- Jewish Doctrine (§ 1).
- Early Christian Doctrine (§ 2).
- The Scholastic Period (§ 3).
- The Reformation (§ 4).
- Post-Reformation Development (§ 5).
- Modern Development (§ 6).
- The Bible and Inspiration (§ 7).
- Nature and Method of Inspiration (§ 8).
- The Theory of Plenary Inspiration (§ 9).
- The Theory of Partial Inspiration (§ 10).
- Criteria of Inspiration (§ 11).
- Modern Tendencies and Development (§ 12).
In theological language, inspiration signifies the operation of the Holy Spirit upon the writers of the Bible, by which the Bible becomes the expression of the will of God binding upon us, or the Word of God. The term originated from the Vulgate version of II Tim. iii. 16, Omnis scriptura divinitus inspirata. The Greek word theopneustos-of which it is at least doubtful whether divinitus inspirata is an accurate translation-belongs only to Hellenistic and Christian Greek, and may have been coined by Paul. Other post-classical uses of it show that it signifies "filled with the Spirit of God" or "breathing out the Spirit of God," from which it follows that the Scripture so designated has come into being under the operation of the Spirit. The preference of the Greek commentators for the meaning expressed by divinitus inspirata would have less importance if it were not explicable by the prevalent view, for which the corresponding term was thought to be found in II Tim. iii. 16, which was more or less an inheritance from Alexandrian Judaism or from paganism.
1. Jewish Doctrine. The church doctrine-or rather the oldest views held in the Church, since it is inaccurate to speak of any distinct church doctrine on the point, either before or since the Reformation, outside of the single statement that the Scripture is inspired, without saying how it is inspired-is much closer to the Alexandrian or pagan view than to that of Jewish theology. Both Talmudic and Alexandrian Judaism agreed in attributing unique authority to the Old Testament. The Talmud claims an immediate divine origin for the "Law," asserting that God wrote it with his own hand, or dictated it to Moses as his amanuensis. A secondary revelation is contained in the "Prophets" (from Joshua on, including Psalms, Canticles, Job, Ecclesiastes, Ezra), as Kabbalah, or tradition as distinguished from the Law. In the case of the prophet, their personality is not so absorbed by the Spirit of God as to render them mere unconscious organs. The medieval Jewish theologians were the first to attribute a special kind of inspiration to the Hagiographa, as written by the spirit of holiness, while the prophetical books were written by the spirit of prophecy. Jewish antiquity knows nothing of such a distinction; and Matt. xxii. 43 shows that the origin of these books too was referred to the Spirit of God. That the personality of the authors was still more prominent in them than in the prophets may be inferred from their place in the canon, as well as from various expressions which put them, in relation to the Law, in the lowest place. Alexandrian Judaism took a different view. It is true that Josephus maintains that the Spirit was absent from the second Temple, and designates the reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus as the end of canonical authorship; but he, as well as Philo and the author of Wisdom (vii. 27), believes none the less in a continuance and diffusion of the prophetic gift. Upon this theory rest the legend of the origin of the Septuagint and the acceptance of the Apocrypha. Thus, while apparently broader and freer than Talmudic Judaism, the Alexandrian school represents a doctrine of inspiration which is really much more strict. All the Old-Testament writers are prophets; but with the prophetic illumination human consciousness ceases. The prophet is merely an organ of God, who speaks through him; he knows nothing of what he is doing, and has no will of his own. He is in a state of ecstasy, even when he writes down what he has been commissioned to reveal. This condition Philo believes that he can describe from his own experience. There is an ecstasy mentioned in the Bible, but it is not this kind of ecstasy, nor is it the normal vehicle of inspiration, but something extraordinary; and the communication of the message to others does not take place in this state, with the possible exception of an involuntary prophecy like that of Balaam [but cf. II Kings iii. 15-19, and see ECSTASY]. The Biblical conception of ecstasy is that of a state in which supernatural revelations are imparted to men who, in their natural state, are incapable of perceiving them-either by divinely exhibited symbols, as in Acts x. 10; Jer. i. 11, 13, or by the communication of supernatural realities and images of future events, as in Num. xxiv. 3, 4, xxii. 31; II Kings vi. 17; cf. II Cor. xii. 1 sqq.; Rev. i. 10. In this state the percipient is either "in the Spirit," i.e., the limitations of his ordinary sensuous perceptions fall away altogether, or they are momentarily removed without the cessation of sensuous perception, and supernatural appearances present themselves in conjunction with those of ordinary life, as in Luke i. 11. In no case does the state seem to be one of which no memory is afterward preserved; the ecstasy is not (according to Augustine on Ps. 1xvii.) a "mental alienation," but a "mental separation from physical sensation so that whatever is revealed is revealed to the spirit." The theory of Philo, or the Hellenistic theory, thus originated neither in the Old Testament nor in strictly Jewish theology outside of it, but much more directly in paganism. Philo's conception can not be put down wholly to the account of his Platonizing tendency, but contains other elements, possibly borrowed from Oriental religions. Still, it is in the main the general Greek conception of enthousiasmos, of the mania of the mantels ("prophet" or "diviner"), akin to the Platonic view of the source of artistic production and of prophecy.
