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Thread: Athanasius - review of heavenly witnesses references

  1. Default Athanasius - review of heavenly witnesses references

    This would be a good section to include ALL the various Athansius (and supposed Ps-Athanasius, including the Disputation with Arius at Arius) heavenly witnesses reference points.

    Three historical scholars stand out:
    William Cave
    Du Pin
    (with some checking of Simon, Newton, Whiston, etc.)

    Some of the major secondary sources used or to be checked (which give primary source referencing):

    David Martin
    Thomas Emlyn
    Franz Knittel
    John Jones (Ben David)
    Charles Forster
    Henry Thomas Armfield
    Grantley McDonald
    Jeroen Beekhuizen
    my notes (that augment the Wikipedia refs)

    Among the Athanasius scholars:
    Annette Stockhausen
    Gerald J. Donker
    Peter J. Leithart

    Last edited by Steven Avery; 09-16-2018 at 03:06 PM.

  2. Default Athanasius - Disputation Contra Arius at Nicea

    Disputation Contra Arium

    This is likely a fourth century work either by or about Athanasius at Nicea.

    Some scholarship has tried to make it later, and Charles Forster is excellent in correcting that error.

    We start with the KJVToday section.


    By "Athanasius", it is meant Athanasius (c. 296 – 373 AD) or Pseudo-Athanasius (c. 350 - c. 600 AD). Athanasius quoted the Comma in Disputatio Contra Arium:

    "Τί δὲ καὶ τὸ τῆς ἀφέσεως τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν παρεκτικὸν, καὶ ζωοποιὸν, καὶ ἁγιαστικὸν λουτρὸν, οὗ χωρὶς οὐδεὶς ὄψεται τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν, οὐκ ἐν τῇ τρισμακαρίᾳ ὀνομασίᾳ δίδοται τοῖς πιστοῖς; Πρὸς δὲ τούτοις πᾶσιν Ἰωάννης φάσκει· «Καὶ οἱ τρεῖς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν.»"

    "But also, is not that sin-remitting, life-giving and sanctifying washing [baptism], without which, no one shall see the kingdom of heaven, given to the faithful in the Thrice-Blessed Name? In addition to all these, John affirms, 'and these three are one.'" (Translation by KJV Today)

    ONLINE LINK to Disputatio Contra Arium

    The quote, "Καὶ οἱ τρεῖς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν", is likely from the Comma rather than verse 8 because it lacks "εις (in)". This somewhat hesitant tagging of the Comma at the end of the statement is consistent with the Comma being a minority reading in the early Greek church. The Comma, though worth quoting, was not the crux of Athanasius' argument.
    KJVToday is a bit too mild here. The baptism has the three-fold designation in Matthew 28:19, which clearly matches verse 7, and has no relation to verse 8. The same can be said about "thrice-blessed name", since there is no name in verse 8.

    NT Textual Criticism - May, 2015 (more material added here) s=90&comment_tracking={"tn"%3A"R"}

    ...I will share the short section from the doctrinally quirky yet often analytically astute John Jones (Ben David) on the disputation.

    (The solid studies on this issue are David Martin, John Jones, and Charles Forster, even though Jones and Forster take very different positions on Athanasius. Frederick Nolan is also helpful. )

    Note: Charles Forster is here, and is a superb section, his material is mostly from p. 51-52 and 59-63, with the Synopsis of Scripture in between. (Note that the word 'spurious' when used by contras often give a false impression. Both are excellent Greek writings, and would be powerful evidences whoever the author, we may discuss all this more later. However, Forster decisively shows that both are non-spurious anyway.)

    New Plea

    But does St. Athanasius nowhere directly and distinctly refer to v. 7 ? If the 'Synopsis Scripturae,’ or the ‘Dialogue between an Arian and an Athanasian,’ published in his works, be either of them his, he certainly does. Both documents, however, I am well aware, have been set down as spurious. Editors and critics seem agreed in this judgment. As it rests, however, solely upon grounds of internal evidence, a line of proof where critics and editors have so often proved mistaken, the judgment is open to review and reversal.
    Forster superbly points out the corroborative usage in this section of:

    1 John 4:13
    Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us,
    because he hath given us of his Spirit.

    even before - "In addition to all these, John affirms, 'and these three are one.'"

