Superscriptions in the Psalms

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Greektim, May 17, 2011.

  1. Greektim

    Greektim
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    Are they inspired, canonical, and/or reliable?

    What is your view and why?
     
  2. Greektim

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    Wow... no opinions on this. Shoulda started a thread on Calvinism ;)
     
  3. JesusFan

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    Are you asking IF the part of the psalm that attributes it to david etc is ANY of the above?
    Would say its reliable, neither Inspired or Canonical, as IF they authorship was to a diiferent person that ytradition ascribes it to would NOT affect its canoncity/inspiration, as by being in the Bible, whoever wrote it was inspried by God...

    Question back...

    is the Inspiration/canoncity of ANY Book in Bible dependent on it being written by ascribed author, or is it inspired regardless, as it got into canon?

    Does it matter IF Apostle John wrote revelation, Paul wrote hebrews etc?
     
  4. revmwc

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    Define superscriptions. Give examples something.
     
  5. preachinjesus

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    I think they're reasonable and appropriate. They present a challenge to interpretation because some might be false attributions...but we'll never know.

    Some are canonical, yes. When the Psalms were brought together to form the text some would have been, at that point, noted by the editors as coming from one or two source traditions. I think that is appropriate.

    (Of course keep in mind David, and whoever else, didn't just sit down one weekend and write out all the Psalms. They were likely brought together by an editor after David's life)

    As to whether they are inspired...oy vey...I don't know. I don't think the verse and chapter numbers are inspired. (Clearly there are problems in that system) So it is possible to say they were a later addition or interpolation.

    I don't have a hard and fast view on this question. I'm definitely open to other views. It is an outstanding question for you to ask.:thumbs:
     
  6. Siberian

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    I think they are reliable, and written early in the process of collecting the Psalms. Some contain musical terms and may have been penned by the Psalmist themselves (esp. the Psalms of David, as he was a musician) - though I think most were added as the Psalms were being assembled. Others contain precise historical data that either corresponds with a historical narrative elsewhere in the Scriptures, or are entirely unique (Psalm 60, etc.). They are too varied and, at some points, specific to be very late fabrications.

    But I think there will always be mystery to this one, since the majority of evidence needed to satisfy this question is non-extant.
     
    #6 Siberian, May 18, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2011
  7. Greektim

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    Is it wrong to say that they were added later yet still inspired? I am leaning to a compositional/canonical approach to inspiration for the OT. It seems best that the Psalms didn't take on its full divine meaning until they were all compiled together in a theological order (much like the rest of the OT cannon in Hebrew Scripture). Those superscriptions were definitely added later than the original recording of the psalm. So to be added later, I still think that they were inspired. I might go so far as to say that the psalms reached the complete status of "inspired" when they were finally compiled, edited, and superscripted.

    Thoughts?
     
  8. JesusFan

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    Doesn't the meaning of inspiration though cover JUST original author(s) of the sacred texts though?
    NOT any editing procedures?

    For example...

    Genesis may or may not have gone thru an "editing" process before it full/final Book was on the scene, but what would have been inspired was Moses, and assuming here Joshua recording the death of Moses...

    Those authors would have been inspired, but not ANY who 'touched" the text after That!
     
  9. preachinjesus

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    I would agree that inspiration doesn't need to isolated to one person writing one text at one moment. God is not static but dynamic, how can His inspirational method be any different?

    Aquinas believed that even the variants were inspired. While I won't go that far I will say that there are examples of dynamic inspiration being part of the textual assembly process across many books of the Bible.

    The Psalms provide a terrific Old Testament example. Obviously written over a lengthy period of time by a number of different authors and then later compiled by an anonymous editor for use in Temple worship. The inspirational process didn't stop when the author of, what would become, Psalm 1 finished the poem.

    In the New Testament one can look at Pauline literature where he uses a secretary to dictate the letters to who later edits and revises the remarks. (Romans 16 mentions one specifically) Obviously the initial dictation of Paul to the secretary was inspired, but why not also the secretary's later editing. Ellis provides a lot of insight for this process in his terrific Making of the New Testament Documents.

    So I think it is completely reasonable to suggest that the superscriptions were added later and can be equally seen as inspired. :)
     
  10. Baptist Believer

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    What is the reasoning that brought you to this conclusion?
     
  11. glfredrick

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    I put them in the realm of scribal notations and have to presume that the Holy Spirit intended that they get passed along for future generations, but that they are generally not on the same level as inspired Scripture. Sort of like the accepted Apocrypha -- valuable for the edification and teaching of the church, but not Scripture -- and from them no doctrine ought be formulated (RCC fail at that and have formulated doctrines from Apocrypha).
     
  12. Jim1999

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    Is the Bible really the Word of God????

    Who penned the first five books of the Bible, and when did he live?

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  13. JesusFan

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    Inspiration of the Holy Spirit would extend to the original manuscripts/texts, and thru the original writers of such...

    You can edit them by putting them order, but no one would have fiat from God to alter the text already written down there....

    Would be like Mark had inspiration to record down "memoirs" of Apostle peter, Paul had at times scribe to help him write, but those "fell under" Apostolic inspiration...

    Whoever edited and added to Gospel of mark last several verses would NOT be inspired, so really our Engish and other translation should NOT have had the "longer ending" in them!
     
    #13 JesusFan, May 19, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 19, 2011
  14. Greektim

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    Inspiration for the OT is not quite the same for the NT. A clear factor is that the OT took about 1,000 years to be compiled whereas the NT only around 50 (or less depending on your dating methods). The fact is, there are clear editorial redactions in the OT that are still considered inspired (in the NT as well I think). Even more, there are editors or compilers that had to bring much of the material together. Take Proverbs for instance. Was a proverb inspired when it was uttered, first written down, or eventually made it into the compilation that we now know of as the book of Proverbs?