2. Early Doctrine. The same pagan conception is encountered once more in the first definite expressions from Christian writers as to the nature and method of inspiration. In the Apostolic Christian Fathers is found merely a simple expression of the fact of inspiration in the way in which they cite the Old Testament. But the second-century apologists emphasize the divine origin of the knowledge contained in Holy Scripture, and unquestionably teach an inspiration which is not merely mechanical, but mantic. In order to understand this, it must be remembered that these men, brought up in paganism, got at the same time their first impression of Christian truth and of the divine origin of the primary revelation and so of the Scriptures. The more Christianity claimed to be not the result of a logical process of thought, but a revelation made under the operation of the Spirit of God, the easier it was for them to apply to it the Greek conception of the origin of such knowledge; and the process was further facilitated by the respect paid to the Sibyilline prophecies (see SIBYLLINE BOOKS). If this last fact be taken in connection with the prominent place which prophecy holds in Scripture, the importance which the apologists attached to prophecy can be understood, and that it was natural for them to refer all ancient prophecy to the working of the Spirit of God. There was no need of an acquaintance with Philo (of whom Justin speaks with great respect) to lead to this view, which finally found its most definite representation in Montanism. The opposition of the Church to Montanism was responsible for the fact that the doctrine of ecstasy as the form of inspiration found no continued recognition in the Church. Clement of Alexandria placed ecstasy among the marks of false prophets, and, from Origen on, the doctors of the Church rejected the conception of prophecy which originated in paganism. In direct opposition to Montanism, the unconscious action of the prophet was denied. This led to the other extreme; it placed the revelation of the Old Testament on the same level with that of the New, and so finally resulted in the not indeed mantic, but mechanical, doctrine of inspiration held by the older Protestant theologians. The attempts at a truer theory found in Irenæus' distinction between prophetic and apostolic inspiration (III., xi. 4), and his notion of a development in the history of God's redeeming work (IV., ix. 3), bore no fruit. The doctrine of the Fathers recognized both the unrestricted operation of the Holy Ghost upon the minds and wills of Scriptural authors and at the same time their own independent activity, to which more than mere form and style was attributed; but they seem to have made no attempt to frame a theory as to the manner in which these two were combined. Thus, e.g., Augustine, who says in one place that the Evangelists wrote "as each remembered, in accordance with his native powers, either briefly or at greater length" (De consensu evangelistarum, ii. 12), in another compares the apostles to hands that wrote down what the head, Christ, dictated (ib., i. 35). Among the Fathers Origen went most deeply into the question. What he says about it agrees closely with his theory that inspiration is an elevation of the mind and an opening of the inner ear to the truth-a higher degree of the illumination bestowed upon all pious believers. That so little use was made of Origen's suggestions was not a consequence of their connection with other parts of his system, or of the suspicion which was cast upon his orthodoxy, but rather of the fact that (when the epoch of the apologists was past and Montanism was conquered) there was little practical interest in these questions. In the controversies which distracted the Church the authority and the divine origin of the Scriptures were not called in question. With the issue of these conflicts and the strengthening of the Church's organization, the Church took its place by the side of the Scriptures as a coordinate authority, and even at times more than that, so that Augustine could say (Adv. Manichæos, v.), "I would not believe the Gospel against the authority of the Catholic Church." The acceptance of a continuous inspiration, expressed especially in the decisions of councils, gave rise to the theory of a twofold source of knowledge, as to which only a standard of judgment in matters of fact was required, not a decision as to the manner of inspiration. The emphasis laid by the school of Antioch on the human side of the Scriptures was not important enough, in view of the simultaneous recognition of their authority, to call forth much discussion as to inspiration itself. Even the bold assertions of Theodore of Mopsuestia that the Book of Job was a poem originating on heathen soil, that Canticles contained a tedious epithalamium, that Solomon (in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes) had the logos gnōseōs, "the gift of wisdom," but not the logos sophias, "the prophetic gift," did not touch the general theory of inspiration, but only raised the question whether all parts of the Scriptures had the same measure of (prophetic) inspiration; and the only result was the condemnation of these propositions by the Council of Constantinople. By a natural process, the operation of the Holy Ghost occupied an increasingly prominent place, and the independent personality of the writers was less and less considered. When Agobard of Lyons dwelt upon the external signs of this independence, and remarked that the sacred writers had not always observed the strict rules of grammar, the Abbot Fridugis of Tours (q.v.) went so far as to assert that the Holy Spirit had formed "even the very verbal expressions in the mouth of the Apostles." And Agobard did not think of limiting the operation of the Spirit; he preferred to explain the phenomenon by a condescension on the part of the Holy Spirit to human weakness.
