Hebrews (Interpretation) by Thomas Long

book heb i

Thomas Long contributes this volume to the Interpretation Bible Commentary Series on Hebrews. On the plus side, it’s lively and theologically sharp. On the negative side, it’s too brief. In line with the series, it gives a cogent rendition of the critical position. Out of line with the series, it’s too short for the size and importance of the book of Hebrews.

The Introduction is merely a teaser. He succeeds in wheting your appetite for Hebrews, but little more. No common topic addressed in the introduction of a commentary is sufficiently addressed here. The bibliography at the end is equally as meager. Turn on to the commentary proper.

Here there is value. He writes well. Even if you don’t agree with him, which was often the case for me, your gray matter will be activated. I got what I wanted out of this book. I could see where critical scholarship stands on Hebrews. As a bonus, there was some theology that you could take and run with. It should have been longer, but we will still label it a solid critical effort.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

3 thoughts on “Hebrews (Interpretation) by Thomas Long

  1. I wonder what his thoughts are on authorship? I did a little study myself, and came to the conclusion that Paul wrote it, but not for the reasons most use. To me, reading Hebrews in light of the events in Acts 22, and Paul’s writing a letter to the church in Jerusalem, warning them of the dangers of reverting to, or clinging to the Law, actually brings a certain clarity to the whole book. Viewed from that perspective, lots of confusing aspects of the book make better sense (chapter 6, for instance). I don’t think I’ve found an author or theologian, however, who discusses the letter from this angle. So was curious if this book covered it.

    BTW, I blame you for the hit my bank account has taken due to an upsurge in book purchases. 😉 Thanks. (sincerely–the “blame” is the joke.) 😉

    • Sorry for the damage to your bank account! 🙂

      No, this book didn’t cover that. Pseudonymity is the rage in the scholarly World these days. It’s a ridiculous point of view, and really a tangent from good scholarship. this commentary would not be a first choice, but really just one to consult if you have time later in the process four other viewpoints. There are far better commentaries available, though hardly any I know of would consider Paul to be the writer. 70 years ago it was more believe, but not now. The only argument against Paul that makes sense is that the vocabulary does seem to be different than that found commonly in Paul’s writings. Beyond that it’s anyone’s guess. I enjoy scholarly commentaries, but always remember their limitations. The evidence doesn’t change, but their pet theories do. As much as I enjoy these commentaries, I always keep in mind the latest absurd tangent they may be on. It varies from generation to generation. I was generous in this review, but it would not be even a top-five choice for me at all.

      • Thanks for that followup. I gathered from the article that this was one of those “damning with faint praise” sorts of articles. But I had to ask out of curiosity. 😉

        Regarding vocabulary in the book, just compare how he spoke to the Jews in Acts 22, versus how he preached out and about. He never considered himself an apostle to the Jews, and it is perfectly fitting that he would write in a different way to the church in Jerusalem, especially if, as I think, Luke may have been his penman for this. 😉

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