Canon Comparison and Deuteroncanon

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Lankford Oxendine | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Aug 11 2018 9:05 PM

Looking at the Canon Comparison, I find it odd that Faithlife decided to list the books of the Apocrypha as Deuteroncanon for resources such as the Geneva Bible, Anglican, 39 articles, etc.  Perhaps this is semantics and I realize it can get complicated, but doesn't this decision lead people astray into thinking that the above mention groups/works considered these books to be canonical in the same fashion as the Roman Catholic tradition (and others)?  As it stands, I don't believe the Canon comparison tools does a good job of highlighting the different views concerning the authoritative status of the Apocryphal books.  Am I missing something??

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 11 2018 10:42 PM

Did you read the description of the categories canonical, deuterocanonical and trito-canonical? Because the terms are used differently in different traditions they are carefully defined outside the definition of any specific tradition. 

Lankford Oxendine:
resources such as the Geneva Bible, Anglican, 39 articles, etc.

For Anglican, do a search on the BCP for Sirach as evidence that the definition of deuterocanonical was met; for the Geneva Bible, check a facsimile of the original table of contents; etc. . .

Lankford Oxendine:
but doesn't this decision lead people astray into thinking that the above mention groups/works considered these books to be canonical in the same fashion as the Romans Catholic tradition (and others)?

The tool is not intended to display the differing theological interpretations of canonical, authoritative, inspired ... It is intended to provide as neutral as possible presentation of the books included/excluded in the canons of the broad spectrum of historical and current defined canons. Also note that there is no single Catholic tradition of canon - canon development is generally viewed as three pronged - Latin, Greek, and Syrian - with Catholics having a foot in all three traditions. If you have evidence of errors in the charts, please let me know. I am hoping that Logos will update it to include all canons provided in The Biblical Canon Lists from Early Christianity by Gallagher and Meade which was published after the charts were produced.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Lankford Oxendine | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 11 2018 11:38 PM

MJ. Smith:
Did you read the description of the categories canonical, deuterocanonical and trito-canonical? Because the terms are used differently in different traditions they are carefully defined outside the definition of any specific tradition. 

Actually I did not.  I immediately selected a tradition in the left pane and totally missed the verbiage in the right pane.  I thought I was missing something.  Thanks for the clarification.  I still find it odd that FL is redefining the fairly orthodox modern definitions of protocanon and deuterocanon (even if it varies based on tradition) instead of coming up with a different nomenclature.

MJ. Smith:
The tool is not intended to display the differing theological interpretations of canonical, authoritative, inspired ... It is intended to provide as neutral as possible presentation of the books included/excluded in the canons of the broad spectrum of historical and current defined canons.

I would have to disagree with this statement to an extent.  Doesn't the very existence of these different groups indicate the tool is doing more than simply stating what books were included in the canons?

I believe you worked on this tool so please don't take my questions as a disparagement on your hard work.  It is a great resource and my failure to see the definitions of the different levels of canonicity resulted in my confusion.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Aug 12 2018 1:02 AM

Lankford Oxendine:
 I still find it odd that FL is redefining the fairly orthodox modern definitions of protocanon and deuterocanon (even if it varies based on tradition) instead of coming up with a different nomenclature.

Actually, from my perspective, having read extensively on the topic of canon primarily from the perspective of Jewish, Anglican, Catholic, (Greek) Orthodox, Lutheran, and Oriental Orthodoxy, I see the proto/deutero terminology as very mainstream. (Consider this Orthodox term: The Anagignoskomena—ἀναγιγνωσκόμενα (Greek, "those which are to be read" [to a gathering], that is, those which are to be read aloud to the congregation)).  Trito-canonical is a category created for what was left over i.e. formally accepted as canonical but never used (and often not even included in the text). This was needed for the Slavic Orthodox and some Oriental Orthodox canons. The other common definitions of deuterocanonical are (1) "second" in the sense of the Greek OT which followed the Hebrew OT in historical time or (2) books that have been disputed which includes seven NT books. Somehow, I thought labeling part of the New Testament deuterocanonical would raise some hackles. Terminology based on the ecclesial status or catechumenate status lacks breadth of use across traditions.

Lankford Oxendine:
Doesn't the very existence of these different groups indicate the tool is doing more than simply stating what books were included in the canons?

No, because the distinction is made within the tradition - in the organization of the texts, explicitly in Church documents etc. The vast majority of traditions recognize differing levels of "canonity". To hide the distinctions within a canon would misrepresent the tradition. For example, the Russian Orthodox Church officially accepts the book of Revelation as "canonical" but does not use it liturgically or theologically -- a situation some theologians think should change. The recognition of the 6 levels of texts does no more in the tool than the division into "Torah", "history","wisdom literature","Gospels" ....

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 13 2018 10:53 AM

MJ. Smith:
For example, the Russian Orthodox Church officially accepts the book of Revelation as "canonical" but does not use it liturgically or theologically -- a situation some theologians think should change.

Reminds me of Luther's treatment of it... who in some opinion treated it little better than the 'apocryphal' books. And while I cannot locate it at the moment it seems to me that at one time certain readings from Revelation were officially under a type of suppression in the Anglican Church, but I cannot locate where I read it, although it seemed to me to be something to the effect "Revelation chapter 2 and 3 must never be read from the pulpit on a sunday. Indeed in the original BCP lectionary Revelation is not ignored but it is not heavily read from either with only one Sunday reading from it (others being movable feasts/events):

Revelation 4:1-11    
5:6-10    
7:7-17    
12:7-11    
14:1-5    
21:1-7     
21:2-7    
21:10-14   

Trinity Sunday    
All Saints’ (d)    
All Saints’ (a)    
St. Michael and All Angels    
The Innocents    
Burial    
Consecration of a Church    
Saints Simon and Jude  

   -dan

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 13 2018 1:38 PM

Thanks Dan, that's the kind of rabbit trail I love to follow ...

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 14 2018 1:16 PM

I did discover that Revelation 'was omitted from the original table of readings for the Book of Common Prayer'

-dan

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