A quest for the assumed LXX Vorlage of the explicit quotations in Hebrews

Steyn, Gert J. (2009-03)

Thesis (DLitt (Ancient Studies. Biblical Languages))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.


The Vorlage of the explicit quotations in Hebrews remains an unresolved matter to date – despite the fact that it is an important pre-requisite before one can attempt to investigate the function of the quotations within their NT context. The selection, origin and version of the explicit quotations is a neglected aspect of previous studies. This Quest attempted to address these matters mainly from a tradition historical and a text critical angle. It follows the ground plan of Hebrews‘ own presentation of two sets of quotations in pairs – the first set consisting of hymnic texts and the second a quotation from the Torah, which is alternated between quotations from the Psalms and from the Prophets. The investigation considers each quotation in the light of possible alternative Vorlage(n) to those of the printed versions and interacts with previously proposed hypotheses – such as the ―Testimony Book‖ hypothesis, liturgy-, homily-, and midrash hypotheses. It became clear during the course of the investigation that, although Hebrews might have known a large number of quotations from the early Jewish (DSS; Philo) and early Christian (Paul, Gospels) traditions, he also expanded on some of those and added some other (mainly the longer) quotations. The latter include, for instance, Pss 40(39), 95(94), and Jer 31(38) – often accompanied by the author‘s reworking and own midrash on the passage with ring compositional features. The quotations are almost always introduced with a verb of saying and with a large number of them being presented in combination with a reference to an existing promise of God. Regarding the Dead Sea Scrolls, there are a number of similarities between particularly 4QMidrEschat, the Hodayot and the Pesharim – documents that are representative of a hermeneutic tradition of creatively working with and interpreting OT passages. Almost all of the Torah quotations are brief and (including the quotation from Prov 3) occurred already in the works of Philo of Alexandria, mainly in his Legum allegoriae 3. Their readings agree with each other – both of them often against the LXX and MT versions, which might be an indication of another version (the ―Old Greek?‖) that was used by both. Quotations that show an overlap with the then existing NT literature at the time that Hebrews wrote, are almost exclusively to be found in Romans and 1 Corinthians. The early Christian liturgical formula of the institution of the Eucharist seemed to have played a role in at least the quotation pair Exod 24:8 (―blood‖) and Ps 40:7-9 (―body‖).

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