Author Topic: St John Damascene; on the canon of scripture..  (Read 219 times)

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Offline Shamati

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St John Damascene; on the canon of scripture..
« on: July 28, 2015, 05:55:55 PM »
Hi,

I just discovered an interesting fact while reading St John Damascene's work 'Exposition of the Orthodox Faith': apparently, Christians at that time did not consider what Protestants term 'the apocryphal scriptures' as part of the canon. St John Damascene was wrote in Greek & he was Orthodox, ie: accepting the council of Chalcedon.

From
Quote
In this way, then, the books are collected together in 4 Pentateuchs (collections of 5 each) and two others remain over, to form thus the canonical books. Five of them are of the Law, viz. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. This which is the code of the Law, constitutes the 1st Pentateuch. Then comes another Pentateuch, the so-called Grapheia , or as they are called by some, the Hagiographa, which are the following: Jesus the Son of Nave (Josua) , Judges along with Ruth, first and second Kings, which are one book (1-2 Samuel), 3rd and 4th Kings (1-2 Kings) which are one book, and the 2 books of the Paraleipomena, which are one book (1-2 Chronicles). This is the 2nd Pentateuch. The 3rd Pentateuch is the books in verse, viz. Job, Psalms, Proverbs of Solomon, Ecclesiastes of Solomon and the Song of Songs of Solomon. The 4th Pentateuch is the Prophetical books, viz the twelve prophets constituting one book, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel. Then come the 2 books of Esdra made into one (Ezra & Nehemiah) and Esther.

There are also the Panaretus, that is the Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Jesus (Sirach), which was published in Hebrew by the father of Sirach, and afterwards translated into Greek by his grandson, Jesus, the Son of Sirach. These are virtuous and noble, but are not counted nor were they placed in the ark.[/b]

The New Testament contains four gospels, that according to Matthew, that according to Mark, that according to Luke, that according to John: the Acts of the Holy Apostles by Luke the Evangelist: seven catholic epistles, viz. one of James, two of Peter, three of John, one of Jude: fourteen letters of the Apostle Paul: the Revelation of John the Evangelist: the Canons of the holy apostles , by Clement.

Exposition of the Orthodox Faith: Book 4 Chapter 17

Apparently, this must have been an accepted canon in his day. I know the Syriac Christians have a similar canon as well if I'm not mistaken?

Offline WPM

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Re: St John Damascene; on the canon of scripture..
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2015, 06:15:42 PM »
I'm sure its nice and wonderful reading Scripture but it doesn't serve practical or useful applications like finding a job, getting transportation, etc stuff that you have to use education for. Where does Scripture help you learn how to function in Society? ...
« Last Edit: July 28, 2015, 06:16:32 PM by WPM »

Offline Shamati

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Re: St John Damascene; on the canon of scripture..
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2015, 06:52:53 PM »
I'm sure its nice and wonderful reading Scripture but it doesn't serve practical or useful applications like finding a job, getting transportation, etc stuff that you have to use education for. Where does Scripture help you learn how to function in Society? ...
scripture is and oracle through which God speaks to he who listens. I already have a job & skills which are needed to performs it. But jobs are only for us to be able to sustain our lives which is ultimately about preparing for death. We don't live to work.

Offline Alpo

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Re: St John Damascene; on the canon of scripture..
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2015, 07:23:15 PM »
he was Orthodox, ie: accepting the council of Chalcedon.

Yes, because Chalcedon is relevant to this topic.
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Offline Minnesotan

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Re: St John Damascene; on the canon of scripture..
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2015, 07:24:12 PM »
he was Orthodox, ie: accepting the council of Chalcedon.

Yes, because Chalcedon is relevant to this topic.

Not to mention, Calvinists accept Chalcedon too, or at least they claim they do. Heck, R. J. Rushdoony named his theonomist lobbying group after it.
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Offline Nicene

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Re: St John Damascene; on the canon of scripture..
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2015, 07:39:49 PM »
I think the most interesting thing in that canon list is that he considers the canons of the apostles scripture on level with the rest of the New testament. All this goes to show is that the idea of a universal once for all canon decided by the fourth century is not a correct idea. We can say there was a general canon, in which all of these books, minus the canons of the apostles, were accepted as scripture, but was it ever finally decided for every church everywhere? No.

I also don't find many protestants relying on John Damascene in canon debates, probably because he argued from those books of the bible for the veneration of icons, saints and miraculous powers of relics.
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: St John Damascene; on the canon of scripture..
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2015, 11:05:02 PM »
(Note: I am going to mention disciplinary canons and also the Scriptural canon; rather than constantly differentiating like that I'll just call the former 'canons' and the latter 'Scripture')

Apparently, this must have been an accepted canon in his day. I know the Syriac Christians have a similar canon as well if I'm not mistaken?

Indeed. For St. John the most recent kinda-sorta official pronouncement on the Scripture would have been at the Council in Trullo, a supplement to the 5th and 6th Ecumenical Councils, though the Orthodox see it as a continuation and part of the 6th Ecumenical. This meeting happened in St. John's lifetime--when he was about a teen.  In the 2nd canon the people assembled in Trullo listed all the earlier canons from various sources (councils, fathers, etc.) that were accepted and binding. In doing so they accepted canons from earlier times that did not match with other canons regarding what was in and not in Scripture. Specifically they accepted:

1) Apostolic Canons - Excludes all the deuterocanonicals except 1-3 Maccabees; lists Sirach as a readable/teaching book; the NT given has the 27 familiar books, but in addition to that "two epistles of Clement; and the Constitutions."

2) Council of Laodicea - Includes Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah, but otherwise has the 'Jewish' Scripture list for the OT; has a 26 book NT because of excluding Revelation.

