Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Situation of Hebrews

Teaching Hebrews again. I don't suppose I've posted very often on the situation. Here's a summary of situation thoughts:

  • male
  • highly educated (one use of Scripture in Heb. 13 is only found elsewhere in Philo)
  • probably Hellenistic Jew
  • not an apostle, not likely Paul
  • possibly in Pauline circle
  • Rome has most votes ("those from Italy" send greetings back; first shows up in Clement of Rome; most known persecutions in Rome)
  • Some think Asia Minor, perhaps making connection with Colossians
  • Jerusalem was traditional, but rarely suggested today
  • Greek speaking, Septuagint using
  • have been believers for some time
  • went through a previous crisis (if Rome, either Claudius explusion or Nero persecution)
  • founding leaders probably martyred (13:7, if Rome makes post-Nero most likely)
  • struggling with atonement anxiety (most thus say audience Jewish, but Gentile can't be as easily ruled out here as one might think at first)
  • are demoralized, fatigued, perhaps ramping up to new crisis, are stopping to gather together (Schenck suggests post-temple destruction is a good candidate)
  • Schenck thinks the beginning things they need to relearn in 6 are not things a Jew would learn when believing on Christ, concludes the audience is primarily Gentile
  • If Rome, post-Nero, then post-temple destruction fits best
  • can't be too late if Timothy is Timothy


andrewbourne said...

No disrespect why male?

Ken Schenck said...

Self-referential masculine singular participle at 11:32. I have no problem at all in theory with the author of Hebrews being female... only difficulty in terms of the evidence.

Marc said...

Great overview! I'd be keen to see your situational view on Romans. To me it's clearly written to Jews but apparently the title seems to make everyone think it was written to Gentiles.