[b-hebrew] Inspiration

Heard, Christopher Christopher.Heard at pepperdine.edu
Tue Aug 2 02:06:47 EDT 2005


I think you're on the right track, though I would sound a gentle  
warning against taking this one statement, treating it as a  
"concept," and equating it with a much later full-blown "concept." I  
don't know whether you intended to do that, but your lead _could_ be  
followed in that direction.

Having said that, verses like this are exactly the sort of data you  
would need in order to start fleshing out how something like  
"inspiration" would be understood by the Tanakh's writers and  
readers. Of course, this verse applies very specifically to a very  
short text--the actual "words of God" here are 2 Sam 23:3b-4, framed  
by words attributed to David's composition in 23:2-3b and 5-7, and  
introduced by an editorial framework in 23:1 (notice that David is  
"David" in vv. 1, 8ff., but "me" in 2-3b, 5-7). This verse _as such_  
(if believed) would speak directly only to the "inspiration" of the  
oracle itself, not to David's intro, the editorial frame, or the rest  
of the book of Samuel. Even so, I want to reiterate that Martin has  
pointed precisely to the sort of thing that would count as data  
toward Kevin's question--an explicit description of how a biblical  
writer describes a particular text (in this case, of course,  
originally an _oral_, not _written_, text, the oracle) coming to  
composition. There aren't a _lot_ of these kind of statements,  
especially outside the Latter Prophets, but they certainly do exist.

On Aug 1, 2005, at 10:35 PM, Martin Arhelger wrote:
> I would like to hint at 2 Samuel 23:2 where David said: "The Spirit  
> of YHWH
> spoke by (or: in) me, and His word was (or: is) upon my tongue."
> I think this is the (Hebrew) concept of what was (later, using a  
> Latin term)
> called "inspiration".
> Martin Arhelger

R. Christopher Heard
Assistant Professor of Religion
Pepperdine University
Malibu, California 90263-4352

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