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Council of Trullo/Quinisext and the Synod of Jerusalem and the closing of the NT.


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#1 R. Schutt

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 03:53 PM

I'm doing some research into the development of the NT canon and I've come across the Council of Trullo and the Synod of Jerusalem as two potential church councils/synods in which the NT canon was closed. I have come across a couple of Orthodox theologians who say that these councils weren't ecumenical therefore the canon isn't really closed.

What is the status of these two councils/synods and how might they affect our understanding of whether or not the canon has been closed in the East (or in the undivided Church in the case of Trullo).

Thanks!

#2 Olga

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 01:50 AM

The Quinisext Council of 692 (also known as in trullo, referring to the domed hall in which it was held) is indeed regarded by the Orthodox as ecumenical. It was the western church which did not, at least initially, regard it as authoritative and binding. I do not recall any references in this council's canons regarding the "closing" of the NT canon of scripture, IIRC this would have occurred several centuries earlier.

I have come across a couple of Orthodox theologians who say that these councils weren't ecumenical


Of immense significance to the Orthodox is Canon 82 of the Quinisext Council, which is a cornerstone of the Orthodox understanding of the purpose and form of iconography. On this basis alone , I would be most alarmed if any Orthodox theologian or clergyman believed or proclaimed that the Quinisext Council was not ecumenical.

#3 Ben Johnson

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 03:29 AM

I've been curious about the Synod of Jerusalem. I heard one source quote it when speaking of the Canon, but another source said it was not an ecumenical council. Can someone shed some light on this?

#4 R. Schutt

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 05:39 AM

The Quinisext Council of 692 (also known as in trullo, referring to the domed hall in which it was held) is indeed regarded by the Orthodox as ecumenical. It was the western church which did not, at least initially, regard it as authoritative and binding. I do not recall any references in this council's canons regarding the "closing" of the NT canon of scripture, IIRC this would have occurred several centuries earlier.

Of immense significance to the Orthodox is Canon 82 of the Quinisext Council, which is a cornerstone of the Orthodox understanding of the purpose and form of iconography. On this basis alone , I would be most alarmed if any Orthodox theologian or clergyman believed or proclaimed that the Quinisext Council was not ecumenical.



Here's a few of the things that I have come across in my research. I'm hoping to get some light shed on this, because I'm really confused about how these theologians are making their conclusions:

The second canon of the Second Trullan Council of 692, known to canon layers as the Quinisext, may be taken to have formally closed the process of the formation of the New Testament canon for East and West. (Jaroslav Pelikan, Whose Bible Is It?, p. 117)


These are the canons of certain local synods (Laodicea, Carthage, etc.) and some Fathers (Athanasius, Basil, Gregory of Nazianzos, Amphilochios of Iconion), whose canonical status became universal (ecumenical) through the decisions of the famous Penthekti (Quinisext) Council in Trullo (691-692 CE). But all of these canons leave the issue of the number of the canonical books of the Old Testament (and to an extent some of the New Testament too [e.g., Apocalypse]) unsettled. It may not be an exaggeration to state that the undivided Church has not solved the issue of, and therefore has not imposed upon her members, a canon of the Bible. (Petros Vassiliadis, Orthodox and Wesleyan Scriptural Understanding and Practice, p. 22)


I have another quote from some other theologian, but I lost the reference so I have to look for it.

And I realize Pelikan is not an Orthodox theologian per se...but his statement was relevant for my original question.

#5 R. Schutt

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 05:50 AM

I found one of the other statements made by Theodore Stylianopoulos:

The "closing of the canon" is a firm but not rigid principle in the Orthodox Church because the classic Christian tradition never dogmatized the exact number of scriptural books and always valued many other writings and liturgical texts in addition to the canonical collection of the Scriptures. (T. Stylianopouulos, The NT: An Orthodox Perspective, p. 28)



#6 Ryan

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 05:28 PM

Some texts define scripture as, more or less, the part of tradition that's written down. Khomiakov seems to take this to its extreme conclusion and considers all the Church's writings to be scripture. He says: "The collection of Old and New Testament books, which the Church acknowledges as hers, are called by the name of Holy Scripture. But there are no limits to Scripture; for every writing which the Church acknowledges as hers is Holy Scripture. Such pre-eminently are the Creeds of the General Councils, and especially the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed. Wherefore, the writing of Holy Scripture has gone on up to our day, and, if God pleases, yet more will be written."

