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Author Topic: John the Baptist to be venerated more than Mary the Mother of Jesus?  (Read 3971 times) Average Rating: 0
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Rho
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« on: March 07, 2005, 01:00:32 PM »

Hello,

Please comment on this passage from Luke 7:

 24When John's messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 25What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings' courts. 26What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27This is he of whom it is written,

   "'Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
   who will prepare your way before you.'   

   28I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." 29(When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John, 30but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.)


Why do Orthodox not venerate John the Baptist more than Mary, since Christ Himself stated that John is greater than she?

Thank you. 
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2005, 01:30:08 PM »

Using this rational one could question why we worship Christ because He too was born of a woman!

Obviously in context Christ is refering to St. John's role as Forerunner as he alone of the prophets bore witness to Christ in person and baptized Him.  Of course since the Catholic and Orthodox Churches do not believe in the error of sola scriptura but in the Living Tradition given to us by the Apostles we don't have problems like this or ask such questions.

After the Mother of God, St. John the Forerunner is the most venerated saint of the Eastern Church.

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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2005, 02:15:32 PM »

Obviously John the Baptist set the whole possibility of being mistaken as greater than Christ Himself in his own statements just before the beginning of Christ's ministry.

He did not mention Mary.
If what you say is true and agreed w/ in the Scr, again I ask the question. 
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2005, 02:25:01 PM »

Without Mary, John the Baptist would never have been praised since there would have been no Christ to do so.

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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2005, 02:49:20 PM »

Respond, though, to what Christ said, please.
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« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2005, 03:19:40 PM »

Quote:
   28I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." 29(When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John, 30but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.)


Why do Orthodox not venerate John the Baptist more than Mary, since Christ Himself stated that John is greater than she?


To me this says that Christ did not say JB was greater than Mary..if you want to get absolutely literal, "among those born of women none is greater than John." would mean that John was greater than Jesus! Poppycock!  So go the the next statement "Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." which clearly states that John is not greater than  anyone else born of woman, including but not limited to Mary, Jesus or anyone else.

Just my take.

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« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2005, 03:20:23 PM »

"I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."

So St. John was a prophet of the Old Covenant. The last one, and the greatest one. Yet she who was the first to be a member of the Kingdom of God via the New Covenant--namely, Mary, as well as all Christians who come after her--was greater than he.
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« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2005, 03:38:57 PM »

Rho,

I found your bolding-emphasis of verse 7:28 to be interesting and misleading - since the thought you highlighted is given context by the portion of said verse you seem to be overlooking...

28 I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. (emphasis mine)

The passage explains itself, and it's indicating precisely what others have tried to tell you already: that the statement regards St.John the Baptist as a figure of the Old Testament, namely as being the final and greatest of the Old Testament Prophets.  Why so great?  Because while others pointed to Christ, he actually heralded the coming of the Lord directly, even baptizing Him.

However, despite this greatness, compared to the least in God's Kingdom, he is less.  On the surface that makes little sense, because we know that eventually when Christ died and redeemed the righteous who slept in Hades, St.John was amongst those He saved and brought into His Kingdom.  In other words, the point being made is not the one you seem to be drawing; in fact such is not possible, as it makes the whole passage unreasonable.

Rather, the point is that though St.John is as great as you get "under the Law", even he as he was (as one under the Law, a participant of the Old Covenant who lived and died under such), how the people of Jerusalem knew him, was less than the "least" of those who are participants in the New Covenant.  Quite an awesome thing when you think about it, but according to Christian soteriology this makes perfect sense - the state of the Baptized person in the "state of grace", made a member of Christ, is unfathomably superior to that of the natural man (no matter how righteous by his own merits).

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« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2005, 04:17:41 PM »

Quote
Aurelia--if you want to get absolutely literal, "among those born of women none is greater than John." would mean that John was greater than Jesus!
>>Do me a favor and read my previous posts where I dealt w/ that, please.

Quote
--So go the the next statement "Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." which clearly states that John is not greater than  anyone else born of woman, including but not limited to Mary, Jesus or anyone else.
>>This is contradictory and a bit jumbled. 
Jesus makes 2 distinctions:  1) Those born of women; 2) Those in the kingdom of heaven.  John is the greatest of #1.  Those of #2 are those who have passed on.  Mary has not passed on yet.  Therefore...

