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Author Topic: Eastern Orthodox Church and Matthew 16:18  (Read 2594 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: July 15, 2012, 04:08:16 PM »

Matthew 16:18

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

I'd just like to know how does the EOC (Eastern Orthodox Church) interpret this passage?

Roman Catholics say that Peter is the Rock on which the Church is built.

Protestants and other NCC (Non-Catholic Christians) say that Jesus is the Rock on which the Church is built, but some others say that the Rock is Peter's confession of Jesus "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

So which is the official EOC position? That the Church built on Jesus, or Peter, or Peter's confession of Jesus?
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« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2012, 04:10:43 PM »

There are a variety of interpretations that are acceptable: that it's built on Peter, on his confession, on his faith, on the truth he spoke generally, etc.  There really isn't an official one, though most tend to lean away from it being about Peter himself, though the Orthodox usually acknowledge that Peter was the leader of the disciples and very important.
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« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2012, 05:08:05 PM »

So which is the official EOC position? That the Church built on Jesus, or Peter, or Peter's confession of Jesus?

Christ is the head of the Church which Peter himself confessed.  So, yes.
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« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2012, 05:14:06 PM »

My understanding of the Eastern Orthodox consensus teaching of the importance of this scripture, is that it is Peter's confession of faith, the faith he expressed, when Jesus asked, "But who do you say I am?" in Matthew 16: 15, and Peter replies, "You are the Christ the Son of the living God," in Matthew 16: 16.  So in Matthew 16: 18, when Jesus replies, "And I also say to you, you are Peter and on this rock [this rock of the faith you just enunciated] I will build My church."  It is upon the faith that Peter just demonstrated that Jesus "will build [His] church."

As stated in the footnotes to this passage in "The Orthodox Study Bible," "Peter/rock is a play on the word for rock in Aramaic and Greek (petros/petra).  Rock refers not to Peter himself but to the confession of his faith.  The true Rock and foundation of the Church is, of course, Christ Himself.  The Church rests upon this Rock by her unchanging faith, her confession.  With this faith as the foundation, the gates of Hades, the powers of death, are powerless against her."
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« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2012, 08:45:32 PM »

In Greek the verse uses the masculine Petros to refer to Peter and petra to refer to the rock, but in Aramaic, Matthew 16:18 states "you are Peter (kepha) and upon this rock (kepha) I will build my church..." There is no change from masculine to feminine. Does the Eastern Orthodox faith simply believe that the Greek is more accurate?
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« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2012, 08:58:17 PM »

Given that the original Gospels were all written in Greek, and it is in their Greek form in which they were originally handed down, I'd say the Greek is the more trustworthy.
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« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2012, 09:08:47 PM »

As I recall, some Orthodox church fathers, including St. Gregory Palamas, are fine with the Peter-as-rock reading. The thing to keep in mind is that all bishops inherit the authority of Peter and not just the one in Rome.
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« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2012, 09:33:06 PM »

Given that the original Gospels were all written in Greek, and it is in their Greek form in which they were originally handed down, I'd say the Greek is the more trustworthy.

I agree with LBK. 
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« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2012, 09:34:25 PM »

So which is the official EOC position? That the Church built on Jesus, or Peter, or Peter's confession of Jesus?

Christ is the head of the Church which Peter himself confessed.  So, yes.

excellent answer!  Brevity is the soul of wit. 
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« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2012, 10:11:25 PM »

There are a variety of interpretations that are acceptable: that it's built on Peter, on his confession, on his faith, on the truth he spoke generally, etc.  There really isn't an official one, though most tend to lean away from it being about Peter himself, though the Orthodox usually acknowledge that Peter was the leader of the disciples and very important.

Of course, not all lean away from it being about Peter.  In His Broken Body Fr. Laurent Cleenewerck defends the idea that it is in fact about Peter, but that all bishops are the successors of Peter, not just the Pope of Rome.
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« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2012, 10:19:22 PM »

Roman Catholics say that Peter is the Rock on which the Church is built.

