But you have, in effect, said that it is not the "most authoritative part", because you've asserted that it all has the same authority: absolute authority. That scripture is more authoritative is the Anglican/Protestant position that you have been arguing against the whole time! It is nonsense to say that one part has more authority than another unless that which has less authority can be overturned by comparison with that which has more. You are saying that the Protestant practice of criticizing other tradition on he basis of scripture is invalid, and this implies that you do accept all of it with equal authority.
It is the Apostolic Tradition as a whole that has absolute authority, not any one of its parts.
But that is precisely what I said that you said!
The Bible is the most authoritative part, but it is actually dangerous in the hands of most Protestants, who divorce it from its context and are thus liable to find practically anything within its pages.
Enough with the potshots at Protestants who aren't even here. We both agree that taking things out of context is bad; it's not the only possible error, and maybe not even the most common error.
A little later you say "weight" instead of "authority", but that simply substitutes a metaphor whose meaning you neither define nor explore for a term which you neither define nor explore. But then you say this:
Although it is not a precise science but a matter of faith, it is clear, for example, that the words of Holy Scripture are certainly given more weight than the writings of any one individual Church Father.
It is clear, but the reason it is clear is that everyone agrees that human fallibility makes any individual too poor an authority in his own right. That reason is ordinary, not theological. The interesting question is not why the individual theologian/father is devalued, but why scripture is more
valued. Absolutely valued, in fact.
Where all or the vast majority of Fathers agree on an interpretation of a particular passage of Scripture, however, that is regarded as a patristic consensus on that passage and is authoritative. Such a consensus is not divorced from the Scripture itself but rather rests upon it.
But the problem again is that there are ordinary reasons for demanding a consensus-- the same ones that devalue the individual father-- but not only that,
those ordinary reasons demand a much higher
standard of consensus! Ordinarily, this consensus has to extend across time as well as across the community in one time; moreover, the consensus is subject to being broken and reformed around a different position if faults are later found in the original consensus position.
On some doctrinal points the consensus has remained extremely durable. The Nicene formula has persisted in spite of divisions and shows no sign of being successfully challenged. Chalcedon has a somewhat poorer track record, but as I understand it the primary problem isn't so much what it is trying to say as it is the accusation that the specifics of the formula are contrived to produce a division with the Orientals whether one is warranted or not. Consensus about collegiality is dead as a herring, since at least 1054. Consensus about ecclesiastical infallibility has been dead for 500 years.
And again, consensus doesn't address the relative authority issue at all. If the consensus of the Orthodox Church runs against what scripture teaches a person, what then? Ordinarily consensus is thought better than individual opinion, but ordinarily it is no guarantee. And I do not think that the fathers disagree-- indeed, saints throughout the patristic period found themselves on the wrong side of consensus.
Indeed, Catholic casuistry teaches that, in such a position, you are obligated
to follow your own conscience.
What is invalid is divorcing Scripture from its context within the Apostolic Tradition, subjecting it to a multitude of private interpreters, and then using it to criticize others who may have even more authority for what they believe than the critic does.
.... which is an Anglican position, but....
What is invalid is elevating oneself and one's private take on the Bible above the Church<.>
... at this point the Anglicans all jump up and complain that the Orthodox Church does precisely this, by choosing division from the other churches over limiting itself to asserting consensus opinions. Your version of Orthodoxy refuses to be instructed by Catholicism, refuses to be instructed by Anglicanism, or by any other Protestant community. Instead, as you propose, it ignores dissent and simply establishes a private take on the bible above all the rest of the church. Private, that is, to the Orthodox community. Ironically Anglican theologians are simultaneously consulting not just Anglicans, but the church fathers, Orthodox, Catholics, anyone in Christendom. That is the fullness of consensus; what you propose is the epitome of sectarianism.
To be fair to Orthodoxy itself, I do not believe that I teaches such an extreme viewpoint. If I am wrong about that, I am certainly subject to correction, but it also pretty much puts the nail in the coffin of me joining an Orthodox church. It puts me in the position of having to reject my faith in order to gain Orthodoxy, and if I reject my faith, I no longer have any reason to join any church, Orthodox or no.