Jump to content


Photo
* * * - - 2 votes

The Theotokos in the holy of holies?


  • Please log in to reply
227 replies to this topic

#21 Archimandrite Irenei

Archimandrite Irenei

    Community Moderator

  • Administrators
  • 495 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 31 July 2010 - 09:04 PM

Dear friends,

I don't really see anything emerging here that we haven't already explored in rather more careful detail in the previous thread on the Theotokos' entering the temple and holy of holies (linked above), vis-a-vis the text in the Protoevangelium of James. While one can (and should) question some of the historical details in various ways, the tendency in some small circles today to categorise the accounting on the whole as allegory or midrash comes in large part from lack of a careful reading and attention to detail (a point that I addressed in some length in the other thread), creating impossibilities that aren't really present in the text; which then grounds fairly reactionary comments on hyperbole, etc. So there is a mixture of poorly studied and rather indefensible criticisms of the text (e.g. the routine claim that there was never such thing as a cult of temple virgins, and thus the story's accounting of the same makes it impossible - despite the fact that the story doesn't say this), together with a basic intellectual position that the story is simply too incredible to be real, and therefore has to be dismissed as allegory. This is a view of interpretive faith (i.e. there is nothing concrete on which to ground it, except the personal beliefs of the interpreters); but it is emphatically not the view the Church has taken in her historical, liturgical and worshipping life. So one may, if one wills, impose this intellectually-driven interpretation and call it Orthodox; but it is, in this regard, an Orthodoxy that has little to do with what the Church has taught, teaches, and prays.

INXC, Hieromonk Irenei

#22 Alexander Vernet

Alexander Vernet

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 32 posts

Posted 02 August 2010 - 01:56 PM

Okay, a couple things:

First of all, let me apologize for being so harsh with my words. As it has been stated, 'rubbish' is indeed off base. It is off base because as a spiritual teaching and meditation on the person of Mary, it conveys an important truth - that she is the true Holy of Holies.

However, there are some clearly incorrect remarks that people have put forward in this discussion. Let me address them here.

1) the idea that Mary entered into the holy of holies is NOT doctrine. Not all traditions of the Church carry equal weight and importance, and frankly, whether or not she was raised in the holy of holies makes no difference as to our salvation.

2) Someone has said that 'in Orthodoxy a professor does not really have authority'. True, I guess to a certain extent... however this professor is, in the orthodox world, considered to be an authority on the scriptures and on the Church fathers, conducts speaking events, and is very, very involved in Orthodox media, and they have been given permission to preach - something which does indeed give them authority.

3) The Protoevangelion, while containing some truths, is definitely not 'an important part of the Orthodox tradition'. If it were accurate, it would not have been rejected as 'apocrypha' which does not mean 'alternative scripture' but 'rejected writing'.

4) No one here is taking into account that in historical matters, we know more today than the fathers did in their own age. We know much more today about historical judaism than they ever did. In matters of dogma, the fathers were correct. In matters of history, not necessarily. Thank goodness then, that this is NOT a dogma of the church.

5)Just because the hymnography of the Church talks about Mary in the holy of holies, does not mean it is historical fact. I think that part of the problem here is that people are thinking of history in a very modern sense, when historically people did not necessarily think this way. Poetic embellishment was very popular and the point was not necessarily to convey 'the facts' but to teach us something important about a deeper reality, in this case the person of the Mother of God.


Again, I apologize for the harshness with which I first addressed the post. It was uncalled for. Please forgive me. Also, please be careful when making judgements about others' Orthodoxy. I do not want to give out the name of the person who I referenced before, but they are very, very faithful and if you did know who it was you might not be so quick to judge.

#23 Evan

Evan

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 481 posts

Posted 02 August 2010 - 03:42 PM

Okay, a couple things:

First of all, let me apologize for being so harsh with my words. As it has been stated, 'rubbish' is indeed off base. It is off base because as a spiritual teaching and meditation on the person of Mary, it conveys an important truth - that she is the true Holy of Holies.

However, there are some clearly incorrect remarks that people have put forward in this discussion. Let me address them here.

1) the idea that Mary entered into the holy of holies is NOT doctrine. Not all traditions of the Church carry equal weight and importance, and frankly, whether or not she was raised in the holy of holies makes no difference as to our salvation.

