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Thread: Raising the Ghost of Arius - Grantley McDonald

  1. Default Raising the Ghost of Arius - Grantley McDonald

    Grantley Robert McDonald has written two books that are rather unique.

    Raising the Ghost of Arius - (2011)

    Biblical Criticism in Early Modern Europe : Erasmus, the Johannine Comma and Trinitarian Debate (2016)
    All Grantley McDonald material used per the fair use provisions of copyright law, as described here:

    Pure Bible Forum
    copyright and fair use - USA and International

    "the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright."
    These books are meant to be contra the authenticity of the heavenly witnesses.
    Ironically, they can work as tremendous tools to help pure Bible defenders, as you learn to walk through the fuzz and buzz.
    The strong point: the referencing is very helpful from the 1500s to today. What is quoted, is quoted well.

    Grantley has a definite negative position on authenticity that affects what evidences he presents and his evaluation of their significance.
    Analyzing his books can really, really inform us on many issues, as a jumping off spot to understand:

    1) the authenticity of the heavenly witnesses
    2) the general issue of a scholarship sieve that is used by those contra authenticity.

    These posts might be a little free-form .

    Some information is started off here, on how the grammatical is handled:

    Facebook - PureBible group - September, 2017
    Steven Avery
    Acknowledging the Erasmus connection to Luther and the Reformation
    Important information on Valladolid, the solecism and other info.

    post on Grantley, Erasmus and Valledolid

    "Grantley McDonald is funny, because he always puts on his anti-heavenly-witnesses glasses.
    However, he did a decent job ferreting out some of the factual material."

    Solecism in the Corruption Text
    Constructio ad Sensum
    Additional Facebook posts utilizing Grantley's material:

    Facebook - Pure Bible
    Origen usage of the Heavenly witnesses
    Origen, Psalm 122 and Richard Porson

    Facebook - Pure Bible - Jan, 2018
    Eugenius Bulgaris gets some long-overdue scholarship recognition!

    Facebook - Pure Bible
    Heavenly Witnesses - Vulgate Prologue
    Points to PBF
    Raising the Ghost of Arius - Grantley McDonald

    Facebook - Pure Bible - Jan 29, 2018
    heavenly witnesses - Erasmus notes the grammarians being tortured by the corruption solecism

    Facebook - Pure Bible Group
    Jerome - Heavenly Witnesses !
    small reference
    "This section of Jerome’s commentary constitutes the incipit of Augustine’s Sermo de sancta trinitate , PL 39:2173 (Appendix, Sermo 232), as noted by Fischer, 2007, 119." - The Ghost of Arius - Grantley McDonald,p. 55
    Fischer, Franz.
    “Wilhelm von Auxerre, Summa de officiis ecclesiasticis.” Diss. Köln, 200
    And here I plan to add any helpful material from the:

    various references within the Pure Bible Forum.
    Facebook Heavenly Witnesses forum
    general net discussions

    I'll plan on a separate short review of The Ghost of Arius book as well (perhaps the Biblical Criticism book as well).
    And, time and energy permitting, I plan to go chapter-by-chapter here on the PBF.
    As well as continuing the topical method, which really gives a better overview of how evidences are handled, mishandled or omitted.

    Last edited by admin; 12-03-2018 at 12:26 AM.

  2. Default how Raising the Ghost of Arius handles the Vulgate Prologue evidence

    Let us look at the Vulgate Prologue of Jerome, one of the super-evidences.

    Grantley refers to this evidence frequently, largely because it was front and center in the Erasmus discussions with Lee and Stunica.
    He bypasses many important elements, but first, let us look at how he argues against the evidence.

    For more details about the Vulgate Prologue, go to the section:

    Pure Bible Forum
    Vuglate Prologue - super-evidence

    Which will merit its own special apologetic paper and Zotero-style bibliography. Michael Maynard frequently encouraged me to take all the new information on the Prologue and present in within its own paper. Still an excellent idea!


    Here are the Raising the Ghost of Arius references to the Vulgate Prologue:


    p. 30 - there is an anachronism involving the Regensburg ms.

    "its erroneous attribution of the Prologue to the Catholic Epistles to Jerome"
    p. 54 - Main section - Prologue quoted in English, footnote has Latin from Wordsworth, White and Sparks

    ”Serious doubts attend the authenticity of a document claimed as the most important early witnesses to the authenticity of the comma: the prologue to the Catholic Epistles (incipit: Non ita ordo est apud Grcecos) ascribed to Jerome (c. 340-420). The earliest extant source of this prologue is Codex Fuldensis. The author of the prologue complains that the lack of uniformity between the various Latin versions of Scripture led to confusion; the biggest single problem with these Latin versions, he contends, was the fact that they omitted the comma:

    followed by Wordsworth-White and Sparks English text and Latin in the footnote, and a referene to Berger and Cassiodorus.

    Further on this preface, see Berger, 1904, 11-12, suggests that the author may have read Cassiodorus’ Institutiones, written in 544, just two years before Fuldensis was copied. However, I suggest that the degree of textual corruption in the text of the prologue as it stands in Fuldensis argues against such a close connexion. Künstle, 1905, 27-28, also found Berger’s suggestion unlikely, and instead attributed the preface to Peregrinus. Chapman, 1908, 262-267, refuted Künstle’s attribution to Peregrinus, pointing out that the Spanish sources containing the preface all share certain textual corruptions not evident in copies from elsewhere, which one would not expect if the work had been composed in Spain

    And I have not seen anywhere that the "textual corruption" is specified. However, if Berger was somehow arguing that Cassiodorus led to the Prologue, that would be a very strained claim indeed. This whole question of alternate sources for the Prologue is rather interesting, and involves

    Künstle – Berger - Martin - Bludau - Chapman - Ranke - Fischer - Denk are all quickly referenced.
    79 The preface is listed as spurious by Berger, 1904, 66, who notes the manuscripts in which it is found. Martin, 1887, 218, and Bludau, 1905a, 27-28, suggested that the preface was written by Peregrinus; this suggestion was questioned by Chapman, 1908, 266-267, and Bludau, 1921, 132-135. On Jerome’s role in the revision of the Gospels in the Vulgate, see Fischer, 1975, 29.

