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Inspiration

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(Lat. a breathing into), a term employed to designate the divine origin of Holy rcnilture (q.v.).

I. Definition.

1. The word "inspiration" "is sometimes used to denote the excitement and action of a fervent imagination in the poet or orator. But even in this case there is generally a reference to some supposed divine influence, to which the excited action is owing. It is once used in Scripture to denote that divine agency by which man is endued with the faculties of an intelligent being, when it is said the inspiration (נְשָׁמָה breath, as in Genesis 2, 7) of the Almighty giveth him understanding (Job 32:8). But the inspiration now to be considered is that which belonged to those who wrote the Scriptures, and which is particularly spoken of in 2 Timothy 3:16, and in 2 Peter 1:21. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God;' Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.' These passages relate specially to the Old Testament, but there is at least equal reason to predicate divine inspiration of the New Testament."

2. The Greek expression "θεόπνευστος (2 Timothy 3:16) signifies a divine action on the perceptions ("Nemo vir magnus sine aliquo afflatu divino unquam fuit," Cicero, pro Archia, c. 8). The breath of God is used as a material expression for his power (as in δύναμις ὑψἰστου for πνεῦμα ἃγιον, Luke 1:35; Luke 24:49). In this sense, also, the classics speak of a θεόπνευστος σοφίη (Phocylides, 121), θεόπνευστοι ὄνειροι (Plutarch, De plac. philos. 5, 2; comp. ὑπὸ πνεύματος ἁγίου φἐρομενοι ἐλάλησαν ἃγιοι θεοῦ ἄνθρωποι, 2 Peter 1:21). The neutral form, in the sense of "God-inspired," is used by Nonnus (Paraphr. ev. Jo. 1, 27), and applied to Scripture by Origen (Hom. 21, in Jerem. vol. 2, de la Rue: "Sacra volumina spiritus plenitudinemr spirant").

3. A psychological definition of the relation of this divine, consequently passively received perception to human spontaneity, is given by Plato in his doctrine of the divine μανία , the ἔνθεος εϊ v ναι. This position is the root of the divinely implanted tendency to knowledge which has not yet attained a clear consciousness (Zeller, Griech. Phil. 2, 166, 275; Brandis, 2, 428). Of this, in so far as it includes the idea in the form of beauty, artists and authors say: οὐ τέχνη ταῦτα τὰ καλὰ λέγουσι ποιήματα, ἀλλ᾿ ἔνθεοι ὄντες καὶ κατεχόμενοι (Ion. 533). Οὐ γὰρ τέχνη ταῦτα λεγουσιν, ἀλλὰ θείᾷ δυνάμει (ib. p. 534). This gives rise to the μαντική, which requires the προφήτης for its interpreter (Timceus, 72). This doctrine of Plato concerning inspiration has had great influence on the Jewish and Christian doctrine. Philo admits it, and derives from it the incompatibility of divine and human knowledge (Quis reruza d. h. 1, 511, Mang.); ὅτε μὲν φῶς ἐπιλάμψει τὸ θεῖον, δύεται τὸ ανθρώπινον· ὅτε δ ἐκεῖνο δύει, τοῦτ᾿ ἀνίσχει καὶ ἀνατέλλει.

