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Author Topic: the best Bible in English for us  (Read 3687 times) Average Rating: 0
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erracht
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« on: September 11, 2005, 07:52:55 AM »

Recently there has been some talk about the value of this or that Bible in English. What in your opinion would be the best version for us to use? I think of two factors in particular: 1) accuracy 2) clarity.

I have the New American Standard Bible, which attempts to be a very accurate, modern version. However, I find that its text is not very clear in many cases (I often turn it around. It's a Gideons Bible which has French on the other side and I check to see what the thing I don't understand says in French!), and don't know if its interpolated words are always correct. Some of the "technical" vocabulary looks like better words could have been chosen.

What version would be better, and by the way, what is the version used in the Orthodox Study Bible?
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« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2005, 08:29:20 AM »

The NKJV is the version used in the OSB, with some additional clarifications, I believe.
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« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2005, 12:10:03 PM »

The orthodox church always used the "majority text" or byzantine  greek text.

There is only one bible in english that is translated strictly from the "majority text".

http://www.emtvonline.com/

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« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2005, 01:00:56 PM »

The best Bible is the Church Father's commentaries, even if you were to read the Gospels in their original language.

Quote:

"Do not consider it sufficient for yourself to read the Gospel alone, without the reading of the Holy Fathers! This is a proud, dangerous thought. Better, let the Holy Fathers lead you to the Gospel, as their beloved child who has received his preparatory upbringing and education by means of their writings." Blessed Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov, "On Reading the Holy Fathers"

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« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2005, 03:54:24 PM »

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The orthodox church always used the "majority text" or byzantine  greek text.

There is only one bible in english that is translated strictly from the "majority text".

http://www.emtvonline.com/

I would be cautious of being so dogmatic on this issue as the Orthodox Church has existed in English speaking lands for well over an hundred years and have simply made use of existing translations, and a variety of them at that. 
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« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2005, 11:33:07 AM »

I would be cautious of being so dogmatic on this issue as the Orthodox Church has existed in English speaking lands for well over an hundred years and have simply made use of existing translations, and a variety of them at that. 



Oh...yes....I didn't mean that others translations were bad or that you "needed" a majority text translation.
In fact most of the english speaking orthodox of the past 400 years have used the King James. But the King James was translated from about 7 texts of the majority text except for some that was translated into greek from the Vulgate and then into english.

But the Greek text that the church used has always been from the majority text(byzantine).


I think the orthodox church has used the majority text because it is the true text of the apostles.
In the past 100 years or so most of the new translations in english come from the Alexandrian texts,Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus. Through my research I do believe that these texts are corrupted and they differ significantly from the majority text.





 
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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2005, 12:34:58 PM »

I prefer the NKJV myself and axiously await the completed OSB which should soon be out.  Cheesy

Someone has said that the best bible is the one that is read. It's all well and good to discuss which translation is best, but if you're not reading it on a regular basis, what is the point?  Wink
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« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2005, 03:22:00 PM »

The authority of scripture comes from the Church, not the other way around.  The arguments on the webpage that you linked with this translation of the bible are really only important if your pre-suppose sola scriptura.  To the Church though, such arguments I don't think are that central. 
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« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2005, 04:36:36 PM »

The authority of scripture comes from the Church, not the other way around.

The authority of scripture comes, ultimately, through its authors. The church can do no more than recognize that authority, but they can't bestow it.

But that's a side issue. The real question is whether different translations vary that much in ways that apply strictly to the Orthodox (as opposed to ordinary considerations over the quality of translation). This inevitably seems to come down to a fight over using the LXX and Nestle-Arand (yes for the first, no for the second). I think this is misguided, because making this the principal issue implies that the differences over the specific text sources in reality dominate translational issues. Not only would a question this; I would say that it is the other way around, and that differences over how to translate various passages are far more important than the variation in the underlying text.

There is definitely reason to translate the LXX directly into English, don't get me wrong. I don't believe the LXX is a mystically perfect translation so my interest is different from most others here. But again, I think the quality of the translation is going to be more important than the text choice.

BTW: in the case of the passage in 1 John 5, the so-called "majority version" omits the trinitarian "addition", which according to The Unbound Bible is omitted in the "Byzantine/majority text" and in almost every modern English translation, but which appears in the Vulgate and in the KJV. They don't include the NKJV, so I can't speak to its handling of the passage.
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« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2005, 05:49:28 PM »

The authority of scripture comes from the Church, not the other way around.  The arguments on the webpage that you linked with this translation of the bible are really only important if your pre-suppose sola scriptura.  To the Church though, such arguments I don't think are that central. 



Yes I know brother....all I am saying is that it would be good to have an english translation from the greek text that has been used by the orthodox church.

 There are "some" arguments on that web page that show such large error in the Alexandrian texts that the orthodox  should be aware of...and I am sure many are and have been for hundreds of years and that's why they have always used the Byzantine majority text.
Wouldn't it be best to not translate from corrupted texts?