Protestants and other NCC (Non-Catholic Christians) say that Jesus is the Rock on which the Church is built, but some others say that the Rock is Peter's confession of Jesus "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

So which is the official EOC position? That the Church built on Jesus, or Peter, or Peter's confession of Jesus?
Even on the reading that the rock is Peter one must keep in mind that the bishop of Rome is not mentioned in Matt 16. Neither do we find in the earliest fathers the presumption that the bishop of Rome the sole successor to St. Peter, but the presumption that he is not.

St. Cyprian devotes an entire treatise to interpreting Matt 16:17-19 without so much as a single specific mention of the Bishop of Rome; instead he applies the text to the entire episcopate, with every bishop holding the place of Peter in the local church.
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/050701.htm

Regarding Matt 16:18-19, Jaroslav Pelikan writes "As Roman Catholic scholars now concede, the ancient Christian father Cyprian used it to prove the authority of the bishop—not merely of the Roman bishop, but of every bishop" Pelikan, Jaroslav, The Riddle of Roman Catholicism (NY: Abingdon Press), p. 78.

As Fr. John Meyendorff affirms "A very clear patristic tradition sees the succession of Peter in the episcopal ministry. The doctrine of St Cyprian of Carthage on the “See of Peter” being present in every local Church, and not only in Rome, is well-known. It is also found in the East, among people who certainly never read the De unitate ecclesia of Cyprian, but who share its main idea, thus witnessing to it as part of the catholic tradition of the Church. St Gregory of Nyssa, for example, affirms that Christ “through Peter gave to the bishops the keys of the heavenly honors,” and the author of the Areopagitica, when speaking of the “hierarchs” of the Church, refers immediately to the image of St Peter. A careful analysis of ecclesiastical literature both Eastern and Western, of the first millennium, including such documents as the lives of the saint, would certainly show that this tradition was a persistent one; and indeed it belongs to the essence of Christian ecclesiology to consider any local bishop to be the teacher of his flock and therefore to fulfill sacramentally, through apostolic succession, the office of the first true believer, Peter" (John Meyerendorff, The Primacy of Peter, p. 89).

"Cyprian, along with his synod of North African bishops, left no room for doubt: 'For neither does any of us set himself up as a bishop of bishops, nor by tyrannical terror does any compel his colleague to the necessity of obedience; since every bishop, according to the allowance of his liberty and power, has his own proper right of judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge another' (Acts of the Seventh Council of Carthage under Cyprian, The Judgment of Eighty-Seven Bishops on the Baptism of Heretics)" -Laurent Cleenewerke, His Broken Body, p. 80.

Applying typical canons of textual criticism analogically to the history of an idea, the Cyprianic idea about Petrine succession was primitive and persistent, spanning many centuries and attested widely geographically; it is still found represented today in the Orthodox Church. By contrast the understanding of the text often championed by amateur Roman Catholic apologists is later, then sporadic, geographically isolated, and not dating to earlier centuries of the Church.

The Gelasian Decretal, which is often mistakenly attributed to Pope Damascus of Rome, identifies the divine primacy continuing in all three Churches- Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch.

"Chrysostom also calls Ignatius of Antioch successor of Peter. There is no doubt that his reference to “Peter and his successors” applies to the bishops everywhere, not to the bishops of Rome exclusively. In fact, there is a real possibility that Chrysostom’s perception of Peter’s role stems from his view of the episcopate (not the other way around)." -Laurent Cleerenwerke, op cit, p. 84.

Pope Gregory the Great (died 604 AD), held all three Patriarchates which existed in his time -Rome, Alexandria and Antioch- all founded by Peter, were equal in power and authority and all possessed the Keys.

St Vincent of Lerins defined true catholic doctrine as marked by universality, antiquity, and consent. The Cyprianic understanding of Peter and the keys fulfills all three criteria; the interpretation argued by amateur RC apologists fulfills none of them.

