Monday, May 14, 2007

Kallistos Ware Contradicts Orthodox

In another thread, I gave some further examples of Eastern Orthodox disagreement about the Old Testament canon. Orthodox has responded by ignoring much of what I cited, distorting other portions, and making a series of unsupported assertions. Contrary to what he argued earlier, he's now claiming that all Eastern Orthodox agree with a canon advocated by a seventeenth century synod. In the thread linked above, Orthodox writes:

"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"

And:

"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."

And:

"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."

Notice that Orthodox claims that all Eastern Orthodox agree with the canon in question. He was asked for documentation, and here's what he told us:

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

In that thread, I explained why such a response is unreasonable. But what I want to address here is Orthodox's claim that all Eastern Orthodox accept the canon in question.

Notice, first of all, that the previous thread I've linked to already cites multiple sources, including Eastern Orthodox sources, denying what Orthodox is affirming. But since Orthodox keeps ignoring or distorting the books I cite, let's try an online source, a source Orthodox himself has cited before. The Eastern Orthodox bishop Kallistos Ware wrote:

"The Hebrew version of the Old Testament contains thirty-nine books. The Septuagint contains in addition ten further books, not present in the Hebrew, which are known in the Orthodox Church as the ‘Deutero-Canonical Books’ (3 Esdras; Tobit; Judith; 1, 2, and 3 Maccabees; Wisdom of Solomon; Ecclesiasticus; Baruch; Letter of Jeremias. In the west these books are often called the ‘Apocrypha’). These were declared by the Councils of Jassy (1642) and Jerusalem (1672) to be ‘genuine parts of Scripture;’ most Orthodox scholars at the present day, however, following the opinion of Athanasius and Jerome, consider that the Deutero-Canonical Books, although part of the Bible, stand on a lower footing than the rest of the Old Testament."

Notice that Ware contrasts the canon of the synod Orthodox is appealing to with the position of "most Orthodox scholars". Ware goes on to mention Athanasius and Jerome. Those men didn't just argue that books like 3 Maccabees are scripture, but less significant than other books of scripture. Rather, they denied that those books are scripture as that term is commonly defined. Orthodox has repeatedly argued against the position of Jerome, so he can't now claim that Jerome agreed with him, if he's to be consistent.

Note, also, that Ware refers to what most Eastern Orthodox scholars believe. If most believe one thing, while a minority believe something else, then it would be incorrect to claim that all agree on the issue.

But why be concerned with Ware's opinion when we can go to a higher authority, like Orthodox? Here's what Orthodox wrote in a thread last month:

"The Churches will stick to their respective canons until such time as the Holy Spirit leads it to make adjustments. Just like in the early church. The important thing is to be in the actual Church that the apostles founded, believing the apostolic teachings. That there are discrepencies in the canon is of no more concern to us than it was for the first four hundred years of Christendom."

Contrast that assessment with Orthodox's recent claims about how all Orthodox agree about the canon of the synod of Jerusalem. It doesn't seem that he was as concerned to put forward an image of Eastern Orthodox unity on this issue a month ago as he is today.

Though Orthodox can't defend everything he's argued on this subject, he might try to defend some of it by arguing that he didn't cite the synod of Jerusalem as representative of everybody's full canon. Rather, he cited it as representative of books that all Eastern Orthodox accept, even if some Eastern Orthodox add one or more books to that canon. But such an argument would still be contradicted by the sources I've cited (The Blackwell Dictionary Of Eastern Christianity, Kallistos Ware, etc.). And if Orthodox was citing the synod of Jerusalem in such a manner, then he wasn't sufficiently addressing the issues he was being asked about. I asked him for a listing of his canon and to tell us where Eastern Orthodoxy infallibly gave him that canon. I also explained that since he considers Protestant disagreements about what is and isn't scripture unacceptable, then he should conclude the same about Eastern Orthodox disagreements about what is and isn't scripture and what is and isn't Tradition. To respond by citing a canon that some Eastern Orthodox consider incomplete would fail to overcome my objections to Orthodox's position. All Eastern Orthodox agree about the canonicity of the Pentateuch, but it wouldn't make sense to cite such agreement in response to what I was arguing. If agreement over part of the canon is accompanied by disagreement over another part, then there is no elimination of canonical disagreements by means of a full canon defined infallibly by the church.

12 comments:

  1. Note, also, that Ware refers to what most Eastern Orthodox scholars believe. If most believe one thing, while a minority believe something else, then it would be incorrect to claim that all agree on the issue.


    >>Which was precisely my point in my citation of the Council of Florence. Orthodox is in no position to claim that "all Orthodox" anything when:

    a. There are people in Orthodoxy who didn't agree or can't agree with an issue.

    and

    b. Orthodox claims that he doesn't need to have complete agreement in order to establish his doctrine. He's the one that has said that he only needs a minority (I believe the estimate was a small percentage, wasn't it) in order for him to establish his view. So, he has no basis for making a claim that "all" Orthodox believe or disbelieve something and then claiming that what he says is the teaching of the Church.

    If there are those within Orthodoxy, for example, who hold a different position that Orthodox on the canon or the filioque clause then who is Orthodox to deny their validity within Orthodoxy, if all you need is a minority to be correct. This isn't my standard, its the very one Orthodox has offered. There are those in Orthodoxy who have accepted the Council of Florence. There are those within Orthodoxy who held a different view of the canon than Orthodox. There are those within Orthodoxy who have rejected some of the articles of the Council of Jerusalem (which is a whole other question, for if Russia rejected them, how does Orthodox account for the Holy Spirit leading Constantinople and Russia and Kiev all in opposing directions if the Spirit leads them into truth? Is truth contradictory?), and some in Geneva have in the past even accept ed Calvinistic doctrine. So, Orthodox is in no position to make any sweeping claims about what "all Orthodox" have believed. If Orthodox can claim a minority within Holy Tradition in his favor, then others can do the same in direct contradiction to him, which doesn't make Orthodoxy that much different than Protestantism.

