Use of the Old Testament in Hebrews

A Case Study in Early Jewish Bible Interpretation

By Susan E. Docherty
May 2009
J.C.B. Mohr, Germany
ISBN: 9783161499043
249 Pages
$115.00 paper original

Susan Docherty argues that the Letter to the Hebrews can be better understood if it is read seriously as an example of first century Jewish biblical interpretation. Her study therefore engages with the question of the date and implications of the "parting of the ways" between early Judaism and Christianity, and then introduces the reader to some of the highly sophisticated contemporary aproaches to analyzing the exegetical techniques present in the Jewish midrashim. These methods are applied to two sections of Hebrews in which the citation and interpretation of the Old Testament is central to the author's argument, the catena of citations in Hebrews chapter 1 and the sustained exegesis of a longer scriptural text in chapters 3-4.

This results in a new and more precise explanation of the interpretative techniques at work in Hebrews, and of the often neglected question of the underlying axioms they reveal about the nature of scripture. A full discussion is also included of the variety of Septuagintal sources underlying the citations in these chapters. This study therefore seeks to make a contribution to an understanding of exegetical methods and principles in Hebrews and more widely in Second Temple Judaism, and its findings can potentially be applied to other NT and early Christian writings.

Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. Reihe 260
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