    Giving extra context to the clear 1 John usage, and pointing to the heavenly witnesses verse. The powerful section from Forster on p. 59-63 that goes into the style and themes of Athanasius really seals the issue that much more. This writing was either directly by Athanasius, or somebody reporting at the time accurately as to the arguments of Athanasius.


    Monthly Repository 1826 Vol 21
    Ben David

    Athanasius, in the fourth century, quotes the verse, with reference to John as its author. The passage is this:

    "Is not that lively and saving baptism, whereby we receive remission of sins, administered in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit? And St. John says, And these three are one."

    See Porson's Letters, p. 213. This quotation is evaded by saying, that the dialogue between an Athanasian and an Arian, in which this paragraph occurs, is supposed to be spurious. The argument is, that some things are said in it, which are worthy only of a doating monk: ... This, however, is a gratuitous assumption, and the dialogue is as authentic as any other of the works of Athanasius. The piece came down among his works and under his name. It was composed when the Arian controversy was raging, which was in the fourth, not in the seventh century, and there occurs in it an incidental notice of the Joint reign of Constantine and Constantius, A. G. 337, as a period of recent occurrence

    SA: In another writing, Letter #3 - Quarterly Review, Ben David adds:

    "I believe there is no solid ground whatever for this supposition; nor would it have been countenanced, had it not been for the advantage it gives to the adversaries of the disputed verse. And I request my reader to weigh the following reasons:--- Mention is made in it of the joint reign of Constantine and Constantius in the year A.C. 337. This appears to have been made incidentally, and not by any means with the design of foisting it on the public as a genuine production of Athanasius. It is reasonable to suppose that the Dialogue was composed at the period when the Arian controversy was raging; and this was in the age of Constantine, and not in the seventh century.

    Above all, the authority of the verse is quoted with a precaution which the acuteness and vigilance of the Arians required in that age; but which was not necessary in the age of Maximus, when the verse was openly trumpeted forth without fear and without disguise."

    Another question: If the writing had been late, where did Maximus or the proposed writer find the verse and construct the arguments?

    More importantly, though, the writing looks to be historically and stylistically authentic, with the solid provenance of simply coming down with the writings of Athanasius, and what we would call 4th century doctrinal timing as well.

    The attempt to change the authorship and dating is a common contra ploy with historical evidences.

    As was attempted with the Vulgate Prologue by Jerome, an attempt that was deep-sixed by the discovery that the earliest Vulgate ms, Codex Fuldensis, produced under the auspices of the learned Victor of Capua, has the Prologue. Refuting the theory that this was a 800 AD foisted forgery. (Even if contras are slow to smell the herb tea.)


    And about the historical nature of the disputation, John Henry Newman (learned on the ECW) writes:

    The Arians of the Fourth Century (1876)
    John Henry Newman

    "The discussions of the Council commenced in the middle of June, and were at first private. Arius was introduced and examined; and confessed his impieties with a plainness and vehemence far more respectable than the hypocrisy which was the characteristic of his party, and ultimately was adopted by himself. Then followed his disputation with Athanasius."

    Note to check: and 592 - "Sed hi tres unus"

    This reference shows that the idea that Nicea did not know of the heavenly witnesses is a myth, thus supporting the usage by Athanasius.

    Nicea - heavenly witnesses use by Heraclianus contra the arian Germinius
    Gerhard Schmid offers an objection related to a source to check:

    Concilium universale Ephesenum anno 431

    "the wording of Pseudo-Athanasius is exactly the same as the wording in Concilium universale Ephesenum anno 431, which quotes the passage of 1 John 5 without the Heavenly Witnesses"
    Some question whether Athanasius could have debated with Arius at the Council (he was young, not a high enough position, etc.)"

