immediately after the resurrection, some of them, perhaps, even earlier, partly of such as only later acceded to this primitive stock. They composed a congregation which was only gradually formed, and, particularly so long as James was alive, received constant augmentation from the adherents of Judaism; the community of the Ἑβραῖοι had not arisen in this gradual manner during a long succession of years; but the conversion of all its members, or at least of by far the greater number, had taken place at one and the same time: it must have been formed by the simultaneous passing over of a considerable number of Jews to the Christian church, and have maintained itself up to the time of our epistle with much the same total of members as it at first counted. But for a conclusion of this kind the words ἐν αἷς φωτισθέντες πολλὴν ἄθλησιν ὑπεμείνατε παθημάτων , Hebrews 10:32 , afford no warrant. For only the fact is there brought into prominence, that the conflict of suffering, which the readers formerly endured, fell at a period of their life in which they were already Christians. On the peculiar circumstances (modality) of their conversion the words contain nothing.

(6) From the carefully-chosen designation τοῖς ἁγίοις , it is evident that the Ἑβραῖοι are here presupposed to be a non-Palestinian community, who have aided the Palestinenses with their support. Any other congregation (!) than the primitive one could not have been thus simply designated as οἱ ἅγιοι , whereas the employment of this name with regard to that congregation is very frequent (1 Corinthians 16:1 ; 2Co 8:4 ; 2 Corinthians 9:1 ; Romans 15:25 ; Romans 15:31 ). A usage to be accounted for by the fact that, as distinguished from all the other ἐκκλησίαι , the Palestinian, and specially the Jerusalemic Christians, were the ἅγιοι κατʼ ἐξοχήν , who before all others, chosen and separated from the world by Christ and His apostles themselves, became the first recipients of the divine word and of the Holy Spirit, were the first witnesses and intermediate channels of Christian truth for all other Christian communities, and were also, as such, acknowledged (specially Romans 15:27 ), until, owing to the destruction of Jerusalem and the rending progress of Gentile Christianity, this relation of dependence and filial affection was gradually dissolved of itself.

In order, however, to show the mistake in such reasoning, it suffices to point to the use of οἱ ἅγιοι in passages like 1 Corinthians 6:1-2 ; 1 Corinthians 16:15 ; Romans 12:13 ; Romans 16:2 ; 1 Timothy 5:10 ; to the addresses of the Pauline epistles; to the addition τῶν ἐν Ἱερουσαλήμ , considered necessary in connection with τῶν ἁγίων , Romans 15:26 ; and many similar instances. (1 Corinthians 16:1 ; 2Co 8:4 ; 2 Corinthians 9:1 , on the other hand, there was no need of such addition, against Kurtz, because the collection which is the subject treated of in those passages was a business already known to the Corinthians, and before earnestly enjoined upon them; while, Romans 15:25 , it was already apparent from νυνὶ δὲ πορεύομαι εἰς Ἱερουσαλήμ , and, Romans 15:31 , from ἡ εἰς Ἱερουσαλήμ , of what ἅγιοι the apostle was speaking.) Yea, Köstlin has even overlooked the consideration, that by means of this argument, if it were well-grounded, he would most effectually refute himself! For what further proof, that the readers of the letter are to be sought in Jerusalem, would it then need than the utterance of our epistle itself, Hebrews 13:24 : ἀσπάσασθε πάντας τοὺς ἡγουμένους ὑμῶν καὶ πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους ?

(7) That the Jerusalemic congregation remained, as is clear from Acts 2:46 ; Acts 3:1 (comp. Acts 21:20 ), from the first in connection with the temple ritual. By the recipients of the Epistle to the Hebrews, on the other hand, all religious connection with Judaism was originally relinquished, and only now had they become involved in peril, as well through the influence of teachings which would urge the necessity of holding firmly to the Mosaic law (Hebrews 13:9 ff.), as also, as it seems, through the influence of enticing offers (comp. Hebrews 12:16 f.), partly also by harassing manifestations of ill-will on the part of their former Jewish fellow-believers, of being seduced into a return to the Jewish religious constitution. But the actual state of matters is by this assertion inverted into its exact opposite. For that the recipients of the Epistle to the Hebrews not only still continued to occupy themselves with the Jewish temple-service and sacrificial ritual, but even regarded participation therein as a necessary requirement for the complete expiation of sins, certainly underlies the whole argumentation of the epistle as an everywhere-recurring presupposition.


