Blogging Ecumenically: Coordination

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting on Orthodox-Catholic online dialogue, originally delivered at the “That They May Be One” Conference.

bigstock-dialogue-between-man-and-woman-25597598The third category of dialogue between Orthodox and Catholic writers at Conciliar Post involves what I call “coordination seeking unity.” These types of interaction consist of Orthodox and Catholic voices not only agreeing accidentally or for the sake of defeating a common opponent, but also instances where agreements are sought for the sake of broad Christian unity. In contrast to cooperative approaches where arguments are presented from the Catholic or Orthodox perspective alone, coordinated approaches argue from positions of broad Christian faith (casting the Church as whole) or the perspectives of Orthodoxy and Catholicism together. Continue reading

Blogging Ecumenically: Reinforcement

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting on Orthodox-Catholic online dialogue, originally delivered at the “That They May Be One” Conference.

thA second way in which Orthodox and Catholic writers at Conciliar Post dialogue with one another is through what I call “reinforcement,” namely, a reinforcement of disagreements. In these instances, after a) recognition of historical Orthodox-Catholic differences coming into play or b) a time of attempting to reconcile potentially non-synchronous positions, Orthodox and Catholic writers agree to disagree and effectively break off dialogue on whatever issue causes the disagreement at hand. Continue reading

Blogging Ecumenically: Cooperation

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting on Orthodox-Catholic online dialogue, originally delivered at the “That They May Be One” Conference.

shutterstock_91130885First, there is Orthodox-Catholic cooperation, especially cooperation against common theological opponents. Depending on the topic, these opponents can range from secular perspectives to Protestants or from those who disregard church history to those denigrating the liturgy. When discussing such topics, Orthodox and Roman Catholic writers “go to bat” for their fellow writers, offering Catholic or Orthodox arguments in defense of each other’s positions. Continue reading

Blogging Ecumenically: Introductory Period

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting on Orthodox-Catholic online dialogue, originally delivered at the “That They May Be One” Conference.

dialogueOrthodox-Catholic dialogue on Conciliar Post typically begins with a short introductory period. During this time, new writers introduce themselves to the site, get to know their fellow writers, and (occasionally) produce “foundational articles,” explanations of where they come from and how they hope to contribute to Conciliar Post’s dialogue. Additionally, this early period of interaction often includes a basic recognition of similarities and differences among writers, which often comes in the form of short, basic affirmations of a post or, conversely, an attempt to charitably question another’s position or meaning. An excellent example of how new Catholic and Orthodox writers work through this introductory period comes in the writing of a Roman Catholic whom I have named Frigus (note: names here and throughout the rest of this presentation are pseudonymous). Continue reading

Blogging Ecumenically: Background

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting on Orthodox-Catholic online dialogue, originally delivered at the “That They May Be One” Conference.

Conciliar PostTwo years ago, Benjamin Cabe, a friend and former classmate, approached me about launching a website. Both us were active academic bloggers and were regularly discouraged by the poor understanding and lack of meaningful dialogue cultivated online through 140-character Twitter interaction, sound-bite news, #hashtagactivism, and rhetoric-oriented theology. The website we envisioned would be fashioned from Christians reflecting on important theological and cultural issues in an informed, faithful, and civil manner. Instead of listening in order to respond to one another, our writers would be committed to listening in order to understand before carrying on conversations or pushing back in disagreement. Thus was born Conciliar Post, a “collection of theological conversations, journeys of faith, reflections on Christianity, and commentary on current events from a Christian perspective” which “promotes edifying dialogue that informs, encourages, and challenges people around the world.”[1] Authors at Conciliar Post hail from across Christian traditions and throughout the United States, and write a wide range of topics and issues. Continue reading

Blogging Ecumenically: Introduction

Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras IThis past Saturday, I attended a conference titled “That They May Be One: The Past, Present, and Future of Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue” hosted by Saint Louis University and the St. Irenaeus Orthodox Theological Institute. In addition to hearing some excellent papers and meeting some quality people, I also had the opportunity to deliver a paper of my own, titled “Blogging Ecumenically: The Present and Future of Online Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue”, derived by my experiences as Managing Editor at Conciliar Post. Over the next week and a half, I’ll be sharing portions of this paper here. Although written about Orthodox-Catholic dialogue, I believe the general principles of this paper are applicable to Protestants as well. Below is the introduction to my paper: Continue reading

The Marcion Problem: Canon and Literature Formation (Part III)

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Marcion of Sinope and his influence of the formation of the New Testament canon.
Marcion of Sinope

