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Thread: A Protestant Looks At Holy Week

  1. #11
    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thewriteranon View Post
    The Orthodox Pascha thing is different than the date of Christmas. As I said, it's a thing about calendars, not an argument over the exact date when Jesus rose. In the early Church there were varying dates for Pascha and one of the things the fathers at the first council of Nicaea thought was important was to get all Christians on the same page so they created a way for calculating Pascha. At the time the entire world was on the Julian calendar, so that is what they used. The Julian calendar collects errors rapidly. Eventually the West switched to the Gregorian calendar. The East is split between the Julian and a slightly more accurate calendar than the Gregorian (although it lines up with the Gregorian for the next 800 years or so). However, in the interest of unity, all Orthodox use the Julian calendar as the starting point for calculating Pascha, which is why sometimes our Pascha is on the same day and sometimes it varies by up to four or five weeks.
    Also, a table is used for calculating when the full moon will be, which doesn't always reflect reality.
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  2. #12
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    I think it's less important to stick with exactly what was done by the apostles - which in any case is simply impossible to discern at this late date - than to stick to practices consonant with what they did. Protestant non-liturgical worship, for example, is highly unlikely to have pre-Reformation historical antecedents.
    Well, Eusebius states that the practice of fasting prior to Easter is from apostolic tradition (Church History, 5.23.1), though he was writing in the 4th century. But he does provide quotations from Irenaeus (late 2nd century) who says that the fasting (or more specifically, the variety of customs in the fast) "had not its origin in our time, but long before in that of our predecessors". Irenaeus also says that Polycarp claimed to have learned his fasting practices from the apostle John(!), which would demonstrate apostolic origin, but that is admittedly secondhand information.

    It's less clear whether the specific 40 days of Lent is of apostolic origin or not; Irenaeus does note diversity as to the length of the fast ("For some consider themselves bound to fast one day, others two days, others still more, while others [do so during] forty: the diurnal and the nocturnal hours they measure out together as their [fasting] day"). But a period of some kind of fasting prior to Easter goes back to the mid 2nd century at the latest, and quite likely goes back to the apostles.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terraceth View Post
    Well, Eusebius states that the practice of fasting prior to Easter is from apostolic tradition (Church History, 5.23.1), though he was writing in the 4th century. But he does provide quotations from Irenaeus (late 2nd century) who says that the fasting (or more specifically, the variety of customs in the fast) "had not its origin in our time, but long before in that of our predecessors". Irenaeus also says that Polycarp claimed to have learned his fasting practices from the apostle John(!), which would demonstrate apostolic origin, but that is admittedly secondhand information.

    It's less clear whether the specific 40 days of Lent is of apostolic origin or not; Irenaeus does note diversity as to the length of the fast ("For some consider themselves bound to fast one day, others two days, others still more, while others [do so during] forty: the diurnal and the nocturnal hours they measure out together as their [fasting] day"). But a period of some kind of fasting prior to Easter goes back to the mid 2nd century at the latest, and quite likely goes back to the apostles.
    Yes, the practice of fasting in particular appears to have originated with Jesus' words to the apostles "when you fast...." (and Jesus' words to those who questioned the disciples' lack of fasting to the effect that when [He] was absent, then they would fast).
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

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  4. #14
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by thewriteranon View Post
    The Orthodox Pascha thing is different than the date of Christmas. As I said, it's a thing about calendars, not an argument over the exact date when Jesus rose. In the early Church there were varying dates for Pascha and one of the things the fathers at the first council of Nicaea thought was important was to get all Christians on the same page so they created a way for calculating Pascha. At the time the entire world was on the Julian calendar, so that is what they used. The Julian calendar collects errors rapidly. Eventually the West switched to the Gregorian calendar. The East is split between the Julian and a slightly more accurate calendar than the Gregorian (although it lines up with the Gregorian for the next 800 years or so). However, in the interest of unity, all Orthodox use the Julian calendar as the starting point for calculating Pascha, which is why sometimes our Pascha is on the same day and sometimes it varies by up to four or five weeks.
    This is similar to how Easter can be several weeks away from Passover even though it's supposed to be the Sunday after, due to the Hebrew calendar being off. The calculations set for the Hebrew Calendar back in the 12th century result in it on average drifting a day every 217 years or so, resulting in the divergence between Easter and Passover some years. I'm sure they'll fix it at some point, but if left unchecked Passover will actually become a summer celebration (granted, it'll take tens of thousands of years for it to get that extreme).