The Epistle to the Hebrews was occasioned by the danger to which the Christians in Palestine, particularly in Jerusalem, were exposed, of renouncing again their faith in Christ, and wholly falling back again into Judaism (comp. specially Hebrews 6:4-6 , Hebrews 10:26 ff.). This danger had become a very pressing one, inasmuch as many had already as a matter of fact ceased to frequent the Christian assemblies (Hebrews 10:25 ). The epistle accordingly aims, by the unfolding on every side of the sublimity of the Christian revelation as the perfect and archetypal, above that of the Old Testament as the merely preparatory and typical, as well as by setting forth the terrible consequences of an apostasy, to warn against such falling away, and to animate to a faithful perseverance in the Christian course.

Differently, but quite incorrectly, does Thiersch ( De epistola ad Hebr. , Marb. 1848, p. 2 sqq.; Die Kirche im apostolischen Zeitalter , Frankf. and Erlang. 1852, p. 188 ff.) define the object of the epistle, to the effect that it was to be a consolatory letter to the Christians of Jerusalem, on account of the exclusion from the Jewish temple with which they had been visited on the part of their unconverted compatriots at the outbreak of the Jewish war. Nothing in the epistle points to any such state of the matter; but, on the contrary, even the one passage, Hebrews 13:13 , serves to place in a clear light the erroneousness of this conjecture. For, instead of mentioning a state of exclusion, and bestowing a word of consolation upon the occasion of an event like that, the author here assuredly summons to a coming forth out of Judaism as a voluntary act, and thus, as in his other reasoning, presupposes that the readers were still in the midst of Judaism, and adhered thereto with narrow-minded and unchristian stubbornness. A special support for his hypothesis Thiersch fancies is to be found in the eleventh chapter. All the historic instances there adduced are, he tells us, chosen by the author with a special bearing upon such a position of the readers as is assumed by him. But a glance at the paraphrase of the eleventh chapter, which Thiersch affords in proof of this assertion, shows that everything from which he derives his argument has first been imported by himself into the text.

That, finally, also Ebrard’s view according to which the epistle was designed to be “a kind of manual ( Leitfaden )” (!) for Jerusalem “neophytes” (!), who, “out of dread of exclusion from the temple cultus,” seemed about to withdraw again from Christianity [26] is an extremely arbitrary one, needs hardly a word of further demonstration.

[26] “Hostility of the other Jews,” and “apprehension of being excluded from the temple cult,” is also assumed by v. Döllinger ( Christenthum und Kirche in der Zeit der Grundlegung , Regensb. 1860, p. 84) as the cause of the tendency to apostasy; while Kluge ( der Hebräerbrief. Auslegung und Lehrbegriff . Neu-Ruppin 1863, p. 203 ff.) discovers in the letter a product of the Jewish apocalyptics (?!) transplanted upon Christian soil, which as such has arisen only after the destruction of Jerusalem, and received its outward occasion from the final catastrophe of the Jewish people. Deriving its theme from Romans 11:32 , it is supposed to pursue the soterio-paedagogic object of an exhortation to repentance for the chosen people, and of a warning to the Jewish-Christian readers descended from Israel against apostasy from their living hopes.

As regards its contents, the epistle is ordinarily divided into two parts, a dogmatic (Hebrews 1:1 to Hebrews 10:18 ) and a paraenetic (Hebrews 10:19 to Hebrews 13:25 ). But a rigid separation does not exist, inasmuch as exhortations, some of them of considerable extent, are already often incorporated in that first part, and the main tendency of the whole letter is a paraenetic (hortatory) one.

The contents themselves run as follows:

The revelation of God in Christ is superior to His revelations under the Old Covenant. For Christ, as the Son of God, is exalted above the angels, as mere servants (chap. 1.). So much the more are we called to hold firmly to the Christian faith. For if even the Mosaic law, given through the ministry of angels, could not be transgressed with impunity, the culpability of slighting the Christian salvation, proclaimed by the Lord and attested by God Himself, is incomparably greater (Hebrews 2:1-4 ). Not to angels, but to Christ, the Son of man, is the Messianic kingdom made subject. Certainly Christ was for a little time abased beneath the angels; but thus it must be, in order that mankind might obtain salvation: He must suffer and die, and in all things become like unto men, His brethren, in order to be able, as High Priest, to reconcile them to God (Hebrews 2:5-18 ). Therefore consider well Jesus, the Envoy and High Priest of our confession! He is more exalted than Moses; so much higher does He stand than Moses, as the son, who is lord over the house, has precedence over the servant of the house (Hebrews 3:1-6 ). Take heed, therefore, in accordance with the admonition of the Holy Ghost, of unbelief and apostasy; since the fate of the fathers, who because of their disobedience became the prey of destruction, serves to you as a warning. The promise of God of an entering into His rest is still unfulfilled; to you, also, the entrance is open, if you have faith, whereas rebelliousness against the admonition which is addressed anew unto you delivers you over to the vindicatory righteousness of God (Hebrews 4:1-13 ). The readers ought to hold fast to the Christian confession, since they possess in Jesus a High Priest who is not only highly exalted, but also is qualified to redeem mankind (Hebrews 4:14-16 ). The two main essential qualifications which every human high priest must possess, namely, the capacity for having sympathy with erring humanity, and the being no usurper of the office, but one called of God to the same,

Christ also possesses. He is a High Priest after the manner of Melchisedec (Hebrews 5:1-10 ). But before the author passes over, as is his purpose, to the more detailed presentation of the high-priestly dignity belonging to Christ after the manner of Melchisedec, and thus to His exalted rank above the Levitical high priests, he complains, in a digression, of the low stage of Christian knowledge at which the readers, who ought themselves long ago to have been teachers of Christianity, still remain. He exhorts them to strive after full manhood and maturity in the Christian life, and, in a note of warning, reminds them that those who have already experienced, in its influence upon them, the fulness of blessing which pertains to Christianity, and nevertheless apostatize from the faith, by their own fault let slip beyond recovery the Christian blessedness; then, however, expresses the confidence he feels that it will not be so with the readers, who have distinguished themselves, and do still distinguish themselves by works of Christian love, and indicates what he desires of them, namely, perseverance to the end; while at the same time he directs their attention to the inviolability of the divine promise and the objective certainty of the Christian hope (Hebrews 5:11 to Hebrews 6:20 ). With the seventh chapter the author returns to the subject under discussion. He dwells first upon the person of Melchisedec himself, following up the hints of Scripture as he presents to his readers the exalted position of Melchisedec, and shows a threefold superiority of the same over the Levitical priests (Hebrews 7:1-10 ). From this relation of inferiority, however, it follows now that the Levitical priesthood, and thus consequently the Mosaic law in general, is imperfect and incapable of leading on to perfection. For otherwise there would have been no need, after the law had long been instituted, of the promise and the appearing of another priest of other descent (Hebrews 7:11-12 ). That the Levitical priesthood, together with the Mosaic law, has lost its validity, is evident from the circumstance that Christ, to whom that divine utterance Psalms 110:4 has reference, belongs as a matter of fact to a tribe which, according to Mosaic ordinance, has no part in the administration of the priestly office (Hebrews 7:13-14 ); it is further evident from the consideration that the new priest who is promised is to bear a resemblance to Melchisedec, in which is implied just the particular, that his characteristic peculiarity is other than that of the Levitical priests (Hebrews 7:15-17 ). The end, to the bringing in of which the Levitical priesthood was wanting in power, is attained by Christ’s everlasting priesthood after the manner of Melchisedec (Hebrews 7:18-19 ). The preeminence of this over the Levitical priesthood appears further from the fact that it was constituted by God by virtue of an oath, whereas the former was constituted without an oath (Hebrews 7:20-22 ). The Levitical priests, moreover, die one after another: Christ’s priesthood, on the other hand, and that forms a third point of superiority, since He ever liveth, is an unchangeable and intransitory priesthood (Hebrews 7:23-25 ). A fourth point of superiority is manifested in the distinction, that while the Levitical priests are sinful men, who each successive day must offer sacrifices for their own sins and the sins of the people, Christ is the sinless Son of God, who once for all has offered up Himself as a sacrifice (Hebrews 7:26-28 ). But not only as regards His own person is Christ exalted far above the Levitical priests: the sanctuary, too, in which He exercises the high-priestly functions, is exalted far above the Levitical one. For Christ administers His office of high priest in the heavenly tabernacle, erected by God Himself, of which, as the prototype, the earthly tabernacle in which the Levitical priests minister is a mere copy (Hebrews 8:1-5 ). So much more excellent is the personal ministry of Christ, inasmuch as the covenant, whose Mediator He is, is a better covenant, because resting upon the foundation of better promises. The character of this promised new covenant is a more inner, spiritual one; and by the promise of a new covenant the old is declared to be worn out and no longer serviceable (Hebrews 8:6-13 ). In the disposition of the Mosaic sanctuary itself, and the ordering of the priestly ministration in conformity therewith, lies the indication on the part of God, that Mosaism is not itself the perfect religion, but only the preparatory institution for the same (Hebrews 9:1-8 ); as accordingly also the Levitical sacrifices, since they belong to the domain of carnal ordinance, are not in a position to make real atonement, whereas the sacrifice of Christ, presented by virtue of an eternal spirit through the efficacy of His own blood, possesses an everlasting power of atonement (Hebrews 9:9-14 ). In order to be the Middle Person of the New Covenant, Christ, however, must needs suffer death . That follows from the notion of a διαθήκη , since such acquires a binding character only when the death of the διαθέμενος has been before proved; as accordingly also the first, or Old Testament διαθήκη , was not consecrated without blood, and without blood-shedding there is, under the Mosaic law, no forgiveness. For the consecration of the earthly sanctuary the blood of slain animals sufficed, but for the consecration of the heavenly sanctuary there was need of a more excellent sacrifice than these; this Christ has offered once for all at the end of the world, by His sin-cancelling sacrificial death; and in connection with His return, to be looked for unto the salvation of them that wait for Him, no repetition of sacrifice will be necessary (Hebrews 9:15-28 ). In the imperfection of the Mosaic law is to be sought the cause that under it the expiatory sacrifice is repeated every year; that repetition contains the reminder that there are ever sins still present, as truly a cancelling of sins by the blood of bulls and of goats is from the very nature of the case impossible (Hebrews 10:1-4 ). Already in Scripture has it been expressed, that not by animal sacrifices, but only by the fulfilling of the will of God, deliverance from sins is to be attained. On the ground of this fulfilment of His will by Christ are we Christians sanctified (Hebrews 10:5-10 ). Hereupon the main distinction between the Old Testament high priest and the High Priest of the New Testament is once more brought into relief namely, in that the former daily repeats the same sacrifices without thereby effecting the cancelling of sin; the latter, on the other hand, by His sacrifice once offered, has wrought everlasting sanctification; and finally, attention is drawn to the Scripture testimony, that there is no more need for further expiatory sacrifice (Hebrews 10:15-18 ).

