Social identity in Hebrews and Akan Community of Ghana' is a social-scientific study of Hebrews. It explores how the warning passages of Hebrews can be understood in the light of social identity in both first-century Mediterranean society and Akan society of Ghana. To achieve this, the argument in the warning passages are examined by means of theories on social identity, ethnicity and personality of the Mediterranean society while relying on the data of the text of Hebrews for information on the social situation being addressed. The summary of findings is then examined through the lens of Akan concept of social identity for comparative purposes.
The study involves definition and description of social-scientific criticism and its use of theories and models for biblical interpretation. It assesses the strength and weaknesses of the approach and how to mitigate its weaknesses. It also delineates the socio-cultural context of Hebrews to provide a background against which Hebrews should be understood. The Akan people of Ghana, and some of their relevant socio-cultural issues, are also given attention. A discussion of theories on ethnicity, ingroup and intergroup behaviour, as well as personality in the Mediterranean society comes with outlines of their relevant aspects for the study of Hebrews. These theories are applied to the study of the warning passages, after Hebrews 1 has been discussed in the light of social identity as the introduction to the study that sets the tone for the warning passages. A discussion of social identity in the Akan society is undertaken, and later becomes a lens for looking at the summary of social identity issues that emerged from the application to the warning passages the theories of ethnicity, ingroup/intergroup behaviour, and personality in the Mediterranean society. In the end, it was realised that the social institutions and scripts of both the Mediterranean and Akan societies offer similar perspectives for understanding the warning passages. The few differences that were seen had to do with some details about the related socials institutions and scripts, but these differences did not make any difference in the way the broader social institutions and scripts of both societies give meaning to the warning passages. The study established that the author found the social institutions and scripts in ethnicity, ingroup and intergroup behaviour and personality of the Mediterranean world appropriate ways of making his appeal to his audience for the desired responses to God and the Christian group. It further established that it is possible to understand the appeal of the author of Hebrews to his audience entirely in the light of social identity in the Akan society of Ghana. Such an Akan reading of Hebrews is possible only while holding the distinctively Jewish and Christian elements introduced into the author's arguments in one hand, and the social situation that necessitated the writing of Hebrews in the other hand.