Yet he does not limit the divine influence to the inspiration of the sacred books, and does not hesitate to ascribe to himself an occasional θεοληπτεῖσθαι (De Cherubim, 1, 143). Some of the Greek fathers also describe the state of inspiration as purely passive (Justin, Cohort. c. 8: Οὔτε γὰρ φύσει οὔτε ἀνθρωπίνῃ ἐννοίᾷ οὕτω μεγάλα καὶ θεῖα γίνώσκειν ἀνθρώποις δυνατόν, ἀλλὰ τῇ ἄνωθεν ἐπὶ τοὺς ἁγίους ἀνδρας τηνικαῦτα κατελθούσῃ δωρεᾶ '/, οϊ v ς οὐ λόγιον ἐδέησε τέχνης, ἀλλὰ καθαροὺς ἑαυτοὺς τῇ τοῦ θείου πνεύματος παρασχεῖν ἐνερ γείᾷ, ἵν᾿ αὐτὸ τὸ θεῖον ἐξ οὐρανοῦ κατιὸν πλῆκτρον, é σπερ ὀργάνῳ, κιθάρας τινὸς λύρας τοῖς δικαίοις ἀνδράσι χρώμενον, τὴν τῶν θείων ἡμῖν ἀποκαλύφῃ γνῶσις : Athenag. Legat. c. 9: No, μίζω ὑμᾶς οὐκ ἀνοήτους γεγονέναι οὔτε τοῦ Μωϋσέως οὔτε τοῦ ᾿Ησαϊ v ου καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν προφητῶν, ο κατ῎ ἔκστασιν τῶν ἐκ αὐτοῖς λογισμῶν κινήσαντος αὐτοὺς τοῦ θείου πνεύματος, ἐνηχοῦντο ἐξεφώνησαν, συγχρησαμένου τοῦ πνεῦματος, ώσεὶ καὶ . αὐλητὴς αὐλὸν ἐμπνεῦσαι ). We therefore find at an early time the notion of a literal inspiration (Iren. 3:16, 2: "Potuerat dicere Matthaeus: Jesu generatio sic erat. Sed previdens Spiritus S. depravatores et praemuniens contra fraudulentiam eorum, per Matthaum ait: Christi generatio sic erat." Clemens, Cohort. 1, 71, ed. Pott.: Ε᾿ξ ῏ων γραμμάτων [he means the ἱερὰ γρὰμματα, 2 Timothy 3:14] καὶ συλλαβῶν τῶν ἱερῶν τὰς συγκειμένας γραφὰς αὐτὸς ἀκολούθως Ἀπόστολος θεοπνεύστους καλεῖ . Origen, Hom. 21 in Jeremiah: "Secundum istiusmodi expositiones decet sacras litteras credere nec unum quidem apicem habere vacuum sapientia Dei"). Yet all these expressions represent rather the general religious impression than the settled dogma; hence we find the ante-Nicene fathers recognizing some of the heathen books as inspired, e.g. the Sibyllian books (Theoph. ad Autol. 2, 9), whilst at the same time they expressed views excluding the idea of all parts of Scripture being equally inspired.

4. The definition which Dr. Knapp gives of inspiration is one which most will readily adopt. He says: "It may be best' defined, according to the representations of the Scriptures themselves, as an extraordinary divine agency upon teachers while giving instruction, whether oral or written, by which they were taught what and how they should write or speak." The nature, permanence, and completeness of this inspiration are matters upon which orthodox believers have differed. (See below.)

II. The Fact of the Inspiration of the Bible. (On this point we condense the arguments of Dr. Leonard Woods in Kitto's Cyclopeadia, s.v., confining ourselves chiefly to the- question of the inspiration of the written word.) To prove that the Scriptures are divinely inspired, we might with propriety refer to the excellence of the doctrines, precepts, and promises, and other instructions which they contain; to the simplicity and majesty of their style; to the agreement of the different parts, and the scope of the whole; especially to the full discovery they make of man's fallen and ruined state, and the way of salvation through a Redeemer; together with their power to enlighten and sanctify the heart, and the accompanying witness of the Spirit in believers. But the more direct and conclusive evidence that the Scriptures were divinely inspired is found in the testimony of the writers themselves. As the writers did, by working miracles and in other ways, sufficiently authenticate their divine commission, and establish their authority and infallibility as teachers of divine truth, their testimony, in regard to their own inspiration, is entitled to our full confidence. For who can doubt that they were as competent to judge and as much disposed to speak the truth on this subject as on any other? If, then, we admit their divine commission and authority, why should we not rely upon the plain testimony which they give concerning the divine assistance afforded them in their work? To reject their testimony in this case would be to impeach their veracity, and thus to take away the foundation of the Christian religion.

1. The prophets generally professed to speak the word of God. What they taught was introduced and confirmed by a "Thus saith the Lord;" or "The Lord spake to me, saying." In one way or another they gave clear proof that they were divinely commissioned, and spake in the name of God, or, as it is expressed in the New Testament, that God spake by them.