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  2. Gene,

    As he's done on other issues, Orthodox has contradicted himself regarding issues pertaining to how popular a belief must be. He'll sometimes act as if we need to ask whether "the whole church" has believed something. At other times, he'll act as if only a majority of some sort is needed. At one point, he'll tell us that the popular acceptance of a belief later in church history can't overturn the popular rejection of that belief earlier in church history. For example, a widespread acceptance of Arianism in the fourth century doesn't give us or fourth century Christians reason to accept Arianism, apparently because Arianism was widely rejected earlier. But when I argue for widespread opposition to the veneration of images prior to the later popularity of the practice, Orthodox tells us that minorities are sometimes correct, that the people involved may not have developed an understanding of the mind of the church yet, etc. Often, Orthodox will make assertions (about Ezekiel 11, John 16, etc.) without even attempting to document popular acceptance of his view. When I disputed something he argued about Acts 15 on one occasion, he responded by citing one church father who allegedly agreed with him (John Chrysostom), as if that one source was enough. (As I demonstrated, even Chrysostom didn't actually agree with him.) Orthodox will frequently act as if he only needs to cite something like one source or a few sources agreeing with him, yet he'll dismiss a Protestant citation of a larger number of sources as not representing enough people, not proving that the minority was wrong, etc. The problem, again, as it is so often, is that Orthodox frequently contradicts himself and is a poor communicator.

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  3. There's nothing new here except more spin.

    Ware points out that many Orthodox consider the deuterocanonicals "on a different level". As I pointed out, there are all sorts of beliefs floating around about "levels" and what books are more important than others. If a Presbyterian thinks Romans is more important than Esther, would this be great news?

    Yes, Ware points to Jerome who was a clear case of someone thinking these books were a different level, but that doesn't mean these scholars agree with Jerome's exact position. But what if they did agree? What was Jerome's final position?

    ""What sin have I committed if I followed the judgment of the churches? But he who brings charges against me for relating the objections that the Hebrews are wont to raise against the story of Susanna, the Son of the Three Children, and the story of Bel and the Dragon, which are not found in the Hebrew volume (ie. canon), proves that he is just a foolish sycophant. For I wasn't relating my own personal views, but rather the remarks that they [the Jews] are wont to make against us" (Against Rufinus 11:33 [A.D. 402]).

    So it seems to me Jerome, at least in the end, accepted their status as scripture.

    Athanasius? What "canon" is he prescribing? Is it the canon of all God-inspired scripture, or some other canon? A liturgical canon perhaps? Because the list Athanasius gives is not all the books that he considers inspired.

    "fearless of the words in HOLY SCRIPTURE, 'A false witness shall not be unpunished;’ [Proverbs 19:5] and, 'The mouth that belieth slayeth the soul;' (Wisdom 1:11) we therefore are unable longer to hold our peace, being amazed at their wickedness and at the insatiable love of contention displayed in their intrigues. [Athanasius the Great: Defence Against the Arians, 3" (A.D. 362), in NPNF2, IV:101

    "Let us not fulfill these days like those that mourn but, by enjoying spiritual food, let us seek to silence our fleshly lusts(Ex. 15:1). For by these means we shall have strength to overcome our adversaries, like blessed Judith (Judith 13:8), when having first exercised herself in fastings and prayers, she overcame the enemies, and killed Olophernes."[Athanasius the Great: Letter 4, 2 (A.D. 333), in NPNF2, IV:516.

    THE SPIRIT also, who is in him, COMMANDS, SAYING 'Offer unto God the sacrifice of praise, and pay to the Lord thy vows. Offer the sacrifice of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord (Sir. 18:17).') [Athanasius the Great: Letter 19, 5 (A.D. 333), in NPNF2, IV:546

    According as the WISDOM OF GOD TESTIFIES beforehand when it says, "The devising of idols was the beginning of fornication." (Wis. 14:12)Against the Heathen, 9 (A.D. 347), in NPNF2, IV:9.

    So we might regard Athanasius and Jerome as two fathers who held that the deutero-canonicals were inspired scripture, but on a lower level. What is the standard here from a protestant point of view? Do we want to know what is in some "canon", or do we want to know what is God-inspired? Protestants want to know the latter, and there is no help from Athanasius or Jerome here.

    And I point out again, that Athanasius' dividing line in his "canon" is different to protestants, including Baruch and additions to Daniel and excluding Esther. THERE IS NO LIST.

    Concerning issues that Orthodox disagree on, this has been discussed already. Issues of disagreement are a real problem when they interfere with communion. None of the Orthodox churches are breaking communion because of the question of 3 Esdras in Russian bibles.

    The reason this is different to protestant churches is that for protestants, each individual is making up his own mind what is a communion breaker. And then there is the semi breaking of communion: churches that are "good enough" that you will associate with them, but not good enough that you would join them . This is the big difference in protestantism that you've got no standards of unity, no standards of what problem is too big a problem.

    So again, Jason comes up with nothing.

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  4. >For example, a widespread acceptance of Arianism
    >in the fourth century doesn't give us or fourth
    >century Christians reason to accept Arianism,
    >apparently because Arianism was widely rejected
    >earlier. But when I argue for widespread opposition
    >to the veneration of images prior to the later
    >popularity of the practice, Orthodox tells us that
    >minorities are sometimes correct, that the people
    >involved may not have developed an understanding
    >of the mind of the church yet, etc.

    Totally bizarre Jason. Arianism died out completely. Iconoclasts died out completely. This is why these positions are dogmatically false. There's no inconsistency. These positions were never a consensus in the church. I don't know why you are too dull to understand this simple concept.

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  5. Orthodox said:

    "As I pointed out, there are all sorts of beliefs floating around about 'levels' and what books are more important than others."

    You're ignoring what I said in the first post in this thread. Again, Kallistos Ware contrasts the view he attributes to most Eastern Orthodox scholars with the view of the synod of Jerusalem that you cited. And Ware doesn't say anything about "importance". I cited his comments addressing the canon. He wasn't addressing some lesser differences in "importance" among books that are canonical. It's highly dubious to suggest that a book like Obadiah would be considered more important than every Apocryphal book in question if all of those Apocryphal books were considered equally inspired by God. We can understand why Protestants might tend to use the Psalms more often than Esther, for example, but why should we believe that there would be such a difference between a book like Esther or Obadiah and every Apocryphal book, with the more "important" books aligning with the books that make up the Hebrew canon?

    You write:

    "Yes, Ware points to Jerome who was a clear case of someone thinking these books were a different level, but that doesn't mean these scholars agree with Jerome's exact position."

    If I wanted to illustrate my view by citing somebody who agreed with me about the importance of different books among scripture, I wouldn't cite men who disagreed with me about whether those books were scripture in the first place. If Ware agreed with your position, he could have cited church fathers or other historical figures who accepted the scriptural status of the books in question. Instead, Ware cited two of the church fathers best known for rejecting the scriptural status of the Apocryphal books. Your argument, after requiring that we interpret Ware in a less natural manner in other ways (mentioned above), requires that we interpret him less naturally on this point as well. You're giving us no reason to accept this series of less natural interpretations in order to arrive at your conclusion.

