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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 known 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.



  

153 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

Conan 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

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?

Unknown said...

Hi everyone. This post is not to argue one way or another on the JC veracity, nor do I pretend to be a scholar, but I do have a very interesting discovery that I believe will interest you all (please read all the way to the end). Many years ago, while studying at Calvin Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I wrote a paper on the Cana Miracle (Jn 2:1-11). In that poorly written paper I tried to lay out evidence proving that the Cana Miracle story was written as an allegory. My main discovery (and there are several important discoveries in the paper) was John's symbolic use of the word "water" and his source material. In short, John uses the word "water" as a symbol for "the Law and the Prophets", alias "God the Father's means of revelation". He uses both Moses (the first of the Law and the Prophets) and the Baptist (the last of the Law and the Prophets), who are both connected to the word "water", as personifications of the Law and the Prophets. They are the voice of "the Law and the Prophets". But my point here is that the word "water" is used by John as a symbol for "the Law and Prophets"= the dispensation of the Father's revelation. I show how this interpretation can be successfully applied to John 1, 2, 3, and 4. In the first 4 chapters of the gospel of John, John uses the word "water" to represent "the Law and the Prophets", and compares and contrasts this symbolic meaning with the Holy Spirit. Jn 1- "I came baptizing with water..." (3x) "but the one who comes after me willl baptize with the Holy Spirit". Jn 2- Turns "water" (the period of the Law and the Prophets) into "wine" (=Holy Spirit). Jn 3- "You must be born of water and the Spirit". Jn 4- the water from Jacob's well (=Law and Prophets/Father's revelation) vs the living water=Holy Spirit.
Now here is what will hopefully interest you: If we apply this same interpretation of the word "water" to I John 5:6-8, it agrees with Tertullian and Cyprian in their allegorical interpretation of the word "water".
I encourage you all to take a serious look at my paper. Someone with more skill than I needs to promote this interpretation.

Unknown said...

Sorry, I forgot to leave the site where to find the paper that I referred to in my previous post. https://estradablog.wordpress.com/the-cana-miracle-2/

My name is Matthew Estrada

Steven Avery said...

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

The goal is simply to have in our hands the Johannine text, written in Greek. This heavenly witnesses has an abundance of evidence from the Ante-Nicene era, and these tend to be dual language.

The obsession on extant Greek manuscripts as the one evidence of focus is simply a modern error. We want to know the Greek and Latin mss. in the Ante-Nicene era.

"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."

Textual criticism as a science, art or fantasy is virtually built upon the non-authenticity of the heavenly witnesses. Thus there is a paradigmic box. Acceptance of the truth of the heavenly witnesses authenticity is virtually the end of textual criticism, as practiced the last 200 years.

Matthew M. Rose
"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?"

Generally, the same logic and common sense and faith that was held by the giants of the Reformation Bible.

And you are welcome to consider this a true form of reasoned eclecticism, one that looks at ALL the evidences.

In this case we have to look carefully (e.g. Erasmus touching on the grammar with 'torquebit grammaticos' and concealing from view the Cyprian evidence and mightily struggling with the Vulgate Prologue, lashing out at Jerome. And not yet having the 484 AD Council of Carthage available.) Today we have massive evidences that were not available in the 1500s, with the latest being Euseibus ad Marcellum.

Clearly the heavenly witnesses, and its sister verse Acts 8:37, present an extraordinary situation for a major variant where the Greek manuscript line is of far less significance that the other evidences, such as the:

a) the Latin lines
b) the early church writers
c) authorial style, harmony, grammatical 'internal' and parallelism considerations

Hope that helps. You are welcome to continue to express your despair :) on my home PureBible forum on Facebook, or any other sensible forum. We can share iron sharpeneth.

Steven Avery
Dutchess County

Unknown said...

Again, my name is Matthew Estrada. The Johannine Comma is an interpretation, taken from John's gospel, of the symbolic meaning of water as used in John's gospel. So either the author of John, or someone close to that author who knew his symbolic meaning of "water", wrote that verse. As to whether it was an insertion, or original, that is for you to decide. But to get at the real meaning, which will help you decide whether it was a later insertion or part of the original text, you will need to understand the author of John's gospel symbolic meaning of the word "water". To do this, please study my poorly written paper on the Cana Miracle. Do a google search on Matthew Estrada allegorical interpretation. I know that allegory will turn most of you off, but the fact of the matter is that the Cana miracle is an allegory. And the meaning of the word "water" is found in that story. Study it, please, carefully.

Steven Avery said...

Hi James,

James Snapp
“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?”

Please read the above careful. This is a classic loaded question, combined with an anachronistic approach.

The question gives the impression of discussing early Johannine transmissional history (c. 60-600 AD). Yet this is done through the window of extant mss. from a totally different era (1200-1530 AD). Whew!

Those later mss. were to an extent a reflection of the restoration of the text to the Greek line after the Lateran Council (1215 AD.) This looks to be especially true for the most important extant ms. the dual-language 629, Ottobonianus. The Lateran Council, key to understanding the era, was totally missed and/or omitted by Elijah Hixson.

The phrase:
"never found in a Greek manuscript"

Is actually discussing our very limited extant Greek mss. only,

Thus it is an attempt to retrofit the analysis of our very limited extant late Greek mss. By applying it to the period from c. 60 AD to c. 600 AD, a period where there are very few extant Greek mss. with 1 John 5.

Actually, there is an abundance of evidence that Greek mss. in that early period included the heavenly witnesses.

And above are a couple of questions to James Snapp on one of the evidences, the Vulgate Prologue, a first-person writing from Jerome.

==========

To Matthew Estrada, I simply do not consider your theory involving water as an allegory in the miracle at Cana as relevant. However, I would suggest moving Cana and Nazareth away from their Galilee valley site to the far more Gospel-reasonable area near Har Nitai (and possibly Arbel.)

Steven Avery
Dutchess County, NY, USA

Unknown said...

Steven, if my theory is correct (and it is:), I believe it is very relevant. If the author of the Johannine epistles is the same who wrote the gospel of John (and I think he is), then his symbolic use of the word "water" as used in the gospel could very well apply to his use of it in I John 5:6-8 (which it does:). Now, if John used the word "water" to personify "the Law and the Prophets" (= the Father's means of revelation), which he did, and if we apply that same meaning to I John 5:6,8, then we have a trinitarian statement which agrees with the Comma ("the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit"). I am no scholar, but it would seem to have some kind of relevance given that this interpretation agrees with the early christian authors Tertullian and Cyprian in their interpretation of the word "water".

Charles Laird said...

James,

I am impressed by the body of work that you've done on this subject. I just completed an independent study regarding the JC and I have come to very much the same conclusion. Mind you, I did not go through all 496 Greek manuscripts to ensure they did not hold the JC, but I went through the very earliest and then through those that have the added margin text. Very well done. I enjoy solid scholarship on Biblical topics...

Demian said...

James, can you please confirm that in your list of Greek manuscripts against the CJ, all of them do contain 1 Jn 5:6-8, from which the CJ is absent?

————

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

Charles Laird said...

Demian - that was a good question. To point out that I John 5:7 is missing from a ton of Uncials, Miniscules and Papyri Manuscripts is rather disillusioning, when most of those don't have I John at all. I am curious for your question though. Because bottom line is that I John 5:7 is not in any Greek NT prior to the 10th Century. Now, before I'm castigated, do please note that the earliest three texts that I have had access to thus far with I John 5:7 in them have been in the margins, written by a different hand at a later date with a different ink... It's not until the 16th century that we have the CJ within the text itself (outside of a diaglot - 629 that is both Latin and what could appear as a translation into Greek).

Bottom line from all this, I've not found evidence to point to that verse being in the Greek, without influence by the Latin. And many of the Latin manuscripts have adds, that may or may not be true to the original autographs. I'm continuing my search for compelling evidence though.

Demian said...

Brother Charles, it’s not my intention to castigate any brother in Christ who is dealing with textual variants in the texts of the scriptures. I’m not a specialist in manuscripts, but I read what the early Christians wrote and I know for a fact that textual criticism is a historical reality. You find the fathers dealing with textual variants and you also find variation in their texts. They normally quote from something close to the Byzantine text, but you also find some Alexandrian readings in their writings. James Snapp was the only person that I have found so far that is reflecting properly what I have found in the fathers. I just wanted to make sure that those witnesses that he cites against the CJ have been properly verified. Blessings!

Charles Laird said...

Demian,

I don't think you were castigating anyone. By in large, what you asked was a solid question. Here's my question... Did you find one of those manuscripts or manuscript fragments to show the CJ? If it wasn't for the fact that he listed out, what I believe was 204 different manuscripts, with a note that there are more, then I might have gone through them all myself. He made the assertion... You have a fair question to ask if he confirmed that. But I really would like to know - have you found one that does have it???

Anyway, I hold no animosity. I'm simply trying to get to the bottom of many of these things...

Demian said...

Charles, I'm not trying to argue for or against the comma here. I'm simply trying to ascertain if the argument put forward by James Snapp is a valid one. If those 204 manuscripts contain 1 Jn 5:6-8 and lack the comma, then that's a powerful argument against it on the basis of the MSS evidence.

Charles Laird said...

Demian, it appears that you are used to people arguing back with you. I'm studying this topic. I'm asking questions. I have done a fair amount of study on this topic, but I'm always looking for more compelling info. I ran across this writing and put some of the info on the page I'm working on...

This is my study page for this topic - http://www.jesussaidiamgod.com/is-i-john-57-biblical-text/

Largely I'm agreeing with you. I very much dislike conversations through text, because you cannot hear my tone, see my body language or see that I'm just not trying to correct anyone here. :) Learning...

Demian said...

Charles, we know that the comma is ancient and variations of it appear a number of times in the early church, starting in the third century (I also don’t grant that Tertullian quotes it, but I am convinced that Cyprian appeals to it big time!). I grant that it is not in many (or some?) Greek manuscripts, but I’m trying to ascertain if 204 is a fair number. Let’s say just for argument sake that only 20 out of those 204 MSS’s contain 1 Jn 5:6-8. Wouldn’t that change our perception and the weight we give to the evidence based on what can be found in the extant copies containing 1 Jn 5:6-8? I’m not impressed by the argument that Erasmus included it only in the third edition of the Textus Receptus in 1522, because it was already in the Greek text of the Complutensian Polyglot compiled by Cardinal Ximenes in 1514. Also, the argument that it was not in the commentary by Clement of Alexandria should not carry too much weight, because he only commented briefly on a few verses here and there in the first epistle of John.

Is it possible that Eusebius removed it from those 50 copies that he prepared for the church in Constantinople because of his leaning towards Arianism? Don’t underestimate his influence on the Greek copies. Thomas Aquinas said that he removed the pericope adulterae that was in the original copy by Ammonius and some years later it disappears from Chrysostom’s text in Constantinople! Food for thought…

Conan said...

Demain, there are only 10 manuscripts that have it. Did you not read the artical? 5 of them are only a marginal note. They were all made under the influence of the Latin Vulgate, which is the only reason they found their way into these to few late manuscripts. There are over 500 Greek manuscripts without it. It was never part of the Greek originals or manuscript tradition.

Demian said...

OK. I’m willing to follow the evidence. I’m even open to reject the comma, if I find that the evidence contained in the Greek manuscripts outweighs the historical evidence for it. But let me ask you. Out of those 500 manuscripts, how many contain 1 Jn 5:6-8? And can you provide us with a list of those manuscripts?

Conan said...

Did you read the artical? To quote from the artical "
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".

Over 500 are listed in the original artical.

https://www.thetextofthegospels.com/2020/01/first-john-57-and-greek-manuscripts.html?m=1#comment-form

Conan said...

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

Demian said...

I have read the article. Have you? It seems that you need to read it again more carefully, Conan. Have you noticed what he said before mentioning all those witnesses? “Please note: a huge majority of these manuscripts don’t have I John at all”. I was expecting that you had a better information, but it seems that you will not be able to tell me how many of those 500 MSS’s contain 1 Jn 5:6-8.

By the way, you made bold assertions about the fact that "it was never part of the Greek originals or manuscript tradition". Let's assume just for argument sake that those 5 MSS's (01, 03, 02, 048, 0296) that were cited in the article contain 1 Jn 5:6-8. Five manuscripts in a period of 700 years is good enough for you to establish a firm tradition of Greek manuscripts from the autographs all the way until the 7th century? Five manuscripts in 700 years! Think about that for a moment before making bold assertions like that, Conan. And because you claimed that it was never in the originals, can you tell me how many of those manuscripts are assigned to the second and third centuries so we can establish the link between the apostolic age and codex Vaticanus?

Conan said...

We don't have any Greek manuscripts from the 2nd or 3rd centuries that have 1 John. But we do from the 4th century onwards. You see the list that all of those manuscripts that do contain 1 John don't have the Comma. There never were any that did. That's what the Greek witnesses say. 4th century through 15th century. All of those good Byzantine witnesses testify that the Comma never existed in the Greek. Why don't 10th century Greek manuscripts have it? Because their ancestors did not have the Comma.

By the way those that are listed do have 1 John. Read it again please.
QUOTE
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

ALL of the LISTED manuscripts CONTAIN 1 John, and THEY do NOT contain the Comma.

Charles Laird said...

Demian,

It's not exactly understandable what your argument is here. I John is in many early manuscripts. The Pericope is not in them. I asked you before, which one have you found that has it there. To date, I have not found one in the Greek.

Please read this.. this addresses the issue more plainly...Something that I wrote and I have some of the notes from this site as well included. http://www.jesussaidiamgod.com/is-i-john-57-biblical-text/

I believe the Trinity is truth. This one piece of text is not supported by ancient manuscripts and it is not needed to evidence out the truth of the Trinity. I never really understand how or why people have such a tug for the Pericope. Many have because of their hard-core belief that the KJV is the only inspired and infallible word of God remaining. Anyway..

You did bring up some good points. I'm just curious. Would you be so kind as to present the evidence? Makes for some good dialogue at least.

Demian said...

Conan, we were talking about two different things. I was referring to Charles' article and you were referring to James Snapp article. Charles' article brings the same list of witnesses with the caveat “Please note: a huge majority of these manuscripts don’t have 1 John at all”. Anyway, we are now back to my original question. How many of those 500 MSS's of 1 John contain 1 Jn 5:6-8? Approximations are good enough for me. Is it 10, 20, 50, 100, 200? What is that?

Demian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Conan said...

You are missunderstanding. It clearly says there are over 500 manuscripts that do not have the Comma. It does not say how many of the 5,000 plus Greek manuscripts contain 1 John. It says of the over 500 Greek manuscripts that do contain 1 John these do not contain the Comma. All manuscripts do not contain 1 John. Over 500 do, and of those on the list, they do not have the Comma. The 500 on the list are verified to not contain the Comma.
Let me put it this way again. There are over 5,000 Greek manuscripts, from whole New Testament's to only fractions of scripture. Over 500 of those contain 1 John, and they have been checked and do not contain the Comma. There are 10 manuscripts of 1 John that do contain the Comma, in the margin or the Text.

Charles is in denial. It is overwhelming evidence against the Comma. Pretending that the over 500 manuscripts (my count) of 1 John do not contain 1John is to mishandle the evidence. Again I refer you to the real research that has been done

"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".

To pretend the research hasn't been done when it clearly has.

Demian said...

Conan, I found a way to verify that list of manuscripts. You will see an online catalogue of manuscripts with photos of each page in the following link: http://ntvmr.uni-muenster.de/home.

If you look up 1 Jn 5:6 and 1 Jn 5:8, you will see that several manuscripts of that list that you cited as proof against the CJ contain neither 1 Jn 5:6, nor 1 Jn 5:8. They do not contain the comma, because they do not contain any text of 1 Jn 5:6-8. It’s misleading to say that manuscripts that do not contain those 3 verses at all are a witness against the comma. You are welcome to check my findings so far:

Manuscripts produced in the 700-800s: 020, 025, 1895 and 2464 do not contain any verse from 1 Jn 5:6 through 1 Jn 5:8.

Manuscripts assigned to the 900’s: 056, 175, 454, 602, 605, 619, 627, 1066, 1720, 1829, 1836, 1841, 1891 and 2147 do not contain any text of 1 Jn 5:6 through 1 Jn 5:8. 1880 contains only verse 8.

I have not verified the list from the 1000’s onwards, but I’m pretty sure that that number of 500 MSS’s against the comma will not stand when I finish my research.

Charles Laird said...

Conan, you are a funny guy. You say I am in denial. The irony is, you are not listening. You didn't read what I posted and you are not listening to anything that I have written thus far. I have stated - verbatim - there is no evidence to confirm the Comma.

Please don't put me in with the KJV Only crowd. Please don't list me with the people who say that the Comma is in the earliest of texts. That's simply not true.........

Conan, please just read what I said, as opposed to whatever you think that I said. :) LOL http://www.jesussaidiamgod.com/is-i-john-57-biblical-text/

Please don't be just like Demian....

Steven Avery said...

Hi friends,

Joining in the discussion, although I have a bit above.

The 500 Greek manuscripts give us a good picture that the Greek manuscript line normalized without the verse from c. AD 700 to AD 1200. At that point the Lateran Council began a return of the Greek text which included the Council having the verse in Greek and Latin (discussing the doctrines of Joachim Flores), Codex Ottobonianus, Manuel Calecas and Joseph Bryennius, before Erasmus and the 1500s activity.

Also we have a good picture of the Latin line from about AD 200 (Tertullian and Cyprian) continuing onward with the verse in an estimated 1,000 manuscripts. This includes Old Latin mss. which line was translated no later than the 2nd century. And heavenly witnesses usage by about 100 Latin authors from the 300s consistently through to the Reformation era.

Then we have cross-language evidences like Jerome's Prologue to the Canonical Epistles that points to ancient mss. with the verse.

We have the Council of Carthage of 484 with 400+ orthodox confirming their faith specifically citing the Johannine heavenly witnesses verse. This shows that the Old Latin line having the verse was widely accepted without any pushback.

Similarly the grammatical solecism without the verse in the short Greek text tells any true Bible believer that this verse is from John, along with powerful corroborating stylistic and internal evidences. A simple example is the "Witness of God" of verse 9 points right back to the heavenly witnesses of verse 7. Another is the wooden redundancy of verse 6 to verse 8 when the heavenly witnesses are removed. Another is the beautiful parallelism, in the minds of the short text afficianados there is not even a reference to heavenly or earthly! This is a beautiful Johannine parallelism, not that of Clunk the Margin Writer and Flunk the Interpolator.

We also have some Greek evidences such as the Disputation of Athanasius against an Arian at Nicea that show the verse. And the Synopsis of Scripture.

So to focus almost obsessively on simply Greek manuscripts, which are almost all quite late, is a trick of the modern textual critics who really do not understand the evidences. For this verse, the Greek manuscripts are simply one modest group of evidences.

It is exceedingly easy to explain the verse dropping out of the Greek line, but a wacky margin insertion that fixes the Greek text solecism in translation from Latin, and develops a beautiful harmonious parallelism is, for the Bible believer, a road too far.

As Demian said:
"Five manuscripts in a period of 700 years is good enough for you to establish a firm tradition of Greek manuscripts from the autographs all the way until the 7th century? Five manuscripts in 700 years!"

Blessings and grace in Jesus name!

Steven Avery
Dutchess County, NY USA

Demian said...

Sure, when we put side by side 5 Greek manuscripts until the 700’s against the comma versus all the use of the comma that you just mentioned in church history plus Jerome’s testimony that irresponsible scribes left that out, a different perspective shows up for those who are willing to examine the evidence properly.

If the comma is a commentary by Cyprian that crept into the Greek text, why then don’t we have a comma with “Son” instead of “Word”?

Something else, too, Steven. One of James Snapp’s golden rule in textual criticism is: which reading better accounts for its rival? Is it possible that his rule applies here? The TR seems to account for the NA28 here. Don’t we have a potential case for parablepsis in the comma? Notice that the scribe probably skipped over from verse 7 to verse 8, because both have the very same wording in verse 7 and 8, which is “τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυρουντες”. Isn’t it possible that the scribe accidentally skipped over the comma?

Conan said...

Demian. Looking at your first one on the list 020, I see this

"a5. Contains the Acts, Paul, and the Catholics. Acts lacks 1:1-8:10; the Catholics are complete; Paul lacks Hebrews 13:10-end. Scrivener says that is is "of a date not earlier than the middle of the ninth century," though most modern catalogs date it to the ninth century.

This says the "catholics are complete". What do you make of that? Thank you for your post by the way. This evening I will go through the list.

Demian said...

Good catch Conan! You are absolutely right! 020 and 627 were there. I got them wrong on my notes. I just went over that list again. I will go over the whole list this week and I will ask you to double check my revised list so we can be sure that the evidence is treated properly.

