Sunday, January 19, 2020

First John 5:7 and Greek Manuscripts

           Earlier this month over at the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog, Elijah Hixson offered an informative post which included pictures of the few Greek manuscripts which have the Comma Johanneum in the text of First John 5:7.  The earliest is GA 629, a Latin-Greek manuscript dated to 1362.  I offered some analysis of the text of First John 5:7 in GA 629 in August of 2016 (see the replica of the relevant part of 629 at this link, or a page-view of the manuscript itself at the Vatican Library’s website at this link).  The second-oldest manuscript of First John that has the Comma Johanneum in the text of 5:7 is GA 61, which was made in the early 1500s.  The third-oldest Greek manuscript with the Comma Johanneum in the text of First John 5:7 is GA 918.  Hixson, by a series of simple deductions, narrowed his estimate of its production-date to the 1570s. 
GA 641:  The Comma Johanneum is absent.
            And that’s it, unless we include GA 2473 (from 1634) and 2318 (from the 1700s) – both of which were made after printed editions of the Greek New Testament were made, and which very probably include the Comma Johanneum because their copyists used a printed Greek New Testament as an exemplar. 
            The other manuscripts do not have the Comma Johanneum in the text; the Comma Johanneum is written in the margin instead.  Hixson’s post includes pictures of the relevant portions of these manuscripts, so I will only spend a little time reviewing them here: 
            ● In GA 221, a manuscript from the 900s, the Comma Johanneum is written in the margin, but it appears that the Comma Johanneum arrived there rather recently, considering that (as Hixson reports) a description of GA 221 made in 1854 says that the manuscript does not have the Comma Johanneum, with nothing said about a margin-note. 
            ● In GA 177, the Comma Johanneum is written in the upper margin of the page and is identified by its verse-number, which means that the Comma Johanneum was placed in the margin of GA 177 sometime after 1550.  (Dan Wallace noticed the Comma Johanneum in the margin of GA 177 in 2010.)   Hixson offers a more precise date, however:  the annotator of this manuscript left his name in it:  Ignatius Hardt, who was born in 1749.  Guided by a little more data about Hardt’s career, Hixson estimates that Hardt wrote the Comma Johanneum in the margin of 177 no earlier than the 1770s.
            ● In GA 88, a manuscript from the 1100s, the Comma Johanneum appears in the margin with almost no clues about who added it or when.   Almost no clues:  as Hixson observed, whereas copyists routinely contracted sacred names such as “Father” and “Spirit,” in the margin-note in 88 these words are written out in full, which may indicate that the person writing them was using as his source a printed book, rather than a manuscript.
            ● In GA 429, a manuscript from the 1300s, the Comma Johanneum is written in the margin, and it matches up with the text of the Comma Johanneum printed in Erasmus’ third edition – because, as Hixson explains, Erasmus’ third edition was its source.
            ● In GA 636, a manuscript from the 1400s, the Comma Johanneum is written in the margin, and is missing the articles, which is consistent with a scenario in which it was translated from Latin. 
                       
            Let’s review the implications of this evidence:  First, there is no Greek manuscript made before the 1500s in which the Comma Johanneum appears in the text of First John in a form which does not appear to be derived from Latin; strictly speaking, the exact text of the Comma Johanneum that appears in the Textus Receptus does not appear in the text of any Greek manuscript made before the 1500s.  Second, in the Greek manuscripts in which the Comma Johanneum appears in the margin, it either appears to be derived from Latin, or else it appears to have been copied from a printed source. 
           
            Now let’s look on the other side of the equation.  Here, from researcher Timothy Berg, is a list of the Greek manuscripts that contain First John but do not have the Comma Johanneum in the text:

