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Do any writings from the first 800 years of the Church address why the Apostolic Fathers are not part of Scripture?


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#1 David Wolf

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Posted 15 June 2015 - 03:36 AM

These are the Apostolic Fathers:

  • Epistle to Diognetus
  • 1 Clement
  • 2 of Clement
  • Didache
  • Epistle of Barnabas
  • Seven Epistles of Ignatius
  • The Epistle of Polycarp
  • The Martyrdom of Polycarp
  • The Shepherd of Hermas

Note that the Constitutions of the Holy Apostles lists itself plus 1 and 2 Clement as part of the New Testament.

 

Do any writings/documents from the church's first 800 years address why any/all of the Apostolic Fathers are not included in the canon?



#2 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 06:10 PM

I know not of any which writings which address the issue, mayhap others on here do. What I would say is that firstly the cannon of the scriptures evolved gradually, and indeed somewhat differently in different regions -compare, for example, the canon of the council of Carthage and the canon of St Athanasius with the Constitutions- the final canons, which still differ in terms of the Old Testament, in terms of the New Testament were concerned with the question of whether had it been read and revived by the Church as the work of one of the apostles which was indeed written, or dictated, by the person to which it was attributed. The Epistle to Diognetus I believe was not that well known, 2 Clement and the Epistle of Barnabas where both disputed in terms of authorship, St Ignatius and St Polycarp were disciples of the Apostles not a apostles themselves, The Shepherd of Hermas was, I believe, always somewhat controversial, that is not universally received. As for 1 Clement and the Didache I'm not sure why they were not included.

 

In Christ.

Rdr Daniel,


Edited by Daniel R., 16 June 2015 - 06:10 PM.


#3 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 12:28 AM

What does "canon" mean? Specifically it means "guide" as in a standard. The canon of Scripture was not mean to be all-inclusive, but merely serves as the guide or standard to which all other writings are to be compared. I suspect the overall feeling would be that the recognized canon provides enough of a standard and that these other writings, worthy as they may be, do not add anything to that guidance.

 

Just some little thoughts from a bear of little brain.

 

Herman



#4 Kosta

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 03:21 AM

They are, more specifically:
Didache
1&2 Clement
Hermas
Barnabas

And yes they are found in the codex sinaiticus and Alexandrinus and the canons of the church approved by Trullo include them.

Edited by Kosta, 17 June 2015 - 03:22 AM.


#5 Lakis Papas

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 03:28 PM

Why not include fathers after the first 800 years. 

 

http://oodegr.co/eng...s/ti_einai1.htm



#6 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 04:14 PM

Why not include fathers after the first 800 years. 

 

http://oodegr.co/eng...s/ti_einai1.htm

Though I agree strongly in principle with what you and the article are saying, I personally would be very cautions about classifying the writings of many modern saints as being patristic.This is not due to any arbitrary time limit rather differences in the methods and theology thereof and the fact that they have not been universally received as fathers of the Church, a saint is not necessary a father of the Church. 

 

In Christ.

Daniel.



#7 Ben Johnson

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 10:33 PM

I do not know why the mentioned books were rejected, but I am glad the Church gave us a number of books to be a guide.



#8 Kosta

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 04:25 AM

A number of those books (as Ive mentioned in my previous post) are indeed scripture. Its that we have been conditioned to believe in the protestant narrative. The printing press was invented in the west, so it became easy to print whatever they thought should constitute the table of contents of the new testament. 

 

The fact is the following books are indeed scriptures of the Eastern Orthodox Church (of the second tier as alluded to by St Cyril Of Jerusalem and St Athansius)) and verified by the canonical lists approved by Trullo.:

 

Revelation- Placed on the second tier by every eastern father except for Athanasius, and is indeed a second tier book in the byzantine church since its never read in Church. 'Canonical scripture' is just an adjective to describe the first tier books read openly in liturgy, hence Revelation is non-canonical.

