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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Saint Jerome & the Deuterocanonicals

This was taken from the book "Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger"

"Who was the first to call the Deuterocanon "Apocrypha"? We have now reviewed nearly four hundred years of Church History and have yet to find any serious, sustained, and consistent attack on the use of the Deuterocanon as Holy Writ. Our story has, on the contrary, been remarkably steady so far; every single early Father who used the Deuterocanonical books at all did so in a manner fully commensurate with their traditional Christian status as inspired Scripture, often citing them as Scripture in so many words. Only Julius Africanus raised doubts about these books, but, as we rcall, made no pretense that his opinion was in any way popular or widespread. Besides this one limited exception, no one but heretics (such as Marcion and Valentinus) had dared to call these books apocrypha. No one, that is, until now." [1]page 139

"Jerome's new canon was an innovation-and he knew it. He knew that it would provoke a maelstrom of criticism from all over the ancient world; yet like Julius Africanus before him, he was convinced that he, by means of Hebrew Verity, had stumbled upon a truth which had eluded the entire Christian world up to that point. As a preemptive strike against his critics, Jerome wrote a series of prefaces to the various books of his newly completed Latin Vulgate, then sent copies of the books to influential friends. These friends, in turn, circulated the translation, along with his critical prefaces, among the Christian public.

The first preface to appear was the Preface to Samuel and Chronicles, known as the Helmeted Prologue [L. prologus galeatus], because Jerome wanted it to serve as an armored defensive against his critics. Of all Jerome's prefaces, the Helmeted Prologue is the most pointed and contains the strongest denial of the inspired and canonical status of the Deuterocanon. In it, he wrote this:

This preface to the Scriptures may serve as a 'helmeted' introduction to all the books which we now turn from Hebrew into Latin, so that we may be assured that what is not found in our list must be placed amongst the Apocryphal writings. Wisdom.....the book of....Sirach, and Judith, and Tobias, and the Shepard are not in the canon.

The Deuterocanon, a source for the New Testament writers themselves and heralded by the earliest Christians as divine Scripture, is now to be overthrown on the authority of Jerome alone. His other prefaces express similar sentiments." [2] pages 142-144

"The last half of the first Christian millennium was a very difficult period for the Christian church. The invasion of barbarians from the North, the rise of Islam in North Africa, heresies, temporal meddling by secular powers, and finally the Great East/West Schism racked Christian civilization to the core. During this tumultuous period, Christian scholars tended to be less concerned with of the past. This industrious period codified, and propagated, and handed down the texts of Scripture and the writings of the Church Fathers. Nearly all Christian writers accepted the Deuterocanon as authentic, inspired, canonical books of Scripture; the few isolated doubts that did surface were either unique personal conviction or else the echoes of earlier writers quoted for the benefit of posterity. The councils of Carthage, Hippo, Trullo (Quinisext), the Decree of Galatius, and Innocent I reaffirmed the constant usage of the Deuterocanonical books, and by the end of the ninth century, Pope Nicholas I could speak of Innocent I's canonical list as the Universal law in the Church. It is the larger canon, not that of Jerome, that had wide, substantial support.
From the turn of the first Christian millennium until the high Middle Ages, the Christian Church experienced a renewed vigor and development in the study of Scripture and theology. these studies often involved the systemization and crystallization of the teachings of the Fathers into a coherent whole. This renewed vigor of synthesis and analysis was a great benefit for thr Church, but it also carried with it some unintended consequences. Under a growing humanism, fed by the rediscovery of classical literature, some some medieval scholars attempted to reconcile beliefs which are not really reconcilable. Such was the case with the canon of Scripture. The isolated doubts we have seen scattered sparsely through our story so far began to be synthesized into a cohesive body of thought; and divisions, which did not formerly exist, began to arise. Terminology began to change as well, for both sides of the debate. Words began to acquire connotations and associations they had not carried for earlier authors; terms used loosely in the days of the Fathers hardened down to a fixed definition. Some words, on the other hand, lost the precise meanings they had earlier owned; the word apocrypha, for instance, began to loose its distinctiveness, and by the time of the Council of Trent, was practically useless. All of these forces conspired to place even well-meaning Christian scholars more and more at cross purposes.

