Saturday, February 6, 2010

St. Polycarp of Smyrna & Sola Scriptura

St. Polycarp of Smyrna was a disciple of St. John the Apostle and a friend of both Sts. Papias of Hierapolis and Ignatius of Antioch, who were also disciples of the Apostle John. He was martyred by being burned at the stake in about AD 155 and a very interesting firsthand account of his martyrdom survives to us today, which we'll look at after his letter.

Unfortunately, only one writing of St. Polycarp survives to us today: a letter he addressed to the church in Philippi around AD 110. Let's look at some quotes:
"For neither am I, nor is any other like unto me, able to follow the wisdom of the blessed and glorious Paul, who when he came among you taught face to face with the men of that day the word which concerneth truth carefully and surely; who also, when he was absent, wrote a letter unto you, into the which if ye look diligently, ye shall be able to be builded up unto the faith given to you." - Letter to the Philippians 3:2 [emphasis mine]
Read that whole passage carefully, paying special attention the parts I've bolded. Notice what Polycarp is saying: that St. Paul came to Philippi and taught the people "face to face," that is, orally, then, after he had left, wrote them a letter. And then Polycarp tells them that if they read that letter "diligently" they "shall be able to be builded up unto the faith given to you." Note that: "given to you." Polycarp is saying exactly what the Orthodox say today about Scripture's relationship to the Faith: not that it is the sole source, but that it builds us up in that Faith already given to us orally through our teachers.

It is with this letter by Polycarp that we also begin to see Protestant proof-texting of the Fathers in their attempts to make it appear that they believed in Sola Scriptura. I have seen this sentence quoted in support of that position:
"For I am persuaded that ye are well trained in the sacred writings, and nothing is hidden from you." - Letter to the Philippians 12:1
But is Polycarp really supporting anything like Sola Scriptura here? No, he's not. Let's note that he's not making a logically exclusive connection between the "sacred writings" and "nothing is hidden from you." He says "and," not "so." And he also says nothing about the Scriptures alone.

In fact, his whole point in writing this letter was to attach it as a cover letter to copies of the seven letters written by St. Ignatius which he was sending to the church at Philippi. And here's what he has to say about Ignatius' letters:
"The letters of Ignatius which were sent to us by him, and others as many as we had by us, we send unto you, according as ye gave charge; the which are subjoined to this letter; from which ye will be able to gain great advantage. For they comprise faith and endurance and every kind of edification, which pertaineth unto our Lord." - Letter to the Philippians 13:2
And, no doubt, if he had made this statement about some of the writings contained in Scripture Protestants would be proof-texting this in support of Sola Scriptura as well.

Now, we'll take a look at a quote from the firsthand account of his martyrdom, which records for us two ancient Christian practices preserved in the Orthodox Church today, the veneration of relics and the commemoration of the saints' feast days:
"Thus we [the Christians], having afterwards taken up his [Polycarp's] bones, more valuable than precious stones, laid them where it was suitable. There, so far as is allowed us, when we are gathered together in exultation and joy, the Lord will enable us to celebrate the birthday [actually the death day; their 'birthday' into heaven] of the martyrs, both for the memory of those who have contended, and for the exercise and preparation of those to come." - The Martyrdom of Polycarp, 18, 2-3

Read St. Polycarp's letter to the Philippians for yourself here.
You can also read the firsthand account of his martyrdom here.


(originally published 18 December 2009 at Pious Fabrications)

36 comments:

Garret said...

Hi David,
A few questions for you if I may-

Note that: "given to you." Polycarp is saying exactly what the Orthodox say today about Scripture's relationship to the Faith: not that it is the sole source, but that it builds us up in that Faith already given to us orally through our teachers.

Nobody denies that the wonderful privilege of hearing an Apostle speak and deliver faith orally was theirs to have. The question is what exactly are those things given, can anyone identify them, did anybody THEN take the time to write down oral traditions to preserve them from loss so that WE can know?
Also, of course, it's one thing to talk of the Apostolic church in the time of the Apostles, and a church 2000 years in the future as being able to preserve and identify oral traditions and teachings, no?
Hence, could it be that the MOST reliable information we have about this is the Scriptures, and to then assume other traditions is to fill the silence with alleged Apostolic traditions?

I have enjoyed reading Polycarp's letter in the past, and will do so again,
Thank you sir, and God bless,
Garret

David said...

Garrett:

I apologize for taking so long to respond. I didn't notice the comment here until just now. I'll try to do a better job of keeping up on the comments from now on.

You make a very good point, a couple of them actually. I think that it's an important point that should never be lost that Holy Tradition is not something in addition to Scripture, but is, as Fr. Georges Florovksy, an Orthodox Priest, very eloquently pointed out on several occasions, Scripture rightly interpreted. There may be specific traditions which one might call extra-biblical, such as Baptism by triple immersion, but Holy Tradition itself is not extra-biblical. It is instead the Faith of the Church, through which lens Scripture was compiled by the Fathers in the first place and through which it must continue to be interpreted if we are to interpret it correctly.

There are quite a few specific traditions which are recorded by the early Fathers. St. Papias of Hierapolis recorded several sayings of Christ, which he had heard from the Apostle John and others who knew Christ during his life on earth, which are not recorded in the Scriptures. St. Justin records some very interesting information about the rubrics of the ancient Christian Liturgy, as does the Didache. These traditions are important and the Orthodox have done their best to preserve them -- for instance, we still fast on Wednesdays and Fridays as the Didache records that early Christians did. More important than these records of individual traditions, though, is the overall message and faith they record, which should guide us in interpreting the Bible.

Every book has to have a context. Imagine trying to understand the Declaration of Independence without some knowledge of the Enlightenment, of the Judeo-Christian tradition, Greek philosophy, or even the history of England and the Americas. It would be next to impossible. The Gospel message as it was believed in by the early Church Fathers is, indeed, the context of the Bible, without which it is difficult, if not impossible, to correctly interpret it.

An example of such a problem is Penal Substitution. The Penal Substitution theory of the Atonement was more or less invented by Anselm of Caterbury in the 12th century. His context, however, was not Apostolic Christianity but Anglo-Saxon (read: pagan) law. As a result, he misinterpreted (or misrepresented -- his motivations are debatable) passages from Scripture which refer to Christ's "sacrifice" and His death being the payment of a "ransom."

In the end, I think the clearest way to state the principle which explains why the Fathers are important is that if the men, some of whom sat at the feet of the Apostles, of the first 500 years of Christianity, and who spoke the language of the New Testament as their native tongue, didn't see something in Scripture it's probably not there (such as Penal Substitution and Original Sin); if they did see something, especially if all of them happened to see that exact same thing (such as recapitulation), there's a good chance that this is actually what the Scriptures are talking about, our modern dispositions aside.

I know this isn't a direct answer to your questions, but I hope I've been able to help. If I can explain further, and maybe answer your questions a little more directly, let me know and I will do my best.

David

Garret said...

Hi David!
Thank you for a thorough, respectful answer.

