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Council of Nicea did not chose the books of the bible

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posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 09:57 PM
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Greetings all,

Several posters here have made the claim that the Council of Nicea decided the books of the Bible.

e.g.
toolmaker wrote: "Some books were discarded (Thomas, Enoch etc) because they did not fit into what religious leaders wanted, decided at the council of Nicea in 326 AD."

But,
it is NOT TRUE.

The Council of Nicea argued about Arius and the date of Easter mainly.

The Council did NOT make any pronouncements on the books of the bible.

This can easily be proved because we still have extant :
* the documents produced at the council detailing their decisions (creed, canons, letter)
* several accounts of the Council, some from contemporary writers.

You can check these documents here -
www.newadvent.org...

You can read a good article about it here -
www.tertullian.org...

Which all shows conclusively that the council made no such choice of the books of the bible.


I am rather surprised that this well known fallacy is still being repeated here.


Iasion


[edit on 5-4-2005 by John bull 1]




posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 10:02 PM
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pearse's tertullian site is of course an excellent reference.

If the Council didn't cannonize the bible, then who did and when? I'll be reading pearses page on it now tho, but a discussion might be fruitful.

edit:
ok, read it.


From all of which we learn that the council made a ruling on the date of Easter and condemned the views of Arius. After the council, Constantine ordered the burning of the works of Arius and his sympathisers, and the exile of himself and his supporters, and followed this later in his reign by action against Christian schismatics and gnostic heretics.


some one else told him that the idea of bishops voting on books:

In fact the anecdote pre-dates Baronius by over six hundred years: it occurs in an anonymous Synodikon containing brief surveys of 158 Councils of the first nine centuries. Brought from Greece in the sixteenth century by Andreas Darmasius, this document was purchased and edited by the Lutheran theologian Johannes Pappus (1549-1610).


and from something called the


Vetus Synodicon
This holy council attached the term "consubstantial" to the Holy Trinity, fixed the time of the divine and mystical Passover, and set forth the divinely inspired teaching of the Creed against all heretics, Arius, Sabellius, Photinus, Paul of Samosata, Manes, Valentinus, Marcion, and their followers. It condemned also Meletius of Thebais, along with those ordained by him, and Eusebius of Nicomedia. The canonical and apocryphal books it distinguished in the following manner: in the house of God the books were placed down by the holy altar; then the council asked the Lord in prayer that the inspired works be found on top and--as in fact happened--the spurious on the bottom.36

36 Since the story is related only by SV, it is not possible to know if it belongs to an older tradition or where our author might have come across it.

Note that 'Apocryphal' (a)pokru&fouj) and 'spurious' (kibde&louj) works in Eusebius HE do not mean heretical ones -- they refer to works which are orthodox but not part of the canon. The footnote tells us that the story is first recorded here, in the late 9th century. Is this perhaps the origin of the whole fairy-tale?


So this is all very intersting, espcially how it explains why anyone would think that the council established the cannon if it explicitly didnt. The errors later writers made seem to be, perhaps, stories that just built themselves up and eventually got recorded as if they were truth, and perhaps also confusion over the issue of distinguishing between heresy and orthodoxy.
I'd think that, if the council did establish a cannon, that, even tho there was already something like it circulating amoung the early christian community, that people would've taken notice of it and mentioned it when they were writting about the council.

But this still leaves the question, when did the cannon become cannonical? I I mean, there are a lot of books in the bible, and lots of proported gospels aren't in it, they had to be rejected for some reason. Was it just that the current set of books were the most widely accepted for the longest time and at one point just 'acquired' cannonical status of their own (presumably before this Vetus Synodicon was written)? What factors influenced that? I had thought that the question of the cannon was more or less settled, but this brings up new and interesting questions.



[edit on 4-1-2005 by Nygdan]



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 10:32 PM
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Greetings Nygdan,

Thanks for your reply :-)

The canon formed over several centuries.

The first formal church decision was by the synod of Laodicea in 363CE (it did not include Rev.)

The first canon to match ours now would be from the Festal Epistle of Athanasius from 367CE.

Glenn Davis' site has a good table showing an overview of the development of the canon :
www.ntcanon.org...

