Understanding the people we meet in the Letter to the Hebrews (hereafter: Hebrews) with Western concepts of personality is misleading. This is because people in today's Western society are different from those who lived in Mediterranean societies during the first-century. This article uses personality as a social-scientific model to study Hebrews. It will be shown that first-century Mediterranean concepts of personality allow for a full appreciation of the author's rhetoric and appeal to the audience. After discussing social-scientific criticism and some models of first-century personality, the relevant aspects of the theories on personality are used as a lens through which to consider Hebrews' appeal to its readers. The study concludes that Hebrews portrays its readers as typical collectivist persons with a group orientation, who are concerned primarily with the pursuit of goals and interests related to the group.


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pp. 315-335
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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