I myself think context is important. That is why I read A LOT. I read the Didache again last night, ironic that you mentioned it (or is it?). Triple baptism if running water is not available, right? I'm in my context outide of the EOC, but I can understand that.
I read all of the Bible- Old Testament too. I am in Leviticus right now. So when you mention context of the Apostles, I realize you are talking about 1st century Palestinian Jews. Therefore, when you say that Penal Substitution is from a pagan European context, I'm sorry, but I have reasons to doubt that. The Jews were able to easily draw the line from animal sacrifice which was blood spilled INSTEAD of their own blood, to blood spilled by the sinless and perfect Christ on their (our) behalf. God's wrath satisfied through the sacrifice- when through animals (Jewish context!), it wasn't perfect, but with Christ, it was perfect- Hebrews makes this point clearer than I can. Christ died for us, it is by His Spirit that we can cry out 'Abba, Father', not our own righteousness(Romans 8).
So let's see where 'context' can take us!
God bless,
Garret

David said...

Garret:

I didn't say no substitution; just no penal substitution ;)

The concept of substitution is absolutely without doubt in Scripture, especially in the language about the paying of a ranson, but the concept of penal substitution (to assuage the wrath/satisfy the justice of an angry God) is not.

Garret said...

but the concept of penal substitution (to assuage the wrath/satisfy the justice of an angry God) is not.

Peace with God through Christ Jesus Romans 5:1

Therefore there is now NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus...set free from the law of sin and death...so that the requirement of the law is FULFILLED in us Romans 8

So when did believers regain this wrath and condemnation of God? When did we loose the peace? It was through Christ that this enmity is resolved. How could anyone argue that Paul didn't want you to know that the wrath of God is settled through Christ here?
God bless,
Garret

Jnorm888 said...

Hebrews chapter 2:9-18
"9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

11For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

12Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

13And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.

14Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

15And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
16For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
17Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
18For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted."




ICXC NIKA

Garret said...

Amen Jnorm888
As chapter 10 of Hebrews goes on to show, the wrath of God, His condemnation of sins- is satisfied through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ once for all time. Giving believers, who are sanctified by Jesus blood, access to the holy place through said perfect sacrifice. Gods wrath is satified through Jesus, giving us confident access.
God bless,
Garret

Jnorm888 said...

Garret,

The perfect Sacrifice of Jesus Christ was one of Expiation. The original understanding of Atonement was one of "at one with". Jesus Christ as our Expiation fits the Old Testament modal of animal sacrifices. Hebrews chapter 9 shows the relationship. As well as the context for Hebrews chapter 10. (which is one of Expiation....and is different from the pagan system of satisfaction. The jews were about "clean vs unclean, and so the Old Testament sacrificial system was one of trying to make humans clean. Trying to purge/expiate the sins of humans)

NKJV Hebrews chapter 9:11-15
"But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the
greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this
creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He
entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the
unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the
blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to
God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for
this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the
redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are
called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.""


The blood of Christ cleanses


1 John 1:7But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have
fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us
from all sin.


The blood of Christ washes


NKJV
Revelation
"1:5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead,
and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us
from our sins in His own blood"


And so the change happens in us. Not in God. If God is Omnibenevolent, then He doesn't change His mind from one of Love to one of hate. When Adam and Eve sinned, we were the ones that changed......not God.

The Bible says God so loved the World that He sent His Only Begotten Son. It doesn't say......"God so hateth the World...etc.".....nor does scripture say god is hate. Instead, it says God is Love. Where in Scripture do you see hate as one of God's Omni's? (Omni-Science, Omni-Potent, Omni-Present, Omni-benevolent ...etc)

And so, we must understand God's wrath, hate....etc. through the lens of God's Love.









ICXC NIKA

Jnorm888 said...

Quoted from "Theopedia":

Quote:
"Quote:
Some argue that it is based on Natural Theology
J.I. Packer cautions that Penal Substitution was formulated during a period when "Protestant exegesis of Scripture was colored by an uncriticized and indeed unrecognized natural theology of law. . . drawn from the world of contemporary legal and political thought" [2]. Natural theology refers to knowledge of God drawn from our world around us (in this case from their own judicial concepts) as opposed to knowledge of God contained in the revelation of Scripture. Although Packer demurs basing Penal Substitution on the Natural theology of law and limiting the concept to retributive language, he nevertheless argues for the "substantial rightness of the Reformed view of the atonement."

According to Theopedia "Natural Theology" is:


"Natural theology is the branch of philosophy and theology which attempts to either prove God's existence, define God's attributes, or derive correct doctrine based solely from human reason and/or observations of the natural world. This endevour is distinct from other theological methods in that it excludes the assistance of special revelation. Thomas Aquinas is the most famous classical proponent of natural theology.
Others throughout church history have rejected natural theology. Most in the Calvinist and Reformed tradition reject natural theology as having no foundational validity because the doctrine of Sola Scriptura leaves no source apart from Scripture from which to derive an accurate understanding of God, man, morality, justice, etc. Furthermore, it is rejected on the basis that mankind is so bound by sin that they can "know" nothing of God except that which is revealed to them. Neo-orthodox theologian Karl Barth, one of the most influential Protestant theologians of the 20th century, sought to demonstrate that God can only be known through special revelation. Both he and Paul Tillich debated over this issue, Tillich arguing that revelation never runs counter to reason.
Supporters of natural theology, such as Paul Tillich and Aquinas (among others), have argued that the existence of God can be known through reason. Many "proofs" for the existence of God have been created, however, theologians have often rejected these proofs on the basis that they do not end up with the Christian God of the Bible."





According to the Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms, it says:

"Naturalism, natural theology. Naturalism sometimes refers to a form of *atheism and materialism that maintains that the "natural" universe (composed of energy and matter and based on natural laws) is the sum total of reality, thereby negating human freedom, absolute values and, ultimately *existential meaning. As an ethical theory naturalism suggests that ethical judgements arise out of or are based in the universe itself or "the way things naturally are." Natural theology maintains that humans can attain particular knowledge about God through human reason by observing the created order as one locus of divine *revelation." [1]






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[1] page 82, by Stanley J. Greenz, David Guretzki & Cherith Fee Nordling, in the book "Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms" Inter Varsity Press 1999

Jnorm888 said...

Garret,

One last thing:

There are multiple modals in Scripture when looking at what is going on. Both His Death and Resurrection can be used to talk about different issues....different topics...all related, but you can talk about it in reference to Jesus tying up the strong man, and setting the captives free, thus conquering death. Or you could talk about it in reference to the cleansing of sin, thus re-uniting us with the Father by being united to Christ's death in Baptism. Then you have the whole issue of the Incarnation, and His life in general, and so, there are multiple modals present that focus on different aspects of the Atonement.









ICXC NIKA

Garret said...

JNorm
Thank you for taking the time to answer. The reason why you would post the natural theology section confuses me, perhaps you can explain your approach there? I hold to Special revelation to reveal the invisible attributes of God, natural revelation being limited in what it can reveal.

I hold that the Bible forms the basis for a view of man- the proper and real view of man, as revealed by the creator- called a Biblical anthropology.

