EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS
THE FIRST APOLOGY FOR CHRISTIANITY
AN EXEGETICAL STUDY
ALEXANDER BALMAIN BRUCE, D.D.
PROFESSOR OF APOLOGETICS AND NEW TESTAMENT EXEGESIS IN THE
FREE CHURCH COLLEGE, GLASGOW.
“THE KINGDOM OF GOD” “ST. PAUL’S CONCEPTION OF CHRISTIANITY”
“THE TRAINING OF THE TWELVE” “THE HUMILIATION OF CHRIST”
“APOLOGETICS; OR, CHRISTIANITY DEFENSIVELY STATED”
CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS
153, 155, AND 157 FIFTH AVENUE
NEW YORK CITY
This work is a companion to The Kingdom of God and St. Paul’s Conception of Christianity, published respectively in 1889 and 1894.
The greater part of the contents appeared in the pages of The Expositor in 1888, 1889, 1890. All has been carefully revised, some portions have been re-written, and a chapter on the theological import of the Epistle, entirely new, has been added at the end of the book. The recent literature of the subject has been duly taken into account in footnotes on important points connected with the exposition.
Among the works referred to in these new notes, the chief are the Commentaries of Westcott (1889), Vaughan (1890), Weiss (in Meyer), and von Soden (in Handcommentar). To these may be added the work of Ménégoz on the theology of the Epistle (La Theologie de L’Épitre aux Hebreux, 1894). It gives me pleasure to name here a book just published on the same subject by the Rev. George Milligan, son of the late Professor Milligan, some sheets of which I had an opportunity of reading while it was passing through the press.
I had expected, and even hoped, that recent publications on this important book of the New Testament would have made a new contribution to its interpretation superfluous. I cannot honestly say that I have found this to be the case. The last word has not yet been spoken. The interpretation of the letter has been carried to a high degree of perfection. But there is room and need for fresh work in the unveiling of the soul of this sacred writing, in the light of its author’s aim, which I take to be to show the excellence of Christianity to a community possessing a very defective insight into its true nature. It is indeed the first apology for Christianity, as indicated in my sub-title. Readers will judge how far I have succeeded in placing this view of the book on a solid foundation.
I can at least claim for this effort that it is not the product of a brief and hasty consideration. It is the mature fruit of study carried on for a period of thirty years—a fact which I deemed it not unfitting to commemorate in the form of a dedication to friends to whom my thoughts were communicated in their earliest shape.
I owe thanks to my esteemed colleague, Professor Denney, D.D., for assisting me in reading the proof sheets, and for offering some valuable suggestions.
A. B. BRUCE.
Glasgow, March 1899.