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Bible Commentaries

International Critical Commentary NT


- Hebrews

by S.R. Driver, A.A. Plummer and C.A. Briggs






D.D., D. Litt., Hon. M.A.(Oxon)



All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of T. & T. Clark Ltd.









It is ten years since this edition was first drafted. Various interruptions, of war and peace, have prevented me from finishing it till now, and I am bound to acknowledge the courtesy and patience of the editor and the publishers. During the ten years a number of valuable contributions to the subject have appeared. Of these as well as of their predecessors I have endeavoured to take account; if I have not referred to them often, this has been due to no lack of appreciation, but simply because, in order to be concise and readable, I have found it necessary to abstain from offering any catena of opinions in this edition. The one justification for issuing another edition of ΠρὸσῈ̓βραίους seemed to me to lie in a fresh point of view, expounded in the notes—fresh, that is, in an English edition. I am more convinced than ever that the criticism of this writing cannot hope to make any positive advance except from two negative conclusions. One is, that the identity of the author and of his readers must be left in the mist where they already lay at the beginning of the second century when the guess-work, which is honoured as “tradition,” began. The other is, that the situation which called forth this remarkable piece of primitive Christian thought had nothing to do with any movement in contemporary Judaism. The writer of Πρὸς Ἐβραίους knew no Hebrew, and his readers were in no sense Ἐβραῖοι. These may sound paradoxes. I agree with those who think they are axioms. At any rate such is the point of view from which the present edition has been written; it will explain why, for example, in the Introduction there is so comparatively small space devoted to the stock questions about authorship and date.

One special reason for the delay in issuing the book has been the need of working through the materials supplied for the criticism of the text by von Soden’s Schriften des Neuen Testaments (1913) and by some subsequent discoveries, and also the need of making a first-hand study of the Wisdom literature of Hellenistic Judaism as well as of Philo. Further, I did not feel justified in annotating Πρὸς Ἐβραίους without reading through the scattered ethical and philosophical tracts and treatises of the general period, like the De Mundo and the remains of Teles and Musonius Rufus.

“A commentary,” as Dr. Johnson observed, “must arise from the fortuitous discoveries of many men in devious walks of literature.” No one can leave the criticism of a work like Πρὸς Ἐβραίους after twelve years spent upon it, without feeling deeply indebted to such writers as Chrysostom, Calvin, Bleek, Riehm, and Riggenbach, who have directly handled it. But I owe much to some eighteenth-century writings, like L.C. Valckenaer’s Scholia and G. D. Kypke’s Observationes Sacrae, as well as to other scholars who have lit up special points of interpretation indirectly. Where the critical data had been already gathered in fairly complete form, I have tried to exercise an independent judgment; also I hope some fresh ground has been broken here and there in ascertaining and illustrating the text of this early Christian masterpiece.


Glasgow, 15th February 1924.

Philo Philonis Alexandriai Opera Quae Supersunt (recognoverunt L. Cohn et P. Wendland).



§ 1. Origin and Aim


During the last quarter of the first century AD a little masterpiece of religious thought began to circulate among some of the Christian communities. The earliest trace of it appears towards the end of the century, in a pastoral letter sent by the church of Rome to the church of Corinth. The authorship of this letter is traditionally assigned to a certain Clement, who probably composed it about the last decade of the century. Evidently he knew Πρὸς Ἐβραίους (as we may, for the sake of convenience, call our writing); there are several almost verbal reminiscences (cp. Dr. A. J. Carlyle in The New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers, pp. 44 f., where the evidence is sifted). This is beyond dispute, and proves that our writing was known at Rome during the last quarter of the first century. A fair specimen of the indebtedness of Clement to our epistle may be seen in a passage like the following, where I have underlined the allusions:

36:2-5 ὃς ὢν

The knowledge of who the author was must have disappeared as soon as the knowledge of what the church was, for whom he wrote. Who wrote Πρὸς Ἑβραίους? We know as little of this as we do of the authorship of The Whole Duty of Man, that seventeenth-century classic of English piety. Conjectures sprang up, early in the second century, but by that time men were no wiser than we are. The mere fact that some said Barnabas, some Paul, proves that the writing had been circulating among the adespota. It was perhaps natural that our writing should be assigned to Barnabas, who, as a Levite, might be supposed to take a special interest in the ritual of the temple—the very reason which led to his association with the later Epistle of Barnabas. Also, he was called υἱὸς παρακλήσεως (Acts 4:36), which seemed to tally with Hebrews 13:22 (τοῦ λόγου τῆς παρακλήσεως), just as the allusion to “beloved” in Psalms 127:2 ( = 2 S 12:24f.) was made to justify the attribution of the psalm to king Solomon. The difficulty about applying 2:8 to a man like Barnabas was overlooked, and in North Africa, at any rate, the (Roman?) tradition of his authorship prevailed, as Tertullian’s words in de pudicitia 20 show: “volo ex redundantia alicuius etiam comitis apostolorum testimonium superinducere, idoneum confirmandi de proximo jure disciplinam magistrorum. Extat enim et Barnabae titulus ad Hebraeos, adeo satis auctoritati viri, ut quem Paulus juxta se constituerit in abstinentiae tenore: ‘aut ego solus et Barnabas non habemus hoc operandi potestatem?’ (1 Corinthians 9:6). Et utique receptior apud ecclesias epistola Barnabae illo apocrypho Pastore moechorum. Monens itaque discipulos, omissis omnibus initiis, ad perfectionem magis tendere,” etc. (quoting Hebrews 6:4f.). What appeals to Tertullian in Πρὸς Ἑβραίους is its uncompromising denial of any second repentance. His increasing sympathy with the Montanists had led him to take a much less favourable view of the Shepherd of Hermas than he had once entertained; he now contrasts its lax tone with the rigour of Πρὸς Ἑβραίους, and seeks to buttress his argument on this point by insisting as much as he can on the authority of Πρὸς Ἑβραίους as a production of the apostolic Barnabas. Where this tradition originated we cannot tell. Tertullian refers to it as a fact, not as an oral tradition; he may have known some MS of the writing with the title Βαρνάβα πρὸς Ἑβραίους (ἐπιστολή), and this may have come from Montanist circles in Asia Minor, as Zahn suggests. But all this is guessing in the dark about a guess in the dark.

Since Paul was the most considerable letter-writer of the primitive church, it was natural that in some quarters this anonymous writing should be assigned to him, as was done apparently in the Alexandrian church, although even there scholarly readers felt qualms at an early period, and endeavoured to explain the idiosyncrasies of style by supposing that some disciple of Paul, like Luke, translated it from Hebrew into Greek. This Alexandrian tradition of Paul’s authorship was evidently criticized in other quarters, and the controversy drew from Origen the one piece of enlightened literary criticism which the early discussions produced. Ὅτιχαρακτὴρ τῆς λέξεως τῆς πρὸς Ἑβραίους ἐπιγεγραμμένης ἐπιστολῆς οὐκ ἔχει τὸ ἐν λόγῳ ἰδιωτικὸν τοῦ 2 Corinthians 11:6), τουτέστι τῇ φράσει,

It was otherwise in the Western church, where Πρὸς Ἐβραίους was for long either read simply as an edifying treatise, or, if regarded as canonical, assigned to some anonymous apostolic writer rather than to Paul. Possibly the use made of Πρὸς Ἐβραίους by the Montanists and the Novatians, who welcomed its denial of a second repentance, compromised it in certain quarters. Besides, the Roman church had never accepted the Alexandrian tradition of Paul’s authorship. Hence, even when, on its merits, it was admitted to the canon, there was a strong tendency to treat it as anonymous, as may be seen, for example, in Augustine’s references. Once in the canon, however, it gradually acquired a Pauline prestige, and, as Greek scholarship faded, any scruples to the contrary became less and less intelligible. It was not till the study of Greek revived again, at the dawn of the Reformation, that the question was reopened.

The data in connexion with the early fortunes of ΠρὸσἙβραίους in church history belong to text-books on the Canon, like Zahn’s Geschichte d. NT Kanons, i. 283 f., 577 f., ii. 160 f., 358 f.; Leipoldt’s Geschichte d. NT Kanons, i. pp. 188 f., 219 f.; and Jacquier’s Le Nouveau Testament dans L’Église chrétienne, i. (1911).