2. The Lord Jesus Christ possessed the spirit of wisdom without measure, and came to bear witness to the truth. His works proved that he was what he declared himself to be-the Messiah, the great Prophet, the infallible Teacher. The faith which rests on him rests on a rock. As soon, then, as we learn how he regarded the Scriptures, we have reached the end of our inquiries. His word is truth. Now every one who carefully attends to the four Gospels will find that Christ everywhere spoke of that collection of writings called the Scripture as the word of God; that he regarded the whole in this light; that he treated the Scripture, and every part of it, as infallibly true, and as clothed with divine authority - thus distinguishing it from every mere human production. Nothing written by man can be entitled to the respect which Christ showed to the Scriptures. This, to all Christians, is direct and incontrovertible evidence of the divine origin of the Scriptures, and is by itself perfectly conclusive.

3. But there is clear concurrent evidence, and evidence still more specific, in the writings of the apostles. Particularly in one passage (2 Timothy 3:16), Paul lays it down as the characteristic of "all Scripture" that it "is given by inspiration of God" (θεόπνευστος , "divinely inspired"); and from this results its profitableness. Some writers think that the passage should be rendered thus: All divinely inspired Scripture, or, all Scripture, being divinely inspired, is profitable. According to the common rendering, inspiration is predicated of all Scripture. According to the other, it is presupposed as the attribute of the subject. But this rendering is liable to insuperable objections.

For θεόπνευστος and ώφέλιμος are connected by the conjunction καί, and must both be predicates, if either of them is; and unless one of them is a predicate there is no complete sentence. Henderson remarks that the mode of construction referred to is at variance with a common rule of Greek syntax, which requires that when two adjectives are closely joined, as θέοπνευστος and ὠφέλιμος here are, if there be an ellipsis of the substantive verb ἐστί, this verb must be supplied after the former of the two, and regarded as repeated after the latter. Now there exists precisely such an ellipsis in the case before us; and as there is nothing in the context which would lead to any exception to the rule, we are bound to yield to its force." He adds that "the evidence in favor of the common rendering, derived from the fathers, and almost all the versions, is most decided." It cannot for a moment be admitted that the apostle meant to signify that divine inspiration belongs to a part of Scripture, but not to the whole; or that he meant, as Semler supposes, to furnish a criterion by which to judge whether any work is inspired or not, namely, its utility. "That author proceeds fearlessly to apply this criterion to the books of the Old Testament, and to lop off eight of them as not possessing the requisite marks of legitimacy. Many of the German divines adopt Semler's hypothesis." But it is very manifest that such a sense is not by any means suggested by the passage itself, and that it is utterly precluded by other parts of the New Testament. For neither Christ nor any one of his apostles ever intimates a distinction between some parts of Scripture which are inspired and other parts which are not inspired. The doctrine which is plainly asserted in the text under consideration, and which is fully sustained by the current language of the New Testament, is, that all the writings denominated the Scriptures are divinely inspired.

What particular books have a right to be included under this sacred designation in the general opinion of the Church is a question considered under the article CANON OF SCRIPTURE.

III. The Manner of Inspiration - The interior process of the Spirit's action upon the minds of the speakers or writers was of course inscrutable (John 3:8) even to themselves. That they were conscious, however, of such an influence is manifest from the authority with which they put forth their words; yet, when they sat down to write, the divine and the human elements in their mental action were perfectly harmonious and inseparable (Luke 1:3).

As to the outward method, "God operated on the minds of inspired men in a variety of ways, sometimes by audible words, sometimes by direct inward suggestions, sometimes by outward visible signs, sometimes by the Urim and Thummim, and sometimes by dreams and visions. This variety in the mode of divine influence detracted nothing from its certainty. God made known his will equally in different ways; and, whatever the mode of his operation, he made it manifest to his servants that the things revealed were from him." All this, however, relates rather to revelation than simple inspiration, a distinction that is ably made by Prof. Lee in his work on the subject.

