Friday, January 16, 2009

Melito and the Eastern Canon (1)

When questions arise over what books were considered canonical in the Christian Church Melito, bishop of Sardis is a good place to go. His OT list, as preserved by Eusebius, is the earliest within the Christian Church. Interestingly, the content of this list is curiously close to the Protestant and Hebrew canon. The presence of the apocryphal books found in the LXX are absent, and only in later lists do we begin to see the addition of recensions to Jeremiah-Lamentations and then later on the addition of the apocryphal books.

The content of this and later lists coupled with earlier indications of what the majority of Jews thought to be canonical help illuminate the earliest tradition of the Old Testament canon in relation to the Christian Church. If a good case for the inclusion of the apocryphal books in the Old Testament canon is lacking in early Christian (NT) and Jewish sources, then the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church is not following the earliest canonical tradition. Assuming the evidence for the Hebrew canon provided elsewhere stands, it is the Jews and Protestants who have been true to the earlier tradition in this regard.

Melito's list and the conditions surrounding it not only give us a window into the minds of those in the Church after the NT but also the Jews. What if Melito’s list did contain what Protestants call an “apocryphal” book? This would not only mean that the earliest Christian list of canonical books of the Old Testament contained one, but that the Jewish canon Melito was influenced by did as well which could potential lead us to consider a wider Jewish canon than first thought. Scholars such as De Wette, Lake and McDonald seem to think the Wisdom of Solomon is included in Melito’s list.

Disagreements center on a phrase in Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History 4.26.14 where some scholars take the Wisdom of Solomon to be included and others think “his Wisdom” is just another name for Proverbs. After much consideration I have concluded that the Wisdom of Solomon is an unlikely interpretation (though not impossible) and that Proverbs “the All-Virtuous Wisdom” is what is being referred to here. In the upcoming posts I will do my best to present the argument for the Wisdom of Solomon and why the other translation is a better one.

*This does not pose as great of a problem for the Roman Catholic Church who believes her canon to be established by the infallible Church (though there are problems once one questions her infallibility). It does however pose a problem for Eastern Orthodox Christians wanting canonical stability since their canon is not established in any Ecumenical council except maybe in Athanasius’ list- a great disappointment for those hoping to make a case for apocryphal books in their canon.

*I will tie this series of posts together into a response in the future aimed at an argument that was put forward with the intention of scaring the Protestant into the Eastern Orthodox Church based off of canonical considerations.

*"Melito and the Eastern Canon (1)" has had a few additions made to it for clarity.

16 comments:

Jnorm888 said...

It proves nothing.

If the Rabbonic Jews officially rejected the D.C.'s around 135 A.D.
Then Melito's list only shows what they (the Jews) had after that time.

Also the book of wisdom is on that list. and don't bother explaining it away, I already heard two or three different protestant explanations. And as a former protestant, I already been down this road before. Been there done that.


Also I already told you that the Church never had a 100% uniform Old Testament canon. The fact that we still don't have a 100% uniform O.T. canon only proves that we are the Ancient Church......for that's the way it was back then.



JNORM888

Catz206 said...

“It proves nothing.”

You bet it proves nothing! It's only an intro :)

“If the Rabbonic Jews officially rejected the D.C.'s around 135 A.D.
Then Melito's list only shows what they (the Jews) had after that time.”

Here are the stakes: If the Wisdom of Solomon is on the list then it may be indication that the Jews did consider it canonical and did not fully reject everything 130-135AD. This is good for the EO and RC. Although it might still be puzzling since it does not show up on the early later canon lists. If it is not on the list then we have indication that the early Church may have held to a more limited canon resembling the Jewish and Protestant regardless of the source.

“Also the book of wisdom is on that list. and don't bother explaining it away, I already heard two or three different protestant explanations.”

Well, clearly we disagree since I will be making a series of posts saying otherwise.

“Also I already told you that the Church never had a 100% uniform Old Testament canon. The fact that we still don't have a 100% uniform O.T. canon only proves that we are the Ancient Church......for that's the way it was back then.”

We have already discussed this. When mentioning the Jewish canon I am speaking in regards to the majority of the Jews and not those in a minority or wishing to isolate themselves from the populace.

