A Transtextual Analysis of the Tabernacle Theme in the Letter to the Hebrews
Chapter 1 - Introduction -1
Chapter 1 Introduction The opening lines of the Letter to the Hebrews, “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds” (1:1–2), draw even today’s read- ers into a seemingly ongoing conversation without giving us so much as a clue to basic information about the author1 and audience of Hebrews. Lacking the typical introductory features of letters, Hebrews reads like a sermon but ends like a letter. Its literary character is defined for us by the author himself: it is a “word of exhortation” (13:22), “in the form of [a] sermon or homily …” (Bruce 1990, 25). Without the regular features of a letter stating from whom and to whom, when or why it was written and further complicated by the mention of Italy in 13:24, Hebrews continues to be an enigma. Equalled by one of his heroes, Melchizedek, whom he describes as, “[w]ithout father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life” (7:3), after centuries of scholar- ship, the identity of the author of Hebrews, besides other details, is best attested by Origen’s famous “God only knows the truth”.2 The author’s use of the Old Testament (OT) is noteworthy, in one instance he introduces a text from LXX Ps. 8 by the words “… someone has...
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