  5. #15
    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terraceth View Post
    This is similar to how Easter can be several weeks away from Passover even though it's supposed to be the Sunday after, due to the Hebrew calendar being off. The calculations set for the Hebrew Calendar back in the 12th century result in it on average drifting a day every 217 years or so, resulting in the divergence between Easter and Passover some years. I'm sure they'll fix it at some point, but if left unchecked Passover will actually become a summer celebration (granted, it'll take tens of thousands of years for it to get that extreme).
    No OFFICIAL readjustments are possible without the Sanhedrin. Hillel II recognised that the Sanhedrin's days were numbered and introduced a calendar which allowed for a (more or less) accurate setting for the beginning of the year - thus the system currently in place has been set by the Sanhedrin. That calendar served well into the twentieth century, but is now becoming unreliable/unworkable. The last I saw of comment on the situation, the system was tipped to revert to the original procedure of personally observing the phases of the moon year by year - though of course almanacs will reduce the tedium of physical observations (perhaps). What might happen with regard to Hillel II's fix (preventing two consecutive Sabbath days of rest) hasn't been discussed (as far as I know). I don't expect that the Jews will want to revert to the pre-Hillel system though.
    Last edited by tabibito; 05-06-2019 at 08:13 PM.
    1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

  6. #16
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by tabibito View Post
    No OFFICIAL readjustments are possible without the Sanhedrin. Hillel II recognised that the Sanhedrin's days were numbered and introduced a calendar which allowed for a (more or less) accurate setting for the beginning of the year - thus the system currently in place has been set by the Sanhedrin.
    Are you sure? I thought the current adjustments were set by Maimonides in the 12th century.

  7. #17
    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terraceth View Post
    Are you sure? I thought the current adjustments were set by Maimonides in the 12th century.
    A polite challenge ... Such a refreshing change

    This site addresses some details about the introduction of the current Jewish calendar.
    Encyclopaedia Britannica (heavy reading) gives the development of the process for devising the current calendar as around 200, with Hillel II publishing the method in 358/9.
    Some sources attribute fine tuning to succeeding centuries through to the tenth, but I haven't seen anything mentioning developments continuing into the 12th.
    1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by tabibito View Post
    A polite challenge ... Such a refreshing change

    This site addresses some details about the introduction of the current Jewish calendar.
    Encyclopaedia Britannica (heavy reading) gives the development of the process for devising the current calendar as around 200, with Hillel II publishing the method in 358/9.
    Some sources attribute fine tuning to succeeding centuries through to the tenth, but I haven't seen anything mentioning developments continuing into the 12th.
    Well, I tried doing some extra research, then eventually just sort of thought "well, it's not that important" and opted to quit. But from what I read, it seems that Maimonides may not have adjusted the calculations so much as being the one who wrote them all down in the Mishneh Torah and thereby finalized them. But in regards to Hillell II, that story may very well be a myth, with there being no reference to it in the Talmud and the first reference to him doing so coming about 600 years after the fact; it seems that whenever the calculations were finalized, it was at some point after Hillel II. Some information concerning that can be found here:
    http://www.hakirah.org/vol20Ajdler.pdf
    http://www.hakirah.org/Vol%208%20Dickman.pdf

  9. #19
    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terraceth View Post
    Well, I tried doing some extra research, then eventually just sort of thought "well, it's not that important" and opted to quit. But from what I read, it seems that Maimonides may not have adjusted the calculations so much as being the one who wrote them all down in the Mishneh Torah and thereby finalized them. But in regards to Hillell II, that story may very well be a myth, with there being no reference to it in the Talmud and the first reference to him doing so coming about 600 years after the fact; it seems that whenever the calculations were finalized, it was at some point after Hillel II. Some information concerning that can be found here:
    http://www.hakirah.org/vol20Ajdler.pdf
    http://www.hakirah.org/Vol%208%20Dickman.pdf
    Valuable information in that Ajdler reference. Rosh Hashanah on a Sunday in 505 AD ... By no means the only important information, but it does remove any doubt that back-to-back Sabbaths (deutero Sabbath + weekly Sabbath) were not only possible, but that they continued until much later than my previous information indicated.
    1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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