    Thus, no solid idea of why the Prologue is considered spurious is ever given, nor does any potential forger hold up to examination.
    In the next reference, it is essentially acknowledged that Jerome did utilize the heavenly witnesses, outside the Prologue issues

    80 Jerome, Tractatuum in psalmos series altera, de Psalmo 91, CCS'L 78, 424-429: “Relatum est mihi, fratres, quia inter se quidam fratres disputando quaesissent, quomodo Pater et Filius et Spiritus sanctus et tres et unum sunt. Videtis ex quaestione, quam periculosa sit disputatio: lutum et vas fictile de creatore disputat, et ad rationem suae naturae non potest pervenire; et curiose quaerit scire de mysterio Trinitatis, quod angeli in caelo scire non possunt.” This section of Jerome’s commentary constitutes the incipit of Augustine’s Sermo de sancta trinitate, PL 39:2173 (Appendix, Sermo 232), as noted by Fischer, 2007, 119. Denk, 1906, asserted that this passage shows Jerome as “den klassischen Zeugen für die Existenz des Comma Johanneum in der spanischen Bibel des 4. Jahr., der es (gleichviel ob mit der Lesart tres oder trio) nicht für schriftwidrig hielt, trotzdem er es von seiner Bibelrevision ausschloß.” But this evidence is not at all compelling. As Denk himself admits, the passage Jerome himself provides to demonstrate the three persons of the Trinity is Mt 28:19, not the Johannine comma. - p. 55

    Actually Denk's argument is strong and fascinating, and can be augmented with other evidences.
    Denk can be seen here:

    Theologische revue, Volume 5 (1906)
    Eine neuer Texteszeuge zum Comma Johanneum
    Jos. Denk

    See also:

    Hieronymus (f 420)
    Über den Psalm 91


    De Katholiek, Volumes 133-134 (1908)
    B. D. van Breda

    p. 55 - “Another document forged to prove the authenticity of the comma is a decretal ascribed to Pope Hyginus (c. 138-140), which appears in the collection put together at Metz in the mid-ninth century by a group of scholars known as“Isidorus Mercator.”

    There is no basis for relating the two documents. No substantive evidence has been shown against the Vulgate Prologue, and the scholars who do consider the Prologue spurious are constantly contradictiing one another. Their main original argument, the lateness of the manuscripts, was defunctified when Codex Fuldensis was shown to have the Prologue in the mid 1800s.

    p. 77-79 – Lee (who called it forgery? no mention of late date element of Fuldensis)
    Erasmus exclusion in his edition of works of Jerome

    p. 80 Moreover, Erasmus points out that Jerome was criticised for changing the readings of the Latin bible as they were commonly accepted. In other words, Jerome’s text of the Vulgate did not reflect the form of the Scriptures familiar to the majority of the church in the fourth century. In fact, Jerome’s prologue provides evidence that the Latin translations most widely read in the fourth century gave a reading in 1 Jn 5:7-8 which corresponded to that found in the Greek manuscripts familiar to Erasmus.

    The irony here is that Grantley is de facto accepting the accuracy of what is written in the Prologue!
    Including the antiquity of the heavenly witnesses at the time of Jerome.

    Here are spots where Grantley references the Vulgate Prologue:

    p. 84 - Arian's dispose of Jerome's testimony
    p. 90-91 – Erasmus
    p. 125 - Erasmus rages against Jerome
    p. 126 - Jerome accused of forgery
    p. 134–135 - Beza
    p. 135 - Hutter and Tremellius
    p. 137 – Emser
    p. 141 - Calvin
    p. 146 - Zegers
    p. 147 – Lucas Brugensis .. unaware of forgery (more trickster writing)
    p. 155 - Biandrata
    p. 160 - Ravensberg
    p. 162 - Sandius .. (misrepresents Selden)
    p. 163 - Selnecker
    p. 165 – Brouchmard (Calvin)
    p. 167 - Biandrata
    p. 184 – Selden
    p. 188 – Poole

    p. 190 -191 Simon ** "Selden and Sandius had already raised some doubts" Erasmus and Sozzini - Erasmus accusation against Jerome integrity is
    mixed up elsewhere into being an attack on Prologue authenticity by Erasmus (find).

    Simon thus sets out to demonstrate that the prologue assigned to Jerome is not genuine. In many of the very earliest manuscripts, he points out, this prologue is not to be found with Jerome’s authentic prefaces. And in the earliest copies that do contain the prologue—such as Charles the Bald’s bible (now Paris, BnF ms lat. l)—the name of the author is not given. Rather, Simon suggests, this preface was written by some forger in imitation of Jerome’s style, in order to supply prologues to those books for which Jerome had provided none, and adding the name of the supposed addressee, Eustochium, for an added touch of realism. This anonymous author, evidently aware that some Latin manuscripts contained the comma and others did not, and perhaps in ignorance of the Greek text, simply assumed that this discrepancy was due to the fault of unfaithful translators. But perhaps the most convincing argument against Jerome’s authorship of the preface is the fact that some of the early manuscripts which contain the prologue—Simon counts two in Paris—do not contain the comma in the text. “If that Father had been the author of the Preface, and of the Addition inserted in S. John’s Epistle, that Addition would have been extant in all S. Jerome’s Latin Bibles. This diversity of Copies is in my judgment an evident proof, that he did not compose that Preface to prefix it to the Canonical Epistles.”100 Furthermore, the fact that many manuscripts containing the prologue do not contain the comma in the text of the epistle, and the lack of uniformity in the readings of the comma between the manuscripts “makes it further manifest, that S. Jerome was not the true Author either of the Preface or Addition.”101

    p. 194 – Burnet
    p. 195 –197 Smith defends
    p. 206 – Newton ** analyze
    p. 215 - Mills
    p. 216 – Le Clerc looks back at John Mill, the critical Martainay and Pouget are mentioned
    p. 361 – Erasmus Annotationes -
    “wrongly attributed to Jerome” - McDonald
    p. 448 – Stellingen – “Jerome did not write "

    There are references to "Jerome" as well, e.g. Selnecker on p. 163 (we can return to some of those later.)

