To the Editor of Bibliotheca Sacra -- By: Anonymous
BSac 79:314 (April 1922) p. 209
To the Editor of Bibliotheca Sacra
Judge Of The Ninth Judicial District Rugby, N. D.
In the January, 1922, issue of your Quarterly I find an interesting note on the Authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews, by Rev. Wm. H. Bates, D. D. In this note Dr. Bates cites the Second Epistle of Peter to show that Paul had written an epistle to the Hebrews, and, on page 95, he says, in substance that this citation and its inference has been overlooked in Commentaries, etc., so far as he knows, Doubtless this is correct, and his deduction is another instance how the minds of Biblical Scholars will agree, without suggestion. His statement, however, called to my mind the argument of the writer Gaussen of Geneva in his Canon of the Holy Scriptures—a book published in 1862, and which is among the old books of my father’s library. It is a book he used in his theological studies in Scotland and which I find of great interest today. This argument of Dr. Bates’ is set forth by Gaussen on page 327 of that book, as one of the numerous arguments he advances to sustain the Pauline Authorship of the Epistle. How any impartial critic can say “The case against the Pauline authorship is closed” passes my comprehension. I make no claim to linguistic scholarship; but will epitomize Prof. Gaussen’s argument and add a few reflections of my own.
The claim of an Hebrew original is largely assumption. No one ever claimed to have seen such a document, and there is no reason whatever to assume that because the letter is addressed to Hebrews therefore the Hebrew language must of necessity have been used. Greek had been spoken, even in Jerusalem, almost four centuries before,
BSac 79:314 (April 1922) p. 210
when Alexander the Great entered the city, and doubtless continued to be used. Hebrews in the days of Paul had separate synagogues for those who could not speak Hebrew—for those who spoke Greek. Dr. Gaussen says there is nothing to indicate a translation; everything bears the impress of originality.
The writer shows a thorough acquaintance with Hebrew forms and ceremonies; with the so-called legends and early history of the people. True, any scholar might be as well informed; but this does not argue against Paul’s authorship, for certainly he would know. It is a fact, however, that there are few men like Bryce, who can make themselves so familiar with the more or less obscure history of another people as to pass as a native; therefore, the author is at least as likely to have been a Jew as to have been a Gentile. Then there are passages in the Epistle where the personal pronoun is ...
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