Saturday, May 12, 2007

Eastern Orthodox Acceptance Of The Hebrew Canon

We've repeatedly asked Orthodox to list his Old Testament canon for us and to tell us where Eastern Orthodoxy specifically gave him that canon infallibly. He's refused to do either. (See here, for example.) We've seen one of the reasons why he's refused to do so. Different sources over the centuries have accepted different Apocryphal books, and Eastern Orthodox disagree among themselves concerning which ones to include. Also worth noting is that some Eastern Orthodox support the Hebrew canon, a canon that Orthodox has criticized and (ineffectively) argued against at length:

"The controversy between Rome and the Reformers did not long escape the notice of the Eastern Orthodox Church, but the Orthodox were slow in taking sides. They knew both the broad and the narrow canon of the Fathers, and were concerned that the books of the broad canon, which they used in their liturgy, should continue to be esteemed. On the other hand, the belief that only the books of the Hebrew Bible are actually inspired has gradually gained ground among the Orthodox, at the expense of the Roman view, and it now looks as if a decision to this effect could be taken in the forseeable future by a pan-Orthodox synod....A draft statement which makes a firm distinction between the canonical books (those of the Hebrew Bible) and the books that are read (the Apocrypha) was prepared for the coming Great Council of the Orthodox Church, and though this topic has now been deferred until some future occasion, a similar statement has been agreed in the promising negotiations between the Orthodox and the Old Catholics. The first of these two statements is published in Towards the Great Council (London, SPCK, 1972), p. 3f., and the second in Episkepsis, no. 131 (23 September 1975), p. 10f. The Orthodox list of the books that are read, by comparison with the Apocrypha of the English Bible, adds 3 Maccabees, but finds no place for 2 Esdras (4 Ezra) or the prayer of Manasses. The 4 Maccabees of the LXX is not included either." (Roger Beckwith, The Old Testament Canon Of The New Testament Church [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1986], p. 2, n. 9 on p. 14)

"in 1642 and 1672 respectively Orthodox synods at Jassy (Iasi) and Jerusalem confirmed as 'genuine parts of scripture' the contents of the 'Septuagintal plus' (the canonicity of which had been taken for granted), specifically: 1 Esdras (= Vulgate 3 Esdras), Tobit, Judith, 1, 2 and 3 Maccabees, Wisdom, Ben Sira (Ecclesiastiscus), Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah. The Septuagint remains the 'authorized version' of the Old Testament in Greek Orthodoxy, its deviations from the traditional Hebrew text being ascribed to divine inspiration. Most Orthodox scholars today, however, follow Athanasius and others in placing the books of the 'Septuagintal plus' on a lower level of authority than the 'proto-canonical' writings....an ecumenical milestone was reached in 1973 with the appearance of the Common Bible, an edition of the RSV with the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books printed between the Testaments in a form which received the blessing not only of Catholic and Protestant church leaders but also of the Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain, the leader of the Greek Orthodox community in Britain....The commendation of the Greek Orthodox Archbishop is the more telling because the OT part of the work is not based on the Septuagint, which is the authoritative text for the Orthodox Church" (F.F. Bruce, The Canon Of Scripture [Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1988], pp. 82, 113, n. 31 on p. 113)

For more on such issues from Eastern Orthodox sources, see Steve Hays' discussion here. One of the sources Steve cites, The Blackwell Dictionary Of Eastern Christianity (Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2004), Ken Parry, et al., ed., comments that "Protestant ideas infiltrated Russian theology in the eighteenth century, whence they spread to parts of the Greek-speaking churches." (p. 83)

17 comments:

  1. Concerning the "lower level" comment, there is nothing amazing or surprising in people regarding books on different levels. The Church has always considered the Gospel books to be on a higher level than the epistles of the New Testament. The Church has also considered Revelation on a lower level due to its hard to understand nature, and it is not in the lectionary.

    In the old testament, the Jews always considered the Law, the pentatuch to be on a higher level than the rest. Among the prophets, some are more significant than others.

    Protestants know that not all books are equal. When did you last hear a good sermon on Esther?

    So if we find Orthodox expressing an opinion that one book is more important than another, this is not great news.

    Concerning Beckwith's comments, I have very little interest in concerning myself with secondary references to scholars, much less someone like Beckwith with a polemical axe to grind for his point of view. Beckwith's work is characterised by trying to mold the facts to suit his preconceived ideas.

    In the lead up to the aborted great council, ideas for discussion were farmed out to various groups from various churches. On the off chance that this quote is in any way accurate, it wouldn't be the first time in the history of the 2000 year old church that some group planned to front up at a council with a false idea.

    There is no chance that the Orthodox church would ever remove from its canon the books that all the Church have agreed on as canonical. Those are the books which can be found listed by the Synod of Jerusalem:

    http://users.stargate.net/~elcore/ConfessionOfDositheus.htm

    ReplyDelete
  2. Why is the Synod of Jerusalem authoritative? If you don't need a council or popes to authenticate and authorize your views, then why appeal to that Synod, which was not held until 1672 at that? In the past, you've appealed to Jerome and others, now you're appealing to a 17th century synod. Yes, we know it's all part of "Holy Tradition," but what's the use of appealing to a synod when you have stated you don't need to do so, and from whence does this synod derive its authority?

