Raising the Ghost of Arius - Grantley McDonald

Steven Avery

symmetry of transmission and solid textual arguments of Thomas Smith

Grantley is a bit like a fish out of water when it comes to textual analysis. Ghost of Arius even had the Mark ending missing in the Peshitta line, which is estimated at 500+ or inclusion and 0 for omission. Whew. This error is in both the Dissertation and Biblical Criticism! Later Grantley learned the textual reality of the Mark ending. This surely is an example where, if the dissertation cannot be modified, it should have an errata page. (As Michael Maynard did on his book on the heavenly witnesses.)

As for how such a major error could be made by a fine scholar like Grantley, the answer to that is the word-parsing trickery of the critical text defenders, especially Metzger, Wallace and White. Grantley got duped by the word-parsing, and did not do even the simple apparatus check.

This problem of textual polemic over analysis can be seen very clearly in the discussion of Thomas Smith taking on the arguments of Richard Simon.

(to be continued)
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Steven Avery

The first grammatical argument for authenticity - Johann Christoph Wolf

The first grammatical argument for authenticity was missed by Grantley.

Grantley writes as if there is only one argument from grammar!
Note the definite article highlighted below:

the first to have argued for the genuineness of the comma through the argument from grammar
In fact, Thomas Fanshawe Middleton is only given in the bibliography of the dissertation, zero text is given and his grammatical argument is simply ignored in both the dissertation and the book.

And the only reference for Wolf is in the bibliography of Biblical Criticism:

Wolf, Johann Christian. Cura philologica et critica. 5 vols. Basel: Christ, 1741.
And the major section is in Volume 5:

Cura philologica et critica Vol 5
Johann Christian Wolf

p. 293-315
Grammatical may be here:

For more beyond these two (Eugenius gender argument and Wolfius-Middleton article argument) see Nathaniel Ellsworth Cornwall. And clearly there are other powerful internal, style and consistency arguments. However, let's stay on the main two grammatical for the moment.

(There are also various early allusions, like the torquebit grammaticos of Erasmus, and the ones to whom Gregory Nazianzen is writing, and the reference from Thomas Naogeorgus. As for the superb explication from Eugenius, the hand-waving attempts go on even today!)

Bulgaris seems then to be the first to have argued for the genuineness of the comma through the argument from grammar, but he advanced these arguments in the light of the critical controversies in the Latin world.160 -

An extract from the letter is reprinted in Matthaei 1782, lvi—lxii. On Bulgaris, see Tennent 1830, 2:292-295.
(correction 293-296)

Matthaei, Christian Friedrich, ed. SS. apostolorum septem epistolae catholicae ad codd. mss. Mosqq. Riga: Hartknochen, 1782.

Tennent, James Emerson. The History of Modem Greece. 2 vols. London: Colburn and Bendey, 1830.

Biblical Criticism p. 114
Franz Knittel, translated by Evanson in the 1785 edition, is important for advancing the Eugenius text, and should be included in any historical discussion.

And this clearly should have been a major topic in Travis-Porson. Travis missed it, even though available in Latin and English from two distinct authors, while Porson played cagey.

New criticisms on the celebrated text, 1 John V. 7. "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one." A synodical lecture (1785)
Appendix C
https://books.google.com/books?id=kKsCAAAAQAAJ&pg=PR48 (TOC)


Knittel's English section with the Eugenius Latin gets zero reference from Grantley in either book. And Knittel is given a typical short shrift, his strong argumentation ignored, and a snide comment from an anonymous writer in a German review is pretended to be accurate

A century later, Charles Forster built on much of the Knittel writing, such as in the section on Tertullian, Cyprian and Augustine, p. 167-175.
The History of Modem Greece Vol 2
James Emerson Tennent
p. 293-296

The History of Modem Greece
Vol 1


“The academy of Botopaidi was under the care of the celebrated Eugenius, who, being disgusted by the calumnies of the caloyers, was forced from the islands, and retired first to Constantinople, and afterwards to the court of Catherine, at St. Petersburgh, who subsequently conferred on him the see of Chersonesus. He was author of a translation of the Aeneid into Modern Greek.”—Dr. Hunt, p. 200. Zalloni, Essai sur les Fanariots, p. 16.

Matthaei (fix Matthaei urls)
(also the Bryennios Latin section is on p. 55)


Johann Christoph Wolf (1683-1739)

Monthly Repository (1828)
Bat there is another reason why the seventh verse must be retained. Wolfius and the Bishop of Calcutta
have observed ....

To be added, various Wolf urls.

Thomas Fanshawe Middleton (1769–1822)

James Emerson Tennant (1804-1869)

There is grammatical material on posts 3 and 4, however this needed its own section and analysis.



The refs for more info on Engenius:

Marco Zalioni’s Essai stir les Fanariots (Marseille, 1824 ; 2d ed. 1830).

Philip Hunt

Dr. Hunt’s papers. Walpole’s Turkey, vol. i.

Robert Walpole (1781–1856)

In 1817 Walpole published Memoirs relating to European and Asiatic Turkey (2nd edit. 1818). He edited Travels in various Countries of the East (2 vols., 1820), consisting mainly of unpublished papers written by John Bacon, Sawrey Morritt, John Sibthorp, and Philip Hunt. ...

Dr. Hunt accompanied Dr. Carlyle to Athos : the Journal of the latter remains in MS. at the British Museum {Add, 27,604). Walpole gives extracts also from the diary of Dr. Sibthorp, who visited Athos with Hawkins in 1794.


Steven Avery

Erasmus' contradictory attitude - based on wrong Paraphrases date

The Paraphrase edition chronology

Ghost of Arius, p.121-122

Running with the hares, hunting with the hounds: Erasmus' contradictory attitude towards the Johannine comma

Even after Erasmus had expressed his doubts about the comma in the Annotations to the third edition of his New Testament, he was still happy to employ it when it suited his purposes. In 1523 he published his Paraphrases of all the Apostolic Epistles, a Latin translation combined with running theological commentary.
The chronology is off here. And the same error is in Biblical Criticism, p. 41.

The Paraphrase on the Johannine Epistles were published in 1521, before the third edition, and some other epistles were earlier. My conjecture is that the Johannine Epistles was mixed up with the Paraphrase on the Gospel of John which was in fact published in 1523.

"the Paraphrase on the three epistles of John a few weeks later in January 1521"
Desiderius Erasmus. North-Holland, 1997 , page 5
Which matches well with:

"By mid-December 1520 he had completed the Paraphrase on James, and there remained to paraphrase only the Epistles to 1-3 John and to Hebrews."

The New Testament Scholarship of Erasmus: An introduction with Erasmus' Preface and Ancillary Writings (2019)
edited by Robert D. Sider
This was also in William Hales, a very solid writer who is not in the Grantley McDonald bibliographies.

“Erasmus not only wrote an animated paraphrase on this [disputed] verse, in A. D. 1521..."


