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Author Topic: Purgatory as a Place and State or just State?  (Read 3322 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: November 26, 2010, 05:32:57 PM »

[
The sufferings of purgatory are simultaneously purgative/therapeutic/medicinal/cleansing/sanctifying and expiatory.  How could it be otherwise? 

Once you introduce the word "expiatory" and the doctrine of "temporal punishment" you will find the Orthodoxy have left the room.

The notion of the need for temporal punishment to be expiated by a soul is alien to Orthodoxy and alien to our understanding of the death on the Cross and the salvation wrought for us by Christ.

But we have been over this divide between our Churches before, and we are taking this thread off topic.

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« Reply #46 on: November 26, 2010, 07:10:11 PM »

Yet another council conducted under western-captivity which has no bearing on true Orthodox theology.

And you know this how?  Have you studied the Church Fathers so deeply, have you internalized the faith of the liturgies so profoundly, that you are able to dismiss a council of the Eastern Church that until fifty or a hundred years ago man (most?) Orthodox bishops and theologians would have viewed as authoritative, at least to some degree.  When the patriarchs entered into discussions with the English Non-jurors, they sent them the Confession as representative of the Orthodox Faith.  Yet now you dismiss it as a product of "Western captivity."  When were you able to transcend your Western captivity?  There's nobody but us modern Westerners here talking.  We are all trapped in history.  We may have some perspective on that which went before us, but we have virtually no understanding at all how enslaved we are to present worldviews and opinions.  A hundred years from now Orthodox theologians may well be speaking of 20th century captivity to the neo-patristic synthesis.     

The whole Western captivity argument is a slippery and dangerous slope, especially for a Church that claims to be the Church inspired and directed by the Holy Spirit at every moment of history.  I understand why Florovsky, Schmemann, and others invoked it, just as Catholic theologians like von Balthasar, de Lubac, and Ratzinger invoked, right around the same time, a similar captivity, i.e., a captivity to medieval, and particularly, post-Tridentine, scholasticism.  In both cases the captivity polemic expresses a a desire return to the sources and articulate afresh the faith of the Church--ad fontes.  This is all to the good.  But if pushed too far it simply collapses into a captivity to whatever the latest theologians and popular writers happen to be saying.  Florovsky was too great a theologian to fall into this trap, and I suspect he would be dismayed by the way the captivity claim has been employed in popular polemics and apologetics.     

I do intend the above as a personal rebuke or attack, but I do think it is important to confront the easy invocation of Orthodoxy's alleged captivity to Western theology during the past five hundred years.  In some ways it's a very Protestant way of dismissing hundreds of years of church history, except Protestants typically date the captivity much earlier, say, the second century.  The Church is never captive.     
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« Reply #47 on: November 26, 2010, 07:15:35 PM »

[
The sufferings of purgatory are simultaneously purgative/therapeutic/medicinal/cleansing/sanctifying and expiatory.  How could it be otherwise? 

Once you introduce the word "expiatory" and the doctrine of "temporal punishment" you will find the Orthodoxy have left the room.

The notion of the need for temporal punishment to be expiated by a soul is alien to Orthodoxy and alien to our understanding of the death on the Cross and the salvation wrought for us by Christ.

But we have been over this divide between our Churches before, and we are taking this thread off topic.
Then why did Christ require St. Peter to thrice declare his love for Him after thrice denying Him? Were those sins not covered by the Cross as well?
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« Reply #48 on: November 26, 2010, 07:45:58 PM »

In regards to spiritual writers writing on Purgatory since the Council of Florence, one cannot fail to mention the great 15th-century ascetic and mystic St. Catherine of Genoa and her "Treatise on Purgatory."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_of_Genoa

You can read this short work here. It totally refutes the standard straw-man attack on traditional Catholicism as believing in a "sadistic God". St. Catherine, warmed by the fire of Divine Love, would have found that repugnant.

http://www.catholictreasury.info/books/treatise_on_purgatory/



Catherine is not a spiritual guide in the tradition of St. Teresa of Avila and St. Francis de Sales for example.  St. Francis de Sales actually read Catherine's work yet did not rely heavily on it for his own book of instructions on the devout life.

