Orthodoxy

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Adherence to the Nicene Creed is a common test of orthodoxy in Christianity. Nicaea icon.jpg
Adherence to the Nicene Creed is a common test of orthodoxy in Christianity.

Orthodoxy (from Greek: ὀρθοδοξία, orthodoxía, 'righteous/correct opinion') [1] [2] is adherence to correct or accepted creeds, especially in religion. [3] In the Christian sense the term means "conforming to the Christian faith as represented in the creeds of the early Church." [4] [ self-published source ] The first seven ecumenical councils were held between the years of 325 and 787 with the aim of formalizing accepted doctrines.

Contents

In some English-speaking countries, Jews who adhere to all the traditions and commandments as legislated in the Talmud are often called Orthodox Jews, although the term orthodox historically first described Christian beliefs.[ citation needed ]

Religions

Buddhism

The historical Buddha was known to denounce mere attachment to scriptures or dogmatic principles, as it was mentioned in the Kalama Sutta. [5] Moreover, the Theravada school of Buddhism follows strict adherence to the Pāli Canon (tripiṭaka) and the commentaries such as the Visuddhimagga. Hence, the Theravada school came to be considered the most orthodox of all Buddhist schools, as it is known to be highly conservative especially within the discipline and practice of the Vinaya.[ citation needed ]

Christianity

The Greek Cross, flanked by the Greek letters "ICXC NIKA" which means "JESUS CHRIST PREVAILS ". ICXC NIKA.svg
The Greek Cross, flanked by the Greek letters "ICXC NIKA" which means "JESUS CHRIST PREVAILS ".

In classical Christian usage, the term orthodox refers to the set of doctrines which were believed by the early Christians. A series of ecumenical councils were held over a period of several centuries to try to formalize these doctrines. The most significant of these early decisions was that between the Homoousian doctrine of Athanasius and Eustathius (which became Trinitarianism) and the Heteroousian doctrine of Arius and Eusebius ( Arianism ). The Homoousian doctrine, which defined Jesus as both God and man with the canons of the 431 Council of Ephesus, won out in the Church and was referred to as orthodoxy in most Christian contexts, since this was the viewpoint of previous Christian Church Fathers and was reaffirmed at these councils. (The minority of nontrinitarian Christians object to this terminology).

Following the 1054 Great Schism, both the Western Church and Eastern Church continued to consider themselves uniquely orthodox and catholic. Augustine wrote in On True Religion: “Religion is to be sought…only among those who are called Catholic or orthodox Christians, that is, guardians of truth and followers of right.” [6] Over time, the Western Church gradually identified with the "Catholic" label, and people of Western Europe gradually associated the "Orthodox" label with the Eastern Church (in some languages the "Catholic" label is not necessarily identified with the Western Church). This was in note of the fact that both Catholic and Orthodox were in use as ecclesiastical adjectives as early as the 2nd and 4th centuries respectively.

Much earlier, the earliest Oriental Orthodox Churches had split from Chalcedonian Christianity after the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451), because of several christological differences. [7] Since then, Oriental Orthodox Churches are maintaining the orthodox designation as a symbol of their theological traditions. [8]

Hinduism

Orthodoxy does not exist in Hinduism, [9] as the word Hindu itself collectively refers to the various beliefs of people who lived beyond the Sindhu river of the Indus Valley Civilization. It is a synthesis of the accepted teachings of each of thousands of gurus, who others equate to prophets, [10] and has no founder, no authority or command, but recommendations. The term most equivalent to orthodoxy at best has the meaning of "commonly accepted" traditions rather than the usual meaning of "conforming to a doctrine", for example, what people of middle eastern faiths attempt to equate as doctrine in Hindu philosophies is Sanata Dharma, but which at best can be translated to mean "ageless traditions", hence denoting that they are accepted not through doctrine and force but through multi-generational tests of adoption and retention based on circumstantial attrition through millennia. [11]