For example...the Alexandrian texts used in all  modern translations except the NKJV and the Majority Text English New Testament have been translated from the Alexadrians texts. These texts omit the story of the women caught in adultery for example.
Also did you know that the men that found the Codex Sinaiticus actually found it in the garbage in the monastery at the foot of mount sinai. The monks over there thought it was rubbish.
. The monks were using it as scrap paper.....that's how highly they regarded that manuscript.



Brother I don't believe in sola scriptura
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« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2005, 07:08:35 PM »

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The authority of scripture comes, ultimately, through its authors. The church can do no more than recognize that authority, but they can't bestow it.

If such were the case then there would have been no dispute about the inclusion of the Apocalypse in the canon.  And who distinguishes which writters have the authority?  Of course I do see the position you are in - if you did cede that it was the church that declrared what was scriptural and what wasn't, you would have to admit that the Church exists, that is an one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. 

Truthseeker -  I of course agree that when the Orthodox get around to making their own English translations that the best texts should be used.  But even the Alexandrian texts state the main point of the New Testament, the second person of the Trinity become incarnate being born of a virgin, was crucified but arose from the Dead and told us to love one another. 
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« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2005, 11:37:15 PM »

If such were the case then there would have been no dispute about the inclusion of the Apocalypse in the canon.

Well, I don't know that, because (at the moment) I'm not aware of what the issues where with respect to the Revelation. It matters what the grounds were for belief/doubt in its worth.

I think what I'm trying to get at is that the church cannot put merit in texts that do not already contain it. I am not at all saying that the testimony of the church is without value, but rather that the value of this testimony in this context is in pointing to these texts.

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And who distinguishes which writters have the authority?

Ultimately this is the wrong question. The important question is how whoever is going to identify them is to do so. After all, in some way members of "the church(tm)" are going to identify which texts are authoritative, so the "who" question, on that scale, is tautological and therefore useless. And while I'm at it....

Quote
Of course I do see the position you are in - if you did cede that it was the church that declrared what was scriptural and what wasn't, you would have to admit that the Church exists, that is an one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.

I am in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic church. I don't (I believe) misidentify it as (I believe) you do. That's an utterly egocentric way to resolve issues, because it means one must turn off one's critical faculties when they could be directed at one's own polity, and must find some ciriticism, any criticism, in order to defeat any rival polity. I say we are both in the one church; you say that I am not.

And that leads back to the issue here. The option that I'm defending is that the canon was set essentially correctly (by which I mean that nothing was excluded that was essential, and nothing included in error) and on basically sound reasoning; but that the theology you are trying to read into this is unsound and untrue. The specific unsoundness is that you are ascribing an institutional authorship and thus control over the texts which isn't realized in the real world.

What matters most of all is that the gospels portray Jesus accurately and that in particular they record what he said accurately. If they fail to do this, all is lost. That protrayal is not made accurate in the process of canon formation, but instead in the tedious reality of writing, a century or more earlier.
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« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2005, 08:50:49 AM »

I have a version frome the 1860's (family bible) which is not too difficult to read, I am not sure which version it is, I have some NKJV that I inheirited, and the bookstore at church sells the NRSV so I have one of those.
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« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2005, 11:29:08 AM »

I don't recommend the NRSV. It is overfond of odd word choices. Get an RSV common bible instead.
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« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2005, 03:27:21 PM »

I don't recommend the NRSV. It is overfond of odd word choices. Get an RSV common bible instead.


Both are translated from the alexandrian texts, one of which was thrown in the trash by the orthodox monks of sinai.
They are corrupted greek texts.....stick with the NKJV as it comes from faithful Byzantine greek texts...or check out the majority text english new testamant.

That doesn't mean that the truth is NOT in these alexandrian texts and bibles they sponned....but there are better texts to use and that's why the orthodox church has always used the byzantine greek texts.
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« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2005, 03:52:08 PM »

Both are translated from the alexandrian texts, one of which was thrown in the trash by the orthodox monks of sinai.
They are corrupted greek texts.....stick with the NKJV as it comes from faithful Byzantine greek texts...or check out the majority text english new testamant.

As I indicated earlier, the KJV does not follow the "majority" text at one known point of difference. I have discovered that the NKJV contains the same "error", so if you are using the NKJV you are not working from the byzantine majority, but from the 17th century western Textus Receptus.

And again-- you are acting as if the textual differences among the NT translations are great, when it seems to me that they are very small compared with the wide variation in translation.
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« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2005, 04:38:12 PM »

BTW, in researching this I found the following site:

Bible Research by Michael Marlowe

It has a nice summary of the issues surrounding the major English versions (going back to Cædmon!) and has links to many on-line versions.
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« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2005, 06:46:45 PM »

As I indicated earlier, the KJV does not follow the "majority" text at one known point of difference. I have discovered that the NKJV contains the same "error", so if you are using the NKJV you are not working from the byzantine majority, but from the 17th century western Textus Receptus.

And again-- you are acting as if the textual differences among the NT translations are great, when it seems to me that they are very small compared with the wide variation in translation.