Manuscripts Produced Before the 700s:  01, 03, 02, 048, 0296
Manuscripts Produced in the 700s-800s:  018, 020, 025, 049, 0142, 1424, 1862, 1895, 2464
Manuscripts Assigned to the 900s:  044, 056, 82, 93, 175, 181, 221, 307, 326, 398, 450, 454, 456, 457, 602, 605, 619, 627, 832, 920, 1066, 1175, 1720, 1739, 1829, 1836, 1837, 1841, 1845, 1851, 1871, 1874, 1875, 1880, 1891, 2125, 2147,     
Manuscripts Assigned to the 1000s:  35, 36, 2, 42, 43, 81, 104, 131, 133, 142, 177, 250, 302, 325, 312, 314, 424, 436, 451, 458, 459,   462, 464, 465, 466, 491, 506, 517, 547, 606, 607, 617, 623, 624, 635, 638, 639, 641, 699, 796,   901, 910, 919, 945, 1162, 1243, 1244, 1270, 1311, 1384, 1521, 1668, 1724, 1730, 1735, 1738, 1828, 1835, 1838, 1846, 1847, 1849, 1854, 1870, 1888, 2138, 2191, 2344, 2475, 2587, 2723,   2746     
Manuscripts Assigned to the 1100s:  3, 38, 1, 57, 88, 94, 97, 103, 105, 110, 180, 203, 226, 256, 319, 321, 323, 330, 337, 365, 431, 440, 442, 452, 618, 620, 622, 625, 632, 637, 656, 720, 876, 917, 922, 927, 1058, 1115, 1127, 1241, 1245, 1315, 1319, 1359, 1360, 1448, 1490, 1505, 1573, 1611, 1646, 1673, 1718, 1737, 1740, 1743, 1752, 1754, 1850, 1853, 1863, 1867, 1868, 1872, 1885, 1889, 1893, 1894, 1897, 2127, 2143, 2186, 2194, 2289, 2298, 2401, 2412, 2541, 2625, 2712, 2718, 2736, 2805     
Manuscripts Assigned to the 1200s:  4, 5, 6, 51, 204, 206, 172, 141, 218, 234, 263, 327, 328, 378, 383, 384, 390, 460, 468, 469, 479, 483, 496, 592, 601, 614, 643, 665, 757, 912, 914, 915, 941, 999, 1069, 1070, 1072, 1094, 1103, 1107, 1149, 1161, 1242, 1251, 1292, 1297, 1352, 1398, 1400, 1404, 1456, 1501, 1509, 1523, 1563, 1594, 1595, 1597, 1609, 1642, 1719, 1722, 1727, 1728, 1731, 1736, 1758, 1780, 1827, 1839, 1842, 1843, 1852, 1855, 1857, 1858, 1860, 1864, 1865, 1873, 2180, 2374, 2400, 2404, 2423, 2483, 2502, 2558, 2627, 2696       
Manuscripts Assigned to the 1300s:  18, 62, 76, 189, 201, 209, 216, 223, 254, 308, 363, 367, 386, 393, 394, 404, 421, 425, 429, 453,  489, 498, 582, 603, 604, 608, 621, 628, 630, 633, 634, 680, 743, 794, 808, 824, 913, 921, 928, 935, 959, 986, 996, 1022, 1040, 1067, 1075, 1099, 1100, 1102, 1106, 1248, 1249, 1354, 1390, 1409, 1482, 1495, 1503, 1524, 1548, 1598, 1599, 1610, 1618, 1619, 1622, 1637, 1643, 1661, 1678, 1717, 1723, 1725, 1726, 1732, 1733, 1741, 1742, 1744, 1746, 1747, 1753, 1761, 1762, 1765, 1769, 1831, 1832, 1856, 1859, 1866, 1877, 1881, 1882, 1886, 1890, 1892, 1899, 1902, 2080, 2085, 2086,  2197, 2200, 2261, 2279, 2356, 2431, 2466, 2484, 2492, 2494, 2508, 2511, 2527, 2626, 2675, 2705, 2716, 2774, 2777
Manuscripts Assigned to the 1400s:  69, 102, 149, 205, 322, 368, 385, 400, 432, 444, 467, 615, 616, 631, 636, 664, 801, 1003, 1105, 1247, 1250, 1367, 1405, 1508, 1626, 1628, 1636, 1649, 1656, 1729, 1745, 1750, 1751, 1757, 1763, 1767, 1830, 1876, 1896, 2131, 2221, 2288, 2352, 2495, 2523, 2554, 2652, 2653, 2691, 2704
Manuscripts Assigned to the 1500s and Later:  90, 296, 522, 1702, 1704, 1749, 1768, 1840, 1844, 1861, 2130, 2218, 2255, 2378, 2501, 2516, 2544, 1101, 1721, 1748, 1869, 1903, 2243, 2674, 2776, 2473, 1104

