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Author Topic: Old Testament Canon according to St. Philaret of Moscow  (Read 1043 times) Average Rating: 0
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jah777
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« on: March 30, 2011, 02:55:36 PM »

It is interesting that St. Philaret of Moscow accepted the Hebrew canon over the Septuagint canon of the Old Testament.  I would be interested in feedback from others on this list regarding the historical position of the Russian Church on the Old Testament.  It is also noteworthy that St. Philaret’s comments below on the Old Testament canon are from his Catechism which was approved by the Holy Synod in 1830 for use in schools at that time.     


Quote
St. Philaret of Moscow
The Longer Catechism


Examined and Approved by the Most Holy Governing Synod, and Published for the Use of Schools, and of all Orthodox Christians, by Order of His Imperial Majesty (Moscow, at the Synodical Press, 1830.)

http://www.pravoslavieto.com/docs/eng/Orthodox_Catechism_of_Philaret.htm


31. How many are the books of the Old Testament?

St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Athanasius the Great, and St. John Damascene reckon them at twenty-two, agreeing therein with the Jews, who so reckon them in the original Hebrew tongue. (Athanas. Ep. xxxix. De Test.; J. Damasc. Theol. lib. iv. c. 17.)

32. Why should we attend to the reckoning of the Hebrews?

Because, as the Apostle Paul says, unto them were committed the oracles of God; and the sacred books of the Old Testament have been received from the Hebrew Church of that Testament by the Christian Church of the New. Rom. iii. 2.

33. How do St. Cyril and St. Athanasius enumerate the books of the Old Testament?

As follows: 1, The book of Genesis; 2, Exodus; 3, Leviticus; 4, the book of Numbers; 5, Deuteronomy; 6, the book of Jesus the son of Nun; 7, the book of Judges, and with it, as an appendix, the book of Ruth; 8, the first and second books of Kings, as two parts of one book; 9, the third and fourth books of Kings; 10, the first and second books of Paralipomena; 11, the first book of Esdras, and the second, or, as it is entitled in Greek, the book of Nehemiah; 12, the book of Esther; 13, the book of Job; 14, the Psalms; 15, the Proverbs of Solomon; 16, Ecclesiastes, also by Solomon; 17, the Song of Songs, also by Solomon; 18, the book of the Prophet Isaiah; 19, of Jeremiah; 20, of Ezekiel; 21, of Daniel; 22, of the Twelve Prophets.

34. Why is there no notice taken in this enumeration of the books of the Old Testament of the book of the Wisdom of the son of Sirach, and of certain others?

Because they do not exist in the Hebrew.

35. How are we to regard these last-named books?

Athanasius the Great says that they have been appointed of the Fathers to be read by proselytes who are preparing for admission into the Church.

I would be interested in any information anyone can provide regarding the history of the Slavonic Old Testament canon, the decision of St. Philaret to choose the Hebrew canon rather than the Septuagint, and when/why the Church in Russia returned to the Septuagint canon.

 
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2011, 02:58:22 PM »

This is one of the examples I think of when people wrongly say that Orthodoxy has a set-in-stone agreed-upon canon, but unfortunately I don't know the history behind it. I hope others do...  Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2011, 01:40:52 AM »



33. How do St. Cyril and St. Athanasius enumerate the books of the Old Testament?

As follows: 1, The book of Genesis; 2, Exodus; 3, Leviticus; 4, the book of Numbers; 5, Deuteronomy; 6, the book of Jesus the son of Nun; 7, the book of Judges, and with it, as an appendix, the book of Ruth; 8, the first and second books of Kings, as two parts of one book; 9, the third and fourth books of Kings; 10, the first and second books of Paralipomena; 11, the first book of Esdras, and the second, or, as it is entitled in Greek, the book of Nehemiah; 12, the book of Esther; 13, the book of Job; 14, the Psalms; 15, the Proverbs of Solomon; 16, Ecclesiastes, also by Solomon; 17, the Song of Songs, also by Solomon; 18, the book of the Prophet Isaiah; 19, of Jeremiah; 20, of Ezekiel; 21, of Daniel; 22, of the Twelve Prophets.


I thought St. Athanasius excluded Esther and included Baruch.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2011, 01:41:42 AM by Salpy » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2011, 07:32:12 AM »

I thought St. Athanasius excluded Esther and included Baruch.

He did, St. Philaret was not exactly right on this point.

Quote
St. Athanasius the Great
Thirty-ninth Festival Epistle.


