[textualcriticism] Augustine and the heavenly witnesses, Decimus Anusonius, Hippolytus, John Wesley
- Hi Folks,
Dear Steve, As usual you have presented a plethora of historical info for our consideration. Jolly good!
Welcome. I found that I was very uninformed originally about this historical info, and folks generally still are today. To take one moderately significant example, how many really knew about the City of God reference of Augustine, or the Fickermann conclusion that Augustine may well have knowledge of the verse ?
Or that Karl Pieper, no scholastic slouch by any means, argued for the verse authenticity based on a simple and powerful analysis of the Cyprian reference. How many have really considered the significance of the Council of Carthage (484 AD) evidence, with literally hundreds of bishops in attendance and the verse signalled out for doctrinal consideration ? Affirmed in an environment of pressure and persecution.
And where has modern textcrit shown any inclination to really consider such evidences ? Unless they are evidences supportive of Aleph and B, such as the Eusebius comments on the Markan ending, extant in 99.9%of Greek, Latin and Syriac manuscripts but still considered unoriginal non-scripture. Such considerations appear to be a smidgen one-sided.
The problem is that the biblical textual data that we have at present does not support the inclusion of these words as original to the autograpic text.
Well by current standards even if the Greek manuscript line supported the heavenly witnesses numerically, that would not remotely be enough support against the master uncial manuscripts
And data is meaningless without a system of interpretation. What the textual data supports is strictly a function of that methodology, and the Reformation experts looked at the data differently than today. At the very least, we should try to be able to understand why the paradigms and concepts were so different. At the most we may find their concepts more sensible that those scholastically in vogue today.
The understanding in the era of the Reformation, for many scholars (even into the 1800s and for a few unto today) entailed a system that was supportive of the heavenly witnesses as scripture. So the first question is .. why the difference ? That would make an interesting study. How did they look at the Latin and Greek lines, the early manuscripts, the early church writings, the Councils, the many internal evidences, .. even Erasmus makes a grammatical note on the verse in his annotations on the verse, pointed out by Nathaniel Ellsworth Cornwall (1812-1879).. annotations which, afaik, still lack an English translation despite their historical significance.
Does this deny, destroy or eradicate the entire biblical witness to the three indiviual persons in the Godhesd of biblical Christianity. Of course not.
The significance of the verse is more its overall place in the Battle of the Bible than a particularly doctrinal support. Not so much the Vulgate versus Reformation Bible battles (where it was only marginally involved, e.g. with Erasmus and Valladolid) but in the Reformation Bible (TR) defense contra the nouveau late 1700s to 1800s theories unto Westcott and Hort.
Much of the impetus for the textual upheaval was pushed along based on the idea that the verse must go (even Hort made it a centerpiece ... "1 John v 7 might be got rid of in a month"). The idea was basically .. how could the TR be okay ?.. look at the verse 1 John 5:7 ! The same is quite common today.
The heavenly witnesses fits beautifully within the Johannine writings, as in the Bengelius-Wesley poems, yet one of the historical mistakes in the battle (on many sides) is to try to decide the issue by doctrinal comfort !
After all, the highly-respected Grotius fought against the verse as an "Arian interpolation" and Luther's pastor-student John Bugenhagen accused the verse of being an "Arian blasphemy". Nope, that does not make any sense to me at all, yet it shows you the difficulty of trying to work the verse decisions by doctrinal angles rather than simpler Bible consistency and textual and historical and manuscript support considerations.
Ever since St Augustine noted the excise of the pericope de adulterae by some in some mss and codex Vaticanus omitted 1 Peter 5:3 as well as some slight editorial indications in P66 and 75 I have become more open to the possibility of heretical corruption. The wickedness of Decimus and the observations of St Hippolytus make this reasonable.
As an interesting aside, Knittel asserts that Decimus Ausonius (Latin poet of the 4th century) looks to be familiar with the verse, giving him as a positive, affirmative testimony !
New criticisms on the celebrated text: 1 John V. 7. (1829)
Franz Anton Knittel
Among the Latins also, in the 4th century, this expression 'Three are one' was familiar as a sacred phrase.
Ausonius, in his Poem bearing the name of " Gryphus," says,
" Tris numerus super omnia, Tris Deus unus"
Hopefully you will not consider that a negative consideration :) . Knittel was apparently the only writer who discussed Decimus in the context of the Bible verse.
While Charles Forster forcefully uses Hippolytus in the context of showing that the language of the heavenly witnesses came into the church writers simply because the verse was scripture.
A new plea for the authenticity of the text of the three heavenly witness .. (1867)
That his doctrine of the Godhead, and the terms for expressing it, were taken wholly and solely from Scripture, we know on Hippolytus's own authority in the following passage: in which he lays down the golden rule, that from Scripture alone we derive our
knowledge of God.
The great difficulty arises when we try to pinpoint the source of allusions and references in the patristic literature. This is why TC is still an art and not simply a mere mechanical science. Historical reconstruction is a sine quo non for TC and once one moves away from the objective historical textual data the art of TC comes into vogue. Our God reigns!
Speaking of art :) .. here is one writing of John Wesley on the verse.
5. Who is he that overcometh the world - That is superior to all worldly care, desire, fear? Every believer, and none else. The seventh verse (usually so reckoned) is a brief recapitulation of all which has been before advanced concerning the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. It is cited, in conjunction with the sixth and eighth, 1 John v, 6, 8 by Tertullian, Cyprian, and an uninterrupted train of Fathers.
And, indeed, what the sun is in the world,
what the heart is in a man,
what the needle is in the mariner's compass,
this verse is in the epistle.
By this the sixth, eighth, and ninth verses 1 John v, 6, 8, 9 are indissolubly connected; as will be evident, beyond all contradiction, when they are accurately considered. (John Wesley, with appreciation to Bengelius, Explanatory Notes, 1754)
- Erasmus 1516, Stephanus 1550, Beza 1598, Elzevier 1624, Scrivener 1887 (Critical TR) and 1894 (TR) available in PDF on:
Von Soden in: Resources
Teunis van Lopik
--- In email@example.com, Jan Krans <jlhkvu@...> wrote:
> Erasmus has APELQEN (???????) in the 1516 edition (not yet online to my
> knowing); his translation also has the singular. The 1535 edition reads
> the same (online at erasmus.org), so I presume that the other editions
> in between also have it.
> As far as I know, only Erasmus' editions have the singular here.
> Greetings, Jan Krans
> On 21-10-10 11:14, Wieland Willker wrote:
> > In Mk 6:32 some manuscripts read APHLQEN instead of APHLQON:
> > f13, 2, 22, 157, 700, Maj-part(E, F, G, H, V, Y, Gamma)
> > This is interesting because it means that Jesus went alone, without his
> > disciples.
> > Now, the original Luther version is reading this, too:
> > "Und er fuhr da in einem Schiff zu einer Wï¿½ste besonders."
> > Probably this is from Erasmus. According to Swanson manuscript 2 reads
> > APHLQEN, too. I have a PDF edition from some Erasmus text (Greek/Latin
> > from
> > 1700) which reads APHLQEN, but I am not sure what text exactly this is.
> > Stephanus and Scrivener read APHLQON.
> > Which GNT editions read APHLQEN? Does the original Erasmus edition
> > read it?
> > Is it available online?
> > When was it changed into APHLQON?
> > Best wishes
> > Wieland
- Excuse me: Erasmus 1516, etc. in:
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "TeunisV" <tvanlopik@...> wrote:
> Erasmus 1516, Stephanus 1550, Beza 1598, Elzevier 1624, Scrivener 1887 (Critical TR) and 1894 (TR) available in PDF on:
> Von Soden in: Resources
> Teunis van Lopik
> --- In email@example.com, Jan Krans <jlhkvu@> wrote:
> > Wieland
> > Erasmus has APELQEN (???????) in the 1516 edition (not yet online to my
> > knowing); his translation also has the singular. The 1535 edition reads
> > the same (online at erasmus.org), so I presume that the other editions
> > in between also have it.
> > As far as I know, only Erasmus' editions have the singular here.
> > Greetings, Jan Krans
> > On 21-10-10 11:14, Wieland Willker wrote:
> > >
> > > In Mk 6:32 some manuscripts read APHLQEN instead of APHLQON:
> > > f13, 2, 22, 157, 700, Maj-part(E, F, G, H, V, Y, Gamma)
> > >
> > > This is interesting because it means that Jesus went alone, without his
> > > disciples.
> > > Now, the original Luther version is reading this, too:
> > > "Und er fuhr da in einem Schiff zu einer Wï¿½ste besonders."
> > >
> > > Probably this is from Erasmus. According to Swanson manuscript 2 reads
> > > APHLQEN, too. I have a PDF edition from some Erasmus text (Greek/Latin
> > > from
> > > 1700) which reads APHLQEN, but I am not sure what text exactly this is.
> > >
> > > Stephanus and Scrivener read APHLQON.
> > >
> > > Which GNT editions read APHLQEN? Does the original Erasmus edition
> > > read it?
> > > Is it available online?
> > > When was it changed into APHLQON?
> > >
> > > Best wishes
> > > Wieland
> > >