2) Someone has said that 'in Orthodoxy a professor does not really have authority'. True, I guess to a certain extent... however this professor is, in the orthodox world, considered to be an authority on the scriptures and on the Church fathers, conducts speaking events, and is very, very involved in Orthodox media, and they have been given permission to preach - something which does indeed give them authority.

3) The Protoevangelion, while containing some truths, is definitely not 'an important part of the Orthodox tradition'. If it were accurate, it would not have been rejected as 'apocrypha' which does not mean 'alternative scripture' but 'rejected writing'.

4) No one here is taking into account that in historical matters, we know more today than the fathers did in their own age. We know much more today about historical judaism than they ever did. In matters of dogma, the fathers were correct. In matters of history, not necessarily. Thank goodness then, that this is NOT a dogma of the church.

5)Just because the hymnography of the Church talks about Mary in the holy of holies, does not mean it is historical fact. I think that part of the problem here is that people are thinking of history in a very modern sense, when historically people did not necessarily think this way. Poetic embellishment was very popular and the point was not necessarily to convey 'the facts' but to teach us something important about a deeper reality, in this case the person of the Mother of God.


Again, I apologize for the harshness with which I first addressed the post. It was uncalled for. Please forgive me. Also, please be careful when making judgements about others' Orthodoxy. I do not want to give out the name of the person who I referenced before, but they are very, very faithful and if you did know who it was you might not be so quick to judge.


I think this individual's name was dropped by yours truly in the preceding thread. The views you've set forth were discussed at length in that thread. Without casting doubt upon anyone's Orthodoxy, I think a fair assessment of the strength of the arguments in that thread tilts decidedly in the opposite direction. The Protoevangelion simply does not have the literary character of a "poetic embellishment." It purports to be history. The question is whether it is good history or bad history, and whose word we take concerning whether it is the former or the latter, or something in between. Certainly, there are details that seem impossible to square with the modern historiography. The same, however, is true of the Gospel narratives.

It seems a tad reactionary to conclude that the Patristic witness and the Church's liturgy have borne witness to string of concrete historical events that simply did not happen. Where else do we find examples of such "poetic embellishment?"

In Christ,
Evan

A footnote: We know God only because He acts in history. To juxtapose "dogma" with "history" strikes me as a dangerous endeavor indeed. We know God as He Who Is only because God appeared to Moses and spoke to Him. We believe in the resurrection of the dead because Our Savior was raised from the dead on the third day, and His transfigured flesh could be touched. Dogma is not prior to history. It emerges from human experience of God's energies.

#24 Archimandrite Irenei

Archimandrite Irenei

    Community Moderator

  • Administrators
  • 495 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 02 August 2010 - 04:24 PM

Dear Alexander,

Thank you for your reply, and your thoughts. Your points, however, have all been discussed at some length in another thread, which I would encourage you to read thoroughly and carefully, entitled The Protoevangelium of St. James. And indeed, I would here, but already have there, take issue with all of your points.

While I would strongly encourage you to read through that whole thread in its entirety as a narrative, so you can see how individual comments fit together with the remarks that prompted them, as well as see some of the points raised that echo yours, which were the subject of some careful response and refutation, nonetheless for 'quick access' there are a few selections from that thread that speak rather directly to your five points above:

In particular, in response to your point #1, please see posts #21; #31; #33; #42; #61; #105

In response to your point #2, see posts #73; #91; #110; #152

In response to your point #3, see posts #38; #61; #69; #70; #96; #131

In response to your point #4, see posts #63; #92; #93; #96; #131

In response to your point #5, see posts #39; #52; #129; #144; #149; #157; #159

The position you have articulated in your points is well known, as it comes from a clearly-identifiable small 'school' in Orthodox studies of late. And while its proponents tend to be extremely vocal and insistent, it is a view that is riddled with problems -- both intellectual/academic (i.e. in flawed textual readings, historical observations, etc.), as well as Orthodox in the sense of authentic praxis (e.g. ultimately denying the divine authority of the Fathers, the liturgical services, ongoing tradition, etc.).

What is at stake in the discussion, however, is far more than a simple mental exercise in interpreting old documents. As became clear -- at the very least, to me -- in the previous discussion we had on this topic here, it is symptomatic of a mindset that leads to a very different definition of what one calls 'Orthodox' and 'Orthodoxy'; and that is a rather serious, dangerous game to play.