    You write:

    "So it seems to me Jerome, at least in the end, accepted their status as scripture."

    The passage you've cited from Jerome doesn't even address the books in question. It addresses some portions of books (additions to Daniel), much like the various endings to Mark's gospel that have circulated. Kallistos Ware doesn't mention such portions of books. He's addressing the canonicity of separate books.

    Not only is Jerome not addressing the books Ware is addressing, but Jerome isn't addressing canonicity either. He's addressing what's read in the churches. The sentence just before what you quoted from Jerome reads:

    "The churches choose to read Daniel in the version of Theodotion." (Against Rufinus, 2:33)

    He's addressing why he included a disputed version of the book of Daniel to be read in the churches. He's not addressing the canonicity of the books Kallistos Ware mentioned.

    If you had read the context of Jerome's comments, instead of getting some quotes from Catholic Answers or some other such source, perhaps you would have seen that Jerome also states that he stands by what he said in his prefaces to the books of the Old Testament, in which he denied the canonicity of the books you're arguing for. In the chapter after the one you're citing, Jerome writes:

    "I beg you, my most sweet friend, who are so curious that you even know my dreams, and that you scrutinize for purposes of accusations all that I have written during these many years without fear of future calumny; answer me, how is it you do not know the prefaces of the very books on which you ground your charges against me? These prefaces, as if by some prophetic foresight, gave the answer to the calumnies that were coming, thus fulfilling the proverb, 'The antidote before the poison.' What harm has been done to the churches by my translation?" (Against Rufinus, 2:34)

    Jerome is standing by what he wrote in those prefaces, not retracting it.

    Furthermore, even if Jerome had changed his view late in life, the fact would remain that he would be far better known for rejecting the canonicity of the Apocryphal books than for accepting them. References to Jerome's view of the canon in the scholarly literature have in view his rejection of the Apocrypha, not the alleged later acceptance of it that you're claiming. To assume that Kallistos Ware is referring to some lesser known change late in Jerome's life, instead of citing Jerome as he's commonly cited on this subject in scholarly circles, is unreasonable. You've given us no reason to conclude that Jerome changed his view, and, even if he had changed his view, Ware's unqualified reference to Jerome's canonical judgment is more naturally interpreted as a reference to the Protestant position on the canon, not your position. When people cite Jerome on this issue, the Protestant position is what's commonly assumed.

    Regarding Athanasius and citations of Apocryphal books, we need to keep in mind something I wrote in an article last year regarding this same issue as it relates to Clement of Alexandria. I was responding to a critic of Christianity who argued that Clement accepted the canonicity of some apocryphal gospels. I cited Martin Hengel as follows:

    "the knowledge of a widely recognized collection of the four Gospels which is used in worship is certainly substantially older than Irenaeus...Clement [of Alexandria] took it for granted that the collection of four Gospels was based on recognized church tradition and was unchallenged, since he does not have to defend it anywhere....Clement's relative generosity towards 'apocryphal' texts and traditions, which is connected with the unique spiritual milieu in Alexandria and his constant controversies with many kinds of discussion partners to whom he wants to present the true apostolic 'gnosis' of the Gospel, should not obscure the fact that even for him the apostolic origin and special church authority of the four Gospels was already unassailable. On this point, for all the differences there is no fundamental opposition between him and Irenaeus....We might also say that precisely because the unique authority of the four Gospels was indispensable for him [Clement of Alexandria], he could sometimes bring himself also to use 'apocryphal' texts which helped him in his argument, indeed turning the very texts of the 'heretics' against them, as is evident from the example of the Gospel of the Egyptians. Thus Clement is not arguing from a position of uncertainty but rather from one of strength." (The Four Gospels And The One Gospel Of Jesus Christ [Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Trinity Press International, 2000], pp. 14, 16, 18-19)

    One of the points Hengel makes is that Clement of Alexandria is often careless in his use of scripture, meaning that he sometimes misquotes passages from memory, and he may have sometimes misremembered where a quote came from. Hengel also points out that Clement discusses the gospels in book 6 of his Hypotyposes, and Clement only mentions our four gospels. The Gospel Of Peter isn't included, nor is the Gospel Of The Hebrews. Hengel further notes that, in book 3 of his Stromata, Clement specifically refers to the number of gospels as four. Hengel explains that Clement would sometimes speak of documents as authoritative if he was addressing a group of people who considered that document authoritative, even if Clement himself didn't accept the document in the same way.

    Much the same can be said of Athanasius (who also resided in Alexandria). There's no question that his Festal Letter 39 is addressing canonicity and denies canonicity to books that Orthodox wants to include.

    Not every passage that Orthodox cites is referring to an Apocryphal book as scripture. Orthodox is reading some unjustified assumptions into the text. Orthodox's first quote is from a section of Athanasius that's quoting what a group of bishops wrote in his favor, not what he himself wrote. The second passage Orthodox cites makes a favorable mention of Judith, but doesn't refer to the book by that name as scripture. I don't know what to make of the third quote. Orthodox cites (probably from Catholic Answers or some other such source) Athanasius' Letter 19:5, but see the text of that letter at:

    http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2806019.htm

    And:

    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf204.xxv.iii.iii.xv.html

    The passage Orthodox is citing actually is from section 4 of Letter 19, not section 5, at least as the letter is rendered at the sites above. And the second site above gives a reference to the Psalms, not an Apocryphal book, followed by a reference to Sirach in the next section of the letter. And neither portion of the letter describes the book being cited as scripture. You can believe that a book records something correct or something the Spirit moved somebody to say without considering the entirety of the book Divinely inspired scripture. The same can be said of Orthodox's fifth, and last, quote of Athanasius.

