BCEME p. 21 Grantley
Erasmus cited two orthodox fathers, Cyril and Bede, who both quoted a large section of 1 Jn 5, yet omitted the comma.22
While the prologue to the Catholic Epistles claimed that the comma had been omitted by unfaithful translators, Erasmus pointed out that when the orthodox Cyril of Alexandria cited i Jn 5, he also omitted the comma, a passage he almost certainly would have cited in his disputes with the Arians if he had known it.40 The implication is clear: if the comma was present in the Greek New Testament current in the fourth or fifth century, as the prologue to the Catholic Epistles claims, why was it apparently unknown to Cyril?
40 Cyril, Thesaurus, assertio 34, PG 75:616.
Valladolid ... Lee, who had not. Cabrero and Gomez affirmed one of Erasmus’ criteria for deciding the value of variants - the balance of the patristic witness - by pointing out that the comma was not cited by fathers such as Cyril, Bede or Augustine where one would have expected them to do so if they had known of it.
Erasmus argued that the failure of Cyril, Athanasius and Hilary to cite the comma against the Arians suggests that it was not present in their bibles
And if the codices of the orthodox included this reading, why did Athanasius, Didymus, Gregory of Nazianzus, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Cyril, Ambrose, Hilary and Augustine all fail to cite it against the Arians?
Alberto Pio .... While Erasmus suggested that Jerome did not know what he was talking about, he himself unwittingly fostered Arian error. It was impossible for Erasmus to maintain that the bibles used by Cyril and Bede did not contain the comma. Perhaps they just omitted to comment on it. The comma was cited by Jerome and other fathers, and was found in the bibles used by the Catholic church; moreover, it fit well in the context of the epistle.
p. 58 Konrad Pellicanus revised his initial opinion and omitted the comma from the 1543 Zürich Latin bible, in which Erasmus’ text of the New Testament was reworked by Rudolf Walter. A marginal note states that the codices display a great variety of readings in v. 8. Pellicanus and Walter followed the shorter reading attested, for example, by Cyril and in virtually the same form in an ancient manuscript in Zürich.
Although he acknowledged that the comma was not cited by Cyril, Augustine or Bede, Bèze claimed it as genuine, pointing to the evidence of pseudo-Jerome, Erasmus’ Codex Britannicus, the Complutensian text and Estienne’s previous editions, though noting that the reading is different in all these copies.12
... Non legit tamen vetus interpres [i.e. the Latin Vulgate], nec Cyrillus, nec Augustinus, nec Beda; sed legit Hieronymus, legit Erasmus
in Britannico codice, & in Complutensi editione.
Another of the Leuven editors, Franciscus Lucas Brugensis (1580), compared
the Latin readings with those in other textual traditions. Building
on the work of Zegers, Lucas noted that the words are absent from many
Greek codices (including those in Paris used by Estienne), the Syriac
codices, from the Latins Augustine, Leo and Bede, and the Greeks Cyril
and Oecumenius. The inversion of vv. 7 and 8 in some Latin manuscripts
also indicated that the comma is textually unstable. In defence
Yet Cyril, in the second-last chapter of book xiiii of the work he calls On the treasure, cites this passage in conformity with our edition:3
3 That is, in accordance with Erasmus’ New Testament text of 1516 and 1519. Erasmus used Cyril in the Latin translation of George of Trebizond; see CW 46:229–230; ASD VI-10:541.
4 Cyril’s reading of 1 Jn 5:6, which includes ‘and spirit’, is attested in some New Testament manuscripts. It probably reflects a desire to harmonise this passage with v. 8; see K. Aland, Benduhn-Mertz and Mink 1987, 161, Lesarten [4, 4B].
‘Again,’ he said, ‘John states in the same epistle, “Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is the one who came by water and blood and Spirit,4
This is what Cyril says, a man who is – unless I am mistaken – orthodox. And since he is fighting here against Arians, and piles up against them many testimonies from the holy Scriptures, it is unlikely that he would have omitted that weapon by which they might be vanquished so completely, if he had either known of it, or believed that it was written by the Apostle.] [1535: For Cyril infers that the Holy Spirit is God not from what is subjoined – ‘and these three are one’ – but from what follows: ‘If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater,’ which refers to the Spirit, who was mentioned previously.6]
6 1 Jn 5:6.
So if Cyril amongst the Greeks read what the Greek codices have now,
and if Augustine and Bede amongst the Latins read only this, or both
readings, I do not understand what kind of argument Jerome can bring to
show that the reading he transmits to us is genuine.
19 The preceding discussion (from ‘So if Cyril amongst the Greeks’ to here) is adapted from Erasmus’
Apologia ad Annotationes Stunicae, ASD IX-2:256–258; cf. ASD VI-10:545.