And this does come from Travis, 1794:
Also we have this note to pursue, from John Jortin:

"But in his Paraphrases we find, as it were, the result of his scriptural inquiries, wherein he explains every thing in clear and precise terms, and chooseth that sense which appears best to him,and shows the scope and connection of all the parts. It is not, as some have affirmed, a work of his younger days : the Dedications show the contrary, by the dates, of which the oldest is 1517."
It would be good to know the dedication date on the Johannine Epistles, if there is one. From the above it should be Dec, 1520 or Jan 1521.

In the 1780s, Travis had erred on the date as 1541, Porson, in a letter in 1790 had corrected it as 1520:

The Travis error was in fact a mess, you can see it here in his 1785 publication:
Albert Rabil gave many dates, but he actually manged to accidentally omit the Johannine Epistles:

Erasmus and the New Testament: The Mind of a Christian Humanist (1953)
Albert Rabil

Steven Avery

Luther and Erasmus wrongly said to support ὃς, the modern Critical Text solecism corruption

This post

Textus Receptus Academy (also added Ecclesiastical Text Discussion Group)

1 Timothy 3:16

Biblical Criticism in Early Modern Europe: Erasmus, the Johannine Comma and Trinitarian Debate (2016)
Grantley McDonald
https://books.google.com/books?id=QgvFDAAAQBAJ&pg=PA159 ===========

Discussed here, nobody notices the error from Peter Gurry from Grantley.
Facebook Text and Canon (formerly The Received Text)
Peter Gurry

“From Grantley McDonald’s fine book Biblical Criticism in Early Modern Europe: Erasmus, the Johannine Comma and Trinitarian Debate.” ===========

“Luther .. sided with Erasmus conclusion that ὃς was the original reading.”


Erasmus 1516, 568: (‘Quod manifestum est in came.) graece secus est, θεός ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί, id est, deus manifestatus est in came, & quae sequuntur, ad deum referenda sunt. Ambrosius & uulgatus interpres legerunt pro 0eos o, id est quod. Secus legunt Chrysostomus & Vulgarius [sc. Theophylactus], quos si sequi uolumus, genera participiorum mutanda sunt iustificatus, praedicatus, creditus, assumptus. Caeterum utra lectio sit uerior ambigo nonnihil. Offendit Laurentium quomodo mysterium dicatur assumptum in gloriam. At cur non magis offendit, quod deus dicitur iustificatus? Id quod ne in Christum quidem prima fronte satis congruit. Siquidem de Christo interpretatur Ambrosius. Mihi subolet, deum additum fuisse aduersus haereticos Arrianos.’

Further on this passage, see Ehrman 1993, 77—78.


More info on 7 posts on PureBible on Facebook, above.

Grantley - Luther Erasmus 1 Timothy 3-16.jpg

Changed in corrigenda, still wrong.

Here is Ehrman


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Steven Avery

Jerome's Vulgate Prologue called "notorious"

Stunica’s position was clear: ‘One should know that in this passage the manuscripts of the Greeks are quite clearly corrupt, but that ours,’ that is, those of the Latin Vulgate, ‘contain the truth, as they were translated in the earliest times.’ To support his argument he cited the notorious prologue to the Catholic Epistles.

This is absurd. The Vulgate Prologue was universally accepted as Jerome's writing, by all sides.

It is only "notorious" in the confused mind of contras centuires years later, after the weird attempt to claim Jerome as not the author arose. So at best it is an absurd anachronism, meant to poison the well.

Grantley avoids giving any actual arguments against authenticity. Does Grantley cover the rant of Erasmus trying trying to accuse Jerome of forging the verse?


This type of unscholarly anachronism is common, e.g.:

Among the opponents attracted by Lee and Stunica was Alberto Pio, prince of Carpi. In 1531, Pio published a series of criticisms of Erasmus’ work, including his omission of the comma. Predictably, Pio relied on the authority of pseudo-Jerome’s prologue to the Catholic Epistles, and accused Erasmus of rash impudence in daring to contradict the great father. Why doubt Jerome’s word that the comma was deliberately removed, and thereby seek ro diminish Jeromes authority? While Erasmus suggested that Jerome did not know what he was talking about ...
Biblical Criticism p. 52 .

Of course, neither Pio nor Erasmus considered this "Pseudo-Jerome'.
The Prologue was universally accepted as by Jerome, and quite rightly.

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Steven Avery


Grantley mangles the Nolan grammatical argumentation, giving a faux (blunder) refutation

This error is part of a general hand-waving approach to grammatical and internal and related (Johannine style, parallelism, et al) elements.

Above: Grantley wrongly asserts that Erasmus and Luther used the modern critical text reading in 1 Timothy 3:16
(these are crystal clear, not a matter of emphasis or interpretation, and really should have been caught by the world-class dissertation reviewers)
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Steven Avery

Erasmus accuses Jerome as the falsifier of scripture - rogue's gallery of the conjectured fabrication/creation of the Heavenly Witnesses
Not mentioned in the books by Grantley.

More information in the Lee correspondence, and the Annotationes, where you can see how Erasmus crafts the accusation against Jerome.

Henry Thomas Armfield
Richard Simon
Thomas Smith
John Samuel Thompson
Franz Posset
Robert Coogan

Newton Accuses Jerome
Rob Iliffe
David Brewster

Pressed on the other side by the alleged authority of Jerome, who, in the “Prologue” to the Catholic Epistles, which bore his name, had declared that, in inserting this verse in his edition, he was following the Greek original from which certain Latin interpreters had departed, Erasmus revived the attack of which that “Prologue” so bitterly complained, and spoke of Jerome’s violence, unscrupulousness, and frequent inconsistency, as the probable origin of this supposed interpolation in the Sacred text.

Henry Thomas Armfield
Armfield points out that Socinus follows this suggestion from Erasmus, of Jerome being the culprit. Above, Armfield is mixing various complaints against Jerome a bit awkwardly, however the part in bold is the critical element.

A Critical History of the Text of the New Testament: Wherein is Firmly Establish'd the Truth of Those Acts on which the Foundation of Christian Religion is Laid (1689)
Richard Simon

He does disparage his own judgment, by inveighing against S. Jerome, as if that Father had been the Author of the Addition that is found in the Latin Copies ... "he on this occasion brings a heavy charge against him... Erasmus's judgment, S. Jerome must stand chargeable with forgery, a bold and presumptous undertaking to correct the ancient Latin Edition according to his own fancy, without the authority of good copies

Thomas Smith also looks at this, in the same section where he notes Erasmus "craftily concealing" the Cyprian reference.

