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In common parlance, revelation and inspiration are convertible terms, but, in reality, they differ greatly. Revelation, from revelare, means to uncover, unveil, disclose to the view something hidden, and, in the present instance, to make known to the mind a concept not before known. This took place with the Prophets, and in every portion of the Holy Writings where the truths enunciated were impervious to the human understanding, or depended on the free will of God; in fact, wherever the idea portrayed was not acquired by the industry and labor of the writer. When, therefore, the writer expresses truths which he had acquired by the ordinary method of human research and observation, there is no revelation from God requisite or given. Thus St. Luke tells us that, it had seemed good to him, who had followed studiously all things from the beginning, to write in order these things. Thus the author of the II. Book of Maccabees testifies, Cap. 2:24–27: And thus the things that were comprised by Jason the Cyrenean in five volumes, we have attempted to compendiate in one volume. We who have undertaken to compendiate this work, have taken upon ourselves a task abounding in vigils and sweat. This book then is not, properly speaking, revealed. But usage has prevailed and prevails to speak of the whole body of the Scriptures as revealed writings, and we do not wish to correct this usage, but only to define and fix our terms for the greater facility of our treatise. Inspiration then pervades the whole structure of Scripture: it is its formal principle, its soul; revelation is only called in, as we have said, where the writer could not, or, de facto, did not acquire his knowledge in the ordinary manner.

This distinction is of great moment, as many difficulties are solved by the same. The neglect of this distinction gave rise to a censure of one of the propositions of the famous Leon Lessius, which, had it been couched in precise terms, would have challenged contradiction. The Holy Ghost, then, is the directing and impelling agent in all the Scripture, but not in the same manner. He discloses the truths unknown before in revelation; he impels to write infallibly the things which God would communicate to man in inspiration. We have defined above the concept of inspiration; we shall now scrutinize more closely its object and extent. The Vatican Council has given us a definition which will serve as our guide in dealing with the present subject, for, as we have proven above, the Church can be the only guide in such a question.

In Cap. II. De Revel, we find:

Qui quidem veteris et novi Testamenti libri integri cum omnibus suis partibus, prout in ejusdem Concilii decreto recensentur, et in veteri vulgata latina editione habentur, pro sacris et canonicis suscipiendi sunt. Eos vero Ecclesia pro sacris et canonicis habet, non ideo quod sola humana industria concinnati, sua deinde auctoritate sint approbati; nec ideo dumtaxat, quod revelationem sine errore contineant, sed propterea quod Spiritu Sancto inspirante conscripti Deum habent auctorem, atque ut tales ipsi Ecclesiæ traditi sunt. And in Canon IV. De Revelatione:

Si quis sacræ Scripturæ libros integros cum omnibus suis partibus, prout illos sancta Tridentina Synodus recensuit, pro sacris et canonicis non susceperit, aut eos divinitus inspiratos esse negaverit; anathema sit.

Hence it is of faith that God is the AUTHOR of the Sacred Scriptures, and of the integral books with all their parts. It is not here asserted that God with his own hand wrote the books materially, but that he is the Auctor principalis per conscriptores suos. Now, we shall bear in mind the relation of the author to his work, in weighing and judging of the correctness or falseness of opinions which deal with this subject.

Inspirare is the Latin equivalent for the Greek θεοπνεύειν, which word S. Paul uses in his 2 Epist. to Tim. 3:16., πᾶσα γραφὴ θεόπνευστος. It signifies that one is impelled by God, that the Spirit of God is in him, moving him to action and guiding him in that action. Hence, God is the principal author, the principal cause; and the inspired agent in the instrumental cause.

In every action wrought by a creature, there is a concursus of two causes, the causa prima, and the causa secunda; the Creator and the Creature. We exist by reflected existence, as the moon shines by reflected light. The same act, which brought us into being at our creation, preserves us in that being, and this is what is called the conservatio in esse; and the conservative act is all that prevents us from relapsing into the primal absolute chaos. God must then cooperate with his creature in every act, for the second cause must depend on the First Cause essentially, and, therefore, in every act, it must be upheld by the conservative power of God.

But there are certain acts where this concursus is more marked and potent on the part of the Creator, and Inspiration is one of these acts.

On this theme Cardinal Manning (Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost, pp. 158–161) writes as follows:

In order to appreciate more exactly the reach of these opinions, it will be well to examine them somewhat more intimately, and to fix the sense of the terms used in the discussion of the subject.

(1.) First, then, comes the word Inspiration, which is often confounded with Revelation.

Inspiration, in its first intention, signifies the action of the Divine Spirit upon the human, that is, upon the intelligence and upon the will. It is an intelligent and vital action of God upon the soul of man; and inspired is to be predicated, not of books or truths, but of living agents.

In its second intention, it signifies the action of the Spirit of God upon the intelligence and will of man, whereby any one is impelled and enabled to act, or to speak, or to write, in some special way designed by the Spirit of God.

In its still more special and technical intention, it signifies an action of the Spirit upon men, impelling them to write what God reveals, suggests, or wills that they should write. But inspiration does not necessarily signify revelation, or suggestion of the matter to be written.

(2.) Secondly, Revelation signifies the unfolding to the intelligence of man truths which are contained in the intelligence of God, the knowledge of which without such revelation would be impossible. Men may be the subjects of revelation, and not of inspiration; and they might be the subjects of inspiration, and not of revelation.

(3.) Thirdly, Suggestion, in the theory of inspiration, signifies the bringing to mind such things as God wills the writer to put in writing. All revelation is suggestion, but not all suggestion revelation; because much that is suggested may be of the natural order, needing no revelation, being already known by natural reason, or by historical tradition and the like.

(4.) Fourthly, by Assistance is understood the presence and help of the Holy Spirit, by which the human agent, in full use of his own liberty and powers—such as natural gifts, genius, acquired cultivation, and the like—executes the work which the Divine Inspiration impels him to write.

There are three kinds of assistance.

(1.) First, there is the assistance afforded by the Holy Spirit to all the faithful, by which their intelligence is illuminated and their will strengthened, without exempting them from the liability to error.

(2.) Secondly, there is the assistance vouchsafed to the Church diffused throughout the world or congregated in council, or to the person of the Vicar of Jesus Christ, speaking ex cathedra, which excludes all liability to error within the sphere of faith and morals, and such facts and truths as attach to them (of which relations the Church is the ultimate judge), but does not extend to the other orders of purely natural science and knowledge.

(3.) Lastly, there is the assistance granted as a gratia gratis data to the inspired writers of the Holy Scripture which excludes all liability to error in the act of writing not only in matters of faith and morals, but in all matter, of whatsoever kind, which by the inspiration of God they are impelled to write.

The Jesuits, in the Theologia Wirceburgensis, sum up the subject in the following way:—The authorship of God may be conceived in three ways. First, by special assistance, which preserves the writer from all error and falsehood. Secondly, by inspiration, which impels the writer to the act of writing, without, however, destroying his liberty, Thirdly, by revelation, by which truths hitherto unknown are manifested. They then affirm, that God specially inspired the sacred writers with the truths and matter expressed in the sacred books.

Perhaps it may be more in accordance with the facts of the case to invert the order, and to say that what we call Inspiration, in the special and technical sense, includes the three following operations of the Holy Ghost upon the mind of the sacred writers:—

(1.) First, the impulse to put into writing the matter which God wills they should record.

(2.) Secondly, the suggestion of the matter to be written, whether by revelation of truths not previously known, or only by prompting of those things which were already within the writers knowledge.

(3.) Thirdly, the assistance which excludes liability to error in writing all things, whatsoever may be suggested to them by the Spirit of God to be written.

From this follow two corollaries:—

1. That in the Holy Scripture there can be no falsehood or error.

2. That God is the author of all inspired books.

It is declared in the definition of the Vatican Council that God is the Author of the books of the Old and New Testaments with all their parts. We also assert that the various inspired writers were authors of the respective books which history and tradition attribute to them. Therefore, there is a concursus of two causes here, of two authors. A book may be defined to be a Contextus sententiarum seu sensuum scripto consignatus. We here denominate book, every complete component factor of the Old or New Testament, even though it consist of but a few sentences, as for instance the Epistle to Philemon, consisting of but 25 verses, comprised in one chapter. In every book or writing, there are two elements, the material and the formal element. The formal element comprises the Complexus of ideas and judgments signified by the words and propositions in the book. These by some are called the res et sententiæ; by others, the sensa; by Franzelin, the Veritates. The material element of the book, in fieri, is the consigning of these veritates to writing. The author of a book needs not necessarily consign the veritates to writing. St. Paul employed an amanuensis to commit his teachings to writing in his Epistles, and, yet, he is their author. It is the creations of the soul reflected in a work that denominate an agent an author. Any hand may do the material work, but the mind back of the truths is the factor to which is rightly attributable the authorship.

When we, therefore, assert for God the authorship of the Scriptures, we do not mean to say that he consigned the ideas to writing with his own hand, but that he was the formal cause of the res et sententiæ, of the sensa, of the veritates. Now the relation of an author to his work is to be measured by the object of the work. In a rhetorical or poetical work, the words and style would be per se intenta, and, consequently, the work could not be called the creation of any certain author, unless he had per se produced such beauty of diction. But in a book whose scope is to convey truth to the mind, and naught else, the style or the selection of the words would not necessarily need be the effect of the principal author. Provided they be adequate and fitting to convey the truths which he might wish to impart, the book can attain its end, even though the principal cause have no special influence in the selection of words or the style. Now, it is evident that no being can be termed the author of a book, unless he produces the formal element of the book. God is the Author of all the books of Scripture, and, therefore, he produced all the veritates, or res et sententiæ therein contained. These are true and inspired; the other part may be defective. God produced these res et sententiæ either by revelation or by inspiration; by revelation, if the truths were impervious to human reason, such as futura contingentia, mysteries, or any other truth which the writer could not acquire by natural means; by inspiration always, illumining the mind and moving the will to write all those things and only those things which God wished to communicate to his creature, whether those things were then for the first time known by revelation, or were the acquisitions of human industry and observation. For even in this latter case, the special action of God is necessary to impel the writer to write all and only the things which God wishes written, and to write them infallibly, without the mixture of error.

We see thus that there is always a greater concursus than the concursus generalis in inspiration. God does for the inspired writer more than conservare in esse. He is the impelling power within him. Sometimes, as was the case with the Prophets, the second agent is thrown into an ecstacy, and his mind is imbued with ideas, in the creation of which he is only the passive agent. Though the inspired writer is always ὑπὸ Πνεύματος Ἁγίου φερόμενος, borne on, impelled by the Holy Ghost, not always is this impelling force active in the same way. It is different in prophecy than it is in the inspiration which guided the Evangelists in infallibly committing to writing things to which they had been eye-witnesses. Inspiration does not preclude the examining of existing documents, the patient toil and research which always accompany the natural acquisition of knowledge. Moses may have made use of existing documents, when giving an account of Creation. But the certainty of inspiration is not measured by the certainty of these existing documents, nor by the certainty of fallible human observation and research. Always the hand of God is there, guiding, and positively influencing the agent to write all those things, and only those things which God would have written; and this assistance is not merely a negative one, but a positive act exercised in every concept of Holy Writ. Such is the relation of an author to his work, and we know by divine faith that God is the Author of the Holy Scriptures.

It may not be amiss here to indicate some of the principal writers on this theme in our times: Franzelin (De Divina Traditione et Scriptura, Romae 1882): Ubaldi (Introductio in Sac. Script. Romae 1888): Schmid (De Inspirat. Bibl. Vi et Ratione, Brixinae 1885); Crets (De Divina Bibliorum Inspiratione Lovanii 1886); Holzhey (Die Inspiration der Heil. Schrift, München 1895); Zanecchia (Divina Inspirat. etc. Romae 1899, Revised 1903); Chauvin (LInspiration des Divines Ecritures, Paris 1896); Billot (De Inspirat. Sac. Script. Romae 1903); Pesch (De Inspirat. Sacrae Script. Friburgi 1906).

Of the Abbés Chauvins work, the Dublin Review (1897 pp. 215–218) has the following favorable review:

Although inspiration is very frequently spoken of, yet, like progress, civilisation and liberty, it is rarely undersood. The vast majority of those who refer to it do, no doubt, intend to suggest some kind of mysterious influence from on high; but their ideas are vague and indefinite. They think of it as of a dark figure, veiled and hooded, that moves in silence and never reveals its features.

All will readily admit that inspiration necessarily implies a divine influence. But divine influences are many; and it is a task of unusual delicacy to define that specific influence which constitutes inspiration. There is a divine influence which actively pervades all creation and rules mighty from end to end; but it is not inspiration. We call it law and providence. Another kind of influence enriches man with virtue, and blossoms out into holiness of life; but we name it grace, not inspiration. Even when inspirations of grace are mentioned by theologians, the word has not the same meaning that it bears when we speak of the inspiration of Scripture; for when a man has been inspired to write, we say: God speaks thus, but when a man under the influence of grace makes an act of faith in the Creed, we do not say: God believes thus. God is personally identified with inspiration in a manner very different from that by which He is identified with the works of grace in general. Lastly, it is only by a divine influence that the Church is preserved from error in all her solemn definitions of faith and morals. But here again, this influence is not termed inspiration, but merely assistance. Ecclesiastical definitions, although infallible, are not inspired.

What, then, is inspiration? What are our means for detecting its presence in this or that particular instance? Before we can venture to answer these questions we must first determine what are the reliable sources of information on the subject; but it is precisely in this preliminary work of determination that discordant voices are making themselves most loudly heard. One company of explorers is content to accept, on the general consent of Christians, the abridged Bible of protestant tradition as being truly inspired. Starting with this assured fact, the discovery of what is meant by inspiration is merely a matter of induction from Biblical phenomena. The chief merit claimed for the system is that it makes the doctrine of Biblical inspiration absolutely secure against every form of literary and scientific analysis. He who believes in the inspiration of Scripture may, with unruffled serenity, admit the presence in the Bible of flagrant contradictions, or gross historical errors, and of a low moral tone; for, since the Bible is inspired, the more clearly we understand what the Bible actually is, the deeper will be our insight into the nature of inspiration itself. So far removed, then, are the results of analysis from being opposed to the doctrine of inspiration, that they are an essential factor in its due apprehension.

Another company of searchers after inspiration have been endowed by a merciful heaven with, or have created for themselves, an a priori and quite subjective idea of the true nature of inspiration. This idea they employ as a sort of search-light which they steadily flash around, and are then able to inform us of the varying degrees of purity in which inspiration may be found, not only in the several books of Scripture, but also in the literature of the world at large. Unfortunately, the initial idea of inspiration is not uniform, and the results of its application are consequently divergent. In general, however, it seems to be taken for something freshly informing, deeply suggestive, and highly stimulating. The inspired writer is the man with a special message to the world. Hence those solemn disquisitions on the inspiration of our modern prophets, Browning, Tennyson Ruskin, and Carlyle.

To readers desirous either of refreshing their memory, or of acquiring clear ideas on this subject, we heartily recommend the Abbé Chauvins little book. Judged for what it professes to be—an essai théologique et critique—it deserves all praise. Brief as it is, it leaves nothing to be desired on the score of clearness; in dealing with the central points of the doctrine it is fuller, and certainly more able, than many volumes far more pretentious. With acute mind and independent judgment the author has availed himself of the previous labors of Schmid, Crets, dHulst, Loisy, Didiot, Brucker, Brandi, Holzhey, and others. He has thus laid under contribution the most recent commentaries and magazine articles on the encyclical Providentissimus Deus.

The essay is divided into eight chapters, as follows: The idea of inspiration; its psychology; false theories bearing upon it; true and false tests of inspiration; the proof of Scriptural inspiration; the subject matter of inspiration; the controversy on verbal inspiration; the consequences of plenary inspiration. Of these chapters, that on the psychology of inspiration is undoubtedly the most important and the best. We are so interested in the essay that, even at the risk of spoiling what the author has done so well, we shall venture on a brief account of this main position.

Inspiration implies a divine breath or movement by which a man is stirred to write what God wishes to be written. That movement plays along mans intellect, imagination, memory, and will, till man becomes the responsive instrument of the divine purpose. But man is a living instrument, and is moved by God in accordance with his free and living nature, freely and deliberately—often with much painful effort—to the desired goal. Hence the mental gifts, the literary talents and characteristic qualities of each inspired writer are employed, not destroyed, by God. St. Thomass principle here also stands good: Motus primi moventis non recipitur uniformiter in omnibus … sed in unoquoque secundum proprium modum. We have not space to follow the author in his patient analysis of the divine action on mans several faculties, but he leads us to the clear conclusion that, when God inspired the Scriptures He supernaturally, and as a principal cause, employed the faculties of the inspired writer, as His instruments in the psychological labor which man would have undergone if he had been writing in his own name instead of writing in the name of God. If writing for himself, the man would have had the same labor, but he would not have had the same divine impulse and guidance, the same divine assistance, the same divine illumination in the doing of his task. The whole result belongs, not partly to God and partly to man, but in its entirety to God and in its entirety to man. The effect, as a whole, proceeds from both God and man; from God as the chief cause, from man as the free and living instrumental cause. Effectus totus attribuitur instrumento, et principali agenti etiam totus … sed totus ab utroque secundum alium modum.

On the principles of sound psychology not only does that mechanical speaking-tube theory, introduced by the Reform Churches, appear in all its grotesqueness and its inconsistency with the plainest facts, but also does the theory of some Catholic theologians who distinguish between verba and res et sententias show itself to be most unnatural. Inspiration covers everything the inspired writer writes—thoughts, opinions, judgments, surmises, the collection and arrangement of materials, method of treatment, style and language. An inspired book is a living whole; and the whole is inspired.

Peschs work merits still more approbation.

It has been said by eminent scholars that the Catholic doctrine on inspiration is summed up in the one sentence, authoritively defined by the Church: God is the author of the Holy Scriptures. Certain it is that all that is determined by the Church on this theme is drawn from that sure principle. The Church has made a few applications of the principle, but has left a very large field open. In entering this field every writer must recognize that however much he may differ from advocates of views differing from his own, he is bound to refrain from branding with any note of infamy opinions which the Church has not yet condemned. In all ages of the Church good men have been material heretics: and on the other hand the odium theologicum of those who had a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge (Rom. 10:2) has injured the very cause which they wished to defend. It is only by toleration and patient examination of the views of all that we can advance our knowledge of these deep problems. No right-minded, candid seeker after truth will object to arguments against his opinions, but personalities wound the opponent, without promoting their authors side. If passion could be set aside, it would be greatly beneficial to scriptural science if, of the sincere scholars of the Church, there were a conference regarding the different views on Inspiration, that all the arguments pro and con might be weighed dispassionately, and the best adopted.

Of course that which we here state only applies to candid, sincere seekers after truth. There are in the Church certain sycophants who angle for popularity by copying the German and English and French rationalists. They have no principles, but are like sponges filled with dirty water. These merit only contempt.

Prof. Dods in his lecture on Inspiration declares as follows:

It is, then, only from the Bible itself we can learn what an inspired book is. We may find many unexpected peculiarities in the Bible, but these will not dismay us, if we have not gone to it with a preconceived theory of what it ought to be and of what inspiration must accomplish. The Bible must not be forced into conformity with our Procrustean theory of inspiration; but we must allow our theory to be formed by the Bible. If we should find on examination that much of what is human enters into the Bible, we must expand our theory to include this. If we should find discrepancies or inaccuracies, these must help us to our true theory.

In Professor Bownes small but excellent book on the Christian Revelation, he very truly says: The presence of inspiration is discernible in the product, but the meaning and measure of inspiration cannot be decided by abstract reflection, but only by the outcome. What inspiration is, must be learned from what it does. We must not determine the character of the books from the inspiration, but must rather determine the nature of the inspiration from the books (pp. 44–45).

The problem in regard to inspiration is, to adjust truly the Divine and the human factors. The various theories which have been framed and held differ from one another regarding the proportion which the human element in the process and in the result bears to the Divine.

No other view is consistent with the protestant principle of the rejection of the obedience of faith to the Churchs teaching. It is true that the Bible is the only inspired book in the world; it is true that it is impossible a priori to establish a perfect system which will embrace every proposition; but it is not true that we must come to the Bible with no preconception of what it is. The Church of God, to whom Christ promised infallibility and indefectibility, in the exercise of her mission teaches us with authority that the Bible is a book of Gods authorship, that it is the word of God, and every theory based upon an examination of the Bible itself must be forced into conformity with this infallible definition.

We see therefore that the field in which Catholic theologians may differ is in applying the principles which the Church has defined to the specific statements of the Bible; and here it must be granted that the divergency of opinion is very great.

Many of the difficulties which science and the investigations of criticism have brought up were unknown to the Fathers, and we find in them an unquestioning acceptance of the Scriptures as the word of God. Clement of Rome declares: Ye have searched the Scriptures, which are true, which were given through the Holy Ghost; and Ye know that nothing unrighteous or counterfeit is written in them (1 Cor. 45).

Justin the Martyr in his Dialogue with Trypho, Chap. VII. clearly asserts the inspiration of the Holy Books:

There existed, long before this time, certain men more ancient than all those who are esteemed philosophers, both righteous and beloved by God, who spoke by the Divine Spirit, and foretold events which would take place, and which are now taking place. They are called prophets. These alone both saw and announced the truth to men, neither reverencing nor fearing any man, not influenced by a desire for glory, but speaking those things alone which they saw and which they heard, being filled with the Holy Spirit. Their writings are still extant, and he who has read them is very much helped in his knowledge of the beginning and end of things, and of those matters which the philosopher ought to know, provided he has believed them. For they did not use demonstration in their treatises, seeing that they were witnesses to the truth above all demonstration, and worthy of belief; and those events which have happened, and those which are happening, compel you to assent to the utterances made by them, although, indeed, they were entitled to credit on account of the miracles which they performed, since they both glorified the Creator, the God and Father of all things, and proclaimed His Son, the Christ [sent] by Him: which, indeed, the false prophets, who are filled with the lying unclean spirit, neither have done nor do, but venture to work certain wonderful deeds for the purpose of astonishing men, and glorify the spirits and demons of error.

Again in the same treatise he answers Trypho:

If you spoke these words, Trypho, and then kept silence in simplicity and with no ill intent, neither repeating what goes before nor adding what comes after, you must be forgiven; but if [you have done so] because you imagined that you could throw doubt on the passage, in order that I might say the Scriptures contradicted each other, you have erred. But I shall not venture to suppose or to say such a thing; and if a Scripture which appears to be of such a kind be brought forward, and if there be a pretext [for saying] that it is contrary [to some other], since I am entirely convinced that no Scripture contradicts another, I shall admit rather that I do not understand what is recorded, and shall strive to persuade those who imagine that the Scriptures are contradictory, to be rather of the same opinion as myself.

Athenagoras applying to every inspired agent the name of prophet describes their inspiration thus:

But we have for witnesses of the things we apprehend and believe, prophets, men who have pronounced concerning God and the things of God, guided by the Spirit of God. And you too will admit, excelling all others as you do in intelligence and in piety towards the true God that it would be irrational for us to cease to believe in the Spirit from God, who moved the mouths of the prophets like musical instruments, and to give heed to mere human opinions. (A Plea for Christians).

Irenæus makes the Holy Ghost the Author of the Scriptures. In II. Against Heresies, XXVIII. 2, he thus declares:

If, however, we cannot discover explanations of all those things in Scripture which are made the subject of investigation, yet let us not on that account seek after any other God besides Him who really exists. For this is the very greatest impiety. We should leave things of that nature to God who created us, being most properly assured that the Scriptures are indeed perfect, since they were spoken by the Word of God and His Spirit; but we, inasmuch as we are inferior to, and later in existence than, the Word of God and His Spirit, are on that very account destitute of the knowledge of His mysteries. And there is no cause for wonder if this is the case with us as respects things spiritual and heavenly, and such as require to be made know to us by revelation, since many even of those things which lie at our very feet (I mean such as belong to this world, which we handle and see, and are in close contact with) transcend our knowledge, so that even these we must leave to God.

Again ibid. Bk. IV. II. 3 Irenæus enunciates the Catholic doctrine:

But since the writings (literæ) of Moses are the words of Christ, He does Himself declare to the Jews, as John has recorded in the Gospel: If ye had believed Moses, ye would have believed Me: for her wrote of Me. But if ye believe not his writings, neither will ye believe My words. He thus indicates in the clearest manner that the writings of Moses are His words. If, then, [this be the case with regard] to Moses, so also, beyond a doubt, the words of the other prophets are His [words], as I have pointed out. And again, the Lord Himself exhibits Abraham as having said to the rich man, with reference to all those who were still alive: If they do not obey Moses and the prophets, neither, if any one were to rise from the dead and go to them, will they believe him.

And again ibid. XI. 1: And how do the Scriptures testify of Him, unless all things had ever been revealed and shown to believers by one and the same God through the Word; He at one time conferring with His creature, and at another propounding His law; at one time, again reproving, at another exhorting, and then setting free His servant, and adopting him as a son (in filium); and at the proper time, bestowing an incorruptible inheritance, for the purpose of bringing man to perfection? For He formed him for growth and increase, as the Scripture says: Increase and multiply.

Origen is very explicit Since in our investigation of matters of such importance, not satisfied with the common opinions, and with the clear evidence of visible things, we take in addition, for the proof of our statements, testimonies from what are believed by us to be divine writings, viz., from that which is called the Old Testament, and that which is styled the New, and endeavor by reason to confirm our faith; and as we have not yet spoken of the Scriptures as divine, come and let us, as if by way of an epitome, treat of a few points respecting them, laying down those reasons which lead us to regard them as divine writings. (De Principiis Bk. IV. 1.).

The same doctrine is consistently propounded by St. Theophilus of Antioch Hippolytus, Tertullian Cyprian, Lactantius, Marinus Victorinus, Hilary of Poitiers, and others.

Clement of Alexandria believes in a full inspiration of the Holy Scriptures: I could adduce ten thousand Scriptures of which not one title shall pass away without being fulfilled; for the mouth of the Lord the Holy Spirit hath spoken these things. (Exhortation to the Heathen, IX.)

Again in the Stromata, VII. 16, Clement declares: Accordingly, those fall from this eminence who follow not God whither he leads. And he leads us in the inspired Scriptures. All his writings are full of reverences to the Holy Scriptures as the infallible word of God.