If you don’t have a problem not having a uniform canon that is fine with me. This series is will be geared towards Protestants who think it is better to go to the EO on canonical considerations or those Eastern Orthodox that this question might bother or are just curious about another perspective.

On another note, how is the research coming along for the other posts we were chatting on? I just got Hengel in the mail and don’t have to rely on notes anymore!

Jnorm888 said...

You said:
"We have already discussed this. When mentioning the Jewish canon I am speaking in regards to the majority of the Jews and not those in a minority or wishing to isolate themselves from the populace."




The Rabbinical Pharisaic Jews were still arguing over "ecclesiastes & song of songs" at that time. So not even they had 100% unity.

But as far as christians go. We never had a 100% unified O.T.

And you will have to prove that we did.(and you will also have to prove that we followed the Pharisaic tradition over that of the LXX family of texts) Just like the early Church, E.O. also doesn't have a 100% unified O.T. Why? Because Christians never had a 100% unified O.T. list.


However, if you look at the New Testament Canon then I will say yes, look at E.O. for we formed the N.T. canon. So Protestants should come on the basis of N.T. canonical considerations. In this case, we did eventually form a 100% unified list.

We don't need a 100% stable O.T. list for the Christian Church never had one, and this should be another reason why Protestants should become E.O. .... based on (real historical) canonical considerations. We have the same custom of not having a 100% uniform O.T. Why? Because that's the way it always was, and we are the keepers of tradition.


Now as far as Melito goes......you have more to worry about than just the book of Wisdom. For the book of "Esther" is missing.......which would only add to my argument of Rabbinic Jews (at that time) not having a 100% uniform Hebrew scripture.


You said:
" Although it might still be puzzling since it does not show up on the early later canon lists."


What lists do you have in mind?


You said:
"If it is not on the list then we have indication that the early Church may have held to a more limited canon resembling the Jewish and Protestant regardless of the source."


You would have to ignore the witness of some of the pre-nicene christians who saw the book of wisdom as scripture. So no, they didn't have a canon that resembled the Protestant. They will always have at least one book you will reject or they will be missing a book you accept. So no, I disagree with you. For like E.O. the Early Church didn't have a uniform O.T. list. I know you are probably sick of hearing this from me. But it's true. They(early christians) didn't have a uniform O.T. To say that they did, and to say that they embraced the same exact books as you is to not only mislead, but it's to play pretend with the early church......you are trying to dress them up, and make them look like pretty Protestants when they weren't.


You said:
"On another note, how is the research coming along for the other posts we were chatting on? I just got Hengel in the mail and don’t have to rely on notes anymore!"


I should be able to comment on Monday, but after that I won't be able to play as much for I have 8 papers to write. We could always finish what we started in a few months. I should have more time then.





JNORM888

Catz206 said...

How is the state of the diverse OT canon btw RC, EO and Prot anything new? This discussion is part of sorting the state out.

“And you will have to prove that we did.(and you will also have to prove that we followed the Pharisaic tradition over that of the LXX family of texts) Just like the early Church, E.O. also doesn't have a 100% unified O.T. Why? Because Christians never had a 100% unified O.T. list.”

My aim would only be to show that the early Church (beginning with the Jewish Christians and informed Gentile believers around the time of Acts) and Jews before the confusion in the Church later on probably had a canon much like the Protestant one. Also, some ideas as to why the books they deemed canonical should be accepted will be attempted.

The presence of books within the LXX (as diverse as that term is) does not necessarily indicate the books were considered inspired. That I believe will be your task.

“However, if you look at the New Testament Canon then I will say yes, look at E.O. for we formed the N.T. canon. So Protestants should come on the basis of N.T. canonical considerations. In this case, we did eventually form a 100% unified list.”

Take that one up with the RC.

“We don't need a 100% stable O.T. list for the Christian Church never had one, and this should be another reason why Protestants should become E.O. .... based on (real historical) canonical considerations. We have the same custom of not having a 100% uniform O.T. Why? Because that's the way it always was, and we are the keepers of tradition.”