Updating:

Manuscripts produced in the 700-800s: 025, 1895 and 2464 do not contain any verse from 1 Jn 5:6 through 1 Jn 5:8.

Manuscripts assigned to the 900’s: 056, 175, 454, 602, 605, 619, 1066, 1720, 1829, 1836, 1841, 1891 and 2147 do not contain any text of 1 Jn 5:6 through 1 Jn 5:8. 1880 contains only verse 8.

Have a great week ahead ;-)

Steven Avery said...

Demian
"plus Jerome’s testimony that irresponsible scribes left that out"

Really an incredible evidence, similar to that of Augustine and Ambrose on the Pericope Adulterae, yet even more dynamic as Jerome was working directly with ancient mss, Greek and Latin.

========================

Demian
If the comma is a commentary by Cyprian that crept into the Greek text, why then don’t we have a comma with “Son” instead of “Word”?

The whole theory that a commentary becomes a margin note becomes a vastly improved and beautiful, majestic textual insertion really is is a non-starter. With Cyprian it is impossible since, as Henry Thomas Armfield, pointed out, you have to theorize
an invisible allegory.

*** certain mystical interpretation which he has not given or alluded to, a verse which he has not quoted! ***

========================

Demian
"James Snapp’s golden rule ... which reading better accounts for its rival? ... parablepsis in the comma?"

In 2014 James actually did good work showing this possible first drop of the verse. You can follow the urls I placed here:

James Snapp helps on the homoeoteleuton cause of omission
https://www.purebibleforum.com/index.php?threads/james-snapp-helps-on-the-homoeoteleuton-cause-of-omission.2303/

Demian said...

Steven, another piece of evidence... All those 5 manuscripts that were cited against the comma in the first 700 years are Alexandrian. If one copyist missed the comma due to parablepsis, it's simply natural to see subsequent copies reproducing the same error in the same local.

Matthew M. Rose said...

Note the very first comment gentlemen:

"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."

Berg's reply:

"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."


"Text und Textwert" is the source, and the data should be correct. (Save if Mr. Berg has made a slip up here or there, as he mentioned above.)


Demain,

"το πνευμα και το υδωρ και το αιμα και οι τρεις εις το εν εισιν"

Is read by: 025 056 175 454 602 605 619 1066 1720 1829 1836 1841 1891 2147 1895

2464 reads: "το πνευμα και υδωρ και το αιμα και οι τρεις εις το εν εισιν"

(Acc. to Txt. und Textwert.)

Matthew M. Rose said...

Demain,

If you have any questions regarding the apparatus please ask, as I own the "Text und Textwert" volume in question.
(And I wouldn't want you to spend all week going through all of these.)

Conan said...

Demain. 025 also has most of 1 John , icluding the verses
Under discussion.

Location/Catalog Number
Saint Petersburg, Russian National Library Gr. 225. Called Codex Porphyrianus after its former possessor, Bishop Porphyry.

Contents
Palimpsest, originally containing the Acts, Catholic Epistles, Paul, and the Apocalypse complete. In addition to occasional letters obliterated by the upper writing (works of Euthalius), a number of leaves have been lost, including those containing Acts 1:1-2:13, Romans 2:16-3:4, 8:32-9:10, 11:23-12:1, 1 Cor. 7:15-17, 12:23-13:5, 14:23-39, 2 Cor. 2:13-16, Col. 3:16-4:8, 1 Thes. 3:5-4:17, 1 John 3:20-5:1, Jude 4-15, Rev. 16:12-17:1, 19:21-20:9, 22:6-end. Scrivener states that, in addition, James 2:12-21, 2 Pet. 1:20-2:5 are "barely legible." Presumably modern methods have made it more possible to read these sections, but they will be poorly cited in older editions. (Scrivener notes that it also contains "a few fragments of 4 Maccabees," but given that it is palimpsest, one may wonder if these are truly part of the same volume.)

Demian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Demian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew M. Rose said...

Demain writes:

"The following do not contain any text from 1 Jn 5:6-8:

Manuscripts produced in the 700-800s: 025, 1895 and 2464.

Manuscripts assigned to the 900’s: 056, 175, 454, 602, 605, 619, 1066, 1720, 1829, 1836, 1841, 1891 and 2147."

I previously explained:

"το πνευμα και το υδωρ και το αιμα και οι τρεις εις το εν εισιν"

Is read by: 025 056 175 454 602 605 619 1066 1720 1829 1836 1841 1891 2147 1895
[And so does 020 mentioned by Conan.]

2464 reads: "το πνευμα και υδωρ και το αιμα και οι τρεις εις το εν εισιν"

(Acc. to Txt. und Textwert.)


Every MSS. mentioned here does contain the section—and omits the comma. You must be misreading the ntvmr format of reference.

Demian said...

Matthew, it seems that the library in Münster doesn't have all manuscripts? From all those manuscripts cited I found only 260 or so. I don't know what to do on my end to verify that data. I guess I will have to trust you as my verifier. Thank you for reaching out to Mr. Berg in order to check the source and the accuracy of the information and for sharing with us the name of the apparatus!

Demian said...

And thank you Conan! The fact that you double-checked 020 and 025 from different sources makes me feel confident that all those 500 MSS's contain 1 Jn 5:6-8 from which the comma is absent.

Steven Avery said...

Good discussion!

Here is one of the earliest Greek evidences. Charles Forster p. 59-63 in his New Plea places this as direct writing form Athansius, "The theme is peculiarity Athanasian", there is some earlier weak scholarship that tries to place it around AD 600, and today's view of Annette von Stockhausen is early 400s.

=====================

Athanasius - Disputation Contra Arium 44; Migne Graeca, PG 28.499-500

[Athanasius responds]
Likewise isn’t it the remission of sins procured by that quickening and sanctifying ablution [baptism], without which no man shall see the kingdom of heaven, [a baptism] given to the faithful in the thrice-blessed name? And besides all these, John says: ”And the three are the one”.
(Richard Porson, Letters to Travis, 1790 p. 214 and 1828 p. 199)

=====================

And it is strongly corroborated by Potamius of Lisbon writing of the heavenly witnesses to Athanasius.

=====================

AD 350 - Potamius of Lisbon

● Letter to Athanasius the Bishop of Alexandria on the consubstantiality of the Son of God.

You must justly admit that, when your poisonous desire of impure slander was inflamed, the venerable fathers transfixed you with pious arrows in that holier council. Here also it is clearly shown that you held before you fetters of malicious distortion, since the Savoir says: "I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of him who sent him." (John 6:38) What do you answer, serpent? Is it really possible that you seek to obfuscate the brightness of this [PAGE 138] pure profession, which they consider to be a very small problem? The occasion has a bearing on the matter. The Lord our Savior appeared to mankind as a human being, since he had clothed himself with a human body. Therefore, he said: "I have come down from heaven not to do my own will." (John 6:38) He denied the exercise of the humanity that was in him. Therefore, he cries out in order to proclaim in himself the predecessor whom he remembers as his Father and begetter. Since the Son is named second, therefore he who precedes is greater: but, because "these three are one", the substance of him who sends and of him who is sent, in the context of the unity of the Godhead, is one: "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30), and "He sees me, sees the Father." (John 14:9) and, as the Savoir himself said to the Apostles: "I have been so long with you and yet you do not know the Father." (John 14:9)

(Potamius of Lisbon. "Letter to Athanasius the Bishop of Alexandria on the consubstantiality of the Son of God" in the life and works of Potamius of Lisbon edited and translated by Marco Conti, 1998, p. 136)

=====================

Since the assigning of Vaticanus to the 300s is quite dubious,and not particularly relevant since it is such a corrupt Reader's Digest edition (and should we mention the umlaut/distigme?) and Sinaiticus is 1800s, the Disputation may well be our earliest extant clear Greek evidence. And it points directly to the heavenly witnesses verse being in the Bible of Athanasius.

=====================

Demian said...

Yes, good discussion gentlemen! My take away is this. Internal evidence strongly suggests that the comma was part of the original text and was accidentally lost by a copyist in Egypt. The error of those copies in Egypt may have been transferred to the Byzantine copies by means of those 50 official copies that Eusebius prepared for use in Constantinople. The Latin copies in the West were not influenced by this copyist error. Church history demonstrates that the comma is ancient, but because it has very little support in our 500 extant Greek copies containing 1 Jn 5:6-8, we should never use this text to settle a doctrinal disputation or be dogmatic about the inclusion or exclusion of the comma to the point of breaking the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. The comma is a plausible textual variant on both sides and should be preserved as a marginal note for both translators who decide to either keep it in the text or exclude it.

Just a last word. We owe nothing to Muslim apologists or the Bart Ehrman’s of this word. Don’t allow your position to be determined by what would make sense for them. The word of God was handed down to us with textual variants and one copy corrects another as the saying went among the reformers.

Matthew M. Rose said...

Demian writes: "Internal evidence strongly suggests that the comma was part of the original text and was accidentally lost by a copyist in Egypt."

"For we resolutely maintain, that external Evidence must after all be our best, our only safe guide..." -Burgon

The external evidence should help guide our conclusions on the internal, not the other way around. Even so, I have to say that you are more measured in your conclusions than anyone else I've come across who has suggested that the comma is authentic.



Demian said...

Matthew: read this post and you will see that I'm not the only one here who sees a very strong case based on internal evidence over external evidence.

https://www.thetextofthegospels.com/2019/05/john-78-not-not-yet-or-nothing.html

Besides, the early church fathers confirm the existence of the comma so that you have a combination of internal evidence and external evidence in my argument. Cyprian certainly pre-dates codex Vaticanus by 70 years or so...

And by the way, thanks for your kindness! That's the way Christians are supposed to dialogue ;-)

Steven Avery said...

Hi Folks,

Let's look at the context of the John William Burgon quote.

Matthew M. Rose
"For we resolutely maintain, that external Evidence must after all be our best, our only safe guide..." -Burgon

Revision Revised - 1883
https://books.google.com/books?id=GglFAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA19

And if you look at the context of the quote, Burgon is talking about rejecting the corruptions of Vaticanus and a motley crew of piddle supports.

"the dictates of a little group of authorities, of which nothing whatever is known with so much certainty as that often, when they concur exclusively, it is to mislead. We speak of codices B or n or D ; the IXth-century codex L, and such
cursives1 as 13 or 33; a few copies of the old Latin and one of the Egyptian versions: perhaps Origen" -

Burgon continues with some Hortian fantasies like the Antiochene Recension

With the heavenly witnesses, the massive Latin support and the incredible ECW support and the special historical aspects like Jerome's Prologue all take the heavenly witnesses outside the context of your Burgon quote.

Then we get to the incredible grammatical, stylistic and internal evidences. :)

Yours in Jesus name,
Steven Avery
Dutchess County, NY USA

Matthew M. Rose said...

Demian,

ουκ: ‭א D K M Π 1071 1079 1241 1242 1546 l672 l673 l813 l950 l1223 it-a, aur, b, c, d, e, ff² vulg syr-c syr-s cop-boh arm eth geo slav Diatessaron Porphyry acc. to Jerome Ambrosiaster Epiphanius Chrysostom Augustine Cyril

The evidence for the comma is not nearly as full as that above ("ουκ" Jo.7:8), so I fail to see your point. Secondly, the same individual (i.e. Pastor Snapp) "who sees a very strong case based on internal evidence over external evidence" there, utterly refuses any notion that the comma is original here!

You write:

"Besides, the early church fathers confirm the existence of the comma so that you have a combination of internal evidence and external evidence in my argument. Cyprian certainly pre-dates codex Vaticanus by 70 years or so..."

The ECFs confirm the existence of many readings that are *not* original, and nearly every "important" textual variant in existence can be documented as being older than codex Vaticanus, so again, I think you're overstating your case.

Matthew M. Rose said...

Steven,

Yes you're correct about the context. Albeit, the statement by Burgon is a good representation of what he believed concerning the question of external vs internal evidence in general. (And his obvious dismissal of the comma legitimizes my use of such.)

"For we resolutely maintain, that external Evidence must after all be our best, our only safe guide..." -Burgon

This is certainly part and parcel of Burgon's methodology. My only desire was to point out that internal evidence is secondary in nature, that's all.

Demian said...

Matthew, I’m satisfied with the info that I shared here. It demonstrates that there is an early church Father witnessing the existence of the comma in his manuscript before all those witnesses that were cited in this article. Next time you see a picture of any of those manuscripts in this article, remember that it is missing something that was witnessed 70 years before by Cyprian. Also keep in mind that 70 years after the composition of the earliest manuscript in this list, no less a person than Jerome shows up to complain that irresponsible scribes left out what your brother in Christ saw as a very strong reading accounting for its rival. And then, lastly, I will allow our friends to judge who dealt fairly with all the evidence and built a case taking into consideration all the witnesses and who had to dismiss some of it in his argumentation.

Demian said...

By the way, I think you will be gracious to recognize that those 2 pairs of 70 years are approximations ;-)

Charles Laird said...

I was serious hoping for a more serious and objective approach to the comma, other than a weak assessment of an early church father saying something remotely like the comma, but not quoting the verse, only a subjective piece, that could be the missing comma itself. The Latin - that's great and fine and dandy, but it's late. To date, we have zero evidence in the Greek manuscripts, up until after the 10th century and then it's written in the margins.

Sorry - it's a stretch. Provide the evidence "FOR" succinctly and we can review it, but it seems like a lot of writing, pre-suppositions and grasping for straws based on this grand notion of an inerrant Bible that still exists, yet we are left with the errant 1611 KJV.

I'll check back sometime later.

Matthew M. Rose said...

"Also keep in mind that 70 years after the composition of the earliest manuscript in this list, no less a person than Jerome shows up to complain that irresponsible scribes left out what your brother in Christ saw as a very strong reading accounting for its rival. And then, lastly, I will allow our friends to judge who dealt fairly with all the evidence and built a case taking into consideration all the witnesses and who had to dismiss some of it in his argumentation."

I think I'm going to puke.

Demian said...

Thank you for asking the question Charles.

1. Cyprian wrote several letters and treatises addressing the Novatian schism during the Decian persecution that broke out around the year 250AD. One of the issues that he got heavily involved with was the controversy on what to do with the lapsed, those who had capitulated under persecution, but repented and want to return to the fellowship of the church. He defended that those Christians who had repented should be received back into the fellowship of the church. On the other hand, Novatian disagreed and a schism took place between them. For Cyprian, it was a grievous error to destroy the unity of the church by means of a schism like that. In his first treatise, he argues for the unity of the church from several different angles. One of them was the essential unity of the divine persons. He then goes on to quote two passages that affirm the essential unity of the persons of the Trinity. The first passage is: "I and the Father are one" (Jn 10:30). There is no allegory here, right? He is simply quoting scripture to prove his point. But, then he found another place where it is written of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit that these three are one. Where do you think that he could possible have found this idea written in his bible? He found some place where it is written of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit that these three are one (1 Jn 5:7). I am going to give you the quote so you can see for yourself what he is doing in context:

The Lord says, “I and the Father are one;” (Joh 10:30) and again it is written of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, “And these three are one.” (1Jn 5:7) And does any one believe that this unity which thus comes from the divine strength and coheres in celestial sacraments, can be divided in the Church, and can be separated by the parting asunder of opposing wills? He who does not hold this unity does not hold God’s law, does not hold the faith of the Father and the Son, does not hold life and salvation (Treatises of Cyprian - Tr. 1, paragraph #6)

2. Now, I will give you Jerome's preface to the catholic epistles so you can see for yourself his complaint about the removal of the comma:

The order of the seven Epistles which are called canonical is not the same among the Greeks who follow the correct faith and the one found in the Latin codices, where Peter, being the first among the apostles, also has his two epistles first. But just as we have corrected the evangelists into their proper order, so with God’s help have we done with these. The first is one of James, then two of Peter, three of John and one of Jude.

Just as these are properly understood and so translated faithfully by interpreters into Latin without leaving ambiguity for the readers nor [allowing] the variety of genres to conflict, especially in that text where we read the unity of the trinity is placed in the first letter of John, where much error has occurred at the hands of unfaithful translators contrary to the truth of faith, who have kept just the three words water, blood and spirit in this edition omitting mention of Father, Word and Spirit in which especially the catholic faith is strengthened and the unity of substance of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is attested.

In the other epistles to what extent our edition varies from others I leave to the prudence of the reader. But you, virgin of Christ, Eustochium, when you ask me urgently about the truth of scripture you expose my old age to being gnawed at by the teeth of envious ones who accuse me of being a falsifier and corruptor of the scriptures. But in such work I neither fear the envy of my critics nor deny the truth of scripture to those who seek it.

Demian said...

PS: Just a last comment. Notice that Jerome sees in the terms "Father, Word and Holy Spirit" in the CJ a reference to the "Father, Son and Holy Spirit". The same thing that Cyprian saw in his treatise.

Steven Avery said...

Matthew M. Rose said...
"... Jerome shows up to complain that irresponsible scribes left out what your brother in Christ saw as a very strong reading accounting for its rival."
I think I'm going to puke.

Hi Matthew, an unusual reaction, I hope you are in good health.
Are you familiar with the Vulgate Prologue to the Canonical Epistles. James Snapp and I have a number of spots where we discussed the text.

Thanks!

Steven Avery said...

Demian, you have added important context to the Cyprian heavenly witnesses usage.

Including this extract (more above):

"The first passage is: "I and the Father are one" (Jn 10:30). There is no allegory here, right? He is simply quoting scripture to prove his point. But, then he found another place where it is written of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit that these three are one. Where do you think that he could possible have found this idea written in his bible? He found some place where it is written of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit that these three are one (1 Jn 5:7)."

And I plan a page on my PureBibleForum that will quote you .. with a title like "The context of the Unity of the Church passage from Cyprian".

Thanks!

Steven Avery
Dutchess County, NY USA

Demian said...

When I read Cyprian, I could not get around the fact that he quoted 1 John 10:30 immediately before 1 John 5:7 in order to build his case. Two scriptures quoted side by side in context to prove the essential unity of the persons of the Trinity, which was part of his appeal to unity in the body of Christ. The essential unity between the divine persons of the Trinity in 1 John 5:7 is the very same argument defended by Jerome in his prologue of the catholic epistles and a little later by Fulgentius as he appeals to Cyprian's treatise saying that Cyprian was quoting those "scriptures" in his treatise. Interestingly enough, Fungentius was aware that Cyprian appealed to the essential unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but had "Word" in his text of 1 Jn 5:7 for his public battles against the Arians.

I have more to say about 1 Jn 5:7 like why this scripture was not the go-to text by the defenders of the deity of Christ in Nicea and so on. Please, share the link so I can interact with your post and your audience.

Just do me a favor, brother. You have full authority to correct my typos. I have noticed that I have been writing too fast lately without proper attention to grammar.

Steven Avery said...

Thanks!

Here we go.

Pure Bible Forum
the context of Cyprian's passage in the Unity of the Church using the heavenly witnesses
https://www.purebibleforum.com/index.php?threads/the-context-of-cyprians-passage-in-the-unity-of-the-church-using-the-heavenly-witnesses.2312/

Facebook - Textus Receptus Academy
https://www.facebook.com/groups/467217787457422/posts/949730372539492/?comment_id=1007677413411454

Juda Brinkman said...

Thank you Demian and Steven Avery for taking an excellent stand for the comma! It's incredibly encouraging, I plan on putting forth an argument in favor of the passage in the future, which is still in a rough stage in my brain at the moment. I would also like to thank everyone else who has participated in the healthy discussion here, this is an incredible example of loving discourse on such a controversial subject!

God bless you all!

Steven Avery said...

Agreed, Juda, and thank you.

Looking forward to any writings you have, my Profile here has some contact points, and the richest ongoing discussions are on Facebook, in the Textus Receptus Academy group and the one I host, PureBible.

Blessings and grace in Jesus name,
Steven

Demian said...

Retraction:

I no longer lean towards the inclusion of the Comma Johanneum in the text of the scriptures.

While I recognize that "Jerome's" preface to the catholic epistles was written no later than the 6th century, I prefer now to call that author pseudo-Jerome. After having read many commentaries by Jerome from cover to cover, it struck me that Jerome never appealed to 1 John 5:7 as a proof-text of the Trinity. If he was the author of that preface, given the importance that that author confers on the heavenly witnesses for the "strengthening of the catholic faith", we would find Jerome alluding to this verse in places where he discusses the doctrine of the Trinity, but he never does. It seems to me now that pseudo-Jerome is complaining in that preface that the real Jerome left out the CJ of his Latin translation, the vulgate.

