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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