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Thread: Jeroen Beekhuizen - The Comma Johanneum revisited

  1. Default Jeroen Beekhuizen - The Comma Johanneum revisited

    The Comma Johanneum revisited
    A Theology bachelor thesis which explores on textcritical and exegetical basis the possibility that the Comma Johanneum is original.

    June 2017 - revised March 2018
    Thesis supervisor:
    Prof. dr. G.H. van Kooten
    By Jeroen Beekhuizen

    (Geurt Hendrik van Kooten, University of Groningen)
    http://ggw.studenttheses.ub.rug.nl/3...0Ba-thesis.pdf
    Overview of paper history
    http://ggw.studenttheses.ub.rug.nl/372/


    Suggestion: download and use a PDF reader, easier to navigate than in a browser window. Added, May 2019, this may now be more restricted.

    ====================================

    There are a number of excellent points in this paper.
    Mini-review planned!

    Currently posts are on:

    Facebook - Pure Bible
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/pure...0005970757950/

    Facebook - King James Bible Debate
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/21209666692/permalink/10156206866336693/?comment_id=10156211168876693&comment_tracking=%7B %22tn%22%3A%22R%22%7D

    More to be added - this can go on the scholarship forums with more notice, it was written for a well-respected Groningen professor, Geurt Henk van Kooten, (at Cambridge now since 2018) whom I had noticed for his writings on the pagan Jupiter (which we know today is the devil "Yahweh" entity.)

    The contra Bill Brown put out his normal reactive response on BVDB after he saw my references to the paper. He makes a couple of decent points (easy to notice) but most of what he wrote is pablum nothing.
    https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/bibl...=Jeroen#p73920



    Last edited by Steven Avery; 05-02-2019 at 09:37 PM.

  2. Default an investigation into the entire history of the Church ... the very essence of John's Gospel ..weighed rather than counted

    Two superb quotes:

    ... it has been satisfying because investigating into the Comma Johanneum has been an investigation into the entire history of the Church and of Textual Criticism. What is more, it proved to be an investigation into the very essence of John's Gospel.
    ... Metzger himself articulates the general axiom of textual critics that "witnesses are to be weighed rather than counted." The weight of the early date Church Father quotations above is more than the weight of those hundreds of (quite to very) late date manuscripts.
    (the context is especially Origen and Tertullian and Cyprian)
    Last edited by Steven Avery; 01-24-2019 at 04:38 AM.

  3. Default the blame-game - it's the fault of Erasmus

    the blame-game - it's the fault of Erasmus

    Introduction
    Before the art of printing was invented textual criticism was not totally absent, yet it was necessarily limited to individual manuscripts. With the possibility to print and thus to produce a universally available standard text, textual criticism evolved from a personal quest of the interested individual into a vital part of theological science. With this evolution trouble started for the Comma Johanneum, a verse in 1 John 5 which was part of the Latin tradition but now appeared to be absent from the Greek. Erasmus first decided to omit it, but others dared not to follow his example and ultimately it was included in the so called Textus Receptus. In recent times these facts have found widely different evaluations. In scholarship the general trend is to blame Erasmus for eventually yielding to the pressure, thence subjecting objective textual criticism to orthodox feeling.
    1

    1 Most explicitly in David M. Whitford, "Yielding to the Prejudices of His Times: Erasmus and the Comma Johanneum," Church History and Religious Culture 95 (2015): 19-40.
    Jeroen is 100% right about this dynamic. Blaming Erasmus (and also the Authorized Version) is a common shallow argumentation of the contras.

    The paper on Erasmus referenced by the Baylor Professor does look like it might add some interesting points, even if it comes from the point of view of the normal anti-heavenly-witnesses textcrit error.

    On Erasmus, I would like to recommend the recent paper by Jeff Riddle, who deals with the issues of the rush to print and the Erasmus promise ("rash wager".)