Besides which the Orthodox reject Catherine of Genoa out of hand because of the lurid nature of her visions.

Nevertheless she does not fall within the tradition of spiritual guides that I was referencing of which none of them speak of purgation in any terms but those which are currently used by the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

My point was to demonstrate the fact that what the current CCC presents as its teaching is NOT a change in direction for the Church. 

I should have been more explicit.

Mary



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« Reply #49 on: November 26, 2010, 08:00:10 PM »

[
The sufferings of purgatory are simultaneously purgative/therapeutic/medicinal/cleansing/sanctifying and expiatory.  How could it be otherwise? 

Once you introduce the word "expiatory" and the doctrine of "temporal punishment" you will find the Orthodoxy have left the room.

The notion of the need for temporal punishment to be expiated by a soul is alien to Orthodoxy and alien to our understanding of the death on the Cross and the salvation wrought for us by Christ.

But we have been over this divide between our Churches before, and we are taking this thread off topic.



An interesting article on the subject:

http://sacradoctrina.blogspot.com/2005/05/anselm-on-atonement-st.html

Quote
While recent theologians such as John Milbank and Hans Boersma have defended aspects of Anselm's atonement theology, one of the most interesting recoveries of Anselm's thought is that of Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart in his essay "A Gift Exceeding Every Debt: An Eastern Orthodox Appreciation of Anselm's Cur Deus Homo," (in Pro Ecclesia, Vol. VII, No. 3, pp. 333-348)...In Anselm's thought the honor of God necessitates that humanity restore what it has stolen and thereby restore the goodness of creation. Indeed, if God is God, humanity will restore it. The difficulty, of course, is that fallen humanity is in no position to accomplish this and lacks what is necessary in order to restore creation's beauty.

...Hart notes that the emphases and commitments that undergird the atonement theologies of both East and West are rooted within the same narrative: Jesus Christ has trampled down death by death and God has acted decisively on our behalf to save us from the powers unto which we had delivered ourselves.  Hart defends this perspective in several stages, unfolding Anselm's thought as that appears in Cur Deus Homo. He begins by noting that Anselm shared the basic Christian theological presupposition, rooted in the doctrine of creation, that all God's creatures - especially the human creature in his image - were created in order to participate in God's own life and blessedness. Human beings, however, due to their sin, have "fallen short of the glory of God" for which they were created, thereby robbing God's creation of it's proper beauty.
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« Reply #50 on: November 26, 2010, 08:22:04 PM »


a council of the Eastern Church that until fifty or a hundred years ago man (most?) Orthodox bishops and theologians would have viewed as authoritative, at least to some degree. 
     

Looking at the Confession of Dositheos in a balanced way...

1.  Yes, in some places it employs Western construals and terminology to counter false Western teaching and some may see this as a Western Captivity.  I imagine that it is so seen by the Parisian School such as the Reverends Schmemann and Meyendorff.

2. But we need to remember that its expression of Orthodoxy is intact, merely given expression in a few places in constructs and terms which you will not find if you search back through the holy Fathers.

3.  We must also remember that this Confession constitutes one of the Symbolical Books of the Orthodox Church and must be treated seriously and sympathetically if only for that reason.
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« Reply #51 on: November 26, 2010, 08:24:47 PM »

Yet another council conducted under western-captivity which has no bearing on true Orthodox theology.

