This commentary on the Letter to the Hebrews envisages the recipients of the letter as a community that has embraced the Christian message but is beginning to question its adequacy to meet their spiritual needs. They have given up the richness of Jewish ritual and cultic tradition for a way of life that lacks the venerable symbols and institutions they had previously valued.
Gordon highlights the arguments and rhetorical strategies the author uses to counter this feeling of ‘cultic deficit’ as he draws attention to what they actually possess in consequence of their Christian commitment.
The Letter to the Hebrews has particular contemporary relevance today because, in warning the community against ‘going back’, the author implies that Christianity has superseded their ancestral Jewish faith. That may seem a slight on the religion ‘superseded’, but Gordon points out that Judaism itself, as well as Christianity, represents a significant break with the religion of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Jewish–Christian dialogue would profit from being conducted in that light.
For this Second Edition, the author has written an additional Introduction, and the pagination of this edition differs from that of the first.
Robert P. Gordon is Regius Professor of Hebrew in the University of Cambridge
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||Robert P. Gordon|
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