As to Cyprian, recently I read a work by Augustine called "Against Maximus the Arian bishop" (see chapter 22 # 3*) that convinced me not only that Augustine didn't have the Comma Johanneum in his manuscript, but I also understood the thought of Cyprian in his first treatise on the unity of the church. The fathers allegorized the words water, blood and spirit in verse 6 so as to mean the Trinity. Augustine reveals this in this work where he says things like: "by Spirit we understand God the Father" (then he cites John 4:24), blood refers to Son (then he quotes John 1:14) and water refers to the Spirit according to John 7:39. I then learned that that was a common allegory in the early church. It seems to me that that common allegory became a marginal gloss and than the Fathers in North Africa around the time of Fulgentius ended up including the gloss into their Latin texts.

* I'm not sure if this work has been translated into English.

Unknown said...

Demian says that the early Church Fathers allegorized the text, and then he provides us with Augustine's allegorical interpretation. In a paper that I wrote some 30 plus years ago as a young seminarian, I made the claim that John, the author of both the gospel and 1 John, is the one who allegorized the meaning of "water", and that word was not given the meaning of "the Spirit" as Augustine understands it. Rather, "water", both in John's gospel as well as in 1 John 5:6-8 refers to "the Father".

In John 1, John has the Baptist say 3x that he came "baptizing with water", and the third time he says this he follows it up with "but the one who comes after me will baptize with the Holy Spirit". "Water" is contrasted with "the Holy Spirit".

In Jn 2, John has Jesus turn "water" into "wine". While in my paper I work with John 1-4, I concentrate on the Cana Miracle story. In this story, John uses the word "to draw" (Ἀντλήσατε; "Now draw some out", Jn 2:8) to lead his readers back to the Ex 2 story where Moses was "drawn" from the "waters". In my paper I provide as evidence many verbal and thematic connections between Jn 2:1-11 and the Ex 2 story in order to demonstrate that John was using Ex 2 as one of his source materials in the creation of this story. The main reason why John did this was to connect "Moses" with the word "water". Doing so, John has now connected the first and greatest of the Law and the Prophets (Moses) and the last and greatest of the Law and the Prophets (John the Baptist) to the word "water", thereby via the word "water" symbolizing "the Law and the Prophets", or, in other words, the "Father's" dispensation of revelation. When Jesus turns the "water" into "wine" (which is symbolic of the Holy Spirit), he does so via his death and resurrection. So when Jesus tells his "mother" "My hour has not yet come" (Jn 2:4), and yet does the miracle, this is only because within that story "time" has passed before our very eyes in the "filling of the jars" with "water". His hour had not yet come in Jn 2:4 but in Jn 2:7 time passes before our eyes, and in Jn 2:8 his hour had arrived. The story is about Jesus' death and resurrection and Jesus' accomplishment of turning the dispensation of the Father into the dispensation of the Holy Spirit. You will need to read my paper to see how I support my argument, but the point that I wish to make now is that "water" in Jn 2 is being contrasted with "wine", and "water", as in Jn 1, refers to the Father and "wine" refers to the Holy Spirit. So even as in Jn 1, John the author was contrasting the dispensation of the Father with that of the Spirit, so too is he doing so in Jn 2.

In Jn 3, John has Jesus tell Nicodemus you must be born of "water and the Spirit", again contrasting/comparing the Father's dispensation with that of the Spirit's. How is one born again? Through believing in the Son (Jn 3:14-15).

In Jn 4, John compares/contrasts the "water" from Jacob's (OT patriarch) well, which again represents the Father's dispensation with the "living water" that Jesus provides, later identified in Jn 7:38-39 as representing the Holy Spirit.

Demian, the main point that I am trying to make here is to show how it was John- not the early Church Fathers- who allegorized the meaning of "water", and if my claim is correct, then this allegorization of the word "water" would also make sense of 1 John 5:6-8. It is a Trinitarian formula.

Sincerely,

Matthew Estrada


You can find my paper on the Cana Miracle on Academia:
https://www.academia.edu/44567388/An_Allegorical_Interpretation_Of_The_Cana_Miracle

Demian said...

Brother Matthew, your theory makes that allegory viable in your mind, but it does not prove that John in fact wrote 1 John 5:7 as we find it in the Textus Receptus. I encourage you to read what Gregory Nazianzen and Augustine wrote about 1 John 5:8. I could not find any trace whatsoever in their discussions that indicate that their manuscripts of 1 John 5:6-8 contained the heavenly witnesses as we find it in the TR. If John had written this verse, you would expect that they would have mentioned things like: "like John says in the previous verse", "notice that John talks about the Father, the Word and the Spirit that these are one", "notice how John equates the Word to blood" and things of this nature. The verses in the TR are so logically connected, that silence in making any connection between those 2 verses by a man of the caliper of Augustine, to me becomes an eloquent silence to the point of screaming from the rooftops. But of what John allegedly wrote in verse 7 those two fathers knew nothing. I would also point out that Augustine is in the West and Gregory in the East, major figures in the early church that gives an indication that those 2 major branches of the early church did not have have any knowledge of the TR reading in 1 John 5:7, Augustine in 427/428 when he wrote that treatise against Maximus and Gregory representing the Byzantine tradition in the fourth century. Also, the figure that Augustine admired the most in the early church was Cyprian who wrote that treatise on the unity of the church. Augustine would have known if Cyprian had in his manuscript or was alluding to the heavenly witnesses as we find it in 1 John 5:7. Therefore, I can no longer defend the TR reading in good conscience here, but God bless you if you have a different conviction about this.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Demian, for your response. I plead ignorance on the history of 1 Jn 5:7, but I will try to learn more about this. That my interpretation of the word "water" = the Law and the Prophets (alias "Father's dispensation of revelation"), contra traditional interpretation (water=baptism), is correct, I have no doubt. I am convinced that 1 Jn 5:6-8 is a Trinitarian statement, and that "water" is symbolic of the Father.

Andrew said...

Hi all,

Good discussion. Your comments give me a better insight into some of the thinking surrounding this verse.

A quick review here: The internal evidence for inclusion of the pericope in First John 5:7-8 is generally seen to be favorable. This can be seen via argument put forward by such Greek scholars as Eugenius Bulgarius, as previously mentioned. There is no case where a neuter noun substantive is indicated by masculine or feminine adjectives or pronouns. This results in a solecism. And even if one tries to bring examples such as Matthew 23:23 or First John 2:16, these are only examples of masculine and feminine nouns being construed with neuter nouns/adjectives/pronouns. These are not the same as a neuter noun substantive indicated by masculine or feminine adjectives or pronouns. Big difference. I have more internal evidence, like the antecedent for the witness of the Father in vv. 9-10 (notice: αὕτη)... however, I leave this here, lest I would divert at all from the force of the first argument. Furthermore, my subjective assessment as a believer myself is also that this pericope very much belongs here for these and other reasons that have often been cited. However, internal evidence like this shouldn't be the only thing considered in the defense of a part of Sacred Scripture, so we continue.

Going to versional evidence and patristics, these play a supporting role in showing both the general historicity, and (to a lesser degree) correct consistent placement of the verse in question, but that is as much as we ought rightly to ask of them. But before moving on, I would mention the fact that Origen cited the pericope in Selecta in Psalmos, in a scholium for Psalm 123 (122), which says the following: "And the Lord our God is three, for the three are one," including the Greek text, "οἱ γὰρ τρεῖς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν." (Chapter 122 Paragraph 2, 122.2) The inclusion of the bolded words indicates the force of the words to follow is drawn from its authority. And it is unlikely that this reference is being drawn from other patristics, (such as that of Cyprian which was earlier already mentioned in this discussion), which patristics also seem to cite part of this same pericope; and, in one of Cyprian's quotes he even explicitly connects it to John 10:30 as a second scripture reference - as Cyprian says, of both John 10:30 and it respectively, that they are "written," via the flourish: "and again it is written," placed between the two quotes.

Before moving on from this, I would also mention: The method of argument against the versional evidence and patristics leaves much unanswered. If, for instance, the whole pericope originated as an adaptation of something first said by Tertullian, for example– then why is it that both Origen and Cyprian are seen to make the exact same "adaptation" of Tertullian's loosely-resembled statement in Adversus Praxean– and furthermore, on the thought that the reason for the pericope's existence (in Greek) is due to a late interpolation of a patristical quote which became an accidentally-inserted marginal note, how does this account for early versional evidence? It doesn't seem to account for it. Much less convoluted is the possibility that Cyprian, Origen and the versions all acquired it from a Greek copy. Otherwise one must maintain all of them colluded together to bring it into existence, or one must dismiss one or more of these witnesses to the pericope as being invalid. Comparatively, other patristic evidence and much later versions do not carry much weight here due to their lateness. (cont'd below)

Andrew said...

The omission of the pericope in most if not all Greek MSS from at least the 8th century until the Lateran Council (1215) can be explained, if one does ask about this, in the way that John Mill mentions in his annotationes found in the apparatus of his 1707 Textus Receptus (Novum Testamentum pp. 739-749). That is, that the omission originated as either a parablepsis - homoeoteleuton or less likely a deliberate omission. And that regardless of the origination method, the textual line of omitting the pericope from this point was deliberately carried forward by theologically motivated scriptoria in the East afterward. Under this explanation, they would have opportunistically seized upon finding a copy with this variant to become their exemplar. Offhand, this also is reminiscent of some TC today. This is an explanation for the imbalance regarding this verse in the Greek MSS. However, it seems to my understanding of such a scenario, that at least some Greek MS with the inclusion could survive long enough to be copied and collated by the editors of the Textus Receptus such as Erasmus, Stephanus, Beza, and others. It seems to be yet another vast imposition on credulity to assert that, these editors, who differed on the fine points at various parts of the received text (e.g. First John 2:23), yet all conspired virtually unanimously to include this pericope. The best explanation once again is simply that, as with our earlier sources, each of the TR editors had access to Greek MS that simply aren't extant anymore, and so they each were able to put it in their editions with a perfectly clear conscience. This is the most straightforward possible explanation from a detached, objective POV. No historical reasons seem to even exist for thinking otherwise. It's also something that Mill remarked about in his annotations back in the early 18th century as well, so I am not entirely alone in this explanation, as the best way to explain what we see. It's not surprising that, what I freely grant was likely a minority reading in the 16th century, might be missing substantial direct Greek MS evidence today - if that is our conclusion. But this doesn't eliminate the witness of God's word then, because, under this explanation, it continues forward in print, specifically, in all of those TR editions that copied from the non-extant Greek MSS, and I would openly maintain with good reason are all still unchanged from the original. —So, to summarize this, for these very reasons we never need to posit that the original reading, no matter where we might decide to look in Scripture - was lost. Even if people dismiss GA 629 and Montfortianus (or perhaps even some other yet undiscovered MS with the pericope), that doesn't affect anything argued here, as you can see so then feel free to dismiss them. Yet still we need not to posit that the CJ was lost, nor therefore that it had to be reinserted; neither does one have to do this for any original reading. And only the original is what should concern us, in case it needs to be explicitly stated.

To move lastly, however, to the most convincing evidence of all, the final argument from fideism does away with all of these concerns. That is if these concerns still remain. And I would like to present that now. Which is that our Lord and Savior is faithful, and we are not to lean on our own understanding. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Prov. 3:5-6). This is how I know that, even if the whole world agrees on one thing, it still has to stand the test of God's word. I have saved this test for last. In my book, this test is the definitive test. And, the position here is as follows: See Matthew xxiv.35. - Amen

Demian said...

Hi Andrew, just for your consideration and please take this as a respectful argument against “the most convincing evidence of all” in your reasoning. If we are going to use Mt 24:35 for textual criticism, then the only possible conclusion is that the CJ does not belong in the text otherwise His word would have passed away in the Bible of Augustine, Gregory of Nazianzus, Ambrose and many others who loved and defended the doctrine of the Trinity in the early church.

Andrew said...

Hi Demian, I'm glad you brought that up. My mind is so settled on showing how the pericope here was always in the text, I forgot to also bring up the extra fact, which is that it says in Proverbs 30:5-6 the following:

"Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar."

Now the first verse here shows us that every word of God is pure and is a shield to those that put their trust in Him. In other words, we have historically not had the problem of interpolations. Now I know you and possibly others as well are thinking, what about some of the interpolations in the Latin lines or other lines of text, for instance where the word "Titius" (or "Titus" according to the DRB) was added in Acts 18:7, or even more concerning where the entire phrase "although I am not under the law" was added to 1 Cor. 9:20 in these texts (along with other modifications to vv. 21 and 22). However, these are not the original Greek manuscripts. That is where my focus is, and, in those cases, the word of God has always been pure and a shield to those who put their trust in Him, including with the pericope in 1 John 5:7-8.

And you bring up another interesting point that I wanted to mention but didn't yet as it is not central to my point. The reason why many patristical writers did not use this pericope in defense of the Holy Trinity can be seen in the fact that the Sabellians of the 3rd century were already mis-using (or abusing) the passage in John 10:30, which says essentially the same thing as 1 John 5:7. What use would it be to introduce this Scripture into a debate that already existed about the correct understanding of John 10:30? In terms of Christology, at least. It would seem to me that more context would be needed from other passages beside just this.

Indeed, that added context is why we have the statement that All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for those things that are mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, as it says in both the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 8:3) and the New Testament (Matthew 4:4, Luke 4:4). That doesn't mean there aren't corrupters out there, as mentioned by Paul in 2 Corinthians 2:17, but it does mean that they won't succeed in removing God's word from this world, nor will they succeed in adding to it, I should like to add now. And the CJ is not an example of that. In my earlier post I simply wanted to point out the fact that it can clearly be explained how the CJ was never lost, and I hope that broader point has been duly received and considered. Even more obvious, I think, it never had to be added. I do thank you however for giving me a chance to elaborate on some of these things and wish you and our readers the best.

-Andrew

Demian said...

Andrew, Gregory of Nazianzus was a Greek speaking father. He was not working off any Latin translation of the Bible. He didn’t have the CJ in his Greek text. From his perspective, he could say that a Latin “added to His words” and should be rebuked by tampering with the word of God found in his good Byzantine manuscript. Also, the reason why Ambrose never used the CJ against the Arians was simply because he didn’t have it in his manuscript, not because he was concerned that the passage might be misused by Sabellians. When you have some time brother, read his book on the Holy Spirit (book 3.67) and you will see for yourself that he quotes the full passage of 1 Jn 5:6-8 without the CJ. Again, the previous question stands, how is it that the word of Jesus passed away in those manuscripts?

Andrew said...

Hi again Demian,

You bring up a thought that I'm sure has been asked before. However, it is equally much or more so a demonstration from the patristics that this is an ancient saying from the fact that both Origen (as quoted above from his commentary on Psalms) and Cyprian in multiple places (On the Unity of the Church ch. 6 and Letter to Iubaianus 12.2) quotes this passage, and from the presentation I gave in my first post above, this shows at least from the patristic writing perspective something much more convincing than a mere argument from silence. I will let you all judge for yourselves on the relative strength of these quotations. To me it seems obvious that this is significantly (perhaps overwhelmingly) stronger than an argument from silence.

That seems to be, correct me if I am wrong, what you have brought forward as your concern with this passage.

Well, I hope you can see, Demian, we can use argument from silence to make the case for all kinds of ridiculous positions. So then, trusting that I do not need to make specific examples, I wouldn't place much weight in it.

But regarding whether your question stands: I believe I addressed it in my second post. Specifically, there are two possibilities which I raised. Either 1) the writers you have cited had the passage and simply chose not to include it - as I mentioned before with regards to the fact that John 10:30 essentially deals with the same truth, and this first part I think deals with a lot of the silence quite succinctly (this could even be a deliberate choosing not to include it); or else 2) the writers didn't have it in their text for the simple reason that they had a corrupt manuscript. As I mentioned before, there are corrupters out there. But I tempered that statement by mentioning also the fact that they will not succeed in corrupting the entirety of any part of the textual tradition. On this I invite the readers to believe in God and His ability to keep His word, as it says in Isaiah 55:11, "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."

So we should be sure that the Lord's word has not returned to Him void. No part of it was lost or attrited completely from the record. And as it says in Proverbs 30 (quoted before), every word of God is pure, and He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. So then we are sure that there are no interpolations that have crept into God's word, or else it would not say that every word of God is pure, nor that His word is a shield unto us that put our trust in Him. Also in John 17:17 it says, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."

However, the fact that some people had a corrupt manuscript (if the case may be) does not imply that all people, or that the church, was stuck with a corrupt manuscript. I think this fact logically needs little explanation as anyone could understand it. Just because one person in antiquity has a manuscript with an error in it, that does not mean that every manuscript in antiquity had that error in it. This seems quite obvious to me and I hope the point isn't lost in this discussion. I regard it as a tautology, in fact. It's not surprising, in fact, that some corrupt manuscripts did exist, I suppose I would rather be surprised if the contrary were true. (Cont'd below)

Andrew said...

I am often reminded of one very prominent example of a corrupt manuscript I came across in my studies, specifically in the Synod of Arras, (ACTA SYNODI ATREBATENSIS, in Actes de la province ecclesiastique de Reims, tom. II, pag. 6) where the ruling Bishop pulls out a copy of John chapter 3, and quoting from it says the following (read carefully):

"On these things the Bishop asked: 'How has it come to pass,' he asked, 'that what the evangelical and apostolic institutions hold, is contrary to what you preach?' He narrated, 'in the text of the gospel, unto the prince and Ruler Nicodemus, who regarded those signs and wonders as signifying that Jesus was of God, the Lord continued to answer, "that no confession alone could merit a role in the kingdom of heaven, unless a man be born again of water and the spirit." So either you are able to receive regeneration from this mystery, or else the gospel words must conflict with what Jesus said.'"

Do you see what happened there? The Bishop of Arras quoted from a corrupt version of John 3:5, and used it to argue for a doctrine that connects John 3:5 with baptism, in forming an argument for baptismal regeneration. But if he had been using the original Greek text, we would not hear about being "born again of water and the Spirit." Because the word "again" is not present in the original John 3:5 (albeit it is in John 3:3 and 3:7). My conclusion from this, and also other conversations I have had, is that this textual corruption in John 3 has been used to argue for the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. However... just because one person's copy contains this addition (it could also be an omission or other alteration as the case may be), that does not mean that every copy of John's Gospel contains this variant. Hopefully this point is sufficiently clear here. I know sometimes I am not the best at expressing myself clearly but I hope that has not been an issue here.

I think that the argument from silence can be explained primarily by 1) but also by possibility 2) where necessary. And this explanation does not even require that we have access to patristic writing positively affirming that this pericope belongs in Scripture (which we do) nor versional evidence of its correct placement (which does exist). However, the most important item, as mentioned before is that the church has consistently used the pericope in all ages, especially during the time when we know that the received text was accepted by everyone, and this combined with the faithfulness of God with His word shows us that it is indeed the case that, as the Psalmist said, "Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever." (Ps. 119:160) So this is also the case here with First John 5:7-8, and from the points brought forth by myself and others.

- Andrew

PS– I would also concur with what John Mill wrote, who is a far abler scholar, in the annotations for his 1707 New Testament edition (translated roughly to English):

"I say therefore, that this Pericope, however it afterwards disappeared, certainly existed in the Autograph of John himself, and in some other Copies written to it. [...] To me, I confess, (better, if a longer day will give something better and more certain, when I am ready to learn) the argument for winning the authority of this verse seems to be of such strength that I do not consider it in any way to be moved from its place." (Novum Testamentum pp. 746,749)

Andrew said...

All,

Okay, I'll admit I went a little overboard there in my defense. Specifically with regards to the part where I invite the readers to believe in God as part of my defense. But I do maintain at least that we have good, solid reasons to hold this passage as part of God's truth, as with some other part of the Bible anyone could name; and I hope that at least was made clear in my opening post. With all of those good reasons in mind, I haven't seen anything that really convinces me of the contrary case. Just that thought is what I would like to get across. I think those who try to make derogatory remarks toward believers of this passage (not here) are going too far in their condescension, especially in light of what the actual evidence is, and that's what I do not like to see. I hope you will forgive me if I went too far at any point.

Demian said...

Just a couple of comments, brother:

1. Origin doesn’t quote the CJ in your citation of Psalm 123. "And the Lord our God is three, for the three are one," is not a citation of the CJ but a Trinitarian declaration. Cyprian also didn’t quote the CJ as we find it in the text receptus. He says on his treatise on the unity of the church that the Father, the “Son” and the Holy Spirit are one. He is certainly alluding to 1 Jn 5:6-8, but the CJ as we find in the TR has “Word”, not “Son”. I just reviewed Cyprian’s epistle 12 and didn’t find any reference to the CJ. Maybe you gave me the wrong reference?