And you know this how?  Have you studied the Church Fathers so deeply, have you internalized the faith of the liturgies so profoundly, that you are able to dismiss a council of the Eastern Church that until fifty or a hundred years ago man (most?) Orthodox bishops and theologians would have viewed as authoritative, at least to some degree.  When the patriarchs entered into discussions with the English Non-jurors, they sent them the Confession as representative of the Orthodox Faith.  Yet now you dismiss it as a product of "Western captivity."  When were you able to transcend your Western captivity?  There's nobody but us modern Westerners here talking.  We are all trapped in history.  We may have some perspective on that which went before us, but we have virtually no understanding at all how enslaved we are to present worldviews and opinions.  A hundred years from now Orthodox theologians may well be speaking of 20th century captivity to the neo-patristic synthesis.     

The whole Western captivity argument is a slippery and dangerous slope, especially for a Church that claims to be the Church inspired and directed by the Holy Spirit at every moment of history.  I understand why Florovsky, Schmemann, and others invoked it, just as Catholic theologians like von Balthasar, de Lubac, and Ratzinger invoked, right around the same time, a similar captivity, i.e., a captivity to medieval, and particularly, post-Tridentine, scholasticism.  In both cases the captivity polemic expresses a a desire return to the sources and articulate afresh the faith of the Church--ad fontes.  This is all to the good.  But if pushed too far it simply collapses into a captivity to whatever the latest theologians and popular writers happen to be saying.  Florovsky was too great a theologian to fall into this trap, and I suspect he would be dismayed by the way the captivity claim has been employed in popular polemics and apologetics.     

I do intend the above as a personal rebuke or attack, but I do think it is important to confront the easy invocation of Orthodoxy's alleged captivity to Western theology during the past five hundred years.  In some ways it's a very Protestant way of dismissing hundreds of years of church history, except Protestants typically date the captivity much earlier, say, the second century.  The Church is never captive.     

This, concerning the Council of Jerusalem, was relayed to me by my spiritual father:


"The Council of Jerusalem has not had much staying power among the Orthodox, as its statements represent Latinization of Orthodox theology.  It's an example of the "Western Captivity" of Orthodox theology that held sway for quite some time until the "patristic revival" of the 20th century.  The Council of Jerusalem represents a fairly successful attempt by the RC's to get the Orthodox "on their side" as much as possible against Protestants. "
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« Reply #52 on: November 27, 2010, 03:58:53 AM »

Yet another council conducted under western-captivity which has no bearing on true Orthodox theology.

And you know this how?  Have you studied the Church Fathers so deeply, have you internalized the faith of the liturgies so profoundly, that you are able to dismiss a council of the Eastern Church that until fifty or a hundred years ago man (most?) Orthodox bishops and theologians would have viewed as authoritative, at least to some degree.  When the patriarchs entered into discussions with the English Non-jurors, they sent them the Confession as representative of the Orthodox Faith.  Yet now you dismiss it as a product of "Western captivity."  When were you able to transcend your Western captivity?  There's nobody but us modern Westerners here talking.  We are all trapped in history.  We may have some perspective on that which went before us, but we have virtually no understanding at all how enslaved we are to present worldviews and opinions.  A hundred years from now Orthodox theologians may well be speaking of 20th century captivity to the neo-patristic synthesis.     

The whole Western captivity argument is a slippery and dangerous slope, especially for a Church that claims to be the Church inspired and directed by the Holy Spirit at every moment of history.  I understand why Florovsky, Schmemann, and others invoked it, just as Catholic theologians like von Balthasar, de Lubac, and Ratzinger invoked, right around the same time, a similar captivity, i.e., a captivity to medieval, and particularly, post-Tridentine, scholasticism.  In both cases the captivity polemic expresses a a desire return to the sources and articulate afresh the faith of the Church--ad fontes.  This is all to the good.  But if pushed too far it simply collapses into a captivity to whatever the latest theologians and popular writers happen to be saying.  Florovsky was too great a theologian to fall into this trap, and I suspect he would be dismayed by the way the captivity claim has been employed in popular polemics and apologetics.     

I do intend the above as a personal rebuke or attack, but I do think it is important to confront the easy invocation of Orthodoxy's alleged captivity to Western theology during the past five hundred years.  In some ways it's a very Protestant way of dismissing hundreds of years of church history, except Protestants typically date the captivity much earlier, say, the second century.  The Church is never captive.     