“Need” in what sense? And we should come to the EO because of their history of having an unstable canon?

Your Tradition is ever changing. I think I like the earlier Eastern canon tradition better but still, *just a question* why not continue to embrace change as your tradition has been doing? Not to say certain core beliefs in the deity of Christ…ect should be compromised.

“For the book of "Esther" is missing....…”
Yes, that is so and I believe is mentioned in another post. In this series the apocryphal books will be concentrated on.

“What lists do you have in mind?”
Wisdom of Solomon does not show up in the following lists which are ordered: Origen, definitely not Athanasius, Cyril, Epiphanies (any of the three lists), Gregory, Amphilochius, Hilary, I don’t think Jerome, and Rufinus. It begins to show up in Augustine.
“You would have to ignore the witness of some of the pre-nicene christians who saw the book of wisdom as scripture.”

Not every angle will be argued in this particular series of posts. For the time being Melito will be looked at. Melito has much farther reaching consequences. If other authoratative pre-Nicene Christians saw Wisdom as Scripture that is fine. That is another case to consider. Right now we are looking at official lists provided.

“So no, they didn't have a canon that resembled the Protestant. They will always have at least one book you will reject or they will be missing a book you accept.”

The case being put forward is that they have one more closely resembling the Protestant and Hebrew canons. Once that is seen we can begin speculating why we see much more minor differences and how this fluctuates over time.

“They(early christians) didn't have a uniform O.T. To say that they did, and to say that they embraced the same exact books as you is to not only mislead, but it's to play pretend with the early church......you are trying to dress them up, and make them look like pretty Protestants when they weren't.”

That has not been claimed in the initial post. The broader discussion is over the presence of the apocryphal books appearing gradually in later lists and the specific discussion is over the appearance of Wisdom in Melito’s. To claim that I am arguing for a uniform OT canon at Melito’s time is misleading. The Church definitely shows confusion over her canon at this time and increasingly later on. Don’t go beyond what my post says.

“I should be able to comment on Monday, but after that I won't be able to play as much for I have 8 papers to write. We could always finish what we started in a few months. I should have more time then.”

8 papers…sheesh. How long do they have to be? Few months sounds good. This blog isn’t going anywhere…that I know of. The last time I said that the blog moved!

Jnorm888 said...

You said:
"My aim would only be to show that the early Church (beginning with the Jewish Christians and informed Gentile believers around the time of Acts) and Jews before the confusion in the Church later on probably had a canon much like the Protestant one. Also, some ideas as to why the books they deemed canonical should be accepted will be attempted."



You would have to ignore their heavy ussage of the LXX. I predict that you will claim that the LXX didn't have the D.C.'s in it until the 4th century......or something like that. This is the only direction you can go. and if you go there I will have something waiting for you :)


You said:
"The presence of books within the LXX (as diverse as that term is) does not necessarily indicate the books were considered inspired. That I believe will be your task."


I already did a post about the book of Wisdom.



The book of Wisdom & Early Christians

Here is a snippet:

"The book of Wisdom was compiled as Scripture in some regions of the Church along with New Testament books)
“There are extant also a letter to the Laodikeians, and another to the Alexandrians, forged in Paulus' name to further Markion's school of thought. And there are many others which cannot be received into the universal assembly, for "it is not fitting for vinegar to be mixed with honey."
“Indeed, the letter of Judah, and two entitled Johannes, are accepted in the universal assembly, along with the Wisdom, written by the friends of Solomon in his honor. We receive also the Revelations of Johannes and Peter, the latter of which some refuse to have read in the assembly.” Muratorian Fragment (155 A.D.) http://www.friktech.com/rel/muratori.htm"

(Tertullian calls the book of Wisdom a Christian authority)
“However, Dic├Žarchus has several authorities against him— and philosophers too— Plato, Strato, Epicurus, Democritus, Empedocles, Socrates, Aristotle; while in opposition to Andreas and Asclepiades (may be placed their brother) physicians Herophilus, Erasistratus, Diocles, Hippocrates, and Soranus himself; and better than all others, there are our Christian authorities. We are taught by God concerning both these questions— viz. that there is a ruling power in the soul, and that it is enshrined in one particular recess of the body. For, when one reads of God as being the searcher and witness of the heart; [Wisdom 1:6] when His prophet is reproved by His discovering to him the secrets of the heart; [Proverbs 24:12] when God Himself anticipates in His people the thoughts of their heart, Why do you think evil in your hearts?” Tertullian (155-250) http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0310.htm"