A sermon of the credibility of the mysteries of the Christian religion preached before a learned audience (1675)
Thomas Smith
https://books.google.com/books?id=0g5AAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA139 (Latin)

... hereby craftily concealing the citation out of St. Cyprian, he very boldly accuses St. Hierome of Forgery, who having got a Copy or Copies, in which this verse was added, adversus fidem aliorum omnium exemplarium, tam Latinorum, quam Graecorum, lectionem particulae istius tanquam germanam defendere & promovere coepit, conquerens publicè eam culpâ & fraude hereticorum abrasam à vulgatis codicibus fuisse. But St Hierome has sufficiently confuted the falseness and boldness of this Cavil. He was used to this kind of language, as if [Page 70] he had corrupted the Scriptures, but he was no way moved by it; though this accusation of those of his own time perchance may not so much be referr'd to this place, as to his translation in general, and may proceed not so much from heretical malice and pravity, as envy of several of his contemporaries, who were orthodox in the faith, but were no friends to his new translation. He charges the omission upon these unfaithful Translators (questionless Sabellians and Arians) and upbraids them with it as a thing manifest and notorious, and easily demonstrable; and certainly he would not have made himself so obnoxious, unless he had grounded his confidence upon the authority of several Greek Copies: with what little pretence of reason therefore Erasmus and Socinus fancy St. Hierome to have changed the publick and common reading, let any indifferent person judge.

A Course of Critical Lectures: Or, Systematical Theology, in Four Parts, Viz : Theology, Demonology, Christology, and Anthropology (1825)
John Samuel Thompson

That Jerome interpolated this verse in the Latiu vulgate, is manifest from the preface to his canonical epistles, in which he complains of being accused by some of the Latins of falsifying the scriptures. To this charge he replies, former translators have erred by omitting the testimony of the three in Heaven, so necessary for the confirmation of the catholic faith. But however orthodox Jerome might have been, he was unable to prevail on the churches of his own times to receive the testimony in heaven; and seeing they knew his insertion, and did not admit the change, they must have condemned it as a fraud. Farther be it known,that by the unanimous testimony of the ancient interpreters, the testimony of the heavenly witnesses was wanted in those very Mss. from which Jerome pretented to have borrowed the passage !

John Bugenhagen and the Comma Johanneum
Franz Posset

Jerome was the one who was responsible for the additio of verse 7, as he himself had pointed out in his prologue to the Catholic Epistles.

Erasmus, Lee and the Correction of the Vulgate: The Shaking of the Foundations (1992)
Robert Coogan

On 1 Jn 5:7-8, Bellarmine attacks Blandrata who teaches that only in Jerome does one find the three heavenly witnesses. He claims that Blandrata
simply follows Erasmus in accusing Jerome of doing something shameful by inserting the Comma.

This next one is the theory of Jerome as the verse fabricator from Isaac Newton:

Scripture and Scholarship in Early Modern England
Friendly Criticism: Richard Simon, John Locke, Isaac Newton and the Johannine Comma
Rob Iliffe

In stark contrast to Simon’s view, Newton held that the Preface to the Canonical Epistles - in which manuscripts lacking the comma were decried as perverted - was probably Jerome’s. Jerome began the corruption, after which it quickly spread to Africa and elsewhere, finally ending up in the printed Greek editions. Newton analysed the existence of the text in the pre-Vulgate writings of Cyprian and Athanasius, finding with Simon (and against the view of John Fell) that the passage was not referred to in those texts, and he then moved on to convict Jerome of having concocted the verse for the nefarious aims of the Catholic Church.
The Life of Sir Isaac Newton
by Sir David Brewster

This text he considers as a gross corruption of Scripture, which had its origin among the Latins, who interpreted the Spirit, Water, and Blood to be the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in order to prove them one. With the same view Jerome inserted the Trinity in express words in his version.
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Steven Avery

Impugning Motives

Irritating Phrases meant to denigrate Heavenly Witnesses Defenders

David Martin -
“The Manuscript of Dublin will finally ruin all these vain subterfuges invented against the Greek of the Council of Latran,” he crowed.
253 - p. 243

Charles Forster’s A new plea for the authenticity of the three heavenly witnesses (1867).84
Forster, preacher at Canterbury cathedral, bleated sadly that the issue of the comma had weighed heavily on his heart for some thirty-six years
- p. 285

one reviewer of Nolan’s book crowed that it had “given an effectual check to Socinian insolence.
”82 - p. 285


The Forster quote is especially weird, when he was speaking earnestly about his heart's desire.

Calamy's bluster

Smith’s attempts to refute Simon’s arguments, while admittedly lame, nevertheless demonstrate how easily textual evidence could be misinterpreted and could thus lead to critically inadequate conclusions.

Overall, this is circular nonsense. Especially the conclusion of "critically inadequate conclusions."

And Smith was generally giving excellent arguments, so who "admitted" they were lame?


Assuming Doctrinal Motivations, not allowing that HW defenders had sincere Bible and Text belief

"But once Dabney had imagined this doctrine under threat, he naturally concluded that John wrote the comma to defend it."

So is Grantley saying that Dabney would not believe that John wrote the heavenly witnesses if it was not connected to the Trinity doctrine? There is zero evidence given for this accusation.

"Apart from the dubious grammatical authority of their arguments "

The only time that Grantley actually challenged the grammatical argument, he "made a fool of himself" (one of Grantley's expressions used with Standish and Forster, and a similar expression with Kettner "ultimately collapsed under its own excessive weight.") in a faux argument involving "spiritus" and Frederick Nolan. An argument that should have easily been caught by any learned thesis reader.

This is covered above:

the grammatical issues in The Ghost of Arius (solecism and Middleton on the article)

"the position of Nolan and Dabney takes Eusebius’ model of orthodoxy and heresy at face value, but the inadequacy and bias of this view was indicated by Bauer."

This is a left-field anachronistic attempt. Walter Bauer was an unbeliever that wrote long after Nolan passed, whose theories are soundly rejected by Evangelicals. Perhaps Grantley should have made his a priori historical acceptance of Bauer and Harrington and Ehrman clear, top to bottom. It is very strange and anachronistic that Grantley uses nouveau modernism theories to attack men writing more than a century and more earlier. And this is done in an off-hand drive-by manner. (To make this even worse, Nolan actually attacked the views of Eusebius on several points. And was himself subject to heavy-duty criticism on his views of Eusebius by Thomas Falconer 1772-1839.)
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Steven Avery

The Charles Forster Hand-wave

Grantley criticizes the incredible work of Charles Forster by simply contesting two references (and claims Forster makes a fool of himself)

One is from Chrysostom, and Grantley leaves out the context given by Forster of 1 John, and says that: μαρτυρίας is simply a reference to scriptural witnesses.
“Βλέπε γάρ μοι τὰς μαρτυρίας τῆς ἁγίας καὶ ὁμοουσίου Τριάδος, καὶ σέβου ταύτην ὀρθῶς, ἵνα μὴ ἀπόλῃ.
Vlépe gár moi tás martyrías tís agías kaí omoousíou Triádos, kaí sévou táftin orthós, ína mí apóli.


The second is actually a strong allusion reference, also understood as the Theodotus reference, which we have on its own page.
Clement (Clemens) of Alexandria - The Theodotus reference

It is truly amazing that Grantley McDonald tries to diss this reference without any real discussion or analysis!