    The Arians of the Fourth Century (1876)
    John Henry Newman

    "The discussions of the Council commenced in the middle of June, and were at first private. Arius was introduced and examined; and confessed his impieties with a plainness and vehemence far more respectable than the hypocrisy which was the characteristic of his party, and ultimately was adopted by himself. Then followed his disputation with Athanasius."
    Here is Grantley McDonald, putting aside his one-dimensional Arian contra conjecturing and ongoing allegory speculation, he is good on actual texts. He references this in at least three distinct places. Note, though, as is his style, he simply ignores the very strong work of men like Charles Forster, who delves deeply into the Athanasius issues, and Henry Thomas Armfield.

    the spurious Disputation of Athanasius against Arius at the Council of Nicaea, in which the Trinitarian formulation used in the liturgy of baptism is associated with the phrase “and these three are one.”26

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    Also Grantley notices that this came up by Thomas Emlyn, and thus it is in David Martin as well. Martin argues quite excellently to the arguments of Emlyn on the two references related to Athanasius, however this is not even mentioned by Grantley. Overall, Emlyn has 64 references, Martin has 4!

    Biblical Criticism in Early Modern Europe

    In favour of the authenticity of the comma, Mill could adduce the pseudo-Athanasian Disputation against Arius. But as Emlyn stated, it is unclear whether this passage refers to v. 7 or 8, and whether the pseudonymous author was from the eastern or western church.569

    569 Emlyn 1715, 10, 22-23; cf. PG 28:50: 'Πρὸς δὲ τούτοις πᾶσιν Ἰωάννης φάσκει· «Καὶ οἱ τρεῖς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν.’ Further, see Stockhausen 2010.

    Emlyn is the same page in the later editions.
    Also he mentions Richard Simon.

    Simon also suggested that the Trinitarian interpretation of the words “these three are one” in the spurious Disputation of Athanasius against Arius at the Council of Nicaea may have occasioned the insertion of the comma into the body text in some Greek manuscripts, an explanation he finds more plausible than Erasmus’ suggestion that Greek manuscripts had been corrected against Latin ones. (Simon apparently failed to realise that Erasmus was speaking merely of Montfortianus, not a widespread program of textual reform of the Greek text.)131
    131 Simon 1698a, 213-214; cf. ASD lX-2:259,1. 542.
    Actually the Erasmus suggestion was far more wide-ranging, and even included the possibilities with Vaticanus, with a discussion of the Council of Florence.

    Grantley also messes up Simon on Athanasius, trying to give the false impression that Simon had called the Disputation spurious. Grantley is right that Simon placed Athanasius as a possible "rogues gallery" member of people who may have created the heavenly witnesses, through the margin note speculation. Of course, today, we know that Simon's speculation was quite impossible, and that everybody and their brother has received such speculation.

    A Critical History of the Text of the New Testament: Wherein is Firmly Establish'd the Truth of Those Acts on which the Foundation of Christian Religion is Laid (1689)
    Richard Simon

    Here is Jeroen Beekhuizen. He gives some more context, and it would be helpful to bring in more of the preview to the conclusion sentence.

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    This quote I believe has been in the apparatus, with parenthesis. It really is a clear and extremely salient text. With Athanasius utilizing the verse, the contra argument about the Greeks not using the verse in the Arian controversies goes down the tubes. (And when they make that errant claim, they do not want you to know of the Latin references contra the Arians, such as the Council of Carthage of 484. The contras are so adept at deceptive word-parsing.

    The normal way for the contras to try to weaken the evidence was to make it later. A very weak attempt, as shown by Ben David and Charles Forster.

    For Isaiah, Moses, Elijah and Paul, we can use Porson as referenced by Forster:

    “ Why do the Seraphim, that Isaiah heard cry, Holy, Holy, Holy, neither exceed this number, nor fall short of it? Certainly, because it is not lawful for any beside the Trinity to be thus honoured. Why did Moses teach the people to bend their neck and their knees three times on the earth? but to denote the worship of the Trinity in one Godhead. The divine Elijah raises the dead at the third breathing, to shew that no man can be worthy of eternal life, who shall not first receive with reverential faith a coequal and consubstantial Trinity, which like fire consumes deadly sins. . . . Neither could Paul otherwise have ascended to the third heaven, unless he had possessed in his heart the indelible and consubstantial faith of the Trinity. . . . Likewise is not the remission of sins procured by that quickening and sanctifying ablution, without which no man shall see the kingdom of heaven, an ablution given to the faithful in the thrice-blessed name. And besides all these, John says, And the three are one (or rather are ‘the one’).”’—Letters to Travis, pp. 213-14.
    Last edited by Steven Avery; 09-16-2018 at 02:16 PM.

