Enabling Fidelity to God
Perseverance in Hebrews in Light of the Reciprocity Systems of the Ancient Mediterranean World
Imprint: Wipf and Stock
'Jason Whitlark has overcome what many have regarded as an insoluble problem with regard to Hebrews: a way in which it can be understood in the context of the overwhelming emphasis on grace in the New Testament epistolary literature. His use of the category of divine enablement makes possible a new and refreshing reading.'
-- Sharyn Dowd is Professor for Adult Spiritual Formation and Mission Engagement, First Baptist Church, Decatur, Georgia.
'In Enabling Fidelity to God, Jason Whitlark has produced a stunningly fresh reading of Hebrews in its larger Greco-Roman context. Recent scholarship tends to read the soteriology of Hebrews as reflecting, indeed embracing, the Greco-Roman practice of benefaction and the assumptions of reciprocity that undergird it. In the reading of Hebrews, humans respond in gratitude to God's merciful and beneficent acts in an interdependent, mutually reinforcing circle of salvation. Through a remarkable mastery of primary and secondary sources, Whitlark shows rather that Hebrews, in a direct challenge to the reciprocity system, argues that human fidelity to God is utterly and absolutely predicated upon God's divine enablement. Not everyone will agree will Whitlark's thesis, but students of Hebrews and New Testament soteriology must certainly come to terms with it.'
-- Mikeal Parsons is Kidd L. and Buna Hitchcock Macon Chair in Religion and Professor of New Testament, Baylor University, Waco, Texas
'This is a fresh and provocative new reading of Hebrews that moves the homily from the periphery of New Testament soteriology into the early Christian mainstream. This is an exercise in biblical theology not to be missed.'
-- Charles H. Talbert, Distinguished Professor of Religion in New Testament Studies, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.