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Steven Avery

Unusual Claims of Arian Addition

Aquinas - handled superbly, only the final phrase
Bugenhagen - small notice en passant
Grotius - no notice at all!


First from Aquinas -
only referring to "and these three (agree in) (are) one" in the earthly witnesses

Thomas acknowledged that the comma poses a textual problem ... In his remarks on the Lateran Council’s condemnation of Joachim’s proposition, Aquinas defends the canonicity of the comma. For him, the comma testifies to the united witness given by all three persons of the Trinity to Jesus’ status as Son of God: by the Father at the baptism and the transfiguration of Christ; by Jesus himself through his teaching and his miracles; and by the Spirit when he appeared at the baptism and at Pentecost. “But to introduce the unity of the three persons, [John] adds: ‘And these three are one.’ This is indeed said because of the unity of their essence.” According to Aquinas, Joachim’s interpretation of the unity of the heavenly witnesses as one of love and testimony rather than one of essence was a perversion of its true sense. Aquinas goes on to suggest that the clause “and these three are one” at the end of verse 8—which can only refer to a unity of testimony rather than one of essence—was added by Arians in order to cast suspicion on the parallel phrase in verse 7, in order to lead the reader to suspect that the testimony of the three heavenly witnesses was likewise one of testimony rather than of essence. “In the true copies this is not found,” Aquinas concludes. For Aquinas it was clear that Joachim had fallen into the error of the Arians, and had therefore rightly been condemned by the Council.109 In Aquinas’ comments we see that variations in the reading of the comma in Latin bibles—attributable to textual interference to the end of verse 8 caused by the presence of the credal formulation hæc tria unum—had led Aquinas to a conclusion which was philologically incorrect, even if consistent with his doctrinal position. As far as I am aware, Aquinas was the first person to suggest that the presence of the clause “and these three are one” in verse 8 was due to its addition by Arians. Most of those who have sought to explain the absence of the comma from the Greek text and the other translations through textual interference usually argue that the comma was erased by the Arians. Nevertheless, it is significant that Aquinas should have conjured the ghost of Arius to explain the variants in the textual record. On the strength of Aquinas’ authority, the clause “and these three are one” was subsequently omitted from verse 8 in many manuscripts of the Vulgate, and the phrase “these three are one” in verse 7 interpreted as referring unambiguously to the unity of the divine essense in the three persons of the Trinity, an interpretation evident for example in that of the influential commentator Nicolaus de Lyra.110

109 - (Latin section translated on Thomas Aquinas page)

110 -
Nicolaus de Lyra, in Glossa ordinaria, 1603, VI:1414: “Et hi tres vnum sunt. in essentia, & sic vnus Deus super omnia glorisosus.”

Check William Wright and others on this.


John Bugenhagen

Even more strenuously does Smith deny the suggestion—which Sandius was merely reporting from Bugenhagen’s Commentary on Jonah—that the comma was actually introduced by Arians. p. 196

Lutheran textual critics were less inclined to feel the need to defend the comma, which Luther had excluded from his translation and Bugenhagen had condemned as an impious interpolation. p. 264

Readers of p. 264 will often not realize that the context is not a conjectured Trinitarian interpolation.

Many others are noting the Bugenhagen theory.
Sandius, Emlyn, Porson, Bludau


Hugo Grotius

Hugonis Grotii Annotationes in Novum - ."neque vero Arianis ablatas voces quasdem"

Dublin Review (1882)

No mention of the Arian origination theory is in the text, however it is in the Latin of p. 136.

Neque vero Arianis ablatas voces quasdam, sed potius additas, unde colligerent, Patrem et Filium et Spiritum Sanctum non esse unum nisi consensu quomodo spiritus, aqua et sanguis in unum testimonium consentiunt. Quod cum viderent Catholici, abstulisse quidem eos illud quod de Patre, Filio et Spiritu Sancto insertum fuerat, sed reliquisse illud tres unum esse, quia id ita positum ipsis nocere non poterat. Alios vero, relicto illo loco de Patre, Filio et Spiritu Sancto ibi quidem posuisse unum sunt; de spiritu vero, aqua et sanguine, in unum sunt, ut alius modus unitatis significaretur.

others discussing Grotius likely include
Richard Simon

Henry Thomas Armfield references Grotius
http://books.google.com/books?id=5eQCAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA206 (full Latin)

Why, it was the opinion of Grotius that, so far from being apposite to the argument of the Greek Fathers, the text was introduced by the Arians, so that from the analogy of the adjoining verse they might argue that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were one only in consent and not in essence.
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Steven Avery

Richard Simon - "only knowledge ... Erasmus ... Apologia ad Stunicam"

.... thirdly, that some of Erasmus’ conclusions about the textual status of the verse were open to revision. He came to this final conclusion largely because the only knowledge he had of Erasmus’ opinions in this matter was derived from the Apologia ad Stunicam. Had he read Erasmus’ refutation of Lee’s Annotations as well, he would have been in a better position to gauge Erasmus’ opinions on the passage more accurately.

Surely everyone would agree that the conclusions of Erasmus were, and are, "open to revision".

And who says the "only knowledge" was from Stunica? Yes, Simon quotes Stunica a few times, it would be likely that he also had the Annotationes in the New Testament text, and could easily have had access to Lee and other materials.

Since Stunica had more historical weight than Lee, and was the follow-up to the Lee correspondence, mentioning Stunica could easily be seen as sufficient. If there are critical elements in Lee that are not in Stunica, Grantley could indicate the specific arguments.

No reference is given for the "Stunica only" claim.

Steven Avery

Thomas Smith and the Socinus (and Erasmus) calumny - the Vulgate Prologue of Jerome

Smith defends the attribution of the prologue to the Catholic Epistles to Jerome, though he notes that “Erasmus and Socinus work hard to dissolve the strength and the bond of this testimony, by which they realise that they are bound. They turn and twist this way and that; and lest they should seem to be struck dumb, flatter themselves that this matter is to be disentangled with untrustworthy and dishonest answers.”111

111 Smith, 1690, 139: “Ad vim & nexum hujus testimonii, quo se implicitos sentiunt, solvendum, maximè laborant Erasmus & Socinus, omnesque in partes se versant, & ne silere videantur, rem futilibus & parum ingenuis responsionibus expediendam esse sibi blandiuntur.”

The above is accurate and true, from Thomas Smith

As Smith reports, Fausto Sozzini suggested in his commentary on the Johannine epistles that Jerome had chanced upon a copy containing the comma—perhaps even several—and assuming that this reading was correct, complained that the texts more generally in use were corrupt; Smith characterises Sozzini’s hypothesis as “pure, vile calumny” (mera & putida calumnia).

No reference.
We do have the Thomas Smith English text (not given by Grantley.

As for the Latin words extracted from Smith, to try to make him look bad.

