Lectionary Year B
April 6, 2003
Hebrews 5:5-10

Step II: Disposition


(JA) The genre exhibits features one would associate with a personal identity midrash disclosure based on parts of two psalms. The "Sitz im Leben" for such a genre would probably be the setting of intense questioning about ways to understand and talk about the identity of Jesus. The locus of discourse for such questioning is that of Old Testament scripture (like good rabbinic debate?).


1) What a strange opening for a pericope: he didn't glorify himself to become high priest. Where else does this phrase occur? Why is "Christ" linked with "high priest" at all? (follow up in steps III and IV?).

2) VV. 5-6 use scripture references to shape the speech about the Divine from the Divine as though God were responding to Christ's query: who am I, who birthed me, when was I birthed, what am I, and what kind is that? Is this special epiphanic language in the service of christological clarification? (steps III and IV).

3) The relative pronoun in v. 7 makes it confusing to figure out who is being talked about: the Christ or Melchisedek? Who is Melchisedek and why is he important for the history of tradition? What is the "order" (Gr. "taxis") of Melchisedek (vv. 6 and 10)? (steps I, IV?)

4) What is the source(s) for the content of these vv? Are they excerpts from a Melchisedek tradition and/or from the Gethsemane narrative or the passion traditiion in general? (step IV?).

5) Is the triad combination "although being son," "learning obedience," and "having become complete (or full)" a typical/familiar pattern within housedhold dynamics? Is it the inheritance struggle? Does one find a parallel in the Parable of the Prodigal Son or in Gal. 4:1ff or in Phil. 2:5ff or in Rom. 1:3f or in I Peter 1:3ff? (Step IV?).

6) What does it mean: "source, author, cause" (Gr. "aitios") of eternal salvation? Similar to 12:2? (Steps III and IV?).

7) Does v. 10 loop around and return to v. 6 or does it go back through vv. 9,8,and 7? Does it link to vv. 1-4 also? Elsewhere in Hebrews? (Step III?).

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