Space is not afforded for the numerous passages from the works of St. Basil in which he declares the Scriptures to be divine. Let one short passage serve as an illustration of his views. In his letter, (XLII.) to Chilo he declares: Never neglect reading, especially of the New Testament, because very frequently mischief comes of reading the Old; not because what is writtten is harmful but because the minds of the injured are weak. All bread is nutritious, but it may be injurious to the sick. Just so all Scripture is God inspired and profitable, and there is nothing in it unclean: only to him who thinks it is unclean, to him it is unclean.

St. Athanasius to Marcellinus (Migne 27. 11) speaks thus of Holy Scripture: All Scripture, O Son, both of the Old and of the New Testament is divinely inspired and useful for teaching, as it is written.

In his Thirty-ninth Letter St. Athanasius appeals to the constant tradition regarding the divinely inspired Scripture: In proceeding to make mention of these things, I shall adopt, to commend my undertaking, the pattern of Luke the Evangelist, saying on my own account: Forasmuch as some have taken in hand, to reduce into order for themselves the books termed apocryphal, and to mix them up with the divinely inspired Scripture, concerning which we have been fully persuaded, as they who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, delivered to the fathers; it seemed good to me also, having been urged thereto by true brethren, and having learned from the beginning, to set before you the books included in the Canon, and handed down, and accredited as Divine.

One passage will illustrate the belief of Gregory of Nyssa: The Scripture, given by inspiration of God, as the Apostle calls it, is the Scripture of the Holy Spirit, and its intention is the profit of men. For every scripture, he says, is given by inspiration of God and is profitable; and the profit is varied and multiform, as the Apostle says—for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (Against Eunomius Bk. VII. 1.)

It is superfluous to review the enormous bulk of writings of the Latin Fathers. No one will deny that they unanimously taught the doctrine on inspiration which the Councils of the Church has now defined. St. Ambrose (On the Holy Spirit, Bk. III. XVI. 112) clearly enunciates the doctrine: How, then, does He not possess all that pertains to God, Who is named by priests in baptism with the Father and the Son, and is invoked in the oblations, is proclaimed by the Seraphim in heaven with the Father and the Son, dwells in the Saints with the Father and the Son, is poured upon the just, is given as the source of inspiration to the prophets? And for this reason in the divine Scripture all is called θεόπνευστος, because God inspires what the Spirit has spoken.

St. Jerome fills his works with declarations like these: I am not, I repeat, so ignorant as to suppose that any of the Lords words is either in need of correction, or is not divinely inspired. (To Marcella Letter XXVII.); the Scriptures were written and promulgated by the Holy Ghost. (On Ephesians 1:10); all the Scriptures were written by the one Holy Spirit, and therefore are called one book. (On Isaiah 29:9.)

We shall close these few representative quotations with these declarations of St. Augustine: For it seems to me that most disastrous consequences must follow upon our believing that anything false is found in the sacred books: that is to say, that the men by whom the Scripture has been given to us, and committed to writing, did put down in these books anything false. It is one question whether it may be at any time the duty of a good man to deceive; but it is another question whether it can have been the duty of a writer of Holy Scripture to deceive: nay, it is not another question—it is no question at all. For if you once admit into such a high sanctuary of authority one false statement as made in the way of duty, there will not be left a single sentence of those books which, if appearing to any one difficult in practice or hard to believe, may not by the same fatal rule be explained away, as a statement in which, intentionally, and under a sense of duty, the author declared what was not true. (Letter XXVIII. 3): For I confess to your Charity that I have learned to yield this respect and honour only to the canonical books of Scripture: of these alone do I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error. And if in these writings I am perplexed by anything which appears to me opposed to truth, I do not hesitate to suppose that either the MS. is faulty, or the translator has not caught the meaning of what was said, or I myself have failed to understand it. As to all other writings, in reading them, however great the superiority of the authors to myself in sanctity and learning, I do not accept their teachings as true on the mere ground of the opinion being held by them but only because they have succeeded in convincing any judgment of its truth either by means of these canonical, writings themselves, or by arguments addressed to my reason.

With the Fathers there was not much thought of the analysis of the concepts of inspiration; they were content to affirm the canonical books to be the word of God, without analysing the question which in our day is the first question in divine science.

In the formulary of faith called The Ancient Statutes of the Church which is falsely attributed to the Fourth Council of Carthage (Mansi) it is demanded of the bishop to make profession of faith that God is the author of both the Old and the New Testaments. This formula has been accepted as the Catholic doctrine. The Council of Trent reaffirmed it; and the Vatican Council explained and promulgated it.

The older theologians generally ascribe to the divine element in Scripture an excessive part. The Faculties of Louvain and Douai declared: It is an intolerable and great blasphemy, if any shall affirm that any otiose word can be found in Scripture. All the words of Scripture are so many sacraments (or mysteries). Every phase, syllable, tittle, and point is full of a divine sense, as Christ says in St. Matthew, a jot or a tittle shall not pass from the law.

Melchior Canus tempers the doctrine somewhat.

In his second book De Locis Theol., after stating and refuting the opinions of those who thought that the sacred writers in the canonical books did not always speak by the Divine Spirit, he establishes the following proposition: that every particle of the canonical books was written by the assistance of the Holy Spirit, He says, I admit that the sacred writers had no need of a proper and express revelation in writing every particle of the Scripture; but that every part of the Scripture was written by a peculiar instinct and impulse of the Holy Ghost, I truly and rightly contend. After saying that some things were known to them by supernatural revelation, and others by natural knowledge, he adds, that they did not need a supernatural light and express revelation to write these latter truths, but they needed the presence and peculiar help of the Holy Ghost, that these things, though they were human truths and known by natural reason, should nevertheless be written divinely and without any error. (De Loc. Theol. II. 16).

Dominicus Bañez is deeper and more explicit: For the establishment of truth we must know that when it is said that a Scripture is inspired of God, it can be understood in three ways. The first manner (of inspiration) has place when the things to be written were unknown to the writer, and were made known by the inspiration of God.

The second way is when the thing which is written was indeed known to the writer, but the impulse to write it came from a special moving and inspiration of God; and therefore the writer is protected by a special assistance of the Holy Ghost lest by malice or forgetfulness he should be deceived in anything.

In the third way Scripture is said to be inspired, for the reason that God not only revealed hidden things to the writer, or moved him to write things known to him, and upheld him lest he should err, but also suggested and as, it were, dictated the very words which he should write.

Therefore let this be the first conclusion: The Holy Scripture of which we speak proceeds from divine revelation sometimes in the first manner and sometimes in the second. This should be the firm belief of all Catholics. And it is proven; because (the Scripture) in some parts contains many things which transcend every created mind such as the Mystery of the Trinity and the Incarnation and many other things; in other parts it contains things which fall within the compass of natural reason and experience. But in all these things even the most diligent and attentive writer may at times be deceived or may forget. Therefore, in all these things partly by revelation, partly by impelling and assisting, the Holy Ghost was with the writer lest he should deviate from the truth.

The second conclusion: The Holy Ghost inspired not only the matter of the Scriptures but also suggested and dictated every word by which they should be written. For if it were left to the free will of the sacred writer to choose the words by which he should express or write the thoughts, he might err in expressing what was revealed to him; and thus in the Scriptures there might be found falsehood.

But the great Dominican felt obliged to temper this doctrine in his third conclusion: If anyone should affirm that the composition of the words is often left to the knowledge and diligence of the sacred writer in such a manner however, that such a one affirms the necessary assistance of the Holy Ghost lest the writer err in the words or in their composition, he says nothing so contrary to faith, that the assertion should be gravely censured; although to me the opinion seems not true or altogether safe on account of the argument adduced to prove the preceding conclusion. This conclusion (that verbal inspiration is not of faith) is proven by the fact that when the sacred writer writes the things which he sees, in order that the Scripture be called inspired it is enough that the Holy Ghost move his mind to write these things, and that he be guided by the Holy Ghost lest he forget what he is commanded to write. Therefore the same cooperation of the Holy Ghost will suffice for the composition of words which the writer of himself may effect.

Nevertheless it is safer and freer from blame to say that as the Holy Ghost moves the mind of the writer to write, so also he inspires the words and composition. And this is proven, for, unless we say thus, we shall be scarcely able to assign a difference between the Holy Scriptures and the definitions of Councils. For in both cases the Holy Ghost assists lest there should be error. And if in both cases the words and their composition be left to human industry, it follows that there is no difference, for also the definitions of Councils by the assistance of the Holy Ghost contain infallible truth, (Schol. Comment, in D. Thom. Q. I.)

The Thomistic theologians quite generally defended verbal inspiration. Most recently Zanecchia (Div. Inspir. ad Mentem S. Thomae, Romae, 1899, 1903, p. 175) declares: The action of the Holy Ghost in inspiration is not restricted to the conception of the ideas and to the communicating of them to the inspired writer; but extends itself to the very writing, that is to the words, the expressions, the style; in a word, to all that which is written by the inspired writers, and to the manner in which they expressed these things in writing.

Against this rigid system of inspiration a reaction was inaugurated by Lessius and Hamel. In 1586, Lessius and Hamel, in their lectures at Louvain, taught the following propositions:—

1. Ut aliquid sit Scriptura Sacra, non est necessarium singula ejus verba inspirata esse a Spiritu Sancto. That a book be Holy Scripture, it is not necessary that every word of it be inspired by the Holy Ghost.

2. Non est necessarium ut singulæ veritates et sententiæ sint immediate a Spiritu Sancto ipsi Scriptori inspiratæ. It is not necessary that every truth or sentence be immediately inspired into the writer by the Holy Ghost.

3. Liber aliquis (qualis forte est secundus Machabæorum) humana industria sine assistentia Spiritus Sancti scriptus, (si Spiritus Sanctus postea testetur nihil ibi esse falsum, efficitur Scriptura Sacra. A book (such as perhaps the 2nd of Maccabees), written by human industry, without the assistance of the Holy Ghost—if the Holy Spirit afterwards testify that nothing false is contained in it—becomes Holy Scripture.

These propositions were at once assailed. The archbishops of Cambrai and Mechlin sent them to the Faculties of Douai and Louvain. They were condemed by both. The third was especially centured. Estius, who drew up the censure, in his Commentary on the Epistles gives his own opinion as follows: From this passage it is rightly and truly established, that all the sacred and canonical Scripture is written by the dictation of the Holy Ghost; so that not only the sense, but every word, and the order of the words, and the whole arrangement is from God, as if He were speaking or writing in person. For this is the meaning of the Scripture being divinely inspired.

Lessius and Hamel appealed to the Sorbonne. The Faculty of Paris did not approve either of the Jesuit propositions, nor of the censures of Louvain and Douai. The Faculties of Mayence, Treves, Ingoldstadt, and Rome disapproved the censures; but Sixtus V. imposed silence until the Holy See should pronounce. The subject has never been decided. The censures are given by DArgentre, in his Collectio Judiciorum de novis Erroribus, and the Jesuit propositions are defended by P. Simon, in his Histoire Critique du Texte du Nouveau Testament.

Lessius defended himself in a special treatise entitled, Responsio ad Censuram Assertionum de Scriptura. In this he states: In these propositions there can be no difficulty if they be understood as they have otherwise been explained by us. As regards the two first we do not deny that the sacred writers wrote by a peculiar inspiration, and direction, and assistance of the Holy Ghost. But this we say that for every sentence and every word it was not necessary that they should receive a new and positive inspiration from the Holy Spirit, that is a new illumination by which in a new manner they should know the truths which they wrote, and should see the words which the Holy Ghost wished them to use; but that it was sufficient that the Holy Ghost should in a special way induce them and move them to write the things which they had heard or seen, or in any other way known, and that he should assist them in regard to the expressions and the words, and where need was, direct them.

This opinion seems to me the more probable one. First, because the Evangelists and other sacred writers seem not to have needed a new revelation to write the things they saw or heard from faithful witnesses, as Paul learned in a brief time, not from men but from Jesus Christ, the Gospel. And John wrote that which he saw, as is evident I. Jo. I., and in the same way Matthew wrote. But Mark wrote, what he heard from Peter.… And Luke what he received from those who had seen, as he testifies in the beginning of his Gospel. In the same way I should believe that by the sacred historians were written many things which they had seen or heard without a new revelation. Secondly, it is proved from reason. For the Holy Ghost employs fitting instruments, as he finds them; and as he is not wanting in necessary things neither is he redundant in sufficient things. And men who know a thing with certainty and have the art of expressing thought are capable of writing it. Therefore if the Holy Ghost wishes to use them as instruments and amanuenses it is not necessary that he reveal to them these things anew, but is enough that he select them for his amanuenses and move them by a special impulse to write what they already know, and that he assist them in a special way in all words and sentences, that they commit not the least error.

For the better explaining of this we must know that a thing may be written through inspiration of the Holy Ghost in two ways. First, that the Holy Ghost by a new supernatural inspiration make manifest all the things to be written and all the words, and thus the Prophets wrote their prophecies, as is evident in Jeremiah 36, who dictated his prophecies with such facility that he seemed to read them. Secondly, that the Holy Ghost by a special impulse should excite and move the one whom he appoints to write the things which he already has seen, heard, or in any other way known, and that the Holy Ghost assist him in every word and sentence. And I hold it to be probable that many Evangelists and sacred historians wrote thus, so that they needed not a new and positive inspiration and illumination about every thing. And I am the more inclined to this opinion for the reason that by a contrary principle, to wit, that they believe every word to be dictated by the Holy Spirit by a new inspiration, many heretics of our day try to prove that the books of Maccabees are not canonical Scripture.… If it were thus St. Luke would not say that he wrote the things which he received from the Apostles who had seen them, but he would say (that he wrote) the things which he received from the Holy Ghost who specially dictated them.… Now it is enough for the sacred historians that God by a special impulse move them to write the things which they already know, and infallibly assist them in all things. By this is not removed the labor of calling to mind things heard, seen, and read, and of coordinating them, and, as one judges most fitting, of expressing them in proper words. Wherefore it comes to pass that the more eloquent speak more eloquently, and the less eloquent less ornately.

It is evident here that the difficulty lies in the ambiguous use of the term inspiration. Lessius did not distinguish between revelation and inspiration. In his explanation he makes his meaning clear, that he extends inspiration to all the Scriptures, and in a proper degree to the words themselves; while he restricts revelation to those things which the writers did not know by natural means. If this distinction be inserted we believe that no one has written on the theme more clearly or correctly.

In treating the third proposition Lessius is no less fortunate: The third opinion, leaving out the clause in parentheses, seems to me wholly certain, unless there be question about terms. Let us suppose that by a pious man well furnished with the knowledge, a pious history be written by the impulse of the Holy Ghost, and that the writer without the special assistance of inspiration write the truth, and commit no error. If the Holy Ghost, by some prophet or otherwise, attest that what is there written be true and saving, I see no reason why that book should not have the authority of Holy Scripture, since it has the same motive of credibility that any other prophecy has, namely, divine authority. And I say this not that I assert that such was the method of inspiration of any part of Holy Scripture; nay, more, I believe that in fact nothing of this kind is found in Holy Scripture, but I speak only of possibility. Hence the proposition is conditional. If God willed he could have acted in this manner in the Scriptures, for it does not imply a contradiction, and such Scripture would be equal to the other parts in divine authority.

We see here that Lessius has retracted somewhat. By cutting out the parenthetical clause he removes the question to the region of speculations on the possible, and no man can object to his reasoning.

The Faculties of Louvain and Douai had charged Lessius with the error of the Anomœi, an obscure sect described by S. Epiphanius. Their capital error was to divide the Scriptures into the divine and human parts, and to deny authority to the things which the writers wrote as men. Lessius in his defense shows how absurd it was to accuse him of their error, and adds: We say, therefore, that all parts of the Scripture are of infallible truth, and are of the Holy Ghost who inspires by a new revelation, or moves by a special impulse, and assists in every word and sentence; and as we have elsewhere abundantly demonstrated, we hold that there is not in them the least error, for it would redound upon the Holy Ghost, and the authority of the whole Scripture would totter; although it is not necessary that the Holy Ghost inspire everything, in a special manner illumining the writer. (In Schneeman Controv. de div. grat. Friburgi, 1881, 467 seqq.)

We see here the same confusion between inspiration and revelation.

The Faculty of Louvain answered Lessius in a treatise called Antapologia, and Lessius again delivered a defence in which he makes the issues still clearer. Among other things he says that even when God did not give to the sacred writers new revelations, he directed them in everything, lest they should write other things, or in a manner different from his good-pleasure; but this took place without a new revelation, or new mode of understanding. Thus it is plain in what sense the writer of II. Maccab. could declare his tongue to be the pen of a ready scribe, because he was moved and directed by the Holy Ghost; and also (it is plain) in what sense he could not so declare, for the Holy Ghost did not beforehand form all the words in his mind, as one does who in the proper sense dictates.… For the concept of Holy Scripture does not essentially include that all the material words be dictated by the Holy Ghost, but this is an accessory and ornament (of inspiration). Otherwise if the Hebrew and Greek exemplars were lost the Church would be without the Holy Scriptures. Nay, more, the Latin Church would not have the Scriptures, for the Latin edition would not be Scripture.… But if we look closely we shall see that the essence of Holy Scripture consists in this that the proposition be the word of God in whatever tongue expressed.… Concerning the third proposition … that conjecture in which is said that perhaps the book of Maccabees was written by human industry, I said not as my opinion, but as the opinion of those whom I have before cited but not approved, who think the author to have been a pagan, and the book to have acquired authority from the Apostles and from the Church. Which opinion Sixtus of Sienna expresses with sufficient clearness (Bib. Sacr. L. 8, haer. 12 resp. ad 7) where he says: It matters not what is the opinion of the Jews concerning these books, since the Catholic Church receives them into her canon; and it derogates nothing from their authority if they be written by a pagan, since the authority of a book depends not on the author but on the authority of the Church; and that which she receives must be true and infallible, whoever he said to be the author, whom I should not, dare pronounce to be either pagan writer or sacred writer. This is his opinion. We did not approve this opinion; but we said the author (of Maccabees) was a faithful man, as it is fitting that a sacred writer should be.… As regards that third opinion, I believe and have always believed that there exists no such book which was written without the assistance, impulse and direction of the Holy Ghost. (Ibid. 387 sqq.)

Estius, one of the chief opponents of Lessius, thus formulates the opinion of the faculty of Louvain: Rightly and truly it is established that all holy and canonical Scripture is written by the dictation of the Holy Ghost, in a manner so that not only the matter, but also every word, and the order of the words and the whole structure is of God, as though himself speaking and writing. (Estius on 2 Tim. 3:16.)

In the heat of the controversy that was waged about divine grace, Lessius was misunderstood and misrepresented. His statements were torn from their context, and often garbled into a distorted meaning. It is true he used an ambiguous term in his first two propositions; but his explanation does honor to his knowledge and his faith. His third proposition is not well enunciated. His own expunging of the parenthesis is a retractation; but dealing with a possibility he utters nothing contrary to faith. As Bishop Gasser rightly argued in the Vatican Council, that Councils condemnation of the theory of a subsequent inspiration does not apply to Lessius. He spoke of a possibility; the Council spoke of the existing books. Moreover, Lessius admits into his hypothetical book the element of present inspiration; because the Holy Ghost must approve the book through a prophet, or in some other manner. Therefore Lessius makes the authority of the book the effect of the Holy Ghost. For instance let us suppose, as every one is free to do, that Jason who wrote the original of II. Maccab. was not inspired. Let us suppose that the writer who abridged these books into the one book of II. Maccab. wrote no word of his own, but only selected from the five books. Still the element of inspiration would be there, not disclosing new truths; but moving the writer to make the abridgment, and positively aiding him to arrange these things into an infallible book. Of course we are speaking of a mere hypothesis; for it seems evident that the writer of Maccabees did not servilely copy passages from Jason; but compendiously wrote for a religious end certain things, in an epoch which had been more extensively described by the historian Jason.

Of Lessius three propositions Bellarmine speaks thus: The three propositions on Scripture, enunciated without explanation, sound bad, and are liable to calumny. But Father Lessius has rightly explained the two first. For the third he has recently written an apology, and although he has not satisfied me fully, yet the opinion as modified and tempered by him seems tolerable. (Apud Schneeman, op. cit.)

The system of inspiration taught by Bellarmine in the main agrees with the two first propositions of Lessius. Thus he declares: The first is that the Scripture is the word of God immediately revealed, and written as it were by the dictation of God.… But this is not to be understood as though the sacred writers always had new revelations, and wrote what they beforehand were ignorant of; for it is certain that the Evangelists Matthew and John wrote what they saw; but Mark and Luke, what they heard, as Luke declares in the beginning of his Gospel. The sacred writers are said therefore to have an immediate revelation, and to have written the words of God himself, either because certain new things, before unknown, were revealed to them … or because God immediately inspired and moved the writers to write the things which they had seen and heard, and directed them lest they should err in any matter. (De Conc. 1. 2. 12.)

Suarez defines Holy Scripture to be a writing by the impulse of the Holy Ghost, who dictated not only the sense but also the words. After describing the necessity of verbal inspiration, he tempers the doctrine as follows: In two ways the words of Holy Scripture may be understood to be of the Holy Ghost, either by a special antecedent motion or only by an assistance, and as it were, safeguarding. The first way is when the Holy Ghost either imprints the mental word by infused ideas, or specially moves and calls up pre-existing ideas, and this mode is the most proper to (the Holy Ghost), and the most perfect, and most probably was followed when the mysteries to be written were supernatural, and surpassed human reason.

But it seems not necessary, although recent learned men so teach, that always the words be dictated in this special way. For when a sacred writer writes something which is of natural reason and within the compass of the senses, it seems sufficient that the Holy Spirit specially assist him and save him from all error and untruth and from all words which are not profitable or becoming to Holy Scripture, removing everything which might suggest such (unfitting) words, and for the rest permitting the writer to use his memory, and his ideas, and diligence in writing as Luke acknowledges in the beginning of his Gospel. It is enough therefore that either in one way or in the other according to the exigency of the matter, the words be of the Holy Ghost.

To the question: Whether there be anything in the Holy Scriptures which was not written by the action of the Holy Ghost, and consequently is not Holy Scripture, Suarez replies: The Holy Writer writes nothing purely of himself, but everything and each thing is by the direction of the Holy Ghost. (De Fide V. 3.)

A classic writer on this theme is Marchini (†1773). In his work De Divinitate et Canonicitate Sacrorum Bibliorum, Art. V., he defines the concept of inspiration: The first question which demands solution is whether the Holy Ghost placed every word in the sacred writers mind and mouth. This truth is evident to those who study the question that not to leave to the writers natural faculties the selection of the words and the diction is needless and superfluous for our defence of the truth, dignity, and infallibility of Holy Scripture. It is enough for this defence that as regards the things written, God infuse them into the writers mind, or call them up in his mind, and that he assist him that he employ apt words, and leave aside unfitting ones. Why therefore should the Holy Ghost inspire every word, who is neither wanting in the necessary, nor redundant in the superfluous? Marchini confirms this from the sacred writers diversity of style, from the fact that the same thing is described in different words by different writers, from the literary imperfections of Scripture, and from the authority of the versions. He promulgates more accurately Lessius principle that revelation does not extend to all parts of Scripture. He defines inspiration to be a special impulse of the Holy Ghost to write, and a directing and assistance governing the mind and soul of the writer which permits him not to err, and causes him to write what God wills.

Marchini strongly condemns the error of those who violate the Scriptures by teaching that in certain minor things as they say, not necessary to salvation, the Prophets and Apostles wrote merely as men without that special action of God, without which a book can not be divine. He alleges as proof 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter. 1:21, and the authority of the Fathers. He declares that the whole authority of the Scriptures would totter if in minor things, errors be admitted, since certain limits between great and small can not be admitted. Marchini differentiates the Holy Scriptures from other infallible documents by the fact that a positive divine action pervades the whole Scripture. And, he says, this divine afflatus or inspiration can be present, even though God does not by a special action furnish the words nor the sentences … That is, if the Holy Ghost assists the writer whom he beforehand moved to write; if he aptly suggests that which he wishes written, if perchance the writers memory fail him; if he enlightens the mind with that light which expels all pernicious ignorance, and removes rashness; if he strengthens with such power that things are written faithfully, plainly, and consistently; if he brings to the mind things hidden, sublime and unknown; if he leaves no part of Scripture deprived of his protection, surely the books will be written by Gods inspiration, although the manner of speech, and the sentences often proceed from mans mind, memory, study, thought, and diligence.

Among the great theologians of the XIX. Century, Cardinal Franzelin holds an eminent place. His system of inspiration has been made the subject of a special attack by that reaction which in our day has set in towards a more liberal view of inspiration. In his work Tractatus de Divina Traditione et Scriptura (Ed. 3, Romae, 1882) he treats the question of inspiration at length. Among other things he declares that the books of Scripture are of divine authority for the reason that they are the books of God, and God is their author by his supernatural action on the human co-writers, which action by ecclesiastical usage drawn from the Scriptures themselves is called inspiration.

A book is divine in the strict sense for the reason that it is written by God through the instrumentality of a man whom God so moves to write, and in whom God so operates in writing, that God himself in the strict sense should be considered the principal Author. This supernatural and extraordinary action of God is called inspiration (Thesis II.)

From intrinsic and extrinsic evidence Franzelin places the essence of inspiration in a charisma gratis datum enlightening so that the minds of inspired men understand in order to write the truths which by Scripture God wishes to give to his Church, and the wills are moved to consign these only to writing; and thus assisted man under the action of God, the principal cause, infallibly executes the divine counsel. Hence distinguishing between inspiration and assistance, inspiration must be said to embrace the truths, and the formal word; while assistance is extended to the material words. (Thesis III.)

The teaching of Lessius that revelation is not essential to inspired Scripture has now become the universal teaching.

