Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Hebrews, Epistle to the. The canonical authority of the Epistle, implicitly acknowledged in the references of Clemens Romanus (A.D. 70 or 95), does not seem to have been called in question till the middle of the 2nd century. From that time to the end of the 4th century it was rejected by the Roman and North African churches, which regarded it as the work of Barnabas. It was always accepted by the Greek and Eastern Churches, and, owing to the arguments of Jerome and Augustine, it was restored to the canon in the west by the 3rd Council of Carthage (397) and a decretal of Pope Innocent (416). The question of its authorship has furnished a more enduring ground for controversy. The early churches, excepting the North African, regarded it as the work of St. Paul. The Alexandrian fathers introduced the view that it was originally written or at least inspired by St. Paul, and afterwards transcribed from his dictation, or translated from Hebrew into Greek by St. Luke, and this became the general opinion of the Church. Luther, however, maintained that it was written by Apollos, and, among more recent authorities, Neander ascribes it to some unknown member of the Pauline school, and Ewald to a Jewish teacher, resident at Jerusalem. It is doubtful whether it was addressed to the native Jews of Jerusalem or Palestine alone, or to Jewish believers throughout the world; internal evidence rather favours the former view. The allusions to the Temple services show that it was written before the destruction of Jerusalem (70), and the best biblical scholars assign it to the year 63. Against the view that the Greek version is a translation from the Hebrew, Bleek maintains that the purity of the language, the character of the idioms, and the quotations from the Septuagint, show it to be an original composition.