You said

Expiation....and is different from the pagan system of satisfaction. The jews were about "clean vs unclean, and so the Old Testament sacrificial system was one of trying to make humans clean. Trying to purge/expiate the sins of humans)

You confuse me here- how EXACTLY are expiation and atonement different, are they not synonymous? How am I importing a pagan 'satisfaction' idea into the text that is allegedly not there- when in fact access is granted through the perfect sacrifice of Christ, which access was not available to anyone prior to the perfect sacrifice. I can't separate the two ideas unless you can add more light please. Afterall, the expiation of the sins in the OT had a PURPOSE, which purpose was to be in right relationship with a HOLY God who clearly condemned sin. "Cut off" means KILLED, and you could be cut off for violating many of the civic laws of that theocratic society, in order to create a holy, set apart people. This reveals the holy aspect of Yahweh- His condemnation of sin cannot be missed, and in fact, is targeted by those hostile to Christianity for just this reason. You can only understand Gods love through Gods holiness. 'God is Love' does not refer to a fuzzy, warm sentimental love, but is a COMPLETE love that cares for well-being, holiness, purity, right relationship, fellowship- peace. This is impossible to escape, when the Bible is taken as a whole.
God bless,
Garret

Jnorm888 said...

Garret,

1.) I mentioned natural history because every belief has a track record in time and space. Penal Substitution was not the original view.....and so, one should ask the question of where this interpretation of Scripture came from. The original ancient view was the Ransom/Christus victor modal.

2.) The original meaning of Atonement is "at one with". Expiation explains how we are "at one with" God. This is the original meaning/interpretation of the greek word "hilasterion".

The interpretation of Propitiation from the same greek word "hilasterion" is what I am arguing against when it comes to being "at one with" God.


3.)Cut off doesn't always mean to kill. It can also mean "to separate oneself from". Was Adam and Eve immediately killed when they sinned? Or were they just separated from God? Their sin caused a distance...a separation between God and man. And that separation is what caused them to die.

Was King David killed for killing one of his army men and sleeping with his wife? No, there was a separation between God and King David. When Israel as a Nation turned away from God, did they always drop dead? No! And they turned away often.

Saint Paul says in Romans chapter 11:19-21
"19You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." 20Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either."."

Did the unbelieving Jews drop dead for their transgression of rejecting Jesus? I would say no, instead, what we see is a separation between them and God.

Jnorm888 said...

4.)Where does Scripture say ""You can only understand Gods love through Gods holiness.""

Where does Scripture say this? I know alot of Reformed and Calvinistic protestants who say such things. But where is it in Scripture, and where is it among the Fathers/Patristics?

What I find in Scripture is God loving all He has made:
Psalm 145
"8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.
9 The LORD is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.
10 All you have made will praise you, O LORD;
your saints will extol you.
11 They will tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might,
12 so that all men may know of your mighty acts
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The LORD is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all he has made. [c]
14 The LORD upholds all those who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and loving toward all he has made.
18 The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
20 The LORD watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever"


Thus, once again, I say that we must understand God's wrath and hate in light of His Love. For He is Omnibenevolent. God is also Omni-Present, and so, when we talk about God's absense, it should be in the context of His Omni-Presence.

This situation should be no different.

Also check out this post about the issue:
http://orrologion.blogspot.com/2010/02/sacrifice-of-christ-as-expiation-gk.html



ICXC NIKA

David said...

Garret:

I think that John has raised some excellent points here and there's not much I can add, but I wanted to say as well that where you read passages like Romans 5 and 8 and see penal substitution, I read those same passages and very plainly see recapitulation and christus victor. I think that the deciding factor, for me at least, in our two very different interpretations of those passages in the history of them. Whereas I read those passages with the same interpretation as the earliest Christians, including those taught by Apostles, your interpretation of them comes from much later and has demonstrable links to pagan and Gnostic thought. For me, that automatically decides which interpretation is the correct interpretation outright.

(I want to apologize if I sound like I'm being rude; I don't intend it. I'm enjoying this discussion, and I want it to remain a friendly one. I know that things often come off very different than they are intended online, and I also know there's a fine line between being blunt and being a jerk.)

Garret said...

Hi Jnorm

Again, thanks for the comments. I need to look more into what you are saying about the ransom/Christus victor concepts versus my allegedly false and later view of the Scriptures. Obviously, you must consider that you too may be the one who is applying a modern version of an ancient philosophy, ultimately foreign to Jewish understanding, as well as applying that then to Christ and the work of the cross. I will expand on that below-

I went to the link you provided and read it. As a Bible reader, I have reasons to reject many of the claims as an attempt to rescue a philosophical commitment that your side has that does not fit the overall narrative of the Bible story of man and God as a whole. For instance-

There is not the faintest trace of divine anger in the death of Christ.

For one, the horrific method of death, for two the prophesy of Isaiah explains why this was happening AND that He was struck down by God, voluntarily-

Isaiah 53:4 and 10
4Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities...
10But the LORD was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;

If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.
.................................................
then

Therefore, by saying that God “set forth” (proetheto) Jesus as the expiatory, or “instrument of expiation,” for our sins, Paul asserts that the shedding of Jesus’ blood on the Cross fulfilled the prophetic meaning and promise of that ancient liturgical institution of Israel, reconciling mankind by the removal of the uncleanness, “their transgressions of all their sins.”

Thus, making it right with God, SATISFYING GOD. Why does God need satisfying? Because He is happy? You need to be made satisfied when something is wrong- right? What are sins and why do they make you 'unclean?' Man enjoys sin, many sins feel oh so gooooood. They are sin because the One who is Sovereign has shown us they are sin. He is holy and cannot sin- it is detestable to Him. Why did blood need to be spilled with your hand on the animals head? Not from anger?

The flood that wiped out all but 8 humans- because God had wrath for the sins of mankind. Sodom and Gomorrah, utterly destroyed. The peoples who occupied the chosen land, commit abominable sins, they were to be destroyed. God's anger and detesting of sin is everywhere. Satisfying that is drastic and bloody. That is because He is holy.

Thanks,
God bless

Garret said...

JNorm again :)

4.)Where does Scripture say ""You can only understand Gods love through Gods holiness.""

Where does Scripture say this?


But where does Scripture say this- And so, we must understand God's wrath, hate....etc. through the lens of God's Love.

My point being- you are propounding a philosophical approach to viewing God, and I do the same there. The argument is settled by the picture actually painted by Scripture taken as a whole.

Isaiah was 'undone' by his own unworthiness and uncleaness when he was exposed to God in all His glory in Chapter 6 of his book. Moses couldn't look full on upon the glory of God, but upon His back. If a person cannot read and understand how God could destroy the abominable sinful people groups such as the OT portrays, and that it was good and loving to do so, then one does not understand holiness, nor God.
Thanks,
God bless,
Garret

Garret said...

David- and JNorm888
No offense taken, I am trying to understand your position. We should both be bold in our faith, and if you are convinced I am wrong, let's identify those points and discuss in the interest of honoring Christ and His truth!
In Christ,
Garret

Jnorm888 said...

Brenton's LXX doesn't have it in verse 4, and in verse 10 you have to read into Scripture that the Father was angry with His own Son. I don't see that from the text. Nor do I see God being angry with His Son in Isaiah 53 in the Masoretic.


