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in S. Paul. Epist. ad Hebr. ex Philone Alexandrino, etc.) a list of twenty-two. And, strange to say, among them is an instance corresponding precisely to the case of verbal identity just alluded to between our Epistle and that to the Romans. In Heb. xiii. 5 we read the quotation "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." These exact words are not to be found in the Old Test. (cf. Josh. i. 5; Gen. xxviii. 15; Isa. xli. 17, and Deut. xxxi. 6, 8; 1 Chron. xxviii. 20), yet they are given identically in Philo (de confus. linguar. ed. Mang. i. 430, 26). But such agreements do not make us entertain the supposition, that the works of Philo and our Epistle had the same author.1 They are far outweighed by the probabilities on the other side. To such probabilities we must have regard in judging of the evidence that Paul wrote our Epistle.
We turn then to the internal evidence on the other side, i.e. conflicting with the opinion that the Epistle was written by Paul:
For convenience' sake it may be arranged under the same three classes (viz. personal, doctrinal, formal); which we will notice in inverse order:
1. Indications of a formal nature, conflicting with the opinion that Paul was the author:
a. Not without significance is the absence of an opening salutation; the omission of all mention of the name of author or readers; and in general the meagreness of the personal references and the treatise-like nature of the Epistle. In these respects the Epistle differs confessedly from the acknowledged productions of the apostle.
Of these differences three explanations have been offered (Hug, Einl. ii. 420 sq., Fosdick's Trans. p. 599 sq.):
(1) (Pantaenus urges) that Paul omitted the introductory formula "Paul the apostle," etc., out of modesty, because he knew himself to be distinctively an apostle to the Gentiles, and regarded the Lord himself as the "apostle " to the Hebrews (iii. 1).
1 Here, again, some (Bleek, de Wette, Lünemann) account for the coincidence by the supposition that the inspired author quotes from Philo; Delitzsch (Com. p. 669) supposes that Deut. xxxi. 6 assumed that form in the liturgic or homiletic use of the Hellenists.
But we reply, the explanation is inadequate. It merely gives us a plausible reason why Paul may have avoided calling himself "an apostle." It does not tell us why he avoided. all mention of himself. It explains the omission of the office; but it leaves unexplained the omission of the man- the chief difficulty. Had he chosen, he could have dropped "apostle," and called himself "Paul the servant of Jesus Christ," or "Paul the prisoner of Christ Jesus," or simply "Paul; " as he did, for obvious reasons, in writing to the Philippians, to Philemon, to the Thessalonians. (In reference to Paul's modes of salutation see Rückert on Gal. i. 1 or Ellicott on Phil. i. 1.)
(2) The second explanation is (that of Clement of Alexandria) that Paul concealed his authorship, at least in the first part of the Epistle, from motives of policy, in order that the readers might come to its perusal without prejudice.
But we reply:
(a) The Epistle, as we have seen, does not warrant the supposition that the writer wished to conceal himself.
(b) (In the absence of public carriers) concealment in such a case at least from those into whose hands the messenger delivered the letter-seems hardly possible.
(c) If practised by the apostle under such circumstances, it would when detected have reacted to the disadvantage of him and his epistle.
(3) A third explanation is, that a personal salutation would have been incongruous with the rhetorical character of the composition.
This is true. And this admitted, the difficulty in the case swings back upon us with all its weight. Is it probable that Paul would write in such an exceptional way? and write so to the Hebrews? Would he not have been likely to begin in this case, as in others (witness Ep. to Gal. and Cor. and his speech at Athens), by an endeavor to secure the good-will of his readers?
Now it is said, because Paul prefixed his name to other letters it was not necessary for him to do so in every case.
The explanations of the omission which have been given are unsatisfactory it must be confessed, but it does not follow that there is not some satisfactory explanation, though lying quite beyond our present knowledge or conjecture (Davidson's Introd. to N. T. iii. 210).
Very true. But we are concerned in this discussion not with possibilities, but with probabilities. And how stands the case? Here is a writing whose authorship is in dispute. It differs in its general form as well as in distinct particulars - differs undeniably from every other known composition (and there are thirteen such) of a certain author to whom it has been ascribed. And all attempts to account for the admitted differences fail. Now the question is, on which side does the probability of his being the author lie? so far as these differences go.
b. The way in which the Old Test. is employed in our Epistle differs from the mode in which it is employed by Paul; and that in three particulars.
(1) As respects the quotations themselves:
Paul quotes freely, very often from memory, apparently; but the author of our Epistle hardly allows himself, at least in the larger and more important quotations, to depart in the slightest from the sacred text. His punctilious accuracy leaves the impression that he must have verified his quotations by turning to the letter of the text.