  3. Default Synopsis of Scripture

    Synopsis of Scripture - Athanasius


    This is the Synopsis of 1 John. I will show some of the scholarship, I do believe it is likely accurate to call this Athanasius, and I will expand this post.

    You will find that Charles Forster has a fascinating section on the authorship of the Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae in :

    Textual Criticism post

    A New Plea for the Authenticity of the Text of the Three Heavenly Witnesses
    by Charles Forster (1867) p. 51-57

    Forster discusses in general and in specifics, I will give one quote.

    "I see the hand of Athanasius in the style .." p. 55
    John Henry Newman (quite learned on the ECW) says the Synopsis of Sacred Scripture is "among his works" (Historical Tracts of S. Athanasius, 1843).

    The Synopsis page can be spiffed up and these references added.
    Last edited by Steven Avery; 09-16-2018 at 11:39 PM.

  4. Default Quaestiones Aliae

    Heavenly Witnesses - "new finds" by KJVToday
    Pure Bible Forum - Feb 18, 2016

    Thanks KJVToday!

    The rock-solid authenticity of the heavenly witnesses becomes continually even more solid in the internet resource age:
    (I will generally tweak and add to what is in the KJVToday article, today I am working with this one and Zacharias Rhetor.)

    Keep in mind that the references that show a specific sense of taking from John's Gospel and Epistle, like the Ps-Chrysostom Homily,
    and the Synopsis of Scripture, have an important connection strength that can be lacking in some of these newer references.


    Attributed to Athanasius:

    Johannine Comma (1 John 5:7)

    KJV Today

    Athanasius referenced another portion of the Comma in Quaestiones Aliae:

    "Ὥσπερ ἡ ψυχή µου µία ἐστὶν, ἀλλὰ καὶ τρισυπόστατος, ψυχὴ, λόγος, καὶ πνοή· οὕτω καὶ ὁ Θεὸς εἷς ἐστιν, ἀλλ' ἔστι καὶ τρισ υπόστατος, Πατὴρ, Λόγος, καὶ Πνεῦµα ἅγιον.... Ὡς γὰρ ψυχὴ, λόγος καὶ πνοὴ τρία πρόσωπα, καὶ μία φύσις ψυχῆς, καὶ οὐ τρεῖς ψυχαί· οὕτω Πατὴρ, Λόγος καὶ Πνεῦμα ἅγιον, τρία πρόσωπα, καὶ εἷς τῇ φύσει Θεὸς, καὶ οὐ τρεῖς θεοί."

    "Even as my soul is one, but a triune soul, reason, and breath; so also God is one, but is also triune, Father, Word, and Holy Ghost.... For as soul, reason and breath are three features, and in substance one soul, and not three souls; so Father, Word and Holy Ghost, [are] three persons, and one God in substance, and not three gods." (Translation by KJV Today)

    Those who claim that Athanasius did not quote the Comma elsewhere need to consider that Athanasius also did not quote Matthew 28:19 in some of his most pro-Trinitarian writings such as The Deposition of Arius, Apologia Contra Arianos and the Four Discourses Against the Arians. Matthew 28:19 provides the second most clearest declaration of the Trinity after the Comma, yet Athanasius used other scriptures to support his views on the Trinity. Athanasius was not necessarily interested in establishing the Trinity per se, but rather the consubstantial unity of the Father and the Son. Other texts were more appropriate for this goal. The later Latin Fathers are the ones who were influenced by Neo-Platonic thought and sought to formulate the relationship of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost in a neatly arranged Trinity.
    Greek at:

    Tabulinum: Documenta Catholica Omnia
    Materia: MIGNE JP
    Argumentum: Athanasius - Quaestiones aliae [0295-0373]


    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.

    The above affirms again that the Johannine reference in 1 John 5:7 is distinct from the one in 1 John 5:8.
    "Holy Spirit" when referenced with Father and Word (simply spirit with water and blood.)

    πρόσωπα - "persons" is a legit translation, however it may not the best translation for
    πρόσωπα (prosōpa). This is a big discussion in Greek linguistics. We could check the closest AV uses.

    Matthew 6:16
    Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance:
    for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast.
    Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

    Jude 16
    These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts;
    and their mouth speaketh great swelling words,
    having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.

    Revelation 9:7
    And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle;
    and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold,
    and their faces were as the faces of men.

