Perseverance in Gratitude: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on the Epistle "to the Hebrews"

Perseverance in Gratitude: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on the Epistle "to the Hebrews"

Perseverance in Gratitude: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on the Epistle "to the Hebrews"

Perseverance in Gratitude: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on the Epistle "to the Hebrews"

Excerpt

Since many excellent books and comprehensive commentaries on Hebrews have already appeared in print, writing yet another requires some justification. What can this commentary contribute to a conversation that has already been significantly advanced by such scholars as Ceslaus Spicq, Harold Attridge, Lincoln Hurst, William Lane, H.-F. Weiß, Paul Ellingworth, and many other members of that cloud of witnesses who have made Hebrews an area of specialization? While the work of these scholars is foundational to my own reflection on Hebrews, I believe that there remains more to be discovered about that rhetorically complex and rich text, particularly when it is examined from the perspectives of rhetorical analysis, social-scientific criticism, cultural-anthropological perspectives, and ideological criticism. In short, the current conversation about Hebrews will be enriched as broader methodological approaches are brought to bear on this text. As new sets of questions are developed, new information can be gathered from our ancient witness. These insights, in turn, enhance and correct earlier interpretations of the text and call for a new integration with the findings from the more established approaches. The result, it is hoped, is a more richly textured, threedimensional reading of Hebrews, written for the benefit not only of the professional scholar, but specifically also of the seminarian and pastor who will need to apply the word of Hebrews persuasively in new social and cultural situations.

The methodological framework within which this commentary locates itself is socio-rhetorical interpretation, an interpretive model developed by Vernon K. Robbins. This model encourages interpreters to take full advantage

1. The Tapestry of Early Christian Discourse: Rhetoric, Society and Ideology (London: Routledge, 1996); Exploring the Texture of Texts: A Guide to Socio-Rhetorical Interpretation (Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press International, 1996).

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