Richard Carrier has an excellent article on the formation of the canon :
www.infidels.org...


Iasion


[edit on 4-1-2005 by Iasion]



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 10:38 PM
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Originally posted by Nygdan
pearse's tertullian site is of course an excellent reference.

If the Council didn't cannonize the bible, then who did and when? I'll be reading pearses page on it now tho, but a discussion might be fruitful.
I believe the answer is the 16th century Council of Trent. The problem of canonization lies within the percerption of the accepted books of scripture. Eusebius' canon was introduced during the Council of Nicea to Constantine, before his there were many, as were there after him many. Most shared certain gospels, but not all canons agreed on the gospels themselves, until Trent, where the universal RCC canon was declared replacing the numerous others according to country or diocese. The first nicean council simpy established an agreement between the bishops, to get them in line, set up a party if you will, and forced them to work together, otherwise Constantine would have given Christianity the boot, and Christians today might instead be paying homage to Jupiter.

This issue goes to the theological divisions that lasted for centuries within the RCC, they could not even agree amongst themselves from day one, where day one is the day Paul decided he wanted to found a religion.



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 10:53 PM
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You are a plain fool if you don't believe the Council of Nicea had nothing to do with the organization of the Bible, even a little bit.



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 11:01 PM
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Greetings,

Thanks for your reply :-)



Originally posted by SomewhereinBetween
I believe the answer is the 16th century Council of Trent.


Well,
Trent was the first formal declaration of the canon as an article of faith (following the pope's pronouncement after the council of Florence 1443.)


Getting back to Eusebius - while he discusses some books, we get no clear picture from him on a formal canon.

2 years after Nicea, when Constantine ordered 50 copies of the bible, Eusebius did not record what books were included - and Vaticanus & Sinaiticus are not the same as the modern canon.

The canon seems rather fluid up to 4th century or so.


BTW,
Have a look at this lovely facsimile edition of "B" -
www.linguistsoftware.com...
Only $6680 :-)

(Nygdan, note - "cannon" is artillery, "canon" is a rule.)


Iasion



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 11:16 PM
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Greetings Illmatic67,

You wrote : "You are a plain fool if you don't believe the Council of Nicea had nothing to do with the organization of the Bible, even a little bit."

(I assume your double negative is an error on your part, because as it stands your sentence AGREES with me.)


Well,
lets see...

I personally checked the documents produced by the Council of Nicea -
there is NO MENTION there of the books of the bible.

I also checked the various accounts of the meeting (there are several, some contemporary) -
there is NO MENTION there of the books of the bible.

I also checked various encyclopedia and sites, such as Wiki -
en.wikipedia.org...

(And I provided links to this information so you can check for yourself.)


So,
every single one of these sources made it clear -
* the Council of Nicea did NOT decide the books of the bible.



In response,
you ignored my references,
you presented no arguments,
you gave no facts,
instead
you made a statement of faith which is directly contradicted by the FACTS,
and you insulted me as well.

It's pretty clear who the "plain fool" is here, Illmatic67.


Iasion



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 11:20 PM
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Originally posted by SomewhereinBetween
Christians today might instead be paying homage to Jupiter.

Or mithras, or any of the other mystery 'cults'. I have even heard the the Elusian Mysteries involved something like mass/liturgy, at the culmination of which a stalk of wheat was lifted to the crowd. Gosh, things'd be so different....[/slight sarcasm]

I do have to question just how 'politically motivated' constantine or anyone had to be in order to do this sort of stuff. Christianity is an appealing religion, one of many popular and appealing religions, I don't think Constantine needs to have been a schill in order to have accepted it. I have even heard that he bored the stuffing out of his court (to use a colloqualism anyways) with his piety. I can imagine in a faniciful moment Constantine prattling on about Jesus, like a catholic school girl, long before they go bad, and the rest of the court just rolling their eyes and waiting for the orgy next door to start.

edit cannon, canon,doh! well, its the church militant eh?

