Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Slavonic Bible

This post on the recent issue of The Bible Translator (see here with other links) considers the article on the Slavonic Bible. This is the last article I'll post on from this issue of the journal. All of these posts are gathered together at the bottom of my Canon Studies page.

Lénart J. de Regt, "Canon and Biblical Text in the Slavonic Tradition in Russia," The Bible Translator 67.2 (2016): 223–39.

I do not know much about the Slavonic Bible, so this article was helpful to me.

Opening statement:
In the Russian Orthodox Church, the Bible includes non-canonical as well as canonical books.
This article focuses especially on the Old Testament, so the issue has to do with the role of the LXX in the Orthodox churches.

De Regt says that there are eleven "non-canonical" books in the Bible of the Russian Orthodox Church, not collected together but scattered throughout the OT. These books are:

  1. 1 Esdras
  2. Tobit
  3. Judith
  4. Wisdom of Solomon
  5. Sirach
  6. Epistle of Jeremiah
  7. Baruch
  8. 1 Maccabees
  9. 2 Maccabees
  10. 3 Maccabees
  11. 4 Ezra
Also, some non-canonical sections of canonical books: additions to Daniel, Esther, Psalms (Psalm 151), and Chronicles (Prayer of Manasseh)--indicated with square brackets (p. 235). 

"In, for example, the Russian Synodal Translation [...] they are marked as non-canonical by an asterisk and a note" (224). 

De Regt briefly reviews canon history, then asserts that the canon was never fixed in the East (224–27). 

Then he turns to the text of the books, and shows that traditionally the LXX has been highly regarded in Russia, though the LXX was not canonized. The Slavonic Bible is a hybrid, based largely on the LXX, but not completely. The earliest full Slavonic Bible contains several books translated from the Vulgate (de Regt, pp. 229–30). 

For more, see this book, often cited by de Regt. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Cajetan on the OT Canon

According to Wikipedia, Thomas Cardinal Cajetan (1467–1534) is best known as a Roman Catholic opponent of Martin Luther. Here's a picture of his examination of Luther at the Diet of Augsburg in 1518. He helped to draw up the bill of excommunication of Luther the next year. Cardinal Cajetan also "wrote the decision rejecting the appeal for divorce from Catharine of Aragon made by Henry VIII of England." So, he doesn't exactly strike one as a sympathizer with the Protestant Reformation, though Wikipedia does note some instances in which he advocated reform (such as allowing the marriage of clergy). 

Nevertheless Cardinal Cajetan did advocate a biblical canon more in keeping with the Reformers' views than what would become Catholic dogma a decade after his death at the Council of Trent (1546). His views on the biblical canon were controversial in his own day, and he was censured by the Paris Faculty, but not for his views on the OT canon. Cajetan questioned the authority of certain NT books, especially Hebrews, and it was these views--along with his opinions on other theological and ecclesiastical matters--that provoked the censure. 

At the end of his commentary on Esther, he includes a note in which he lays out his views on the OT canon. His commentary is here. Go to page 481b. The last paragraph begins thus (without following precisely the orthography):
Et hoc in loco terminamus commentaria librorum historialium veteris testamenti: nam reliqui (videlicet Iudith, Tobiæ and Maccabæorum libri) a diuo Hieronymo extra canonicos libros supputatur, and inter apocrypha locatur, cum libro Sapientiae and Ecclesiastico: vt patet in prologo galeato. Nec turberis nouitie si alicubi repereris libros istos inter canonicos supputari, vel in sacris conciliis vel in sacris doctoribus. Nam ad Hieronymi limam reducenda sunt tam verba conciliorum quam doctorum: and iuxta illius sententiam ad Chromatium and Heliodorum episcopos, libri isti (and si qui alii sunt in canone Bibliæ similes) non sunt canonici, hoc est non sunt regulares firmandum ea quae sunt fidei. possunt tamen dici canonici (hoc est regulares) ad ædificationem fidelium: vt pote in canone Bibliæ ad hoc recepti and authorati. cum hac enim distinctione discernere poteris and dicta Augustini in secundo de doctrina Christiana, and scripta in concilio Florentino sub Eugenio quarto: scriptaque in prouincialibus conciliis Chartaginensi and Laodicensi, and ab Innocentio ac Gelacio pontificibus Ad laudem and gloriam omnipotentis Dei: Romae anno salutis millesimo quingentesimo trigesimo secundo: ætatis vero meæ sexagesimo quarto, die decimanona Iulii, amen. 
Here's a translation:
And in this place we conclude the commentaries on the historical books of the Old Testament. For the rest (i.e., Judith, Tobit, and the books of the Maccabees) are reckoned by divine Jerome as outside the canonical books and he places them among the apocrypha, with the book of Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, as is clear in the Prologus Galeatus. Nor ought you be disturbed if you find somewhere those books reckoned among the canonical, whether in the sacred councils or among the sacred teachers. For the words of both councils and teachers ought to be brought back to the revision of Jerome, and according to his opinion expressed to bishops Chromatius and Heliodorus, those books (and if there are any other similar in the canon of the Bible), are not canonical, i.e., are not normative to confirm those things which are of the faith. But they can be called canonical (that is, normative) for the edification of the faithful, as received and authorized in the canon of the Bible. For with this distinction you can discern the things said by Augustine in book 2 of De doctrina christiana, and written in the Council of Florence under Eugene IV, and written in the provincial councils of Carthage and Laodicea, and by Popes Innocent and Gelasius. 
To the praise and glory of Almighty God, at Rome in the year of salvation 1532, but in the 64th year of my life, on the 19th day of July, Amen. 
The Prologus Galeatus is Jerome's preface to his (Vulgate) translation of Samuel-Kings, where he lays out his views on the canon, excluding the six "apocryphal" books named by Cajetan: Tobit, Judith, [two books of] Maccabees, Wisdom [of Solomon], Ecclesiasticus [= Sirach]. Jerome's Preface to the Books of Solomon, addressed to Chromatius and Heliodorus, contains further reflection on the OT canon. Augustine, in De doctrina christiana 2.13, included these 6 books within the canon, as did the Council of Florence (1442, called by Pope Eugene IV), and the provincial Council of Carthage (397), Pope Innocent I (405), and the Decretum Gelasianum, associated by name with Pope Gelasius I. On the other hand, the list associated with the provincial Council of Laodicea (4th cent.) excluded these books.

For a similar post on the OT canon in the sixteenth century, see here.