3. The Scholastic Period. No deeper interest in the question was displayed by scholasticism, which discussed it, indeed, with its accustomed minuteness in connection with the rest of the system, but showed no sense of its importance in relation to revelation. Here and there, as from Anselm and Thomas Aquinas, it received more serious consideration. The latter treats the subject under the head of gratiae gratis datae, or Charismata, distinguishing between the gift of knowledge and the gift of the word, without which the gift of knowledge would be useless to others. To express the right word, the Holy Ghost makes use of the tongue of men "as of an instrument, but he himself perfects the inner working." The blessing is sometimes diminished by the fault of the hearer, sometimes by that of the speaker. The operation of the Holy Ghost thus does no violence to the independence of the agent. The authority of the Scriptures was not questioned, but the impulse to use and to investigate them was not yet awakened. Mysticism had a deep feeling for the divine power of the Word and a clear understanding of the operation of the Holy Ghost. A belief in the continuance of the gift left the Scriptural inspiration not so radically different, in spite of its admitted precedence, from experiences which were possible to others; and so, even while its authority was firmly maintained, there was a certain indifference to its unique character. The assertion of Abelard, based upon Gal. ii. 11 sqq., that the prophets and apostles were not infallible, was employed with some hesitation by him; but when Renaissance scholarship pointed to defects in detail as results of the human limitations of the Scriptural writers, neither the Church nor scholars thought of the authority of the Bible as any less assured.
4. The Reformation. Never since the apostolic age had so admirable a use been made of its pages, and never had its authority been so decidedly upheld as in the Reformation period; but for this very reason there was little speculation on the way in which it had come to be. No one disputed its authority; the only question was as to the manner of its use. This explains the fact that among the Reformers and their immediate successors the old conception of inspiration is still found without any further discussion of the mutual relations of the two factors in the formation of the Scriptures, and without any attempt to define the limits within which inspiration is attributed to them. As to the relation between the divine and human factors, Luther is equally certain that the Holy Ghost is the original author, and that the writers are to be known by their human characteristics and have put their own hearts into their work. Theoretically his teaching on this point is not to be distinguished from the traditional conception. For Calvin, too, the Bible is to be reverenced; the Holy Ghost is its author, though sometimes "he uses a rough and unpolished style." But this does not prevent Calvin from recognizing inaccuracies and seeing, with Luther, the expression of the human minds of the writers. Chemnitz is the first Lutheran theologian to attempt a systematic doctrine on the subject; but he is arguing against those who equally acknowledge the authority of the Bible, and the question of the nature and method of inspiration is not for him an urgent one. Selnecker includes inspiration under the head of revelation, and defines it as "a secret inbreathing by which the holy patriarchs and prophets were divinely taught many things"; but he places this process in unmistakable analogy with the indwelling and operation of the Spirit in other believers. Gerhard's full discussion of Scripture in general contains no more precise definition. But the more earnest these authors become in attempting to confirm the authority of the Bible, the less often are met concessions like those of Bugenhagen, that the Evangelists wrote "what to them seemed best," and that errors of the Septuagint passed over into the text of the New Testament.
5. Post-Reformation Development. When it became necessary to argue not only against Rome, but against syncretism, and Calixtus, in approximation to Roman Catholic theologians, distinguished between inspiration in the strict sense, in regard to the essential truths of salvation, and a directio divina in regard to those things "which came by sensation or were otherwise known" for which no revelation but only guidance was needed, the time had come for a more rigid definition, for an assurance against the dangers which seemed to threaten the Bible among the very men who claimed to deduce their belief from it. Calovius was the founder of the new doctrine intended to serve this purpose. According to him, inspiration is the form of revelation. Nothing can be in the Scriptures "which was not to the writers divinely suggested and inspired." The doctrine was pushed to its extreme consequences by the Buxtorfs, who asserted the inspiration of even the Hebrew vowels, and by Voet, who made the same claim for the punctuation. All this was absolutely new. If the idea of ecstasy had been included, it might have seemed a revival of the mantic theory of Philo and the old apologists; but the lack of this conception made the process purely mechanical, not only without analogy, but in direct contradiction to the other operations of the Holy Spirit. The self-preparation of the writers, required on the ecstatic theory, was no longer necessary; nor was there any place for the personal witness which the apostles claim to give. The logical consequences of the doctrine were not, indeed, drawn by its supporters, but they are none the less inevitable. Against this hard and fast theory the freer view of the Roman Catholic theologians (such as Bellarmine, Canus, and Simon) was less effective than it might have been on account of their tendency to subordinate Scripture to the Church; and little more followed the maintenance of a less rigid theory by the Arminians and some French and German Calvinists. The first marked influence was exerted by Pietism, with its personal experience of the workings of the Spirit, in which it was joined by some kindred souls among the English dissenters, such as Baxter and Doddridge. By degrees the official theology of Protestantism took a freer attitude, and the human factor in inspiration assumed a new prominence.