Quote
Pedro--So St. John was a prophet of the Old Covenant.  The last one, and the greatest one.  Yet she who was the first to be a member of the Kingdom of God via the New Covenant--namely, Mary, as well as all Christians who come after her--was greater than he.
>>This is an interesting take, and one I would like to explore a bit.  However, let's see some implications from that in the next post:

Quote
Augustine--according to Christian soteriology this makes perfect sense - the state of the Baptized person in the "state of grace", made a member of Christ, is unfathomably superior to that of the natural man (no matter how righteous by his own merits).
>>This is where this view runs aground on a bad understanding of OT salvation. 
See Habakkuk 2:4 and Rom 1:17, as well as Gen 15:6 and Galatians - OT people were saved by faith.  They were not in the state of natural man when they were justified by faith. 
And these are not "his merits" when he is justified.  Is it your contention that OT people were saved by their own works?

Quote
--the statement regards St.John the Baptist as a figure of the Old Testament, namely as being the final and greatest of the Old Testament Prophets.  Why so great?  Because while others pointed to Christ, he actually heralded the coming of the Lord directly, even baptizing Him.
>>What makes you say that this refers to Old Covenant figures vs. New Covenant figures?

Quote
--On the surface that makes little sense, because we know that eventually when Christ died and redeemed the righteous who slept in Hades, St.John was amongst those He saved and brought into His Kingdom.  In other words, the point being made is not the one you seem to be drawing; in fact such is not possible, as it makes the whole passage unreasonable.
>>On the contrary, what I am saying agrees (it seems to me) w/ what you said in *this* paragraph, but you seem to move away from that point later in your post.  That *is* what I am saying - John is the greatest among those living.
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« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2005, 04:21:27 PM »

I surprised this question hasn't been asked yet:

What do the Fathers say about it?
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« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2005, 04:38:49 PM »

Rho,

Quote
See Habakkuk 2:4 and Rom 1:17, as well as Gen 15:6 and Galatians - OT people were saved by faith. They were not in the state of natural man when they were justified by faith.

Wrong...and right. Smiley

"Right" in so far as you are correct - the possibility of being justified by God via faith in Him and His promise was open as a possibility the minute Adam and Eve got evicted from Eden.

Wrong, however, if you believe this meant that they had inherited the substance of this faith, whether while walking this earth, or after reposing in the earth. Even a casual reading of Ecclessiastes should reveal this much - the state of the righteous dead before the redemption was not the same as it is now. I suggest you read Hebrews chapter 9, which contrasts the "old dispensation" so to speak with the "new" - the difference between those who lived with hope and mere copies pointing to that hope, vs. those who have the reality. It's a theme found elsewhere in the New Testament, and one which I'm hard pressed to believe someone as biblically literate as yourself has not taken note of.

The passage is a contrast between two types; I do not know how to explain that any more clearly. Otherwise, just who are these participants in the kingdom who are greater than St.John, even the least amongst them?

I'd also put forward the following two points...

1) The Mother of God participates so intimately in the mystery of redemption (being herself the "sign" prophesied by Isaiah - a virgin mother, one who knows not man, yet has a Child), that She is not more to be considered indiscriminatly in the "mankind" being spoken of here; just as obviously Christ was not including Himself in the legions of men who St.John was "greater than."

2) While it's an argument from authority, it's still a valid one; namely, this passage is not understood in the way you're taking it by anything resembling "ancient Christendom", not even (interestingly enough) by the Nestorians who would deny our Lady the title of "Theotokos".

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« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2005, 04:56:16 PM »

I know this wasn't addressed directly to me, but it deals with my last post:

>>What makes you say that this refers to Old Covenant figures vs. New Covenant figures?

Because the Kingdom of God that Christ declared was at hand IS the New Covenant, which Hebrews makes clear is superior in every way (not just this one you've brought up) to the Old Covenant...this would be the New Covenant in His Blood, described very succinctly by Augustine above.
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« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2005, 06:58:53 PM »

I surprised this question hasn't been asked yet:

What do the Fathers say about it?

