Posts related to the defense of the Christian faith.

“Deciding” the Canon of Scripture: Damasus and the Council of Rome in 382 AD

Historical recognition of the canon of Scripture is far more complicated than most realize, particularly for the Old Testament (OT). I’m planning a series on the OT canon, but here I hope to address a commonly asserted but false claim, namely that: Pope Damasus/the Council of Rome in 382 decided (or canonized) books of the Bible.

This claim surfaces frequently in online discussions. Both lay and professional apologists repeat it. The latter should keep the former in check but that rarely happens. Repetition of these false claims does not contribute to productive dialog. I suppose those who make a living preaching to the choir don’t consider historicity and productive dialog of much concern. A scholar with whom I recently corresponded said it well: “The biggest pitfall of most avowed apologists (of all stripes) is back-projection, wanting to see the present Church (and typically the one to which they profess membership) in the past.”

The books of the Codes Sinaiticus do not exactly match the canon of Scripture recognized by any Christian tradition.
Codex Sinaiticus (source) is a mid-4th century manuscript that contains the earliest complete copy of the NT. It also contains some, but not all, of the contested OT books that appear today in Catholic Bibles (see here).

The Origin of the Eliakim-Peter Typology, Part 3: The Silence of the Fathers

The 17th century commentary on Isaiah 22 by Jacobus Tirinus from the previous post didn’t outline an elaborate Eliakim-Peter typology. It is so brief it defies interpretation, apart from his poor understanding of Scripture, but as with any historical inquiry, there are other concerns. Anachronism is an enemy of understanding and we should be cautious of projecting ideas familiar to us back into a time when they were unknown and drawing unwarranted conclusions. We should also be careful to discern whether Tirinius or others do the same. Upon examination, we’ll see Tirinus does and we’ll also see a deafening silence in the fathers regarding the Eliakim-Peter link.

As a reminder, the English text of his commentary (via Google Translate), stated the following: “…The Messiah is allegorically represented by Eliakim, says Cyril. & Theodoretus. And here St. John observes [in Revelation 3:7] where he speaks of Christ, he who has the key of David opens and no one closes. And Christ promised to delegate the same key to his Vicar Peter, [in Matthew 16:19]. I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” – Jacobus Tirinus (c. ~1645 AD)

Theodoret of Cyrus (Syria): I wonder if he looked anything like this. It’s difficult to decide if he looks contemplative or confused.[1]”File:Theodoret of Cyr (in A. Thevet1584).png.” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. 28 Sep 2020, 00:50 UTC. 21 Jun 2022, 08:01.


1”File:Theodoret of Cyr (in A. Thevet1584).png.” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. 28 Sep 2020, 00:50 UTC. 21 Jun 2022, 08:01.

The Origin of the Eliakim-Peter Typology, Part 2: Rambling Reformers

St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of 1572 formed the geopolitical backdrop for "defenders and interpreters" of the papacy
Perhaps the most notorious episode of Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation violence. In 1572, during marriage celebrations for a Catholic princess and a Protestant king, 2,000+ French Protestants were murdered on the streets of Paris. News of event sparked more massacres around the country. The “popular” element of the violence was striking: victims were often known to perpetrators and Catholic powers praised the killings. French Protestants saw a wave of exile and conversion.[1]Gibbons, Katy. “Five of the Most Violent Moments of the Reformation.” The Conversation. (The Conversation US, Inc., 24 Jan. 2022).
(image source: Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts, via Wikimedia Commons)

An apologetic army seeks reinforcements from defenders and interpreters of the past

In the first post of this series, we saw how the Eliakim-Peter typology claim has become a popular defense for the papacy in recent years and how it appears to have made it’s first appearance in the U.S. in the early 1990’s, courtesy of a popular “Protestant” convert to Roman Catholicism. I mentioned how the claim was dredged from the recesses of the Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation, after laying dormant for around four centuries. The claim grew slowly after it’s reintroduction but now the curious case of theological amnesia is fully cured and a new generation of philosophers is poised to twist and distort Scripture, using their newfangled typology as bait, fishing for men who are wading in the Tiber, hungry with angst. To accomplish their mission, the new army of sacramental soldiers will need to improve upon the work of the defenders and interpreters of old, who we will meet in this post. The new army is scrounging for morsels in church history and is only just beginning to rediscover their forgotten fathers from the Early Modern period. The historical reinforcements they seek are ones I spent months searching for and I’ll these Rambling Reformers here.


1Gibbons, Katy. “Five of the Most Violent Moments of the Reformation.” The Conversation. (The Conversation US, Inc., 24 Jan. 2022).
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