    The very first reference is a scholarly anachronism that bewrays the scholastic attempt to always shore up the non-authenticity position.

    the Regensburg Epistolae rhetoricae, which makes the following claims: “St Jerome argued that that verbal repetition [replicatio] in the [first] Epistle of John—‘And there are three that bear witness, the Father, the Word and the Spirit’—was established as certain. By contrast, St Augustine prescribed that it should be removed, on the basis of the Apostle’s meaning and the authority of the Greek.” Given the relatively recent date of this text (eleventh century), its erroneous attribution of the Prologue to the Catholic Epistles to Jerome ... it is difficult to know how much confidence to place in this assertion. p. 53
    This is a scholarship anachronism. The Regensburg ms. is estimated to be from around 900 AD. Until close to 1700 the Vulgate Prologue was universally accepted as written by Jerome. (Quite understandably and forcefully, since it is a well-written first-person document, one that is consistent with Jerome's writing and knowledge.) There can be no tinge against the integrity of any early manuscript that uses the authenticity attribution that was simply the standard scholarship understanding. Even if the writer was ultimately wrong in this attribution (very doubtful), it does not lessen the authority of the manuscript involved.

    Grantley is assuming a position of forgery and non-authenticity of the Prologue for which he has given no evidence. (The Simon late dating argument had to be retired with the discovery of the Prologue in Codex Fuldensis in the mid 1800s.) And the attempts around 1700 AD to give arguments against authenticity do not have any pizazz.

    Yet it also seems that the apparent utility of the comma in fighting heresy and its increasingly frequent occurrence in Latin bibles led some to forge documents to bolster its claim to authenticity. Serious doubts attend the authenticity of a document claimed as the most important early witnesses to the authenticity of the comma: the prologue to the Catholic Epistles (incipit: Non ita ordo est apud Grcecos) ascribed to Jerome (c. 340-420). The earliest extant source of this prologue is Codex Fuldensis. The author of the prologue complains that the lack of uniformity between the various Latin versions of Scripture led to confusion; the biggest single problem with these Latin versions, he contends, was the fact that they omitted the comma:
    While Grantley already made his authoritative diktat that the Prologue is not by Jerome, here he contradicts that declaration and only says there are "serious doubts". This is in fact a far more reasonable position to take, but it still struggles against the authenticity evidences.

    Grantley also makes a declaration that the Vulgate Prologue is:

    "the most important early witness to the authenticity of the comma." - p. 43

    In a sense this is true, since if the Vulgate Prologue is accepted as authentic from Jerome, it is very difficult to argue against the heavenly witnesses authenticity. However, three specific documents (leaving aside the grammatical and the wide-ranging Latin evidences) share that distinction of "most important", as super-evidences.

    two usages by Cyprian c. 250 AD, especially The Unity of the Church

    the Prologue of Jerome

    the hundreds of bishops from a wide Mediteranean region specifically and strongly endorsing the verse as scripture against Arian opposition and persecution at the Council of Carthage of 484
    Note that in quoting the Prologue text. above, Grantley McDonald omits the first-person greeting part by Jerome, which is an omission that really undercuts the scholarship involved. The first person element is key to analyzing various theories of another author, as they would have to be a crafty and deliberate forger, not just a scholarship substitute (which itself is very difficult when dealing with a luminary like Jerome). The first person element of writing to Eustochium will be partially referenced in English on p. 191 with Richard Simon,

    Rather, Simon suggests, this preface was written by some forger in imitation of Jerome’s style, in order to supply prologues to those books for which Jerome had provided none, and adding the name of the supposed addressee, EustochiumJ for an added touch of realism.

    and later in Appendix II. It is unclear whether Grantley himself takes this clever and deceitful forger argument seriously as his own.

    Now, let's include the Prologue section about the heavenly witnesses verse, emphasis added. This is a truly amazing antiquity document, with the Vulgate Prologue brought to English:

    If the letters were also rendered faithfully by translators into Latin just as their authors composed them, they would not cause the reader confusion, nor would the differences between their wording give rise to contradictions, nor would the various phrases contradict each other, especially in that place where we read the clause about the unity of the Trinity in the first letter of John. Indeed, it has come to our notice that in this letter some unfaithful translators have gone far astray from the truth of the faith, for in their edition they provide just the words for three [witnesses]—namely water, blood and spirit—and omit the testimony of the Father, the Word and the Spirit, by which the Catholic faith is especially strengthened, and proof is tendered of the single substance of divinity possessed by Father, Son and Holy Spirit. p. 54
    Then we get a really questionable analysis from Grantley, involving the discordance of the Proglogue and the 1 John text in the Codex Fuldensis.

    This prologue would be compelling evidence that Jerome considered the comma to be genuine if the text of John’s Epistle in Codex Fuldensis also contained the comma—but it does not.'
    This is a misreading of the evidence. In fact, the discordance between the Prologue and the Johannine text in Codex Fuldensis is simply evidence, and confirmation, that what was stated by Jerome to be the norm (translators and scribes were removing the heavenly witnesses) still happened with Vulgate copies after the pubilcation of the Vulgate, in the 400s and early 500s. The only thing shown is that the transmission of the Vulgate text to Fuldensis was independent of the Prologue Text. Grantley continues in this questionable vein.

    We are thus forced either to accept that the preface gives a true picture of the situation, and that the biblical text transmitted in Fuldensis is unreliable
    As described above, there is simply no basis at all for this claim. Apples and oranges are being mixed.