    Erasmus Anecdotes, Puritan Reformed Journal Vol. 9, No. 1 (January 2017): 101-112.
    Jeff Riddle
    https://www.academia.edu/31085627/Erasmus_Anecdotes_Puritan_Reformed_Journal_Vol._9_ No._1_January_2017_101-112

    Erasmus Anecdotes - Sermon Audio - Jeff Riddle
    http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=32416175197

    Jeff Riddle Sidenote: The Greenlee Blunder of Claiming that only the 3rd Edition of Erasmus included the Heavenly Witnesses

    In a blog post:

    Saturday, March 26, 2016
    A Questionable Greenlee Anecdote on the CJ in Erasmus
    http://www.jeffriddle.net/2016/03/a-...ote-on-cj.html

    Jeff Riddle describes an Erasmus blunder of Harold Greenlee claiming that it was only the 3rd edition that had the heavenly witnesses. This has been given as "scholarship" from 1964 to 1995 (and even 2008), an example of how shallow had been the heavenly witnesses scholarship by the contras. Jeff makes a very similar point to that of Jeroen.

    Jeff Riddle
    As I’ve pointed out before, there seems to have been a distinct effort to disparage Erasmus’ work by modern critics who were keen on toppling the Textus Receptus in favor of the rise of the modern critical text, beginning early in the nineteenth century.
    Here are examples of blunders galore, and this from a writer, Harold Greenlee (1918-2015) who was usually reliable:

    The Text of the New Testament: From Manuscript to Modern Edition (2008)
    By J. Harold Greenlee
    https://books.google.com/books?id=ocmqh77o6dIC&pg=PT45

    The New Testament Meets the Printing Press

    ... In his fourth and subsequent editions he again omitted the passage. By a quirk of circumstances, however, it was Erasmus’s third edition that proved to have the most lasting influence on other editions by other editors, and thus the reference to the heavenly witnesses, which is not found in any Greek New Testament ms produced earlier than the sixteenth century, came to be an accepted part of the Greek text and later found its way into the kjv in English.
    Also in 1985 we can see online. This is as bad as James White and his errors on Sinaiticus, the blunder remains for decades, Greenlee's was over 40 years. However, it did not have the bad faith, railing accusation component of the White boomerang attack.

    Scribes, scrolls, and scripture: a student's guide to New Testament textual criticism (1985)
    https://books.google.com/books?id=Rh...nECmEQ6AEILzAB

  4. Default working with the Metzger agitprop disinformation campaign


    §1.1 Introduction
    The textcritical arguments against the authenticity of the Comma can be found in almost every commentary on 1 John and often with little variation. Unfortunately these arguments cannot be said to be presented in a fair and balanced manner; misleading statements and exaggeration is not uncommon. Since most of these commentaries derive their arguments from the work of Bruce M. Metzger2 the best method to proceed will be to closely evaluate his arguments while assessing the evidence.

    In short words Metzger's argument is that the Comma is (1) absent from far most of the Greek manuscripts, (2) not quoted by the Greek Fathers, (3) absent from all ancient versions including the earliest Latin versions, (4) can be explained as allegorical gloss, (5) no good reason can be found for its omission were it original and finally (6) it "makes an awkward break in the sense" of 1 John 5.3 Whether the last argument is correct will be explored in chapter 2, but the other arguments will one by one be tested on their validity in this chapter. Certainly, if Metzger is correct then defending the Comma will indeed hardly be worth the effort, yet it will become apparent that these arguments are not what they seem.

    2 Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (2nd edition; Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2002).
    This Metzger trickery, used by so many parrots, is something I had noticed as well, e.g.:

    [TC-Alternate-list] heavenly witnesses - Metzger word-parsing disinformation attempt
    Steven Avery - July, 2012
    https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/TC-Alternate-list/conversations/topics/5064


    §1.3 Second argument: the Greek Fathers

    ... In the entire TLG database I have only found 13 quotations of these verses of 1 John. This is telling: if in the existing Greek texts of fourteen centuries these verses (be it with or without Comma) are only 13 times quoted, then lack of quotation can never be an argument against the Comma.8 What is more, there are no Greek quotations without the Comma before the fifth century.


