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The early reception of hebrews 6:4–6

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Chapter Summary

Few aspects of the Epistle to the Hebrews have occasioned more debate than its teaching on repentance. Contemporary church teaching is frequently at odds with the rigorist interpretation of this passage that sees the author as allowing no repentance for sins after baptism. In the western church, the full acceptance of Hebrews in the fourth century depended in no small part on the resolution of the theological problems posed by Hebrews 6:4?6. A few moments in the earliest reception history of Heb 6:4?6 still remain visible, namely, in 1 Clement, the Shepherd of Hermas, and the Quo vadis scene in the Martyrdom of Peter. This chapter presents a brief case study that demonstrates the inadequacy of the view that exegesis prior to the early modern period is uniformly ?pre-critical? or ?dogmatic? and thus belongs to ?the prehistory of New Testament scholarship.?.

Keywords: 1 Clement; baptism; epistle; Hebrews 6; Martyrdom of Peter; New Testament; repentance; Shepherd of Hermas



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