[edit on 4-1-2005 by Nygdan]



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 11:35 PM
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About a year before the council met in 325, Constantine ordered that a copy of all the gospels being used throughout the empire be sent to him. He received hundreds of different gospels. He read through all of them and decided on five. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Mary. Mary Magdeline's gospel was the one he was most moved by as it is the one gospel closest to Christ's actual teachings of non-violence and love. It was the one gospel he wished to have included above all the others. But he was advised against using it in the Bible for the simple reason that it was written by a woman and the founding of a religion must have the strongest foundation possible. Anything written by a woman was feared at the time to be subject to scrutiny, doubt and questioning. Constantine realized this and it was removed.

So why would Constantine do this? For a couple reasons. Firstly, he truly wanted Christianity to flourish. It's no secret that Constantine's mother was Christian and whispered stories of christianity in his ear even as a child. When he ruled in what is today Britan before he took the throne, he allowed Christians to worship without fear of persecution. Christianity played a huge role in Constantine's life and was something he felt very strongly about.

Secondly, Constantine realized the power of religion as a political tool. He realized that people will do things contrary to logic and gut feeling if it is in the name of religion. Things like killing though war, for instance. If he could have his hand around the entire religion he could use it, if necessary, as a political tool. But of course with literally over a hundered gospels floating around in the empire, this would be impossible. So he "boxed" Christianity, so to speak. He said 'these are the gospels you'll use'; he defined the extents of the religion that we abide by even today. Using the religion as a political tool was something he never ended up needing to do, but if he did need to, he could. This is something, of course, that political leaders understand even today.

The most important thing about the council at Nicea is of course the creed which was established then and there and has been used ever since virtually verbatum until the second vatican council. But more on that another time.



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 11:41 PM
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Now, in light of all the rumours that have been passed around as fact on this subject, some since the first millenium apparently, why would you make these statements without any thing to back them up?



posted on Jan, 5 2005 @ 08:41 AM
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www.catholic.com...

This has lots of good info on the Council. It tells who
was there and what was going on at the time.

ALSO - (I have tons of books)
According to 'A Biblical Defense of Catholicism' by Dave Armstrong -
Here is a quick biblical history

New Testament Period and Apostolic Fathers (30-160)
Summary - New Testament is not clearly distinguished from other
Christian writings.

Gospels: Generally accepted by 130
Justin Martyr's 'Gospels' contain apocryphal material.
Polycarp first uses all four Gospels now in Scripture.
Acts: Scarcely known or quoted.
Pauline Corpus: Generally accepted by 130, yet quotations are
rarely introduced as scriptural.
Phillippians, 1 Timothy - Rejected by Justin Maryr
2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon - Rejected by Polycarp, Justin Martyr
Hebrews - Not considered Canonical. Rejected by Polycarp, Justin Martyr
disputed by Clement of Rome.
James - Not considered canonical, not even quoted. Rejected by Polycarp
and Justin Martyr
1 Peter - Not considered canonical
2 Peter - Not considered canonical nor cited.
1,2,3 John - Not considered canonical and rejected by Justin Martyr
1 John - disputed by Polycarp
3 John - Rejected by Polycarp
Jude - Not considered canonical, rejected by Polycarp and Justine Martyr
Revelation - Not canonical, rejected by Polycarp.

Iranaeus to Origen (160-250)
Summary - Awareness of a Canon begins toward the end of the second
century. Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria are the first to use the
phrase 'New Testament'
Gospels - Accepted
Acts - Gradually accepted
Pauline Corpus - Accepted with some exceptions -
2 Timothy - Rejected by Clement of Alexandria
Philemon - Rejected by Irenaeus, Origen, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria
Hebrews - Not canonical before 4th century in the West. Disputed by
Origen. First accepted by Clement of Alexandria.
James - Not Canonical. Disputed by Origen. Rejected by Irenaeus,
Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria
2 Peter - Not canonical. Disputed by Origen. Rejected by Iranaeus,
Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria.
1 John - Gradual acceptance. First accepted by Iranaeus. Rejected by
Origen.
2 John - Not canonical. Disputed by Origen. Rejected by Tertullian,
Clement of Alexandria.
3 John - Not canonical. Disputed by Origen. Rejected by Irenaeus,
Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria.
Jude - Gradual Acceptance. Accepted by Clement of Alexandria.
Rejected by Origen
Revelation - Gradual acceptance. First accepted by Clement of Alexandria,
Rejected by Barococcio Canon (206AD)
Epistle of Barnabas - Accepted by Clement of Alexandria, Origen
Shepherd of Hermas - Accepted by Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen,
Clement of Alexandria.
The Didache - Accepted by Clement of Alexandria, Origen
Apocolypse of Peter - Accepted by Clement of Alexandria
Acts of Paul - Accepted by Origen. Appears in Greek, Latin, Syria,
Armenian and Arabic translations.
Gospel of Hebrews - Accepted by Clement of Alexandria, Muratorian
Canon (190AD), Excludes Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter.
Includes Apocolypse of Peter, Wisdom of Solomon