    8 If Greek translations of Latin works are included it will be a little more than 13 quotations. Those do have the Comma, however, so it makes no difference for my argument.
    I'm leading with this because it is an important detail, researched with an exact number. I would like to look at each reference. e.g. If a reference is in the context of water baptism, then there is little significance.

    His italics are a bit overstated, but the basic point of the paucity of referencing is ultra-sound. On the other hand there are many ways to strengthen his argument, including the fact that many Greek scholars would also know the Latin referencing.




  5. Default Greek ECW - Origen and Athanasius

    Origen we place on the Origen page.
    http://www.purebibleforum.com/showth...=1684#post1684

    Athansius is in this post:
    http://www.purebibleforum.com/showth...=1673#post1673

    We could add additional references here, such as the Synopsis of Sacred Scripture and Questiones Alies.



  6. Default Eusebius and the Sabellian controversies

    Three sister threads:

    Jeroen Beekhuizen - The Comma Johanneum revisited
    Eusebius and the Sabellian controversies
    http://www.purebibleforum.com/showth...=1699#post1699

    Raising the Ghost of Arius - Grantley McDonald
    skimming over the theories that the heavenly witnesses was interpolated or favored by Arians and Sabellians
    http://www.purebibleforum.com/showth...=4977#post4977

    scholars theorizing that the Sabellian controversies contributed to the Greek ms line drop
    http://www.purebibleforum.com/showth...k-ms-line-drop
    Eusebius :
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    3. Eusebius 11 (fourth century) has an interesting passage which may be a reference to the Comma. In his Ecclesiastical Theology where he refutes some Sabellian opinions of Marcellus he says:

    "[To say] that the Father is the same as the Word inside him, and that his Son is the Word inside him is the mark of the heresy of Sabellius. So again also the saying that the Three are One (Grk), the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; for this is also of Sabellius (Grk).
    "

    Although I am not claiming that Eusebius quotes the Comma here, his phraseology is remarkable. He could have said 'saying that the Three are One is also of Sabellius', but now he adds his last clause in a way that puts special emphasis on the saying 'that the Three are One' - 'for this is also of Sabellius'. Whether Eusebius had the Comma in mind or not, it is clear that the language of the Comma could be regarded as Sabellian.

    11 Eusebius of Caesarea, De Ecclesiastica Theologia 3.3-3.4 (PG 24:1001-1004c).
    This is a good find, and confirms the idea that the verse may have dropped out because of the fact that it might be more comfortable for the Sabellians than the Trinitarians in the early controversies.

    sister thread

    scholars theorizing that the Sabellian controversies contributed to the Greek ms line drop
    http://www.purebibleforum.com/showth...k-ms-line-drop
    Did Frederick Nolan write of this Eusebius saying in the context of the heavenly witnesses? Nolan tended to finger Eusebius as being directly a part of the suppression of the heavenly witnesses. And the controversy over the heavenly witness verse would be a very sensible backdrop to this saying by Eusebius.

    Charles Forster (and perhaps Knittel and also the Latin-only authors) should be checked.

    Why are we just getting this information now?

    Forthcoming: translation of Eusebius’ “Contra Marcellum” and “Ecclesiastical Theology”
    Roger Pearsse - August 29, 2013
    https://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/...ical-theology/

    We have English translations of a great deal of Patristic literature. One of the most conspicuous absences, however, has been the five books that Eusebius of Caesarea wrote against Marcellus of Ancyra after the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. These are the Contra Marcellum and the Ecclesiastical Theology
    .
    An extract from Eusebius, “Ecclesiastical Theology” III, 4-6
    Roger Pearse - August 30, 2013
    https://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/2013/08/30/an-extract-from-eusebius-ecclesiastical-theology-iii-4-6/

    A portion of Eusebius of Caesarea’s Ecclesiastical Theology, written against Marcellus of Ancyra, was edited and translated in John Mackett, Eusebius of Caesarea’s Theology of the Holy Spirit. Milwaukee, WI : Marquette University, 1990. As it is not too long, I think it might be interesting to give the passage translated here.