    Same with the Psalms. In fact, many Psalms scholars believe there to be a theological arrangement between the Psalms. The hermeneutics of the Hebrew Scriptures is looking more towards intertextual word linking and cognate word plays rather than the form of exegesis we would practice in the NT (and even that is starting to change). The play on words seen throughout the OT speaks of a grand narrative and divine author where there is a theological arrangement (like Ruth following Proverbs). I would put the superscriptions of the Psalms on the same plane. They were not initially voiced or written. Not sure when they were added, but when the Psalter was compiled, they were included and regarded as Scripture. Thus, inspiration for the Psalms was a process.
     
  15. Baptist Believer

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    Since the process of the inspiration of scripture is not revealed to us, we are speculating when we discuss how it happened. Therefore we shouldn't be too dogmatic about the process, in my opinion.

    Regarding editing, would you say that if the materials that compose the book of Genesis were compiled and edited by (or under the authority of) Moses from a number of pre-existing documents and oral tradition, that it would somehow not be inspired or that Moses did not have authority from God to put things into a comprehensible narrative?

    On what biblical basis of authority do you make this assertion? The longer ending of Mark doesn't match your personal faith and practice so it can't be inspired? The shorter endings of Mark are somehow more correct/accurate? Or maybe the abrupt ending of Mark is the only inspired one. How can you biblically make that assertion?

    Since we can't know for sure how the inspiration process worked, I think we should be very careful about dismissing any part of the scripture that has been handed down to us through our Christian heritage. Certainly we are going to have questions, but we need to immerse ourselves in the text instead of merely dissecting and let the scripture point us to Christ and guide us in the way of faith.
     
    #15 Baptist Believer, May 20, 2011
    Last edited: May 20, 2011
  16. JesusFan

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    Just saying that IF Moses did "edit" material that came to him, that would fit under inspiration, as the Holy Spirit would have guded the process with Moses, as he did have the "inspiration" on him, just as the Apostles of Jesus did... Joshua also would have, see him similiar to a mark, who wroye down what Peter had said, and Luke also was covered by Pauline Apostolic inspiration...

    Dont think ANYTHING but original manuscripts/documents were inspired by God though...

    So think that "mistakes" in either OT/NT due to scribal inserts, re edit false copying etc... essentially OT/NT VERY close to original inspired document, but NOT directly inspired documents...

    maybe was 'harsh" in saying about Gospel of Mark, just trying to state that there are many doubts as to the longer ending, and might not have been "inspired" buy added in later....
     
  17. JesusFan

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    is that the way Evangeicals/Fundementalists then say the inspiration process happened in the OT as contrasted to NT?

    wasn't it the "same" degree of inspiration in both cases., "God breathed?"
     
  18. Greektim

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    Fundi's don't... but Evangelicals are moving that way. You can't deny the fact that the OT was handed down over a long period of time, collected, compiled, theologically ordered, and then presented in the Hebrew Scriptures as we now have them. And I find nothing wrong with ascribing the concept of "God-breathing" it all. Why must every Scriptural document be handed down and "inspired" exactly the same way? Well... it doesn't. Psalms and Proverbs are 2 clear examples. They were not written. They were first spoken, then written, then gathered, then edited into a particular order.
     
  19. JesusFan

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    Could there actually be 2 processes involved here in the sacred texts...

    original documents were under inspiration, while any other editing/composition etc fall under God perserving the texts for us?
     
  20. Baptist Believer

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    You are using an interesting expression, "'inspiration' on him." What does this mean? Does this mean that the person is inspired by the Spirit or is the writing inspired by the Spirit? I've always taken it to be the writing is inspired, not the person having some sort of special gift that creates inspired texts.

    And you seem to imply that only known editors (like Moses and Joshua) could be inspired, not editors lost to the records of history. And, if this is our standard, how do we know if Hebrews is inspired since we don't really know who wrote it?

    What is your scripture reference to indicate that Luke was "covered" by Paul's Apostolic inspiration?

    Does it also mean that God did not preserve His word since one of Paul's letters to the church in Corinth seems not to have survived? (The Mormons make much of this BTW. They use it as "evidence" that "plain and precious" parts of the Bible - that allegedly teach Mormon doctrine - are missing.)

    Be careful here. Essentially you are saying that we don't have an inspired text anymore, just something that is close.

    I think you are mixing a theory of inerrancy with a theory of inspiration.

    I agree that we currently do not have an inerrant Bible. However we have a fully inspired, reliable and infallible Bible.

    I worked though all of these issues years ago in a Christian Doctrines class in college. I wrote my term paper on the inspiration of scripture, naively expecting to be able to build a irrefutable doctrinal foundation of inspiration so that I could use it as a foundation for inerrancy, and then for a complete systematic theology based on the "certainty" of those position.

    The more I worked through the scriptures and various theories from across the theological spectrum, I realized that the scripture doesn't really tell us how the scriptures were inspired (yes I know, "God-breathed", but it's not really that helpful when you are trying to make a dictation theory work with the variants between the two listings of the Ten Commandments in the Pentateuch or the variations in word usage between descriptions of the same events in the various gospels).

    Ultimately, we just have to accept intellectually that the scriptures are indeed inspired, just as the Spirit confirms to our spirit, and that the church through the centuries has understood. Then we move forward in faithful discipleship to Jesus and not try to make claims beyond what the Bible teaches about itself.
     

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