Hebrews in Contexts


Scholars of Hebrews have repeatedly echoed the almost proverbial saying that the book appears to its reader as a "Melchizedekian being without genealogy". For such scholars the aphorism identified prominent traits of Hebrews, its enigma, its otherness, its marginality. Although Franz Overbeck might unintentionally have stimulated such correlations, they do not represent what his dictum originally meant. Writing during the high noon of historicism in 1880, Overbeck lamented a lack of historical context, one that he had deduced on the basis of flawed presuppositions of the ideological frameworks prevalent of his time. His assertion made an impact, and consequently Hebrews was not only "othered" within New Testament scholarship, its context was neglected and by some, even judged as irrelevant altogether. Understandably, the neglect created a deficit keenly felt by more recent scholarship, which has developed a particular interest in Hebrews’ contexts. Hebrews in Contexts, edited by Gabriella Gelardini and Harold W. Attridge, is an expression of this interest. It gathers authors who explore extensively on Hebrews’ relations to other early traditions and texts (Jewish, Hellenistic, and Roman) in order to map Hebrews’ historical, cultural, and religious identity in greater, and perhaps surprising detail.

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Gabriella Gelardini is Associate Professor of New Testament (Privatdozentin) at the Theological Faculty of the University of Basel. Apart from numerous lexicon articles, essays, and short entries on Hebrews, her publications on the Epistle include, "Verhärtet eure Herzen nicht": Der Hebräer, eine Synagogenhomilie zu Tischa be-Aw (Brill, 2007) and the edited volume Hebrews: Contemporary Methods—New Insights (Brill, 2005; SBL, 2008).

Harold W. Attridge is the Sterling Professor of Divinity at Yale University Divinity School. He is the author of a commentary on Hebrews (Hermeneia, 1989) and numerous essays on the Epistle.

Gabriella Gelardini and Harold W. Attridge

Part 1: Jewish Contexts

Midrash in Hebrews / Hebrews as Midrash
Daniel Boyarin

Jewish and Christian Theology from the Hebrew Bible: The Concept of Rest and Temple in the Targumim, Hebrews, and the Old Testament
Daniel E. Kim

Moses as Priest and Apostle in Hebrews 3:1–6
John Lierman

Hebrews and Second Temple Jewish Traditions on the Origins of Angels
Eric F. Mason

Part 2: Greco-Roman and Empire-Critical Contexts

“You Have Become Dull of Hearing”: Hebrews 5:11 and the Rhetoric of Religious Entrepreneurs
Fritz Graf

Starting Sacrifice in the Beyond: Flavian Innovations in the Concept of Priesthood and Their Reflections in the Treatise “To the Hebrews”
Jörg Rüpke

“For Here We Have No Lasting City” (Heb 13:14a): Flavian Iconography, Roman Imperial Sacrificial Iconography, and the Epistle to the Hebrews
Harry O. Maier

The God of Peace and His Victorious King: Hebrews 13:20–21 in Its Roman Imperial Context
Jason A. Whitlark

Part 3: Spatial Contexts

Critical Spatiality and the Book of Hebrews
Jon L. Berquist

The Body of Jesus Outside the Eternal City: Mapping Ritual Space in the Epistle to the Hebrews
Ellen Bradshaw Aitken

Charting “Outside the Camp” with Edward W. Soja: Critical Spatiality and Hebrews 13
Gabriella Gelardini

An Archaeology of Hebrews’ Tabernacle Imagery
Kenneth Schenck

Serving in the Tabernacle in Heaven: Sacred Space, Jesus’s High-Priestly Sacrifice, and Hebrews’ Analogical Theology
David M. Moffitt

Part 4: Reception-Historical and Hermeneutical Contexts

Jesus the Incarnate High Priest: Intracanonical Readings of Hebrews and John
Harold W. Attridge

“In Many and Various Ways”: Theological Interpretation of Hebrews in the Modern Period
Craig R. Koester

Stumbling Block or Stepping Stone? On the Reception History of Hebrews 8:13
Jesper Svartvik

Ritual and Religion, Sacrifice and Supersession: A Utopian Reading of Hebrews
Pamela Eisenbaum

Hebrews and the Discourse of Judeophobia
Ekkehard W. Stegemann and Wolfgang Stegemann

Index of Modern Authors
Index of Scripture and Other Ancient Sources
In accordance with the concept of this book its authors include not only experts in New Testament scholarship but also of specialists in Hebrew Bible, Second Temple Judaism, Talmud, and Classics. Accordingly, this volume will be of interest not only for students of Hebrews and the New Testament but also for colleagues engaged in those other subject areas.