18 February 2009

Patristic Quote of the Day

For I confess to your Charity that I have learned to yield this respect and honour only to the canonical books of Scripture: of these alone do I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error. And if in these writings I am perplexed by anything which appears to me opposed to truth, I do not hesitate to suppose that either the manuscript is faulty, or the translator has not caught the meaning of what was said, or I myself have failed to understand it. As to all other writings, in reading them, however great the superiority of the authors to myself in sanctity and learning, I do not accept their teaching as true on the mere ground of the opinion being held by them; but only because they have succeeded in convincing my judgment of its truth either by means of these canonical writings themselves, or by arguments addressed to my reason. -- Letter of St. Augustine to St. Jerome, Letter 82, Par. 3

7 comments:

orthodoxy hunter said...

Good one!

William Weedon said...

Noticed that "my judgment" in there again, did you?

orthodoxy hunter said...

Huh? What do you mean?

Bryce P Wandrey said...

William, May I direct you to a post that I recently published on my blog? It is a portion of Kevin J Vanhoozer's wrestling with sola scriptura, the relationship of scripture/tradition, and authority in his book The Drama of Doctrine? The quotes in the post are ones that surround citations from Augustine and Athanasius about Scripture as the sole source of divine authority. I think they are a helpful analysis of what it means to hold to sola scriptura rightly understood.

William Weedon said...

Bryce,

You need to read Oswald Beyer's Theology the Lutheran Way. I'd love to know what you think of it! He argues that for Luther (and by extension for Lutherans) it is not a matter of us interpreting Scripture; but of Scripture interpreting us, exegeting us. Really great stuff. Leaves God in the driver's seat, oddly enough.

William Weedon said...

Jen,

I meant that St. Augustine sounded like you! :)

Bryce P Wandrey said...

William,
Vanhoozer wouldn't disagree with Bayer. Vh is arguing for a return to a respect for the authorial intent of Scripture--and here Vh would include both the human author and God as the author.