Pseudonymity and Inerrancy

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Dr. Bob, May 31, 2003.

  1. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    Movement among liberals and now even some evangelicals (by far the majority of scholars) that promote pseudonymity in some Bible books.

    It is believed that Paul did NOT write Ephesians, I Timothy, II Timothy or Titus, nor did Peter write II Peter.

    Most argue that these books still belong in the canon of Scripture, although attributed to a writer falsely. They do, of course, destroy the verbal accuracy and claims of inerrancy, since they "say" they are written by Paul and this is false.

    Accepting this position seems to me to be a "low" view of the Scripture, opening it up to more subjectivism and undermining inerrancy.

    So it's up to you to share. Assume I'm 100% against the concept and assume Joshua is 100% for it! ( [​IMG] ) Where do you stand?
     
  2. Jim1999

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    I believe the original manuscripts are divinely inspired and inerrant. We might borrow a phrase from Barthianism and say the modern translations, all beyond the originals, "contain the word of God".

    Does this mean there are errors? No! That is not a logical observation. We can rely on the word we have in our possession, ragardless of the version or translation. We can determine the essence of God's message to humanity from any translation.

    We do not design our theologies on one passage of scripture, but on the total theme that runs throughout the whole of scripture.

    It may be that the recorded authors, a later addition to the manuscripts, did not physically pen all the passages, but they may have dictated them to a scribe. We know that Solomon did not write everything attributed to his name by other biblical passages, but does that matter? They remain the ideas of Solomon.

    I am not a liberal theologian, contrary to what some would suppose, and I have no problem with the above views. The Bible remains the word of God to me, and the sole basis for faith and understanding what God has said.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  3. Haruo

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    Not only that, Luke's name was really Georgeanne. (Just kidding.)
    Actually, I think a lot of those who argue thus also deny that Paul wrote Colossians.

    And of course the KJVO folks would lump denying Paul wrote Hebrews in there with the rest of them.

    Personally, I am inclined to go with your hypothesized Joshua on this, but then I've never held to verbal inerrancy anyway.

    The situation may be a bit analogous to "Webster's" authorship of recent dictionaries (some of which, see any Merriam publicity flyers, go to considerable lengths to insist upon their right to the name), the "Roget" of thesauri, the "Hoyle" of card-game rulebooks, the "Robert" of parliamentary-procedure manuals, and/or the eponymosity of publishing houses with names like "Moody Press", "Judson Press", "Broadman Press". The parallels are not exact, but neither are the literary contexts and the technologies; publication in the pre-Gutenberg times involved, generally, a re-editing (intentional or otherwise, often both) of every work every time a new copy was produced.

    Of course these cases are quite different from the issues of Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, or of the unity of Isaiah, or the notion that Jonah wrote his own book (how so?), but perhaps in some ways similar to the question of who wrote the Psalms, the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon.

    Haruo
     
  4. Dr. Bob

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    Anonymity (like Hebrews and I John) are not to be confused with pseudonymity.

    But "frauds are still fraudulent even when perpetuated from noble motives" (J I Packer) and IF the early church KNEW that Paul did not actually write Colosians, et al, and still left his name in the book for us to accept today, then there truly is error and deception in the Bible and its English translations.
     
  5. Larry in Tennessee

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    I believe that Paul was the author of all of the books which are attributed to him, with the exception of Hebrews. I do however believe that many of Paul's letters were dictated by Paul, and penned by a scribe (see Romans 16:22, 2 Thes 3:17). I believe all the other NT books are attributed to the correct writers.

    Larry
     
  6. Daniel David

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    Usually, there is a reason in the book why one would object to apostolic authorship.

    For example, Paul taught the submission of the wife to her husband. Liberals and many mods do not agree with that position. So, they question the authorship to bring doubt and thus less credibility and accountability.

    II Timothy and II Peter both make explicit statements as to the inerrancy of Scripture. It is no wonder that a lib would object.

    Of course, I am never to vocal about inerrancy. :rolleyes:
     
  7. Jim1999

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    Ascribing authorship to some books to other scribes or writers, does not negate the message contained in them. They remain the words of God spoken through men so inspired.

    If some apply a different application, that is their problem and not the contents of scripture.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  8. Johnv

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    I must agree with Jim1999. Authorship does not negate the word of God. We must accept that, while it is believed that Paul wrote the books in question, it is by no means a reasonable certainty. Since we're forbidden from adding to the word of God, we're forbidden from adding authorship to books when such authorship is not a biblical certainty.
     
  9. Dr. Bob

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    But I ask you what do we do with a book that says, "Paul, an apostle . . ." and we conclude that it is a lie? What does that do for the accuracy and inerrancy of every other word in that book?

    IF we cannot trust these words, can we truly trust any?
     
  10. Haruo

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    Are the headers or footers to the various Psalms to be considered part of the inerrant Word or editorial annotations of human authorship? (just curious; seems to me to be a parallel situation but much less inflammatory)

    Haruo
     
  11. Jim1999

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    A speech is written by a speech writer. Is that the speaker's speech, or not. A biography is writen by a ghost writer, but the author's name is on the book. Whose truth is that?

    Eccelsiastes starts off by saying, "The words of the Preacher..." but, did Solomon actually pen those words? And would they be any less the wisdom of Solomon if another penned them?

    Did Paul actually pen everything ascribed to his name? I am sure they are all his thoughts, but not all his penmanship.