2. I brought up Ambrose and said that he quoted 1 Jn 5:6-8. This is not an argument from silence. Here’s a father quoting the full text without the CJ and it proves that he didn’t have the passage. If, on the other hand, you are going to argue for corruption in his text, then I’d ask why the text got equally corrupted in multiple locations in the West and in the East. If he was the only father who didn’t have it, then your point could be easily established by comparing what is available to him with other orthodox fathers.

3.Baptismal regeneration in connection with Jn 3:5 is the universal teaching of the early church. All of the early church fathers taught a form of baptismal regeneration. All the witnesses that you brought up in favor of the CJ believed it. Origin calls it the “saving baptism”, Tertullian denied that a man can be saved by faith alone without baptism and Cyprian believe that a baby cannot be saved without baptism. So, were all your witnesses working off a corrupt manuscript that led them universally to affirm baptismal regeneration based on a corrupt reading of Jn 3:5? I wasn’t sure if you meant “apostolic institutions” or “apostolic constitutions”. If the latter, then I can confirm that it also taught in book 6 baptismal regeneration connecting Jn 3:5 and Mk 16:16. And I didn’t find the word “again” there.

4. To say that the church consistently used the CJ in all ages is not correct. Augustine, Gregory of Nazianzus, Ambrose and Leo the great didn’t have it. Leo actually quotes 1 Jn 5:5-8 in his famous tome 28 that was examined in the 4th ecumenical council and again the CJ is not there. Here we have churches both in the east and the west and tome 28 under the universal scrutiny of the church but no peep about the CJ or a push back against the wrong reading of the verse in Leo’s tome. The question remains, has the word of Jesus passed away in all those places, both in the East and West?

Eric Couture said...

How many of these manuscripts of 1 John contain 1 John chapter 5 without verse 7?

Sean Bonitto said...

Is it not fair to say that the Comma, which has been maintained in the Latin Vulgate of the 4th Century, and which has been at least contemporary with the oldest Greek extant manuscripts A and B, has been translated from the oldest Greek manuscripts according to Jerome, that he had possession at the time?

What was the Latin translated from? Was it not from the Greek? The old Latin (Venus Latina) maintained 1 John 5:7 even before Jerome’s Vulgate did it not?

Was there not a justifiable reason, a serious possibility, for the Comma to be absent in most Greek copies, as result of the Arian controversy? This is a very serious possibility, and seems the most likely event, that copies were produced from one or several corrupt copies. Why did Jerome who clearly maintained that he had access to the earliest and best Greek copies maintain the comma?

It seems clear to me, that the reason he retained the comma is that it he believed it is in fact genuine, and truly apart of Holy Scripture (1 John 5:7).

1 John 5:7 by the evidence externally (Latin authorities- translated from the earliest Greek manuscripts no longer in existence), and internally (Greek Syntax, and Grammar- that only makes sense with the comma retained), has been proven to be the true utterance of the Holy Ghost, as the aforementioned evidence clearly demands it.

Charles Laird said...

Sean, I will only address the Jerome comments at this time, given that i don't havey notes readily available. Jerome's first go at his corpus of work did not include the comma, given that he did not have a Greek manuscript with the comma included, other than the reported copies which had the comma in another hand and in the margins. His second run, there was a Greek copy "made available" to him from about the time of his work, which is believed to have been written, solely for the purpose of tricking him to include the comma. I have written more extensively on this and with the relevant evidences. Should you be interested, i can point you to that writing.

Andrew said...

Hi Sean,

First John 5:7 could have become exceedingly uncommon (among Greek copies) as early as the 4th century. As mentioned above, this could have to do with scriptoria being controlled by those with a bias toward Arianism who favored a minority reading of omission. This would therefore giving a distorted view of this passage in terms of what the majority reading became. Of course, they could not erase all of the other evidence (patristic, versional, internal), and manuscript copies of the epistle predating this event altogether would also still be in existence.

In the worst case, this would only have to take a single generation of copyists. That's what I believe happened.

There certainly was an official Arian bias through most of the 4th century. This would indeed explain the situation we see today. Dr. John Mill however urged in his annotations to this passage (Novum Testamentum, 1707) that the omission already existed as a minority reading before this, so it would be a very convenient pretext for the Arian copyists, with their bias, to seize upon it. This differs somewhat in this respect from the allegation made in the "Prologue of Jerome," which seems to directly charge the variant to the Arians (In Prologue in Epist. Canon., the writer states “that the unbelieving translators have erred much in the truth of the faith, omitting the testimony of the Father, the Word, and the Spirit”). Such a minority reading, however it initially came into existence, could become the exemplar for every copy they made. Dr. Mill, who was a great scholar of known Biblical texts, notes further that in later generations, there also seems to have been later hands that added the words back (into the margin) of some exemplars that lacked it. It seems to me unlikely however that the TR compilers in the 16th century would have used these marginal notes as an independent basis for the inclusion. Rather, what occurs to me is that they had access to Greek MSS predating the spread of the omission variant in the 4th century, MSS which contained the long form of First John 5:7, and all of the supporting evidence (versions, patristic sources) supported that case. John Mill notes in his annotations that, for him, they lend decisive support, and includes the reading. He cites Tertullian and Cyprian, among later writers. And I add to that a gloss of Origen to Psalm 123 (122), which contains the very words of the Greek First John 5:7. This is "Selecta in Psalmos," and it contains the words "οἱ γὰρ τρεῖς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν".

I think the above scenario is far more supported by historical evidence than the notion that Tertullian, Cyprian and Origen each individually hallucinated its existence. They cannot be charged with copying from one another (as Tertullian's usage or reference to this passage, which is slightly earlier than the others, is extremely loose). This is also more supported by the evidence than the discredited claim that multiple scholars were hoodwinked into including it - not only Erasmus, but also Stephanus, Beza, Elzevir, and more. Even though these scholars did not always agree entirely on the exact text reflected by the manuscripts, for instance in First John 2:23 and First John 3:16, none of them thought to omit the passage in question here. The question is, were all of these men, not only Erasmus, merely hoodwinked into including this passage, even when they had no qualms about correcting the editions of Erasmus by using the Greek MSS in other places of the New Testament, including in 1 John? The popular story (its origins being entirely unclear) about Erasmus being hoodwinked into accepting its inclusion has also been rejected by modern scholars. See the following quote (next post):

Andrew said...

"What is said on p. 101 above about Erasmus' promise to include the Comma Johanneum if one Greek manuscript were found that contained it, and his subsequent suspicion that MS 61 was written expressly to force him to do so, needs to be corrected in the light of the research of H. J. DeJonge, a specialist in Erasmian studies who finds no explicit evidence that supports this frequently made assertion." Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of The New Testament, 3rd Edition, p 291 fn 2.

It seems to be making an incredible imposition to suppose that, not only were all of these writers successfully tricked on an individual basis (as we are saying that not one, but many people were tricked) or hallucinating the same thing, but also that the same inclusion where all of this is going on happens to prevent a jarring solecism in the text of First John. This is because there is no instance where a neuter noun substantive is indicated by masculine or feminine adjectives or pronouns. There is none, that is, except for the shortened version of 1 John 5:7-8. This was noted by the Greek language scholar Eugenius Bulgarius. This is way too much for me to believe, and it can, it seems to me, only be explained by misrepresenting the evidence, and by pretending that, at some point (sometimes erroneously claimed to be Erasmus) that everyone copied from one source other than the Apostles.

Demian said...

Brother Sean, the Arian controversy is not a justifiable argument for the “removal” of the heavenly witnesses for two simple reasons. First, because no orthodox father of the 4th century makes use of the passage to defend the doctrine of the Trinity. If there were such a conspiracy to remove such an important passage, they would have been the first to decry such an endeavor. And second because Athanasius was the most important soldier on the ground defending the Nicene formulation of the Trinity. This is a first hand source who knew even what the Arians were whispering and he goes at length in his books to destroy every single Arian argument against the doctrine of the Trinity against the Arians but he doesn’t know anything about the most important conspiracy of all times, meaning the removal of a Trinitarian passage from his bible? Or to be more specific from the fifth chapter of the first epistle of John that he also uses against the Arians? I can’t accept this argument because it has no basis in the sources dealing with the issue in the 4th century.

Sean Bonitto said...

Hello Demian. With all due respect, but your argument is an argument from silence. To be fair none of us now exactly why the comma is not in many Greek copies, but we do know that the Arian controversy along with others is a possible reason for the exclusion of the comma in many Greek manuscripts. Nevertheless, Jerome who lived in the 4th Century, the writer of the Latin Vulgate, makes mention of the comma, 1 John 5:7 as the true authentic Word of God. Consider the following prologue from Jerome, “… these Epistles I have restored to their proper order; which, if arranged agreeably to the original text, and faithfully interpreted in Latin diction, would neither cause perplexity to the readers, nor would the various readings contradict themselves, especially in that place where we read the unity of the Trinity laid down in the Epistle of John. In this I found translators (or copyists) widely deviating from the truth; who set down in their own edition the names only of the three witnesses, that is, the Water, Blood, and Spirit; but omit the testimony of the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; by which, above all places, the Divinity of the father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is proved to be one” (Prologue to the Canonical Epistles; quoted from Ben David, Three Letters Addressed to the Editor of The Quarterly Review, in which is Demonstrated the Genuineness of The Three Heavenly Witnesses--I John v. 7, London, 1825-Vulgate Prologue to the Canonical Epistles by Jerome

This is serious evidence concerning the authenticity of 1 John 5:7, but the internal evidence is perhaps the most overwhelming proof that 1 John 5:7 must be a part of the text, due to the fact that it is contrary to Greek grammar to have three masculines, adjective, (three), the masculine article (oi), and the masculine particle (bear record) being applied to 3 neuter nouns.

The only sound reasonable explanation for this, is the undeniable inclusion of the masculine nouns of 1 John 5:7 Father, and Word along with the Holy Ghost which is Neuter, but is masculine as the law of attraction of the Father and Word give the masculine witness to the Holy Ghost, and then describe the how the Heavenly witnesses of verse 7 testify on earth through the Spirit, water, and blood, and then agree in the antecedent of verse seven. There is no doubt the 1 John 5:7 is the true utterance of the Holy Ghost, and as a result is the unadulterated, infallible, inerrant, inspired, authoritative Word of Almighty God (Matthew 4:4).

Demian said...

Sean, I appreciate your respectful tone.

Argument from silence has some boundaries. It cannot be invoked when someone is a primary source, dealing with the issue and giving us a report of everything that is going on with the controversy. Besides, remember that fathers from Ambrose and Leo the great all the way up until the venerable Bede in the 7/8th century cite the passage without the comma johanneum. To quote 1 Jn 5:6-8 in the context of the church without the heavenly witnesses is not an argument from silence is it?

Besides, the heavenly witness is absent even from the best manuscripts of the vulgate, including codex Fuldensis that came to us with this preface from pseudo-Jerome in 546. Whoever wrote this preface, I’m convinced that was just using the name of Jerome in the 6th century to promote a verse that was actually absent from that manuscript of the vulgate. How do I know that this piece is not from Jerome’s pen? Because pseudo-Jerome says that this verse is very important for the strengthening in the Catholic faith but the real Jerome never felt in his voluminous writings that he needed this key verse for the strengthening of the Catholic faith.

Demian said...

Just a last point on the alleged necessity of complements in masculine for the masculine “οἱ μαρτυροῦντες”, I find interesting the Gregory of Naxianzus has a discussion on the very grammar of this passage and he doesn’t think that his Bible is lacking anything by not having masculine complements.

Sean Bonitto said...

Hello Damien. Your welcome. I do not understand what you mean, when you state that an argument from silence has boundaries. The argument from silence is a fallacy as you know. You also insinuate that the quote from Jerome supporting 1 John 5:7 is not genuine, without giving any particulars to defend this position. How do you know that the statement is not genuine? You state that you know this when in fact you do not. You assume this, as many scholars also are presently doing. We no longer have the original Latin Vulgate of Jerome in our possession, but the majority of Latin copies of the Vulgate do have 1 John 5:7.

Also, even if the preface was not from Jerome (which I have no sound reason to reject Jerome’s authorship), it bears witness to someone in history who declares that textual variants existed, and that the Heavenly witnesses of 1 John 5:7 was in fact the true reading of the Epistle of 1 John 5, and that the Nestle-Aland reading which leaves out the comma is a false reading left out by copyists.

Also, is it not ironic that you accept codex Fuldensis as one of the most accurate readings of the Vulgate which leaves out the comma, but at the same time you reject the preface that teaches that the comma is genuine? It makes no sense, would you agree! Why would a copyist leave out the comma, and then keep the preface of Jerome declaring the comma is genuine? Or why would a copyist who pretended to write for Jerome, support the comma in the preface, but exclude it in the text of the codex Fuldensis?

Again, it makes no sense either way. It seems to me that the earliest copies of the Vulgate such as Fuldensis have been tampered with, and the fact that the comma was retained throughout the vast majority of copies of the Latin Vulgate would most likely link Jerome to agree with its genuine authority. This is also evidenced by Erasmus, Stephens, Beza, in retaining the comma in their Greek texts, and the Scholars of the KJV, etc (who were clearly aware of the Nestle-Aland reading) indicate to me that the evidence in favour of the comma in being the true utterance of the Holy Ghost was not at all superficial.

Also, Gregory of Nazanzius, agrees that the there is something clearly wrong with the Greek grammar of the passage of 1 John 5:6-8, if the Heavenly witnesses of 1 John 5:7 are omitted, “ What about John then, when in his Catholic Epistle he says that there are Three that bear witness, the Spirit and the Water and the Blood? Do you think he is talking nonsense? First, because he has ventured to reckon under one numeral things which are not consubstantial, though you say this ought to be done only in the case of things which are consubstantial. For who would assert that these are consubstantial? Secondly, because he had not been consistent in the way he has happened upon his terms; for after using Three in the masculine gender he adds three words which are neuter, contrary to the definitions and laws which you and your grammarians have laid down. For what is the difference between putting a masculine Three first, and then adding One and One and One in the neuter, or after a masculine One and One and One to use the Three not in the masculine but in the neuter, which you yourself disclaim in the case of Deity?” (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers).

Lastly, there are a number of early church Fathers quoting the comma directly or indirectly p, such as Tertullian, Cyprian of Carthage, Athanasius, Priscillian, Theodorus, Victor Vitensis, Eugenius at the Council of Carthage, etc.

The evidence in favour of the Johannine Comma, is overwelming, that it is the unadulterated Word of Almighty God (Matthew 24:35).

Demian said...

Hi Sean,

Just a couple of comments:

1. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the fact that Athanasius says nothing about an alleged conspiracy to remove a Trinitarian passage from the Bible is not a mere argument from silence because this is the kind of thing that you would expect him to say. Not only him but all Trinitarian fathers of the 4th century involved in the Arian controversy. None of them made use of 1 Jn 5:7. If they had this passage in the Bible, at least one of them would have used it during the controversy.

2. I didn’t understand why you said that I gave no reason to reject the preface of pseudo-Jerome to the Catholic epistles attached to codex Fuldensis. There are many spurious works attributed to church fathers whose authentic authorship have been rejected for several reasons. In this particular case, pseudo-Jerome is saying that the CJ is very important for the strengthening of the Catholic faith but when you read what Jerome wrote, even when he is defending the doctrine of the Trinity, you notice that he never quotes the heavenly witnesses. If this is such an important verse for Jerome, why in his writings he does not use it, not even once?

3. About the testimony of the comma in history, I don’t disagree with you here. Pseudo-Jerome is a proof that the reading existed in the 6th century in the Latin tradition. Actually after the victory of the Trinitarian doctrine in the 4th century, you begin to see the orthodox fathers in the 5th century using the text in North Africa. This is precisely the time when this marginal note began to creep into the Bible of the Latin fathers. I’ll say this, if Jerome had really written that preface, I’d accept the genuineness of the comma even if I found it in just one Greek manuscript in the world but his writings reveal that he didn’t have this text in his Bible as opposed to pseudo-Jerome.

4. I didn’t understand why you seemed to imply that if I accept codex Fuldensis as a witness to the text, I’d have to accept the preface to the Catholic epistles. Codex Fuldensis is the earliest Latin codex we have containing the entirety of the New Testament and it lacks the comma. What I can see is that the genuine product of Jerome in the 4th century didn’t contain the passage that became popular around the time of pseudo-Jerome.

5. What did you mean by laws that I “and my grammarians have laid down”? I was simply showing how Gregory of Nazianzus, who was a Greek speaking father of the 4th century, understands the Greek construction of the passage by explaining the significance of the 3 masculine words “ τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες” before the 3 neutral “ τὸ πνεῦμα”, “τὸ ὕδωρ” and “τὸ αἷμα”. I was alluding to the fact that a Greek speaking person in the context of the church in the 4th century understands the sentence naturally without the need of masculine complement, which he didn’t have in his Bible.

6. From your list of fathers only Tertullian and Cyprian belong to the antenicene era and none of them quoted the comma Johanneum as we find it in the textus receptus. Athanasius never used the comma. He wrote several books against the Arians and he never used the comma. You may be referring to pseudo-Athanasius. Priscillian is not an orthodox father but I will grant that after the death of Athanasius, the comma began to creep into the Latin Bible and Priscillian is an evidence of that. By the fifth century, some Latin fathers began to believe that the comma was original. On the other hand, Ambrose, Leo the Great and Bede in the Latin tradition quote 1 Jn 5:6-8 without the comma Johanneum, which demonstrates that the text crept slowly into the Latin vulgate until it became part of the standard Latin text in the Middle Ages. It was absent from the Greek tradition as it is attested by the Greek fathers all the way up to Theophylact that left us a commentary on the first epistle of John around the eleventh century without the comma or even an awareness that the variant even existed in the Greek tradition.

Demian said...

Oh… OK… I see now that “you and your grammarians” was actually part of the quote of Gregory Nazianzus. That’s fine! But notice his argument. He can explain the grammar of the passage by itself without any need of masculine nouns in a parallel verse.

Andrew said...

Hi Demian,

Very respectfully, with regards to what was discussed before about the argument from silence, I invite any readers of this conversation to reconsider the statement made in an earlier post, more specifically, where I said:

"Just because one person in antiquity has a manuscript with an error in it, that does not mean that every manuscript in antiquity had that error in it. This seems quite obvious to me and I hope the point isn't lost in this discussion."

What is being argued is the absolute non-existence in the entire world of a passage in Scripture. In order to refute this claim of non-existence, a positive example can be brought forward. That is all that is needed to show that at least some people knew and have known about the disputed passage.

But to bring an example of one person who does not have the passage in their copy, does not prove or establish the absolute non-existence of this passage of Scripture. A mere argument from silence based on a few examples of people who may have had corrupted copies, logically, isn't going to cut it.

However, if examples are around of a passage's existence in some people's copies, that, OTOH, is a decisive demonstration of the passage's ancient existence, and objectively (speaking broadly), of its potential at least to be part of the continuous text tradition of the New Testament. That is exactly what has been brought forward here.

This is not somehow counterbalanced or "cancelled out" by examples of people who had corrupted copies. Not even if one multiplies them endlessly. That counterexample only proves that there were differences in some copies. It doesn't undo or "cancel out" the existence of the inclusion in at least some copies. And this is the only explanation of the patristic, versional, and manuscript evidence that doesn't involve all of our sources being tricked or deceived, or making up quotations (such as Cyprian's quotation of part of the CJ as Scripture) that happen to point to the same thing, namely that our passage existed in a copy of 1 John. I say it is ours because it is a passage that we value and regard very much as being inspired truth spoken by the apostle, and all of the circumstantial evidence is already there to make that case. In fact, there is more here than for some other perhaps less famous passages that I also believe.

With regards to the idea that people would have placed their weight heavily on 1 John 5:7-8 in Trinitarian disputes such as that involving Athanasius, this argument was already addressed above as well. In the Gospel of John, at John 10:30, we have a passage of Scripture which says essentially the same thing regarding the divinity of Christ, in fewer words, which is also undisputed. If we assume for a moment the scenario of Arians multiplying copies with the shorter form of 1 John 5:7-8, this provides a potential motivation for Trinitarians to go to other passages of Scripture which say and establish the same thing, containing the same truth. Is there any particular reason to refer to this passage of Scripture as opposed to John 10:30 in order to make the same point about the divinity of Christ? I can prove that something like this was done in at least one case, since Cyprian, as has been discussed, in "Unity of the Church" chapter 6, quotes John 10:30 side by side with the last part of 1 John 5:7.

Sean Bonitto said...

Hello Damian. Again, with all due respect you continue to use the fallacious argument from silence to reject the comma. Just because an early church Father does not use the comma to defend the Trinity, which is not true as in the case of Jerome, nevertheless, does not prove that they did not believe the comma was genuine.