    The Synod of Jerusalem has been charged by Aymon and others with subserviency to the interests of Rome; Dositheus being in correspondence with Nointel, the French embassador at Constantinople. (Schaff) Further, the Russian church denies some of the articles of that synod, so it's not as if the synod has been considered authoritative by all the members of the Eastern Church.

    Incidentally, what is your position on the filioque clause? Do you accept or deny the Council of Florence, ca. 1438-42? The Synod of Jerusalem states the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, with the single procession of the Spirit.

    But the Council of Florence's position was accepted by the theologians there gathered and even by the representatives from Kiev. If you don't need a majority of your church to support your views, then why would anybody in Orthodoxy have to make any such statements as Article 1 of the Synod of Jerusalem? You could just as well agree with Kiev and others at Florence and be done with it and still maintain you are not in error.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm not "appealing" to the synod, I'm just pointing out the list of books from the synod because Jason continues to claim I havn't given him a list of books that all Orthodoxy accept. This is a convenient place to find a list. If you want to find the authority for the books, it is in the Tradition.

    >Do you accept or deny the Council of Florence,
    >ca. 1438-42?

    Deny, as the Orthodox all do.

    >why would anybody in Orthodoxy have to make
    >any such statements as Article 1 of the Synod of
    >Jerusalem? You could just as well agree with Kiev
    >and others at Florence and be done with it and
    >still maintain you are not in error.

    I don't understand the question.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Orthodox writes:

    "I'm not 'appealing' to the synod, I'm just pointing out the list of books from the synod because Jason continues to claim I havn't given him a list of books that all Orthodoxy accept. This is a convenient place to find a list."

    Notice that Orthodox claims that "all Orthodoxy" accepts the list he's citing, yet he provides no evidence to support the claim.

    He comments elsewhere:

    "On the off chance that this quote is in any way accurate, it wouldn't be the first time in the history of the 2000 year old church that some group planned to front up at a council with a false idea."

    Orthodox repeatedly expects us to accept his assertions without any accompanying documentation, yet when I cite multiple scholars and an Eastern Orthodox reference work (The Blackwell Dictionary Of Eastern Christianity) supporting my argument and making reference to sources to support their claims, Orthodox ignores most of what they say and refers to how there's only an "off chance" that one of them (Roger Beckwith) is correct about one of his claims. He gives us no reason to doubt Beckwith on this issue, and he ignores the other sources I cited. Readers should take note of the documentation I provided at the beginning of this thread and notice how little of it Orthodox even attempted to interact with. And the little he did interact with he dismissed without good reason.

    Orthodox's references to some books of the Bible being more "important" than others don't refute what I discussed at the beginning of this thread. Again, readers should go back to my first post and ask themselves whether what I cited in that post is just about the "importance" of some books as compared to others.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm not "appealing" to the synod, I'm just pointing out the list of books from the synod because Jason continues to claim I haven't given him a list of books that all Orthodoxy accept. This is a convenient place to find a list. If you want to find the authority for the books, it is in the Tradition.

    >>This is a stellar example of the regressive fallacy, where the disputant makes a point that is in turn grounded in another. The council is part of the tradition, and the Synod purports to make decrees that represent Orthodoxy's views, but on what authority does this list rest? Where can we find an infallible list of canonical books? All we have is a vague assertion about "tradition" and your own statements that you don't need a majority of theologians, a council, or a pope. All we're left with is your ipse dixit.

    Notice how Orthodox equivocates. He says, that he's just giving that as a list, but if that is not authoritative, then it's of no use. Why appeal to a Synod? What's the point of the synod if it isn't authoritative?

    >>Deny, as the Orthodox all do.

    Orthodox is ignorant of history. Constantinople and Moscow did not ratify Florence, but this does not mean that some Orthodox did not accept it. If all Orthodox do not accept it, then why did the theologians at Florenece, including Isidore of Kiev, Bessarion of Nicea, Markus Eugenicus of Ephesus come to speak for Orthodoxy? The formula at Florence (does Orthodox have the remotest clue as to what it is) was accepted by the Latins and many of the Greeks, and by Isidore of Kiev, so it is simply untrue that "all Orthodox reject it."

    >>
    I don't understand the question.

    Then you don't know what Florence said, and you have no basis for saying all Orthodox reject it. I'm simply following your own logic. The Synod of Jerusalem contradicts Florence, but you have elsewhere argued that you don't need "all" of the theologians within Orthodoxy to agree, only a small proportion of them. So, since Isidore agreed, as did many of the other Greeks at the time of Florence, then why not, instead of making the comment that "all Orthodox reject it," say that it is fine and dandy to accept Florence since there *are* those in Orthodoxy who have accepted it and a majority are not required.

    I intentionally asked you that question to find out (a) how sloppy you are with your assertions (b) the internal problems with your stance, and (c) how your views on authority within Orthodoxy do not make sense, for what is the purpose of a synod if its decisions are not binding? Why was the synod of Jerusalem convened, Orthodox? I know you know the answer. So, why, then hold it for that reason if it isn't binding?

    ReplyDelete
  6. >Notice that Orthodox claims that "all Orthodoxy"
    >accepts the list he's citing, yet he provides no
    >evidence to support the claim.

    If you want to know the Tradition, join the Church. We do not claim the Tradition is always written down.

    >and an Eastern Orthodox reference work (The
    >Blackwell Dictionary Of Eastern Christianity)
    >supporting my argument

    That wasn't an argument, it was a statement. Some Russians and Greeks were influenced by protestant ideas in the 18th century? This is what Blackwell's supports? Yes, it's true. So what? Is there some kind of argument here?