INXC, Fr Irenei

#25 Michael Stickles

Michael Stickles

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 1,438 posts

Posted 02 August 2010 - 04:30 PM

I would especially second that you read post #38 regarding your point #3. I was just getting ready to post a lengthy excerpt from that post, but saw Fr Irenei's post right before I hit "submit".

#26 Herman Blaydoe

Herman Blaydoe

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,157 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 02 August 2010 - 11:27 PM

1) the idea that Mary entered into the holy of holies is NOT doctrine. Not all traditions of the Church carry equal weight and importance, and frankly, whether or not she was raised in the holy of holies makes no difference as to our salvation.


Whether or not it makes a difference makes no difference whether or not it is true.

2) Someone has said that 'in Orthodoxy a professor does not really have authority'. True, I guess to a certain extent... however this professor is, in the orthodox world, considered to be an authority on the scriptures and on the Church fathers, conducts speaking events, and is very, very involved in Orthodox media, and they have been given permission to preach - something which does indeed give them authority.


Doesn't make them right. "authority" is not infallibility. I have heard some real howlers come out of people "with authority", again not much of an argument either way.

3) The Protoevangelion, while containing some truths, is definitely not 'an important part of the Orthodox tradition'. If it were accurate, it would not have been rejected as 'apocrypha' which does not mean 'alternative scripture' but 'rejected writing'.


Sorry but no, absolutely not, this is just. plain. wrong. It has NOT, repeat, NOT been rejected and your use of "apocrypha" is technically and patently incorrect. The Protoevangelion is NOT rejected by Orthodoxy. It is the source of the major Marian feasts of the Church and hymnody! Who says it is "rejected" by the Church?

And "apocrypha" is a dangerous word, you really should not throw it around so blithely. "Apocrypha" is used by the Protestants to "reject" the Deuterocanonical books that Holy Orthodoxy does NOT reject!

I'll say this one more time. The Canon of Scripture is the standard. Not everything has to be included IN the standard, it merely has to "measure up" to the standard. That is why it is the standard! Is that so hard to understand? Let us stand well back away from that Protestant trap.

4) No one here is taking into account that in historical matters, we know more today than the fathers did in their own age. We know much more today about historical judaism than they ever did. In matters of dogma, the fathers were correct. In matters of history, not necessarily. Thank goodness then, that this is NOT a dogma of the church.


Now you are just being condescending. Nobody here is saying that "history" doesn't matter. In fact, we are saying exactly the opposite. We HAVE a history. We have the Protoevangelion. We have they traditions and hymnody of the Church. We are not the ones writing things off here. And we, so many centuries AFTER the fact know so much more than the God-enlightened Fathers who were much closer to the actual events? Wow is all I can say. Good for us that we are so much smarter than they.

5)Just because the hymnography of the Church talks about Mary in the holy of holies, does not mean it is historical fact. I think that part of the problem here is that people are thinking of history in a very modern sense, when historically people did not necessarily think this way. Poetic embellishment was very popular and the point was not necessarily to convey 'the facts' but to teach us something important about a deeper reality, in this case the person of the Mother of God.


If that gets you through the service and keeps you in the Church then to God be the Glory. Some people have a problem accepting that something might have happened. Others have no problem whatsoever and are not ashamed to say so. But guess what, women are NOT ALLOWED on Mt. Athos, but I heard that some women actually were allowed on Mt. Athos, even though it isn't allowed, so it must not have happened? Not a "proof" I would want to base a dogma on.

But I am only a bear of little brain.

Herman the Pooh

#27 Olga

Olga

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2,827 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 03 August 2010 - 12:20 AM

3) The Protoevangelion, while containing some truths, is definitely not 'an important part of the Orthodox tradition'. If it were accurate, it would not have been rejected as 'apocrypha' which does not mean 'alternative scripture' but 'rejected writing'.


I see. Then Sts John of Damascus, Andrew of Crete, Gregory Palamas, and so many other Fathers, hymnographer-saints and iconographers must have indeed been in error. Well, then, the Church must purge itself of all hymnography and iconography which is derived from the Protoevangelion.

Let's see: The Akathist to the Mother of God would definitely have to go. So would the feasts of the Conception of the Mother of God, her Nativity, her Entry into the Temple, numerous Theotokia and prayers; oh, we'd have to drop the veneration of Sts Joachim and Anna, too, and remove their commemoration at every liturgical dismissal. We'd also have to remove all liturgical and iconographic references to Jesus born in a cave, Joseph the Betrothed as a white-haired old man, and the Mother of God holding a spindle wound with purple yarn.... And then there's that pesky business about her ever-virginity ...