"The promise to Peter from the gospel of Matthew (16:18), 'You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church,' which is so central for today's bishops of Rome and which now adorns the interior of St. Peter's in gigantic black letters on a gilt background, is not once quoted in full in any of the Christian literature in the first centuries -apart from a text in Tertullian, and this does not quote the passage in connection with Rome but in connection with Peter. Only in the middle of the third century did a bishop of Rome, by the name of Stephen, appeal to the promise to Peter, he did so in a dispute with other churches as to which had the better tradition. However he was no more successful than Bishop Victor had been fifty years previously. Victor attempted to force through in an authoritarian way a uniform date for Easter, without respect for the character and independence of the other churches, and was put in his place by the bishops of the East and West, especially by the highly respected bishop and theologian Irenaeus of Lyons. At the time the rule of one church over the other churches was rejected even in the West." Kung, The Catholic Church: A Short History, pp. 40-41.

"The “Peter Syndrome” is the automatic (and unjustified) application of anything about Peter to the bishop of Rome exclusively. This is deeply rooted in Roman Catholic consciousness" (Laurent Cleenwerke, op cit, p. 78).
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« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2012, 05:02:39 PM »

The majoritan Orthodox consensus seems to be that it is built on the faith of Peter's confession.. If we take it systematically without someone to believe and confess Christ there would be no Church of Christ.. As He said "Upon this Rock i will build MY CHURCH(EKKLESIA)".. This also seems to be the consensus in the fathers, even if many of them interpreted the ROCK in Matthew 16:18 to mean Peter they ascribed the first and most important meaning to the faith of confession..
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« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2012, 01:18:24 AM »

Again... mixed responses from many of you...hmm...

Okay, then that means there is nothing such as "one correct interpretation of this verse" only. Is it okay for individual Christians (of any denomination) to interpret "the Rock" as any one of the three?

That Jesus is the Rock or Peter is the Rock or the Rock is Peter's confession of Jesus?
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« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2012, 02:38:14 AM »

My understanding of the Eastern Orthodox consensus teaching of the importance of this scripture, is that it is Peter's confession of faith, the faith he expressed, when Jesus asked, "But who do you say I am?" in Matthew 16: 15, and Peter replies, "You are the Christ the Son of the living God," in Matthew 16: 16.  So in Matthew 16: 18, when Jesus replies, "And I also say to you, you are Peter and on this rock [this rock of the faith you just enunciated] I will build My church."  It is upon the faith that Peter just demonstrated that Jesus "will build [His] church."

As stated in the footnotes to this passage in "The Orthodox Study Bible," "Peter/rock is a play on the word for rock in Aramaic and Greek (petros/petra).  Rock refers not to Peter himself but to the confession of his faith.  The true Rock and foundation of the Church is, of course, Christ Himself.  The Church rests upon this Rock by her unchanging faith, her confession.  With this faith as the foundation, the gates of Hades, the powers of death, are powerless against her."

You're reply No. 12 is correct.  I'm never surprised anymore when matters that I have been taught about our Holy Church since my youth are  challenged on this forum!

I am no theologian.  I didn't take the time to read everything above because I know THE answer to your inquiry.  At first I thought some of what was being said was coming from baggage left over from conversion from the Roman Church, but then I saw Fr. John Meyendorff likewise quoted--far be it from me to disagree with him, but perhaps he picked up the interpretation while in Paris or from academic study of Roman Church literature--because in my 59 years on Earth and in my Orthodox faith, well, 57 years in the faith, I've NEVER seen or heard anything interpreting this passage for Orthodox to be consistent with the Roman Catholic teaching.  In fact, often the interpretation I have quoted from "The Orthodox Study Bible" is used to demonstrate a significant difference between Orthodoxy and the Roman Church.  I learned the Orthodox teaching I wrote of first in Sunday School at a parish other than the one I currently attend, and have heard it countless times restated by priests and bishops.  In fact, with my church being named for St. Paul the Apostle, the bishop of my diocese typically conducts his pastoral visit on that day, June 29th, and because this passage is included in the scriptural reading of the day and the Ecumenical Patriarchate is concurrently visiting the Pope on that day, the occasion of the Patronal Feast of the Church of Rome, the Feast Day of Sts. Peter and Paul, this passage is typically noted in the sermon of our bishop to point out that Jesus built His Church upon the faith that Peter confessed, not upon Peter as the Roman Catholic Church teaches.  For many years the former bishop of my diocese, a "Th. D." from the University of Louvain, who is the only student from the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Halki Theological School to graduate in perfection (Do you know what that means?), was also the chairman of the Eastern Orthodox - Roman Catholic Dialogue in the U.S. sponsored by SCOBA and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and some other joint Orthodox-Roman Catholic Bishops Committee of North America.

