Bible Corner

Between now and February 6th the First reading at most of the weekend Masses is taken from the Letter to the Hebrews. The place, date and writer of this book of the New Testament are uncertain and much debated. It was given its title, ‘to the Hebrews’, in the second century. The last section of the Introduction to Paul in the New Jerusalem Bible gives an interesting view of who it was written for and its contents. Regarding who it was written for it says:, ”The letter clearly assumes not only that its readers are thoroughly familiar with the old covenant but that they are Jewish Christians, perhaps even Jewish priests, (cf. Acts 6:7), to judge by the emphasis on public worship and ceremonial. Having become Christians, they seem to have left Jerusalem and gone for shelter to some coastal town like Caesarea or Antioch. They are tired of exile and think longingly of the splendour of Temple worship and of the part they played in it; their new faith is not very strong, and they have not yet properly understood it,; persecution discourages them and they are tempted to revert to Judaism. The letter was written to them to try to prevent this from happening (Heb. 10:19-39). (will continue with this over the next couple of weeks).