The King James Bible is not without it's errors....they came from the translation of latin into greek and then into english...from the latin vulgate.
The Textus Receptus is NOT in any way a group of western manuscripts...they are 100% byzantine greek and a group of texts that are a part of majority text of greek tradition.


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« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2005, 07:24:58 PM »

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I think what I'm trying to get at is that the church cannot put merit in texts that do not already contain it. I am not at all saying that the testimony of the church is without value, but rather that the value of this testimony in this context is in pointing to these texts.

I think we are using a different definition of Church.  In this case I mean chuch as the entire process through which the canon was formed - through councils and from pactice.  I agree that a text with no merit, the Church could never accpet within the canon.  But it was ultimately the church that formulated that texts with merit did not enter the canon.  Or for that matter that there is a need for three synoptic Gospels plus the Gospel of Saint John.   

Quote
I am in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic church. I don't (I believe) misidentify it as (I believe) you do. That's an utterly egocentric way to resolve issues, because it means one must turn off one's critical faculties when they could be directed at one's own polity, and must find some ciriticism, any criticism, in order to defeat any rival polity. I say we are both in the one church; you say that I am not.

My Church has no communion with your Church.  If your definition of the church is correct, then all the fathers that suffered and died to defend what the Orthodox percieved as the church were utter fools in comparison of such great luminaries as King Henry VIII.



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« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2005, 07:57:09 PM »

The King James Bible is not without it's errors....they came from the translation of latin into greek and then into english...from the latin vulgate.

You are incorrect. The KJV scholars translated (mostly) from the Textus Receptus Greek, which they could read directly. (The OT translators could also read Hebrew, and they translated directly from the MT.) The Vulgate was only used as a comparison and occaisionally preferred to the Greek. (They also used more than one Greek version, BTW.)

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The Textus Receptus is NOT in any way a group of western manuscripts...they are 100% byzantine greek and a group of texts that are a part of majority text of greek tradition.

Well, they seem to be a set of texts favored in the West and disfavored in the East. Or maybe not. There is no one Textus Receptus, after all, and I'm looking at a Modern Greek translation from the Unbound Bible and see that it translates the Johannine Comma, while a Russian translation (which is more clearly of Orthodox origin) does not. The uglier truth (besides the continuing subtext that most of the 1800-odd differences between the TR and the BM are unimportant or are easily resolved in one direction or the other) is that none of these texts is real. They are all editorial compilations from a variety of manuscripts, and therefore it is implausible to anoint one as the True Text.

The other continuing story here is that mostly we are operating in a cloud of vast ignorance. I will readily cede claims about biblical languages to others-- though frankly I'm much more likely to look to online references than to members of the forum. (And so should we all!) As far as English translations are concerned, I'm more knowledgeable, and I know where to look.

And in looking, I see that the issues in NT scholarship are comparatively small. The main semi-conservative translations are all pretty good (by which I mean NASB, RSV, and maybe REB); the most "conservative" versions and the various liberal and evangelical oddities are not. Meanwhile, the OT issues are quite big, and some of them I do not have answers to. The biggest issue is whether one uses the NT to direct translation of the OT. The "liberals" take the ironically conservative decision not to (and tend at times to overcompensate); the the conservatives take the equally ironically aggressive position to do so. Which is right? Why not get one of each and read them both?
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« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2005, 10:29:23 PM »

You are incorrect. The KJV scholars translated (mostly) from the Textus Receptus Greek, which they could read directly. (The OT translators could also read Hebrew, and they translated directly from the MT.) The Vulgate was only used as a comparison and occaisionally preferred to the Greek. (They also used more than one Greek version, BTW.)

Well, they seem to be a set of texts favored in the West and disfavored in the East. Or maybe not. There is no one Textus Receptus, after all, and I'm looking at a Modern Greek translation from the Unbound Bible and see that it translates the Johannine Comma, while a Russian translation (which is more clearly of Orthodox origin) does not. The uglier truth (besides the continuing subtext that most of the 1800-odd differences between the TR and the BM are unimportant or are easily resolved in one direction or the other) is that none of these texts is real. They are all editorial compilations from a variety of manuscripts, and therefore it is implausible to anoint one as the True Text.

The other continuing story here is that mostly we are operating in a cloud of vast ignorance. I will readily cede claims about biblical languages to others-- though frankly I'm much more likely to look to online references than to members of the forum. (And so should we all!) As far as English translations are concerned, I'm more knowledgeable, and I know where to look.

And in looking, I see that the issues in NT scholarship are comparatively small. The main semi-conservative translations are all pretty good (by which I mean NASB, RSV, and maybe REB); the most "conservative" versions and the various liberal and evangelical oddities are not. Meanwhile, the OT issues are quite big, and some of them I do not have answers to. The biggest issue is whether one uses the NT to direct translation of the OT. The "liberals" take the ironically conservative decision not to (and tend at times to overcompensate); the the conservatives take the equally ironically aggressive position to do so. Which is right? Why not get one of each and read them both?



