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Author Topic: Orthodox Views of the Historic/Critical Method?  (Read 3056 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 23, 2007, 10:23:49 AM »

What is the Orthodox Views on the Historic/Critical Method?
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2007, 10:28:55 AM »

I am unaware of a stance on this one, perhaps some of our seminarians or other  seminary trained clergy could answer this one. Remember keep it simple  as this is the Convert Issues forum not the Faith Forum.

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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2007, 10:42:15 AM »

Fr. Theodore Stylianopoulos, professor of New Testament at Holy Cross, deals with this issue and other questions of Orthodox hermeneutics in one of his books: The New Testament: An Orthodox Perspective.

http://www.amazon.com/New-Testament-Orthodox-Perspective/dp/1885652135/ref=sr_1_2/002-9190994-4220831?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1193150364&sr=1-2
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« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2007, 11:00:29 AM »

What is the Orthodox Views on the Historic/Critical Method?

It's boring. Wink

Fr John Behr gives a short but interesting treatment of these topics in his introduction to "Way to Nicaea" and his book "Mystery of Christ." These works are not refutations of this method, but touch on a different way of looking at things.
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« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2007, 11:03:11 AM »

Fr. Theodore Stylianopoulos, professor of New Testament at Holy Cross, deals with this issue and other questions of Orthodox hermeneutics in one of his books: The New Testament: An Orthodox Perspective.

http://www.amazon.com/New-Testament-Orthodox-Perspective/dp/1885652135/ref=sr_1_2/002-9190994-4220831?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1193150364&sr=1-2

Yes, I actually have this book but I have to say it was pretty dense reading and I really failed to penetrate it. Would it be safe to say that Orthodox theologians use it to illuminate their understanding of the 'context' of the written word or is this not a fair statement?

Thanks for your help.
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« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2007, 11:05:13 AM »

It's boring. Wink

Fr John Behr gives a short but interesting treatment of these topics in his introduction to "Way to Nicaea" and his book "Mystery of Christ." These works are not refutations of this method, but touch on a different way of looking at things.

Yeah! This is what I'm really looking for is an explanation of an 'Other Way' (i.e. more Patristic) to interpret the Scriptures....

Is that 'orthodox' to say?
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« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2007, 11:07:49 AM »

Fr John Behr gives a short but interesting treatment of these topics in his introduction to "Way to Nicaea" and his book "Mystery of Christ." These works are not refutations of this method, but touch on a different way of looking at things.

That's true. Hadn't thought of that. At least in his class that I took at Harvard, he pretty much ripped it to shreds -- but he did so by beating it at its own game, not with a pre-modern literary approach.
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« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2007, 11:10:21 AM »

That's true. Hadn't thought of that. At least in his class that I took at Harvard, he pretty much ripped it to shreds -- but he did so by beating it at its own game, not with a pre-modern literary approach.

How does one 'beat it at it's own game'? BTW, I've never went to school to study these topics so be gentile you are talking to a 'peasant'.  Embarrassed
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« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2007, 11:46:23 AM »

What is the Orthodox Views on the Historic/Critical Method?

There is no one standard Orthodox view on this.  However, IMHO, the sensible approach to this question realizes that the Patristic approach has nothing to fear from adding knowledge garnered from an historical/critical look at Scripture or other questions.  Be that as it may, many who employ the h/s approach nowadays see it as a total end in and of itself, which leads to a lot of absurdities, props up heresy, and is.....very boring.  It's a very useful tool when trying to understand Scripture, but it's certainly not the be-all and end-all.  For us, it is the Holy Spirit in the Church Who is the interpreter par excellence of the meaning of Scripture.
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« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2007, 11:56:01 AM »

There is no one standard Orthodox view on this.  However, IMHO, the sensible approach to this question realizes that the Patristic approach has nothing to fear from adding knowledge garnered from an historical/critical look at Scripture or other questions.  Be that as it may, many who employ the h/s approach nowadays see it as a total end in and of itself, which leads to a lot of absurdities, props up heresy, and is.....very boring.  It's a very useful tool when trying to understand Scripture, but it's certainly not the be-all and end-all.  For us, it is the Holy Spirit in the Church Who is the interpreter par excellence of the meaning of Scripture.

