De Trinitate Libr Duodecim - Books 1-7 a unit - Book 10 is special

Steven Avery

BVDB has Raymond Brown

the chief appearance of the Comma is in tractates defending the Trinity. In PL 62, 237—334 there is a work De Trinitate consisting of twelve books. Formerly it was attributed to the North African bishop Vigilius of Thapsus who was present at the Carthage meeting; it has also been designated Pseudo-Athanasius; but other guesses credit it to a Spanish scholar such as Gregory of Elvira (d. 392) or Syagrius of Galicia (ca. 450).22 Recently the first seven books have been published (CC 9, 3—99) as the work of Eusebius of Vercelli (d. 371), but not without debate (see CPL #1O5). In any case, the work is probably of North African or Spanish origin; and its parts may have been composed at different times, e.g., Books 1—7 written just before 400, and 8—12 at a period within the next 150 years. In Books 1 and 10 (PL 62, 243D, 246B, 297B) the Comma is cited three times.
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Steven Avery

Hincmar Quotes De Trinitate Book 1 (wherein is 1 John 5:7)

● [Hincmar] St. Athanasius in the first book of the Trinity: "You, the only God the Father and [only-begotten] Son and Holy Spirit, you have declared us your divinity and you have revered the indivisible glory of your sacrosanct unique divine nature, and you have shown us the absolute eternity of your Trinity, for this I have believed to do a very useful work because your truth, made clear, shine forth, and the blindness of heretics, made manifest, becomes known to all."

[De Trinitate, book 1] (Hincmar of Rheims, The one Godhead, not three; Translated by Lorenzo Dattrino, 1994)

○ Latin: Sanctus Athanasius dicit in capite libri primi de Trinitate: « Tu unus Deus Pater, et unigenitus Dei Filius, Deus Spiritus sanctus, qui unam deitatem nobis declarasti, et sacrosanctae solius divinitatis indivisam gloriam revelasti, et perfectam gloriam Trinitatis tuam sempiternam plenitudinem demonstrasti. Ideo optimum duxi, ut tua veritas patefacta claresceret, et haereticorum detecta caecitas innotesceret.

(0543D)» [De Trinitate, Book 1.1; CCSL 9:3; Migne Latina, PL 62.237B] (Hincmarus Rhemensis, De una et non trina deitate; Migne Latina, PL 125.543)

● [Hincmar] In the following manner, Athanasius in the first book on the Trinity: "This is, I would say, the true formula of faith, in our conflict with the heretics, and this is also the reason for the victory in the clarity of Catholics. What does the fundamental divine commandment mean: Go and baptize all peoples in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit? Listen. In that marvelous and sovereign precept, in which all the sacraments in relation to the divine Trinity are included in strict union, in having begun the formula with the expression in the name, he evidently wanted to declare only one divinity in the Trinity, and having continued with the words of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit he intended to distinguish, for each single name, the single Persons."

(Hincmar of Rheims, The one Godhead, not three; Translated by Lorenzo Dattrino, 1994)

○ Latin: Hoc modo Athanasius in libro primo de Trinitate: « Haec est, inquit, materia formulae in
collisione haereticorum, et haec tituli victoria in absolutione catholicorum, quam significat principale
mandatum Dei: Euntes baptizate omnes gentes in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus sancti (Matth. XXVIII,
19) . Audi in hoc admirabile et regale decretum, in quo omne sacramentum in deitate Trinitatis uniter
continetur. (0486B) Qui dixit in nomine, evidenter unam deitatem in Trinitate consistere declaravit: et
quod prosecutus est, Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus sancti, per singula nomina, singulas personas inesse
distinxit. » [De Trinitate, book 1; CCSL 9:5; Migne Latina, PL 62.238] (Hincmarus Rhemensis, De una et
non trina deitate; Migne Latina, PL 125.486)
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Steven Avery


  • Mike Ferrando sent the following messages at 8:37 PM

    Mike Ferrando 8:37 PM

    Dear Steven, If you read the scholars blurbs for that entry, you will see that book X is actually a composite of 2 items: i) confession; ii) dialogue between a Christian and a Heretic.
  • These items existed separate after they were composed. They were composed by different authors.
  • Only the first 7 books of De Trinitate are considered a single work of a single author.

  • Mike Ferrando 8:40 PM

    So, only in the dialogue section of book X does the verse occur. Thus, referencing the dialogue as it existed from its composition, means adding strength and evidence to its early date. This is done in my presentation for the item.

  • As you can see a number of early fathers were aware of the dialogue in book X. The confession is also known as Athanasius confession and has even been found as a separate item in fragmented manuscripts, etc.
  • so, Book X is simply a composit of items and other than Migne, it really does not exist as an item until it is compiled and printed.