Brenton's LXX Isaiah 53
http://christianmedia.us/LXXE/isaiah.html

Quote:
"53:1 O Lord, who has believed our report? and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 We brought a report as of a child before him; he is as a root in a thirsty land: he has no form nor comeliness; and we saw him, but he had no form nor beauty. 3 But his form was ignoble, and inferior to that of the children of men; he was a man in suffering, and acquainted with the bearing of sickness, for his face is turned from us: he was dishonoured, and not esteemed. 4 He bears our sins, and is pained for us: yet we accounted him to be in trouble, and in suffering, and in affliction. 5 But he was wounded on account of our sins, and was bruised because of our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and by his bruises we were healed. 6 All we as sheep have gone astray; every one has gone astray in his way; and the Lord gave him up for our sins.

7 And he, because of his affliction, opens not his mouth: he was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is dumb, so he opens not his mouth. 8 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken away from the earth: because of the iniquities of my people he was led to death. 9 And I will give the wicked for his burial, and the rich for his death; for he practised no iniquity, nor craft with his mouth. 10 The Lord also is pleased to purge him from his stroke. If ye can give an offering for sin, your soul shall see a long-lived seed: 11 the Lord also is pleased to take away from the travail of his soul, to shew him light, and to form him with understanding; to justify the just one who serves many well; and he shall bear their sins. 12 Therefore he shall inherit many, and he shall divide the spoils of the mighty; because his soul was delivered to death: and he was numbered among the transgressors; and he bore the sins of many, and was delivered because of their iniquities."

And even from the masoretic version, I see a difference in Scripture saying God did it vs the people thinking it He did it. But even in this variation, you still will have to read into the text that the Father was angry with His Son while being smitten, stricken, and afflicted. Was Abraham angry with his Son Isaac when God commanded that he would have to kill him? No! So why in the world must you believe that the Father was angry with His own Son?

Wouldn't that make the Trinity at odds with itself? How can the Father hate His Son? I'm sorry, but it just doesn't make sense to me.



NKJV
"4Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted."



NIV
"4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted."



To be continued.....

Garret said...

Hi Jnorm,
just a quick reply for now. I'm curious why you are going to a English translation of a Greek translation of the Hebrew language? Why not go straight from the Hebrew into English? Why not go from a critical text of the Hebrew language? Why did you not include verse 10 from the NIV and NKJV? If you don't, I will later tonight when I get home, and will address the alleged difficulty of the person of the Trinity , Jesus' unique role then too.
God bless,
Garret

David said...

Garret:

Figured I'd jump in and answer this one on Jnorm's behalf. The Orthodox use the Septuagint because:

1. First and foremost in importance, it was the Old Testament used by the Apostles (all but 8 of the quotes from the Old Testament contained in the New Testament come from the Septuagint).
2. It was also the Old Testament used by the early Christians.
3. It was considered by ancient Jews (including the Apostles and early Christians) and still is by the Orthodox today not as simply a man-made translation but as a divinely inspired one, and with good reason. An obvious one is that the Septuagint read "parthenos" (virgin) where the Hebrew said "almah" (young woman) in Isaiah's prophecy of the birth of Christ.
4. The Masoretic, in use by Protestants, is a Jewish, not a Christian, Bible. It was adopted by the Jews at the Council of Jamnia (if I remember correctly, in about the year 200), largely as a measure against the Christians, whose claims, as I said, often hinged directly on the Septuagint's translation.
5. The Septuagint is actually more accurate to the ancient Hebrew than the Masoretic. This has been shown by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest Old Testament manuscripts yet discovered, which agree consistently with the Septuagint over the Masoretic, demonstrating that the Septuagint is a more reliable textual transmission.
6. But all that aside: I circle back around to the original point -- we Orthodox use the Septuagint because it is the divinely inspired Old Testament used by the Apostles. :)

Garret said...

Thank you David- @ Feb 18 7:18 PM
I don't mean to sound rude, but I took and still take that as a 'cop out'. Something doesn't jibe here.

for
#1 yes
#2 yes- Hebrew was not widely read outside of Hebrew Scholars.
#3 Yes, and the Greek word for young woman would have been 'neanus'. Of note is that a young woman in that culture would have been a virgin.

#4 So having Jewish Scriptures be Jewish is wrong? It seems that you have the idea of an intentional corruption of the Scriptures that the Jews considered VERY Holy, and went to great lengths to preserve, developing elaborate copying rituals and destroying errant texts. Consider this- why would a group corrupt their OWN holy texts in order to thwart another group that they resent and wish to destroy? Isn't that like cutting of your own nose to spite your own face? It does not make sense at all, this intentional corruption- so I hope you don't fall for that non-sense. I mean can you see them saying "Oh no! They might read our books and use them against us, quick, let us take our heritage and corrupt it so they can't do it!" Nope, I don't buy that for one second.

5. OH? Quoting "Why trust the Bible" "These doubts (re:corrupt text) were settled with the discovery in cave 1 of a copy of the entire book of Isaiah dated to c.125 BC. This is 1,000 years earlier than the Masoretic Ben Asher Codex. When compared to the Ben Asher Codex, this scroll proved to be identical to the later version in more than 95 percent of the text. The 5 percent variation consists primarily of obvious slips of the pen and spelling alterations, many of which are no more significant than the difference between the word "over" being used in the place of "above". pg. 26

Now you are stuck in the unenviable place of trying to compare a Greek translation of a Hebrew text to a Hebrew text> instead of the easy task of comparing Hebrew to Hebrew. Hebrew to Hebrew is direct and leaves NO room for subjectivity- HOWEVER comparing a Greek translation of Hebrew to Hebrew leaves you with a subjective factor- and that is this- to ask oneself if the Hebrew you are comparing could be translated that way in Greek and still be called accurate- there could be a number of ways to translate the phrase from one language into another, so this opens the door to subjectivity. The one comparing it could SAY it was inaccurate because he would translate it this way, BUT it wasn't, so the translation is declared inaccurate- but the fact was that it was translated accurately in the first place, the subjective opinion of the one making the comparison was in error.

#6 that closes the door on a full understanding of the text of the Jewish Scriptures. You see, I can use both LXX and Masoretic, you won't, in principle. Please carefully ponder my response to #4- does that make sense to you?
God bless,
Garret

Jnorm888 said...

.......continued from before:

Garret said:
"Again, thanks for the comments. I need to look more into what you are saying about the ransom/Christus victor concepts versus my allegedly false and later view of the Scriptures. Obviously, you must consider that you too may be the one who is applying a modern version of an ancient philosophy, ultimately foreign to Jewish understanding, as well as applying that then to Christ and the work of the cross. I will expand on that below-"


My responce:
"My modern version is very close to the Ancient classical(Ransom) one. The Christus Victor is a modern remolding of the classical view, and this is why I put a slash between it and the Ransom modal in my previous comment." It is more likely that the Ransom view was the view that was handed to the Church. After all.....it was the view that was advocated for the first 1,000 years in Christiandom.

It is highly unlikely that The Penal Satisfaction view was handed to the Church. The Penal view was created a thousand and plus centuries later in time, and so I highly doubt it's interpretation as being the ""authentic christian view".


