Authorship Of The Epistle To The Hebrews Again -- By: William H. Bates

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 079:313 (Jan 1922)
Article: Authorship Of The Epistle To The Hebrews Again
Author: William H. Bates


Authorship Of The Epistle To The Hebrews Again

William H. Bates

In the Bibliotheca Sacra of January, 1918, page 18, Professor Preserved Smith, writing of Luther, says: “Some of his historical and philological judgments about the books of the Bible, as that . . . Paul did not write the Epistle to the Hebrews, are undoubtedly correct.” And Professor Charles Foster Kent, of Yale, says: “The only fact definitely established is that Paul did not write it.”1

Such positiveness of assertion about a mooted question, if it does not produce conviction in one who hears it, is apt, if he cares enough about the matter, to lead him to re-examine the subject.

A number of authors have been alleged. Luther was the first to name Apollos of Act 18:24–28, and the great reformer has had quite a following. The versatile and eccentric Tertullian was the first to name Barnabas of Acts 15:35–39, and the idea was revived by Cameron, a Scotch critic of the 17th century. Clement of Rome (Phil. 4:3), and Paul’s companions, Luke (Col. 4:14) and Silas (Acts 15:40), have each been urged, and even the joint authorship of Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:26) has been proposed, a proposition that the Standard Bible Dictionary pronounces “more curious than convincing.” One Professor has gone so far as to have Priscilla irrupt alone into the domain of this Bible authorship. In an article in the Homiletic Review, March, 1913, John M. Grant of London, has this sentence: “From these many coincidences and peculiarities, I suggest the name of Nico-

demus as the probable author of the Epistle to the Hebrews.”

That Paul was the author of the Epistle was held by Irenaeus (115–190) who was a pupil of Polycarp who was a pupil of the Apostle John. This seems to be quite getting back to reliable authenticity. The same view was held by Clement of Alexandria (130–200), Origen (186–253), Dionysius (—264), Gregory Nazianzen (330–390), Eusebius (260–340) known as the “Father of Church History,” Chrysostom (347–407), Jerome (345–420), Athanasius (269–373), and many others of that early period.

The Council of Antioch (269), of Nice (325), of Laodicea (363), not to mention others, asserted the Pauline authorship.

The Alexandrian Church, the Churches of Palestine, Syria, Cappadocia, ...

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