The Textus Receptus manuscrpits are of Byzantine origin which are all from the majority text or byzantine in nature. They do differ from the majority of the majority texts, if that makes sense, but not in any important way...unlike the corrupted alexandrian texts.
Textus Receptus (mostly translated from 10th to 16th century Greek manuscripts, but parts also translated from the Latin Vulgate and especially the end of revelation, which Erasmus didn't have in greek, and including a glossed/annotated version of the Vulgate.
The reason they were favored in the west is because these manuscripts were responsible for the KJV which was so highly regarded. The "east" thought they the textus receptus was a fine segment of byzantine origin.
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« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2005, 11:44:15 PM »

The Textus Receptus manuscrpits are of Byzantine origin which are all from the majority text or byzantine in nature.

Well, this is making less and less sense, because what I'm reading is that the TR texts all appear to trace back through Erasmus, and it is of course through Erasmus that the TR obtains the last six verses of the Revelation from the Vulgate instead of from the Greek. At this point I'm a bit at a loss because I can see the Greek differences but don't know what they actually are. A comparison of the English translations compounds this, because of the ones I have ready to hand, the NRSV is the only one which has a significant difference. Not that they use the same words, but that the sense is almost identical. And in fact the Vulgate isn;t significantly different either, at this level.

Which brings me back to the same comment. Greek scholars can tell all these differences; we mostly cannot.
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« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2005, 12:07:51 AM »

Well, this is making less and less sense, because what I'm reading is that the TR texts all appear to trace back through Erasmus, and it is of course through Erasmus that the TR obtains the last six verses of the Revelation from the Vulgate instead of from the Greek. At this point I'm a bit at a loss because I can see the Greek differences but don't know what they actually are. A comparison of the English translations compounds this, because of the ones I have ready to hand, the NRSV is the only one which has a significant difference. Not that they use the same words, but that the sense is almost identical. And in fact the Vulgate isn;t significantly different either, at this level.

Which brings me back to the same comment. Greek scholars can tell all these differences; we mostly cannot.



Good points....

Remember the TR did not have the last part of revelation for some reason so that's why Erasmus used the Vulgate, for the most part, in the production of the english.

The Vulgate is pretty good I think....I don't think it is as good as the Byzantine texts but it is way better than the alexandrian texts that all modern translations except the NKJV are based on.
Remember we don't know ancient greek ...but the monks at the monastary did and they had the Codex Sinaiticus in the trash can. This manuscript was so bad that there is clear evidence of many diferent scribes trying to fix it over the years.

The alexandiran texts have some pretty strong elements of gnostic belief too...remember they are from early 4th century Egypt.

John 1:18
Problem: A serious anomaly is introduced—God, as God, is not begotten.

The human body and nature of Jesus Christ was indeed literally begotten in the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit; God the Son has existed eternally. "An only begotten god" is so deliciously gnostic that the apparent Egyptian provenance of this reading makes it doubly suspicious. It would also be possible to render the second reading as "only begotten god!", emphasizing the quality, and this has appealed to some who see in it a strong affirmation of Christ's deity. However, if Christ received His "Godhood" through the begetting process then He cannot be the eternally pre-existing Second Person of the Godhead. Nor is "only begotten" analogous to "firstborn", referring to priority of position—that would place the Son above the Father. No matter how one looks at it, this alexandiran reading introduces a serious anomaly.

The alexandrian texts were discovered and PUSHED by two very worldly non christain men and this alone should raise a red flag.

On the following web link you can read about how and why the alexandiran texts are so bad.
http://www.esgm.org/ingles/appendh.h.htm

If you believe that the orthodox church is the true church then it would be good to use the english bibles that have been translated from the greek texts that have been used by the orthodox church since day one...the byzantine text(Majority texts). The KJV with all it's short comings and some errors is still a good translation because it was fairly well done and translated mostly from Byzantine works. The NKJV is even better as it has is easier to read and understand.
Then there is the english majority text new testamant which is also well done and translated only from the majority greek texts(Byzantine).

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« Reply #23 on: September 14, 2005, 12:19:02 AM »

I think we are using a different definition of Church.  In this case I mean chuch as the entire process through which the canon was formed - through councils and from pactice.  I agree that a text with no merit, the Church could never accpet within the canon.  But it was ultimately the church that formulated that texts with merit did not enter the canon.  Or for that matter that there is a need for three synoptic Gospels plus the Gospel of Saint John.

The problem is not in the definition, but in the properties ascribed to the body (pardon the pun) so defined. "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic" do not define the church; they attribute characteristics to it. This is all a bit beside the point. If Christians of all churches accept the same NT canon-- and they do-- then it's pointless to lean on ex ecclesia (bad Latin, I'm sure) justification for the canon when the more univerally acceptable secular justification points to the same canon.

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My Church has no communion with your Church.

