The author of Hebrews selected, shaped, and narrated the events and characters of Heb 11. By drawing on collective memories shared between the preacher and the audience, the author encourages the congregation to share in the life of faith demonstrated by those who are referenced. This life of faith is not based on an unrealized future but rather on the presence of the future in the past. In the particular section of Heb 11 that deals with Abraham and his descendants (vv. 8–22), there are appeals to significant identity shaping collective memories such as the person of Joseph and the exodus. The surprising comment that Joseph remembered the exodus is one example of the way in which a collective memory such as the exodus is appealed to as evidence for a true hope, based on an eschatological future that is embedded in the memory of the past. The book of Hebrews describes the eschatological future as something that has already begun (demonstrated in Heb 12 as well as in Heb 1:2) and makes use of collective memory as one more means to solidify that anticipation. For early Christians, the memory of the exodus was a memory of God's deliverance demonstrated in the OT, as well as a memory of Jesus and the deliverance he pointed toward at the Last Supper, accomplished on the cross, and will bring to complete fulfillment on the last day.

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