Monday, May 05, 2008

Propositio of Hebrews

Does Hebrews have a propositio? (Actually, does any NT doc have a propositio, but that is another matter). Recently, Ben Witherington has argued that since Hebrews is a piece of epideictic rhetoric it has no propositio. But if I had to press one passage that certain does fit the function or role of a propositio in Hebrews, it would have to be Heb. 2.1-4:

1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will (ESV).

I'd love to check out what Lincoln says in his intro to Hebrews but I don't have it on hand. This passage could be no more than a piece of exhortation following the collage of OT quotes about the preeminence of Christ, but it does have a rather programmatic feel for the rest of the letter.

4 comments:

Charles said...

My knee-jerk response was "no." I have always understood 2:1-4 as simply a warning passage but I must admit I am now thinking about your question.

In any case, I have linked to your post at my blog: http://www.bibleexposition.net

Ken Schenck said...

Walter Uebelacker argues that 2:17-18 is Hebrews' proposito.

Clifford B. Kvidahl said...

Mike, I would like to think that it has similar features of a proposito.

Sean said...

Koester reckons the propositio is at 2:5ff. I couldn't find anything in Lincoln about the propositio. Attridge is silent on the matter as well...