1) The accusers were both Erasmus, and Socinus following the Erasmus lead
2) the accusation against Jerome was essentially fraud, not just a judgement error, as implied above
3) the calumny words were actually a defense used by Jerome, which Smith applies here, noting them as words of Jerome.

This is written by Grantley to try to make Thomas Smith look bad, as if he came up with a railing accusation against a measured theory.

Thomas Smith is available in English, as early as 1675, the only reference in the bibliography is the Latin, 1690.

A sermon of the credibility of the of the Mysteries of the Christian Religion: Preached (1674) Before a Learned Audience. (1696 - 2nd edition)
https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A60586.0001.001/1:1?rgn=div1;vid=101752;view=fulltext 1675-1st edition

Smith, Thomas. Miscellanea, In quibus continentur Responsio ad nuperas D. Simonii in libro super fide Græcorum de dogmate Transsusbstantiationis cavillationes. Dissertatio, in qua Integritas & αὐθεντία istius celeberrimi loci 1. Epist. S. Joannis, cap. V. vers. 7. vindicatur. Defensio superioris Dissertationis contra exceptiones D. Simonii in Criticâ historiâ novi Testamenti. Commentarius in
secundam S. Petri Apostoli Epistolam. London: S. Smith, 1690.

The Latin section which is used to try to make Thomas Smith look bad is right after a Latin section:
Quae mera & putida calumnia - after vulgatis codicibus suisse


However, Smith’s argument seems to acknowledge tacitly that it was he who was in a bind. To follow Selden’s sceptical attitude towards Jerome’s authorship of the prologue meant jettisoning a powerful piece of evidence for the authenticity of the comma; but to maintain Jerome’s authorship of the prologue meant having to deal with the suggestions of Erasmus and Sozzini that Jerome’s version did not represent the text as commonly accepted in his day, or—even worse—that Jerome had interpolated the comma into the text himself.

This is an absurd conjecture and speculation and mental finding from Grantley, of zero merit, trying to create a false dichotomy.

but to maintain Jerome’s authorship of the prologue meant having to deal with the suggestions of Erasmus and Sozzini that Jerome’s version did not represent the text as commonly accepted in his day, or—even worse—that Jerome had interpolated the comma into the text himself.
Thomas Smith had already rejected the nonsense from Erasmus and Sozzini, it has already been fully dealt with.

And any idea that Jerome interpolated the heavenly witnesses was a desperate and obviously false attempt from the two gentlemen.

This type of false dichotomy writing is pretty bad.
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Steven Avery

WIP - Thomas Smith - Latin and English


The Stile is exactly St. Hierom's and questionless his, and ac∣knowledg'd as such, both by Erasmus and Socinus, however o∣mitted by Erasmus in his edition of St. Hierom's works at Ba∣sil. St. Hierome in his preface to the Ca∣nonical Epistles, vindicates the antient reading, and laies open the baseness and perfidiousness of these men. I shall here put down the whole Preface;

Non ita ordo est apud Graecos, qui integrè sapiunt, & fidem rectam sectantur Epistolarum septem, quae Canonicae nun∣cupantur, sicut in Latinis codicibus invenitur: Quod quia Petrus primus est in numero Apostolorum, primae sunt e∣tiam ejus Epistolae, in or dine caeterarum; sed sicut Evan∣gelistas dudum ad veritatis lineam correximus, ita has proprio ordini Deo juvante reddidimus. Estenim prima earum una Jacobi, duae Petri, & tres Johannis, & Judae una. Quae si sicut ab eis digestae sunt, ita quo{que} ab Inter∣pretibus fidelitèr in Latinum verterentur eloquium, nec ambiguitatem legentibus facerent, nec sermonum sese va∣rietas impugnaret, illo precipuè loco, ubi de unitate Tri∣nitatis in primâ Johannis Epistolâ positum legimus, in quâ etiam ab infidelibus translatoribus, multum err atum esse à fidei veritate comperimus; tria tantummodo voca∣bula, hoc est, aquae, sanguinis, & spiritus in ipsâ suâ editi∣one ponentibus, & Patris verbi{que} ac spiritûs testimonium omittentibus, in quo maximè & fides Catholica roboratur, & patris ac filii ac spiritûs sancti una divinitatis sub∣stantia comprobatur. In caeteris vero Epistolis, quantum à nostra aliorum differt editio; Lectoris prudentiae dere∣linquo. Sed tu Virgo Christi, Eustochium, dum à me im∣pensius Scripturae veritatem inquiris, meam quodammo∣do senectutem invidorum dentibus corradendam exponis, qui me falsarium corruptorem{que} sacrarum Scripturarum pronunciant. Sed ego in tali opere nec aemulorum meo∣rum invidentiam pertimesco, nec sanctae Scripturae veri∣tatem poscentibus denegabo.

Erasmus and Socinus are so urged with this testimony of St. Hierome, that they are forced to make use of very pitiful and disin∣genuous arguments to invalidate it. Socinus had said before—

fortasse ante Hieronymum vix ullus inveni∣etur, qui testimonium istud hoc in loco planè agnoverit,

the falsity of which conjecture, however so warily laid down, has been disproved; hereby craftily concealing the citation out of St. Cyprian, he very bold∣ly accuses St. Hierome of Forgery, who having got a Copy or Copies, in which this verse was added,

adversus fidem aliorum omnium exemplarium, tam La∣tinorum, quam Graecorum, lectionem particulae istius tan∣quam germanam defendere & promovere coepit, conque∣rens publicè eam culpâ & fraude hereticorum abrasam à vulgatis codicibus suisse.

But St Hierome has sufficiently confuted the falseness and boldness of this Cavil.
He was used to this kind of language, as if he had corrupted the Scriptures, but he was no way moved by it; though this accusation of those of his own time perchance may not so much be referr'd to this place, as to his translation in general, and may proceed not so much from heretical malice and pravity, as envy of several of his contemporaries, who were orthodox in the faith, but were no friends to his new translation. He charges the omission up∣on these unfaithful Translators (questionless Sabelli∣ans and Arians) and upbraids them with it as a thing manifest and notorious, and easily demonstrable; and certainly he would not have made him∣self so obnoxious, unless he had grounded his confidence upon the authority of several Greek Copies: with what little pretence of reason therefore Erasmus and Socinus fancy St. Hierome to have changed the publick and common reading, let any indifferent person judge. But supposing that the Copies of those times varied, which Erasmus grants (and therefore St. Hierome is most falsely and unjustly accused by Socinus to have been the author of this in∣terpolation) He enquires,

quonam argumento docet u∣trum sit rectius, utrumve scriptum sit ab Apostolo, prae∣sertim cum quod reprehendit, turn haberet publicus usus Ecclesiae?