            With this data in mind, let’s consider a few extracts from a defense of the Comma Johanneum recently offered by Taylor DeSoto of Agros Reformed Baptist Church in Arizona: 
            “There is manuscript evidence for it.”  True, but as Hixson’s analysis shows, the Greek manuscript evidence for the Comma Johanneum is sparse, late, and shows clear signs of being derived either from Latin or from a printed text.   
            “It has more manuscript evidence support than let’s just say, the Gospel of Mark without 16:9-20.”  That is not quite the case; there are three Greek manuscripts in which Mark 16 ends at 16:8 (À, B, and 304  all with other anomalous features), so technically, the quantities are equal.  But it would be foolish to use simple quantities to frame this evidence, because B and À are the two earliest manuscripts of Mark 16 know to exist, while GA 629 is from the mid-1300s, 61 is from the early 1500s, and 918 is from the 1570s, and the rest, as Hixson’s data shows, are either dependent on Latin, or else extremely late.  
            As a defender of the genuineness of Mark 16:9-20, I do not grant to B and À the level of weight that was given to them by Westcott and Hort (and which continues, in some circles, to be assumed).  But it is not just the testimony of B and À which we ought to consider.  It is also the testimony of 02, 048, 0296, 018, 020, 025, 049, 0142, 1424, 1862, 1895, 2464, 044, 056, 82, 93, 175, 181, 221, 307, 326, 398, 450, 454, 456, 457, 602, 605, 619, 627, 832, 920, 1066, 1175, 1720, 1739, 1829, 1836, 1837, 1841, 1845, 1851, 1871, 1874, 1875, 1880, 1891, 2125, 2147, 35, 36, 2, 42, 43, 81, 104, 131, 133, 142, 177, 250, 302, 325, 312, 314, 424, 436, 451, 458, 459,   462, 464, 465, 466, 491, 506, 517, 547, 606, 607, 617, 623, 624, 635, 638, 639, 641, 699, 796,   901, 910, 919, 945, 1162, 1243, 1244, 1270, 1311, 1384, 1521, 1668, 1724, 1730, 1735, 1738, 1828, 1835, 1838, 1846, 1847, 1849, 1854, 1870, 1888, 2138, 2191, 2344, 2475, 2587, 2723, 2746, 3, 38, 1, 57, 88, 94, 97, 103, 105, 110, 180, 203, 226, 256, 319, 321, 323, 330, 337, 365, 431, 440, 442, 452, 618, 620, 622, 625, 632, 637, 656, 720, 876, 917, 922, 927, 1058, 1115, 1127, 1241, 1245, 1315, 1319, 1359, 1360, 1448, 1490, 1505, 1573, 1611, 1646, 1673, 1718, 1737, 1740, 1743, 1752, 1754, 1850, 1853, 1863, 1867, 1868, 1872, 1885, 1889, 1893, 1894, 1897, 2127, 2143, 2186, 2194, 2289, 2298, 2401, 2412, 2541, 2625, 2712, 2718, 2736, 2805, and so forth. 
            “Those who attack the authenticity of this reading appeal to the assumption that it was introduced from a Latin manuscript.”  Mr. DeSoto writes as if there is no basis for this “assumption.”  However, it is not an assumption; it is a deduction from evidence:  in the Old Latin text of First John 5:8 (as I have explained already in an earlier post), the nouns are typically transposed to the order water-blood-spirit, which is conducive to a figurative interpretation in which the water represents the Father, the blood represents the Son, and the Spirit represents, of course, the Holy Spirit.  And that interpretation is the Comma Johanneum – an interpretive gloss that was inserted into the Old Latin text (and from there into the later medieval Vulgate text).  Its origin is linked to the transposition:  in evidence uninfluenced by Latin, where the transposition is absent, the Comma Johanneum is absent as well.
            “Can 1 John 5:7 be said to have been definitively introduced from the Latin, as though it were never found in a Greek manuscript?”  Yes, it can.  All one needs to do is observe the evidence and think it through:  everything is completely consistent with precisely that scenario.  Just look at the Latin text that runs parallel to the Greek text in 629, and look at the absence of the articles, and look at the absence of the Comma Johanneum in 02, 048, 0296, 018, 020, 025, 049, 0142, 1424, 1862, 1895, 2464, 044, 056, 82, 93, 175, 181, 221, 307, 326, 398, 450, 454, 456, 457, 602, 605, 619, 627, 832, 920, 1066, 1175, 1720, 1739, 1829, 1836, 1837, 1841, 1845, 1851, 1871, 1874, 1875, 1880, 1891, 2125, 2147, 35, 36, 2, 42, 43, 81, 104, 131, 133, 142, 177, 250, 302, 325, 312, 314, 424, 436, 451, 458, 459, 462, 464, 465, 466, 491, 506, 517, 547, 606, 607, 617, 623, 624, 635, 638, 639, 641, 699, 796, 901, 910, 919, 945, 1162, 1243, 1244, 1270, 1311, 1384, 1521, 1668, 1724, 1730, 1735, 1738, 1828, 1835, 1838, 1846, 1847, 1849, 1854, 1870, 1888, 2138, 2191, 2344, 2475, 2587, 2723, 2746, 3, 38, 1, 57, 88, 94, 97, 103, 105, 110, 180, 203, 226, 256, 319, 321, 323, 330, 337, 365, 431, 440, 442, 452, 618, 620, 622, 625, 632, 637, 656, 720, 876, 917, 922, 927, 1058, 1115, 1127, 1241, 1245, 1315, 1319, 1359, 1360, 1448, 1490, 1505, 1573, 1611, 1646, 1673, 1718, 1737, 1740, 1743, 1752, 1754, 1850, 1853, 1863, 1867, 1868, 1872, 1885, 1889, 1893, 1894, 1897, 2127, 2143, 2186, 2194, 2289, 2298, 2401, 2412, 2541, 2625, 2712, 2718, 2736, 2805, and so forth.  Then ask, what more could I possibly ask for, if I were asking for evidence that the Comma Johanneum drifted into a few Greek manuscripts due to the actions of copyists who wanted to make their Greek copies conform more precisely to the meaning of their Latin copies? 
            Nevertheless Mr. DeSoto states, “I have yet to see a scholar actually produce a manuscript, or historical source from antiquity which demonstrates that this verse was added from the Latin.”   It seems to me that he is simply resisting the plain implications of the evidence. 
            In addition. Mr. DeSoto resorts to a grammatical argument (offered in a past generation by commentator Robert Dabney) as evidence for the genuineness of the Comma Johanneum – and then states, “The only people I have seen stand against this grammatical argument are people who self-admittedly are rusty in Greek.”  However, this whole approach is a nothingburger, as demonstrated already by Dr. Barry Hofstetter in the 2018 post, The Comma Johanneum and Greek Grammar. 
            Furthermore, Mr. DeSoto misrepresents the evidence when he states that “Jerome and Nazianzes comment on it.”  By “Jerome” he appears to mean the author of the Preface to the Canonical Epistles – an author who (as I have already pointed out) used the transposed form of First John 5:8.  And by saying that “Gregory of Nazianzes comments on it,” he seems to be referring to the statement by Gregory of Nazianzus where, after stating that John says “that there are three that bear witness, the Spirit and the water and the blood” – as we find verse 8 in most manuscripts, without the phrase “on earth” – he bring up a frivolous objection from a posited grammarian only in order to tear it down, stating “You see how completely your argument from con-numeration has completely broken down, and is refuted by all these instances,” and he goes on from there – not once citing any part of the Comma Johanneum.  
