Just sent another book to the printer, in this case The Authorship of Hebrews: The Case for Paul by David Alan Black. I’ve heard some comments about my motivations for publishing this little book (just 42 pages). Money was mentioned, along with a burning desire to uphold traditional views. Those who know me will probably realize that my attitude is more “traditional views beware”!
Considering we’ll be retailing the book for $4.99, and the ebook for just $0.99, I don’t think money is the strongest motivator, and it happens I’m not convinced of Dave’s thesis, even though I think he’s written about as convincing a case as could be written and has poked some serious holes in the scholarly consensus.
What I think he does accomplish is to demonstrate how one challenges a scholarly consensus. First, one has to pay one’s academic dues. Then one has to thoroughly examine the data. Dave includes some of his own translations of patristic material, for example, and does some very significant work on vocabulary, style, and theology.
One big question that remains–and a critical question it is!–and that’s just how much weight one puts on the patristic evidence. There are, of course, details in weighing particular sources, but there is also the more general question of how likely one believes it is that early Christian authors actually knew the answer to the question.
I think Dave does an exemplary job of laying out his case and deserves to have it challenged and discussed on technical grounds. I’m also creating a blog/book site to support this, even though it’s a small book. I wanted a place to keep Dave’s comments on authorship and to stimulate discussion of the topic. Don’t expect too much on that new site until some time tomorrow.