Few characters mentioned in the NT have escaped the attention of those who have desired in later days to identify the author of Πρὸς Ἑβραίους. Apollos, Peter, Philip, Silvanus, and even Prisca have been suggested, besides Aristion, the alleged author of Mark 16:9-20. I have summarized these views elsewhere (Introd. to Lit. of NT.3, pp. 438-442), and it is superfluous here to discuss hypotheses which are in the main due to an irrepressible desire to construct NT romances. Perhaps our modern pride resents being baffled by an ancient document, but it is better to admit that we are not yet wiser on this matter than Origen was, seventeen centuries ago. The author of Πρὸς Ἑβραίους cannot be identified with any figure known to us in the primitive Christian tradition. He left great prose to some little clan of early Christians, but who they were and who he was, τὸ μὲν


Thrown back, in the absence of any reliable tradition, upon the internal evidence, we can only conclude that the writer was one of those personalities in whom the primitive church was more rich than we sometimes realize. “Si l’on a pu comparer saint Paul à Luther,” says Ménégoz, “nous comparerions volontiers l’auteur de l’Épître aux Hébreux à Mélanchthon.” He was a highly trained διδάσκαλος, perhaps a Jewish Christian, who had imbibed the philosophy of Alexandrian Judaism before his conversion, a man of literary culture and deep religious feeling. He writes to what is apparently a small community or circle of Christians, possibly one of the household-churches, to which he was attached. For some reason or another he was absent from them, and, although he hopes to rejoin them before long, he feels moved to send them this letter (13:23f.) to rally them. It is possible to infer from 13:24 (see note) that they belonged to Italy; in any case, Πρὸς Ἑβραίους was written either to or from some church in Italy. Beyond the fact that the writer and his readers had been evangelized by some of the disciples of Jesus (2:3, 4), we know nothing more about them. The words in 2:3, 4 do not mean that they belonged to the second generation, of course, in a chronological sense, for such words would have applied to the converts of any mission during the first thirty years or so after the crucifixion, and the only other inference to be drawn, as to the date, is from passages like 10:32f. and 13:7, viz. that the first readers of Πρὸς Ἑβραίους were not neophytes; they had lived through some rough experiences, and indeed their friend expects from them a maturity of experience and intelligence which he is disappointed to miss (5:11f.); also, their original leaders have died, probably as martyrs (cp. on 13:7). For these and other reasons, a certain sense of disillusionment had begun to creep over them. Πρὸς Ἑβραίους is a λόγος παρακλήσεως, to steady and rally people who are πειραζόμενοι, their temptation being to renounce God, or at least to hesitate and retreat, to relax the fibre of loyal faith, as if God were too difficult to follow in the new, hard situation. Once, at the outset of their Christian career, they had been exposed to mobrioting (10:32f.), when they had suffered losses of property, for the sake of the gospel, and also the loud jeers and sneers which pagans and Jews alike heaped sometimes upon the disciples. This they had borne manfully, in the first glow of their enthusiasm. Now, the more violent forms of persecution had apparently passed; what was left was the dragging experience of contempt at the hand of outsiders, the social ostracism and shame, which were threatening to take the heart out of them. Such was their rough, disconcerting environment. Unless an illegitimate amount of imagination is applied to the internal data, they cannot be identified with what is known of any community in the primitive church, so scanty is our information. Least of all is it feasible to connect them with the supposed effects of the Jewish rebellion which culminated in a.d. 70. Πρὸς Ἑβραίους cannot be later than about a.d. 85, as the use of it in Clement of Rome’s epistle proves; how much earlier it is, we cannot say, but the controversy over the Law, which marked the Pauline phase, is evidently over.

It is perhaps not yet quite superfluous to point out that the use of the present tense (e.g. in 7:8, 20, 8:8f., 9:6f., 13:10) is no clue to the date, as though this implied that the Jewish temple was still standing. The writer is simply using the historic present of actions described in scripture. It is a literary method which is common in writings long after a.d. 70, e.g. in Josephus, who observes (c. Apion, i. 7) that any priest who violates a Mosaic regulation

The literary problem of Πρὸς Ἑβραίους is raised by the absence of any address and the presence of personal matter in ch. 13. Why (a) has it no introductory greeting? And why (b) has it a postscript? As for the former point (a), there may have been, in the original, an introductory title. Πρὸς Ἑβραίους opens with a great sentence (1:1f.), but Ephesians 1:8f. is just such another, and there is no reason why the one should not have followed a title-address any more than the other.1 It may have been lost by accident, in the tear and wear of the manuscript, for such accidents are not unknown in ancient literature. This is, at any rate, more probable than the idea that it was suppressed because the author (Barnabas, Apollos?) was not of sufficiently apostolic rank for the canon. Had this interest been operative, it would have been perfectly easy to alter a word or two in the address itself. Besides, Πρὸς Ἑβραίους was circulating long before it was admitted to the canon, and it circulated even afterwards as non-canonical; yet not a trace of any address, Pauline or non-Pauline, has ever survived. Which, in turn, tells against the hypothesis that such ever existed—at least, against the theory that it was deleted when the writing was canonized. If the elision of the address ever took place, it must have been very early, and rather as the result of accident than deliberately. Yet there is no decisive reason why the writing should not have begun originally as it does in its present form. Nor does this imply (b) that the personal data in ch. 13 are irrelevant. Πρὸς Ἑβραίους has a certain originality in form as well as in content; it is neither an epistle nor a homily, pure and simple. True, down to 12:29 (or 13:17) there is little or nothing that might not have been spoken by a preacher to his audience, and Valckenaer (on 4:3) is right, so far, in saying, “haec magnifica ad Hebraeos missa dissertatio oratio potius dicenda est quam epistola.” Yet the writer is not addressing an ideal public; he is not composing a treatise for Christendom at large. It is really unreal to explain away passages like 5:11f, 10:32f, 12:4f. and 13:1-9 as rhetorical abstractions.

Πρὸς Ἑβραίους was the work of a διδάσκαλος, who knew how to deliver a λόγος παρακλήσεως. Parts of it probably represent what he had used in preaching already (e.g. 3:7). But, while it has sometimes the tone of sermon notes written out, it is not a sermon in the air. To strike out 13:19, 22-24 or 13:1-7, 16-19, 22f. (Torrey)1 does not reduce it from a letter or epistle to a sermon like 2 Clement. Thus, e.g., a phrase like 11:32 (see note) is as intelligible in a written work as in a spoken address. It is only by emptying passages like 5:11f. and 10:32f. of their full meaning that anyone can speak of the writer as composing a sermon at large or for an ideal public. Part of the force of 5:11f., e.g., is due to the fact that the writer is dealing with a real situation, pleading that in what he is going to say he is not writing simply to display his own talent or to please himself, but for the serious, urgent need of his readers. They do not deserve what he is going to give them. But he will give it! A thoroughly pastoral touch, which is lost by being turned into a rhetorical excuse for deploying some favourite ideas of his own. According to Wrede, the author wrote in 13:18, 19 on the basis of (Philemon 1:22) 2 Corinthians 1:11, 2 Corinthians 1:12 to make it appear as though Paul was the author, and then added 13:23 on the basis of Philippians 2:19, Philippians 2:23, Philippians 2:24; but why he should mix up these reminiscences, which, according to Wrede, are contradictory, it is difficult to see. Had he wished to put a Pauline colour into the closing paragraphs, he would surely have done it in a lucid, coherent fashion, instead of leaving the supposed allusions to Paul’s Roman imprisonment so enigmatic. But, though Wrede thinks that the hypothesis of a pseudonymous conclusion is the only way of explaining the phenomena of ch. 13, he agrees that to excise it entirely is out of the question. Neither the style nor the contents justify such a radical theory,2 except on the untenable hypothesis that 1-12 is a pure treatise. The analogies of a doxology being followed by personal matter (e.g. 2 Timothy 4:18, 1P 4:11 etc.) tell against the idea that Πρὸς Ἑβραίους must have ended with 13:21, and much less could it have ended with 13:17. To assume that the writer suddenly bethought him, at the end, of giving a Pauline appearance to what he had written, and that he therefore added 13:22f., is to credit him with too little ability. Had he wished to convey this impression, he would certainly have gone further and made changes in the earlier part. Nor is it likely that anyone added the closing verses in order to facilitate its entrance into the NT canon by bringing it into line with the other epistles. The canon was drawn up for worship, and if Πρὸς Ἑβραίους was originally a discourse, it seems very unlikely that anyone would have gone out of his way, on this occasion, to add some enigmatic personal references. In short, while Πρὸς Ἑβραίονς betrays here and there the interests and methods of an effective preacher, the epistolary form is not a piece of literary fiction; still less is it due (in ch. 13) to some later hand. It is hardly too much to say that the various theories about the retouching of the 13th chapter of Πρὸς Ἑβραίονς are as valuable, from the standpoint of literary criticism, as Macaulay’s unhesitating belief that Dr. Johnson had revised and retouched Cecilia.

§ 2. The Religious Ideas

In addition to the text-books on NT theology, consult Riehm’s Lehrbegriff des Hebräerbriefs2 (1867), W. Milligan’s Ascension and Heavenly Priesthood of our Lord (1891), Ménégoz’s La Théologie de l’ Épître aux Hébreux (1894), A. Seeberg’s Der Tod Christi (1895), A. B. Bruce’s The Epistle to the Hebrews (1899), G. Milligan’s The Theology of the Epistle to the Hebrews (1899), G. Vos on “The Priesthood of Christ in Hebrews” (Princeton Theological Review, 1907, pp. 423 f., 579 f.), Du Bose’s Highpriesthood and Sacrifice (1908), A. Nairne’s The Epistle of Priesthood (1913), H. L. MacNeill’s Christology of the Epistle to the Hebrews (1914), H. A. A. Kennedy’s Theology of the Epistles (1919, pp. 182-221), and E. F. Scott’s The Epistle to the Hebrews (1922).

