Sunday, May 02, 2010

Grading Finals and Suicide

I was grading the finals for Hebrews class over the last few days. One surprising phenomenon was that so many students put true to the question, "Most scholars think Paul wrote Hebrews."

Now I don't know a single Hebrews scholar today who thinks Paul wrote Hebrews. In fact, I would almost discount a person as a true scholar of Hebrews if they did. I read somewhere that the last scholarly article to argue for Pauline authorship was in the 40s, and that was a pre-Vatican 2 Roman Catholic who probably almost had to.

Now it's true, I don't think Hebrews is as un-Pauline as some argued at one time, but I was left trying to explain this answer. My students are always welcome to disagree with me and also with the so called "experts." But I was surprised that they didn't even realize what most scholars thought.

Here are potential explanations. You can pick more than one.
1. I somehow completely forgot to mention this the entire semester or when I did I left the conclusion so open that they did not really get the lay of the scholarly land.

2. They were so much on Facebook that they missed this "first class" subject.

3. They think of me as so whacko out of the mainstream that they assumed that the majority of scholars would never agree with what I thought.

4. The distinction between scholar and devotional writer is so blurred that students today can't tell the difference.

Any other suggestions?


Brian Small said...

It's inexplicable, Ken. I have a question on my final exam related to authorship and Hebrews. It will be interesting to see what percentage gets that wrong.

Keith Drury said...

Don't worry--they were listening to your lectures from other classes on iPods... they got those!

Here’s a kinky question to brighten your day… “If Hebrews entered the canon on the basis of pauline authorship did the church make a right decision based on wrong information… that is, “the whereas” was wrong but the “be it resolved” was right? If so, did they miss God’s intended criterion for canonization—but He stooped to their (mistaken) criterion? Given present scholarhip on authorship what should have been the standards of canonization?

Eric said...

Paul didn't write Hebrews?

Mark Schnell said...

Are you sure about this? I took your graduate level, "Life and Ministry of Paul" class about six years ago and I'm almost sure you said he wrote Hebrews. ;-P

Brian Small said...

Maybe this guy will persuade you that Paul wrote Hebrews: