Re: Formation of canon
- Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
>This section 7 Irenaeus does not talk about the Montanists. Above, youYou're right, I didn't proof read before I sent. I wanted a section out
> quoted a passage re: followers of Valentinus, but I don't see how this may
> relate to Montanists, necessarily.
> But you actually seem to be right about the Montanists. It appears that
> they did use Jn a lot. Irenaeus seems to be a bit confusing (or confused?)
> in what he wrote, and I've interpreted him as if Montanists rejected Jn.
> As you've indicated, he probably meant Montanists rejecting The Gospel
> (all 4) as opposed to rejecting just Jn.
of section 9 of this chapter where I says that the Montanists make
copious use of John. I think he meant though that the Montanists didn't
reject the 4, but rather their theology and hence their "gospel" was
sufficiently different that Irenaeus' received tradition that in effect
he says that they reject the Gospel-not to be confused with rejecting
the 4 gospels.
> Nevertheless, I've found a couple of other groups who clearly rejected Jn,Quite so, I had forgotten about Gaius although I don't recall that I
> and they will do just as well instead of Montanists. These were the Alogi,
> of 2nd c, and also the followers of someone named Gaius, who was active at
> the turn of the 2nd c -- early 3rd c.
mentions the Alogi, but Epiphanius does if memory serves. I should
check that out.
> I would have never set out to show that ALL such groups were producing andThen I think we're argueing pretty close to the same thing, I mistook
> using "heretical" texts, Larry. Why would I try such a thing?
> > Some were, some weren't.
> Sure, this is what I meant. Enough were for sure. The fact that Irenaeus
> didn't write about that in that particular instance is pretty meaningless
> in my view.
some of your statements as blanket statements.
>It is rather weak, but it is valid if I may make that distinction. And
> I still find Jeremy's argument rather weak. Is there any doubt at all
> about the extent of heretics' literary production?
while there is a good deal of literary production going on it is also
somewhat surprising that there wasn't more and that so much (by no means
all or even the "greater" majority) of the discussion in the 2nd and
early 3rd centuries revolves around the 4 and interpreting the 4. I
don't think it a stretch to interpret some of these documents as
conscious interpretations of the Tradition. The question is whether
this literary output on the part of these groups means that they
questioned the authority or the canonicity of the 4-some groups
obviously did reject some of the gospels but it is interesting to note
that those groups (such as the Ebionites) don't replace them with other
gospels. Still other groups accept the four and produce others. But
what place those others? Just because they wrote them doesn't not mean
that they were intended to take the place of what became the canonical
Another perspective here too is that by Irenaeus' time the 4 are far
more settled than in the earlier part of the century when Marcion and
Valentinus and Basilides are active.
To illustrate what I mean: there are groups of Christians who follow
the dictates of the Hebrew Bible in so far as legally possible (can't
exactly offer up burnt offerings and slaughter animals these days) and
as a result all but ignore Paul's letter to the Galatians, which however
remains in their canon.
Other Christians look to say, C. S. Lewis as authoritative but would
certainly never put his work on a par with Scripture even though they
would know Lewis' ideas more than the Bible.
So what I'm asking to a degree is unanswerable but I'm also attacking a
position: because a particular group produces a work in the 2nd century
it does NOT follow that the work gained canonical status in that group,
it may have only been highly influential. But ultimately it is
unanswerable, we don't at the current time have enough evidence and I
try to shy away from assumptions.
Another way to look at this is I himself. He produces quite a bit of
literature defining the "true faith" and tradition, as do many other
writers of the period. But do you think for a second that anyone,
including I himself thinks that the Demonstratio is as authoritative as
John? I don't.
PS: Peraps you're right that I should tone down some of my replies a
> Point well taken.It is just that you have so much to offer, I hate to see it lost because
of how it is packaged. You've made me rethink a number of things in
this exchange and remember things I had forgotten, for which I thank