The Pneumatology of the Letter to the Hebrews: Confused, Careless, Cavalier or Carefully Crafted?
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AbstractIt is the majority position that Hebrews has little to add to NT pneumatology (see §1.1). However, that is far from the case. Indeed, on all seven occasions that the author of Hebrews refers to the Spirit, he does so using language and concepts that are unique in the NT. The Spirit both speaks (λέγω) words of Scripture (3:7) and testifies (μαρτυρέω) from Scripture (10:15) using words elsewhere described as God’s words to the congregation. Elsewhere in the NT, when the Spirit ‘speaks’ he does so through human agents (see §§4.3-4.4). However, in Hebrews he speaks directly to the hearers without the need for an intermediary (see §4.5). Furthermore, the Spirit interprets (δηλόω) Scripture (9:8) and this is the only place in the NT where the Spirit is said to function as hermeneut (see §§4.5.3, 8.3.1). The phrase ‘Spirit of grace’ (10:29) is also a NT hapax and ‘Eternal Spirit’ (9:14) is a Biblical hapax. In addition, the concept of believers becoming μέτοχοι of the Spirit (6:4) and the description of God validating the gospel message by ‘distributing’ (μερισμός) the Holy Spirit to followers of Christ (2:4) are also unique to Hebrews. After undertaking a close examination of all seven divine-πνεῦμα texts in Hebrews this thesis concludes that Hebrews has a significant, developed and unique pneumatology (§8.1). The author portrays the Spirit as personal, eternal and divine (§§8.2.2-8.2.4). He is actively involved in the atonement and the New Covenant (§8.3.3), showing the need for such a covenant (§8.3.1) and providing a partnership with each member of the New Covenant Community such that the Spirit enables that which the Covenant requires (§8.3.3). The Holy Spirit plays a crucial role in Hebrews. Both author and congregation experienced him as God, co-equal with the Father and the Son. In fact, Hebrews’ underlying pneumatology displays what might be called ‘Trinitarian coinherence’ (§§8.2.1, 8.4).
CitationHodson, A. (2019). The Pneumatology of the Letter to the Hebrews: Confused, Careless, Cavalier or Carefully Crafted? (Doctoral dissertation). University of Chester, United Kingdom.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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