To this it may be answered,

1. that some vitiated and defective Copies, ought not to prejudice the authority of entire and better Copies, whether Latin or Greek. 2. that St. Hierome had reason to prefer and vindicate that reading, which gives such an evident proof of this great Article of the Christian Religion, agreeable to the doctrine of the Ca∣tholick Church, derived down to them by an universal Tradition, and acknowledged as such, by all, except∣ing a few, whom either discontent, or pride and con∣ceitedness of their own parts, and a love of innova∣tion and of being the author of a Sect, had drawn into the contrary heretical opinion. Besides, his words are so clear, that one might justly wonder, that Erasmus should pretend any difficulty or perplex sense in them, as he does in his, non satis video, quid sibi velit hoc loco Hieronymus; but that we have too just cause to suspect, how that great Scholar was biast and perverted in his judgment, concerning those great mysteries of Faith; though he is so wary and cunning, as not to discover himself too openly. He indeed is forced to confess the nature of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to be simple and undi∣vided, and the essence the same, though he is pe∣remptory, that it cannot be proved from this Text,

constat hic agi de fide testimonii, non de substantia per∣sonarum, herein followed byde illâ () ut mihi quidem videtur non agitur hoc in loco; quod & glossa ista in∣terlinearis, quam vocant, agnosci Beza,

and with a great deal of ceremony confesses it to be pious to submit our understanding to the judgment of the Church, as soon as she shall declare herself (as cer∣tainly she has done in this in her publick Creeds, to the great shame and conviction of Hereticks, who reject her authority) yet still for all this demure∣ness, he pleads for a liberty of interpreting Scripture, as if the truth were not yet wholly reveal'd, and the Church might err in her declarations, nec interim ne∣fas est citra contentionem scrutari verum, ut Deus aliis alia patefecit (which is also the pretence of Socinus and his followers:) and accordingly he interprets several places of Scripture in favour of Arius and the other Hereticks, and particularly this,

cum totus locus sit obscurus, non potest admodum valere ad revincendos Haereticos

(the same pretence being made use of for all places, though never so plain) and endeavours to elude the force of that famous place in 1 Tim. 3. 16. by expunging the word , as much as in him lies, that is, by pretending it was added by the Arian Hereticks. So that we need the less value the censure he passes upon S. Hierome in this matter, where nothing but pure zeal for the truths of God could make him so concern'd and fervent—Ille saepe nu∣mero
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Steven Avery

Council of Carthage - tricks to mask the evidence (which arose after Erasmus, in the 1500s.)

These tricks have a long history.
Henry Thomas Armfield pointed out the tricks used by Richard Simon, whose text you can see here:

A Critical History of the Text of the New Testament: Wherein is Firmly Establish'd the Truth of Those Acts on which the Foundation of Christian Religion is Laid (1689)
Richard Simon

Simon is quite dishonest about the context, and mixes up all sorts of other elements to create confusion, as he is seeking to mask the import of the usage at the Council. Ironically, the text used in Carthage was far more a representation of the ancient Old Latin line than the text of Jerome, making it all the more authoritative. The Vulgate text really became more commonplace around the time of Cassiodorous.

The three witnesses : The disputed text in St. John : considerations new and old (1883)
Henry Thomas Armfield

... Fulgentius, that, twenty years before his time, the exact words which he quotes were as distinctly quoted, against the Arians, in a formal Confession of Faith, presented by upwards of 460 African bishops, assembled under Eugenius, bishop of Carthage. It is this Confession which Simon has spoken of as though it were a carelessly worded reference to the passage in St. John, or to Cyprian’s exposition of it, occurring in one of Victor’s writings.*
* Victor is simply the historian who records it.

It was in the year 484, between fifty and sixty years before the date of Facundus, that

"Hunneric, king of the Vandals, a fierce persecutor of the Catholics, and a strenuous favourer of the Arians, commanded all the Catholic bishops within his dominions to meet and confirm their doctrine by Holy Scripture. Accordingly, they assembled to the number of more than 460, with Eugenius, Bishop of Carthage, at their head. The bishops drew up and presented to their sovereign a Confession of Faith, which is recorded by Victor Vitensis"

and it is in this Confession that the passage occurs which has already been given from Simon:

"Et ut adhuc luce clarius unius Divinitatis esse cum Patre et Filio Spiritum Sanctum doceamus. Joannis Evangelist testimonio comprobatur. Ait namque, Tres sunt qui testimonium perhibent in caelo, Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus Sanctus; et hi tres unum sunt.”

When we find these words agreeing exactly (with the single exception of the insertion of the “ hi”* with the citation of Fulgentius, we can scarcely doubt what was the received reading in the church of Carthage, in the latter part of the fifth century; not much more than half a century (instead of a century, as Simon represents) after the death of Jerome.

The Council of Carthage evidence is really explored after Selden, e.g. by the time of David Martin it is getting solid exposition in English.


Richard Simon is a bit of a textual hero to Grantley McDonald, so it is not a big surprise that Grantley takes a similar approach to the Council of Carthage writings, masking the context and significance. Below, in the quote boxes, are ALL the references given by Grantley McDonald, in Raising the Ghost of Arius, listed 1-5.

#1 Grantley McDonald:
John Selden .. and he carefully notes the citations in Contra Varimadum, ps.-Eugenius and Fulgentius,

Selden actually writes:
"Eugenius etiam Carthaginensis Episcopus, qui floruit annum 480, idem ipsum ut seculo suo suisque agnitum citat ,"

Where does "ps-Eugenius" come from?
There is a Pseudo-Eugenius of Toledo.
And a Pseudo-Eugenius II related to the decretals.
In this context, ps-Eugenius looks to be not a textual reference to the Eugenius writing at Carthage, but only a creation of Grantley, one of many evidence reduction attempts, by implying that it is a type of pseudographic writing.

#2 Grantley McDonald:
Thiele showed that several Fathers (ps.-Augustine, Eugenius of Carthage, Cassiodorus) also cite the comma with Filius

Here the reference to "Eugenius of Carthage" is more accurate, although it would be more informative to say "Eugenius at the Council of Carthage, 484 AD."

For background information on Eugenius, Wikipedia is pretty good, although the heavenly witnesses verse aspect should be added.

For research purposes, let's move aside and note a similarity of names that is still subject to a more definitive exposition:

1) Expositio fidei chatolice - given by Grantley in the context of (unum sunt in Christo [Iesu] )

Expositio fidei catholicae atque apostolicae contra haeresim Arianam - uses the phrase:
Expositio Fidei - 4th century confession discovered by Caspari
This post

subsequently Priscillian, Caspari 1883.
Also given as Grantley's name for Eugenius writing.

2) Expositio Fidei Catholicae - the name given in Wikipedia as like the Eugenius writing in the Council of Carthage

We should also look more at the Reply to Pope Damasus, which uses the same phrase.

