[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

orion Authors who Write in Antiquity

Rochelle emphasized:
> "We have no evidence that authors wrote their own texts" is a simple
> statement of fact.  As of now, we have no evidence to the contrary.
> This does not mean that somebody someday may not find such evidence...
> but nobody has yet done so. Therefore, this statement is factual to
> the best of current knowledge.

But we do have claims by "authors" (definitions are always needed),
especially in the apocalyptic mode, that they wrote down what was revealed
or told or shown to them, often in the context of the "heavenly tablets" 
motif. Shepherd of Hermas 25 (Vis 5) is one example recently pointed out
to me by Kim Haines-Eitzen, who is finishing up a dissertation on early
Christian scribal practices with Bart Ehrman at UNC, but I would think
that even the Moses tradition, in which Moses writes (Ex 24.4, 34.28) and
the LORD writes (24.22, 34.1, etc.), would have encouraged the belief that
direct involvement of such priviledged authorities in the act of writing
(see also, or perhaps especially, Enoch -- e.g. "1 Enoch" 82 or 92 or 108) 
would be taken for granted in such cultures. Perhaps they are "apocalyptic
scribes" in some sense, but in another they are seen as "authors."

On the whole, I would be hesitant to take medieval evidence of developed
scribal practices and retroject them with any confidence into more poorly
documented periods of antiquity, even in the Greek and Latin worlds of the
papyri, much less in the lesser understood Semitic worlds such as are
represented in the DSS. I mean prior to the emergence of the codex as an
increasingly dominating format in the 2nd-4rd centuries of the common era.
Yes, patterns often can be seen; but in the present state of our
knowledge, they do not seem to be so clearly predictable, either in
principle or in actuality. And some author-revealees were thought to have
taken pen in hand to produce what was attributed to them.

Robert A. Kraft, Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania