To interpret biblical texts appropriately, it is important to understand the social institutions and scripts that underlie the text. The similarities between some concepts of personality in first-century Mediterranean society and the Akan society of Ghana makes it possible to read the letter to the Hebrews (hereafter referred to as Hebrews) through the lens of an Akan understanding of personality, enabling us to appreciate Hebrews in much the same way as first-century Mediterraneans. To demonstrate this, this article discusses some relevant theories on personality in first-century Mediterranean society, as well as some concepts of personality of the Akan people of Ghana. It further discusses the portrait of the persons addressed in Hebrews through the lens of some relevant aspects of an Akan concept of personality.
This article represents a reworked version of portions of the Ph.D. dissertation submitted by Seth Kissi, titled “Social Identity in Hebrews and the Akan Community of Ghana,” in the Department of New Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, with Prof. Dr Ernest van Eck as supervisor. (http://hdl.handle.net/2263/61186)