    But where Athanasius does cite an Apocryphal book as scripture or possibly does so, we ought to keep in mind the principles discussed above with regard to Clement of Alexandria. Just as there's no doubt that Clement limited the number of gospels to four in some places, even though he sometimes referred to other gospels as if they were inspired in some sense, there's also no doubt that Athanasius excluded books from the Old Testament that Orthodox wants to include. Athanasius explicitly states that he wants to exclude books Orthodox includes:

    "it seemed good to me also, having been urged thereto by true brethren, and having learned from the beginning, to set before you the books included in the Canon, and handed down, and accredited as Divine; to the end that any one who has fallen into error may condemn those who have led him astray; and that he who has continued steadfast in purity may again rejoice, having these things brought to his remembrance. There are, then, of the Old Testament, twenty-two books in number; for, as I have heard, it is handed down that this is the number of the letters among the Hebrews...These are fountains of salvation, that they who thirst may be satisfied with the living words they contain. In these alone is proclaimed the doctrine of godliness. Let no man add to these, neither let him take ought from these.For concerning these the Lord put to shame the Sadducees, and said, 'You err, not knowing the Scriptures.' And He reproved the Jews, saying, 'Search the Scriptures, for these are they that testify of Me.' But for greater exactness I add this also, writing of necessity; that there are other books besides these not indeed included in the Canon, but appointed by the Fathers to be read by those who newly join us, and who wish for instruction in the word of godliness. The Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Sirach, and Esther, and Judith, and Tobit, and that which is called the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd." (Festal Letter 39:3-4, 39:6-7)

    The most you can argue is that Athanasius, as you falsely claim that Jerome did, changed his mind. But, again, even if we were to conclude that Athanasius changed his mind, how would you know that Kallistos Ware was thinking of Athanasius' favorable view of the Apocryphal books rather than his unfavorable view of them? When Athanasius is cited on this subject, as with Jerome, the common assumption is that a Protestant view of the Apocrypha is in mind.

    You write:

    "And I point out again, that Athanasius' dividing line in his 'canon' is different to protestants, including Baruch and additions to Daniel and excluding Esther. THERE IS NO LIST."

    That's not the issue under consideration in this context. I've discussed that issue with you (and with others) in other threads.

    You write:

    "Issues of disagreement are a real problem when they interfere with communion. None of the Orthodox churches are breaking communion because of the question of 3 Esdras in Russian bibles."

    See the closing lines of my original post in this thread, in which I explain why such canonical disagreements among Eastern Orthodox are relevant. You aren't interacting with what I said there. Why did you ignore what I wrote?

    You write:

    "This is the big difference in protestantism that you've got no standards of unity, no standards of what problem is too big a problem."

    Again, I've addressed that issue elsewhere. I cited the standards of Biblical passages such as 1 Corinthians 15, and you've done nothing to refute what I said. We have standards. They aren't your standards, but they don't have to be your standards in order to be standards.

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  6. >Again, Kallistos Ware contrasts the view he
    >attributes to most Eastern Orthodox scholars with
    >the view of the synod of Jerusalem that you cited.

    He is not contrasting one view where they are scripture, with another view where they are not scripture. He does after all say that they are "part of the bible". What he is contrasting is the councils which listed them undifferentiated to the other books, with another view where they are on a lower level. If you're trying to prove that Orthodox scholars don't think they are scripture, you're going to have to do better than that, because it aint so.

    >It's highly dubious to suggest that a book like
    >Obadiah would be considered more important
    >than every Apocryphal book in question if all of
    >those Apocryphal books were considered equally
    >inspired by God.

    You're coming at it from a protestant viewpoint. Orthodox keep a copy of the gospels on the alter, not the whole bible. When the gospels are read you are expected to stand. When the epistles are read, you may sit. We don't consider the epistles on the same level as the gospels.

    >why should we believe that there would be such
    >a difference between a book like Esther or
    >Obadiah and every Apocryphal book, with the
    >more "important" books aligning with the books
    >that make up the Hebrew canon?

    I don't encourage you to believe it. It seems to be an opinion that some people hold. If you ever come across them, you can ask them their reasoning.

    >If I wanted to illustrate my view by citing
    >somebody who agreed with me about the
    >importance of different books among scripture, I
    >wouldn't cite men who disagreed with me about
    >whether those books were scripture in the first
    >place.

    There isn't any doubt that Athanasius' "canon" of what was canonical, and what was deuterocanonical is different than the current prevailing view. So there's no doubt Ware committed the faux pas that you claim he wouldn't have.

    >If Ware agreed with your position, he could have
    >cited church fathers or other historical figures
    >who accepted the scriptural status of the books
    >in question.

    Firstly, the claim that Athanasius didn't consider the books inspired seems to be a matter of dispute.

    Secondly, his point is to illustrate the two levels view, which wouldn't be served by quoting fathers who didn't differentiate the books.

    >Ware cited two of the church fathers best known
    >for rejecting the scriptural status of the
    >Apocryphal books.

    A position that is disputed.

    >The passage you've cited from Jerome doesn't
    >even address the books in question. It addresses
    >some portions of books (additions to Daniel),
    >much like the various endings to Mark's gospel
    >that have circulated. Kallistos Ware doesn't
    >mention such portions of books. He's addressing
    >the canonicity of separate books.

    So we put Jerome in the camp of those who were unconcerned by what the Jews thought. Looks like you lost another supporter. Jerome's view of canon was it was up to "the judgment of the churches".

    And again we see that Ware commits the faux pas that you claim he wouldn't have done.

    >"The churches choose to read Daniel in the
    >version of Theodotion." (Against Rufinus, 2:33)
    >
    >He's addressing why he included a disputed
    >version of the book of Daniel to be read in the
    >churches. He's not addressing the canonicity of
    >the books Kallistos Ware mentioned.

    How can he be not addressing canonicity, when he is standing on his head trying to distance himself from arguments against Bel and the dragon etc? He would be agreeing with that view.

    >Jerome is standing by what he wrote in those
    >prefaces, not retracting it.

    Ahh yes, but if you did your own research instead of relying on what you find on some blog, you would see that Jerome doesn't condemn in his preface to Daniel, but seems to rather defend them against the arguments of Jews:

    "But as to the objections which Porphyry raises against this prophet, or rather brings against the book, Methodius, Eusebius, and Apollinaris may be cited as witnesses, for they replied to his folly in many thousand lines of writing, whether with satisfaction to the curious reader I know not."

    >Furthermore, even if Jerome had changed his
    >view late in life, the fact would remain that he
    >would be far better known for rejecting the
    >canonicity of the Apocryphal books than for
    >accepting them.Ware's unqualified reference to
    >Jerome's canonical judgment is more naturally
    >interpreted as a reference to the Protestant
    >position on the canon, not your position.

    Here you are again coming at a problem from a protestant point of view, from someone immersed in protestant apologetics. When I think of Jerome I think of someone who was suspicious of the deutero-canonicals but who ultimately submitted his thoughts to the mind of the Church. What preconceptions Ware might have, I cannot say.

    >One of the points Hengel makes is that Clement
    >of Alexandria is often careless in his use of
    >scripture

    So Clement is careless. Athanasius is careless.

    They are so familiar with the deutero canonicals that they can quote them from memory, but not careful enough to remember they aren't scripture.

