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Re: [textualcriticism] ossified scholarship -> Westcott has Augustine "complete the gloss" -- 30 years after Priscillian quotes verse from Bible!

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  • ron minton
    Steven, quite impressive and I agree with most of what you say. Do you think the wolf or 1 John 5:7-8 is genuine? If so, why would we not argue for other
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 31, 2012
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      Steven, quite impressive and I agree with most of what you say.  Do you think the wolf or 1 John 5:7-8 is genuine?  If so, why would we not argue for other passages which are far better attested by external evidence?
      If I am correct, and I have not checked in a long while, there are still only four Greek mss. with the passage.  Is'n this correct?
      ms. # 629 (Codex Ottobonianus) - fourteenth century
      ms. # 61 (Codex Montfortianus) - sixteenth century
      ms. # 918 (in Spain) - sixteenth century
      ms. # 2318 (in Romania) - eighteenth century

      ms. # 221 (in Oxford) - tenth century
      ms. # 88 (in Italy) - twelfth century (sixteenth century hand)
      ms. # 636 (in Italy) - fifteenth century
      ms. # 429 (in Wolfenbuttel) - fifteenth century 

      Ron Minton - Ukraine

      On Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 12:32 PM, Steven Avery <stevenavery@...> wrote:


      The following is a good example of problems in modern textual criticism analysis, when an esteemed analyst errs on the basics:

      a) pesky facts overtaking a theory

      b) the dangers of assuming that the extant references are all the historical references

      c) ossified scholarship

      d) lack of critical examination

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

      When Brooke Foss Westcott wrote his note about the heavenly witnesses in his 1883 commentary, Westcott offered his theory of verse development and interpolation (always a fascinating area of study). And we will look at a couple of aspects of his theory. 

      Westcott was largely taking the Richard Porson approach to verse development, while discarding  the harsh Porson accusations of forgery.  The earlier Erasmus and Newton attempts to blame Jerome (forger and falsifier per Erasmus, even though he normally respected Jerome) had fallen under a cloud.  An attempt by Unitarians to blame Vigilius of Thapsus as a forger who had created the verse fell by the wayside. And the short-lived attempt of Karl Künstle (1859-1932) to put the onus on Priscillian did not arrive until 1905.

      Emphasis added, from Westcott:

      The epistles of St John: the Greek text, with notes and essays (1883)
      The First Epistle of St. John
      Additional Note on v. 7, 8.
      Brooke Foss Westcott
      The same mystical interpretation is found in Augustine (c. Maxim, it. 22), and Eucherius (Instruc. i. ad loc. Migne, Patr. Lat. l. 810); and Augustine supplies
      the word 'Verbum,' which is required to complete the gloss
      : Deus itaque summus et verus cum Verbo suo et Spiritu Sancto, quae; tria unum sunt, Deus unus et omnipotens (de Civ. v. 11). (p. 194)

      Here is the main part of the City of God reference from Augustine that, per Westcott, "completes the gloss" :

      Therefore God supreme and true, with His Word and Holy Spirit, which three are one,
      one God omnipotent, creator and maker of every soul and of every body...
      A strong verse allusion per verse defenders like Arthur-Marie Le Hir and Charles Forster, while Warren H. Hepokoski wrote that this allusion to the heavenly witnesses is "conveniently ignored by the critics".  (Hepokoski I believe was referring more to the modern critics, Metzger and beyond.)

      Here is the fuller section:


      The City of God by Saint Augustine,
      Translated by Marcus D. D. Dods;  (New York: Modern Library, 1950) 

      On Seeing God
      On the Presence of God
      11. Concerning the universal providence of God in the laws of which all things are comprehended

      Therefore God supreme and true, with His Word and Holy Spirit (which three are one), one God omnipotent, creator and maker of every soul and of every body; by whose gift all are happy who are happy through verity and not through vanity; who made man a rational animal consisting of soul and body, who, when he sinned, neither permitted him to go unpunished, nor left him without mercy;

      BOOK V [XI] Deus itaque summus et verum cum Verbo suo et Spiritu sancto, quae tria unum sunt, Deus unus omnipotens, creator et factor omnis animae atque omnis corporis, cuius sunt participatione felices, quicumque sunt veritate, non uanitate felices, qui fecit hominem rationale animal ex anima et corpore, qui eum peccantem nec inpunitum esse permisit nec sine misericordia dereliquit;

      And the above text is such a clear allusion that Brooke Westcott accuses it of actually being part of the verse creation process ! ..
      "complete the gloss"
      ...  because of the use of Verbum.


      (pic of Westcott 1883 section from p. 194, url above, with text from 2 paragraphs ..
      from .. to ..  "The same mystical interpretation... margin into the text")

      At the time of the Westcott 1883 writing, the first fully accepted and definitive extant evidence referencing the verse from John as scripture was fifth century. SO Westcott spun the "complete the gloss" theory above.  By that reckoning, the verse was first quoted as scripture, spuriously, by Vigilius of Thapsus, or the writings connected with his name.

