Jump to content


Photo
* * * * * 1 votes

The Orthodox Church and Supersessionism

supersessionism replacement theology

  • Please log in to reply
79 replies to this topic

Poll: Is Supersessionism Orthodox? (5 member(s) have cast votes)

Does Orthodoxy teach Supersessionism?

  1. Yes, at least a variety of Supersessionism. (2 votes [40.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 40.00%

  2. No, it does not even teach a variety of Supersessionism. (3 votes [60.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 60.00%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#21 Owen Jones

Owen Jones

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,330 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 17 March 2013 - 12:19 PM

Christ reveals the true meaning or hidden meaning of the Bible (the only Bible that then existed!).  Something that had been lost and needed to be rediscovered.  Simply put, Christ did not spiritualize the OT but rather revealed its true spiritual meaning, just as the prophets of old attempted to do and were also persecuted for it.  The problem was that the law had been turned into something that was a yoke placed around people's necks by the religious establishment, and not something that set them free.  I see a big difference between that and being superseded.  Christ always placed Himself under the law.  The cases which are cited in which he violated the law were cases which He deliberately used in order to make his point, that the religious establishment was using the law as an end in itself, and therefore the law itself had been grossly misinterpreted.  So in fact He was not violating the spirit or essence of the law at all but pointing out how the Pharisees were in actuality in violation of the law. 



#22 Reader Andreas

Reader Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,294 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 17 March 2013 - 03:39 PM

To expand a little on what Owen says, I think of the times when Christ apparently broke with convention in order to reveal true spiritual
meaning and higher goals.  He spoke with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well, talking to a woman who was a stranger being something no respectable Jewish man, let alone a rabbi, would do (as John 4:9 indicates).  In Luke 9:52-55, the disciples showed their OT thinking in asking if they should call down fire from heaven to destroy those who did not accept Jesus but He rebuked them, signalling a different approach from the OT.  In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the OT punishment for a ‘stubborn, rebellious, gluttonous, and drunken son is to be stoned to death’ (Deut. 21:18), but in the parable, the Father loves him and restores to him his sonship.



 



#23 Owen Jones

Owen Jones

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,330 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 17 March 2013 - 04:15 PM

I'm certainly not the expert on Christology, but it seems to me that by saying that the new supersedes the old, that that is the potential source of a number of heresies, if not an outright heresy itself.  If one were to claim simply a semantic problem, well, a lot of heresies stem from so-called semantic problems.  The same issue really applies to what affect Jesus Christ has on created nature.  Certainly we would argue that there is a profound change in created nature by the actions of Christ.  But in essence, the truth of created nature is revealed in and through Christ by redeeming fallen nature.  And so too, I think, with respect to the OT, not that the OT is "fallen" but that we just couldn't see what it was revealing.  In fact, had we had the eyes to see, we would have seen Christ revealed to us in created nature without Him coming in the person of Jesus. 



#24 H. Smith

H. Smith

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 132 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 18 March 2013 - 05:07 AM

Dear Lakis,

 

Thanks for your interesting analysis and quote:

For a literary analysis let me suggest the following textual cross references found in the Bible  :  

 

http://www.chrisharr...ations/BibleViz

 

Work of Christoph Römhild and Chris Harrison.

 

Mr Harrison writes in his site:

 

 

 

Bible Cross-References arc visualization 

 

 

It becomes obvious that you may not distinguish the old from the new testament, because their cross references are so entwined. And I believe no "sat on top of" image is illustrated. 

As you point out, the Old and New Testaments have thousands of cross references to eachother, such that they are all our body of scripture.

 

Nonetheless this does not mean a later testament does not supersede the earlier one, because this goes along with the use of "supersede" as a legal term.

 

Like the "body of scripture", the "body" of US law is filled with cross references between old and new laws and court decisions. An old document, like the original version of the US Constitution, or an older court decision like Plessy vs. Ferguson may predict future embodiments of those laws, such as real life examples of slavery or segregation. Then other constitutional amendments and court decisions come in and deal with those examples. In so doing, the legislators and judges explicitly reference back to the earlier laws and court decisions. Legal journals and court decisions are full of these decisions. In fact, when judges change their mind about things, they still reference back to those earlier decisions. Thus, when new versions of laws or decisions "supersede" old ones either by offering a clearer explanation of the same law (without overiding it) or by making a change in the law, it is typical for them to include cross references.