"But inspiration was concerned not only in making known the will of God to prophets and apostles, but also in giving them direction in writing the sacred books. In this, also, there was a diversity in the mode of divine influence. Sometimes the Spirit of God moved and guided his servants to write things which they could not know by natural means, such as new doctrines or precepts, or predictions of future events. Sometimes he moved and guided them to write the history of events which were wholly or partly known to them by tradition, or by the testimony of their contemporaries, or by their own observation or experience. In all these cases the divine Spirit effectually preserved them from all error, and influenced them to write just so much and in such a manner as God saw to be best. Sometimes he moved and guided them to write a summary record of larger histories, containing what his infinite wisdom saw to be adapted to the end in view, that is, the benefit of his people in all ages. Sometimes he influenced them to make a record of important maxims in common use, or to write new ones, derived either from their own reason or experience, or from special divine teaching. Sometimes he influenced them to write parables or allegories, particularly suited to make a salutary impression of divine things on the minds of men; and sometimes to record supernatural visions. In these and all other kinds of writing the sacred penmen manifestly needed special divine guidance, as. no man could of himself attain to infallibility, and no wisdom, except that of God, was sufficient to determine what things ought to be written for permanent use in the Church, and what manner of writing would be best fitted to promote the great ends of revelation."

"Some writers speak of different modes and different kinds, and even different degrees of inspiration. If their meaning is that God influenced the minds of inspired men in different ways; that he adopted a variety of modes in revealing divine things to their minds; that he guided them to give instruction in prose and in poetry, and in all the different forms of composition; that he moved and guided them to write history, prophecy doctrines, commands, promises, reproofs, and exhortations, and that he adapted his mode of operation to each of these cases-against this no objection can be made. The Scriptures do exhibit these different kinds of writing and modes of divine instruction. Still every part of what was written was divinely inspired, and equally so. It is all the word of God, and clothed with divine authority, as much as if it had all been made known and written in one way."' While this is true of the word as written or as originally uttered, it is not true that all the subject matter is equally revealed; for some of the facts, doctrines, and views were known to the writers in their ordinary intelligence, while others were specially communicated by immediate divine afflatus. In other words, all is inspired, but not all revealed.

IV. Theories of Inspiration. These may be concisely stated thus:

(1.) The orthodox, or generally accepted view, which contents itself with considering Scripture to be inspired in such a sense as to make it infallibly certain when apprehended in its legitimate sense, and of absolute authority in all matters of faith and conscience. This theory has lately been, with great propriety, designated as the dynamical, purporting that the power or influence is from God, while the action is human.

(2.) The mystical, or. extremely strict view, thought to have been held by Philo, Josephus, and some of the primitive Christian fathers (but condemned by the early councils as savoring of heathenish μαντεία ), which regarded the sacred writers as wholly possessed by the Spirit, and uttering its dicta in a species of frenzy. This, in opposition to the former, has justly been characterized as the mechanical view, denoting the passivity of the inspired subject.

(3.) The latitudinarian view, entertained by Rationalists of all orders, which deems inspiration but a high style of poetic or religious fervor, and not inconsistent with errors in fact and sentiment.