#28 Andrew Prather

Andrew Prather

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 48 posts

Posted 03 August 2010 - 04:09 AM

Since when did Apocrypha mean rejected writing? The Greek roots are apo and krupha. I don't see the word for writing at all. I think it literally means something hidden away. Cryptography is a word with similar roots. Kruptos in Greek means secret, hidden, private, inward, ect. Cryptography is the art of encrypting and decrypting texts to keep the contents secret to non-intended recipients. Apocrypha has a connotation of hidden, private, secret, for those on the inside, not rejected. Someone correct me if I am not quite right.

All icons of the Theotokos bear the spindle, which refers to her weaving the veil of the temple, which comes from the Protoevangelion. Now, Hebrews tells us that Christ's flesh is the veil of the Temple. Who wove Christ's flesh? Was it not Mary who "wove" Christ's flesh in her womb?

2) Someone has said that 'in Orthodoxy a professor does not really have authority'. True, I guess to a certain extent... however this professor is, in the orthodox world, considered to be an authority on the scriptures and on the Church fathers, conducts speaking events, and is very, very involved in Orthodox media, and they have been given permission to preach - something which does indeed give them authority.


But he really does not have authority. The bishops have authority in unity with the Holy Spirit, and any authority that this professor has, disagrees with the authority of the bishops. He has scholastic authority, he has preaching authority, I guess, but he cannot make binding statements, and he cannot decide how we are to regard the Protoevangelion. If he were to preach that we shouldn't regard the Protevangelion as truth and regard it as completely rubbish, I could disregard it completely. It goes contrary to the teaching of the Fathers and the Church. My Spiritual Father has authority over me, and can say I need to believe such and such, but some Professor preaching against the Protoevangelion does not. May I ask who this Professor is? If you reveal who he is, then maybe his "authority" will be more apparent. But right now, just because you say you know an Orthodox Professor who argues against the validity of the Protoevangelion does not mean a thing over the internet. I could make up such a story if I wanted...

As for the comment about the Fathers...I would take their account of history over a modern western account influenced by modern philosophies.

#29 Olga

Olga

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2,827 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 03 August 2010 - 04:34 AM

Since when did Apocrypha mean rejected writing? The Greek roots are apo and krupha. I don't see the word for writing at all. I think it literally means something hidden away. Cryptography is a word with similar roots. Kruptos in Greek means secret, hidden, private, inward, ect. Cryptography is the art of encrypting and decrypting texts to keep the contents secret to non-intended recipients. Apocrypha has a connotation of hidden, private, secret, for those on the inside, not rejected. Someone correct me if I am not quite right.


Andrew, the word apocryphal indeed means that which was hidden. It is only in recent centuries that the word has acquited a negative meaning of being unable to be verified, spurious, urban myth, etc.

All icons of the Theotokos bear the spindle, which refers to her weaving the veil of the temple, which comes from the Protoevangelion.


A small correction, my friend. Many icons of the Annunciation show the Mother of God holding the spindle. Most other icons of her do not. But the imagery of the spindle does come from the Protoevangelion.

Now, Hebrews tells us that Christ's flesh is the veil of the Temple. Who wove Christ's flesh? Was it not Mary who "wove" Christ's flesh in her womb?


Quite so. This is beautifully expressed in the following Theotokion:

O pure Virgin, the flesh of Emmanuel was formed within your womb as a robe of royal crimson is spun from scarlet silk. We proclaim you to be truly the Mother of our God.

But he really does not have authority. The bishops have authority in unity with the Holy Spirit, and any authority that this professor has, disagrees with the authority of the bishops. He has scholastic authority, he has preaching authority, I guess, but he cannot make binding statements, and he cannot decide how we are to regard the Protoevangelion. If he were to preach that we shouldn't regard the Protevangelion as truth and regard it as completely rubbish, I could disregard it completely. It goes contrary to the teaching of the Fathers and the Church. My Spiritual Father has authority over me, and can say I need to believe such and such, but some Professor preaching against the Protoevangelion does not. May I ask who this Professor is? If you reveal who he is, then maybe his "authority" will be more apparent. But right now, just because you say you know an Orthodox Professor who argues against the validity of the Protoevangelion does not mean a thing over the internet. I could make up such a story if I wanted...