Franzelin distinguishes the formal part of a book which he calls the veritates from the material part, that is the words. He demands inspiration as he has described it for the formal element; but for the words he requires only an assistance to guarantee that they aptly express the thoughts: Regarding the words it is clear that the truths, that is the thoughts of the principal Author, can not be expressed in writing unless terms be chosen fitting to express the sense. If therefore, God by his inspiration of the things and thoughts thus acts on the inspired man to the intent that he write, so that the writing, infallibly in virtue of the divine operation, truly and sincerely contains the thoughts of God, there must accompany the divine inspiration or be included in it such a divine operation that the man writing, not only actually elect, but also infallibly elect terms apt truthfully and sincerely to express the inspired substance and sentences, and that he be thus made infallible in choosing words and other things which pertain to the material part (of the inspired writings). A man inspired in mind and will to write the thoughts of God, but left to himself in the election of the terms would remain fallible in expressing the inspired thoughts; and by this therefore it would not follow infallibly that a book written by such inspiration would be in the full sense inspired Scripture and the word of God.

From what has been said it is evident what is this divine operation which we declare to accompany inspiration. The aim of most, at least, of the Holy books is such that the formal object of the book is not affected if the same things and sentences he expressed by different words or different style, provided that words apt and befitting the subject be chosen.… For we do not believe that the Gospel consists in the words of Scripture but in the sense; not on the surface, but in the marrow; non in sermonum foliis sed in radice rationis. (S. Jerome on Gal. I. II. 12.)

Therefore, from the definition of inspiration and from the fact that God is the Author of the Scriptures by means of human co-writers, so that through the very action of God upon inspired men it is infallibly certain that the Scriptures are the books of God as their Author; in most cases, that is where the choosing of certain words instead of other equivalents pertains merely to the material part, there is no reason to affirm that God by an antecedent supernatural action furnished the words and the style of writing, and individually determined them. But there is a reason of affirming Gods assistance by which he so aided the writers in choosing apt terms, that in expressing inspired thoughts, they were fully infallible.

Franzelin adduces three classes of arguments to refute the mechanical idea of verbal inspiration. One proof for the thesis under consideration is found in the variety of style prevailing among the different authors. Isaiah is polished and cultured in his diction; Jeremiah, on the contrary, and Amos are less polished and coarser in their style. Isaiah was in high social rank, while Jeremiah was a burgher from Anathoth, and Amos, a cowherd. And differences of style exist among all the inspired writers, due to their different characteristics.

Secondly in the Scriptures, sometimes the same fact is related by different writers in different ways. For instance, the consecration of the chalice is related in four different ways by St. Math., 26:28; St. Mark. 14:24; St. Luke, 22:20, and St. Paul, 1 Cor. 11:25. These speak of the same words of Christ, as he used them once for all at the Last Supper. If the Holy Ghost had inspired the words, how could we account for these divergencies? Here applies aptly what St. Augustine said of the inspired writers: Ut quisque meminerat eos explicasse manifestum est.

The writers of the New Testament rarely or never quote the old Testament literally, but only the sense. In the words of St. Jerome: Hoc in omnibus pene testimoniis quæ de veteribus libris in novo assumpta sunt Testamento observare debemus, quod memoriæ crediderint Evangelistæ vel Apostoli, et tantum, sensu explicato, saepe ordinem commutaverint, nonnunquam vel detraxerint verba vel addiderint. (Comment. in Epist. ad Galatas.)

Thirdly, the inspired writers themselves disclaim verbal inspiration, asserting that their compositions had been the result of toil, observation and research. The text of II. Maccab. already quoted is an example of this. Also the preface of the Gospel of St. Luke, and various other passages. Now, if the inspiration had been verbal this labor and research would be inconceivable. Again, the writer of the second book of Maccab. 15:39, in closing his work, speaks thus of his work: I also with these things, will draw my discourse to an end. And if (I have written) well, and as is befitting history, this I should wish; if only weakly and commonly, μετρίως, mediocriter, (not above the average) this is all I could achieve, etc. No such apology for shortcomings were necessary, had the Holy Ghost inspired the words.

Bonfrere, the disciple of Lessius, had taught a doctrine in some points identical with that taught by Lessius. He defended a three-fold relation of the Holy Ghost to the inspired writings; antecedent, concomitant, and consequent. According to Bonfrere, the antecedent relation had actuated the Prophets, who committed to writing the things revealed, without any part in their conception except a passive action, simply as an amanuensis writes down the dictated ideas, always, of course, in their own terms, as we have just seen.

The concomitant relation directed the writer as one would direct another in writing a human document, not permitting him to fall into error. Bonfrere even admitted in this mode a vague general impulse of the Holy Spirit to write such a history. He also admitted a sort of prompting influence, in case the writers memory failed him, according to that passage in St. Matthew: He (the Holy Ghost) will suggest all things to you, whatever I shall have said to you.

Bonfrere asserted this mode of inspiration to have had place in historical books, and in things known by natural means. He therefore applied it to the Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, Books of Maccabees, and the other historical books, except the parts of Genesis which treat of the origin of the World.

The consequent relation of the Holy Ghost to Scripture Bonfrere describes thus: The Holy Ghost has a consequent relation to Holy Scripture if something be written by merely human agency without the help, direction or assistance of the Holy Ghost, and the Holy Ghost afterward give testimony that all that is there written is true. For it is certain that then the whole writing would be the word of God and would have the same infallible authority as other things which were written by the direction or inspiration of the Holy Ghost, as it is the Kings word when some secretary or notary by his own authority draws up a royal decree or public document which the King afterwards ratifies and to which he affixes his seal, and it is of equal authority as that which the King himself, conceives, writes or dictates.

Bonfrere believes that in this manner the Holy Ghost accepted the sayings of Aratus and Epimenides, Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12. In the same way the Holy Ghost may make Holy Scripture, by testifying that all is true in it, a whole history or a book treating of morals or of anything else which was written by a uninspired author. (Praeloquia in Script. Sac.)

Bonfrere expressly denied that such had been the origin of any of the books now possessed by the Church, but asserted the non-repugnance of such action, and the possibility that such might have been the origin of some of the inspired works which the Church has lost.

Of Bonfreres consequent inspiration it must be said, that to assert it of any of the existing books of the Holy Scripture, is condemned in express terms in the definition of the Vatican Council; if it only deals with a possibility, then it is false and absurd; for a subsequent inspiration is a contradiction in terms. As Cornely rightly says: repugnat in adjecto. For to constitute inspiration, we must have this supernatural psychological action in the mind of the writer, and if this be not verified, no subsequent action can supply it. Factum infectum fieri non potest. But one might say, God is free to approve a book in such way, and if he were to do so, would not the book be made inspired Scripture? It would be an infallibly true writing, rendered infallible by its subsequent approbation, but not inspired Scripture; for the essential element required for inspiration never was there. Wherefore, that such was the origin of any of our Holy Books is denied by the Council of the Vatican; the possibility of such origin is disproved by a consideration of the essential elements of inspiration.

Nevertheless sentences, parts of books, and in fact, any document whatever, passing through the hands of an inspired writer, and used by him in writing a book, under the influence of inspiration, would become inspired Scripture. This is not consequent inspiration, but the employment of an inspired writers natural faculties in collecting material. It is not probable that any great part of any inspired book was produced in this way; but some data most certainly were thus employed.

Jahn departed farther from the truth than Bonfrere had gone: asserting inspiration to be, in general, only a negative assistance protecting from error, he defended that such was the general origin of our books. Logical in his opinion, and recognizing that inspiration imported something positive, he boldly proclaimed that inspiration was a misapplied term; but, consecrated by usage, it was difficult to change.

The concomitant relation of the Holy Ghost to Scripture is also erroneous. This mode is a merely negative influence. The Holy Ghost, as it were, watches the inspired writer to protect him from error, and actually does save him when he would otherwise err. This is not sufficient to make God the Author of the Holy Books.

Inspiration is an active, positive influence in every part of the Holy Scripture. No other relation can constitute God the author of the Holy Writ. If, indeed, we were to defend that God only preserved from error, as Calmet asserted, it would follow, that if the writer were exempt from error of himself, unaided by any other cause, God would not be the author of the book so written; and, as this would doubtless have happened in many passages and whole chapters, there would thus be parts of which God could not be said to be the author, as He would have had no part except a general supervision in their production. This the definition of the Vatican Council forbids to assert.

Again, there would be no difference, in such case, between the definitions of œcumenical councils and of the Popes ex cathedra, and the Holy Scriptures; for in these definitions there is the negative assistance of the Holy Ghost. But we know that the dignity and rank of such documents are far below that of the Holy Writ; for these are human documents, infallible in their truth, but they can not be said to have God for their author.

In 1885 Dr. Franciscus Schmid, complaining that nowhere could he find a fitting treatise on inspiration, published at Brixen his work entitled: De Inspirationis Bibliorum vi et ratione, a volume of 422 pages in octavo. It is divided into seven books.

In the first book Dr. Schmid expounds the common Catholic doctrine, that there can be no error in the Scriptures; that all the statements of Scripture rest on the testimony of God and are of divine authority. The reason is that the Scriptures being written by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost have God for their principal Author, who employs human writers as instruments. God is not the only Author, because he did not immediately produce the books by miracle; but he wrote them by means of men. That God writing through men, be the true Author, an assistance saving from error is not enough, neither a subsequent approbation, for neither can give to a book the prerogative of a divine origin. There is necessary therefore a positive action of God on the man, by which the things which God has in mind and will to write, the (inspired) man also conceives in his mind, and adequately accomplishes. Then the book is to be given to men as divine. The intrinsic and principal argument is drawn from this that God is the Author of the sacred books. To write a book, or to be a books author, in the last analysis, means nought else than by writings to speak to the readers; that is, to express in writing that which one thinks in the mind, that they who read may know from his writings the writers thoughts. But if God did not by his action determine all things that were to be written he himself would not have spoken these things; therefore he would not be the Author of the whole book. This applies to the action of God upon the understanding of the inspired writer. But since the inspired writer is an instrument of God, it is required that he write not merely by his own good pleasure, but in the name of God; consequently there is necessary that there should be a divine action on the will of the man and through the will upon his executive faculties.

There is a great difference between an inspired book and the definitions of the Church; for an inspired book is infallible in all that it affirms; it is a basic fount of revelation; besides divine assistance it requires an extraordinary positive action of God; that it should be written in the name of God, and as Gods book delivered to the Church; and even for the words, it requires a special assistance. All these qualities are not found in the definitions of the Church. Nevertheless the labor and vigils of the author do not conflict with the inspiration of a book.

Regarding verbal inspiration Schmid speaks as follows: It is asked: What is truly required that a book be formally called the word of God? And, to particularize, Is it required that the individual words, just as they are, be of God? We answer, No. But it is not the same to deny that God antecedently determined and inspired in the writer the individual words, as to say that God left to the inspired writer an unrestricted liberty concerning the words and forms of expression. Rather another mode of inspiration which is a mean between the two extremes seems possible. In other words, one can grant that in our books the words and the style are not determined by God for every individual part, and yet maintain that the whole manner of speech which is found in the Scripture, is in a certain manner antecedently determined by God, and by Gods providence, in a manner known to God, brought out in the inspired books by the act of the inspired writers.

We understand that God brought forth the Scriptures that men in matters of faith and morals might have a book which they might readily and safely believe. Therefore all things whether they pertain to faith or morals or not, if found in the Scriptures, should have divine authority. Otherwise confusion and doubt will shake the foundations of faith. Therefore, there is no limiting the inspiration of the things affirmed in the Bible, and the words of Scripture must be such that they adequately express Gods thought and will. And God assists the words as far as is necessary for this end.

In 1886, G. J. Crets of the order of the Premonstratensians published at Louvain De divina Bibliorum inspiratione. After a review of the various opinions, he institutes an analysis of the dogmatic formula, God is the Author of the Holy Scripture; for the reason that nothing conduces more to the knowledge of the true concept of inspiration than to ascertain what is required on the part of God, in order that God writing by means of men be called in the common use of the term the Author of the Scriptures. Having made a distinction between the material and formal element of the book, he places as necessary in inspiration that, as regards the formal element of the book, the writer receive a divine afflatus by which he may conceive in his mind and be infallibly moved in his will to write all those things, and only those things, which the Holy Ghost has decreed should be written by him. Moreover there is required a certain assistance or some direction from the Holy Ghost that the writer be saved from error and defect in executing the work to which he is divinely moved. By this assistance Crets understands a divine action by which the human writer chooses words apt to express the thoughts of the principal Author. Crets refutes the theory which made inspiration a mere assistance, and he also rejects the theory of subsequent approbation. In the things which the inspired writer acquires by his own faculties Crets teaches that God moves his will by a special action to write, and to choose the things which God wishes written, and supernaturally enlightens him to know what to write. He believes that it is probable that all the inspired writers were conscious of their inspiration.

Regarding verbal inspiration Crets declares: We conclude that besides the inspiration in the strict sense of the words and sentences, by which indeterminately and remotely the words and form of expression are furnished, there is not in the main to be admitted a special action of the Holy Ghost in the mode of expression, except the special direction and assistance by which the mind of the writer, in choosing forms of expression characteristic of his temperament and education, is so led that leaving aside incongruous and less exact expressions, he employs words and expressions befitting the inspired thoughts, by which the divine truths may be truthfully and fully expressed in a manner befitting the destination of the books to all the generations of men.

Crets extends inspiration to all the statements of the Bible, whether they be of faith and morals, or of profane things; whether they be great or small; for if any error be admitted in the Scripture its whole authority is shaken; and also because God is the Author of the whole Scripture with all its parts.

Those who argue against this, base their argument on the purpose of Scripture, which they assert to be not profane but religious.

Crets answers: The adequate and the ultimate end intended by God in giving us the Holy Scriptures was not that all the truth pertaining to faith and morals should be systematically condensed into certain books, and thus delivered to us; or that in books partly written by purely human agency, portions written by their authors while under divine inspiration should be interspersed; but (the end was) that in things pertaining to faith and morals, for our present life and our eternal life in Heaven, we should be taught by means of books having divine authority for each and every statement; in which books the truths at times are presented in a familiar form; as, for instance, in the form of historical accounts, narrations and letters; all which not only contain things strictly religious, but also profane matter, which however either from the nature of the thing or from the intention of God, has a proximate or remote relation to the religious truths. Therefore the things essentially religious by the primary intention of God are for their own sake inspired; the other matter is the word of God, written by the divine influx, though accessorily, and for their relation to the things of faith and morals.

Crets affirms that in things of the physical order the sacred writers spoke according to the popular conception of these things, based on the appearances of things. Also in indicating numbers or time the writers at times expressed a certain indetermination as the matter demanded. By this most excellent theory all that is in the Scripture is inspired, but must be properly interpreted according to the principles approved by the Church.

In 1899 at Rome, Zanecchia O. P. published his work on inspiration. This contains little that is new, and its chief feature was an unreasonable attack on Card. Franzelins theory of inspiration. Zanecchia was ably answered by Fr. J. P. van Kasteren, S. J., of Utrecht in the periodical Studien. Utrecht 1902. Zanecchia answered in a work entitled Scriptor sacer sub divina inspiratione juxta sententiam Card. Franzelin, published at Rome in 1903.

The main point urged against Franzelin is that he made the formula God is the Author of the Scriptures the fundamental first principle in investigating the nature of inspiration. Zanecchia, Prat and Lagrange argue that the term author is ambiguous and can not be made the basis of the clear concept of inspiration. It appears that there is much sophistry in the opposition to Franzelin. The word author has, it is true, several meanings as guarantee, cause, writer, etc.; but as used by the Councils of the Church, the sense in which it is employed in the conciliar formula is made clear by the setting, and it is evident that it means to predicate of God the divine Authorship of the Holy Books.

They say that the term author does not contain the term inspirer no more than the term animal contains of necessity the concept man. Therefore, they say that it is not logical to prove Gods inspiration from his authorship. But here again there is sophistry. The term author generically considered does not contain the concept of inspiration; but the concept author as used by the councils and as used by Franzelin clearly contains the concept inspirer. While the concept inspirer is ontologically prior to the concept author, in the order of our cognition the concept of authorship is the clearer; and we understand the essential elements of inspiration from authorship. Therefore, we believe that Billots remark is à propos: The new critics seem to themselves to have brought forth a great apparatus of learning (against Franzelin); but in vain, for it would seem that it is their own logic, and not the logic of Card. Franzelin that is defective. (De inspiratione, 25.)

At this point it is well to insert the eminent author Christian Peschs note on the controversy: Although it is scarcely necessary,. I acknowledge that I have never considered Card. Franzelins theory definitive; nay more, there are many things in it which I do not approve. The understanding of the dogma of inspiration, not less than that of the other dogmas, continually develops in the Church; nor can any man in this life formulate an immutable theory, beyond which progress will not be possible. Gods providence so governs human affairs that there is never closed the way to the knowledge of truth and the love of good. But that Zanecchia never wearies of repeating that the theory of Franzelin is absurd, obscure, unreasonable, arbitrary; that (Franzelins) method is unreasonable, false, illogical, and such like, serves indeed to show us the character of the mind of the one who writes such things, but will avail nothing with wise men to overthrow Franzelins doctrine. (De insp. sac. script. p. 313, note.)

Holden, the English professor at the Sorbonne († 1662), was the first among Catholics to distinguish between the doctrinal parts of Scripture, which, he asserted, were to be believed fide divina, and the historical and other parts, which he held to be written without any special influence of the Holy Ghost. Thus in his Analysis of Faith, V.: The special divine assistance given to the author of whatever book the Church receives as the word of God, extends only to those things which are doctrinal, or have a proximate or necessary bearing on doctrine; but, in these things which are not of the primary intent of the writer, or are relating to other things, we believe him to have received from God only that assistance which is common to other pious writers; and, II. 3: Although it is not licit to impeach as false aught contained in the Holy Code, nevertheless, the things which do not relate to religion do not constitute articles of Catholic faith. Holdens doctrine was examined by the Sorbonne and condemned.

Richard Simon in his Histoire Critique du Nouveau Testament (Rotterdam, 1689) declares that he dares not condemn the opinion of Holden; and dares not approve it in all its parts. Simon himself delivers his opinion obscurely, but seems content with a negative assistance preserving from error. Thus in his Réponse aux Sentiments de quelques Théologiens de Hollande, he asserts: Therefore when the Gospels are said to be inspired, this is not to be understood in the rigor that all things in these books came immediately from the Holy Ghost; but the sense is that God so controlled their writers that they fell not into error. Men wrote, and the Holy Ghost directed them, and did not deprive them of reason or memory, that he might inspire things which they already knew; but in general he determined them to write certain things rather than other things which they knew equally well.

Chrismann, in his Rule of Faith went farther. He declares that while all things in Scripture are true, only the truths of faith and morals are to be believed with divine faith: Those things which neither antecedently or in the actual writing were revealed are not to be believed with divine faith, … as for instance that Pilate was prefect of Judæa when Christ was crucified; or that statement of Paul, 2 Tim. 4: Only Luke is with me, and many other things which merit not divine faith but only Catholic faith. In these things that inspiration suffices by which the Holy Ghost assisted the writers that they might not err.

Some other obscure theologians both before and after Chrismann held these opinions. It was therefore to eradicate these errors that the Vatican Council promulgated its decree: Qui quidem veteris et novi Testamenti libri integri cum omnibus suis partibus, prout in ejusdem Concilii decreto recensentur, et in veteri vulgata latina editione habentur, pro sacris et canonicis suscipiendi sunt. Eos vero Ecclesia pro sacris et canonicis habet, non ideo quod sola humana industria concinnati, sua deinde auctoritate sint approbati; nec ideo dumtaxat, quod revelationem sine errore contineant; sed propterea quod Spiritu Sancto inspirante conscripti Deum habent auctorem, atque ut tales ipsi Ecclesiæ traditi sunt. (Cap. II. De Revel.) And in Canon IV. De Revelatione:

Si quis sacræ Scripturæ libros integros cum omnibus suis partibus, prout illos sancta Tridentina Synodus recensuit, pro sacris et canonicis non susceperit, aut eos divinitus inspiratos esse negaverit; anathema sit.

One of the bishops in the Council proposed an emendation to the decree for the reason that it is not the same to declare a book sacred as to declare it canonical. A book is sacred by inspiration; it is canonical by the approbation of the Church. Bishop Gasser ably answered that though the two terms, etymologically differed, in the concrete they were identical, for the books of the canon were both sacred and canonical. Canonicity does not pertain to the essence of inspiration but to its manifestation. The Council first declared the intrinsic character of inspiration, and then the external condition, that it be delivered to the Church as a divine book. Soon after the Vatican Council August Rohling published in Germany a treatise De Bibliorum inspiratione ejusque valore ac vi pro libera scientia. Rohling distinguished between things of faith and morals, and profane things. In things of faith and morals the human writer was preserved from error by inspiration. In all things profane the writer was left to his own resources, and hence what he wrote was to be treated as the work of any uninspired historian. To distinguish between inspired and uninspired accessory matter, Rohling gave the criterion that such matter was inspired only when it bore a necessary relation to religious truth, as for instance that Israel came to Mt. Sinai. This theory was ably refuted by Franzelin, De Trad, et Script. pag. 564 sqq. Rohlings theory rests on a false principle that God inspires only a part of the Scriptures, whereas the Councils of the Church declare that they are all inspired with all their parts. The profane matter is inspired per accidens, that men might have a deposit of writings of infallible truth.

A far greater impetus was given to the tendency to limit inspiration by the work of the French orientalist, F. Lenormant. In his work, Les Origines de lhistoire, 1880, he declares that all the Scripture is inspired, but all that is inspired is not infallibly true. In faith and morals the Scripture is an infallible guide, but this infallibility is not to be extended to other matters. The first eleven chapters of Genesis are myths serving to present religious ideas, but in the history the fabulous is inseparably intermingled. Lenormant speaks with great clearness. Of inspiration he says: In regard to biblical questions one of which is here treated, I firmly believe the divine inspiration of the sacred books, and with perfect submission I accept the doctrinal decisions of the Church pertaining to inspiration, but I know that in these decisions inspiration is not extended beyond the things which relate to religion and the things of faith and morals, that is the supernatural teaching contained in the Scriptures. In other things the human faculties of the biblical writers is supreme. Everyone impressed his character on the style of his book. Regarding physical sciences, the writers had no special light; they followed the common opinions and prejudices of their times. The end of Scripture is, says Cardinal Baronius, to teach us how to go to Heaven; not how the heavens move; much less is it the end of Scripture to reveal how earthly things move through their changes. The Holy Ghost did not reveal scientific truths nor universal history. Applying his theory to Genesis he believes that in its first chapters it is a collection of myths and traditions common to all the peoples inhabiting about the Euphrates and Tigris. Under the influence of the religion of Israel the polytheistic element has been eliminated from these traditions, and they became the instrument of conveying the high truths of the monotheistic religion of Israel. Lenormant differs from other non-Catholic orientalists. These assign an evolution of human conscience as the cause of a transition from the crude beliefs of polytheism to the more elevated character of monotheism in Israel. Lenormant invokes a special intervention of divine Providence inspiring the Law and the Prophets. Lenormants work was placed on the Index by a decree of Dec. 19, 1887.

The theory of Lenormant was plainly contrary to the Catholic idea of the total inspiration of the Bible. It would no longer be a book of inspired truths, but a book in which inspired truths were intermingled with myth and fable. Many Catholic writers took up the defence of the Bible against Lenormant. Notable among these were Lefebre (Revue Catholique de Louvain, 1880) Desjacques, Lamy, and Brucker (La Controverse 1881, 1882). Franz von Hummelauer (Stimmen aus Maria-Laach, 1881) pointed out the danger of Lenormants theories, declaring: Er rückt sich mit Sack und Pack in die Linie der rationalistischen Erklärer ein.

Tentatively and cautiously Card. Newman advanced some views on inspiration in an article On The Inspiration of Scripture published in the Nineteenth Century, LXXXIV. Feb. 1884. In this article, inspiration and allied topics are studied. Card. Newman wrote his article to put the Church in a true light against the calumnies of Renan. The latter argued that the Catholic Church insisted on certain things which criticism and history proved to be impossible. Newman takes up to consider whether the Church does insist on matters in defiance of criticism and history. Hence, rather than the formulation of a theory of inspiration the great cardinal presents his view of what the Church insists on. Of inspiration he says:

Now then, the main question before us being what it is that a Catholic is free to hold about Scripture in general, or about its separate portions or its statements, without compromising his firm inward assent to the dogmas of the Church, that is, to the de fide enunciations of Pope and Councils, we have first of all to inquire how many and what those dogmas are.

I answer that there are two dogmas; one relates to the authority of Scripture, the other to its interpretation. As to the authority of Scripture, we hold it to be, in all matters of faith and morals, divinely inspired throughout; as to its interpretation, we hold that the Church is, in faith and morals, the one infallible expounder of that inspired text.

I begin with the question of its inspiration.

The books which constitute the canon of Scripture, or the Canonical books, are enumerated by the Tridentine Council, as we find them in the first page of our Catholic Bibles, and are in that Ecumenical Councils decree spoken of by implication as the work of inspired men. The Vatican Council speaks more distinctly, saying that the entire books with all their parts, are divinely inspired, and adding an anathema upon impugners of this definition.

There is another dogmatic phrase used by the Councils of Florence and Trent to denote the inspiration of Scripture, viz., Deus unus et idem utriusque Testamenti Auctor. Since this left room for holding that by the word Testamentum was meant Dispensation, as it seems to have meant in former Councils from the date of Irenæus, and as St. Paul uses the word, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, the Vatican Council has expressly defined that the concrete libri themselves of the Old and New Testament Deum habent Auctorem.

There is a further question, which is still left in some ambiguity, the meaning of the word Auctor. Auctor is not identical with the English word Author. Allowing that there are instances to be found in classical Latin in which auctores may be translated authors, instances in which it even seems to mean writers, it more naturally means authorities. Its proper sense is originator, inventor, founder, primary cause; (thus St. Paul speaks of our Lord as Auctor salutis, Auctor fidei;) on the other hand, that it was inspired penmen who were the writers of their works seems asserted by St. John and St. Luke and, I may say, in every paragraph of St. Pauls Epistles. In St. John we read, This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and has written these things, and St. Luke says, I have thought it good to write to thee &c. However, if any one prefers to construe auctor as author or writer, let it be so—only, then there will be two writers of the Scriptures, the divine and the human.

