Thursday, September 29, 2022

"Anonymous" Does NOT Equal "Unknown"

"The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms." -- Socrates.

You may have wondered why so many people are utterly confused about the subject of the authorship of Hebrews. Often you'll hear them say, "We can never know who the author is because, after all, the letter is anonymous." 

Well, so are the four Gospels. And yet we call them "Matthew," "Mark," "Luke," and "John" do we not? There are two letters in the New Testament that are formally anonymous. They are Hebrews and -- can you guess? First John. First WHAT?? If the letter is anonymous, how in the world can we refer to it as First John

Hebrews always circulated in the early church as a Pauline epistle. It was never considered a general epistle. Our earliest manuscripts place it right after 2 Thessalonians and before Paul's pastoral epistles and Philemon. Finally, just read Hebrews chapter 13. You will discover that the readers knew exactly who the one writing to them was. 

The point? Just because a writing is formally anonymous does not mean that we can't know who the author is. "Anonymous author" does not necessarily mean "unknown author"! 

The opening of Hebrews in p46.