Q&A:Plagiarism

From BelieveTheSign

We received an email with the following specific questions relating to our article on William Branham's plagiarism.

Question

Q: Would you apply Jeremiah 23:30 to the following :

  1. Paul on Aratus' poem "Phainomena" in Acts 17:28?
  2. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount on Moses?
  3. Joshua and Samuel who quoted Jasher and Enoch verbatim?

Paul on Aratus' poem "Phainomena"

Acts 17:28 states:

...for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’

This cannot be considered plagiarism for the following reasons:

  1. Paul did not write the Book of Acts, Luke did. What we have here is Luke relating Paul's speech on Mars Hill.
  2. Paul clearly states that he is quoting someone else - a poet. So he is putting everyone on notice that these are not his words.

Not sure how anyone could construe this as plagiarism. Plalgiarism is defined as the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own. Paul is not trying them to pass them off as his own ideas.

Jesus' Sermon on the Mount on Moses

The Sermon on the Mount (also referred to as the Olivet Discourse) is recorded in Matthew 5:1-7:29. As with the question, it appears that the individual asking the question does not understand what plagiarism is. Plagiarism is trying to pass of someone else's idea as your own. There are a couple of reasons why Jesus' references to Moses are not plagiarism:

  1. Jesus is constantly saying throughout the Sermon on the Mount - “You have heard that it was said to those of old... "- and then he quotes one of the ten commandments. He is not trying to pass off the ten commandments as his own invention or idea. He is telling the people - "You all know where i got this from". If you do that, it's not plagiarism. If William Branham had said - "Clarence Larkin picked the following dates for the seven church ages and I agree with him" - then it would not have been plagiarism. The problem is that William Branham said that he got all of his revelations from God when he actually got more than a few of them from Clarence Larkin and others.
  2. Moses did not write the ten commandments, God wrote them on the tablets of stone. Who was Jesus? The author of the ten commandments. You can't plagiarize from yourself.

Joshua and Samuel who quoted Jasher and Enoch

There are 2 references in the Old Testament to the Book of Jasher:

Joshua 10:13

So the sun stood still, And the moon stopped, Till the people had revenge Upon their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.

2 Samuel 1:18

...and he told them to teach the children of Judah the Song of the Bow; indeed it is written in the Book of Jasher...

It is not possible to plagiarize when you mention the source. Once again for emphasis, if William Branham had simply said that he was using some ideas that he got from Clarence Larkin, it would not have been plagiarism.

With respect to Enoch, we are unsure what the reference is as we are not aware of either Joshua or Samuel quoting Enoch. If the author of the question could send us a more detailed email containing a specific scripture reference, then we could address this issue more specifically.

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