Saturday, May 27, 2017

... on Sufficiency of Scripture and Bible Canon (feat. our very special guest star : J. P. Holding)

Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : ... on Sufficiency of Scripture and Bible Canon (feat. our very special guest star : J. P. Holding) · Great Bishop of Geneva! : Answering a Page about "Apocrypha"

For some who are not familiar with the genre I am using here (and no, it is not the dialogue which is default genre on this blog), you first listen to the video. You then read the text of my comments. The hours after I publish this, the text will probably still be top of comments, but when there are 1000 plus comments, you will need to go here to read them. In each comment I give time signature, often an indication of what J. P. Holding was saying at that point, and my response to it. So, the genre is not "dialogue", but detailed comment including in some places refutation.

TL;DR of below : J. P. Holding misconstrues what "sufficiency of Scripture" was about, and also partially refutes both this heresy and gives me opportunity to refute the heresy he is promoting on so called "Apocrypha" or "Deuterocanonic Books".

Punch Bowling #1: The Sufficiency of Scripture

The wonderful summersaults of Reformation ideology!

If Luther as a disciple of fairly recent Erasmus who had been alerted by also fairly recent Valla* (all of the three Catholic priests before writing, and the two non-Luther remained so!) that details about less recent and closer to Gospel times Roman Antiquities* were being gotten wrong makes a contextualising comment from purely human scholarship, that is fine with "sufficiency of Scripture".

B u t if Erasmus responds (like he did in De Libero Arbitrio, I think) about the need of reading much less recent and much closer to the Gospel times Church Fathers, like St Jerome, oh, no, that is "human traditions"!

* Valla specialised in showing what the Roman currency of money really was like. De Asse et Partibus eius. I am not making this up! Really relevant for a full understanding of any Gospel text involving Shekels, I suppose, but perhaps a bit superfluous to understanding the theological part of it.

Catholics rely on specific extra-Biblical, but Biblically endorsed information sources, like St Jerome. Lutherans rely on specific extra-Biblical, Biblically not endorsed information sources, like Valla. And for that matter Erasmus, when it came to pronouncing Koiné as Attic was pronounced by Plato, except where spelling differs.

"The Original Writings were Greek."

OK, I am into the LXX too, as a good substitute for the lost Hebrew "Vorlage" of it, but LXX is after all a translation ...

Irrelevant to the point? Well, so could Valla's De Asse be irrelevant to any point about parables or events involving money in NT. While the theological analysis by Sts Augustine, Jerome, Chrysostom could be very relevant - the precise thing Luther jettisoned.

If you actually said "Greek and Hebrew", I am watching this in sound off with subtitles. A neat lesson about computers not at all getting language.

But the "sufficiency of Scripture" was NOT in response to the texts some Catholics term Deuterocanonical and Protestants usually term Apocrypha (a term also covering heretical and spurious wrtitings like infamous Gospel of Thomas, not meaning the Childhood Gospel of St Thomas, but the other one). We had TWO distinct disputes. Just on Scripture.

Sufficiency of Scripture, aka Sola Scriptura, condemned by Trent responding Scripture must be interpreted according to the Church, Fathers as history of the Church being, whenever agreeing, nearly on par with Scripture, Magisterium of the present as rulers of the Church being the present mouthpiece of both.

Judaising OT canon, motivated by St Paul saying they back then received Moses and Prophets from the Jews (who up to very recently - indeed childhood of St Paul himself - had been the true Church of God) and pushed into meaning Reformers ought to take the OT canon from Masoretic version, from Jews having been not the true Church for 1400 and some years. Except the Reformers even then didn't quite do that. This was condemned by Trent responding by reaffirming canonicity of ALL books mentioned by the council of Carthage.

Yep, the very same ancient Church Council which first in so many words gave you 27 books of NT, also in so many words included I and II Maccabees in OT! And Trent stood by it.

Note, I am not sure whether Council of Carthage also said all other books are non-canon, but Trent did not. At least not explicitly.

Depends on exact status of dioceses like Iasi admitting III and IV Maccabees or Susdal/Moscow admitting "I Esra" (in another sense than we use I Esra as your Esra, Russians call that II Esra. Our II Esra and their III Esra is your Nehemia). Or Aksum admitting book of Henoch. Because Trent explicitly stated "as received by the Church".

Argue Orthodox and Monophysites are quite outside the Church and there was no proof these books were admitted by the dioceses before they became Schismatic or Heretic, well, that proves 73 books ("72 books, or 73 if Baruch be counted separately from Jeremiah") are all [there is of the] canon.

Argue either they somehow remained in the Church or the books were at least received by them before the separation from Church, you open up at least some possibility for Catholic Church to confirm these books.

But the question between sufficiency of Scripture vs sufficiency of Scripture, Fathers and Magisterium is separate from the other question about which books belong to the canon.

That "specific set" of authoritative texts:

  • did not exist on the Christian side, since all Christians previous to Reformation admitted Deuterocanonical texts (unless you count as Christians Albigensians who threw out most of both OT and NT, like Marcion!)
  • did not exist on the Jewish side either, since the Jews obviously did not admit any of the 27 NT books
  • but was a Judaeo-Christian hybrid canon.

"The Psalms are poetry, not didactic instruction"

While the specific layout of any psalm follows a poetic plan which might be somewhat confusing to certain didactic purposes, the genres do NOT exclude each other.

In other words, the statements in the psalms shall all be taken as true, and at least most of the time even literally true.

I'll give you an example of didactic literature formulated as singable poetry:

A false witness shall not go unpunished:

New blog on the kid : A false witness shall not go un punished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape ...

"There is nothing in the text which says Scripture has a magical power to educate or to find responses to anything and everything ..."

well, neither in the Psalm, nor in the Classical Protestant "proof text" for sufficiency : "all Scripture is useful" etc. Thank you very much for shooting Reformation in the foot once again!

None of those passages was written after the Bible was finalised!

No shit, Sherlock! I think St Robert Bellarmine and a few more would have said that to Protestant apologists (including, in the case of St Robert, [to] James VI & I of Scotland and England).

From text given in video, not [from] subtitles.

"1) The doctrine of sufficiency of Scripture wasn't formulated to exclude contextual helps."

Not some of them, not those of the Valla and Erasmus type. To exclude some others, yes, very definitely yes.

"2) The Holy Spirit isn't a magic fact-dispensing-on-request gunball machine, and is never protrayed as such."

Well, there is this text about [Matthew 10:19] : But when they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or what to speak: for it shall be given you in that hour what to speak. Just note, this does not exclude reading apologetics way before that hour, way before being delivered up. But yes, in some context the Holy Ghost will indeed dispense answers when needed. And is here portrayed as going to do so.

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