This, concerning the Council of Jerusalem, was relayed to me by my spiritual father:


"The Council of Jerusalem has not had much staying power among the Orthodox, as its statements represent Latinization of Orthodox theology.  It's an example of the "Western Captivity" of Orthodox theology that held sway for quite some time until the "patristic revival" of the 20th century.  The Council of Jerusalem represents a fairly successful attempt by the RC's to get the Orthodox "on their side" as much as possible against Protestants. "

What part of Orthodoxy was actually orthodox during this period of captivity?

What does this do to the putatively unbroken line of unchanging Orthodoxy?

M.
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« Reply #53 on: November 27, 2010, 04:17:27 PM »

Now this way of thinking about things may be alien to contemporary Orthodox, but I doubt it was completely alien to Orthodox of earlier generations, as the Confession of Dositheus, approved by the 1672 Synod of Jerusalem, attests:

Quote
And the souls of those involved in mortal sins, who have not departed in despair but while still living in the body, though without bringing forth any fruits of repentance, have repented — by pouring forth tears, by kneeling while watching in prayers, by afflicting themselves, by relieving the poor, and finally by showing forth by their works their love towards God and their neighbor, and which the Catholic Church has from the beginning rightly called satisfaction — [their souls] depart into Hades, and there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed. But they are aware of their future release from there, and are delivered by the Supreme Goodness, through the prayers of the Priests, and the good works which the relatives of each do for their Departed; especially the unbloody Sacrifice benefiting the most; which each offers particularly for his relatives that have fallen asleep, and which the Catholic and Apostolic Church offers daily for all alike. Of course, it is understood that we do not know the time of their release. We know and believe that there is deliverance for such from their direful condition, and that before the common resurrection and judgment, but when we know not.


Yet another council conducted under western-captivity which has no bearing on true Orthodox theology.
Ha! So the Orthodox Church was a heretical body when it called this council? Or perhaps the EO Church has simply become ultra-byzantine over the past few centuries and ignores some of its werstern patrimony, simply for the sake of not being Latin. In fact, I read St. John of Damascus, and I certainly don't see modern Eastern Orthodoxy. Heck, I don't even see it in St. Gregory Palamas.
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« Reply #54 on: November 27, 2010, 04:42:25 PM »

What part of Orthodoxy was actually orthodox during this period of captivity?

What does this do to the putatively unbroken line of unchanging Orthodoxy?

"Western Captivity" is a vague term which leads to vague thinking.
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« Reply #55 on: November 27, 2010, 04:50:29 PM »

What part of Orthodoxy was actually orthodox during this period of captivity?

What does this do to the putatively unbroken line of unchanging Orthodoxy?

"Western Captivity" is a vague term which leads to vague thinking.

Seems more likely that as the West is having an Iconoclasm, the East has been having a Latinclasm.
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« Reply #56 on: November 27, 2010, 05:40:12 PM »


I do intend the above as a personal rebuke or attack, but I do think it is important to confront the easy invocation of Orthodoxy's alleged captivity to Western theology during the past five hundred years.  In some ways it's a very Protestant way of dismissing hundreds of years of church history, except Protestants typically date the captivity much earlier, say, the second century.  The Church is never captive.     

Oops. I left out a word.  The first sentence here should read:  "I do NOT intend the above as a personal rebuke or attack."   Sorry. 
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« Reply #57 on: November 28, 2010, 04:00:17 PM »

More than anything, I find the idea that God being subjected to "Divine Justice" which requires that he must inflict "punishment" on his subjects to be terrifying. The idea of purification of the soul by fire via "God's love" is an Orthodox teaching completely in line with this pericope. This is not punishment, rather it is the result of drawing near to the Source of love itself.