 

Wouldn't you agree, for example, that if a state law says:
 

Law 547

Orange juice must be sold in containers.

 

And the legislature passes a bill (Act 8765) saying "Law 547 shall be amended to read":
 

Law 547

Orange juice must be sold in containers. "Orange juice" includes juice both from concentrate and not from concentrate

The bill and amended law reference and supersede the older version.

 

Likewise in the Bible, Old Testament passages predict New Testament embodiments of their prophecies- real life events in the life of Christ and the Church. And the New Testament writers come in and deal with those real life NT events, refererencing back to the prophecies. In fact, whether a New Testament writer explains an Old Testament rule or makes a change (like St Peter's vision about how all things are ritually acceptable to eat), it still references the earlier rule that the writer's explanation change or supersede.

 

Finally, although there may be an equal (or at least comparable) amount of cross references between the Old and New Testament, the "direction" of the references isn't the same. Although the New Testament sometimes points to rules from the Old Testament and instructs the reader of the "body of scripture" to act differently, wouldn't you agree that a correct Christian understanding of the body of scripture would not teach the opposite: ie. to follow the old rule as if it "amended" the new one?

 

And wouldn't a better way to look at the citizen's way to follow laws be:

 

Instead of following it this way: old court decisions  ------>  new court decisions

The citizen looks at it this way:

new court decisions

 /\

 ||

old court decisions 

 

Thus, to show the way in which Christians follow the two Testaments, doesn't it seem helpful to plot the references this way:

 

biblevizarc7small.jpg

 

Here, the OT and NT differ on the cross-referenced question of whether it is acceptable to eat certain foods, or if by doing so one becomes ritually impure. The way we look at it is from the way on top down, but that does not mean the way on the bottom is gone, or that only the top half of the diagram exists at all.


Edited by H. Smith, 18 March 2013 - 05:17 AM.


#25 H. Smith

H. Smith

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 132 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 18 March 2013 - 06:00 AM

Owen,

 

I am thinking about your post in message #21. It is true Jesus placed Himself under the law- the law demanded death as St Paul said, and He died in our place. However, didn't He also place Himself above the Law, in that He pardoned (A "thank you" to Christ for this gift- may it be brought in) people who were guilty under the law? Just as a governor's decree of pardon supersedes a sentence, hadn't Christ's pardon superseded the penalty of the Law?

And didn't He overcome the death sentence on Himself in His resurrection? And isn't He, as the Logos (Word of God), also part of Moses' Law itself in some sense, since God "spoke" it to Moses?

 

Thus, wasn't Christ under the law in fulfilling the law, and didn't He go above and supersede the law in His resurrection and pardoning of others?


Edited by H. Smith, 18 March 2013 - 06:03 AM.


#26 H. Smith

H. Smith

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 132 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 18 March 2013 - 06:17 AM

Owen,

 

I think you are claiming that people were not understanding Moses' law and that Jesus' teaching was really a matter of expounding what that law really meant. There is an element of truth to what you are saying, because Christianity has brought us an understanding of spiritual ideas that are part of some laws. For example, I believe there was an inner spiritual meaning in the food purity rules. When Jesus said "it is not what you put into your mouth that makes you impure", he showed that the rule had a spiritual importance (keeping oneself pure). But on the other hand, the plain meaning was clear- don't eat shellfish. And the New Testament (perhaps St Peter's vision about eating all kinds of animals) did change something about that rule, beyond just expounding on the inner meaning of that rule. After all, we eat shellfish!


Edited by H. Smith, 18 March 2013 - 06:24 AM.


#27 H. Smith

H. Smith

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 132 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 18 March 2013 - 06:35 AM

Owen,

 

You compare the idea of restoring fallen nature to its true state with the New Testament bringing out the true meaning of the Old Testament.

 

Assuming for the moment that this image is correct, doesn't it match the idea of one thing superseding another? Fallen nature is raised up to its true original state, as we are raised up to new life in Christ. Thus, the true nature is on top of where the old one has fallen. And in another example, when an amendment comes out to explain what a law means, the amended law supersedes its old form. Isn't that like what you see as the New Testament bringing out the meaning of the Old one?


Edited by H. Smith, 18 March 2013 - 06:35 AM.