Many readers who are not children will understand what Mr Edmund Gosse in Father and Son (pp. 89 f.) describes, in telling how his father read aloud to him the epistle. “The extraordinary beauty of the language—for instance, the matchless cadences and images of the first chapter—made a certain impression upon my imagination, and were (I think) my earliest initiation into the magic of literature. I was incapable of defining what I felt, but I certainly had a grip in the throat, which was in its essence a purely aesthetic emotion, when my father read, in his pure, large, ringing voice, such passages as ‘The heavens are the work of Thy hands. They shall perish, but Thou remainest, and they shall all wax old as doth a garment, and as a vesture shalt Thou fold them up, and they shall be changed; but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail.’ But the dialectic parts of the epistle puzzled and confused me. Such metaphysical ideas as ‘laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works’ and ‘crucifying the Son of God afresh’ were not successfully brought down to the level of my understanding. … The melodious language, the divine forensic audacities, the magnificent ebb and flow of argument which make the Epistle to the Hebrews such a miracle, were far beyond my reach, and they only bewildered me.” They become less bewildering when they are viewed in the right perspective. The clue to them lies in the philosophical idea which dominates the outlook of the writer, and in the symbolism which, linked to this idea, embodied his characteristic conceptions of religion. We might almost say that, next to the deflecting influence of the tradition which identified our epistle with the Pauline scheme of thought and thereby missed its original and independent contribution to early Christianity, nothing has so handicapped its appeal as the later use of it in dogmatic theology. While the author of Πρὸς Ἑβραίους often turned the literal into the figurative, his theological interpreters have been as often engaged in turning the figurative expressions of the epistle into what was literal. A due appreciation of the symbolism has been the slow gain of the historical method as applied to the classics of primitive Christianity. There is no consistent symbolism, indeed, not even in the case of the

This gives us the focus for viewing the detailed comparison between the levitical sacrifices and priests on the one hand and the κρείττων Jesus. “You see in your bible,” the writer argues, “the elaborate system of ritual which was once organized for the forgiveness of sins and the access of the people to God. All this was merely provisional and ineffective, a shadow of the Reality which already existed in the mind of God, and which is now ours in the sacrifice of Jesus.” Even the fanciful argument from the priesthood of Melchizedek (6:20-7:17)—fanciful to us, but forcible then—swings from this conception. What the author seeks to do is not to prove that there had been from the first a natural or real priesthood, superior to the levitical, a priesthood fulfilled in Christ. His aim primarily is to discredit the levitical priesthood of bygone days; it was anticipated in the divine order by that of Melchizedek, he shows, using a chronological argument resembling that of Paul in Galatians 3:8f., on the principle that what is prior is superior. But what leads him to elaborate specially the Melchizedek priesthood is that it had already played an important rôle in Jewish speculation in connexion with the messianic hope. Philo had already identified Melchizedek outright with the Logos or possibly even with the messiah. Whether the author of Πρὸς Ἑβραίους intends to contradict Philo or not, he takes a different line, falling back upon his favourite psalm, the 110th, which in the Greek version, the only one known to him, had put forward not only the belief that messiah was ἱερεὺς εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα κατὰ τὴν τάξιν Μελχισέδεκ, but the Alexandrian belief in the pre-existence of messiah (v. 3 ἐκ γαστρὸς πρὸ ἑωσφόρον ἐξχεγέννησά σε). Here then, by Alexandrian methods of exegesis, in the pentateuch text combined with the psalm, he found scripture proof of an original priesthood which was not levitical, not transferable, and permanent. This priesthood of Melchizedek was, of course, not quite a perfect type of Christ’s, for it did not include any sacrifice, but, as resting on personality, not on heredity,1 it did typify, he held, that eternal priesthood of the Christ which was to supersede the levitical, for all the ancient prestige of the latter. As this prestige was wholly biblical for the writer and his readers, so it was essential that the disproof of its validity should be biblical also. Though he never uses either the idea of Melchizedek offering bread and wine to typify the elements in the eucharist, in spite of the fact that Philo once allegorized this trait (de Leg. Alleg. iii. 25), or the idea of Melchizedek being uncircumcised (as he would have done, had he been seriously arguing with people who were in danger of relapsing into contemporary Judaism), he does seem to glance at the combination of the sacerdotal and the royal functions. Like Philo, though more fully, he notices the religious significance of the etymology “king of righteousness” and “king of peace,” the reason being that throughout his argument he endeavours repeatedly to preserve something of the primitive view of Jesus as messianic king, particularly because the idea of the divine βασιλεία plays next to no part in his scheme of thought. Sometimes the combination of the sacerdotal and royal metaphors is incongruous enough, although it is not unimpressive (e.g. 10:12, 13). Primarily it is a survival of the older militant messianic category which is relevant in the first chapter (see 1:8 f.), but out of place in the argument from the priesthood; the reference is really due to the desire to reaffirm the absolute significance of Christ’s work, and by way of anticipation he sounds this note even in 7:1, 2. Later on, it opens up into an interesting instance of his relation to the primitive eschatology. To his mind, trained in the Alexandrian philosophy of religion, the present world of sense and time stands over against the world of reality, the former being merely the shadow and copy of the latter. There is an archetypal order of things, eternal and divine, to which the mundane order but dimly corresponds, and only within this higher order, eternal and invisible, is access to God possible for man. On such a view as this, which ultimately (see pp. xxxi-xxxii) goes back to Platonic idealism, and which had been worked out by Philo, the real world is the transcendent order of things, which is the pattern for the phenomenal universe, so that to attain God man must pass from the lower and outward world of the senses to the inner. But how? Philo employed the Logos or Reason as the medium. Our author similarly holds that men must attain this higher world, but for him it is a σκηνή, a sanctuary, the real Presence of God, and it is entered not through ecstasy or mystic rapture, but through connexion with Jesus Christ, who has not only revealed that world but opened the way into it. The Presence of God is now attainable as it could not be under the outward cultus of the σκηνή in the OT, for the complete sacrifice has been offered “in the realm of the spirit,” thus providing for the direct access of the people to their God. The full bliss of the fellowship is still in the future, indeed; it is not to be realized finally until Jesus returns for his people, for he is as yet only their πρόδρομος (6:20). The primitive eschatology required and received this admission from the writer, though it is hardly consonant with his deeper thought. And this is why he quotes for example the old words about Jesus waiting in heaven till his foes are crushed (10:12, 18). He is still near enough to the primitive period to share the forward look (see, e.g., 2:2f, 9:28, 10:37), and unlike Philo, he does not allow his religious idealism to evaporate his eschatology. But while this note of expectation is sounded now and then, it is held that Christians already experience the powers of the world to come. The new and final order has dawned ever since the sacrifice of Jesus was made, and the position of believers is guaranteed. “You have come to mount Sion, the city of the living God.” The entrance of Jesus has made a fresh, living way for us, which is here and now open. “For all time he is able to save those who approach God through him, as he is always living to intercede on their behalf.” Christians enjoy the final status of relationship to God in the world of spirit and reality, in virtue of the final sacrifice offered by Jesus the Son.


What was this sacrifice? How did the writer understand it? (a) The first thing to be said is that in his interpretation of the sacrifice of Jesus, he takes the piacular view. Calvin (Instit. ii.15. 6) maintains that, as for the priesthood of Christ, “finem et usum eius esse ut sit mediator purus omni macula, qui sanctitate sua Deum nobis conciliet. Sed quia aditum occupat justa maledictio, et Deus pro judicis officio nobis infensus est; ut nobis favorem comparet sacerdos ad placandam iram ipsius Dei, piaculum intervenire necesse est. … Qua de re prolixe apostolus disputat in epistola ad Hebraeos a septimo capite fere ad finem usque decimi.” Matthew Arnold is not often found beside Calvin, but he shares this error. “Turn it which way we will, the notion of appeasement of an offended God by vicarious sacrifice, which the Epistle to the Hebrews apparently sanctions, will never truly speak to the religious sense, or bear fruit for true religion” (St. Paul and Protestantism, p. 72). Arnold saves himself by the word “apparently,” but the truth is that this idea is not sanctioned by Πρὸς Ἑβραίους at all. The interpretation of Calvin confuses Paul’s doctrine of expiation with the piacular view of our author. The entire group of ideas about the law, the curse, and the wrath of God is alien to Πρὸς Ἑβραίους. The conception of God is indeed charged with wholesome awe (cp. on 12:28, 29); but although God is never called directly the Father of Christians, his attitude to men is one of grace, and the entire process of man’s approach is initiated by him (2:9, 13:20). God’s wrath is reserved for the apostates (10:29-31); it does not brood over unregenerate men, to be removed by Christ. Such a notion could hardly have occurred to a man with predilections for the typical significance of the OT ritual, in which the sacrifices were not intended to avert the wrath of God so much as to reassure the people from time to time that their relations with their God had not been interrupted. The function of Christ, according to our author, is not to appease the divine wrath (see on 2:9f, 17), but to establish once and for all the direct fellowship of God with his people, and a picturesque archaic phrase like that in 12:24 about the αἷμα ῥαντισμοῦ cannot be pressed into the doctrine that Jesus by his sacrifice averted or averts the just anger of God. On the other hand, while the author knows the primitive Christian idea of God’s fatherhood, it is not in such terms that he expresses his own conception of God. Philo (De Exsecrationibus, 9) describes how the Jews in the diaspora will be encouraged to return to Israel and Israel’s God, particularly by his forgiving character (ἑνὶ μὲν εἰπεικείᾳ καὶ χρηστότητι τοῦ παρακαλουμένου συγγνώμην πρὸ τιμωρίας Luke 12:5). This illustrates the spirit and situation of Πρὸς Ἑβραίους, where the writer warns his friends against apostasy by reminding them of ὁ θεὸς ζῶν and of the judgment. We might almost infer that in his mind the dominant conception is God regarded as transcendental, not with regard to creation but with regard to frail, faulty human nature. What engrosses the writer is the need not so much of a medium between God and the material universe, as of a medium between his holiness and human sin (see on 12:23).