    Revelation 11:16
    And the four and twenty elders,
    which sat before God on their seats,
    fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,

    Note: this does not affect the strength of the reference as showing that Athanasius was familiar with 1 John 5:7.

  5. Default Ten Books on the Trinity - Latin - (De Trinitate Libr Duodecim)

    Caution to unravel: There is a Twelve books on the Trinity and a Ten, I have written this section quickly.

    The Ten Books on the Trinity in Latin - one book, Ad Theophilum, is ascribed to Athanasius, which has a heavenly witnesses reference, usually now considered Ps-Athenasius, and put in the 400s around the period right after the Council of Carthage.

    Large question about authorship of the books (many will reference Vigilius Tapsensis, which is doubtful), and many references in the books, (likely four is a good count, the solid references) so the details of this will be on another thread.

    A decent review of the history of attribution scholarship is by Grantley McDonald, which should be compared to Junghoo Kwon.

    68 Despite the attribution, it is clear that Athanasius had no hand in the composition of this work. Instead, it has been attributed variously by Chiffet (1664) to Vigilius of Thapsus (f c. 490); and by Kunstle (1905) to the Spanish bishop Idacius Claras (fl. c. 380), an opponent and accuser of Priscillian, as we learn from Isidore of Seville. Morin (1898) pointed out that his work appears to be a composite of shorter works by a number of different hands. For the first three books Morin at first suggested an attribution to bishop Eusebius of Vercelli (f c. 370), and then suggested Gregory of Elvira as a possible author. Saltet (1906) suggested a connexion with the Luciferians, but his hypotheses were questioned by Simonetti (1949). The last three books are now generally considered of uncertain authorship. See Ficker, 1897, 55-57; Dattrino, 1976, 10-12 (assessment of evidence for the authorship of Eusebius Vercellensis), 118 (on the comma); and Brown, 1982, 782. 68 Whoever wrote this treatise, the estimate made by Lieu, 2008, 215, that “Such expansion of the text can be traced back to the early third century, and perhaps earlier,” seems to push back a little too far.

    The complaint about Judith M. Lieu is only because Grantley is always angling for anything to be as late as possible, and because she mentions Thiele's acknowledgement that the Latin may have come from the Greek.

    Notice the wide variety of conjectures about the writer. Afaik, none have any great evidence. Thus, any reference to the paper that gives one of the men as an author should be cautious as to how it is presented. The contras have a tacky habit of taking somebody they theorize, and then attacking the somebody, as with Cave's "doating monk" that he conjectured for the Athanasius Disputation.

    De Trinitate Libr Duodecim
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails text.jpg  

  6. Default Expositio fidei catholicae

    This is given by Charles Forster, and is more on the level of an allusion.

    Brevis Expositio Fidei or "Expositio fidei catholicae"

    We should determine if this is covered under another name or author, and have a translation done.

    A New Plea
    Charles Forster

    Evidence for the seventh verse, arising from the peculiar use of St. John's special term, ὁ λόγος, in ancient Creeds.

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    Note the other confessions of faith in this section and that this whole chapter needs special attention by defenders.

    Remarks upon the 'Expositio' Fidei ’ of St. Athanasius.

    This genuine original Creed bears strongest internal marks of derivation from the seventh verse. For

    1. it introduces the second Person, not as the Son, but as the Word, ὁ λόγος. ὁ λόγος, occupies the first place, (Grk) takes the second. This precedency assuredly could not obtain without express warrant of Scripture.

    2. St. Athanasius, in the context, distinctly cites from 1 John v., thereby showing the source that he was drawing from in this Creed.

    3.Its theme being the Trinity in Unity, his λόγος would naturally be taken from the seventh verse. But

    4, not only is ὁ λόγος the first title given in this Confession to the second Person of the Godhead, but this title, exclusively given by St. John, recurs in it no less than six times. I subjoin these six recurrences, and leave the inference to the reader:

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    It is helpful to point out that this is not the Expositio Fidei found by Caspari, not connected to Athanasius, but an incredible 4th century Latin evidence. What I have have handy on this at the moment is from my review of the NT Textual Criticism forum.