Note too, "The Orthodox Study Bible" was endorsed by the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), predecessor of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North America (ACOB).  (Now watch all these extra knowledgeable souls remind us that the OSB was compiled by former Evangelical Protestants.)

And I still will assert, no matter who else is quoted above, the CONSENUS TEACHING by mainstream contemporary  theologians in the Orthodox Church is that this passage means that Christ would build His Church on the faith Peter professed in Matthew 16: 16.
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« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2012, 03:19:44 AM »

As I recall, some Orthodox church fathers, including St. Gregory Palamas, are fine with the Peter-as-rock reading. The thing to keep in mind is that all bishops inherit the authority of Peter and not just the one in Rome.

This. I find denying Peter-as-rock reading quite absurd one. Of course Peter is the rock.
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« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2012, 06:33:13 AM »

As I recall, some Orthodox church fathers, including St. Gregory Palamas, are fine with the Peter-as-rock reading. The thing to keep in mind is that all bishops inherit the authority of Peter and not just the one in Rome.
This. I find denying Peter-as-rock reading quite absurd one. Of course Peter is the rock.

I agree. Most people equate "Peter is the rock" with "Pope of Rome is infallible and has universal jurisdiction", but that's not the case. The text does literally say that Peter is the rock, but because of his confession of faith, which he was answering for all the athor apostles when Christ asked them as a group. Peter played a prominent role among the apostles and was the first to pretty much lead the way in every step of building the Church (preaching on Pentecost, receiving Cornelius, etc). At the same time, Peter's confession wasn't Peter dictating to the other apostles what they would believe but simply speaking for the group giving their common answer, which is the confession that Christianity is built on, that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the Living God. And there is also the manner in which apostolic authority is passed down, which is to the local bishop, all local bishops.
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« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2012, 07:26:29 AM »

John 20:23 gives authority to all the apostles, not just Peter. Also, to my knowledge, NO council admitted to anything akin to the Roman dogma of Papal Supremacy. Ever.

Also, even if Christ did mean that upon Peter he would build his Church, so what? That still does not give any weight to supremacy to the roman pontiff.

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« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2012, 08:12:19 AM »

Quote from: OCA.org
The Holy Glorious and All-Praised Leader of the Apostles, Peter & Paul

Troparion - Tone 4
First-enthroned of the apostles,
teachers of the universe:
Entreat the Master of all
to grant peace to the world,
and to our souls great mercy!

Kontakion - Tone 2
O Lord, You have taken up to eternal rest
and to the enjoyment of Your blessings
the two divinely-inspired preachers, the leaders of the Apostles,
for You have accepted their labors and deaths as a sweet-smelling sacrifice,
for You alone know what lies in the hearts of men.

Kontakion - Tone 2
Today Christ the Rock glorifies with highest honor
The rock of Faith and leader of the Apostles,
Together with Paul and the company of the twelve,
Whose memory we celebrate with eagerness of faith,
Giving glory to the one who gave glory to them!

I think this pretty much settles the question. Peter is the rock but he doesn't have papal-like pregoratives.
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« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2012, 09:41:23 AM »

Quote
I think this pretty much settles the question. Peter is the rock but he doesn't have papal-like pregoratives
I'd also add that during the 4th council, Rome was given honor because it was the imperial city. It had nothing to do with Peter.

PP
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« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2012, 03:53:53 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

For the countless time of recent memory, the Orthodox Church, be it Byzantine or Oriental, embrace firmly the concept of the Primacy of the See of Saint Peter in Rome without any sense of faction or contention.  It is is the later Latin interpretations and assertions of Roman Supremacy that is argued against. 

