Re: Rom 5:1

Date: Fri Aug 02 1996 - 15:07:37 EDT

David L. Moore wrote, inter alia:

" In reference to the matter of plenary inspiration, I don't see the
problem Don does. There is a problem only if what Tertius wrote down (if that
is where a variant entered) is valued above what Paul said. Admittedly, it
would be neater to be able to say that the inspiration is in the *writing,*
because that's what we've got. But I believe it is Paul who is the holy man
of God, in this case, being moved by the Holy Spirit."

I hope I am not merely experiencing the chicken little syndrome (I don't think
I am). Part of the problem here may be the definition of plenary inspiration,
which--as I understand it--does refer to the written word. Aside from that,
however, there is the very practical problem of how we perform textual criti-
cism. The indicative in Romans has very weak support in comparison to the sub-
junctive, and the latter is clearly the harder reading. If we allow such
readings as the indicative here to prevail merely on the combination of internalgrounds (WE think such-and-such is what the writer meant) and errors of the
ear, so assumed, we have almost as much flexibility in emendation as we could
ever wish. Moreover, wherever the use of an amanuensis is assumed, can we
really stop with minor errors of the ear? At the risk of anachronism, isn't it
reasonable to assume that a secretary could make many other kinds of errors
in taking dictation, and that the one giving dictation would at least want an
important letter to be read back to him? If that is true, it would seem that we
either have cart blanche (if the letter is not proofread) or that we have to
assume that the autograph is just as the author (Paul) intended it (unless we
want to admit the possibility that Tertius misunderstood Paul, and subsequent-
ly Paul misunderstood Tertius during the read-back--wouldn't that be a comedy
of errors). Of course there is also the possibility that Paul simply briefed
Tertius on the essentials he wanted communicated and left it to Tertius to do
the rest, but it seems to me that that reeks havoc with the idea of plenary
As to what the translations do with Rom 5:1, it is true that the NASB goes
with the indicative. In the '95 Update, I reluctantly went along with keeping
the indicative because it is usually bad practice be the only version with a
particular reading, but if that were not a consideration I would have insisted
(and very possibly would have been outvoted) in changing to a hortatory sub-
unctive (e.g. "let us have").

Don Wilkins
UC Riverside

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