I know that in St. John Chrysostom's homily on the passage he explains that in saying this Christ was drawing a distinction between John and himself-- that while he was the greatest of prophets of the "old order," the least in the Kingdom of Heaven (Christ Himself) was greater. He didn't mean it to be an all-encompassing statement, just a term of comparison between the prophets of old and the new Kingdom that had suddenly come upon the world through Christ.

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« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2005, 07:00:03 PM »

Kingdom of GOD not Kingdom of heaven--read your own quote.
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« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2005, 07:02:55 PM »

Quote:

To the degree that she is closer to God than all those who have drawn nigh unto Him, by so much has the Theotokos been deemed worthy of greater audience. I do not speak of men alone, but also of the angelic hierarchies themselves. Isaiah writes with regard to the supreme commanders of the heavenly hosts: “And the seraphim stood round about Him” (Isaiah 6:2); but David says concerning her, “at Thy right hand stood the queen” (Ps. 44:Cool. Do you see the difference in position? From this comprehend also the difference in the dignity of their station. The seraphim are round about God, but the only Queen of all is near beside Him. She is both wondered at and praised by God Himself, proclaiming her, as it were, by the mighty deeds enacted with respect to Him, and saying, as it is recorded in the Song of Songs, “How fair is my companion” (cf. Song of Songs 6:4), she is more radiant than light, more arrayed with flowers than the divine gardens, more adorned than the whole world, visible and invisible. She is not merely a companion but she also stands at God’s right hand, for where Christ sat in the heavens, that is, at the “right hand of majesty” (Heb. 1:3), there too she also takes her stand, having ascended now from earth into the heavens. Not merely does she love and is loved in return more than every other, according to the very laws of nature, but she is truly His Throne, and wherever the King sits, there His Throne is set also. And Isaiah beheld this throne amidst the choir of cherubim and called it “high” and “exalted” (Isaiah 6:1), wishing to make explicit how the station of the Mother of God far trancer Is that of the celestial hosts. (Source: http://sgpm.goarch.org/Monastery/index.php?p=35)
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« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2005, 07:48:49 PM »


As Pedro pointed out:
Take into account the whole passage: ..." Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he" ....
The least in the Kingdom is better tha St.John the Baptist, and St.Mary is not the least, rather the most exalted and glorified among all believers.
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« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2005, 08:36:01 PM »

I surprised this question hasn't been asked yet: What do the Fathers say about it?

I looked this up in The Orthodox New Testament Volume 1: The Holy Gospels Evangelistarion

Quote from: Saint Kyril
"We read that 'the least in the kingdom of God is greater that he.' This means the life according to the law. How and in what manner? In that the blessed John, together with as many as preceded him, was born of a woman. But they who have received the faith, are no more called the sons of women, but are born of God [Jn. 1:12]. Those who are not of corruptible seed, but have been born of God, are superior to anyone born of woman. Moreover they have earthly fathers, but we have Him Who is above in Heaven." [Hom. 38, Commentary, Ch. 7 163, 164.]
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« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2005, 06:01:15 AM »

I surprised this question hasn't been asked yet:

What do the Fathers say about it?

I'm surprised that nobody has checked another version of the Bible yet:

Luke 7:28 (New King James Version)
28For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."

Now that puts a different picture to this text. The NIV has edited out the most important part of this text. Yet another example of an instance where one should refer to several sources before making a judgement.

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« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2005, 06:33:33 AM »

Ahem Kolya Smiley, the word "prophet" is not actually in the Greek text, at least not the text at my disposal, however there are more than a couple of translations which believe it is implied.

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« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2005, 06:43:12 AM »



Luke 7:28 (New King James Version)
28For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist;

Eureka!  Kolya has put his finger on it... This entire thread is based on an inacuurate version of what Saint Luke actually wrote!!