And now comes the important question, in what respect are the Canonical books inspired? It cannot be in in every respect, unless we are bound de fide to believe that terra in æternum stat, and that heaven is above us, and that there are no antipodes. And it seems unworthy of Divine Greatness, that the Almighty should in His revelation of Himself to us undertake mere secular duties, and assume the office of a narrator, as such, or an historian, or geographer, except so far as the secular matters bear directly upon the revealed truth. The Councils of Trent and the Vatican fulfil this anticipation; they tell us distinctly the object and the promise of Scripture inspiration. They specify faith and moral conduct as the drift of that teaching which has the guarantee of inspiration. What we need and what is given us is not how to educate ourselves for this life; we have abundant natural gifts for human society, and for the advantages which it secures; but our great want is how to demean ourselves in thought and deed towards our Maker, and how to gain reliable information on this urgent necessity.

Accordingly four times does the Tridentine Council insist upon faith and morality, as the scope of inspired teaching. It declares that the Gospel is the Fount of all saving truth and all instruction in morals, that in the written books and in the unwritten traditions, the Holy Spirit dictating, this truth and instruction are contained. Then it speaks of the books and traditions, relating whether to faith or to morals, and afterwards of the confirmation of dogmas and establishment of morals. Lastly, it warns the Christian people, in matters of faith and morals, against distorting Scripture into a sense of their own.

In like manner the Vatican Council pronounces that Supernatural Revelation consists in rebus divinis, and is contained in libris scriptis et sine scripto traditionibus; and it also speaks of petulantia ingenia advancing wrong interpretations of Scripture in rebus fidei et morum ad ædificationem doctrinœ Christianæ pertinentium.

But while the Councils, as have been shown, lays down so emphatically the inspiration of Scripture in respect to faith and morals, it is remarkable that they do not say a word directly as to inspiration in matters of fact. Yet are we therefore to conclude that the record of facts in Scripture does not come under the guarantee of its inspiration? We are not so to conclude, and for this plain reason:—the sacred narrative carried on through so many ages, what is it but the very matter for our faith and rule of our obedience? What but that narrative itself is the supernatural teaching, in order to which inspiration is given? What is the whole history, traced out in Scripture from Genesis to Esdras and thence on to the end of the Acts of the Apostles, but a manifestation of Divine Providence, on the one hand interpretative, on a large scale and with analogical applications, of universal history, and on the other preparatory, typical and predictive, of the Evangelical Dispensation? Its pages breathe of providence and grace, of our Lord, and of His work and teaching, from beginning to end. It views facts in those relations in which neither ancients, such as the Greek and Latin classical historians, nor moderns, such as Niebuhr, Grote, Ewald, or Michelet, can view them. In this point of view it has God for its author, even though the finger of God traced no words but the Decalogue. Such is the claim of Bible history in its substantial fulness to be accepted de fide as true. In this point of view, Scripture is inspired, not only in faith and morals, but in all its parts which bear on faith, including matters of fact.

But what has been said leads to another serious question. It is easy to imagine a Code of Laws inspired, or a formal prophecy, or a Hymn, or a Creed, or a collection of proverbs. Such works may be short, precise, and homogeneous; but inspiration on the one hand, and on the other a document, multiform and copious in its contents, as the Bible is, are at first sight incompatible ideas, and destructive of each other. How are we practically to combine the indubitable fact of a divine superintendence with the indubitable fact of a collection of such various writings.

Surely, then, if the revelations and lessons in Scripture are addressed to us personally and practically, the presence among us of a formal judge and standing expositor of its words is imperative. It is antecedently unreasonable to suppose that a book so complex, so systematic, in parts so obscure, the outcome of so many minds, times, and places should be given us from God without the safeguard of some authority; as if it could possibly, from the nature of the case, interpret itself. Its inspiration does but guarantee its truth, not its interpretation. How are private readers satisfactorily to distinguish what is didactic and what is historical, what is fact and what is vision, what is allegorical and what is literal, what is idiomatic and what is grammatical, what is enunciated formally and what occurs obiter, what is only of temporary and what is of lasting obligation? Such is our natural anticipation, and it is only too exactly justified in the events of the last three centuries, in the many countries where private judgment on the text of Scripture has prevailed. The gift of inspiration requires as its complement the gift of infallibility.

Where then is this gift lodged, which is so necessary for the due use of the written word of God? Thus we are introduced to the second dogma in respect to Holy Scripture taught by the Catholic religion. The first is that Scripture is inspired, the second that the Church is the infallible interpreter of that inspiration.

Such then is the answer which I make to the main question which has led to my writing. I asked what obligation of duty lay upon the Catholic scholar or man of science as regards his critical treatment of the text and the matter of Holy Scripture. And now I say that it is his duty, first, never to forget that what he is handling is the Word of God, which, by reason of the difficulty of always drawing the line between what is human and what is divine, cannot be put on the level of other books, as it is now the fashion to do, but has the nature of a Sacrament, which is outward and inward and a channel of supernatural grace; and secondly, that in what he writes upon it or its separate books, he is bound to submit himself internally, and to profess to submit himself, in all that relates to faith and morals, to the definite teachings of Holy Church.

This being laid down, let me go on to consider some of the critical distinctions and conclusions which are consistent with a faithful observance of these obligations.

Are the books or are the writers inspired? I answer, Both. The Council of Trent says the writers (ab ipsis Apostolis, Spiritu Sancto dictante); the Vatican says the books (si quis libros integros &c. divinitus inspiratos esse negaverit, anathema sit). Of course the Vatican decision is de fide, but it cannot annul the Tridentine. Both decrees are dogmatic truths. The Tridentine teaches us that the Divine Inspirer, inasmuch as he acted on the writer, acted, not immediately on the books themselves, but through the men who wrote them. The books are inspired, because the writers were inspired to write them. They are not inspired books, unless they came from inspired men.

There is one instance in Scripture of Divine Inspiration without a human medium; the Decalogue was written by the very finger of God. He wrote the law upon the stone tables Himself. It has been thought the Urim and Thummim was another instance of the immediate inspiration of a material substance; but anyhow such instances are exceptional; certainly, as regards Scripture, which alone concerns us here, there always have been two minds in the process of inspiration, a Divine Auctor, and a human Scriptor; and various important consequences follow from this appointment.

If there be at once a divine and a human mind co-operating in the formation of the sacred text, it is not surprising if there often be a double sense in that text, and, with obvious exceptions, never certain that there is not.

Thus Sara had her human and literal meaning in her words, Cast out the bondwoman and her son, &c.; but we know from St. Paul that those words were inspired by the Holy Ghost to convey a spiritual meaning. Abraham, too, on the Mount, when his son asked him whence was to come the victim for the sacrifice which his father was about to offer, answered God will provide; and he showed his own sense of his words afterwards, when he took the ram which was caught in the briers, and offered it as a holocaust. Yet those words were a solemn prophecy.

And is it extravagant to say, that, even in the case of men who have no pretension to be prophets or servants of God, He may by their means give us great maxims and lessons, which the speakers little thought they were delivering? as in the case of the Architriclinus in the marriage feast, who spoke of the bridegroom as having kept the good wine until now; words which it was needless for St. John to record, unless they had a mystical meaning.

Such instances raise the question whether the Scripture saints and prophets always understood the higher and divine sense of their words. As to Abraham, this will be answered in the affirmative; but I do not see reason for thinking that Sara was equally favoured. Nor is her case solitary; Caiphas as high priest, spoke a divine truth by virtue of his office, little thinking of it, when he said that one man must die for the people; and St. Peter at Joppa at first did not see beyond a literal sense in his vision, though he knew that there was a higher sense, which in Gods good time would be revealed to him.

And hence there is no difficulty in supposing that the Prophet Osee, though inspired, only knew his own literal sense of the words which he transmitted to posterity, I have called my Son out of Egypt, the further prophetic meaning of them being declared by St. Matthew in his gospel. And such a divine sense would be both concurrent with and confirmed by that antecedent belief which prevailed among the Jews in St. Matthews time, that their sacred books were in great measure typical, with an evangelical bearing, though as yet they might not know what those books contained in prospect.

Nor is it de fide (for that alone with a view to Catholic Biblicists I am considering) that inspired men, at the time when they speak from inspiration, should always know that the Divine Spirit is visiting them.

The Psalms are inspired; but, when David, in the outpouring of his deep contrition, disburdened himself before his God in the words of the Miserere, could he, possibly, while uttering them, have been directly conscious that every word he uttered was not simply his, but anothers? Did he not think that he was personally asking forgiveness and spiritual help?

Doubt again seems incompatible with a consciousness of being inspired. But Father Patrizi, while reconciling two Evangelists in a passage of their narratives, says, if I understand him rightly (ii. p. 405), that though we admit that there were some things about which inspired writers doubted, this does not imply that inspiration allowed them to state what is doubtful as certain, but only it did not hinder them from stating things with a doubt in their minds about them; but how can the All-knowing Spirit doubt? or how can an inspired man doubt, if he is conscious of his inspiration?

And again, how can a man whose hand is guided by the Holy Spirit, and who knows it, make apologies for his style of writing, as if deficient in literary exactness and finish? If then the writer of Ecclesiasticus, at the very time that he wrote his Prologue, was not only inspired but conscious of his inspiration, how could he have entreated his readers to come with benevolence, and to make excuse for his coming short in the composition of words? Surely, if at the very time he wrote he had known it, he would, like other inspired men, have said, Thus saith the Lord, or what was equivalent to it.

The same remark applies to the writer of the second book of Machabees, who ends his narrative by saying, If I have done well, it is what I desired, but if not so perfectly, it must be pardoned me. What a contrast to St. Paul, who, speaking of his inspiration (1 Cor. 7:40) and of his weakness and fear (ibid. 2:4), does so in order to boast that his speech was, not in the persuasive words of human wisdom, but in the showing of the Spirit and of power. The historian of the Machabees, would have surely adopted a like tone of glorying, had he had at the time a like consciousness of his divine gift.

Again, it follows from there being two agencies, divine grace and human intelligence, co-operating in the production of the Scriptures, that, whereas, if they were written, as in the Decalogue, by the immediate finger of God, every word of them must be His and His only; on the contrary, if they are mans writing, informed and quickened by the presence of the Holy Ghost, they admit, should it so happen, of being composed of outlying materials, which have passed through the minds and from the fingers of inspired penmen, and are known to be inspired on the ground that those who were the immediate editors, as they may be called, were inspired.

For an example of this we are supplied by the writer of the second book of Machabees, to which reference has already been made. All such things, says the writer, as have been comprised in five books by Jason of Cyrene, we have attempted to abridge in one book. Here we have the human aspect of an inspired work. Jason need not, the writer of the second book of Machabees must, have been inspired.

Again; St. Lukes gospel is inspired, as having gone through and come forth from an inspired mind; but the extrinsic sources of his narrative were not necessarily all inspired any more than was Jason of Cyrene; yet such sources there were, for, in contrast with the testimony of the actual eye-witnesses of the events which he records, he says of himself that he wrote after a careful inquiry, according as they delivered them to us, who from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word; as to himself, he had but diligently attained to all things from the beginning. Here it was not the original statements, but his edition of them, which needed to be inspired.

Hence we have no reason to be surprised, nor is it against the faith to hold, that a canonical book may be composed, not only from, but even of, pre-existing documents, it being always borne in mind, as a necessary condition, that an inspired mind has exercised a supreme and an ultimate judgment on the work, determining what was to be selected and embodied in it, in order to its truth in all matters of faith and morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine, and its unadulterated truth.

Thus Moses may have incorporated in his manuscript as much from foreign documents as is commonly maintained by the critical school; yet the existing Pentateuch, with the miracles which it contains, may still (from that personal inspiration which belongs to a prophet) have flowed from his mind and hand on to his composition. He new-made and authenticated what till then was no matter of faith.

This being considered, it follows that a book may be, and may be accepted as, inspired, though not a word of it is an original document. Such is almost the case with the first book of Esdras. A learned writer in a publication of the day says: It consists of the contemporary historical journals, kept from time to time by the prophets or other authorized persons who were eye-witnesses for the most part of what they record, and whose several narratives were afterwards strung together, and either abridged or added to, as the case required, by a later hand, of course an inspired hand.

And in like manner the Chaldee and Greek portions of the book of Daniel, even though not written by Daniel, may be, and we believe are, written by penmen inspired in matters of faith and morals; and so much, and nothing beyond, does the Church oblige us to believe.

I have said that the Chaldee, as well as the Hebrew portion of Daniel requires, in order to its inspiration, not that it should be Daniels writing, but that its writer, whoever he was, should be inspired. This leads me to the question whether inspiration requires and implies that the book inspired should in its form and matter be homogeneous, and all its parts belong to each other. Certainly not. The book of Psalms is the obvious instance destructive of any such idea. What it really requires is an inspired Editor; that is, an inspired mind, authoritative in faith and morals, from whose fingers the sacred text passed. I believe it is allowed generally, that at the date of the captivity and under the persecution of Antiochus, the books of Scripture and the sacred text suffered much loss and injury. Originally the Psalms seem to have consisted of five books; of which only a portion, perhaps the first and second, were Davids. That arrangement is now broken up, and the Council of Trent was so impressed with the difficulty of their authorship, that, in its formal decree respecting the Canon, instead of calling the collection Davids Psalms, as was usual, they called it the Psalterium Davidicum, thereby meaning to imply, that although canonical and inspired and in spiritual fellowship and relationship with those of the choice Psalmist of Israel, the whole collection is not therefore necessarily the writing of David.

And as the name of David, though not really applicable to every Psalm, nevertheless protected and sanctioned them all, so the appendices which conclude the book of Daniel, Susanna and Bel, though not belonging to the main history, come under the shadow of the Divine Presence which primarily rests on what goes before.

And so again, whether or not the last verses of St. Marks, and two portions of St. Johns Gospel, belong to those Evangelists respectively, matters not as regards their inspiration; for the Church has recognised them as portions of that sacred narrative which precedes or embraces them.

Nor does it matter whether one or two Isaiahs wrote the book which bears that Prophets name; the Church, without settling this point, pronounces it inspired in respect of faith and morals, both Isaiahs being inspired; and, if this be assured to us, all other questions are irrelevant and unnecessary.

Nor do the Councils forbid our holding that there are interpolations or additions in the sacred text, say, the last chapter of the Pentateuch, provided they are held to come from an inspired penman, such as Esdras, and are thereby authoritative in faith and morals.

From what has been last said it follows, that the titles of the Canonical books, and their ascription to different authors, either do not come under their inspiration, or need not be accepted literally.

For instance: the Epistle to the Hebrews is said in our Bibles to be the writing of St. Paul, and so virtually it is, and to deny that it is so in any sense might be temerarious; but its authorship is not a matter of faith as its inspiration is, but an acceptance of received opinion, and because to no other writer can it be so well assigned.

Again, the 89th Psalm has for its title A Prayer of Moses, yet that has not hindered a succession of Catholic writers, from Athanasius to Bellarmine, from denying it to be his.

Again, the Book of Wisdom professes (e. g., chs. 7 and 9) to be written by Solomon; yet our Bibles say, It is written in the person of Solomon, and it is uncertain who was the writer; and St. Augustine, whose authority had so much influence in the settlement of the Canon, speaking of Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, says: The two books by reason of a certain similarity of style are usually called Solomons though the more learned have no doubt they do not belong to him. (Martin. Pref. to Wisdom and Eccl.; Aug. Opp. t. iii. p. 733.)

If these instances hold, they are precedents for saying that it is no sin against the faith (for of such I have all along been speaking), nor indeed, if done conscientiously and on reasonable grounds, any sin, to hold that Ecclesiastes is not the writing of Solomon, in spite of its opening with a profession of being his; and that first, because that profession is a heading, not a portion of the book; secondly, because, even though it be part of the book, a like profession is made in the Book of Wisdom, without its being a proof that Wisdom is Solomons; and thirdly, because such a profession may well be considered a prosopopœia not so difficult to understand as that of the Angel Raphael, when he called himself the Son of the great Ananias.

On this subject Melchior Canus says: It does not much matter to the Catholic Faith, that a book was written by this or that writer, so long as the Spirit of God is believed to be the author of it; which Gregory delivers and explains, in his Preface to Job, It matters not with what pen the King has written his letter, if it be true that He has written it. (Loc. Th. p. 44.)

I say then of the Book of Ecclesiastes, its authorship is one of those questions which still lie in the hands of the Church. If the Church formally declared that it was written by Solomon, I consider that, in accordance with its heading (and, as implied in what follows, as in Wisdom,) we should be bound, recollecting that she has the gift of judging de vero sensu et interpretatione Scripturarum Sanctarum, to accept such a decree as a matter of faith; and in like manner, in spite of its heading, we should be bound to accept a contrary decree, if made to the effect that the book was not Solomons. At present as the Church (or Pope) has not pronounced on one side or on the other, I conceive that, till a decision comes from Rome, either opinion is open to the Catholic without any impeachment of his faith.

And here I am led on to inquire whether obiter dicta are conceivable in an inspired document. We know that they are held to exist and even required in treating of the dogmatic utterances of Popes, but are they compatible with inspiration? The common opinion is that they are not. Professor Lamy thus writes about them, in the form of an objection: Many minute matters occur in the sacred writers which have regard only to human feebleness and the natural necessities of life, and by no means require inspiration, since they can otherwise be perfectly well known, and seem scarcely worthy of the Holy Spirit, as for instance what is said of the dog of Tobias, St. Pauls penula, and the salutations at the end of the Epistles. Neither he nor Fr. Patrizi allow of these exceptions; but Fr. Patrizi, as Lamy quotes him, damnare non audet eos qui hæc tenerent, viz., exceptions, and he himself, by keeping silence, seems unable to condemn them either.

By obiter dicta in Scripture I also mean such statements as we find in the Book of Judith, that Nabuchodonosor was king of Nineve. Now it is in favour of there being such unauthoritative obiter dicta, that unlike those which occur in dogmatic utterances of Popes and Councils, they are, in Scripture, not doctrinal, but mere unimportant statements of fact; whereas those of Popes and Councils may relate to faith and morals, and are said to be uttered obiter, because they are not contained within the scope of the formal definition, and imply no intention of binding the consciences of the faithful. There does not then seem any serious difficulty in admitting their existence in Scripture. Let it be observed, its miracles are doctrinal facts, and in no sense of the phrase can be considered obiter dicta.

It may be questioned, too, whether the absence of chronological sequence might not be represented as an infringement of plenary inspiration, more serious than the obiter dicta of which I have been speaking. Yet St. Matthew is admitted by approved commentators to be unsolicitous as to order of time. So says Fr. Patrizi (De Evang. lib. ii. p. 1), viz., Matthæum de observando temporis ordine minime sollicitum esse. He gives instances, and then repeats, Matthew did not observe order of time. If such absence of order is compatible with inspiration in St. Matthew, as it is, it might be consistent with inspiration in parts of the Old Testament, supposing they are open to re-arrangement in chronology. Does not this teach us to fall back upon the decision of the Councils that faith and morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine are the scope, the true scope, of inspiration? And is not the Holy See the judge given us for determining what is for edification and what is not?

In the Irish Ecclesiastical Record of March, 1884, Rev. John Healy (afterward Bishop Healy) published an article in which he dissented from Card. Newman. As Healys article seems to us to express a clear statement of the Catholic doctrine we reproduce it here nearly in full: With regard to the Cardinals views on the interpretation of Scripture, we have nothing to say; he merely expresses the common teaching of theologians on this point. We shall, therefore, confine ourselves to the first question which he discusses—the authority or inspiration of Sacred Scripture.

In answer to his own question on this point—What is de fide with regard to the inspiration of Scripture? his reply is:—As to the authority of Scripture, we hold it to be, in all matters of faith and morals, divinely inspired throughout. In No. 11 he tells us that the Councils of Trent and the Vatican specify faith and moral conduct as the drift of that teaching (in Scripture) which has the guarantee of inspiration. In No. 12 he says that the Vatican Council pronounces that supernatural Revelation consists in rebus divinis, and is contained—the italics are not ours—in libris scriptis et sine scriptis traditionibus. And finally, in No. 13, he asserts that while the Councils, as has been shown, lay down so emphatically the inspiration of Scripture in respect to faith and morals, it is remarkable that they do not say a word directly as to its inspiration in matters of fact; and hence he raises the question—but does not answer it—whether there may not be in Scripture, as there are in the dogmatic utterances of Popes and Councils, obiter dicta, unimportant statements of fact, not inspired, and therefore unauthoritative (No. 26), and, we may add, not even necessarily true.

The merest tyro in the schools of Catholic theology will at once perceive the startling character of these statements, and the pregnant consequences which they involve. Hence we propose to examine them very briefly, in order to ascertain if the de fide utterances of the Church on this matter of the inspiration of the sacred volume are exactly of the character described by Card. Newman; and we shall for the most part confine ourselves to an analysis of these dogmatic utterances themselves.

Of course, when the Cardinal says it is de fide that Scripture, in all matters of faith and morals, is divinely inspired throughout, he says what is true; but he certainly seems to imply that it is not de fide that Scripture is inspired in those things (if there be any such) which are not matters of faith and morals. Now, here precisely we join issue, and we say that, in our opinion, the Catholic dogma, as defined both in the Council of Trent and the Vatican, admits of no such restricting clause; that it is adequately and accurately expressed only by eliminating that clause; or, in other words, the Catholic dogma is, to borrow some of the Cardinals own words, that Sacred Scripture is divinely inspired throughout.

The Council of Trent first enumerates the books that constitute the canon of Scripture, and then, in the strictest language, formulates its decree in the following words:—Si quis autem libros ipsos integros cum omnibus suis partibus, prout in ecclesia Catholica legi consueverunt, et in veteri vulgata latina editione habentur, pro sacris et canonicis non susceperit, et traditiones praedictas sciens et prudens contempserit, anathema sit. There is here no restriction of inspiration or canonicity to matters of faith and morals; the entire books, with all their parts, are declared to be sacred and canonical, that is, inspired Scripture, recognised as such by the Church; for, as we shall see, that is the meaning of sacred and canonical, as applied by the Council of Trent and of the Vatican to the books of Scripture. If we take the expression entire books, with all their parts, to be equivalent to the Cardinals word throughout, we have a right to conclude that the Catholic dogma, as enunciated in that canon, proclaims that these canonical books are inspired throughout, and therefore not merely in questions of faith and morals.

Lest there might be any doubt of the meaning of the expression pro sacris et canonicis, we beg to append the analogous canon in the Vatican Council, which, in our opinion, leaves no doubt about the matter. Here it is:—Si quis sacrae Scripturae libros integros cum omnibus suis partibus, prout illos Sancta Tridentina Synodus recensuit, pro sacris et canonicis non susceperit, aut eos divinitus inspiratos esse negaverit, anathema sit. (Can. 4, De Revelatione.) It is impossible to enunciate in clearer language the great Catholic truth, that the entire books of Sacred Scripture, with all their parts, are divinely inspired; or in other words, that the books of Sacred Scripture are inspired throughout. If any one should urge that perhaps eos, in the last clause of this canon is not necessarily the exact equivalent of the subject of the preceding clause, our answer is, that both grammatically and logically eos and illos stand for the subject of the preceding clause, and are therefore exactly co-extensive with it. At any rate, the Council pronounces the entire books—eos, scil, libros integros—to be inspired, without making any distinction between matters of fact and matters of faith and morals, and that is quite enough for our argument.

Every one trained in theological discipline knows that it is not always easy to ascertain, from the wording in the body of a dogmatic chapter of a General Council, what is strictly and exactly de fide. But when a Council wishes to express Catholic dogma with the utmost accuracy and exactness, it formulates it as a canon, and pronounces anathema against the gainsayers. I have a right, therefore, to infer from this canon, as a Catholic dogma, that Sacred Scripture, without exception or restriction, is inspired throughout.

Cardinal Newman says that the dogmatic phrase used by the Councils of Florence and Trent to denote the inspiration of Scripture, viz., that one and the same God was the author of both Testaments—Deus unus et idem utriusque Testamenti Auctor—left some room for holding that the word Testament might mean Dispensation, rather than the Books of the Testaments, although he admits that the Vatican Council has settled the question by inserting the word books.

It appears to us that the Council of Florence left no doubt about the matter, for it has explained the meaning of the word Testament in its decree, as may be seen in so common a book as Franzelin (De Inspir. S. Scrip. Thesis. II., No. 1.) Here are the words:—

Firmissime credit, profitetur et praedicat (Sacrosancta Rom. Ecclesia) unum verun Deum Patrem et Filium et Spiritum Sanctum creatorem.… Unum atque eundem Deum Veteris et Novi Testamenti, hoc est, Legis et Prophetarum atque Evangelii profitetur Auctorem, quoniam eodem Spiritu Sancto inspirante utriusque Testamenti sancti locuti sunt, quorum libros suscipit et veneratur, qui titulis sequentibus continentur.

Surely the expression Old and New Testament, when explained to mean the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospel, can mean nothing else but the Sacred Books that commonly go under these names.

But if there could be any doubt about the matter it would be removed by the reason that is subjoined—God is the author of the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospel, because it was under the inspiration of His Holy Spirit that the saints of both Testaments spoke, whose books, therefore, the Council receives and venerates. The word locuti evidently refers to the written word, as in 2 Peter 1:21, and, in conjunction with libros, clearly shows that by Testament the Council meant the books of the Old and New Testament—that is, as it explains, the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospels.

It is difficult to see how this explanation given by the Council itself can be reconciled with the statement that the Councils of Florence and Trent left the meaning of the word Testament in the phrase referred to somewhat doubtful. The Council of Florence certainly did not; and, Pallavicini tells us, the Council of Trent, in framing its decree, was careful to follow the very words of the Council of Florence.

It is defined both by the Councils of Trent and of Florence, that God is the auctor utriusque Testamenti, and as we have just seen, that is the same as to say he is the author of all the books of the Old and New Testament; and so it has been expressly defined by the Vatican Council, as the Cardinal himself admits. But, he says, the Latin word auctor still leaves some ambiguity, for it is not equivalent to the English word author. That may be very true, when there is question of the words auctor and author in their generic sense; it is too delicate a point for us to discuss, and it is quite unnecessary to discuss it. For there is no question now of the generic meaning, which as Cardinal Franzelin clearly points out (Thesis III., No. 1.) is determined by the context, that is, by the special efficiency of which there is question. Generically, both in English and Latin, author means the person who gives origin or authority to anything, but in its specific sense the meaning will very much depend on the kind of origin or authority of which there is question. The same may be the author of a law, the author of a book, and the author of a crime, but in very different senses. Now it is de fide that God is the author of the Books of the Old and New Testament, and will the Cardinal undertake to say, that when thus used in regard to books, auctor in classical Latin is not equivalent to author when said in reference to books in English? We do not pretend to the Cardinals knowledge of classical Latin, but we know something of ecclesiastical Latin, as used by the Councils of Trent and Florence, and we are quite sure that auctor libri in ecclesiastical Latin is pretty much the same as the author of a book in English.