    The Biblical text in the Fuldensis Gospels is a harmony text. Does that make it unreliable? If one edgy verse was excised between 400 AD and 540 AD (to be fair, Fuldensis might actually be later than commonly thought) this does not effect the general reliability of the text. Does Grantley throw out Vaticanus and Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus because of textual unreliability?

    —a conclusion which might in turn raise fresh questions about the authenticity of the preface; alternatively, we must reject the prologue as spurious and accept that the comma was not an original part of the Vulgate.'
    None of this makes any sense at all. This is a fallacy of a false dichotomy.

    Then on p. 56, we get from Grantley McDonald a type of hop-scotch, simply assuming what has not been demonstrated, that the Vulgate Prologue was "forged.".

    Another document forged to prove the authenticity of the comma is a decretal ascribed to Pope Hyginus (c. 138-140), p. 56
    Oops. Anyone who has followed the paper knows that no forgery was ever demonstrated for the Vulgate Prologue. And Grantley wants the reader to think this forgery point has been demonstrated by the invalid comparison with the Decretals. In his more logical argumentation Grantley acknowledged that he was only claiming that "serious doubts attend the authenticity" p. 54.

    And one scholar, Antoine Eugène Genoud (1792-1849) forcefully called the non-authenticity arguments "frivolous", even before the discovery that Codex Fuldensis contains the Prologue. And from my studies, "frivolous" is a far more accurate representation of the "serious doubts". Grantley has actually given not even a single iota of evidence so far against authenticity before he tried the forgery connection with the Decretals.

    We see the same unsubstantiated circular attempt in the Erasmus Annotations note he gives on p. 361:

    "this preface is wrongly attributed to Jerome, as discussed above in Chapter I.5."
    And in p. 448:

    "St Jerome did not write the prologue to the Catholic Epistles."
    In the footnotes to this section on p. 54-55, Grantley briefly mentions the scholarship back-and-forth on this issue. He references Wordsworth-White (edition of the Vulgate), Samuel Berger, Karl Künstle, J. P. P. Martin, August Bludau, John Chapman, Ernst Ranke and his own idea that:

    However, I suggest that the degree of textual corruption in the text of the prologue as it stands in Fuldensis argues against such a close connexion (with Cassiodorus.)
    There is nothing substantive given here, except the acknowledgement that the scholars writing after the discovery of Fuldensis, from around 1880 to 1920, were perplexed and flummoxed in trying to come up with any author rather than Jerome.

    As for the textual corruption Grantley perceives in the Prologue, nothing is documented, nothing is referenced, nothing is made clear.

    In fact, the key argument against authenticity from c. 1700 till 1850 had always been that the Prologue was a late addition to the Vulgate line. And the Fuldensis discovery had destroyed this argumentation, since it is considered our earliest extant Vulgate, usually dated to c. 540. Grantley, simply excised that argument from the history, since it is unhelpful to his attempt to argue against authenticity of the Prologue and the verse.

    Now we move ahead to p. 79-80.

    Erasmus then deals with Lee’s citation of the prologue to the Catholic Epistles attributed to Jerome. John Selden (1653) and Christoph Sandius (1680) would later suggest that this prologue is a pseudonymous forgery, and Richard Simon (1689) brought cogent arguments to support their suggestion.19 Curiously, Erasmus never openly called its authenticity into question, though he did exclude it from his edition of Jerome’s works.20 Instead, he deals with the arguments presented in this prologue as if they had been put forward by Jerome, and he even makes the text work for his own ends. First of all, Erasmus points out that even Jerome is not always consistent, and sometimes approves of readings he had criticised elsewhere. Jerome called into doubt and obelised much that the church subsequently taught without harm, such as the stories in the Old Testament Apocrypha, and liturgical texts such as the Song of the Three Young Men (Dan 3:52-87); if we disagree with Jerome’s judgment on those passages, perhaps we should be suspicious of his conclusions about the comma, Erasmus suggests. In any case, Erasmus notes that Lee misread Jerome, who simply pointed out that there was some variation between rival Latin translations of the Catholic Epistles, and that this variation had led to some confusion and uncertainty. Moreover, Erasmus points out that Jerome was criticised for changing the readings of the Latin bible as they were commonly accepted. In other words, Jerome’s text of the Vulgate did not reflect the form of the Scriptures familiar to the majority of the church in the fourth century. In fact, Jerome’s prologue provides evidence that the Latin translations most widely read in the fourth century gave a reading in 1 Jn 5:7-8 which corresponded to that found in the Greek manuscripts familiar to Erasmus. And lest Lee should convince himself that it was only heretics who excluded the comma from their texts, Erasmus cites two orthodox Fathers, Cyril and Bede, who both cite a large section of 1 Jn 5, yet omit the comma.
    Let's put this together with the other remaining significant attempt, with Richard Simon p. 190-191:

    Perhaps Simon’s most important contribution to the debate was his assessment of the authorship of the prologue to the Catholic Epistles, about which Selden and Sandius had already raised some doubt. For Simon, Erasmus was wrong to criticise Jerome as “violent, shameless and inconsistent,” as if he had been the author of the comma. In fact, the implication of Erasmus’ criticism was that “S. Jerome must stand chargeable with Forgery, a bold and presumptuous undertaking to correct the ancient Latin Edition according to his own fancy, without the authority of good Copies.” As Simon points out, Sozzini developed Erasmus’ suspicion in his commentary on l Jn by suggesting that Jerome, wanting to champion his own position, acquired a copy containing the comma, or perhaps even a few, and then concealed his own fraud by writing that those that did not contain the comma had been altered by heretics. But in such cases, Simon suggests, speculation is fruitless; we are on firmer ground when we examine the surviving documents. Had Erasmus examined the evidence of Jerome’s preface more fully, “he would rather have been inclined to reject that Preface, as suppositious, than to charge S. Jerome with Forgery.” (Again, Simon’s judgment of Erasmus’ position on Jerome’s statements in this matter are based on the fact that had had only read Erasmus’ Apologia ad Stunicam, and not the more subtle argument in the refutation of Lee, where he defends Jerome’s integrity.)
    In all this fascinating history about the false attempts to impugn Jerome's integrity as one who fabricated the verse (a truly absurd position, as we can easily see today but it should be seen as a blot on Erasmus and any others who went that route) there is a glaring omission:

    Where are the arguments, the evidences, against the authenticity of the Vulgate Prologue from Jerome?