Islam

Sunni Islam is sometimes referred to as "orthodox Islam". [12] [13] [14] However, other scholars of Islam, such as John Burton believe that there is no such thing as "orthodox Islam." [15]

Judaism

Orthodox Judaism is a collective term for the traditionalist branches of Judaism, which seek to fully maintain the received Jewish beliefs and observances and which coalesced in opposition to the various challenges of modernity and secularization. Theologically, it is chiefly defined by regarding the Torah, both Written and Oral, as literally revealed by God on biblical Mount Sinai and faithfully transmitted ever since. The movement advocates a strict observance of halakha (Jewish Law), which is to be interpreted only according to received methods due to its divine character. Orthodoxy considers halakha as eternal and beyond historical influence, being applied differently to changing circumstances but basically unchangeable in itself.

Orthodox Judaism is not a centralized denomination. Relations between its different subgroups are sometimes strained and the exact limits of Orthodoxy are subject to intense debate. Very roughly, it may be divided between Haredi Judaism, which is more conservative and reclusive, and Modern Orthodox Judaism, which is relatively open to outer society. Each of those is itself formed of independent streams. They are almost uniformly exclusionist, regarding Orthodoxy as the only authentic form of Judaism and rejecting all non-Orthodox interpretations as illegitimate.

Others

Kemetic Orthodoxy is a denomination of Kemetism, a reform reconstruction of Egyptian polytheism for modern followers. It claims to derive a spiritual lineage from the Ancient Egyptian religion. [16]

There are organizations of Slavic Native Faith (Rodnovery) which characterize the religion as Orthodoxy, and by other terms.

Non-religious contexts

Outside the context of religion, the term orthodoxy is often used to refer to any commonly held belief or set of beliefs in some field, in particular when these tenets, possibly referred to as "dogmas", are being challenged. In this sense, the term has a mildly pejorative connotation.

Among various "orthodoxies" in distinctive fields, the most commonly used terms are:

The terms orthodox and orthodoxy are also used more broadly to refer to things other than ideas and beliefs. A new and unusual way of solving a problem could be referred to as unorthodox, while a common and 'normal' way of solving a problem would be referred to as orthodox.

Orthodoxy is opposed to heterodoxy ('other teaching') or heresy . People who deviate from orthodoxy by professing a doctrine considered to be false are called heretics, while those who, perhaps without professing heretical beliefs, break from the perceived main body of believers are called schismatics. The term employed sometimes depends on the aspect most in view: if one is addressing corporate unity, the emphasis may be on schism; if one is addressing doctrinal coherence, the emphasis may be on heresy. A deviation lighter than heresy is commonly called error, in the sense of not being grave enough to cause total estrangement, while yet seriously affecting communion. Sometimes error is also used to cover both full heresies and minor errors. Doctrine or practices not regarded as essential to faith, with which Christians can legitimately disagree, are known as adiaphora.

The concept of orthodoxy is prevalent in many forms of organized monotheism. However, orthodox belief is not usually overly emphasized in polytheistic or animist religions, in which there is often little or no concept of dogma, and varied interpretations of doctrine and theology are tolerated and sometimes even encouraged within certain contexts. Syncretism, for example, plays a much wider role in non-monotheistic (and particularly, non-scriptural) religion. The prevailing governing norm within polytheism is often orthopraxy ('right practice') rather than the "right belief" of orthodoxy.

See also

Related Research Articles

Catholic (term) Universal

The word Catholic comes from the Greek phrase καθόλου (katholou), meaning "on the whole", "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words κατά meaning "about" and ὅλος meaning "whole". The first use of "Catholic" was by the church father Saint Ignatius of Antioch in his Letter to the Smyrnaeans. In the context of Christian ecclesiology, it has a rich history and several usages.

History of Christianity Development and growth of the Christian religion

The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion, Christendom, and the Church with its various denominations, from the 1st century to the present.

