Written by the Holy Ghost?

Samuel Payne sam at sampayne.worldonline.co.uk
Sat Feb 17 04:53:00 EST 2001

The Letter to the Hebrews (2.6) introduces a quotation from Psalm 8 with the
words "Someone has written somewhere that . . . "

One can understand that as the product of a Christian preacher writing in a
hurry, or with no immediate access to a copy of the scriptures, or of an
arthritic old man who did not feel it was worth the struggle to get out and
unroll a hefty copy of the Hebrew Scriptures to search through it just for a
single quotation, but as a quotation by the Holy Ghost it does seem a bit
sloppy! Surely the Holy Ghost could have done a bit better than that!

I think the great Catholic modernist and historian, Alfred Loisy is right -

 L'idée de Dieu auteur de livre est plus contradictoire, plus absurde en
elle-même, que celle de l'homme-crapaud ou de la femme-serpent. C'est un
mythe enfantin, aussi enfantin que la fabrication du premier homme avec de l
'argile, et celle de la première femme avec une côte d'Adam. - Loisy,
Mémoires, vol. 1 page 306

Renan too insists that it is impossible for a theologian to be a true
historian, though it is an issue that few theologians are willing to even
consider. I think that real biblical scholarship BEGINS when we take the
various books as written by MEN, and men of their own times and environment.
This is not to deny that they may often have been very holy, and have had
profound religious insights.

If this questions the basic assumptions of this List, I apologise, but once
in a while it needs to be said - lest we forget completely.

Samuel Payne

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list