This book seeks a more comprehensive understanding and appreciation for the Letter to the Hebrews by examining it from the viewpoint of its prominent theme of worship. It aims to demonstrate the topic of worship in all of its rich and varied dimensions provides the major concern and thrust that embraces Hebrews from start to finish. The author of Hebrews encourages his audience to hold on to the letter he has written to them as "the word of the encouragement" (Heb 13:22). In a very carefully concerted and masterfully artistic way, the letter persistently encourages the members of its audience with regard to their worship. Indeed, Hebrews was intended to be presented orally in a public performance as a liturgical or homiletic letter, an act of worship in itself, heard by its audience gathered together as a worshiping assembly. Hebrews exhorts the members of its audience not only with regard to their liturgical worship in which they engage during their communal gatherings, but also with regard to their ethical or moral worship in which they engage by the way they conduct themselves outside of their communal gatherings. This close examination of Hebrews through the lens of worship is intended to inform and enrich the worship of Christians today. Hebrews presents important and unique points about worship not found in any other New Testament writing. The goal is to illustrate and illuminate these points for the benefit of those who desire to deepen their worship as Christians by deepening their understanding of the magnificent literary masterpiece that the poetically lively letter to the Hebrews articulates for all Christians.
Endorsements & Reviews-
"Fr. Heil is certainly on the right track when he emphasizes the approach of Hebrews as being all about worship. The book is rich in the use of secondary literature from the recent past. It is handsomely produced." -James Swetnam, SJ Professor Emeritus, Pontifical Biblical Institute
"The author of Hebrews reminds his audience of the importance of meeting together for worship (Heb 10:25), and John Paul Heil examines this 'word of exhortation' (Heb 13:22) to consider what might be inferred throughout the book about worship experiences and expectations. Heil's approach is distinctive and offers new insights." -Eric F. Mason author of 'You Are a Priest Forever': Second Temple Jewish Messianism and the Priestly Christology of the Epistle to the Hebrews
"Professor Heil provides an ecumenical scholarly analysis of the message of Hebrews for intelligent Christians today. His particular focus on worship, both in community and in the individual's moral and faith life, remains faithfully contextualized within the structure of Hebrews' argument. His final Conclusion applies Hebrews to today in a way that fully retains the biblical perspective and transcends contemporary denominational doctrinal differences." -William S. Kurz, SJ Professor of New Testament, Marquette University
John Paul Heil
Paul Heil is Professor of New Testament at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He is the author of The Letters of Paul as Rituals of Worship (2011).