    The Expositio Fidei will need its own page, using and expanding on Wikipedia.

    pater est Ingenitus, filius uero sine Initio genitus a patre est, spiritus autem sanctus processit a patre et accipit de filio, 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.'
    This translation is by Daniel Buck:"t n"%3A"R"%7D

    The Father is unbegotten, and the Son--without beginning--is begotten from the Father. The Holy Spirit receives its proceeding from the Father and the Son, as the evangelist testifies; for it is written, 'There are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, and these three are one in Christ Jesus.' It is not said, however, 'IT is one in Christ Jesus.'
    This is the text of the Expositio Fidei, also from the fourth century, mentioned above. Expositio Fidei is from the Ambrosian ms. the one famous for the Muratorian Canon.

    The myth of the 4th century non-usage in the period of the Arian controversies should be abandoned.

    Plus, these various references are corroborative to each other, supporting 4th century use and awareness of the heavenly witnesses.

    Here is a bit more from that discussion:

    > Westcott
    > It was not unnatural that in the stress of the Arian persecution words which were held to give the plain meaning of St John’s words as they were read should find their way from the margin into the text, or if they had already obtained a place in the text of any copies should gain wider currency. But still the form is fluent:

    The stress of the Arian persecution! Yet doesn't Metzger and the Parrots tell us that the verse was not used in the Arian controversies? On top of these evdiences we have the Disputation of Athanasius with Arius! How many do we need? ( Charles Forster gives more.) Wake up!

    > the margin into the text

    The scholastic hand-wave, without a scintilla of evidence.

  7. Default Epistle against the Arians

    On reference from this work was given as: Athanasius, Epistle against the Arians, 1,54 (PG 26,125).

    My view so far is that this should be added to his references, your feedback welcome!

    Historical Tracts of S. Athanasius

    For the Translation, the Editors have to express their acknowledgments to the Rev. Miles Atkinson, M.A. late Fellow of Lincoln College.
    Preface by J.H.N. - Dec. 4, 1843.

    (note the chronology on xvii.)


    [The Circular Epistle which follows was addressed by S. Athanasius to the Bishops of his Patriarchate in the beginning of 356, immediately after his flight from Egypt on the outrages committed against the Church by Syrianus. Some indeed have referred it to the year 361, with some plausibility, on the ground of a passage in §. 22, where he speaks of the Arians being “ declared heretics 36 years ago and cast out of the Church by decree of the whole Ecumenical Council; i. e. 325. However, if a stop is placed after “ago,” the former clause may be made to refer to S. Alexander’s condemnation of them, as Montfaucon observes. On the other hand it is plainly proved from §. 7, that it was written just as the Arians were sending George of Cappadocia to Alexandria, i. e. before Easter 356, and after Feb. 9, the date of Athanasius’s leaving Alexandria. The stress too which is laid upon maintaining the Nicene Creed, and the notice of the Arian appeal to Scripture, and the respectful language he uses of Constantius, all agree with the date 356, if corroboration is necessary. There is very little in this Epistle which is not contained in his other Treatises, and a considerable portion is of a doctrinal character. It was written on occasion of an attempt made by the Arians to seduce the Bishops addressed into subscribing one of the specious Creeds of which so much is read in the history of the times; but nothing can be gathered of the circumstances from collateral sources. The Treatise was formerly put at the head of the Orations against the Arians, and numbered as the first of them.]

    Manifold indeed and beyond human conception are the instructions and gifts of grace which He has laid up in us; as the pattern of heavenly conversation, power against devils, the adoption of sons, and that exceeding great and singular grace, the knowledge of the Father and of the Word Himself, and the gift of the Holy Ghost.,M1
    And it should be added to page 13, that Tillemont dates the Apologia contra Arian. not earlier than A.D. 356. arguing from the mention of the banishment of Liberius and Hosius.
    Ad Episcopus Aegypti et Libyae
    Last edited by Steven Avery; 09-14-2018 at 06:59 AM.

  8. Default Contra Varimidum - a likely legit Ps-Athanasius

    Contra Varimidum is another separate text sometimes put as Ps-Athenasius, from Grantley McDonald. Although I am not sure offhand if there is any indication of his name with the work.

    Another early work containing the comma is Against Varimadus. This treatise has been attributed—with varying degrees of plausibility—to Augustine (by Cassiodorus), Athanasius (by Bede), Vigilius of Thapsus and Idacius Clarus; more recently, Schwank (1961) has attributed the work to an uncertain author active in Africa around 445-480.70 The author of Against Varimadus claims to be quoting the comma from John’s Epistle “to the Parthians.” ....

