Photo by John Swanda
Have you ever wondered why Paul is given the credit for the beautiful letter called Hebrews in our bibles? I have! I have never been able to justify the crediting of the writing to Paul. It just isn't Paul's style, not to mention Paul always included his name in the salutation of every letter he wrote and this letter has no writer's name on it. The ideas expressed can be considered Paul's since they do not conflict with Paul's teaching and probably conveyed thoses ideas to the writer, but was Paul actually present when it was written? I don't believe he was. Why is there no writer's name on this letter? Why is the style so different from the rest of the New Testament letters written by Paul? There have been suggestions over the years that Hebrews was penned by either Apollos, first proposed by Martin Luther about 550 years ago, or Barnabas, first suggested by Tertullian around 1800 years ago. While these two men seem to be the leading contenders, there are very good historical reasons to rule them out, just as Paul should be ruled out as the writer. Also, why do we automatically assume that the letter had to be written by a male? In Priscilla's Letter,
Ruth Hoppin takes on all of these questions. She looks at the problems associated with each writer and proposes that a better answer to the question of who wrote Hebrews lies in a person that few have looked at because that person is a female. Priscilla was one of Paul's closest friends, a very dedicated and willing helper, a female evangelist in a male controlled world, a woman who helped her husband make a living, and a teacher whom Paul recognizes as being the primary leader of the husband and wife team of Priscilla and Aquila. Ruth is not the first person to propose Priscilla as the author of Hebrews. What Ruth has done is put together a scholarly discussion that is easily readable by the everyday reader that takes an in depth look at Priscilla as the author of Hebrews. This book does not take on the gender problems the church faces today. Instead, what it does is lay the foundation to the very real possibility that Hebrews was written by a woman, and because of that, her name was purged from the letter, which was our loss! I read a commentator the other day who mentioned the idea that the proposal that Priscilla was the author of Hebrews was just another feminist based agenda. I totally disagree with that assumption! The honest and thorough review and study of historical data in regards to previously held views, especially when those views are questionable, is never an agenda of any type. It is a search for truth. When the day comes that we cannot review traditional beliefs in the light of new evidence, then in the famous words of an astronaut on his way to the moon: Houston, we have a problem! If you are going to purchase just one book from my list of recommended books, this is the book I would recommend.
To order Ruth's book: http://www.amazon.com/Priscillas-Letter-Finding-Epistle-Hebrews
Articles and papers by Ruth Hoppin.
The articles and papers listed are
supplied by and used with the permission of Ruth Hoppin. Further
publication credits are given with each article where applicable. The
author has given her permission to print and distribute her articles as long as
the articles are printed in their entirety with all references and credits,
there are no changes made, and
they are distributed totally free of charge.
TEN-POINT SUMMARY OF THE CASE FOR PRISCILLA’S AUTHORSHIP OF THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS
PRISCILLA AND PLAUSIBILITY (pdf)
Responding to questions about Priscilla as author of Hebrews. This article was published in the
Priscilla Papers, Vol 25, No. 2, Spring 2011.
Implications of the Theology of Hebrews for Gender Equality
ADVOCATES FOR PRISCILLA
Responding to Harnack’s theory that Priscilla wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews
An Interview with Ms. Ruth Hoppin
With Darrell Butterworth, editor and faculty member