            It is simply false to claim that Gregory of Nazianzus commented on the Comma Johanneum.  He did not do so.   Furthermore, in the very next chapter of his composition, Gregory of Nazianzus refers to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, without referencing the Comma Johanneum.
            Mr. DeSoto did not leave that falsehood without company.  He also claimed, “The Comma Johanneum was seated at 1 John 5:7 until evangelical textual critics began deconstructing the Scriptures.”  As long as one ignores the testimony of 02, 048, 0296, 018, 020, 025, 049, 0142, 1424, 1862, 1895, 2464, 044, 056, 82, 93, 175, 181, 221, 307, 326, 398, 450, 454, 456, 457, 602, 605, 619, 627, 832, 920, 1066, 1175, 1720, 1739, 1829, 1836, 1837, 1841, 1845, 1851, 1871, 1874, 1875, 1880, 1891, 2125, 2147, 35, 36, 2, 42, 43, 81, 104, 131, 133, 142, 177, 250, 302, 325, 312, 314, 424, 436, 451, 458, 459, 462, 464, 465, 466, 491, 506, 517, 547, 606, 607, 617, 623, 624, 635, 638, 639, 641, 699, 796, 901, 910, 919, 945, 1162, 1243, 1244, 1270, 1311, 1384, 1521, 1668, 1724, 1730, 1735, 1738, 1828, 1835, 1838, 1846, 1847, 1849, 1854, 1870, 1888, 2138, 2191, 2344, 2475, 2587, 2723, 2746, 3, 38, 1, 57, 88, 94, 97, 103, 105, 110, 180, 203, 226, 256, 319, 321, 323, 330, 337, 365, 431, 440, 442, 452, 618, 620, 622, 625, 632, 637, 656, 720, 876, 917, 922, 927, 1058, 1115, 1127, 1241, 1245, 1315, 1319, 1359, 1360, 1448, 1490, 1505, 1573, 1611, 1646, 1673, 1718, 1737, 1740, 1743, 1752, 1754, 1850, 1853, 1863, 1867, 1868, 1872, 1885, 1889, 1893, 1894, 1897, 2127, 2143, 2186, 2194, 2289, 2298, 2401, 2412, 2541, 2625, 2712, 2718, 2736, 2805, and so forth, that is something that can be honestly said.  Yes, if you resolve to be blind to these Greek manuscripts, and focus instead, like a horse wearing blinders, upon interpolated and transposed Latin texts, and on a few late manuscripts influenced by them, then you can say that you have a basis for keeping the Comma Johanneum in your text of First John.  But if you are going to say that it was a good thing that at some point in the past, the Latin text was on the throne, and that the Greek text was usurped and pushed to the side, and that such ought to be the case today, then you thus are not actually recognizing the authority of the original text.      
            Finally, after asking a series of rhetorical questions, Mr. DeSoto asks, Do we gain anything by removing this passage?”  To which I say, first, that this is a trick question, because when we look at 02, 048, 0296, 018, 020, 025, 049, 0142, 1424, 1862, 1895, 2464, 044, 056, 82, 93, 175, 181, 221, 307, 326, 398, 450, 454, 456, 457, 602, 605, 619, 627, 832, 920, 1066, 1175, 1720, 1739, 1829, 1836, 1837, 1841, 1845, 1851, 1871, 1874, 1875, 1880, 1891, 2125, 2147, 35, 36, 2, 42, 43, 81, 104, 131, 133, 142, 177, 250, 302, 325, 312, 314, 424, 436, 451, 458, 459, 462, 464, 465, 466, 491, 506, 517, 547, 606, 607, 617, 623, 624, 635, 638, 639, 641, 699, 796, 901, 910, 919, 945, 1162, 1243, 1244, 1270, 1311, 1384, 1521, 1668, 1724, 1730, 1735, 1738, 1828, 1835, 1838, 1846, 1847, 1849, 1854, 1870, 1888, 2138, 2191, 2344, 2475, 2587, 2723, 2746, 3, 38, 1, 57, 88, 94, 97, 103, 105, 110, 180, 203, 226, 256, 319, 321, 323, 330, 337, 365, 431, 440, 442, 452, 618, 620, 622, 625, 632, 637, 656, 720, 876, 917, 922, 927, 1058, 1115, 1127, 1241, 1245, 1315, 1319, 1359, 1360, 1448, 1490, 1505, 1573, 1611, 1646, 1673, 1718, 1737, 1740, 1743, 1752, 1754, 1850, 1853, 1863, 1867, 1868, 1872, 1885, 1889, 1893, 1894, 1897, 2127, 2143, 2186, 2194, 2289, 2298, 2401, 2412, 2541, 2625, 2712, 2718, 2736, 2805, and so forth, nobody is removing the passage; it is not there to begin with. 
            But taking the question as it stands:  yes we certainly do gain something.  First, we gain a purer, less corrupted text, which more closely resembles the original inspired text.  Mr. DeSoto recently stated in another post, “We need to receive the text as it has been passed down.”  I point out again that in the text of First John 5:7-8 that has been passed down in 99.2% of the handed-down Greek manuscripts, the Comma Johanneum is unsupported.  I point out again that the non-inclusion of the Comma Johanneum is supported.  I point out again that at this particular point, the Textus Receptus does not represent the text-that-was-handed-down, or the Byzantine Text, or the “Antiochan line.”  Yet this fact seems to have no effect on Mr. DeSoto’s position.  It seems abundantly clear that his goal is neither to defend the original text nor the text that has been handed down in Greek manuscripts; his agenda is to defend the contents of the Textus Receptus.
            (In addition, one must ask, Which text that has been passed down?”, because the manuscripts that have survived to the present day do not always agree.  When asking, “Is this reading authoritative?” the decisive sub-question is not, Is it popular?, or “Is it familiar to a particular group of people?” (such as English readers of the KJV, or formulators of a particular creed from the 1600s), but, “Is it original?.)    
            Second, we lose the stigma of desperation which is the inevitable consequence of treating an interpolation as if deserves to be a foundation for Christian doctrine, as if the Textus Receptus must be right, and all those other manuscripts must be wrong.  It is morally wrong and strategically unwise to employ falsehoods – such as the false claim that John wrote the Comma Johanneum – in the service of the truth.  To continue to do so is to run the risk that onlookers will conclude that the orthodox view of the Trinity is so weak that its defenders must adopt non-original readings in order to defend it.  I would point out that few early theologians were as Trinitarian as Gregory of Nazianzus and Cyril of Alexandria – yet they did not use the Comma Johanneum, because it was not the Greek texts that they used. 
            Third, we gain the time that would otherwise be wasted continuing to discuss a textual variant which ought to be easily recognized as an interpolation.



