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  #1  
Old Oct 29, '09, 11:58 am
Seeker Seeker is offline
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Default NT Book of Hebrews

Yesterday I was listening to a debate by an evangelical Christian (James White) and Muslim (Shabbir Ally) on whether or not Christ died by Crucifixion, and in typical muslim style of apologetics, Shabbir Ally trying to prove to James White that even though the NT clearly states Jesus died on the cross, thus refuting the claim in the Quran, Shabbir Ally uses the corruption of the Bible/reliability of the Bible card. So he asked James White, who wrote to the Book of Hebrews, and James White replied and said he does not know. Taken by surprise, i went and did some online research and found out that James White was right, Christian scholars; both conservative and liberal are in agreement that there is no author attributed to the Book of Hebrews. There is speculation that Paul wrote it, Luke, Barnabas, Pricilla (don't know who she is).

The above leads me to my questions.
1. If we don't know who wrote the book of Hebrews, then how do we know if it is inspired, i.e. GOD Breathe?
2. What was the process according to the Catholic Church to determine canonicity of the books in the NT?

Thanks

Seeker
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  #2  
Old Oct 29, '09, 1:38 pm
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Randy Carson Randy Carson is offline
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Default Re: NT Book of Hebrews

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
Yesterday I was listening to a debate by an evangelical Christian (James White) and Muslim (Shabbir Ally) on whether or not Christ died by Crucifixion, and in typical muslim style of apologetics, Shabbir Ally trying to prove to James White that even though the NT clearly states Jesus died on the cross, thus refuting the claim in the Quran, Shabbir Ally uses the corruption of the Bible/reliability of the Bible card. So he asked James White, who wrote to the Book of Hebrews, and James White replied and said he does not know. Taken by surprise, i went and did some online research and found out that James White was right, Christian scholars; both conservative and liberal are in agreement that there is no author attributed to the Book of Hebrews. There is speculation that Paul wrote it, Luke, Barnabas, Pricilla (don't know who she is).

The above leads me to my questions.
1. If we don't know who wrote the book of Hebrews, then how do we know if it is inspired, i.e. GOD Breathe?
2. What was the process according to the Catholic Church to determine canonicity of the books in the NT?

Thanks

Seeker
Short answer: because an infallible Church says so.

Longer answer:

Proving Inspiration
http://www.catholic.com/library/Proving_Inspiration.asp

Really long answer:

WHERE WE GOT THE BIBLE: OUR DEBT TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
By Rev. Henry G. Graham
http://www.catholicapologetics.info/...ism/wbible.htm
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  #3  
Old Oct 29, '09, 4:40 pm
diggerdomer diggerdomer is offline
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Default Re: NT Book of Hebrews

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
Yesterday I was listening to a debate by an evangelical Christian (James White) and Muslim (Shabbir Ally) on whether or not Christ died by Crucifixion, and in typical muslim style of apologetics, Shabbir Ally trying to prove to James White that even though the NT clearly states Jesus died on the cross, thus refuting the claim in the Quran, Shabbir Ally uses the corruption of the Bible/reliability of the Bible card. So he asked James White, who wrote to the Book of Hebrews, and James White replied and said he does not know. Taken by surprise, i went and did some online research and found out that James White was right, Christian scholars; both conservative and liberal are in agreement that there is no author attributed to the Book of Hebrews. There is speculation that Paul wrote it, Luke, Barnabas, Pricilla (don't know who she is).

The above leads me to my questions.
1. If we don't know who wrote the book of Hebrews, then how do we know if it is inspired, i.e. GOD Breathe?
2. What was the process according to the Catholic Church to determine canonicity of the books in the NT?

