This first volume of Semănătorul (The Sower): The Journal of Ministry and Biblical Research, has been produced through the collaboration of Emanuel University Press, the Emanuel “Ethics and Society” Research Centre and distinguished colleagues from the Hungarian Baptist Academy. The publishing efforts were aided by Dr. Almási Tibor, Rector, Hungarian Baptist Academy.
The volume comprises the Proceedings of the International Theological Conference held by the Department of Theology on 6th May 2016 in Emanuel University of Oradea. The theme of the Conference was Hebrews: Its Historical Context and Theological Significance. For many scholars, Hebrews 13:22 gives some guidance concerning the nature of the epistle, “Bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly.” The suggestion is that the background may be a sermon, given on a certain occasion and then later adapted into letter form with the addition of personal comments at the end. But what of its readers? It is thought that the first readers were Hebrews and the camp of 13:13, ancient Judaism. They were Jews attracted to the Christian community and who had identified with it. But Christianity had none of the “ritual trappings” they had known, no altar, no priests, no sacrifices. They were meeting ridicule, opposition, imprisonment and being disowned and disinherited by their families (10:32). Some had coped well with this adversity, but others were looking back to the temple from where they had come (10:32–39). Was not Judaism God-ordained?
The author of Hebrews seeks to set before them the “better things” which have become theirs: a better priesthood, better sanctuary, better sacrifice, better covenant, true access to the very presence of the Most High (10:19–21). Also the “greater things,” that is: Christ greater than angels, Moses, Joshua, and Aaron.
The Proceedings Papers in this Journal will touch upon some of the aspects of the situation outlined above. The significance of the opening verses of Hebrews for the whole epistle is outlined in the opening paper. Other papers focus on the themes endurance, pilgrimage, “echoes” in interpretation, a comparison of the epistle with Philo, the significance of “the time of reformation” for worship in Hebrews, a semiotic approach regarding Psalm 2 and the profile of the “Son,” the concept of repentance and critique of the perspectives of George Milligan regarding the importance of the epistle.
Emanuel University continues to be a strong witness as a conservative university in all of Europe. It should be understood that the sources highlighted and the views presented in these papers remain those of the contributors themselves.
Hamilton Moore, Editor.