Saturday, February 28, 2009

Authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews: a Pauline/Lukan Perspective

I just submitted the following paper proposal titled "Authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews: a Pauline/Lukan Perspective" to the Evangelical Theological Society. I will keep our readers posted if I will be able to present this paper at this years annual ETS meeting in New Orleans, LA. Let me know what you think about my thesis. I would greatly appreciate any comments/criticisms to help make the paper as good as possible.

In this paper I will argue that the Epistle to the Hebrews was originally a sermon (or sermons) that was preached by the Apostle Paul and that Luke subsequently transcribed or collated. Since, as Acts informs us, Paul traveled with Luke for many years, there was ample time and opportunity for Luke to hear and transcribe or collate Paul’s preaching. This hypothesis would best explain such early manuscript evidence as P46, which includes Hebrews within the Pauline corpus and such early church fathers as Clement, who holds to Pauline authorship of Hebrews. In addition, this hypothesis would explain the Epistle’s difference in style and vocabulary from the rest of the Pauline corpus. Since Luke’s Greek style is sophisticated, he is a prime candidate for the person who penned Hebrews, whose Greek style is also sophisticated. Further, the fact that Hebrews was originally a sermon would explain the notable absence of any salutation, which is customary for Paul’s other letters. The method for proving this position will be to examine the sermonic material recorded by Luke in Acts and comparing it to Hebrews. Further, the unique Greek style and vocabulary that is found in Hebrews will be compared with Luke’s other material, Luke/Acts.


  1. Interesting thesis, Josh. Of course, any thesis that advocates Pauline authorship of Hebrews has to deal with 2:3. Have you read Owen's excellent treatment and anticipation of modern objections? It is rather telling that no modern author of which I'm aware has dealt seriously with Owen's arguments.

  2. Lane,

    I will be dealing with Hebrews 2:3 in the paper. I have not read Owen on the subject yet. I am waiting to do the bulk of my research after the paper is excepted by ETS. But I will be sure to look at Owen. I assume, based on your comment, that he takes a Pauline authorship. Is this right?

  3. Do you find the Greek in Hebrews to be similar to that in the Gospel of Luke or the Book of Acts?


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