The readers in possession of such an High Priest, and the blessing mediated by Him, are to cleave with resolution and constancy to the Christian faith, to incite one another to love and good works, and not, as has become a practice with some, to forsake the religious assemblies. And the more so since the Advent is now close at hand (Hebrews 10:19-25 ). For he who wittingly contemns recognised Christian truth, and sins against it, will not escape the avenging judgment of God (Hebrews 10:26-31 ). Mindful of the Christian courage they have displayed in former days, the readers are not to lose their Christian cheerfulness, but to persevere in the Christian career; for only a short time longer will it be before the return of Christ, and the entrance into the promised fulness of blessing (Hebrews 10:32-39 ). The author hereupon defines the nature of the πίστις which he requires of the readers, and then sets before them examples of the heroism of faith from times gone by (chap. 11). In possession of such a multitude of examples, and with the eye fixed upon Jesus Himself, the readers are to endure with stedfastness the conflict which awaits them, and to regard their sufferings as a salutary chastisement on the part of that God who is full of fatherly love towards them (Hebrews 12:1-13 ). To this attaches an exhortation to concord and growth in holiness (Hebrews 12:14-17 ). The very constitution of the New Covenant, to which the readers have come, obliges them to the endeavour after sanctification. Whereas the Old Covenant bore the character of the sensuous, earthly, and that which awakens merely fear, the New Covenant has the character of the spiritual, heavenly, brings into communion with God and all holy ones, and confers reconciliation. The readers are therefore to be on their guard against apostatizing from the New Covenant, for their guilt and exposure to punishment would be thereby incomparably augmented. Rather should they be filled with gratitude towards God for the participation in the unshakeable kingdom of the New Covenant, and serve Him with awe and reverential fear (Hebrews 12:18-29 ). To this are now appended exhortations to continued brotherly love (Hebrews 13:1 ), to hospitality (Hebrews 13:2 ), to the assistance of prisoners and oppressed (Hebrews 13:3 ), to chastity (Hebrews 13:4 ), to the eschewing of covetousness and to contentment (Hebrews 13:5-6 ), to the remembering of former teachers and the emulating of their faith (Hebrews 13:7 ), to the avoidance of unchristian doctrines and precepts (Hebrews 13:8-15 ), to benevolence (Hebrews 13:16 ), to obedience towards the presidents of the congregation (Hebrews 13:17 ). There follows a call to intercession on behalf of the author (Hebrews 13:18-19 ), a wish of blessing (Hebrews 13:20-21 ), the petition for a friendly reception of the epistle (Hebrews 13:22 ), the communication of a piece of intelligence (Hebrews 13:23 ), the prayer for the delivery of salutations, and, at the same time, the conveying of salutations to the readers (Hebrews 13:24 ), and the concluding wish of blessing (Hebrews 13:25 ).


