Original Research

Reconsidering ‘law’ in Hebrews

Philip La.G. du Toit
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 42, No 1 | a2146 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v42i1.2146 | © 2021 Philip La Grange Du Toit | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 September 2020 | Published: 08 February 2021

About the author(s)

Philip La.G. du Toit, Department of New Testament, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Mafikeng Campus, South Africa


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Abstract

In this contribution, the notion that the concept of ‘law’ in the Letter to the Hebrews only pertains to the cultic domain is challenged against the discourse on law in the whole letter. Apart from instances in which the law includes moral aspects of the law, the broader theological context in which the concept of ‘law’ is set in Hebrews suggests that the whole Mosaic system is in view throughout the letter. Such a conclusion is drawn on the basis of pertinent contrasts in the letter between the old and new covenants, between the different sources of revelation, between Moses and Jesus, between the ways in which priesthood and sacrifices function in relation to sin, between the outward or physical and the inward or spiritual, and between die earthly and heavenly domains of the respective covenantal systems.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article primarily makes a contribution in respect of biblical exegesis and New Testament theology. In addition, the article reconsiders the discourse on law in the Letter to the Hebrews, which impacts the way in which Christians understand their relationship to the Mosaic Law. It thus impacts the field of systematic theology. The relationship of the believer with the Mosaic Law in Hebrews also impacts church history: It provides us with information on the position of the early church towards the Mosaic Law, as well as how we understand the so-called ‘parting of the ways’ between Christianity and Judaism.


Keywords

Hebrews; law; identity; Torah; covenant; supersession; cultic; priesthood

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