This last view is not to be confounded, however, with that of those who limit inspiration to such matters in holy Scripture as directly pertain to the proper material of revelation, i.e. to strictly religious truth, whether of doctrine or practice. Among English divines, those who have asserted this form of theory are Howe (Divine Authority of Scripture, lect. 8 and 9), Bp. Williams (Boyle Lect. serm. 4:p. 133), Burnet (Article 6:p. 157, Oxf. ed. 1814), Lowth (Vind. of Div. Auth. and Inspir. of Old and New Testament, p. 45 sq.), Hey (Theol. Lect. 1, 90), Bp. Watson (Tracts, 4:446), Bp. Law (Theory of Religion), Tomline (Theology. 1, 21), Dr. J. Barrow (Dis. sertations, 1819. 4th diss.), Dean Conybeare (Theological Lectures, p. 186), Bp. Hinds (Inspiration of Scripture, p. 151), Bp. D. Wilson (lecture 13 on Evidences, 1, 509), Parry (Inquiry into the Nature of the Inspiration of the Apostles, p. 26, 27), and Bp. Blomfield (Lectures on Acts, 5, 88-90). Others have even gone so far as to avow that the value of the religious element in the revelation would not be lessened if errors were acknowledged in the scientific and miscellaneous matter which accompanies it. Among those who have held this form of the theory are Baxter (Method. Theol. Chr. pt. 3, ch. 12:9, 4), Tillotson (Works, fol. 3:449, sermon 168), Doddridge (On Inspir.), Warburton (Doctr. of Grate, bk. 1, ch. 7), Bp. Horsley (serm. 39 on Ecclesesiastes 12:7, Works, 3:175), Bp. Randolph (Rem. on Michaelis' Introd. p. 15, 16), Paley (Evid. of Christianity, pt. 3, ch. 2), Whately (Ess. on Dif. in St. Paul, ess. 1 and 9; Sermons on Festivals, p. 90; Pecul. of Christianity, p. 233), Hampden (Bampton Lect. p. 301), Thirlwall (Schleiermacher's Luke, Introd. p. 15), Bp. Hebef (Barnpt. Lect. 8:577), Thomas Scott (Essay on Inspir. p. 3), Dr. Pve Smith (Script. and Geol. p. 276, 237, 3rd ed.), and Dean Alford (Proleg. to Gosp. ed. L859, vol. 1, ch. 1, § 22). (For other Writers who have held the same views, see Dr. Davidson's Facts, Statements, etc., in defense of his vol. 2 of Horne's Introd. 1857.) The inadmissibility, however, of either of these limitations to inspiration is evident from two considerations: 1st, That the sacred writers themselves make no such discrimination in their professions of divine sanction; and it would, in fact, be subversive of the above distinction between inspiration and Revelation

2 ndly, The line of demarcation between what is important to religion and what is not is too fine, to be traced by any expositor, so that we would thus unsettle our whole confidence in the truthfulness of the Scriptures. We therefore are compelled by the necessity of the case, no less than the positive declarations of the Bible itself, to maintain that "all Scripture is divinely inspired," and not some of its parts or statements alone. At the same time we may, without inconsistency-nay, we must, in the light of just criticism-admit that the phraseology in which these statements is couched is oftentimes neither elegant nor exact. Yet this does not. impair their essential truth, as the testimony of an illiterate witness may be scrupulously truthful, although confused in order and unscientific in form. Provided the facts are substantially given, the want of logical, rhetorical, and grammatical precision is comparatively unimportant, and forms no ground of impeachment. The mental habits of the sacred writers must be taken into account in order to arrive at their meaning, and this last, indeed, in the case of any writer, is what the reader is in search of, and of which language, whether clear or obscure, is legitimately but the vehicle. The errors imputed to the Scriptures by certain scientific men have accordingly all been explained, sooner or later, as being merely apparent, and due to the popular style of the sacred writers. Even the most difficult instances of these, such as the omissions and general enumerations in the genealogies, (See GENEALOGY OF CHRIST), are susceptible of the same explanation, since these were evidently copied faithfully from public registers, which, however incorrect they may seem to us, were of unquestioned currency at the time. A nicety in stopping to rectify these (for, be it observed, no one was led into error by the transcription, since the writers, and, indeed, the whole public, were perfectly aware of the discrepancy) would have been a far greater piece of pedantry than for a modern divine to pause in the midst of a quotation of Scripture to correct an unimportant mistranslation in the Authorized Version. Just so when our Lord and the apostle Paul freely cite passages according to the inexact rendering of the Septuagint, and sometimes even make them the point of an argument; it is no disparagement either to their intelligence or inspiration, but rather an evidence of their appreciation of the literary aptitudes of those whom they addressed. (See ACCOMMODATION). On the other hand, within the bounds of the orthodox view of inspiration, as above stated, there are two epithets currently employed which seem to border too closely upon the extravagant, and are equally unnecessary and incorrect.

1. "Plenary Inspiration" is a phrase nowhere warranted by the Scriptures as predicated of themselves. Christ alone was plenarily inspired (John 3:34) of all human beings. The term plenary authority would be far more scriptural and definite.

