Jiří Moskala* presented his research on the topic “Can a Biblical Inspired Writer Use Literary Sources?” The main points of his presentation are given below.
After referring to various biblical passages that affirm the inspiration of the Scriptures (2 Tim 3:15-17; 1 Thess 2:13; 2 Pet 1:21; etc.) the speaker posed the question if an inspired writer may use extra-biblical literary sources, or if he/she receives everything directly from God. Moskala admitted that he grew up with a view that was similar to the dictation theory of inspiration. Yet later he learned that the divine truth is actually expressed in human language under the guidance of the Holy Spirit; hence the Bible is a divine-human combination (incarnational theory of inspiration). The biblical prophets were children of their time, place, and culture, and their written works took the literary forms of their time (narratives, prose, poetry, songs, genealogies, parables, dialogues, etc.). Some of them accepted the thoughts and ideas of previous inspired prophets and the Bible provides quite a number of examples for that. The real question is whether a true prophet may borrow thoughts and material from non-inspired, non-biblical sources. In his presentation Moskala provided categories and examples from the Old Testament and New Testament for such literary borrowing.
1. Borrowing Key Vocabulary
The speaker mentioned that Solomon frequently uses the phrase “under the sun” (Eccl 1:3, 9, 14; etc.) which is an idiomatic expression in ancient Egyptian referring to the continuous cycle of the sun. Solomon uses this expression synonymously with the phrase “under heaven” (see Eccl 1:13; 2:3; etc.) in the sense of the “vanity of our present life” since it has its limits and is temporary. Further it is contrasted with the eternal life in relationship with God, namely the life “above the sun.”