    Mackett goes on to discuss the meaning of the discussion – a very necessary thing! – but I have no access to that portion of his dissertation.

    Marcellus of Ancyra had written a text against Asterius, a former sophist and one of the early Arians. Eusebius responds to this work.

    What strikes us, forcibly, is that this text is only meaningful to people with an interest in Trinitarian theology. This explains why a translation has been so long in coming. I am told that the usage of the terms in Eusebius differs from that of later writers, just to complicate things.

    The term “hypostasis” means “being” or “substantive reality”, I think. Later it comes to mean “person”, and the formula that God is three hypostases / persons in one ousia / being appears. But that’s about as far as I can go.

    Let us now hear from Eusebius.
    * * * * * *
    How Marcellus, not understanding the Scriptures, determined for himself that the hypostasis of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one.

    And thus once again the statement that the three (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) are one is also Sabellian. Marcellus also expressed this same opinion and somewhere wrote: “For it is impossible for three existing hypostases to be united in a monad unless earlier the Triad should have its beginning from a monad. For St. Paul said that those things which in no way belong to the unity in God will be brought together in a monad; for only the Word and the Spirit belong to the unity in God. ...

    Now through these arguments (and ones like them) the smart aleck tries to build his case that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one and the same, because three names are given to one hypostasis. ...

    Wherefore only this spirit has been included in the holy and thrice-blessed Triad. This is not different from the Savior’s explaining to his apostles his sacrament of rebirth for all those from the nations who believe in him. He commanded them to baptize “them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Of the Father because he has full authority and gives the grace. Of the Son because he ministers to this grace (for “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”). Of the Holy Spirit, that is, the Paraclete, who is himself provided according to the diversity of graces in himself: ‘For to one is given a word of wisdom through the Spirit, but to another a word of knowledge according to the same spirit. To another is given faith by the same Spirit” and likewise the things considered with these. ...

    Therefore these mysteries are handed over to the holy and catholic Church through the divine titles. But Marcellus confuses everything: sometimes he takes into himself the whole depth of Sabellius, another time he tries to revive the heresy of Paul of Samosata, and other times he is openly refuted as a Jew for he introduces one three-faced and, as it were, three-named hypostasis by saying God, the Word in him, and the Holy Spirit are the same.”
    (continues)
    More context on the Roger Pearse site. Then more still in the book.

    Plus, we should briefly mention Greek evidences not included by Jeroem, like the Synopsis of Sacred Scripture and Quaestiones Aliae

    =====================================

    Amd historically Frederick Cornwallis Conybeare (1856-1924), in:

    The Authorship of the Contra Marcellum (1905)
    Frederick Cornwallis Conybeare
    https://www.degruyter.com/abstract/j...05.6.1.250.xml

    questioned the attribution to Eusebius of Caesarea of the letters to Marcellum, offering the alternative of Eusebius of Emesa, and was fully rebuffed by:

    Note on the Authorship of the Contra Marcellum and the De Ecclesistica Theologia (1905)
    Chase, Frederic Henry (1853-1925), and Bethune-Balcer, J. F.,
    https://archive.org/details/journalt...goog/page/n542
    Last edited by Steven Avery; 05-24-2019 at 12:54 PM.

  7. Default homoeoarcton and homoeoteleuton

    Important for textcritical purposes is the observation that there is repetition of 'there are three who testify' which opens the possibility of the Comma being dropped out by homoeoarcton: the scribes eye jumped from the first to the second clause because they open with the same words.
    Usually this is put in the context of the "three are one" ending, which is the similar homoeoteleuton. Perhaps the small difference in the ending, where only the last two words are identical, led Jeroem to write of the front side.