#28 Reader Andreas

Reader Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,294 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 18 March 2013 - 08:41 AM

The use of ‘supersede’ in a legal context as an analogy may not be apt; the OED has these:


Law To postpone or suspend the effecting of, defer, put off.


Law (now chiefly U.S.). A writ commanding the stay of legal proceedings, authorizing an action, or suspending powers.


If a legal analogy were to be drawn (and most members live in common law jurisdictions rather than civil code ones) between the OT and the NT, one might say that the former is like the common law and the latter like equity.  F W Maitland borrowed Christ’s saying to describe equity as not destroying but fulfilling the law.



 



#29 Lakis Papas

Lakis Papas

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 326 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 18 March 2013 - 11:48 AM

I do not disagree with the chronological arrangement you propose. But the Bible goes beyond the  chronological determinism. All the writings in the Bible have an eschatological reference. Christ follow what is written in the Old Testament to reveal the love of God for man, as will be revealed  fully and directly in the Eschaton.
 
I also think, it is a mistake to limit the law system of the Old Testament. The Old Testament is a type and image of the Eschaton, and also the New Testament is a type and picture of the Eschaton. Since, however, they take place in human timeline they are adapted to human condition. 
 
Christ said(Matthew 19:7-8):

They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so..."
 
Then Christ said in the "Rich Man and Lazarus" parable(Luke 16:27-31): 

“Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”
 
So, my point is that Old Testament is self-sufficient to show humans the way of repentance. And indeed, Old Testament has led the nation of Israel for centuries to bring the very important result of the birth of Maria, who became worthy to become the Mother of God by following the rules of the Old Testament.
 
Then why did New Testament introduced in human history; New Testament is not a set of legal rules. It is the historical record of the life of the Church, it is the revelation of what is the meaning that the people of God give to the reality of life after Pentecost. New Testament does not supersede Old Testament, but fully illuminates it with a eschatological light. 
 
Christ said:
 
(John 14:25-26)

“These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Comforter(parakletos), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
 
(John 15:26-27)

“But when the Comforter(parakletos) comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning. 
 
So, what is essentially the Old Testament, and what is essentially the New Testament, is revealed by the Comforter. They are not legal provisions that are complementary, overlapping or mutually abolished. For this, Orthodox worship includes both Old and New Testament. 
 
For Saints, both the Old and the New Testament are complete by themselves and therefore they rely on both to talk about the revelation of God. For example, Gregory the Theologian as he writes about deification brings as an example the life of Moses, choosing a saint of the Old Testament. So they do other Church Fathers, and they need no references to New Testament as they speak for Moses and how he was illuminated by God, Old Testament provided all that was necessary for their purpose.
 
The chronological preexistence of the Old Testament gives the impression that the New Testament supersedes Old Testament. This is something that seems logical. But, I think, that when we read the writings of the Fathers we realize that many of them use Old Testament more in their writings/homilies. They do that in a way that reminds us of the incident when Christ counceled the rich young (Matthew 19:16-30):

Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”
So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He said to Him, “Which ones?”
Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
 
Christ suggested the Old Testaments ways as the 'way' to 'enter into life' and then He added something more that was needed for 'perfection'. You may say that this addition is new and supersedes the Old Testaments ways. This is not true. Abraham was asked the same thing in the Old Testament:
 
(Genesis 12:1)

Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you..."
 
End even Christ asked from Abraham even more than he asked from the rich young (this request is recorded in Old Testament): 
 
(Genesis 22:2) 

Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

 

This is what Church Fathers say to us in their writings: those things and laws that are revealed in the New Testament all are already revealed in the Old Testament.  But, we need the Spirit to make this clear for us.

 

 


Edited by Lakis Papas, 18 March 2013 - 11:55 AM.


#30 Reader Andreas

Reader Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,294 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 18 March 2013 - 11:59 AM

After all - where would we be without the Psalms?



#31 Owen Jones

Owen Jones

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,330 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 18 March 2013 - 01:19 PM

Mr. Smith,

 

What is the problem to which your theory of supercessionism is the answer?  And getting to the crux of the matter, it would seem that Orthodoxy rejects the idea that the NT supercedes the OT, at least insofar as you have outlined it.  Sure, it's possible to pick and choose discreet elements, like dietary laws, to make the claim.  But isn't that just a kind of reverse Phariseeism? 