Thanks

Seeker
1. Because it was found to be true, useful, and coherent with Apostolic tradition by the early Church.
2. Criteria for writings that were decided to be canonical (i.e. Scripture):

1. Apostolic Origin - attributed to and/or based on the preaching/teaching of the first-generation apostles.
2. Universal Acceptance - acknowledged by all major Christian communities in the Mediterranean world.
3. Liturgical Use - read publicly when early Christians gathered worship.
4. Consistent Message - containing theological ideas compatible with other accepted Christian teachings
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  #4  
Old Oct 30, '09, 8:34 pm
BerhaneSelassie BerhaneSelassie is offline
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Default Re: NT Book of Hebrews

St Paul is the author of Hebrews, the council of Trent says so and so do many of the Early Church Fathers, people say the theology is clearly Pauline, but the reason they suspect it is not St Paul is because of the language and style is somewhat more elegant. St Jerome explained that St Paul had wrote Hebrews in Aramaic and had it translated into Greek, according to Eusebius this translator was St Luke, who was more elegant in his writing, and so Hebrews resemble's St Luke's work of Acts of the Apostles.

for more evidence St Paul is the original writer:

“Many of the believing Jews in Palestine had been deprived of all their goods, and scattered over the world, as he [St Paul] mentions in the Epistle to the Hebrews”—St John Chrysostom, Commentary on Galatians 2:10

“He wrote nine epistles to seven churches: To the Romans one, To the Corinthians two, To the Galatians one, To the Ephesians one, To the Philippians one, To the Colossians one, To the Thessalonians two; and besides these to his disciples, To Timothy two, To Titus one, To Philemon one. [13 total so far] The epistle which is called the Epistle to the Hebrews is not considered his, on account of its difference from the others in style and language, but it is reckoned, either according to Tertullian to be the work of Barnabas, or according to others, to be by Luke the Evangelist or Clement afterwards bishop of the church at Rome, who, they say, arranged and adorned the ideas of Paul in his own language, though to be sure, since Paul was writing to Hebrews and was in disrepute among them he may have omitted his name from the salutation on this account. He being a Hebrew wrote Hebrew, that is his own tongue and most fluently while the things which were eloquently written in Hebrew [ie Aramaic] were more eloquently turned into Greek and this is the reason why it seems to differ from other epistles of Paul….Gaius, bishop of Rome, in the time of Zephyrinus, that is, in the reign of Antoninus, the son of Severus, delivered a very notable disputation Against Proculus, the follower of Montanus, convicting him of temerity in his defence of the new prophecy, and in the same volume also enumerating only thirteen epistles of Paul, says that the fourteenth, which is now called, To the Hebrews, is not by him, and is not considered among the Romans to the present day as being by the apostle Paul.”—St Jerome On Illustrious Men Chapters 15 & 59

“The apostle Paul writes to seven churches (for the eighth epistle—that to the Hebrews—is not generally counted in with the others).”—St Jerome, Letter 53

“Paul's fourteen epistles are well known and undisputed. It is not indeed right to overlook the fact that some have rejected the Epistle to the Hebrews, saying that it is disputed by the church of Rome, on the ground that it was not written by Paul. But what has been said concerning this epistle by those who lived before our time I shall quote in the proper place.”—Eusebius, Church History Book III Chapter 2

“Thus Ignatius has done in the epistles which we have mentioned, and Clement in his epistle which is accepted by all, and which he wrote in the name of the church of Rome to the church of Corinth. In this epistle he gives many thoughts drawn from the Epistle to the Hebrews, and also quotes verbally some of its expressions, thus showing most plainly that it is not a recent production…. For as Paul had written to the Hebrews in his native tongue, some say that the evangelist Luke, others that this Clement himself, translated the epistle.”—Eusebius, Church History Book III Chapter 38

“He [Clement of Alexandria] says that the Epistle to the Hebrews is the work of Paul, and that it was written to the Hebrews in the Hebrew language; but that Luke translated it carefully and published it for the Greeks, and hence the same style of expression is found in this epistle and in the Acts.”—Eusebius, Church History Book VI Chapter 13

“In addition he [Origen] makes the following statements in regard to the Epistle to the Hebrews in his Homilies upon it: "That the verbal style of the epistle entitled 'To the Hebrews,' is not rude like the language of the apostle, who acknowledged himself 'rude in speech' [2 Corinthians 11:6] that is, in expression; but that its diction is purer Greek, anyone who has the power to discern differences of phraseology will acknowledge.”—Eusebius Church History Chapter 26 on Origen

“As Luke also may be recognized by the style, both to have composed the Acts of the Apostles, and to have translated Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews.”—Fragments of St Clement of Alexandria Chapter 1 last line

