Hebrews, an anonymous New Testament homily with closing greetings normally associated with the letter genre, written before c.A.D. 96. It is addressed to Jewish Christians who were being pressured to renounce their confidence in Jesus. The first part is an argument that Christ is superior to the angels and to Moses; it closes with an exhortation to faith in the form of a commentary on a passage from Psalm 95. Jesus' priesthood is of the eternal order of Melchizedek, which replaces the levitical priesthood of Aaron. His sacrifice of himself is superior to and supersedes the incessant round of sacrifices offered by the levitical priests because it effects expiation of sins and the cleansing of the conscience once and for all. Chapter 11 celebrates the heroes of the faith, leading into a concluding exhortation to endurance and godly living.
See studies by F. F. Bruce (rev. ed. 1988) and W. L. Lane (1991).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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