(Clement calls the book of Wisdom "Divine")
"“The divine Wisdom says of the martyrs, “They seemed in the eyes of the foolish to die, and their departure was reckoned a calamity, and their migration from us an affliction. But they are in peace. For though in the sight of men they were punished, their hope was full of immortality.”28312831 Wisd. iii. 2, 3, 4. [Ws 3:1-4] He then adds, teaching martyrdom to be a glorious purification, “And being chastened a little, they shall be benefited much; because God proved them,” that is, suffered them to be tried, to put them to the proof, and to put to shame the author of their trial, “and found them worthy of Himself,” plainly to be called sons." Clement of Alexandria (150 A.D.-216 A.D.) “The Stromata 4:16”
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf02.vi.iv.iv.xv.html"

(Origen called the book of wisdom scripure)
"“By this drowning, however, it is not to be supposed that God's providence as regards Pharaoh was terminated; for we must not imagine, because he was drowned, that therefore he had forthwith completely perished: for in the hand of God are both we and our words; all wisdom, also, and knowledge of workmanship, as Scripture declares.[Wisdom 7:16]” Origen(180A.D.-230A.D.) “De Principiis” Book 3 http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/04123.htm"




(Cyprian said: "The Holy Spirit shows when quoting the book of Wisdom)
"“The Holy Spirit shows and predicts by Solomon, saying: “And although in the sight of men they suffered torments, yet their hope is full of immortality. And having been troubled in a few things, they shall be in many happily ordered, because God has tried them, and has found them worthy of Himself. As gold in the furnace, He hath tried them; and as whole burnt-offerings of sacrifice, He hath received them, and in its season there will be respect of them. They will shine and run about as sparks in a place set with reeds. In many editions this clause is wanting. They shall judge the nations, and have dominion over the peoples; and their Lord shall reign for ever.” [Wisdom 3:4] In the same also our vengeance is described, and the repentance of those who persecute and molest us is announced.” Cyprian (200A.D.-258A.D.) ch 12 “Exhortation to Martydom”
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf05.iv.v.xi.xiv.html"


Also the used the book of wisdom when talking about doctrinal matters. This is why I asked you, what Protestant tradition are you coming from when talking about this issue? The Anglican? the Lutherian? The Dutch Reformed? or the English Puritan?





JNORM888

Catz206 said...

“You would have to ignore their heavy ussage of the LXX. I predict that you will claim that the LXX didn't have the D.C.'s in it until the 4th century......or something like that.”

I have already openly acknowledged that they use the LXX and do not deny the DC in the LXX. I am still waiting for you to give me indication that Wisdom and other texts were quoted as Scripture in the NT.

In response to your use of my quote: If you are going to argue from my quote please be true to its context and what I have said in past discussions. Also, for inspirational status I am looking for indication primarily in writings around the time of Acts and (at this present time) in official lists afterwards.

Why am I looking at canonical lists? Because the Church was indeed confused over their OT canon and those making the lists generally went the extra mile to know what was or ought to be used. This is precisely why Melito sought the east for the contents. He did this because of the confusion.

What you have provided me for the most part are not lists and definitely indicate the canonical confusion within the Church at the time- I am not denying this. After all, we wouldn’t have Melito’s list if everything had been clear.

In regards to the only list you provided:

There is a reason why the Muratorian fragment is not used as a list for the OT canon by Scholars. This is because it is actually a list of New Testament books! Here is what is said about the copy: “This copy was made by an illiterate and careless scribe, and is full of blunders; but is of the greatest value as the earliest-known list of N.T. books recognized by the church.” “The mention of Wisdom in a list of N.T. books is perplexing. Perhaps we should read "ut" for "et"; and the Proverbs of Solomon and not the apocryphal book of Wisdom may be intended. There may be an inaccurate reference to Prov. xxv. 1 (LXX).” The poor Latin and state of the manuscript make it hard to translate. Not only this but the dating is heavily debated some placing it as far as the 4th century. The fragment is traditionally dated at 170 because of the ref to Pius I, bishop of Rome.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/wace/biodict.Muratorian_Fragment.html

“The presence of books within the LXX (as diverse as that term is) does not necessarily indicate the books were considered inspired. That I believe will be your task.”

