Saturday, June 30, 2007

Response to Canon Comments

I would like to do some posts on Sola Scriptura and the canon as Catholic e-pologists promote false statements about these things, but don’t have the time right now to give it the proper attention.

For now I will just refute a few of the comments made here regarding these topics:

The Church was founded in 33 AD. While the apostles and disciples were spreading the faith throughout the world, they began to write. The Church finished writing the bible in about 100 AD, and the Church finally decided which books belonged in about 397AD. jswranch

Long before Jerome assembled the first Bible, timothy

When I look at Church history I find councils of Bishops at Hippo and Ephesus deciding these matters. timothy


Wrong. The Roman Catholic canon was not decided until the Council of Trent in 1546.

“The idea of a complete and clear-cut canon of the New Testament existing from the beginning, that is from Apostolic times, has no foundation in history. The Canon of the New Testament, like that of the Old, is the result of a development, of a process at once stimulated by disputes with doubters, both within and without the Church, and retarded by certain obscurities and natural hesitations, and which did not reach its final term until the dogmatic definition of the Tridentine Council.” Catholic Encyclopedia


The fact is, the canon of the old testament remained in dispute through the years before Trent made its decision. Jerome was strongly against the idea of the deuterocanonicals as inspired scripture (those 7 books Luther supposedly through out of Protestant bibles) as were other members of the early church such as Origen, Athanasius, Cyril, and Epiphanius and others.

The doubts about the OT canon continued through the middle ages.

“In the Latin Church, all through the Middle Ages we find evidence of hesitation about the character of the deuterocanonicals. There is a current friendly to them, another one distinctly unfavourable to their authority and sacredness, while wavering between the two are a number of writers whose veneration for these books is tempered by some perplexity as to their exact standing, and among those we note St. Thomas Aquinas. Few are found to unequivocally acknowledge their canonicity. The prevailing attitude of Western medieval authors is substantially that of the Greek Fathers. The chief cause of this phenomenon in the West is to be sought in the influence, direct and indirect, of St. Jerome's depreciating Prologus. The compilatory "Glossa Ordinaria" was widely read and highly esteemed as a treasury of sacred learning during the Middle Ages; it embodied the prefaces in which the Doctor of Bethlehem had written in terms derogatory to the deuteros, and thus perpetuated and diffused his unfriendly opinion.” Catholic Encyclopedia


The Roman Catholic canon was not ratified until 1546 at Trent, the time of the Reformation (not at Hippo or Ephesus as Timothy and jswranch tried to claim). The Protestant Bible is compatible with Jerome’s (and others) view of the OT canon, while the Catholic Bible is not.

We can debate over who currently has the correct canon, but the fact remains that the Catholic Church did not give the world the Bible back in 397AD.

13 comments:

elena said...

Your take of history Carrie leaves much to be desired. Catholic and Protestant scriptures scholars both understand and accept importance of the 4th century dates in setting the canon. They also accept the purpose of the formal ratification of the canon at Trent as a response to the Reformation.

Trying to twist and omit facts to suit your purpose weakens your cause Carrie. One has only to read the Catholic Encycopedia page you linked to see the glaring holes in your argument.

ellen said...

Question: If you assume that Scripture is Rome-breathed and not God-Breathed, and if you assume that Rome gave us the Bible, not God...

How did Rome write the Bible? How did Rome choose what to put into the Bible?

Carrie said...

Q A Protestant I know has claimed that the Council of Hippo did not have the book of Baruch on its canon list and therefore could not have been, as Catholics claim, the council defining the canon until the Council of Trent. Can you confirm or deny this?

A Maybe some Catholics make this claim, but I don’t think there is any such official claim on the part of the Church. The Council of Hippo was only a regional council of North African bishops. There was no definition of the canon of Scripture by an ecumenical council before Trent.

--Envoy Magazine http://www.envoymagazine.com/backissues/4.6/ihaveaquestion.htm

jswranch said...

Carrie,

Start here http://web.archive.org/web/20040226202518/www.catholicoutlook.com/objapoc1.html This is my understanding of Biblical History. If there is something wrong in this article, I want you to tell me what it is.


