Re: Q and Papias

On Fri, 28 Oct 1994, Michael I Bushnell wrote:

> I'm afraid you've made an unwarranted assumption.  I'm an
> Anglo-Catholic; it's quite surprising to be accused of
> _sola_scriptura_!  So the fact that I defend the actual Scriptures
> against interlopers doesn't mean that there is nothing but the
> Scriptures for the Church.  

Oops!  I didn't mean to imply you believed in _sola scriptura_ - I wasn't 
using it in Luther's sense, but in a tongue-in-cheek sense applicable to 
this subject (_sola mea scriptura_), that is, about accepting only a 
certain set of Scriptures as the basis for religious belief & scholarly 
study.  What I was trying to say, and obviously didn't say very well, was 
that not all Christians might agree on what is or should be canonical, 
whether the canon is closed, etc. etc.

> The Scriptures have a place in the Church, and that place is occupied
> by the actual Scriptures, as they were actually canonized.
> Hypothetical (or even discovered) ur-texts are not the canonized
> texts, and so they don't occupy that place.  They might occupy a
> different place--but they are not then the Scriptures.

This gets into a sticky grey area: exactly which scriptures were the 
canonizers looking at when they decided canon, and should only those 
texts be considered canonical by those churches which wish to see them as 
canonical for this reason?  In that case, attempts to find the "original" 
even of a canonical gospel are wrong-headed, and manuscripts earlier than 
canon-formation should be discarded instead of prized.

> This place occupied by the Scriptures is not the sole source of
> authority in the Church, I would confess; I do not believe the
> doctrine of _sola_scriptura_.  But the place occupied by the
> Scriptures is not occupied by supposed ur-scriptures.

It's interesting to wonder what would happen if some older texts were to 
be found and verified to most people's satisfaction as "ur-scriptures."  
Would some churches give them more weight than the canonicals?

> It's quite off the point to notice the politics and mechanism of the
> process of canonization; the early ecumenical councils were also
> filled with politics, and this doesn't give me reason to doubt the
> Nicene Creed.

I *really* wanted to avoid this kind of discussion, and that is why I was 
merely hoped people here would recognize the wide variety of Christians 
reading this list, some of whom doubt the Nicene Creed, for your 
information, and some of whom doubt politics as a vehicle of divine 
inspiration.  If we can all avoid making claims for each others' beliefs 
about canon and creed, and talking about _The_ Church and _The_ 
Christians ("Us", as opposed to "interlopers") we would be doing well I 

It seems like discussions like the one on Q would proceed better if 
people here understood, respected, and detached themselves from the 
variety of Christian (and non-Christian) beliefs about canon, 
inspiration, etc. inasmuch as some of those beliefs are not amenable to 
rational investigation.  Otherwise people may tend to talk past each 
other and offend each other needlessly.  For instance, those who think Q 
studies are irrelevant to their concerns can simply ignore those posts 
without taking issue with their existence.

Greg Jordan

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