Here is what I specifically wanted you to answer:

1) What in the NT indicates that the apocryphal books are inspired (these are the documents that date around the time of Acts)?

--
Given that we both acknowledge canonical confusion later on in the Church and even later on there are attempts at stability, why accept the Apocryphal books as Scripture or authoritative? On what grounds? Specifically: Why revel (as you have) in having a confused canon?

You have also not answer my question(s):

“Need” in what sense? And we should come to the EO because of their history of having an unstable canon?

--
I think I may see where we are speaking past each other. In this stream I have said the Church may have had a more limited canon resembling the Prot.

I am using "canon" loosely and do not mean to indicate that the contents were decided in a Christian council.

I also do not mean to deny that no part of the Church thought one or more apocryphal books were canonical. Still, I hold that the Christian East generally had a more limited canon. This is not to say it was identical to the Protestant in every way.

Since I believe the canon of the Palestinian Jews at the time of Jesus and the Apostles to be what we have inherited, the contents of Melito would tell us two things: 1) that the Jews may have had a wider canon and 2)what the canon was like for these Christians (here is where I am going: unstable but Smaller and overall CLOSER to the Prot).

My concern is with how things started out (NT writings) and the evolution afterwards.

Jnorm888 said...

You said:
"I have already openly acknowledged that they use the LXX and do not deny the DC in the LXX. I am still waiting for you to give me indication that Wisdom and other texts were quoted as Scripture in the NT."

This is too subjective. Just for the fact, if I show you that they were refering to a D.C. book, you can always explain the reference away. Or find a P.C. verse that would look similar. Your Bias would never allow you to see a quote or refernce as scripture. Also those books (in the LXX family of texts) were not isolated from all the other books. They were intermixed with the P.C.'s. This fact alone should hint at the idea that the compilers(of the LXX) saw these works as Scripture. If they didn't then they would of done what Martin Luther did (separate them) or they would of done what Saint Jerome did(write a negative preface about them).



You said:
"In response to your use of my quote: If you are going to argue from my quote please be true to its context and what I have said in past discussions. Also, for inspirational status I am looking for indication primarily in writings around the time of Acts and (at this present time) in official lists afterwards."

You are limiting yourself By refusing to look at what the Jews wrote at Qumran. There is always the Talmud, but other than that.....there really isn't much to look at in the mid first century. The contexts of some of those official lists(especially when it comes to looking at the nonbelieving Jews to see what they had) was mostly for evangelistic reasons. Origen clearly says this when it came to him looking at what they had.


You said:
"Why am I looking at canonical lists? Because the Church was indeed confused over their OT canon and those making the lists generally went the extra mile to know what was or ought to be used. This is precisely why Melito sought the east for the contents. He did this because of the confusion."

I disagree:

More wise words from Michuta (this time about Melito's list)

And Origen did it for evangelistic reasons as well. The Churches didn't drop what they had only to grab the books of the nonbelieving Jews.


You Said:
"What you have provided me for the most part are not lists and definitely indicate the canonical confusion within the Church at the time- I am not denying this. After all, we wouldn’t have Melito’s list if everything had been clear."

