A Summary of Christian History


#1

Need some quick help. Am in an email discussion and the following came up;

What I am about to write will drop bombs of heresy in the Catholic Church so please be seated. I will quote from page 74 of Robert Baker’s book entitled, “A summary of Christian History.” My copy is the third edition published in 2005. I believe you need to read the 6th Canon, not from the Rome perspective but from the original copies from either the Church at Alexandria or Antioch.

“The sixth canon of the Council of Nicaea recognized the Roman bishop as being on a par with the Alexandrian and Antiochian bishops. A forgery was inserted in the Roman bishop’s copy of this canon. This forged element was discovered when the Roman copy was compared with other copies of the Nicene records. It suggests the mind-set of Rome as they sought by every means, fair or otherwise, to claim preeminence. No wonder scholars doubt the texts of some of the older writings that have been preserved by Rome.”

Finally, on page 75 of the same reference Baker writes, “Between the first universal council of 325 and the fourth council held at Chalcedon in 451, the Roman bishop laid the foundations for the ecclesiastical monarchy now known by his title. Many outstanding factors entered into this development.” I will therefore stand by my previous statement that the ‘Catholic Church’ as we know it did not exist until the 5th, possibly 6th Century AD.

I need aquick reference to an online article refuting this mess.

Anyone?


#2

I’m no expert, but I would say two things. First, if someone is to make such a claim, the burden of proof would be on him. Where does this information come from, are there any other scholars that support the claim. Throw this back at him and tell him to prove it is wrong:

“The sixth canon of the Council of Nicaea recognized the Roman bishop as being preeminent over the Alexandrian and Antiochian bishops. A forgery was inserted in the Alexandrian and Antiochian bishop’s copy of this canon. This forged element was discovered when the Roman copy was compared with other copies of the Nicene records. It suggests the mind-set of Alexandria and Antioch as they sought by every means, fair or otherwise, to claim equality. No wonder scholars doubt the texts of some of the older writings that have been preserved by Alexandria and Antioch.”

I will therefore stand by my previous statement that the ‘Catholic Church’ as we know it has always existed from the very beginning.

Second, I found this quote from this website:
aestheticsandreligion.blogspot.com/2005/10/note-about-scoffers-name-callers-dirt.html
It is another quote from the same book. In it it looks like he also claims that Christian sexual morality and the sacrament of Baptism were all inserted by pagans into the early church:

In his respected work A Summary of Christian History, Robert A. Baker writes: "Either willfully or ignorantly, the pagans twisted the vocabulary of the Christians to involve atheism (no idols), cannibalism (eating the Lord’s body and drinking his blood), immorality (growing out of the sensual conception of the word ‘love’), and magic and sorcery (in the Supper and baptism).


#3

I don’t see how this says what you are claiming. It sounds like a pretty neutral statement to me, granting that the early Christians talked about eating and drinking Christ’s Body and Blood (whatever they meant by it).

Edwin


#4

Probably that they were eating and drinking His Body and Blood. Just a thought.


#5

Shouldn’t you be interested in finding out the truth rather than assuming that his claim is a “mess”?

He is in fact claiming too much for the sixth canon, which does not say anything about the three Patriarchates being on a par, but simply that they have jurisdiction over their respective provinces. It does appear that the canons of Nicea were interpolated to strengthen Roman claims of supremacy.

The quote from Baker is a typical generalization such as you find in textbooks. It proves nothing.

I remember reading a book (maybe two separate books–it was some years ago) on papal primacy in the early Church for my prelims. I think one of them was by Gustave Bardy, but I don’t remember the exact title for sure. It wasn’t in English translation anyway.

Walter Bauer’s famous Orthodoxy and Heresy in the Early Church, while taking a rather cynical attitude to Rome, ascribes a great deal of influence to it with regard to the early (2nd century) development of orthodoxy.

There’s a lot to be discussed about papal primacy in the early Church, but it certainly wasn’t an invention of the fifth century. (Perhaps the concept of papal “monarchy” was, if indeed it can be dated that early.)

Edwin


#6

A tautology is not really a thought:D.

Like it or not, people have meant a number of different things by that phrase.

Edwin


#7

I suspect the early Christians meant exactly what Christ meant: “This IS My Body… This IS My Blood”. They accepted an objective presence but remained silent on the particulars. Such is the nature of a sacred mystery.


#8

I agree (the “silence on the particulars” is what I was talking about). That really isn’t the point of the thread anyway.

Ediwn


#9

To say there was a forgery in canon six is not a bomb, merely a truth. However morally unlovely it may be, this forgery, & the admission that is a forgery, does not affect the substance of the claims made for Rome, which was influential from the time of the first letter of Clement in the first century; a non-existent Church of which both Rome & Corinth are parts does not sound like what the letter describes. Maybe your correspondent’s disagreement is with some related aspect of what is meant by the catholicity of the Church.

“Forgery” may be a rather harsh term to use - it is conceivable that those who “manufactured” such additions to the text of canon six did so in the belief that it should have said what it failed to say. A good many documents have been fathered on worthies who never saw a line of them: St. Augustine, St. Jerome, Dionysius the Areopagite, St. Peter, St. Paul, & many more - early bishops of Rome included - have all had various texts ascribed to them. This is as much a cultural issue as one of literary morality; it shades off into the issue of plagiarism & so, into the ethics of what nowadays would count as literary piracy; which in Western culture at least is a fairly young concept.

I don’t think you need lose any sleep over this.


#10

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