(b) As for the essence and idea of the sacrifice, while he refers to a number of OT sacrifices by way of illustration, his main analogy comes from the ritual of atonement-day in the levitical code (Lev_16), where it was prescribed that once a year the highpriest was to enter the inner shrine by himself, the shrine within which stood the sacred box or ark symbolizing the divine Presence. The elaborate sacrifices of the day are only glanced at by our author. Thus he never alludes to the famous scapegoat, which bore away the sins of the people into the desert. All he mentions is the sacrifice of certain animals, as propitiation for the highpriest’s own sins and also for those of the nation. Carrying some blood of these animals, the priest was to smear the ἱλαστήριον or cover of the ark. This had a twofold object. (i) Blood was used to reconsecrate the sanctuary (Leviticus 16:16). This was a relic of the archaic idea that the life-bond between the god and his worshippers required to be renewed by sacred blood; “the holiness of the altar is liable to be impaired, and requires to be refreshed by an application of holy blood.”1 Our author refers to this crude practice in 9:23. But his dominant interest is in (ii) the action of the highpriest as he enters the inner shrine; it is not the reconsecration of the sanctuary with its altar, but the general atonement there made for the sins of the People, which engrosses him. The application of the victim’s blood to the ἱλαστήριον by the divinely appointed highpriest was believed to propitiate Yahweh by cleansing the People from the sins which might prevent him from dwelling any longer in the land or among the People. The annual ceremony was designed to ensure his Presence among them, “to enable the close relationship between Deity and man to continue undisturbed. The logical circle—that the atoning ceremonies were ordered by God to produce their effect upon himself—was necessarily unperceived by the priestly mind” (Montefiore, Hibbert Lectures, p. 337). What the rite, as laid down in the bible, was intended to accomplish was simply, for the author of Πρὸς Ἑβραίους, to renew the life-bond between God and the People. This sacrifice offered by the highpriest on atonementday was the supreme, piacular action of the levitical cultus. Once a year it availed to wipe out the guilt of all sins, whatever their nature, ritual or moral, which interrupted the relationship between God and his People.2 For it was a sacrifice designed for the entire People as the community of God. The blood of the victims was carried into the inner shrine, on behalf of the People outside the sanctuary; this the highpriest did for them, as he passed inside the curtain which shrouded the inner shrine. Also, in contrast to the usual custom, the flesh of the victims, instead of any part being eaten as a meal, was carried out and burned up. In all this the writer finds a richly symbolic meaning (9:1f.). Jesus was both highpriest and victim, as he died and passed inside the heavenly Presence of God to establish the life-bond between God and his People. Jesus did not need to sacrifice for himself. Jesus did not need to sacrifice himself more than once for the People. Jesus secured a forgiveness which the older animal sacrifices never won. And Jesus did not leave his People outside; he opened the way for them to enter God’s own presence after him, and in virtue of his self-sacrifice. So the author, from time to time, works out the details of the symbolism. He even uses the treatment of the victim’s remains to prove that Christians must be unworldly (13:11f.); but this is an after-thought, for his fundamental interest lies in the sacrificial suggestiveness of the atonement-day which, external and imperfect as its ritual was, adumbrated the reality which had been manifested in the sacrifice and ascension of Jesus.

Yet this figurative category had its obvious drawbacks, two of which may be noted here. One (a) is, that it does not allow him to show how the sacrificial death of Jesus is connected with the inner renewal of the heart and the consequent access of man to God. He uses phrases like ἁγιάζειν (see on 2:11) and καθαρίζειν and τελειοῦν (this term emphasizing more than the others the idea of completeness), but we can only deduce from occasional hints like 9:14 what he meant by the efficacy of the sacrificial death. His ritualistic category assumed that such a sacrifice availed to reinstate the People before God (cp. on 9:22), and this axiom sufficed for his Christian conviction that everything depended upon what Jesus is to God and to us—what he is, he is in virtue of what he did, of the sacrificial offering of himself. But the symbol or parable in the levitical cultus went no further. And it even tended to confuse the conception of what is symbolized, by its inadequacy; it necessarily separated priest and victim, and it suggested by its series of actions a time-element which is out of keeping with the eternal order. Hence the literal tendency in the interpretation of the sacrifice has led to confusion, as attempts have been made to express the continuous, timeless efficacy of the sacrifice. That the death was a sacrifice, complete and final, is assumed (e.g. 7:27, 9:14, 10:10, 12, 14). Yet language is used which has suggested that in the heavenly σκηνή this sacrifice is continually presented or offered (e.g. 7:25 and the vg. mistranslation of 10:12 “hic autem unam pro peccatis offerens hostiam in sempiternum sedit”). The other drawback (b) is, that the idea of Jesus passing like the highpriest at once from the sacrifice into the inner sanctuary (i.e. through the heavens into the Presence, 4:14) has prevented him from making use of the Resurrection (cp. also on 13:12). The heavenly sphere of Jesus is so closely linked with his previous existence on earth, under the category of the sacrifice, that the author could not suggest an experience like the resurrection, which would not have tallied with this idea of continuity.

On the other hand, the concentration of interest in the symbol on the sole personality of the priest and of the single sacrifice enabled him to voice what was his predominant belief about Jesus. How profoundly he was engrossed by the idea of Christ’s adequacy as mediator may be judged from his avoidance of some current religious beliefs about intercession. Over and again he comes to a point where contemporary opinions (with which he was quite familiar) suggested, e.g., the intercession of angels in heaven, or of departed saints on behalf of men on earth, ideas like the merits of the fathers or the atoning efficacy of martyrdom in the past, to facilitate the approach of sinful men to God (cp. on 11:40, 12:17, 23, 24 etc.). These he deliberately ignores. In view of the single, sufficient sacrifice of Jesus, in the light of his eternally valid intercession, no supplementary aid was required. It is not accidental that such beliefs are left out of our author’s scheme of thought. It is a fresh proof of his genuinely primitive faith in Jesus as the one mediator. The ideas of the perfect Priest and the perfect Sacrifice are a theological expression, in symbolic language, of what was vital to the classical piety of the early church; and apart from Paul no one set this out so cogently and clearly as the writer of Πρὸς Ἑβραίους.


Our modern symbolism does no sort of justice to the ancient idea of priesthood. Matthew Arnold says of Wordsworth:

“He was a priest to us all,

Of the wonder and bloom of the world,

Which we saw with his eyes, and were glad.”

That is, “priest” means interpreter, one who introduces us to a deeper vision, one who, as we might put it, opens up to us a new world of ideas. Such is not the ultimate function of Christ as ἱερεύς in our epistle. Dogmatic theology would prefer to call this the prophetic function of Christ, but the priestly office means mediation, not interpretation. The function of the high priest is to enter and to offer: εἰσέρχεσθαι and προσφέρειν forming the complete action, and no distinction being drawn between the two, any more than between the terms “priest” and “high priest.”

The fundamental importance of this may be illustrated from the recourse made by Paul and by our author respectively to the Jeremianic oracle of the new covenant or διαθήκη. Paul’s main interest in it lies in its prediction of the Spirit, as opposed to the Law. What appeals to Paul is the inward and direct intuition of God, which forms the burden of the oracle. But to our author (8:7-13, 10:15-18) it is the last sentence of the oracle which is supreme, i.e. the remission of sins; “I will be merciful to their iniquities, and remember their sins no more.” He seizes the name and fact of a “new” covenant, as implying that the old was inadequate. But he continues: “If the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkled on defiled persons, give them a holiness that bears on bodily purity, how much more will the blood of Christ, who in the spirit of the eternal offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve a living God? He mediates a new covenant for this reason, that those who have been called may obtain the eternal deliverance they have been promised, now that a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions involved in the first covenant” (9:13-15). That is, the conclusion of Jeremiah’s oracle—that God will forgive and forget—is the real reason why our author quotes it. There can be no access without an amnesty for the past; the religious communion of the immediate future must be guaranteed by a sacrifice ratifying the pardon of God.

This difference between Paul and our author is, of course, owing to the fact that for the latter the covenant1 or law is subordinated to the priesthood. Change the priesthood, says the writer, and ipso facto the law has to be changed too. The covenant is a relationship of God and men, arising out of grace, and inaugurated by some historic act; since its efficiency as an institution for forgiveness and fellowship depends on the personality and standing of the priesthood, the appearance of Jesus as the absolute Priest does away with the inferior law.

This brings us to the heart of the Christology, the sacrifice and priestly service of Christ as the mediator of this new covenant with its eternal fellowship.

Men are sons of God, and their relation of confidence and access is based upon the function of the Son κατʼ ἐξόχην. The author shares with Paul the view that the Son is the Son before and during his incarnate life, and yet perhaps Son in a special sense in consequence of the resurrection—or rather, as our author would have preferred to say, in consequence of the ascension. This may be the idea underneath the compressed clauses at the opening of the epistle (1:1-5). “God has spoken to us by a Son—a Son whom he appointed heir of the universe, as it was by him that he had created the world. He, reflecting God’s bright glory and stamped with God’s own character, sustains the universe by his word of power; when he had secured our purification from sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high; and thus he is superior to the angels, as he has inherited a Name superior to theirs. For to what angel did God ever say—

‘Thou art my Son,

To-day have I become thy Father’?”

(referring to the ancient notion that the king first became conscious of his latent divine sonship at his accession to the throne). The name or dignity which Christ inherits, as the result of his redemptive work, is probably that of Son; as the following quotation from the OT psalm suggests, the resurrection or exaltation may mark, as it does for Paul, the fully operative sonship of Christ, the only way to inherit or possess the universe being to endure the suffering and death which purified human sin and led to the enthronement of Christ. Our author holds that this divine being was sent into the world because he was God’s Son, and that he freely undertook his mission for God’s other sons on earth.

The mission was a will of God which involved sacrifice. That is the point of the quotation (10:5f.) from the 40th psalm—not to prove that obedience to God was better than sacrifice, but to bring out the truth that God’s will required a higher kind of sacrifice than the levitical, namely, the personal, free self-sacrifice of Christ in the body. Even this is more than self-sacrifice in our modern sense of the term. It is “by this will,” the writer argues, that “we are consecrated, because Jesus Christ once for all has offered up his body.” No doubt the offering is eternal, it is not confined to the historical act on Calvary. “He has entered heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf” (9:24): “he is always living to make intercession for us” (7:25). Still, the author is more realistic in expression than the tradition of the Testament of Levi (3), which makes the angel of the Presence in the third heaven offer a spiritual and bloodless sacrifice to God in propitiation for the sins of ignorance committed by the righteous. Our author assigns entirely to Christ the intercessory functions which the piety of the later Judaism had already begun to divide among angels and departed saints, but he also makes the sacrifice of Jesus one of blood—a realism which was essential to his scheme of argument from the entrance of the OT high priest into the inner shrine.