2. "Verbal Inspiration" is an expression still more objectionable as applied to the Scriptures. For,

(I.) Words, as such, are incapable of inspiration. They are either oral, consisting of certain sounds, or written, consisting of certain marks on paper; both material signs of which a spiritual element cannot properly be predicated. Thought, ideas, sentiments only can be inspired; and this is really what the theorists mean. It is better to say so plainly.

(II.) The assumption by these theorists that we think only in words is plentifully contradicted by every man's consciousness. As children, we have conceptions long before we have words. The dog that lies dreaming of the chase has rapid trains of thought, but not a syllable of a word. We are constantly exercising perceptions of shades of color, and shapes of matter, for which there is no name. He must have a feeble power of consciousness, or a mighty power over words, who is not often possessed of a thought for which he pauses for the word. We hold the conception fast, waiting for its correlative term to come.' Who does not often think of a friend's face without being able to recall his name? Words, it is true, enable us to express our ideas, and generally that expression renders the conception itself more distinct. But surely God is shut up to no such necessity in communicating his mind to men. His Spirit even gives us thoughts beyond the compass of language (ἀλάλητα, Romans 8:26; ἄῤῥητα , 2 Corinthians 12:4).

(III.) The suggestion of the ipsissima verba to the minds of the sacred writers is incompatible with their free action, as evinced in the varieties and even blemishes of style. These are clearly the human element, partaking of the imperfection and diversity inseparable from man's productions. To say that God makes use of them is only evading the point. He does not directly supply them nor authorize them; he only suffers them. The inconsistency of statement by Gaussen and other verbalists on this head is palpable, and shows the untenableness of their position in the face of infidel objections and rationalistic criticism. Equally inconclusive and self-contradictory is their method of disposing of the objection that if the actual Greek and Hebrew words are inspired, no translations can in any correlative sense be called "the word of God."

(IV.) Nothing is gained by asserting the verbal theory that is not equally secured in point of divine sanction and infallible truth by simply claiming for the Holy Scriptures that their statements and sentiments substantially and in their essential import represent the mind and will of God: that they contain divine thoughts clothed in merely human language. Such is the obvious fact, recognized by every devout and judicious interpreter. Such a view, indeed, gives far more dignity to the sacred volume than the mechanical theory of a mere amanuensis. It is the power of God in earthen vessels (2 Corinthians 4:7).

(V.) The theory of verbal inspiration is comparatively recent in the history of theology.

[1.] There is no such theory stated in the Scriptures. Scriptural authority would preclude all citation of names, great or small, among the theologians. The passages adduced in its favor have no pertinence.

[2.] The fathers had no definite theory of inspiration at all. Sometimes, in dwelling upon the perfection of Scripture, they used striking figures and strong expressions, from which we might infer a belief in verbal inspiration. But, on the other hand, their ordinary mode or commenting on Scripture, of quoting it, and of defending it, is inconsistent with such a belief.

(a.) John, the presbyter, who is believed to have been one of our Lord's disciples, speaking of Mark's Gospel, says that Mark "wrote it with great accuracy, as Peter's interpreter He committed no mistake when he wrote down things as he remembered them. He was very careful to omit nothing of what he had heard, and to say nothing false in what he related" (Eusebius, Hist. Eccles. 3:39).

(b.) Justin Martyr, after using the figure of the "lyre," which is so much relied upon by the advocates of verbal inspiration, goes on to limit his remark to "those things in Scripture which are necessary for us to know" (Just. Ad Graec. § 8). (c.) Irenceus, in a fragment on "the style of St. Paul," alludes to the fact that his sentences were sometimes "unsyntactic," and accounts for it by the "rapidity of his utterances (velocitas sermonum), and the impulsiveness of spirit which distinguished him."

(d.) Clemens Alexandrinus states that "Peter having preached the Gospel at Rome many present exhorted Mark to write the things which had been spoken, since he had long accompanied Peter, and remembered what he had said; and when he had composed the Gospel, he delivered it to them who had asked it of him" (Eusebius, Hist. Eccles. 6:14).