Couldn't have put it better myself.

#30 Antonios

Antonios

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,039 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 03 August 2010 - 04:41 AM

Something as remarkable as the events of the young Virgin Mary entering the Holy of Holies could not have been kept hidden, as the world apocrypha means, unless she herself, in her abounding humility, requested this of the Evangelists.

May Our All-holy, immaculate, most blessed and glorified Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary teach us such humility so that we might also become bearers of Christ.

#31 Kosta

Kosta

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,517 posts

Posted 03 August 2010 - 07:48 AM

If Mary was not raised in the temple then why did a 15 year old Mary run to an old lady like Elizabeth who the angel refers as Mary's kinswoman?
Mary raced to the house of Zacharias with haste (Luke1.39). The elderly couple who actually lived in a city far away from Nazareth was the closest kin Mary had. For he was a priest of the temple and her guardian and spiritual father. If Mary was historically from the little village of Nazareth she would have no relations with someone from Hebron let alone be close to them considering their age differences.

When we say Mary entered the holy of holies it does not mean Mary was in the holy of holies 24/7, but at one point she entered it, even if it was for a brief time. The holy of holies simply being an empty room by the time of the second temple regained its intended purpose the day the Theotokos entered it.

Also we dont imply Mary never left the confines of the temple ever. For she knew where the private home of the priest Zacharias was located having been there before. Being constantly in the temple is nothing controversial, it was done all the time. Christ himself was in the temple for 3 days at the age of 12 not departing without ramifications(Lk. 2.46)

Luke tells us of Anna the prophetess(Lk2.36-38):

"She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem."

Anna came into the temple and greeted Mary as someone she already knew from the temple. Anna then preached to all present who this child of Mary is.

#32 Alexander Vernet

Alexander Vernet

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 32 posts

Posted 03 August 2010 - 01:40 PM

Whether or not it makes a difference makes no difference whether or not it is true.



Doesn't make them right. "authority" is not infallibility. I have heard some real howlers come out of people "with authority", again not much of an argument either way.




Sorry but no, absolutely not, this is just. plain. wrong. It has NOT, repeat, NOT been rejected and your use of "apocrypha" is technically and patently incorrect. The Protoevangelion is NOT rejected by Orthodoxy. It is the source of the major Marian feasts of the Church and hymnody! Who says it is "rejected" by the Church?

And "apocrypha" is a dangerous word, you really should not throw it around so blithely. "Apocrypha" is used by the Protestants to "reject" the Deuterocanonical books that Holy Orthodoxy does NOT reject!

I'll say this one more time. The Canon of Scripture is the standard. Not everything has to be included IN the standard, it merely has to "measure up" to the standard. That is why it is the standard! Is that so hard to understand? Let us stand well back away from that Protestant trap.



Now you are just being condescending. Nobody here is saying that "history" doesn't matter. In fact, we are saying exactly the opposite. We HAVE a history. We have the Protoevangelion. We have they traditions and hymnody of the Church. We are not the ones writing things off here. And we, so many centuries AFTER the fact know so much more than the God-enlightened Fathers who were much closer to the actual events? Wow is all I can say. Good for us that we are so much smarter than they.



If that gets you through the service and keeps you in the Church then to God be the Glory. Some people have a problem accepting that something might have happened. Others have no problem whatsoever and are not ashamed to say so. But guess what, women are NOT ALLOWED on Mt. Athos, but I heard that some women actually were allowed on Mt. Athos, even though it isn't allowed, so it must not have happened? Not a "proof" I would want to base a dogma on.

But I am only a bear of little brain.

Herman the Pooh


Well, first of all, I never said they were infallible...

Second, I never said that people here weren't interested in history ... perhaps if you read the quote that you so eagerly copied and pasted you would have seen that.

Third, I never said we are smarter than the fathers.

#33 Alexander Vernet

Alexander Vernet

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 32 posts

Posted 03 August 2010 - 01:41 PM

No one is saying she wasn't raised in the temple, the discussion is about whether she was raised in the holy of holies.

#34 Alexander Vernet

Alexander Vernet

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 32 posts

Posted 03 August 2010 - 01:48 PM

Since when did Apocrypha mean rejected writing? The Greek roots are apo and krupha. I don't see the word for writing at all. I think it literally means something hidden away. Cryptography is a word with similar roots. Kruptos in Greek means secret, hidden, private, inward, ect. Cryptography is the art of encrypting and decrypting texts to keep the contents secret to non-intended recipients. Apocrypha has a connotation of hidden, private, secret, for those on the inside, not rejected. Someone correct me if I am not quite right.

