The Bible

Lucius

Forum Staff
Jan 2007
16,363
Nebraska
Glad to help, Comet -

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11044a.htm

"St. Athanasius, a member of the council speaks of 300, and in his letter "Ad Afros" he says explicitly 318. This figure is almost universally adopted, and there seems to be no good reason for rejecting it. ... The opponents were soon reduced to two, Theonas of Marmarica and Secundus of Ptolemais, who were exiled and anathematized.

[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Nicaea"]First Council of Nicaea - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

"Eusebius of Caesarea counted 250,[6] Athanasius of Alexandria counted 318,[7] and Eustathius of Antioch counted 270[8] (all three were present at the council). Later, Socrates Scholasticus recorded more than 300,[9] and Evagrius,[10] Hilarius,[11] Jerome[12] and Rufinus recorded 318. ... In spite of his sympathy for Arius, Eusebius of Caesarea adhered to the decisions of the council, accepting the entire creed. The initial number of bishops supporting Arius was small. After a month of discussion, on June 19, there were only two left: Theonas of Marmarica in Libya, and Secundus of Ptolemais."

http://www.piar.hu/councils/ecum01.htm

"The figure of 318 given in the heading below is from Hilary of Poitier and is the traditional one. ... Such indeed was the power of his impiety that Theonas of Marmarica and Secundus of Ptolemais shared in the consequences, for they too suffered the same fate."

http://www.answers.com/topic/first-council-of-nicaea

"The council decided against the Arians overwhelmingly (of the estimated 250-318 attendees, all but 2 voted against Arius)."

http://lexicorient.com/e.o/council_nicaea1.htm

The council was convened by Emperor Constantine 1, and 318 of 1800 bishops in the Roman Empire attended. ... The council would have as a consequence that a few central figures of the preceding controversy were declared heretics, and expelled from the church; Arius, Theonas of Marmarica and Secundus of Ptolemais, all of Libya."
 

Comet

Forum Staff
Aug 2006
8,702
IA
Fascinating stuff...thanks for the additional info Lucius. BTW...is the homepage for the last link accessible? I had a difficult time getting to it. I want to book mark that particular site. I have used the Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils before. An excellent primary source.
 

Lucius

Forum Staff
Jan 2007
16,363
Nebraska
Sure,

http://lexicorient.com/e.o/index.htm

or, for the very top directory -

http://lexicorient.com/

As you well know, but for the benefit of others, the standard works on the subject of the early church are: Flavius Josephus' Jewish Antiquities, and The Jewish War; and especially Eusebius' Church History.

They're available online. I'm sure you know how to work google better than I do. For hardcopy, Paul Maier, Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University (and Doctor summa cum laude at Basel University) has published excellent annotated, illustrated versions of each.

Comet, you wrote, "I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is no one true definition for Christianity. For each and every Christian, the word means something different."

I certainly see what you're saying. But if there are 2.1 billion Christianities, well, we can hardly even have a conversation about Christianity. If the Nicene Creed is out, can we say that Jesus was the fulfillment of the various prophecies in the Tanakh? Or is that idea excluded too?
 

Comet

Forum Staff
Aug 2006
8,702
IA
Lucius, your question is an excellent one. I think its safe to say that one of the central characteristics of Christianity is the idea that prophecies of the old covenant laid the foundations for Jesus to be the new covenant. In my opinion, this concept is essential for every Christian. So SHOULD, the Nicene Creed. However, (and I'm going to have to double check on this) there are a couple of denominations who do not use the Nicene Creed as a confession of faith. I think the reason why depends on the Church/Congregation and the focus of their worship. Pentecostalism (I believe), for example, does not use either the Nicene or Apostles Creed (again, it seems to be a matter of preference on which Church uses them and which do not). I also think the main reason why those Creeds aren't used a whole lot is because its difficult to understand. Those creeds are central to the concept of the Trinity, which many Christians have a VERY difficult time coming to terms with. That is why they tell you in Sunday School or Confirmation (which is what I was told unfortunately) that it's all a matter of faith.

That is why I would say that the word Christianity means something different for everyone. It depends on what a given individual believes in, how they worship, etc.