It is de fide, therefore, that God is the author of all the Books of the Old and New Testament; and we have seen that it is de fide that they are inspired throughout, whole and entire, without any distinction between matters of fact and matters of faith and morals. Well, now, in No. 11, the Cardinal asks, in what respect are the Canonical Books inspired? It cannot be in every respect, he says, except we are bound de fide to believe that terra in aeternum stat, that heaven is above us, and that there are no antipodes. If by respect is meant every signification which a word of phrase might have, scientific or popular, literal or metaphorical, he is evidently right; but then it is hardly necessary to tell us so. Surely the phrases terra in aeternum stat, and heaven is above us, the sun rises, and the like, have a popular meaning which is perfectly true, and which might be revealed by God, and which if revealed by God, incidentally or otherwise, in that popular sense, we should be bound to believe it de fide.

But apparently this is not what Cardinal Newman means, for in the next sentence he says: And it seems unworthy of Divine greatness that the Almighty should, in His revelation of Himself to us, undertake mere secular duties, and assume the office of a narrator as such, of a historian, or geographer, except so far as the secular matters bear directly on the revealed truth. Does any one assert that God in His Revelation undertakes the office of narrator, as such, or historian, or geographer? We thought it was a wellknown distinction made by Catholic theologians of every school between the things revealed propter se, or, as the Cardinal calls them, matters of faith and morals, and things revealed per accidens, including every other statement made in Sacred Scripture, whether in narration, history, geography, or anything else. God reveals none of these things propter se. He does not undertake the work of annalist, historian, geographer, as such. They are revealed on account of their connection, necessary, useful, or accidental as the case may be, with the main purposes of Divine Revelation. But as Benedict XII. in his Dogmatic Catalogue of the Errors of the Armenians very clearly signifies, they must be all believed even those which have been revealed per accidens, because they are all equally the word of God, and all serve a useful purpose in the Divine economy of our salvation. For whatsoever things were written, were written for our learning; that through patience and the comfort of the Scriptures we might have hope. Rom. 15:4.

And what is man that he should undertake to pronounce what is worthy, or what is unworthy of Divine Majesty? If we were to attempt to do so, especially in Gods revelation. where should we stop? Does not the Socinian think it unworthy of God to reveal mysteries? The Rationalist, for a somewhat similar reason, denies miracles. The ordinary protestant contends that the Catholic teaching about the Blessed Eucharist is utterly unworthy of God, and so he gives up the literal, and adopts a metaphorical sense. It is the old story—Durus est hic sermo, et quis potest eum audire? Our reply is—Quis cognovit sensum domini, qui instruat eum? Human wisdom left to itself would say that of all unworthy things the most unworthy of God was to redeem the word by the folly of the cross; and it did say it by the mouth both of Jew and Gentile.

We have no objection to the statement that faith and moral conduct is the drift of the teaching that has the guarantee of inspiration, or that the Council of Trent insists on faith and morality as the scope of inspired teaching, provided always it is not thereby implied that Scripture is not also inspired throughout, even in those things which to us seem to have least connection with faith and morals. It is in this sense and in no other sense the Council of Trent speaks. In the preamble of the chapter it states, as Cardinal Newman says, that faith and morality is the scope of inspired teaching, and that the Gospel is the fount of all saving truth and all instruction in morals; and this is perfectly true, but the main proposition to which everything else is incidental is contained in the following words, which necessarily imply the inspiration of every single statement made by sacred writers. Sacrosancta.… Synodus … orthodoxorum patrum exempla secuta, omnes libros tam Veteris quam Novi Testamenti, cum utriusque unus Deus sit auctor, necnon traditiones ipsas, tum ad fidem, tum ad mores pertinentes, tanquam vel oretenus a Christo, vel a Spiritu Sancto dictatas et continua successione in ecclesia Catholica conservatas pari pietatis affectu et reverentia suscipit et veneratur. From the beginning of the chapter to the word veneratur is one single sentence; the last part, as written by us, contains the main assertion, the purport of which is perfectly clear: that as God is the author of all the books of the Old and New Testament, and, as the divine traditions regarding faith and morals were either spoken by Christ himself or dictated by His Holy Spirit, therefore the Council accepts and venerates both with equal affection of piety and reverence—and why? because they are both equally the Word of God. It must be carefully observed that the words tum ad fidem, tum ad mores pertinentes—refer only to the traditions, and have nothing at all to do with the preceding words. And they were inserted, as Pallavicini tells us, in order to distinguish the divine traditions, of which God is the author, and which concern faith and morals, from purely apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions, which are of their own nature disciplinary and mutable. So far, therefore, is the Council of Trent from lending any countenance to the idea that all Scripture is not inspired, that it distinctly affirms the divine authorship of all the books of Sacred Scripture, and we have seen, pronounces anathema against those who would dare to assert that they are not sacred and canonical, and inspired Scripture throughout.

There is one point to be carefully kept in mind in any discussion on this important question, if we wish to avoid grave errors—the difference between inspiration and revelation. Inspiration, as we shall see further on, in its plenary sense, implies three things, the Divine afflatus moving, enlightening, and guiding the writer—inspiratio active sumpta: the state of the human agent under this Divine influence—inspiratio passive sumpta; and, lastly, the product of the combined action of God and man, that is, the book written by the Holy Spirit through mans agency—which is inspiratio terminative sumpta. Inspiration therefore, in reference to Sacred Scripture, essentially regards the writing—the writing in fieri, and the writing in facto esse. Not so in the case of revelation. It need have no connection with inspired writing at all. In its active sense it is simply the Divine manifestation of hidden things, and sometimes of things not previously hidden; in its objective sense it merely means the things so made known by God. Inspiration, therefore, necessarily implies revelation in the wide sense given above; but revelation, as in the case of Divine traditions not contained in Scripture, may have nothing at all to do with inspiration. Let our readers bear this in mind, for the Cardinal goes on to say that the Vatican Council pronounces that supernatural revelation consists in rebus Divinis, and is contained in libris scriptis, et sine scriptis traditionibus, italicising as above, and implying thereby, it seems to us, that all Sacred Scripture is not necessarily Divine truth or a Divine revelation, and that revelation and inspiration are identical.

What the Council says on the first point is contained in the following sentence, and certainly will not admit the meaning given above by implication:—Huic Divinae revelationi tribuendum quidem est, ut ea, quae in rebus Divinis humanae rationi per se impervia non sunt, in presenti quoque generis humani conditione ab omnibus expedite, firma certitudine, et nullo admixto errore cognosci possint. I do not think the Council declares in that sentence that revelation consists in things Divine, but even if it does, then all we can say is, that every statement in Scripture is Divine, or, what comes to the same, is the Word of God—as St. Paul himself asserts, at least by implication, regarding the Scriptures certainly of the Old Testament, if not also of some of the New, πᾶσα γραφὴ θεόπνευστος. If every scripture is θεόπνευστος it may well be called Divine.

As regards the second point, the Council does say that the supernatural revelation is contained in the written books and unwritten Divine traditions; but concerning these same books it says in the very next sentence, that the church does not regard them as sacred and canonical, merely because they contain this revelation without error, but because, having been written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God for their author, and as such have been handed down to the church. Eos vero (libros) ecclesia pro sacris et canonicis habet, non ideo quod sola humana industria concinnati, sua deinde auctoritate sint approbati, nec ideo dumtaxat, quod revelationem sine errore contineant; sed propterea quod Spiritu Sancto inspirante conscripti, Deum habent auctorem, atque ut tales ipsi ecclesiæ traditi sunt. To say, therefore, that the Divine books contain the revelation of God, and even without any error, is declared by the Council itself to be an inadequate description of their sacred and canonical character. The reason is manifest. A book might contain the whole revelation of God, and contain it without error, and yet not be at all an inspired book, because inspiration essentially regards the writing or authorship of the book. If it is an inspired book, God is its author; it must have been written in all its parts under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, so much so, that God becomes responsible for every single statement it contains, and therefore quite as much responsible for its statements in matters of fact, as for its statements in reference to faith and morals. All these truths will not have the same intrinsic importance in relation to each other, or to the economy of mans redemption; but they are all divine as regards their origin and their authority.

And now this leads us to give, in conclusion, a very brief explanation of the nature of inspiration as taught in all Catholic schools, and it is as contained in the writings of the Fathers, and of all our eminent theologians, since the Council of Trent. Catholic teaching on this point has become still more definite and dogmatic since the definitions of the Council of the Vatican already referred to.

The points of Catholic dogma clearly defined are, (a) that God is the author of all the canonical books of the Old and New Testament, (b) that these books have been written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, (c) and hence the entire books are inspired. The second of these points more clearly and accurately defines the meaning of the first; and the third expresses the abiding consequence of the other two, that is, the inspiration of the sacred books terminative, as the theologians call it.

God, then, is defined to be the author of all the Sacred Scriptures, because they were written under the inspiration of His Holy Spirit. Now, what is meant by being the author of a book in this sense? It must mean here, as it means everywhere else, either that He Himself wrote it, as He wrote the Tables of the Law, with his own finger, which, of course, is out of the question; or that he dictated the sacred books word for word to the inspired penmen, an opinion which has been held by few, but is now justly and generally rejected; or finally, as a minimum, it must mean according to the use of language, that He directed or procured the writing of all these sacred books; that He suggested to the sacred writers all the matter to be written—res et sententias—even that known before, and finally gave them such constant, ever watchful assistance in the composition of all these books as to insure that everything which He wished should be said, and that nothing should be said except what He wished, and hence that there should be no trace of falsehood or error, for which He, the principal and infallible Author of the book, would, in that absurd hypothesis, be held responsible. The very nature of Divine authorship requires this at least; if the instrumental author begin to write motu proprio, it is in no special sense Gods work; if he write anything which he is not directed to write, it is not Gods work so far; and if there could be errors or mistakes in any book written by Divine authority, God could never claim that book whole and entire, with all its parts, as purely and simply His own—as written in its entirety under the inspiration of His Holy Spirit. Therefore, the Divine authorship of the Sacred Books, in the sense defined by the Church, imperatively requires that as a minimum, the impulse to write should come from God, that He should suggest at least the matter, and that He should preserve the sacred writers from all error, which, if it were possible, would not be the error of man, but of God. It is as absurd to say that a man could commit sin under the impulse of the Holy Ghost, as to say that the sacred writer could write error under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Therefore, as it is de fide that the Sacred Books, whole and entire, were written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, it follows, at least as a conclusion theologically certain, that everything written by the sacred writers is, what is called in Scripture, and by the Church, and by the Fathers, and by the people, verily and indeed the Word of God, unmixed with any false, or erroneous, or merely human element.

This doctrine, regarding the nature of inspiration, does not imply that God did not, in most cases, leave the choice of the words to the sacred writer. It does not even imply that the words chosen were the most elegant, or most appropriate, for expressing the Divine ideas in the writers mind. It does not imply the adoption of the graces of style, nor the niceties of grammar, nor the exactness in scientific or rhetorical arrangement. But it does imply that the words must be suitable to express the writers Divine thoughts, that his language must be intelligible, and that the arrangement must not be such as will necessarily lead the readers astray.

Again, inspiration does not exclude antecedent knowledge of much of the matter to be written, nor labor in its acquisition, provided always it is written by the human author of the sacred Book, not motu proprio, but in virtue of the Divine impulse, consciously or unconsciously followed, and written also under the Divine guidance, lest any error might creep in, of which, as it could not originate from God, He could not accept the authorship or responsibility.

Neither does our doctrine on inspiration imply that it is confined to the autograph of the sacred writer. Inspiration does not, terminative sumpta, consist in the material book as such—in the handwriting, the ink, and the vellum; but it consists in the book as a series of signs, with a definite objective significance for the mind of man: and hence the inspired books remain, although the autographs have all perished.

Others who opposed the views of Newman were Brucker (La Controverse et le Contemporain), and Corluy in the same periodical. Later Brucker published his views in a work entitled Questions Actuelles dEcriture Sainte. In Germany Franz Schmid vigorously opposed Newmans theory.

In 1889 Salvatore di Bartolo published his I Criteri Teologici. This was placed on the Index of prohibited books by the decree of May 14, 1891. A corrected edition which appeared at Rome in 1904 is permitted to be read. The most widely circulated form of this work is a French edition with certain additions by the translator. This was made from the proscribed edition. Di Bartolo aimed to bring about a union between the Catholic Church and all those who dissent from it by keeping in abeyance everything non essential on which there is difference of view, and insisting only on the things that are clearly revealed, and on the things of common belief of all Christians. Applying this theory to inspiration he says: Inspiration is a supernatural assistance acting on the intelligence and will of the sacred writer, and causing him to write the true doctrine in things of faith and morals, and true facts which are essentially connected with things of faith and morals; and to write other things with a sincere purpose and divine commission to save mankind.

Explaining his meaning he declares inspiration to be such a co-operation of the Holy Ghost that the whole Scripture should be attributed to the Holy Ghost as its author. Conceding that the Church has defined the divine authorship, di Bartolo affirms that the Church has never determined the constituent elements of inspiration, and that theologians are not agreed as to its nature. Hence this author gives a very wide stretch to the free ground in this great question. The substance of his own views may be summed up as follows: Inspiration has three degrees. In the things of faith and morals and facts essentially therewith connected the highest degree of inspiration takes place, even at times extending to the very words. Whenever there is a doubt of the degree of inspiration the presumption is in favor of the biblical expression until the clearest arguments force us to admit the evidence of the human element. Inspiration is not present in all sentences, neither always in the forms of expression.

The least degree of inspiration is present in the accessories to the things narrated in Scripture, and here inspiration does not guarantee infallibility. Here therefore not all doubt, equivocation, and error are excluded. These things are not to be said to the common people who are unable to make the necessary distinctions; but di Bartolo believes it not irreverent to speak of an error in the material part of Scripture. Such opinion, he says, offends not God, for the error is not attributed to God, but to his secretary. If the Son of God in his incarnation had natural imperfections; if God permitted errors gradually to creep into the text of the Scriptures as they were preserved by men, why could not God permit his secretary the inspired writer to commit certain defects in the narration of accessory things, when they could not be imputed to God, but to the writer whom God employed? It conflicts not with inspiration when the writer uses old documents, therefore, why should it be excluded by inspiration that a writer in secondary things should commit equivocations? that he should follow popular beliefs? that he should fall into error? God, permitting that human weakness should be manifested, saved intact the entire divine message. The least degree of inspiration is present in things non-religious in character, and here the human element is not guaranteed infallibility. There is a certain inspiration here; for the writer had a special commission to write for the salvation of men, and his end in writing was good. Inspiration extends itself to all the sacred writers have written; but in these accessory and non-religious things it is the least degree of inspiration, which leaves more to the human factor. Therefore the writer being by nature limited and fallible, he may in these secondary things err and doubt. To the non-religious order of Scripture pertain geography, chronology, natural history, physics, defective philosophy perhaps, and defects in literary style.

Though di Bartolos views are in some things extreme, and rightly condemned, there is every evidence that he wrote in good faith, and with the sole purpose of seeking the truth.

At Turin in 1892, Canon Berta published his Dei cinque libri mosaici, wherein he defended the views similar to those of Lenormant.

The Barnabite Semeria (Revue Biblique 1893, p. 434) went further, and declared that it would be a most useful thing for the Church if some one of sufficient ability would separate the inspired portions from the uninspired portions of Holy Writ.

The same views were advocated by the Barnabite Paolo Savi in the Science Catholique, 1892–93. Canon Jules Didiot, professor at Lille in La logique surnaturelle subjective, 1891, rejected the absolute infallibility of the Scriptures, but after the appearance of the Bull Providentissimus Deus he retracted his opinions in favor of the more conservative opinion in his, Traité de la Sainte Ecriture daprés S.S. Léon, XIII., (Paris, 1894).

In the year 1893 a little before the appearance of the Bull of Leo XIII. Msgr. DHulst, Rector of the free theological faculty of Paris, published in the Correspondant an article entitled La Question biblique. In this article dHulst takes up the defense of Lenormant on the ground that the placing of a work on the Index is not of necessity a condemnation of its doctrine. After enumerating some of the reasons which may move the Congregation to prohibit a book, he declares that the ideas of Lenormant may have been prohibited for the reason that the world was not ready for them. He declares that The hypothesis by which inspiration is extended to the things narrated of the origin of the human race, in such wise that the inspiration confers not infallibility on these narrations, but only joins doctrinal and moral truth to them, is adopted by a certain number of learned and orthodox men.… Such men admit that there may be in the Bible propositions not strictly true. God is not responsible for these, although he is the Inspirer of the whole work. The reason is that to reveal is one thing; to inspire, another. Revelation is divine teaching which must be true. Inspiration is an impulse which determines the sacred writer to write, directs him, moves him, watches over him. In the hypothesis which I am explaining this moving (motio) renders him immune from error in faith and morals; they believe that this preservation does not go further; they believe that it has the same limits as has the infallibility of the Church. The promise of inerrancy was made to the Church for the sole end that it might with certitude promulgate the rule of faith and morals. It is true that the Scriptures are not alone infallible, but also inspired. Yet although inspiration extends to everything, perhaps it confers not infallibility on all the statements of the inspired writer; perhaps this privilege is restricted to the things of faith and morals. Perhaps the other statements which are not by inspiration rendered infallible, are only employed as the vehicle of the teaching concerning faith and morals. It may be that God, the Inspirer, who could have corrected the material errors of the sacred writer judged it not useful to do this. These are the opinions of the liberal school (école large).

The adherents of this school assert: First, that the best way to determine the effect of inspiration is to inquire into its motive.… But the end which God proposed in dictating the Holy Books is to teach man what he should believe, hope, and do, that he may bring him to his supernatural end. Therefore all the statements of Scripture which conduce to this end must be divine affirmations, but as to other things there seems to be doubt.

Secondly, the Council of Trent declared the Vulgate authentic, but only in things of faith and morals. Therefore if the divine authority of the Vulgate is not defined except as regards the things of faith, the authority of the Holy Scripture is practically restricted within the same limits. Why should it not be theoretically?

Moreover, the Vatican Council renewing the decree of the Council of Trent declares the true sense of Scripture to be that which holy Church holds.… But it adds that the interpretation of which it speaks, and to which the rules apply, is the interpretation in things of faith and morals.

Speaking of Cardinal Newman dHulst says: Cardinal Newman restricts the liberty afforded by this theory to the obiter dicta. This timidity may readily be understood if we reflect that the eminent author located the question in a very dangerous point; for he treats of the object or extent of inspiration. Now if inspiration is of limited extent, there are uninspired portions of Holy Scripture. This is a new and dangerous formula, which it is difficult to bring into accord with the decrees of councils and the teaching of tradition. Hence it is evident why the prudent theologian restricted the application to fragments merely accessory. This difficulty is greatly lessened, and almost vanishes if we hold the total inspiration of Scripture, but in such a sense that in certain things not pertaining to faith the infallibility be restricted, which, however is the proper effect of inspiration. To exempt from infallible inspiration obiter dicta would be of little use to solve the great exegetical difficulties.… Wherefore other writers diligently considering not the extent of inspiration, but the effect of inspiration, apply the principle in a wide range not to merely accessory things, but to considerable portions of Scripture; in the first place to the portions which treat of, or seem to treat of scientific questions, then to other texts of greater moment and extent which have, or seem to have, a historical character.

Msgr. dHulst affirms the sound doctrine concerning the relation of the Scriptures to the natural sciences: The Scriptures do not convey scientific instruction, and therefore there can be no conflict. The Scriptures speak of these matters in accordance with the opinions then in vogue; such matters are not written for their own sake, but for a setting of religious ideas.

And now Msgr. dHulst comes to the most difficult question of all; the question which Père Lagrange has worked into his famous Méthode Historique; the question which divides the greatest minds in the Catholic Church, namely: May we apply to the portions of Scripture which are historical the same theory which without detriment to the faith we apply to the scientific statements of the Bible? Msgr. dHulst declares this to be the axis about which all future Biblical questions will revolve. Indeed were it not for it there would not be a biblical question. The doctrinal and moral parts of the Bible give us no difficulty. All the world accepts the principles enunciated above concerning the matters of natural science in the Bible; but the history in the Bible is the source of the greatest difficulties.

With admirable acumen, Msgr. dHulst declares that if the question were to be submitted whether the historical parts of the Bible should be treated in the same manner as the scientific parts a negative answer must be given. For although we may deny that cosmology is taught in the Bible no man may in any way imagine that history is not taught.… At least a part of history is divinely taught, for revelation itself is a dogmatic fact, and the whole series of human events is bound up with revelation. The creation, the primitive state of man, the fall, the promise of a Saviour, the various divine covenants and the signs attesting them, the events which prepared the way for the Messiah, the life itself of the Saviour, his preaching, his death, his resurrection, the foundation of the Church, these are historical facts. If these are false all religion is false. If they are not inspired nothing is inspired. If the inspired writers who deliver them are not by inspiration preserved immune from error, inspiration is of no avail. Therefore the question is not whether there is history in the Bible, but whether all the historical facts which are found in this divine collection are revealed, or at least attested by inspiration.

It seems to us that the principles here enunciated prove the historical method of Lagrange to be impossible. And yet Lagrange himself admits these principles. Thus we read in the opening paragraphs of Lecture VI. in the Méthode Historique:

When, in the previous Lecture on the authority of the Encyclical Providentissimus Deus, I applied to history the same principles as to science, the thought must have occurred to you, that for every point of similarity there might be between science and history, viewed as matter for biblical criticism, there were many more points of difference. Every kind of knowledge has its own rules and methods. In the first place, granted that we may hold that there is no science in the Bible, it would be more than paradoxical to maintain that the Bible contained no history, seeing that the Bible is the history of salvation. Science, moreover, based as it is upon experiment and calculation, is naturally outside the sphere of the greater number of men as soon as it goes beyond the mere observation of natural phenomena, while history, in itself, is nothing but the record of the doings of men as established by testimony. If in late years it has seemed to move in a somewhat mysterious region, it is simply because of the attention given to the study of sources which calls for specialized knowledge and a critically trained mind; but, in itself, history is but the record of what eye-witnesses have seen. So that while scientific theories like our own could not possibly have found a place in the Bible without an absolutely unnecessary revelation, and without doing violence to mens minds, on the other hand, no supernatural help was needed to write sound history.

Hence there is no science in the Bible, although throughout, an elementary knowledge of arithmetic is supposed, for that is well within the range of man; there are no metaphysics in the Bible, although the normal use of the intellect is always assumed; there is much history in the Bible, because the writing of history is familiar to all people who have reached the same stage as the Israelites. Now, if God did not reveal to His chosen people any scientific or metaphysical proposition, at that time beyond the range of their mind, because it was not profitable for their salvation, we have good ground for holding that neither did He reveal to them any history that was beyond the range of what could be seen or known except in so far as it was necessary for salvation. Hence, and this is a further difference, we have no hesitation in placing history, that is to say, the record of mens deeds, in a different category from the sciences and from metaphysics, because a mans salvation is inseparably connected with his actions. Thus it is quite possible that God may have made a revelation of history, and hence it is, that I wish to exclude from the conclusions which follow, all that concerns the Fall of man.

It is evident to all that there is an illogical sentence in this statement. After declaring that history is not in the category of science, Lagrange by inference places it in the same category by declaring: Now if God did not reveal to his chosen people any scientific or metaphysical proposition, at that time beyond the range of their mind, because it was not profitable for their salvation, we have good ground for holding that neither did he reveal to them any history that was beyond the range of what could be seen or known, except in so far as it was necessary for salvation.

The exact opposite should be the logical influence: from the fact that history enters more intimately into the very essence of revelation, God might well be supposed to safeguard it more especially, lest an error in one statement might cast doubt on others more essential.

Msgr. dHulst rightly affirms that it is indifferent whether we consider certain books such as Ruth, Job and others to be historical, or doctrinal and moral treatises presented under the form of history. The thing is uncertain and in no wise pertains to faith. A more difficult question is presented by the first eleven chapters of Genesis. Certainly they should be held as historical were it not that grave reasons persuade us that we have to deal here with a mythological tradition of the most ancient oriental people, as F. Lenormant shows. His theories indeed seem new and bold in the Church. That they are new is not strange, since the documents of which he treats were only lately found; but they are not more bold than, for instance, the theory of St. Augustine concerning the six days of creation. But they say: Errors are introduced into the Scripture. Error excludes inspiration. We answer: This is rashly said. Error excludes inspiration as far as it is imputed to God, not in as far as it is committed by the sacred writer. God could make himself sponsor of all that goes into the Scriptures; but also God could have limited inspiring action to these effects: to move the writer to write; to reveal to him certain truths; to direct him, and preserve him from all error in things of faith and morals; and yet, when the writer employs documents, not enter to correct their imperfections and less accurate statements, except where they were contrary to the doctrinal and moral end of inspiration.… There has always been admitted the human element subordinate to the divine element in the composition of the sacred books. All the commentators and all the Fathers of the Church have pointed out the differences of style, of genius, and of intellectual equipment of the different sacred writers. If the Holy Ghost could permit such defects, why not defects, in historical narratives which pertain not to faith? If the infallibility which is founded on inspiration be restricted to religious truths, there will be removed the gravest difficulties which are moved against the Scriptures.

With true Catholic spirit Msgr. dHulst proclaimed that he submitted his opinions to the infallible authority of the Church, whose voice he was ready to obey. After the condemnation of Lenormants book many other treatises had been published which advocated analogous views. Rome had kept silent; and Msgr. dHulst interpreted this silence as a liberty to speak his views, always in subjection to the Church.

The silence of which this writer spoke was soon broken. In the same year Pope Leo XIII. published his Bull, Providentissimus Deus, in which the principles of Msgr. dHulst are tacitly condemned.