But inasmuch as we have mentioned heretics as dead persons, and ourselves as having salvation in the divine Scriptures, I fear lest, as Paul wrote to the Corinthians (II Cor. 11:3), some of the honest ones be led astray from simplicity and chastity by the craftiness of men, and thereafter begin relying upon other things, the so-called apocrypha, deceived by the likeness of the titles with the names of the true books, I beg you to be tolerant if what things I am writing about with a view to their necessity and usefulness to the Church are things which you already know and understand thoroughly. Since I am about to state these things, by way of excusing my boldness in doing so I shall make use of the formula of St. Luke the Evangelist, who himself says: "Forasmuch as many men have taken in hand to set forth in due order a declaration on their part" (Luke 1:1) of the so-called apocrypha and to intermix these with God-inspired Scripture, concerning which we have full confidence, just as those who were eye-witnesses and servants of the Logos in the beginning have handed down the facts by tradition to the Fathers, it has seemed, good to me too to set forth, at the express request of genuine brethren and after learning the following facts from above, the rides which have been laid down as canons and delivered as teachings and believed to be divine books, in order that anyone, if deceived, may lay the blame on those who deceived him, or if he has remained clean and pure, he may rejoice again in finding himself reminded thereof. Now, therefore, he it said that the total number of books in the Old Testament is twenty-two; for, as I have been told, such is precisely the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet. In order and by name each of them stands as follows. First comes Genesis, then Exodus, then Leviticus, and after this Numbers, and thereupon Deuteronomy. The rest of them are: Joshua of Nun. and Judges, and after this Ruth. And again the next are Kingdoms, four books; of which the first and the second are counted together as one, and the third and the fourth likewise as one. After these come Paralipomena (or Chronicles, first and second, likewise counted as one book. The Esdras, first and second, likewise counted as one. After these comes the Book of Psalms, and thereupon Proverbs. Then Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs. In addition to these there is the book of Job. This followed by the Prophets, the twelve of which are counted as one book. Then come Isaiah and Jeremiah, and together with the latter are Baruch, Lamentations, and the Epistle, and with them are also Ezekiel and Daniel. Up to this point those enumerated have been books of the Old Testament, Those of the New Testament, again, must not be left out of the reckoning. They are: Four Gospels, according to Matthew, according to Mark, according to Luke, according to John; then and after these come the Acts of the Apostles and the seven so-called catholic (or general) Epistles of the Apostles, these being as follows: of James, one; of Peter, two; then of John, three; and of Jude, one. In addition to all these there are also fourteen Epistles of St. Paul the Apostle, which are found written in the following order: the first one to the Romans; then to the Corinthians, two; and after these the one to the Galatians and one to the Ephesians. then one to the Philippians, and one to the Colossians, and two to the Thessalonians; after which comes the Epistle to the Hebrews, and thereupon come two Epistles to Timothy, one to Titus, and lastly one to Philemon; and, again, the Revelation of John. These are all sources of salvation, so that anyone thirsting should take pains to fill himself with the sayings and facts recorded therein. In these alone it is that one may find a teaching ground on which to proclaim the good tidings of the Gospel, and to acquire the religion of piety. Let no one superimpose anything thereon, nor delete anything therefrom. Concerning these the Lord rebuked the Sadducees by saying: "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor their powers" (Matt. 22:29; Mark 2:24, John 5:31). Nevertheless, for the sake of greater exactness, I add also this, writing as I do the fact as a matter of necessity, that there are also other books than these outside of the list herein given, which, though not canonically sanctioned, are to be found formally prescribed by the Fathers to be read to those who have just joined and are willing to be catechized with respect to the word of piety, namely: the Wisdom of Solomon; the Wisdom of Sirach: and Esther, and Judith, and Tobias; and the so-called Didache (i.e., salutary teaching] of the Apostles, and the Shepherd. And yet, dear readers, both with those canonically sanctioned and these recommended to be read, there is no mention of the Apocrypha; but, on the contrary, the latter are an invention of heretics who were writing them as they pleased, assigning and adding to them dates and years, in order that, by offering them as ancient documents, they might have a pretext for deceiving honest persons as a consequence thereof.

« Last Edit: March 31, 2011, 07:34:13 AM by jah777 » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2011, 09:57:15 AM »

The problem is that the number of books cannot be something to base it on entirely.   For example, when Orthodox say "the book of Daniel" we are including Susanna, the Hymn of the Three Youths, and Bel and the Dragon.  Likewise, the Septuagint book of Jeremiah includes Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah, although they can be enumerated specifically whenever there is doubt, and are enumerated seperately in certain versions.    So when we talk about "Daniel and Jeremiah," are we talking about two books or seven?  The answer is "yes."  Likewise with Nehemiah and Esdras, we know that there have been several different groupings there in various places in Church history--is it two books, is it three?  The same content can be enumerated as one, two or three books, with several different arrangements.   
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« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2011, 10:14:52 AM »

I would be interested in any information anyone can provide regarding the history of the Slavonic Old Testament canon, the decision of St. Philaret to choose the Hebrew canon rather than the Septuagint, and when/why the Church in Russia returned to the Septuagint canon.

