I know this has become very fashionable in some protestant circles, but I can't and won't sit still while it happens in Orthodoxy.
Dr. Jeanie Constantinou, PhD Univeriste Laval - biblical studies, patristics, Master of Theology, Harvard University - biblical studies, Master of Theology, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology - biblical studies, patristics, Orthodox theology, Juris Doctorate, Pepperdine University - Law, Master of Arts in Religious studies, University of San Diego, Bachelors Degree in Religious Studies, University of San Diego
is saying on her Ancient Faith Radio podcast in September:http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/searchthescriptures
that she doesn't believe that Peter wrote 2 Peter.
Since Ancient Faith Radio is like a central repository of most Orthodox podcasts, this is a very public representation of Orthodoxy. Furthermore, it sounds like she intends to expand on this issue greatly in a future podcast.
I contacted her privately, and apparently her position is that 2 Peter is
scripture despite not being written by Peter. But despite it being pseudopigrypha, the church knew it was a fake but has the right to say it is scripture anyway, because maybe it has some vague "connection" to the apostle.
I pointed out to her that the book doesn't leave us that option:
2 Peter 1:16 says "For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty". How much force is there in the verse if the author was in fact NOT an eyewitness, but is actually making up a cleverly devised pseudonymous letter? Clearly, no force is left. There are no pseudonymous eyewitnesses.
2Pet. 1:13 I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent.... " If its pseudonymous, then he is NOT acting "as long as I am in this earthly dwelling", but can wait a hundred years for someone else to put the words in his mouth. Neither need he act quickly to "stir reminder" because the "laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent", since there is all the time in the world to wait for a pseudonymous scribe to insert words into his mouth.
Her claim is that pseudonymity was acceptable practice in antiquity, that we can't impose our modern ideas on ancient writings, and that quote: "all the church understood this. That's why they were able to accept 2 PEter into the canon, even though everyone knew taht he didn't write it.", and that Life of Macrina by Gregory of Nyssa is pseudonymous.
I pointed out to her that (a) Life of Macrina is NOT pseudonymous, in any shape or form. (b) Tertullian wrote in De Baptismo 17 that a presbyter was defrocked for writing the Acts of Paul (c) Athanasius in his 39th festal letter describes false writings as "supposedly ancient writings designed to deceive the guileless" and true writings as what "original eye witnesses and ministers of the word delivered to our fathers, and (d) Hippo and Carthage rejected the Epistle of Barnabas and 1 Clement precisely because they were not apostolic.
Whereupon her attack on scripture expanded to say that 2 Peter being in the canon is not dogmatic, because only salvation issues can be dogmatic, and since Chrysostom doesn't seem to have had 2 Peter in his canon, and Chrysostom is apparently saved, it is not dogmatic. Besides which "There are things in scripture that are not historically or scientifically true. The Old Testament talks about unicorns and griffins. The bible says that the earth rests on four pillars. What do you do about that or other passages? Do you take a fundamentalist point of view or understand the Scripture as a product of its time?"
I pointed out to her: (a) You can't put yourself back 1600 years into Chrysostom's shoes, otherwise there is no dogma. (b) If everything any Church father said was acceptable dogma now, ignoring the later catholic consenus, all of Orthodox dogma would be up for grabs. (c) I quoted to her "Sweeter than Honey, Orthodox thinking on Dogma and Truth" by Peter Bouteneff, dogmas are "authoritative teachings of the Church" and "WHENEVER we find something that is taught clearly and consistently within the Church's authoritative sources, scripture, the fathers, the liturgy, the councils, the canons, and the icons, it can be said to be DOGMA". (d) Since she already agreed 2 Peter was in the canon of scripture I quoted her Orthodox Dogmatic Theology by Pomazansky which says, "The definitions of truth declared by the Church have been called, since the days of the Apostles, 'dogmas'" and "In the Christian understanding, dogma is the opposite of opinions". She already agreed the Church has spoken, so how is it not Dogma? From Pomazansky again: "[The Church] has a single and common catholic consciousness, guided by the Holy Spirit"... and "the complete canon of the New Testament books of Sacred Scripture was confirmed by the catholic voice of the whole Church"
(e) The meaning of the Hebrew word for unicorn is very uncertain. It may mean a one horned beast such as the rhinocerous (the scientific name for which is unicornis). (f) There are no griffins in scripture (g) no verse says the earth rests on four pillars.
Her position is in summary: "I think you have to face facts: he didn't write it and many Fathers acknoweldged that. That's the objective historical evidence." and she quotes as evidence things like it being too early in the 1st century for Peter to have acknowledged Paul's writings as scripture.
I pointed out to her (a) No Father said that Peter didn't write it. Origen said it was disputed, and Eusebius said it wasn't in the canonical list of genuine books, but no Father actually said for sure he didn't write it. (b) If some Fathers didn't have in their canon because they weren't sure of its genuineness, it contradicts her earlier statement that the church knew it was fake but was happy to have it in their canon anyway. (c) There is not much objective historical evidence as such. The only evidence is subjective about what Peter would be likely to write. But if the objection against 2 Peter is it contains material that would be unlikely for Peter to write, then it kills the theory that 2 Peter is apostolic anyway through some mysterious "connection" with the apostle after he is dead. It makes it anti-apostolic in being material the apostle would NOT have written.
I am much disturbed that Dr. Jeanie Constantinou is presuming to teach Orthodoxy to the world, and my concerns go well beyond 2 Peter. Her arguments are unworthy of a first year bible student. She seems incapable of forming an argument more sophisticated than "Chrysostom didn't have it, so I don't have to worry". Almost all her claims are demonstrably wrong, to an extent I have never seen before. But worst of all, her conception of what Orthodox dogma and teaching is, is in no way aligned with the Fathers, or well known Orthodox books like Pomazansky. And she seems content to destroy the faith of others by teaching it to the world under the name of Orthodoxy.
But she thinks she knows it all, quote: "I do not intend to insult you, but I know a lot more than you do on the subjects of theology, history and scripture, so this is going to give me a different perspective. I'm sure you have an expertise in your work or your life that I don't have. I would not come to your work and say you don't know what you are talking about. "
Am I a know-nothing ignoramus, wrongly presuming to tell an academic with 6 degrees how to suck eggs? You be the judge. Tell me if Life of Mecrina is pseudonymous. Tell me if all the ancient church knew full well Peter didn't write 2 Peter. Tell me the verse where there are griffins in the bible. Tell me where the fathers said pseudonymity was perfectly ok.
I've been sending emails about this also to Ancient Faith Radio for the last week, but there silence. If you care about Orthodoxy, petition them to put a stop to this before it gets worse.