    70 Ps.-Athanasius/ps.-Vigilius Thapsensis, Contra Varimadum 1.5, CCSL 90:20-21 (cf. PL 62:359): “Et Iohannes euangelista ait:

    In principio erat uerbum, et uerbum erat apud deum, et deus erat uerbum. Item ipse ad parthos: tres sunt, inquit, qui testimonium perhibent in terra: aqua, sanguis, et caro, et tres in nobis sunt; et tres sunt qui testimonium perhibent in ccclo: pater, uerbum, et spiritus, et hi tres unum sunt.

    Nos itaque in natura deitatis, quia unum sunt pater et filius, nec patrem credimus aliquo tempore praecessisse, ut maior sit filio, nec filium postea natum esse, ut deitas patris minoraretur in filio.” On the authorship of this work, see Schwank, 1961; Brown, 1982, 782.

  9. Default 9th century Latin variant note includes Athanasius

    A Latin ms. from Berger

    Histoire de la Vulgate pendant les premiers siècles du moyen âge (1893)
    By Samuel Berger

    mentions Athanasius as one of the variants. This is a very important ms. that shows that there was a strong textual awareness of the heavenly witnesses verse, and the sources and variants, in the 9th century, and the scribe includes Greek and Latin authors. This is mentioned (in a funny way) by Grantley on p. 51-52, and I add some formatting.

    A late ninth-century Latin manuscript of Acts, the Catholic Epistles and Revelation (Paris, BnF ms Iat. 13174) gives valuable evidence of the way in which a text could be contaminated with foreign material through such arbitrary scribal intervention. The body text of 1 Jn in this manuscript does not contain the comma, but an early reader decided to note it in the margin. But which version of the text was he to give? On one of the flyleaves of the manuscript (I39v), the scribe records four variants of the comma:

    first, a reading from ps.-Augustine’s Speculum “Audi Israhel";

    second, a reading which he also attributes to Augustine, but which in fact resembles the reading found in the Freising fragments and Cassiodorus;

    a third from ps.-Athanasius’ De Trinitate;

    and a fourth from Fulgentius’ Against the Arians.

    The scribe was quite aware that this verse posed a textual problem. In the event he rejected these four possibilities in favour of a fifth, which conforms closely to that found in the Theodulphian recension, which he duly inserted into the margin of the text.71
    The Haymo ms. discussion from p. 45-48 also involves variants, however, I do not think the name of Athanasius is mentioned.


    On the Incarnation (look for reference)

    In the reformation era, Bellarmine said that Athanasius did cite the verse (more on this later, he may have been unsure of the Disputation authorship). James Sharpe and Francis Cheynell and Jonathan Edwards are given by Grantley as supporting Athanasius usage, more can be added, like John Gill. Richard Simon conjectured that the Disputation placed the verse in Greek mss! (One of the many "rogue gallery" theories.) Newton has his own unique take on Athanasius, especially as he saw him as a great villain in the church history of the time.
    Last edited by Steven Avery; 09-21-2018 at 05:06 AM.

  10. Default Discussion on Roger Pearse blog

    From Roger Pearse on Sept 12, some of the urls are not important here (Porson, Middleton)

    Roger Pearse
    Thoughts on Antiquity, Patristics, Information Access and More
    1 John 5:7 in the fourth century? Theodore, Diodorus, the Suda, and Byzantine punctuation

    Roger Pearse says:
    All this seems to relate to a debate between Porson and an Archdeacon Travis. Letter 9 of Porson is here. The works in question supposed to be Athanasian are a “Synopsis Scripturae” and a Dialogue against the Arians. These are very vaguely referred to. A Mr Middleton takes up the story here.

    We appear to be dealing with the works of Athanasius as printed at Paris in 1627 (Opera Athanasii) in two volumes (so this. This, of course, is a pre-critical edition. Vol. 1 I could not find; Vol. 2 is here, with its table of contents here. The Synopsis Sacrae Scripturae is listed, on p.55.

    The “Synopsis Sacrae Scripturae” is listed in the Clavis Patrum Graecorum as entry 2249 (vol. 3, p.46). The text given is the Patrologia Graeca 28, columns 284-437, reprinted from an edition by Montfaucon. The work is listed as spurious, and derived from Epiphanius, De mensuribus et ponderibus (On weights and measures).