Consider, Cyprian of Carthage who lived before Athanasius, who clearly recognized the comma, “The Lord says ‘I and the Father are one’ and likewise it is written of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, ‘And these three are one’” (De Unitate Ecclesiae, [On The Unity of the Church], The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Church Fathers Down to A.D.325).

Notice the words, “And these three are one” which is a direct quote from the 1 John 5:7 in reference to the comma, and the true Word of God. Of course Cyprian lived in the 3rd Century.

Just to briefly touch on your reason why you believe Jerome did not write the preface. It is not based on evidence but conjecture. For if the preface was written by Jerome, then it is evidence that he clearly spoke of the comma, and defended it against the false reading as found in the Nestle-Aland text, and in most modern Bibles today.

Your argument in a court of law, when the evidence is presented, would not prove that the preface is not authentically from Jerome. Just because Jerome may have not commented in his other writings concerning the comma issue, does not mean that he never would, or never did. This is essentially your argument for rejecting the preface. Just because his previous writings did not mention the issue of the comma, does not mean that he never would, or that he never did. This argument is essentially the same argument used against the authenticity of Josephus’ The Testimonium Flavianum, because it acknowledges that the Lord Jesus was the Christ, and being a Jew and not a Christian they reject the passage a not genuine, for no sound evidence given, other than conjecture. I believe the evidence proves that Jerome wrote the preface found in the codex, as mentioned previously.

Damien, if the preface stated that the comma was not genuine would you believe it was from Jerome?

Again, even if it was not from Jerome, which I have absolutely no sound reason to reject Jerome’s authorship, the comma was accepted by the writer of the preface. And it leaves the question, why did the comma later dominate in the majority of copies in Latin Vulgate? And I believe the answer is that it was believed to the true Word of God, and that the original writing of Jerome’s Latin Vulgate contained the johannine comma, 1 John 5:7.

You mentioned the genuine product of Jerome does not have the comma. Do you have access to the original writing of Jerome with respect to the Latin Vulgate? Obviously, it is no longer in existence, as far as we know. Therefore your statement is a false statement.

Further, the evidence that the comma is truly genuine, is the fact that the Arians never disputed the authenticity of the comma, when Eugenius at the Council of Carthage gave a confession of faith against the Arian doctrine and quoted the comma, 1 John 5:7, as the authentic and genuine Word of God, with no objection from the Arians (to my knowledge)that the Heavenly witness passage was not the true Word of God.

You mention Pseudo Athanasius, and that the comma began to enter into the Latin text around the time of Priscillian. Again, with all due respect, there is no proof to your argument. What proof do you have that Athanasius did mention the comma, and that it was a pseudo writing? Priscillian lived in the 4th Century along with Jerome, and Athanasius. So, whether you believe Athanasius did not mention the comma, someone who lived in the 4th century did. Which would give clear evidence that the comma reading was not only acknowledged, but recognized by someone to be found in the Holy Bible, and a genuine part of the Holy Scriptures, and the unadultered Word of God (Matthew 4:4; Matthew 24:35).

Sean Bonitto said...

Finally, I would like to deal with the greatest proof that 1 John 5:7 with respect to the comma, to be the genuine and authentic Word of Almighty God, which is the internal evidence. Gregory of Nazianzus questions the Greek grammar of the passage, and acknowledges that it does not line up with the rules of Greek grammar if the johannine comma passage is excluded.

Notice, his comments, “Secondly, because he had not been consistent in the way he has happened upon his terms; for after using Three in the masculine gender he adds three words which are neuter, contrary to the definitions and laws which you and your grammarians have laid down.”

Gregory acknowledges the problem 1 John 5:7-8 if the comma is excluded. How does three masculines be applied to three neuter nouns? It makes no grammatical sense unless the comma was there in the first place, by the Holy Ghost through the Apostle John.

The two masculine nouns Father and Word in verse 7, along with the Holy Ghost which is neuter, but is masculine by the law of attraction of the Father and Word, also give a masculine witness on the earth through the Spirit, water, and blood, which agree in the one true God of verse 7.

The 19th century renown Greek grammarian Bishop Middleton, who wrote “ The Doctrine of the Greek Article,” also clearly recognizes the grammatical difficulty in the Greek, if the comma, or Heavenly witnesses of 1 John 5:7 is omitted from the text of Holy Scripture, he says, “… But the difficulty to which the present undertaking has directed my attention is of another kind. It respects the article of EIS TO EN in the final clause of the eighth verse. If the seventh versehad not been spurious, nothing could have been plainer than that TO EN of verse 8 referred to EN of verse 7. As the case now stands, I do not perceive the force or meaning of the article.”

This statement is an astounding acknowledgement of how the text of 1 John 5:8 make no grammatical sense without the johannine comma.

I could quote others, but I believe this will suffice for now to prove that the Holy Ghost, has by the internal evidence alone, proven that the Grammar of 1 John 5:8 does not make any sense without the Heavenly witnesses of 1 John 5:7. I believe this was done by the Lord, so that the reader would recognize that the Father, Word, and Holy Ghost give record to their inspired testimony, which if omitted, would be a clear incision of His inspired Word, which He promised would never “…pass away” Matthew 24:35.

Demian said...

Hi Sean,

Very quickly:

1. Cyprian is not quoting the comma. His citation brings “Son”, not “Word”. What Cyprian is doing can be explained by an ancient allusion to the persons of the Trinity in the words Spirit, water and blood in verse 8.

2. The problem of authorship falsely attributed to an important figure in the early church is very common. Judges who are not familiar with potential pseudo-authors in patristic writings do not qualify to be in a “court of law”. It’s beyond me how Jerome and all the fathers of the 4th century would fail to mention the most Trinitarian verse in their Bible, the one which is important for the strengthening of the Catholic faith. The only time a defender of the Trinity quoted 1 John 5:6-8 in the 4th century was without the CJ.

3. In oration 31, Gregory of Nazianzus is writing against a person who denied the deity of the Holy Spirit. One of his arguments if you read the context is that things that are consubstancial are numbered together and things that are not counted together cannot be consubstancial. Gregory of Nazianzus is then going to the grammar of 1 Jn 5:8 because the three things which are clearly not consubstancial, namely the Spirit, the water and the blood are one and one and one (not consubstancial) and at the same numbered together (three - so consubstancial). Hence his challenge to his opponent like: “is John talking non-sense”, because three is supposed to be consubstancial but not one and one and one. I can explain more of this treatise but for know I just invite you to read the form of the verse that Gregory of Nazianzus is quoting. Have you noticed the absence of the word “on earth” in his citation of 1 John 5:8? You know why? Because his Bible didn’t have the comma that specifically qualify the earthly witnesses before the words “the Spirit, the water and the blood”. Here’s what he says: “when in his Catholic Epistle he says that there are Three that bear witness, the Spirit and the Water and the Blood?” Where is the “witness in earth” of the TR? Well, it was not in his good Byzantine manuscript.

4. Isn’t it your thesis that the Arians removed the CJ? How are they going to protest that the council of Carthage is quoting a passage that they know that they removed from their bibles? It’s more plausible to think that in a particular region in the west, using a Latin copy of the Bible that both parties believed that that the CJ was genuine in the 5th century, which I also grant. But it was not in Ambrose’s Bible in the previous century and not in the Byzantine manuscript of Gregory of Nazianzus.

5. So, Athanasius quoted the CJ? Can you please give us book and chapter where he quoted this: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one”.

6. Gregory of Nazianzus is not complaining about a defective grammar in 1 Jn 5:8. He is actually quoting it as a proof that the man-made rule of his opponent is proved wrong by the grammar employed by John. With all due respect, but I have to say this, you are taking what Gregory of Nazianzus is saying out of context and reading your own ideas into it.

Demian said...

On my point 4, instead of conjectures, let’s do this. Let me try to find the acts of that council and read through it so we can see together what can be adduced from the sources. I’ll come back on this.

Sean Bonitto said...

Hello Damien. With regards to Cyprian, you have made a clear mistake in suggesting he did not mention the comma.

Notice his words, “ ‘I and the Father are one’ and likewise it is written of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, ‘And these three are one’” (De Unitate Ecclesiae, [On The Unity of the Church], The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Church Fathers Down to A.D.325).

Notice, he does not quote the passage by using the words Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, because the comma uses, “the Word” instead of the Son, but he is absolutely referring the passage to the Trinity by saying “it is written” of course referring the the Holy Scriptures, and then quoting the comma directly by saying, “And these three are one.” I do not know of any where in the Holy Bible where it is written, “And these three are one” other than 1 John 5:7. Do you?

Again you fail to provide any evidence to prove the preface found in the codex was not written by Jerome. A Judge does not need to by an expert in any particular field, as many experts testify in court with respect to their area of expertise. The job of the judge is to examine the evidence, and to determine whether or not the evidence can be proven above a reasonable doubt, or can be admissible in the proceeding.

Damien, with all do respect, you have failed to do this. And as I have mentioned previously, it is of no consequence whether or not it was written by Jerome, which I certainly believe in Jerome’s authorship concerning the preface, the preface itself is evidence that someone has declared that the comma is genuine, and the Neste-Aland reading is corrupt.

This fact you have also agreed with.

Athanasius also quotes the comma in Disputatio Contra Arium, when he says, “ Ἰωάννης φάσκει· Καὶ οἱ τρεῖς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν” Which basically says, “John says, And the three are one.” Which is different from verse 8 which says, “ …and these three agree in one.”

Also your statement for no one defending the Trinity, by using the comma until after the 4th century is no only false as we have seen in my aforementioned response (Cyprian, Pricillian, Athanasius, Jerome) but also the argument itself is fallacious, in that it does not prove the comma is not genuine at all, as there can be a variety of reasons why this could be the case, but it was not the case as we have seen earlier.

As for Gregory of Nazianzus, the important area that I wanted to focus on was that Gammarians recognized the the improper structure of the passage where three masculines are used to describe three neuter nouns, without any real defining purpose for doing so. When the comma of the Heavenly witnesses is retained in the text all is cleared up, and the grammar makes sense.

As I mentioned Bishop Middleton’s (a Greek grammarian) response to how 1 John 5:8 makes no real sense without the antecedent of the comma in 1 John 5:7. Thus, again the grammar and context of the passage in its original language, demands the inclusion of the comma.

Demian said...

Hi Sean,

1. Cyprian was a Latin father. “And these three are one” is exactly what is written at the end of verse 8 in the Latin bible: “et tres unum sunt” which is literally translated as “and these three are one”.

2. Some problems with your quote from “Athanasius”… First, “John says and the three are one” is not a quote of the full verse. In order for you to demonstrate that this author quoted the heavenly witness in the Greek tradition, you would have to give us a quote of the verse, which includes: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost” and then “and the three are one”. Second, notice that that quote is closer to what we have in verse 8 than in verse 7. Verse 8 has “καὶ οἱ τρεῖς εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν”, which is almost verbatim what I found in your quote except for the preposition “εἰς” after “τρεῖς” in John 5:8. The “εἰς” simply means “into”. Verse 8 is literally translated as: “and the three are into one” and that is why the Latin fathers translated this verse as “et tres unum sunt”. And third “disputatio contra Arium” is a work attributed to pseudo-Athanasius basically because the deity of the Holy Spirit was not discussed at all during the council of Nicea so the work has clear signs of anachronism. And obviously because the real Athanasius never used this verse in his books against the Arians.

3. Priscillian is not a Trinitarian father and it is possible that Sabellianism may have pushed him to add the glossa into the text. Anyway, I tend to trust more the text that Ambrose is using to defend the doctrine of the trinity than Priscillian's and Ambrose’s text does not contain the CJ.

4. Gregory of Nazianzus does not have the CJ in his manuscript and he does not see anything missing in his manuscript due to a supposedly faulty grammar in 1 Jn 5:8. If you and I agree with those assertions, we can move the post in our discussion.

Unknown said...

Hello everyone,

I posted what I am about to post (in two separate posts) some time ago concerning John's symbolic use of the word "water" both in his gospel as well as in 1 Jn 5:6-8. No one considered at that time what I am posting again relevant to this conversation, but I continue to think it is a missing piece to the puzzle that may help solve the riddle. Please read my paper on the Cana Miracle (Jn 2:1-11) written more than 30 years ago by a young seminarian. Yes, I would change some things written in that paper if I were to rewrite it now, but there is much in that paper that I would not. One (of the many) important discoveries in that paper is John's symbolic use of the word "water", and this discovery is what is relevant to your discussion concerning the Comma.

In Jn 1, John has the Baptist, who he is using as a personification of the Law and the Prophets (alias "the Father's dispensation"), say 3x "I came baptizing with water" (Jn 1:26, 31, 33). The 3rd time he says this, he contrasts himself (=the Law and the Prophets) with "the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit" (thus, the dispensation of the Holy Spirit). This important discovery- that John is using the Baptist as a personification of the Law and the Prophets- is crucial to understanding John's writings. In his gospel, when you read words from the Baptist, what you are really hearing is the voice of "the law and the prophets", which represents "the Father's dispensation". So when "the Baptist" "testifies" (which is his main role in this gospel") about Jesus being the Christ to "the Jews", it is really the author "John", via "the Baptist" who is the personification of "the law and the prophets", having "their own law and the prophets" testify to the Jews, which is what the Jews put all their faith in (Romans 2:17-20), telling the Jews that their own law and the prophets testify that Jesus is the Christ. But what is most important in trying to understand 1 Jn 5:6-8 is how the author John has linked the Baptist to his word "water" by having him say 3x "I came baptizing with 'water'". John the Baptist, the last and greatest of "the law and the prophets", has been connected to the word "water".

Now, in Jn 2:1-11, the author of the gospel has Jesus turn "water" into "wine". What is important here is how John, through his use of the verb "draw" (ἀντλήσατε) (Jn 2:8), which, as scholars have acknowledged, is only used in the context of a "well-scene" (and there is no "well-scene" here in Jn 2:1-11), has connected this text with the Ex 2 chapter that narrates Moses' birth story as well as his three "rescue" scenes (Ex 2:11-25) which serve as a preview to the role he will play as Israel's "rescuer" (There are many other word and theme parallels that show John's dependence on Exodus 2 in his creation of the Cana miracle story that you can find in my paper). It is in the third rescue scene (Ex 2:16), which is a well scene, where we find the verb "draw" (ἤντλουν) which John employed in his own story to provide his readers with a clue for one of his sources. There Moses "draws" water for the seven daughters of Reuel. But the question is- what is John's major reason for using Exodus 2 as one of his sources? And the answer to this question is because John wanted to connect Moses, the first and greatest of the law and the prophets, to his symbolic word "water" even as he has connected the Baptist to it. Moses was given his name by Pharaoh's daughter because he was "drawn from the water".

Unknown said...

So what John the author has done is connect the first and greatest of the law and the prophets- Moses, and the last and greatest of the law and the prophets- the Baptist, to his word "water", creating "bookends" (an inclusio) to all of the law and the prophets, thereby having both Moses and Baptist serve as personifications of "the law and the prophets", alias "the Father's dispensation". In other words, John's symbolic meaning for the word "water" is "the law and the prophets" = the Father's dispensation. I show in my paper that John has created a very complicated "allegory" of Jesus turning "water" (=the Father's dispensation) into "wine" (=the Holy Spirit's dispensation) the his death and resurrection (=the Son's dispensation). This occurred on "the third day" (Jn 2:1)- the Resurrection. This interpretation solves several puzzles that have confounded scholars in the past. Just one example of a confusion being solved with this interpretation: why does Jesus turn the "water" into "wine" after having told his mother "My hour has not yet come" when "hour" is used in John only to refer to the hour of his crucifixion and resurrection? The reason Jesus performs this "miracle" is because in the filling of the "six stone jars (according the the purification of the Jews)" with "water", what we are really witnessing is "time passing before our eyes". The "six stone jars" are symbolic of Judaism and its imperfect understanding of the law and the prophets. And so these "jars" that are being filled with "water" is actually God completing the dispensation of the law and the prophets (=Father's dispensation) within Judaism. So when we read the phrase "They filled them to the brim", this phrase can be interpreted to signify "the end of a period of time". According to Walter Bauer's "Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature" (p.334), the phrase ἕως ἄνω ("to the brim") can be translated to mean "the end of a period of time". F.F. Bruce, in his commentary "Gospel of John", said "The filling of the jars to the brim indicates that the appointed time for the ceremonial observances of the Jewish law had run its full course; these observances had so completely fulfilled their purpose that nothing of the old order remained to be accomplished" (p.71). What does Galatians 4:4-6 say?

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”

And Ephesians 1:9-10:
he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

"When the time had fully come". "When the times reach their fulfillment". John is showing us, via this story, that "time" had passed and reached its fulfillment in the coming of Jesus. So when Jesus says "My hour has not yet come" but then does the changing of the "water" (=dispensation of the Father) into "wine" (= dispensation of the Holy Spirit), he does so only because his hour had now arrived in the filling of the "six, stone jars" with "water". This is the reason the disciples "believed" (Jn 2:11) after seeing this "miracle"- because it was the miracle of Jesus' death and resurrection. It was in this miracle that his "glory" (δόξαν) was revealed.

Unknown said...

And so, when we look at Jn 3 when Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born of "water" and the "Spirit", he is again showing the three dispensations of God at work in human history. He says that it is not enough to be born of "water" (=the law and the prophets = Father's dispensation). One must also be born of the Spirit (=Spirit's dispensation). How does this happen? By believing in the Son's dispensation (Jn 3:15-15.6)
And so, again, in Jn 4, John has Jesus tell the woman at the well that the "water" that she drinks from Jacob's well (=law and the prophets=Father's dispensation) will not satisfy her thirst forever. She needs the "living water" (=Spirit's dispensation) (Jn 37-39). How does one receive the Holy Spirit? By believing in him (Jn 7:38-39).

So each one of these texts in John's gospel speaks of the Triune dispensations of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, once one understands how John is using the word "water" to symbolize the dispensation of the Father.

Finally, in 1 Jn 5:6-8:
This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. 8 And there are three that testify on earth: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.

Whether you accept the comma as authentic or not, the meaning of "water" is clear. It is a symbol that John has used to represent the Father.

You can find my paper on the Cana Miracle at https://independent.academia.edu/estradam

Unknown said...

The three that are in agreement on earth are the three dispensations of God- Father, Son, Holy Spirit. The three that are in heaven are the same.

Sean Bonitto said...

Hello Damien. First, Cyprian is making a direct connection to the 1 Epistle of John Chapter 5 with respect to the Trinity, and verse 1 John 5:8 does not at all speak directly concerning the Trinity, but 1 John 5:7, the johannine comma clearly does. As mentioned previously, 1 John 5:8 only makes sense grammatically when connected to 1 John 5:7, and then it is understood that the three earthly witnesses, agree in the Heavenly witnesses on the earth.

Secondly, with all due respect, you make the fallacious argument that because Cyprian was a Latin Father that he must have been quoting from the Latin, and not the Greek. You have absolutely no proof of this, but only conjecture, and the evidence given by the quote, is not at all directed to the witnesses on earth, but to the One and only Triune God where, He states,” …And these three are one.” A clear and direct quote of the comma of 1 John 5:7.

Thirdly, you make another false assertion, stating that in order for one to prove that one quoted the comma they must quote the full passage of the comma. Who made up this rule? It is completely arbitrary and fallacious. Athanasius, in the context of the quote is clearly making a statement about the Trinity, in the context of water baptism, and then makes the quote in reference to the Trinity being one, without using “εἰς” as seen In verse 8, which of course the comma also does not use the word “εἰς” translated “in.” Giving further proof that Athanasius from the context is talking about the Trinity, and not the witnesses on earth. Thus, leaving out the word “εἰς” was he was referring and quoting the comma, and not 1 John5:8.

The actual verse of 1 John 5:8 means that the three agree in “the”one. The definite article “το” is used to describe that the three earthly witnesses agree together in “εἰς” the “το” one “εν” which is a clear reference to the antecedent of the comma of verse 7, “εν” One.

In, other words, the three earthly witnesses agree in “the”One True God of 1 John 5:7, and they agree completely to the testimony of the Heavenly witnesses, who bear record to the incarnation of the Son of God, who came literally as flesh and blood (John 1:1,14), paid full redemption for sin at the cross (John 19:30), rose again bodily (Luke 24:39), and are in complete agreement to the Heavenly witnesses whereby the authority to the testimony resides (1 John 5:9).

Again, the internal evidence of the passage of 1 John 5:6-8 is the greatest proof that the johannine comma, or the record of the a Heavenly witnesses must be the true utterance of the Holy Ghost. The passage make no grammatical sense without it. Gregory acknowledges that Grammarians also understand that there is grammatical difficulties with passage as it would stand without the comma.