    >He gives us no reason to doubt Beckwith on this
    >issue, and he ignores the other sources I cited.

    Yes I *DID* give reason to doubt Beckwith, because he has a history of bending reality to fit his world view. What other source am I supposed to be ignoring? And who actually cares about any of this anyway?

    >Orthodox's references to some books of the
    >Bible being more "important" than others don't
    >refute what I discussed at the beginning of this >thread.

    ????

    What a vague fluffy "have you stopped beating your wife" thread this is!

    (a) No primary sources are cited. Jason is back to his sola-scholar high wire act again, because he couldn't cite a primary source to save his life.

    (b) We aren't told why anybody should care about any of this anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  7. >Where can we find an infallible list of canonical
    >books? All we have is a vague assertion about
    >"tradition" and your own statements that you don't
    >need a majority of theologians, a council, or a pope.
    >All we're left with is your ipse dixit.

    Don't take my ipse dixit, join the Church and get it from source. This is how it has ever been. This is how it remains.

    >Why appeal to a Synod? What's the point of the
    >synod if it isn't authoritative?

    Are you deaf? I didn't "appeal" to the synod. Jason asked for a list. I could have cut and paste the list here, but I didn't want to fill up the blog just because Jason is too lazy to look it up himself.

    >>Deny, as the Orthodox all do.
    >
    >Orthodox is ignorant of history. Constantinople
    >and Moscow did not ratify Florence, but this
    >does not mean that some Orthodox did not
    >accept it.

    You've got a severe comprehension problem as you cannot distinguish between the present and past tenses.

    >elsewhere argued that you don't need "all" of the
    >theologians within Orthodoxy to agree, only a
    >small proportion of them.

    Why are trying to interact on an adult level when you are completely lacking in knowledge about traditional Christianity?

    What I said was, is that at times in history it could be that even a majority are not believing the orthodox faith.

    >I intentionally asked you that question to find
    >out (a) how sloppy you are with your assertions

    Go back to junior high school English.

    >(b) the internal problems with your stance,

    Find out what the Orthodox stance is, *THEN* comment.

    > and (c) how your views on authority within
    >Orthodoxy do not make sense, for what is the
    >purpose of a synod if its decisions are not
    >binding?

    The purpose of a synod is to state the faith in a clear fashion. It is binding to the extent that the Church accepts it. Much of the synod was accepted by the whole church, and to that extent it is binding.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Orthodox writes:

    "If you want to know the Tradition, join the Church. We do not claim the Tradition is always written down."

    If the Tradition you're referring to is part of the historical record, then why would we need to become Eastern Orthodox in order to know it? If it's not part of the historical record, then where is it? If it's something you've received orally from other Eastern Orthodox, then how do you know that it's correct? Individual Eastern Orthodox aren't infallible, and you've told us that even a majority of Eastern Orthodox can be mistaken. And if becoming Eastern Orthodox makes us aware of the Tradition, then why do Eastern Orthodox disagree with each other about the canon? Are the Eastern Orthodox scholars referenced at the beginning of this thread less knowledgeable of Eastern Orthodox Tradition than you are? Why should we accept the testimony of an anonymous Eastern Orthodox layman over the testimony of named and more reputable Eastern Orthodox scholars? When we go to the historical record, the variety of Old Testament canons held by different sources over the centuries suggests that your view of a Tradition that all Eastern Orthodox agree about is unlikely. We don't have to convert to Eastern Orthodoxy in order to be confident that you're wrong.

    You write:

    "That wasn't an argument, it was a statement. Some Russians and Greeks were influenced by protestant ideas in the 18th century? This is what Blackwell's supports? Yes, it's true. So what? Is there some kind of argument here?"

    Here we have further evidence of your carelessness. First of all, I didn't just cite that one comment from the source in question. I also referred to Steve Hays' citations of that same source in another thread. Secondly, the passage I quoted in this thread is specifically made in the context of discussing the Old Testament canon. They weren't discussing Protestant influence on what clothing Eastern Orthodox wear or what Eastern Orthodox think about the afterlife or economics. They were addressing the issue of the Old Testament canon.

    You write:

    "Yes I *DID* give reason to doubt Beckwith, because he has a history of bending reality to fit his world view."

    The fact that some scholars disagree with some of Beckwith's conclusions doesn't prove that "he has a history of bending reality" in any relevant sense. And even if we thought that he was wrong on many subjects, it wouldn't therefore follow that he was wrong about the specific claims he made about Eastern Orthodox views of the canon. Beckwith cites multiple sources to document his claim, and he's a scholar who's highly knowledgeable of issues related to the Old Testament canon. Making a vague reference to how he allegedly "bends reality" isn't a sufficient response.

    You write:

    "What other source am I supposed to be ignoring?"

    In addition to ignoring Beckwith and the sources he cites, you also ignored what I cited from F.F. Bruce, from Steve Hays' comments in another thread, and The Blackwell Dictionary Of Eastern Christianity. You do respond to that last source (insufficiently) in your latest response, but you initially ignored it.

    You write:

    "(a) No primary sources are cited. Jason is back to his sola-scholar high wire act again, because he couldn't cite a primary source to save his life. (b) We aren't told why anybody should care about any of this anyway."