“And he says that the Epistle to the Hebrews is Paul's, and was written to the Hebrews in the Hebrew language; but that Luke, having carefully translated it, gave it to the Greeks, and hence the same coloring in the expression is discoverable in this Epistle and the Acts; and that the name" Paul an Apostle" was very properly not prefixed, for, he says, that writing to the Hebrews, who were prejudiced against him and suspected, he with great wisdom did not repel them in the beginning by putting down his name….And now, as the blessed Presbyter used to say, since the Lord, as the Apostle of the Almighty, was sent to the Hebrews, Paul, as having been sent to the Gentiles, did not subscribe himself apostle of the Hebrews, out of modesty and reverence for the Lord, and because, being the herald and apostle of the Gentiles, his writing to the Hebrews was something over and above [his assigned function.]”—Eusebius on Clement of Alexandria, Ecclesiastical History, VI. 14.

[Eusebius aware of the arguments for and against Hebrew’ source states]: “such as are contained in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and in many others of Paul's Epistles.”—Eusebius Church History Book II, Chapter 17 on Philo
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  #5  
Old Oct 30, '09, 8:38 pm
BerhaneSelassie BerhaneSelassie is offline
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Default Re: NT Book of Hebrews

fourteen epistles of Paul the apostle, (one) to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, (one) to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to the Philippians, to the Colossians, two to the Thessalonians, two to Timothy, (one) to Titus, to Philemon, to the Hebrews--Council of Trent, 4th session
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  #6  
Old Oct 30, '09, 8:54 pm
diggerdomer diggerdomer is offline
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Default Re: NT Book of Hebrews

Quote:
Originally Posted by BerhaneSelassie View Post
fourteen epistles of Paul the apostle, (one) to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, (one) to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to the Philippians, to the Colossians, two to the Thessalonians, two to Timothy, (one) to Titus, to Philemon, to the Hebrews--Council of Trent, 4th session
The Catholic Church does not assert Paul is the author. Note when Hebrews is read at Mass the lector/reader does not say a reading from "Paul's letter to the Hebrews" but simply "Hebrews." The Church didn't stop learning since Trent.
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  #7  
Old Oct 30, '09, 9:20 pm
thistle thistle is offline
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Default Re: NT Book of Hebrews

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
Yesterday I was listening to a debate by an evangelical Christian (James White) and Muslim (Shabbir Ally) on whether or not Christ died by Crucifixion, and in typical muslim style of apologetics, Shabbir Ally trying to prove to James White that even though the NT clearly states Jesus died on the cross, thus refuting the claim in the Quran, Shabbir Ally uses the corruption of the Bible/reliability of the Bible card. So he asked James White, who wrote to the Book of Hebrews, and James White replied and said he does not know. Taken by surprise, i went and did some online research and found out that James White was right, Christian scholars; both conservative and liberal are in agreement that there is no author attributed to the Book of Hebrews. There is speculation that Paul wrote it, Luke, Barnabas, Pricilla (don't know who she is).

The above leads me to my questions.
1. If we don't know who wrote the book of Hebrews, then how do we know if it is inspired, i.e. GOD Breathe?
2. What was the process according to the Catholic Church to determine canonicity of the books in the NT?

Thanks

Seeker
This is a good website about the Development of the Canon of the New Testament.

http://www.ntcanon.org/
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  #8  
Old Oct 30, '09, 10:43 pm
Fidelis Fidelis is offline
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Default Re: NT Book of Hebrews

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
The above leads me to my questions.
1. If we don't know who wrote the book of Hebrews, then how do we know if it is inspired, i.e. GOD Breathe?

Thanks

Seeker
There are many books of the Bible who's author is unknown to us. Wwe can speculate about their authorship (and tradition and scholarship has indeed done so), but the text itself does not say (Even the names of the 4 Gospels have either title or authorship as part of the text itself. We only know from Sacred Tradition what to call them and that they are inspired). OT books that I can think of from the top of my head include:

1. Job
2. Jonah
3. Ruth
4. Esther

Not knowing the authors of these books does not make them any less inspired for us.

