EXCERPT In part one of this article, Dr. Grisanti spelled out some of the foundational definitions and conceptions of inspiration and canonicity. In part two, the discussion turns to some potential examples of inspired textual updating.
III. Possible Examples of Inspired Textual Updating
Since we do not possess texts from that early period that can evidence any textual updating that took place during the compositional process, we are limited to the biblical text available to us today. The present section of the paper considers the composition of certain biblical books that have no specified author and surveys various specific biblical passages that constitute examples of textual updating. It will also briefly touch on the issue of the development of the Hebrew language.
1. The example of biblical books that were composed over a relatively long period of time. Beckwith points out that the concept of canonicity was not merely punctiliar but also part of a process. For example, when the Psalter was composed over a number of years, individual psalms were gatheredinto collections that were then gathered into books and eventually brought together into the entire Psalter. At all points along the way, an individual psalm had canonical status as part of the OT Scriptures.10 The books of Kings could have been composed over a long period of time and might have involved more than one historian/writer.11 If more than one writer/compiler participated in the composition of the books of Kings, each unnamed prophetic figure delivered to the next writer an authoritative piece. These books that were compiled over a period of time and underwent editorial reshaping do not violate a conservative understanding of the inspiration of the Scriptures. The book of Proverbs is primarily Solomonic, but has “pieces” added by someone after Solomon (e.g. other Solomonic proverbs copied by officials of King Hezekiah, chs. 25–29; words of Agur, ch. 30; words of King Lemuel, ch. 31). In each case, an unnamed figure added these words to the book of Proverbs. This writer contends that the children of Israel would have regarded the proverbs of Solomon as canonical before and after the other sections of proverbial material were added.
a. Deut 34:1–12. Unger (and most OT scholars) points to the narration of Moses’ death, burial, and final tribute to his prophetic ministry in Deut. 34:1–12 as “an obvious post-Mosaic addition.” 12Gleason Archer concludes that the final chapter of Deuteronomy is “demonstrably post-Mosaic.” 13 An unnamed prophetic figure added ch. 34 sometime after Moses completed his work on the Pentateuch. Both prior to and after the addition of ch. 34, the Pentateuch was fully inspired, authoritative, and inerrant. 14….
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