Please click on the attachment to view David A. deSilva, “Hebrews 6:4-8: A Socio-rhetorical Investigation (Part 1)”, Tyndale Bulletin 50.1 (1999) 33-57: deSilva_Hebrews 6 Part 1
This is the first part of a two part article. The second part can be viewed here.
The author’s summary of Part 1:
Socio-rhetorical interpretation pursues a richly textured exegesis of
Scripture through co-ordinating multiple methods of reading and
investigating texts. This interpretive model is put to the test as it is
applied to Hebrews 6:4-8. In this, the first instalment of a two-part
article, Hebrews 6:4-8 is analysed within the contexts of classical
rhetoric, Jewish and Graeco-Roman intertexture, and prominent
aspects of the first-century social and cultural environment. This
passage presents an argument ‘from the contrary’ supporting the
author’s deliberative agenda of promoting commitment to Jesus and
fellow believers, drawing heavily on the social codes of patronage
obligations as well as a wide spectrum of intertextual resources.
Perseverance is shown to be the only just and expedient course of
action, since it alone preserves obligations of gratitude. Part 2 of this
article (to appear in Tyndale Bulletin 50.2) will examine the ideology
promoted within the passage and how it contributes to the author’s
rhetorical goals. A final section will attempt to answer the questions
raised by the investigation of the social context of ancient patronage
for the appropriateness of such ideological constructs as ‘eternal
security’ or ‘unpardonable sin’ when applied in an absolute sense to
the dynamic relationship between God and God’s clients.