A Great High Priest Who has Passed through the Heavens: In Quest of the Apocalyptic Roots of the Epistle to the Hebrews
Date of Award
Dissertation - Restricted
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This project is the result of a process which began with an independent study of Hebrews I undertook in the summer of 2004. One result of the study was my conviction that the structure of Hebrews still remained an open question. I tried to answer that question with a proposal of my own which I presented at the Hebrews conference in St. Andrews in July 2006. In the meantime my final class in the Ph.D. program at Marquette University was a survey of apocalyptic literature in the Second Temple period. In the course of this class I came to grasp the impact of apocalyptic literature on both Judaism and nascent Christianity in the first century C.E. The value of studying the impact of Second Temple Jewish apocalyptic literature on the early church and the developing Christian literary traditions is profound. After much deliberation and consideration of heavenly ascent traditions, I came to suspect that the parallels between the ascents of figures such as Enoch, Levi, Abraham, Moses and Zephaniah and the exaltation of Christ in Hebrews would prove to be a fruitful avenue of study. When I begin this project, my intention was more exegetical in nature. I sought to cull the author's language for clues to how he reinterpreted ideas and' phrases in apocalyptic literature. I wanted to show the manner in which the author synthesized the concepts of a heavenly priesthood, the new covenant, and the heavenly temple. But as the work progressed, it became clearer that an adequate account had not yet been given of the signs - - christological, soteroiological, eschatological of apocalyptic roots that were noticed but not exploited by former students of the epistle. These various theologoumena had instead been attached to other, very specific religious and theological purposes...