Monday, February 27, 2012

Augustine on "Post-Biblical" Inspiration

Most scholars would agree that a number of OT biblical books were composed by a series of compositions, compilations, supplementations, revisions, or updatings into their literary wholes as we have them today. Talmon and others have also pointed out that the Qumran sectarians believed that they were continuing the process of this inspired production of Scripture. Reading Roberts' The Old Testament Text and Versions today, I was struck by a quote from Augustine's De Civitate Dei xviii. 44 that sounded strangely parallel: "Whatever is to be found in the LXX, but is not in the Hebrew codices, the spirit preferred to say by the inspired interpreters rather than by the inspired seers." Thus, for Augustine (as with the Qumran sect), the process of Scripture formation and divine inspiration was ongoing in the "post-biblical" period (i.e., in the translation of the LXX). God gave revelation to the prophets (preserved in the Hebrew MSS), but he continued to give revelation through the translators (preserved in the Greek MSS). I just found this parallel intriguing.

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