Thursday, April 26, 2012

Jacob Fronczak on Hebrews and Supersessionism

Readers interested in non-supersessionist readings of Hebrews may want to give Messianic blogger Jacob Fronczak's graduate-level paper on Hebrews a read.  Surveying the current scholarly conversation on supercessionism in Hebrews, he covers the perspectives of Richard B. Hays, Mark Nanos, Walter Breuggemann, and Markus Bockmuehl, among others.  In addition to reviewing an argument by Morrison in favor of a Jewish audience for the book*, Fronczak also presents Jesper Svartvik's appeal to Middle Platonism as undergirding the book's thinking---an observation which, according to Fronkczak, can help to resolve what otherwise appears (to Nanos and others) to be an over-realized eschatology on the part of the author of Hebrews. 

Fraonczak also includes this gem from Markus Bockmuehl:
“The superiority of the New Covenant introduces not a new people of God so much as a newly energized worship of God – constituted around the definitive and permanently efficacious sacrifice. It is that difference in which the discontinuity of the covenants subsists, not in the identity of the people of God or even in their faith.”
Fronczak concludes by presenting his own developing view, which "substantially vindicates the broader Evangelical perspective that sees Hebrews as fairly interpreting and appropriating Old Testament scriptures, and building strong continuity with the Old Testament people of God....[yet] differs from the standard Evangelical reading of Hebrews in that it retains a high view of Judaism, the Jewish people, and the Mosaic Law." One last quote from his view:
Hebrews’ community, in the light of Jeremiah’s oracle, may have perceived itself not as a new people of God to the exclusion of (the rest of) Judaism. Rather, their existence is evidence of the coming age, and the imminent fulfillment of God’s promises through Christ. Like Christ Himself, they are the first-fruits, a down payment, as it were, on the promises of God, which remain yet to be fulfilled.
Looking to dig into the book of Hebrews?  Let Fronczak shed some light on it for you:

Response to Nanos: Renewed Covenantalism, Not Triumphalism or Supersessionism

* Keep in mind that the title Hebrews was applied later by tradition, which is understood to have been inferred based on the content, rather than on direct knowledge of the audience.

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