The Epistle to the Hebrews, a marvelous piece of early Christian homiletics, makes a special contribution to the New Testament in the way it presents the meaning and significance of Christ’s life and death. That presentation uses categories and models foreign to twenty-first century readers, including priesthood, sacrifice, a cosmology that makes a sharp distinction between heaven and earth, etc. It is a critical question for modern readers of Hebrews whether the claims that our homilist advances make sense for readers of the twenty-first century. Our approach is that the homilist, properly understood, does indeed speak to contemporary Christians. The aim of this study will be to reflect on what those abiding claims are. It is our hope that the reflections in this study will aid you in your attempt to translate the important lessons this ancient book teaches into the twenty-first century.
Meet Our Professors
Harold Attridge, Sterling Professor of Divinity at Yale Divinity School, has made scholarly contributions to New Testament exegesis and to the study of Hellenistic Judaism and the history of the early Church. His publications include Essays on John and Hebrews, Hebrews: A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, First-Century Cynicism in the Epistles of Heraclitus, The Interpretation of Biblical History in the Antiquitates Judaicae of Flavius Josephus, Nag Hammadi Codex I: The Jung Codex, and The Acts of Thomas, as well as numerous book chapters and articles in scholarly journals. He holds degrees from Boston College (B.A), Cambridge University (M.A.), and Harvard University (Ph.D.).
David Bartlett, J. Edward and Ruth Cox Lantz Professor Emeritus of Christian Communication at Yale Divinity School, is the author of several books including Fact and Faith, The Shape of Scriptural Authority, Between the Bible and the Church, and What’s Good About This News? Preaching from the Gospels and Galatians. He is also the co-editor of the Westminster Bible Companion and Feasting on the Word commentary series. He holds degrees from Swarthmore College (B.A) and Yale University (B.D, Ph.D.), and is an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches, USA.