From Proof to Text: Mapping Hebrews' Messianic Exploration of the Psalms

Older scholarship stressed the use within the early Christian community, including Hebrews, of a common pool of messianic proof texts, taken largely from the Psalms. But a feature of Hebrews’ use of the Greek Bible is how messianic resources are also found in places not frequented by other New Testament writers, both within recognized messianic Psalms, and in other texts altogether. A growing body of work has shown that the author of Hebrews not only reads scriptures with careful regard to their context, but also finds links to other passages on the basis of a network of thematic and linguistic parallels, often stimulated by the Greek translation which is used. This paper attempts to map the reading strategy of Hebrews, and suggests that the author has moved from proof text to context, and from familiar messianic passages to the unfamiliar, in an exploratory and creative process which is driven by both verbal connections and theological convictions.