I don't think anyone else has taken up this view though.

#7 Kosta

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 09:29 PM

The council of trullo is considered part of the 6th ecumenical council, an extension of it. The council accepted previous canons which compromise a portion of the Rudder. The one pertaining to the NT would be the list compiled by St Cyril of Jerusalem minus Revelation and canonized at Laodicea in 363 a.d.. This canon deals with those divinely inspired books of the NT which are permitted to be read during liturgy.
This (Trullan version) of the canon also admits certain other apostolic writings of the early church but not on par with the NT list. Also recieved by this council was the canon of St Athanasius which lists the canonical books of the Orthodox Septuagint and NT which does include the book of Revelation.

It seems that Petros Vassiliades comments are off. While Theodore Stylianopoulos is pretty much saying the same thing as Pelikan except. For instance while the Orthodox church views other things to be equal to scripture, Stylianopolos should not categorize them as being one and the same as scripture.

#8 R. Schutt

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 05:27 AM

Thank you for the replies.

Does anyone know where I can find an online text of the Trullan canons?

Thanks!

#9 Kosta

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 06:19 AM

You can go to ccel.org, they have them. But you wont find an actual list of NT books. You will find in canon II - a list of previous councils and writings reaffirming their authority. In your case it will list the regional council of Laodicea and the decrees of St Athanasius as binding. (so then you will have to search those to see what the specific canons say)

The Rudder is a manual of all the canons of the church, That book of canon law does state the actual canon of Laodicea and St Athanasius.

#10 R. Schutt

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 06:11 PM

You can go to ccel.org, they have them. But you wont find an actual list of NT books. You will find in canon II - a list of previous councils and writings reaffirming their authority. In your case it will list the regional council of Laodicea and the decrees of St Athanasius as binding. (so then you will have to search those to see what the specific canons say)

The Rudder is a manual of all the canons of the church, That book of canon law does state the actual canon of Laodicea and St Athanasius.


Thanks for pointing me this way...I have a question though. Was Athanasius 367 Festal Letter a decree? Is it included as a decretal letter?

#11 Kosta

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 06:58 AM

yes the 367 letter with a list of bibblical books would be one.

#12 Michael Stickles

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 01:54 PM

The specific work at CCEL which Kosta is referring to is Schaff's The Seven Ecumenical Councils. The canons (and other canonically accepted writings) which are most relevant:

All of these were received explicitly by Canon II of Trullo.

Note that the lists are not in complete agreement with each other, and the given texts are not always in full accord with other available versions of the same texts. For example, at CCEL part of the letter of Athanasius reads "Then Isaiah, Jeremiah together with the Epistle of Baruch, the Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel." This same section at the Bible Research website is translated as (emphasis added) "Then Isaiah, one book, then Jeremiah with Baruch, Lamentations and the Epistle, one book; afterwards Ezekiel and Daniel, each one book." (the "one book" bits aren't in the Greek text that's also included there, for what it's worth).

In Christ,
Michael

#13 Euthymios

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Posted 27 November 2014 - 11:02 AM

It appears that St. Maximus the Confessor believed Trullo to be ecumenical. The Orthodox theologians mentioned in the first post, sound like modernists.



#14 Brian Patrick Mitchell

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 09:34 PM

The Seventh Ecumenical Council twice says the 102 "Trullan" canons belong to the Sixth Ecumenical Council, and this is still standard Orthodox teaching, though some Orthodox schooled in the West have assumed the Western view, which regards the 102 canons as the product of a separate, non-ecumenical council because they did not conform to Western practice on issues such as clerical celibacy. See this introduction


Edited by Brian Patrick Mitchell, 15 December 2014 - 09:36 PM.





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