I understand the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory is a lot more complex than just a purgation, of which I find is present in Greek fathers, but I also have to wonder that some of us Orthodox seem to lack humility in the word "punishment."  Whether you like it or not, His loving presence is also a punishing presence, and Our Lord allows it to be so.  We who sin now, why are we not being purgated now?  Because He has not allowed His presence to be revealed fully.  But when that day comes, to the righteous, eternal joy, but to the wicked, eternal punishment.  Human words are weak, and I think it's not fair to call something a "Western captivation" when I find that the Eastern fathers were not afraid of using the word "punishment" to use as a way for their flock to deter them from evil things.

I understand that many Orthodox are trying to protect the immutability of God, but not at the expense of your own humility.  You should tell yourself that you do deserve punishment, and with compunction of heart you draw yourself to the mercy of God.  I think we Orthodox suffer too much from pride, and I think we need to remind ourselves that we deserve punishment.  God's love is not something we pontificate on and insult others' faith with.  God's love is something we take seriously in our own personal lives, and to insult any idea that there is no "punishment" for ourselves is an abuse of God's love.  God does not anger and does not punish in human ways, and I know with all fairness that even Western Christians, whether they be Catholics or some Protestants believe that.  Let's not be foolish to think they believe in a bloodthirsty or punishing God, because I know for a fact they don't.  But they're humble enough to at least feel some guilt for their own sins and strive to be better Christians, something we should admire from their side and should adopt every once in a while, if not all the time.

Debates about "Western captivity" and connecting it with Roman Catholic beliefs sicken me.  Is there not any Orthodox objective enough to see that there really is no difference in beliefs on regard of purification alone?

Quote from: St. John Chrysostom's Homily IX on 1 Corinthians
But, “They are men,” some one will say, “who do these things; as for God, He is loving unto men.” Now, first of all, not even men do these things in cruelty, but in humanity. And God Himself, as “He is loving unto men,” in the same character doth He punish sins. (Sirac. xvi. 12.) “For as His mercy is great, so also is His reproof.” When therefore thou sayest unto me, “God is loving unto men,” then thou tellest me of so much the greater reason for punishing: namely, our sinning against such a Being. Hence also Paul said, (Heb. x. 31.) “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Endure I beseech you, the fiery force of the words, for perhaps—perhaps you will have some consolation from hence!  Who among men can punish as God has punished? when He caused a deluge and entire destruction of a race so numerous; and again, when, a little while after, He rained fire from above, and utterly destroyed them all? What punishment from men can be like that? Seest thou not that the punishment even in this world is almost eternal? Four thousand years have passed away, and the punishment of the Sodomites abideth at its height. For as His mercy is great, so also is His punishment.

Quote from: St. John Chrysostom's Homily III on II Thessalonians
There are many men, who form good hopes not by abstaining from their sins, but by thinking that hell is not so terrible as it is said to be, but milder than what is threatened, and temporary, not eternal; and about this they philosophize much. But I could show from many reasons, and conclude from the very expressions concerning hell, that it is not only not milder, but much more terrible than is threatened. But I do not now intend to discourse concerning these things. For the fear even from bare words is sufficient, though we do not fully unfold their meaning. But that it is not temporary, hear Paul now saying, concerning those who know not God, and who do not believe in the Gospel, that “they shall suffer punishment, even eternal destruction.” How then is that temporary which is everlasting? “From the face of the Lord,” he says. What is this? He here wishes to say how easily it might be. For since they were then much puffed up, there is no need, he says, of much trouble; it is enough that God comes and is seen, and all are involved in punishment and vengeance. His coming only to some indeed will be Light, but to others vengeance.