As Randy said, it is only because the Church says so do we what is in the inspired canon of the Bible and that all it contains is inspired. This goes for Protestants as well as Catholics: "We acknowledge we would know nothing of the Scriptures were it not for the Papists [i.e. the Catholic Church]." -- Martin Luther
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  #9  
Old Oct 31, '09, 1:02 am
BerhaneSelassie BerhaneSelassie is offline
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Default Re: NT Book of Hebrews

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Originally Posted by diggerdomer View Post
The Catholic Church does not assert Paul is the author. Note when Hebrews is read at Mass the lector/reader does not say a reading from "Paul's letter to the Hebrews" but simply "Hebrews." The Church didn't stop learning since Trent.
What are you talking about, Trent did say Paul was the author. What does the Church "learning" have to do with anything? People always questioned who wrote Hebrews, but Trent said it was Pauline, the book is obviously Pauline, no one ever denied that, but did Paul pen it, Trent seems to say yes. Saying the Church is learning almost sounds like new doctrines can be made.

Quote:
There is speculation that Paul wrote it, Luke, Barnabas, Pricilla (don't know who she is).
Barnabas was ordained with Paul and traveled with him at times, Priscilla and Aquila were Roman Jews who were also close to Paul and are mentioned by him in his epistles, Luke was also close to Paul since Luke narrates Paul's conversion and he also at times was with Paul. Even St Clement of Rome was mentioned and he too was believed to be close to Paul and possibly mentioned by him. All the suspected writers were close to Paul, Hebrews even mention St Timothy, was a favorite of Paul.

I posted many Fathers that said Hebrews was a work of ST Paul.
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  #10  
Old Oct 31, '09, 6:35 am
Fidelis Fidelis is offline
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Default Re: NT Book of Hebrews

I should hasten to add after my Post above that, personally, I think there is more reason to believe that Paul was the author (if not the writer) of Hebrews than to not believe it. The reasoning I've heard from modern scholars for believing it was authored by someone other than Paul just isn't all that convincing. I would believe ancient Church tradition from those closer to the time of the events before I would believe modern scholars. They aren't the Magisterium. They aren't always right on things,and todays therories, always subject to change, are of not much value that those of 100 years ago.

When leading Bible studies on Hebrews, I always refer to the author as Paul. Even if I am ultimately wrong on this, it harms no one or their salvation or their understanding of the Scriptures. Besides, it makes those who woodenly follow modern scholarship mad.
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  #11  
Old Oct 31, '09, 3:43 pm
diggerdomer diggerdomer is offline
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Default Re: NT Book of Hebrews

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Originally Posted by BerhaneSelassie View Post
What are you talking about, Trent did say Paul was the author. What does the Church "learning" have to do with anything? People always questioned who wrote Hebrews, but Trent said it was Pauline, the book is obviously Pauline, no one ever denied that, but did Paul pen it, Trent seems to say yes. Saying the Church is learning almost sounds like new doctrines can be made.
You're free to think Paul wrote Hebrews. The Church does not require anyone to believe that and most scholars today do not think Paul wrote it, which the Church is ok with.

Note this paragraph from the Pontifical Biblical Commission's "Interpretation of the Bible in the Church:

Quote:
It is in the light of the events of Easter that the authors of the New Testament read anew the Scriptures of the Old. The Holy Spirit, sent by the glorified Christ (cf Jn. 15:26; 16:7), led them to discover the spiritual sense. While this meant that they came to stress more than ever the prophetic value of the Old Testament, it also had the effect of relativizing very considerably its value as a system of salvation. This second point of view, which already appears in the Gospels (cf. Mt. 11:11-13 and parallels; 12:41-42 and parallels; Jn. 4:12-14; 5:37; 6:32), emerges strongly in certain Pauline letters as well as in the Letter to the Hebrews. Paul and the author of the Letter to the Hebrews show that the Torah itself, insofar as it is revelation, announces its own proper end as a legal system (cf. Gal. 2:15-5:1; Rom. 3:20-21; 6:14; Heb. 7:1119; 10:8-9). It follows that the pagans who adhere to faith in Christ need not be obliged to observe all the precepts of biblical law, from now on reduced in its entirety simply to the status of a legal code of a particular people. But in the Old Testament as the word of God they have to find the spiritual sustenance that will assist them to discover the full dimensions of the paschal mystery which now governs their lives (cf Lk. 24:25-27, 44-45; Rom. 1: 1-2)..

Clearly there's a preference to speak of Hebrews as not authored by Paul here. Again, though, Catholics are free to agree or not that Paul wrote Hebrews. Let's not pretend otherwise.
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