    People can look at how many sources you cite to support your claims in order to get an idea of how sincere your request for sources is. If you were as interested in documentation as you sometimes pretend to be, I doubt that your own posts would be so devoid of documentation.

    What sort of "primary sources" do you have in mind? I cited a combination of Protestant and Eastern Orthodox sources, and the Protestant sources I cited document their claims with specific references to Eastern Orthodox sources. Since you've claimed that all Eastern Orthodox agree on an Old Testament canon, then references to Eastern Orthodox sources disagreeing with you are relevant. These Eastern Orthodox disagreements are also relevant because they further illustrate the fact that you're applying a double standard when you expect Protestants to agree with each other about the extent of their rule of faith while allowing Eastern Orthodox to disagree with each other about the extent of theirs. And Eastern Orthodox disagreements over the canon are relevant in other contexts, such as a consideration of the history of the canon. Since you often appeal to the popularity of a belief in order to argue for that belief, we ought to be interested in how popular a belief is or was.

    I think you're aware of why people should "care" about these things. You just don't like the fact that this thread isn't going your way.

    ReplyDelete
  9. >If it's not part of the historical record, then where is
    >it? If it's something you've received orally from
    >other Eastern Orthodox, then how do you know that
    >it's correct?

    Because the Church has the charism of being led into truth concerning the canon. If not the church then who? You?? LOL.

    >Are the Eastern Orthodox scholars referenced at
    >the beginning of this thread less knowledgeable
    >of Eastern Orthodox Tradition than you are?

    No, you just don't understand what they are talking about.

    >Why should we accept the testimony of an
    >anonymous Eastern Orthodox layman over the
    >testimony of named and more reputable Eastern
    >Orthodox scholars?

    [sigh]

    Don't take my word for it. Go ask an Orthodox priest. If you get a different answer, then we'll have something to talk about.

    >Secondly, the passage I quoted in this thread is
    >specifically made in the context of discussing the
    >Old Testament canon. They were addressing the
    >issue of the Old Testament canon.

    I know. So what? Who cares? Even if I accepted hook line and sinker everything you cite, so what?

    >Beckwith cites multiple sources to document his
    >claim, and he's a scholar who's highly
    >knowledgeable of issues related to the Old
    >Testament canon.

    Then why don't you give the primary sources so that you can have a modicum of a valid argument?

    >Since you've claimed that all Eastern Orthodox
    >agree on an Old Testament canon, then
    >references to Eastern Orthodox sources
    >disagreeing with you are relevant.

    Orthodox in what time period? I know full well that heretical view points crop up within Orthodoxy from time to time. No news here.

    >These Eastern Orthodox disagreements are also
    >relevant because they further illustrate the fact
    >that you're applying a double standard when you
    >expect Protestants to agree with each other
    >about the extent of their rule of faith while
    >allowing Eastern Orthodox to disagree with each
    >other about the extent of theirs.

    No, because these view points die out or are kicked out. We don't let them hang around to the point where they can break communion.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Orthodox made a request -

    "Then why don't you give the primary sources so that you can have a modicum of a valid argument?"

    If you comply, he will give you this -

    "I know. So what? Who cares? Even if I accepted hook line and sinker everything you cite, so what?"

    To him the EO Church is the true church and infallible. There is no need for proof. There is no need for scripture. There is no need for arguments. There is no need to settle the canon. Just join the The EO Church. Whatever the church is and says now is what you have to accept. The true teachings are what you see right now.

    But, on the other hand he said -

    "No, because these view points die out or are kicked out. We don't let them hang around to the point where they can break communion."

    So, we have to wait till judgement day to see finally the who or the what that will be hanging around.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Orthodox wrote:

    "Because the Church has the charism of being led into truth concerning the canon. If not the church then who?"

    Your misuse of John 16 was refuted in other threads that you left. And, as we've explained to you repeatedly, a person can believe that the church is led to a canonical consensus by God without believing that Eastern Orthodoxy is that church. In recent posts, you've tried to avoid proving that Eastern Orthodoxy has the authority you claim it has by telling us that this forum isn't the place for doing such a thing. You tried to make a case for Eastern Orthodoxy's identity as "the church" when you first came here, citing Biblical passages like Ezekiel 11 and Matthew 16 and citing some alleged evidence from patristic sources. Your attempts to make that case failed, and you eventually refused to make any further efforts. You told us that this forum isn't the place for it. But if you aren't going to give us a case for your assertions about "the church", then why are we supposed to believe those assertions?

    You write:

    "No, you just don't understand what they are talking about."

    You'll need to demonstrate that claim, not just assert it.

    You write:

    "Then why don't you give the primary sources so that you can have a modicum of a valid argument?"

    I did. Beckwith mentions multiple sources in the quote I posted. Is your reading comprehension that bad? Or are you being dishonest? What's the problem?

    You write:

    "No, because these view points die out or are kicked out. We don't let them hang around to the point where they can break communion."

    In other words, Eastern Orthodox can disagree with each other about the canon and what is and isn't Tradition on other issues for hundreds of years, as long as they remain Eastern Orthodox and you can speculate that the incorrect position will eventually "die out". But if two Baptists agree with each other about the canon and agree with each other on other issues more than the Eastern Orthodox mentioned in the last sentence agree with each other, yet those two Baptists belong to governmentally independent churches, that's unacceptable. As I said before, you're assuming a denominational standard of unity that you've never justified. You make a lot of assumptions that you never justify.

