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Thread: John Wallis - mathematician

  1. Default John Wallis - mathematician

    John Wallis (1606-1703)
    John Wallis (/ˈwɒlɪs/;[2] 3 December 1616 – 8 November 1703[3]) was an English clergyman and mathematician who is given partial credit for the development of infinitesimal calculus. Between 1643 and 1689 he served as chief cryptographer for Parliament and, later, the royal court.[4] He is credited with introducing the symbol ∞ to represent the concept of infinity.[5] He similarly used 1/∞ for an infinitesimal. John Wallis was a contemporary of Newton and one of the greatest intellectuals of the early renaissance of mathematics.[6]

    Three sermons concerning the sacred Trinity (1691)
    John Wallis;view=fulltext
    p. 42-50

    And it is so far from being strange, that such Omissions should sometimes happen; that it is very strange (if there were not a great Providence of God to preserve the Scri∣ptures pure and entire) that there should be no more such mistakes than what are found. For (before the convenience of Printing was found out) when Copies were to be singly transcri∣bed one from another, and even those but in a few hands: 'Twas very possible, (and hard∣ly avoidable,) even for a diligent Transcriber, sometime to skip a line. Especially, (which is the case here) when some of the same words do again recur after a line or two; Men are very subject, both in Writing and Printing, (as those well know who are versed in either,) to leap from one word, to the same recurring soon after. Nor is such Omission (when it happens) readily discerned, if (as here) the sense be not manifestly disturbed by it.
    Now when such variety of Copies happens (that words be found in some, which are wanting in others,) this must either happen by a Casual mis-take, (without any design of Fraud: ) or by a willful Falsification; as to serve a particular turn; (which I take to be the case of the Papists, Indices Expurgatorii.)And, as to the words in question; If the difference of Copies happened at first by a Casual mistake, (as I am apt to think,) 'tis very easy for a Transcriber (unawares) to leave out a Line which was in his Copy (especially where such omission doth not ma∣nifestly disturb the sense; ) but not to put in a line which was not there. And, in such case, the Fuller Copy is likelyest to be True, and the Omission to be a Fault. Which happen∣ing (as it seems it did) some hundreds of years ago, in some one Copy; it might easily pass (unobserved) into many others transcribed thence (and so to others derived from those Transcripts.) But an Insertion (of what was not in their Copy) must needs be willful, and not casual.On the other side; If this variety of Co∣pies were at first from a willful Falsification; It is much more likely to be a willful Omission of the Arians, in some of their Copies, (which might be done silently, and unobserved; ) than by a willful Insertion of the Orthodox.For the Insertion of such a clause, if wholly New, and which had never before been Heard of; would have been presently dete∣cted by the Arians, as soon as ever it should be urged against them.

    And it is the more likely to be Genuine, be∣cause in this clause (The Father, the Word, and the Holy-Ghost) the second Person is called sun∣pliciter, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the Word; which is St. John's Language, both here, and in his Gospel, Joh. 1. And is (I think) peculiar to him; and not so used by any other of the Holy Writers of the New Testament.

    I do not deny but that this second Person may be called the Word of God, in Heb. 11.3. By Faith we understand that the Worlds were framed by the Word of God. And 2 Pet. 3.5, 7. By the Word of God were the Heavens of old, and the Earth, &c. and by the same Word they are kept in store. As he is by the same St. John, Rev. 19.13. His name is called, the Word of God. But to call him the Word absolutely (without other addition) I think is peculiar to St. John. And therefore much more likely in this place, to have pro∣ceeded from the same Pen, and not to have been inserted by an Interpolater some hun∣dreds of years after. And that clause These Three are One, in the Epistle, agreeing so well with I and the Father are one in the Gospel, is a further confirmation of their being both from the same Pen.

    Add to this, That the Antithesis which we find in the 7th and 8th Verses, is so very Na∣tural; that it is a great Presumption to be Ge∣nuine. There are Three that bear record in Hea∣ven, The Father, the Word, and the Holy-Ghost, and these Three are One: And there are Three that bear witness in Earth, The Spirit, and the Water, and the Blood, and these Three agree in One. Which as it stands, is very Natural; but the latter clause would seem lame without the former: and the words in Earth wholly redundant in the latter, if not by Antithesis to answer to the words in Heaven, in the former Verse.

    This is largely the material used by:

    Samuel Mather

  2. Default Rampelt commentary on John Wallis material

    Three Persons in One Man: John Wallis on the Trinity (2002)
    Jason M. Rampelt

    Problems with Wallis’s Exegesis
    a. 1 John 5:7

    1 John 5.7 Many other texts are offered with varying levels of explanation in favor of the Trinity. Wallis argues from Jn 16.7, 8; 14.26; 15.26 for the connection between the Son and the Spirit and for the primacy of all three from the baptismal formula of Matt 28.19. But he makes the greatest number of references, totaled from his Letters and Sermons, to 1 Jn 5.7-8a, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three arc one. And there arc three that
    bear witness in earth...” (KJV). It is Wallis’s pattern in all of his writing in every field to make the matter at hand as easy to understand as possible. For this reason he concentrates his focus on the one text that reveals the Trinity in the most obvious terms. Unfortunately, for Wallis, the most Trinitarian text of all of the Bible is also one of the most dubious at the level of textual criticism. Wallis’s opponents were aware of the fact and spared no opportunity of pointing this out to him.

    Modem scholars, with the exception of a small minority, have rejected the authenticity of the passage.103 Biddle and Nye both rejected the passage for some of the same reasons. Wallis might have defused objections to the doctrine of the Trinity based
    on a rejection of this text if he had placed greater emphasis on other places. This is, in fact, his practice in dealing with Jn 17.3 where he says quite clearly that it is necessary to draw our conclusions about a doctrine from other places when the one at hand is not decisive. It is strange that someone so capable of drawing the doctrine out of so many other places in the Scriptures would give so much attention to a debatable text such as this one.

    Wallis offers several arguments in favor of keeping the text:
    1. Some MSS omit other passages as well. We should not omit a passage simply because there is some question as to its authenticity. Each needs to be judged on its own merits;104
    2. An omission is more likely than an addition;
    3. An omission is easily explained by parablepsis;105
    4. If there was a willful falsification, it would more likely be on the part of the Arians;106
    5. If the text had been added, it would have been noticed the moment it was leveled against the Arians by the Athanasian party;
    6. The word “heaven” is in natural literary contrast to the word “earth”;107
    7. The verse is cited by Cyprian in De Unitate Ecclesiae and Epistle ad Jubaianum, and by Tertullian in adversus Praxeam, 25, who are both early testimonies.

    These arguments are of varying value. Wallis is correct, that differing testimonies do not warrant immediate retraction of a text, but Wallis is not well informed concerning the relative weight of various MSS. Although Wallis is clearly in error here, his other exegetical discussions reflect a high degree of scholarship and, being carefully argued, far outweigh his errors concerning 1 Jn 5.7

    Cerberus (not Cerebus )

    Thomas Edwards says in his Gangraena, “In some manuscripts of one Paul Best, there are most horrid blasphemies of the Trinity, of Christ, and of the holy Ghost, calling the Doctrine of the Trinity, a mystery of iniquity, the three headed Cerebus, a fiction, a Tradition of Rome, Monstrum biforme, triforme, with other horrid expressions borrowed from hell, not fit to be mentioned.”15

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