Friday, May 28, 2010

In Store Now - Lukan Authorship of Hebrews

My reading list for this three-day weekend is getting longer and longer.  We just received the Lukan Authorship of Hebrews by David L. Allen.  This is part of the NAC Studies in Bible and Theology from B&H Academic.  I was looking forward to reading this because it is a subject I've not spent much time on but after reading the introduction I'm even more fascinated by Allen's thesis.  Here's how he puts it:
"I am suggesting more than Lukan authorship of Hebrews, although that is indeed the primary argument.  I am approaching the entire subject from a paradigm composed of several hypotheses: Luke wrote Luke-Acts; he was a traveling companion of Paul; he wrote Luke-Acts prior to AD 70; his ethnic background is Jewish; the recipient of Luke-Acts was Theophilus, a former Jewish high priest who served in Jerusalem from AD 37-41 and was deposed by Herod Agrippa; and the recipients of Hebrews were former Jewish priests who converted to Christianity and fled to Syrian Antioch during the persecution following Stephen's martyrdom.  Virtually all of these hypotheses, with the exception of the first, could be proven wrong and yet Luke still be the author of Hebrews.  The merits of the case for Lukan authorship should be judged primarily on the more tangible linguistic and theological evidence presented in chaps. 3-5." (p. 8)
If you're like me the thing that surprised me the most was the notion that Luke was not Gentile.  Indeed, Allen says earlier,
"In my estimation, the primary reason Luke has not been considered seriously is the presumption he was a Gentile, while the author of Hebrews was apparently a Jew.  For centuries, the paradigm in New Testament studies that Luke was a Gentile has been axiomatic, as can be seen by any cursory reading of commentaries on Luke-Acts.  However, within Lukan studies today, there is no such consensus regarding Luke's background.  As will be demonstrated, there is much evidence to suggest Luke was a Hellenistic Jew whose writings exhibit both Jewish and Greek characteristics." (pp. 6-7)
I can't wait to dig into this.  The Lukan Authorship of Hebews is a hardcover with 418 pages and sells for $24.99.

David L. Allen is dean of the School of Theology, professor of Preaching, and director of the Center of Biblical Preaching at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

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