Orthodox, Orthodoxy, or Orthodoxism may refer to:

Eastern Christianity Christian traditions originating from Greek- and Syriac-speaking populations

Eastern Christianity comprises church families that developed - outside the Occident - from the original cradle of Christianity in Western Asia, with major bodies including the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox churches, the Eastern Catholic churches, Protestant Eastern Christian Churches who are Protestant in theology but Eastern Christian in cultural practice, and the denominations descended from the historic Church of the East.

Chalcedonian Christianity Christian demoninations that accept the Fourth Ecumenical Council

Chalcedonian Christianity refers to the Christian denominations adhering to the christological definitions and ecclesiological resolutions of the Council of Chalcedon, the Fourth Ecumenical Council held in 451. Chalcedonian Christians follow the Definition of Chalcedon, a religious doctrine concerning the divine and human natures of Jesus Christ. The great majority of Christian communions and confessions in the 21st century are Chalcedonian, but from the 5th to the 8th centuries the ascendancy of Chalcedonian Christology was not always certain.

In religion, heterodoxy means "any opinions or doctrines at variance with an official or orthodox position." Under this definition, heterodoxy is similar to unorthodoxy, while the adjective heterodox could be applied to a dissident.

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Christian Church Term used to refer to the whole group of people belonging to the Christian religious tradition.

Christian Church is a Protestant ecclesiological term referring to the church invisible comprising all Christians, used since the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. In this understanding, "Christian Church" does not refer to a particular Christian denomination but to the "body" or "group" of believers, both defined in various ways. A prominent example of this is the branch theory maintained by some Anglicans. This is in contrast to the one true church applied to a specific concrete Christian institution, a majority Christian ecclesiological position maintained by the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox churches, Assyrian Church of the East and the Ancient Church of the East.

Christian denomination identifiable Christian body with common name, structure, and doctrine

A Christian denomination is a distinct religious body within Christianity that comprises all church congregations of the same kind, identifiable by traits such as a name, peculiar history, organization, leadership, theological doctrine, worship style and sometimes a founder. It is a secular and neutral term, generally used to denote any established Christian Church. Unlike a cult or sect, a denomination is usually seen as part of the Christian religious mainstream. Most Christian denominations self-describe as Churches, whereas some newer ones tend to use the terms churches, assemblies, fellowships etc, interchangeably. Divisions between one group and another are defined by authority and doctrine; issues such as the nature of Jesus, the authority of apostolic succession, biblical hermeneutics, theology, ecclesiology, eschatology, and papal primacy may separate one denomination from another. Groups of denominations—often sharing broadly similar beliefs, practices, and historical ties—are sometimes known as "branches of Christianity". These branches differ in many ways, especially through differences in practices and belief.

Nicene Christianity Set of Christian doctrinal traditions reflecting the Nicene Creed

Nicene Christianity is a set of Christian doctrinal traditions which reflect the Nicene Creed, which was formulated at the First Council of Nicaea in AD 325 and amended at the First Council of Constantinople in AD 381.

Proto-orthodox Christianity

The term proto-orthodox Christianity or proto-orthodoxy was coined by New Testament scholar Bart D. Ehrman and describes the Early Christian movement which was the precursor of Christian orthodoxy. Ehrman argues that this group from the moment it became prominent by the end of the third century, "stifled its opposition, it claimed that its views had always been the majority position and that its rivals were, and always had been, 'heretics', who willfully 'chose' to reject the 'true belief'." In contrast, Larry W. Hurtado argues that proto-orthodox Christianity is rooted in first century Christianity.

Branch theory

Branch theory is an ecclesiological proposition that the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church includes various Christian denominations whether in formal communion or not. The theory is often incorporated in the Protestant notion of an invisible Christian Church structure binding them together.

A schism is a division between people, usually belonging to an organization, movement, or religious denomination. The word is most frequently applied to a split in what had previously been a single religious body, such as the East–West Schism or the Great Western Schism. It is also used of a split within a non-religious organization or movement or, more broadly, of a separation between two or more people, be it brothers, friends, lovers, etc.

