The danger of apostasy in the parenesis of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Exegetical, historical and social considerations

19 September 2017

The call to penitence and the readiness of God to forgive the sins of the Christians who repent represent basic elements of a Christian spirituality. For this reason, it is surprising that some texts, such as Hebr. 6, 1-16; 10, 26-31 and 12, 16-17, seem to contradict this elementary belief. This contribution argues for the understanding of the sin refuted în these texts as ‘apostasy’, i.e. the decision to willingly reject the community and the offered salvation, în spite of the divine kindness. This concept originates în the relation of the subjects to the ruler în the Hellenistic period and reflected în the ancient Judaism upon the relationship between believers and God. Moreover, the radical statements în Hebrew must be regarded în connection with the parenetic character of the epistle on one hand and must be read as inter-text of the exodus story on the other hand.