Here is the Greek of Saint Luke:

+++¦+¦-ë +¦+¦-ü -Ã +++¦++ +++¦+¦+¦-ë++ +¦++ +¦+¦++++++-ä+++¦-é +¦-Ã +++¦+¦+¦-ë++ -Ç-ü++-Ã¥++-ä++-é +¦-ë+¦++++++-Ã  -ä++-Ã  +¦+¦-Ç-ä+¦-â-ä++-Ã  ++-Ã +¦+¦+¦-é +¦-â-ä+¦++

Here is the Latin:

Dico enim vobis maior inter natos mulierum propheta Iohanne Baptista nemo est

And here, 'specially for Kolya, is the Russian:

-ÿ-¦-+ -¦-+-¦-+-Ç-Ä -¦-¦-+: -+-+ -Ç-+-¦-¦-¦-+-+-ï-à  -¦-¦-+-¦-+-+ -+-¦-é -+-+ -+-¦-+-+-¦-+ -+-Ç-+-Ç-+-¦-¦ -¦-+-+-î-ê-¦ -ÿ-+-¦-+-+-¦ -Ãœ-Ç-¦-ü-é-+-é-¦-+-Ã…

and in Church Slavonic:

-ô-+-¦-¦-+-+-Ä -¦-+ -¦-¦-+-è: -¦-+-+-+-¦ -¦-è -Ç-+-¦-¦-¦-+-+-ï-à -è -¦-¦-+-¦-+-+ -+-Ç-+-Ç-+-¦-¦ -ÿ-+-¦-+-+-¦ -¦-Ç-¦-ü-é-+-é-¦-+-Å -+-+-¦-é-+-¦-¦ -¦-ü-é-î

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« Reply #20 on: March 09, 2005, 06:44:59 AM »

Kolya,

I agree that you should not hang an argument on one particular translation, but I think you're being mislead by the King James Version - I can see that the vast majority of English versions don't include the word prophet and nor does the Romanian Bible (which is, of course, an Orthodox translation). The Romanian text is:

V-â spun c-â dintre cei n-âscu+úi din femei, nu este nici unul mai mare dec+«t Ioan Botez-âtorul. Totu+ƒ, cel mai mic +«n +Ämp-âr-â+úia lui Dumnezeu, este mai mare dec+«t el.

Literally, in English:

To you I say that amongst those born of women, isn't not one greater than John the Baptist. In all, the least in the Empire of God is greater than he.

Absolutely no sign of the word prophet.

It seems likely, therefore, that the KJV has added the word to the text, probably as an honest attempt to clarify its meaning, rather than that the NIV has edited it out. Unfortunately, my Koine is almost nonexistant so I can't verify whether or not prophet is in the original Greek, but given that it's not in the Romanian, I'd guess that it isn't. It would be good to hear from someone who does speak Koine to see whether or not this is so.

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« Reply #21 on: March 09, 2005, 06:55:22 AM »

OK! I don't speak nor understand Greek either. So if it wasn't in the original, I stand corrected. But Irish Hermit has posted versions in three languages. Please tell us IH, do any of those versions you've posted infer or say "Prophet"?

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« Reply #22 on: March 09, 2005, 07:00:28 AM »

Kolya,

The Latin version provided by Irish Hermit certainly contains the word prophet, but I don't understand the other versions. Maybe we're dealing with variant Greek manuscripts? In either case (with or without prophet), I don't see that the meaning is altered.

By the way, I edited my last post to include the Romanian text and a (overly literal) translation of it into English, just for reference.

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« Reply #23 on: March 09, 2005, 07:03:12 AM »

OK! I don't speak nor understand Greek either. So if it wasn't in the original, I stand corrected. But Irish Hermit has posted versions in three languages. Please tell us IH, do any of those versions you've posted infer or say "Prophet"?

Yes, they all say "prophet" and they give the translation which you gave from the NKJV.

The Greek version I gave is the 1550 Stephanus publication of the Koine New Testament. It also includes the word "prophet" and with the same meaning as the NKJV.
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« Reply #24 on: March 09, 2005, 07:10:15 AM »

John,

Am I still guilty or have I been aquited? Cheesy

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« Reply #25 on: March 09, 2005, 07:10:44 AM »

Prodromos, I think that it falls to you to undertake research on the Koine text  Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: March 09, 2005, 07:12:57 AM »

Kolya,

MP under AP ?

That's about as puzzling as Luke 7:28  Huh
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« Reply #27 on: March 09, 2005, 07:15:22 AM »

Okay, I've got the Nestle-Aland XXVI at hand which lacks the word prophet. though I think I have the Stephanus at home. So I guess there is a bit of variance among manuscripts. I guess "prophet" it is then.
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« Reply #28 on: March 09, 2005, 07:16:38 AM »


MP under AP ?