    Nothing at all is given by Grantley!

    In fact, those arguments are in Jean Martianay (1647-1717), a Benedictine Maurist, writing in 1693.

    My conjecture is that Grantley McDonald was well aware of this history, but omitted it from the paper because the arguments are so weak. And they would actually undermine his position if he actually presented the "frivolous" arguments! In fact, Grantley mentions Martianay as a Vulgate Prologue contra on p. 216 (with Antoine Pouget) and then has the specific work in the bibliography.

    Jerome. Sancti Eusebii Hieronymi Stridonensis presbyteri Divina bibliotheca.
    Ed. J. Martianay and A. Pouget. 5 vols. Paris: Anisson, 1693-1706.

    And I have written up some of this history, on this Pure Bible Forum, and also on:

    New Testament Scholarship Worldwide
    Steven Avery

    The Prologue was seen as a forgery largely based on internal arguments that were given by Jean Martianay in 1693 in the Benedictine edition of Jerome's writings. The Latin is here:

    Sancti Eusebii Hieronymi Operum tomus primus [-quintus], studio et labore monachorum ordinis S. Benedicti e congregatione S. Mauri

    and it is summarized as five arguments. However, those arguments received solid responses, and you would be hard put to find anybody today seriously giving any of them as a strong evidence for non-authenticity. (And because of the first person nature of the writing, non-authenticity must mean forgery.)

    It is hard to separate the internal arguments from the question of the heavenly witnesses defense, where the Prologue was seen as inauthentic simply because of how it referenced the heavenly witnesses verse. In terms of textual history, though, that is a circular argument. If fact, the evidences in the early centuries, like Tertullian and Cyprian, and the grammatical solecism in the short text, are fascinating and often hotly contested.

    And in the meantime, many people opposed to authenticity had emphasized the lateness of the Prologue, which they thought was around 800 AD. based on the known mss. However, the Prologue was then discovered in Codex Fuldensis, dated 546 and written under the auspices of the learned Victor of Capua. This was published by Ernst Ranke (1814-1888) in 1868.

    You would figure that this would cause a reexamination of the forgery accusation, yet very little was published. And you would have a hard time even finding the reasons why this writing became "Ps-Jerome".
    (To be continued from Grantley. There is also more that can be looked at in that thread, at least to make sure it is in this forum.)

    So nowhere in the 450 page book of Grantley McDonald, where the Vulgate Prologue is a key evidence, does Grantley even give the arguments against authenticity!

    Nonetheless, Grantley repeatedly asserts without evidence that this is a forgery. Or at least pseudonymous in some way, with an unspecified time and place of authorship. (A theory with huge difficulties, since it is a first-person document.)

    To make it worse, not only is Grantley aware of the (weak) arguments given by Martianay, he refers to the writings of a number of men who forcefully answered these arguments. Without giving even a peep of acknowledgement of this element of their writings. Most of the following scholars are referenced by Grantley:

    David Martin (French and English translation)
    Louis Roger (French),
    Edmund Calamy (English)
    Antoine Augustin Calmet (French)
    Ambrosius Dorhout (Latin)
    John Jones (English)
    Frederick Nolan (English)
    William Craig Brownlee (English)
    Antoine Genoud (French)
    Daniel McCarthy (English)
    Charles Vincent Dolman (English).

    Also Petrus Pithaeus (1500s scholar, referenced very respectfully on this point as a top scholar even by Richard Simon) and Jean Mabillon and John Fell are mentioned as defenders of authenticity, which is authorship by Jerome, by Edmund Calamy. These are separated because they came before any real attempt to claim non-authenticity by giving various arguments. Similarly Thomas Smith (1638-1710) who often countered arguments by Richard Simon.

    There had been some minor questioning, especially since Erasmus had dubiously omitted the Prologue from his edition of Jerome's writings. And John Fell forcefully pointed out that this was simply improper by Erasmus (did the heavenly witnesses evidence affect Erasmus here? Similarly why did he not mention Cyprian's reference in Unity of the CHurch?) Remember that the main argument (lateness of mss with the Prologue) poofed away with the publication of Fuldensis by Ranke in 1868.

    As a little side-note, Martianay was a solid defender of heavenly witnesses verse authenticity, contra Simon, thus his arguing weakly on this Vulgate Prologue issue should be seen simply as a quirk, rather than an agenda.

    If Grantley had given the weak Martianay arguments, proper scholarship would have led him to mention and reference the responses.
    And readers would see that there really was no basis for the non-authenticity argument. So Grantley wrote superficially on the debate about Vulgate Prologue authenticity.

