OrthodoxChristianity.net
September 30, 2014, 02:51:57 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Is the canon still up for grabs in Orthodox Churches?  (Read 1270 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
ChristianLove
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 28


« on: December 23, 2007, 09:48:52 PM »

Found some wonderful videos of the holy saints' lives at a website called www.orthodox.tv recently. They also have some powerful videos for converts there that have been illuminating. In the midst of these, Bishop Mark, a former pentecostal from Oral Roberts University presented a history of the Bible that was very illuminating at many points on http://www.orthodox.tv/education.php#understandingorthodoxfaith, but then he said something that I'm having a hard time with. Is it the Orthodox position that our canon (lists of the books of the Bible) is still up for grabs and changes depending on which modern council presents it?

Bishop Mark spoke of two contradictory modern councils in ROCA and of the 7th ecumencial council allowing for 7 supposedly different "lists of the Bible canon books". While true that The Holy Spirit in the One Church keeps us faithful and The 7 ecumenical councils, The Holy Tradition and philokalia are wonderful and indispensable guides to lead one to rightly interpreting the Holy Scriptures, this was the first time I have heard a Bishop of the Orthodox communion speak of the canon list as unimportant and simply give the impression that it's enough to allow the Orthodox Church to be a place where the Scriptures are used in liturgy and that Orthodox do not share a common canon? Not sure if that would open the door for the same errors that led the Roman Church to go so far astray from its roots, starting with the pre-reformation post schismatic periods, or if the Bishop has brought something into Orthodoxy from his learning at Oral Roberts that can be historically understood better by the Holy Communion of Orthodox faithful?

Thanks for your guidance on this matter.

humbly in Christ,
Logged
PeterTheAleut
The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
Section Moderator
Protospatharios
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 32,325


Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!


« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2007, 10:46:51 PM »

To my knowledge, the Hebrew canon of 39 books and the New Testament canon of 27 are set in stone.  If any fluidity exists in our understanding of what makes up the canon of the Bible, it probably regards which books we include in the deuterocanonicals list (a.k.a. the Apocrypha, to use a term you might understand better).  A couple of good OCnet threads to read on this subject:

Orthodox Canon

The Biblical Canon and Orthodoxy

Click on one of the tags at the bottom of this thread, and I'm sure you'll find a few more.
Logged
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 20,077


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2007, 10:49:50 PM »

Quite frankly, I cannot see any room for change in the NT, and the only way someone could argue about the OT is to argue against books that are neither liturgically used nor used by the Fathers.
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
ytterbiumanalyst
Professor Emeritus, CSA
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA Diocese of the Midwest
Posts: 8,790



« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2007, 08:52:21 AM »

I could see room for removing Revelation from the canon, as it is never used liturgically. However, there's also nothing in the book that contradicts any part of Tradition, so there wouldn't be any pressing reason to remove it. NT deuterocanonicals such as the Shepherd of Hermas have fallen out of use centuries ago, and I don't think anyone would seriously argue for their inclusion now (although a publisher may decide to include them as an appendix).

The real battle for the canon today is in the OT deuterocanon (Maccabees [up to 4 books depending on whom you ask], Tobit, Judith, 3 Ezra [Nehemiah is 2 Ezra], Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, and a couple of chapters of Esther and Daniel). Some of these books have questions as to their usefulness, but others have been clearly established as liturgical. For example, the Song of the Hebrew Children, which is usually excluded from Daniel, was sung as a prokeimenon (a short verse preceding the Epistle reading) yesterday. This passage I would argue very strongly to include. Others are not so clear.

Otherwise, we do have the same canon as the rest of Christianity, especially regarding the NT.
Logged

"It is remarkable that what we call the world...in what professes to be true...will allow in one man no blemishes, and in another no virtue."--Charles Dickens
AMM
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Jurisdiction: ACROD
Posts: 2,076


« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2007, 09:39:30 AM »

Quote
The Canon of the Old Testament

Etymologically speaking, the Greek term "canon" bears a striking resemblance to the Hebrew word "for a measuring rod". For the Church however, it came to mean a collection of the Old Testament and New Testament books which were accepted as "Divinely inspired". The books which were not accepted in the Canon as divinely inspired were still accepted as "holy books" and were classified as "apocrypha". What is confusing however, is the fact that there is more than one Canon of the Old Testament used by the various Christian denominations. In this section we will focus on the Old Testament Canon of the Orthodox Church.

Among other versions, the two main Canons of the Old Testament are the "Palestinian Canon", also known as the "Hebrew or Masoretic Text" and the "Alexandrian Canon" also known as the "Septuagint" translation. The main difference between these two versions is the number of books. The former contains 39 books and the later has 10 extra books referred to as "Deuterocanonical". The Protocanonical books were understood as those which directly dealt with the Salvation of humanity. The Deuterocanonical books of the Alexandrian Canon were understood in a pedagogic light and thus the Septuagint received its authority because it was adopted by the Church.

In the history of the Orthodox Church there have been inconsistencies not only by the Church Fathers, but also by many local and even Ecumenical Synods as to which Canon is to be used. For example, Cyril of Jerusalem and Athanasius support the use of the Hebrew Canon, where as John Chrysostom and Basil the Great support the use of the Alexandrian Canon. Although the local Synod of Jerusalem in 1672 stipulated that the Alexandrian Canon was to be used, the second Canon of the Council of Trullo (691) sanctioned the use of the Hebrew Canon.

The Orthodox Church accepted the Alexandrian Canon (Septuagint LXX) as divinely inspired, appropriate for reading in Church, and on a personal reading level. The shorter or Hebrew Canon remained as the Canon par excellence, and was most valuable for giving validity to basic Christian doctrines....

Not only are there inconsistencies between the use of the two different Canons, but there are also inconsistencies in the different Traditions of Orthodoxy on which books are to be included in the greater Canon. For example, the Russian Orthodox Tradition or the Slavonic Bible includes 2 Edras, whereas the Greek Orthodox Tradition of the Septuagint does not. This lack of uniform use led P. Bratsiotes to make the following observation (quoted by S. Agourides in his article The Bible in the Greek Orthodox Church, p. 240): "It is for this reason that the fixing of the Canon of the Old Testament is proposed as one of the subjects of a future Great Synod of the Eastern Orthodox Church". So even today, the issue of the Old Testament Canon remains open for discussion.

http://home.it.net.au/~jgrapsas/pages/old_testament.html
Logged
ChristianLove
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 28


« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2007, 03:18:55 PM »

Quite shocking to read all these posts. Thanks for your insights.

I am hopefully misunderstanding something from reading all the above posts and all the links and sublinks so far. Although ecumenical councils have already set the old (6th council) and new testament (2nd council), other later orthodox nonecumenical councils can add or take away from the canon and this is considered an open issue today for Eastern Orthodox Churches, is that right?

Logged
ytterbiumanalyst
Professor Emeritus, CSA
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA Diocese of the Midwest
Posts: 8,790



« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2007, 11:33:47 AM »

Ecumenical councils are binding for the entire Church and therefore would be the only ones who would have authority in this matter. Non-ecumenical councils (sometimes called "local councils") would only be binding for the bishops who convened, and only until an Ecumenical council would be called. So if a local council were called and the bishops agreed that, say, 1-2 Maccabees should be added to the Canon, then for those diocese only the books would be added. The Church at large would still use the existing Canon.

Confused yet? Wink
Logged

"It is remarkable that what we call the world...in what professes to be true...will allow in one man no blemishes, and in another no virtue."--Charles Dickens
Tags: canon orthodox Bible canon of scripture Canon of scriptures 
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.055 seconds with 33 queries.