That's not utterly true. There is no official cummunion on the level of allowing any kind of concelebration. But if you came to my parish-- or any Anglican parish-- you would not be barred from taking communion. And in practice an Orthodox priest who became an Anglican priest would not have to be reordained.

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If your definition of the church is correct, then all the fathers that suffered and died to defend what the Orthodox percieved as the church were utter fools in comparison of such great luminaries as King Henry VIII.

That's your hypothetical judgment, not mine. And speaking of judging, your sneer at Bluff Hal is uncalled-for. For all his tyrannies, he started out as a very pious man. Whether his piety failed is not a question I feel competent to ask. And I'm sure that if ther moderators were to let him, Tom S. could take similar shots at Constantine or any number of pious Byzantine emperors.

You lump fathers together willy-nilly. Whether they were fools is not for us to say, but for Christ to judge in the end.
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« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2005, 12:30:44 AM »

I don't have time to address everything here but I want to look at one point.

On the following web link you can read about how and why the alexandiran texts are so bad.
WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? by Wilbur N. Pickering

(note: URL translation is mine)

Pickering is, after all, not Orthodox; nor does he particularly speak to an Orthdox audience. As he is making a scholarly argument, one properly should (in an area of controversy) read what other have said about his arguments.

As it happens, I recognized the name and was able to find this page in which the majority text is discussed, and in particular where critics of Pickering's thesis can be found. Read and judge for yourself; I should only add that Pickering's field of expertise is not textual criticism, but rather linguistics.
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« Reply #25 on: September 14, 2005, 01:00:41 AM »

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That's not utterly true. There is no official cummunion on the level of allowing any kind of concelebration. But if you came to my parish-- or any Anglican parish-- you would not be barred from taking communion. And in practice an Orthodox priest who became an Anglican priest would not have to be reordained.

Which is grasping at straws if not outrightly dishonest.  If I recieved communion in an Anglican parish I would instantly cease to be an Orthodox Christian, and could only return to Orthodoxy through repentance and confession.  The lack of closed communion (and ordination as you mentioned) is wishful thinking on the Anglicans, but not an actual reality.

But the actual point is that the fathers of the church did see a need to cut off completely from communion of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church (OHCAC - if you don't mind we can abbreviate that phrase) various heretics and schimatics.  So what makes you think your judgement is greater than theirs?

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And speaking of judging, your sneer at Bluff Hal is uncalled-for. For all his tyrannies, he started out as a very pious man. Whether his piety failed is not a question I feel competent to ask.

Believe it or not we have libraries, books and even publick skools out here, so I am quite aware of Henry VIII's pious starting out. 

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And I'm sure that if ther moderators were to let him, Tom S. could take similar shots at Constantine or any number of pious Byzantine emperors.

As I understand it the complaint about Tom was his posting one line shots at Saints of the Church with little or no support - I think a legitimage debate on the subjects would be welcomed.

But to compare the Byzantine rulers to Henry VIII is apples to oranges and I suspect you know that. 

Henry VIII is the sine qua non of the existence of the Anglican Communion's seperate existence from Rome.  And I am being generous and non-polemical here - I am simply stating the bare facts of the situation, without King Henry the Anglicans would still be part of the Roman Church - his motives I haven't impunged.  No Byzantine emperor can be credited with the existence of the Orthodox Church.  In fact many of them tried to destroy it.   

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« Reply #26 on: September 14, 2005, 01:13:50 AM »

I don't have time to address everything here but I want to look at one point.

(note: URL translation is mine)

Pickering is, after all, not Orthodox; nor does he particularly speak to an Orthdox audience. As he is making a scholarly argument, one properly should (in an area of controversy) read what other have said about his arguments.

As it happens, I recognized the name and was able to find this page in which the majority text is discussed, and in particular where critics of Pickering's thesis can be found. Read and judge for yourself; I should only add that Pickering's field of expertise is not textual criticism, but rather linguistics.





Oh there are plenty of critics of those that hold to the idea that the alexandrian texts are corrupted....and they attack Pickering all the time...as well as others. But Pickering makes a lot of really good points I think.
I used to think that the alexandrian texts were better then the byzantine majority texts mainly because they were older but after a lot of research I have changed my mind.

Take a good look at this article from a top scholar.
http://216.109.125.130/search/cache?p=Dr.+Maurice+A.+Robinson+majority%2Btext&prssweb=Search&ei=UTF-8&fl=0&u=www.bibleviews.com/robinson.html&w=dr+maurice+robinson+majority+text&d=AFVnAsp5LYNB&icp=1&.intl=us
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« Reply #27 on: September 14, 2005, 07:18:08 AM »

Which is grasping at straws if not outrightly dishonest.  If I recieved communion in an Anglican parish I would instantly cease to be an Orthodox Christian, and could only return to Orthodoxy through repentance and confession.  The lack of closed communion (and ordination as you mentioned) is wishful thinking on the Anglicans, but not an actual reality.