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« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2012, 03:57:29 PM »

In the early fathers we find both (1) the rock as the confession (e.g. Origen, Epiphanius, Augustine, John Chrysostom, Ambrose, Cyril), and (2) the rock as Peter interpretations of Matt 16:18 (e.g. Tertullian, Cyprian, Pope Callistus, Pope Damasus I, Pope Stephen I, Jerome, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzen, Pope Julius I, Pope Siricius I, Pope Innocent I, Pope Leo I, and session 3 of the Council of Chalcedon).[1]

This disparity does nothing for the view of later Roman Catholic apologetics, however, since even the rock as Peter interpretation was understood in a manner entirely incompatible with it in the early fathers (see my previous post).
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[1] On the petra as faith interpretation in the early fathers, see http://bible.org/seriespage/font-facegreekpetrafont-fide-school-interpretation  and http://bible.org/seriespage/more-writings-font-facegreekpetrafont-fide-school   On the "Petrine" interpretation in the early fathers see http://bible.org/seriespage/petrine-school-interpretation and http://bible.org/seriespage/more-writings-fathers-petrine-school and http://bible.org/seriespage/bibliography-exegetical-and-patristic-examination-matthew-1618
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« Reply #21 on: July 17, 2012, 04:40:58 PM »

it's clearly the faith as ALL fathers have taken it.
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« Reply #22 on: July 17, 2012, 06:29:17 PM »

If the rock is not Peter and the other bishops, then why does one need the apostolic church?
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« Reply #23 on: July 17, 2012, 06:40:31 PM »

If the rock is not Peter and the other bishops, then why does one need the apostolic church?

It can be argued that Christ (or in this case the expression of truth about Christ) is the rock spoken of, and that the Apostles and the bishops who have apostolic succession are also a rock, indeed a foundational rock, but just not the same one. To quote Paul:

"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." - Eph. 2:19-22

So in this way it can be argued that the apostles are foundational rocks, while Jesus is the corner stone (or keystone). Thus regardless of who or what is the rock in Matt. 16:18-19, the Apostles are still rocks, and Jesus is still the most important rock.
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« Reply #24 on: July 17, 2012, 07:13:05 PM »

I'd also add that during the 4th council, Rome was given honor because it was the imperial city. It had nothing to do with Peter.

PP

Rome was already first in the dyptichs before the fourth council.
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« Reply #25 on: July 17, 2012, 07:19:12 PM »

Canon 3 of the 2nd Ecumenical Council makes a similar point: "The Bishop of Constantinople, however, shall have the prerogative of honour after the Bishop of Rome; because Constantinople is New Rome."
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« Reply #26 on: July 17, 2012, 07:37:09 PM »

Canon 3 of the 2nd Ecumenical Council makes a similar point: "The Bishop of Constantinople, however, shall have the prerogative of honour after the Bishop of Rome; because Constantinople is New Rome."

This says more about Constantinople than it does Rome, and Rome had a place of honor as a church before Christianity was adopted or even legalized by the state.

So should first place should go to the current bishop presiding over the capital city of the world's largest superpower?

Or maybe the above mentioned see should be made second after Rome, who despite not being the capital of the secular empire was still first in the canon you quote?

Peter can be interpreted as the rock in without ascribing universal-jurisdictional-infallibility-superbishop-powers to him or any one of his successors (his line of discipleship does go back to more places than just Rome) in particular.
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« Reply #27 on: July 17, 2012, 07:50:47 PM »

Why are you arguing with me when I don't disagree?  Smiley
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« Reply #28 on: July 17, 2012, 07:57:39 PM »

Why are you arguing with me when I don't disagree?  Smiley

Sorry. I misunderstood.  Embarrassed
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« Reply #29 on: July 17, 2012, 08:00:28 PM »

Why are you arguing with me when I don't disagree?  Smiley

Sorry. I misunderstood.  Embarrassed

Well, that was probably my fault as I've given a couple different positions on the thread, not that I hold to all of them, but just to give information as to what someone else might argue (like in the one post where I said "it can be argued...," or giving the canon from the 2nd Council). Basically I'm just trying to give info. Sorry for the confusion!
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« Reply #30 on: February 03, 2013, 09:27:49 PM »

Given that the original Gospels were all written in Greek, and it is in their Greek form in which they were originally handed down, I'd say the Greek is the more trustworthy.
I may catch some flak for "reviving" an old thread, but I just wanted to point something out. According to what I've read, the Gospel of Matthew was written in Aramaic and Papias can attest to this in his writings.
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« Reply #31 on: February 03, 2013, 10:51:15 PM »

The important part of that is while he may have been the leader at the time, he certainly was not infallible, which no one should claim.Christ pointed out the disciples faults many times,including Peter.