ORIGEN TO NICAEA (250-325)
Summary - Epistles and Revelation are still being disputed
Gospels, Acts, Pauline, Corpus - Accepted
Hebrews - Accepted in the East, Rejected and disputed in the West
James - Rejected and disputed in the East, Rejected in the West.
1 Peter - Fairly well accepted
2 Peter - Still disputed
1 John - Fairly Well accepted
2,3 John, Jude - Still disputed
Revelation - Disputed, especially in the East. Rejected by Dionysius

COUNCIL OF NICAEA (325) - COUNCIL OF CARTHAGE (397)
Summary - St. Athanasius first lists our present 27 New Testament books
as such in 367. Disputes still persist concerning several books, almost
right up until 397, then the CANON IS AUTHORITATIVELY CLOSED.

Gospels, Acts, Pauline Corpus, 1 Peter, 1 John - Accepted
Council of Nicaea in 325.
Hebrews - eventually accepted in the West
James - Slow acceptance. Not quoted in the West until 350AD
2 Peter - Eventually accepted
2,3 John, Jude - Eventually Accepted
Revelation - Eventually accepted. Rejected by Cyril of Jerusalem,
John Chrysostom, Gregory Nazianzen
Epistle of Barnabas - Rejected by Codex Sinaiticus - late 4th century.
Shepherd of Hermas - Rejected by Codex Sinaiticus - late 4th century.
However, used as a textbook for catechumens according to Athanasius.
1 Clement, 2 Clement - Rejected by Codex Alexandrinus - Early 5th century.


[edit on 1/5/2005 by FlyersFan]



posted on Jan, 5 2005 @ 01:37 PM
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It seems questionable as to whether or not Constantine truly was a Christian, since he did not become baptised until shortly before his death. He and Licinius, his brother-in-law, declared in the Edict of Milan of 313ACE, that Christian persecution was to end, and Christians may freely pursue their faith. But it was not solely a Christian edict, they granted freedom of religion to all other faiths as well, the difference is that Constantine after he later fell out with Licinius and defeated him, granted Christianity the religion of the empire. It is important to note that Licinius was a sun-god worshipper, at the same token and without a doubt, Constantine’s mother; Helena, a devout Christian held much sway over Constantine’s policies toward the church.

After the first Council of Nicea, Constantine banned all of the teachings of Arius and banished him, oddly enough, he accepted baptism by Eusebius, a disciple of Arius.



posted on Apr, 4 2005 @ 01:19 AM
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Constantine, the first Pope. I tried finding the book Codex Vaticanus on Amazon.com and they don't sell it. Go figure.



posted on Apr, 5 2005 @ 03:14 AM
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Originally posted by Lord Altmis
Constantine, the first Pope. I tried finding the book Codex Vaticanus on Amazon.com and they don't sell it. Go figure.


When you say quote///Constantine, the first Pope? do you see Constantine as what the Pope of today is?

In the early church.....up until 1054 schism of the East and West.....there was not one Father that held supremecy over all the others ....1st ecumenical council.....
quote///Held in Nicea, Asia Minor in 325. Under Emperor Constantine the Great. 318 Bishops were present.
The Arian Controversy
Arius denied the divinity of Christ. If Jesus was born, then there was time when He did not exist. If He became God, then there was time when He was not. The Council declared Arius' teaching a heresy, unacceptable to the Church and decreed that Christ is God. He is of the same essence "homoousios" with God the Father.
Quote//"Body of Christ," the Head of which is Christ Himself (see Eph. 1:22-23 and Col. 1:18, 24 et seq.)
www.orthodoxinfo.com...

and ....
www.orthodoxinfo.com...