      And notice how Westcott craftily bypasses the salient fact that the verse was, not much later than Augustine, affirmed

      And notice how Westcott craftily bypasses the salient fact that the verse was affirmed, not much later than Augustine, by hundreds of orthodox bishops in the statement of faith at the Council of Carthage of 484!  In the face of Arian pressure and persecution.  As a verse from John that is "clearer than the light"... luce claris. This is an irresponsible and surprisingly common omission from those writing against verse authenticity.

      The significance of the Carthage confession is a discussion that has a number of its own fascinating historical twists and turns. Charles Butler challenged Richard Porson on the question.  The learned Ambrosious Dorhout (1699-1776) wrote of this confession and history
      instar centenorum codicum, qui eptimae notae sunt seculi V.,
      equivalent to that of a hundred of the best MSS. of the fifth century --- (Christian Observer, 1824 p.683)
      Returning to his Augustinian "gloss", Westcott even offers a type of nouveau psycho-babble (Dr. Phil and Deepok Chopra style) explanation for the Bible tampering insertion ... stress!
      The gloss which had thus become an established interpretation of St .John's words Is first quoted as part of the Epistle in a group of writings connected with the name of Vigilius of Thapsus (c. 490). It was not unnatural that in the stress of the Arian persecution words which were hold to give the plain meaning of St John's words as they were read should find their way from the margin into the text. (Westcott, p. 194)
      (Note: Raymond Brown in the Anchor Bible commentary, 1982, gives a good breakdown of the 10 books on the Trinity, Contra Varimadum and the Historia persecutionis, Council of Carthage, references, all in the same period, stress or stress-free.)

      And I will remind our dear readers that there is no actual historical evidence of the verse in the margin of any early manuscripts, neither primary evidence, or secondary evidence.  This is all conjecture, supposition and theory. Writing about the verse in New Criticisms, the very sharp Franz Anton Knittel (1721-1792) quotes Augustine and Bernoulli about the problem of having an "extravagant attachment to our own opinions..." (Augustine) and the warning to "attach no greater value to things than they really possess" (Bernoulli).

      It is always rather easy to make conjectures about what occurred, however in fairness the "facts on the ground" should also be pointed out -- when there is no real evidence for complex conjectures.  Think Ockham.

      Let us continue with the Westcott history.

      In 1886 was published the 2nd edition of The Epistles of St. John by Westcott.  The Expositio Fidei (from the Ambrosian MS., which also contains the Muratorian canon fragment) had been published by Carl Paul Caspari (1814-1892) in 1883.
      "Sicut euangelista testatur quia scriptum est, 'Tres sunt qui dicunt testimonium in caelo pater uerbum et spiritus: '
       et haec tria unum sunt in Christo lesu. Non tamen dixit ' Unus est in Christo lesu
      So, possibly realizing that the verse quoting was extensive in the era, Westcott simply dropped the reference to Thapsus. And Westcott nicely gave a bit more information about the many verse quotes in the period. However, Westcott still craftily managed to avoid referencing the hundreds of bishops at the Council and their confession of faith contra the Arians under Hunneric!  Second edition - http://books.google.com/books?id=6_JJAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA204 (1886)

      Then some more pesky evidence came in that overturned this cute Westcott verse development theory.  The Priscillian citation of the heavenly witnesses was discovered and published by Georg Schepss (1852-1897) in 1889.
      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."
      Sicut Ioannes ait: Tria sunt quae testimonium dicunt in terra: aqua caro et sanguis; et haec tria in unum sunt et tria sunt quae testimonium dicunt in caelo: pater, verbum et spiritus; et haec tria unum sunt in Christo Iesu.
      So does Westcott reexamine his theory?  Remember .. "complete the gloss"?  Nahh..
      Westcott simply transfers it over to Priscillian, as we see in his 3rd edition of The Epistles of St. John in 1892.

      The gloss which had thus become an established interpretation of St John's words is first quoted as part of the Epistle in a tract of Priscillian (c 385) .
      http://books.google.com/books?id=1hRWAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA203 (1892, Westcott third edition)

      Wait a minute. Buzzz.  Logical disconnect!
      Westcott is so bogged in his own textual biases and theory fixation that :

      Westcott does not even notice that he now has Augustine "complete the gloss" with "verbum" from the City of God. 

      Check the dates.

      The heavenly witnesses verse is already in the Bible of Priscillian, with verbum, three decades before Augustine even writes "City of God".

      And this passes for scholarship. 
      See my 4 four points in the introduction above.

      Steven Avery
      Queens, NY

      There was around the same time a similar historical dynamic of arguments demolished, or at least severely undercut.
      Involving the Vulgate Prologue "forgery".

      Grace be with you,
      Ron Minton - Ukraine
      Ukraine cell = +38.091.357.20.51
      Skype = 240-949-2653
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