The author and audience of Hebrews

Please see my previous post on Paul’s 5th missionary trip as it connects well with this one. The purpose of this post is not to delve too much in the arguments, but to present a chronological and contextual frame for the writing of the epistle to the Hebrews. I shall approach the arguments in more debth in another post hopefully.

While the Neronian persecution is taking place (64-68), another major event is happening: the Jewish-Roman war (66-73). The Jewish Christians left Jerusalem and moved temporarly to Pella (according to Eusebius; also Josephus mentions many important Jews leaving Jerusalem once they had the opportunity – Jewish War 6.5.3), on the E side of the Jordan. Some remain in the proximity of their homes, but as time passes, it’s getting obvious that the Romans will win the war and possibly destroy the city. Therefore, most of them decide to move on with their lives. The largest Jewish communities were in Alexandria (Egypt), Babylon, Rome, and Asia Minor. But they weren’t only Jewish, they were Jewish Christians. Therefore, it makes all the sense in the world for them to move where there is a Jewish Christian community. In Asia Minor, the biggest Jewish community was in Ephesus, and that is where the largest Christian community was as well. Therefore, a good size of the group moved to Asia Minor, many of them in Ephesus. It is possible that some Jewish Christians made this move soon after the failed siege of Cestius Gallus in September-October 66. The fact that this was so is indicated by the Church tradition that tells us that apostle John, together with the Lord’s mother, moved to Ephesus. If such an important leader moves, it is very likely that others will follow him. It is probable that John postponed the move as much as possible, and moved to Ephesus only when the distruction of Jerusalem was obvious or it happened. At the end of 66 and in 67, the fall of Jerusalem was far from obvious. On the contrary, the Jews were rejocing over their victories while one of the best legions was being relocated from Britania to the oposite side of the empire. 

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„Acts 29”: Paul’s 5th missionary trip

Luke finishes the book of Acts in Rome, with Paul under house arrest. Yet Paul’s life doesn’t finish there. We get some good clues and information from the epistles written after Acts 28 and some hints from the Church Tradition. There will be plenty of arguments that aren’t explained here since this is only the narrative, but if you look at the references, you will find clues there. After this post, we will look into the audience and authorship of the epistle to the Hebrews because I think it ties really well with the 5th missionary trip. Put in a narrative way, here is how Paul’s 5th missionary trip looks as we put together the information we have in 1 Timothy, Titus and 2 Timothy.

Paul was released from the house arrest in Rome (Acts 28) somewhere around 61-62 AD. I don’t think he made it to Spain as we don’t have proof of that from the epistles (yes, I am aware of some Church Fathers hinting at that). We only have his desire stated in Romans 15. Also, Spain would be a major endevour that would take a lot of time and that wouldn’t leave enough time for the places we do know Paul visited.

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