    I suppose that's one view. The other view is that in his 39th festal letter he starts by dividing the world into two categories of writings: Divine and Apocryphal. When he gets to the end of the letter he distinguishes the deutero canonicals from the apocrypha. If we accept his consistency with initial statement, that makes them divine, but not canonical. Which is why some see Athanasius setting out a Liturgical canon. It would also happen to make it consistent with his other quotations.

    >how would you know that Kallistos Ware was
    >thinking of Athanasius' favorable view of the
    >Apocryphal books rather than his unfavorable
    >view of them?

    Ware's point is regarding his putting them on a lower level, not whether they are inspired.

    >I cited the standards of Biblical passages such as
    >1 Corinthians 15, and you've done nothing to
    >refute what I said. We have standards. They
    >aren't your standards, but they don't have to be
    >your standards in order to be standards.

    I don't believe you follow any 1 Cor standard. That would be interesting to explore. Do you believe you have unity with me on the basis of 1 Cor 15?

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  7. Orthodox writes:

    "Arianism died out completely. Iconoclasts died out completely. This is why these positions are dogmatically false. There's no inconsistency. These positions were never a consensus in the church."

    I answered that erroneous argument when you used it previously. Again, the fact that a position "dies out" doesn't prove that it was never a consensus position. And if we have to wait to see if a position "dies out", then do we keep suspending judgment throughout church history? What if what you consider the consensus regarding the Old Testament canon of the synod of Jerusalem is going to "die out" in the future? You keep making assertions about the significance of the popularity of beliefs, yet you never justify those assertions.

    And why are we supposed to believe your claim that "Arianism" and "iconoclasts" have "died out"? There have been many people in recent centuries who have denied the deity of Christ or opposed the veneration of images. A particular historical movement involving particular individuals can "die" in some sense without the beliefs involved ceasing to be held by some people.

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  8. >Again, the fact that a position "dies out" doesn't
    >prove that it was never a consensus position.

    Theologically it cannot have been a consensus position. Whether I can prove it to radical skeptics like yourself is a different issue.

    >What if what you consider the consensus regarding
    >the Old Testament canon of the synod of Jerusalem
    >is going to "die out" in the future?

    The dogmatic nature of a consensus position cannot be undone if it ceases to be consensus.

    >There have been many people in recent centuries >who have denied the deity of Christ or opposed
    >the veneration of images.

    Irrelevant.

    ReplyDelete
  9. You write:

    "He is not contrasting one view where they are scripture, with another view where they are not scripture. He does after all say that they are 'part of the bible'."

    So are maps, book introductions, and other features that users of the Bibles that contain such things don't consider Divinely inspired. The fact that Kallistos Ware refers to books as "part of the Bible", in the midst of explaining that they're "on a lower footing", doesn't prove that he must consider those books scripture.

    You write:

    "What he is contrasting is the councils which listed them undifferentiated to the other books, with another view where they are on a lower level."

    Again, the issue Ware is addressing is what is and isn't scripture. When he discusses the New Testament in the paragraph before, he doesn't discuss how important each book of the New Testament is, or how important a portion of the New Testament is, in comparison to another. Your assumption that he's addressing importance rather than whether a book is scripture is unproven and unlikely. He cites Athanasius and Jerome as illustrations, and both men are known to have distinguished between Apocryphal books and the Hebrew canon in terms of whether they're scripture. You still haven't documented where Athanasius and Jerome refer to the books in question as scripture and distinguish between the importance of the Apocryphal books of scripture and the importance of the others. What you've done is argue that Athanasius and Jerome might have viewed some portions of Apocryphal books or entire Apocryphal books as scripture. Even if we granted such a position, though, it wouldn't follow that both men distinguished between the importance of the Apocryphal portions of scripture and the importance of the remainder of the Old Testament. Kallistos Ware is appealing to a well known distinction that Athanasius and Jerome made, and that well known distinction is not the distinction in importance that you keep referring to.

    You write:

    "Orthodox keep a copy of the gospels on the alter, not the whole bible. When the gospels are read you are expected to stand. When the epistles are read, you may sit. We don't consider the epistles on the same level as the gospels."

    If Kallistos Ware is addressing such issues when discussing the Old Testament, then why doesn't he mention them when discussing the New Testament? Here's what he says about the New Testament in the paragraph just before the one we've been discussing:

    "The Orthodox Church has the same New Testament as the rest of Christendom." (http://www.aroundomaha.com/sschool/Orthodox_Church_Worship.html)

    He doesn't go into the distinctions you discuss above. Why are we supposed to think that he is addressing such issues when he goes on to discuss the Old Testament?

    You write:

    "I don't encourage you to believe it. It seems to be an opinion that some people hold. If you ever come across them, you can ask them their reasoning."

    The unreasonableness of the opinion you're referring to is an indication that Kallistos Ware isn't saying what you claim he's saying.

    You write:

    "There isn't any doubt that Athanasius' 'canon' of what was canonical, and what was deuterocanonical is different than the current prevailing view. So there's no doubt Ware committed the faux pas that you claim he wouldn't have."

    Not if he's referring only to rejection of the Apocrypha in general, as scholars commonly do. Athanasius' position is much closer to my interpretation of Ware than yours. The fact that Athanasius thought that Baruch should be included with Jeremiah doesn't change the fact that Athanasius rejected all of the Apocryphal books that aren't considered part of another book, nor does it change the fact that modern scholarship commonly cites Athanasius because of his opposition to the scriptural status of the Apocrypha in general. Modern scholars don't cite men like Athanasius and Jerome on this subject in order to convey the concept of accepting the Apocryphal books as "less important" scripture. Rather, they cite such men to convey the concept of rejecting the scriptural status of the Apocryphal books.

    You write:

    "So we put Jerome in the camp of those who were unconcerned by what the Jews thought."

    He said that he was unconcerned with what the Jews thought about his translating a version of Daniel that they disagreed with, to be read in the churches. It doesn't therefore follow that Jerome was unconcerned with Jewish opinion on all issues.

    You write:

    "Jerome's view of canon was it was up to 'the judgment of the churches'."

    Here's what Jerome wrote about the canon and the churches:

    "As, then, the Church reads Judith, Tobit, and the books of Maccabees, but does not admit them among the canonical Scriptures, so let it read these two volumes for the edification of the people, not to give authority to doctrines of the Church." (Prefaces To The Books Of The Vulgate Version Of The Old Testament, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, And The Song Of Songs).
    "we may be assured that what is not found in our list must be placed amongst the Apocryphal writings. Wisdom, therefore, which generally bears the name of Solomon, and the book of Jesus, the Son of Sirach, and Judith, and Tobias, and the Shepherd are not in the canon." (Prefaces To The Books Of The Vulgate Version Of The Old Testament, The Books Of Samuel And Kings)


    See, also, his Letter 53. You've given us no reason to conclude that Jerome changed his mind or that Kallistos Ware was referring to some later change of mind when he cited Jerome.

