This commentary is the first to fully apply the resources of socio-rhetorical analysis to Hebrews. Insights into the cultural and social world of the audience are combined with analysis of the author’s rhetorical strategy and ideology to create a rich, three-dimensional reading that helps unravel key issues in the interpretation of the epistle. David deSilva’s reflections on application concluding each section also make his commentary valuable to seminarians and pastors seeking to make Hebrews relevant to today’s world.
“Jesus himself provides a model for their own struggle, since ‘in the days of his flesh’ he, too, relied on a vital prayer life to sustain him in his commitment to obedience.” (Page 205)
“In 10:5–10, he introduces an interpretation of Psalm 39:7–9 (LXX; MT 40:6–8), a text that provides the perfect solution for his needs since it can be read as an oracle of God decreeing the replacement of the animal sacrificial system with the voluntary offering of a single human victim.” (Page 320)
“To the person not trusting God, how senseless would the Passover meal have appeared? How foolish the daubing of blood on doorposts?” (Page 414)
“difficulties of remaining long without honor in the world” (Page 18)
This is an innovative and important full-scale commentary on one of the lengthiest and least-appreciated books in the New Testament. It is written in an engaging, generally non-technical style that should make it attractive to interested laypeople as well as students, pastors, and scholars….DeSilva has written an enthusiastic commentary that offers valuable insights and many particular suggestions about how the letter’s teachings apply today.
Using an integrated, coherent program of multiple strategies of analysis and interpretation, this commentary by David deSilva gives rich, deep insights into the argumentative, social, cultural, ideological, and sacred texture of Hebrews. Traditional knowledge about the epistle gains fresh perspective, and new insights emerge to lead us into a new era of interpretation of early Christian discourse. A wonderful achievement and a lasting contribution.
—Vernon K. Robbins, Emory University
This commentary bears much fruit from the recent emphasis on interdisciplinary studies and socio-rhetorical analysis in New Testament exegesis. David deSilva shows how the interpreter of Hebrews benefits from the dialogue between rhetorical criticism, social-scientific analysis, cultural anthropology, and ideological criticism. He clarifies not only the words on the page but also how those words relate to the world from which they were borrowed and upon which they were intended to have an impact. To top it off, deSilva conducts this dialogue with engaging prose that brings his interpretation to bear on the Christian life in the modern world.
—Duane F. Watson, Malone College
Perseverance in Gratitude is a masterpiece that provides plenty of value for all types of readers. Specialists will appreciate the application of socio-rhetorical criticism to Hebrews. Non-specialists will appreciate the clear explanation of socio-rhetorical criticism and of ancient rhetoric. Preachers will appreciate the ‘Bridging the Horizons’ sections. And all readers will appreciate the clarity of deSilva’s writing….I warmly welcome this commentary as a fine textbook for teaching Hebrews in the classroom.
—Peter H. Davids, independent scholar and educational missionary in Europe
In this welcome commentary deSilva accomplishes what commentators rarely achieve—a perfect blend of academic rigor, theological probity, and practical astuteness.
—Bruce W. Longenecker, University of St. Andrews