I just completed a video on this very subject entitled, Why 1 John 5:7 is the true utterance of the Holy Ghost. You can watch it here on YouTube. https://youtu.be/Uj6nE_8FeDI.

The evidence is clear, even just by the internal evidence alone, that 1 John 5:7 is certainly the true utterance of the Holy Ghost.

Demian said...

Hi Sean,

1. Augustine in his work "Against Maximus the Arian bishop" tells us that the words Spirit, blood and water in 1 John 5:8 represent respectively the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is a testimony of the early church that demonstrates that the fathers saw the persons of the trinity in verse 8.

2. If Cyprian were quoting verse 7 from the CJ found in the TR, his quote would read: "Et hi tres unum sunt" and not "Et tres unum sunt". The fact that he quoted the verse without a Latin correspondent to "ουτοι" demonstrates that he was not quoting a supposed Greek version of verse 7, but verse 8 as we find it in the oldest and best manuscripts of the vulgate. Here's how they read:

7 Quia tres sunt qui testimonium dant, 8 spiritus et aqua et sanguis, et tres unum sunt (Codex Fuldensis)

7 Quia tres sunt qui testimonium dant, 8 spiritus et aqua et sanguis, et tres unum sunt (Codex Amiatinus)

3. The absence of "εἰς" in pseudo-Athanasius can be explained by a possible parablesis as both words "τρεῖς" and "εἰς" have the same ending. Another possible reason is that the word "εἰς" can be omitted and still the essence of what John is saying is fully preserved, especially if he was quoting from memory the content of 1 John 5:8.

Like I said, verse 8 is almost word for word your quote from pseudo-Athanasius. Compare them below:


Καὶ οἱ τρεῖς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν
καὶ οἱ τρεῖς εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν

And now compare pseudo-Athanasius with the CJ in verse 7:

Καὶ οἱ τρεῖς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν
και ουτοι οι τρεις εν εισιν

There is no "ουτοι" and no "τὸ" in pseudo-Athanasius. "ουτοι" seems to be a back translation into Greek from the Latin "hi" (as found in the Latin text of the CJ cited by Victor Vitensis and Cassiodoros) or "haeic" (as found in the Latin quote of Priscillian).

4. "τὸ" is simply a definite article of the numeral one. The presence of the article could be there just to emphasize the unity in "the one".

5. We are in complete agreement as to the contents of the gospel. The eternal Word of God became flesh and died upon the cross for our sins and rose again bodily. And the fact that the father and the Spirit bore witness about the Son can be gathered from several places in the scripture and is not dependent upon a gloss that has signs of being later added to the text, which is absent from the manuscripts of the Greek fathers for a millennium starting with Clement of Alexandria in the second/third century all the way until at least Theophylact and from many heavy-weight Latin fathers like Ambrose, Augustine, Leo the Great and Bede.

6. Gregory of Nazianzus is simply quoting the grammar of 1 John 5:8 to prove wrong men who tried to argue that the Holy Spirit cannot be God based on a man-made rule of grammar that was supposed to disprove consubstantiality between the Holy Spirit and the being of God. For him, the Greek of 1 John 5:8 made perfect sense and can be quoted against heretics as a proof-text against their faulty grammar.

7. Lastly, internal evidence is not a bullet proof in favor of the comma Johanneum because the koine Greek is more fluid in the use of articles than other languages and can use one gender for a subject and another for the object.

Demian said...

* There is no "ουτοι" in pseudo-Athanasius and no "τὸ" in the CJ.

Sean Bonitto said...
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Sean Bonitto said...
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Sean Bonitto said...

Hello Damien. Your argument, is completely based on conjecture, and for the most part is not based on evidence. To be clear I am not objecting to some facts in relation to your comments, as you do not reject the facts that I have also presented, but I am rejecting the false assumptions, without solid evidence by which you base your assumptions.

First, you assume that Augustine knows nothing of the comma, but yet your comment concerning Augustine’s understanding of 1 John 5:8 representing the Trinity, only leaves us the with the understanding of how he, and the early church came to this conclusion, and that is their acknowledgment of the comma. For the context of 1 John 5:8 clearly does not point to the Trinity without the comma. The Heavenly witnesses give the authority to the earthly witnesses, and are clearly the Heavenly witnesses testifying on the earth.

However this could not be clearly understood or determined without the Trinity or Heavenly witnesses who are the One True God of 1 John 5:7.

Therefore, Augustine, and the early church connecting 1 John5:8 to the Trinity, does not defend your argument, but rather speaks in favour of the johannine comma.

Secondly, respectfully, you have no idea what specific document Cyprian was quoting from, and to be fair, neither do I. You assume it was from the Latin, maybe it was, or maybe not. It is of no consequence, due the the fact that the Latin gives the same wording at the end of verse 7 as it does at verse 8.

Consider the following:

Quoniam tres sunt, qui testimonium dant in cælo: Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus Sanctus: et hi tres unum sunt. -(1 John 5:7).

Et tres sunt, qui testimonium dant in terra: spiritus, et aqua, et sanguis: et hi tres unum sunt.- (1 John 5:8).

Notice, the last four words in Latin are the same, “…et hi tres unum sunt. -(1 John 5:7). “…et hi tres unum sunt.”- (1 John 5:8).

“These three are one” at the end of both verses in Latin. Therefore it could be easily argued that if he quoted from the Latin, he could have easily quoted from the comma in 1 John 5:7 from the Latin, as the words, “…et hi tres unum sunt. -(1 John 5:7), “…these three are one” (1 John 5:7), are from the comma.

Also, the context of Cyprian’s statement was clearly in reference to the Trinity. 1 John 5:8 is not a clear reference to the Trinity as one, however, the comma clearly identifies the three Heavenly witnesses, as one, “…and these three are one” (1 John 5:7).

Thirdly, if Cyprian was using the Greek text, it would certainly be further evidence of the comma, however, the aforementioned evidence is enough proof that johannine comma was certainly being envoked.

Sean Bonitto said...

You make the statement “pseudo Athanasius,” without any proof or clear particulars for doing so. I do not see any evidence that demonstrates to me that the quote does not come from Athanasius himself. Therefore I will attribute the passage to him.

Athanasius, we can agree did not use the word "εἰς" in his statement. His knowledge of the passage of 1 John 5:8 in the original Greek would have been clearly understood by him, and yet he did not use the the word "εἰς" or “in” as seen in 1 John 5:8.

I believe we can also agree, that the statement from Athanasius (you believe pseudo-Athanasius), clearly is a reference to 1 John 5. I believe we can also agree that the aforementioned statement by Athanasius, was in clear reference to the Trinity, in 1 John 5, “And these three are one. “ I believe we can also agree, that 1 John 5:8 is not a clear and direct reference to the Trinity on its own.

Therefore it seems to me the only logical conclusion, is that the statement from Athanasius is a clear reference to the Heavenly witnesses of 1 John 5:7, that points, without any shadow of a doubt to the Trinity, “And these three are one.”

Yes, absolutely, the definite article “τὸ” is to emphasize the unity in “the one” of the antecedent of verse 7, “And these three are one,” which is a clear, a certain reference to the Heavenly witnesses of 1 John 5:7. Otherwise it makes no grammatical sense at all, and the force of the article is not understood.

The Greek language has specific rules for Greek Grammar. The definite article must, agree in number, case, and gender with the noun it is connected to. The grammar of 1 John 5:7-8 as seen in the N/A text or critical text has a masculine adjective, a masculine definite article, and a masculine particle, being applied to three neuter nouns, spirit, water, and blood.

This makes no sense grammatically. As the text stands in the N/A text and the modern bibles that have been translated from it, there is no sound reason for three neuter nouns to be treated as masculine. However, if the comma is retained, as it should be, the masculine gender being applied to three neuter nouns makes sense, due to the fact of the Father, and Word of 1 John 5:7 in the masculine gender, and also the Holy Ghost while in the neuter is also masculine by the law attraction.

Lastly, 19th Century Greek Gammarian Thomas Middleton, who wrote the book, “The Doctrine of the Greek Article” clearly recognizes that the passage of 1 John 5:6-8 makes no Grammatical sense without the comma, and does not see the force or meaning of the definite article of verse 8 without the comma.

“But the difficulty to which the present undertaking has directed my attention is of another kind. It respects the article of EIS TO EN in the final clause of the eighth verse. If the seventh versehad not been spurious, nothing could have been plainer than that TO EN of verse 8 referred to EN of verse 7. As the case now stands, I do not perceive the force or meaning of the article.”

Therefore, the evidence is explicitly clear that the johannine comma without any shadow of a doubt is the true utterance of the Holy Ghost.

“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” (1 John 5:7).

Demian said...

Hey Sean,

1. In his treatise against Maximus, Augustine is objectively a witness against the existence of the comma in his manuscript. Here's my translation to English of what he says in chapter 22, #3: "Certainly, I don't want you to be deceived about the words of the epistle of saint John: "There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water and the blood and the three are one". Notice the absence of "on earth" before "the Spirit".

2. You gave me the wording of the Clementine vulgate of 1592, which contained the comma Johanneum and so it reads: "et hi tres unum sunt". The comma-free Vulgate like codices Fuldensis and Amiatinus read: "et tres unum sunt". My assumption was then that Cyprian was probably reading from the standard comma-free vulgate. If he was to depart from the Latin text to go back to the original text, then I can't see how he would have failed to translate "ουτοι". However, I don't want to stress too much this point because there are variations in the Latin text that do not allow for us to be dogmatic here. Cyprian can only be used in conjunction with other arguments. I will concede your point that you and I can't really know the source from which Cyprian was quoting and how it read. Fair point, indeed! What I won't concede is that he was quoting from verse 7 because the allusion to the persons of the Trinity in verse 8 is attested in the early church. Besides, It's easier to find a plausible explanation for what Cyprian is doing, rooted and grounded in church history. If you disagree, I'd like to hear your take as to why:

i. The verse was absent from the manuscripts of all Greek fathers that quoted the passage from the 2/3rd century until the 11/12th century, starting with Clement of Alexandria (who, by the way, died even before Arius was born so Arianism cannot explain the absence of the comma in his text);

ii. No orthodox father quoted the most Trinitarian verse in their bibles during the Arian controversy in the 4th century. This is the most eloquent silence of all times!

iii. The good scholarship of our James Snapp demonstrated that it was absent from all Greek manuscripts until 1362 and when it first made into the text of a Greek manuscript it did so having Latin and Greek side by side, which is very telling!

iv. It's absent from the manuscripts of Latin fathers who were able to read Greek like Ambrose, Augustine and Bede.

v. The eloquent silence of Jerome who supposedly believed that the verse is key for the strengthening in the catholic faith and yet failed to mention the verse even once in his voluminous writings (maybe 3,000 - 4,000 pages of work and nothing of his key verse!)

vi. If Christ promised that his words would never pass away, what happened to the heavenly witnesses that was so needed during the Arian controversy? And why did Christ allow his word to pass away from the manuscript of Gregory of Nazianzus, who was the president of the second ecumenical council that gathered to discuss the very deity of the Holy Spirit? And why he allowed his word to pass away from the manuscript of Ambrose who was called to lead ministering to Christians in the east which was simply being savaged by Arians? And why he allowed his word to pass away from the bible of the Greeks and other Christians who were the bible in other languages?

Demian said...

3. About Pseudo-Athanasius, it is easy to explain the drop of the preposition "εἰς" by absorption into "τρεῖς". Textual criticism has easy tools to deal with that. On the other hand, can you explain the absence of "ουτοι" in the quote of pseudo-Athanasius and the presence of the conspicuous definite article "τὸ" before "ἕν" that does not exist in the CJ?

And about the author of this work, what I said to you is not just my personal opinion, the standard scholarship rejects that this is a work of Athanasius, which includes your Greek authority, bishop Middleton.

4. About the grammar of 1 John 5:8, let the authority of Gregory of Nazianzus settle this question for us. Greek was his mother tongue and he disagrees with you that there is no sound reason for a subject in masculine to have 3 neuter complements. For him the passage is good as it stands and even if you use a neuter subject you could have 3 masculine complements and it would make no difference. My personal understanding is that John is personifying the witnesses, which are masculine in Greek. The participle "οἱ μαρτυροῦντες" is literally translated as "the ones who witness", which are the witnesses. The three witnesses are then being personified in the mind of John as "three witnesses", which is masculine in Greek. Even in my first language I can have three witnesses in one gender and three complements in another gender and it would make perfect sense for me.

Demian said...

5. About the conclusions of bishop Middleton, I noticed that your tone is completely different from what I've found in his work. Bishop Middleton was making a modest argument that was not supposed to stand on its own. He was offering a conjecture (his own words!) that could cast some new lights if new discoveries in the future could point in a different direction of the scholarship of his day.

Your conclusion was: "the evidence is explicitly clear that the Johannine comma without any shadow of a doubt is the true utterance of the Holy Ghost". Now, compare your sentiments with the author whose scholarship you are using for your conclusions. First of all, notice that he starts by bracketing the CJ and then he goes on to say that the passage was generally abandoned as spurious and his purpose was not to call into questions the solidity of the scholarship that came to that conclusion. In passing, notice that bishop Middleton died even before Westcott and Horn were born, so the generation that generally rejected the passage precedes Westcott and Horn. Here's his introduction and conclusion on his commentary on 1 Jn 5:7-8:

Introduction: "Vv. 7,8. τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυρουντες [εν τω ουρανω, ο πατηρ, ο λογος, και το αγιον πνευμα και ουτοι οι τρεις εν εισι. και τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυρουντες εν τη γη,] το πνευμα και το υδωρ και το αιμα και οι τρεις εις το εν εισιν. Every one knows of how much controversy this passage has been the subject, and that the words which I have enclosed in brackets are now pretty generally abandoned as spurious. It is foreign from my undertaking to detail the arguments by which this decision has been established; and as little is it my purpose to call in question their justness and solidity.

Conclusion: On the whole I am led to suspect, that though so much labor and critical acuteness have been bestowed on these celebrated verses, more is yet to be done, before the mystery, in which they are involved, can be wholly developed."

Back to me... I think that bishop Middleton was guilty of missing the forest for the tree. His whole assumption rests on the supposition that the definite article "το" in conjunction with "εν" justifies the entire interpolation of the heavenly witnesses and it never occurred to him that the entire context of the passage should have precedence over a definite article of the numeral one at the end of an entire text of three verses together whose flow was interrupted by an interpolation.

In verse 6 John says that Jesus Christ came by water and blood and it is the Spirit who bears witness. And then, after that comes the conjunction "for", upon which the author is supposed to build the argument that he had just started. And then he goes on to say: "for three are that bear witness: the Spirit, the water, and the blood", which must of necessity refer to what comes before the conjunction "for" which is exactly "the water, the blood and the Spirit" in verse 6. Then, he says "that these three agree in the one", which are the three that he just mentioned "the Spirit, the water and the blood". Everything is so tightly connected that leaves me no alternative other then the rejection of the conjecture of bishop Middleton. He is trying to say that "the one" at the end of verse 8 justifies an interpolation that is totally foreign to the argument that John began to construct in verse 6 and that is totally unnecessary to be contained in "the one" to which the "the three", "the Spirit, the water and the blood" point. In my opinion he was a victim of over-exegesis of an article at the expense of the entire context of the passage.

Lastly, I also reject his conjecture because it is a novel that never occurred to any Greek father who exegeted the same text for so many centuries and didn't see anything missing or the necessity of adding an accretion about which they didn't know anything for over a 1,000 years.

Demian said...

* (2), vi. If Christ promised that his words would never pass away, what happened to the heavenly witnesses that was so needed during the Arian controversy during the 4th century?

Demian said...

And then the rest stands without any modification... (2), vi. And why did Christ allow his word to pass away from the manuscript of Gregory of Nazianzus, who was the president of the second ecumenical council that gathered to discuss the very deity of the Holy Spirit? And why he allowed his word to pass away from the manuscript of Ambrose who was called to lead ministering to Christians in the east which was simply being savaged by Arians? And why he allowed his word to pass away from the bible of the Greeks and other Christians who were the bible in other languages?

Sean Bonitto said...

Hello Damien. You mention that Augustine witnesses against the comma. How so? This again is an argument from silence, which is a fallacy. If Augustine was quoting from the Greek, why did he leave out “εἰς”? We know that the Greek of 1 John 5:8 does not say, “and the three are one” which clearly leaves “εἰς” absent or “in” which is very interesting.

You mention that church history is why 1 John 5:8 alludes to the persons of the Trinity. Very interesting! How did this originate? When did they become so convinced that a passage, such as 1 John 5:8, that does not explicitly mention the Trinity was indeed speaking in reference to the Trinity? Is this not clear evidence that points to the genuineness of the comma? I do not see any other explanation that can answer this question, other than the authenticity of the comma, that it was indeed written by the hand of the Apostle John as he was moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 2:20-21).

The context of 1 John 5:6, refers to the water and blood belonging in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is evident proof of His incarnation, and that God literally came in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16), not just appeared in flesh, but became a real man, and died and shed His blood on the cross for our sins, which is a clear refutation of the false gnostic gospel.

So, therefore from 1 John 5:6, there is no reference to the Trinity, and thus 1 John 5:8 cannot, by itself give one the impression, that the water, and blood allude to the Father and Word, when in verse 6 they refer to the person of Christ. However, when we apply the testimony of the Heavenly witnesses, or the comma, of verse 7 it is clear why the early church, gave allusion to the Spirit, water, and blood speaking in reference to the Trinity, when we understand that the spirit, water, and blood are the Heavenly witnesses testifying on the earth concerning the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His incarnation, that He is the Son of God, and literally came by water, and blood(1 John 5:6-9).

There is no other way, that I can see from the passage when applying proper hermeneutics, that one get the understanding that 1 John 5:8 is a reference to the Trinity without the comma.

Sean Bonitto said...

Your argument that Greek Fathers do not mention the comma is another argument from silence, which again is fallacious, so I will not spend much time in this area. But, I will say this, are the Greek Fathers, more authoritative than the Latin Fathers? Of course not! If the comma is genuine, which I believe by the evidence it is, then it is of no consequence if no Greek Father quotes it.

To answer your question of Bible preservation, the Lord did not need to preserve His Word, and nor did He in every manuscript, for many Greek manuscripts do not even contain 1 John, and yet He promised that He would preserve His Word, and that it would not pass away (Matthew 24:35). Therefore Bible preservation means that God has promised to preserve His Word, not necessarily through the Greek alone, but also the Latin, and Bible translations, quotations of Early church Father, which resulted in the preserved Greek text of the various versions of the TR, and ultimately in the Greek TR that underlines the King James Bible.

So, therefore His Word never passed away!

If Gregory believed that the passage was correct grammatically he was certainly in error. He certain acknowledges that the Grammar of the passage did not agree with the understanding of the Greek Grammarians of his era. And nor does it today. According to clear rules of Greek grammar you cannot apply three masculines to three neuter nouns, without justification for doing so. 1 John 5:6 uses a neuter article, and adjective in describing the Holy Ghost “το μαρτυρουν” and we know the Holy Spirit is personal being the Third person of the Trinity, and yet this did not change the article, and particle from being neuter, to masculine.

Therefore, it is not a justifiable reason why the masculine gender is being applied to three neuter nouns in 1 John 5:8. The only explanation is that the text demands the grammar of the comma to be applied to the passage, in order for the passage to make sense grammatically. The rules of Greek grammar and syntax demand this.

Finally, Bishop Middleton, was only being honest, and did not allow group think, or pressure from scholarship to affect His observation. Again, Gregory acknowledges that Greek Grammarians acknowledged grammatical difficulties with the passage, years before Bishop Middleton.

Erasmus, Stephens, Beza, etc, maintained the comma in their Greek Text, due to the fact the evidence when examined along side the readings as seen in the NA text (which they rejected), pointed them, I believe by the direction of the Holy Ghost to acknowledge the comma was in fact genuine.

Nevertheless, the internal evidence alone points to the authenticity of the comma, where the grammar demands the testimony of the Heavenly witnesses (1 John 5:7).

Demian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Sean wrote: "You mention that church history is why 1 John 5:8 alludes to the persons of the Trinity. Very interesting! How did this originate? When did they become so convinced that a passage, such as 1 John 5:8, that does not explicitly mention the Trinity was indeed speaking in reference to the Trinity? Is this not clear evidence that points to the genuineness of the comma? I do not see any other explanation that can answer this question, other than the authenticity of the comma, that it was indeed written by the hand of the Apostle John as he was moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 2:20-21).

The context of 1 John 5:6, refers to the water and blood belonging in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is evident proof of His incarnation, and that God literally came in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16), not just appeared in flesh, but became a real man, and died and shed His blood on the cross for our sins, which is a clear refutation of the false gnostic gospel.

