The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Sunday, September 30, 2018


The Saker, disciple of Maximus, has gone on today to cite the "Apostolic Canons" to the same effect: such that the archons of our aeon should not be meddling with episcopal appointments. I don't believe The Saker has the right proof-text. Tragically.

Yes, later Church Synods, like Troullo, have adopted these Canons. But they derive from a forgery, as everyone west of the Jirecek Line will tell you. And trust me: we Latins want that same early proof-text, in our case against Bergoglio's sellout to the Chinese. (Pope Hormisdas knew the Canons were bogus too.) So it gives me no pleasure to contradict The Saker here.

Still, let's get into how The Saker went wrong. Maybe we'll even learn something!

The "Apostolic Canons" distill "Apostolic Constitutions", last chapter of the eighth book - thence, The Saker extracted #31. The Constitutions overall is pretty famous; the Ethiopians retained a translation, and still plead for it.

The "Constitutions" in its turn used its own sources. From books one to six, the main one was the "Didascalia Apostolorum". In our days this was edited in 1906, from a mix of defective Greek and Latin manuscripts, a full Syriac manuscript, and its wholesale plagiary in the Constitutions. So scholars are assured of its Greek text. From all that, I assume the 1929 English translation is a fair guide.

The Didascalia is a fascinating snapshot into early Christian organisation, if you can stand its length and piety. (It's a fair window onto the third-century state of the Greek Biblical text, as well.) The middle portion, also long, deals with the bishops - leaders of the "presbytery". They should be elderly and wise, and so should their wives(!) be. They act as High Priests in Christ's name, in an era when the "presbyter" had not quite yet assured his position relative to the deacon, and was not yet equated with the cohen-hieros. (No direct "Hebrews" citations!) The bishops shouldn't involve themselves in stupid secular pursuits, nor in worldly greed.

However I don't see where the Didascalia talks about making use of the worldly rulers, which should be "archon" in Greek. From one viewpoint, that just helps to prove that the Didascalia precedes the Edict of Milan. (To be more specific, its view of Bishop=Priest and Presbyter=Deputy-At-Best matches closely Cyprian.) But for our needs - East and West - this is most unhelpful, because we just lost our best potential proof-text.

The Constitutions, then, pulled this warning against political interference from elsewhere. I'd like there to be a parallel strand also preMilanese but I am unsure we shall find one.

In the meantime I advise The Saker get back to citing Maximus.

posted by Zimri on 14:16 | link | 0 comments

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