The superior or rather the absolute efficacy of the blood of Christ depends in turn on his absolute significance as the Son of God; it is his person and work which render his self-sacrifice valid and supreme. But this is asserted rather than explained. Indeed, it is asserted on the ground of a presupposition which was assumed as axiomatic, namely, the impossibility of communion with God apart from blood shed in sacrifice (9:22). For example, when the writer encourages his readers by reminding them of their position (12:24), that they “have come to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant and to the sprinkled blood whose message is nobler than Abel’s,” he does not mean to draw an antithesis between Abel’s blood as a cry for vengeance and Christ’s blood as a cry for intercession. The fundamental antithesis lies between exclusion and inclusion. Abel’s blood demanded the excommunication of the sinner, as an outcast from God’s presence; Christ’s blood draws the sinner near and ratifies the covenant. The author denies to the OT cultus of sacrifice any such atoning value, but at the same time he reaffirms its basal principle, that blood in sacrifice is essential to communion with the deity. Blood offered in sacrifice does possess a religious efficacy, to expiate and purify. Without shedding of blood there is no remission. We ask, why? But the ancient world never dreamt of asking, why? What puzzles a modern was an axiom to the ancient. The argument of our epistle is pivoted on this postulate, and no attempt is made to rationalize it.

In the Law of Holiness, incorporated in Leviticus, there is indeed one incidental allusion to the rationalé of sacrifice or blood-expiation, when, in prohibiting the use of blood as a food, the taboo proceeds: “the life of the body is in the blood, and I have given it to you for the altar to make propitiation for yourselves, for the blood makes propitiation by means of the life” (i.e. the life inherent in it). This is reflection on the meaning of sacrifice, but it does not carry us very far, for it only explains the piacular efficacy of blood by its mysterious potency of life. Semitic scholars warn us against finding in these words (Leviticus 17:11) either the popular idea of the substitution of the victim for the sinner, or even the theory that the essential thing in sacrifice is the offering of a life to God. As far as the Hebrew text goes, this may be correct. But the former idea soon became attached to the verse, as we see from the LXX—τὸ γὰρ αἷμα αὐτοῦ


For him religion is specially fellowship with God on the basis of forgiveness. He never uses the ordinary term κοινωνία, however, in this sense. It is access to God on the part of worshippers that is central to his mind; that is, he conceives religion as worship, as the approach of the human soul to the divine Presence, and Christianity is the religion which is religion since it mediates this access and thereby secures the immediate consciousness of God for man. Or, as he would prefer to say, the revelation of God in Jesus has won this right for man as it could not be won before. For, from the first, there has been a People of God seeking, and to a certain extent enjoying, this access. God has ever been revealing himself to them, so far as was possible. But now in Jesus the final revelation has come which supersedes all that went before in Israel. The writer never contemplates any other line of revelation; outside Israel of old he never looks. It is enough for him that the worship of the OT implied a revelation which was meant to elicit faith, especially through the sacrificial cultus, and that the imperfections of that revelation have now been disclosed and superseded by the revelation in Jesus the Son. Faith in this revelation is in one aspect belief (4:2f.). Indeed he describes faith simply as the conviction of the unseen world, the assurance that God has spoken and that he will make his word good, if men rely upon it; he who draws near to God must believe that he exists and that he does reward those who seek him (11:6). Faith of this noble kind, in spite of appearances to the contrary, has always characterized the People. Our author rejoices to trace it at work long before Jesus came, and he insists that it is the saving power still, a faith which in some aspects is indistinguishable from hope, since it inspires the soul to act and suffer in the conviction that God is real and sure to reward loyalty in the next world, if not in the present. Such faith characterized Jesus himself (2:13, 12:2). It is belief in God as trustworthy, amid all the shows and changes of life, an inward conviction that, when he has spoken, the one thing for a man to do is to hold to that word and to obey it at all costs. This is the conception of faith in the early and the later sections of the writing (3:7f, 10:38-12:2). The difference that Jesus has made—for the writer seems to realize that there is a difference between the primitive faith and the faith of those who are living after the revelation in Jesus—is this, that the assurance of faith has now become far more real than it was. Though even now believers have to await the full measure of their reward, though faith still is hope to some extent, yet the full realization of the fellowship with God which is the supreme object of faith has been now made through Jesus. In two ways. (I) For faith Jesus is the inspiring example; he is the great Believer who has shown in his own life on earth the possibilities of faith.1 In order to understand what faith is, we must look to Jesus above all, to see how faith begins and continues and ends. But (II) Jesus has not only preceded us on the line of faith; he has by his sacrifice made our access to God direct and real, as it never could be before. Hence the writer can say, “let us draw near with a full assurance of faith and a true heart, in absolute assurance of faith” since “we have a great Priest over the house of God.” “We have confidence to enter the holy Presence in virtue of the blood of Jesus.” He does not make Jesus the object of faith as Paul does, but he argues that only the sacrifice of Jesus opens the way into the presence of God for sinful men.

This is the argument of the central part of the writing (chs. 7-10). Religion is worship, and worship implies sacrifice; there is no access for man to God without sacrifice, and no religion without a priest (see on 7:11). The relations between God and his People from the first1 have been on the basis of sacrifice, as the bible shows, and the new revelation in Jesus simply changes the old sacrificial order with its priesthood for another. The writer starts from a profound sense of sin, as an interruption of fellowship between God and man. He thoroughly sympathizes with the instinct which underlay the ancient practice of sacrifice, that fellowship with God is not a matter of course, that God is accessible and yet difficult of access, and that human nature cannot find its way unaided into his presence. Thus he quotes the 40th psalm (see p. xli), not to prove that God’s will is fellowship, and that to do the will of God is enough for man, apart from any sacrifice, but to illustrate the truth that the will of God does require a sacrifice, not simply the ethical obedience of man, but the self-sacrifice with which Jesus offered himself freely, the perfect victim and the perfect priest. All men now have to do is to avail themselves of his sacrifice in order to enjoy access to God in the fullest sense of the term. “Having a great Highpriest who has passed through the heavens, let us draw near.”

The conception of religion as devotion or worship covers a wide range in Πρὸς Ἑβραίους. It helps to explain, for example (see above, p. xxxviii), why the writer represents Jesus after death not as being raised from the dead, but as passing through the heavens into the inner Presence or sanctuary of God with the sacrifice of his blood (4:14, 9:11f.). It accounts for the elaboration of a detail like that of 9:23, and, what is much more important, it explains the “sacrificial” delineation of the Christian life. In this Lev_5), where the seer tells us, “I saw the holy temple, and upon a throne of glory the Most High. And he said to me, Levi, I have given thee the blessings of priesthood until I come and sojourn in the midst of Israel”—even here, though the levitical priesthood, as in our epistle, is only a temporary substitute for the presence of God, the heavenly sanctuary has no highpriest. Nevertheless it was the idea of the heavenly sanctuary which held one germ of the idea of the heavenly highpriest for the author of Πρὸς Ἑβραίους, as he desired to express the fundamental significance of Jesus for his faith.

(b) Another factor was the speculations of Philo about the Logos as highpriest (de Migrat. Abrah. 102, de Fug. 108 ff.), though the priestly mediation there is mainly between man and the upper world of ideas. The Logos or Reason is not only the means of creating the material cosmos after the pattern of the first and real world, but inherent in it, enabling human creatures to apprehend the invisible. This is Philo’s primary use of the metaphor. It is philosophical rather than religious. Yet the increased prestige of the highpriest in the later Judaism prompted him to apply to the Logos functions which resemble intercession as well as interpretation. Vague as they are, they were familiar to the author of our epistle, and it is probable that they helped to fashion his expression of the eternal significance of Jesus as the mediator between man and God. The Logos as highpriest, says Philo (de Somn. ii. 28), for example, is not only ἄμωμος, ὁλόκληρος, but μεθόριός τις θεοῦκαὶ Leviticus 16:17. The original says that no man is to be with the highpriest when he enters the inner shrine, but the Greek version runs, ὅταν εἰσίεἰς τὰ ἅγια τὼν ἁγίων

(c) A third basis for the conception of Christ’s priesthood lay in the combination of messianic and sacerdotal functions which is reflected in the 110th psalm (see above, p. xxxiii), which in the Testaments of the Patriarchs (Reuben 6:8) is actually applied to Hyrcanus the Maccabean priest-king, while in the Test. Levi (18) functions which are messianic in all but name are ascribed to a new priest, with more spiritual insight than in the psalm itself. The curious thing, however, is that this Priest discharges no sacerdotal functions. The hymn describes his divine attestation and consecration—“and in his priesthood shall sin come to an end, and he shall open the gates of paradise and shall remove the threatening sword against Adam.” That is all. Probably the passing phase of expectation, that a messiah would arise from the sacerdotal Maccabees, accounts for such a fusion of messiah and priest. In any case its influence was not wide. Still, the anticipation is not unimportant for the thought of Πρὸς Ἑβραίους, which rests so much upon the mystical significance of that psalm. Paul had seen the fulfilment of Psalms 110:1 in the final triumph of Christ as messiah over his foes (1 Corinthians 15:24, 1 Corinthians 15:25 δεὶ γὰρ αὐτὸν βασιλεύειν ἄχρις οὗ θῇ πάντας τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑπὸ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ). But meantime Christ was in living touch with his church on earth, and Paul can even speak, in a glowing outburst, of his effective intercession (Romans 8:34 ὃς καὶ ἐντυγχάνει ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν). This is at least the idea of the highpriesthood of Christ, in almost everything except name, though Paul says as much of the Spirit (Romans 8:27 κατὰ θεὸν ἐντυγχάνει ὑπὲρ ἁγίων). Later, in the Fourth Gospel, a similar thought reappears; Christ is represented in priestly metaphor as interceding for his People (17:1f.), and the phrases (17:17-19) about Jesus consecrating himself (as priest and victim) that thereby his disciples may be “consecrated” ἐν τῆ