And if that is where your point was leading , the Popes have been wrong many times,just as the disciples.

 The only blameless one is God.

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« Reply #32 on: February 03, 2013, 11:03:05 PM »

No, that's not where I'm leading. My point is that it is well disputed that the Gospel of Matthew was originally written in Aramaic. That was my response to a fellow poster that said all the gospels were written in Greek. That's all.
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« Reply #33 on: February 03, 2013, 11:28:57 PM »

All surviving copies of the Gospels are in Greek, including Matthew.


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« Reply #34 on: February 04, 2013, 12:46:43 AM »

No, that's not where I'm leading. My point is that it is well disputed that the Gospel of Matthew was originally written in Aramaic. That was my response to a fellow poster that said all the gospels were written in Greek. That's all.

This is not true.  The early Fathers attest that it was originally written in Hebrew, not Aramaic.   
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« Reply #35 on: February 04, 2013, 12:59:17 AM »

Matthew 16:18

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

I'd just like to know how does the EOC (Eastern Orthodox Church) interpret this passage?

Roman Catholics say that Peter is the Rock on which the Church is built.

Protestants and other NCC (Non-Catholic Christians) say that Jesus is the Rock on which the Church is built, but some others say that the Rock is Peter's confession of Jesus "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

So which is the official EOC position? That the Church built on Jesus, or Peter, or Peter's confession of Jesus?

Regardless if the Church is built on the person of Peter or his confession, I don't know how you get from this to universal ordinary jurisdiction.  Also, even if the Popes are indeed the successors of St. Peter, would the Church still be there even if they are teaching heresy?
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« Reply #36 on: February 04, 2013, 01:18:09 AM »

All surviving copies of the Gospels are in Greek, including Matthew.



Right, a copy in Greek does not prove that it was originally written in Greek. We just have copies of copies.
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« Reply #37 on: February 04, 2013, 01:21:43 AM »

No, that's not where I'm leading. My point is that it is well disputed that the Gospel of Matthew was originally written in Aramaic. That was my response to a fellow poster that said all the gospels were written in Greek. That's all.

This is not true.  The early Fathers attest that it was originally written in Hebrew, not Aramaic.    
Okay, so it wasn't originally written in Greek, Father?
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« Reply #38 on: February 04, 2013, 02:03:09 AM »

No, that's not where I'm leading. My point is that it is well disputed that the Gospel of Matthew was originally written in Aramaic. That was my response to a fellow poster that said all the gospels were written in Greek. That's all.

This is not true.  The early Fathers attest that it was originally written in Hebrew, not Aramaic.    
Okay, so it wasn't originally written in Greek, Father?

Based on the historical and early patristic record, we know that it was written in St. Matthew's time in Hebrew first, then Greek.  The Hebrew is no longer extant.  The earliest possible record we have of an Aramaic version is the Peshitta, which can be dated 160-180AD, but to some scholars that is a stretch, and this was not the same Aramaic as used in Palestine.  It is from there that the kepha/kepha argument is developed. 
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« Reply #39 on: February 04, 2013, 08:50:02 AM »

The Septuagint was also the Hebrew Scriptures that were written initially in Hebrew and then translated by the power of the Holy Spirit into Greek forming the definitive  Holy Scripture collection as used by Jews throughout the Mediterranean during the time of Christ, It also provides deeper understanding into how the Jews of the time viewed what was a scripture and how they were interpreted or understood by the  Jews of the time. Simularly, such was the translation of the New Testament Gospels and letters  that had to be translated into Greek the  language that would reach the largest population---the translation into Greek assured the spreading of the Gospel to the entire "known" world of the  It should be noted that several Gospels were written initially in Greek of special note were the Gospels of Luke and John. One should note that Translation means achieving the intent of the writer into the language of the receiver and in Scripture is believed to include inspiration of the Holy Spirit upon the translator. Greek is known to have more subtle levels of meanings for common words (for example the word love has three words used in scripture that in English are translated  as the single word love.) Whereas Transliteration is a word for word substitution that is not inspired but rather a constricted  substitution of word for word that often loses the meaning of the text in its efforts to standardize the presentation and syntax of the text to match the original text to incled placement of verbs, adjectives, and nouns. The key is that to the Orthodox Christian the Greek Scriptures, translated through the Holy Spirit provide insight into How the early Christians did interpret the scripture and understand it.
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« Reply #40 on: February 04, 2013, 10:21:00 AM »