Readers are invited to double-check the data in this post.



  

14 comments:

Matthew M. Rose said...

Hi James,

Are there any differences between the critical apparatus provided by Timothy Berg and the apparatus contained within Text und Textwert? I didn't have the patience to check every entry, but everyone I did is listed in Text und Textwert as well. I'm wondering if Mr. Berg has furnished the apparatus with more data. Thanks

Timothy Joseph said...

James,
First, stellar work. Second unfortunately, as pointed out by Dr. Riddle on his blog, defenders of the ‘confessional text’ (TR) do not base their beliefs about the TR on manuscript evidence. JTR points out that any reference to manuscript evidence is just a response to critics who claim their isn’t any. Their, CT/TR advocates, belief that the TR is the ‘Divinely Preserved Text’ is based on the belief that it was the text used by the Reformers. Therefore, whether it comes from the Latin Text or only has limited late Greek support or that there are differences in the TR itself do not matter. Finally, these positions demonstrate that the TR-Only advocates beliefs are an apriori decision, one which is not based on evidence, but on a theoretical deduction.
Tim

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for posting this article. Now we can easily list the Greek Manuscripts against the extra non-original words from the Latin Vulgate.

Preacherman said...

Matthew, unless I made some mistakes (which is certainly possible) then the list should be the same as the TuT entry, with the minor difference that I tried to organize them into categories approximating the century of their approximate date of composition. It has been several years since I wrote out that chart, (https://www.dropbox.com/s/vwlyw6q8pi553ff/I%20John%205-7%20Chart%20PDF.pdf?dl=0) and I have never carefully double checked all the data. If I recall correctly, the Greek manuscript data all came from the TuT entry, which I typed out by hand from a iPhone shot of the pages in TuT, (which I don't own, but had accessed in a library=), which I then sorted by approximate date (iirrc, using the entires in the NA or K-liste), which I then pasted into fields in the chart. Assuming I made no mistakes in that process, it should be the same data as that from TuT, simply in different order. My goal was partly the same as the recent blog by Elijah (though I didn't and don't have his skill) - to show that people are often citing as "evidence for the KJV/TR" witnesses that in fact don't support the KJV/TR, and to present in a single, accessible visual the incredible sparseness of evidence that is being cited to support the CJ in the KJV/TR. There is some additional data I should have included, and I didn't note variants in the Latin Tradition when I should have, and I realized later that I should have used a color scheme to represent geographical dispersion as well. But despite it's minor inaccuracies or areas of incompleteness, I hope it can still serve that basic purpose.