Marcion of Sinope

Common to the perspectives of Knox, Tyson, and Price is that Marcion not only formed the notion of a Christian canon, but also influenced the writing of the canonical Luke-Acts and conceptions of Christian scriptures. For this school especially, Marcion’s views on scripture, canon and authority are understood to be paradigmatic for later Christianity. Concerning scripture, Price argues that Marcion was the first to conceive of specifically Christian writings. While Knox and Tyson do not take Marcion’s influence nearly that far, they argue that Marcion not only gave rise to the idea of the Christian canon, and impacted the understood authority of written texts, especially the various versions of Luke-Acts. As with the Canon Formation School, the scholars conceive of Marcion’s views of scripture and authority as seeking to demonstrate and preserve that which is unique about the person and work of Jesus Christ. For the Canon and Literature Formation School, it remains clear that Marcion’s desire was to reinforce the uniqueness of the Christian message in a paradigmatic fashion. Continue reading

The Marcion Problem: Canon and Literature Formation (Part II)

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Marcion of Sinope and his influence of the formation of the New Testament canon.

Joseph Tyson

Joseph Tyson

Joseph Tyson

Following Knox’s perspective is Joseph Tyson’s work Marcion and Luke-Acts: A Defining Struggle, in which Tyson argues argues for a late compositional dating of Luke-Acts as a response to Marcion during the period from 100 to 150 CE.[91] Tyson understands Marcion to have presented an enormous problem for the church with his rejection of the Jewish Scriptures, and that writers such as Irenaeus and Tertullian were pressed into finding symbolic or allegorical representations of Christ in those scriptures whilst simultaneously using the gospel narratives to present him as something unique.[92] Pauline writings and theology became especially problematic for use by the proto-orthodox, as they constituted the core of Marcion’s theological system, and thus the proto-orthodox created Luke-Acts to combat the challenge of Marcionite Christianity.[93] Tyson thus argues for three distinct versions of the Gospel According to Luke: the pre-Marcionite gospel of roughly canonical Luke 3-23, the Marcionite Gospel which likely included the pre-Marcionite version with some significant omissions and minor changes, and the canonical edition with added prologue, infancy narratives, a re-writing the resurrection, and addition of post-resurrection scenes.[94] This proto-orthodox version of Luke-Acts became the primary anti-Marcionite tool in the early church, eventually becoming formally canonized.[95] Tyson, following Knox, argues that both Marcion and the editor of Luke-Acts used a primitive form of Luke’s gospel. Such actions on the part of proto-orthodox writers demonstrate not only Marcion’s unique position of canon formation, but also how his use on new Christian scripture influenced the great Christian community. Continue reading

The Marcion Problem: Canon and Literature Formation (Part I)

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Marcion of Sinope and his influence of the formation of the New Testament canon.

Gospel of LukeWe now turn to the Canon and Literature Formation school, which understands Marcion not only to have been formed the notion of a Christian canon, but also to have influenced the major redaction and writing of texts now found in the Christian New Testament. The first major proponent of this view was John Knox in his work Marcion and the New Testament. Knox affirmed Harnack’s argument that Marcion’s canon was the first distinctly Christian canon,[85] writing that only with the closing of a canon is a canon really formed and thus once Marcion had adopted his “Gospel and Apostle” model and closed his canon, he had made for the first time Christian writings scripture.[86] Knox also agreed with Von Campenhausen’s understanding of Marcion’s “Gospel and Apostle” distinctiveness.[87] But the Canon Formation School understood Marcion’s version of Luke to be a redacted version of our current Luke, Knox argued that Marcion edited a primitive form of Luke’s Gospel.[88] Concerning the relationship between the canonical Luke and Marcion’s Luke, Knox wrote that there would be “a primitive Gospel, containing approximately the same Markan and Matthean elements which our Luke contains and some of its peculiar materials, was somewhat shortened by Marcion or some predecessor and rather considerably enlarged by the writer of our Gospel, who was also the maker of Luke-Acts.”[89] Continue reading

The Marcion Problem: Canon Formation (Part III)

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Marcion of Sinope and his influence of the formation of the New Testament canon.

Old BooksHaving examined the perspectives on Harnack, Von Campenhausen, and Metzger regarding Marcion influence on the development of the Christian New Testament canon over the past couple of weeks (namely, that his conceptions of scripture, canon, and authority led to the formation of the new canon of the Great Church), we turn to three distinct considerations stemming from these works. First, there is the consideration of these scholars’ arguments concerning Marcion’s formative impact on a specifically Christian canon. Overall, the line of reasoning by Harnack and Von Campenhausen appears a bit simplistic, as if to say that early Christians conceived of scriptural writings as an ‘either/or’ proposition. Metzger’s positions itself causes some concerns for placing such central importance on Marcion’s canonical influence, as he argues for an early Pauline corpus, early authoritative uses of writings, and notes at least two other influences in the formation of a new canon. As will be seen below, the conception of Marcion as the originator of the Christian canon demonstrates numerous difficulties. Continue reading