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.
In this thread the significance of the Vulgate Prologue to the Canonical Epistles by Jerome will be discussed. This is one of the most incredible and least well understood evidences for the heavenly witnesses. We will start with a quote from Charles Vincent Dolman (1842-1918). Dolman is reviewing the literature at the time of some of the best heavenly witnesses writers.
He is reviewing:
Ernest Ranke (1814-1888), a scholar with an emphasis on the Latin manuscripts, whose edition of the Codex Fuldensis showed the Prologue in 546 AD written in an edition produced under the learned:
Victor of Capua
The Dublin Review (1882)
Recent Evidence in Support of 1 John v. 7 p. 426-439
Charles Vincent Dolman
The story of the bogus forgery accusations is quite educational and has its own intrigues. I started with this quote simply because it gives a type of overview of the historical situation (which we plan to expand upon considerably.)Every one who has read anything of this discussion knows how important a place is held by a certain Prologue to the Canonical Epistles, commonly ascribed to St. Jerome. The writer of that Prologue finds fault with certain unfaithful transcribers for omitting the verse containing the testimony of the Heavenly Witnesses. If it were but certain that this preface came from the pen of St. Jerome, there would be an end to the discussion ; or, rather, the discussion would never have had a beginning. All we know of the preface is this—that it was found in almost all the Latin Bibles from the ninth century downwards, with or without St. Jerome's name attached. Père Simon was the first to question the authenticity of the Prologue, and, finally, the Benedictine editors of St. Jerome added weighty reasons for denying it to be St Jerome's. Since their time the preface has been commonly rejected by critics, and looked upon as an impudent forgery of the ninth century. Thus, one of our strongest witnesses was discredited and driven out of court, to the great injury of the cause. Now, of late years fresh evidence has been adduced, which tends to prove that the critics were too hasty, and that in all probability the Prologue is the genuine work of St. Jerome. At Fulda there is an old Latin New Testament manuscript which bears an eventful history. (p. 428-9) ... We have, then, to thank Dr. Ranke, the learned Editor of the "Codex Fuldensis," for making known the fact that the much-disputed Prologue is no forgery of the ninth century, but in all probability the genuine work of St. Jerome, read and approved as such by Victor of Capua in 546. (p. 430-431)
Note too that there is an awareness that a singular evidence of this nature (what we call a super-evidence) can be virtually probative towards the authenticity of the heavenly witnesses:
We plan to be examining the Prologue, the undoubted authenticity for 1200+ years, the history of the debate, its place in the Erasmus dialog with Lee and Stunica, the proposed basis for the forgery accusations, the chimera of it being late, the Fuldensis discovery, and then the scurrying for a Plan B approach by the contras. Also how the history of the Prologue substantiates the words of the Prologue. We may also mildly chastise AV and heavenly witnesses defenders for being a bit asleep at the switch on this one!"If it were but certain that this preface came from the pen of St. Jerome, there would be an end to the discussion ; or, rather, the discussion would never have had a beginning."
Other parts of the review article by Dolman include Leo Zeigler's publication of the Freisengen fragments, an early Old Latin evidence. And reviews of the excellent writing of Arthur-Marie Le Hir (1811-1868) and Charles Forster (1787-1871).