Ah, but the boobytrap is in that phrase, "I would instantly cease to be an Orthodox Christian." Exactly how would that happen? Would a bishop or an angel suddenly appear and stamp "ANATHEMA" on your forehead? Orthodox churchmen and women do sometimes take communion in Anglican churches where their denomination was known to the priest; I've seen it done. Nothing outward happened to them, and they went home to their own parishes and conitnued to be members there, as before. And maybe if I went to an Orthodox church where I was known to be Anglican (and they would know: my baptismal name is clearly not Orthodox) they would still give me communion. But they would do so grudgingly, whereas the Anglican priest does so willingly.

Your "reality" here is strikingly metaphysical. Also, I'm not even sure I agree with your interpretation of the whole repentance and confession angle. The form of this says to me that this is a disciplinary order for disobeying the command not to pray/commune with heretics.

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But the actual point is that the fathers of the church did see a need to cut off completely from communion of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church (OHCAC - if you don't mind we can abbreviate that phrase) various heretics and schimatics.  So what makes you think your judgement is greater than theirs?

Instead of saying "the OHCAC", let's back off the mystical claims a minute and stick to an unimpeachable reality: "their church". In cold hard reality: they would not commune with those whom the considered to be heretics. What makes your agreement with them better than my agreement with my own church?

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But to compare the Byzantine rulers to Henry VIII is apples to oranges and I suspect you know that.

Actually, I "know" that it isn't so. All of the issues of cross-contaminating politics and theology are present in both (of course, whether they are "contamination" at all is an issue too).

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No Byzantine emperor can be credited with the existence of the Orthodox Church.  In fact many of them tried to destroy it.

And Bloody Mary tried to wipe out the Anglican church. I'm reading the book that Tom recommended, and I am inclined to disagree with its thesis; yet it isn't at all a stretch to attribute political motives to Constantine.
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« Reply #28 on: September 14, 2005, 07:06:00 PM »

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Ah, but the boobytrap is in that phrase, "I would instantly cease to be an Orthodox Christian." Exactly how would that happen? Would a bishop or an angel suddenly appear and stamp "ANATHEMA" on your forehead? Orthodox churchmen and women do sometimes take communion in Anglican churches where their denomination was known to the priest; I've seen it done. Nothing outward happened to them, and they went home to their own parishes and conitnued to be members there, as before. And maybe if I went to an Orthodox church where I was known to be Anglican (and they would know: my baptismal name is clearly not Orthodox) they would still give me communion. But they would do so grudgingly, whereas the Anglican priest does so willingly.

What you cite are abuses.  There is no Orthodox Gestapo (thank God!) to stop people from doing as they please, but the official teaching and practice of the Orthodox Church is quite clear on the matter.  At my former job thousands of dollars a day passed through my hands - I easily could have pocketed some had I chosen to do so (and for the sake of clarity I never did).  No bishop or priest (and most likey neither any angels) would have popped up to stamp ANATHEMA on my forhead - would I still be violating the command of my Church not to steal?  That is the absurdity of your argument.

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Also, I'm not even sure I agree with your interpretation of the whole repentance and confession angle. The form of this says to me that this is a disciplinary order for disobeying the command not to pray/commune with heretics.

Obviously there is debate within the Orthodox Church as to how strictly that canon applies.  But recieving communion in an Anglican Parish is accepting the Anglican faith - thus rejecting Orthodoxy, thus one would need to be healed through confession.  Of course people will flaut this, but that doesn't negate its legitimacy. 

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Actually, I "know" that it isn't so. All of the issues of cross-contaminating politics and theology are present in both (of course, whether they are "contamination" at all is an issue too).

Then you are being intentionally disengenious.  No Emperor established the Orthodox Communion - it predated the even Constantine.  Some helped to make it grow, some supported rival factions, but the Orthodox remained with their faith unaffected throughout the time.  Henry VIII established the Anglicans as a seperate communion that did not exist prior to his lifetime. 

What of the Fathers that emphatically spoke of the exclusiveness of the OHCAC from early on?  Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus?  Such fathers as St. Cyprian either were wrong from the start - in essence admitting there never was an OHCAC - or that the OHCAC of the patristic ere is gone - in essence admitting Christ is liar.  Which do you believe, Keble?
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« Reply #29 on: September 14, 2005, 11:24:05 PM »

What you cite are abuses.  There is no Orthodox Gestapo (thank God!) to stop people from doing as they please, but the official teaching and practice of the Orthodox Church is quite clear on the matter.

Well, the church is quite clear on the situation you use as an analogy too. The thing is, though, that if you stole, you'ld still be Orthodox. You'ld have another big sin to confess, but your church membership would be unchanged. So the analogy is worthless.

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But recieving communion in an Anglican Parish is accepting the Anglican faith - thus rejecting Orthodoxy, thus one would need to be healed through confession.  Of course people will flaut this, but that doesn't negate its legitimacy.