[edit on 4/5/2005 by helen670]



posted on Apr, 5 2005 @ 03:29 AM
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Well I've heard and read some very interesting things about Constantine. I'd have to go pull the old documents considering I stopped aggressively studying Christianity years ago.

I believe most of my conclusion about him came from the book 2 babylons if you are familiar with it.

My understanding is he was the one who moved the sabath from Saturday to Sunday to unite paganism thus starting the Catholic Church.

That's the reference of him as first pope that is well argued.

[edit on 5-4-2005 by Lord Altmis]



posted on Apr, 5 2005 @ 12:43 PM
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as I recall it was the bishops that moved the day of worship, ( as they did the birthday) after Constantine ordered that "All the Courts" be closed on " The Venerable Day of The Sun."

Through out his life Constantine was Pagan, The High Priest of the Cult of Sol Invictus. His Vision was of Sol Invictus on the site of a pagan Temple. All of
the monuments he raised were to the Sun not to the son. He was not
" converted" until he lay on his deathbed to weak to resist.



posted on Apr, 7 2005 @ 05:06 AM
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Originally posted by stalkingwolf
as I recall it was the bishops that moved the day of worship, ( as they did the birthday) after Constantine ordered that "All the Courts" be closed on " The Venerable Day of The Sun."

Through out his life Constantine was Pagan, The High Priest of the Cult of Sol Invictus. His Vision was of Sol Invictus on the site of a pagan Temple. All of
the monuments he raised were to the Sun not to the son. He was not
" converted" until he lay on his deathbed to weak to resist.


The day of worship the ''Sabbath'' was the Old Testament......God took flesh and became man and showed Himself to the world as was Prophesied in the Old Testament.....(I can get quotes to back this up)
When Jesus Christ died on the Cross and Resurrected then day of Worship became Sunday....The day of Resurrection.......
and just because the english language has Sunday ....SUN --DAY does not make it a sun worship day to the sun in the sky.....
In Greek ...Kyriaki.......means Lord's day........translated to the english language becomes sunday.....
St Constantine was a pagan beleiver and yes did worship Idols......
He had a dream and the Sign of the Cross appeared and he was told that by this Sign.the CROSS he will conquer.........And many did witness this on that day ..........Crosses were the sign on their shields ....

All people are human.......we all make mistakes....If we did not make mistakes, then what need is there for Christ to come here and lay His life for all of us........whether anyone beleives this or not, it's each and every one of our choice in life to make......

And his vision was the SIGN of the CROSS......not some pagan idea you mentioned.....
helen...
Glory be to God..



posted on Apr, 7 2008 @ 05:47 AM
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Bump.

Note well -
The CoN did NOT choose the canon of the Bible.

Stop making this false claim.
It just shows you didn't CHECK the facts.


Iasion



posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 04:02 PM
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I have the History of the Councils of the Church by Hefele.
I read through the section on Nicea and I can say that it was really just to settle problems involving rules to govern the doings of the Bishops.
Included in this was the problems involving Arius and Easter.
The Arius thing got a lot of press because it was something that individuals had interests in, otherwise it is just church buisness.
Nothing to do with texts.
These people were mostly interested in who they can nominate as Saints, or whatever.
That could be compaired with earmarks in congress, something to take home for thier constituents.



posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 04:55 PM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 


Interesting to bring that but I also read a long time ago the same information, I don't remember by who or if it was brought up to one of ATS threads by one of our most informative and knowledgeable member on bible history we ever had, unfortunately I lost track of the posts and he has been long gone from this site for a couple of years.

Yes I believe that like you said it had a lot to do with the position of the emerging Church but also the religious influences mix with the politics of the time.

After all the first canons were not for the prying eyes of the regular population that supposedly were not educated enough to understand it, it was only for the highest hierarchy of the Church's eyes only, and to do the interpretation for the masses.



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