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Author Topic: A Short Review of Scripture and Tradition  (Read 736 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: October 28, 2009, 06:56:41 PM »

The following is a short review of the 1984 version of Scripture and Tradition by Archimandrite (now Archbishop) Chrysostomos and  Archimandrite (now Bishop) Auxentios.

The book begins with a short introduction (pp. 1-5), which contains notes about a few subjects, including a brief description of the difference  between "essential theology" and "secondary theology".

After that, the authors launch right into the main subject of the book, the Orthodox perspective on scripture and tradition (pp. 6-18). The  subjects covered in this chapter include: the meaning of the word canon, a brief overview of the Septuagint, the formation of the New  Testament canon, differences between the canons used by Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestants, the meaning of the word tradition, and the nexus  between scripture and tradition. All of these subjects are covered only briefly, with no more than a couple pages devoted to any one subject.  Nonetheless, this chapter is a useful summary of the topics discussed.

The second chapter is on the authority of Scripture and Tradition in the early Church. (pp. 19-34) After a few preliminary notes, this chapter  discusses the thoughts of St. Vincent of Lerins, St. Irenaeus, St. Athanasius, St. Basil the Great, St. John Chrysostom, and St. John of Damascus  on scripture an tradition. The sections are again short, but still helpful. It would have been nice had the authors dealt with the problems in the  Church Fathers discussed, such as the issues with the Vincentian canon, but I suppose that was not within the scope of the book.

The third chapter discusses western perspectives on scripture and tradition. (pp. 35-47) The authors begin with a discussion of the Protestant view  of scripture and tradition, with more specific information on the Lutheran outlook, the Calvinist outlook, and Eastern Orthodoxy and the Protestant  view. Also discussed is the Roman Catholic view and Eastern Orthodoxy and the Roman Catholic view.

The fourth chapter is about scripture and tradition in Eastern Orthodoxy. (pp. 48-66) This chapter begins with a discussion of scripture and  tradition, specifically decrying negative effects that Western ideas have had on Orthodox scholarship. The authors then describe and give their  opinion on the thoughts of Eusebius Stephanou, Frank Gavin, Sergei Bulgakov, George Bebis, and Georges Florovsky.

The fifth and final chapter (pp. 67-75) is titled "Paradosis and its Noetic Base: Towards a Spiritual Statement of Tradition in Orthodox Thought".  This chapter begins with a recapitulation of the earlier chapters. The authors then discuss how scripture and tradition should be utilized by an  Orthodox Christian, with an emphasis that orthopraxis is also important if one is to understand the "mind of the Fathers" correctly.

I have read several books on Scripture and/or Tradition within Orthodoxy, and I would put this book at the top of the list. I would even put it  slightly higher than the well-respected Bible, Church, Tradition of Fr. Georges Florovsky. The book is short, though to put it more  favorably someone might say that it is just concise. It is not especially detailed, but gives a good overview of the subjects covered, and gives  enough leads for further research should someone be interested.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2009, 06:57:50 PM by Asteriktos » Logged

"No man gives the same exegesis twice: for he is not the same man, and it is not the same text." - St. Heraclitus
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« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2009, 08:45:01 PM »

Thanks for sharing.  I'm sure I'll look into it at some point.
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