Friday, April 24, 2009

A Commentary on Hebrews

20 Comment(s) +

Right now I am working on a commentary on Hebrews in the series Nya Testamentets Budskap (NTB). I have just entered chapter 11. It is a brief popular level commentary with focus on the message ("budskap"=message) and theology of Hebrews and its application today. The scope and format is something like New International Biblical Commentary but without the notes. To some degree I deal with issues of translation, but the basis is the official Swedish translation Bibel 2000 (completed in 2000). There is practically no room for text-critical discussion – the scholar who wrote on the Gospel of John (the book to the left in the image) did include two brief paragraphs on the Pericope of the Adulteress. Perhaps I should double his amount and pick two passages then; after all, textual criticism is my thing.

If you were to choose one text-critical problem of exegetical signficance in Hebrews what would you pick?


  1. i'm working on hebrews too, but from a quite different angle (and without reference to text critical issues). when will your volume be out?

  2. Jim, nice to hear that you are working on Hebrews too. My volume will hopefully be out before Christmas. That is what the publisher hopes, but I am a doubter.

    Do you read Swedish? Then remind me to send you a copy. I noticed once that you referred to my friend Stefan Green's Swedish biblioblog, exegetiskteologi, and I know that you've been to Denmark (I saw the nice pictures), so perhaps you can decipher the book :-). What is your "angle" then?

  3. Aha, earlier today I edited my blogger profile and added an image. I did not realize that the picture turns up as soon as one makes a comment, but that is much nicer (not only from the narcicistic perspective).

  4. Thanks Stephen. One other reader who wrote to me off-blog suggested the same passage, i.e., the variation between "by the grace of God"(χαριτι θεου) and "apart from God" (χωρις θεου). Bart Ehrman discusses the passage at lenght in his Orthodox Corruption, pp. 146–150.

  5. Peter, you look so thin on that photo! I thought you quit racewalking :-)

  6. If you look carefully at Peter's image you will find something that you may have wondered. I will give you a clue, "M".

  7. I assume you will be following Ehrman's persuasive treatment of that verse.

  8. I was going to suggest 2:9 also.

    Is your commentary going to be in Swedish, or will an English language version be available?

  9. I don't know if one should deal with a text-critical commentary written on a popular level "just because." The pericope adulterae is a major problem, which has to be addressed at all levels. I don't know if the Hebrews has anything remotely that problematic and critical vis-a-vis the pericope adulterae. just a thought.

  10. Others have mentioned 2:9. I would suggest 11:11.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  11. Another interesting problem is between the αυτους or αυτοις in 8:8.

    George Guthrie and William Lane both make a big deal out of the originality of the dative over Metzger's decision to read the accusative.

    The textual issue has potential to change the meaning of the verse. Lane and Guthrie read: For faulting [it, the first covenant], he says to them...

    If one reads the accusative, one is forced to read: for faulting them [i.e. the people] he says...

    The first reading admits of an intrinsic problem with the first covenant so that God can actually find fault with it. The other finds fault with the people who could not keep the covenant.

    I actually think the Dative was probably original, while the accusative is the simpler reading. The dative has the earliest attestation as well.

    μεμφομαι takes its object in the Dat. or Acc., but Lane and Guthrie are probably mistaken because the one spoken to in the Dat. usually comes after the verb of speaking in the NT and in Hebrews specifically. Therefore, if the author wanted to say "he says to them" he most probably would have put it like this: λεγει αυτοις...

    Anyways, sorry for the short discourse. It just seems like an interesting problem that could affect the way the Author views of the Old Covenant in relation to the New.

    - John

  12. my angle is simple exegetical explanation, tommy. and no, sorry, no swedish. but you can always send a copy!


    if it's very germanic i may be able to manage some of it.

  13. Peter Malik "I don't know if one should deal with a text-critical commentary written on a popular level 'just because'."

    Well, it is not that I have to do it, but I think it is no disadvantage to mention in a few sentences that there is another reading at some point, although it will have to be brief. Anyway, the official Swedish translation does that occasionally in the notes.

  14. Brian, the commentary is in Swedish, but it would of course be possible to make an English version should a publisher be interested. Nothing planned though.

  15. Thanks James and John (not the Sebedees) for the suggestions, I will look that up.

    Jim, I will try to remember to bring you my other book on Jude instead (in English). That will suit you better.

  16. Sincere Congratulations! You make us all proud; well done.