    Readers should notice that Orthodox has had a few days now to interact with the scholars I cited in the initial post in this thread. He's ignored some of what I cited and has dismissed other portions for no good reason. Has Orthodox given us any good reason to doubt Roger Beckwith and the multiple sources Beckwith cites? No. Has he given us any good reason to doubt F.F. Bruce or my reading or Steve Hays' reading of the Eastern Orthodox scholars we've cited? No. Much of what we've posted he hasn't even attempted to interact with.

    ReplyDelete
  12. >And, as we've explained to you repeatedly, a person
    >can believe that the church is led to a canonical
    >consensus by God without believing that Eastern
    >Orthodoxy is that church.

    Then which church? When you don't even have a visible church then you can hardly point to the church being led into consensus.

    >You tried to make a case for Eastern Orthodoxy's
    >identity as "the church" when you first came
    >here, citing Biblical passages like Ezekiel 11 and
    >Matthew 16 and citing some alleged evidence
    >from patristic sources. Your attempts to make
    >that case failed, and you eventually refused to
    >make any further efforts.

    If someone actually BELIEVED there was an identifyable church, I could lead you through the arguments that Orthodoxy is that church. But we're still dealing with the question of whether there is such a church. Mt 16 and other verses are an argument that there is a Church throughout history. There's no point discussing what church that is until you accept the first proposition.

    >I did. Beckwith mentions multiple sources in the
    >quote I posted. Is your reading comprehension
    >that bad? Or are you being dishonest? What's the
    >problem?

    Don't just refer to the primary source, actually GIVE us the source. Quote it. Stop trusting your secondary sources who are clearly not unbiased. You're just immersed in your own traditions, frightened to step out beyond the comfy ensconcement of your world view.

    >But if two Baptists agree with each other about
    >the canon and agree with each other on other
    >issues more than the Eastern Orthodox
    >mentioned in the last sentence agree with each
    >other, yet those two Baptists belong to
    >governmentally independent churches, that's
    >unacceptable.

    If we consider these baptists in unity on what they believe, they are still unlikely to be in unity about who they are in unity with. Let's say both these baptists are "particular" baptists. All well and good. But one baptist doesn't think being "particular" is a matter for breaking communion and has unity with the "general" baptists down the other road. The 2nd baptist who is also a "particular" baptist is scandalised by this. Even when you agree on theology, you don't have unity. You can't, even in theory, draw a circle around a group of people who have unity.

    >Has Orthodox given us any good reason to doubt
    >Roger Beckwith and the multiple sources
    >Beckwith cites? No.

    Jo Bloggs said "all protestants beat their wives". Give us good reason not to doubt this fellow Jo Bloggs, who by the way is a biased polemicist against protestants.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Orthodox wrote:

    "Then which church? When you don't even have a visible church then you can hardly point to the church being led into consensus."

    A church doesn't have to be a worldwide denomination in order to be visible. I've addressed this issue in previous discussions, discussions you've repeatedly left.

    You write:

    "If someone actually BELIEVED there was an identifyable church, I could lead you through the arguments that Orthodoxy is that church. But we're still dealing with the question of whether there is such a church. Mt 16 and other verses are an argument that there is a Church throughout history. There's no point discussing what church that is until you accept the first proposition."

    Then why did you leave the discussions I and others were having with you about passages like Matthew 16? And why don't you tell us how you allegedly get from Matthew 16 to Eastern Orthodoxy? If you supposedly don't want to do it for me, because I don't meet your criteria described above, then why not do it for other readers?

    You write:

    "Don't just refer to the primary source, actually GIVE us the source. Quote it. Stop trusting your secondary sources who are clearly not unbiased."

    Then why have you been citing secondary sources, such as Wikipedia and the Catholic Encyclopedia? You've given us no reason to think that Roger Beckwith is wrong.

    You write:

    "If we consider these baptists in unity on what they believe, they are still unlikely to be in unity about who they are in unity with. Let's say both these baptists are 'particular' baptists. All well and good. But one baptist doesn't think being 'particular' is a matter for breaking communion and has unity with the 'general' baptists down the other road. The 2nd baptist who is also a 'particular' baptist is scandalised by this. Even when you agree on theology, you don't have unity. You can't, even in theory, draw a circle around a group of people who have unity."

    First of all, the readers should be made aware of the fact that I and others have had discussions on these issues of unity with Orthodox in the past, and he's repeatedly left those discussions.

    And why should we assume that one of two Baptists belonging to governmentally independent churches would be "scandalized" by the associations of the other? You're assuming something that isn't necessary. I could likewise assume that some Eastern Orthodox are "scandalized" by the involvement of other Eastern Orthodox in the modern ecumenical movement, for example. You still aren't giving us any justification for your denominational standard of unity.

    You write:

    "Jo Bloggs said 'all protestants beat their wives'. Give us good reason not to doubt this fellow Jo Bloggs, who by the way is a biased polemicist against protestants."

    You've given us no reason to think that "Jo Bloggs" has credentials comparable to those of Roger Beckwith or has done work comparable to that of Roger Beckwith. And citing multiple sources to support a claim about Eastern Orthodox views of the Old Testament canon isn't in the same category as making the unsupported assertion that "all Protestants beat their wives".

    Notice that Orthodox still hasn't interacted with large portions of what I originally cited at the beginning of this thread and what I've written in response to him since then.

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  14. >A church doesn't have to be a worldwide
    >denomination in order to be visible.