There is a partial anticipation of all this in the Enochic conception of the Son of Man. No doubt, as Volz warns us (Jüdische Eschatologie, p. 90), we must not read too much into such apocalyptic phrases, since the Son of Man is an x quantity of personal value in the age of expected bliss and salvation. Still, the pre-existent messiah there is Son of Man as transcendent and in some sense as human; he must be human, “Man,” in order to help men, and he must be transcendent in order to be a deliverer or redeemer. But the author of Πρὸς Ἑβραίους, like Paul, significantly avoids the term Son of Man, even in 2:5f.; and although he has these two ideas of human sympathy and of transcendency in close connexion, he derives them from his meditation upon the real Jesus ultimately, not from any apocalyptic speculations. What he meant by the term “Son of God” is not quite plain. Philo had regarded the Logos as pre-existent and as active in the history of the people, and so he regards Christ; but while it seems clear (see on 5:5) that Christ is priest for him because he was already Son, the further questions, when did he become priest? and how is the Sonship compatible with the earthly life?—these are problems which remain unsolved. The interpretation of the function of Jesus through the phrase in the 2nd psalm (see on 1:5) hardly clears up the matter any more than in the case of Justin Martyr (Dial. 88). Later on, Hippolytus, or whoever wrote the homily appended (chs. 11-12.) to the Epist. Diognet., faced the problem more boldly and beautifully by arguing that “the Word was from the very beginning, appeared new, was proved to be old, and is ever young as he is born in the hearts of the saints. He is the eternal One, who to-day was accounted Son” (ὁ σήμερον υἱὸς λογισθείς, 11:5). Here “to-day” refers to the Christian era; evidently the problem left by the author of Πρὸς Ἑβραίους, with his mystical, timeless use of the 2nd psalm, was now being felt as a theological difficulty. But this is no clue to how he himself took the reference. There is a large section in his thought upon Christ as the eternal, transcendental Son which remains obscure to us, and which perhaps was indefinite to himself. He took over the idea of the divine Sonship from the primitive church, seized upon it to interpret the sufferings and sacrificial function of Jesus as well as his eternal value, and linked it to the notion of the highpriesthood; but he does not succeed in harmonizing its implications about the incarnate life with his special γνῶσις of the eternal Son within the higher sphere of divine realities.

At the same time there seems no hiatus1 between the metaphysical and the historical in the writer’s conception of Jesus, no unreconciled dualism between the speculative reconstruction and the historical tradition. In Πρὸς Ἑβραίους we have the ordinary primitive starting-point, how could a divine, reigning Christ ever have become man? The writer never hints that his readers would question this, for they were not tempted by any Jewish ideas. He uses the category of the Son quite frankly, in order to express the absolute value of the revelation in Jesus; it is his sheer sense of the reality of the incarnate life which prompts him to employ the transcendental ideas. He does not start from a modern humanist view of Jesus, but from a conviction of his eternal divine character and function as Son and as Act_6∙25, Hebrews has 8∙0, and Paul only 3∙8.

His vocabulary is drawn from a wide range of reading. Whether he was a Jew by birth or not, he goes far beyond the LXX. His Greek recalls that of authors like Musonius Rufus and the philosophical Greek writers, and he affects more or less technical philosophical terms like αἰσθητήριον, δημιουργός, θέλησις, μετριοπαθεῖν, τελειόω, τέλος, τιμωρία, and ὑπόδειγμα. He was acquainted with the books of the Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, and perhaps even Philo. This last affinity is strongly marked. The more he differs from Philo in his speculative interpretation of religion, the more I feel, after a prolonged study of Philo, that our author had probably read some of his works; it is not easy to avoid the conclusion that his acquaintance with the Hellenistic Judaism of Alexandria included an acquaintance with Philo’s writings. However this may be, the terminology of the Wisdom literature was as familiar to this early Christian διδάσκαλος as to the author of Jam_1

As for the LXX, the text he used—and he uses it with some freedom in quotations—must have resembled that of A (cp. Buchel in Studien und Kritiken, 1906, pp. 508-591), upon the whole. It is to his acquaintance with the LXX that occasional “Semitisms” in his style may be referred, e.g. the ἐπʼ ἐσχάτου of 1:1, the καρδία Acts 7:1-53, where we have a similar use of the typological method and a similar freedom in handling the OT story (cp. EBi 4791, e.g. Acts 7:29 = Hebrews 11:27), which proves how men like these writers, for all their reverence for the LXX, sat wonderfully free to the letter of the scripture and employed, without hesitation, later Jewish traditions in order to interpret it for their own purposes. But Stephen’s reading of the OT is not that of Πρὸς Ἑβραίους. The latter never dwells on the crime of the Jews in putting Jesus to death (12:3 is merely a general, passing allusion), whereas Stephen makes that crime part and parcel of the age-long obstinacy and externalism which had characterized Israel. In Πρὸς Ἑβραίους, again, the κληρονομία of Palestine is spiritualized (3:7f.), whereas Stephen merely argues that its local possession by Israel was not final. Stephen, again, argues that believers in Jesus are the true heirs of the OT spiritual revelation, not the Jews; while in Πρὸς Ἑβραίους the continuity of the People is assumed, and Christians are regarded as ipso facto the People of God, without any allusion to the Jews having forfeited their privileges. Here the author of Πρὸς Ἑβραίους differs even from the parable of Jesus (cp. on 1:1); he conveys no censure of the historical Jews who had been responsible for the crucifixion. The occasional resemblances between Stephen’s speech and Πρὸς Ἑβραίους are not so significant as the difference of tone and temper between them, e.g. in their conceptions of Moses and of the angels (cp. on Hebrews 2:2). For another thing, (c) the conception of God derives largely from the element of awe and majesty in the OT (see on 1:3, 4:13, 10:30, 31, 12:29). This has been already noted (see pp. xxxv f.). But linguistically there are characteristic elements in the various allusions to God. Apart altogether from a stately term like Μεγαλωσύνη (1:3, 8:1) or Δόξα (9:5), we get a singular number of indirect, descriptive phrases like διʼ ὃν τὰ πάντα καὶ διʼ οὗ τὰ πάντα (2:10), τῷ ποιήσαντι αὐτόν (3:2), πρὸς ὃν ἡμῖνλόγος (4:13), τὸν δυνάμενον σώζειν αὐτὸν ἐκ θανάτου (5:7), ὁ ἐπαγγειλάμενος (10:23, 11:11), τὸν Colossians 3:17] 330 [as Colossians 3:17] 440 [as Romans 8:11] 623, 635, 1867, 2004: + ὁ κύριος, 1836: Χριστός, 487), 13:20 (+ Χριστόν, D Ψ 5, 104, 177, 241, 323, 337, 436, 547, 623c 635, 1831, 1837, 1891 latd f tol syrhkl Chrys.). Χριστός (3:6, 9:11, 24), or ὁ Χριστός (3:14, 5:5, 6:1, 9:14, 28, 11:26), has also been altered; e.g. 3:14 (κυρίου, 256, 2127: θεοῦ, 635: om. τοῦ, 467), 5:5 (om. ὁ, 462), 6:1 (θεοῦ, 38, 2005: om. 429), 9:24 (+ ὁ Cc D Ψ 104, Ap.256;, 263, 326, 467, 1739, 2127 arm: Ἰησοῦς, 823 vg Orig.), but less seriously. Ἰησοῦς Χριστός only occurs thrice (10:10, 13:8, 21).

So far as vocabulary and style go, there are certain affinities between Πρὸς Ἑβραίους and (a) the Lucan writings, (b) 1 Peter, and, to a less degree, (c) the Pastoral Epistles; but an examination of the data indicates that the affinities are not sufficient to do more than indicate a common atmosphere of thought and expression at some points. I do not now feel it safe to go beyond this cautious verdict. The author of Πρὸς Ἑβραίους has idiosyncrasies which are much more significant than any such affinities. His literary relations with the other NT writers, if he had any, remain obscure, with two exceptions. Whether he had read Paul’s epistles or not, depends in part on the question whether the quotation in 10:30 was derived outright from Romans 12:19 or from some florilegium of messianic texts; but, apart from this, there are numerous cases of what seem to be reminiscences of Paul. As for 1 Peter, our author has some connexion, which remains unsolved, with what probably was an earlier document.

To sum up. He has a sense of literary nicety, which enters into his earnest religious argument without rendering it artificial or over-elaborate. He has an art of words, which is more than an unconscious sense of rhythm. He has the style of a trained speaker; it is style, yet style at the command of a devout genius. “Of Hellenistic writers he is the freest from the monotony that is the chief fault of Hellenistic compared with literary Greek; his words do not follow each other in a mechanically necessary order, but are arranged so as to emphasize their relative importance, and to make the sentences effective as well as intelligible. One may say that he deals with the biblical language (understanding by this the Hellenistic dialect founded on the LXX, not merely his actual quotations from it) … as a preacher, whose first duty is to be faithful, but his second to be eloquent” (W. H. Simcox, The Writers of the NT, p. 43).