#32 H. Smith

H. Smith

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 132 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 05 April 2013 - 03:57 PM

Father David,

 

Although the question of "replacement" might be different than the issue of "supersession", I think you raise an interesting question:

While it is right to say that Old Covenant's ways are replaced by New Covenant's ways, on the other hand, the replacement is similar to the
image of a child replacing childish ways and adopting grown-up ways. This is more a maturing process rather than a replacement.

 

I think that it is not really accurate to say that the Old Covenant is replaced by the New.  It would be be better to say that the New completes the Old or perhaps more clearly, the New illumines, reveals, explains, continues, etc the Old.  To say that it replaces the Old would imply that the Old is done away with, when that is not at all the case (if it were, we would not honor the Old Testament righteous ones as Saints for they would be of a different order, not continuous with the saints of the New).

 

Fr David

In Lakis Papas' reply, an adult's way of walking replacing his way of walking when he was a child. One can also say that the new, confident way, completes and continues the child's simpler ways of trying to walk and get to that point.

 

Would you say that the new, adult way "does away" with the child's way of walking? On one hand, there is a difference, but on the other, there is a continuation.

 

It makes some sense that the old covenant is not altogether done away with, since some parts of it are carried over into the new one and its fulfillment retains crucial value? Yet in some sense isn't it also true that it has been done away with, because St Paul writes: "In that He says, 'a new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away." (Heb 3:18)

 

Further, why must the creation of a new agreement ("Covenant") deprive ancient righteous people of sainthood, since they lived correctly under the old one, did not reject the new one, and could be covered under both? After all, they looked forward to the Messiah and did not reject Him. If a king makes an edict that he blesses all who obey him and follow a certain ritual, and then replaces it with a new edict that is the same but does not require as many rituals, his loyal subjects who lived before the new edict are not deprived of their honor.

 

And besides, Christ preached to the dead during His "Passover", which could bring them into the New Covenant.

 

On a side note, perhaps those under the New Covenant really are saints of a higher order than those under the Old one?

 

In Matthew 11, Jesus asks about John the Baptist:  A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

 

Here, Jesus refers to John the Forerunner as a prophet and forerunner, one whose time precedes the time in which Jesus was speaking. And he also distinguishes John the Forerunner from those in the Kingdom of Heaven. So perhaps this means John as an OT prophet, heralding the Messianic "Kingdom of Heaven", was less than those inside of that future kingdom?

 

I am just laying this out there as a possible interpretation, and the ancient saints' status doesn't really decide the issue of Supersessionism for me, since during a process of supersession "old" things can continue carry over into "new" ones.

 

 



#33 H. Smith

H. Smith

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 132 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 05 April 2013 - 03:58 PM

Dear Andreas Moran,

 

Perhaps this verse you quoted can go along with Supersessionism?

"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." - Matthew 5:17.

 

Imagine that an ancient king's edict says that one of his heirs will be able to pull a sword out of a boulder. The edict says that this heir will make a new agreement with his subjects.

 

Centuries later one of that king's heirs succeeds in pulling the sword out of the boulder. He makes a whole new set of laws, some of which differ from the king's laws. One of his new laws is that everyone can play in the king's castle, not just the nobility as people did before.

 

Can't the heir say the same thing about the ancient king's laws that Matthew 5:17 did? Hasn't the heir fulfilled the king's old set of laws by fulfilling the expectation about pulling out the sword? Don't his new set of rules supersede the old set of rules, even though some of them carry over?

 

St. Teofilakt the Bulgarian comments on this verse:

 

Since He intended to introduce new laws and so they wouldn't think He was an enemy of God, He" [said the words in Matthew 5:17.] "He fully delineated that which the Law gave only a shadow. That [the Law], said: 'Don't kill', and This one [Christ] said 'And don't be angry for nothing'. Like a painter He does not rub out the first-beginning drawing, but adds to it. (http://bible.optina.ru/new:mf:05:17)

 

I note in passing that the Encyclopedia I quoted in my original post said that supersessionism was "especially" attested in patristic writings portraying the Old Testament as a "shadow".

 

To get back to your question: "Where does the word 'supersede' appear in the writings of the Holy Fathers?"