So, therefore from 1 John 5:6, there is no reference to the Trinity, and thus 1 John 5:8 cannot, by itself give one the impression, that the water, and blood allude to the Father and Word, when in verse 6 they refer to the person of Christ."

Sean raises the question how did the the early Church arrive at the interpretation of I Jn 5:6,8 to allude to the Trinity without the Comma? He believes that the words "water and blood" in vs 6 refer to Jesus.

I have tried showing in my previous posts that "water" in John's gospel symbolizes "the Father's dispensation" (= the Law and the Prophets). Even in the context of 1 Jn 5, we are to understand "water" to refer to the Father. John's argument in 1 Jn 5 is that if you believe in the Father, you should also believe in the Son. If you love the Father, you should also love the Son (1 Jn 5:1-5). Thus "water" refers to the Father, and "blood" refers to the Son.

The early Church Fathers should have been aware of this interpretation because of how John uses "water" in his gospel to refer to the Father. Therefore, even though I believe the Comma is authentic, I also believe that the Fathers could have arrived at the interpretation of the Trinity in vs 8 without the Comma.

Sincerely,
Matt

Demian said...

Hi Sean,

1. Augustine was translating from a comma-free verse of 1 John 5:8. Here's his Latin translation, lacking "in terra" before "spiritus": "Tres sunt testes; spiritus, et aqua, et sanguis; et tres unum sunt". And "Et tres unum sunt" is simply the standard way the Latins translated the final clause of verse 8 back then as attested by the certified translations recorded in codex Fuldensis and codex Amiatinus below:

7 Quia tres sunt qui testimonium dant, 8 spiritus et aqua et sanguis, et tres unum sunt (Codex Fuldensis)
7 Quia tres sunt qui testimonium dant, 8 spiritus et aqua et sanguis, et tres unum sunt (Codex Amiatinus)

2. Anyone who reads the fathers realizes that they use far more allegorical interpretations than we do today. And Augustine in his work against Maximus is a historical witness of the mystical interpretation applied specifically to 1 John 5:8. He says that the Spirit represents the father, the blood represents the Son and the water represents the Spirit. We can disagree with their interpretation but we cannot deny the historical reality that some of the fathers adopted this mystical interpretation.

3. When the Greek fathers quote 1 John 5:6-8, their text omit the comma and when they quote 1 John 5:8 they omit “on earth”, which is textual evidence against the comma, not argument from silence. Latin fathers also omitted the comma before it began to creep into the Latin text. The 4th century does not allow you to ask who is more authoritative, the Greek or the Latin fathers, but rather “who is more authoritative in preserving for us the text of scripture: the Latin father Ambrose and the Greek father Gregory of Nazianzus, both against the inclusion of the comma or Priscillian in favor of the comma? I’d be curious to hear how you would answer this question.

4. Your notion of preservation is that God preserved his word through the TR in the King James bible, which is an English translation of the scriptures made in the 17th century. But how about the people of God in Germany in the 16th century? They read the bible from a translation by Luther of the second edition of the TR, which lacked the comma. So, Jesus fulfilled his promise to preserve his word through the TR for his people in England but not for his people in Germany? The fact of the matter is that the second edition of the TR has far more support in favor of its reading in 1 John 5:6-8 than the third edition.

5. Even though we have two participles for “bearing witness” in verse 6 and verse 8, the sentences are not built exactly the same way. In verse 6 there is only one subject “the Spirit” and the participle after the subject is describing the action that the Spirit is doing. In verse 8, we have three witnesses whose subjects are unknown before the participle and that can explain why “there are three that bear witness” is used in a different way, making the witnesses to work more in a generic way in the natural gender of “witness”, which is masculine. In order for us to impose the grammar of verse 6 on verse 8, verse 6 would have to read: “the Spirit, the water and the blood bear witness”.

6. Bishop Middleton and Gregory of Nazianzus are discussing two things completely different. Gregory of Nazianzus has even left out from his citation the final words of verse 8, which is where bishop Middleton is entirely focusing his conjecture upon.

7. Erasmus inserted the comma in the third edition of the TR, not because of evidence but because of pressure because he had not found Greek support for the CJ previously. And Erasmus, Stephens and Beza did not examine the NA text, because it did not exist back then. The NA text is based upon the assumption that when the reading of codex Vaticanus and codex Sinaiticus coincides, then there is a strong indication that the resulting reading points to the original text but codex Sinaiticus was discovered in the 19th century when they begin to use both codices together for textual criticism.

Demian said...

* verse 8 would have to read: “the Spirit, the water and the blood bear witness”.

Unknown said...

Demian said,

"Anyone who reads the fathers realizes that they use far more allegorical interpretations than we do today. And Augustine in his work against Maximus is a historical witness of the mystical interpretation applied specifically to 1 John 5:8. He says that the Spirit represents the father, the blood represents the Son and the water represents the Spirit. We can disagree with their interpretation but we cannot deny the historical reality that some of the fathers adopted this mystical interpretation."

Yes, I would disagree with Augustine's interpretation. "Water" = Father; "Blood" = Son, and "Spirit" = Spirit. But Sean's question is then a good one: from where did Augustine get his understanding that 1 Jn 5:8 was a Trinitarian allusion? Couldn't have been from the gospel of John, since he does not follow that author's equation- Water=Father. He must, therefore, have been aware of the Comma, in my opinion.

Demian said...

Hey Matthew,

Augustine and you agree on Son = blood. He cited Jn 7:39 for his support on the water = Spirit and John 4:24 for Father = Spirit.

Unknown said...

Yes, Demian, we agree on Son = blood. Augustine was mistaken on equating "water" in 1 Jn with Spirit. While it is true that the author of John's gospel equates "living water" with Spirit, he contrasts the "water" from Jacob's well (= the law and the prophets, alias "the Father's dispensation) with this "living water" that Jesus gives (Jn 4:10-15) (= the Spirit, Jn 7:39). As I have shown in my paper on the Cana Miracle, the author of John's gospel compares/contrasts the three dispensations of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the first 4 chapters of his gospel via his symbolic use of the word "water", which symbolizes the law and the prophets, alias Father's dispensation.

Jn 1 he has the Baptist, who is being used as a personification of the law and the prophets, state 3x that he came baptizing with "water". The third time he adds concerning Jesus "the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit". So here we have Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Jn 2 he has Jesus turn "water" (Father's dispensation) into "wine" (=Holy Spirit's dispensation). This is a very complicated intertextual allegory (You should read my paper on it on Academia). So here, too, we have Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Jn 3 he has Jesus tell Nicodemus that he must be born of "water" (Father's dispensation) and Spirit. How? By believing in the One who has been lifted up- Jesus (Jn 3:14-15). So here, too, we have Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Jn 4 he has Jesus tell Samaritan woman that "water" (Father's dispensation) from Jacob's well (OT patriarch) will not satisfy spiritual thirst. Only "living water" (Jn 4:10) that comes from Jesus can satisfy. So here, too, we have Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Now, in 1 Jn 5 this author tells his readers that if you love the Father you will love the Son (1 Jn 5:1)- you will believe in Jesus. Then in 1 Jn 5:6, we are told that Jesus came by "water and blood"- "not by 'water' only, but by 'water' and blood". Similar to what he had Jesus tell Nicodemus- you must be born by "water" and "the Spirit". "Water" = the Father's dispensation- is necessary, but not all that is necessary. You also need the 'blood" = Son's dispensation. You also need "the Spirit". And these three are one. And they have manifested themselves on earth and in heaven.

Matt

Sean Bonitto said...

Hello Damien. While the Latin codex’s you mentioned F, in the 6th Century, and Amiatinus around 700AD, do not have the comma, the León Palimpsest a earlier Latin manuscript dated in the 7th Century, and the codex Codex Speculum dated in the same century as F, (5th Century), contain the comma, which textual evidence in favour of the comma, as most Latin manuscripts support the comma. Also F, contains the prologue by Jerome that the Johannine Comma is in fact genuine.

The argument from silence was clearly referring to your statement that the Greek Fathers never mentioned the comma, nor quoted the comma. However, there is evidence that Augustine possibly quoted the passage, “Therefore God supreme and true, with His Word and Holy Spirit (which three are one), one God omnipotent…” The City of God section, from Book V, Chapter 11.

Also, as I mentioned previously, I do not deny that they believed that the Spirit, water, blood represented the Trinity, but how did they ever come to this conclusion, when the context clearly does not directly teach this? This fact speaks in favour of the comma, fax I mentioned previously in my earlier comments, as there is absolutely no other reasonable explanation, that I can think of that would give them this explanation of the passage of 1 John 5:6-8.

You state the comma crept into the Latin text. Where is your evidence for this? This is complete conjecture, without any evidence at all. Is it fair to say that we are no longer in possession of many Greek and Latin manuscripts today, that Jerome, and others would have procession in there era. Yes absolutely!

Consider, the statement from Jerome, “ If, on the other hand, we are to glean the truth from a comparison of many, why not go back to the original Greek and correct the mistakes introduced by inaccurate translators, and the blundering alterations of confident but ignorant critics, and, further, all that has been inserted or changed by copyists more asleep than awake?… I therefore promise in this short Preface the four Gospels only, which are to be taken in the following order, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, as they have been revised by a comparison of the Greek manuscripts. Only early ones have been used”

Jerome's Preface to the Vulgate Version of the New Testament Addressed to Pope Damasus, A.D. 383.

Sean Bonitto said...

The same can be said concerning Erasmus, Beza, Stephens. To clear up the confusion concerning Erasmus, even Bruce Metzger who does not support the comma, clears up the false story of why Erasmus included the comma, "What is said on p. 101 above about Erasmus' promise to include the Comma Johanneum if one Greek manuscript were found that contained it, and his subsequent suspicion that MS 61 was written expressly to force him to do so, needs to be corrected in the light of the research of H. J. DeJonge, a specialist in Erasmian studies who finds no explicit evidence that supports this frequently made assertion." Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of The New Testament, 3rd Edition, p 291 fn 2.

The comma was not in many manuscripts as I stated before, but was still preserved in some. Just as 1 John is not in the majority of Greek manuscripts, but has been preserved in some. Therefore, the Word of God was preserved throughout all generations. Also the false Roman Catholic Church did not even allow people to read the Bible for centuries, but it was still preserved through Greek, Latin, Bible Versions, Early Church Fathers, and Lectionaries (ex: Apostolos or Collection of Lessons- 5th century Greek Lectionary). Again, neither Greek or Latin fathers has a monopoly on preservation, but God alone (Matthew 24:35). Therefore, I do not see how the comma has survived until this present time, but for the providence of the Lord Jesus Christ who has sustained it, and kept it (Matthew 24:35).

I know that the NA text was obviously not completed during the time of Erasmus, Stephens, Beza, etc, but they were certainly familiar with readings contained in the NA text, and refused them based on the evidence, and retained the johannine comma in their respective Received Texts.

It is of no consequence Grammatically whether or not the subject is before the particle, as 1 John 5:6 clearly refers to the Witness of the Holy Ghost as neuter and not masculine. The Holy Ghost is personalized and yet the passage in the Greek did not change the particle from neuter to masculine. As the reading stands in the NA text, there is no justification according to the rules of Greek grammar, that would constitute applying the masculine gender to three neuters for no apparent reason, especially when it was not done so in 1 John 5:6 with the Holy Spirit. However, when the comma is applied, all makes sense, the three Heavenly witnesses which are masculine, the Spirit also is attributed the masculine gender by the law of attraction, give the earthly witnesses, the masculine Gender due to the Heavenly witnesses of verse 7.

There is no way around this. This fact is clear, and the Grammar of the Greek language demands the comma. Hallelujah!

Lastly, my point with Bishop Middleton and Gregory, are that they are both exposing the Grammatical difficulty of the passage if the comma is not included. While they may be focused on different areas of the passage, both are acknowledging that the passage of 1 John 5:6-8, does not line up grammatically without the comma. This does not mean that Gregory is arguing in favour of the comma, but that he recognizes that the Greek grammarians of his era, acknowledge that the passage makes no sense as it stands without the comma.

Demian said...

Hi Sean,

1. I’m not surprised that you can find Latin manuscripts containing the comma after the 5th century. What I am surprised is that there is no Greek manuscript in the world that fully reads like the comma before the time of Erasmus. This is overwhelming, indeed.

2. You cite a passage from the city of God from Augustine that does not read like the comma at all and has no indication that Augustine himself is quoting from 1 John against Augustine himself elsewhere saying that he is quoting from 1 John and he does so without the witness “on earth”.

3. My evidence for the assertion that the comma is a Latin corruption is the fact that there is no Greek manuscript in the world that reads exactly like the comma of Erasmus before the time of Erasmus, not to mention the versional evidence against it. Plus the Greek fathers against it, heavy-weight Latin fathers who knew Greek against it like Ambrose, Augustine and Bede and the instability of the reading even in the Latin writers of the 5th century. Conjecture without any evidence at all? By the way I’m noticing that you didn’t answer my question on the preservation being in the church with Ambrose and Gregory of Nazianzus or outside the church with Priscillian.

4. Jerome is complaining of the instability of the Latin texts, thus justifying his work of going back to the ancients copies of the Greek text and he was sharply criticized for supposedly changing the word of God that people back then thought to be preserved in their Latin copies. See the authority of the Greek text over Latin translations in our Jerome and how it differs from your notion of preservation?

5. I’m aware of the false story about Erasmus that he didn’t promise to include the comma if he was shown a Greek manuscript supporting it. And I was careful when I was writing to be faithful to the historical data. Even though he didn’t promise anything, the fact remains that he didn’t include it in the first 2 editions because he found no support for it in Greek manuscripts. Then it was brought to his attention minuscule 61 that is a manuscript probably of the 1500’s whose reading is not exactly like the TR.

6. I also reject several Alexandrian readings contained in the NA. But the absence of the comma is not dependent upon the Alexandrian text at all. It’s absent also from the majority text, which is Byzantine and from Theophylact that was a strong reference for Erasmus when it comes to the Greek text.

7. About the Greek grammar, Gregory of Nazianzus does not think that there’s is no way around the masculine participle and the three complements in neuter but once you begin to disqualify the testimony of a Greek speaking father in the 4th century who grew up speaking Greek, wrote in Greek, dreamed in Greek, went to Church to have the scriptures read in Greek and so on then I agree that there’s no more way around this.

Eric Couture said...

I keep seeing the argument that the grammar demands it. I don't speak Greek so I can't weigh in on the grammar rules but this much I can say. Scrivener who was well verses in Greek didn't believed it belonged and he is very well versed in the Greek:

“We are here treading over the ashes of many a fiery debate, but the flame which once raged so fiercely is well-nigh extinct. It may be doubted whether a single person now living, who is capable of forming an intelligent judgment on critical subjects, believes or professes to believe in the genuineness of that interpolated gloss, familiarly known as the ‘Text of the Three Heavenly Witnesses’…. That it has no right to hold a place in the body of Scripture we regard as certain.” - Scrivener 1880

Also the majority text, the byzantine text, was compiled by Greek speaking people. Thousands of manuscripts don't contain the Comma by people who speak Greek fluently. I have to imagine if the Greek demanded verse 7 in order to be grammatically correct, Scrivener and the Byzatine people would have recognized the grammatical insufficiency of the missing verse 7. As would have Erasmus.

I just do not believe the grammatical argument works especially if you are not fluent in Greek and they all are. They clearly have no issue with verse 7 being absent grammatically.

Sean Bonitto said...

Hello Damien. As you know, as I have said previously, that there are multitudes of Greek copies the we no longer have in existence, and that few Greek copies that exist presently even contain 1 John.

The fact that we have clear agreeable evidence of the comma in the 4th Century, (although I believe earlier church fathers quote the comma) dating back to the early church fathers, and were in the same century of Sinaiticus, and Vaticanus which does not contain the comma, along with the prologue of Jerome in Codex Fudensis that recognizes unfaithful translators that have omitted the comma, reveals to me, that the comma endured a clear attack in the manuscript transmission, especially in the Greek.

To me, this would explain why today, there are few Greek copies that contain the comma. However, clear agreeable testimony of the comma dates back to at least the 4th century. Therefore the argument that no Greek copy reads like the comma version of today before Erasmus is misleading, due to the aforementioned evidence of the comma centuries before Erasmus.

Also the fact that Erasmus in his later editions of the TR, along with Stephens, and Beza in their respective Received Texts, along with the scholars who translated the King James Bible, after examining the evidence of manuscripts, quotations of early church fathers, and the grammar of the passage, etc, clearly retained the testimony of the Heavenly witnesses of 1 John 5:7.

Sean Bonitto said...

As for your comment that Augustine did not quote from 1 John 5:7 how do you know this? You do not, and neither do I definitively, however, where else from Holy Scripture do we see that the three referring to the Trinity are one, other than 1 John 5:7? The word on earth is a quote from 1 John 5:8, and it is possible that he decided not to quote on earth, or that it was a qoute from a manuscript variant that did not have on earth. Thus, it is complete conjecture to assume that we know what Augustine intended, or what occurred.

Your argument that because that the comma is an interpolation with all due respect, is a complete fallacy, and total conjecture. Is there any reference in church history that declares the comma to be an interpolation? And even if there was, which to my knowledge there is not, how would it prove it to be such? No Greek Father has declared the comma to be an addition to 1 John 5, and even Ambrose and Augustine who lived in the 4th Century, declare nothing against the comma.

If it was an interpolation, would these men have declared it to be such? Maybe, maybe not. But we know according to evidence that we have today, they did not. However, these men clearly declare that the woman taken in Adultery in John 7:53-John 8:1-11, is the genuine utterance of the Holy Ghost, but the majority of scholars today, erroneously believe it was not. Therefore, even if we found clear undisputed evidence of Greek fathers attesting to the authenticity of the comma, it would not convince many of it being genuine.

Therefore, to suggest that because they and other Greek Fathers to our knowledge today did not mention the comma in direct fashion, does not mean in anyway, shape, or form that they were against the reading of the comma. There is absolutely no evidence of this assertion. It is completely fallacious!

As for your question, I believed I have answered it. The Greek fathers are not more authoritative than the Latin fathers. Bible preservation means that God can preserve His Word through many means, which he has done through Church fathers, versions, manuscripts, etc.

Finally, as for Gregory speaking Greek, and thus his belief that there was no problem to the text, means that the grammar is correct, clearly is a fallacious argument. This is not evidence that Gregory was correct in his assertion at all, as he recognizes that the passage according to Greek grammarians does not line up with the rules of Greek grammar.

Can someone whose first language is not English, grammatically correct a native speaking English person concerning the rules of English grammar? Yes, absolutely. Therefore, respectfully, this argument is fallacious, and the Grammar of the passage and context of 1 John 5:6-8 demands the Johannine Comma, or the record of the Heavenly Trinity, “…And these three are one” (1 John 5:7).

Sean Bonitto said...

Hello Eric. As I appreciate Dr. Scrivener’s work on creating the Greek Text that underlines the King James Bible, if he truly believed that 1 John 5:7, or the Johannine comma was not a part of the Word of God, then why did he retain it in his Greek Text, or why did he even choose to complete a Greek Text that retains the comma? By him doing so, means that he would be adding to the Word of God, words he believed that God did not say. This is very troubling indeed. Nevertheless, his understanding of the evidence internally, should have convinced him of the genuiness of the article, for some reason he was blinded of this fact. This was unfortunate.

Nevertheless, Erasmus in his later editions of the TR, along with Stephens, Beza, in their received texts, along with the scholars who translated the King James Bible, etc, have all retained the comma and acknowledged it to be genuine.

Also, Greek scholars who also lived during the 19 Century as Dr. Scrivener, clearly have recognized that the Greek Grammar of 1 John 5:6-8 demands the inclusion of the comma. Bishop Thomas Middleton a renown Greek Grammarian who lived in the 19th century and wrote a whole book dedicated to the Greek Article, “The Doctrine of the Greek Article Applied to the Criticism and Illustration of the New Testament” testifies that he was aware of those who recognize the grammatical difficulty of the passage without the comma, and also how the Grammar of 1 John 5:8 specifically in reference to the definite article, makes no sense, or has no force or meaning without the Johannine Comma of 1 John 5:7.

“It has, however, been insisted that the omission of the rejected passage, rather embarrasses the context. Bengel regards the two verses as being connected..and yet it must be allowed that among the various interpretations there are some which will at least endure the absence of the seventh verse. But the difficulty to which the present undertaking has directed my attention is of another kind. It respects the article of EIS TO EN in the final clause of the eighth verse. If the seventh versehad not been spurious, nothing could have been plainer than that TO EN of verse 8 referred to EN of verse 7. As the case now stands, I do not perceive the force or meaning of the article.” - The Doctrine of the Greek Article.

