“Beyond Sex Roles”: Priscilla As The Author Of Hebrews -- By: Gilbert Bilezikian

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 31:4 (Autumn 2017)
Article: “Beyond Sex Roles”: Priscilla As The Author Of Hebrews
Author: Gilbert Bilezikian

“Beyond Sex Roles”: Priscilla As The Author Of Hebrews

Gilbert Bilezikian

Gilbert Bilezikian was born in the Armenian community of France between the World Wars. He studied at the University of Paris, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Boston University, and the University of Sorbonne in Paris. He is now Professor of New Testament Emeritus at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois. He was active in the founding of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, and has been an influential friend of CBE International since its earliest days.

Editor’s Note: Gilbert Bilezikian published the especially influential book, Beyond Sex Roles: What the Bible Says about a Woman’s Place in Church and Family, in 1985—shortly before the founding of CBE International. Second and third editions appeared in 1989 and 2006. All three were published by Baker Academic, a division of Baker Publishing Group. The third edition included an extended endnote (note 55, pp. 248-50), which we reproduce here with kind permission from both the author and the publisher.

Luther’s suggestion that Apollos is the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews has much to commend it. Should this be the case, we would be indebted to Priscilla for many of the insights contained in that great document.

Even more intriguing is the theory that Priscilla herself is the author of Hebrews (A. Harnack, A. S. Peake, O. Michel, R. Hoppin, among others).

It is not inconceivable that Priscilla had been commissioned by church leaders to address the issue of the relation of the two covenants. As a Jewish leader who had been associated with the now-deceased apostle Paul during his teaching ministry, she would be uniquely qualified to write authoritatively on an issue that they had confronted together repeatedly in their ministries to Jewish-Gentile churches. Because of the antifemale bias of the Judeo-Christian congregations, she may have been requested to write anonymously, with her identity known only by the local leaders who had given her the assignment. In this manner she would be able to address the issue from her expertise as a scholar of Jewish background, under the cover of apostolic authority derived from her close association with the apostle Paul and other worthies of the apostolic church.

In so doing, she may also have set a precedent for nonapostles such as Mark, James, and Jude, but especially for Luke, as he wrote the third Gospel and the book of Acts, both anonymous in the text but authoritative for the church on the strength of Luke’s association with Paul. This device of semi-anonymity would enable her to direct her exhortations to Christians wavering between the two covenants without her gender being an obstac...

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