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

Date.

1.

Dating is equally problematic. Suggestions have ranged from the middle to the end of the first century. Some scholars have argued that the lack of an explicit reference to the destruction of the Jerusalem temple, which occurred in 70 CE during the Jewish revolt against Rome, dates the work prior to 70. Yet Jewish authors after 70, including the historian Josephus and the compilers of the Mishnah, refer to the temple and its cultic system as extant. Hopes for restoration remained alive and expressed themselves in terms of the presence of ideal realities. Furthermore, Hebrews refers not to the temple reconstructed by Herod the Great, but to the tabernacle of Scripture. Hebrews is interested in biblical symbolism, not the fate of the cultic site. The condition of the temple is, therefore, irrelevant to dating.

2.

While a specific date proves elusive, the general range within which Hebrews was written is clear. The work is certainly known to 1 Clement, an exhortation from the leadership of the church at Rome to Corinth. Although the date of 1 Clement is debated, it is not likely to be later than 110 CE. At the other end of the spectrum, the traditions in Hebrews certainly required time to develop. It is unlikely that they reached their current form before 50 CE. The homily, therefore, was composed in the second half of the first century, probably between 55 and 90 CE.

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Oxford University Press

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