Garret said:
"I went to the link you provided and read it. As a Bible reader, I have reasons to reject many of the claims as an attempt to rescue a philosophical commitment that your side has that does not fit the overall narrative of the Bible story of man and God as a whole. For instance-
There is not the faintest trace of divine anger in the death of Christ.
For one, the horrific method of death, for two the prophesy of Isaiah explains why this was happening AND that He was struck down by God, voluntarily-"



My Responce:
I believe our side fit the overall narrative of the Bible story of man and God as a whole. In my protestants years I recall the Word of Faithers talking about Jesus deafeting the Devil, but I never heard that aspect from the Reformed and Calvinists. The onlything I heard from them was the Penal North American courtroom modal. And so, I will have to disagree and say no. The Reformed and Calvinistic modals of the Atonement does not fit the whole narrative of Scripture.

Also I looked at Isaiah 53(in both the LXX, Deadsea, and Masoretic) and I didn't see the Father being angry at His own Son. Why in the World would the Father have pleasure in being angry at His own Son? Where are you seeing this in Isaiah 53? I think you are reading this philosophy into the text. Plus, if the Father Loves The Son and the Son the Father......then how can the Father change His mind to hate His own Son? I'm sorry, but it just doesn't make sense to me. It would make more sense if you saw it in a similar manor as Abraham and Isaac. Was Abraham angry at his own son? Did Abraham hate his own son? So why should God? Isn't the Abraham and Isaac situation jewish? And yet, you think the classical modal is foriegn to jewish thought.


To be Continued......

Jnorm888 said...

Garret siad:
"Isaiah was 'undone' by his own unworthiness and uncleaness when he was exposed to God in all His glory in Chapter 6 of his book. Moses couldn't look full on upon the glory of God, but upon His back. If a person cannot read and understand how God could destroy the abominable sinful people groups such as the OT portrays, and that it was good and loving to do so, then one does not understand holiness, nor God.
Thanks,
God bless,
Garret"


My Response
I believe the people were destroyed in love...or tough love. But you believe God changes His mind back and forth from Love to hate like man.

But Scripture says:

Numbers 23:19
God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

1 Samuel 15:29
He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind."

James 1:17
"Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow."

I see the Anthropomorphism in the Scriptures that talk about God being angry and hating. We are the ones that have mood swings. God talks to us in this way in Scripture so that we can somehow communicate. It is called Anthropomorphism and Accomodation. God lowers Himself so that we can somehow comprehend something about Him......at some level.

Isaiah 55:9
"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."


Garret said:
"Thus, making it right with God, SATISFYING GOD. Why does God need satisfying? Because He is happy? You need to be made satisfied when something is wrong- right? What are sins and why do they make you 'unclean?' Man enjoys sin, many sins feel oh so gooooood. They are sin because the One who is Sovereign has shown us they are sin. He is holy and cannot sin- it is detestable to Him. Why did blood need to be spilled with your hand on the animals head? Not from anger?"


My Response:
I'm sorry but I am going to have to disagree with certain parts of what you said above. When Adam and Eve sinned, they hid from God. It was God who went after them. Who sought them out. He did this while they were in sin. He showed mercy on them by covering up their nakedness. He took care of them .....even in their fallen state. God took care of Cain after he killed his brother, and so God doesn't always make sinners drop dead. God doesn't always stay away from sinners. There are alot of times in where God shows mercy to sinners. Yes, God is Holy, but He is in control of His Holiness. His Holiness doesn't control Him. Or else He wouldn't be able to show mercy to noone.

Don't forget, God came to us while we were still sinners. His Holiness didn't stop Him from coming to us while still in sin. Also, His justice doesn't always mean making people drop dead, nor does it always have to mean hate, anger, and wrath. It can mean having love, compassion, and mercy as well.

Psalm 145:9
"The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made."

Isaiah 30:18
"Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!"

Jeremiah 10:24
"Correct me, LORD, but only with justice— not in your anger, lest you reduce me to nothing."

Zechariah 7:9
"This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another."

So why must you believe that the Father hated His own Son?


To be continued.....

Jnorm888 said...

Garret said:
"The flood that wiped out all but 8 humans- because God had wrath for the sins of mankind. Sodom and Gomorrah, utterly destroyed. The peoples who occupied the chosen land, commit abominable sins, they were to be destroyed. God's anger and detesting of sin is everywhere. Satisfying that is drastic and bloody. That is because He is holy."
Thanks,
God bless"


My Response:
You chose the wrong Scripture. I agree that Scripture uses "hate, wrath, and anger" type of language. I also explained in previous comments how I understand such Scriptural language. I understand such language in the context of God's Love.....since God doesn't really change His mind from Love to hate. God's hate must be understood in the context of His universal Love. But in looking at Genesis chapter 6, the language used is this:

"6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them." 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD."

This isn't saying what you are saying.


Garret said:
"Hi Jnorm,
just a quick reply for now. I'm curious why you are going to a English translation of a Greek translation of the Hebrew language?"


My Response:
The LXX family of texts is our Old Testament. Jesus and the Apostles mostly used it, and it has been the O.T. Scriptures of most of the Early Churches eversince. Things changed in the west after the time of Saint Jerome.


Garret said:
"Why not go straight from the Hebrew into English? Why not go from a critical text of the Hebrew language?"


My Response:
David did an excellent job as to why. There really isn't anything else I can add


Garret said:
"Why did you not include verse 10 from the NIV and NKJV? If you don't, I will later tonight when I get home, and will address the alleged difficulty of the person of the Trinity , Jesus' unique role then too.
God bless,
Garret"


My Response:
I didn't feel a need to since verse 10 of the LXX wasn't that different from the Masoretic. As seen here:

NIV
"Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand."

NASB
"But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand."


Brenton's LXX
"The Lord also is pleased to purge him from his stroke. If ye can give an offering for sin, your soul shall see a long-lived seed: 11 the Lord also is pleased to take away from the travail of his soul, to shew him light, and to form him with understanding; to justify the just one who serves many well; and he shall bear their sins."

You can also check it out at Lucian's recention(LXX):
http://septuagint-interlinear-greek-bible.com/OldTestament.pdf


I don't see what you see in verse 10. I don't see the Father hating His own Son. I still feel that you have to read that view/interpretation into the text.


ICXC NIKA

Jnorm888 said...

In short,


God was pleased not because he was angry and hated His own Son.

He was pleased because He sent His only begotten Son into the World to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (a combination of John 3:16 and Colossians 1:20)







ICXC NIKA

Jnorm888 said...

#4) Read Saint Justin Martre's conversation with Tryfo the Jew.

#5.) I have the book "The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible" translated by Martin Abegg, Peter Flint and Eugene Ulrich

And I know that both the Deadsea books of Daniel and Isaiah mostly agree with the Masoretic over the LXX....eventhough in some places they agree with the LXX over the Masoretic in these books. But all the other books mostly agree with the LXX over the Masoretic. The book I mentioned above have at the bottom of the page where it agrees with either the LXX family, Samaritan, or Masoretic....or if it goes it's own way....against all three. But in the places in where the LXX and Masoretic disagrees.....in most books... It agrees with the LXX family of texts.



#6) We make use of both the LXX and Masoretic. Just because I believe in LXX prioritism doesn't mean I can't use the Hebrew and Aramaic of the deadsea scrolls. Nor does it mean I can't use the Masoretic either.







