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The Location of the Cloud of Witnesses (Heb 12:1): Complexities of Time and Space in Hebrews

Playoust, Catherine (2016) The Location of the Cloud of Witnesses (Heb 12:1): Complexities of Time and Space in Hebrews. Australian Biblical Review, 64. pp. 1-13. ISSN 0045-0308


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The hearers of Hebrews are told in Heb 12:1-2 that, as they run the contest lying before them, looking to Jesus, they are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. These witnesses are evidently the people of faith who were described in the previous chapter, but their relationship to the runners is not as clear as most recent scholarship implies. They are not present in order to watch, encourage or bear witness to the race, and their function as models of faith is muted by the text's presentation of Jesus as faith's leader and perfecter. When the temporal perspective of passages such as 11:39-40 is considered, it becomes clear that the audience has the cloud of witnesses lying about them because they will all attain their perfection together, following in the train of Jesus' entry into heaven.

Item Type: Published Articles
Additional Information: This is a revised version of the Presidential Address delivered to the Fellowship for Biblical Studies in Melbourne, 5 November 2015. The paper was also given on 23 November 2015 in the joint session of the Hebrews Section and the Wisdom and Apocalypticism Section of the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. It is dedicated to the Rev’d Dr Ellen Bradshaw Aitken (1961-2014).
Repository Version: Published Version
Keywords: Hebrews, witness, cloud, faith, heaven
Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
Subjects: B - New Testament
College/Association with University of Divinity: CTC: Catholic Theological College
Depositing User: Mr Micah Daley-Carey
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2017 00:39
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2017 04:23
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/2953

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