    You write:

    "How can he be not addressing canonicity, when he is standing on his head trying to distance himself from arguments against Bel and the dragon etc?"

    Because, as I said, he's addressing whether it's appropriate to read those additions to Daniel in churches. You don't have to accept such additions to Daniel as scripture in order to consider it acceptable to read them in the church.

    And, as I explained to you in my last response, these additions to Daniel aren't mentioned by Kallistos Ware. He's addressing books of scripture, not additions to books. Arguing that Jerome believed in the canonicity of additions to Daniel that Kallistos Ware wasn't discussing doesn't prove that Ware would cite Jerome regarding books whose scriptural status he disagreed with Jerome about. Why would anybody cite Jerome to illustrate your (Orthodox's) view of the canon, even if Jerome had accepted some additions to the book of Daniel? He'd still be far from your position on the issue.

    You write:

    "Ahh yes, but if you did your own research instead of relying on what you find on some blog, you would see that Jerome doesn't condemn in his preface to Daniel, but seems to rather defend them against the arguments of Jews"

    Apparently, you don't even understand what issue Jerome was addressing. Again, as I documented, Jerome was addressing the reading of additions to Daniel in the churches. He wasn't addressing the canon. Jerome went along with the church readings of these additions to Daniel, but he didn't accept the additions as genuine. In his preface to Daniel, he writes:

    "The churches of the Lord Savior do not read the Prophet Daniel according to the Seventy interpreters, using (instead) the edition of Theodotion, and I don’t know why this happened. For whether because the language is Chaldean and differs in certain properties from our speech, (or) the Seventy interpreters were not willing to keep the same lines in the translation, or the book was edited under their name by some unknown other who did not sufficiently know the Chaldean language, or not knowing anything else which was the cause, I can affirm this one thing, that it often differs from the truth and with proper judgment is repudiated....Therefore, I have shown these things to you as a difficulty of Daniel, which among the Hebrews has neither the history of Susanna, nor the hymn of the three young men, nor the fables of Bel and the dragon, which we, because they are spread throughout the whole world, have appended by banishing and placing them after the spit (or 'obelus'), so we will not be seen among the unlearned to have cut off a large part of the scroll." (http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/jerome_preface_daniel.htm)

    Commenting on this subject in his Commentary On Daniel, Jerome writes:

    "For this same reason when I was translating Daniel many years ago, I noted these visions with a critical symbol, showing that they were not included in the Hebrew. And in this connection I am surprised to be told that certain fault-finders complain that I have on my own initiative truncated the book. After all, both Origen, Eusebius and Apollinarius, and other outstanding churchmen and teachers of Greece acknowledge that, as I have said, these visions are not found amongst the Hebrews, and that therefore they are not obliged to answer to Porphyry for these portions which exhibit no authority as Holy Scripture. I also wish to emphasize to the reader the fact that it was not according to the Septuagint version but according to the version of Theodotion himself that the churches publicly read Daniel." (http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/jerome_daniel_02_text.htm)

    Notice that, as I said before, Jerome distinguishes between what's scripture and what's read in the churches.

    Later in the commentary, Jerome further criticizes Bel And The Dragon:

    "And note that Daniel is said to be of the children of Judah, rather than being a priest as the latter part of the story of Bel relates."

    It seems that Jerome agreed with the Jewish view that the additions to Daniel aren't scripture, but disagreed with some of the Jewish criticisms of the Christian use of those additions. Apparently, Jerome thought that it was acceptable for Christians to read such non-canonical material, and he didn't agree with all of the Jewish objections to those additions, even though he agreed with the Jewish canon.

    And readers should notice that Orthodox has failed to interact with what I cited from chapter 34 of the second book of Against Rufinus. There Jerome reaffirms what he said in his prefaces to the books of the Old Testament. As I've documented above, those prefaces contain denials of the canonicity of the Apocryphal books. Thus, the document Orthodox has cited (Jerome's Against Rufinus) contradicts what Orthodox is arguing.

    Further on in chapter 34, Jerome continues to defend his following of the Hebrew scriptures. He writes:

    "The Hebrew Scriptures are used by apostolic men; they are used, as is evident, by the apostles and evangelists. Our Lord and Saviour himself whenever he refers to the Scriptures, takes his quotations from the Hebrew; as in the instance of the words 'He that believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water,' and in the words used on the cross itself, 'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani,' which is by interpretation 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' not, as it is given by the Septuagint, 'My God, my God, look upon me, why have you forsaken me?' and many similar cases. I do not say this in order to aim a blow at the seventy translators; but I assert that the Apostles of Christ have an authority superior to theirs. Wherever the Seventy agree with the Hebrew, the apostles took their quotations from that translation; but, where they disagree, they set down in Greek what they had found in the Hebrew. And further, I give a challenge to my accuser. I have shown that many things are set down in the New Testament as coming from the older books, which are not to be found in the Septuagint; and I have pointed out that these exist in the Hebrew."

    You write:

    "So Clement is careless. Athanasius is careless. They are so familiar with the deutero canonicals that they can quote them from memory, but not careful enough to remember they aren't scripture."

    You aren't interacting with what I said. I cited Martin Hengel's discussion of Clement. Do you deny that Clement of Alexandria sometimes uses apocryphal gospels, despite agreeing with the Christian consensus that there are only four canonical gospels? Do you deny that Clement was sometimes wrong in his citations of documents? So were other church fathers.

    And the issue isn't whether they remembered which books are scripture. Rather, the issue is whether they remembered what book a phrase or passage came from. It's a fact that the church fathers sometimes attributed citations to the wrong source or remembered a passage incorrectly.

    I went through all five of your passages from Athanasius, and I explained why they don't establish your argument. You've ignored what I said about those five passages.

    You write:

    "The other view is that in his 39th festal letter he starts by dividing the world into two categories of writings: Divine and Apocryphal. When he gets to the end of the letter he distinguishes the deutero canonicals from the apocrypha. If we accept his consistency with initial statement, that makes them divine, but not canonical. Which is why some see Athanasius setting out a Liturgical canon. It would also happen to make it consistent with his other quotations."

