Tuesday, January 12, 2016

... and comments on first twenty minutes of Presbytera Dr Jeannie Constantinou's talk on "reading the Bible as an Orthodox Christian"

Reading the Bible as an Orthodox Christian - Dr Jeannie Constantinou
St Barnabas Orthodox Church of Costa Mesa. California

3:50 "the Orthodox Church never objected to translating the Bible into the language of the people" - except of course when it came to Greek. The Greek Bible is still in koiné, a language now referred to as Katharevousa, while the Greeks have long since become speakers of a diverging and now other language known as Dhimotiki. Actually, early on, the Latin Church when it came to Latin was more popular than the Greek side.


4:26 Alphabets (versions of the Latin one) were given to West European (North of Roman Empire or invading) peoples. And actually, parts of Bible were translated in first millennium, but this was not used liturgically. Except perhaps as a sermon - after the Latin Gospel. Note that Latin was in Gaul up to c. 800 and in Spain and Italy up to c. 1000 pronounced in a popular way, like you pronounce katharevousa after the manner of dhimotiki, and not like historical reconstructions of koiné indicate. Soon after the change in Gaul a council was held in Tours, where a sermon explaining Gospel became mandatory. 813, I think.

5:45 No, Presbytera, the XXth C. mischief is NOT scholastic, and it is neither philosophical nor analytical. A for "critical" which you also mentioned, that is NOT the tradition of the Latin west. I came here to hear about Eastern exegesis, and I hear incorrect side nibs at Western one.

6:05 They do produce documents? Yes. But wasn't Eastern Christianity doing that too during first millennium? Up to the two versions of Constantinople IV, 869 and 879, Easterners were pretty good at producing documents. Not that Westerners were necessarily lousy at it.

6:40 Protestantism was entirely unbounded by any kind of structure? Presbytera, I am a former Lutheran, and I know about a century called Lutheran Orthodoxy in Sweden (meeting of Uppsala 1593 I think it was, up to Bible of Charles XII - which is Bible of Gustaf Wasa plus our last really useful spelling reform, abolition of th, dh, gh, which sounds had recently disappeared). I would NOT say it was unbounded by any kind of structure. Anabaptism perhaps was, but it was more persecuted by Anglicans and Covenanters perhaps too than by Catholics.

[And our own Lutherans persecuted Catholics and Moravians, and even Pietists remaining within the community during that century.]

7:32 by a common interpretation, there is a sense of consistency .... Presbytera, Catholics too. Trent very clearly referred to Church Fathers as a sine qua non for dogmatic interpretation. As binding wenever they agree.

7:52 "that is not created artificially by having a superstructure" I'd say it is preserved by a superstructure, called bishops and monks? And Catholics will NOT agree to accusation of our superstructure actually creating a consensus artificially, more like preserving an existing one against new heresies.

8:33 obligation of Catholics to conform to the teaching of the Pope ... well, since popes used to limit themselves to condemning heresies like "Sun is center of the universe and Earth in the third heaven above it" or "if someone says he'll calumniate you, that agression suffices for a defence which may be lethal to agressor of your honour". Urban VIII and Alexander VII or VIII. Since this was so limited, it was a reasonable approach. But you might be thinking of Pius XII? He said even non-infallible statements had to be adhered to.

8:39 "we never say 'you must conform'"? Hmmmm ... I don't really think so. What about the Sigillion* of 1583? Now, Sigillion and Bull actually mean same thing. And what about the persecution of Old Believers in Russia?

8:45 "we conform ourselves to the mind of the Church" - well, so do faithful Catholics!

12:30 for me as up to then at one age Pagan (not as Antichristian, but as without defined religion and accepting some atheist tenets), at a later age evangelical, when at thirteen I came to a theology class with ma, I did now exactly what was wrong: if Bible and Babylonian myth are similar, it need not be because Bible borrowed from it during captivity (which upsets the authorship of Moses), but "why not because events really happened and Babylonians remembered some details wrong?"

For me, the mentality I had acquired, equipped me to make a challenge, not against the Bible, but against what amounted to a subvertive attack on the Bible.

13:46 Ha, sounds nice!

For me, it is not just conclusions I will not reach, there is also a way of criticising how Modernists reach it, but not reaching them is at least a good thing. Loisy and so were pretty condemned by Pope Pius X. Who of these do you think had the more Orthodox phronema?

15:03 The kind of atonement theology which developed in the Middle Ages is not in the Bible?