I don't know any specifics about the OT canon, but I don't find this surprising at all. Starting in the 1600s, theological education in Poland, Kiev, Russia, etc. was pretty much a facsimile of the leading academic models in Germany. Moscow mimicked many of the theological and philosophical trends in the West.
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« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2011, 08:27:32 PM »

Ahhhh! It wasn't that they were following Sts. Athanasius, Gregory the Theologian, John of Damascus, etc., it was... western captivity!   angel
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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2011, 10:36:02 PM »

I would be interested in any information anyone can provide regarding the history of the Slavonic Old Testament canon, the decision of St. Philaret to choose the Hebrew canon rather than the Septuagint, and when/why the Church in Russia returned to the Septuagint canon.
I don't know any specifics about the OT canon, but I don't find this surprising at all. Starting in the 1600s, theological education in Poland, Kiev, Russia, etc. was pretty much a facsimile of the leading academic models in Germany. Moscow mimicked many of the theological and philosophical trends in the West.
I am not sure there was any "return" to make, as this may have been a blip on the screen.  Can it be demonstrated that any besides St. Philaret held this position? 
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« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2011, 10:38:07 PM »

I would be interested in any information anyone can provide regarding the history of the Slavonic Old Testament canon, the decision of St. Philaret to choose the Hebrew canon rather than the Septuagint, and when/why the Church in Russia returned to the Septuagint canon.
I don't know any specifics about the OT canon, but I don't find this surprising at all. Starting in the 1600s, theological education in Poland, Kiev, Russia, etc. was pretty much a facsimile of the leading academic models in Germany. Moscow mimicked many of the theological and philosophical trends in the West.
I am not sure there was any "return" to make, as this may have been a blip on the screen.  Can it be demonstrated that any besides St. Philaret held this position? 

Father, demonstrated for/during which time period?
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« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2011, 10:41:51 PM »

I would be interested in any information anyone can provide regarding the history of the Slavonic Old Testament canon, the decision of St. Philaret to choose the Hebrew canon rather than the Septuagint, and when/why the Church in Russia returned to the Septuagint canon.
I don't know any specifics about the OT canon, but I don't find this surprising at all. Starting in the 1600s, theological education in Poland, Kiev, Russia, etc. was pretty much a facsimile of the leading academic models in Germany. Moscow mimicked many of the theological and philosophical trends in the West.
I am not sure there was any "return" to make, as this may have been a blip on the screen.  Can it be demonstrated that any besides St. Philaret held this position? 
Father, demonstrated for/during which time period?
During the time period mentioned--the Mohilan period until the end of the 19th century. 
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« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2011, 10:44:32 PM »

During the time period mentioned--the Mohilan period until the end of the 19th century. 

Ahh, ok, I'm afraid I'm not familiar enough with that time period to give any other examples. Most of the Orthodox that I know about regarding this subject (ie. those who rejected the deuterocanonicals) lived in the 4th to 8th centuries.
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« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2011, 10:50:32 PM »

During the time period mentioned--the Mohilan period until the end of the 19th century. 
Ahh, ok, I'm afraid I'm not familiar enough with that time period to give any other examples. Most of the Orthodox that I know about regarding this subject (ie. those who rejected the deuterocanonicals) lived in the 4th to 8th centuries.
I understand.  The only point I was making in this instance is with regard to the question of when the "Russian" church "returned" it its current position.  If it was one Met. of Moscow who held this, then there was no "return" needed, as it was a "blip" so to speak on the radar screen in this instance. 
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« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2011, 10:53:42 PM »

During the time period mentioned--the Mohilan period until the end of the 19th century. 
Ahh, ok, I'm afraid I'm not familiar enough with that time period to give any other examples. Most of the Orthodox that I know about regarding this subject (ie. those who rejected the deuterocanonicals) lived in the 4th to 8th centuries.
I understand.  The only point I was making in this instance is with regard to the question of when the "Russian" church "returned" it its current position.  If it was one Met. of Moscow who held this, then there was no "return" needed, as it was a "blip" so to speak on the radar screen in this instance. 

A good point to consider, but if I may speculate, do you really think St. Philaret would go out on a limb and give his own canon when those before him disagreed? especially considering that this was not a speculative type of book, but one meant to give people the fundamentals of the faith?
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« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2011, 11:03:42 PM »

During the time period mentioned--the Mohilan period until the end of the 19th century. 
Ahh, ok, I'm afraid I'm not familiar enough with that time period to give any other examples. Most of the Orthodox that I know about regarding this subject (ie. those who rejected the deuterocanonicals) lived in the 4th to 8th centuries.
I understand.  The only point I was making in this instance is with regard to the question of when the "Russian" church "returned" it its current position.  If it was one Met. of Moscow who held this, then there was no "return" needed, as it was a "blip" so to speak on the radar screen in this instance. 
A good point to consider, but if I may speculate, do you really think St. Philaret would go out on a limb and give his own canon when those before him disagreed? especially considering that this was not a speculative type of book, but one meant to give people the fundamentals of the faith?
Of course.  St. Peter Mohila departed from all those who came before him with various other things.  As was stated, there was great western influence during this whole time period in russia.  That is not to blame it on western captivity, it is just a fact.   
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« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2011, 11:05:27 PM »

Of course.  St. Peter Mohila departed from all those who came before him with various other things.  As was stated, there was great western influence during this whole time period in russia.  That is not to blame it on western captivity, it is just a fact.   

Ok, fair enough Smiley
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