    Then you don't know who is "in" and "out". If those who are "in" is a secret between them and God, all the churches who you think are visible might all be in fact apostates who are going to hell.

    >I've addressed this issue in previous discussions,
    >discussions you've repeatedly left.

    "Somewhere, out there, Beneath the pale moonlight, Jason thinks he had an argument".

    >Then why did you leave the discussions I and
    >others were having with you about passages like
    >Matthew 16? And why don't you tell us how you
    >allegedly get from Matthew 16 to Eastern
    >Orthodoxy? If you supposedly don't want to do it
    >for me, because I don't meet your criteria
    >described above, then why not do it for other
    >readers?

    I don't remember the specific argument or discussion about Mt 16 or why I allegedly left it.

    >Then why have you been citing secondary
    >sources, such as Wikipedia and the Catholic
    >Encyclopedia?

    Feel free to challenge any references to them if you SINCERELY believe their view is questionable.

    >First of all, the readers should be made aware of
    >the fact that I and others have had discussions
    >on these issues of unity with Orthodox in the
    >past, and he's repeatedly left those discussions.

    Cue the music...

    Somewhere, out there.....

    >And why should we assume that one of two
    >Baptists belonging to governmentally
    >independent churches would be "scandalized" by
    >the associations of the other?

    Because I observe the world around me and I see what goes on. Wouldn't you be scandalised if the started regularly attending a "corrupt" church like Orthodox?

    >I could likewise assume that some Eastern
    >Orthodox are "scandalized" by the involvement
    >of other Eastern Orthodox in the modern
    >ecumenical movement, for example.

    We are talking about threats to our respective definitions of unity. People upset about involvment in ecumenical movements does not change the formal definition of who is in unity.

    But when two baptists who believe they are in unity with each other, do not agree who they are in turn in unity with, then you don't actually have a unity of the faith. A is in union with B. B is in union with C, but A isn't in union with C. C is in union with A, but not B. A spaghetti complexity of who is in union with who, is no kind of unity.

    >You've given us no reason to think that "Jo
    >Bloggs" has credentials comparable to those of
    >Roger Beckwith or has done work comparable to
    >that of Roger Beckwith.

    I am no more impressed with the credentials of Roger Beckwith than you are impressed with Jo Bloggs. This is [again], all about my scholar can whup your scholar.

    >Notice that Orthodox still hasn't interacted with
    >large portions of what I originally cited at the
    >beginning of this thread and what I've written in
    >response to him since then.

    NO! My scholar can whup your scholar. Fisticuffs between scholars out the back of the toilet block.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Orthodox writes:

    "Then you don't know who is 'in' and 'out'. If those who are 'in' is a secret between them and God, all the churches who you think are visible might all be in fact apostates who are going to hell."

    Where have I said that the Christian status of other individuals or churches is "a secret between them and God"? I haven't. And the issue isn't what "might" be true. Rather, the issue is probability. We can make probability judgments about the Christian status of individuals or churches without accepting the claims you're making about Eastern Orthodoxy. And your judgments about the Eastern Orthodox status of historical individuals and churches are likewise a matter of making a probability judgment. You tell us that a man like Eusebius of Caesarea was wrong about issues like Arianism and the veneration of images, yet you make the judgment that he was Eastern Orthodox. You also make the judgment that large numbers of people in the earliest generations of Christianity were Eastern Orthodox without having any historical records of their agreeing with some of what Eastern Orthodoxy teaches. You've told us that some of your doctrines can be absent in the historical record for generations or be accepted by only a small minority (like 10%), yet you would still be justified in concluding that the Christians of that time were Eastern Orthodox. If you can rely on such historical probability judgments, then why can't Protestants?

    You write:

    "I don't remember the specific argument or discussion about Mt 16 or why I allegedly left it."

    Your bad memory isn't my problem. But for the benefit of other readers, here are some examples of threads Orthodox has left involving the discussion of Matthew 16 and other passages Orthodox has cited to support his claims about Eastern Orthodox authority (Ezekiel 11, Acts 15, etc.):

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2007/03/unity-apostolic-succession-and.html

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2007/04/unity-of-one-true-church.html

    People can search the archives to find many other examples of discussions Orthodox left. Often, it takes him days to interact with material included in the first post of a thread, if he ever interacts with it at all, as we've seen again in this thread.

    You write:

    "Feel free to challenge any references to them if you SINCERELY believe their view is questionable."

    That's not what you originally said. Here's what you said earlier:

    "Stop trusting your secondary sources who are clearly not unbiased."

    You initially said that the issue is whether a source is "unbiased". But now you claim that the issue is whether what the source says "is questionable". You can't deny that you've cited sources that can be considered "biased", like the Catholic Encyclopedia and a Wikipedia article that you edited. So now you change your standard to whether the source is making claims that are "questionable".

    Where have you demonstrated that we shouldn't trust what Roger Beckwith said about Eastern Orthodox views of the canon? You haven't demonstrated it. You've just asserted it.

    You write:

    "Because I observe the world around me and I see what goes on."

    Your undocumented assertion about what you "see" is supposed to convince us that all Baptists who attend governmentally independent churches are disunited in the manner you described? Why should we believe your conclusion because of what you claim to "see"?

    You write:

    "But when two baptists who believe they are in unity with each other, do not agree who they are in turn in unity with, then you don't actually have a unity of the faith. A is in union with B. B is in union with C, but A isn't in union with C. C is in union with A, but not B. A spaghetti complexity of who is in union with who, is no kind of unity."