The epistle can only have been written at a late time. For, according to Hebrews 2:3 , Hebrews 13:7 (comp. also Hebrews 5:12 , Hebrews 10:32 ff.), the recipients belonged to a second generation of Christians. According to Hebrews 13:7 , the presidents and teachers of the congregation had already been snatched away from the same by death, and that a death by martyrdom. The death, too, of James, the brother of the Lord, who as president of the congregation at Jerusalem was reckoned one of the pillars of the Christian church (Galatians 2:9 ), must thus have already taken place; as it is, moreover, on general grounds hardly conceivable that, so long as James was still living, an encroachment upon his province, by means of a letter of such tone and contents as are displayed by the Epistle to the Hebrews, should have been made by the author of this epistle. The Epistle to the Hebrews cannot therefore have been written before the year 63 (Josephus, Antiq . xx. 9. 1). Its time of composition, however, must yet fall in the period before the destruction of Jerusalem. For the presupposition that the Levitical service of the temple is still continuing, underlies the current of the whole epistle. Instances in proof are found not only Hebrews 8:4-5 , Hebrews 9:6 ff., Hebrews 13:10 ff., and specially Hebrews 9:9 , where the continued existence of the fore-tabernacle (or holy place) in the Jewish sanctuary is expressly explained as a typical reference to the time now being, in which the priests still continue to offer sacrifices which are unable to afford satisfaction to the conscience (comp. besides Hebrews 7:8 ; Hebrews 7:20 , Hebrews 8:13 , Hebrews 10:2 ), but also in general a great part of the contents of the epistle, wherein the erroneous persuasion of the readers that the attainment of everlasting salvation is not possible without continued participation in the Levitical sacrificial rites and temple cultus, is controverted by our author. Further, our epistle must have been composed even before the beginning of the Jewish war; for if this had already broken out, distinct references thereto could not have been wanting. Yet it would seem that the commotions and insurrections which immediately preceded the outbreak of the Jewish war had already begun. For, Hebrews 10:25 , reference is made to the fact that the visible signs of the approaching advent of Christ have already appeared before the eyes of the readers; and their personal condition was, according to Hebrews 12:4 ff., Hebrews 13:13 , one of great suffering. That supposition is thus the most natural one which places the date of the epistle’s composition between the years 65 and 67.

According to Orelli ( Select. patrum eccles. capp. ad εἰσηγητικὴν sacram pertinentia , P. III., Turic. 1822, p. 4 sq.), the Epistle to the Hebrews was composed only towards the year 90; according to Holtzmann ( Zeitschr. f. wiss. Theol . 1867, p. 6 f.), Harnack ( Patrum Apostt. Opp . I. p. lxxxii.), and others, only after the persecution under Domitian; according to Schwegler ( Nachapostolisches Zeitalter , Bd. II. p. 309), somewhere about the close of the first century; according to Hausrath ( Neutestamentl. Zeitgesch. , 1st ed. III. p. 401 f.), only after Trajan’s persecution; according to Volkmar ( Religion Jesu , p. 388 f.) and Keim ( Geschichte Jesu v. Nazara , Bd. I., Zürich 1867, p. 148 f., 636), only between the years 116 118. See, on the other hand, the remarks of Grimm in the Zeitschr. f. wiss. Theol . 1870, p. 23 ff. Without ground does Mangold (in Bleek’s Einl. in d. N. T. , 3d ed., Berlin 1875, p. 617) object against the conclusiveness of Grimm’s reasoning, that “the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews conducts his argument on the basis of the Scripture representation of the tabernacle” as of “a purely ideal magnitude,” which does not guarantee “the actual continuance of the temple cultus.” This objection would be admissible if the preterites εἶχεν Hebrews 9:1 , and κατεσκενάσθη , Hebrews 9:2 , had, in the formula which resumes all the previous description,

τούτων δὲ οὕτως κατεσκευασμένων , Hebrews 9:6 , been followed by a participle aorist . But it becomes directly impossible when instead thereof a participle perfect is chosen; inasmuch as, by this construction, beyond doubt the opinion of the author is manifested that in the inner arrangement of the temple the inner arrangement of the tabernacle is still perpetuated. The following praesentia can therefore be understood only in the most strictly present sense, and not “as praesentia of the legal defining.”

