I have been puzzling over this question for sometime (within a wider thought process on revelation) and have not come to any conclusions so I thought I would share the question with the world:
Were the holy inspired writers of the Scriptures
aware of what they were doing?
Yes, yes, it needs fleshing out so here it is. Did the inspired writers of the books which the Church has collected into the Holy Scriptures spiritually or intellectual aware that they were writing something world changing? Did they perceive the situation? Did Saint Paul sit down and think, Hmmm… this letter to the Romans is just first grade, it must be inspired?
I guess the question is really about inspiration and the human people involved. The way I see things, a crass dictation theory of inspiration would suggest that these people were aware (hearing voices) or completely unware (mystical trance) of what they were doing. Yet with this theory the act of inspiration is completely outside of the individual holy writer. Or did God use the reflection, meditation, and experience of the Jesus-event of these people under the influence of the Holy Spirit to hand-on the revelation of himself in Jesus Christ.
I know there must be some theological genius out there to tell me the authoritative answer (with references, please).
AFTER -THOUGHT: If in doubt, look at what St. Thomas says. On inspiration (prophecy) I found this in the Summa II-II 173:4:
Accordingly, when a man knows that he is being moved by the Holy Ghost to think something, or signify something by word or deed, this belongs properly to prophecy; whereas when he is moved, without his knowing it, this is not perfect prophecy, but a prophetic instinct. Nevertheless it must be observed that since the prophet’s mind is a defective instrument, as stated above, even true prophets know not all that the Holy Ghost means by the things they see, or speak, or even do.
Does that answer the question?