(2) As respects the source from which the passages are taken:
Paul very often gives evidence of having had the Hebrew in mind; indeed frequently follows it, discarding the Sept. version and translating for himself. Our author, on the contrary, quotes uniformly from the Septuagint. The Epistle apparently does not contain more than a single exception to this remark (x. 30). The Sept. is followed even where its renderings depart from the Hebrew, e.g. xi. 21 (éπì tò ǎxpov τῆς ῥάβδου), xiii. 15 (καρπὸς χειλέων); it is not only followed, but employed sometimes as the foundation of the argument (e.g. x. 5; ii. 7). This variation from Pauline usage in
quotation occurs in an epistle written to Jews, and, as is commonly supposed, to Palestinean Jews.1
(3) As respects the phraseology with which they are introduced:
Paul in quoting from the Old Test. frequently gives the name of the author, as "David says," "Moses says," "Isaiah cries," etc., even though the passage quoted introduce God as speaking in the first person (e.g. Rom. x. 19, 20). Still more frequently he designates the quotation as "scripture," by the formula γέγραπται, καθὼς (ὡς) γέγραπται, κατὰ τὸ γεγραμμένον, κατὰ τὸ εἰρημένον, λέγει ἡ γραφή.
These formulas never occur in the Epistle to the Hebrews. The quotations are referred directly to God; either by using the formula" God says," and the like (and this even in passages where God is spoken of in the third person, e.g. i. 6, 7, 8; iv. 4; vii. 21; x. 30), or "the Holy Spirit says," etc. (iii. 7 ; x. 15), or by regarding Christ the Son as the speaker (ii. 11-13; x. 5, 8 sq.). There is but a single exception, ii. 6 (διεμαρτύρατο δέ που τὶς λέγων κ.τ.λ.).2
c. The Epistle exhibits characteristics of expression, characteristics both negative and positive, which indicate that it was not written by Paul.
Preliminary Remark 1. It must be remembered here, as in fact throughout, that the reasoning is cumulative; single particulars in themselves light, when taken together may constitute a weighty argument.
Preliminary Remark 2. As respects the question of authorship, the number of coincidences or of differences in expression is of far less significance than their nature.3
1 It has been noticed that the quotations of Paul from the Sept. coincide for the most part with the readings of the Vatican codex, while those of the Epistle to the Hebrews agree still more predominantly with the Alexandrian codex; this circumstance seems to indicate that its author was accustomed to a somewhat different form of the text from that used by the apostle.
2 xii 21 from Deut. ix. 19 cannot correctly be reckoned as an exception.
3 The last edition of Webster's Dictionary comprises upwards of one hundred and fourteen thousand words. Yet "few writers or speakers use as many as ten thousand words, ordinary persons of fair intelligence not above three or four
To begin with the negative characteristics alluded to (see Christian Examiner for 1827, p. 509):
(1) There are certain forms of expression which are favorite with Paul, but which do not occur in this Epistle. The expressions referred to are of a general nature, such as would be pertinent in any epistle, such as disclose to us a writer's habits of expression.
(a) The phrase èv Xplor occurs seventy-eight times in the Epistles of Paul, but not once in the Epistle to the Hebrews, although the length of this epistle (exclusive of quotations) bears to the total length of the thirteen Pauline Epistles "somewhat more than the proportion of one to seven."
(b) The phrase ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν ̓Ιησοῦς Χριστός (with various modifications as respects arrangement and pronouns) occurs in Paul's epistles more than eighty times (according to Thol., Com. p. 52, it is found eighty-six times in the Epistle to the Romans, and twenty-six times in 1 Cor.). But it does not occur in the Epistle to the Hebrews; we find instead o Kúpios two (or three xii. 14?) times; 'Inooûs nine times; Xplorós (with or without the art.) nine times; 'Inσoûs Χριστός three times ; and ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦς once.
(c) The word evayyéλiov, “the gospel," occurs sixty-one times in the other epistles; it is not met with in the Epistle to the Hebrews.
(d) The appellation warp is used of God forty-four times by Paul. The only instance in which it is used by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews is in the phrase "Father of Spirits" (by way of antithesis to "fathers of our flesh,” xii. 9).
Passing to positive characteristics, there are
(2) Certain forms of expression which the author of our Epistle substitutes for synonymous expressions employed by Paul.
thousand" (Marsh's Lects. on the Eng. Lang. p. 182). Our current translation of the Bible contains fewer than six thousand. The vocabulary of the Greek New Test. rumbers about five thousand words, exclusive of proper names; and it is believed that the number of different words employed in our Epistle (quotations and proper names not included) is about seven hundred.