Authorship And Canonicity Of The Epistle To The Hebrews -- By: J. Henry Thayer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 024:96 (Oct 1867)
Article: Authorship And Canonicity Of The Epistle To The Hebrews
Author: J. Henry Thayer


Authorship And Canonicity Of The Epistle To The Hebrews

Rev. J. Henry Thayer

[The following Article consists of extracts from lectures, introductory to the study of the Epistle to the Hebrews, which were delivered to the Junior Class in Andover Theological Seminary during the past term. They are published by request, and without material alteration. In them the author has attempted little more than to collect the scattered evidence in the case, and to present it fairly].

In investigating the authorship of this Epistle, we must remember that as the writer has not told us his name, nor afforded us any means of ascertaining it beyond a doubt, and as there is no uniform and unbroken tradition on the subject, we must content ourselves with the balance of probabilities. Our conclusion must of necessity be built up of indirect and incidental evidence.

A. Among the general and admitted characteristics of the author are the following:

1. He does not study to conceal his name; he assumes that he is known to his readers: cf 13:18, “Pray for us,” etc. 19, “That I may the sooner be restored to you.” 22, sq. “Timothy has been set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you,” etc.

2. He was one of the distinguished teachers of apostolic times. This is proved by the fact that he writes to an entire church (apparently) — indeed by the general tone of the Epistle.

3. He was a born Jew; — the whole tenor of the Epistle puts this past question.

4. He was not one of those who heard the Lord in person; but, in common with his readers, received the gospel mediately, from those who were ear-witnesses; cf. 2:3.

5. He was intimate with Timothy, the faithful friend and companion of Paul (13:23).

B. The last-mentioned characteristic of the author (namely, intimacy with Timothy), is on£ of the signs which the Epistle is thought to afford that it was written by Paul. This opinion let us examine, considering first the internal and then the external arguments in reference to it.

Internal arguments in favor of Paul as its author: These may be comprised under three heads :

1. Pacts or allusions contained in the Epistle:

a. In 10:34 the text, ...

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