Quote
This is not true.  The early Fathers attest that it was originally written in Hebrew, not Aramaic

Geoff Bromiley disagrees with this statement...and gives some good evidence.
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« Reply #41 on: February 05, 2013, 03:26:40 AM »

Saint Bede commented on Matthew 16.18 with:
 

"'Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock from which thou didst receive thy name, that is, upon me Myself, I will build My Church.  Upon this perfection of faith which thou didst confess I will build My Church, and if anyone turns aside from the society of this confession, even though it may seem to him that he does great things, he will not belong to the building which is My Church.'" 

Homily I.16, After Epiphany, Homilies on the Gospels, Bk, One, 163.

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« Reply #42 on: February 05, 2013, 03:33:16 AM »

Quote
This is not true.  The early Fathers attest that it was originally written in Hebrew, not Aramaic

Geoff Bromiley disagrees with this statement...and gives some good evidence.

David Bivin wrote several books that analyzed the idioms and Hebrew rabbinical form of speaking, which I thought were quite interesting and convincing.  If I remember correctly, the Church has always said that Book of Matthew was first written in Hebrew.

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« Reply #43 on: February 05, 2013, 10:55:26 AM »

The notion that canonical Matthew was originally written in Hebrew is today at best a fringe position. That is not to say that Matthew might not, as Papias said, have composed logia in Hebrew apart from the canonical Gospel, but even this is not certain as Papias might have intended something entirely different by his statement (more below) which is also regarded by scholars as the primary source most subsequent patristic discussion is dependent upon (this issue has been widely discussed in the relevant literature).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_Gospel_hypothesis#Composition_of_Matthew:_modern_consensus

It is the near-universal position of scholarship that the Gospel of Matthew is dependent upon the Gospel of Mark (priority of Mark) -large portions are word for word identical in Koine Greek. Quotations of the Old Testament in Matthew are also clearly from the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the LXX) rather than Hebrew originals. "Matthew betrays no evidence of being a translated Gospel" ("Gospel of Matthew," in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels: a Compendium of Contemporary Scholarship).

There are many current hypotheses about Papias's statement about Matthew's Logia which survives only in Eusebius  (Ματθαῖος μὲν οὖν Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ τὰ λόγια συνετάξατο, ἡρμήνευσεν δ’ αὐτὰ ὡς ἧν δυνατὸς ἕκαστος (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. 3.39.16 /c. 325), including:

 "that Matthew himself composed an original Aramaic collection of the sayings of Jesus (sometimes clearly identified with Q), and this was later translated and augmented with Markan traditions, probably after A.D. 70 (see, with variations, the commentaries of Meyer, Hill, Allen, Plummer; see also Martin, Manson, Moule)" (ibid).

It is also argued "...the Greek expression Hebraidi dialekto, when investigated care fully in its Asia Minor context, means not “in the Hebrew language” but “in a Hebrew rhetorical style” (Kürzinger, 9–32; Gundry, 619–20)... that the context shows that Papias is comparing Matthew’s style (“orderly” and “in a Hebrew style”) with Mark’s style (“ chreia form” [pros tas chreias], “not, indeed, in order”; 3.39.15), and that “interpreted” (hermeneusen) in Papias’s statement (3.39.16) most probably refers to the explanation and communication of Matthew’s style by others rather than its translation (Kürzinger, 15–19; Gundry, 619). Prior to this statement about Matthew, Papias, according to Eusebius, had said that Mark was Peter’s interpreter (hermeneutes). This most likely refers not to Mark’s translation of Peter’s words but to his interpretation and composition of Peter’s words" (ibid).