The reinvigoration of biblical studies in the Middle Ages also gave new life to the writings of Jerome, and, consequently, to his shortened canon. His Latin Vulgate became not only popular but downright venerable in the Middle-ages; and his prefaces, including the "helmeted" Preface to the Books of Kings, were commonly included in copies of the Vulgate. Biblical novies studied these prefaces along with the sacred text, forgetting, at times, to read Jerome's thoughts with a bit less reverence than God's. The very popular edition called the Glossia Ordinaria, in fact, worsened this confusion, for it removed Jerome's critical remarks from their original place and integrated them, like raisins in a fruitcake, into the sacred text itself as explanatory glosses. As Gigot comments:

If now we inquire into the causes of this persistent division between the ecclesiastical writings of the Middle Ages, we shall find that its main, if not its exclusive, cause, is the influence which the views of St. Jerome exercised upon the minds of many Doctors of that period.....It is not therefore to be wondered at, if the view so unfavorable to the deutercanonical books, which these prefaces contained, seemed tenable to many schoolmen, and were, in fact, held by them in the teeth of contrary practice in the Church, and of disciplinary decrees of the Popes. Finally, as it was the fashion of the time to get rid of difficulties by means of subtle distinctions, several ecclesiastical writers...[tried to] reconcile the statements of St. Jerome, in his prefaces, with the papal decrees and the practice of the Church.

As we shall see, Gigot's assessment of the Process of preservation, harmonization, and adoption is quite accurate. Jerome's prestige would become so great that some of his disciples went to great lengths to reconcile his views on the canon with that of the official Christian Church." [3]pages 200-202


[1]page 139, [2]pages 142-144, [3]pages 200-202 from the book "Why Catholic Bibles are bigger: The untold story of the lost books of the Protestant Bible" by Gary G. Michuta

Podcast lessons about the Septuagint

This was taken from the Search the Scriptures Podcast.

The Latin Fathers - St. Augustine and St. Jerome:
Play Audio

Introduction to the Bible - Lesson 8: The Septuagint:
Play Audio

Introduction to the Bible - Lesson 6: Bible Manuscripts 2 :
Play Audio


History of the Septuagint Text

This is from the OSB Press webpage.

Part 1: (The PDF)

Part 2: (The PDF)

Part 3:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Saint Jerome & The Septuagint

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pan-Orthodox synod

The link:

"Istanbul (AsiaNews) - With the sending of letters of invitation to all the heads of the Orthodox Churches for the two preparatory meetings for the grand pan-Orthodox synod, scheduled for June and December of this year, Bartholomew has set in motion the decisions made at the recent pan-Orthodox meeting in October, held in Constantinople, and attended by deceased patriarch of Moscow Alexy as his last act in life.

Bartholomew has stepped up the pace for the convening of the grand synod, which has the objective of responding to all of the problems that have built up over the course of centuries, and continue to plague relations among the Orthodox Churches, with extensive repercussions for the dialogue between Orthodox and Catholics as well. The schism of 1054, with all of its grave consequences for the universal Church, also deprived the Orthodox Church of the necessary impetus and ability to be constantly present in the course of history.

In the recent past, a first initiative for the convening of a pan-Orthodox synod was undertaken by Patriarch Ioakim III in 1901. He wanted to smooth over the tensions among the autocephalous Orthodox Churches, in the conviction that only an Orthodox Church engaged in a constant and constructive inner dialogue could face the challenges of the contemporary world and act with one voice and one heart. This initiative did not succeed, in part because the Orthodox Churches, which had recently emerged from Ottoman rule, were seeking their identity in an exaggerated identification with the nation, and the full breadth of the Christian message was not instilled in their clergy."

To read the rest, please visit the link.