I think the big mistake we do is try to find out what the afterlife will be like.  St. Paul gave us the ultimate and clearest belief in the afterlife:  "Neither eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor heart can contemplate."  Everything else is directed at the soul of the person, and where his spirituality lies, and is theoretical, not completely in truth to what the experience may seem.  Christ did not ask you to contemplate on the afterlife, but contemplate on how you should be righteous and grow spiritually.  To those who are at a much spiritual high plane, God may have revealed to them things what we cannot fathom to understand, and to those who suffer from disbelief, to them, they need to understand faith in a manner as not to scandalize them, but as they grow in maturity, they also know they must grow wary of themselves and the veracity of what sin does in their lives and how they should be fight even unto bloodshed, as St. Paul teaches.  Therefore, believe that God's loving presence is also present in Hell, but also believe that His loving presence is a fearful presence and not to be taken lightly with the fullest responsibility.  Since some of us are still immature in the faith and in our lives, the word "punishment" is a necessary word, not a word God or the Church fathers shy away from.
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« Reply #58 on: November 28, 2010, 04:15:18 PM »

May I please nominate Mina's post directly above mine as Post of the Month?

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« Reply #59 on: November 28, 2010, 04:26:37 PM »

May I please nominate Mina's post directly above mine as Post of the Month?

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« Reply #60 on: November 30, 2010, 08:24:45 PM »

A couple of other issues:

Job also refers (cant remember quite where) to
"Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them"


This is Job chapter 1:5 but he is not speaking of the dead but of offering sacrifices for his living sons.
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=job%201&version=KJV

If there exists a passage where Job *is* speaking about the dead I would be very happy if you can track it down.  But because I have never seen such a passage mentioned in works which justify praying for the dead, I am doubtful.

Apologies - I was wrong -
 It was my poor memory at work.
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« Reply #61 on: November 30, 2010, 08:56:08 PM »



Fascinating! I hope you'll stay with us, brother.

 I love the vibrancy of this place compared to other forums - although I read but say little... and I am struggling to work out the differences between orthodox and catholic dogma.

One issue I would ask orthodox colleagues - is to ask is your understanding of holy tradition the same as that of the catholic?

If so it brings in the interesting issue on purgatory that I read somewhere ( scott hahn) that "prayers for the dead" were part of standard jewish tradition - and that was  not challenged in the gospels.

I do think a lot of the  difficulty of dogma on purgatory is a result of assuming that time is a continuous flux - that everything is somewhere and time passes for all in the same way - so the dead are somewhere until they hopefully achieve the kingdom. Since no imperfect thing can go there, and none of us would dare such a claim, then clearly somehow purification is possible. Whether that is a place or a time is of little more than academic interest - all we have is this life to use our opportunities to best advatage to make that possible for us.

As I pointed out in my post , science is busy putting holes in that notion - including the fact that time is not the same for everyone - or even that everything must be somewhere....

 







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« Reply #62 on: November 30, 2010, 09:07:51 PM »


If so it brings in the interesting issue on purgatory that I read somewhere ( scott hahn) that "prayers for the dead" were part of standard jewish tradition - and that was  not challenged in the gospels.


The Jews prayed for the dead personally and they also offered sacrifices for them in the Jerusalem temple.

Sacred scripture tells us:


"It  is  a  holy  and  pious thing  that atonement 
be  made  for the  dead,  that  they  might be  delivered 
from their  sin."
 


~ Macc  12:46

I'd like to comment if I may, for those who don't know the context of this atonement.

What had happened was that many of the dead Jewish soldiers were found to have small idols in their clothing.  They had been worshipping idols and the text says that this idolatry is the reason God allowed them to be slain in battle.

So the surviving soldiers began to offer profound prayers that this dreadful sin would be forgiven and Judas Maccabeus decided to send a large quantity of silver to the Jerusalem temple for prayers for the forgivness of these idolators.

The whole incident substantiates not just prayers for the dead but the hope and belief that sin, even very serious sin (mortal sin if you will), may be forgiven by God even after death.

This remains the tradition among the Orthodox.


