Please click on the attachment to view David A. deSilva, “Hebrews 6:4-8: A Socio-rhetorical Investigation (Part 2)”, Tyndale Bulletin 50.2 (1999) 225-35: Desilva_Hebrews 6 Part 2
This is the second part of a two part article. The first part can be viewed here.
The author’s summary of Part 2:
The first part of this essay established the importance of patron-client roles
and expectations for the argument being advanced in Hebrews 6:4-8.
Having been privileged to receive such gifts from God, the addressees could
not now respond in such a way as would bring dishonor on their patron.
Such a course would not only be unjust, but also ultimately disasterous.
This second part now considers the ideological texture of the passage,
particularly how the author re-engineers the parameters within which the
hearers are to consider what will be advantageous for them. The real
danger to their safety comes not from perseverance with a marginalized
group, but from disloyalty to the patron-client bond God has formed with
them. The author thus significantly advances his agenda of motivating
perseverance to the end of the journey begun at their conversion and
baptism. Finally, the theological debates concerning Heb 6:4-8 are
critiqued in light of the social context of patronage: ‘eternal security’ and
‘impossibility of restoration’ are both seen to be positions that ultimately
transgress the dynamics of a carefully nuanced system.