6. Modern Development. The modern development of the doctrine may be traced partly from Schleiermacher and partly from the school of Bengel. The former emphasized the special spirit of the Scriptures, of which rationalism had altogether lost sight; but this spirit was to him not the Spirit of God, independent of humanity, but his own conception of the term "Holy Spirit"-the common spirit of the Christian Church, the source of all its spiritual gifts and good works, as of all its processes of thought. Even the apocryphal writings are inspired, in so far as they show any trace of connection with the life of this spirit. The Old Testament, on the other hand, as the product not of the Christian but of the Jewish spirit, shares neither the dignity nor the inspiration of the New. The main emphasis is laid upon the human writers, who, by reason of their relation to Christ, are the authorized original witnesses to Christian truth. Schleiermacher's doctrine of inspiration is thus both formally and materially the exact opposite of the doctrine developed by the seventeenth-century theologians. It represents, however, a distinct and permanent progress, in the qualification of inspiration according to the period of history in which it appears, in the value placed upon the human factor for the attestation and communication of divine truth, in the proper placing of inspiration in the uniform and yet manifold working of the Holy Spirit, and of the literary work produced under its influence in the total of the authors' official activity. The first of these points, the relation of inspiration to history, is the one in which Schleiermacher's services were the most important. This is a point of departure for the modern development of the doctrine of inspiration, as represented by Rothe and Hofmann-though the connection is not always directly with Schleiermacher, but partially through the school of Bengel, whose most useful result is that formulated in 1793 by Menken in these words: "The Bible is no dogmatic treatise... it is much rather a historical, harmonious whole. All that it teaches, it teaches either immediately in history, or upon a basis of history, with its foundation and its interpretation in history." Space forbids to trace here the gradual development through the writings of individual modern authors who have handled this subject. As a rule they have renounced the theory of the direct operation of the Holy Spirit on the creation of the Scriptural books. They have replaced the old idea of inspiration, on the ground of its mantic content, apparently derived from a pagan source, by one which treats the Scriptures as venerable primitive documents; their value is decided by a historical judgment, which requires scientific investigation for its full validity. This limitation is balanced in some degree by the position given to the substance of the Bible, to the revelation of which it constitutes documentary evidence. Faith in this revelation is required in order to form a complete and perfect judgment of the Bible. The revelation works through the written word, though not as if this word were a direct product of the spirit of revelation. The written word is influenced by the ideas of the various periods, by defective conceptions, and by limited intelligence. It is the province of theological investigation to decide how far these influences have extended, in order to be able to designate the authoritative content or the permanent constituents of the revelation. It may not unnaturally be asked whether a purely documentary value will sufficiently explain the peculiar power and significance of the Scriptures in the history of the Church. From this point of view, Lipsius felt obliged to distinguish between the documentary character of the Bible, as the collection, officially made by the historical judgment of the Christian Church, of the records of its primitive spirit, and its religious significance resting on inspiration. According to this view, the Scripture is inspired because it is the historic record of the revelation in Christ, and at the same time the original witness of the salutary working of that revelation in the hearts of the first disciples, in which regard it is a product of the spirit of that revelation. That which is a permanent standard in it is not its outer form, on account of changing theological conceptions, but its inner content-that which remains after these outworn conceptions have been subtracted, as well as what may be referred to the personal limitations of its writers. It is imperative to separate the form from the content.
7. The Bible and Inspiration. The attempt to explain the peculiar character of the Bible leads sooner or later to inspiration--i.e., to the belief that it owes this peculiar character to the operation of the Spirit of God upon its origin. It would be easy, but unjustifiable, to deny inspiration on the assumption that this must necessarily mean mantic inspiration. In order to understand the manner of the operation of the Holy Spirit, it must be known what Scripture says of this operation on its own origin; and to understand; his again, the meaning of Paul's question in Gal. iii. 2 must be apprehended. There is nothing to justify drawing a sharp dividing-line between the indwelling of the Holy Ghost and his special operation upon the origin of Scripture. And some other answer to the question as to the true nature of the Bible than that it is merely a record of revelation is obligatory. From this point Kähler proceeds, and makes possible a successful attempt to answer the question as to the nature and value of the Bible and the nature and manner of inspiration. According to him, the Bible (primarily the New Testament, the Old only in conjunction with it) is the record of the fundamental Gospel of Christ and of salvation in him. In it exists the memorial of the primitive Christian assurance of salvation, intended to promote the salvation of the reader or hearer. This definition includes both the purpose and the content of the Bible, whereas that which regards it as merely a record of revelation neglects its immediate purpose, and moreover requires the formation of a historical judgment, for which not every one is competent. No such equipment is required in order to know that the New Testament is primarily the record of the fundamental Gospel of Christ, or that it bears the same witness of him as that with which Christianity began its conquering progress through the world. Whether men are willing to accept this salvation, so attested, is another question; but this Gospel is the Christian proclamation, in regard to which man must take one side or the other. This is the point so strongly insisted on by Frank, that every witness of Christ and of God's redeeming will is credible only in the measure in which it is in harmony with or confirmed by the Scriptures. These have the power in a special way to create obligation and to make him guilty before God who rejects their message. This power, this authority, is independent of the recognition of them, and through it they show themselves to be in a unique measure filled with the Spirit of God. It is this connection between the Holy Ghost and the witness of the Bible to which (in harmony with the Scriptural expressions themselves) is given the name of inspiration. It is this operation of the Spirit that Paul means when he says (I Cor. ii. 13) that he speaks "not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth," and to which Christ himself refers when he tells his disciples (John xvi. 13) of the Spirit of truth that shall guide them "into all truth"-an operation which does not exclude, but empowers, the action of those who are to be the witnesses of the truth.
