Traditionally included among the letters of St Paul, this Epistle, unlike most others in the NT, does not contain the name of the writer or of those addressed; the traditional title is probably an inference from its contents. The Epistle asserts the finality of the Christian dispensation and its superiority to the Old Covenant. Its theological teaching, notably on the Person of Christ, reaches a level unsurpassed in the NT.
From an early date it was received at Alexandria as Pauline. In the W. it was known to Clement of Rome, but not quoted as Pauline or certainly canonical until the 4th–5th cent. Modern scholars consider that internal evidence marks it as non-Pauline. Both its author and its intended readers were apparently familiar with Jewish worship, but it is disputed whether it was addressed to converts from Judaism or to Gentiles. A date before ad 70 has been supported by several scholars; the majority argue for a date under Domitian (81–96).