ICXC NIKA

Garret said...

Hi Jnorm

First- only you are using the word hate here- to mean God's righteous judgment as sovereign creator over His creation. Please quit claiming that this is hatred of man- it is not- it is hatred of sin, I'll give you that. Psalm 5 says that God hates sinners, but we'll leave that untouched. But you cannot equivocate. Man is condemned in sin- dead in sin (Ephesians 2), and outside of Jesus will die in sin (John 8:21-24). Because of sin the separation. If man did not sin, there would be no separation- hence it is not man who is condemned becuae his is man, but sin- in man, and the man who sins. No sin= no condemnation.

You said (all of Jnorm comments in italics) But you believe God changes His mind back and forth from Love to hate like man.

I don't believe that at all, and that is not the Reformed position- that God 'changes His mind'. God guides history, it is in His hands. The wrath of God is the wrath against sin- a righteous wrath, one that cannot be properly understood if you don't understand why He condemns it. He condemns it because we are made in His image, and our sin profanes that image. He is holy. This is LOVE to condemn sin because sin is harmful.

God doesn't always stay away from sinners. There are alot of times in where God shows mercy to sinners. Yes, God is Holy, but He is in control of His Holiness. His Holiness doesn't control Him. Or else He wouldn't be able to show mercy to noone.

Your objection does not fit Christianity at all. That would be impossible for me to believe that God would stay away from sinners- all men are sinners and Jesus has bridged that gap. To say His holiness doesn't control Him is to not understand that holiness is a description of His purity- it is who He is, not a thing that controls Him.

Re Gods' judgmentI understand such language in the context of God's Love.....since God doesn't really change His mind from Love to hate. God's hate must be understood in the context of His universal Love.

Condemning sin is not changing His mind, and it is not HATE. From Chapter 3 of Genesis we see that disobedience has a punishment, and so it is through all of the Scriptures. Love is caring for the best for mankind, and this disobedience breaks fellowship with God. Fellowship with God is the best for mankind, which was made in His image. Hence, when you say -I don't see the Father hating His own Son. I still feel that you have to read that view/interpretation into the text. I say that you don't understand that Jesus has taken the sin of man onto Himself ( or that you would claim that I don't understand), which sin is condemned, and settled through blood. You are calling that hatred of the Son, but it was the Sons voluntary act of love to do this for disobedient mankind, and yes, the Devil was crushed in doing so. This does not mean that sin is okay- obviously- and why is it not okay? Can you please answer why sin is not okay to God? You keep calling the righteous indignation of God towards it as 'hate' and a 'changing of His mind'. Condemning sin is an act of LOVE not hate.
God bless,
Garret

David said...

Garret:

1 - 2. Glad we can agree on that. For me, those two are the deciding factors, free of any other supporting evidence. If the Apostles used it and considered divinely inspired, passing on its use and the belief in its divine inspiration to their successors, in an unbroken chain which continued until the Reformation in the 17th century -- that's pretty conclusive to me.
3. That's not necessarily true. Women got married at a very young age in that culture, pretty much as soon as they started menstruating.
4. It's unfortunate but true. As Jnorm pointed out, St. Justin the Philosophers "Dialogue with Trypho the Jew" (written in about AD 150) mentions several points where the Jews had amended their Scriptures to reflect an anti-Christian bias. It has been known to historians for a long time that Aquila, a convert to Judaism from Greco-Roman paganism, penned his alternative Greek translation of the Scriptures precisely because the Septuagint was used so heavily by the Christians (he, of course, made sure to duly translate "almah" as "neanus" in contrast to the Septuagint's "parthenos"). In addition, it's well known that most of the Jews accepted the deuterocanonical books as Scriptural up until about 200. Sirach is cited as an authority in many ancient rabbinical sayings; in fact, prayers from the book of Sirach are still included in the Jewish liturgy to this day! Baruch is referred to specifically in the Talmud as "Scripture." St. Melito of Sardis cites the canon of the Jews of Palestine as including the Wisdom of Solomon in about AD 130. Considering the amazingly clear prophecy of, for instance, chapter 2 of the Wisdom of Solomon, it's not hard to see why the Jews would want to get rid of these, as it was deeply troubling for their rejection of Christ. Equally troubling is how Protestants can consider a prophecy as clear as Wisdom 2 to not be Scriptural, in significant contrast to historic Christian belief.
Now, in all fairness to the ancient Jews, they viewed themselves as returning to the moral original version (Hebrew) and as trimming off Christian interpolations; this doesn't, though, make their reasoning valid for Christians.
5. You are right that Isaiah of the DSS agrees more with the Masoretic; it is, however, the sole exception to the rule. Also, it's worthy of note that the Ben Asher Codex is of Jewish origin, even though penned well into the Christian era (ca. 950). Why are we relying on texts preserved by people who rejected Christ? Why not turn to a Christian manuscript like Codex Alexandrinus (ca. 400), for instance, when looking for the authentic Christian Old Testament?
6. I'm not sure where you got the idea that I refuse to use the Masoretic at all. I believe in the primacy and divine inspiration of the Septuagint, as did the Apostles and early Christians. But, like them, I am more than willing to turn to other textual traditions, including but not limited to the Masoretic, when looking for a clearer meaning of the text at hand. We, as Christians, however, should not be fooled into thinking that the Masoretic and the Septuagint are on equal footing. The former is Jewish, the latter is Christian (I use these words here in the sense only referring to the point at which those two groups diverged). The Septuagint, with the deuterocanonicals, is the divinely inspired Old Testament of Christianity, and I don't think there's much getting around that.

Garret said...

Hi David-
Thanks for weighing in again! My reply that you are responding to is seen feb 19, 2:50 am

3. That's not necessarily true. Women got married at a very young age in that culture, pretty much as soon as they started menstruating.

David, as I understand it, and I might be wrong- but an Almah is an UNMARRIED maiden. I know they married young, but the description is of the unmarried.

RE: 4 and 5-I am not at this time able to counter many of your claims here, but will look into them- though I do have a few comments.
The points I made in my response stand. That some might alter interpretations of the Hebrew into Greek is not proof of a broad conspiracy of faithful Jews- my presentation of the absurdity of this notion still stands.
this article- http://www.esvstudybible.org/sb/objects/article-canon-scripture.html

deals with the academic conclusions of those outside of the EOC. Which is an accurate representation of history? David- you are a student of history, so maybe you can refute it for the sake of honesty in the academic world? Until then, I will see no need to drift from the views presented there.
Equally troubling is how Protestants can consider a prophecy as clear as Wisdom 2 to not be Scriptural, in significant contrast to historic Christian belief.

Because it violates in at least one place, the clear teaching of the rest of Scripture as pointed out in the article I refered you to.

Why not turn to a Christian manuscript like Codex Alexandrinus (ca. 400), for instance, when looking for the authentic Christian Old Testament?...The Septuagint, with the deuterocanonicals, is the divinely inspired Old Testament of Christianity, and I don't think there's much getting around that.

That notion is safely rejected. It parallels the absurd position that the AV 1611 'King James Version' is the only valid English translation- that it is specially inspired. NO- its a translation! Prior to Christianity, the Hebrew Scriptures looked forward to Christ in prophesy, type and shadow, etc. If it was valid then, it is valid now.