8. Nature and Method of Inspiration. If the fact of inspiration is admitted in the sense of a special operation of the Holy Spirit on the origin of the Scriptures, on the ground of their unique significance as the primary record of the fundamental preaching of Christ, and their unique power To impose obligation, the next question which arises concerns the nature and method of this inspiration. To answer this, the first thing to notice is what this message tells-the redeeming acts of God in behalf of man, summed up and realized in Christ before the eye. It is with this that the entire Bible has to do. Its content is a history of the relations which have existed, or are to exist, between God and man, of the origin and execution of the plan of salvation. From this special connection between the Bible and the revelation of the redemption, faith easily perceives that its writers stand themselves in a special relation to the Holy Spirit. But of what nature this relation is can be determined only from the course of the history contained in their works, since it is a historical relation. Now, the relation varies with the period of history. The distinction between the Old and New-Testament revelation is that between distance from God and nearness to him. In the earlier part, even when God enters into relations with those whom he chooses as witnesses of his redeeming purpose, he still speaks from without the world that they know. Thus in the Old Testament an expression is found which is foreign to the New, to designate his communications with his witnesses. This communication with the prophets is constantly designated by the expression "the word of Yahweh was upon," and the reception of this word by "he saw (Heb. hazah) the word of Yahweh" (Isa. ii. 1; Mic. i. 1; Amos i. 1). This distance between God and man is only rarely bridged, at special moments, and the immediate subjective perception of the word of God can only take place in an extraordinary manner. In the New Testament, on the other hand, the word of God, the expression of his saving will, has entered the world in Christ (Rom. x. 5-8; Titus i. 3; Acts x. 36, xiii. 26). To perceive and acknowledge the revelation now made, there is no need of special endowment, as in the case of the prophets; all that is required is the believing attitude toward Christ (Matt. xi. 25, xvi. 17). Those who are first called to look into the mystery of the love of God revealed in Christ are therewith called and qualified to be witnesses to him (Matt. x. 27; John xv. 15). This witness is conditioned by the objective revelation and redemption, taking place in Christ and entering the personal life by the indwelling of the Spirit. But it is not the same thing to participate in this salvation and to be called to witness it. The latter is a special mission, though not one confined to the apostles who were chosen as the first witnesses. Their assistants and the generation to whom they testified were also witnesses; and as such, from the special importance of their position in regard to all subsequent generations, they needed special assistance of the Spirit (I Cor. ii. 10 sqq.). The prerequisite is their own experience of salvation-the first experience of salvation ever given to man; but inspiration, in addition to this, is the special preparation for the bearing of testimony of a fundamental kind. It is their grace of office, their charisma, which empowers them, irrespective of their individual imperfections, to testify for all generations of the facts of salvation and their significance. In contrast with this condition, the inspiration of the Old Testament was temporarily, one might almost say accidentally, connected with the personality of those who received it, and not always given to those whose moral and religious nature qualified them for its reception (Num. xxii. - xxiv.; Jonah; cf. John xi. 49-52). Compared with the New Testament, it is less free. The apostolic witnesses have the Spirit of God for the spirit of their own personal lives, which makes it possible for them to be independent witnesses, not mere organs of God's activity. Another thing follows from the peculiar character of their inspiration as a permanent qualification. When Paul makes a distinction between what he says by commandment and his own opinion (see CONSILIA EVANGELICA), he does not mean to make a distinction between inspired and uninspired words; and accordingly he commends what he says with perfect confidence to the judgment of his readers (I Cor. x. 15, xi. 13; II Cor. iv. 2). And the inspiration of the witnesses being permanent, they can speak of things which do not pertain to salvation (as in II Tim. iv. 13) without the inspiration ceasing.
One more characteristic point of the manner of inspiration must be mentioned. The qualification of witnesses includes the presentation of historical events; but that which the Spirit of God here effects, whether in the Old or in the New Testament, is the understanding of history, not the knowledge of it. The latter is to be obtained in the ordinary way of life, by the witnessing of events or their collection from written or oral tradition. This explains certain phenomena in sacred history which resemble those of all other historical writing discrepancies in minor details or in chronological order and the like. The question is not how such errors are possible in the inspired word of God, but how far the equipment named inspiration is meant to extend. The knowledge of and witness to the purest eternal truth is not only not inconsistent with human limitations, but stands out all the more strikingly when they are admitted. Inspiration is not the abolition of independent human personality, but rather a reenforcement of it; it is not condescension to human weakness, but a hallowing or transformation of it, that the human personality may take its part in the divine work. There is nothing in it foreign to Christian experience or to knowledge of the other operations of the Holy Spirit. It takes its own place in the system of the charismata, the gifts of grace operative in the Church of God.