How do you know Melito didn't do it for evangelistic reasons? All we have is a fragment by Eusebius.
More wise words from Muchata(about melito's list)


You said:
"There is a reason why the Muratorian fragment is not used as a list for the OT canon by Scholars. This is because it is actually a list of New Testament books! Here is what is said about the copy: “This copy was made by an illiterate and careless scribe, and is full of blunders; but is of the greatest value as the earliest-known list of N.T. books recognized by the church.” “The mention of Wisdom in a list of N.T. books is perplexing. Perhaps we should read "ut" for "et"; and the Proverbs of Solomon and not the apocryphal book of Wisdom may be intended. There may be an inaccurate reference to Prov. xxv. 1 (LXX).” The poor Latin and state of the manuscript make it hard to translate. Not only this but the dating is heavily debated some placing it as far as the 4th century. The fragment is traditionally dated at 170 because of the ref to Pius I, bishop of Rome.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/wace/biodict.Muratorian_Fragment"


Protestant are always hostile to something that disagrees with their presup. So what they said doesn't mean a thing. To turn "Wisdom" into "Proverbs", you would have to ignore what they said about the book being written by "friends of Solomon in his honor".

Was the book of Proverbs written by "the friends of Solomon"? No, I think not. They are clearly talking about the book of Wisdom. And that was the only reason why I quoted the fragment. To show that Melito was talking about "the book of Wisdom". Protestant Apologists will always try to explain this away. Any other time, the book of Wisdom means, the book of Wisdom. They knew how to say the words "Psalms, and proverbs".


You said:
"“The presence of books within the LXX (as diverse as that term is) does not necessarily indicate the books were considered inspired. That I believe will be your task.”"

If they were not seen as inspired, then why have them intermingled with all the other books? Why not isolate them? Isn't that what Martin Luther did? If they were not seen as inspired then why not write a negative commentary about them as Saint Jerome did?

If they were not inspired then why were they used to settle doctrinal issues.....as well as to talk about doctrinal issues throughout the history of the Church? The letter of Barnabas was written around 70 A.D. and it quotes them as if they were authoritative. He quoted them when talking about doctrine. The same is True for Saint Clement of Rome (90A.D.).

These are first century works, and they quoted them without distinction.

The book of Hebrews in chapter 11 references the Maccabees, but you will simply explain that away as not meaning anything.

You said:
"Here is what I specifically wanted you to answer:

1) What in the NT indicates that the apocryphal books are inspired (these are the documents that date around the time of Acts)?"

This is too subjective.


You said:
"Given that we both acknowledge canonical confusion later on in the Church and even later on there are attempts at stability, why accept the Apocryphal books as Scripture or authoritative? On what grounds? Specifically: Why revel (as you have) in having a confused canon?"

Because they were always embraced as Authoritative. When you look at the regional councils, they always embraced at least one D.C. The D.C.'s were always embraced when the Church gathered as a council.

A few individuals may have rejected some of them or all of them, but when the Church gathered as a collective, they were always confirmed.

If I were to talk to you about my Jurisdiction's O.T., then I would argue for a stable O.T. canon, but I am not. I am argueing for Pan-Orthodoxy. And in Pan-Orthodoxy there is a slight difference in O.T. canons. But it's always been that way when talking about Pan-Orthodoxy. Even when Rome was in communion with us she had 3 less books than us. So when it comes to multi-jurisdictions......the Church never had a 100% stable canon. And it's always been that way. Always! The Ancient Worldwide(multi-Jurisdiction) Church never had a 100% stable canon. And that's a fact.



You said:
"I think I may see where we are speaking past each other. In this stream I have said the Church may have had a more limited canon resembling the Prot."


And this is what I disagree with. Also you will have to make a distinction between a local region, and the Church as a whole(all regions).

Now when I say that the church never had a 100% stable O.T. ....I am only talking in the sense of "All regions". Now if I was talking about distinct local regions then I would talk about distinct 100% stable local O.T. canons.
So that is where I am coming from. And this is my context.



You said:
"I am using "canon" loosely and do not mean to indicate that the contents were decided in a Christian council."

I see, it would be helpful to use a different word. This is why I refuse to use the word "canon" for both the ancient Palestinian & Alexandrian traditions. It's a myth in both cases.

You said:
"I also do not mean to deny that no part of the Church thought one or more apocryphal books were canonical. Still, I hold that the Christian East generally had a more limited canon. This is not to say it was identical to the Protestant in every way."


Understood,

However, I would argue with you about the Christian East thing....especially if it's post 130 A.D.