The place of composition is indeterminable. Only thus much is clear from Hebrews 13:24 , that it is to be sought outside of Italy.


That the composition was an actual letter , and not, as has been assumed by Berger ( Götting. theol. Bibl. , Th. III. James 3, p. 449 ff.; Moral. Einleit. in das N. T. , Th. III. p. 442 f. Comp. also Reuss, Geschichte der h. Schrr. N. T. , 5th ed., Braunschw. 1874, § 151), a homily , is acknowledged, and is, moreover, rendered certain by the personal allusions at the close of the composition, since these admit neither of our regarding them, with Berger, as the later appendix of another author, nor, with Schwegler ( Nachapostolisches Zeitalter , Bd. II. p. 304), as a “literary fiction.”

In like manner, the opinion frequently expressed in ancient times, originally broached with a view to the removal of the difficulties arising from the literary character of the book, upon the presupposition of the authorship of the Apostle Paul, and in recent times specially advocated by Joseph Hallet, jun., and John David Michaelis, that the epistle was originally composed in the Hebrew (Aramaic) language, and only afterwards translated into Greek, is at the present time universally recognised to be erroneous. Even on account of the great freedom with which the translator must have proceeded in the remoulding of the original, on account of the purity in the Greek expression, the skill in the formation of genuine Greek periods, such as are foreign to the Aramaic, on account of the many compound terms, the equivalent of which could have been expressed in Aramaic only by means of periphrases (as πολυμερῶς καὶ πολυτρόπως , Hebrews 1:1 ; ἀπαύγασμα , Hebrews 1:3 ; μετριοπαθεῖν , Hebrews 5:2 ; εὐπερίστατος , Hebrews 12:1 , etc.), on account of the multitude of paronomasias, which could not possibly be in every case the work of chance (Hebrews 1:1 ; Hebrews 2:2-3 ; Hebrews 2:8 ; Hebrews 2:10 ; Hebrews 2:18 ; Hebrews 3:13 ; Hebrews 4:2 ; Hebrews 5:1 ; Hebrews 5:8 ; Hebrews 5:14 ; Hebrews 7:3 ; Hebrews 7:9 ; Hebrews 7:13 ; Hebrews 7:19 ; Hebrews 7:22-24 ; Hebrews 9:10 ; Hebrews 9:28 ; Hebrews 10:29 ; Hebrews 10:34 ; Hebrews 10:38-39 ; Hebrews 11:27 ; Hebrews 11:37 ; Hebrews 12:24-25 ; Hebrews 13:14 ), and on account of the ambiguous use of διαθήκη , Hebrews 9:15 ff., [27] this view is wanting in all probability and naturalness. Absolutely inadmissible, however, it becomes only from the fact that the author, not only in connection with his Biblical citations, but also in the conducting of his argument, bases his reasoning throughout upon the form of the text in the LXX., even when this version gives a sense entirely at variance with that of the original text. With particular distinctness does this appear Hebrews 10:5 ff., where in place of the Hebrew אָזְבַיִם כָּרִיתָ לִּי the entirely diverse ΣῶΜΑ ΔῈ ΚΑΤΗΡΤΊΣΩ ΜΟΙ of the LXX. is adopted by our author, and then at Hebrews 10:10 the ΠΡΟΣΦΟΡᾺ ΤΟῦ ΣΏΜΑΤΟς ἸΗΣΟῦ ΧΡΙΣΤΟῦ brought into relation therewith.

[27] Nevertheless, as has already been observed by Braun, as also by Bleek, the דִיָּתִיקִי , adopted by the Aramaic from the Greek and occurring in the Talmud, as frequently also in the Peshito; or the קְיָם , more usual with the Chaldee Paraphrasts, as also in the Peshito, might certainly also have combined the twofold signification of a “covenant” and a “testament.”