-those 7 books Luther supposedly through out of Protestant bibles
Hmmm... If we number the OT books as they were numbered at Trent...

Didache (~70 AD): uses Sirach
Letter of Barnabas (~74 AD): uses Wisdom
Rome (382): 46 books
Hippo (393): 46 books
Jerome (400):46 books
Florence (1442):46 books
Gutenberg Bible (~1445):46 books
Luther (~1524):39 books
Trent (1545): 46 books

-Wrong. The Roman Catholic canon was not decided until the Council of Trent in 1546.
Wrong. You think that just because something is not dogmatically declared (defined), it is not taught. Someone who thinks this way might wrongly assume that the Catholic Church didn't authoritatively reject gay sex until JPII rejected it in the 1990's, or that we did not believe/teach Mary's assumption until the 1950's. In reality, we don't dogmatically declare a doctrine until it is challenged/needed. Just because the church didn't dogmatically declare the canon until Trent doesn't mean it didn't teach that same canon or give that canon to the world. Check out the text of Hippo:
That nothing be read in church besides the Canonical Scripture. Item, that besides the Canonical Scriptures nothing be read in church under the name of divine Scripture. But the Canonical Scriptures are as follows:... [includes OT deuteros]

-The fact is, the canon of the old testament remained in dispute through the years before Trent made its decision.
Sure there was discussion, but do not characterize this a if the issue was not ruled upon. Give me the name and publisher of one bible between Carthage and Trent that did not have the OT deuterocanon in it. Check out Carthage:
It has been decided] that nothing except the canonical Scriptures should be read in the Church under the name of the divine Scriptures. But the canonical Scriptures are: [includes OT deuteros] I am not sure how you can say the Catholic Church had not yet said which books are to be in scripture after reading this.

-Jerome was strongly against the idea of the deuterocanonicals as inspired scripture..The Protestant Bible is compatible with Jerome’s (and others) view of the OT canon, while the Catholic Bible is not.
Wrong. I'm not sure where you are getting that. Check out New Advent on St. Jerome:
He never either categorically acknowledged or rejected the deuterocanonical books as part of the Canon of Scripture, and he repeatedly made use of them. and
"[D]oes not the scripture say: 'Burden not thyself above thy power'[Sirach 13:2]?" Jerome, To Eustochium, Epistle 108 (A.D. 404).

Here we see Jerome teaches Wisdom belongs in scripture: "At least that is what Solomon says: "wisdom is the gray hair unto men'[Wisdom 4:9]." Jerome, To Paulinus, Epistle 58 (A.D. 395). "

In 402 St. Jerome gave the explanation of why I did not first include them in scripture:
What sin have I committed if I follow the judgment of the churches? . . . I was not relating my own personal views [when I wrote the objections of the Jews to the longer form of Daniel in my introduction], but rather the remarks that [the Jews] are wont to make against us [Christians who accept the longer form of Daniel], (Against Rufinius, II:33, emphasis added).

Here is an article explaining our views. Check out Myth 5:
http://www.envoymagazine.com/backissues/1.2/marapril_story2.html


-The Roman Catholic canon was not ratified until 1546 at Trent, the time of the Reformation...
So? There is a difference between ratification and teaching.

-...(not at Hippo or Ephesus as Timothy and jswranch tried to claim).
We never claimed they where taught dogmatically at Hippo or Ephesus. There is a difference. The Catholic Church taught and believed the doctrine of the Trinity, but it was not dogmatically defined until it was challenged at the council of Trent.

-We can debate over who currently has the correct canon, but the fact remains that the Catholic Church did not give the world the Bible back in 397AD.
Wrong. The fact remains that the bible the Catholic Church gave the world in 397 is the exact same one it gives today, with the exception of the 7 books which Luther removed. Let me quote from 397 AD again:
"[It has been decided] that nothing except the canonical Scriptures should be read in the Church under the name of the divine Scriptures. The canonical Scriptures are: ...Wisdom, Sirach...twelve books of the Prophets [Baruch]... Tobit, Judith...two books of the Maccabees."