Fair and Balanced. Do you have any suggestions for me with regards to a foundational study? Is Sacred Text and Interpretation: Perspectives in Orthodox Biblical Studies any good for this?
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« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2007, 12:28:24 PM »

Would it be safe to say that Orthodox theologians use it to illuminate their understanding of the 'context' of the written word or is this not a fair statement?

Kind of. The whole issue is a question for academics. None of this is important for one's personal walk of faith. Just experience the Scriptures within the liturgical context and as God's Word within private devotion.

How does one 'beat it at it's own game'? BTW, I've never went to school to study these topics so be gentile you are talking to a 'peasant'.  Embarrassed

Again, it doesn't really matter outside of academia. Certain postmodern literary theories actually support the traditional Orthodox experience of Scripture, which is one that is highly inter-textual. The early Christian approach to Scripture (i.e. the Septuagint) was to treat Scripture as a field in which Christ, the Pre-Eternal Logos, is planted as a seed -- not as a text that most be understood in light of authorial intent or cultural context or any of the other preoccupations of the historical-critical method. In other words, Christ Himself, as we confess Him within the Eucharistic Assembly, is our first principle and our hermeneutical theory. We don't read Scripture to find the historical Jesus, but to actually personally experience the crucified and risen Christ in our own hearts.
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« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2007, 12:41:08 PM »

Yeah! This is what I'm really looking for is an explanation of an 'Other Way' (i.e. more Patristic) to interpret the Scriptures....

Is that 'orthodox' to say?

If you take the time to read them, read Mystery of Christ first; the Way to Nicaea, which should be read, is excellent, but exceptionally difficult to digest I found. It will be more approachable after attempting the first.

Fr John is not infallible but he is excellent all the same and I enjoyed every minute of his classes I took when i was in seminary.
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« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2007, 12:42:17 PM »

Andrew Louth's book Discerning the Mystery especially the chapter that deals with echoes in the text (can't remember the exact name, sorry) tends to beat at it.
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« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2007, 12:43:11 PM »

What pens. said above; there is no "historical Jesus" to be found; what is in the Gospel is already a theological text. Doesn't mean it's not true, just that it is presented with a theological pov already and that cannot be speculated or criticized away.
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« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2007, 01:07:39 PM »

Fair and Balanced. Do you have any suggestions for me with regards to a foundational study? Is Sacred Text and Interpretation: Perspectives in Orthodox Biblical Studies any good for this?

Sorry, I don't know the work you site here.  The book cited by Pensateomnia by Fr. Theodore can certainly be difficult to read.  I know many like his way of looking at things.  As things stand now, I like Fr. John Breck's book, The Power of the Word.  I suppose it is easier to read in some respects than Fr. Theodore's work.  The text seems to flow much better for me, and as I said, as things stand now, I like his approach better.  I think Anastasio's recommendations are excellent too.
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« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2007, 01:41:35 PM »

Sorry, I don't know the work you site here.  The book cited by Pensateomnia by Fr. Theodore can certainly be difficult to read.  I know many like his way of looking at things.  As things stand now, I like Fr. John Breck's book, The Power of the Word.  I suppose it is easier to read in some respects than Fr. Theodore's work.  The text seems to flow much better for me, and as I said, as things stand now, I like his approach better.  I think Anastasio's recommendations are excellent too.

Thank you Pravoslavbob for the recommendation. I will seek out The Power of the Word by Fr. John Breck. Thank you all for the wealth of advice and guidance. It is all very much appreciated.

God Bless.
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« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2007, 02:37:45 PM »

Thank you Pravoslavbob for the recommendation. I will seek out The Power of the Word by Fr. John Breck. Thank you all for the wealth of advice and guidance. It is all very much appreciated.

You're welcome!   Smiley   I wouldn't call it a "wealth of advice", but thanks.   Fr. John's book does have one or two essays in it that seem to deal with your questions directly.  It's also known by its full title The Power of the Word in the Worshipping Church.  Keep in mind that the concept of theoria has more meanings than what Fr. John describes in the book, but that's not important for the moment. 
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