    As I explained to you in an earlier discussion, you don't know who is Eastern Orthodox and who isn't. You said that you trust your church leaders to make such judgments, but you don't know who is and isn't in right standing with your denomination from day to day. And other Eastern Orthodox disagree with you about who is and isn't Eastern Orthodox. For example, you've claimed that all Christians of the first millennium were Eastern Orthodox, yet there are other Eastern Orthodox who don't make that claim. By your own standards, Eastern Orthodox unity "is no kind of unity".

    And, as I also explained earlier, there are different types of unity. I cited Philippians 4:2-3 as an example, and you eventually agreed with me that the passage is an illustration of the existence of multiple types of unity. The Baptists you refer to above can have disunity on some issues while having unity on other issues. They can disagree about what standards of unity they should have on a lesser issue while agreeing about standards of unity on more significant issues. Similarly, not all Eastern Orthodox agree with each other about the correct standards of unity in personal relationships (as in Philippians 4:2-3), yet they can agree with each other about a denominational standard of unity while having that disagreement over the other type of unity.

    You write:

    "I am no more impressed with the credentials of Roger Beckwith than you are impressed with Jo Bloggs."

    Telling us what you think of Roger Beckwith gives us no reason to agree with what you think of him. You need to do more than make vague references to "bias", "Jo Bloggs", etc.

    You write:

    "My scholar can whup your scholar. Fisticuffs between scholars out the back of the toilet block."

    Some of the scholars I cited are Eastern Orthodox. If Eastern Orthodox scholars refer to some Eastern Orthodox as accepting a different canon than you claim that all Eastern Orthodox accept, then why should we believe your claim? Why should the readers of this blog dismiss the scholars I've cited and the sources they mention and trust instead an anonymous Eastern Orthodox layman who refuses to offer documentation?

    ReplyDelete
  16. >Rather, the issue is probability. We can make
    >probability judgments about the Christian status of
    >individuals or churches without accepting the
    >claims you're making about Eastern Orthodoxy. And
    >your judgments about the Eastern Orthodox status
    >of historical individuals and churches are likewise a
    >matter of making a probability judgment.

    I see. So let me clarify. When you put forward the argument that you can believe your canon is true on the basis that God has miraculously preserved your particular canon among Christians, am I to understand then that you exclude from your invisible church all those people throughout history who have held to the wider canon?

    If not, why did you throw up a bogus argument? If you do, tell me more how that works. Let's see if this whole "Why can't protestants" line of argument can stand.

    >You initially said that the issue is whether a
    >source is "unbiased". But now you claim that the
    >issue is whether what the source says "is
    >questionable". You can't deny that you've cited
    >sources that can be considered "biased", like the
    >Catholic Encyclopedia and a Wikipedia article
    >that you edited. So now you change your
    >standard to whether the source is making claims
    >that are "questionable".

    Biased... Questionable.. It's the same thing in my book.

    >Where have you demonstrated that we shouldn't
    >trust what Roger Beckwith said about Eastern
    >Orthodox views of the canon? You haven't
    >demonstrated it. You've just asserted it.

    LOL, Beckwith is a protestant with a protestant agenda. Hmm, let me see what the Amazon reviews say:

    "This book is polemical."

    "he is biased and selective"

    Beckwith is pushing a polemical agenda. Nothing wrong with that in itself, but don't try and cite it as if it is authoritative.

    >Your undocumented assertion about what you
    >"see" is supposed to convince us that all Baptists
    >who attend governmentally independent
    >churches are disunited in the manner you
    >described? Why should we believe your
    >conclusion because of what you claim to "see"?

    I didn't say "all" baptists would be scandalised. In fact if "all" were scandalised, then we might say baptists have internal unity! Rather some are scandalised. Thus some have unity with others, some don't, resulting in no definite group you can point to, who represent the unity of the church.

    >As I explained to you in an earlier discussion,
    >you don't know who is Eastern Orthodox and
    >who isn't.

    ???

    There is no vagueness about who is Eastern Orthodox.

    >You said that you trust your church leaders to
    >make such judgments, but you don't know who
    >is and isn't in right standing with your
    >denomination from day to day.

    Whether I personally know who is in right standing doesn't alter the fact that there is no vagueness about the criteria for being in right standing.

    >And other Eastern Orthodox disagree with you
    >about who is and isn't Eastern Orthodox. For
    >example, you've claimed that all Christians of the
    >first millennium were Eastern Orthodox, yet
    >there are other Eastern Orthodox who don't
    >make that claim. By your own standards, Eastern
    >Orthodox unity "is no kind of unity".

    Now what are you talking about? Yes, in the first millenium, many were Western Orthodox, not Eastern Orthodox.

    >The Baptists you refer to above can have disunity
    >on some issues while having unity on other
    >issues.

    Unless a group of Christians can at least have unity about agreeing who they are prepared to have communal unity with, you really have nothing at all but mere shared opinions, which no doubt you also have with athiests about some matters as well.

    >Why should the readers of this blog dismiss the
    >scholars I've cited and the sources they mention
    >and trust instead an anonymous Eastern
    >Orthodox layman who refuses to offer
    >documentation?

    No, you're misinterpreting Orthodox scholars. If what you said was so true, wouldn't you be able to find an Orthodox scholar saying clearly what you claim is true?

