Chapter II:5: All the Substance of Scripture as an Object of Inspiration, Part 1

2.  Inspiration pertains to all Matters contained in Sacred Scripture, α.  whether Dogmatic, or Historical, of whatever time these might be, whether conducted in the age of the Writers or before.  Indeed, the Historians often knew without new revelation and infallible inspiration the matters which they relate, whether by the power of memory, or by the testimony of ἀξιοπίστων/ trustworthy men, from a comparison with Luke 1:2:  but if in narrating these things they were not enjoying θεοπνευστίᾳ/ inspiration, their history would only be a human narration, which would not be able to be the foundation of divine Faith, by which on account of the testimony of God we receive something, as what is not liable, nor is able to be, to any error at all.

This is to be held against Grotius, who in Voto pro Pace Ecclesiastica, pages 99, 100, has:  “Verily I have said that not all the books that are in the Hebrew Canon were dictated by the Holy Spirit.  —I was not needful that the histories be dictated by the Holy Spirit.  It was enough that the writer by memory be proficient concerning the matters observed, or by diligence be proficient in describing the historical journals the forefathers.  —If Luke, with the divine afflatus dictating, had written his own, thence he would have taken authority to himself, as the Prophets did, rather than from witnesses, whose faith he followed.[1]  Thus in writing those things that he saw Paul doing, no afflatus dictating to him was necessary.  What, therefore, is the reason why they books of Luke are Canonical? because the Church of the first ages judged them to be written piously and faithfully, and concerning matters of the greatest moment to salvation.”  This opinion of Grotius is followed by Spinoza,[2] in his Tractato Theologico-Politico, chapter XI, and by the Author of the book, Sentimens de quelques Theologiens de Hollande:[3]  see SIMON’S[4] Critique de Nouveau Testament, chapter XXIII, pages 273, 274.  Thus also Hobbes in Leviathan, chapter VII:  “The same is the manner of the histories written by a Prophet in the name of God and the others written, for example, by Livy,[5] Curtius;[6] so, if we would not believe Livy, that an ox spoke,[7] we do not disbelieve God, Livy, etc.”:  against whom see COCQUIUS’[8] Hobbesianismi Anatomen, locus I, chapter I, § 3, pages 5-7.  This also is the objection of the Jews against the divinity of the Books of the New Testament, that Luke himself, Luke 1:1-3, testifies that he did not write his Gospel by the afflatus and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but of his own will and according to the relation of trustworthy witnesses; unto which STAPFER responds, in his Theologicæ polemicæ, tome 3, chapter XI, section I, § 331, 333, 334, pages 265, 266, 268-271.  Consult CARPZOV’S Critica Sacra Veteris Testamenti, part I, chapter I, § 8, canon 1, 2, pages 54-56; RIVET’S[9] Isagoge ad Scripturam Sacram, chapter II, § 4-8, opera, tome 2, page 856.  Add SPANHEMIUS’ de Historicis Euangeliorum Scriptoribus, in the Appendix to book II of Miscellanea Sacrorum Antiquorum, § 2-9, opera, tome 2, column 266-274, where he goes against Henry Dodwell, in whose Dissertationibus in Irenæum he relates, “He, being unwilling, and not without some upset, read some things, which, as they lie, appear not a little to disturb the authenticity and reverence of the Gospels.  That is, that the Writers of the Gospel History have no other infallibility than that they be faithful witnesses of those things that either they had seen of heard, in an ordinary manner of relating, with no interposition of any afflatus, or θεοπνευστίας/inspiration.  Thus Tradition, upon which the belief of the Books of the New Testament, and of the Gospels in particular, rests, is no firmer than that which belongs to Irenæus; Irenæus, Clement, and the rest have an Equal Authority with them, nor were these Fathers of the second Century less infallible, in matters of history and of fact; —Neither does any note appear from which you might gather that less was attributed to the Apocryphal Gospels, than to the true; the Apocryphal is praised with equal honor, for example, by Ignatius of Antioch, with which the true are also honored:”  then read Spanhemius disputing against these things.  Consult also the things to be taught below, Chapter 33, § 10.  That θεοπνευστίαν/inspiration is not to be denied to the Writers of the Historical Books, whether of the Old or New Testament, DINANT also contends in his de Achtbaarheid van Godts Woord, chapter III, § 16, 20, pages 387-390, 399-404, § 22, pages 405-414, § 30-33, pages 427-444, § 38, 39, 458-465.

[1] Hebrews 13:7.

[2] Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) was a Jewish-Dutch philosopher, and one of the great Rationalists in the tradition of Descartes.

[3] Jean Le Clerc (1657-1736) was educated in Geneva, under the tutelage of Philippe Mestrezat and Francis Turretin, and ordained in circa 1680.  His sympathy for the theology of the Remonstrants made it impossible for him to continue in Geneva.  He settled as Professor of Philosophy at Amsterdam (1684-1731).  In his Sentimens, Le Clerc finds fault with much of Richard Simon’s work, but his critical approach to the Scripture is similar to that of Simon.

[4] Richard Simon (1638-1712) was a French priest, orientalist, and biblical critic, sometimes called “the father of higher criticism”.

[5] Titus Livius (c. 59 BC-17 AD) wrote a history of Rome, Ab Urbe Condita, from its founding to the time of Augustus.

[6] Quintus Curtius Rufus (d. 53) was a Roman and a historian.  Historiæ Alexandri Magni is his only surviving work.

[7] Ab Urbe Condita 35.

[8] Gisbertus Cocquius (1630-1708) of Utrecht was a Reformed thinker and doctor of philosophy; he opposed Hobbes.

[9] Andrew Rivet (1573-1651) was a Huguenot minister and divine.  He ministered at Sedan and at Thouara; he went on to teach at the University of Leiden (1619-1632) and at the college at Breda.  His influence among Protestants extended well beyond France.

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