9. The Theory of Plenary Inspiration. Views of inspiration may be grouped in two general classes-those of plenary or verbal inspiration, and those of partial inspiration. Advocates of plenary inspiration hold that the writers of Scripture had the immediate influence of the Spirit to such an extent that they could not err in any point; every statement is accurate and infallible, whether "religious, scientific, historical, or geographical" (Charles Hodge, Theology, i. 163; cf. F. L. Patton, Inspiration, p. 92). Besides Hodge and Patton, Gaussen, Shedd, Given, and others represent this view. It is admitted, however, that there may be errors in the Scriptures as we now possess them and infallibility is asserted "only for the original autographic text" (A. A. Hodge and B. B. Warfield in the Presbyterian Review, ii., 1881, p. 245). This class of views has in its favor
(1) the difficulty of conceiving how the thought could have been suggested by the Spirit without the language; and
(2) the support it gives to the authority of the Scriptures as a system of truth and a guide of action.
On the other hand, the following objections are urged:
(1) It is hard on this general theory to account for the individual peculiarities of the writers. The style of Hosea differs from that of Isaiah, that of John from that of Paul, although the same Spirit suggested the language of each. It is urged, however, that the Spirit accommodated himself to the peculiarities of the writers.
(2) There are differences of statement in the Scriptures concerning the same facts (cf. Gen. xxxiii. 18-19 with Acts vii. 16; Num. xxv. 9 with I Cor. x. 8).
(3) The theory makes it hard to explain the divergences in the Gospels (cf. the four forms in which the superscription on the cross is given and Matt. viii. 25-27 with Mark iv. 39-41).
(4) It is difficult on this theory to understand why the New-Testament writers usually quote the Septuagint translation, and not the original Hebrew of the Old Testament. In many cases the divergence from the Hebrew text is great (cf. Acts xv. 16-17, other passages of the Acts, and many passages of the Epistle to the Hebrews, which always quotes from the Septuagint).
(5) The autographs of the sacred writers are lost, and the variations in the copies which have been preserved seem to be inconsistent with this theory; for, if a literal inspiration were necessary for the Church, God (so we should expect) would have provided for the errorless preservation of the original text. Moreover, the great mass of Christians has to depend upon translations for none of which infallible accuracy is claimed.
10. The Theory of Partial Inspiration. The theory of partial inspiration is, that the writers of Scripture enjoyed the influence of the Spirit to such an extent, that it is the Word, and contains the Will of God (Luther, Calvin, Baxter, Doddridge, Wm. Lowth, Baumgarten, Neander, Tholuck, Stier, Lange, Hare, Alford, Van Oosterzee, Plumptre, F. W. Farrar, Domer, and others). It admits mistakes, or the possibility of mistakes, in historical and geographical statements, but denies error in matters of faith or morals. In favor of this view it may be said:
(1) that it lays stress upon the sense of Scripture as a revelation of God's will, and leaves room for the full play of human agency in the composition.
(2) It helps to understand the divergences in the accounts of our Lord's life, and the inconsistencies in historical statement of different parts of the Bible.
(3) It is more in accord with the method of the Spirit's working in general. The apostles were not perfect in their conduct and judgment as rulers and teachers of the Church (Acts xv. 39, xxiii. 3; Gal. ii. 12; I Cor. xiii. 12; Phil. iii. 12).
(4) It removes a hindrance out of the way of many who would gladly believe the Bible to contain the word of God, if it were not necessary to give their assent to all its historical statements. Many can believe the discourses of our Lord in John (xii. sqq.) to be divine who can not so regard the list of the dukes of Edom (Gen. xxxvi. 15-43), or all the tables of the Books of Chronicles.
(5) This view makes the absence of an absolutely pure text intelligible.
11. Criteria of Inspiration. The present canon does not necessarily measure the extent of inspiration. Both must be determined by the same process, upon the basis of the contents of the books, the statements of their authors, their relation to Christ (in the New Testament), and the judgment of the Church. A book belonging to the present canon may not be inspired. Seven books of the New Testament were disputed in the Church of the first four centuries (see CANON OF SCRIPTURE). The Roman Catholic canon of the Old Testament includes the Apocrypha, which are rejected by Protestants. Luther doubted the inspiration of Esther and held an unfavorable view of the Epistle of James and the Apocalypse. Calvin expressed doubts about II Peter. The Bible is an organism; and the inspiration of the whole is not necessarily affected if inspiration be denied to one part. The question of the inspiration of the Gospel of John, for example, may be independent of the proof that the Books of Chronicles are inspired. The sufficient witness of the heavenly origin of the Scriptures is their inherent excellences, as in the case of the person of Christ. The unity of the book, unfolding a single purpose; its elevated tone; the faultless character of Christ; the nature of the facts revealed of God, the soul, and the future-all stamp it as a work of more than ordinary human genius or insight. This testimony is, for most minds, the strongest of all. It is the testimony of the Holy Spirit in experience.
