The Author of Hebrews: A Source Critic?

I teach an adult Sunday school class, and we are working our way through the sermon known as “The Epistle to the Hebrews.” This week we were continuing through Heb 11, and I noticed a fascinating parallel with Heb 11 and Sirach 44-50. It seems that the author of Hebrews was well aware of Sirach, as both he and the author of Sirach list heroes of the Old Testament. The following list illustrates a few of the comparisons between Heb 11 and Sirach:

Hebrews 11


Enoch (11.5)

Enoch (44.16; 49.14)

Noah (11.7)

Noah (44.17-18)

Abraham (11.18-22)

Abraham (44.19-21)

Isaac (11.9, 20)

Isaac (44.22)

Jacob (11.9, 20-21)

Jacob (44.23)

Joseph (11.23)

Joseph (49.15)

Moses (11.23-28)

Moses (45.1-5)

Joshua (11.30 allusion)

Joshua (46.1-8)

Samuel (11.32)

Samuel (46.13-20)

David (11.32)

David (47.2-11)

Elijah (11.35 allusion)

Elijah (48.1-12)


I am not your advocate for source criticism, but I do believe that we are all source critics. None is completely free of sources; we are all influenced by the things we read, hear, see, etc. Why should this be any different with the author of Hebrews? He most likely used Sirach as a model to base his own “Hall of Faith” on.


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