  8. Default

    The Eusebius discussion is on Facebook:

    Patristics for Protestants
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/8846...1548588264259/

    Pure Bible
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/pure...0005970757950/

  9. Default Robin Whalen book - Being Christian in Vandal Africa


    Facebook
    Patristics for Protestants
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/8846...2%3A%22R%22%7D

    Steven Avery
    Robin Whelan seems to stumble on the actual Biblical passage recognition. This can be the result of the nexus where Biblical scholarship meets historical scholarship.

    In this section, Athanasius is purported to be Vigilius writing as Athanasius (A friend is doing some special research on this question, this section from Robin Whelan is helpful for that attribution.)

    ===============

    Being Christian in Vandal Africa: The Politics of Orthodoxy in the Post-Imperial West (2018)
    Robin Whelan
    https://books.google.com/books?id=oxc-DwAAQBAJ&pg=PA125

    In the midst of a long Trinitarian discourse in the Dialogue, Athanasius refers Arius to a detailed treatment of a particularly important Pauline passage, “confirming that the three are one God”.

    ===============

    And I think it is safe to say that Robin Whelan is referencing the heavenly witnesses, which is very Johannine and not Pauline!
    In the thread you can see the interesting question as to whether the Vandals should be called Arian. The Robin Whelan book has a lot of fine material, here is a note I made.

    However, I want to offer many kudos to the Robin Whelan book.

    Here is one quote, from p. 123, that illustrates one major point from Andrew Davis above.

    (it is very neat that so much of the meat of what we are discussing is on Google books immediately available.)

    Robin Whelan
    "If Arius was a Homoian, a Eunomian, and a Triousian, so Homoians in Vandal Africa were Eunomians, Triousians, and, fundamentally, Arians"

    A neat phrase-turner.

  10. Default

    From the Patristics for Protestants discussion:

    Steven Avery
    Andrew Davis - there are many elements to this question.

    The primary one is simple. Where did the wide-ranging "and these three are one" phrasing for "Christology" have its genesis?. Charles Forster, following in the footsteps of Franz Knittel,r wrote a great book "New Plea" that basically gives the one sensible answer .. the heavenly witnesses scripture verse, even if it fell out of the Greek line. This can be accepted no matter how you feel the verse should be interpreted.

    Plus the vector of dropping of a verse is much easier than any proposed adding that is supposed to take over a major language line. (the largest line, Latin). The preservational imperative indicates there are no bogus scriptures in our Greek, Latin or Syriac lines (nor others), contra Ehrman, Wallace and many lemmings.

    As for Eusebius, Frekderick Nolan felt that his leverage with the fifty copies for Constantine was important, and he was adverse to the verse. This would be the case whether it was in some of his source Greek Bibles or not. Once there is a split line, it is easy to say "no way" as the supporters of the Westcott-Hort recension do today with the Pericope Adultera, the Mark resurrection appearances of the Lord Jesus, "Father, forgive them", and verses galore. They can be sincere in believing these verses are not scripture, and they are sincerely wrong. So the same could be for Eusebius in the 4th century. Sincere .. and wrong.

    So to say that Eusebius did not accept the verse as scripture is quite surely true, but not very relevant. In addition to the open-ended Greek ms. question, (as discussed later in Jerome's Vuglate Prologue), Cyprian's writing would be available, and the Old Latin mss, it is only convoluted and absurd modern confusion non-scholarship that tries to make the heavenly witnesses a post- Nicaea creation.

    The argument from silence is of minor import because

    1) we have little directly from Sabellians, and the great mass of what they wrote is gone-text

    2) Athanasius can talk of the Trinity and not mention Matthew 28:19, silences are limited in significance.