True to his profession Msgr. dHulst and his associate faculty signified their obedience to the Soverign Pontiff. They begin their letter thus; The Rector and professors of the canonical theological Faculty of the University of Paris, after carefully reading and meditating on the encyclical letter Prov. Deus, declare themselves prepared with a willing mind to accept and obey all that Your Holiness therein teaches, commands, and advises, especially concerning the effect of inspiration which extends itself to all the parts of all the canonical books so that it excludes all error.

Against Msgr. dHulsts article Jaugey wrote in La Science Catholique, 1892–93, and Brucker in the Etudes, 1893. Jacquier, recognizing that the historical difficulties had brought about the new concept of inspiration, suggested that the adherents of the new exegesis should collect all the scientific, chronological, and historical difficulties. The conservative theologians should then attempt their solution; and perhaps thus concessions might be made on both sides, and the points of difference lessened. This is the wisest advice, but it is a great undertaking, and still awaits men capable of accomplishing it.

In a letter to the Archbishops, Bishops and Clergy of France under date of Sept. 8, 1899, Pope Leo XIII. reiterated with great earnestness his condemnation of the liberal theories of inspiration: Venerable Brethren, regarding the study of the Holy Scriptures we again call your attention to the instructions which we have given in our encyclical Providentissimus Deus which we desire that professors should make known to their pupils, and add the necessary explanations. Let them warn (their pupils) against the alarming tendencies which seek to thrust themselves into the interpretation of the Bible, and which if they prevail will soon ruin inspiration and the supernatural order. Under the specious pretext of removing from the adversaries of revelation arguments which seems irrefutable against the authenticity and veracity of the Holy Books certain Catholic writers have thought well to accept their arguments on their side. Pursuant to these strange and dangerous tactics they have labored with their own hands to make breaches in the walls of the city which they have a mission to defend. In our aforesaid encyclical and in another document (Letter to The General of the Friars Minor) we have justly dealt with the dangerous temerities. While encouraging our exegetes to keep abreast of progress and criticism, we have firmly maintained the principles sanctioned by the traditional authority of Fathers and Councils and renewed in our days by the Council of the Vatican.

It is clear to all that the Supreme Pontiff in these utterances has in mind the theories taught by Lenormant, Loisy, and Lagrange, and thought possible by Msgr. dHulst.

In the Revue Biblique of 1896–97 Père Lagrange published a series of articles entitled The Inspiration of the Holy Books. His theory is spread out over a great mass of words, and often obscurely enunciated, but we may gather from it the following principles. God teaches all that is taught in the Bible; but he teaches nothing except what is taught by the inspired writer, and the inspired writer teaches nothing except what he intends (by his writing) to teach. Lagrange calls this a very simple theory, declaring that thus inspiration does not change the sense of terms, nor the character of propositions, nor the species of literature to which the books belong. It is only by studying these that we may come at the idea and intention of the author. The illustrations given to prove this principle seem to us puerile and illogical. Lagrange cites the sentence from the Psalms: There is no God, as an evidence of a statement which the author did not wish to teach, and as therefore a proof that the author teaches only what he wishes to teach. Issues are confused here. No man believes that every sentence in the Bible, without regard to whose utterance it be, or its context, is true. In such absurd supposition Christ would be a malefactor, a blasphemer, and God the Father would give place to Baal. But there is no logical connection between these simple self-evident facts and a system that is propounded in order to allow its author later to say that the primitive history of the Bible is closely allied to myths. Thus he continues:

On the other hand, no one will deny that not all that appears to be historical is really historical; and so I need not insist upon the now generally accepted and perfectly simple theory—so simple indeed that I can hardly claim as my own the words which express it—to the effect that the value of statements seemingly affirmative or negative depends entirely upon the style of literary production in which such apparently categorical statements appear. The first thing to be done is to determine the various literary styles found in the Bible and presenting the appearance of history. Catholic sentiment rightly shrinks from the use of the word myth, but between myth and history there lies a very wide field. Let us examine, then, the different forms of literary production known to the ancients, so as to find out how many of them the Bible contains, in order to be able to estimate the true character of the expression used.

Can it be said that there are myths in the Bible? The very idea jars on the ordinary mind, and it will not allow the word to be uttered. A few Catholic writers, daily growing more numerous, prefer to draw a distinction.

Naturally they are not anxious to retain the word if it gives pain. But they find its use convenient to express the likeness—at least the external likeness—there is between myths and primitive history; only, they carefully add that the mythological elements found in the Bible have been carefully stripped of any polytheistic tinge, and are only used to express lofty religious ideas. The phrase is that of Dom Hildebrand Höpfl, a Benedictine, used in a pamphlet directed against the rationalistic methods of the higher critics.

No one, as far as I know, has attempted to analyze this statement or any equivalent one, so that the popular mind, is uneasy and not favorably disposed. Speaking for myself, I think it would be well definitely to put the word aside, on the ground that words—which in themselves are of little importance—should only be used in the sense assigned to them by general use. We are accustomed to associate the word myth with the idea of a false or even childish religion. Let us leave the word alone, and try and reach the root of the matter.

We may take as an example the story of Lots wife, changed into a pillar of salt, in circumstances with which you are familiar. The passage is quite definite: and his wife looking behind her, was turned into a pillar of salt. (Gen. 19:26) To understand its full meaning you should have seen the locality. To the south of the Dead Sea, on the western side, there lies a long hill, resembling a whale cast ashore. It is an inexhaustible salt mine, and supplies all the homes of Jerusalem. On the side of the sea, by erosion or by some other geological phenomena, blocks have been formed which look like statues. There has always been at least one for the tradition, which now no longer speaks of the wife of Lot, but of bint Lout—the daughter of Lot. Now, ask those who are interested in folklore or mythology—ask yourselves, ask your own common-sense and your conscience. There can be no doubt what the answer will be. Were we to find this phrase elsewhere than in the Bible, we should simply say that popular imagination had personified a thing, and having found in some block of salt a human likeness, connected it with the memory of a woman who disappeared in some great catastrophe. To be changed into stone is generally a punishment, as in the case of Niobe. (Méthode Historique, VI.)

The falsity of Lagranges principle must be evident to all, We may concede that God is responsible for all that is taught in the Bible, without committing God to a solid firmament, a geocentric system, etc.; for these things are not taught in the Bible. The language of a people was accepted to express truth without affirming or denying their ideas on scientific phenomena. But when Lagrange affirms that the inspired writer teaches nothing except what he wishes to teach, the statement is evidently false. Many prophets uttered prophecies which were sealed for ages after they wrote. In many cases the inspired writers did not comprehend the full sense of what they wrote. The typical sense of Holy Scripture is a legitimate sense, and yet the human writers did not know it. Will any man say that Moses knew that the brazen serpent in the desert was a type of the Crucified Saviour?

Lagrange next declares that scientific criticism was satisfied the moment the principle was conceded that the Scriptures spoke according to appearances. He then asks: May we apply the same principle to the historical books? All his subsequent argument, all his illustrations are in defense of an affirmative answer to this question. As we have before stated, he makes some restrictions of his theory. There are some strictly revealed historical facts, as for instance the fall of man. Thus he declares in his VI. Lecture of the Méthode Historique:

But it is quite evident that the first chapters of the Bible are not a history of mankind, nor even of one of its branches, for the simple reason that we could with difficulty find one fact for every thousand years, and even then we should not know where to place it.

You may object that you are anxious to retain those first chapters as so many landmarks in the history of the continuity of religion. Very good; but we must bear in mind that that is what they are, for their only importance is that of fingerposts along this wide waste. But let us take care to recognize their true character. You will agree with me when I say that among those persons there are perhaps some names of peoples: if I go so far as to suggest names of towns, you will recall Sidon to mind. That being so, why not allow that among these fragments there are also names which merely stand for an impersonal progress of mankind, lost memories, the source of which no one knows, occupying in history the same relative position as the ether with which we fill space, without fully realizing what it does, simply because we must put something between the starry spheres?

The very fact that nothing so restrained is found anywhere else, that mythology proper is excluded, itself suffices to guard from error anyone who seeks to see things as they really are. These characteristics, taken by themselves, would suffice to show forth the influence of monotheism, and that all is in keeping with the dignity of the dogma of inspiration.

When I began, I said that I placed the history of Original Sin on one side. Not that I desire to affirm the historicity of all the details of the account; on that subject I have elsewhere clearly expressed my mind. But some might perhaps be tempted to conclude, from the ideas I have been developing, that the essential fact itself cannot have been handed down by tradition. I do not think that follows from the premises. I have endeavored to draw a distinction between the details and the core of stories which may be handed down most faithfully for centuries in the most varied surroundings, everywhere undergoing some transformation because it is everywhere tinged with borrowed colors, yet remaining everywhere recognizable.

The study of religious histories, and particularly of primitive histories, has familiarized folklorists with this fact. There seems to me, therefore, no impossibility whatever in the transmission of the account of the Fall from generation to generation for thousands of years.

But even supposing such transmission to be impossible, dato, non concesso, we have only to see whether Original Sin, which evades any strict historical proof, is or is not part of the divine revelation. It is quite certain that it is included in revelation. The conclusion therefore is that it has been revealed. And its revelation seems quite what might be expected, considering its capital importance, and its necessary connection with Redemption. If the dogma involves as a necessary consequence the unity of the human race, our reasoning will be the same. And really I fail to see that in this matter we are all awkwardly placed. History is silent; so there can be no objection from that quarter. Natural science brings against it the difference of races. It was perhaps somewhat of a difficulty, and is perhaps a difficulty even now, for those who maintain the immutability of species. But if moderate evolution tends to predominate science, I should be much surprised if it were not able to explain this phenomenon by its own principles.

On account of the Churchs definition, I believe in Original Sin according to the Churchs meaning; but abstracting from this dogmatic point, based upon the unshakeable foundation of revelation, there can be no objection to assigning primitive history its true character, even though it may not have been sufficiently understood by the men of bygone days.

Lagrange divides historical books into three classes: The romance, history proper, and primitive history. The romance is a creation of the imagination, and may be the means of inculcating truth or falsehood. Strict history has a certain fallible latitude in details without ceasing to be true. Primitive history holds a middle place between romance and real history: No ancient people has solved the mystery of its origin. There are certain annals which are the foundation of history, and there are legends. In the latter case if a historian reproduces the narrations current in his day, to preserve them to future generations, he gives them for what they are worth. Everyone is familiar with this kind of history. For example, it is well known that to indicate the origin of different peoples men derive them from an eponymic hero. The Dorians have as ancestor Dorus; the Phoenicians, Phoenix. The method deceives no one, there is therein no properly called affirmation. Men have only wished to reduce the confused questions of origins to a certain order.

Lagrange believes that an imaginative historical narrative, provided it teach a true lesson, may have place in the Scripture. He cites the Book of Tobias. Whatever we may say of the example chosen, certain it is that the principle is applicable. Even though we hold that Job is a historical personage, no one will deny that the substance of the book is the creation of an inspired imagination to inculcate a great moral lesson.

Of course the chief place in the historical books of the Bible is held by history properly so called. But even here Lagrange declares that the inspired writers did not affirm the precision of facts and words avec la dernière acribie. Absolute exactness in all details is not in the nature of history; the inspired writers reproduced the substantial truths of words and facts.

This part of Lagranges theory pleases every rightminded scholar. Certain modal differences in the Evangelists are well explained by this theory. But venenum in cauda.

Lagrange comes to the third application with a certain timid hesitation: But the history of origins, this strange history where the narration of facts and the uncertain legend jostle each other (se coudoient) in close contact, if (such history) enters into the Bible, how shall we recognize it there? How discern the true from the false? The imaginative narration and the parable teach no fact; real history teaches all facts; but (in primitive history) where lies the truth? How may we arrive at certitude? And most of all in this mixture what becomes of the divine illumination? the infallible judgment, judicium infallibile de acceptis?

Indeed it is a most delicate question, but we can not draw back. A difficulty encompasses us on all sides. Let us endeavor to solve it after having implored light.

In the first place I ask: In what consists this infallible judgment when there is question of a work of the imagination or a parable? The facts related have no objective reality; they have no purpose except to present a lesson; to present a truth under the convenient form, as the parable of Lazarus, or the Canticle of Canticles. The same holds in our hypothesis; (primitive history) aims to present a truth, nothing but a truth in the most apt manner, whether it be a simple affirmation or the adapting of an ancient legend to national forms. But how shall we discern? Is it proven that we must effect this discernment so quickly and easily? Is the Scripture so clear as some protestants pretend? On the contrary is it not of faith that it is obscure? We know that a parable declares the existence of no objective entity. Do we always know when we are dealing with a parable? Some speak of the parable of Lazarus; others believe it to be real history.… The same is true of Tobias, Judith, Jonas. If therefore God leaves us uncertain whether Judith be true history, why could he not leave us in the same incertitude when there is question of distinguishing the various elements which compose a book? Who shall decide the question? The Church as a final resort; exegetes in the first attempt, as humble servants of the Church.

After attempting to find proof for his system in the fact that Fathers and theologians have admitted allegories and metaphors in the first chapter of Genesis, Lagrange continues: Having established these preliminaries we definitively ask: Is primitive history found in the Bible with the same literary characteristics as among other peoples, save only that it is the medium of an infallible teaching? It is equivalent to say: Is the history of Noah and his sons to be placed on the same plane as the legend of Romulus and Remus?

Lagrange answers his question: Here is our conclusion: There exists in the Bible a primitive history, the basis of which is guaranteed by divine truth; but certain circumstances may be considered either as metaphors and allegories; or a Hebrew accommodation of the oral tradition. These circumstances are more the clothing of the truth than the truths contemplated in the teaching, and in interpreting one may occupy himself less with their material object than with their relation to the principal truth taught. But when the sacred writer employes documents or uncertain oral traditions he has the guidance of the infallible judgment. The judgment preserves him from all formal error in his statements, and assures the fitness of what may be called national or popular metaphors to render correctly his proper teaching. I distinguish between the foundation and certain circumstances which have place in all primitive history; and I say that the foundation of primitive biblical history is always true. But if even the foundation of the primitive history of other peoples may be false, why make an exception in favor of the Bible? It is simply on account of the divine truth, because the Bible is inspired.… It is most reasonable to ascribe such action to God, and to hold that he teaches us a true history, whatever be the means chosen by him to deliver it to us. He could have taught us all the circumstances with the same certitude, and we are disposed always to believe them true, except when an examination of the text shows us that the writer did not intend them as true history.… For example, if it be proven, as M. Oppert alleges, on whom I leave the responsibility, that the ages of the patriarchs are artificial reductions of Chaldean epochs, it is evident that the man who made this mathematical operation has not pretended to write history, and does not give us as history the result of his calculations. He has only wished to supply the defect of positive chronology. Our rule shall be to accept as true all that the author delivers as such, substance and circumstances. We shall always consider the foundation to be true history; and we shall never cast doubt on the circumstances except when we are persuaded thereto by what we believe to have been the intention of the author. Revue Biblique 1896 pp. 510 et seqq.

Lagrange has made many applications of his theory:

Berosus tells how the fish-god Oannes, by a series of apparitions, led men on to civilization; then he enumerates kings with very long and empty reigns. The Bible is more serious, is closer to truth, and, I venture to say, closer to history. On going back in thought to the beginnings of the race, the historical deeds of individuals entirely escape us, though we do possess the elements at least of the history of civilization; in other words, the progress it has made, and the great discoveries which have led it on to the point reached. When the Bible tells us that the arts developed little by little, that nomadic life gradually assumed its own general characteristics, different from those of town life, that men did not always play the kinnor and flute, nor work brass and iron.… I suppose anthropology recognizes it to be quite correct, and that it is impossible otherwise to conceive the beginning and progress of civilization.

But can that be said to constitute history, duly noted and handed down? I do not think so, the reason being that history, or rather what we mean by real history, demands some knowledge of the circumstances, or at least of the time and place. The Bible, of course, cites proper names. But, as I pointed out at the beginning, that is not enough, because those proper names are given in a Hebrew form which is not their own; and besides, what is the value of a proper name, of which the form has undergone change, in the midst of such a vast expanse of time? And if the syllables do not correspond to syllables, nor yet, doubtless, the sense to the original sense, what is there left of the historical setting of the fact? Can anyone see therein an historical reality which involves the truthfulness of the sacred writer? To what extent is it of faith that Jobal invented music?

And yet, those proper names are a most interesting study. They often seem to me to be the very name of the object invented, thus perhaps witnessing to a marked degree the admirable wisdom of the biblical writer. Could anything, in fact, be more restrained, prudent, and sound than the statement that this or that art, known in our own day, had a beginning, that music was invented by a musician? It is a great virtue to be able to say nothing when you know nothing. It called for much more than that, to put an obstacle in the way of the Greeks; though they, too, were well acquainted with this elementary method.

Let me give you some examples found in Pliny. Kloster invented the distaff (κλωστήρ, distaff); Staphylos (σταφυλή bunch of grapes) mingled water and wine. The oar was discovered in two places—the handle at Kopae (κώπη handle) and the blade at Plataea (πλατή flat). Or it may even take the form of a genealogy: thus, according to Philo of Byblos, fire is descended from three brothers named Light, Fire, and Flame. It is all true enough, and deceives no one. Turn to the first story we have in the Bible. I pass over the name of Abel, which probably means shepherd. The first town is called Henoch, derived from a word meaning dedication. All have heard of the trumpet of Jubilee, jobel: jobel in Phoenician means ram: the connection between the two is very natural; the rams horn was used as a musical instrument. Can we wonder that Jabal was the father of shepherds, and Jobal the father of musicians? The name Cain means blacksmith in Arabic; and it was Tubal-Cain who was the first maker of musical instruments. I do not seek to lower the Bible by making this analysis; on the contrary, I think it works out to its honour.

It was quite out of the question to write real history, and yet is was of importance to show by a continuous chain of evidence the unity of the history of salvation. The Bible avoids absurd or obscene accounts; there is no pretence of ignoring sin, but sin receives its due punishment, and is not glorified, as though it changed its character by becoming the privilege of heroes. The Bible avoids even unfounded stories. It is taken up with tangible things, with discoveries which are still known; it relates their origin and progress, and leaves them in a hazy light, which has no outward semblance of actual history. If the personality of Lamech seems to stand out against this background it is only in an elegy. Could the author have told us more clearly that there exists no history of these periods?

I find a similar regard for reality, in so far as it can be reached and set forth, in the story of the Deluge and the Tower of Babel.

There is a modern school, represented by Canon Cheyne, which considers the Deluge mythical—mythical, that is, in that it is the translation of an astronomical phenomenon into history. But the great majority of anthropologists consider that the Deluge, of which accounts are everywhere found, is the memory, more or less modified, of real floods. M. Suess, professor of geology at Vienna, and M. Raymond de Girard, professor of geology at Freiburg, have even considered they could indicate the physical causes of the Babylonian deluge. Be that as it may, the general character of the biblical story points to a real flood, the religious interpretation of which has far surpassed its historical importance. Nor is the Tower of Babel a mere product of the imagination. The biblical writer had certainly seen the gigantic unfinished temple of Borsippa, which Nabuchodonosor finding in ruins in consequence of the bad state of its gutters, made a boast of achieving. It was no mere flight of the imagination to look upon Babylon as a proud city where all languages were to be heard. And after M. Blanckenkorns careful investigation, the results of which were accepted as satisfactory by M. de Lapparent, we are entitled to hold that the sinking of the south part of the Dead Sea may have taken place at a time when there were men on the earth, and that the account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah cannot be simply set aside as purely mythical—as the picturesque expression of the horror inspired by scenery unique in the world for its sublime desolateness. Undoubtedly the biblical story goes far beyond the mere fact, otherwise it would not faithfully express what it wishes to express; but it is always careful to have as the background of its picture some striking reality which fills the horizon, whether it be in the depths of the desert or of the past. (Méthode Historique, VI.)

Withal Père Lagrange believes in an unrestricted inspiration extending even to the words. In his third conference before the Catholic Institute of Toulouse, which conferences were afterward published under the name of La Méthode Historique, he speaks of inspiration thus: We must have recourse to the principles of faith and to psychology if we would understand what the grace of inspiration really is, what special light it communicates to the intellect, and how the will is moved. From the Churchs definitions we may conclude that Gods help is antecedent and not consequent, that it is an impulse, and so necessarily a light bestowed upon him, for man is no mere machine, and his will does not determine anything without a corresponding light in the intellect. Now since this help is antecedent to the whole operation, it must extend to the whole work, and consequently even to the very words; but since the sacred writer used his ordinary faculties, it impressed nothing readymade upon the mind—not even the thoughts. On this particular point I have nothing new to say, and nothing clearer to propound.

So far reason has been working within its proper limits; it is but fitting, however, that it should show more reserve in dealing with the divine historical fact. Our guiding principle in this matter must be clear to all. It is no business of ours to decide what God must have done, or what it was fitting that He should have done; all we have to do is humbly to note whatever forms part of His work. Such questions are not to be solved by each man according to his taste; we must be content to be guided by facts.

The demands of reason are to be taken into account as long as the question merely concerns what God may or may not inspire, and to whom it is fitting that He should betake Himself to do so. We may never affirm that God could teach error—that would be blasphemous—but we ought to be very careful about confidently concluding that a thing is fitting or unfitting. Let casuists, by all means, use probable reasons, in obscure cases, but, as straightforward critics, we will confine our attention to facts. What we want more especially is that vigorous care in reasoning characteristic of true theologians: the opinion of such men is far less to be feared than the routine of those who make theology a mere matter of professional knowledge, who are unable to bring the light of reason to bear upon what they dislike, except through prejudices begotten of the necessarily narrow outlook they allow themselves.

If a French priest were to celebrate Holy Mass with covered head, he would be guilty of an act of grave irreverence, which could only be paralleled by celebrating in China with head uncovered. We have not the same ideas as had the ancients concerning history, morality, literary property, use of pseudonyms, borrowing—in more or less disguised form—from other books, the revision and re-editing of works. Your respect for inspired authors may make you wonder whether you are to attribute to them what to you seems improper. Do you not see that you are condemning the actions of the missionary in China?

But we must subject the historical idea of inspiration to a more searching analysis, and as we have dealt with the person inspired, let us now turn to the aim of inspiration. If we only knew the exact relation in which inspiration stood to divine teaching a great result would be achieved. No one hesitates to say that inspiration goes far beyond the limits of religious teaching, since it extends to everything, even to the words themselves, while religious teaching is not everywhere found. It would be a mistaken application of St. Augustines principle that God does not teach in the Bible what is not of use for salvation, to suppose that God ceases to inspire when not actually teaching a religious truth.

The consequence would be that all that is non-religious in the Bible would not be inspired. Now it is difficult to see, for instance, where lies the religious teaching of the Book of Ruth. In controversy with protestants it has often been maintained that all dogma is not contained in Scripture, for the simple reason that the sacred writers had no intention of always teaching it; they wrote as particular circumstances demanded, sometimes to teach, but also to encourage, console, or recommend, as in the letter to Philemon; and we may add that throughout the whole Psalter, rich as it is in the loftiest religious truths, it is never the Psalmists direct object to inculcate religious truths, since he addresses himself to God, whom he has no intention of instructing when he confesses his iniquities and asks for assistance from Him. Still less does the Psalmist teach God historical or natural truths. So that one may quite fairly ask whether the aim of inspiration really is instruction. That it is not its direct aim seems clearly to follow from the distinction between revelation and inspiration. The Bible contains Gods teaching: the religious truths He taught were communicated by revelation, and it is not essential that revelation should coincide in point of time with inspiration. On the other hand, if, in that teaching, we take the facts not directly bearing upon our salvation, we may say that generally speaking, in their natural and historical aspect, there was no absolute need of Gods teaching them, since mans memory would have sufficed to retain them.

Inspiration leads to writing; and the aim of writing is to fix and record previously-acquired knowledge, so that the grace of inspiration has as its primary object not to teach, but to preserve the memory of revealed truths, and of the historical facts which enable the order and sequence of revelation to be understood, and that, although the aim of the sacred writer himself be to teach: the notion of inspiration is wider in range.

It follows from this first point, that the doctrine contained in an inspired book is not necessarily perfect in its literal and historical meaning. God, in wishing to preserve the memory of facts of importance in the history of mans salvation—occasionally merely of secondary importance, as in the case of the Book of Ruth—determined, perhaps, to preserve the memory of the imperfect ideas men had of the Godhead at a given stage of revelation. You remember we admitted the idea of essential progress in the Old Testament. He does not teach those imperfect ideas to us in the form in which they are expressed, nor does He desire that we should confine ourselves to them. Were we to do so, we should be making a mistake, for through His Son we have a higher knowledge of His infinite perfection; it was His wish that we should have knowledge of those ideas, the better to appreciate the need in which we stand of His light and grace. And so it is quite possible that we may find in the Bible inferior sentiments expressed, not only by the impious, but even by such as lived in the hope of a clearer light; thus the tone of the Books of Proverbs and Ecclesiasticus is no doubt practical enough, yet often wanting in moral elevation, and lacking that exquisite delicacy which constitutes the glory of Christian virtue. The meaning has to be spiritualized in order to raise it to the Christian standard, and through its spiritual meaning the Holy Scriptures regain in our eyes their full value. And hence the Church, full of reverence as she is for the Word of God, obliges no one to read it, and all instinctively feel that they derive more profit for their souls from one chapter of the Imitation than from the whole Book of Leviticus.

If we consider the Spirit of God which inspired it, the Bible is the noblest of books; but its aim and object is not so lofty. God inspired the preservation of this teaching, but it is far inferior to the teaching we find throughout the Church. They are egena elementa, the words spoken to them of old: for us our Lord reserved more saving words. The facts speak for themselves.

Yet we must not go too far. Let us remember what we said before—reason itself, as well as faith, will bar the way when it needs must be barred. It is impossible that God should teach error. It is therefore impossible, not that the Bible, recording the words of all kinds of men, should contain no error, but that an intelligent study of the Bible should lead us to conclude that God taught error.

