Cf. This question: When did “he descended into hell” become part of the Apostles' Creed? Nathaniel's answer and my answer and the commens below each and the my chat with Nathaniel.

It appears that while he challenged the support for my answer, it now turns out from my answer that Philip Schaff, whom his answer refers to as a Church Church historian, is discredited or at least Nathaniel's answer drawing from Mr. Schaff has no basis. The reason is, as presented, by Nathaniel, both say Rufinus' (Alquileja's) version in AD 390 has DESCENDIT in INFERNA, while his answer fails to mention Rufinas' Commentary on the Apostles' Creed - the first ever by a Christian writer [Cf. Catholicism.org > Articles > The Apostles Creed by Brian Kelly July 9, 2015] - which says that the Apostles' Creed is from the Apostles and that the Apostles composed it on Pentecost Sunday.

I see a few issues here:

While he providing an answer and supporting it as he does meets the site criteria, it now appears either he or his source were not thorough.

1) What does the community suggest we do to his answer?

2) What might be some site improvements to prevent such a misleading answer in the future?

3) Of course I do not know what were Nathaniel's motives, but I now view the Q & self A in a different light, as if it was meant to present and advance a particular view.

I now have a basis for my issue 3):

Nathaniel has provided a skewed view of Historian Schaff's work

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which has:

The Apostles' Creed, or Symbolum Apostolicum, is, as to its form, not the production of the apostles, as was formerly believed, but an admirable popular summary of the apostolic teaching, and in full harmony with the spirit and even the letter of the New Testament.

Conclusion as of Fri Jan 15, 2016

It appears Nathaniel in his answer left out two pertinent points and at least one is mentioned in his source:

1) That Rufinas was the first ever Christian writer to make a commentary on the Apostles' Creed, in that commentary his version has DESCENDIT in INFERNA and that he says the Apostles' themselves composed the Creed. While the historicity of his account has been descredited, St. Ambrose speaks of the "Creed of the Apostles, which the Roman Church has always kept and preserved undefiled" and that it "was pieced together by twelve separate workmen". Thus while Rufinas story of how or when the piecing together has been dicredited, that part that the twelve Apostles all contributed to it agrees with St. Ambrose who has not been dicredited.

2) That the "the production of the apostles, as was formerly believed, but an admirable popular summary of the apostolic teaching, and in full harmony with the spirit and even the letter of the New Testament."

Thus Nathaniel's answer gives the false impression that there existed an Apostles' Creed without the words of interest and that this words were later inserted into the Creed at a aprticular time in history.


I will be honest here and say what is at play here is what I could term a "protestant menatlity" vs. a Catholic [universal] one, i.e., the pick and choose vs. considering the whole which is clearly in harmony.

Asking again,

What does the community suggest be done here and what might be some site improvement suggestions?

  • 2
    It's really not relevant to the discussion, but for what it's worth, I prefer including the clause in the Apostles' Creed. Jan 14 '16 at 2:37
  • It is clear this site C.SE [Main + META] has below-zero credibility.
    – user13992
    Jan 14 '16 at 5:45
  • @Nathaniel That you fail to see the issues here is incomprehensible to me.
    – user13992
    Jan 14 '16 at 5:54
  • 5
    In response to this discussion, I've also answered the broader question: Did the Apostles' Creed originate with the Apostles? Jan 14 '16 at 16:57
  • Can you clarify the point of your edit? I don't understand what that quote from Schaff has to do with the problem you perceived with Nathaniel's answer. Jan 14 '16 at 21:45
  • @Mr.Bultitude The Apostles may have not produced the Creed it in its current form, but all of the articles in the Creed in its current form, including, the phrase of interest, was taught by the Apostles. All of the articles of the creed are from the Apostles as my answer said.
    – user13992
    Jan 14 '16 at 21:50
  • 2
    @FMS But nothing in his answer contradicts any of that... Jan 14 '16 at 21:52
  • Being beckoned yet again to go down the rabbit hole. I choose not to go.
    – user13992
    Jan 14 '16 at 21:56
  • 5
    If you're not going to explain your problem with the answer, then people are going to continue to disagree that there's a problem with it. Jan 14 '16 at 22:41
  • @Mr.Bultitude did my issue say Nathaniel presented a skewed view of or did it say it contradicted Philip Schaff's work?
    – user13992
    Jan 14 '16 at 22:48
  • 4
    "Skewed view." And I don't see how it does, hence my question. You can reply in our chatroom if you like. Jan 14 '16 at 22:49
  • ...*beckoned down to the rabbit hole ... ; the twist and turns continue*
    – user13992
    Jan 14 '16 at 23:02

1) A comment on the answer indicating why you think it's incorrect is the usual thing to do, and you've already done that.

Posting another answer elaborating on what you think is the correct answer is another useful step, and you've done that, too.

2) I don't see that any site improvements are needed. Your answer is only a few hours old, over time it should accumulate some votes if people think it's valid and the other answer should get downvotes. (I'm afraid your style of answer may slow this down, it's a bit of a wall of text, and the formatting makes it harder to understand what your main point is.)

3) I don't see that this is a problem.

The most relevant Meta.SE Q&A about incorrect answers is here.


it now appears either he or his source were not thorough

I disagree. The source was only making claims about the earliest extant manuscripts of the creed. Rufinus claims that the creed as he quotes it (descendit and all) goes back to the apostles, but what else would you expect? Would you really expect a church father to say of an ancient creed, "By the way, I changed a few things. I like it better this way, don't you?" I'm not at all surprised that Rufinus claims that his manuscript is not the first to include the phrase.

What does the community suggest we do to his answer?

Downvote it if you believe it's misleading. Edit it if you think a simple change would make it no longer misleading.

I would suggest maybe a footnote saying that Rufinus wrote a commentary on the creed saying that the creed in its entirety goes back to the apostles on Pentecost. But ultimately it's Nathaniel's answer, and he gets the final say, whether to his benefit or detriment.

What might be some site improvements to prevent such a misleading answer in the future?

Even if I agreed it's a bad answer, I'd still see no reason for site-wide reform. Let the system run its course. As Ward said, leaving a comment plus an alternate answer should give the community enough to go on. There's nothing wrong with posting here on Meta either, but hold your horses on talking about changing the entire site just for one answer. Answers are wrong all the time, and the system takes care of it.

Of course I do not know what were Nathaniel's motives, but I now view the Q & self A in a different light, as if it was meant to present and advance a particular view.

If the particular view is correct then I see no problem. If it's propaganda, then it's a potential abuse of the system, but that's clearly not the case here. Clear to me, at least. If it's simply an incorrect view, then I'd repeat that a comment, an alternate answer, and a Meta post are more than adequate for the community to do the appropriate voting.

  • Please listen to yourself write: "Rufinus version is accepted to show the wording came into the Creed in 390 AD but Rufinus is discounted because he is a Church Father who is expected to say things regarding his doctored version." - with no basis to say the version was doctored.
    – user13992
    Jan 14 '16 at 18:45
  • 'Answers are wrong all the time,' - agreeing with my concern 'and the system takes care of it.' - no it doesn't and that's why we are here after following all the steps you have outlined.
    – user13992
    Jan 14 '16 at 18:52
  • This was the question in the body in agreement with the Title: Has the Apostles' Creed always included this phrase? If not, when did it become part of it? and NOT about claims about the earliest extant manuscripts of the creed thus you answer here just continues to higlight the issues that I have raised. Misleading answers that for whatever reason get upvoted and thus supported while the site ought to be about getting Correct Answers.
    – user13992
    Jan 14 '16 at 18:53
  • 3
    @FMS Ah, now I see. You wanted the question to be a Truth question. There is literally no way to answer that question without relying on the extant manuscripts, or else answering based on doctrine. But you've been here long enough to be well aware of the site's guidelines on Truth questions. But even if it were a doctrinal question from a Catholic standpoint, it's evident that the answer would be roughly the same, given Nathaniel's quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia in his new post. Jan 14 '16 at 19:03
  • And the twist and turns continue. 'You wanted the question to be a Truth question.' - This was not my question.
    – user13992
    Jan 14 '16 at 19:08
  • @FMS Then how exactly did you want the question about the earliest forms of the creed to be answered? His answer was based on manuscript evidence, and you objected to that because one of the manuscript authors made a factual assertion (contrary to the manuscript evidence) that he didn't include in the answer. Jan 14 '16 at 19:10
  • @FMS If you believe that answers routinely stick around (with high-ish votes) despite being wrong, after user action including comments, alternative answers, and Meta posts, you'd be better served by making a list of such answers in a new Meta topic. But make sure that each answer you include is 1) incorrect, 2) has had user action taken against it, and 3) is currently highly voted or is accepted. Jan 14 '16 at 19:12
  • 1) I provided such an answer. 2) Let's do the opposite: You are welcome to look at my very many well suported answers that sit at negative voting or with no or just a single vote. One of them is an answer to your question and this is recent memory.
    – user13992
    Jan 14 '16 at 19:20
  • 3
    @FMS I outlined to you my issues with your answer, and my comment got several upvotes. As has been pointed out by others before, the format of your answers is often confusing as well, which makes them less likely to be upvoted (though not necessarily more likely to be downvoted). If all you're saying is that your opinions on what answers are good and what answers are bad are often at odds with those of the community at large, then this whole discussion has been pointless. Jan 14 '16 at 19:23
  • Like I said before 'And the twist and turns continue ...'
    – user13992
    Jan 14 '16 at 19:25
  • 1
    @FMS If you want feedback on why certain answers of yours have low votes, you could post a Meta topic about that. I don't know if you noticed, but bringing up your own answers was a complete change of subject. So a new topic (keep it simple though) saying something like, "These answers of mine [linked examples] currently sit at -2, -3, and 1 score. I believe they are well supported. Why don't they have higher votes. Do you spot any inaccuracies? Is the formatting an issue?" Jan 14 '16 at 19:33
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – user13992
    Jan 14 '16 at 19:48

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