Receiving communion at an Anglican parish is not necessarily accepting the Anglican faith; it cannot be made to signify that by fiat. This seems to be one of most pernicious errors of traditionalist Christianity. In reality, those who speak or act determine what they mean by their words and deeds. It is reasonable to deduce that someone who takes communion in a church is likely to ascribe some sort of legitimacy to that church, but even this principle is treacherous. If an atheist takes communion, does it imply a conversion? I think not.

Healing through confession would normally be the "treatment" for a sin. And I would accept that a sin of disobedience was committed. But given the way you've ended up arguing this, I do wonder whether there is an Orthodox consensus on this. The arguments you've given don't add up to ratification of the claim that you've made, and the one argument you make that does point in the right direction is, unfortunately, defective.

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Then you are being intentionally disengenious.

One generally is not unintentionally disingenious, any more than one is unintentionally malicious. And it is no lie to observe that the Orthodox creation myth of the church, as it were, isn't accepted by the historical community. It's abundantly clear in the historical record that the organization of the church develops a lot from, say, Acts 25 to Chalcedon. And nearly everyone in the historical community would agree that the conversion of Constantine and the Council of Nicea mark two pivotal changes in that organization. This has nothing to do with the continuity of the communion; change need not imply a break.

Likewise, one can pin Anglicanism as a separate body on the bishops of that place and time; yet they were before that bishops, and they were (in their own eyes at least) after that also bishops, so that it can be said that in some ways there was a break, and that in other ways there was no break.

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What of the Fathers that emphatically spoke of the exclusiveness of the OHCAC from early on?  Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus?  Such fathers as St. Cyprian either were wrong from the start - in essence admitting there never was an OHCAC - or that the OHCAC of the patristic ere is gone - in essence admitting Christ is liar.  Which do you believe, Keble?

The problem, sir, besides your hostility, is that the syllogism lacks a term. I'm unwilling to believe in the principle anyway, mostly because I think it is a hazard both to clear thought and to the soul. The wind blows where it pleases, and I am exceptionally afraid of a theory which is readily made to mean "we can doel out and withhold grace as we see fit."

But the missing term is more crucial. Even if the principle is true, it is also necessary to identify one's own denomination/communion as the OHCAC, or at least the only visible part thereof. Historically, there have been four answers to that: universalists, who thus void EENS; ecumenists, who deny that the OHCAC can be identified with any specific denomination/communion; agnostic parochialists, who assert that their own church is in the OHCAC but disavow opinions as to anyone else; and full parochialists, who identify it with their own denomination/communion alone. Note especially that there is nobody who is identifying the OHCAC as excluding his current church.

In this taxonomy, I am an ecumenist, and you are a full parochialist. (I think that technically the Catholic Church is agnostic parochialist, though this seems to be observed mostly in the breach.) Which is actually true? I'm notsure how the question can truly be answered, because holding to any of the positions cripples one's arguments to some degree or another. Circularity is hard to avoid because the positions themselves bend the argument to fit them. And then there's what I would call serial parochialism, in which one moves from church to church, always from one OHCAC to another. Here the full extent of the distortion is obvious, because the operating principle is, 'Whever I am, there is the church."
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« Reply #30 on: September 15, 2005, 07:04:02 PM »

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Well, the church is quite clear on the situation you use as an analogy too. The thing is, though, that if you stole, you'ld still be Orthodox. You'ld have another big sin to confess, but your church membership would be unchanged. So the analogy is worthless.

No the analogy isn't worthless.  The point is that an angel or bishop or whatever doesn't stamp one's head ANATHEMA when something wrong is done.  The exact semantics in this case aren't clear either I suppose - whether the person is Orthodox but has committed schism/disobediance or Heterodox is a pointless debate and dependant on circumstances I would think.

As to the rest of your post-

The writtings of the early fathers on the subject are amply avaliable in English, whether you agree that many of them actaully meant the Church when they said Church is another matter.  But to compare Nicea I's change of the church, an event thats purpose was to combat Arianism to Henry VIII changing his communion because ne wanted a divorce is ludicrous.  And because some people go from place to place claiming each is the OHCAC doesn't negate the OHCAC anymore than the existence of Christians who commit murder negates "Thou shalt not kill."



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« Reply #31 on: September 15, 2005, 09:25:34 PM »

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And nearly everyone in the historical community would agree that the conversion of Constantine and the Council of Nicea mark two pivotal changes in that organization. This has nothing to do with the continuity of the communion; change need not imply a break.

I disagree and so do many of the historians whose opinions you apparently feel qualified to express.  May I suggest "The Later Roman Empire" by Averil Cameron or "The First Seven Ecumenical Councils" by Leo Donald Davis.  Cameron (a professor of Late Antique and Byzantine Studies at King's College, London) suggests that popular historians have played source documents against source documents without putting either into context.  For instance, it's easy for a writer with passions to prove Constantine changed Christianity and Rome for the worse to rely heavily on Zosimus, who was quick to blame any bad thing on Constantine, or on Eusebius who attempted to prove the great effect Constantine had on Christianity.  In reality the Church had existed in its form well before Constantine and Constantine's attempt to bring the Church into a line he drew failed at the First Council of Nicea.  The following emperors supported various heretical groups, including the Arians, and persecuted what we call "the Church." 

