Paul, let’s give someone else a chance to speak – Hebrews 1-2 (NTiR)

Bible and magnifying glass

I immediately noticed something different about Hebrews. It is glaringly obvious after reading the first four verses. There is no attribution for the author. I did a quick scan through the epistle to see who the author was, but there simply isn’t an attribution. Who wrote this letter? After reading the first chapter a couple of times, I have to think it isn’t Paul. It’s tone and rhythm don’t feel like any of Paul’s letters I’ve read up to this point. And the author isn’t talking about his importance in the church, which Paul did frequently.

This was a puzzle that I had to have the answer for, of course. After all, if I am going to trudge through 13 chapters in a letter, I’d better damned well know who wrote the thing. It’d be silly of me to read and write about an anonymous letter. Who’d be that foolish?

Whenever I need a fast answer or some basic research, I turn to Wikipedia. There is, of course,an article about the Epistle to the Hebrews. And for authorship of Hebrews, Wikipedia helpfully informed me that the authorship of the epistle is not known. It is an anonymous letter which, for some reason, was added as biblical canon. Apparently pretty much anyone could write a letter and get it into the bible back then.

Sorta sounds like Wikipedia, now that I think about it.

Irony!

The Epistle To the Hebrews

Chapter 1

Well, we don’t have Paul here to tell us how great he is, and how much he rejoices for having the receiver be faithful. Instead, the anonymous author decides to annoy Unitarians by making a distinct difference between God and Jesus. The author states that Jesus was the most important of all things in the universe, loved by God as His son. Sitting at god’s right hand. God did not bestow such honors on any angels or anything else he created.

From the narrative told throughout, from the Gospels through this point, I’ve gotta say that Jesus and God are separate entities. Sorry, Unitarians!

Chapter 2

You know, I am always amused when something in the bible contradicts with something else. Normally, those contradictions are done within different books, which one can understand. It’s not abnormal for two people to see things slightly differently. Or to have a different point of view months or years down the road than you have now. It’s not often when there are contradictions within the same book, though. Even rare than that: contradictions within a chapter of each other. Yet that is exactly what we see here. Compare and contrast;

Hebrews 1:5 “[He] became as much superior to the angels…”
Hebrews 2:9 “we do see someone who was made a little lower than the angels. He is Jesus…”

I am sure that someone somewhere will explain to me exactly why these two contradictory statements actually aren’t contradicting themselves at all. Until then, though, it seems contradictory to me.

Oh, the rest of the chapter can be summed up fairly quickly: Jesus is salvation, god has put everything under Jesus’s feet. God’s children will have to suffer, but this will help perfect their salvation, since Jesus also suffered. And Jesus did not come to save the angels, but “Abraham’s descendants.” ‘cuz apparently this unknown author is biased against Gentiles.

Up next: Hebrews are Jews? I knew that! Seriously….

New installments of The New Testament In Review will be posted each Tuesday and Thursday. The new posts will always be on my blog, http://biffster.org. The entire series is accessible via http://biffster.org/ntir. If you are one of my Facebook friends, you can get an advance preview on my Facebook page. You can also follow me (@biffster) on Twitter to be alerted to new posts.

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