I believe Wikipedia says it does not appear in their writings, I don't remember it in them, and it makes sense it wouldn't be, because it was developed much later, as the relationship between an old rule and a new rule. However, it seems possible to me that Church Fathers could have used similar terms that existed in their languages, with meanings like "surpass", "transcend," or "exceed."

In the Beatitudes, persecuted christians are told to "be exceedingly glad, for your reward is great in heaven".
 

I like the idea of finding an inner idea. But can you tell me how Christ's "New Testament" action revealed the good true meaning of the OT in the examples you gave?:

 

To expand a little on what Owen says [about revealing the true meaning of the OT], I think of the times when Christ apparently broke with convention in order to reveal true spiritual meaning and higher goals. 

  1. He spoke with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well, talking to a woman who was a stranger being something no respectable Jewish man, let alone a rabbi, would do (as John 4:9 indicates).  
  2. In Luke 9:52-55, the disciples showed their OT thinking in asking if they should call down fire from heaven to destroy those who did not accept Jesus but He rebuked them, signalling a different approach from the OT.
  3. In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the OT punishment for a ‘stubborn, rebellious, gluttonous, and drunken son is to be stoned to death’ (Deut. 21:18), but in the parable, the Father loves him and restores to him his sonship.

In the first example, the religious custom was to avoid speaking with Samaritan women. An inner meaning I see in this custom is that we have a special spiritual fellowship with our own fellow believers, as opposed to nonbelievers. But how does Jesus reveal the inner idea that we only have this special link with believers by talking to a Samaritan stranger?

 

In the second example, an OT way of thinking was to destroy magically destroy those who rejected the Messiah. The inner spiritual meaning I can see is that the Messiah is very important and sent by God, and that people should accept Him. If they didn't, then they are at a major spiritual loss, and separated from something vital. By rejecting their proposal and tolerating rejection, how does He reveal His importance and/or that the rejection is a major loss for the rejectors?

 

One possibility I see is that by forgiving someone when the custom is punishment he shows himself to be stronger than the custom, and this shows His importance and strong authority. That is, by superseding an OT-style custom respecting God's importance, He shows that He has exceedingly great importance and authority, since He has the authority to do so.

 

In the third example, the OT rule says to stone a very bad son. I can see an inner meaning in the rule that the parents have authority and spiritual importance, and that children must respect that and not dishonor it. In the parable, the Father's forgiving decision to restore him shows the father's intense love. And in turn, that shows the Father's strong worthiness of respect, which children should naturally follow. Thus, by superseding and going above an OT rule, the father in the parable showed one of the premises for that rule: the spiritual value of parents.

 

So, I can see how two of these examples show the important spiritual importance of the premise behind a rule (ie the value of God's anointed and of parents), as well as the higher goal behind those rules (to create respect for God's anointed and respect parents). However, even in those two cases supersession is involved: an old custom or rule is superseded by a new way of doing things, even though both ways of doing things were based on at least one common premise.\

 

Regards.


Edited by H. Smith, 05 April 2013 - 04:04 PM.


#34 Father David Moser

Father David Moser

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 3,472 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Cleric

Posted 05 April 2013 - 04:38 PM

Father David,
... 
Would you say that the new, adult way "does away" with the child's way of walking? On one hand, there is a difference, but on the other, there is a continuation.

No, it doesn't "do away with" anything. its still setting one foot in front of the other - just done with less self consciousness and more confidence. As for the Church in this kind of analogy, in Christ we understand what we did not understand before - what was done by rote obedience and taken entirely on faith we now accomplish with a fuller awareness and understanding of what is actually happening. Even now, however, much remains a mystery to be taken on faith without undertanding.

 

Further, why must the creation of a new agreement ("Covenant") deprive ancient righteous people of sainthood,

 
It doesn't. 

Fr David

#35 Reader Andreas

Reader Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,294 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 05 April 2013 - 07:15 PM

I do not accept that anything which accords with Orthodox truth may tend to 'supercessionsim'.  It is not an Orthodox term: it is not a patristic word.  If there is anything in scripture, the Orthodox liturgical texts, or in the writings of the Holy Fathers that expresses this concept, then it may be considered.  Christ said He came to fulfill the law: He did not say He came to supercede it.