If there was a change at Nicea I fail to see it.  The Arians remained Arians and in opposition to Orthodoxy; they retained their numbers as well as the official support of the government, both after, and to some extent, before the death of Constantine.  Few, if any, changed their position based on the findings of Nicea and the people of the time didn't appear to see it any differently than any other number of councils which had been held long before Constantine.  The significance of Nicea was not realized until much later.  These problems are discussed by Jaroslav Pelikan, Cameron, and Davis.

I have yet to read a modern scholar of the period who concluded otherwise.  My wife saw one of her old history professors on the "History Channel" make all kinds of crazy claims about Constantine.  She is a medieval music historian.

Your conclusion is NOT accepted by nearly all in the historical community who have chosen the 4th through the 8th Centuries as their primary period of study.
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« Reply #32 on: September 16, 2005, 01:00:59 AM »

I gotta say that I have enjoyed reading the dialogue between Keble and Silouan/Nektarios - as always.   Cool

I think that it is deserving of it's own thread the Faith Forum, especially since the last few responses have diverted from the original topic of this thread.

In Christ,
Aaron






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« Reply #33 on: September 16, 2005, 10:24:04 AM »

No the analogy isn't worthless.ÂÂ  The point is that an angel or bishop or whatever doesn't stamp one's head ANATHEMA when something wrong is done.ÂÂ  The exact semantics in this case aren't clear either I suppose - whether the person is Orthodox but has committed schism/didisobediencer Heterodox is a pointless debate and dependant on circumstances I would think.

You say semantics-- I say, a theological difference which seems to have no realization in reality.

You've elided over the most important issue in the latter part of the post: not serial parochialism, but the bigger problem that any ecclesiology must put its proponent within the OHCAC. Hence, such theories are inevitably contaminated by subjectivism. The serial form of such theories simply heightens the issue, but it never really goes away-- unless you are willing to accept the risk that you may not be in the OHCAC.

And as far as Bluff Hal is concerned, what he wanted was an annulment. It is a mistake to attribute the Henry of, say, Anne Boleyn's execution to the Henry of earlier years. Recall that he was originally expected to be ordained, and was only diverted from this path due to the death of his older brother. He himself wrote on theological issues and was recognized by the pope for it.ÂÂ  It is of course argued about at length, and the circumstances argue against purity of motive on just about all the participants' part, but I believe the consensus is that his after-the-fact scruples about the circumstances of his first marriage were genuine. Likewise, it is all but universally agreed that the Pope's refusal was ultimately grounded in realpolitik; adequate moral and theological thought from the Renaissance popes is conspicuous in its absence. Henry himself was the most volatile and changeable of men, which is one of reasons he fascinates historians so.

Thus I agree with you, to a degree, about the impurity of Anglican origins. As to the purity of Orthodox origins, that seems to be where the real disagreement lies. It isn't helping that I stated my case in a form that has proven to be too open-ended to avoid being characterized as an extreme position which I reject. I don't believe the theory that holds Constantine to be, in essence, the founder of the church; it's an excessively cynical view. I am cynical enough, though, to doubt that the church just sailed on unchanged through the Constantinian reign. Rulers and politicians are rarely free from consideration of the political implications of what they do. The purity of the Constantinian church is demanded, however, by the theory that the church of the era was the OHCAC; or at least, the impurity has to be contained.

And one last comment:

Quote
And because some people go from place to place claiming each is the OHCAC doesn't negate the OHCAC anymore than the existence of Christians who commit murder negates "Thou shalt not kill."

This analogy is definitely faulty. The two acts really have nothing important in common. Church-hopping enters into this as an abberation about how people think about ecclesiology, because it creates a paradox. People who go from one church, believing before that they were in the OHCAC, to a new church where they again believe that they are in the OHCAC but were not before are inconsistent in their thinking. They are converting because they believed when they were members of their old church. The fact of faith is fixed, but the church membership is changing around it. But their (now) parochialist ecclesiology states that it was their faith that changed, and everthing else was fixed. The analogy with committing murder only holds as far as the question of doing something "wrong" is concerned, but the qualitative difference in the two wrongs is so large as to render the analogy platitudinous.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2005, 10:31:37 AM by Keble » Logged
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« Reply #34 on: September 16, 2005, 01:59:08 PM »

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I gotta say that I have enjoyed reading the dialogue between Keble and Silouan/Nektarios - as always. Cool

I think that it is deserving of it's own thread the Faith Forum, especially since the last few responses have diverted from the original topic of this thread.

In Christ,
Aaron

Indeed! I have also enjoyed reading this debate, and have toyed with the idea of locking the thread since the current topic is not clealry related to the heading (there is a connection, but an unitiated reader would not understand it).

I will leave this up to the main participants as opposed to establishing a new thread that might not be pursued. The thread will be locked, but if any of the participants are interested in continuing the debate, they are more than welcome to.

chris
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