But what do the sacred writers teach? They teach, we are told, what they categorically affirm. Now it has long since been pointed out that the Bible is not a mere collection of theses or categorical affirmations. There are certain forms of literary composition in which no absolute statement is made as to the reality of the facts related: they are used merely as the groundwork of a moral lesson—of this the parable is an example. Now inspiration does not change the forms of composition: each must be interpreted according to its own particular rules. It is not necessary that I should insist on this point; it has been fully accepted in the Etudes by Père Prat, and to me it seems the very best means of meeting current objections to the truthfulness of the Bible. To-day, however, I wish to look at the question from another standpoint, and consider the method of divine teaching as shown by the Bible itself.

As our starting-point we shall take the facts we have just noted.

We all agree that everything God teaches must be received with reverence, but it is quite clear that in the Bible this teaching is not to be found in ready-made statements standing in a state of splendid isolation. It is mingled with numberless stories, discussions, poetical effusions, anecdotes, prayers, and metaphors. We all willingly admit that the inspired writer has not always the intention of giving instruction in the name of God, as is quite clear, for instance, when he prays to God for pardon of his sins; though it is none the less true that few prayers of the Bible contain such valuable teaching as does the Miserere. And so it is possible that there may be divine teaching, even when the sacred writer seems to make no mention of it. On the other hand, we must not be in too great a hurry to receive as a statement made by God what the writer is merely relating, without taking the trouble to indicate it as his own. If religious teaching itself is frequently a resultant whose formula the Church alone is competent to state, with still greater force does this apply to those secondary elements which only figure in Scripture to clothe the truth, or, if you prefer St. Augustines figure, to serve as the sounding-board of the lyre. All this goes to prove that Gods teaching is infinitely beyond our own, even in the method of which He makes use, and that, consequently it is not to be judged by our standards.

Some few years ago one of my brethren Père Lacôme, in a little book, entitled Quelques considérations exégétiques sur le premier chapitre de la Genèse, which was published with the fullest approval of Père Monsabre, drew the exact distinction that is here needed. His theory had not the success it would have to-day, because less attention was then paid to such problems. I shall take the liberty of quoting a few extracts: This small nation (Israel) owed to its Prophets, and to them alone, its rise above all others. Thanks to them, their ideas were purified from errors concerning the Godhead.… But apart from and outside this one point, the Prophet had no call to rectify the ideas of his people, and he left them as they were: he took them as he found them, as inconsistent as are the ideas of a child, false figures of the true, radically incomplete ideas, as the ideas of men will ever be. Yet the Spirit of God gave himself full play in the maze of our illusions, without ever adopting, to the extent of identifying Himself therewith, an erroneous opinion; He may be said to have leaned upon it, or better, to have glided over it, even as do the rays of sunshine over a faulty mirror, or a pool of muddy water, without thereby contracting any stain.

How are such faulty statements to be reconciled with the dignity of the Holy Ghost? After all, we are concerned with a book whose author is God, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. It is the standing difficulty. Even granting, P. Lacôme proceeds, that the sky spoken of in Genesis is a solid vault, which in reality it is not: can the Holy Spirit be said to have fallen into error? Our own common-sense can give the answer. When a teacher wishes to teach a child science—astronomy, for example—he proceeds step by step, not being able to convey at once the whole of his knowledge to the mind of his pupil. Before he can go forward he must have a starting-point, and so the ideas already in the mind of the child will have to serve as the foundation of all his teaching. Those ideas are the only material to hand, the only forces wherewith to work to set the mind in motion and cause it to go forward.

When a master has to enter into the mind of his pupil, he endeavors to discover the weird and foolish ideas it has; and when he has found them, he makes use of them to insinuate some particles of truth; and then to help him to digest the first lessons of astronomy, he goes back to the myths and gropings of old, he personifies the sun, speaks of its going forth on its daily course from its rise to its setting; but can it be fairly said that in so doing the master approved of all the illusions that fill that youthful mind? Now in the Bible the Holy Spirit is such a master, such a preacher.

He is a teacher in the midst of the other teachers of this world; He teaches as they do, and in their own way; He has a teaching of His own knowledge, of His own supernatural knowledge, and He wishes to impart it to man.… Speaking of the Wisdom of God rejecting the knowledge of man, he says: With the sole qualification of Teacher of Divine Science she came, and established her chair by the side of other chairs, in the public places and cross-roads she gathered together all the passers-by without any distinction, and to them set forth her teaching; she marked out her own definite position, and outside that position she spoke the language of the people, as all great teachers of the human race have done. And if to man, who is all his life but a little child, she spoke in childish terms, and spelled out to him the mysteries of Heaven, we really cannot blame her for our own stammering and inconsequence, she whose teaching is so justly pure and lofty. Our own ignorance alone should be blamed.

This theory, I said, created no sensation. Yet there was a watchman on the alert. Père Brucker, in the Etudes, denounced the views as dangerous, and concluded that, Pleasing as Père Lacômes hypothesis may at first sight appear, it seems to me fraught with ruinous consequences.… No wise and conscientious human teacher would act in such a way; nor would he bolster himself up on the wrong ideas of his pupil even to begin his work, and run the risk of their being mistaken for truth, or of discrediting his own lessons in advance. Still less, therefore, could the divine master, Truth itself, make use of error, in any degree whatever, to open human intellects to His supernatural doctrine. He could only exploit (if I may be allowed the word) what is good and true in our ideas.

The theory is perhaps painted in rather dark colors. Père Lacôme had said, to lean upon, or better, to glide over; Père Brucker interprets him to mean, to bolster himself up.

Père Lacôme was particularly careful to draw a distinction between two essentially different forms of teaching, where his critic would appear to see only one form. It would be foolish for a teacher of geometry to tolerate in his pupils wrong ideas about a straight line: how could he bolster himself up with that? But need the teacher of grammar trouble himself about the truth of the examples cited to prove the rule, and when he is teaching them how to spell the name of King Pharamond, may he not pass lightly over the obscurity of the early history of France?

Now if it be the case that St. Paul and our divine Saviour have argued from Holy Scripture according to the mental habits of the Jews, without seeking the exact text and without binding themselves down to its precise meaning, and that the Apostles set forth as the fulfilment of a prophecy what is merely an application based upon the similarity of the incidents, with how much more reason may they not have made use of current Jewish ideas in matters literary and scientific without seeking to rectify them? And if this course of action is not unworthy of the Author of our faith, why may we not presume that a similar course may have been adopted by other sacred writers in their exposition of divine teaching? The theological statement of the fact is not of recent origin: as is so frequently the case, the idea was stated by St. Augustine, St. Thomas moulded it, and, in his Encyclical, Providentissimus Deus, Leo XIII. has consecrated it anew. The rule is so excellent as to need no apology for its repetition.

We have first to consider, says Leo XIII., that the sacred writers, or, to speak more accurately, the Holy Ghost who spoke by them, did not intend to teach men these things (that is to say, the essential nature of the things of the visible universe), things in no way profitable to salvation. Hence they do not seek to penetrate the secrets of nature, but rather described and dealt with things in more or less figurative language, or in terms which were commonly used at the time, and which in many instances are in daily use at this day, even by the most eminent men of science. Ordinary speech primarily and properly describes what comes under the senses; and somewhat in the same way the sacred writers—as the Angelic Doctor also reminds us—went by what sensibly appeared, or put down what God, speaking to men, signified, in the way men could understand and were accustomed to (Providentissimus Deus, § 28).

Then after a section working out the same idea, the Pope concludes that, The principles here laid down will apply to cognate sciences, and especially to history (§ 30).

F. Brucker accepts St. Thomas formula, but takes it to mean that the Bible, in relating, for instance, the formation of the firmament, the standing still of the sun, etc., speaks according to outward appearances, and consequently speaks truly, though its language is not properly scientific.

It would be more correct to say that in such cases the Bible is neither right nor wrong. It is quite clear that the ancient writers knew no more than they appear to know. When I use similar statements, I know, like everyone else, that it is wrong, so much so that the error has become a mere figure of speech. Now, can an author who looks upon the sky as a solid vault, and who definitely states his opinion in that sense (for otherwise we should never have guessed it), be really said to express himself in a manner at once exact and true, though not strictly scientific? Is it possible in such a case to make a distinction between science and truth?

It may be objected that if the statement is not true it must be false, and then what becomes of the truthfulness of the Bible? The objection admits of a simple answer. A statement must be either true or false: but here, there is no question of a statement. Remember what St. Thomas says: the sacred writer went by what sensibly appeared. If you confine yourself to mere appearances, you do not judge the thing in itself; and where there is no such judgment there is neither affirmation nor negation. Now it is an elementary logical fact that truth and error are only to be found in a formal act of judgment.

The Holy Father very briefly states that the same criterion should be applied to history.

Lagrange cites the following passage from Cornely:

The interpreter ought to pay great attention to the manner in which the sacred writers give their historical accounts. For, as St. Jerome points out, it is customary in Scripture for the historian to give the common opinion as generally received in his own day; and again; many things are related in the Scriptures according to the opinion of the day in which the facts occurred, and not according to what in reality took place (et non juxta quod rei veritas continebat). This observation of the holy doctor is most important. He thus warns us not to press the words of Scripture to make them meet the present state of scientific knowledge, but to explain them in accordance with the ideas and intentions of the sacred writer. What a number of difficulties would never have been raised had all interpreters always kept St. Jeromes word of warning before them? Lagrange concludes:

It means to say that historical accounts, and even those which bear the fullest token of their historical character, must not be understood in the light of the knowledge of God who knows all things, but in the light of mans limited outlook, and, that it is quite conceivable that God should not communicate further information to the sacred writer, who knows no more than other men on a particular point, even though, in consequence, he should make use of a materially wrong expression.

Use all the arguments ex convenientia you like—these are facts, clear biblical facts, and easy to check. From this it follows that the sacred writers speak according to what appears to them. The theory is a traditional one. It has merely to be applied to particular cases as the needs of criticism call for it, making due allowance for the distinction between history and natural science. And it is precisely in that application of traditional principles to the results of human industry that consists the progress of theological science, (Méthode Historique, pp. 91–116.)

The defect in the system of Lagrange is its excess: falsis vera involvit. Though he disclaims to place history on the same plane as natural science, in some of his applications he does so. Nay more, as we have seen in his own words, he makes Leo XIII. in his encyclical Providentissimus Deus sponsor for this new theory. As we have given the papal encyclical complete in our present treatise, we refer to that to show the falsity of Lagranges appeal. The Pope gives rules for dealing with the objections drawn from science; and then declares that men are to deal with kindred sciences and with history in the same manner. That is by showing that our adversaries often demand more for their hypotheses than they are worth; by showing that many things formerly held by them are now abandoned; and by showing that what is clearly proven does not conflict with Scripture. These are the principles which the Pope advises to apply to history.

Fr. Delattre, S. J., has shown this conclusively in his Autour de la Question Biblique wherein he ably exposes the excesses of the system of Lagrange. It seems also that a recent decision of the Biblical Commission sanctioned by the Pope, forbids some of the applications of Lagranges theory.

This is the wording of the question proposed to the Commission: Is it lawful for the Catholic exegetist to solve the difficulties occurring in certain texts of Sacred Scripture, which appear to relate historical facts, by asserting that in these we have to deal with a tacit or implicit quotation of a document written by an uninspired author, and that the inspired author did not at all intend to approve or adopt all of these assertions, which cannot, therefore, be held to be free from error?

The answer reads: In the negative, except in the case when, due regard being paid to the sense and judgment of the Church, it is proved by solid arguments; (1) that the sacred writer has really quoted the sayings or documents of another; and (2) that he has neither approved nor adopted them, so that he may be properly considered not to be speaking in his own name. This answer was submitted to the Holy Father, and signed and sanctioned by His Holiness on February 13, 1905.

In a private audience granted me in June of 1905, the Holy Father Pius X. spoke sadly of the tendencies of some Catholic scholars, who have been led away by the labored erudition of the Rationalists; and who have accepted some of the false principles of higher criticism.

When Père Lagrange defends the theory that in scientific facts the inspired writers spoke according to appearances, he says nothing new; the principle has been handed down from the Fathers. When he admits the presence of allegory, parable, and metaphor in the Holy Books, especially in the early chapters of Genesis, we agree fully with him. But when he applies his theory of appearances to real historical personages there is an excess. For instance, when the Scriptures declare that Joshua arrested the course of the sun it affirms a truth, a truth that could not have been better enunciated by the most accomplished astronomer of our day. It affirms that a day was miraculously lengthened. The same is true when it is asserted that God created a firmament. It assigns to God the creation of the universe which is spoken of as the ancients saw it. But when the Scriptures assert that Sarah went down into Egypt, and was taken into Pharaohs house, if the account be not true as history, nothing is true. Every circumstance proclaims that the writer wished to be understood as writing genuine history. And yet, Lagrange disposes of the event as follows:

Can that whole story which God willed to be preserved be said to be above the imperfections of the religious truth of those days? Did it come more directly from God to our souls than does the religious truth on which we look to the Church for a final decision?

Lagrange asserts that he preserves the groundwork of the history, and applies the theory of folk-lore only to the details; but one may see by his own application of his system that he treats as details substantial records of events such as the incest of Lot, the destruction of Sodom, the rape of Sarah, etc. Now these events are recorded as history; they have no purpose if they be legendary; and it seems incompatible with the Churchs definitions to declare such narratives to be merely folk-lore.

The phrase folk-lore is a favorite expression of Lagrange. In his theory, primitive history ceases to be history. It is simply a collection of folk-lore; and its relation to religion lies only in this, that no false ideas of faith or morals are found therein. Thus monotheism purifies primitive history from the errors of the folk-lore of the idolatrous nations. We believe that this theory is false for the reason that it does not leave to the Bible the character attributed to it by the Church. The error is in an excessive application of a principle which has a substratum of truth. It may well be admitted that in the mere details of facts of history absolute precision is not demanded in order that it be true history; but no theory may lawfully be applied to the history of the Bible which makes any part of it anything but true history. It must be true history; and its facts must be true, even though they have no immediate relation to doctrine or morals. We can not reason here a priori; it is not for us to determine how God should have delivered his message: the definition of the Church, though it leaves a free ground for discussion, allows no man a theory which makes any part of the Bible other than true history. Allegories, parables and metaphors presented in their proper setting are not inconsistent with the truthful character of a book; but the myths, fables, and legends of folk-lore presented as history are formally false, and can not be a part of a book of which God is the Author.

In 1904, the Rev. Ferd. Prat, S. J., published a small brochure entitled La Bible et lHistoire. The work is a synthesis of the opinions of Lagrange, and adds little that is new. He also invokes the Encyclical Providentissimus Deus in support of the historical method. Others who have in a more or less degree favored the new exegesis are Alfred Durand (Revue du Clergé français), F. Girerd (Annales de philosophie chrétienne), P. Batiffol (Bulletin de littérature ecclésiastique), G. Bonaccorsi (Studi religiosi), Vincent Zapletal, and Vincent Rose.

As before stated, we believe the evil of the new theory to lie in its excess, and hence care must be taken to distinguish what sound dogma may admit in the new exegesis. This is an exegetical question and can not be treated here.

It is however not in accordance with truth to invoke the encyclical of Leo XIII. in support of these theories. The words of the encyclical itself and many other utterances of the pontiff manifest that he condemned the ultra views of the very men who cite the Providentissimus Deus in support of their theories. It is also ridiculous to allege St. Jerome as authority for the historical method. The before mentioned work of Fr. Delattre has clearly demonstrated the falsity of this claim.

The able presentation of the new theories has proven the truth of the Latin proverb: Nihil est tam improbable quod probando not fiat probabile.

The Belgian Benedictin Dom. Sanders published in 1903, a treatise under the title Études sur St. Jerome in which he attempted to base the liberal exegesis on the authority of St. Jerome. The Literar. Rundschau, XXXI., 1905, has ably shown the defective critique of Dom. Sanders work. It is a mangling of history to compel it to support a theory already determined.

Alfred Loisy has drifted so far from orthodoxy that it is scarcely worth our while to examine his views on inspiration. In his Etudes Bibliques (Paris, 1901) he discusses the new science of criticism as applied to the Bible. He declares that Scripture contains a divine and a human element; but these two elements so compenetrate each other that they form a divine-human work in which the divine action and the human action cannot be separated. These two operations act per modum unius, as the Scholastics say. An inspired book is wholly the work of God, and wholly the work of man. To distinguish the inspiration of the matter from the non-inspired words; or to assign the dogmatic and moral texts to God, and assign other things to the human author is to operate the vivisection of the books.

M. Loisy next proceeds to admit a relative element in the scriptures. This relative element comes from the fact that the books express the beliefs of the times in science and in certain parts of history. The Scriptures were adapted to the conditions of the times, and hence with the progress of science an imperfection is revealed, and this must always be verified in human progress. That which men call errors in the Scripture is nothing more than its relative part, which marks the stage of human progress at the date of the origin of the book. There will thus be an ever changing element in exegesis as human progress goes on; and there will be a fixed element, for the church safeguards the truths which never change. In a word the inspired book is a product of the times, and reflects the state of learning, of customs, and in a way, of the moral code of the times. Hence the first eleven chapters of Genesis are not historical; but a presentation of the philosophy of creation in the form of the Chaldean traditions.

In consequence of these views M. Loisy was compelled to leave the Catholic Institute of Paris, where he had taught for twelve years. Five of his works are on the Index of prohibited books. It seems quite evident that Pius X. had the opinions of M. Loisy in mind when in his allocution to the newly created cardinals on April 18, 1907, he declared: As for tradition, everything is relative and subject to mutations; consequently the authority of the holy Fathers is reduced to a nullity.

Zanecchia is a pronounced advocate of the new exegesis. He follows closely the teaching of Lagrange, but is bolder in applying them. We reproduce here a few passages in the original Latin from his most recent work, Scriptor sacer sub div. Insp. juxta sent. Card. Franzelin, Romae 1903: In sacris ergo libris qui historici appellantur, sub forma historica qua conscripti fuerunt, non semper vera historia factorum eorumque chronologicus ordo reperitur, quia scopus hagiographorum non erat ubique veram historiam humanarum rerum tradere, sed communiter utebantur historicis notionibus, et prout in vulgo erant, ad religiosas vel morales veritates docendas. Qui proinde in ea quae sacra historia vocatur accuratam veramque historiam ubique reperire praesumit, se exponit certo periculo inveniendi non historicam veritatem sed historicos errores, qui tamen neque Deo inspiranti neque hagiographo scribenti imputari possunt, sed unice inquirenti historicam veritatem ubi nec Deus nec hagiographus eam docuerunt [docuit].

Demum nihil prohibet scriptorem sacrum ad ostendendam processionem omnium creaturarum a Deo, uti documentis ac traditionibus in quibus rerum eventus plus vel minus poetica descriptione narrantur. Sic in primis Genesis capitibus introductio dierum in instantanea creatione, ordo quo res a Deo processerunt, descriptio formationis protoparentum, eorum felicitas ante lapsum, descriptio paradisi voluptatis, arboris vitae et arboris scientiae boni ac mali in medio paradisi, fluvii qui inde egrediens in quattuor partes dividebatur, relatio colloquii Dei cum lapsis protoparentibus, tunicarum pellicearum quibus Deus eos vestivit etc., sunt narrationes veridicae quantum ad radicem eventuum, sed in earum forma descriptiva orientalis poetica extranea non fuit. Hagiographus autem narrationes illas accepit prout in usu erant apud populos, et in sacro Libro retulit, non quidem ut auctoritate propria illas approbaret, praesertim in earum forma, sed quatenus lumine inspirativo iudicavit conscribendas esse, ut populi cognoscerent cuncta mundi bona non alium praeter Deum auctorem habuisse, qui specialem providentiam erga hominem manifestavit, singularemque misericordiam una cum iustitia in eum ostendit.

Ut igitur concludamus, narrationes biblicae neque omnes historicam veritatem habent, neque omnes historica veritate destitutae sunt, et quamplures ex eis inveniuntur in quibus fundamentum designat veridicum atque historicum factum, forma vero et circumstantiae quibus traditur ex poetica arte proveniunt. Similiter omnes biblicae assertiones veritatem continent, haec tamen neque semper absoluta est, neque ubique relativa manet, sed in aliquibus absoluta est et in aliis relativa. Vera itaque intelligentia Scripturae maximam eruditionem requirit, ubi vero haec non sufficit, exspectandum est iudicium Ecclesiae, cuius est iudicare de vero sensu ac interpretatione Scripturarum.

For more than twenty years the new exegesis was being propagated with great activity in France, England, and in other lands before Catholic scholars in Germany entered into the movement. In 1903, the Bulletin de Littérature Ecclésiastique reproached the German theologians (Bardenhewer, Hoberg, etc.) with being stationary, and with not realizing that there was a biblical question. In 1902, Prof. Karl Holzhey published his work Schoepfung, Bibel und Inspiration, (Vienna and Stuttgart). Though more temperate than the French école large, Holzhey admits an imperfect side of the Scriptures. The inspired writer has his own individuality, and impresses it on his work. He is also the child of his times, and impresses on his work the beliefs of his age. Divine inspiration is consistent with these imperfections. The inspired writer never utters a formal lie; but is not necessarily ahead of his age except in the case of direct revelation. Holzhey then asks the question: Whether inspiration so strengthens the writers human judgment that he commits no substantial error. In his answer he distinguishes between the main truth which the writer wished to express and the mode of expression. The mode of expression is not necessarily determined by divine power. Again as the very nature of a human work is to be human and therefore imperfect, without a series of miracles the work of the inspired writer cannot be totally preserved from imperfections. In these there is no formal falsehood: the writer has made use of his data honestly and truthfully; but yet as the work bears the impress of a human author, it will also have human imperfections. Holzhey condemns the theory restricting inspiration to things of faith and morals, and will not exempt obiter dicta from inspiration. He extends inspiration to all the Scripture; but the cooperation of the divine and human elements leaves a certain human imperfection in the work, not of a nature to defeat Gods purpose.

In 1904, Fr. Franz von Hummelauer, S. J., published in the series of Biblische Studien a brochure entitled Exegetisches zur Inspirationsfrage. This work caused much amazement to those who had known the learned exegetes work in the Cursus Scripturae Sacrae. Fr. von Hummelauer is a pronounced advocate of the new Exegesis. The ground principle of his whole system is the greater role given to the human side of inspiration. He confesses in the foreword that he has made large study of French works on the subject, which admission prepares us to find in his work the influence of the école large. He declares that the time is not yet come to formulate definitive theories on inspiration; but yet he puts forth his hypothesis in a very positive manner. Von Hummelauer groups his views under three heads: (1) the form of literature in which the narrative portions of the Old Testament have come down to us; (2) the human side of Biblical inspiration; (3) the human authors of the inspired books.

Von Hummelauer acknowledges that he is more a collector of what others have written than an original creator of his treatise. And true enough on the first page we find the principle of Lagrange: Every word in the Bible is true in the sense that God and the inspired writer understood it and wrote it. The sense of the human author is determined by what von Hummelauer calls the remote context, that is the literary form of the inspired work.

Father von Hummelauer draws the attention of his readers not merely to the historical novel, but also to the fable, the parable, the epic; again, to the form of religious history, of antique history, of national tradition or folk-lore, of the Midrash, and of the prophetic or apocalyptic narrative. The author believes that God can move the inspired writer to make use of one and all of these various literary forms in his naratives. And what becomes of Biblical inerrancy in this case? An inspired parable, or epic, or historical novel is truthful in the same way in which profane works of the respective literary form are considered truthful. The reader well knows that the religious historian makes the material and the form of his narrative subservient to edification; he knows that the antique historian represents his facts in an artistically free form; that in folk-lore, fiction is not limited to form, but extends to the contents of the narrative, though some, and perhaps a great many, of its statements, may be historically true; that the Midrash resembles our passionplay in representing a Biblical narrative in such a way as to inculcate a religious or moral lesson; finally, that the apocalyptic narrative contains a great many symbolic representations.

According to Fr. von Hummelauer, several of the Old Testament narratives actually present some of the foregoing literary forms. Scholz had suggested that the Book of Judith might be a parable, but Fr. Prat mentions the Book in connection with the Midrash. The epic is represented in the psalms on creation, e. g., Ps. 135, and on Pharaohs death in the Red Sea. The historical novel is mentioned in connection with the Books of Ruth, Judith, Esther, and Tobias by such writers as Fr. Prat, Fr. Brucker Scholz, Schanz, Vigouroux, E. Cosquin, L. Fonck, A. Durand, Lagrange, and Gayraud. Finally, von Hummelauer is of opinion that the Book of Genesis presents the form of national tradition or folk-lore, while the Book of Ruth may be considered as a form of family tradition. He gives three reasons for his view as to the Book of Genesis: (1) The formula these are the generations or this is the book of the generation occurs some ten times in Genesis, and replaces the Hebrew expression elle toledoth; it appears to be agreed that the rendering is not exact, but the Rev. author belives that the rendering this is the national tradition concerning heaven and earth, or this is the folk-lore concerning Adam, would be correct. The author of Genesis claims, therefore, to write a series of national traditions. (2) The primeval records of all other nations have passed into national tradition or folk-lore; now, there is no evidence to prove a special divine intervention in favor of the earliest Hebrew records. (3) The first eleven chapters of Genesis present a remarkable affinity to the national traditions of other nations, so that we naturally consider them as their Hebrew parallels.

Fr. Von Hummelauer considers in the second part of his pamphlet the historian of the Old Testament rather than any other inspired author. The author supposes the wellknown principle that by merely quoting a source we do not become responsible for the objective truthfulness of the same. A quotation is true if it faithfully reproduces the original text. In the same way, a history of Rome according to Livy, e. g., does not vouch for the objective truthfulness of the narrative; such a history is true, if it faithfully represents the history of Rome according to the record of Livy. It cannot be called in question that the Bible contains quotations, and at times these quotations are said to be colorless so that they cannot be distinguished from their context except by critical means.

Rev. Fr. von Hummelauer maintains that the Books of Samuel, of Kings, and of Paralipomenon are a history of Israel according to the Annals quoted in these books and corrected according to the prophetic source utilized by the writers; that 2 Mach., 3–15 professes to be a history according to the writings of Jason, that the Books of Joshua, Judges, and of I. Mach. must be considered historical in the same way in which the foregoing books are historical; that most of the Old Testament quotations found in the New Testament are citations according to the Septuagint translation; that several typical applications of Old Testament passages on the part of New Testament writers may have been made according to the current interpretation of Judaism; that finally the names of the Old Testament authors are given by New Testament writers according to the current Jewish tradition. In none of these cases, therefore, can we hold the inspired writer responsible for the objective truthfulness of his course, unless he freely vouches for the same. This does not impair the historical character of the inspired books; for they are as truthful as historical documents usually are. In fact, they are more reliable than other historical documents, seeing that gross errors are incompatible with the dignity of an inspired work. Nor does this explanation conflict with the Fathers, seeing that they explained away their historical difficulties by having recourse to a spiritual meaning of Sacred Scripture.