Backed out

I backed out of the Ancient Christian Faith initiative classes. I have to focus on my bills first. So I will be picking up a second job. Lord willing, I will join the next one.

Man, I really love Patristics, but I gotta handle this other issue first.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ancient Christian Faith Initiative classes

Thanks to Matt(a PhD student from Durham University (2006 MDiv graduate, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary)) I have been accepted into the class.

It's being tought by him and his friend Tim (PhD student, Union Theological Seminary (2007 MDiv graduate, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary)

This is the blog ""

And once again, I would like to thank them for allowing me to join the class late.


The names of Jesus

Fr. Thomas Hopko has a new podcast series called "The names of Jesus"

Play Audio

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Clergy in the first 5 centuries

I found out about this book through the Eastern Orthodox Librarian blog.

The book can be found at The Holy Cross bookstore.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Forgiveness sunday

This is from the podcast speaking the truth in Love.

The Expulsion of Adam:
Play Audio

Direct Link

Asking for Forgiveness:
Play Audio

Direct Link


Robert Hamilton "Election in Romans Chapter Nine"

I found out about this from Dan over at Arminian Chronicles.

Hamilton. Election in Romans Chapter Nine.pdf

Related Links:
Keith Schooley on Romans 9



Leave of Absence

I recently took a leave of absence from the St. Stephen's Course in Orthodox Theology program.

My finances were short for this semester, plus a number of other things as well. So I decided to take a leave. Lord willing, I will return for the course in the near future when my finances are better.



This is from the Catechumens Tale blog.

As seen from the website:
Irenaeus on Tradition
"The Church, though dispersed through our the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: [She believes] in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and His [future] manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father “to gather all things in one,” (Eph 1:10) and to raise up anew all flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, “every knee should bow, of things in heaven” and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess (Phi 2:10-11) to Him, and that He should execute just judgment towards all; that He may send “spiritual wickednesses,” (Eph 6:12) and the angels who transgressed and became apostates, together with the ungodly, and unrighteous, and wicked, and profane among men, into everlasting fire; but may, in the exercise of His grace, confer immortality on the righteous, and holy, and those who have kept His commandments, and have persevered in His love, some from the beginning [of their Christian course], and others from [the date of] their repentance, and may surround them with everlasting glory."

To read the rest, please visit Tony's blog.


Divine Energies

This is from the Pillar and Ground of the Truth blog.

As seen from Fr. Gregory Hogg's blog.
"St. Gregory Palamas, on the divine energies
68. The divine transcendent being is never named in the plural. But the divine and uncreated grace and energy of God is divided indivisibly according to the image of the sun's ray (Cf. Basil, De spiritu sancta 9.22.35) which gives warmth, light, life and increase, and sends its own radiance to those who are illuminated and manifests itself to the eyes of those who see. In this way, in the manner of an obscure image, the divine energy of God is called not only one but also many by the theologians. For example, Basil the Great says, "As for the energies of the Spirit, what are they? Ineffable in their grandeur, they are innumerable in their multitude. How are we to conceive what is beyond the ages? What were his energies before intelligible creation?" (Idem, 19.49.1-4) Prior to intelligible creation and beyond the ages (for also the ages are intelligible creations) no one has ever spoken or conceived of anything created. Therefore, the powers and energies of the divine Spirit are uncreated and because theology speaks of them in the plural they are indivisibly distinct from the one and altogether indivisible substance of the Spirit."

To read the rest, please visit Fr. Hogg's blog.


Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelical Protestantism: A Dialogue

This is from the podcast Ancient Faith Presents.

As seen from the website:
"On February 19, 2009, the Wheaton College Diversity Committee hosted a dialogue in Wheaton, Illinois, between Dr. Bradley Nassif, an Orthodox professor of biblical and theological studies at North Park University, and Dr. George Kalantzis, an Evangelical professor of theology at Wheaton College. Each speaker was asked to defend the merits of his particular theological perspective."

Play Audio

Direct Link

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"On Infants' Early Deaths" by Saint Gregory

The Link:

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