    Middleton adds (p346) that the “Dialogue between an Athanasian and an Arian” is in this edition, in 5 parts; but that the passage in dispute does not appear in it. Rather it appears in a “Disputation in the Nicene Council against Arius”.

    In the CPG a “Disputatio contra Arium” is given entry 2250, also spurious; text printed in the PG 28, 440-501. An Armenian version also exists.

    I would suggest that the first task is to locate whichever passages are involved in the Patrologia Graeca text(s), so that at least we are dealing with something concrete.

    Googling, I was able to find a 2010 article on the “Disputation contra Arium” (CPG 2250) by Annette von Stockhausen, “Die pseud-athanasianische Disputatio contra Arium. Eine Auseinandersetzung mit »arianischer« Theologie in Dialogform”, in: Stockhausen &c, Von Arius zum Athanasium, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2010, 133-155. It is online here.
    Also something on the “Synopsis Sacrae Scripturae” (CPG 2249) here.

    Good hunting.
    Charles Forster does a superb job countering the "spurious" theory. Both in the classical ad hominem sense (even if it were a 7th century writing, it would refute your position) and in the wonderful analysis he does of the actual genuineness question.

    "... I proceed at once to show, from collation with his undisputed writings, that the style and imagery here ridiculed is identical with that of St. Athanasius.... what Porson ignorantly ridicules, was a common-place of St. Athanasius: no slight proof of the genuineness of the Dialogue.... The hand of St. Athanasius is further apparent in this Dialogue, in sameness of thought and manner between it and his unquestioned writings. Take the following parallel passages for example.... The theme is peculiarly Athanasian; and its occurrence alike in the Dialogue and in the unquestioned Letter to Serapion, is no ordinary note of one and the same hand. " p. 61-63
    In footnote 85, Athanasian scholar Gerald J. Donker discusses Disputio contra Arium as a writing of Athanasius here:

    The Text of the Apostolos in Athanasius of Alexandria

    85 The Athanasian writings included in the manuscripts vary widely. Codex R contains twenty-nine Athanasian treatises besides other non-Athanasian works, whereas three minor codices, Laura B20, Laura B58 and Laura Gamma 106, contain only three writings, Contra Gentes, De Incarnatione and Disputatio contra Arium. ...
    Even back in 1424 Traversari noted this work forcefully:

    Humanism and the Church Fathers: Ambrogio Traversari (1386-1439) and the Revival of Patristic Theology in the Early Italian Renaissance (1977)
    Charles L. Stinger

    More importantly it was the eloquence of the Greek Fathers which inspired Traversari’s translations. In 1424 he wrote to Niccoli of the powerful impression which his reading of the Greek text of Athanasius’ Contra gentiles, De incarnatione, and Disputatio contra Arium had made on him.
    I turned to reading Athanasius, and I was so seized by admiration for this exceptional man that 1 could not tear myself away. I read his two books against the heathen. In the first he refutes heathen superstition; in the second he defends the ignominy of the Cross and the Incarnation with such forceful arguments and with such weighty thoughts, that though indeed this matter has been discussed by many, principally by our Lactantius, it does not seem, however, that it could have been done more worthily or divinely. I read next the first three books against Arius, for there are five books in all and large books at that. I was so refreshed by its fragrance of piety, nor can I remember having read anything that can be compared to this work. What is striking is a certain incomparable beauty in this man’s writing, both in thought and words, which deserves everyone’s admiration, veneration, and love. He pleads his case forcefully, as it deserved; and as he discloses, argues, and refutes all the heretical objections, he elucidates so much of Holy Scripture that I could not be sated with reading him. What more? I have decided to devote myself entirely to this fervent and celestial man by translating what is before me (if I can find the time), for 1 would constantly affirm I could find nothing more salutary, nothing more fervent than his teaching.

    Works that have references to the heavenly witnesses are often called spurious on virtually zero real evidence, with the real reason being circular, the reference to the heavenly witnesses. The Vulgate Prologue of Jerome is an excellent example of this dynamic.

    For William Cave declaring the work of a later century, you can find that here:

    Scriptorum ecclesiasticorum historia literaria

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