Von Hummelauer cites Pope Leos encyclical as authority for his views, and repeats the formula of Lagrange, that the inspired writer is the child of his times, that he stands on the scientific plane of his age, and his knowledge is limited by the horizon of his age. Therefore we must not read our opinions into the books, but draw the authors opinions out of them. He concludes that the question within proper limits belongs not to dogma, but to literary criticism.

Fr. von Hummelauer quotes the following sentence from Durand (Revue du Clergé français XXXIII., 1902): Men have compared the inspired word of God with the Incarnate Word of God. The Apostle says that the Incarnate Word was made like to us in all save sin: we may say that the inspired word becomes a human utterance in all save error. Von Hummelauer evidently accepts this as a most apt simile. He develops it still further: Yes, that (error) is the bound which is reached but not passed. The Son of God was sinless, but he was tempted: he was not to see corruption; but he died and was buried. Mans word having become Gods word is free of error, but it comes to the bound of error. Not to it is stranger the argumentum ad hominem which uses error, though it does not affirm error.

It seems that this example is most unfitting and irreverent. It proves nothing for the new exegesis. In the category of sin there was no weakness in the Son of God: he was not tempted from within. He did not come to the bound of sin, and there stop. So likewise we may logically argue that in the category of error there is no weakness in the Scriptures; they do not stop at the boundary of error. They have human elements corresponding to the human in Christ; they are not always written in the finest style; the expression may not always be the most apt; they employ the scientific notions of their time; but their enunciations are always true. Though they treated history without the critical method, they were upheld by the power of God to write true history.

In our review of the liberal opinions on inspiration we have not contemplated to give all the authors. We have given the ablest exponents, and we believe that those omitted add nothing new to the principles here reviewed. Fr. Hildebrand Höpfl (das Buch der Bücher, Freiburg, 1904), closely follows Zanecchia; Engelkemper (die Paradieses flüsse, 1901) and Norbert Peters (die grundsätzliche Stellung der Katholischen Kirche zur Bibelforschung, Paderborn, 1905). add nothing to the theories of Holzhey and von Hummelauer.

Before closing this review of the liberal opinions we submit a brief notice of the manner in which the adherents of the New Exegesis present what they choose to call St. Jeromes law of history.

In the 27 chapter of Jeremiah is narrated that Jeremiah prophesied the Babylonian captivity. In the 28 chapter, Hananiah, the son of Azzur, contradicts Jeremiah, and declares that within two years the God of Israel shall break the yoke of the King of Babylon. The Lord reveals to Jeremiah that Hananiah had spoken a lying prophecy. Jeremiah charges the false prophet with the lie, and announces to him that he should die that same year, which duly came to pass.

The Hebrew mentions Hananiah as Hananiah the son of Azzur the prophet who was of Gabaon. The Septuagint departs from the Hebrew, and calls him a pseudo-prophet.

In his comment. on Jer. 28:10–11, Jerome writes: The Seventy do not translate the clause two years. Neither do they speak of Ananias as a prophet, lest they should seem to call him a prophet who was not a prophet: as if many things were not spoken of in the Sacred Scriptures according to the opinion of that age, in which the events are related, and not according to the intrinsic truth of the thing itself (quasi non multa in Scripturis Sanctis dicantur juxta opinionem illius temporis quo gesta referuntur, et non juxta quod rei veritas continebat). Even Joseph is called in the Gospel the father of the Lord. A little further in his commentary on Jer. 29:5 ff., St. Jerome repeats: How could Holy Scripture thus call him a prophet, although it is denied in Holy Scripture itself that he had been sent by the Lord? But truth and the law of history is observed, as we said before, not according to what was, but according to what was believed at that time (Sed historiæ veritas et ordo servatur, sicut prædiximus, non juxta quod erat, sed juxta id quod illo tempore putabatur.

In the first place it is a strange process to appeal to Jerome as supreme judge to decide a matter of criticism. Jerome was of impulsive temperament, often expressed his opinions hastily, and often contradicts himself. No Catholic accepts his theoretical views on the deuterocanonical books. Hence we might set aside this testimony by a mere transeat. But it seems to us that the école large have stretched its application far beyond what Jerome intended. In the Scriptural passage itself there is no difficulty. Everyone knows that in the Scripture false prophets are often called prophets. The interpreters of the Septuagitnt were hypercritical in substituting pseudo-prophets, since there was no danger of error in the original text. Now if Jeromes remark has any point at all, it must mean that the Scriptures call these men prophets for the reason that they were commonly so termed, and not for the reason that the people believed them to be true prophets. In his Commentary on Ezekiel (M. t. XXV., Col. 108) Jerome makes clearer his meaning. He there treats of the same case, false prophets (Ezek. 13:1), and Jerome justifies their being called prophets in the Scripture: Let it not disturb anyone that they are called prophets; for the Holy Scripture usually calls a prophet any one prophesying; thus are called the prophets of Baal, the prophets of idols, and the prophets of confusion. And also Paul the Apostle calls the Greek poet a prophet (Titus 1:12): One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said: Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, idle bellies. It is evident in Pauls quotation that he uses that word prophet in a loose sense, meaning that the verse of Epimenides was prophetically true of the Cretans. Jeromes meaning is simply to justify the Scriptural use of the word prophet. We do not assert that his statement is clear or cogent, but it can not have the wide application that the liberal school give it

Let us hear how St. Jerome explains the fact that in Holy Scripture, St. Joseph is called the father of Christ; and the Virgin Mary the wife of St. Joseph. [Adversus Helvidium, n. 4.]

Excepting Joseph and Elizabeth and Mary herself, and some few others who, we may suppose, heard the truth from them, all considered Jesus to be the Son of Joseph. And so far was this the case that even the Evangelists, expressing the opinion of the people, which is the true law of history (quæ vera historiæ lex est), called him the father of the Saviour: as, for instance, And he (that is, Simeon) came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus; and elsewhere, And his parents went every year to Jerusalem. And afterwards, The boy Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem and his parents knew not of it. Observe also that Mary herself, who had replied to Gabriel with the words: How shall this be, since I know not man? says concerning Joseph: Son why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I sought thee sorrowing. We have not here, as many maintain, the utterance of Jews or mockers. The Evangelists call Joseph father; Mary says he was father. Not, as I said before, that Joseph was really the father of the Saviour: but that, to preserve the reputation of Mary, he was regarded by all as his father.… But we have said enough, more with the aim of imparting instruction than of answering an opponent, to show why Joseph is called the father of our Lord, and why Mary is called Josephs wife.

In his commentary on St. Matthew 14:9, St. Jerome applies the same principle, which he calls the law of history, to the statement read in the Gospel that King Herod was struck sad, because the daughter of Herodias said: Give me here in a dish the head of John the Baptist.

St. Jerome does not believe that Herod was sorry. It is the manner of Scripture, he says, that the historian relates the opinion of the multitude, as it was commonly viewed at that time. (Consuetudinis Scripturarum est opinionem multorum sic narret historicus quomodo eo tempore ab omnibus credebatur). As Joseph was called, even by Mary herself, the father of Jesus, so here Herod is said to have been struck sad, because the banqueters thought he was. The hypocrite indeed and the homicide simulated sadness in his countenance, although he was really joyful in his heart.

The best answer to these two testimonies is to admit that Jerome erred in both cases, and consequently his opinion is based on error, and is worthless. The Scriptures call Jesus the son of Joseph, not to accommodate themselves to a popular error, but because he was born in a lawful wedlock, and not of fornication; and because Joseph was the real husband of the Mother of God. Secondly, it is clear that Jerome errs in believing that Herod was not at heart sad. There is not the slightest warrant for such supposition. Jeromes supposition makes the Gospel ridiculous. In fact one of the ardent disciples of the école large admits that Jerome is in error: As a matter of fact, we believe that, not the Evangelist, but St. Jerome was mistaken. King Herod was indeed struck sad because he feared the people. But his mistake does not, of course, touch our question about the exegetic principle of St. Jerome. (H. Poels in Catholic University Bulletin, Jan., 1905). How may Catholic writers ever expect to harmonize their views, when such arguments are used? In order to add authority to their theory, they cite Jeromes weaknesses, of which he had many, as the supreme law in this crisis of Catholic faith.

It is not our intention to mention all those who have arisen to defend the Church on the question of inspiration. Two however, deserve special mention.

Fr. Murillo [El Movimiento Reformista y la Exegesis; Razón y Fe, December, 1904; January, etc., 1905,] has published a series of articles against Fr. von Hummelauers views and all kindred theories of exegesis. Among those reasons which he urges against the view of Oriental or ancient history assumed by our recent Catholic apologists, he appeals to Ciceros canon of history: ne quid falsi dicere audeat, ne quid veri non audeat: ne qua suspicio gratiae sit in scribendo ne qua simultas. [De Orat. II 15.] Murillo denies that historical fiction or romance is as effective as historical truth for inculcating moral principles; he does not see why it cannot be said that the Evangelists too related the life of Christ according to the Oriental historical method, if the latter be compatible with the character of an inspired book.

A still more important work in defense of a safe and sane theory of inspiration is the work De Inspiratione Sacrae Scripturae, Romae, 1903, by Fr. L. Billot, S. J.

After reviewing the various forms under which the new doctrines present themselves, Billot declares them to be contrary to the attributes of God and to the veracity of the Scriptures. He takes up their principles as follows: Their first principle is that the inspired writers were neither more nor less than profane writers. This is false; for an instrumental cause is not in the same category of causality as a principal cause. Profane writers are the principal cause of their works; while the inspired writers are only the instrumental cause of their works: therefore there is no parity.

Their second principle is that it pertains to the inspired writers to determine the literary form of their books. This is false, for the reason that it pertains to the principal author to determine the species of truth which is to be presented in a book, and sought therein. For our literary critics have in mind that literary form on which the whole sense of the book depends, and which is the directive principle of the entire interpretation. Therefore it is the literary form which determines the character of the book. Now if that by which a book receives its specific character be not from God, but from man, how is God the principal Author?

Their third principle is that there is no literary form received among men which the inspiration of the Holy Ghost rejects. This is false, if it be understood of the literary forms which they imagine, especially that unspeakable genius of Oriental history.… It is false for the reason that divine inspiration can not accept our defects, our ignorance, our vices, our rashness, our vanity. For the genus of literature, which they imagine, more properly should be called a genus of vanity, wherein there is no excuse; or if there be an excuse, ignorance must excuse the error, and rashness the ignorance. Now God corrects our defects but does not accept them. And if we appeal to the simile which the new biblicists employ, the Word made flesh did not assume any of the defects which springing from sin take away something of the plenitude of knowledge and grace; but he dwelt among us full of grace and truth. Much less therefore in that operation (inspiration) which is proper not to his assumed nature, but to his divine nature can he participate in our defects by inspiring books of primitive myths and Oriental history. Here Billot especially aims to overthrow the theory of Loisy:

La vérité divine, pour se manifester aux hommes, sest incarnée comme le Verbe éternel. Le Fils de Dieu nous est devenu semblable en tout, sauf le péché. Et la Bible aussi resemble en toutes choses à un livre de lantiquité qui aurait été rédigé dans les mémes conditions historiques, à lexception dun seul défaut qui la rendrait impropre à sa destination providentielle, et ce défaut serait lenseignement formel dune … erreur quelconque présentée comme vérité divine. Mais.… les interprétes de la révélation divine … se sont conformés aux procédés littéraires employés de leur temps, et ils ont moulé en quelque sorte la vérité révélée dans le cadre des opinions communes et des traditions de leur race, sauf à rectifier dans ces données … ce qui pouvait contredire les principes essentiels de la vérité religieuse. Loisy, Etudes bibliques, p. 34.

Billot severely handles the theory of implicit quotations: Let us now come to the implicit quotations which are a great part of the new invention.… Under the name of an implicit quotation is understood the tacit employment of a document which the author inserts in his narration on its own authority, and for whose truth the author does not vouch.… Whatever literary form be supposed, whatever customs and conventions prevailing in different times and places, we must always believe in our hearts and confess that the holy books were written at the dictation of the Holy Ghost, and indeed the entire books and all their parts, and therefore all and every one of the so called implicit quotations. For if a properly so called explicit quotation is a true part of a book which proceeds from the author as any other part … how much the more an implicit quotation which is incorporated into the body of the narration without any reference? It must be conceded therefore that the implicit quotations were inserted by the inspired writers not of their own motive and industry, but under the direction of God.… The human writer finds a document of whose value he is ignorant; nevertheless he copies it, and inserts it into his narration, taking a certain risk, judging that in any case he may be excused, partly on account of a presumptive probability of the veracity of the document, partly on account of the considerations which our critics have ingeniously invented; let this pass. But what shall we judge of him to whom the falsity of the document is known, and who notwithstanding this certain conscience, should insert this document into his narration? Shall we forsooth distinguish historical honesty into western and Eastern? into ancient and modern? In this case even Oriental honesty would hardly be preserved. Wherefore since God is neither western nor eastern, neither ancient nor modern; since moreover those things which are false he does not apprehend as probably possibly true, but certainly knows them to be false; since finally with him avail nothing those usages and conventions which the ignorance or vanity of men has introduced, we understand how from his dictation there can not come forth an implicit quotation of a false document. And therefore from first to last, the doctrine of implicit quotations, understood in the sense and to the end that the new exegetes understand it, most evidently is to be rejected.

Let the final conclusion be that in treating of literary forms they would argue more wisely if instead of seeking a genus of literature in which to place the Holy Books they would acknowledge that the Holy Scriptures form a genus apart, transcendent, unlike all other books.… It is fitting that the books of which God is the principal Author should have a manner of speech proper to themselves.

The examination of the various theories of inspiration has brought us now to a point where we must adopt certain principles as our working theory of inspiration. Most of the adherents of the new exegesis in investigating the nature of inspiration make their point of departure not the action of God in inspiration, but the books themselves. In this there is excess. Inspiration is a supernatural effect, and is not revealed to us by the books themselves, but comes to us from God through the founts of revelation. Therefore we can not build up a theory of inspiration a posteriori from an examination of the books themselves. The process is legitimate to study the books to see what effects the action of God works in them; but there must always be the directive principle in our minds that these books were written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and have God for their Author.

In seeking the nature of inspiration we must separate it from extraneous questions. The Church does not admit as inspired, any writing of later origin than the Apostles. This has been a consistent teaching of the Church. But if this principle be accepted, the question of inspiration does not occupy itself with the question: Who are the authors of the inspired books? Neither does it concern inspiration to discern whether a book be of one human author or of many. To treat of the human authors is a separate question. Inspiration is sure of one divine Author; but it is not essential to it to define its human authors. At times it has done it, but only per accidens. Certain books, as many of St. Pauls epistles, declare their human authorship under the guarantee of divine inspiration; of other books the authors will ever remain unknown; of some, the authorship is merely probable.

Fr. Christian Pesch believes that no genus of literature is per se excluded from inspiration. It seems to us that this principle needs some restrictions. By the fact of inspiration the Holy Books are unlike all other books. They are a transcendent genus of literature. Their modes of presenting truth may have affinities with the various forms of literature; but there is not an identity. And moreover there are certain species of literature whose end seems to be incompatible with the end of Scripture. For instance the epic poem is based on mythical heroes, and we can find no place in the plan and purpose of the Holy Scripture for the epic poem.

The novel is a fictitious prose narrative or tale, involving some plot of more or less intricacy, and aiming to present a picture of real life in the historical period and society to which the persons, manners, and modes of speech, as well as the scenery and surroundings are supposed to belong. We look in vain in this definition for anything which could have been the aim of any of the Holy Books.

The fable is a story or history untrue in fact or substance, invented or developed by popular or poetic fancy or superstition, and to some extent or at one time current in popular belief as true and real. Now rigorously speaking perhaps we may apply the term to some portions of Holy Writ. Lexicographers tell us that the parable is a species of fable. But certainly the fable as popularly understood finds no place in Scripture.

There are two species of literature which we believe must absolutely be excluded from Scripture. The legend is an unauthentic and improbable or non-historical narrative handed down from early times. It is the product of a peoples imagination, a mere creation of fancy. Some legends teach moral truth, but not as we expect it to be taught in Holy Scripture. Once admit the presence of legends in the Scriptures and the basis of the Holy Scriptures is shaken. Parables and allegories are also fictitious history, but of another kind. The parable openly bears evidence that it is a species of similitude: in the allegory, one thing true and real is described under the image of another. In parables and allegories the symbolical character of the narrative is distinctly recognized.

Still more do we exclude from Holy Scripture the myth, which is false history believed to be true. It is imaginary history having no existence in fact. It is not aimed to point a moral; it only expresses a peoples superstitious conceptions of primitive history. We believe that the divine element of inspiration excludes from Holy Scriptures the novel, the fable in its popular sense, the epic poem, the legend, and the myth. And the reason is that they are not true, and the Scriptures are true.

These forms of literature being excluded, there remain many other forms of literature which Holy Writ employs, and consequently the divine influence manifests itself in Holy Scripture in different modes. We find in Jeremiah a good description of the manner in which the Holy Ghost delivers a written prophecy. We do not say that all prophecy in the strict sense was delivered in this way; but it is a representative specimen:

And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin. Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah; and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book. [Jer. 36:1–4.]

Jeremiah executes the command, and Baruch reads the message. Then the princes ask the manner of the communication from Heaven: And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst thou write all these words at his mouth? Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth. [Jer. 36:17–18.]

King Jehoiakim burns the scroll, and God commands that another be written:

Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying, Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned. And concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah thou shalt say, Thus saith the Lord: Thou hast burned this roll, saying, Why hast thou written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and beast? Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah: He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost. And I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them, but they hearkened not. Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein fom the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words. [Jer. 36:27–32.]

While the direct influence of God here is most potent, it does not justify a mechanical theory of verbal inspiration. Gods message came to the Prophet in mental words; as it came forth from Jeremiahs lips the impress of God was upon thoughts and words; but still it is not necessary to make the mind of Jeremiah act as a mere phonograph. Intellect and memory exercised their proper functions in receiving and delivering the words of God. It is evident from the account that the consigning of it to writing did not take place at the very moment that God spoke to the prophet. Jeremiah received the message, and his memory preserved it. In reproducing it for writing, his memory was supernaturally aided by God; but there is no warrant for multiplying miracles to the extent that every word be placed ready made in Jeremiahs mind. In dealing with this subtle action of God it is difficult to describe in words the mental processes with which God co-operates. We may illustrate by an example. Let us suppose that the same identical message came to Jeremiah and to another prophet; and that both executed the command to write it. In the two accounts we should expect to find the same modal differences that are found in the several accounts of the words of institution of the Blessed Sacrament at the Last Supper.

In investigating the nature of inspiration we have the certain principle that God is the principal Author of Holy Scripture, and that the human authors are the instrumental causes. It follows also that they are living rational instruments, and in conformity with the certain theological principle, God employed the faculties of these instruments to write the Holy Books. Inasmuch as these created faculties were incapable of effecting the Holy Books, God elevated and strengthened them, and thus used them to deliver his message, so that one effect the Holy Books, comes forth from a double causality. This action of God thus enabling a man to accomplish a writing above his natural powers is aptly called charismatic. The Church has done more than tell us that God has inspired the writers of Scripture; St. Thomas, St. Gregory the Great, the author of the Imitation of Christ, and many others have been given of the grace of God which might truly be called inspiration; but the inspiration which moved the human authors of the Bible was of that nature that it made God the Author of the Scriptures: they are the word of God. By this definition of inspiration the negative theory of inspiration of Chrismann and Jahn is excluded. Neither could a subsequent approbation by the Church give to any book the character which the Church infallibly declares to belong to her canonical books. As Franzelin rightly declared in the Vatican Council: Because the Church is infallible she can define nothing as revealed truth which is not revealed by God; and in like manner through the same charisma of infallibility she can not put any book in the Canon of Holy Scripture which was not divinely inspired. (Coll. Lac. VII. 1621). It can not be argued against this theory that St. Paul thus approved the sayings of Aratus and Epimenides (Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12). St. Paul not only approves these sayings, but by incorporating them into his book makes them a part of his book. God is not the Author of those sayings as existing in the works of the two poets; but he is the Author of the citation of them and the approbation of them by which they became an integral part of an inspired book.

In every question there are two extremes. So here in defending full inspiration for the Holy Books, we must not run into the other extreme.

We have said before that revelation does not enter into the essence of inspiration. We mean here revelation in the strict sense. This takes place when God directly infuses the ideas into a created mind, as in the Prophets and the Apocalypse of St. John. But there is an influence of God wherein he enlightens the mind better to receive and use naturally acquired knowledge. This is sometimes called revelation in a wide sense. It is clear that this is always present in inspiration. Sometimes this distinction is not adverted to, and the divine influence in Holy Scripture is spoken of as revelation. It is clearly evident that revelation, strictly speaking, does not extend to all the Scriptures. Often the writers indicate their human sources. The annals of the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel are in large part the indicated sources of the Books of Kings. In the Books of Chronicles we find sixteen different documents cited as sources. The writer of 2 Maccabees certainly employed existing documents; and St. Luke asserts that he had gathered his materials from others.

St. Thomas clearly explains this doctrine of the Church as follows: If into the mind of a man light be infused by God, not for the purpose of knowing certain supernatural things, but that he may know with the certitude of divine truth things which can be known by human reason, that species of prophecy is inferior to that which by mental visions imparts the knowledge of supernatural truth, which (later) prophecy all they had who are placed in the order of Prophets, for they fulfilled the prophetic office. Wherefore, they spoke in the person of God, saying to the people: Thus saith the Lord; but the hagiographs spoke not so, for most of them spoke in most part of those things which can be known by human reason, and (they spoke) not in the person of God, but as men, but with the help of divine light. (2. 2. q. 173, a. 4.) From the fact that this divine light is omnipresent in the Holy Scriptures the whole Scripture is divinely revealed, and is the object of divine faith. But in this regard, we must bear in mind the principle of St. Thomas: A thing pertains to the precept of faith in two ways: (1) it pertains to faith directly as the articles of faith which are promulgated to be believed for their own sake.… (2) Other things pertain to faith indirectly, inasmuch as they are not proposed to be believed for their own sake, but for the reason that from the negation of these, something would follow contrary to faith, as for instance if one should deny that Isaac was Abrahams son, there would follow something contrary to faith, viz., that the Scripture contains falsehood. (1 Cor. 11:4).

This teaching is of value against those who would restrict inspiration to things of faith and morals. It is true that our act of faith more immediately finds its object in the things of faith and morals; but it embraces this other equally immediate truth: We believe all that God has revealed (in the broad sense). Therefore the things revealed per accidens are included in our act of faith. Of course our act of faith presupposes the application of true hermeneutics to determine what is the true sense of the things not yet defined by the Church.

To produce a book the author must conceive the ideas in his mind and consign them to writing either in person or by another. Therefore in employing man as an instrument to execute a writing, God must illumine his mind in the very act of conceiving the thoughts. This illumination will be a strict revelation in certain cases, as before explained; in things of natural reason or even mysteries learned through natural means it will be revelation in the larger sense, and both degrees of Gods action are inspiration.

God also moves the will of the author to write, and assists him so that he properly executes the writing in a manner worthy of the word of God. Not alone by an internal moving of the will does God bring about the writing—he uses external circumstances and agents. Thus the things impelling to write may be friendship, or a special request, or a special need of a particular church, etc. But with the natural knowledge of the things to be written and with the natural motives impelling to write, God co-operates, strengthening the intelligence, and moving the free will so that there is inevitably produced a book which God wills to be his word, inspired and free from error.

It is not difficult to understand why God should illumine the created intelligence even in the act of writing things naturally known. Without the help of God, man could not impress upon his writings the stamp of absolute infallible truth, even in the things which he knows by his own industry. We know that at times we experience a greater intellectual vigor, and that we can then judge better, and write better. In dealing with natural phenomena, or with the events of history, one writer is more accurate than another; one writer is better able to judge of the nature of things and events and of their relations. In inspiration Gods action gives the strength necessary to deliver adequately Gods message.

Gods action on the will of the inspired writer is both physical and moral. Inasmuch as God as the principal Author wills to deliver to men a certain definite message through the instrumentality of the inspired writer, there corresponds to this will of God a charismatic physical motion of the will of the inspired writer which does not deprive it of liberty. The human will—thus moved by God still retains the absolute power to resist. The moral influence of God at times may be a direct command to write as was given to some of the writers. In more instances it will consist in a supernatural illumination of the mind by which it conceives ideas and judgments which impel a man to write.

The delivering of the books to the Church is not an essential of inspiration, but supposes it. We cannot say that God ordained the delivery of the books to the Church as an absolute end in giving inspiration; for some inspired books have been lost. The purpose of inspiration was to deliver a message of salvation to the world, and the ordinary custodian of that message is the Church.

We may distinguish three elements in Gods action in inspiration, God supernaturally illumines the intellect to conceive rightly the truths; He moves the will to write faithfully these truths; and he assists the inspired writer to give written expression to these truths without admixture of error.

It is indifferent to inspiration whether the inspired man himself do the material writing or execute it by means of an amanuensis; but in the latter case the assistance of God protects against errors which would affect the sense of the propositions.

The curious question is raised by some: Does inspiration admit of different degrees? as for instance: Is Isaiah more inspired than the writer of the Books of Maccabees? This question must be answered with a distinction. As regards the essence of biblical inspiration all the books are equal, and are received by the Church pari pietatis affectu ac reverentia. (Conc. Trid. Sess. 4.) Therefore one book can not be said to be more inspired than another. But since the illumination of the mind and the motion of the will are finite entities they may admit of various degrees of intensity. Of what degree was given we know nothing, since it is not revealed to us. But it is perfectly compatible with the right idea of inspiration that God may have given to one a deeper insight into divine truth, a greater feeling in expressing it, a poetic power in presenting it. These are not of the essence of the inspiration.








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