Matthew M. Rose said...

Mr. Berg,

Thanks for the reply! You saved me a lot of time. I wasn't sure if you added any new manuscript evidence (and wasn't looking forward to checking all 500 or so), so thank you again for the reply.

Steven Avery said...

James Snapp
"The earliest is GA 629, a Latin-Greek manuscript dated to 1362."

For context, any discussion of Ottobonianus should also discuss the earlier Lateran Council, where Latin and Greek forms of the heavenly witnesses were published.

The pre-Erasmian restoration of the heavenly witnesses text to the Greek line included:

Lateran Council (1215)
Manuel Calecas (d. 1410)
Joseph Bryennius (c. 1350-1430)

There was a similar phenomenon in Armenian history, starting before the Synod of Sis (c. 1330).

All of this is important because of all the incorrect claims that Erasmus was working with a Greek vacuum on the heavenly witnesses verse.

Beyond that there are numerous Greek evidences from the earlier centuries. In fact, the one of which Erasmus was clearly aware, the Vulgate Prologue of Jerome, referring to Greek and Latin mss., caused Erasmus very great difficulties, he was totally flumoxxed. Erasmus, normally a big fan of Jerome, even accused him of forging the verse!

Steven Avery
Dutchess County, NY

Matthew M. Rose said...

Hi Steven,

How is this specific evidence to be veiwed in any way but weak? If we're looking for weight, number, continuity, preservation and possession, then:


Lateran Council (1215)
Manuel Calecas (d. 1410)
Joseph Bryennius (c. 1350-1430)

...a similar phenomenon in Armenian history, starting before the Synod of Sis (c. 1330).



--And 629 is not it!


What is this proposed evidence for a: "pre-Erasmian restoration of the heavenly witnesses text to the Greek line"--in comparison to the ACTUAL preservation and possession demonstrated within the same Greek line during the exact same duration?

i.e.{ Manuscripts Assigned to the 1200s: 4, 5, 6, 51, 204, 206, 172, 141, 218, 234, 263, 327, 328, 378, 383, 384, 390, 460, 468, 469, 479, 483, 496, 592, 601, 614, 643, 665, 757, 912, 914, 915, 941, 999, 1069, 1070, 1072, 1094, 1103, 1107, 1149, 1161, 1242, 1251, 1292, 1297, 1352, 1398, 1400, 1404, 1456, 1501, 1509, 1523, 1563, 1594, 1595, 1597, 1609, 1642, 1719, 1722, 1727, 1728, 1731, 1736, 1758, 1780, 1827, 1839, 1842, 1843, 1852, 1855, 1857, 1858, 1860, 1864, 1865, 1873, 2180, 2374, 2400, 2404, 2423, 2483, 2502, 2558, 2627, 2696

Manuscripts Assigned to the 1300s: 18, 62, 76, 189, 201, 209, 216, 223, 254, 308, 363, 367, 386, 393, 394, 404, 421, 425, 429, 453, 489, 498, 582, 603, 604, 608, 621, 628, 630, 633, 634, 680, 743, 794, 808, 824, 913, 921, 928, 935, 959, 986, 996, 1022, 1040, 1067, 1075, 1099, 1100, 1102, 1106, 1248, 1249, 1354, 1390, 1409, 1482, 1495, 1503, 1524, 1548, 1598, 1599, 1610, 1618, 1619, 1622, 1637, 1643, 1661, 1678, 1717, 1723, 1725, 1726, 1732, 1733, 1741, 1742, 1744, 1746, 1747, 1753, 1761, 1762, 1765, 1769, 1831, 1832, 1856, 1859, 1866, 1877, 1881, 1882, 1886, 1890, 1892, 1899, 1902, 2080, 2085, 2086, 2197, 2200, 2261, 2279, 2356, 2431, 2466, 2484, 2492, 2494, 2508, 2511, 2527, 2626, 2675, 2705, 2716, 2774, 2777

Manuscripts Assigned to the 1400s: 69, 102, 149, 205, 322, 368, 385, 400, 432, 444, 467, 615, 616, 631, 636, 664, 801, 1003, 1105, 1247, 1250, 1367, 1405, 1508, 1626, 1628, 1636, 1649, 1656, 1729, 1745, 1750, 1751, 1757, 1763, 1767, 1830, 1876, 1896, 2131, 2221, 2288, 2352, 2495, 2523, 2554, 2652, 2653, 2691, 2704 }


"For context, any discussion of Ottobonianus should also discuss..."

**The critical apparatus of the Greek manuscript tradition listed above.** Then place it over against the Lateran Council (1215), Manuel Calecas (d. 1410), Joseph Bryennius (c. 1350-1430), and the: "similar phenomenon in Armenian history, starting before the Synod of Sis (c. 1330)."--should it not? If so, how then could the resultant judgment be viewed as anything but negative towards your position?










Steven Avery said...

Hi Matthew,

You seem to have totally misunderstood my post, which is to give context to the pre-Erasmian period and the specific manuscripts studied by Elijah Hixson. Codex Ottobonianus should be discussed in the context of the Lateran Council.