(D. S. SCHAFF)
12. Modern Tendencies and Developments. The history of the doctrine of inspiration in Great Britain and America has followed the general fortunes of the same doctrine on the Continent, as indicated above; that is, it has oscillated between an interpretation which found its principle in a preponderating influence of the Spirit of God and a recognition in the human consciousness of a larger degree of free ethical action. In Great Britain and America the Calvinistic interest has declared for the first of the views referred to. In more recent times attention and interest have shifted to other aspects of this question. A distinction between Revelation (q.v.) and inspiration has been made, in which revelation stands for the objective side or content of the divine will or truth, inspiration for the subjective condition in which that will becomes known. Evolution has made men familiar with a law of development according to which the consciousness is in part determined by previous stages of thought and will. Comparative Religion (q.v.) has revealed phenomena of a similar character to Hebrew and Christian inspiration in the ethnic faiths, and a study of these has aided in a better apprehension of this fact. The history of the Christian religion with its earlier roots in the Hebrew religious life has made possible a truly historical interpretation of the rise and progress of the apprehension of God as revealed in Jesus Christ. The new study of psychology has shown the nature and place of inspiration in the consciousness of the sacred writers and speakers an ultimate certainty and enthusiasm which gave to their message much of its authority and power. Biblical criticism has provided a broad basis of incontestable facts which have had to be reckoned with, and have thus forced here and there a fresh investigation of the whole question from an inductive point of view. Inspiration is seen to be an essential affair of personality and is therefore ethical, with conditions of its appearance which lie deep in character as well as in native endowment. Finally, the tests of inspiration are moral and spiritual-the degree to which the message of the speaker or writer answers to the ethical and religious needs of advancing human life.
(C. A. BECKWITH)
BIBLIOGRAPHY: On the history of the doctrine consult: G. F. N. Sonntag, Doctrine inspirationis, ejusque ratio, historia et usus popularis, Heidelberg, 1809; G. F. N. Credner, De librorum N. T. inspiratione quid statuerint Christiani ante saeculum tertium medium, vol. i., Jena, 1828; idem, Beiträge zur Einleitung in die biblischen Schriften, i. 1-91, Halle, 1832; A. G. Rudelbach, in Zeitschrift für lutherische Theologie und Kirche, i. 1-60, ii. 1-66, iv. 1-40; F. A. Tholuck, in Deutsche Zeitschrift für christliche Wissenschaft, 1850, pp. 16-18, 42-44; J. Delitzsch, De inspiratione scriptorum quid statuerint patres apostolici, Leipsie, 1872; K. F. A. Kahnis, Dogmatik, i. 268. Leipsic, 1874; K. R. Hagenbach, History of Christian Doctrine, i. 75, 115, ii. 14, 20, 166, iii, 55, 62, 314, Edinburgh, 1880-81; B. F. Westeott, Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, London. 1888; W. Rohnert, Was Zehrt Luther von der Inspiration der Heiligen Schrift? Leipsie, 1890; A. Zöllig, Die Inspirationslehre des Origens, Freiburg, 1902; and in general the works on the History of Dogma.
From the standpoint of dogmatics the subject is discussed in all the great treatises on that subject. The following may be taken as representative of the treatment in the "Systems of Theology": F. D. E. Schleiermacher, §§ 128-132, Berlin, 1821; A. D. C. Twesten, i., § 23. Hamburg, 1826; C. I. Nitzsch, §§ 37 sqq., Bonn, 1844. Eng. transl., Edinburgh. 1849; T. Dwight, New York. 1846; C. G. Finney, ib. 1851; R. Rothe, pp. 121 sqq., Gotha, 1863; H. Martensen, Edinburgh, 1866; J. T. Beck, §§ 88-101, Stuttgart, 1870; F. H. R. Frank, System der christlichen Gewissheit, ii., §§ 43-49, Erlangen, 1873; idem, System der christlichen Wahrheit, ii., x 43. ib. 1885; C. Hodge, 3 vols., New York, 1873; H. Voigt, Fundamentaldogmatik, § 21, Gotha, 1874; J. J, van Oosterzee, 2 vols., London, 1876; 1. A. Dorner, Glaubenslehre, §§ 5759, Berlin, 1879. Eng. transl., 4 vols., Edinburgh, 1880-82; W. B. Pope, New York, 1880; F. A. Philippi, i. 204 sqq., Gütersloh, 1881; A. E. Biedermann, §§ 179 sqq., Berlin, 1584-85; A. H. Strong, Rochester, 1886; W. G. T. Sheds, New York, 1888-94; S. Buell, ib. 1890; E. V. Gerhart, Institutes of the Christian Religion, ib. 1891; H. B. Smith, ib. 1890; J. Aliley, London, 1892; M. A. Kühler. Wissenscharft der christlichen Lehre, pp. 446 sqq., Leipsie, 1893; R. A. Lipsius, §§ 196 sqq., Brunswick, 1893; L. F. Stearns, New York, 1893; J. Bovon, 2 vols., Lausanne, 1895-96; H. Bawink, 4 vols., Kampe, 1895-1901; R. V. Forster, Nashville, 1898; N. Burwash, 2 vols., London, 1900; A. Bouvier, Paris, 1903; H. E. Jacobs, Summary of the Christian Faith, Philadelphia, 1905; A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology, i. 196-242, Philadelphia, 1907; F. J. Hall, Dogmatic Theology, vol. ii., New York, 1908.