§ 4. Text, Commentaries, etc


The textual criticism of Πρὸς Ἑβραίους is bound up with the general criticism of the Pauline text (cp. Romans in the present series, pp. lxiii ff.), but it has one or two special features of its own, which are due in part (a) to the fact of its exclusion from the NT Canon in some quarters of the early church, and (b) also to the fact that the Pauline F (Greek text) and G are wholly, while B C H M N W p 13 and 048 are partially, missing. It is accidental that the Philoxenian Syriac version has not survived, but the former phenomenon (a) accounts for the absence of Πρὸς Ἑβραίους not simply from the Gothic version, but also from the old Latin African bible-text for which Tertullian and Cyprian, the pseudo-Augustinian Speculum and “Ambrosiaster,” furnish such valuable evidence in the case of the Pauline epistles. The (b) defectiveness of B, etc, on the other hand, is to some extent made up by the discovery of the two early papyrus-fragments.

The following is a list of the MSS and the main cursives, the notations of Gregory and von Soden being added in brackets, for the sake of convenience in reference:

Codicum Index

א saec. iv. (v.) [01: δ 2].

A saec. v. [02: δ 4].

B saec. iv. [03: δ 1] cont. 1:1-9:18: for remainder cp. cursive 293.

C saec. v. [04: δ 3] cont. 2:4-7:26, 9:15-10:24, 12:16-13:25.

D saec. (vi.) [06: α 1026] cont. 1:1-13:20. Codex Claromontanus is a Graeco-Latin MS, whose Greek text is poorly1 reproduced in the later (saec. ix.-x.) E = codex Sangermanensis. The Greek text of the latter (1:1-12:8) is therefore of no independent value (cp. Hort in WH, §§ 335-337); for its Latin text, as well as for that of F=codex Augiensis (saec. ix.), whose Greek text of Πρὸς Ἐβραίους has not been preserved, see below, p. lxix.

H saec. vi. [015: α 1022] cont. 1:3-8, 2:11-16, 3:13-18, 4:12-15, 10:1-7, 32-38, 12:10-15, 13:24-25: mutilated fragments, at Moscow and Paris, of codex Coislinianus.

K saec. ix. [018:I1].

L saec. ix. [020: α 5] cont. 1:1-13:10.

M saec. ix. [0121: α 1031] cont. 1:1-4:3, 12:20-13:25.

N saec. ix. [0122: α 1030] cont. 5:8-6:10.

P saec. ix. [025: α 3] cont. 1:1-12:8, 12:11-13:25.

p13 saec. iv. [α 1034] cont. 2:14-5:5, 10:8-11:13, 11:28-12:17: Oxyrhynchus Papyri, iv. (1904) 36-48. The tendency, in 2:14-5:5, to agree with B “in the omission of unessential words and phrases … gives the papyrus peculiar value in the later chapters, where B is deficient”; thus p13 partially makes up for the loss of B after 9:14. Otherwise the text of the papyrus is closest to that of D.

p18 saec. iv. [α 1043] cont. 9:12-19: Oxyrhynchus Papyri, viii. (1911) 11-13.

Ψ saec. (vi. ?) viii.-ix. [044: δ 6] cont. 1:1-8:11, 9:19-13:25.

W saec. (iv.-vi.) [I] cont. 1:1-3, 9-12, 2:4-7, 12-14, 3:4-6, 14-16, 4:3-6, 12-14, 5:5-7, 6:1-3, 10-13, 20, 7:1-2, 7-11, 18-20, 27-28, 8:1, 7-9, 9:1-4, 9-11, 16-19, 25-27, 10:5-8, 16-18, 26-29, 35-38, 11:6-7, 12-15, 22-24, 31-33, 38-40, 12:1, 7-9, 16-18, 25-27, 13:7-9, 16-18, 23-25: NT MSS in Freer Collection, The Washington MS of the Epp. of Paul (1918), pp. 294-306. Supports Alexandrian text, and is “quite free from Western readings.”

048 saec. v. [α 1] cont. 11:32-13:4. Codex Patiriensis is a palimpsest.

0142 saec. x. [06].

0151 saec. xii. [x21].

Three specimens of how the MSS group themselves may be printed. (a) shows the relation between M and the papyrus p13:

M agrees with p13 in eight places:

3:1 Ἰησοῦν.

3:3 δόξης οὗτος (+ K L vg, alone).

3:4 πάντα.

3:6 ἐάν.

3:9 ὑμῶν ἐν δοκιμασίᾳ.

3:10 ταύτῃ.

3:13 τις ἐξ ὑμῶν.

4:2 συγκεκ(ε)ρασμένους.

It opposes p13 (+ B) in

3:2 + δλῳ.

3:6 ὅς.

3:6 + μέχρι τέλους βεβαίαν.

3:9 + με.

4:3 οὖν.

4:3 + τήν before κατάπανσιν.

M has some remarkable affinities with the text of Origen (e.g. 1:3, 1:9, 2:1). (b) exhibits the relations of א and D*, showing how A and B agree with them on the whole, and how p13 again falls into this group:

א and D* agree in

1:2 position of ἐποίησεν A B M

1:8 + καί before ἡ ῥάβδος A B M

2:1 παραρυῶμεν A B*

2:7 + καὶ κατέστησαςσου A

2:15 δουλίας

3:1 om. Χριστόν A B M p13

3:4 πάντα A B M p13

3:10 ταύτῃ A B M p13

3:19 διʼ (Song of Solomon 7:9) A B M p13

4:1 καταλιπομένης (alone), except for p13

4:7 προείρηται A (B) p13

4:15 συνπαθῆσαι A B*

4:16 ἔλεος A B

5:3 διʼ αὐτήν A B

5:3 μερὶ ἁμαρτιῶν A B

6:10 om. τοῦ κόπου A B

6:16 om. μέν A B

7:5 Λευί

7:6 om. τόν before Ἀβραάμ B

7:10 om. ὁ before Μελχισεδέκ B

7:11 αὐτῆς A B

7:11 νενομοθέτηται A B

7:16 σαρκίνης A B

7:17 μαρτυρεῖται A B

8:2 om. καί before οὐκ ἄνθρωπος B

8:4 οὖν A B

8:4 om. τῶν ἱερέων A B

8:11 om. αὐτῶν after μικροῦ A B

9:5 χερουβίν (alone of uncials)

9:9 καθʼ ἥν A B

9:21 ἐράντισεν A

9:24 om. ὁ before Χριστός A

10:10 om. οἱ before διά A

10:12 οὗτος A

10:16 διάνοιαν A

10:23 λελουσμένοι

11:3 τὸ βλεπόμενον A p13

11:19 δυνατός

11:29 + γῆς A p13

11:30 ἔπεσαν A p13

11:32 με γάρ A

11:34 μαχαίρης (so 11:37) A

12:5 παιδίας A

12:8 position of ἐστε A p13

12:9 πολύ (so 12:25) A

12:21 ἔκτρομος (alone)

13:3 κακουχουμένων A M

13:4 γάρ A M

13:8 ἐχθές A M

13:21 ἐργῷ

13:21 om. ἐργῷ

(c) exhibits characteristic readings of H, with some of its main allies:

1:3 καθαρισμόν א A B Db H* P vg arm

2:15 δουλίας א D* H P

3:13 τις ἐξ ὑμῶν p13 א A C H M P vg pesh arm boh

3:14 τοῦ Χριστοῦ γεγ. א A B C D W H M P vg

3:17 τίσιν δέ א B C D H P K L Sah

4:12 ἐνεργής א A C D H P L vg

4:12 ψυχῆς א A B C H P K L (vg arm boh)

4:15 συνπαθῆσαι א A B* C D* H

10:1 θυσίας (- αὐτῶν) A C D H K L vg

10:1 αἷς D* H L

10:1 δυνάται D H K L vg boh

10:2 om. οὐκ H* (vg) pesh

10:2 κεκαθαρισμένους א D H P K

10:6 ἠυδόκησας A C D* W H P

10:34 τοῖς δεσμίοις p13 A D* H vg pesh boh

10:34 έαυτούς p13 א A H vg boh

10:34 ὕπαρξιν p13 א* A D* H* vg boh

10:35 μεγάλην μισθ. א A D W H P

10:37 χρονιεῖ אc A Dc W H P K L

10:38 μου ἐκ πίστεως א A H* vg arm

12:11 πᾶσα δέ p13 אc A Dc H K L vg pesh boh

12:13 ποιήσατε א A D H K L

12:15 αὐτῆς (p13) A H P

12:16 αὐτοῦ אc D* H P K L

13:21 om. τῶν αἰώνων Cc D H arm

13:23 ἡμῶν א* A C D* W H M vg pesh arm boh sah


1 Cp., further, Professor Dickie’s article in Expositor8, v. pp. 371 f. The notion that the writer is controverting an external view of Christ’s person, which shrank, e.g., from admitting his humiliation and real humanity, had been urged by Julius Kögel in Die Verborgenheit Jesu als des Messias (Greifenswald, 1909) and in Der Sohn und die Söhne, ein exegetische Studie zu Hebrews 2:5-18 (1904).

1 Ep. Barnabas begins with Heb_13 and Paul are neither so numerous nor so significant as is commonly supposed, and that the only fair explanation of Heb_13 as a whole is that it was written to accompany 1-12.

Philo Philonis Alexandriai Opera Quae Supersunt (recognoverunt L. Cohn et P. Wendland).

1 A. B. Davidson, Biblical and Literary Essays (p. 317).

1 The writer is trying to express an idea which, as Prof. E. F. Scott argues (pp. 207 f.), “underlies all our modern thought—social and political as well as religious,” viz. that true authority is not prescriptive but personal; “the priesthood which can bring us nearer God must be one of inherent character and personality.”

