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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)
    Overview of paper history

    Suggestion: download and use a PDF reader, easier to navigate than in a browser window.


    There are a number of excellent points in this paper.
    Mini-review planned! (Labor Day weekend?)

    Currently posts are on:

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    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, whom I had noticed for his writings on the pagan Jupiter (which we know today is the devil "Yahweh" entity.)

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    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.

  2. Default

    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)

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

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

    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 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 No._1_January_2017_101-112

    Erasmus Anecdotes - Sermon Audio - Jeff Riddle

    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

    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

    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)

  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

    §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.

    Athansius is in this post:

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

  6. Default Eusebius and the Sabellian controversies

    Eusebius :

    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.

    scholars theorizing that the Sabellian controversies contributed to the Greek ms line drop

    Did Frederick Nolan write of this Eusebius saying? He 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.


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

  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.

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