  • Mike Ferrando 8:49 PM

    I think also that book 8 and 9 were originally one work and referred to as book 8. Hincmar refers quotes from these two books as "book 8" of De Trinitate. And this is very odd and problematic because the order that we see was not always the order of the single book in the past. Really, it is much better to have the original and ancient recognition of the work(s) than the Migne version (or whatever edition we are talking about).

  • ok dokay

Steven Avery

Eusebius of Vercelli (283-371 AD)...............................................................................................................79
De Trinitate Book 10, PL 62.237-334 (circa 350-450 AD) .........................................................................188

Eusebius of Vercelli (d. 371) Three letters written during his exile are extant. The first seven books of De Trinitate, long
attributed to Athanasius or Bishop Vigilius of Thapsus, are generally accepted as Eusebius’s work. (Eusebius of Vercelli
(2018) Encyclopaedia Britannica. Revised and edited by Melissa Petruzzello, Assistant Editor.

[Kuper] De Trinitate, Eusebius of Vercelli: Nearly every aspect of this De Trinitate, a dialogue of which two recensions
are extant, has been the subject of disagreement. Although it was traditionally attributed to Vigilius of Thapsus or
Athanasius, Vincent Bulhart in the middle of the twentieth century reintroduced the possibility of Eusebian authorship and
defended it in his critical edition of the text (Bulhart, Eusebii Vercellensis, vii–xxviii), and this position was independently
supported by D.H. Williams (Williams, Ambrose of Milan, 1995, p. 96–102, and 239–242.). Though many manuscripts and
[PAGE 60] compilations contain a text of twelve libelli, only the first seven are original and authentically Eusebian. (Kuper,
Latin Controversial Dialogues, 2017, p. 59-60)

[Williams] Appendix III. Eusebian Authorship of De trinitate, I-VII. With the publication of the CCSL ix edition (Turnhout,
1957), Bulhart revived the idea, as advanced in the beginning of the seventeenth century by Jean Etienne Ferreri and
later expounded by Morin ("Les Douze Livres sur la Trinite", RB 15 (1898), 1-10), of Eusebian authorship for the first
seven books of De trinitate. ...[PAGE 240] With regards to the to authorship, Bulhart's suggestion that there was one
author for books I-VII, a probably different writer of book VIII, and an unknown redactor for all eight books (Praefatio, pp.
xxxiii-xxxiv) has received little opposition. Was Eusebius of Vercelli the author of the original seven books? Apart from the
problems of chronology, the strongest objections leveled against Eusebian authorship are those which attempt to argue
that the work originated from Spain and/ or from the pen of a Luciferian. It can be shown, however, that such arguments
have virtually no substance, and it is just as possible that the De trinitate was written in the south or north Italy. The actual
evidence which has been advanced for Eusebian authorship is admittedly slight and inconclusive.
We cannot hope to
solve all the problems of authorship here, but a few additional points can be made. First is the general [PAGE 241]
observation that there is nothing in the De trinitate which Eusebius could not have said. Another way to say this is to ask


  • Returning to the Reply to Damasus, the key question, if it is a later document, is why it is referred to as having Priscillianist authorship Grantley The same symbolum could be used by Priscillian or the Panchristian author of the Reply to Pope Damasus to show that the three persons of the Trinity are one God, and that this one God is Jesus Christ. p. 39 Grantley could have mixed it up, but the question stands for now :)

  • If there is a reason for the Priscillian connection, that supports the Damasus connection, if that is a false connection, not matching the text, then the Damasus name could easily be as you said, simply a later add-on

  • Hi Mike, I just noticed that the Book One of the Trinity, ascribed to Eusebius Vercelli by many, actually has three distinct HITS, 1:50 1:55 1:69 .. although 1:55 is not quite as strong. Do you agree that there are three refs by Vercelli (if he is the author)

  • Yes you do have that on p. 81-82 .. however you then go into Book V. and Book VII as well .. so they are being listed under the Eusebius section, rather than as a 400s distinct writer. There is also Book X on p. 10- that you do separate into "De Trinitate Book 10, PL 62.237-334 (circa 350-450 AD) " so should Book V and Book VII have similar type of placement as Book 10, away from Eusebius?
  • correction Book X on p. 90

  • And is De Trinitate those last three books 5 7 10, placed before or after Carthage? You have only up to 450 AD but they could be later in the 400s? The 350 is early it seems.
  • View Steve

    Am I correct that the argument against Vercelli is that the Christology is early for such a high view of the Holy Spirit, the counter-argument is that this text shows it is not too early.
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Steven Avery

Junghoo Kwon


Does Junghoo Kwon with Markus Vinzent contribute?

The Pseudo-Athanasian De Trinitate and its Place of Origin - (2011) Oxford Patristics: Eusebius Vercelli

The Latin Pseudo-Athanasian De trinitate Attributed to Eusebius of Vercelli and its Place of Composition: Spain or Northern Italy?.
TOC ONLY p. 169-174


A Theological Investigation of the De Trinitate Attributed to Eusebius of Vercelli - 494 pgs. (2011)

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