    Do you actually care about the truth or just want to score points? If you care about the truth, find some Eastern Orthodox forum on the net, I'm sure you're quite capable of finding one, and ask the people there if the deuterocanonicals are inspired scripture. If you can find an Eastern Orthodox who says they are not, and he believes that because a priest or Orthodox scholar told him so, then you'll have a valid complaint. Until you do that, all we have is someone overlaying a protestant worldview onto the statements of someone Orthodox to make a polemical argument.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Orthodox writes:

    "When you put forward the argument that you can believe your canon is true on the basis that God has miraculously preserved your particular canon among Christians, am I to understand then that you exclude from your invisible church all those people throughout history who have held to the wider canon?"

    Apparently, you don't understand the argument you're criticizing. A Protestant appeal to Christian canonical consensus would involve the New Testament, not the Old Testament. The consensus about an Old Testament canon occurred among the Jewish people. But even among professing Christians, the Apocryphal books haven't been nearly as widely accepted as the 27-book New Testament has been.

    You write:

    "If you do, tell me more how that works. Let's see if this whole 'Why can't protestants' line of argument can stand."

    Why should I go into more detail when you refuse to even make a case for the alleged authority of Eastern Orthodoxy? You keep expecting other people to defend their views much more than you're willing to defend yours.

    You write:

    "Biased... Questionable.. It's the same thing in my book."

    No, they're not the same. If "bias" is enough of a reason for dismissing a source, then you've repeatedly cited sources that we ought to dismiss. The Catholic Encyclopedia, for example, isn't unbiased.

    You write:

    "LOL, Beckwith is a protestant with a protestant agenda. Hmm, let me see what the Amazon reviews say"

    I've responded further to your dismissals of Beckwith in the following new thread:

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2007/05/multiple-canons-of-eastern-orthodox.html

    You mention "Amazon reviews", but you only quoted one of the reviews while ignoring the positive comments made by that reviewer and others.

    You write:

    "Thus some have unity with others, some don't, resulting in no definite group you can point to, who represent the unity of the church."

    Again, you keep demanding unity in one context while ignoring the unity that exists in other contexts. If two Baptists disagree about how to associate with other people or other groups, yet both Baptists believe in doctrines such as monotheism, the deity of Christ, the resurrection, justification through faith alone, etc., then they have unity as Christians and on many individual issues. Similarly, the women in Philippians 4:2-3 had unity as Christians and on many individual issues, despite their disunity on the matter(s) in dispute.

    You write:

    "Whether I personally know who is in right standing doesn't alter the fact that there is no vagueness about the criteria for being in right standing."

    You keep contradicting yourself. Earlier, you objected to using something like justification through faith alone as a standard of unity, since we can't see people's hearts in order to know whether they have faith. You also said that I need to know who I am and am not in fellowship with. But now you tell us that you don't have to know who is and isn't in right standing with your denomination. It's enough for you to know that there is a standard and that whoever meets it is in fellowship with you. If that's enough for you, then why isn't it enough for me?

    In a previous discussion, you tried to avoid addressing the issue of how Roman Catholics are related to Eastern Orthodoxy. Are they saved, do you have unity with them, how much unity do you have with them, etc.? You acknowledged that you consider your relationship with Roman Catholics a difficult issue. Are you now saying that it's not difficult, but easy instead? Are you denying that there are some Eastern Orthodox who hold more liberal views and some who are more conservative on issues like the salvation of non-Eastern-Orthodox, how Eastern Orthodox should interact with people outside of their denomination, and what it means to be in a fully right standing with the church?

    You tell us that your standard of unity is less vague than mine. But a less specific truth is better than a more specific error. You've given us no reason to believe that your denomination has the attributes that you claim it has. We, on the other hand, have given many reasons for believing in concepts like monotheism, the Messiahship of Jesus, the resurrection, justification through faith alone, etc. Unity around such issues may not provide as much specificity as you'd like, but the primary issue here isn't what you like. The primary issue is what's true.

    You write:

    "Yes, in the first millenium, many were Western Orthodox, not Eastern Orthodox."

    I was referring to "Eastern Orthodox" in the sense of the Eastern Orthodox denomination, as you surely know. I wasn't referring to Christians living in the Eastern portion of the world. Now that I've clarified this point, which you surely understood all along, will you respond to what I said? Or will you keep trying to avoid a response?

    You write:

    "Unless a group of Christians can at least have unity about agreeing who they are prepared to have communal unity with, you really have nothing at all but mere shared opinions, which no doubt you also have with athiests about some matters as well."

    I agree with Christians far more than I agree with atheists. The fact that I agree with atheists on some issues doesn't prove that the much larger degree of agreement I have with Christians is insignificant.

    You write:

    "If you can find an Eastern Orthodox who says they are not, and he believes that because a priest or Orthodox scholar told him so, then you'll have a valid complaint."

    You're changing your argument in the middle of a discussion again. You originally claimed that all Eastern Orthodox agree about the scriptural status of the books mentioned by the synod of Jerusalem. But now you're adding the qualifier that those who don't accept all of those books must "believe that because a priest or Orthodox scholar told him so". You can keep changing your arguments if you want to, but I've already given multiple examples of Eastern Orthodox, including Eastern Orthodox scholars, who disagree with you. Those interested in more on this subject should read what I just posted in a new thread:

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2007/05/multiple-canons-of-eastern-orthodox.html

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