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Previous Theories Of The Background Of The Motif

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Chapter Summary

Numerous opinions have been offered as to the background of the motif of Jesus as priest in Hebrews. Though strict lines of demarcation are difficult to draw, the options essentially fall into the following categories: the motif was largely original to the author, has a background in early Christian thought and exegesis, is derived from Gnostic thought, or comes from some aspect of Judaism. Representative arguments for these major positions are surveyed in this chapter. Numerous scholars have argued that the creativity of the author of Hebrews is primarily responsible for the book's priestly motif, and a rigorous defense of Hebrews' originality was offered by Barnabas Lindars in his recent book The Theology of the Letter to the Hebrews. In The Wandering People of God, Ernst Käsemann located the background of Hebrews' high priestly motif in Gnostic discussion of the Urmensch.

Keywords: Barnabas Lindars; Christian theology; Ernst Käsemann; Gnostic thought; Hebrews; Jesus; Judaism; motif; Urmensch



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