#36 H. Smith

H. Smith

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 132 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 05 April 2013 - 09:57 PM

Andreas,

 

I do not accept that anything which accords with Orthodox truth may tend to 'supercessionsim'.  It is not an Orthodox term: it is not a patristic word.  If there is anything in scripture, the Orthodox liturgical texts, or in the writings of the Holy Fathers that expresses this concept, then it may be considered.  Christ said He came to fulfill the law: He did not say He came to supercede it.

I agree with your opposition to introducing new concepts. But is it correct to reject a concept because the name for it is new or different than early or medieval patristics?

 

Would it be correct to oppose the concepts of "Easter", "Eastern Orthodoxy", "onion domes", "Christmas", "frescoes", "nuns", "the ancient faith", "Our Lady of Palestine," because they are not found in patristics?

 

Doesn't it make more sense to say that some of them are incorrect names (misnomers), but some of the concepts they refer to (Paskha, church domes, the Nativity, wall ikons, sisters or women monks, the Theotokos) are Orthodox ideas, even if none of those terms are explicitly mentioned in patristics?

 

To give an analogy, let's say a Russian comes to a Thanksgiving meal, where they happen to have turkey. He thanks his host for the induk. The host replies: "No, you have the wrong idea! I gave you turkey. None of the explorers who found turkeys or the biologists who studied it called it induk. There is no such thing!" Naturally, the issue is that the Russians were using their own word, induk ("Indian"), for an American bird.

 

However, just because their name was incorrect (a misnomer) does not mean the underlying concept was wrong. The Russians can look at a turkey and say- "It's an induk", and look at another bird and see that it isn't one. So even if different terms are used, people can still be referring to the same concept. In that case, one can accept a concept even if different terminology is used.



#37 Herman Blaydoe

Herman Blaydoe

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,117 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 05 April 2013 - 10:13 PM

Except that supersessionism is not "another word" for something else. It is not an Orthodox concept, whatever you choose to call it.



#38 H. Smith

H. Smith

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 132 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 05 April 2013 - 10:14 PM

Andreas,

 

Hello again. I found a place where an important Church figure might have used the term supersede. Leo the Great says in his Sermon on the Passion:

 

For the things which had long been promised under mysterious figures had to be fulfilled in all clearness; for instance, the True Sheep had to supersede the sheep which was its antitype, and the One Sacrifice to bring to an end the multitude of different sacrifices. For all those things which had been divinely ordained through Moses about the sacrifice of the lamb had prophesied of Christ and truly announced the slaying of Christ. In order, therefore, that the shadows should yield to the substance and types cease in the presence of the Reality, the ancient observance is removed by a new Sacrament, victim passes into Victim, blood is wiped away by Blood, and the law-ordained Feast is fulfilled by being changed.

http://www.newadvent...hers/360358.htm


Edited by H. Smith, 05 April 2013 - 10:15 PM.


#39 Reader Andreas

Reader Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,294 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 05 April 2013 - 11:19 PM

It is obvious that God’s covenant with Abraham and the Hebrews was fulfilled (as Christ said) – replaced or superseded if you will inasmuch as Christ’s sacrifice was not an animal sacrifice - by Christ’s once-and-for-all sacrifice on the Cross.  This is not ‘supercessionsism’ as that term is meant.  As Herman has affirmed, this term is not an Orthodox concept, and it is hard to see the point in straining to demonstrate that it is.



 



#40 H. Smith

H. Smith

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 132 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 06 April 2013 - 01:52 AM

It is obvious that God’s covenant with Abraham and the Hebrews was fulfilled (as Christ said) – replaced or superseded if you will inasmuch as Christ’s sacrifice was not an animal sacrifice - by Christ’s once-and-for-all sacrifice on the Cross.



Sure, Andreas. It reminds me of the idea that a new agreement supersedes an earlier one, but depending on the agreement does not necessarily get rid of the earlier one. I thought you have brought up healthy issues that are worth addressing. In particular, you asked where Church fathers have used the term "supersede", and I found more examples of this.

