Friday, August 10, 2007

Augustine and Councils: One Testimony

“The explicit testimonies to the canon of the Old Testament in the catalogues of Christian councils and Christian fathers of the first four centuries have now been examined. And it has been found that, with the exception of three catalogues at the close of the fourth or the beginning of the fifth century, all the remainder, with slight and unimportant variations, unanimously and unambiguously sustain the Protestant canon. And the other three emanate from one region, and were issued under one influence; so that they are virtually one testimony, and this demanding an explanation which brings it, too, into harmony with the united testimony of the rest of the catalogues. There was a strict canon, limited to books inspired of God, which is witnessed to from all parts of the Church during these early ages, and is identical with the canon of Jews and with that of Protestants. But the term canon was also used in a more lax and wider sense by Augustin and the councils in his region, who embraced in it not only the inspired word, but in addition certain books which had gained a measure of sanctity in their eyes from their connection with the Greek and Latin Bible, and from their having been admitted to be read in the churches on account of their devotional character and the noble examples of martyrdom which they recorded. These supplementary volumes, however, were not put upon a level with the canon strictly so-called in point of authority. They were to be read and heard soberly in the exercise of Christian discretion, and with this caution they were commended to Christian people.”

William Henry Green(1898)
General Introduction to the Old Testament

1 comment:

david santos said...

Very nice card, and good text.
Thank you