This is one of those posts where I would love to get input from the collective knowledge of the Mormon blog world. What is the latest scholarly opinion on who wrote “Hebrews?”
It is worth noting that the LDS Bible Dictionary says Paul was the author, although the controversy of authorship is mentioned.
Epistle to the Hebrews was written to Jewish members of the Church to persuade them that significant aspects of the law of Moses, as a forerunner, had been fulfilled in Christ, and that the higher gospel law of Christ had replaced it. When Paul returned to Jerusalem at the end of his third mission (about A.D. 60), he found that many thousands of Jewish members of the Church were still “zealous of the law” of Moses (Acts 21:20). This was at least ten years after the conference at Jerusalem had determined that certain ordinances of the law of Moses were not necessary for the salvation of gentile Christians, but had not settled the matter for Jewish Christians. It appears that soon thereafter, Paul wrote the epistle to the Hebrews to show them by their own scripture and by sound reason why they should no longer practice the law of Moses. The epistle is built on a carefully worked-out plan. Some have felt that the literary style is different from that of Paul’s other letters. However, the ideas are certainly Paul’s.
I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of New Testament scholars do not agree with the analysis that we know that Paul wrote “Hebrews,” however.
This article describes the situation pretty well. To summarize, the article comes to the conclusion that nobody really knows who wrote “Hebrews,” which has been the scholarly consensus since Origen in the 3rd century AD.
Numerous theories regarding the authorship have been advanced: the apostle Paul; Silas, the companion of Paul (Acts 15:40); Aquila and Priscilla, fellow tent makers with Paul and his trusted friends (Acts 18:2); Luke, the faithful friend and traveling companion of Paul (Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11); Barnabas, Paul’s friend and fellow minister (Acts 13:2); Apollos, a gifted teacher and friend of Paul (Acts 18:23-28); etc. Of the non-Pauline suggestions, Barnabas and Apollos are the most frequently proposed.
Personally, I find the style of “Hebrews” to be completely different than the rest of Paul’s epistles. It is unusually organized and to the point. The language seems clearer than the rest of Paul’s epistles, but of course I am not reading in the original Greek so the differences could be because of the translation (although I will note I have read several translations of Hebrews, and they all seem more organized and to the point).
Is it possible that “Hebrews” was a group production of early Christians in which Paul’s ideas played a role? This could explain the lack of a clear author, as well as the widespread acceptance of the letter as part of the Biblical canon.
Anyway, I would love to hear peoples’ ideas on this.