There is no 'Christian' Old Testament. There is the one OT that was delivered by Gods providence for Christians and the Jews (who long for the Messiah that they missed). If the LXX is THE inspired, the other is not, but the other (Hebrew) was according to itself the oracles of God. To claim that the LXX is specially inspired in its differences is to engage in special pleading- to call a translation of the originals better than the originals is absurd.

The typical Protestant response by the way to the Parthenos translation of the LXX in Isaiah is the most reasonable one that I have seen. No special pleading is needed to see it as a special event of inspiration that wasn't already in the text at least implicitly. It is simply this- that when the Pre-Christian Hebrew scholars looked at the word and sought to translate it BEFORE Christ- they interpreted a virgin to give birth, hence, they translated parthenos, not neanus, of Hebrew- Almah. Either way, If you are looking to a post- Christ interpretation, it would not be valid to change it to virgin if it was not that in the first place- that would be intentional alteration to bolster the case of Christ. Its significance is in the fact that the LXX PRIOR to Christs birth said 'parthenos'. In otherwords, the interest in the LXX should only be pre-Christian anyway to PROVE that there was in fact prophesy, not doctoring to appear as though prophesy! So this pleading of Christian OT is weak, because you wan the pre Christian OT to demonstrate the case that the prophesies were there, intact prior to Christ.

God bless,
Garret

Jnorm888 said...

Garret,


I disagree with what you are saying. In both your responses to me and David.

I still stand by what I said. I've been reading the works of the pre-nicene, nicene, and early post nicene fathers, nonfathers, schismatics, and heretics off and on since 1997/1998 and so, there is nothing more for me to say without repeating myself over and over again.

You haven't read them, and so for you it seems to be special pleading......but it's not.





ICXC NIKA

Garret said...

Jnorm

You haven't read them, and so for you it seems to be special pleading......but it's not.

Sir, you don't know what I've read or haven't read.
My very first comment in this thread indicates that I have read Polycarp's epistle, for one- many others too.

The Reformers were very much readers of the early fathers, and used them in their arguments against their RC opponents.

You were the one telling me that I believed in a God of omni-hate merely because he condemns sin, and I point out that He is holy. I wonder if you have understood what I have been saying.
God bless,
Garret

David said...

NO- its a translation! Prior to Christianity, the Hebrew Scriptures looked forward to Christ in prophesy, type and shadow, etc. If it was valid then, it is valid now.

The problem you encounter here is:
1. The original Hebrew doesn't exist anymore; the Masoretic is not the original.
2. There was no point in history that the 66 books which comprise the Protestant canon were all compiled into one without any other books and called "the only Scripture" before the Jews did so well into the Christian era (c. 200)
3. Again, and most importantly, the Septuagint was the Bible of the Apostles, not the Masoretic.

the Jews (who long for the Messiah that they missed)

They didn't miss him; they rejected him.

To claim that the LXX is specially inspired in its differences is to engage in special pleading- to call a translation of the originals better than the originals is absurd.

You seem to be under the impression that the Masoretic is the original Hebrew, and that the 66 books of the Protestant canon existed in a combined form of only those 66 before Christ. Neither of these is true. And it's incorrect to rely on a Jewish decision made well after Christ -- even if you reject that the Jews chose their canon as anti-Christian measure, it's an undeniable and plain fact that the Jews who chose this canon were not under the inspiration of God to do so. The Church is the new Israel, the inheritors of the covenant between God and Abraham -- the Jews, having rejected Christ, are not part of this anymore. The Christians, on the other hand, were promised by Christ to be guided into all truth. I simply can't understand why you insist on using a canon of Scripture compiled and preserved by people who rejected and even slandered Christ, and who, in the early years of Christianity (right at the time their canon was taking shape) persecuted Christians.

So this pleading of Christian OT is weak, because you wan the pre Christian OT to demonstrate the case that the prophesies were there, intact prior to Christ.

It is the Christian Old Testament because Christians inherited the covenant. I didn't in any way mean to imply any kind of Christian distortion of Scripture -- quite the opposite. Christians have preserved the original Old Testament -- that used by the Apostles; it is the LXX.

David said...

Garret:

David, as I understand it, and I might be wrong- but an Almah is an UNMARRIED maiden. I know they married young, but the description is of the unmarried.

My understanding is that this is the normal use of the word, but not the exclusive use. It referred specifically to a young woman who was of age to marry -- generally unmarried, but not always; which is why Aquila didn't have a problem "distorting" the meaning of "his own" Scriptures when he chose not to translate the term as "parthenos."

I am not at this time able to counter many of your claims here

I hope that you will research what I've said, and I look forward to seeing your response.

this article

There's quite a few flaws in this article. The author claims that only Tobit, Sirach, and Wisdom (from amongst the deuterocanonicals, which he erroneously refers to as "apocrypha") were accepted as Scripture by "some" early Christians. I'd have to ask him why we find, for instance, St. Clement of Rome writing as early as AD 95, citing Judith amongst Biblical figures (to use just one example).

Which is an accurate representation of history? David- you are a student of history, so maybe you can refute it for the sake of honesty in the academic world?

The opinions this article ventures have already been "refuted" by many scholars, including atheists, Orthodox, Roman Catholics, even Protestants, and others. Maybe I'll do a post here sometime using those resources to demonstrate.

Because it violates in at least one place, the clear teaching of the rest of Scripture as pointed out in the article I refered you to.

The article cites Wisdom 8:19-20 as contradicting the New Testament. Here's the verses:
"And I was a witty child and had received a good soul.
And whereas I was more good, I came to a body undefiled."

The text says nothing like what the author claims it does. Both the words of these verses and of those that surround, giving it context, go against this author's distorted interpretation. Solomon here says that because he excelled in his youth, he was granted a "good soul," and because of his goodness, he was granted an undefiled body. The passage is stressing reliance on God's gifts, not teaching that some people are born good (I must add that I find it rather ironic to see a Calvinist rejecting rather than embracing this verse with that interpretation, as the interpretation being avered is essentially a Calvinistic one).

If you don't mind, I'd like to see how you explain the amazingly clear prophecy of Wisdom 2 in light of your rejection of it as Scriptural, and even assertion that it is heretical.

Garret said...

Hi David-
Thank you again

Re: ESV article on canon I'd have to ask him why we find, for instance, St. Clement of Rome writing as early as AD 95, citing Judith amongst Biblical figures (to use just one example).

You missed what the author said- I quote "The earliest Christian biblical manuscripts contain the fewest books of the Apocrypha, and up until a.d. 313, only Wisdom, Tobit, and Sirach ever occur in them; other books of the Apocrypha were not added until later."
The author was not talking about the Fathers witness, but rather mss.extant. Obviously there was some disagreement floating around as you can compare early notions of canon and the disputes there.
If you wish to tackle this article to refute, you would have to take the time to refute those statements with proofs and references- I'll take their word for it right now, as that is their field, they have laid their own professional credibility on the line. I doubt they would refer to historical claims on shaky grounds like that.