#3 Grantley McDonald:
... Expositio fidei chatolice, and the Liber fidei catholicæ, an explanation of Catholic theology presented by bishop Eugenius of Carthage to the Arian king Hunneric in 484.51
51 Recorded by Victor Vitensis, Historia persecutionis Africanæ provinciæ, ed. Petschenig, CSEL 7:60 (cf. PL 58:227-228): “Et ut adhuc luce clarius unius diuinitatis esse cum patre et filio spiritum sanctum doceamus, Iohannis euangelistæ testimonio conprobatur. Ait namque: tres sunt qui testimonium perhibent [v.l.: dant] in cælo, pater, uerbum et spiritus sanctus, et hi tres unum sunt. Numquod ait: ‘tres in differentiæ qualitate seiuncti aut quibuslibet diuersitatum gradibus longo separationis interuallo diuisi?’ sed tres, inquit, unum sunt.” Further, see Bludau, 1919a.

The most informative reference.
"Expositio fidei chatolice, and the Liber fidei catholicæ" the first is one of the other references in the book, Liber is for the Council of Carthage.

Monumenta Germaniae historica inde ab anno Christi quingentesimo usque ad annum millesimum et quingentesimum: Auctorum antiquissimorum, Volume 3 (1879)
Liber Fidei Catholicae - (perhaps this needs correction on Wikipedia) - the heavenly witnesses reference is on p. 33

#4 Grantley McDonald:
Bellarmino argued that the comma is also cited by Hyginus, Cyprian, Idacius, Athanasius, Fulgentius and Eugenius of Carthage.

#5 Grantley McDonald:
Gibbon reported the scholarly consensus:
The memorable text, which asserts the unity of the three who bear witness in heaven, is condemned by the universal silence of the orthodox fathers, ancient versions, and authentic manuscripts. It was first alleged by the Catholic bishops whom Hunneric summoned to the conference of Carthage. An allegorical interpretation, in the form, perhaps, of a marginal note, invaded the text of the Latin Bibles, which were renewed and corrected in a dark period of ten centuries.

However, there was no such "scholarly consensus" when Gibbon wrote c. 1780. Most of the Bible and textual scholars were in favor of authenticity, and there had been a wealth of superb writing on the verse through the 1600s and 1700s.

Beyond that Gibbon gives us a total blunder with his rogue's gallery theory:
"It was first alleged by the Catholic bishops whom Hunneric summoned to the conference of Carthage. "

Beyond that the last sentence is rather wild conjecture, with no evidence, with wording meant to obscure.
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Steven Avery

Ps.-Augustine Ps-Cyprain, Ps-Eugenius - Ps-(name)
- making sure accurate, identifiable and not use anachronistically

Whenever a term like Ps-Augustine or Ps-Cyprian is used, it is imperative to identify what work is mentioned, or easily understood. Most of the following are fine, however I will highlight difficulties and separate out the Vulgate Prologue of Jerome to the next post.

All quotes and pages RGA.


Ps.-Eugenius - a very unusual designation for the Council of Carthage

"carefully notes the citations in Contra Varimadum, ps.-Eugenius and Fulgentius"- p. 184

Ps-Eugenius in scholarship circles has related to a much later writing, that has been attributed to Eugenius of Toledo.

Pseudo-Eugenio de Toledo

What is the actual historic desgination for the Confession of Faith at Carthage. I have seen Victor-Vita.


(this is a real problem in the apparatus, note that Grantley never mentions the UBS or NA apparatuses)

... quoted a large chunk of 1 Jn but left out the comma. The same may be observed in ps.-Cyprian, De rebaptismate XV (PL 3:1200) p. 23

Seidel Menchi, Silvana. “Un’opera misconosciuta di Erasmo? Il trattato pseudo-ciprianico De duplici martirio.” Rivista storica italiana 90 (1978): 709-743.


These must be compared to Ps-Athanasius and books of the Trinity details

Amongst the earliest Latin Fathers to cite Jn 10:30 to demonstrate the unity of Father and Son are ... ps.-Eusebius Vercellensis († c. 370) in De Trinitate III, IV and VII. - p. 23

Tertullian’s interpretation of this passage was followed by ps.-Eusebius Vercellensis ... ps.-Eusebius Vercellensis (De Trinitate I, II, VII)
25 Ps.-Eusebius Vercellensis, De Trinitate I, CCSL 9:15: “Ac per hoc in deitate una unum sunt et in nominibus personarum tres sunt, unde tres unum sunt siue unum sunt tres.”

Künstle noted that the same manuscript contains a Fides Athanasii, which is identical with the eighth chapter of the De Trinitate of


Contra Varimadus,
Disputatio contra Arium -

DIFFERENT WRITINGS- For both - ever-changing scholarship, the more recent for Varimidus - which quotes involve Eusebius Vercelli , see above?
Is the more recent omitted by Grantley?

26 Ps.-Athanasius, Disputatio contra Arium 44.18, PG 28:500: “Τί δὲ καὶ τὸ τῆς ἀφέσεως τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν παρεκτικόν, καὶ ζωοποιόν, καὶ ἁγιαστικὸν λουτρόν, οὗ χωρὶς οὐδεὶς ὄψεται τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν, οὐκ ἐν τῇ τρισμακαρίᾳ ὀνομασίᾳ δίδοται τοῖς πιστοῖς; Πρὸς δὲ τούτοις
πᾶσιν Ἰωάννης φάσκει· «Καὶ οἱ τρεῖς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν.»” p. 25

Other variants in verse 8—aqua caro et sanguis (Priscillian) and tres in nobis sunt (Ps.-Athanasius, Contra Varimadus
—seem to have entered the Latin textual tradition through lateral contamination, independently of the process outlined above, and possibly as the result of doctrinal interference. p. 39-40

ps.-Athanasian treatise Contra Varimadum - p. 47

The form of the comma cited in De Trinitate is as follows: Tres sunt qui testimonium dicunt in cælo: Pater et Verbum et Spiritus, et in Christo Iesu unum sunt.69
69 Ps.-Athanasius/ps.-Eusebius Vercellensis, De Trinitate I, CCSL 9:14 (cf. PL 62:243): “[…] Ergo quamuis in superioribus exemplis scribturarum tacita sint nomina personarum, Ps.-Athanasius/ps.-Eusebius Vercellensis, De Trinitate I, CCSL 9:19 (cf. PL 62:246): “Iam audisti superius euangelistam Iohannem in epistula ...” Ps.-Athanasius, De Trinitate X, CCSL 9:145 (cf. PL 62:297): “Vnde et Iohannes in epistula sua ait: Tres sunt qui testimonium dicunt in cælo, pater, uerbum et spiritus: et in Christo Iesu unum sunt; non tamen unus est, quia non est eorum una persona.” This section from book X appears to be a simple borrowing from the first section cited from book I. p. 50

