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Judaism, the Qumran Library and the High Priest

             The epistle1 to the Hebrews is explicit in its presentation of the High Priest motif of Jesus Christ. The authorship of Hebrews has been in dispute; while some hold to Pauline2 authorship others maintain that it was written by an unknown author.3 While this is not the place to dig into the argument, I agree with the view that the author is unknown and will therefore use the term 'the author' in this paper. The recipients of the book are said to be Christian Jews and not non- Christian or Essene priests as some posit but the position that it is written for non-Christian groups or Jewish/Essene priests is said to be scarcely tenable.4 I agree with the view that it was written for Christian Jews due to the following reasons stated by Gaebelein:5.
             1. The author has much to say about the worship of the tabernacle, the priests and the kind of sacrifices they offered, the covenant meant so much to the Jews.
             2. Jewish worthies like Abraham, Moses, Joshua and a host of others were mentioned in chapter 11.
             3. Topics like the sufferings of the Messiah and the replacement of the Levitical priesthood by a priesthood after the order of Melchizedek would interest the Jews.
             4. Incidental references such as 'surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants' (2.16) are more likely to appeal to the Jews than Gentiles.
             5. The argument that Jesus is superior to Moses (3.1ff.) would have more weight with Jews than with anyone else.
             Chapter 8 is a continuation of the presentation beginning from chapters 1-7; this can be seen from the author's opening statement: 'Now this is the main point of the things we are saying6: We have such a high priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the majesty in the heavens'' (Hebrews 8.1). And he explains further about this 'high priest': 'a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the lord erected and not man' (Hebrews 8.

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