    You're badly misrepresenting what Athanasius wrote. Here's what he writes about apocryphal books in the second section of his letter:

    "But since we have made mention of heretics as dead, but of ourselves as possessing the Divine Scriptures for salvation; and since I fear lest, as Paul wrote to the Corinthians, some few of the simple should be beguiled from their simplicity and purity, by the subtlety of certain men, and should henceforth read other books—those called apocryphal—led astray by the similarity of their names with the true books; I beseech you to bear patiently, if I also write, by way of remembrance, of matters with which you are acquainted, influenced by the need and advantage of the Church." (Festal Letter 39:2)

    Apparently, you're assuming that if Athanasius mentions two categories of books in section two of his letter, then he must only be addressing those two categories in the rest of the letter. But that's an unreasonable assumption. He can have two categories as his primary concern, yet go on to mention another category in the process. We have to make a judgment according to what Athanasius goes on to write rather than assuming upfront that he can't refer to anything other than those two categories. And here are some of the comments Athanasius goes on to make:

    "There are, then, of the Old Testament, twenty-two books in number; for, as I have heard, it is handed down that this is the number of the letters among the Hebrews; their respective order and names being as follows." (Festal Letter 39:4)

    He then lists a canon that doesn't include books like Tobit and 1 Maccabees. Why would he number the Old Testament at twenty-two books and leave out books like Tobit and 1 Maccabees if he considered them part of the Old Testament?

    Athanasius continues:

    "These are fountains of salvation, that they who thirst may be satisfied with the living words they contain. In these alone is proclaimed the doctrine of godliness. Let no man add to these, neither let him take ought from these." (Festal Letter 39:6)

    He makes those comments after giving a list that doesn't include books like Tobit and 1 Maccabees. Why would he say that these books alone proclaim "the doctrine of godliness", and that no other books should be added to them, if he wanted to add books like Tobit as scripture (although less important scripture)? We haven't even gotten to Athanasius' comments about books like Tobit, and your interpretation is already implausible.

    Athanasius continues:

    "But for greater exactness I add this also, writing of necessity; that there are other books besides these not indeed included in the Canon, but appointed by the Fathers to be read by those who newly join us, and who wish for instruction in the word of godliness. The Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Sirach, and Esther, and Judith, and Tobit, and that which is called the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd. But the former, my brethren, are included in the Canon, the latter being merely read; nor is there in any place a mention of apocryphal writings. But they are an invention of heretics, who write them when they choose, bestowing upon them their approbation, and assigning to them a date, that so, using them as ancient writings, they may find occasion to lead astray the simple." (Festal Letter 39:7)

    Notice that, contrary to what you've suggested, Athanasius does introduce a third category. He distinguishes between the canonical books he had listed and a second category that's "merely read". That second category includes some books you consider scripture. It also includes some books you don't consider scripture. Athanasius tells us that those books are "merely read". He puts books like Tobit in the same category as books like The Shepherd Of Hermas.

    Your reading of Athanasius is ridiculous. So is your reading of Jerome. And if you knew much about modern scholarship (which you frequently criticize), you'd know that citing men like Athanasius and Jerome in discussions of the Old Testament canon is an appeal to a Protestant view of the canon, not your view.

    You write:

    "I don't believe you follow any 1 Cor standard. That would be interesting to explore."

    I discussed 1 Corinthians 15 and other such passages in previous threads, threads that you left. Yet, now you claim that it would be "interesting to explore" such issues. Then why did you leave the earlier discussions?

    You write:

    "Do you believe you have unity with me on the basis of 1 Cor 15?"

    I don't have to have unity with you in order to have a standard of unity. As I've explained before, though, I don't deny that conservative Protestants and conservative Eastern Orthodox have a significant amount of unity. But they also have some disunity, including on the foundational issue of justification.

    ReplyDelete
  10. >So are maps, book introductions, and other
    >features that users of the Bibles that contain such
    >things don't consider Divinely inspired.

    No they're not, maps are not "part of the bible". Last time I looked up a dictionary it defined bible as "the Christian scriptures".

    Furthermore he says that in the Orthodox Church they are called "Deutero-canonical".... Deutero-CANONICAL.

    >Again, the issue Ware is addressing is what is
    >and isn't scripture.

    Actually, he is addressing the question of the differences between the Hebrew bible and the Septuagint, and how Orthodox understand that issue. The fact that you have to ignore the context is telling.

    >If Kallistos Ware is addressing such issues when
    >discussing the Old Testament, then why doesn't
    >he mention them when discussing the New
    >Testament?

    [sigh]

    Just believe Ware when he TELLS you what he is addressing, ok?

    ""The Hebrew version of the Old Testament contains thirty-nine books. The Septuagint contains in addition ten further books."

    >"The unreasonableness of the opinion you're
    >referring to is an indication that Kallistos Ware
    >isn't saying what you claim he's saying."

    Really. Except that my priest believes these books are fully canonical, and yet I have heard him say they are on a lower level. So strange that something so supposedly unreasonable and unlikely to be what Ware is teaching is actually what read priests out in the field are saying.

    >>So there's no doubt Ware committed the faux
    >>pas that you claim he wouldn't have."
    >
    >Not if he's referring only to rejection of the
    >Apocrypha in general, as scholars commonly do.

    So you're backtracking? You said "I wouldn't cite men who disagreed with me about whether those books were scripture in the first place.".

    >Modern scholars don't cite men like Athanasius
    >and Jerome on this subject in order to convey the
    >concept of accepting the Apocryphal books as
    >"less important" scripture.

    I have heard them cited that way, especially Athanasius.

    >Jerome went along with the church readings of \
    >these additions to Daniel, but he didn't accept
    >the additions as genuine.

    You're right, he does seem to say that.

    >Further on in chapter 34, Jerome continues to
    >defend his following of the Hebrew scriptures.
    >He writes: Wherever the Seventy agree with the
    >Hebrew, the apostles took their quotations from
    >that translation; but, where they disagree, they
    >set down in Greek what they had found in the
    >Hebrew.

    Uh huh. Except Jerome appears to have been quite wrong in his claims.

    >Do you deny that Clement of Alexandria
    >sometimes uses apocryphal gospels, despite
    >agreeing with the Christian consensus that there
    >are only four canonical gospels?

    I think you're making too much out of the tag "gospel". That there are 4 gospels doesn't exclude the possibility of other authoritative writings.

    >He then lists a canon that doesn't include books
    >like Tobit and 1 Maccabees. Why would he
    >number the Old Testament at twenty-two books
    >and leave out books like Tobit and 1 Maccabees
    >if he considered them part of the Old Testament?

    You make a good argument, but the issue isn't who is right about Athanasius, the issue is what Ware perceives about Athanasius, and what point he was trying to make. I've heard enough people argue a differing view that I can't see into Ware's mind as to what point he wanted to make, or even how familiar he is with the issues.