(e.) Origen, speaking' of the Epistle to the Hebrews, remarks that the "thoughts are Paul's, but the language belongs to some one who committed to writing what the apostle said, and, as it were, reduced to commentaries the things spoken by his master. But the ideas are admirable, and not inferior to the acknowledged writings of the apostle." Again, speaking of an apparent discrepancy between John and Matthew, Origen says, "I believe it to be impossible for those who upon this subject direct attention merely to the external history, to prove that this apparent contradiction can be reconciled" (Origen, in Johann. 1, 183).

(f) Chrysostom remarks on Acts 26:6 : "Here Paul speaks humanly, and does not throughout enjoy grace but is permitted to intermix even his own materials."

(g.) Augustine declares that the evangelists wrote more or less fully, "according as each remembered, and as each had it in his heart (ut quisque meminerat, et ut cuique cordi erat);" and asserts that the "truth is not bound to the words," and that the "language of the evangelists might be ever so different, provided their thoughts were the same" (August. De Consensu Evangelist. 2, 12,28).

[3.] The period between the fathers and the schoolmen is of so little value in the history of theology that it is hardly worth while to refer to it. One or two writers of some note in this period adopted verbal inspiration, but there was no received theory of the kind. Agobard, archbishop of Lyons, in answer to Fredegis (who is cited by Prof. Harris), asks, "What absurdity follows if the notion be adopted that the Holy Spirit not only inspired the prophets and apostles with the sense of their teachings, but also fashioned on their lips the very words themselves, bodily and outwardly (corporea verba extrinsecus in ora illorum)" (Agobard, Contra Fredegisum, c. 12). [4.] By the schoolmen, and subsequently by the doctors of the Church in general, a distinction was made in inspiration between, revelatio and assistentia.

[5.] Of the great reformers, Luther, Melancthon, Calvin, and Zwinglius, not one maintained any such doctrine as that of verbal inspiration, while they all speak in the strongest possible language of the divinity, credibility, and infallibility of the sacred writings.

[6.] It was in the 17th century that the notion of verbal inspiration, which had before only floated about from one individual mind to another, took the shape of a definite theory, and received a proper ecclesiastical sanction. The subject was treated at length by Calovius (the bitter opponent of Grotius and Calixtus). who set forth the verbal theory very fully; and later writers, both Lutheran and Reformed, carried it so far as to extend inspiration to the vowel-points and the punctuation. The Formula Consensus Helvetici declares that the Old Testament "is θεόπνευστος , equally as regards the consonants, the vowels, and the vowel-points, or at least their force."

