Re: Ghost Riters in Disguise?

From: Kenneth Litwak (
Date: Wed Sep 20 1995 - 11:41:24 EDT

    There is, as a matter of fact, a fairly lengthy treatment, not of
Ghost writers, but of the role of the amanuensis in Hellenistic culture,
though I'm afraid at the moment the title escapes me. It does have the
word amanuensis in it, at least. The author argues that not only were
they commonly employed, but their freedom with regards to wording varied
greatly. Sometimes they acted as mere secretaries taking dictation.
At other times, they played more of an authorial role. It all depended
upon the requirements of whom they were writing for. Since it is the
case that apparently at least some NT letters were written by individuals
other than the author, e.g., 1 Peter, and since we don't know exactly
how free an amanuensis may have been in any particular context, it is a
very significant consideration when comparing two NT documents for
authorship. Certainly, I'm not advocating begging the question by
calling in an amanuensis to solve all difficulties, because I doubt
seriously that someone like Paul, who apparently had some sort of
Hellenistic education (though the extent is debatable), would have
exercised no editorial control over an amanuensis. It is, however, a
point to ponder when comparing the style of 1 Peter to 2 Peter, or
Romans to 1 Timothy. My personal view is that we know too little to make
dogmatic statements based upon style (sort of a Heisenberg-like view:
there's just too much uncertainty).

Ken Litwak
Bezerkley, CA

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