Religious exclusivism

Religious exclusivism, or exclusivity, is the doctrine or belief that only one particular religion or belief system is true. This is in contrast to religious pluralism, which believes that all religions provide valid responses to the existence of God.

Heresy in Christianity Formal denial or doubt of a core doctrine of the Christian faith

Heresy in Christianity denotes the formal denial or doubt of a core doctrine of the Christian faith as defined by one or more of the Christian churches.

History of Eastern Christianity

Christianity has been, historically a Middle Eastern religion with its origin in Judaism. Eastern Christianity refers collectively to the Christian traditions and churches which developed in the Middle East, Egypt, Asia Minor, the Far East, Balkans, Eastern Europe, Northeastern Africa and southern India over several centuries of religious antiquity. It is contrasted with Western Christianity which developed in Western Europe. As a historical definition the term relates to the earliest Christian communities and their long standing traditions that still exist.

Heresy Belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs


Heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs, in particular the accepted beliefs of a church or religious organization. The term is usually used in reference to violations of important religious teachings, but is also used of views strongly opposed to any generally accepted ideas. A heretic is a proponent of hersey.

Oriental Orthodox Churches Branch of Eastern Christianity

The Oriental Orthodox Churches are a group of Christian churches adhering to miaphysite Christology and theology, and together have about 62 million members worldwide.

Christianity in late antiquity asoect of history

Christianity in late antiquity traces Christianity during the Christian Roman Empire – the period from the rise of Christianity under Emperor Constantine, until the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The end-date of this period varies because the transition to the sub-Roman period occurred gradually and at different times in different areas. One may generally date late ancient Christianity as lasting to the late 6th century and the re-conquests under Justinian of the Byzantine Empire, though a more traditional end-date is 476, the year in which Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus, traditionally considered the last western emperor.

References

  1. "Perseus Digital Greek Word Study Tool". www.perseus.tufts.edu. Retrieved 2019-12-03.
  2. Harper, Douglas. "orthodoxy". Online Etymology Dictionary . Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  3. "orthodox." Dictionary.com. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.) Houghton-Mifflin Company. 2004. Retrieved March 03, 2008.
  4. Robert M. Wills (2013). Taking Caesar Out of Jesus: Uncovering the Lost Relevance of Jesus. Xlibris Corporation. p. 246. ISBN   1-4931-0810-7.[ self-published source ]
  5. "Kalama Sutta: To the Kalamas". Access to Insight . Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  6. Dulles S.J., Avery (2012). Reno, R.R. (ed.). The Orthodox Imperative: Selected Essays of Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J. (Kindle ed.). First Things Press. p. 224.
  7. Meyendorff 1989.
  8. Krikorian 2010.
  9. "The Human Icon: A Comparative Study of Hindu and Orthodox Christian Beliefs". onlinelibrary.wiley.com. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  10. "Githa Vahini". altlib.org. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  11. "Orthodoxy in Hinduism". science.jrank.org. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  12. John Richard Thackrah (5 Sep 2013). Dictionary of Terrorism (2, revised ed.). Routledge. p. 252. ISBN   978-1-135-16595-6.
  13. Nasir, Jamal J., ed. (2009). The Status of Women Under Islamic Law and Modern Islamic Legislation (revised ed.). BRILL. p. 11. ISBN   9789004172739.
  14. George W. Braswell (2000). What You Need to Know about Islam & Muslims (illustrated ed.). B&H Publishing Group. p. 62. ISBN   978-0-8054-1829-3.
  15. Burton, John. 1996. An Introduction to the Hadith. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. p. 201: "Sunni: Of or pertaining sunna, especially the Sunna of the Prophet. Used in conscious opposition to Shi'a, Shi'í. There being no ecclesia or centralized magisterium, the translation 'orthodox' is inappropriate. To the Muslim 'unorthodox' implies heretical, mubtadi, from bid'a, the contrary of sunna, and so 'innovation'."
  16. "What is Kemetic Orthodoxy?: Introduction". The House of Netjer. Retrieved 4 October 2013.

Sources