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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Authorship.

1.

Hebrews does not name its author. A reference to ‘our brother Timothy’ ( 13:23 ) may have occasioned the tradition that Paul composed the work. Differences in style and theology between Hebrews and the assuredly genuine epistles of Paul make that attribution most unlikely. Attempts to preserve some degree of Pauline authorship have centred on ch. 13 and its epistolary conclusion ( 13:18–25 ), which some have seen as Paul's endorsement of a collaborator's work. Although the conclusion may be an addition, it coheres with the body of the homily and is probably by the same, non-Pauline, hand.

2.

The tradition of Pauline authorship was not uniform. Tertullian, in late second-century North Africa, attributed Hebrews to Barnabas. In second-century Alexandria learned leaders of the Church knew but doubted the attribution to Paul. Clement of Alexandria reconciled popular tradition with literary analysis by suggesting that Paul had dictated the text to a scribe such as Luke or Clement of Rome. In the third century, Origen summarized earlier speculation, agreed that the contents were worthy of Paul, but concluded that ‘God only knows’ who actually wrote it. More recent scholars have proposed other candidates, including Apollos and Sylvanus. Evidence for any is indecisive and the author remains anonymous.

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