"...that an original Aramaic Gospel is a faulty inference from the evidence [of Papias].. is buttressed with the arguments that (at least) substantial portions of Matthew were not penned by Matthew and that the linguistic evidence suggests that the Gospel was originally composed in Greek (Nepper-Christensen, Bacon, Strecker, Meier; the commentaries of Beare, Green, Grundmann, Schniewind; the introductions of Kümmel, Marxsen)" (ibid).

"...the most recent scholarship on the Papias logion suggests that the traditional rendering is insufficient and should be understood now in the following manner: In contrast to Mark’s unordered, chreia -style Gospel, Papias contends, Matthew composed a more Jewish, orderly styled Gospel. The original language, then, is of no concern to Papias... In all likelihood our Gospel of Matthew was composed originally in Greek and in a Jewish style" (ibid).

If someone wishes to argue for something like the original composition of our canonical Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew "against the wind" of the consensus of contemporary scholarship (cf. one will find more attempts on the internet at this sort of thing than in major contemporary academic context) that is just fine, so long as in the interest of intellectual honesty it is made plain that what is being advocated is a fringe position held rarely today.

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« Reply #44 on: February 05, 2013, 04:38:59 PM »

The notion that canonical Matthew was originally written in Hebrew is today at best a fringe position.


Sometimes the fringe is the best place to be, sometimes not.  Perhaps I shouldn't respond at all, since I have little time to consider every academics' position on the matter.  Even if I did have time, I'd probably want to read something else. 

"that Matthew himself composed an original Aramaic collection of the sayings of Jesus (sometimes clearly identified with Q), and this was later translated and augmented with Markan traditions, probably after A.D. 70 (see, with variations, the commentaries of Meyer, Hill, Allen, Plummer; see also Martin, Manson, Moule)" (ibid).


Forgive me my willful ignorance, but isn't that Q theory just a fringe theory put forth by academics? 



"...the most recent scholarship on the Papias logion suggests that the traditional rendering is insufficient and should be understood now in the following manner: In contrast to Mark’s unordered, chreia -style Gospel, Papias contends, Matthew composed a more Jewish, orderly styled Gospel. The original language, then, is of no concern to Papias... In all likelihood our Gospel of Matthew was composed originally in Greek and in a Jewish style" (ibid).


Original language isn't really of any concern to me either, except when it helps me understanding certain phrases, like 'Kingdom of Heaven', etc.  That's why I liked Bivin's books when I first started reading the Bible.


If someone wishes to argue for something like the original composition of our canonical Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew "against the wind" of the consensus of contemporary scholarship (cf. one will find more attempts on the internet at this sort of thing than in major contemporary academic context) that is just fine, so long as in the interest of intellectual honesty it is made plain that what is being advocated is a fringe position held rarely today.



oh oh!  Yes! (raising hand and leaning forward in her chair)  I definitely don't care very much at all about what is coming out of academic circles, like the Jesus Seminar and Eisenman's work.  Reading for textual criticism is very different from reading from faith and seeing spiritual truth in the Bible--it amazes with its degree of spiritual accuracy.  But why limit one's self to reader response literary theory when there is an entire body of consensus within the Church and which directly addresses our spiritual life in Christ.  Academics don't consider those things at all, it's a very different kind of pursuit of knowledge.  Though even the Church Fathers have their varying schools, Antiochian / Alexandrian, for example, but what is important is overall consensus on the major points.  Secular academics kind of have to dream up new 'theories' all the time to justify their employment, whereas the underpinning of Patristics is the fidelity to the Apostolic Tradition.  Secular academics publish or perish. And their theories pass like other fads.   

Overall, it seems a very anti-Christian environment.  A college education nowadays is an atheist education, which is fine as far as it goes.  The Fathers of the Church had the best education of their day, which was pagan.  I had an atheist education, which ironically taught me to be critical of that position "academics know everything better than everyone else" because I was trained to find the limitations in their thinking, to analyze.  So, why would I place the care of my soul into the hands of atheist academics? 

At the end of the day, and of our individual lives, their theories won't make any difference compared to the greater spiritual reality of Christ in our midst.
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