    >I discussed 1 Corinthians 15 and other such
    >passages in previous threads, threads that you
    >left. Yet, now you claim that it would be
    >"interesting to explore" such issues. Then why
    >did you leave the earlier discussions?

    I'm not sure what happened. I can't seem to figure out how to access things once they drop off the blog. I'm not too impressed with this blogger.com site.

    >>"Do you believe you have unity with me on the
    >>basis of 1 Cor 15?"
    >
    >I don't have to have unity with you in order to
    >have a standard of unity. As I've explained
    >before, though, I don't deny that conservative
    >Protestants and conservative Eastern Orthodox
    >have a significant amount of unity. But they also
    >have some disunity, including on the
    >foundational issue of justification.

    So what does that mean? All unity is to be measured in degrees? That kinda makes my point doesn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Orthodox said:

    "No they're not, maps are not 'part of the bible'. Last time I looked up a dictionary it defined bible as 'the Christian scriptures'."

    If the maps in question aren't in the Bible, then where are they? The issue isn't whether the term "Bible" can be defined as consisting only of what's considered Divinely inspired. The issue is whether it can also be defined as including the two covers and whatever is between them. The term can be defined in more than one way. Bibles often include maps, introductions, books, etc. that aren't considered scripture by the people who use those Bibles. People speak of chapter numbers in the Bible, for example, even though the chapter numbers weren't part of the original documents. People speak of "study Bibles", for example, even though the study material isn't considered Divinely inspired scripture. Surely you're aware of the fact that this sort of language is inconclusive.

    You write:

    "Furthermore he says that in the Orthodox Church they are called 'Deutero-canonical'.... Deutero-CANONICAL."

    Again, surely you're aware that the language you're citing can be interpreted either way. If there's a second canon, it doesn't therefore follow that the second canon has to be a canon of scripture. The term "canon" can be applied to scripture, but it's also applied to other writings. And Ware is addressing Eastern Orthodoxy in general. He first mentions the popular view that some Apocryphal books are scripture, then mentions that modern Eastern Orthodox scholars follow the opinion of Athanasius and Jerome. He's addressing a group of people, Eastern Orthodox, who hold differing views on the subject in question. He can use one term ("Deutero-Canonical Books") throughout without thereby intending to suggest that everybody mentioned considers the books scripture.

    You write:

    "Actually, he is addressing the question of the differences between the Hebrew bible and the Septuagint, and how Orthodox understand that issue."

    The sentence in which Ware mentions Athanasius and Jerome begins with a reference to the synod of Jerusalem and its comments about how various Apocryphal books are "scripture". You're suggesting that the second part of the sentence changes the subject to how important Eastern Orthodox think some books of scripture are in comparison to others. Not only is such a reference to importance something you have to read into the text, since Ware says nothing about it explicitly, but it also requires that Ware was changing the subject in the middle of the sentence, that he thought that readers would want to know that some Orthodox think that a particular section of scripture is less important than another, that he only mentioned the differences in importance between two sections of scripture, and that he cited Athanasius and Jerome as illustrations in spite of the fact that neither Athanasius nor Jerome ever made the distinction in importance that you think Ware is addressing. As I said before, if Ware is concerned with telling his readers about the fact that some Eastern Orthodox view some portions of scripture as more important than others, then why would he say nothing of that issue when addressing the New Testament or with regard to differences in importance among other portions of the Old Testament (Genesis is more important than Esther, etc.)? Why would he just happen to discuss the issue of differing degrees of importance with regard to the Apocryphal books, and why would the more important books just happen to align with the Hebrew canon, and why would Ware make the misleading decision to choose two historical figures as illustrations (Athanasius and Jerome) who never made the distinction in importance that Ware supposedly is making, but instead are well known for distinguishing the Apocryphal books as non-scriptural?

    You write:

    "Except that my priest believes these books are fully canonical, and yet I have heard him say they are on a lower level. So strange that something so supposedly unreasonable and unlikely to be what Ware is teaching is actually what read priests out in the field are saying."

    Your priest isn't Kallistos Ware, and he wouldn't necessarily be among the scholars Ware refers to as following the opinion of Athanasius and Jerome. Eastern Orthodox disagree with each other about the Old Testament canon. I don't deny that some believe in the scriptural status of Apocryphal books. But we can't assume without further evidence that the scholars to whom Ware refers hold the same view as your priest.

    You write:

    "So you're backtracking? You said 'I wouldn't cite men who disagreed with me about whether those books were scripture in the first place.'."

    No, I'm not backtracking. See my comments above, which you've ignored, regarding the fact that Athanasius included Baruch with Jeremiah. If Ware is addressing the rejection of Apocryphal books as additional books, not as portions of other books (the additions to Daniel, etc.), then there's nothing inconsistent with a rejection of Apocryphal books in Athanasius or Jerome. You've conceded that fact with regard to Jerome. And even if we were to ignore the distinction I've mentioned above between books and portions of books, Athanasius would still be an example of somebody who rejected the Apocrypha for the most part. He's commonly cited as an example of the rejection of the Apocrypha in scholarly circles, despite his acceptance of Baruch with Jeremiah. You may disagree with that scholarly convention, but it does exist. If you're going to consider Athanasius' acceptance of Baruch to be inconsistent with my conclusion, then the rejection of other Apocryphal material by Athanasius and the entire Apocrypha by Jerome is even more inconsistent with your conclusion. Citing Athanasius' acceptance of Baruch doesn't change the fact that Ware's appeal to Athanasius and Jerome suggests my conclusion rather than yours.

    You write:

    "I have heard them cited that way, especially Athanasius."

    You need to document that claim, and you need to do it from scholarly sources, not from something like a post on a Roman Catholic message board or an Eastern Orthodox web site. Who are the scholarly sources who interpret Athanasius the way you're interpreting him? I can cite many, including Eastern Orthodox scholars, who cite him my way.

    You write:

    "I think you're making too much out of the tag 'gospel'. That there are 4 gospels doesn't exclude the possibility of other authoritative writings."

    How is that fact relevant to what I argued?

    You write:

    "All unity is to be measured in degrees? That kinda makes my point doesn't it?"

    I said that there are different types of unity, as well as degrees of unity. How does any of that "make your point"?

    For those interested in more about the Eastern Orthodox canon of scripture, I just posted a new article on the subject:

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

    ReplyDelete
  12. Check out this new Christian band that just released their first album.

    From what I heard on the samples site, they sound really good.

    Introducing the new Christian National Anthem: Guns & Jesus.


    http://ccrg.info/cas.htm

    ReplyDelete