Monday, December 28, 2009

St. Basil on Tradition

"Concerning the teachings of the Church, whether publicly proclaimed (κηρυγμάτων) or reserved to members of the household of faith (δογμάτων), we have received some from written sources, while others have been given to us secretly, through apostolic tradition.  Both sources have equal force in true religion.  No one would deny either source--no one, at any rate, who is even slightly familiar with the ordinances of the Church.  If we attacked unwritten customs, claiming them to be of little importance, we would fatally mutilate the Gospel, no matter what our intentions--or rather, we would reduce the Gospel teachings to bare words."

St. Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit, chap. 27, sec. 66, trans. David Anderson ((Crestwood, NY:  St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1980), 98, but with κηρυγμάτων and δογμάτων substituted--from the notes to the NPNF edition--for "kerygma" and "dogmata").  This is a major theme throughout (7.16, 10.26, 25.58, 27.66-67, 29.71-75, etc.), though the examples given here seem trivial.  According to the editors of the NPNF edition, at least, Basil can also come down pretty firmly on the side of Scripture, too.

No comments: