Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Lutheran Canon

I am enjoying an excellent discussion with Josh S. over at Return of the Prodigal Blogger (the author of which is going on hiatus). Do check it out.

Josh gave a brilliant explanation of the Lutheran approach to canon, saying they follow "the old scholastic rule of establishing dogma on the homolegoumena (universally attested books), only corroborating it with antilegoumena (books disputed in the early church, such as Revelation and Jude), and reading the Apocrypha as useful histories and moral examples rather than chief source of dogma..." He juxtaposes this view with "Trent's "flat canon," which is perpetually cracking under the stress of historical investigation and required the invention of papal fiat in order to buttress it.""

My interpretation of Josh's explanation of Lutheran Canonicity, in terms of authority, goes as follows: 1) we are bound to follow the writings of the Apostles, 2) we accept those writings that the early church universally accepted as Apostolic, such that we can form dogma from them, and 3) what some early churches did not acknowledge, we will not use in the formation of dogma.

My thoughts and remaining questions on this are posted in the comments string as linked above. I hope the richness of Josh's knowledge keeps unfolding there!

3 comments:

theo said...

Dear Thos:

I followed the link to Josh's blog. His comentary is well worth considering as you weigh these matters of the heart, mind and soul. Perhaps you might invite Josh to participate in the on-going related conversation we're having over on Adam Roe's blog?

In any event, I believe your own questions regarding the determination of whether the canon of Scripture should be treated homogeneously or bifurcatedly are well asked and worthy of your time and effort to ponder.

With sincere prayer for the Holy Spirit's guidance for you and for all in our seeking to better imitate Christ, I remain your humble servant,
--Theo

Thos said...

Theo, Done. Your prayer is earnestly desired and deeply appreciated. I am sad to return to full semester studies tomorrow, as it dramatically retards the pace at which I am able to learn about Christ's Church, but hopefully will be able to keep some posts going...

orrologion said...

I know this is a totally old post, but I thought I would make a little comment. I was only ever able to find the Homologoumena/Antilogoumena distinction in Eusebius and Jerome. They seemed to simply be passing on the fact that there were some Christians that made such a distinction. The Church Universal in her Ecumenical Councils didn't make such distinctions, neither in her practice. It seems that Lutherans picked it up later as an important way to minimize while still respecting James. Perhaps the western, Catholic scholastics also used this distinction, but again, that would just be a part of the church, so at best a theologoumena.