The "Letter to the Hebrews" marked a turn in Christian theology. Up to the date of its publication, the vast majority of Christians writings were either evangelical or pastoral in nature; they strove either to spread the Good News or to maintain good order in the local churches. Hebrews was different. The author painted a metaphysical vision of Christ as superior to the created order, both to the angels and to the faith of the Chosen People. In the light of his vision, he exhorted his audience to remain steadfast in their faith despite the temptations of the outside culture.

The author employed a multi-layered rhetoric with a fairly elegant Greek prose to advance his thesis. While he wrote to an unnamed community, he did not include a traditional greeting but he did pen a farewell. Because of these factors, many scholars believe the document was more of a sermon than a simple correspondence.

In the light of external writings and internal themes, along with clues in Hebrews itself, we can date the document from 70-90 CE.

The Catholic Letters

Tradition has grouped these varied documents together under the title of “Catholic.” Obviously this did not refer to the domination known by that name, but to the universal nature of the writings. Together, they gave us a fascinating glimpse into the issues of the post-apostolic era.