Tertullian writes:

Now, if the Creator indeed promised that "the ancient things should pass away,"(Comp. Isa. 43:18, 19, Isa. 65:17, 2 Cor. 5:17) to be superseded by a new course of things which should arise, whilst Christ marks the period of the separation when He says, "The law and the prophets were until John"(Luke 16:16)-thus making the Baptist the limit between the two dispensations of the old things then terminating-and the new things then beginning, the apostle cannot of course do otherwise, (coming as he does) in Christ, who was revealed after John, than invalidate "the old things" and confirm "the new," and yet promote thereby the faith of no other god than the Creator, at whose instance49 it was foretold that the ancient things should pass away. http://st-takla.org/...03/0030448.html



The Recognitions of Clement say:

Peter, seeing that we were awake, and that we were giving attention to him, having saluted us, immediately began to speak...
"...Thus, in some unaccountable way, when any custom is established, the old custom is changed, provided indeed you do not force it above measure, but as far as the measure of nature admits..."

Then I, when I heard this, said: "You have very well said, O Peter; for one custom is superseded by another..."


This reminds me of the idea that St Peter had a vision whereby it was acceptable to eat all kinds of food without becoming ritually unclean.

St Jerome also used the term "supersede." He moved to Jerusalem to learn Hebrew from Jewish Christians and translate the Old Testament. He learned it from Jewish Christians, about whom he wrote with admiration. In this passage from St Jerome, the term supersede (literally "sit on top of") comes in the context of giving precedence to one group over another. The Jewish community generally following circumcision and certain food rules, and ascetically observed the Sabbath. Gentiles, on the other hand, were outsiders, who did not follow these rules and were not part of the community. Do I have that right? As time went on, more gentiles accepted Christianity, and the Church generally fell away from prescribing those above-mentioned rituals, even for its Jewish members.

St Jerome also used the term "supersede." He moved to Jerusalem to learn Hebrew from Jewish Christians and translate the Old Testament. He learned it from Jewish Christians, about whom he wrote with admiration. In this passage from St Jerome, the term supersede (literally "sit on top of") comes in the context of giving precedence to one group over another.

The Jewish community generally following circumcision and certain food rules, and ascetically observed the Sabbath. Gentiles, on the other hand, were outsiders, who did not follow these rules and were not part of the community. Do I have that right? As time went on, more gentiles accepted Christianity, and the Church generally fell away from prescribing those above-mentioned rituals, even for Jewish members.

Isn't it true that at that time a "people" referred to a group, and not necessarily an ethnic one as it does today? After all, Christians in the Holy Land are "Rum" (Roman) Orthodox, even though they are not from Rome. So in a sense there was a supersession, whereby a Christian "people" as St Peter calls them, superseded the earlier focus on one ethnic group, since among Christians there is neither "Jew nor Greek."

On one hand, Jesus said "the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it."(Mat 21) But isn't this transition of the kingdom from one group to another simply another way of looking at the situation, as St Paul did in Romans 9? In Romans 9, St Paul saw there being only one olive tree (Israel), which underwent a process where some branches were changed, while the root remained. So in Jesus' analogy there were two groups and the "kingdom" moved between them, while in St. Paul's analogy there was one tree and some branches moved onto and off of it. Both would be different forms of supersession- one nation "supersedes" an older group in holding the kingdom (Mat 21), and the new, transformed status of the olive tree "supersedes" the same tree's old status and traits.

This might give a better context to St. Jerome's writing:

While the disciples were disputing concerning precedence our Lord, the teacher of humility, took a little child and said: "Except ye be converted and become as little children ye cannot enter the kingdom of heaven." And lest He should seem to preach more than he practised, He fulfilled His own precept in His life. For He washed His disciples' feet, he received the traitor with a kiss, He conversed with the woman of Samaria, He spoke of the kingdom of heaven with Mary at His feet, and when He rose again from the dead He showed Himself first to some poor women... The Jewish people perished in their pride, for while they claimed the chief seats and salutations in the market place, they were superseded by the Gentiles, who had before been counted as "a drop of a bucket." Two poor fishermen, Peter and James, were sent to confute the sophists and the wise men of the world. As the Scripture says: "God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble."
http://www.catholicc...earchid=1011067


So St Jerome is pointing to the idea that children, a Samaritan woman, his disciples' feet, his betrayer, and poor women at the tomb are given precedence or special respect by Christ. He compares this to the idea of the importance of gentile believers, as they went from a mere "drop" to a predominant component, thereby "superseding" the Jewish people in this role. In any case, I find that St Jerome's passage deserves some explanation.

Edited by H. Smith, 06 April 2013 - 01:53 AM.





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users