All icons of the Theotokos bear the spindle, which refers to her weaving the veil of the temple, which comes from the Protoevangelion. Now, Hebrews tells us that Christ's flesh is the veil of the Temple. Who wove Christ's flesh? Was it not Mary who "wove" Christ's flesh in her womb?



But he really does not have authority. The bishops have authority in unity with the Holy Spirit, and any authority that this professor has, disagrees with the authority of the bishops. He has scholastic authority, he has preaching authority, I guess, but he cannot make binding statements, and he cannot decide how we are to regard the Protoevangelion. If he were to preach that we shouldn't regard the Protevangelion as truth and regard it as completely rubbish, I could disregard it completely. It goes contrary to the teaching of the Fathers and the Church. My Spiritual Father has authority over me, and can say I need to believe such and such, but some Professor preaching against the Protoevangelion does not. May I ask who this Professor is? If you reveal who he is, then maybe his "authority" will be more apparent. But right now, just because you say you know an Orthodox Professor who argues against the validity of the Protoevangelion does not mean a thing over the internet. I could make up such a story if I wanted...

As for the comment about the Fathers...I would take their account of history over a modern western account influenced by modern philosophies.


Hi Andrew. We can take our definitions from many different sources. I am taking mine from an expert on the fathers and the scriptures, who has made a career out of teaching these subjects, including at Orthodox seminaries, and who is very, very knowledgeable in classical Greek. One thing which I think we can all agree on though, is that a distinguishing characteristic between Apocryphal and Canonical sources, is that we do not base doctrine on something from the Apocrypha.

The reason that I do not wish to disclose the name of this Professor is because frankly some of the posters here seem somewhat ready to judge. The Professor was not the one to use the word 'rubbish', it was me. However, they do not accept the historical veracity of the notion that she grew up in the holy of holies. And no, I did not make up the story, and you shouldn't insinuate such things.

#35 Andrew Prather

Andrew Prather

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 48 posts

Posted 03 August 2010 - 02:07 PM

A small correction, my friend. Many icons of the Annunciation show the Mother of God holding the spindle. Most other icons of her do not. But the imagery of the spindle does come from the Protoevangelion.Couldn't have put it better myself.


Hi, Olga, thanks for response. You are right about this, however, every icon of the Theotokos that I have ever seen has the spindle on it. If you look at a non-Annunciation icon of the Theotokos you will see a golden spindle on her hood or on her cloak.

This is a good example. It has 3 infact:

http://www.skete.com...&Category_ID=27

As far as I have been told/read, these golden symbols refer to the spindle.

#36 Father David Moser

Father David Moser

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 3,581 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Cleric

Posted 03 August 2010 - 02:12 PM

As far as I have been told/read, these golden symbols refer to the spindle.


These are not spindles but stars and the three stars that one sees on every icon of the Mother of God denote her ever-virginity (before, during and after the birth of Christ). I do not doubt that others can elaborate further.

#37 Evan

Evan

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 481 posts

Posted 03 August 2010 - 02:34 PM

Hi Andrew. We can take our definitions from many different sources. I am taking mine from an expert on the fathers and the scriptures, who has made a career out of teaching these subjects, including at Orthodox seminaries, and who is very, very knowledgeable in classical Greek. One thing which I think we can all agree on though, is that a distinguishing characteristic between Apocryphal and Canonical sources, is that we do not base doctrine on something from the Apocrypha.

The reason that I do not wish to disclose the name of this Professor is because frankly some of the posters here seem somewhat ready to judge. The Professor was not the one to use the word 'rubbish', it was me. However, they do not accept the historical veracity of the notion that she grew up in the holy of holies. And no, I did not make up the story, and you shouldn't insinuate such things.


What do you consider "judging" to consist in? This professor's views were discussed in the prior thread, and evaluated with respect to their consistency with the Church's liturgical and Patristic witness. I have learned much from this professor and have corresponded with her personally. But I think a fair reading of the prior thread makes plain that her positions respecting the Protoevangelion are highly problematic.

If we don't reprove erroneous teachings, how can we defend the faith once and for all delivered to the saints?


In Christ,
Evan

Edited by Evan, 03 August 2010 - 02:58 PM.