    Grantley did include Thomas Smith, whose Latin section can be read here, however this was before the Martainay attempt to claim inauthenticity:

    Altera miscellanea: responsio ad Simonii cavillationes ; Integritas loci 1 Jo. V, 7 ; Defensio contra exceptiones Simonii ; Commentarius in 2am Petri epistolam. [Apendix contra Simonem] (1690)

    Here is how Grantley gave Smith:

    Smith defends the attribution of the prologue to the Catholic Epistles to Jerome, though he notes that “Erasmus and Socinus work hard to dissolve the strength and the bond of this testimony, by which they realise that they are bound. They turn and twist this way and that; and lest they should seem to be struck dumb, flatter themselves that this matter is to be disentangled with untrustworthy and dishonest answers.” As Smith reports, Fausto Sozzini suggested in his commentary on the Johannine epistles that Jerome had chanced upon a copy containing the comma—perhaps even several—and assuming that this reading was correct, complained that the texts more generally in use were corrupt; Smith characterises Sozzini’s hypothesis as “pure, vile calumny” (mera & putida calumnia). However, Smith’s argument seems to acknowledge tacitly that it was he who was in a bind. To follow Selden’s sceptical attitude towards Jerome’s authorship of the prologue meant jettisoning a powerful piece of evidence for the authenticity of the comma; but to maintain Jerome’s authorship of the prologue meant having to deal with the suggestions of Erasmus and Sozzini that Jerome’s version did not represent the text as commonly accepted in his day, or—even worse—that Jerome had interpolated the comma into the text himself.
    Once again, the fallacy of the false dichotomy. And this is not even a discussion of authenticity. This is Smith responding to the absurd arguments and implications that Jerome had fabricated the verse, or had been duped or dishonest in some way. Thus, the last sentences from Grantley .. "However, Smith's argument.." does not make sense, logically.

    "but to maintain Jerome’s authorship of the prologue meant having to deal with the suggestions of Erasmus and Sozzini that Jerome’s version did not represent the text as commonly accepted in his day, or—even worse—that Jerome had interpolated the comma into the text himself."
    If we accept Jerome's authorship of the Prologue (which is affirmed by positive evidences everywhere, and has, to date, not a single decent contra argument), the antiquity and authenticity of the heavenly witnesses is essentially proven. And with a split line, there is no "text as commonly accepted."

    Everyone senses this truth, which is why contras have come with a barrage of conflicting denial alternatives. Grantley has to create false dichotomies to divert from the real issues. Jerome indicated that the text was split in his day and that many preferred Bible editions without the verse. And he indicated similar in the Psalm 91 homily.

    And who cares about the totally ridiculous hypothesis of Jerome as the fabricator and interpolater? This was an absurdity in the 1500s and 1600s, and is even more so today. Today we have a wealth of ECW and Old Latin manuscript evidence that double and triple seals the issue. To those with a bit of sense, Cyprian alone totally refutes any theory of a later interpolator, like Jerome.


    Grantley should review all his scholarship on the Vulgate Prologue, carefully taking into consideration the critiques above, with a special emphasis on the false dichotomies and the faux assumptions of forgery.


    We will see the same type of concern in how Grantley approaches major evidences. Like, Cyprian, the grammar solecism and the Council of Carthage.

    Above, I simply pulled out the Vulgate Prologue for the first fairly full analysis.

    Last edited by admin; 12-03-2018 at 02:10 AM.

  3. Default Eugenius Bulgaris - in Biblical Criticism in Early Modern Europe book

    How Grantley McDonald approaches the grammatical issues is also very interesting.

    Eugenius Bulgaris, the single most important scholar, is missing completely in The Ghost of Arius, as shown in the post below. Despite being extremely important in the heavenly witnesses debate history.

    That was partly due to space issues, as Grantley shared with me in discussion. Yet that does not explain how Eugenius' name was missing in the short list of those who used the grammatical argument!

    There was some information put into the 2016 book.

    Biblical Criticism in Early Modern Europe: Erasmus, the Johannine Comma and Trinitarian Debate (2016)
    Grantley McDonald

    In 1780, Eugenius Bulgaris (1716-1806), former archbishop of Cherson, who had studied in Italy and had visited Germany and France, received an enquiry from Christian Friedrich Matthaei, a German who had recently been appointed professor of classics at Moscow. Matthaei asked Bulgaris about the quotation of the comma in the text of Bryennius, which Bulgaris had edited some years before. Bulgaris replied on 10 December 1780, confirming the presence of the comma in the manuscript of Bryennius. Bulgaris also showed considerable knowledge of the critical discussions of the passage in the west, from Erasmus to Mill. He was of the opinion that the Johannine comma was known to Tertullian and Cyprian; the presence of the comma in the African text of the Latin Vulgate was indicated by the fact that it was cited by the bishops who appeared before Hunneric.
    159 As further evidence for the genuineness of the comma, Bulgaris noted the lack of grammatical coordination between the masculine (Grk) and the three neuter nouns (Grk). He remarked that although it is possible in Greek to agree masculine or feminine nouns with neuter adjectives or pronouns, the reverse was unusual; one would more normally expect (Grk). Bulgaris seems then to be the first to have argued for the genuineness of the comma through the argument from grammar, but he advanced these arguments in the light of the critical controversies in the Latin world.160 Matthaei was not won over by Bulgaris’ arguments. He might have been convinced that the passage had dropped out of the Greek text through eye-skip if he had found at least the words ‘in earth’ (Grk) in one manuscript, but to date he had not found this reading in any manuscript.161 p. 114-115

    159 Tertullian, Adversus Praxean xxv.i, CCSL 2:1195 (cf. CSEL 47:267; PL 2:188); Cyprian of Carthage, De catholicae ecclesiae imitate 6, CCSL 3:254 (cf. CSEL 3.1:215; PL 4:503-504), Cyprian, Epist. 73.12, CCSL 30:542—543 (cf. CSEL 3.2:786—787); Victor Vitensis, Historia persecutionis Africanae provinciae, CSEL 7:60 (cf. PL 58:227-228).

    160 An extract from the letter is reprinted in Matthaei 1782, lvi—lxii. On Bulgaris, see Tennent 1830, 2:292-295.

    161 Matthaei 1782, 140.
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    Last edited by admin; 12-03-2018 at 03:20 AM.

  4. Default the grammatical issues in The Ghost of Arius (solecism and Middleton on the article)

    Amazingly, in the longer, more extensive, first book, a nine-page section did not even mention Eugenius. Even though he is the single most important figure in the grammatical discussion. Let's look at the grammar passages.

