Hebrews should be read as the great and isolated Alexandrian letter that it is.
Remember that the various collections of scriptures that were brought together over 1000 years to form the different post Renaissance NTs, came from different parts of the Church, expressing the varying and sometimes competing theologies of competing Patriarchates/Nations.
The 4 gospels of the one Gospel are not "synoptic"; they tell much the same events in much the same order (with illuminating exceptions) but have different views, not the same - as do the Letters.
To Paul Christ is the Hilasterion in the Holiest of Holy, to Hebrews Christ is the High Priest sprinkling it ;=)
Ephesians and Colossians are the same scripture (again a treatise, not a letter) with different views/evaluations. Put them side by side and compare. What Ephesians (maybe Bishop Onésimos of Efesos) calls “rubbish”, the other (maybe Marcion) gets upset about.
The Johannine Apokalypsis was not accepted in an Alexandria (which was suspicious of the Johannine letters as well) which had its own apokalypsis; the 1000-page Hermas' Shepherd, along with Barnabas’ anti Jewish letter (again not a letter but a treatise), and so on…
The late 2nd/early 3rd century Alexandrian redaction (Clement of Alexandria; the p 46 & c.) re-worked, corrected and harmo-nized by the 5th century Byzantine redaction, did not acknowled-ge the Pastorals, too close in time to be taken as authentic (and – according to the “Muratoria” list – written as one redacted anti-Marcionite letter, in the order Titus, 1 Tim, 2 Tim), but tried to promote it’s own Alexandrian scriptures instead ;=)
Likewise, the "Catholic" letters (= general letters lacking addresses) of Alexandria were not accepted in neighbouring Antioch for several centuries...
Modern (and antique) Integrism is wrong.
The view of the Early Church (see Eusebios’ Church History) was that any scripture could witness to the Righteousness of God in Christ; any scripture could contain grains of Truth.
Nothing was dangerous; (almost) nothing was magic.
The view of “scripture” of the Early Church was neither "high" or low, but w i d e.
The Church collected its Holy Scriptures because they gave witness to her Faith in different Patriarchates, at different moments in time.
Precisely because they were different!
We do not have 4 gospels of the one Gospel to say the same thing. They don’t. The Bible is Jewish scriptures, not Indo European ones...
Leaving the Pastorals apart (which as early as the mid 2nd century present the absolute opposite to Paul's teachings on Society, Church and State, women, slaves, Olympics, military service & c, as his own) the "problem" you refer to divides into two:
1. Integrism, or simply put the lumping together of various scriptural utterances to form new hitherto un-heard of "teach-ings", legitimizing ancient heathen Philosophy and Gnosticism and/or latter day social and ecclesiastical Politics,
2. Forged translations, from the late 12th century Parisian Versio vulgata onwards, putting these latter day State and Academy novelties into the sacred texts themselves (in our time leading to the re-circulation and re-processing of earlier, dated, forgeries to express late modern, socio-political "needs").
So I am warning against reading the Holy Scriptures in the plural un-wittingly as the Holy Scripture in the singular of Hellenism.
My point is not what the NPs of this world say, that the Bible, or the Church , or Creation, or Christ or God should be painted in the light of a late modern socio-political agenda, but that this forging lies in the past; 9th century, 12th century, 16th century, second half of the 20th century ("Dynamic Equivalence"), and that it is our duty to fight it and bring the Holy Scriptures of the Church back to Christ's Gospel after 1000 years of servitude to the Powers that be.
I don’t really think changing Idolatry into “sex”, or Disloyalty into “marriage breaking”, or Greed into “unchastity” is merely adding layers.
It’s a different Gospel.
“Dynamic equivalence” is a Lie. Not even an “and” is unambi-guous, it may mean a host of things. As basically a historian, I have is no use of a text if I don’t know both what the words may mean and what they cannot mean.
Both are equally important.
Distorting it in our image, or giving it the meaning of a 3rd or 4th language, only proves that we actually do not care what the Bible says!
All claims to the contrary are so many Freudian slips ;=)
Erika wrote: “I suppose the real question is whether we believe that, despite their limitations, they nevertheless form part of continued, Spirit guided revelation, or whether all additions and forgeries are inherently uninspired and must be disregarded as false innovations.”
I don’t know if “inspired” is very helpful here. Of course they are “inspired”… by something ;=)
Per the Early Church, all scriptures, no matter how much they might be “holy scripture” to whomever, may contain logoi spermatikoì; seeds of Truth, and as such form part of an ongoing Spirit-guided revelation. This is part of the background to the important discussion about historical typoi; OT pre-views and fulfilments.
Christ, the Word in Creation, is present in Creation from day one, before the Incarnation.
Personally, I find parts of what I believe to be by Marcion (for instance Romans 1:18-25 or 8:38-39 and Colossians) to be some of the most beautiful and most inspired (because unprecedented), and therefore inspiring words in the NT. But I don’t think the concept of “God’s Wrath” (I think it must have been God's Grace originally) towards Creation is at all useful, or even compatible with the view that the same God created his Creation very good and sent his only begotten to save it, to bring it back to Him.
It's painting God in the image of Dualism.
I also find the Pastorals circle’s inversion of Paul most un-inspi-ring; pro slavery, anti women (incl. 1 Cor 11:4-7, 10 and 13-16, and 14:34-35), pro War (Bacchus cult), pro Olympics (Zeus cult), church quarrels (the Episcopal election), and sectarianism (catalogues of sin)...
Test everything against the Gospel!
Everything into subordination, hierarchy, “obedience”, is the Powers that be, not the Gospel of God’s righteousness in Christ.
From a conversation on Thinking Anglicans three years ago. And thank's to Erika who tipped me off.