Sean Bonitto said...

Also, 19th Century Theologian Robert Lewis Dabney also recognized the clear violation of Greek Grammar if the comma is omitted.

“The internal evidence against this excision, then, is in the following strong points:

First, if it be made, the masculine article, numeral, and particle…are made to agree directly with three neuters—an insuperable and very bald grammatical difficulty. But if the disputed words are allowed to stand, they agree directly with two masculines and one neuter noun… where, according to a well known rule of syntax, the masculines among the group control the gender over a neuter connected with them…

Second, if the excision is made, the eighth verse coming next to the sixth, gives us a very bald and awkward, and apparently meaningless, repetition of the Spirit’s witness twice in immediate succession.

Third, if the excision is made, then the proposition at the end of the eighth verse [and these three agree in one], contains an unintelligible reference… ‘And these three agree to that (aforesaid) One’… What is that aforesaid unity to which these three agree? If the seventh verse is exscinded, there is none… Let the seventh verse stand, and all is clear: the three earthly witnesses testify to that aforementioned unity which the Father, Word, and Spirit constitute.18

There is a coherency in the whole which presents a very, strong internal evidence for the genuineness of the received text”

R. L Dabney, Discussions of Robert Lewis Dabney, biographical sketch by B. B. Warfield, 2 vols. (Carlisle, PA, USA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1967).

There are more, but finally I will end with Gregory of Naziansus who lived in the 4th Century also acknowledges that the Greek Grammarians recognized that the passage makes no sense grammatically as it stands with the comma omitted.

The internal evidence alone, proves without a shadow of a doubt that the Johannine Comma is the true utterance of the Holy Ghost and that 1 John 5:7 must remain a clear part of the Holy Scriptures (Matthew 4:4).

Demian said...

Hi Sean,

Just a few things:

1. There is no evidence that any church Father quoted the comma before Priscillian. Cyprian and pseudo-Athanasius quoting verse 8 and pseudo-Jerome writing in the 5/6th century leaves you only with Priscillian in the 4th century. Below you will find his quote and then see if this is the preserved word of God:

As John says "and there are three which give testimony on earth, the water, the flesh, the blood, and these three are in one, and there are three which give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, and these three are one in Christ Jesus."

Notice that Priscillian has “flesh” instead of “Spirit” and the accretion “in Christ Jesus” at the end of verse 8. This is not the preserved word of God, word for word, is it?

2. The argument that Augustine may have left out “on earth” in his quote of first John only works if you need to impose your personal conclusion on the evidence. And then you propose that you and I don’t know if Augustine was quoting from first John. I’m not with you here. He says specifically that he is quoting from a letter of John with the exact words of 1 John 5:8 without “on earth”. The context of his passage also militates against any notion that he had verse 7 in his Bible with the heavenly witnesses. Augustine is definitely a witness against the comma.

3. How can church fathers like Augustine declare that the comma is an interpolation if they never saw it in their bibles? Also, the Greek fathers cannot comment on a variant about which they didn’t know anything for a Millenium. Witnesses cannot testify against something they never saw.

4. The majority of scholars today reject that the pericope adulterae was originally written in the gospel of John, but there are some voices in favor of it. Maurice Robinson and Wilbur Pickering for example defend that it was part of the original text of John. They have different models of transmission of the text, differing from the group of scholars you are criticizing. Have you heard what they have to say about the heavenly witnesses?

5. Gregory of Nazianzus is dealing with a heretical group that came up with arbitrary rules of grammar in order to deny the deity of the Holy Spirit. He is not dealing with honest believers in the context of the church. This is the key for understanding what he is saying in context. Here’s bishop Middleton on this quote:

“He is arguing against a sophism which turned on the difference between connumeration and subnumeration: it was contended, that persons or things equal in dignity and homöusian are connumerated; e. g. we say three men three Gods: whereas things unequal and not homöusian are enumerated, and that, which as being the lowest in dignity is placed last, was said to be subnumerated: thus from the formula, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the objectors inferred the inferiority of the last named Person. With this explanation the passage from Gregory will be intelligible”

By the way, bishop Middleton wrote a book on Greek articles discussing rules, problems and exceptions but in his entire comment on 1 John 5:7-8 there is not a syllable about the issue you are bringing up. If the masculine participle demands the existence of the comma, why didn’t he use it as part of his case?

Demian said...

I know that your quote of Dr. Dabney was not addressed to me, but allow me commenting on it. Dr. Dabney retracted his notion that the internal evidence demands the comma in the text when he realized about 10 years later that the external evidence was overwhelming against his position by the “unanimous consent of competent critics”. Here are his words:

Next, there was a suppression of this all-important fact, that since the development of the vast critical apparatus of our century, the textus receptus, whether by good fortune or by the critical sagacity of Erasmus or by the superintendence of a good providence, has been found to stand the ordeal amazingly well, has been accredited instead of discredited by the critical texts. So slight were the modifications in its readings clearly determined by the vast collations made by the critics of the immediately preceding generation (collations embracing every one of the bosted uncials, except the Sinai MS.), that of all the important various readings only one (1 John 5:7) has been given up to excision by a unanimous consent of competent critics (The southern Presbyterian review, volume 32, #3, July - 1881, article # 8 - The Revised Version of the New Testament, Dr. R. L. Dabney)

Eric Couture said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric Couture said...

Scrivener was not attempting to determine what the original said. That was not his job as part of the committee with Westcott and Hort. His job was to create a Greek text that was uniform with the KJV. He was very clear and adamant that 1 John 5:7 did NOT belong and had no issues with the grammar without it.

"There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

We are here treading over the ashes of many a fiery debate, but the flame which once raged so fiercely is well-nigh extinct. It may be doubted whether a single person now living, who is capable of forming an intelligent judgment on critical subjects, believes or professes to believe in the genuineness of that interpolated gloss, familiarly known as the “Text of the Three Heavenly Witnesses”…. That it has no right to hold a place in the body of Scripture we regard as certain." - Scrivener

I highly recommend you read his work. He was not at all a TR Advocate.

Also, it doesn't make sense for the Byzantine people to continually copy 1 John 5 and leave out verse 7 if there was a grammar problem. This was their native language. They had access to 1 John 5 7 in the Latin. They knew it existed and we have no evidence they they ever included it in their native manuscripts.

Demian said...

This is interesting… I just typed in the google translator this:

The three are bearing witness the Spirit the water and the blood.

And look at how it translated into Greek:

οι τρεις μαρτυρούν το Πνεύμα το νερό και το αίμα

One masculine participle and three complements in the neuter.

;-)

Demian said...

* masculine plural

Demian said...

Look at this. I translated the entire verse literally from Greek to English and then ran it through the google translator going from English back into Greek. Look at the result:

For three are that bear witness: the Spirit, and the water and the blood. And the three are into the one.

Διότι τρεις είναι αυτοί που μαρτυρούν: το Πνεύμα, και το νερό και το αίμα. Και οι τρεις είναι στο ένα.

“For three are that bear witness” is masculine
“The Spirit, the water and the blood” are all neuter
“And the three are into the one” is masculine

Exactly the same genders as written by John without the comma johanneum.

Andrew said...

Hi Eric,
If I may, I would like to respond to part of your comments.

"I keep seeing the argument that the grammar demands it. I don't speak Greek so I can't weigh in on the grammar rules but this much I can say. Scrivener who was well verses in Greek didn't believed it belonged and he is very well versed in the Greek:"

Scrivener was also on the Revised Version committee, his TR (despite some who use it) removed the "Amen" from Ephesians 6:24, and his edition of the KJV placed Psalm 9 and 10 into a single Psalm, as the LXX does. But he declined to perform the other changes contained in the LXX, resulting in a Bible that has 149 Psalms -- We all know that the Psalms in fact number 150, not a single one more or less.

Going beyond this, there are also many other unexplained unusual readings that Scrivener seemed to deliberately insert into both his TR and his KJV editions for no apparent reason whatsoever. For instance, his removing of "αὐτῶν" from 1 Corinthians 14:10 (only reflected in the Colinaeus TR edition of 1535), and inserting "καὶ" in Revelation 21:13 (only reflected in the Plantin TR edition 1584).

Why did he choose to follow these specific editions, for example, only when they presented unusual readings in the Greek text?

And what about, in addition, his removal of the "Amen" in Ephesians 6:24, which is not found in any major TR edition?

I checked all of Erasmus, all of the Stephanus, all of Beza, the 1624 and 1633 Elzevir editions, and many others. 24 different TR editions as well as the Complutensian. All include "Amen" at Ephesians 6:24, but Scrivener omits.

And in his edition of the KJV (Cambridge Paragraph Bible of 1873), Scrivener did the exact same thing as this. I will show this in a moment. Another thing he did was to alter punctuation on his own, seemingly in order to change the sense of certain passages. This seems to constitute a subtle meddling with the meaning of Scripture for personal purposes, which doesn't seem to be followed by any earlier or later KJV editions. For example, Scrivener inserted a comma in Psalm 105:6 after the word "Jacob." He also removed two commas from Colossians 2:2 (both after "God" and after "Father"), among similar examples.

What about Scrivener, for example, changing the word "for," into "For," in John 4:9, changing the implied speaker (check it for yourself!). Or Scrivener removing the capitalization of "Son" in John 8:35 (based on a typographical error in a few KJV editions). Or, what about Scrivener including an extra English word in 2 Thess. 2:15 - a change that seems to be an unusual typographical misprint found only in the 1613 printing of the King James Bible (to my knowledge), but yet reproduced by Scrivener in his new 1873 edition. Why did he do these things? I have dozens of other examples that I could raise of hunting and pecking for odd typographical mistakes, apparently borrowed from different printed editions, which Scrivener combined together in his edition here. He also seems to have excluded the "Amen" (from Ephesians 6:24 in his TR) based on one. These typographical mistakes are reproduced by Scrivener in his 1873 edition of the King James Bible (the same one which, quite shockingly and inexplicably, has only 149 Psalms).

(Note: Obviously I don't recommend using his TR or his Bible edition.)

But I ask this one question: Beyond any of that, can anyone explain why F.H.A. Scrivener chose to take part in the "Revised Version" committee along with Hort and Westcott? That had to have been a deliberate choice, am I right?

Eric, you also wrote:
"Thousands of manuscripts don't contain the Comma by people who speak Greek fluently. I have to imagine if the Greek demanded verse 7 in order to be grammatically correct, Scrivener and the Byzatine people would have recognized the grammatical insufficiency of the missing verse 7. As would have Erasmus."

Two things here. (1/2)

Andrew said...

Eric, you also wrote:
"Thousands of manuscripts don't contain the Comma by people who speak Greek fluently. I have to imagine if the Greek demanded verse 7 in order to be grammatically correct, Scrivener and the Byzatine people would have recognized the grammatical insufficiency of the missing verse 7. As would have Erasmus."

Two things here. Obviously, this is an argument from silence. I could just as easily frame the opposite argument on the same basis. Hardly anyone recognized that there was not a grammatical insufficiency as well. See? Obviously, I don't do arguments from silence. But if I did then that's what I could very easily say. I can just conclude, from most writers' lack of mentioning it (if should I want to make such an argument from silence) that they agree with me by default. You would have to prove that they don't. And every single person that didn't write about the subject agrees with me! There's nothing you or anyone can do about it or argue against it, if I choose to take that line. (This was so easy; maybe I should do this more!)

But even more importantly, if any of these writers, such as Scrivener, had, then they would not thereby negate or affect the reality that others have spoken about the insufficiency on grammatical grounds of the omitted version of 1 John 5:7-8. I'm clearly not the first one to point it out.

"I just do not believe the grammatical argument works especially if you are not fluent in Greek and they all are. They clearly have no issue with verse 7 being absent grammatically."

Again, where did all of these writers actually say, explicitly, there was no problem with it? This seems to be the argument from silence here. Do they agree with your position by default? Please forgive me if I'm mistaken, Eric.

Over what we've mentioned up to this point, there is also the matter of the antecedent to "αὕτη" (the witness connected to both "θεοῦ" and "αὐτοῦ" [of "υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ"]) in 1 John 5:9, which I alluded to earlier. Omit the CJ, and the antecedent to this witness in v. 9 (referred to by this word "αὕτη") is suddenly missing. There is no other preceding mention of the Father in the passage except in 1 John 5:7. To the best of my knowledge, this is another internal deficiency with the omission. (I am also willing to accept that my consideration of this missing antecedent may be wrong, but haven't encountered a refutation of this point either.)

Demian said...

Hi Andrew,

Real quick here. The witness of God in verse 9 can be easily taken as the foundation to what comes next. It suits well the context that will develop this idea of the witness of God being the eternal life in His Son until verse 13. Notice that verse 11 explains that the “αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ μαρτυρία” refers to the fact “that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son”.

Andrew said...

Demian,

I know there is a tendency for earlier comments to get buried, but just to be clear on a couple of things. Firstly, I don't think internal grammatical evidence is the most important or only means by which to validate First John 5:7-8. Obviously, that would open the door to lots of other emendations of solecisms. I don't think any reader would deny the existence of solecisms generally. But it is considered favorable for the inclusion on objective grounds if it does resolve such a striking solecism.

In this case, a neuter noun substantive indicated by masculine or feminine adjectives or pronouns, present only in the omission and nowhere else in Scripture. This is an objective fact, it's not just my opinion or belief. Are there any other examples of this? Examples that some have brought up - like Matthew 23:23 or First John 2:16 - these are examples of masculine and feminine nouns being construed with neuter nouns/adjectives/pronouns, and they are not the same thing as this (the omitted First John 5:7-8) at all. All I need to do here is point out that others have already raised this same exact issue in the past – so people do not need to get into arguing about or trying to stretch or construe peoples' words. There's just no need or opening for that to take place.

Remaining within the known objective evidence, we also see evidence for existence that is quite ancient among the witnesses we have today. Only one instance in all of Scripture of "καὶ οὗτοι οἱ τρεῖς ἕν εἰσιν", generally leads to favorable ascription of quotes for this Scripture. Something that can't be said for every passage. And wouldn't you know it, Cyprian provides an explicit reference to it once in "On the Unity of the Church." Paragraph 6. He also invokes that phrase a second time in Iubaianus 12.2 a few years later, as does Origen while providing those same words in Greek. You also have another occurrence of "qui tres unum sunt" in the Latin in Adversus Praxean, ch. 25 by Tertullian, and this was referenced, along with Cyprian, as the first in a long list of evidence by John Mill in the 1707 Magnum Opus. I don't see from my view how any person can explain this away as happenstance while remaining balanced.

And the versions of course play a special role, in helping to preclude skeptics today from calling this a "floating tradition," which is another angle they have taken. Of course the manuscript body in Greek needs to take the central role here, and it is without a doubt that none of the editors of the TR editions except for Colinaeus felt the slightest need to deviate from the words here proudly displayed. Thus I see in this a case similar to some other ones as in the end of Acts 10:6 (in all TR) or Revelation 22:21 ("you all" instead of "all the saints,") (all TR except Plantin 1584). Namely, that they had the manuscripts then that reflected this text.

From simple induction, it's an accepted fact, both that printed editions can reflect non-extant readings - This is already well-known in the case of the Complutensian Polyglot - and also generally that it can be taken for granted in the case of copyists overall, as long as one works with and refers to apographa. The copyists of the early church obviously had access to manuscripts we don't have today. If one objects to this use of multiple witnesses in the form of the oldest apographs of a given time as being not old enough, then by reduction to absurdity, that same one must also demand autographs as the only acceptable evidence to them. This argument holds if one accepts, or grants, such demands as being radically skeptical.

Andrew said...

In contradiction to this, it is sufficient to hold that at any given time, the overall state of existing evidence from past generations has been sufficient to ground Scripture historically. For the TR compilers, it stood entirely in MSS. Today, it stands mostly in MSS but also at least partially in them (however, never do I think this, the word of truth, is in one witness alone); so in any arbitrary time one might choose, this really leaves no room for doubt. Of course, supporting and circumstantial evidence exists in many cases: in particular, this strengthens our passage (and the skeptic must resort to many tricks and sleights). But this circumstance is due to the continuing changes in availability of some MSS. In general my difference, in approach, to higher criticism and that of skepticism, is one of philosophy. I advocate for the biblicist line, accepting the Bible as the word of God, while I accept the reality that others take a different metaphysical approach and act accordingly. I do however solemnly object that said opposing worldview is unrealistic. I also ask, why someone taking a nonchristian approach - or a metaphysically naturalist approach, not believing in the inspiration of Scripture - even has an interest in the Christian Scripture in the first place. There are so many biblical reasons one could point to why doing apologetics entirely on the world's terms is losing. John 15:19-20, James 4:4, Luke 16:13-15 all this Scripture makes one consider these things. As I said in my first post here, the final argument from fideism does away with all of these concerns here. If these concerns indeed do remain, rather than solely special pleading by the skeptic - it's the same whether they seek to remove or insert (i.e. introduce John 19:24 into Matthew 27:49). And I would like to present that final argument now. This is that our Lord and Savior is faithful, and we are not to lean on our own understanding. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Prov. 3:5-6).

Demian said...

Hey Andrew,

Just a few comments:

1. We have extensively dealt with Cyprian at this point and I don’t see anything new in your quote that needs to be addressed. Tertullian is quoting the second part of verse 8. “Et tres unum sunt” is exactly how codex Fuldensis and codex Amiatinus reads at the end of verse 8. Because some fathers interpreted the Spirit, the water and the blood as a reference to the persons of the Trinity, they saw a Trinitarian reference at the end of verse 8. So, in order for you to prove that he is quoting the heavenly witness of verse 7, you would have to show a quote with the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit in connection with “and these three are one”. Otherwise, that part of the verse cannot prove your point. At best, it can be used only in a cumulative case.

2. In psalm 123:2, Origen quotes these words: “οι γαρ τρεις το εν εισίν”. This is very close to what pseudo-Athanasius quoted and in the words of bishop Middleton that you accept as a Greek authority “nothing is more evident, than that this is a citation from the eighth verse”.

3. Many Greek manuscripts have been lost but we have around 500 of 1 John 5 telling us the story of at least 1,000 years of total absence of the CJ in the Greek church. Plus, its absence in the manuscripts of the earliest quotes of the verse even in the Latin fathers Ambrose and Augustine. It’s absent from heavy-weight Latin fathers like Leo the great writing in the context of an ecumenical council and the scholarly Bede in the 7/8th. It’s interesting to observe that textual criticism in the texts of the Vulgate itself (Oxford and Stuttgart editions) have concluded that the verse doesn’t belong in the Latin vulgate of Jerome. Tricks and sleighs? I call it responsible use of the evidence and preservation of a good conscience in the truth that God preserved for us.

4. I accept the Bible as the word of God and my worldview is fully consistent with it. I will assume that your uncharitable words like non-Christian, worldly apologetics and a naturalistic approach distrusting the inspiration of scripture were not directed towards me because nothing can be further from what I am.

5. My fideism is that I’m using the preserved word of God, the same as used by the Greeks for 1,500 years. The same Bible that Ambrose, Augustine, Gregory of Nazianzus, Bede, Theoplylact and others used and I’m member of the same church of God as they were.

Demian said...

6. Oh… about the solecism on the grammar of 1 John 5:8, the authority of Gregory of Nazianzus is good enough for me. One masculine subject and three complements in the neuter or one subject in the neuter and three complements in the masculine makes no difference, which invalidates the point that it’s OK to start in the neuter in 1 Jn 2:16 and have components in other genders, but not OK to start with a masculine and have other complements in the neuter. His authority settles the point.

Andrew said...

Hi Demian,

If you judge yourself to be in that group then it does apply, but if not then not. I get this based on Acts 13:46 (i.e. the idea of judging oneself unworthy of everlasting life). It's not for me to judge.

What I'm interested in pointing out is that I have reasons for what I believe. What I mean is like, if someone were to challenge my faith, saying that they take none of the Bible to be true, based on whatever reasons they try to give: then I would resort to the same reasoning that I am here. People can try to challenge my belief in God's word, but I for one will just reaffirm my belief in Scriptures and, Lord willing, point out the fallacies being used against it, whatever those may be. The reason why I say I believe in this passage is the same reason why I say I believe in the Bible as a whole. I think everyone really has to have that reason if they want to say they are a believer.

They have to be willing to deal with people who try to combat against faith with naturalistic reasoning.

And if that's true of the Bible in general then it's also true of belief in any particular part of the Bible as well.

Demian said...

God bless you brother Andrew. Just keep in mind that you are talking to believers who equally love the word of God and are able to defend it from the perspective of what has been kept pure in all ages and for the universal church, not just the Latin arm of it.