"came to gather scattered sheep"?

Or in tradition, what about the difference of where Abraham's bosom was and is, in Sheol and in Heaven, thanks to a certain atonement?

What exactly is it you consider the West (including, I presume, Catholics) to have for theology which is not in the Bible or tradition of Church Fathers?

15:59 To a Catholic of the Latin Church, Academics is a way of life which recuperates that of St Justin and St Catherine of Alexandria. The way of life which means arguing with those who are wrong. Some of the very early Christians, even St Paul on Areopagus (whence we get the conversion of St Denys of the Areopagus - Dhionisios, as you pronounce his name), actually did so. Respecting a known protocol of discussion (going back to Socratic dialogues) was not foreign for them. Sacrificing truth to protocol, yes. And still should be to a good academician.

If you can't defend truth within the protocol, defend it to yourself or those you are concerned with outside it, but hope someone will also defend it according to the protocol : thesis, argument for thesis, argument against thesis, refutation of argument against thesis or perhaps some other order, but those components.

16:51 the idea of "OT age of Father, NT age of Son, x age of Holy Spirit" actually comes from a Joachim of Fiori** - a heterodox abbot, like Origen, he was not condemned himself, but his followers were condemned afterwards. In his case the NT was still ongoing and the "age of the Holy Spirit" was imminent, some of them would instead say x was Church from Acts to Apocalypse, some that it began on Asuza Street, even perhaps ...

How did the Evangelicals deal with Exodus "pi" and "before Abraham was, I am"?

18:56 "here you have a person knowledgeable enough to write commentary who doesn't know that" (it was the Word who spoke to Moses)?

Well, there is academia, and there is academia, this "knowledgeable" commentator was not the kind of academia the Catholic Church has approved of!

It is basically "same finger" which writes on stone and writes on very small stone pebbles also known as sand - in the time of Moses and when Pharisees accuse an adultereSS, but forget the adultereR ... (John 8?) and Church Fathers probably pointed out that He was writing same words (the decalogue)!

What was the name of the un-Catholic commentator? I would like to check if he is old enough to be in Index of Forbidden Books (one edition from 1948 is on the web).

19:14 I would say Western Traditional Catholicism has a mentality which is undistorted by later "developments" or heresies of either Protestantism or certain parts of Orthodox polemics.

That said, I'd pick Palamas over Luther any day of the week (Constantinople V, third time over - his council - was condemned by the Pope, but on VERY few points, like the Blessed not seeing the Nature of God : most of what he said was not considered suspect by the Pope's theologians).

19:32 We Catholics claim that the Latin Mass also belonged to the Early Church. We too share its liturgy.

19:45 "much more organic than it is for" ... Protestants and Modernists, please!***

Try reading Unwanted Priest by Father Bryan Houghton, he was kind of caught in acceptance of Vatican II despite so much, but he knew what "the mind of the Church" was.

19:50 "Ancient and Eastern"?

Hmmmm .... have you missed that St Barnabas ordained St Narnus as bishop of Bergamo, in Italy?

Or that in the papacy of St Clement, Corinth was still the Patriarchate of Rome?

Or that St Irenaeus was bishop of Lugdunum, in Gaul, now Lyons in France?

And Paris claims that the St Denys who was first bishop of - here° - was the Areaopagite. The one converted by St Paul.

Also, Marseilles disputes Larnaka the honour of being the city where St Lazarus the Four Days Dead died as bishop.

Of course, there are a sort of Catholics who will give you right on these issues ... to me they do not seem to have the mind of the Church.

Plus St Paul was from Spain, and so was Hosius, a man who with some wavering supported St Athanasius in his exile.

And St Athanasius was in Trier, now Germany. In exile, two years, but he was there.

* Is the Greek word for Bull now Sigillion - literally "little seal" or Sigillikon ("having to do with, equipped with a seal")? I found Sigillion in Orthodox wiki, but seem to recall Sigillikon. ** Actually I think it was "da Fiore", "of Fiore". My bad, if so.*** On video, she had implied that it was fro Traditional Latins too! °He also had a sound devotion to the Blessed Virgin. After being beheaded, he picked up his head and ran to a statue of the Blessed Virgin, putting his head down before Her. THEN he fell down and expired.

As I mentioned Index of Forbidden Books, here is the online edition I was thinking of:


Full version of short link given above:

Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Iunctim, Iuncta or Simul

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