    My point is that the bible remains the word of God regardless of the author. Determining the author or writer is academic and nothing to do with veracity of statement.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  12. npetreley

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    If what you're talking about is pseudepigrapha, then I don't see how we could trust content of the epistle. If Joseph Blough penned the words 500 years after Paul died and started the letter with "Paul, an apostle" for the purpose of establishing a sense of authoriity, that's not the same thing as Paul dictating a letter. It's not even the same as someone writing down what they heard Paul say or knew Paul would say, because they are deliberately deceiving the audience into thinking Paul wrote it as an epistle. That's called a "lie", and we know who fathers those.

    (By the way, I know there is historical evidence that would make it impossible for the epistles to be written 500 years later, but I chose the number for the purpose of emphasis.)

    Jim1999,

    To say "the words of the preacher" is different than saying, "Paul, an apostle" or "I, Paul, say such and such". The former could easily be interpreted to mean that a historian is recording the words. And, yes, I would assume that the preacher actually did speak or write those very words at one time or another, even if they were later consolidated into what we now know as Ecclesiastes. Whether or not that preacher was Solomon is a different issue.

    The latter expressions are clearly meant to convey direct authorship, however.

    IMO, it all comes down to deception vs. ignorance. We don't know for certain who wrote Hebrews, but we believe it's inspired, and the fact that we don't know the author doesn't make it any less inspired. But if Hebrews started out with the words "I, President John F. Kennedy, say to you..." then I think that would cast a little doubt on the rest of the epistle. ;) (By the way, my opinion on the author of Hebrews is Barnabas, but that's a fairly uneducated opinion.)
     
  13. Rev. Joshua

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    Regardless of who actually wrote the pastoral epistles (and Bob is right in assuming that I question Pauline authorship on some of them); their content has historically been accepted as authoritative and inspired since the days of the Early Church. That's good enough for me to keep them in the canon, although it does put a chink in the whole "verbal plenary inspiration" theory.

    Joshua
     
  14. Deekay

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    I don't have the resource in front of me, but I remember reading about a cleric in the early centuries of church history who wrote a "well-meaning" letter in Paul's name. Despite the fact that he really didn't intend to fool anyone, the cleric was still dismissed from his office for writing the counterfeit Pauline epistle. I think this shows how seriously early Christians treated the notion of pseudonymity. It was not considered as harmless as some scholars would now have us believe. As far as Paul using an amanuensis to write his letters, we know he did in at least some cases. This could help explain the alleged stylistic differences found in some of his epistles (varying circumstances and audiences are also factors). I believe that Paul was the author of all the letters that bear his name.
     
  15. WillRain

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    Plain and simple, if it says "I, X, write to you..." or some such, then X wrote it.
    Period.

    If it does not say, like Luke for instance, then you may freely debate it. but what's IN THE TEXT is beyond question, IMO.

    If we sacrife that, then we have to sacrifice the entire book. You can't be CERTAIN that Peter spoke on the day of Pentecost or that Paul was ever in a prison or anything else.
     
  16. Helen

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    No no no no!

    Here is the REAL thing that happened. I wrote them all. I wrote them all last week. All memories each of you have before May 25 are false memories.

    And none of you can prove otherwise!

    And that is how far you can go with the liberal view of Holy Scriptures....

    In the meantime, the other view, which is the one I actually hold, is that my memories were accumulated bit by bit over time, that the authors of the books are who they say they are (or via scribe by dictation from that person), and that we can trust God to have written what He means and mean what He has caused to be written and established as Holy Writ.
     
  17. Daniel Dunivan

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    The very way that the opening question was asked points to a major problem within the inerrantists camp. If one must accept books as a priori without error, then no historical questions about authorship can be raised. It points that a theological presupposition is driving your study of scriptures rather than allowing an honest approach to scriptures to determine your theological positions.

    As a moderate, I will forthrightly admit that I bring certain presuppositions to the theological table--one of them being that historical critical assesments of scripture have merit and are not simply skeptical attacks. I would wonder if fundamentalists would be upfront and self aware of their own? It seems to me that in their attempts to move the authority of scripture outside the clutches of "modernity" that fundamentalists have simply traded one set of culturaly defined presuppositions for another.

    Based upon my historical-critical study of scripture up to this point, I think that all claims against Pauline authorship are fuzzy. I would not take a hard and fast stand either way. However, other books like Daniel, Deutero-Isaiah, II Peter, and Jude I would strongly question as coming from the hand of the presented author.

    To which of these two things are we most committed: the bible or our view concerning its authority? I think that we can allow the bible itself to be our guide and still have a variety of answers to the questions posed by Dr. Bob, but we should be careful upon which grounds we substantiate our claims for this will betray our true allegiance.

    Grace and Peace, Danny [​IMG]
     
  18. Daniel David

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    It isn't everyday that someone who pushes historic criticism will actually admit it, so I will mark this day as important. Historic criticism is such a laughable idea, that it is hardly worth the time to address it.

    The sole competition for fanciful ideas about Scripture that historic criticism has is redaction criticism.

    Anyway, here is one of your problems, Daniel Dunivan, Christ himself said that Daniel was the author and that Isaiah was the author. You have to ignore the plain, direct teachings of Christ for your subjectivism.
     
  19. npetreley

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    I was going to guess that, since the similarity in style is definitely noticeable. But I didn't want to show off my textual analysis scholarship. ;)
     
  20. Haruo

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    Anyway, here is one of your problems, Daniel Dunivan, Christ himself said that Daniel was the author and that Isaiah was the author. You have to ignore the plain, direct teachings of Christ for your subjectivism. </font>[/QUOTE]Would you be so kind as to cite the specific statements of Christ to which you refer here? Thanks,

    Haruo
     

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