 

1&2 Clement-  Listed in the Canons of the Holy Apostles (as mentioned by David post #1) whose canons were ratified at Trullo, . These two books are also contained in the Codex Alexandrinus

 

Didache-  Listed as deuterocanonical by St Athanasius in his 39th epistle alongside Tobit, Esther, Judith, Wisdom of Sirach and Hermas. Found in the Codex Sinaiticus

 

Hermas- (See above). St Athanasius 39th festal epistle was recieved as canonical at Trullo. Found in the Codex Sinaiticus

 

Barnabas-  Not mentioned in any of the canonical lists but its found complete in the Codex Sinaiticus, as well as in the latin Codex Claromontanus. St Irenaeous and other early church Fathers consider it scripture.

 

Secondly the list of NT books of the African Code of Carthage (whose canons were also received by Trullo) makes clear that aside from the canonical books which are the only books to be read openly in Liturgy, the Martyrdoms of the saints are also sanctioned to be read publicly in church on the anniversary of their memorials. Thus even the Martyrdom of Polycarp and excerpts of the epistles of Ignatius who wrote them on his way to being martyred hold a special status among the holy writ. 

 

We need to rediscover our holy books and not rely on outsiders telling us falsely which books we believe in.


Edited by Kosta, 18 June 2015 - 04:35 AM.


#9 Ben Johnson

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Posted 21 June 2015 - 12:53 AM

I read that some do not think that Clement wrote 2 Clement.  A few question whether he wrote 1 Clement.



#10 Kosta

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Posted 21 June 2015 - 02:17 AM

That would not be a problem. For example St Amphilocios of Iconium in his list of books makes clear that the book of Hebrews is spurious but that no one denies that its content is grace-filled. This is the Orthodox position on the book of hebrews today. That it was written post-70 AD by an unknown associate of Paul but not by Paul. Ironically he is not sure of book of Revelation saying the MAJORITY reject it as spurious. This is in 390 Ad.
Eusebius categorized certain writings as spurious but not impious. And writings which were Impious and thus apocryphal.

#11 H. Smith

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Posted 21 November 2015 - 10:07 PM

These are the Apostolic Fathers:

  • Epistle to Diognetus
  • 1 Clement
  • 2 of Clement
  • Didache
  • Epistle of Barnabas
  • Seven Epistles of Ignatius
  • The Epistle of Polycarp
  • The Martyrdom of Polycarp
  • The Shepherd of Hermas

I can believe that the Shepherd of Hermes and Epistle of Barnabas are part of second tier, uncanonical scripture and remain accepted in the Church. But it's still news to me. The stories in it sound more fanciful than what we are used to in extraBiblical sources, and I thought that the church rejected them like they did other apocryphal mystical extraBiblical writings from that era, and I've hardly ever heard them considered scripture. i will read more about this interesting idea.



#12 H. Smith

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Posted 21 November 2015 - 11:48 PM

By the way, I think that the Epistle of Barnabas is not fanciful stories, it is homiletic.

 

The Epistle of Barnabas states about the Second Temple:
 

 

"Furthermore he says again, 'Behold, those who tore down this temple will themselves build it.' It is happening. For because of their fighting it was torn down by the enemies. And now the very servants of the enemies will themselves rebuild it."

 

According to the Orthodox site Sedmitza,it had "obvious contradictions with later Christian dogmas and strong influence of gnosticism." Sedmitza also proposes that the rebuilding of the temple mentioned above refers to the Romans' building of the temple of Jupiter.
http://www.sedmitza....xt/1263559.html

 

The apparently Orthodox site Aleteia notes that the epistle calls the apostles "extremely sinful" and that it says that "we", "proselytes" should not try to convert Jews to Christianity. Aleteia concludes that this means that the author was not really the apostle Barnabas, who came from the Levites according to the Bible.

http://aleteia.narod.ru/var/var.htm



#13 Kosta

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 05:14 AM

H. Smith,

Does the article quote the part where it says the apostles were sinners or perhaps they are using a translation with chapters?

I would find the interest in this epistle in certain christian traditions that were held. I would say the quote above about rebuilding the temple is more in reference to the emperor Hadrian promising the jews he will rebuild the jewish temple for them just prior to the Bar Kokba revolt. Originally Hadrian promised the jews he was going to rebuild all of Jerusalem and the temple and hand it over to them. After the revolt he turned it into a roman colony changing its name to Aelia. My dating would be 125-132 AD.

But im not even sure how it contradicts later christian dogma. Pretty much the same thing Cyril of Jerusalem says in his catechetical lectures and standard interpretation of Dan 9.26-27.




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