Please give me the date of the first bible that did not have the deuteros in it.


-We can debate over who currently has the correct canon,...
In case you ever want to bring the subject up, here is part of my cheat sheet:
http://www.phatmass.com/directory/index.php/cat/61

jswranch said...

Ellen,
Question: If you assume that Scripture is Rome-breathed and not God-Breathed, and if you assume that Rome gave us the Bible, not God...
When have we ever denied that Scripture is not God breated? It was by the power of the Holy Spirit that the church Christ founded wrote the bible. This empowered church maintained the bible and later decided which books belong and which were to be kicked out, through the H.S. guidence. This is how we can be sure that the highly debated 2nd Peter belongs and the Apocolypse of Peter goes, though his 'Apocolypse' was once considered. This is how we can be sure that the highly debated Hebrews can be included even though we do not know for certain who wrote it.

How is it that you deny that humans wrote the bible under the insperation of God?

How did Rome write the Bible?
It didn't. Rome is a city. The apostles and their friends wrote it.

How did Rome choose what to put into the Bible?
The Church Christ establish was filled with the Holy Spirit. It was by that Spirit that they were guided to make the correct judgement, just as that church made the correct decision to no longer make circumcision manditory in Acts 15.

Carrie said...

Wrong. I'm not sure where you are getting that.

Catholic Encyclopedia:

"St. Jerome cast his weighty suffrage on the side unfavourable to the disputed books. In appreciating his attitude we must remember that Jerome lived long in Palestine, in an environment where everything outside the Jewish Canon was suspect, and that, moreover, he had an excessive veneration for the Hebrew text, the Hebraica veritas as he called it. In his famous "Prologus Galeatus", or Preface to his translation of Samuel and Kings, he declares that everything not Hebrew should be classed with the apocrypha, and explicitly says that Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Tobias, and Judith are not on the Canon. These books, he adds, are read in the churches for the edification of the people, and not for the confirmation of revealed doctrine. An analysis of Jerome's expressions on the deuterocanonicals, in various letters and prefaces, yields the following results: first, he strongly doubted their inspiration; secondly, the fact that he occasionally quotes them, and translated some of them as a concession to ecclesiastical tradition, is an involuntary testimony on his part to the high standing these writings enjoyed in the Church at large, and to the strength of the practical tradition which prescribed their readings in public worship. Obviously, the inferior rank to which the deuteros were relegated by authorities like Origen, Athanasius, and Jerome, was due to too rigid a conception of canonicity, one demanding that a book, to be entitled to this supreme dignity, must be received by all, must have the sanction of Jewish antiquity, and must moreover be adapted not only to edification, but also to the "confirmation of the doctrine of the Church", to borrow Jerome's phrase."


" Our Lord and Saviour himself whenever he refers to the Scriptures, takes his quotations from the Hebrew; as in the instance of the words "He that believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water," and in the words used on the cross itself, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani," which is by interpretation "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" not, as it is given by the Septuagint, "My God, my God, look upon me, why have you forsaken me?" and many similar cases. I do not say this in order to aim a blow at the seventy translators; but I assert that the Apostles of Christ have an authority superior to theirs. Wherever the Seventy agree with the Hebrew, the apostles took their quotations from that translation; but, where they disagree, they set down in Greek what they had found in the Hebrew. And further, I give a challenge to my accuser. I have shown that many things are set down in the New Testament as coming from the older books, which are not to be found in the Septuagint; and I have pointed out that these exist in the Hebrew. Now let him show that there is anything in the New Testament which comes from the Septuagint but which is not found in the Hebrew, and our controversy is at an end." Jerome
-http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/27102.htm


"Also included is the book of the model of virtue (παναρετος) Jesus son of Sirach, and another falsely ascribed work (ψευδεπιγραφος) which is titled Wisdom of Solomon. The former of these I have also found in Hebrew, titled not Ecclesiasticus as among the Latins, but Parables, to which were joined Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs, as though it made of equal worth the likeness not only of the number of the books of Solomon, but also the kind of subjects. The second was never among the Hebrews, the very style of which reeks of Greek eloquence. And none of the ancient scribes affirm this one is of Philo Judaeus. Therefore, just as the Church also reads the books of Judith, Tobias, and the Maccabees, but does not receive them among the the canonical Scriptures, so also one may read these two scrolls for the strengthening of the people, (but) not for confirming the authority of ecclesiastical dogmas." Jerome, Prologue to the Books of Solomon http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/jerome_preface_solomon.htm

Carrie said...