If you don't mind, I'd like to see how you explain the amazingly clear prophecy of Wisdom 2 in light of your rejection of it as Scriptural, and even assertion that it is heretical.

Sola Scriptura is not a claim that all religious knowledge is contained in Scripture, so this is a straw-man. David, I didn't make my own canon- I didn't create my own Scriptures. I love the prayers in Tobit for example, that doesn't mean I consider it as a book on par with Scripture, or that in liking the prayers, I should feel at liberty to declare it God-breathed Scripture! Just because I like or agree in general with a non canonical book does not mean I should consider it as Scripture.

Do me a favor if you can- please demonstrate using a scholarly article that the apocrypha were considered Scripture on par with the Law and Prophets? We need to balance that out with the Fathers who wrote against certain books, are they misguided like me?

It is amazing that you can say
The original Hebrew doesn't exist anymore; the Masoretic is not the original. That sentence is not only an impossibility because it demands comparison to know, but you expect it to be considered true.

Further notes-

You have misunderstood me. You claim I have a notion about the 66 books of the Prot. canon that does not fit the article that I referred you to. Please consider that I read those articles and consider them generally true if I am going to present them to you. I'm not a hick who thinks his Bible fell out of heaven and fears you are trying to tape a bunch of other books to it.


You missed my point on the OT. I was saying that to have mss. that are clearly physical items that predate the incarnation of our Lord are very valuable, as they demonstrate beyond any shadow of a doubt that the prophesies of Christ were in writing prior to the incarnation. The DSS are older than the time of Christ, many of them at least.

You seem to be under the impression that the Masoretic is the original Hebrew

We already covered this in this thread, and you agreed with me, about the masoretic as compared to Isaiah in the DSS. This established reliability whether you accept it or not.

another clarifying question-
The early church had the LXX no doubt, this was their Old Testament. You are claiming that it is different than the Hebrew OT, or only the masoretic in particular?

Thanks,
God bless,
Garret

David said...

It is amazing that you can say
The original Hebrew doesn't exist anymore; the Masoretic is not the original. That sentence is not only an impossibility because it demands comparison to know, but you expect it to be considered true.


It's a well-established fact in the world of biblical scholarship. The oldest Hebrew Bible manuscript, other than the Dead Sea Scrolls is the Nash papyrus (ca. 150 BC), which differs from the Masoretic in agreement with the Septuagint -- and it's in Hebrew. The Samaritan textual tradition of the Pentateuch is also quite ancient -- and again differs from the Masoretic in agreement with the Septuagint. The Dead Sea Scrolls are the oldest and (outside of Isaiah and Daniel) consistently agree with the Septuagint as well -- although, admittedly, they disagree with both quite a bit; enough that most scholars constitute the DSS as a manuscript tradition all its own. No one except Protestant apologists actually believes the Masoretic is the original Hebrew.

A quick summary of dates as agreed upon by a majority of scholars (extant manuscripts only; a vast majority posit that the original is lost and that there was another intervening version between that original lost and the Masoretic, while the Septuagint is, at least in part, probably a translation of the original):
Version * Date composed * Date of oldest extant manuscript
DSS * 150 BC * 150 BC
LXX * 300 BC * 150 BC (fragments); AD 350 (complete)
Samaritan * 200 BC * AD 1000
Masoretic * AD 100 * AD 900

The unavoidable fact that can easily be discerned from these dates alone and a knowledge of who produced the manuscripts is that you are relying on a remarkably late (AD 1000) manuscript tradition which was preserved entirely by people who hated the Lord and which version was not used by Christ, the Apostles, nor the early Christians. I, on the other hand, think that the same people who delivered to me the New Testament are also capable of delivering to me the right Old Testament -- and so I rely on a much older manuscript tradition (older by over 1100 years), which was preserved and maintained by those who lived and died for Christ through persecutions and wars over many years. You decide who you want to trust :)

You missed my point on the OT. I was saying that etc.

Right, and I agree. I'm not sure what kind of argument this lodges against the Septuagint, though, as the Septuagint predates Christ by about 300 years, while the Masoretic postdates his birth by about a hundred years.

another clarifying question-
The early church had the LXX no doubt, this was their Old Testament. You are claiming that it is different than the Hebrew OT, or only the masoretic in particular?


I'm saying that the LXX, which you acknowledge (with deuterocanonicals, I assume, as they are a part of the LXX tradition) as the Bible of the Apostles and early Christians, is sufficiently different from the Masoretic (an entirely Jewish [read, Christ-denying] construction) to justify not using the Masoretic. I believe, and the evidence indicates, that the LXX agrees with the original versions of the books it contains more than the Septuagint -- although it may very well (and does, for those books written originally in Greek, for instance) contain "new" inspired passages itself.

David said...

Garret:

You missed what the author said- I quote "The earliest Christian biblical manuscripts contain the fewest books of the Apocrypha, and up until a.d. 313, only Wisdom, Tobit, and Sirach ever occur in them; other books of the Apocrypha were not added until later."

I did misread; thanks for the correction. Your author is still wrong, though ;) Here's why:
1. It's a misleading statement, even if it were true. The implication is that only Wisdom, Tobit, and Sirach were considered Scriptural by early Christians; this is incorrect, and a reading of the numerous quotes from all of the deuterocanonicals contained in the Fathers and even in the New Testament itself is more than enough to prove that.
2. I'm not sure what manuscripts the author is referring to. The oldest Christian Biblical manuscripts we have all post-date 313. The three oldest are Codex Alexandrinus, Codex Sinaiticus, and Codex Vaticanus, all from the late 4th or early 5th centuries. Codex Alexandrinus, which is missing quite a few pages, verses, and books, contains 3 and 4 Maccabees, Psalm 151, and Odes. Codex Sinaiticus contains Sirach, 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, all four Maccabees, and Wisdom. Codex Vaticanus contains 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Judith, Baruch, the Epistle of Jeremiah, and Tobit.
Your author may be referring to Jewish Biblical manuscripts, although I'm not sure which he'd be referring to here as I can't think of any that meet the criteria. Either way, if it's Jewish manuscripts he's talking about my question is: Who cares? Again, to turn to Jews (after the time of Christ) for deciding our canon is simply wrong. The Jews of that era rejected and slandered Christ and martyred and slandered his disciples -- why are we relying on them for our Scriptures?

Sola Scriptura is not a claim that all religious knowledge is contained in Scripture, so this is a straw-man.

All I'm asking for is an explanation of how the author if Wisdom can be simultaneously a prophet and a heretic, when God does not work through the ungodly.

Just because I like or agree in general with a non canonical book does not mean I should consider it as Scripture.

How do you decide whether something is to be considered Scriptural? By what standard do you decide this?

Do me a favor if you can- please demonstrate using a scholarly article that the apocrypha were considered Scripture on par with the Law and Prophets?

This is a Roman Catholic resource, but it contains the information. A reading of the early Church Fathers is probably the best thing I can recommend.

We need to balance that out with the Fathers who wrote against certain books, are they misguided like me?

I haven't seen any Fathers write against the deuterocanonicals, but even if they did: Many Fathers wrote against the Apocalypse of John all the way up until the year 1000. Probably the majority of Christians rejected it for several hundred years. Does this cast doubt upon its inspiration?

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