SELECTIONS FROM EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITERS: ILLUSTRATIVE OF CHURCH HISTORY TO THE TIME OF CONSTANTINE by Henry Melvill Gwatkin, M.A. First Edition, Macmillan & Co., Ltd., 1893. Reprinted with additions and corrections, 1897, 1902, 1905. Prepared for katapi by Paul Ingram, 2013.
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LIV. EUSEBIUS, Hist.Eccles.vi.25


Origen on The Authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews


Ἔτι πρὸς τούτοις περὶ τῆς Πρὸς Ἑβραίους ἐπιστολῆς ἐν ταῖς εἰς αὐτὴν Ὁμιλίαις ταῦτα διαλαμβάνει·

«ὅτι ὁ χαρακτὴρ τῆς λέξεως τῆς Πρὸς Ἑβραίους ἐπιγεγραμμένης ἐπιστολῆς οὐκ ἔχει τὸ ἐν λόγῳ ἰδιωτικὸν τοῦ ἀποστόλου, ὁμολογήσαντος ἑαυτὸν ἰδιώτην εἶναι τῷ λόγῳ, τοῦτ᾿ ἐστὶν τῇ φράσει, ἀλλ᾿ ἐστὶν ἡ ἐπιστολὴ συνθέσει τῆς λέξεως Ἑλληνικωτέρα, πᾶς ὁ ἐπιστάμενος κρίνειν φράσεων διαφορὰς ὁμολογήσαι ἄν. πάλιν τε αὖ ὅτι τὰ νοήματα τῆς ἐπιστολῆς θαυμάσιά ἐστιν καὶ οὐ δεύτερα τῶν ἀποστολικῶν ὁμολογουμένων γραμμάτων, καὶ τοῦτο ἂν συμφήσαι εἶναι ἀληθὲς πᾶς ὁ προσέχων τῇ ἀναγνώσει τῇ ἀποστολικῇ».

Τούτοις μεθ᾿ ἕτερα ἐπιφέρει λέγων·

«Ἐγὼ δὲ ἀποφαινόμενος εἴποιμ᾿ ἂν ὅτι τὰ μὲν νοήματα τοῦ ἀποστόλου ἐστίν, ἡ δὲ φράσις καὶ ἡ σύνθεσις ἀπομνημονεύσαντός τινος τὰ ἀποστολικὰ καὶ ὥσπερ σχολιογραφήσαντός τινος τὰ εἰρημένα ὑπὸ τοῦ διδασκάλου. εἴ τις οὖν ἐκκλησία ἔχει ταύτην τὴν ἐπιστολὴν ὡς Παύλου, αὕτη εὐδοκιμείτω καὶ ἐπὶ τούτῳ. οὐ γὰρ εἰκῇ οἱ ἀρχαῖοι ἄνδρες ὡς Παύλου αὐτὴν παραδεδώκασιν. τίς δὲ ὁ γράψας τὴν ἐπιστολήν, τὸ μὲν ἀληθὲς θεὸς οἶδεν, ἡ δὲ εἰς ἡμᾶς φθάσασα ἱστορία ὑπὸ τινῶν μὲν λεγόντων ὅτι Κλήμης, ὁ γενόμενος ἐπίσκοπος Ῥωμαίων, ἔγραψεν τὴν ἐπιστολὴν, ὑπὸ τινῶν δὲ ὅτι Λουκᾶς, ὁ γράψας τὸ εὐαγγέλιον καὶ τὰς Πράξεις»

In addition Origen makes the following statements in regard to the Epistle to the Hebrews in his Homilies upon it:

'That the verbal style of the epistle entitled "To the Hebrews," is not rude like the language of the Apostle, who acknowledged himself "rude in speech," that is, in expression; but that its diction is purer Greek, any one who has the power to discern differences of phraseology will acknowledge. Moreover, that the thoughts of the epistle are admirable, and not inferior to the acknowledged Apostolic writings, any one who carefully examines the Apostolic text will admit.'

Farther on he adds:

'If I gave my opinion, I should say that the thoughts are those of the Apostle, but the diction and phraseology are those of some one who remembered the Apostolic teachings, and wrote down at his leisure what had been said by his teacher. Therefore if any Church holds that this epistle is by Paul, let it be commended for this. For not without reason have the ancients handed it down as Pauls. But who wrote the epistle, in truth God knows. The statement of some who have gone before us is that Clement, bishop of the Romans, wrote the epistle, and of others that Luke, the author of the Gospel and the Acts, wrote it.'

N.L.


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