    Many of those who support the authenticity of the comma argue that its omission creates an unacceptable solecism in the grammar of the passage. Edward F. Hills, the most learned of modern defenders of the comma, concluded:

    “it is not impossible that the Johannine comma was one of those few true readings of the Latin Vulgate not occurring in the Traditional Greek Text but incorporated into the Textus Receptus under the guiding providence of God. In these rare instances God called upon the usage of the Latin-speaking Church to correct the usage of the Greek speaking Church.”1 - p. 13
    hmm... why not give Edward Freer Hills on the grammar? (And other issues like the homoeoteleuton possibility and the Sabellian controversies.) The solecism description is never given in the 450 page book!

    Edward Freer Hills
    In the third place, the omission of the Johannine comma involves a grammatical difficulty. The words spirit, water, and blood are neuter in gender, but in 1 John 5:8 they are treated as masculine. If the Johannine comma is rejected, it is hard to explain this irregularity. It is usually said that in 1 John 5:8 the spirit, the water, and the blood are personalized and that this is the reason for the adoption of the masculine gender. But it is hard to see how such personalization would involve the change from the neuter to the masculine. For in verse 6 the word Spirit plainly refers to the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity. Surely in this verse the word Spirit is "personalized," and yet the neuter gender is used. Therefore since personalization did not bring about a change of gender in verse 6, it cannot fairly be pleaded as the reason for such a change in verse 8. If, however, the Johannine comma is retained, a reason for placing the neuter nouns spirit, water, and blood in the masculine gender becomes readily apparent. It was due to the influence of the nouns Father and Word, which are masculine. Thus the hypothesis that the Johannine comma is an interpolation is full of difficulties.
    In The Ghost of Arius

    2. Determining the place of the comma in 1 John 5 from grammar and context p. 14-22
    Most of the section is about interpretation. Just two or three snippets on grammar.

    One argument frequently made to support the authenticity of the comma is the so-called “argument from grammar’ often associated with Frederick Nolan (1815), Louis Gaussen (1840) and Robert Dabney (1890), and still promoted by “King James Only” advocates such as Peter S. Ruckman (1973), Jack A. Moorman (1988) and Michael Maynard (1995). Nolan believed that the comma was an integral part of the Greek text, but had been removed by Eusebius out of a secret inclination to Arianism. To support this hypothesis he argued that while the masculine participle ... (“those bearing witness”) in verse 7 requires at least one masculine referent, the neuter nouns... (spirit), ... (water) and ... (blood) in verse 8 cannot serve as referents without creating a grammatical problem. This apparent solecism, he argued, disappears if the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are made the referent of the participle, thus proving that a reference to the Trinity must have been an original and integral part of the text.2 p. 14
    Oops, not Son, but Word, is in the text. And Nolan rarely mentions the Trinity doctrine and not at all in the context of the grammatical discussions, which are omitted by Grantley. Here are some spots where Nolan discusses the grammar. You can quickly see why Grantley does not want to give the substance of the argument!

    An inquiry into the integrity of the Greek vulgate, or received text of the New Testament (1815)

    Supplement to an inquiry into the integrity of the Greek vulgate (1830)

    Grantley is continually looking at every issue through his Trinitarian vs. Arian glasses, and this makes it hard for him to simply look at an issue like the solecism with a full objective scholarship examination.


    On p. 21 he briefly mentions the "sense" (or constructio ad sensum) idea of Erasmus without mentioning that he referred to tortured grammar.

    In a forensic interpretation of this passage, we see that the twin testimonies of blood and water, and the divine testimony of the Spirit, are personified as witnesses appearing before the tribunal of our belief. It is thus not at all strange that they should be qualified by a masculine plural participle, even if the words themselves are grammatically neuter. It is a simple case of constructio ad sensum.17 As Erasmus remarks in his Annotationes: “The Apostle pays more regard to the sense than to the words, and for three witnesses, as if they were three people, he substitutes three things: Spirit, water and blood. You use the same construction if you say: ‘The building is a witness to the kind of builder you are.’”18
    It is quite strange to use Erasmus as a testimony to the supposed simplicity of the constructio ad sensum theory without mentioning that Erasmus referred to as tortured grammar!

    And omitting the amazing Greek scholar Eugenius Bulgaris, who forcefully argued that this was a grating solecism that would not come from the apostle John! And omitting the fact that omission defenders have offered a wide array of conflicting "reasons" for the grammar mismatch (including, ironically, the Trinity.)

    21 Nolan’s “argument from grammar” contains further deficiencies. For example, he writes that “the reading of the Greek Vulgate [... ] is not to be tolerated; the reading of the Latin Vulgate [...] is grammatically correct.”This point is a red herring. The Latin versions translate the participle (Grk) with a relative clause (qui testimonium dant/ testimonium dicunt/ testificantur) because it would not have occurred to a native Latin speaker to translate the substantival participle in the Greek text as tres sunt testantes. Moreover, spiritus is masculine, so the three earthly witnesses as a group are construed as grammatically masculine. Nolan’s claim that the Latin is more correct than the Greek is thus irrelevant.

    Ironically, Grantley has explained the point of Nolan, he has not refuted it, nor shown it to be irrelevant.

    Finally, it is clear that Nolan, 1815, 259, employs doctrine rather than philology as the yardstick for determining the correct reading of disputed passages, defending the textus receptus’ Trinitarian reading (Grk-Qeos) at 1 Tim 3:16, where the better manuscripts read .. or ..., a reading which could potentially lead to an Adoptionist position.

    Since 99% of the Greek mss support Qeos, this diversion is more a self-criticism from Grantley than a sensible critique of Frederick Nolan. Plus, there is nothing innately "Trinitarian" in the Received Text reading.