1 W. Robertson Smith, The Religion of the Semites (1907), pp. 408 f.

2 Cp. Montefiore, op. cit., pp. 334 f.

1 As Professor Kennedy points out, with real insight: “all the terms of the contrast which he works out are selected because of their relation to the covenant-conception” (p. 201).

1 “It was by no divine magic, no mere ‘breath, turn of eye, wave of hand,’ that he ‘joined issue with death,’ but by the power of that genuinely human faith which had inspired others in the past” (MacNeill, p. 26). Bousset’s denial of this (Theol. Literaturzeitung, 1915, p. 431f.: “man wird bei dem Jesus d. Hebräerbriefe so wenig wie bei dem paulinischen noch im strengen Sinne von einem subjectivem Glauben Jesu reden können”) is as incomprehehsible as his desperate effort to explain Hebrews 5:7-10 from the fixed ideas of the mystery-religions.

1 i.e. from the inauguration of the διαθήκη at Sinai, though he notes that even earlier there was sacrifice offered (11:3).

1 As H. J. Holtzmann (Neutest. Theologie2, ii. 337) and Pfleiderer (p. 287) imagine.

2 H. R. Mackintosh, The Person of Christ, pp. 265 f.

1 He does not use the technical language of the mystery-religions (cp. on 6:4), and they cannot be shown to have been present continuously to his mind. If the argument from silence holds here, he probably felt for them the same aversion as the devout Philo felt (de Sacrif, 12), though Philo on occasion would employ their terminology for his own purposes.

Pfleiderer Primitive Christianity, vol. iii. (1910) pp. 272-299.

1 Denney, The Death of Christ, pp. 239, 240.

1 The soundest account of Philo’s “mysticism” is by Professor H. A. A. Kennedy in Philo’s Contribution to Religion, p. 211 f.

Thackeray H. St J. Thackeray, A Grammar of the Old Testament in Greek (1909).

Blass F. Blass, Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Griechisch: vierte, völlig neugearbeitete Auflage, besorgt von Albert Debrunner (1913); also, Brief an die Hebräer, Text mit Angabe der Rhythmen (1903).

Moulton J. H. Moulton’s Grammar of New Testament Greek, vol. i. (2nd edition, 1906).

WH Westcott and Hort’s New Testament in Greek (1890, 1896).

LXX The Old Testament in Greek according to the Septuagint Version (ed. H. B. Swete).

Philo Philonis Alexandriai Opera Quae Supersunt (recognoverunt L. Cohn et P. Wendland).

1 On the philosophical background of ideas as well as of words, see A. R. Eagar in Hermathena, xi. pp. 263-287; and H. T. Andrews in Expositor8, xiv. pp. 348 f.

A [02: δ 4].

EBi The Encyclopaedia Biblica (1899-1903, ed. J. S. Black and T. K. Cheyne).

33 [δ 48] Hort’s 17

104 [α 103]

2127 [δ 202]

C [04: δ 3] cont. 2:4-7:26 9:15-10:24 12:16-13:25.

K [018:1:1].

L [020: α 5] cont. 1:1-13:10.

Ψ̠[044: δ 6] cont. 1:1-8:11 9:19-13:25.

326 [α 257]

1175 [α 74] cont. 1:1-3:5 6:8-13:20

D [06: α 1026] cont. 1:1-13:20. Codex Claromontanus is a Graeco-Latin MS, whose Greek text is poorly* reproduced in the later (saec. ix.-x.) E = codex Sangermanensis. The Greek text of the latter (1:1-12:8) is therefore of no independent value (cp. Hort in WH, §§ 335-337); for its Latin text, as well as for that of F=codex Augiensis (saec. ix.), whose Greek text of Πρὸς Ἐβραίους has not been preserved, see below, p. lxix.

1827 [α 367]

5 [δ 453]

330 [δ 259]

440 [δ 260]

1836 [α 65]

487 [α 171]

177 [α 106]

241 [δ 507]

323 [α 157]

337 [α 205]

436 [α 172]

547 [δ 157]

623 [α 173]

1831 [α 472]

1837 [α 192]

1891 [α 62]

256 [α 216]

462 [α 502]

38 [δ 355]

263 [δ 372]

1739 [α 78]

823 [δ 368]

c (Codex Colbertinus: saec. xii.)

B [03: δ 1] cont. 1:1-9:18: for remainder cp. cursive 293.

H [015: α 1022] cont. 1:3-8 2:11-16 3:13-18 4:12-15 10:1-7, 32-38 12:10-15 13:24-25: mutilated fragments, at Moscow and Paris, of codex Coislinianus.

M [0121: α 1031] cont. 1:1-4:3 12:20-13:25.

N [0122: α 1030] cont. 5:8-6:10.

W [I] cont. 1:1-3, 9-12. 2:4-7, 12-14. 3:4-6, 14-16 4:3-6, 12-14 5:5-7 6:1-3, 10-13, 20 7:1-2, 7-11, 18-20, 27-28 8:1, 7-9 9:1-4, 9-11, 16-19, 25-27 10:5-8, 16-18, 26-29, 35-38 11:6-7, 12-15, 22-24, 31-33, 38-40 12:1, 7-9, 16-18, 25-27 13:7-9, 16-18, 23-25: NT MSS in Freer Collection, The Washington MS of the Epp. of Paul (1918), pp. 294-306. Supports Alexandrian text, and is “quite free from Western readings.”

048 [α 1] cont. 11:32-13:4. Codex Patiriensis is a palimpsest.

אԠ[01: δ 2).

1 An instance may be found in 10:33, where a corrector of D obelized the first and last letters of ὀνειδιζόμενοι and wrote over it θεατριζόμενοι. In E we get the absurd νιδιζομενοθεατοιζομενοι (cp. Gregory’s Textkritik des NT, i. 109).

P [025: α 3] cont. 1:1-12:8 12:11-13:25.

p [α 1034] cont. 2:14-5:6 10:8-11:13 11:28-12:17: Oxyrhynchus Papyri, iv. (1904) 36-48. The tendency, in 2:14-5:5, to agree with B “in the omission of unessential words and phrases … gives the papyrus peculiar value in the later chapters, where B is deficient”; thus p 13 partially makes up for the loss of B after 9:14. Otherwise the text of the papyrus is closest to that of D.

p [α 1043] cont. 9:12-19: Oxyrhynchus Papyri, viii. (1911) 11-13.

0142 [0:6].

0151 [x 21].

boh The Coptic Version of the NT in the Northern Dialect (Oxford, 1905), vol. iii. pp. 472-555.

sah The Coptic Version of the NT in the Southern Dialect (Oxford, 1920), vol. v. pp. 1-131.

442 [O 18]

999 [δ 353]

1908 [O π 103]

1288 [α 162]

424 [O 12] Hort’s 67

m m the pseudo-Augustinian Speculum.

g g codex Boernerianus.

d (Latin version of D)

e (Latin version of E)

f (Latin version of F)

r (codex Frisingensis: saec. vi., cont. 6:6-7:5 7:8-8:1 9:27-11:7)

x (codex Bodleianus: saec. ix., cont. 1:1-11:23)

1 The text of d corresponds to that of Lucifer of Cagliari (saec. iv.), who quotes 3:5-4:10 and 4:11-13 in his treatise De non conueniendo cum haereticis, xi. (CSEL., vol. xiv.). According to Harnack (Studien zur Vulgata des Hebräerbriefs, 1920) it is d, not r, which underlies the vulgate (cp. J. Belser on “die Vulgata u. der Griech. Text im Hebräerbrief,” in Theolog. Quartalschrift, 1906, pp. 337-369).

am (Codex Amiatinus: saec. vii.-viii.)

fuld (Codex Fuldensis: saec. vi.)

cav (Codex Cavensis: saec. ix.) Spanish

tol (Codex Toletanus: saec. viii.) Spanish

harl (Codex Harleianus: saec. viii.)

1 Yet in the archetype of the capitulation system in B Πρὸς Ἑβραίους must have stood between Galatians and Ephesians, which “is the order given in the Sahidic version of the ‘Festal letter’ of Athanasius” (Kirsopp Lake, The Text of the NT, p. 53).

vg vg Vulgate, saec. iv.

1 It rarely goes its own way, but the omission of any adjective at all with πνεύματος in 9:14 is most remarkable; so is the reading of ὐμᾶς for ἡμᾶς in 13:6 (where M Orig have one of their characteristic agreements in omitting any pronoun).

2 Mr. F. C. Conybeare kindly supplied me with a fresh collation.

69 [δ 505]

88 [α 200]

218 [δ 300]

1245 [α 158]

1611 [α 208]

1898 [α 70]

2005 [α 1436] cont. 1:1-7:2

Weiss B. Weiss, “Textkritik der paulinischen Briefe” (in Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur, vol. xiv. 3), also Der Hebräerbrief in Zeitgeschichtlicher Beleuchtung (1910).

1 The original text in one place at least (cp. on 11:4) can be restored by the help of p13 and Clement.

253 [δ 152]

Zahn Theodor Zahn’s Einleitung in das NT, §§ 45-47.

1 Some references, in the textual notes, are the usual abbreviations, like Amb = Ambrose, Ath or Athan = Athanasius, Cosm = Cosmas Indicopleustes (ed. E. O. Winstedt, Cambridge, 1909), Cyr. = Cyril of Alexandria, Euth. = Euthalius, Hil. = Hilary, Lucif. = Lucifer, Sedul. = Sedulius Scotus, Thdt. = Theodoret, Theod. = Theodore of Mopsuestia, etc.