The fact remains that the bible the Catholic Church gave the world in 397 is the exact same one it gives today, with the exception of the 7 books which Luther removed.

Wrong. That is a sweeping statement that just isn't true.

The fact is that the deuteros were not universally accepted as inspired by everyone in th early church. Just because a few local, non-ecumenical councils put a canon togther does not mean that the Roman Catholic Church gave the world the Bible in 397AD.

I am not going to debate all the particulars of why that is true because I hope to do more most posts on the topic. But the fact remains that the canon was in dispute throughout history (as the Catholic Encyclopedia says) and wasn't not a RCC decision until Trent.

ellen said...

How is it that you deny that humans wrote the bible under the insperation of God?

False accusation. I'm done with you.

jswranch said...

Ellen,
Ellen: Question: If you assume that Scripture is Rome-breathed and not God-Breathed, and if you assume that Rome gave us the Bible, not God...

John: How is it that you deny that humans wrote the bible under the insperation of God?

Ellen: False accusation. ...

I fail to see how a question is an accusation. If I do not understand your beliefs, explain them to me.


I'm done with you.
I am under the impression that you are looking for a way not to answer my questions. You are taking the question I asked you, calling it an accusation, and then proclaiming that this offense is bad enough that you will no longer dialogue with me. Correct me if I am wrong.

jswranch said...

Carrie,
Just because a few local, non-ecumenical councils put a canon togther does not mean that the Roman Catholic Church gave the world the Bible in 397AD.
Then please tell us where the bible came from. Are you claiming the bible did not exist until the fallible Confessions of the Reformers? If the bible, with the correct number of books, did not come into existance by 397AD, then when did the bible come into existance?

ellen said...

Not at all - but the games are making me weary.

I NEVER denied inspiration of Scripture.

YOU on the other hand (as quoted in this post) said that the "Church" wrote the Bible, and the "church" decided what went into it.

My belief system says that God decided what went into the Bible, and He decided what went into it when He inspired it, not when Rome voted on it.

So no - I'm not interested in interacting like this.

ellen said...

Not at all - but the games are making me weary.

I NEVER denied inspiration of Scripture.

YOU on the other hand (as quoted in this post) said that the "Church" wrote the Bible, and the "church" decided what went into it.

My belief system says that God decided what went into the Bible, and He decided what went into it when He inspired it, not when Rome voted on it.

So no - I'm not interested in interacting like this.

Moonshadow said...

Forgive me for repeating my comment from last summer, but I really think it explains the reason for our hopeless disagreement ...

Raymond Brown, in his article on Canonicity (New Jerome Biblical Commentary), reiterates F. F. Bruce's* distinction between canonical and ecclesiastical books:

"Doubts about the deuterocanonical books keep recurring in the history of the church among those who are aware of the Jewish canon.

At the time of Trent, there were insufficient historical tools to reconstruct the real picture of the canon in the 1st century.

Yet, curiously, Trent by accepting a wider canon seems to have preserved an authentic memory of the days of Christian origins, whereas other Christian groups in a professed attempt to return to primitive Christianity have settled for a narrower Jewish canon that, if Protestant researchers like Sundberg are correct, was the creation of a later period.

The Tridentine fathers did not determine the canon on the basis of purely historical reconstruction but on a theological basis: the consistent church usage of certain books."

Brown lists early and ongoing resistance to the universal acceptance of Jerome's Vulgate and Trent's ultimate insistence upon its use.

Then,

"Not one of these difficulties impairs the binding force of the Tridentine decree, but perhaps they illuminate the difficulties often voiced by non-Catholics."

* Note: phd4jesus didn't trust F. F. Bruce's evangelical, scholarly credentials, so I excised my use of his material in this reposting.