Russian church in South Africa Smiley
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« Reply #29 on: March 09, 2005, 07:19:28 AM »



Russian church in South Africa Smiley

Quite Right! Spot on (And did you enjoy your wine yesterday? I'm off to buy a pizza for lunch.)

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« Reply #30 on: March 09, 2005, 07:24:07 AM »

Kolya,

MP under AP ?

That's about as puzzling as Luke 7:28 Huh

I'm a member of an MP parish in Johannesburg, South Africa. We therefore fall under the Patriarchate of Alexandria. Our Dear Beatitude arrives today for his first official visit to our country, and our poor priest is in a right Tizz.

Kolya 
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« Reply #31 on: March 09, 2005, 07:44:42 AM »

The Douai version, which is a translation of Jerome's Latin Vulgate (which I gave in the earlier message).  Jerome did his translation of the Gospels in 380.

For I say to you: Amongst those that are born of women, there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.

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« Reply #32 on: March 09, 2005, 08:20:42 AM »

ß+Ç++ß+¦++ ++ß+¦+¦-ë ß+æ++ß+û++, ++ß+É+¦ ß+É+¦ß+¦+¦+¦-ü-ä+¦+¦ ß+É++ +¦+¦++++++-ä++ß+û-é +¦-à +++¦+¦+¦ß+¦++ +++¦ß+++¦-ë++ ß++-ëß+¦++++++-à  -ä++ß+ª +¦+¦-Ç-ä+¦-â-ä++ß+ª+ç ß+ü +¦ß+¦ +++¦+¦-üß+¦-ä+¦-ü++-é ß+É++ -äß+ç +¦+¦-â+¦+++¦ß++ß+¦ -äß+¦++ ++ß+É-ü+¦++ß+¦++ +++¦ß+++¦-ë++ +¦ß+É-ä++ß+ª ß+É-â-ä+¦++. (+£-ä. 11:11)

++ß+¦+¦-ë ß+æ++ß+û++, +++¦ß+++¦-ë++ ß+É++ +¦+¦++++++-ä++ß+û-é +¦-à +++¦+¦+¦ß+¦++ ß++-ëß+¦++++++-à  ++ß+É+¦+¦ß++-é ß+É-â-ä+¦+++ç ß+ü +¦ß+¦ +++¦+¦-üß+¦-ä+¦-ü++-é ß+É++ -äß+ç +¦+¦-â+¦+++¦ß++ß+¦ -ä++ß+ª +++¦++ß+ª +++¦ß+++¦-ë++ +¦ß+É-ä++ß+ª ß+É-â-ä+¦++. (+¢+¦. 7:28)

No prophet in the Greek (+æ-Ç++-â-ä+++++¦+¦+« +ö+¦+¦+¦+++++»+¦ -ä++-é +ò+++++¼+¦++-é)

Btw St. Maximus explains the passage anagogically as follows:

Whoever humbles himself - this is what the "least" signifies - more that St. John, is greater than John. Or since John is a type of spiritual knowledge, the least spiritual state in the age to come is far greater than what we can know in this life. Or that the greatest theologian among humans is less than the least theologian among the angels. Or the last among the NT saints is greater than the greatest of the OT saints.
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« Reply #33 on: March 10, 2005, 04:03:36 PM »

Quote from: Augustine
I suggest you read Hebrews chapter 9, which contrasts the "old dispensation" so to speak with the "new" - the difference between those who lived with hope and mere copies pointing to that hope, vs. those who have the reality.  It's a theme found elsewhere in the New Testament,
>>Ah, fine chapter indeed!
It refers to the shadows and symbols of the Old Covenant in contrast to that offered under Christ.  Under *both*, salvation is the result of faith, as made clear in the verses I mentioned. 

Quote from: Augustine
Otherwise, just who are these participants in the kingdom who are greater than St.John, even the least amongst them?
>>I am making the case that these others "in the kingdom of heaven" are those who have already passed on to the next life.

Quote from: Augustine
1) The Mother of God participates so intimately in the mystery of redemption (being herself the "sign" prophesied by Isaiah - a virgin mother, one who knows not man, yet has a Child), that She is not more to be considered indiscriminatly in the "mankind" being spoken of here; just as obviously Christ was not including Himself in the legions of men who St.John was "greater than."
>>This is begging the question.