Special treatises on the subject are: R. Baxter, Catechising of Families, London, 1683; R. Simon, Traité de l'inspiration des livres sacrés, Paris, 1687; W. Lowth, Vindication of the Old and New Testaments, Oxford, 1692; P. Doddridge, The Inspiration of the New Testament, in vol. iv. of his Works, Leeds, 1802; J. J. Griesbach, Stricturarum in locum de theopneustia librorum sacrorum, parts i.-v., Jena, 1784-88; J. D. Morell, Phil. of Religion. chaps. v., vi., New York, 1849; E. Henderson, Divine Inspiration. London, 1852; F. de Rougemont, Christ et ses témoins:. révélation et inspiration, 2 vols., Paris, 1856; C. A. Row, The Nature and Extent of Divine Inspiration, London, 1864; L. Gaussen, Théopneustie, Paris, 1862, Eng. Transl., London, 1888; C. Wordsworth, On the Inspiration of Holy Scripture, ib. 1867; F. L. Patton, The Inspiration of the Scriptures, Philadelphia, 1869; E. Elliott, Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, Edinburgh, 1877; W. E. Atwell, The Pauline Theory of Inspiration, London, 1878; H. Schultz, Die Stellung des christlichen Glaubens zur heiligen Schrift, Braunsberg, 1877; E. M. Goulburn, On the Inspiration ...of the Holy Scriptures, London, 1878; W, R. Browne, Inspiration of the New Testament, ib. 1880; J. J. Given, Truth of Scripture in connection with Revelation, Inspiration and the Canon, Edinburgh, 1881; J. G. W. Herrmann, Die Bedeutung der Inspirationslehre, Halle, 1882; G. T. Ladd, The Doctrine of Holy Scripture, New York, 1883; F. W. Farrar, J. Cairns, and others, Inspiration: a Clerical Symposium, London, 1884; R. Watts, The Rule of Faith and the Doctrine of Inspiration, ib. 1885; A. Cave, The Inspiration of the Old Testament, ib. 1888; C. A. Briggs, Whither, New York, 1889; A. Ritsehl, Lehrt ron der Rechtfertigung und Versöhnung, ii. 9 sqq., Bonn, 1889; W. Kölling, Prolegomena zur Lehre ron der Theopneuatie, Breslau, 1890; idem, Die Lehre von der Theopneustie, ib. 1891; C. A. Briggs, LI. J. Evans, H. P. Smith, Inspiration and Inerrancy, Edinburgh, 1891; E, Haupt, Die Bedeutung der heiligen Schrift, Bielefeld, 1891; W. Sanday, The Oracles of God, London, 1891; idem, Inspiration, ib. 1896; F. J. Sharr, The Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, London, 1891; J. Clifford, The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, ib. 1892; W. F. Gess, Die Inspiration der Helden der Bibel, Basel, 1892; W. Lee, Inspiration of Holy Scripture, New York, 1892; J. DeWitt, What is Inspiration? ib. 1893; J. Denney, Studies in Theology, London, 1895; M. A. Kahler, Unser Streit um die Bibel, Leipsie, 1895; M. von Nathusius, Ueber die Inspiration der heiligen Schrift, Stuttgart, 1895; H. Cremer, Glaube, Schrift, und heilige Geschichte, Gütersloh, 1896; G. S. Barrett, The Bible and its Inspiration, London, 1897; P. Gennrich, Der Kampf um die Schrift in der deutsch-evangelischen Kirche des 19. Jahrhunderts, Berlin, 1898 (contains a rich bibliography of the German literature on the subject); C. Chauvin, Die Inspiration der heiligen Schrift nach der Lehre der Tradition, Regensburg, 1899; 0. P. Zanecchia, Divina inspiratio sacrarum scripturarum, Rome, 1898; M. Arnold, Literature and Dogma, London. 1902; A. Loisy, L'Évangile et l'église, Paris, 1902, Eng. transl., New York, 1904; H. H. Kuyper, Evolutie ov revelatie, Amsterdam, 1903; J. E. McFadyen, O. T. Criticism and the Christian Church, pp. 268-312, New York, 1903; J. A. Robinson, Some Thoughts on Inspiration, London, 1905; R. F. Horton, Inspiration and the Bible, ib. 1906; C. Pesch, De inspiratione sacrae scripturae, Freiburg, 1906; J. M. Gibson, Inspiration and Authority of Holy Scripture, London, 1908; DB. i. 296-299, ii. 475-476; DCG, i. 831-835; Farrar, in Biblical Educator, voll. i.-ii.