And I would like to work to undo the damage of 100 writers who pretend that Erasmus brought the heavenly witnesses into the Greek in a vacuum. Yawn.

And I am limiting discussion to that immediate period, bypassing a large number of Greek evidences, and dual-language evidences, in the earlier years.

In that period from around the Lateran Council to Erasmus there were dozens of commentaries using the heavenly witnesses in the Latin. So any good scholar of that era would be well informed about the verse, and doctrinal and textual viewpoints.

And I know of no objections from any specific Greek source saying "hey, that is not really scripture". One Greek scholium did try to explain the solecism in the Greek text through a Trinitarian exegesis.

Now, I hope to get back to some other elements from Elijah Hixson and James Snapp.

Thanks!

Steven

Steven Avery said...

Hi James,

James Snapp
"“Jerome” he appears to mean the author of the Preface to the Canonical Epistles – an author who (as I have already pointed out) used the transposed form of First John 5:8."

The url you gave did not expound on this, so two questions.

Please specifically give your reasons for not accepting Jerome as the author of the first-person work, addressed to Eustochium, and consistent with Jerome's thought and style. And if not Jerome, can you highlight someone who you think was the crafty forger, their motives, and how they got the clout and savvy to quickly enter their Prologue into the Vulgate line, fooling even the learned Victor of Capua and others.

And what do you mean about the Vulgate Prologue using the "transposed form"? Please explain this specifically using the words from the Prologue.

Thanks!

Matthew M. Rose said...

Steven,

I was offering context to the same exact period: Namely, the 13th,14th and 15th centuries. In which centuries you have brought forth the Lateran Council (1215), Calecas (d.1410), Bryennius (c.1350-1430) and the history surrounding the Synod of Sis (c. 1330) as some sort of pertinent context. Yet within the same exact period we have approx. 90 Greek mss. (13th century), 120 Greek mss. (14th century) and 50 Greek mss. (15th century). That's (approx.) 90 Greek manuscripts in the face of the Lateran Council, 120 in the face of the: "Armenian history, starting before the Synod of Sis (c. 1330).";and the greater part of the lives of both Calecas and Byrennius. Adding another 50 Greek mss. to cover their latter years and the 15th century in general. 260 mss. of crystal clear context! (And yet ms. 629 stands alone.)


You state: "All of this is important because of all the incorrect claims that Erasmus was working with a Greek vacuum on the heavenly witnesses verse."

~~Where can I find these incorrect claims?


