Sola Scriptura and a False View of Scriptural Formation and Reception


By Fr. Joseph Boyd

Here are a few of the brutal realities that Protestants have to assimilate into their worldview in order to move past a failing false dichotomy between Scripture and Tradition...

  1. No canon of Jewish Scriptures at the time of Christ
  2. Literary evidence shows a 500BC-200BC period of formation for the editing and formation of Hebrew Scriptures, 200 years after the Fall of Post-Davidic Jerusalem 
  3. Synagogue worship had already replaced Temple Worship
  4. The “Second Temple” is built on the Temple Mount, inspired by the newly completed texts 
  5. Septuagint is the comprehensible and dependable interface of the Jewish Faith with the world, and it is the product of the highly developed Jewish Diaspora version of Judaism, which is highly “Eucharistic” (as shown in Sirach) with the cup of wine standing in for the golden bowl of blood, the Yearly Covenant of Passover that the Jews believe renews their covenant with God, uniting them to God, and commemorating the passing from death into life
  6. No finalized or “canonized” authority for the Scriptures at the time of Christ, with different schools arguing for different texts - Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes, Samaritans, and Alexandrian Jews  
    • Books of Moses (Universally Recognized)
    • Prophets (Some Recognized)
    • Writings (Highly Debated)
  7. Church built on Apostolic witness of the Person of Christ
  8. Christ Instructs the building of communities, not writing of texts
  9. Gospels universally declared by the Church Fathers
  10. Epistles seen a “Writings”, although authenticity disputed and only regional in authority
  11. Fathers, Greek, Syriac and Latin Churches all give different lists of Scriptural Canon
  12. Augustine’s Council in Carthage reckoned by Europeans to be authoritative, reflected in Jerome’s Canon of the Vulgate, never questioned by the Western Church again
  13. The West takes up the Carthaginian Canon along with Roman Papal authority
  14. The Christian East never agrees on canonicity, especially of John’s Revelations (thus, the “Tribulationist View” never considered by the Eastern Church) - The Far Eastern Church (Syriac Churches in India, Eurasia and China) never agrees on church structure or dependence on Roman legal authority for proclamations 
  15. After a thousand years transpire, European Reformers erase all ecclesial interpretative and doctrinal authority in the discussion of the Bible, thus revealing a pliable tool for the Reformation and historical reconstruction of the Church’s own self-understanding 
  16. Sacraments become textual, rather than Eucharistic, thus, the altar table is replaced by the pulpit 
  17. Jewish readings of the Late Massoretic Text, dependent upon post-Christian reaction and redactions, given creedence by Luther and subsequent generations of Protestants
  18. The OT Bible becomes an inspired given, only in its Jewish format
  19. Personal interpretation, not the living, in-dwelt community’s intertextuality, becomes a doctrinal hermeneutical position
  20. Textual divergence is rediscovered by German Protestants
  21. Without Church, and now without an “Infallible” Bible, Christianity becomes a “Social Gospel”
  22. Reaction to scientific evidence and critical evaluation of Scriptural divergence creates backlash against historical view of texts in the communities that depend on the texts for authority
  23. Fundamentalism argues for a view of Scripture detached from time, space, or change, depending on a text that was mystically and inexplicably preserved, while negating the ability of an early “apostate" Church to preserve it 



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