You said:
"Since I believe the canon of the Palestinian Jews at the time of Jesus and the Apostles to be what we have inherited, the contents of Melito would tell us two things: 1) that the Jews may have had a wider canon and 2)what the canon was like for these Christians (here is where I am going: unstable but Smaller and overall CLOSER to the Prot)."


Well, I'm glad you are finally saying the word "unstable". We will naturally disagree about your # 2. But I am starting to see where you are coming from.







JNORM888

Catz206 said...

“This is too subjective. Just for the fact, if I show you that they were refering to a D.C. book, you can always explain the reference away…Your Bias would never allow you to see a quote or refernce as scripture.” ect.

Then I shall not waste any more of your time. Hope your papers go well and God bless

MG said...

I would still be interested in seeing how Catz explains the data that Jnorm has brought up.

Catz206 said...

sure MG which did u have in mind?

MG said...

Catz--

Preferably any or all of it. But if there's one point of his that you find particularly weak and you don't have time to respond to the others, then I'd be glad to just hear about that one.

MG said...

Also, it would be helpful to see your argument against the Orthodox view of the canon in that upcoming post. The sooner the better.

Catz206 said...

It’s up to you. Pick what you think is the strongest and why and I’ll answer here. If you really want me to go over all of it piece by piece you can give me a call and ask away since we know each other. I am less lazy over the phone and happy to do it.

My position: We inherited our OT from the Jews before the New Covenant era. This content was and is more or less known. If we ought to accept more books I need to see that the Jews (majority in Palestine) accepted the books in question as Scripture or that the apostles believed them to be.

Catz206 said...

In other words, as far as the later Eastern Canon(s) are concerned (the earlier was more limited) I need further indication for why I should accept them.

Look at some of my earlier posts

MG said...

Catz--

You wrote:

"It’s up to you. Pick what you think is the strongest and why and I’ll answer here. If you really want me to go over all of it piece by piece you can give me a call and ask away since we know each other. I am less lazy over the phone and happy to do it.

My position: We inherited our OT from the Jews before the New Covenant era. This content was and is more or less known. If we ought to accept more books I need to see that the Jews (majority in Palestine) accepted the books in question as Scripture or that the apostles believed them to be.

In other words, as far as the later Eastern Canon(s) are concerned (the earlier was more limited) I need further indication for why I should accept them.

Look at some of my earlier posts"

I'm more intersted in hearing your arguments *against* the Orthodox canon than your answers to Jnorm, or your arguments about the *lack of evidence for* the Orthodox canon. In your post, you wrote:

"It does however pose a problem for Eastern Orthodox Christians wanting canonical stability since their canon is not established in any Ecumenical council except maybe in Athanasius’ list- a great disappointment for those hoping to make a case for apocryphal books in their canon."

This would be the most interesting argument to read fleshed out; so actually, I would appreciate seeing your next post more than your answers to Jnorm or what have you.

Catz206 said...

“I'm more interested in hearing your arguments *against* the Orthodox canon than your answers to Jnorm, or your arguments about the *lack of evidence for* the Orthodox canon.”

The burden of proof is on those who wish to add books.

"It does however pose a problem for Eastern Orthodox Christians wanting canonical stability since their canon is not established in any Ecumenical council except maybe in Athanasius’ list- a great disappointment for those hoping to make a case for apocryphal books in their canon."

“This would be the most interesting argument to read fleshed out; so actually, I would appreciate seeing your next post more than your answers to Jnorm or what have you.”

Not everyone in the EO wants or cares about canonical stability (JNORM being one). If that is so then they will not care much for these posts.

I do not aim to be on the offense with my overall approach to the canon(s) of the Eastern Orthodox Church. However, the quote above would be better put as a question. If the Church is infallible, in what way does the infallible Church establish her OT canon so that one can recognize it as authoritative as opposed to others?

There are a plethora of views within the Eastern churches throughout history and presently and I see no stable way of anyone really knowing what their Scriptures are (though I believe you have had a couple of synods). There is no Ecumenical council establishing what many consider to be Scripture, the Church fathers are divided, and even now there seems to be no unity of thought on all of the books.

The EC was chosen since it seems to be regarded as the most clear way the EO can express infallible authority.