Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Lecture on the Authorship of Hebrews

Next week I'm scheduled to give a lecture at Liberty University. The subject, of all things, is "The Pauline Authorship of Hebrews." I'm always surprised when schools want me to lecture on this topic, given its strangeness and idiosyncrasy. I always thought that most people weren't even faintly interested in such a mundane matter. I was wrong. 

I recall once lecturing on Pauline authorship at a seminary in Washington, DC. A Catholic seminary, of course. Protestants by and large have already settled the matter in their minds -- the letter is certainly not Paul's in any way, shape, or form. But the Roman Catholics have tended to hang on to traditional interpretations of authorship a lot longer than their Protestant counterparts. The students responded positively to my new ideas, which, of course, are really the old ideas presented in a new way. I also once gave this little talk at the University of Oxford. I remember the students loving my lecture -- they had never heard such a "radical" idea before -- but I was more or less endured by the faculty, who seemed to shake their heads at what was being said. I was certainly making waves, but it's not like Regent's Park College didn't know what they were getting themselves into. I was also scheduled to lecture in Scotland, but the train tracks were flooded and thus my adventure in the UK came to an end. 

I came away from that trip convinced that my view was a threat to the religious consensus, even though I believe it is academically strong enough to hold its head up anywhere. We shall see how things go next week. My host is one of my former students who ended up getting his doctorate in New Testament in the UK and who now teaches full-time at Liberty. He has become quite the expert on the New Testament canon, and I will be very interested to know what he thinks about the fact that Hebrews always circulated among the Pauline Corpus. I think there is real value in such discussions. 

If this sort of thing interests you, my book on this subject is available at Amazon