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Author Topic: The Canon of Scripture  (Read 205 times) Average Rating: 0
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David Young
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« on: March 12, 2014, 10:33:43 AM »

The canon of scripture was defined in the West in 393 at the Council of Hippo, but later in the East, Revelation (although included by Athanasius) was not accepted by the Canons of Laodicea, Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory Nazienzen or Theodore of Mopsuestia, nor does Chrysostom quote from it as scripture. The Greek Orthodox Church accepts it canonicity but does not use it in the lectionary. My question is: when did the East accept the same New Testament as the west?
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Mor Ephrem
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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2014, 10:45:43 AM »

My question is: when did the East accept the same New Testament as the west?

It hasn't.  Wink
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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2014, 10:49:35 AM »

My question is: when did the East accept the same New Testament as the west?

It hasn't.  Wink

wooo...go me! I didn't post because I just learned this last night!

But i knew something!  Grin
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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2014, 11:05:36 AM »

Mor is right if David was asking the Church defined the canon through an ecumenical council or the Eastern Orthodox through a pan-Orthodox synod. However, if David wants to know approximately when the New Testament as we use it came to be accepted/used by the several Churches in the Eastern Roman Empire, I would think that 4th Century is as good as any period.
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David Young
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2014, 11:16:01 AM »

...if David wants to know approximately when ...

Yes. I'm really asking how and when the eastern church accepted the same canon as we 'heterodox' Christians use. If there wasn't a Council as such to which the Churches unanimously subscribed, then what was the process, how and when did it happen?
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2014, 11:18:28 AM »

The Bible used in the East.. by East I mean...the Syriac Orthodox Church (and the Eastern Catholic Syriac rites... Syriac Catholic and Maronite) as well as the Assyrian Church of the East is the Syriac Peshitta. The Peshitta does not contain the following NT books II Peter, II John, III John, Jude and Revelation.

To this day, readings from these books are not read in Syriac Churches.
(Only exception is the autocephelous Malankara (Indian) Orthoxox Syrian Church, which included some readings from these books in the late 1980s.)
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2014, 12:47:58 PM »

To this day, readings from these books are not read in Syriac Churches.
(Only exception is the autocephelous Malankara (Indian) Orthoxox Syrian Church, which included some readings from these books in the late 1980s.)

I've never heard of Revelation being read in the liturgy (the few times it is listed in the Lectionary, it is presented as an option and, in practice I've never seen it read), but yes, pericopes from at least some of the other letters (II Peter, II and III John, and Jude) are read in the liturgy at certain points in the year. 

The "lectionary reform" is of particular interest to me because the only information I have been able to learn about it has been, more or less, personal anecdotes and hypotheses based on them.  I'm not sure how beneficial the change was because I don't have the "old" Lectionary to compare it with: in most cases, I suspect the change was neutral in its effect, but in at least one place it is definitely an impoverishment (but this has to do with a Gospel reading, and not with the letters we are discussing).   

At any rate, whether or not the disputed catholic epistles are in the Peshitto, the Syriac Bible endorsed by the Patriarchate contains them and they appear in the canonically accepted order.  This edition does not, however, contain some of the books which Mor Dionysius Vattaseril listed as part of the NT canon of the Syriac Church (those books are also not read from in any liturgy).  This Bible also apparently rejects the Pauline authorship of Hebrews, contrary to the tradition of the Syriac Church.  Furthermore, in at least one place (7 Sept), this calendar lists a liturgical reading from II Peter, so even the Syriac Church seems to have adapted its practice.  All in all, an interesting subject, but very difficult to generalise about.   
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« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2014, 01:12:37 PM »

...if David wants to know approximately when ...

Yes. I'm really asking how and when the eastern church accepted the same canon as we 'heterodox' Christians use. If there wasn't a Council as such to which the Churches unanimously subscribed, then what was the process, how and when did it happen?

Quote
The Bible used in the East.. by East I mean...the Syriac Orthodox Church (and the Eastern Catholic Syriac rites... Syriac Catholic and Maronite) as well as the Assyrian Church of the East is the Syriac Peshitta. The Peshitta does not contain the following NT books II Peter, II John, III John, Jude and Revelation.

Bingo. So in reality, it hasn't. For the most part it has though.
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« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2014, 03:36:51 PM »

...if David wants to know approximately when ...

Yes. I'm really asking how and when the eastern church accepted the same canon as we 'heterodox' Christians use. If there wasn't a Council as such to which the Churches unanimously subscribed, then what was the process, how and when did it happen?

I don't think you're ever going to get a clear-cut answer because there really isn't one. As you mentioned, there was no Ecumenical Council accepting a fixed NT canon. St. Athanasius and the African councils helped fix the NT canon in the West in the 4th century, and later, most of the East in the 5th century, but it wasn't universal. We don't know how it happened it just did.  Wink
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