Quote from: Augustine
2) While it's an argument from authority, it's still a valid one; namely, this passage is not understood in the way you're taking it by anything resembling "ancient Christendom", not even (interestingly enough) by the Nestorians who would deny our Lady the title of "Theotokos".
>>As you can probably guess, this has secondary importance in this discussion, since I framed the question in terms of the biblical passage.  It might come into play later, though.

Quote from: Pedro
Because the Kingdom of God that Christ declared was at hand IS the New Covenant, which Hebrews makes clear is superior in every way (not just this one you've brought up) to the Old Covenant...this would be the New Covenant in His Blood, described very succinctly by Augustine above.
>>But does this mean that this is the "kingdom of God" referred to by Christ?

Quote from: Marjorie
that while he was the greatest of prophets of the "old order," the least in the Kingdom of Heaven (Christ Himself) was greater. He didn't mean it to be an all-encompassing statement, just a term of comparison between the prophets of old and the new Kingdom that had suddenly come upon the world through Christ.
>>How do we know from the context of the passage that this is about prophets of Old and New Testament?

Quote from: aurelia
Kingdom of GOD not Kingdom of heaven--read your own quote.
>>Moot point.
Matthew 11:11 - I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.


Quote from: icxn
David says concerning her, “at Thy right hand stood the queen” (Ps. 44:Cool. Do you see the difference in position? From this comprehend also the difference in the dignity of their station.
>>Psalm 44 says nothing of the sort.  It does not contain this phrase.

Quote from: icxn
She is not merely a companion but she also stands at God’s right hand, for where Christ sat in the heavens, that is, at the “right hand of majesty” (Heb. 1:3),
>>Begging the question.
And my gracious, this whole post is offensive to me as an Evangelical.  I don't guess you care, but that's just a little insight into my thoughts.

Quote from: Stavro
The least in the Kingdom is better tha St.John the Baptist, and St.Mary is not the least, rather the most exalted and glorified among all believers.
>>Mary was still alive at this time, so that does not follow.  This statement also begs the question.

Quote from: icxn
No prophet in the Greek
>>OK, no prophet in the Greek.  But many people seem to think that this is a logical addition to the text - believe Jesus was referring to a prophet.  OK. 

Now, here's where it gets tricky.

Quote from: Schultz
What do the Fathers say about it?
Quote from: Deacon Nikolai
Quote from: Saint Kyril
"We read that 'the least in the kingdom of God is greater that he.' This means the life according to the law. How and in what manner? In that the blessed John, together with as many as preceded him, was born of a woman. But they who have received the faith, are no more called the sons of women, but are born of God [Jn. 1:12]. Those who are not of corruptible seed, but have been born of God, are superior to anyone born of woman. Moreover they have earthly fathers, but we have Him Who is above in Heaven." [Hom. 38, Commentary, Ch. 7 163, 164.]
Quote from: icxn
Btw St. Maximus explains the passage anagogically as follows:

Whoever humbles himself - this is what the "least" signifies - more that St. John, is greater than John. Or since John is a type of spiritual knowledge, the least spiritual state in the age to come is far greater than what we can know in this life. Or that the greatest theologian among humans is less than the least theologian among the angels. Or the last among the NT saints is greater than the greatest of the OT saints.
>>What are we to make of this?  Which of these interps posed in these small citations of the ECFs is correct?  And who has the authority to tell us?
« Last Edit: March 10, 2005, 05:21:23 PM by Rho » Logged

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« Reply #34 on: March 10, 2005, 07:31:00 PM »

Quote
RHO >>Psalm 44 says nothing of the sort.  It does not contain this phrase.

Oops! Didn't I mention that we go by the Septuagint? Here's the KJV equivalent:

6 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. 7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. 8 All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad. 9 Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir. (Psalm 45 KJV)

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« Reply #35 on: March 11, 2005, 10:55:18 AM »

I know you go by the LXX, but that would be SOME crazy textual variant! 

You had written Psalm 44, but the text you cited is in Psalm 45  - that is why I didn't find it.

