Original Research

The ‘cloud of witnesses’ as part of the public court of reputation in Hebrews

Markus Cromhout
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 68, No 1 | a1151 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v68i1.1151 | © 2012 Markus Cromhout | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 July 2011 | Published: 19 July 2012

About the author(s)

Markus Cromhout, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa


By drawing parallels with the function of ancestors in African traditional religions, this article looks at the possibility that the Israelite ancestors mentioned in Hebrews played a far more dynamic role for the author and community he wrote for than most commentators appreciate. In addition to being examples of loyalty, it is argued that they also constitute an active presence, and similar to God, form part of the public court of reputation distributing honour to the Jesus followers. This also grounded and affirmed their Israelite identity.


Hebrews; Ancestors; Honor and Shame; Ethnic Identity


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