Did Paul write Hebrews?


#1

I know the authorship of Hebrews in the New Testament is debated by scholars but I’m confused why the CC is sure it’s Paul (or someone writing for Paul) and why most Protestants will just admit they don’t know. Is it the because of sacred tradition the CC has a better insight?

The statement that Protestants will admit they don’t know is just a general statement and I only get that from commentaries in study bibles and from what I’ve heard Protestant pastors say. I heard a Baptist (KJVonlyist) pastor say the author of Hebrews is a mystery (maybe quoting Origen) but ironically the original 1611 KJV has Paul as writing it.
If you take the Protestant stance that the author is unknown how can you be sure it’s even inspired?

Just an honest question (not taking sides)


#2

Catholics are not sure who wrote Hebrews either. From the Haydock Commentary: “Others, who received this Epistle in the first ages [centuries], doubted whether it was written by St. Paul, but thought it was written by St. Barnabas, or by St. Clement, or St. Luke, or at least that St. Paul only furnished the matter and the order of it, and that St. Luke wrote it, and St. Paul afterwards read it and approved it.” haydock1859.tripod.com/id244.html


#3

Hebrews does not have any internal evidence that could give a definite date. It speaks of the Temple in the present tense as well as sacrificing which would indicate a pre-70 AD date, but then again so did Josephus (93 AD). The critical scholars reject Hebrews as Pauline because of “un-Pauline” key themes of law and faith which I personally think is absurd, seeing as it stems from a belief that Paul is strictly a proponent of faith without works, whereas we see a thematic correlation between Hebrews and Romans’ expressions of faith. The date for Hebrews is 50-96, 96 being the terminus ad quem due to I Clement. Personally I believe Paul wrote Hebrews because they key themes ARE related, and if there is any difference it is because his audience is Jews and not gentiles for once. Of course, I haven’t checked out the stylistics arguments.

Arguments for none are decisive, and Origen’s judgment that “God only knows” who composed the work is sound.


#4

Some have thought Apollos (acts 18:24-28) was the author.


#5

As in many issues, the Catholic Chuch has no official position on the authorship of Paul. It is something for biblical scholars to peruse. What the Church does insist upon is the apostolic authorship of all the NT writings. Traditionally, the authorship of Hebrews has been ascribed to Paul.

The letter to the Hebrews appears in the New Testament after the thirteen Pauline letters and before the seven catholic letters. Early tradition, in the main, attributed this text to Paul, but the western Church did not accept its Pauline authorship until the fourth century; and even in the east some (including Clement of Alexandria and Origen) had reservations about whether its literary style coincided with Paul’s.

Internal examination of the text does show that it is in many ways different from the rest of Paul’s writings. For example, it is more elegant, more eloquent, it does not carry the usual greeting and introduction, and it does not quote Scripture in the way Paul does. Its doctrine is Pauline but the way it is expounded makes it difficult to attribute its direct authorship to Paul. The letter’s canonicity is not in doubt; it was included in the canon by the Council of Trent (8 April 1546) among the other writings of Paul, although the Council chose not to state categorically that it was written by Paul.

The Pontifical Biblical Communion, in a decree issued on April 24, 1914, reaffirmed its canonicity. It answered the question, “Has the apostle Paul to be regarded as the author of this letter in the sense that not only must one hold that he conceived it and expressed it under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but that he gave it the form in which it has come down to us?” Its reply was, “No, not unless the Church decides so in the future.” This is probably why there is no direct reference to Paul as author of this letter in recent liturgical books. However, Paul can be regarded as the indirect author of Hebrews. Researchers are free to explore this matter.

Some scholars think it may have been written by Barnabas or Silas, disciples of Paul; others suggest Apollos, an Alexandrian Jew noted for his eloquence (ct. Acts 18 24:28), in view of the way it quotes the Old Testament and its beautiful style and language. In any event, this is a secondary question which has nothing to do with matters of faith.
catholic.com/thisrock/1992/9211ntg.asp

To me, since it can’t be ruled out, and tradition usually has at least some basis in fact, I always refer to the writer of Hebrews as Paul. Unless the Church says I can’t (an unlikely prospect), I’ll continue to do so.


#6

When Hebrews is read at Mass, the reader says “A reading from the letter to the Hebrews” without any mention of an author’s name.


#7

There is some debate about whether it is Paul because it is a little different than Pauls epistles. But on the other hand there are many similarities to the epistle to the Galatians.


#8

We had a reading from Hebrews in the Daily Mass recently, and the Lector said “A reading from the letter OF PAUL to the Hebrews”. I was a little surprised when the Lector said this.


#9

I’m surprised too.


closed #10

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