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"If I were to express my own opinion I should say that the thoughts are the thoughts of
the Apostle, but the language and the composition that of one who recalled from memory
and, as it were, made notes of what was said by his master. If therefore any church holds
this epistle as Paul's, let it be approved for this also for it was not without reason that
men of old time have handed it down as Paul's (that is as substantially expressing his
thoughts). But who wrote the epistle God only knows certainly. The account that has
reached us is twofold: some say that Clement, who became bishop of the Romans, wrote
the epistle; others that Luke wrote it, who wrote the Gospel and the Acts. But on this I
will say no more."
This testimony is supplementary to that of Clement's. Origen was obviously aware
that some churches did not receive the epistle as Paul's. In the strictest sense of
authorship he agreed with them, but at the same time held that it could be regarded as the
Apostle's, as embodying his thoughts and doctrine and he (Origen) was prepared to
defend it as such. In other writings he uses such phrases as `in the epistle to the Hebrews,
the same Paul says', and "Paul himself, the greatest of the apostles, writing to the
Hebrews, says" and then quotes Heb. 12: 18, 23. Origen goes back to the opinion
held "in ancient times". As he was born in 185A.D., this must refer to apostolic, or
sub-apostolic times. Consequently as Hallet remarks:
"It is very certain, then, that the churches and writers who were ancient with respect to
Origen, had one common tradition, that St. Paul was the author of the epistle to the
Hebrews. And their testimony to this matter of fact cannot but be of great weight, since
those Christians who were ancients with respect to Origen, must have conversed with the
apostles, and at least with their immediate successors."
Origen therefore does not question the ancient tradition that linked the epistle to the
Hebrews with Paul's name, but his standpoint is whether the epistle, precisely as we have
it in Greek, can have been written by an amanuensis, which was a common occurrence in
N.T. times, an example of which we have with the epistle to the Romans. Its material
and doctrine is Paul's, but the actual writing was done by Tertius (Rom. 16: 22), and just
how much latitude was given to an amanuensis, we have no means of knowing, this
possibly varied according to the attitude of the author and capability of the actual writer.
We cannot say that it was always merely verbal dictation. Bishop Westcott sums up as
"Thus Clement and Origen, both familiar with the details of the tradition of the `men
of old time' to whom they refer, agree in regarding the Greek epistle as Paul's only in a
secondary sense. Clement regards it as a free translation of a Hebrew (Aramaic) original,
so made by St. Luke as to show the characteristics of his style. Origen regards it as a
scholar's reproduction of his master's teaching. Each view must have been consistent
with what was generally received . . . . . Both use the epistle as Paul's without any
qualification, because it was naturally connected with the collection of his letters. Origen
goes so far as to say that he was prepared to show that "the epistle was Paul's" in reply to
those "who rejected it as not written by Paul" (Ep. ad Afric.9); and in another passage,
preserved in a Latin translation, he speaks of `fourteen epistles of St. Paul'."
(Hom. In Jos. VII) "The Epistle to the Hebrews p.68:"
Eusebius having included Hebrews among the epistles of Paul, cites it as Pauline in
some twenty seven passages. There is no doubt at all that the primitive tradition of the
East associated the epistle with Paul, although not written with his actual hand.