Great question and hopefully I answered it. If it's not what you are looking for, let me know and I will try to find some outside sources for you. :)

Great question and hopefully I answered it. Let me know if you want me to elaborate.
 

Lucius

Forum Staff
Jan 2007
16,363
Nebraska
If I remember correctly, the nature of the Trinity was the main cause of the split between East and West. The Greek had it three hypostases in one ousia. The Latin had it three persona in one substantia. The trouble was, substantia and hypostasis each mean something like an underlying motionlessness. So, war was inevitable.

Personally, I favor the Greek. It savors less of trying to jam God into a box. On the other hand, I've already told you more than I know about Greek and Latin.
 

Comet

Forum Staff
Aug 2006
8,702
IA
If I remember correctly, the nature of the Trinity was the main cause of the split between East and West. The Greek had it three hypostases in one ousia. The Latin had it three persona in one substantia. The trouble was, substantia and hypostasis each mean something like an underlying motionlessness. So, war was inevitable.

Personally, I favor the Greek. It savors less of trying to jam God into a box. On the other hand, I've already told you more than I know about Greek and Latin.
Yes, it was one of the reasons for the split...among other factors. Another major factor was political. Since Constantine moved the Empire to the East, there had been a growing rivalry between East/West on who was the true Roman Emperor. Unfortunately, the Church got caught up in this rivalry.

Of course, you also have the obvious reasons for the split. Who should choose bishops in the Eastern half of the Empire...the Pope or the Patriarch? The Patriarch considered himself an equal to the Pope while the Pope...well, you know...believed himself the superior authority of the Church. When one tried to submit the other to its authority it led to the confrontation within the Hagia Sophia in 1054. The Latin delegates came to smooth things over with the Eastern Church, but I believe insults were thrown in the direction of the Latin delegates by the Patriarch. As the Latin delegates were leaving, they screamed towards the Patriarch that he and his men were officially excommunicated by the Pope. Of course, it really wasn't official until the Pope actually wrote the bull up, but you know what the effect of the meeting was. Both authorities excommunicated each other and the schism has continued to this day.

I think another major reason for the split has a lot to do with the way in which each Church worships Christ. You already mentioned the nature of the Trinity. A major difference in belief. The Orthodox Church follows the Julian Calendar, while the West the Gregorian (I think that's right). So if today is Easter in the West...it's not celebrated by the Orthodox Church today...it won't be celebrated until later this month or into May. The Liturgy is different too. You may hear Catholics boasting that they are the oldest form of Christianity being practiced. This is false. The Orthodox Church has been using the same liturgy service since the 3rd or 4th century, while the Catholic Church as changed its liturgy a time or two. If you get a chance to see a service at a Orthodox Church I think you would be blown away by how different it is from the Catholic service. You almost never see the priest's face because he faces toward the altar. It really was neat to see. Again, I'm not exactly sure if all Orthodox Churches are the same...I'm sure there are difference in practice. It's very interesting stuff :)
 
Oct 2007
130
Philadelphia, US
The scandal about the Bible began far before it was handled by the Christians. From the moment the first Yahwist author recorded the first passage in the court of David and Solomon circa 1000BC, the Bible ceased to be a holy document, in my opinion. Some of it is innocent folklore; some of it is beautiful artistic poetry and prose, but the structure and form in which we currently have it wreaks of political agenda and aggressive ideologies. Its most significant importance is as documentation of the political and cultural history of the Near East BCE.

I think the book loses some validity when it mentions to creation of earth and human beings, but makes no mention to the existence of dinosaurs who ruled this land a lot longer than humans ever will (100s of millions of years old).

Why wouldn't the bible have at least a couple pages on these creatures who roamed our planet?
It talks about sea dragons and giants; does that work for you? :p
 
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Comet

Forum Staff
Aug 2006
8,702
IA
Some of it is innocent folklore; some of it is beautiful artistic poetry and prose, but the structure and form in which we currently have it wreaks of political agenda and aggressive ideologies. Its most significant importance is as documentation of the political and cultural history of the Near East BCE.

Would you believe I just taught this subject today in class? One of the biggest reason why public schools still believe in teaching about the bible is due to its significance in political and cultural history. It's too bad I'm teaching in a Middle School this year...they have no appreciation for any of this stuff.