At any rate, what proof can you offer that the "queen in gold of Ophir" is Mary?  She is not alive at the time of this writing, you know, and I don't think Orthodox believe in the pre-existence of the soul...
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Matthew 9:13 - Who is the sinner if not I?
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« Reply #36 on: March 11, 2005, 12:38:09 PM »

...
At any rate, what proof can you offer that the "queen in gold of Ophir" is Mary? She is not alive at the time of this writing, you know, and I don't think Orthodox believe in the pre-existence of the soul...

Proof? The fact that St. Gregory Palamas interpreted it that way is proof. We go by the interpreter's holiness not by Aristotelian logic. As for not being alive etc. many prophecies, in the psalms especially, were expressed in present tense though they declared future events, so that is not an issue - for us at least.

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« Reply #37 on: March 11, 2005, 01:16:30 PM »

Rho,

The LXX and MT Psalm numberings are different. MT 45 is LXX 44.

MT           LXX
1-8          1-8
9-10          9
11-113          10-112
114-115          113
116:1-9          114
116:10-19          115
117-146          116-145
147:1-11                  146
147:12-29                  147
148-150                  148-150

Fr. Deacon Lance
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« Reply #38 on: March 11, 2005, 01:19:08 PM »

It refers to the shadows and symbols of the Old Covenant in contrast to that offered under Christ. Under *both*, salvation is the result of faith, as made clear in the verses I mentioned.

Yes, after the resurrection they're brought into the Kingdom. Before that, they weren't, but waited until the age of Christ to be made perfect.

Quote
But does this mean that this [Kingdom of Heaven in the gospel account] is the "kingdom of God" referred to by Christ?


Well, they're both references from Christ's own lips, so I would assume so; what reason would there be to make a distinction between the two terms as referring to different things?

Quote
>>How do we know from the context of the passage that this is about prophets of Old and New Testament?

Well, istm that Majorie was comparing the "prophets of old" with those in "the new Kingdom," not that there were New Kingdom Prophets (which sounds like a Christian rap group) to be compared to. Minor point. To answer your question, the Lord called the Forerunner a prophet. Who do we associate prophecy with? The OT prophets, the Nevi'im. After establishing this, He says "but," then refers to the Kingdom of God in contrast, in which the least of the citizens is greater than the prophets of old.

Your own reference (Matthew 11:11-12) shows that John is one of the prophets of old and puts forth the finale to their prophesying. Then, "from the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of God suffereth violence etc., For all the prophets and the law prophesied until (and including, since the word is heos) John."

Quote
>>Mary was still alive at this time, so that does not follow [that she would be a part of the Kingdom of Heaven mentioned by Christ]. This statement [that she was the greatest believer] also begs the question.

Well, yes; for you that second part begs the question. But as to the first part...how does Mary's being on earth (she's still alive now) hinder her from being in the Kingdom of Heaven?

Quote
>>What are we to make of this? Which of these interps posed in these small citations of the ECFs is correct? And who has the authority to tell us?

 Smiley The Fathers aren't saying anything different from each other; they're only saying something differently, for the sake of (perhaps) making different points using similar information. St. Kyril says that "the blessed John, together with as many as preceded him, was born of a woman. But they who have received the faith, are no more called the sons of women, but are born of God [Jn. 1:12]. Those who are not of corruptible seed, but have been born of God, are superior to anyone born of woman." St. Maximus ends his several options of what "least" means with the teaching that "the last among the NT saints is greater than the greatest of the OT saints."

There's not a contradition here. Were you expecting, perhaps, a word-for-word parroting of the teaching from one father to the next? Even though that didn't happen in this case, they're both still saying the same thing...
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« Reply #39 on: March 15, 2005, 09:51:26 AM »

Quote
St. Kyril says that "the blessed John, together with as many as preceded him, was born of a woman. But they who have received the faith, are no more called the sons of women, but are born of God [Jn. 1:12]. Those who are not of corruptible seed, but have been born of God, are superior  to anyone born of woman."
>>Very good point.
I think that many of you who have posted have made excellent points on this subject.  Unless I happen upon some yet more excellent-er response to these points  Grin, I change my position and will do my best not to allow fellow Evangelicals to hold to faulty thinking. 
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"I have taken my good deeds and my bad deeds and thrown them together in a heap. Then I have fled from both of them to Christ, and in Him I have peace." --David Dickson

Matthew 9:13 - Who is the sinner if not I?
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