Re: Ghost Riters in Disguise?

From: Bruce Terry (
Date: Wed Sep 20 1995 - 11:40:53 EDT

On Tue, 19 Sep 1995, Ellen Adams wrote:

>Subject: Ghost Riters in Disguise?
>Sounds like a catchy name for a song, doesn't it?
>Actually this is my very uneducated hypothesis regarding style
>analysis: Is is possible that some N.T. authors, i.e.
>uneducated fishermen, or even a highly educated man concerned that
>every word written would be taken literally, would submit their
>writing to respected friends for comments and/or
>editing before sending them out to the general public.
>It is very common today. Why wouldn't it have been then?
>Depending on how many different people assisted or how much
>leeway they were offered in revising, the style of a single
>writer could appear to vary considerably even at the time
>of original publication, even before multitudes of helpful scribes
>were able to include their adjustments.

It is generally thought that NT writers used amanuenses to write down the text
which they dictated, especially in writing letters. This is often cited as a
factor to explain different styles, with the idea that the amanuenses reworded
the text as they wrote it down.

Given the relative difficulty and expense of writing in the ancient world, I
doubt that many people went through multiple drafts before sending a work out.
This would be more certain for letters than for gospels, however. Some have
suggested that the "Western" text of Acts represents a different draft by Luke
when compared with the more standard text. I forget which in this theory was
to be the final product. I guess I am sceptical of this theory.

Personally, I think that each person employs multiple styles, some better than
others, but each suited to the rhetorical situation and audience as the writer
sees it. That is true today and I imagine it was true in the past.

Bruce Terry E-MAIL:
Box 8426, ACU Station Phone: 915/674-3759
Abilene, Texas 79699 Fax: 915/674-3769

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