#38 Brian Patrick Mitchell

Brian Patrick Mitchell

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 719 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 03 August 2010 - 03:19 PM

What is at stake in the discussion, however, is far more than a simple mental exercise in interpreting old documents. As became clear -- at the very least, to me -- in the previous discussion we had on this topic here, it is symptomatic of a mindset that leads to a very different definition of what one calls 'Orthodox' and 'Orthodoxy'; and that is a rather serious, dangerous game to play.


We are indeed dealing here with two different definitions of what is Orthodox. Some of us just want to be Orthodox Christians; others insist that we must all be Orthodox fundamentalists. Several posts on this thread give clear evidence of the latter by their outright hostility to reason and insistence upon submission to authority.

Fundamentalism is an approach to faith that hangs everything on a presumed authority (as understood by the fundamentalists themselves) and restricts the use of reason to rationalizations supporting the authority’s inerrancy. With Protestant fundamentalists, the authority is the Bible; with Roman Catholic fundamentalists, it is the Pope; with Orthodox fundamentalists, it is the Tradition. The appeal of fundamentalism is that it appears to offer an anchor of faith able to withstand the corrosive effects of rational criticism, but appearances can be deceiving.

Some posters here and on the PJ thread have defended the authority of Tradition by rationalizing a scenario in which the toddler Theotokos dashes past the priests and temple guards, through the Court of the Israelites, through the Court of Priests, into the Temple proper, and then into the Holy of Holies before being quickly ushered out, to spend the rest of her youth in or around the Temple complex. This rationalization is at least more plausible than the belief that she grew up in the Holy of Holies with the full support of all the people, but is it the Tradition? No, according to the hymnography of the feast of the Entry into the Temple, which Olga has already provided. There the Tradition states:

The spotless maiden is led by the Holy Spirit to dwell in the Holy of Holies. She, who is truly the most holy temple of our holy God, is fed by an angel. He has sanctified all things by her entry, and has made godlike the fallen nature of mortal men.

With their lamps in hand, the maidens rejoice today as they go in reverence before the spiritual lamp, who enters into the Holy of Holies. They foreshadow the Brightness beyond words that is to shine forth from her, to illumine with the Spirit those that sit in the darkness of ignorance.

After your birth, O Mistress and Bride of God, you came to dwell in the temple of the Lord to be brought up in the Holy of Holies, for you are holy. Gabriel was sent to bring food to you, the undefiled virgin. O Mother of God, without blemish or stain, who is glorified in heaven and on earth, intercede for us.


So unless someone here wants to argue against the dashing scenario and for a literal interpretation of the PJ and the hymns it inspired, we are all modernists now. We are all trying rationally to make sense of an unbelievable tradition. The only difference is that some of us are also trying to maintain the inerrancy and authority of Tradition by wringing a little more truth out of the PJ.

In Christ,

Dn. Patrick

#39 Rick H.

Rick H.

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,231 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 03 August 2010 - 03:37 PM

We are indeed dealing here with two different definitions of what is Orthodox. Some of us just want to be Orthodox Christians; others insist that we must all be Orthodox fundamentalists. Several posts on this thread give clear evidence of the latter by their outright hostility to reason and insistence upon submission to authority.

Fundamentalism is an approach to faith that hangs everything on a presumed authority (as understood by the fundamentalists themselves) and restricts the use of reason to rationalizations supporting the authority’s inerrancy. With Protestant fundamentalists, the authority is the Bible; with Roman Catholic fundamentalists, it is the Pope; with Orthodox fundamentalists, it is the Tradition. The appeal of fundamentalism is that it appears to offer an anchor of faith able to withstand the corrosive effects of rational criticism, but appearances can be deceiving.



I don't think I have ever seen this stated so well . . . yes, very well said!!!

I have been convinced and remain convinced that both fundamentalism and the question of authority together are "the question behind the question" of the great majority of the threads here on Monachos. It is not hard to spot, because it not so much a set of unique doctrines as it is a mood which masks a fear. As in this thread here (like in the PJ thread), things are heard which are not said and control freakery runs rabid. Yes, the heart of the matter as it relates to this topic.

#40 Herman Blaydoe

Herman Blaydoe

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,157 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 03 August 2010 - 04:48 PM

Oh brother. "If you don't agree with me, you must be a 'Fundie!". Give me a break. Great way to shut down a reasonable discussion however.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users