V. Literature. Early treatises on the subject, of a general character, are those of Quenstedt, Carpzov, Weger, Lange, Le Clerc, Lowth, Lamothe, Clarke,Doddridge, etc., which rather belong to the province of "Introduction" (q.v.); more explict are the works of Bayly, Essay on Inspiration (London, 1707, 1708); Jaquelot, La Ve ite et l'Inspiration des livres du V. et N.T. (Rotterd. 1715); Calamy, Inspiration of Old and N.Test. (London, 1710); Martense, Christiana doctrinae de divina Sacrarum Litterarum inspir. vindicic (Jena, 1724); Klemm, Theopneust. Sacrorum Litt. asserta (Tub. 1743); Stosch, De duplici Apostoll. theopneustia, turn generali turn speciali (Guelpherb. 1754); Bullstedt, De vera S. S. inspirationis indole (Coburg, 1757 sq.); Teller, De inspir. divina Vatum Sacrorum (Helmst. 1762); also Diss. de Inspir. Script. Sac.judiciofornmando (Helmst. 1764); Tollner, Die Gottliche Eingebung der heiligen SchriJt untersucht (Mittau and Leipzig, 1772); Jablonsky, De Eo7r',evarai Scriptorum Sacrorum N.T. [in his Opusc. ed. te Water, 4:425-54); Wakefield, Essay on Inspiration (Lond. 1781); Meyer, De Inspiratione S. S. (Tr. ad Rh. 1784); Hegelmaier, De Theopneustia ejusqute statu in viris sanctis Libb. Sacc. auctoribus (Tub. 1784); Miller, Cum theopneustia Apostolorum nec osmniscientiams quasi aliquam, nec anamartesiam fuisse (Gott. 1789); Henckel, Inspirationem Evv. et Act. sine ullo religionis damno negari posse dubitatum (Freft. ad V. 1793): the definite questions of the extent and character of inspiration, however, are specially discussed in the works of Moore, Plenary Inspiration of the N.T. (Lond. 1793); Jesse, Of the Learning and Inspiration of the Apostles (London, 1798); Findlay, The Divine Inspiration of the Jewish Scriptures, etc. (Lond. 1803); Dick, Essay on the Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures (Glasgow, 1800; 4th edit. 1840); Sontag, Doctr. inspirationis ejusque ratio, hist. et ususpopularis (Heidelberg, 1810); Dullo, Ueber d. gottl. Eingebung des N.T. (Jena, 1816); H.Planck, Ueber Offenbarung u. Inspiration [opposed to Schleiermacher's views] (Gott. 1817); Rennel, Proofs of Inspiration [N.T. compared with Apocrypha] (Load. 1822); Parry, Inquiry into the Nature and Extent of the Inspiration of the Writers of the N.T. (2nd edit. London, 1822); Macleod, View of Inspiration [general statement of fact] (Glasg. 1827); Carson, Theories of Inspiration [review of Wilson, Pye Smith, and Dick] (Edib. 1830); Haldane, The Books of the O.T and N.T. proved to be canonical, and their Verbal Inspiration maintained and established, etc. [a brief partisan treatise] (5th ed. Edinb. 1853); Hinds, Bp., Proofs, Nature, and Extent of Inspiration (Oxford, 1831); Fraser, Essay on the Plenary and Verbal Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures [a popular view] (in New Family Library, vol. 2, Edinb. 1834); Henderson, Divine Inspiration [a calm and judicious treatise, endeavoring to reconcile the extreme theories, and therefore somewhat inconsistent with itself ] (London, 1836; 4th edit. 1852)'; Carson, Divine Inspiration [strictures on Henderson] (London, 1837); Gaussen, Theopneustie [a rhetorical rather than logical plea for the extreme view] (2nd ed. 1842; translated into English, Edinburgh, 1850; Boston, 1850); Jahn, Ad quosdam pertinent promiss. Sp. S. sec. N. Test. (Basle, 1841); Leblois, Sur l'Inspiration des premiers Chretiens (Strasburg, 1850); Carson, Inspiration [violent] (Dublin, 1854); Lee, Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures [an excellent work, making many good distinctions, and giving the history, but defective in arrangement and exactness] (Dublin, 1857, 2nd edit.); Wordsworth, Inspiration of Canon [apologetic] (London, 1848,1851; Philadelphia, 1854); Lord, Plenary Inspiration of the Scriptures [an extremist] (New York, 1858); Macnaught, Inspir. Infall. and Author of Scrip sort of somnambulic state, the inspired person receives and manifests the divine inspiration: this manifestation consists sometimes only in convulsive motions, or in broken sentences, which latter are generally invitations to repentance and amendment, or denunciations of some adversary. The congregations are governed by a chief and two elders, and they hold occasional conferences together. They have no regular ministry, but all members, of both sexes, are required to contribute to the common edification by praying aloud in the assemblies; besides this, if an Inspired teacher is present, and feels inspired, he preaches; if not, he reads some passages of Scripture, or the recorded utterances of some Inspired members. They have also a particular collection of hymns. Their principal festivals are love-feasts, at which preaching is generally part of the order of exercises of the day. These festivals are announced long beforehand, but none take part in them except those who are personally invited to do so by the Inspired leaders. The week before a love-feast is always a season of especial fasting, penitence, and prayer, and the day preceding it is still more strictly observed. Prayer, singing, prophesying, and feet-washing always precede the love-feast, at which the persons invited partake of cake and wine. See M. Gobel, Gesch. c. wahren Inspirationsyem veinden von 1688- 1854 (in the Zeitschriftfur hist. Theologie, 1854); Schrockh, Kirchengeschichte s. d. Reformation, 8:401 sq.; Schlegel, Kirchengeschichte d. 18tel Jahrhunderts, 2, div. 2, 1047 sq.; Baumgarten, Geschichte d. Relig. Partheien, p. 1048 sq.


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Inspiration'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/i/inspiration.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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