    3) there is in fact wide ranging Ante-Nicene allusions to the verse , in Latin and Greek, supporting the Cyprian direct reference

    4) those in the Sabellian camp could also be discomfited by the verse (as are some oneness adherents, and almost all unitarians, today ... Ben David was a quirky exception) .. so it might have been both sides that like the verse bypass

    5) the disciplina arcanii can come to play, as mentioned by Cyril of Jerusalem

    6) Constantine wrote to Alexander and Arius about a hot-button verse, that sounds very much like the heavenly witnesses

    7) we have the direct statement from Eusebius that sounds like he is addressing this very question

    =============================

    "How Marcellus, not under*standing the Scriptures, determined for himself that the hypostasis of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one.

    And thus once again the statement that the three (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) are one is also Sabellian."

    ==============================

    Frederick Nolan did not have that available, but it fits his theory of Eusebius falling on the contra side to a "T".

    There may be more, but I think this can help see the picture clearer.

    ==============================

    Thanks for your searching thoughts, I hope my sharing here is edifying as well.

    Steven
    Steven Avery
    Andrew Davis - I will look into your doctrinal distinction. This would be fine by me, if the description is more accurate not to use Arian for Huneric and the Vandals.

    Your last point about the Council looks a little strained, especially with the quote referencing John's Epistle as "clearer than the light."

    The Nicene group was under lots of pressure at the conference, as you know. If the heavenly witnesses was not actually in the Bibles of both sides, the handy-dandy accusation of forging scripture would have been a extra-heavy club that the Vandals would use.

    As to being late, not really. The theory of the non-heavenly-witnesses side are that the verse barely existed until about 400 AD. If that were the case, there would be zero vector of transmission to have the verse in the 500+ Old Latin Bibles of Carthage. This problem is never addressed by those opposing authenticity, in my experience.

    The learned Ambrosius Dorhout (1699-1776) wrote about it in Latin, and I am hoping to have the fuller section translated, he wrote about this historical evidence:

    ...instar centenorum codicum, qui eptimae notae sunt seculi V
    [equivalent to that of a hundred of the best MSS. of the fifth century].
    (Christian Observer 1824 p.683)

    =================

    And of course, this should not be viewed in isolation. We go into Cyprian (and the similar Tertullian ref), the incredible Vulgate Prologue of Jerome, the extant Old Latin mss., the many Latin apologetic references of the era, the solecism in the short Greek text, and a dozen or two other corroborating evidences.

    =================

    However, I would like to return more to Eusebius above.

    While appreciating your contributions on Carthage. So I am all ears to the counterpoint. It is good to finally have helpful contributions.
    Steven Avery
    Andrew Davis - I will look into your doctrinal distinction. This would be fine by me, if the description is more accurate not to use Arian for Huneric and the Vandals.

    Your last point about the Council looks a little strained, especially with the quote referencing John's Epistle as "clearer than the light."

    The Nicene group was under lots of pressure at the conference, as you know. If the heavenly witnesses was not actually in the Bibles of both sides, the handy-dandy accusation of forging scripture would have been a extra-heavy club that the Vandals would use.

    As to being late, not really. The theory of the non-heavenly-witnesses side are that the verse barely existed until about 400 AD. If that were the case, there would be zero vector of transmission to have the verse in the 500+ Old Latin Bibles of Carthage. This problem is never addressed by those opposing authenticity, in my experience.

    The learned Ambrosius Dorhout (1699-1776) wrote about it in Latin, and I am hoping to have the fuller section translated, he wrote about this historical evidence:

    ...instar centenorum codicum, qui eptimae notae sunt seculi V
    [equivalent to that of a hundred of the best MSS. of the fifth century].
    (Christian Observer 1824 p.683)

    =================

    And of course, this should not be viewed in isolation. We go into Cyprian (and the similar Tertullian ref), the incredible Vulgate Prologue of Jerome, the extant Old Latin mss., the many Latin apologetic references of the era, the solecism in the short Greek text, and a dozen or two other corroborating evidences.

    =================

    However, I would like to return more to Eusebius above.

    While appreciating your contributions on Carthage. So I am all ears to the counterpoint. It is good to finally have helpful contributions.

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