2 Macc 12: 39-46
King James Version
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/Kjv2Mac.html


 And upon the day following, as the use had been, Judas and his company came to take up the bodies of them that were slain, and to bury them with their kinsmen in their fathers' graves.  Now under the coats of every one that was slain they found things consecrated to the idols of the Jamnites, which is forbidden the Jews by the law. Then every man saw that this was the cause wherefore they were slain.  All men therefore praising the Lord, the righteous Judge, who had opened the things that were hid, Betook themselves unto prayer, and besought him that the sin committed might wholly be put out of remembrance. Besides, that noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves from sin, forsomuch as they saw before their eyes the things that came to pass for the sins of those that were slain. And when he had made a gathering throughout the company to the sum of two thousand drachms of silver, he sent it to Jerusalem to offer a sin offering, doing therein very well and honestly, in that he was mindful of the resurrection:  For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should have risen again, it had been superfluous and vain to pray for the dead. And also in that he perceived that there was great favour laid up for those that died godly, it was an holy and good thought. Whereupon he made a reconciliation for the dead, that they might be delivered from sin.
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« Reply #63 on: December 01, 2010, 06:13:11 AM »


If so it brings in the interesting issue on purgatory that I read somewhere ( scott hahn) that "prayers for the dead" were part of standard jewish tradition - and that was  not challenged in the gospels.


The Jews prayed for the dead personally and they also offered sacrifices for them in the Jerusalem temple.

Sacred scripture tells us:


"It  is  a  holy  and  pious thing  that atonement 
be  made  for the  dead,  that  they  might be  delivered 
from their  sin."
 


~ Macc  12:46

I'd like to comment if I may, for those who don't know the context of this atonement.

What had happened was that many of the dead Jewish soldiers were found to have small idols in their clothing.  They had been worshipping idols and the text says that this idolatry is the reason God allowed them to be slain in battle.

So the surviving soldiers began to offer profound prayers that this dreadful sin would be forgiven and Judas Maccabeus decided to send a large quantity of silver to the Jerusalem temple for prayers for the forgivness of these idolators.

The whole incident substantiates not just prayers for the dead but the hope and belief that sin, even very serious sin (mortal sin if you will), may be forgiven by God even after death.

This remains the tradition among the Orthodox.


2 Macc 12: 39-46
King James Version
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/Kjv2Mac.html


 And upon the day following, as the use had been, Judas and his company came to take up the bodies of them that were slain, and to bury them with their kinsmen in their fathers' graves.  Now under the coats of every one that was slain they found things consecrated to the idols of the Jamnites, which is forbidden the Jews by the law. Then every man saw that this was the cause wherefore they were slain.  All men therefore praising the Lord, the righteous Judge, who had opened the things that were hid, Betook themselves unto prayer, and besought him that the sin committed might wholly be put out of remembrance. Besides, that noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves from sin, forsomuch as they saw before their eyes the things that came to pass for the sins of those that were slain. And when he had made a gathering throughout the company to the sum of two thousand drachms of silver, he sent it to Jerusalem to offer a sin offering, doing therein very well and honestly, in that he was mindful of the resurrection:  For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should have risen again, it had been superfluous and vain to pray for the dead. And also in that he perceived that there was great favour laid up for those that died godly, it was an holy and good thought. Whereupon he made a reconciliation for the dead, that they might be delivered from sin.


Thanks - that is useful - so orthodox accept Maccabees as part of the canon - sorry to ask such dumb questions!

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« Reply #64 on: December 01, 2010, 06:51:11 AM »


Thanks - that is useful - so orthodox accept Maccabees as part of the canon - sorry to ask such dumb questions!



It's not a dumb question although the answer may be a bit of a surprise. 

The Orthodox accept FOUR books of Maccabees ~ 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Maccabees 4 is accepted as part of the canon of the Bible by some Orthodox Churches, while in others it is placed in an appendix.

So you see that the canon of the Bible is not completely "fixed" even after 2000 years!

People are sometimes scandalised by this but I suspect that if we haven't decided this after 2000 years we won't decide it ever.   laugh

Catholics also have a varying canon of the Bible - and that may be an even bigger surprise!  I remember reading on CAF that the Catholic printing of the Russian Bible for Catholics includes Maccabees 3 and 4. 
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