Catholicism teaches that Scripture is inspired by God and that the bible is free from error "in matters of faith and morals".
I'm wondering what the Church means when it says that the scripture is "inspired by God". Does it mean
- Physical Inspiration. The individual physical penstrokes in the original manuscripts were inspired by God. In other words the way in which the molecules of ink were physically arranged on the original manuscripts was determined/inspired by God.
Implications: no one really has a copy of the true "word of God" because only the original manuscripts are the true "word of God". Copies and translations are not "inspired". The best we can get are "uninspired" copies of the inspired originals.
- Verbal Plenary Inspiration. The Hebrew/Greek/Aramaic words were directly determined and inspired by God, word for word. Every individual word and it's position in the sentence is important, chosen by God, and can't be ignored.
Implications: Translations of scripture will be inherently inferior to the bible in the original languages because translation always leads to a loss of information and context. There is no perfect translation. Copies of the original manuscripts are considered just as inspired as the originals, however translations of the originals are not considered inspired.
- Kerygmatic Inspiration. It's not the original/individual words themselves which are inspired, but the message that the words convey.
Implications: Different translations of the original texts can be considered equally as valid as the original texts so long as they convey the same message (This would seem to legitimise the "Dynamic equivalence" school of translation). In this way an English translation of the bible can be considered equally valid to the original manuscripts, so long as the message they convey is the same. We could also potentially feel free to muck with the original manuscripts (if we had access to them) and change the wording in some places that are unclear and confusing so as to clarify the meaning, or add entirely new words as elaborations (the Comma Johanneum is a historical precedent for this). Translations and copies of the original manuscripts are considered to be just as inspired as the original manuscripts.
What is the Catholic position?