Again you write: "In that period from around the Lateran Council to Erasmus there were dozens of commentaries using the heavenly witnesses in the Latin. So any good scholar of that era would be well informed about the verse, and doctrinal and textual viewpoints."

~~~Indeed, the verse was known due to it's existence within the Latin tradition; but not within the Greek.







Steven Avery said...

Interesting conversation.

Now, we all know that the heavenly witnesses was largely absent from the Greek ms. line, and that there are many extant Greek mss after 700 (very few before).

(And I would agree 100% that any TR/AV defenders who try to show a continuing Greek ms. line are running up the wrong tree. And this error is often combined with the Stephanus ms. error. However, I have been singing this tune for a decade and more :). Thus, Ottobonianus should best be seen as likely an outgrowth from the Lateran Council. )

We do find strong Greek evidences and bi-language evidences before that 700 AD period. A truly fascinating study. So we have a type of inverted bell curve on the Greek evidences, a dip from c. 500-1200, and then a restitution.

==========

Here is a question for you, since you want to compare the Greek ms. omission to the uses of the verse in the Lateran Council, Calecas, Bryennios and the Armenian restoration.

Can you name any Greek commentaries that are evidence for absence? After all, mss. are often simply copying exercises, while the writings of church scholars can give us a better insight. We also have Latin mss. that discuss the early church writers on the verse.

Remember we have 100+ Latin writers using and discussing the heavenly witnesses. And some scholars were skilled in Latin and Greek. So after 1200, do you have any Greek commentary or writer evidences against the verse authenticity?

Thanks!

Matthew M. Rose said...

"We do find strong Greek evidences and bi-language evidences before that 700 AD period. A truly fascinating study. So we have a type of inverted bell curve on the Greek evidences, a dip from c. 500-1200, and then a restitution."


~~The problem I see here is that this hypothetical "restitution" is hardly a drop in the bucket in comparison to the Greek manuscript evidence of the 12-15th centuries. It seems to me that the 3rd edition of Erasmus (followed by Stephanus and Beza) is the more pivotal (and later) occurrence in this purposed "inverted bell curve".~~


"Here is a question for you, since you want to compare the Greek ms. omission to the uses of the verse in the Lateran Council, Calecas, Bryennios and the Armenian restoration."


~~It's not so much that I want to compare--as recognize the possession, continuity, and overall footprint of the completely unanimous testimony of the Greek ms. tradition within the first 160 years or so of the 13th & 14th centuries (until 629 is produced in 1362). Approx. 200 Greek mss. must of carried some significant geographical and social influence with them. How many villages, townships, countries, Churches, parishioners and hearts were affected by these manuscripts? How many eyes gazed upon them? How many scholars and preachers studied and read them? How many ears heard them, and how many souls were touched by them? This is vital to our understanding of possession. Erasmus making an edit in his third edition (via ms.61) cannot undermine this type of continuity and authority. The mother tongue is in possession here and the burden of truth is not sufficiently fulfilled by; ms.629,"the Lateran Council, Calecas, Bryennios and the Armenian restoration."...in my estimation.~~


"Remember we have 100+ Latin writers using and discussing the heavenly witnesses. And some scholars were skilled in Latin and Greek. So after 1200, do you have any Greek commentary or writer evidences against the verse authenticity?"


~~I don't think anyone ever felt the need to look (?), I surely haven't. It's not as if there's a shortage of evidence for the absence of the Comma. Secondly, I think it's to be expected that a far greater number of Latin commentaries were produced during the middle ages (when Rome ruled the known world) than Greek ones. And it's also to be expected that those Latin commentaries would contain the Comma-- because the Latin manuscripts contained it. Besides this, versional evidence is secondary in weight to the Greek manuscript evidence of the period.~~

~~In short, however one slices and dices it: I don't see the proper evidence to overthrow the possession maintained by the overwhelming majority of Greek manuscripts here. Compiling late Latin commentaries can do very little damage to the 99% agreement within the mother tongue.~~

Steven Avery said...

Matthew M. Rose
"to overthrow the possession maintained by the overwhelming majority of Greek manuscripts here"

Possession? Of What?
Definitely not non-authenticity.

" versional evidence is secondary in weight to the Greek manuscript evidence of the period."

Greek ms. evidence after 1000 AD is a minor evidence. The wide-ranging 100+ Latin commentaries and references are, to Bible believers, more significant. Shared information on inclusion always trumps an omission or an evidence from silence. Both have to be considered minor compared to pointing back to the era of 50 AD to 500 AD.

This nose-counting shows you that there the Greek ms. tradition from about 700 to 1500 tended strongly to omission. (Only a handful of extant mss. before 700 AD, so the true window is from church writings.) One ms. simply copied another with the inherited omission corruption. There was an important correction at the Lateran Council, widely disseminated to the churches, but only mild impact on scribal ms. copying.

The major correction came when the Greek Orthodox accepted the Reformation Bible text, such as the 1643 Orthodox Confession of Faith by Peter Mogilas. Powerful confirmation, followed by a good number of Orthodox writers. The keepers of the Greek manuscripts clearly understood that their manuscripts had been subject to the common problem of omission corruption, at the heavenly witnesses and also at Acts 8:37.

The scholar writings in Latin and Greek give us more insight into church usage than simply scribal copied manuscripts. Thus, in Latin, massive evidences, dozens upon dozens of references and commentaries. In Greek, the Lateran Council, Calecas and Bryennius for inclusion vs. nobody known,as you acknowledge, for omission. In fact, the Latin mss. and notes (e.g. Regensburg, Corbie, Haymo) and Aquinas in the earlier medieval period give us special insight into the perspective on Jerome and Augustine and Athanasius and Fulgentius.

And the Matthaei scholium shows us that the Greeks were aware of their solecism, and looked for a way out. (The Apostle John must have been thinking of the Trinity when he spoke of the spirit, the water, and the blood!:) ) This was affirmed by Erasmus with his clever "torquebit grammaticos". Then we have the wonderful grammatical information from Eugenius Bulgarius (1718-1805), telling us about the short text solecism from the perspective of the totally fluent world-class Greek scholar.

The Latin tradition clearly goes back to antiquity, from the Ante-Nicene period.

Jerome's Prologue to the Canonical Epistles testifies to early Greek and Latin mss having the verse, and a doctrinal uneasiness that let to omission. The objections to authenticity were frivolous (Antoine Genoud) largely based on a lateness that poofed away with the c. 1850 Fuldensis discovery.

Early evidences from the Greek include Origen, Eusebius ad Marcellum (which discomfit de facto supports Jerome's charge of scribal omission), the Athanasius Disputation at Nicea and the Synopsis of Scripture.

Parallelism, harmony, grammatical and various 'internal' evidences powerfully show the Greek text must have been the source of the Latin. James Snapp used to show some additional such evidences from Nathaniel Ellsworth Cornwall, these evidences are actually massive and mutually corroborative.

Nose-counting the Greek mss. starting around 1000 AD is funny, since it shows the textcrit error of over-reliance on one minor evidence. Elijah Hixson has been clueless on the heavenly witnesses evidences, since he was subject to the same textcrit indoctrination.

Time to study and learn!

Steven Avery
Dutchess County, NY

Matthew M. Rose said...

"Possession? Of What?
Definitely not non-authenticity."


Absolutely, unless you are seeking a non-Greek (i.e. Latin) text.


Steven, most of your comments and conclusions are very subjective and open to interpretation. Regretfully, I have to disagree with your assessment of the evidence, and the subsequent conclusions you have made. With that said: is there some methodology or set of principles that you follow or apply to the external/internal evidences when adjudicating between variant readings?