3) Council of Carthage - Gives the same OT as the one accepted by Catholics at Trent (with those seven particular deuterocanonicals); has the familiar 27 book NT.

4) St. Athanasius of Alexandria - He included Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah in Scripture, but excluded Esther; he hold to the 27 book NT; he considers Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, Esther, Judith and Tobit as readable/teaching books, in the same category as the Didache and the Shepherd of Hermas; there is no mention of Maccabees or others.

5) St. Gregory the Theologian - He has mostly the same Scripture as the 'Jewish' one, excluding all the most-often-discussed deuterocanonicals and others, though as with St. Athanasius he also excludes Esther; he excludes Revelation from his New Testament.

6) St. Amphilochius of Iconium - has the same OT Scripture as St. Gregory, though adds that "some approve the inclusion of Esther"; he accepts the four gospels and most of the letters traditionally attributed to St. Paul, and he also accepts Hebrews but notes that "some call that to the Hebrews spurious"; as for the rest of the NT: "Of the Catholic epistles some say seven, others only three must be accepted: one of James, one of Peter, one of John, otherwise three of John, and with them two of Peter, and also Jude's, the seventh. The Apocalypse of John, again, some approve, but most will call it spurious." Many people (including most mentioned in this post) tried to finish off their listing of Scripture with an assurance that they were giving you the real deal list and that you should ignore the others, but I especially like that of St. Amphilocius, who after mentioning multiple different disagreements and uncertainties, says: "This would be the most unerring canon of the divinely inspired scriptures."

This does not outline what must be excluded, or for that matter what must be included, in Scripture; rather, it approves various Scriptures that had been used at various times and places.

Offline Shamati

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Re: St John Damascene; on the canon of scripture..
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2015, 09:25:09 AM »
he was Orthodox, ie: accepting the council of Chalcedon.

Yes, because Chalcedon is relevant to this topic.
Yes it is, because after a split it's very common that the 2 groups seek to define themselves in opposition to eachother & things like the canon of scripture could've been such an issue where the 2 camps could've sought to differentiate itself against the other..

St John Damascene both accept the this particular canon of scripture as "...placed in the ark" (as opposed to the "apocrypha") while he also argues passionately for the Chalcedonian position on Christology.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2015, 09:28:59 AM by Shamati »

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Re: St John Damascene; on the canon of scripture..
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2015, 09:51:39 AM »
Hi,

I just discovered an interesting fact while reading St John Damascene's work 'Exposition of the Orthodox Faith': apparently, Christians at that time did not consider what Protestants term 'the apocryphal scriptures' as part of the canon. St John Damascene was wrote in Greek & he was Orthodox, ie: accepting the council of Chalcedon.


So did Theodoret of Cyrus and Ibas of Edessa and...

You know what? NVM!
« Last Edit: July 29, 2015, 09:57:14 AM by Severian »
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Re: St John Damascene; on the canon of scripture..
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2015, 11:09:47 AM »
Yes it is, because after a split it's very common that the 2 groups seek to define themselves in opposition to eachother & things like the canon of scripture could've been such an issue where the 2 camps could've sought to differentiate itself against the other..

St John Damascene both accept the this particular canon of scripture as "...placed in the ark" (as opposed to the "apocrypha") while he also argues passionately for the Chalcedonian position on Christology.

Non-sequitur.
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: St John Damascene; on the canon of scripture..
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2015, 11:10:12 AM »
Hi,

I just discovered an interesting fact while reading St John Damascene's work 'Exposition of the Orthodox Faith': apparently, Christians at that time did not consider what Protestants term 'the apocryphal scriptures' as part of the canon. St John Damascene was wrote in Greek & he was Orthodox, ie: accepting the council of Chalcedon.


So did Theodoret of Cyrus and Ibas of Edessa and...

You know what? NVM!

Good idea. 
"Do not tempt the Mor thy Mod."

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Offline Shamati

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Re: St John Damascene; on the canon of scripture..
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2015, 12:04:04 PM »
Why the anger, did I say something wrong?
« Last Edit: July 29, 2015, 12:04:14 PM by Shamati »

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: St John Damascene; on the canon of scripture..
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2015, 12:06:32 PM »
Why the anger, did I say something wrong?
By stating that the Council of Chalcedon was the measuring stick of whether someone is Orthodox or not, you offended the Oriental Orthodox members that are here.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: St John Damascene; on the canon of scripture..
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2015, 12:16:28 PM »
he was Orthodox, ie: accepting the council of Chalcedon.

Yes, because Chalcedon is relevant to this topic.
Yes it is, because after a split it's very common that the 2 groups seek to define themselves in opposition to eachother & things like the canon of scripture could've been such an issue where the 2 camps could've sought to differentiate itself against the other..

St John Damascene both accept the this particular canon of scripture as "...placed in the ark" (as opposed to the "apocrypha") while he also argues passionately for the Chalcedonian position on Christology.
Since the ark was not in the Second Temple anything written after the destruction of the First would not be in the Ark, including that which the Protestants (and their teachers, the Jews) accept as canon, e.g. Daniel (even in its Masoretic form), Nehemiah, Ezrah, etc.
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Re: St John Damascene; on the canon of scripture..
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2015, 12:19:21 PM »
I just discovered an interesting fact while reading St John Damascene's work 'Exposition of the Orthodox Faith': apparently, Christians at that time did not consider what Protestants term 'the apocryphal scriptures' as part of the canon. St John Damascene was wrote in Greek & he was Orthodox, ie: accepting the council of Chalcedon.

There was no universal canon of Scripture in the 8th century. Local churches used different canons of Scripture, but that's okay as long as the books are orthodox and the local churches profess the Orthodox faith.

Canons of Scripture aren't that important.

St. John of Damascus did quote the disputed OT books without caveats, iirc.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2015, 12:32:24 PM by Cyrillic »
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