    Likewise, Dabney argues that the “seducers” against whom the author of the Epistle inveighs were those (such as Ebionites, Cerinthians and Nicolatians) who “vitiated the doctrine of the Trinity”. However, there was no fully articulated doctrine of the Trinity to be vitiated when the Johannine Epistles were written. But once Dabney had imagined this doctrine under threat, he naturally concluded that John wrote the comma to defend it. Apart from the dubious grammatical authority of their arguments, the position of Nolan and Dabney takes Eusebius’ model of orthodoxy and heresy at face value, but the inadequacy and bias of this view was indicated by Bauer. - p. 22

    A weak or anachronistic doctrinal appeal by Dabney is mostly irrelevant. Nolan is no defender of Eusebius, so that comment is simply wrong. And the appeal to Walter Bauer is a bit surprising, and no reference is actually given.
    Again.. the solecism description is never given in the 450 page book!

    The "red herring" accusation (the part in green) is itself a red herring false accusation. It is an important part of the presentation to show that the Latin has no grammatical problem, whatever are the specific reasons.

    It is curious that nothing was said about Nolan's discussions with John Oxlee on these points, or the figure attraction he used to support his position. Plus, Grantley's appealing to the ultra-minority Greek reading of 1 Timothy 3:16 shows his own bias. Especially as Nolan was quite forthright in explaining the solecism in the corruption that is in the Critical Text of 1 Timothy 3:16! (With the contras one solecism supports another.) Which you can read here:

    An inquiry into the integrity of the Greek vulgate, or received text of the New Testament
    Frederick Nolan

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    There is little of substance above in the grammatical extracts from Grantley. There is a bit of criticism of Dabney, a minor player, and some awkward diversions to 1 Timothy 3:16.


    p. 139
    ... Naogeorgus points out that Luther, a “sincere exponent of the holy Scriptures,” left the comma out of his translation. He ends his reflections on the comma by wondering why John should have applied masculine participles to things that are grammatically neuter. But for Naogeorgus, unlike for nineteenth century critics like Nolan and Dabney, this apparent grammatical dissonance hints at the textual difficulty of the passage rather than demonstrating its authenticity.164
    p. 288 - Dublin Review 1861
    After reviving the argument from grammar, the reviewer makes a more pertinent point: that the minute atomisation of the biblical text exercised by critics put considerable strain on the Protestant principle of sola scriptura. ...
    p. 306
    Moorman also relies heavily on the dubious argument from grammar.
    p. 377 - Erasmus Annotationes
    It will torture the grammarians that the Spirit, water and blood are described by the phrases “there are three” and “these are one,” especially since the words “Spirit,” “water” and “blood” are grammatically neuter in Greek. Indeed, the Apostle pays more regard to the sense than to the words, and for three witnesses, as if they were three people, he substitutes three things: Spirit, water and blood. You use the same construction if you say: “The building is a witness to the kind of builder you are.”
    p. 431
    This study seeks to show how the Johannine comma (ljn 5:7-8) and its attendant myths developed and came to be used in religious controversies from the time of Erasmus to the present day. First we give an account of the fifth chapter of 1 Jn, in order to show that the comma is required neither by grammar nor by context, as many defenders of the comma since Nolan (1815) have asserted.
    Grantley is continually skewing his paper by what he includes and omits. Omitting Eugenius as the modern starting point of the grammatical defenders leaves out the world-class Greek scholar. As another example, Grantley mentions the Sabellians many times, often clumped with the Arians, as people who might be accused by the orthodox of rejecting the text. Here is one spot that is different.

    Smith rejects the anonymous opinion (reported by Sandius) that the passage was inserted by Sabellians. Even more strenuously dpes Smith deny the suggestion—which Sandius was merely reporting from Bugenhagen’s Commentary on Jonah—that the comma was actually introduced by Arians.
    Fair enough, and Grotius was important as well. However, what about the inverse, from the learned men, defenders or contras, who had different positions about all this? Hills and others indicated the orthodox Trintiarians might have dropped the verse in the Sabellian controversies. Leaving out such salient doctrinal commentary goes against the idea, in the title of the paper, that Grantley really desires to examine the doctrinal implications.

    This is not examined well in the paper for one reason: It goes against the thesis of Grantley McDonald that the verse was a Trinitarian insertion.


    Middleton, Thomas Fanshawe. The doctrine of the Greek article applied to the criticism and illustration of the New Testament. Ed. Hugh J. Rose. London: Rivington, 1841.

    This is in the bibliography, but the separate grammatical argument from Middleton is not even mentioned once in the paper.


    Ben David - unitarian defender
    Armstrong (sabellian?)
    (Hall Harris)
    Bugenhagen & Luther
    witness of God
    Cyprian - and difficulty of Trinitarian insertion
    Cornwall - many other fine articles


    Last edited by admin; 12-03-2018 at 04:28 AM.

  5. Default the need to be fair

    In respect for the excellence of so much of Grantley's scholarship referencing, I have softened much of my criticism above. Especially places where I criticized his scholarship overall. e.g. There are spots where I had criticized "shoddy scholarship", and used other similar phrases. This is a diversion, and upon reviewing my writing, this is unnecessary and not really fair to Grantley. In fact, I often soften writing on a second and third pass, to help focus on issues.

    Clearly, I have kept critiques active throughout this forum. As a simple example, I notice some places where there is a fallacy of a false dichotomy. This is shown and explained. And this type of partisan writing is virtually the norm in heavenly witnesses scholarship today.

    Overall, I believe that Grantley's work a tremendous help in understanding the authenticity of the heavenly witnesses. You learn about this topic studying what he included, what he omitted, what he emphasized and where his logic and analysis is faulty or incomplete.

    Overall, I have a deep appreciation for what Grantley McDonald has brought to the table for the heavenly witnesses discussion. His is the only substantive writing I have seen since the Michael Maynard book blew open the textual criticism charade and placed the issues forefront and ready for discussion.

    (On the pro-authenticity side, I think KJVToday can get a little nod as well. Beyond that, there have been helpful specifics, such as when James Snapp explained the Carthage evidence to BVDB, using primary sources. The contra side has been mostly stagnant and weak, still trying to rely on Richard Porson and Raymond Brown. Brown's writing was helpful, but quite slanted.)

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