Another early work containing the comma is Against Varimadus. This treatise has been attributed—with varying degrees of plausibility—to Augustine (by Cassiodorus), Athanasius (by Bede), Vigilius of Thapsus and Idacius Clarus; more recently, Schwank (1961) has attributed the work to an uncertain author active in Africa around 445-480.70 The author of Against Varimadus claims to be quoting the comma from John’s Epistle “to the Parthians.”
70 Ps.-Athanasius/ps.-Vigilius Thapsensis, Contra Varimadum I.5, CCSL 90:20-21 (cf. PL 62:359): “Et Iohannes euangelista ait: In principio erat uerbum, et uerbum erat apud deum, et deus erat uerbum. Item ipse ad parthos: tres sunt, inquit, qui testimonium perhibent in terra: aqua, sanguis, et caro, et tres in nobis sunt; et tres sunt qui testimonium perhibent in cælo: pater, uerbum, et spiritus, et hi tres unum sunt. Nos itaque in natura deitatis, quia unum sunt pater et filius, nec patrem credimus aliquo tempore præcessisse, ut maior sit filio, nec filium postea natum esse, ut deitas patris minoraretur in filio.” On the authorship of this work, see Schwank, 1961; Brown, 1982, 782. - p. 51

a third from ps.-Athanasius’ De Trinitate
We have already noted the appearance if the comma in the ps.-Athanasian De Trinitate - p. 52

ps.-Athanasius’ Against Varimadus - p. 56


Augustine has multiple works designated ps.-Augustine,

The first Grantley's use is ambiguous, however it was referring to Thiele referencing the Speculum, and the second usage which gives the reference.

Speculum “Audi Israhel”
Solutiones diversarum quæstionum ab hæreticis obiectarum im Codex

Walter Thiele
PS-AU spe Pseudo-Augustinus, Liber de divinis scripturis sive speculum quod fertur s. Augustini (»Audi Israhel«), cv 12

".... Thiele showed that several Fathers (ps.-Augustine, Eugenius of Carthage, Cassiodorus) also cite the comma with Filius" - p. 26

(Paris, BnF ms lat. 13174) .... On one of the flyleaves of the manuscript (139v), the scribe records four variants of the comma: first, a reading from ps.-Augustine’s Speculum “Audi Israhel”; p. 51
"text could be contaminated with foreign material through such arbitrary scribal intervention." - strange note

Fischer, Bonifatius. “Der Bibeltext in den pseudo-augustinischen Solutiones diversarum quæstionum ab hæreticis obiectarum im Codex Paris, B. N. lat 12217.” Biblica 23 (1942): 139- 164, 241-267.



A treatise In defence of the Catholic faith (incorrectly attributed to Fulgentius of Ruspe) cites the comma, and in the following unique form: Tres sunt in cælo qui testimonium reddunt: Pater, Verbum et Spiritus; et tres unum sunt.”74
74 Ps.-Fulgentius, Pro fide catholica, adversus Pintam episcopum Arianum VIII (“Testimonia de Trinitate”), CCSL 90:250 (cf. PL 65:715). p. 53

the Testimonia divinæ Scripturæ, a seventh-century work formerly attributed to Isidore of Seville.50
50 Ps.-Isidore, Testimonia diuinæ scripturæ, CCSL 108:57: “IN EPISTULA IOHANNIS: Quoniam tres sunt, qui testimonium dant in terra spiritus, aqua et sanguis; et hi tres unum sunt in Xristo Iesu; et tres sunt, qui testimonium dicunt in cælo pater, uerbum et spiritus; et hi tres unum sunt.” p. 39

Triumphus notes that ps.-Dionysius the Areopagite had interpreted the verse Duo seraphim clamabant as an illustration of the way in which instructions are passed from one heavenly being to another. - p. 175

Other passages adduced by Forster, such as the following from the Eclogæ of ps.-Clement of Alexandria (PG 9:704), cit. Forster, 74 - p. 286

Sophocles [ps.-Sophocles, frag. 1025, cited by Αthenagoras, Apology for the Christians 5; ps.-Justin, Exhortation 7.46 - p. 350




82 Ps.-Hyginus, De fide et reliquis causis,
Bellarmino’s reliance on the decretal of ps.-Hyginus is quite unworthy.41 - p. 167

The letter of ps.-John II to Valerius is in PL 66:27-28. p. 56

Finally, Priscillian lists the three earthly witnesses as water, flesh and blood, a variant found in no extant Greek bible, but in the writings of some Latin Fathers and a handful of Latin bibles copied as late as the thirteenth century.43
The sources reading caro ... ps.-John II, Epist. ad Valerium. p. 36

Decretum Gratiani, first appears in the forged ps.-Isidorean collection, put together in the ninth century; p. 37
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Steven Avery


77 Ps.-Jerome, Prologue to the Catholic Epistles, p. 54
Lee quoted the preface by ps.-Jerome to show that this passage had been “adulterated by heretics.” - p. 77
[He then quotes the text of ps.-Jerome’s letter.] p. 78
In response to ps.-Jerome’s claim that the comma had been omitted by unfaithful translators, Erasmus ... p. 90
.... Erasmus openly doubted the value of the evidence supplied by ps.-Jerome’s prologue p. 91
Pio relied on the authority of ps.-Jerome’s letter p. 127
"de Bèze claimed it as genuine on the evidence of ps.-Jerome" p. 134
"Hutter...relying on ps.-Jerome’s preface to the Catholic Epistles" - p. 135
"Emser cited the prologue of ps.-Jerome in its defence" p. 137
"On the strength of the testimony of ps.-Jerome, the Franciscan Miguel de Medina (1564) - p. 166
"on the authority of ps.-Jerome’s introduction to the Catholic Epistles, Poole accepts that the earliest Greek manuscripts contained the comma" p. 188
"Burnet particularly looked to find whether those manuscripts that contained ps.-Jerome’s preface to the Catholic Epistles also contained the comma. Burnet took this preface to be genuine, and was thus at a loss to explain why Erasmus had omitted it from his edition of Jerome’s works." p. 194

(these are all anachronistic usages, giving the false impression that the scholars considered the work as ps.-Jerone)

Add this to the area where Erasmus accusing Jerome is discussed separately
.. Grantley avoids mentioning the attempt by Erasmus to claim that Jerome created or inserted the verse.
He does have:
"While Erasmus had implied that Jerome did not know what he was talking about (Pio continued) ..." p. 128
Yet Grantley does not quote the critical sections from Erasmus where he accuses Jerome.

When Grantley quotes Erasmus, it is clear that Erasmus consisers the section authentic!

"In his preface to the Catholic Epistles, St Jerome suspects that this passage has been corrupted by Latin translators, and that the testimony of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit was omitted by several people.2 "
2 Ps.-Jerome, Prologue to the Catholic Epistles, PL 29:825-831; this preface is wrongly attributed to Jerome, as discussed above in chapter I.5."
- p. 361

The 1.5 is p. 54 and there it only says "Serious doubts". Grantley is not consistent, even within his own circularities.

"Yet it also seems that the apparent utility of the comma in fighting heresy and its increasingly frequent occurrence in Latin bibles led some to forge documents to bolster its claim to authenticity. Serious doubts attend the authenticity of a document claimed as the most important early witnesses to the authenticity of the comma: the prologue to the Catholic Epistles (incipit: Non ita ordo est apud Græcos) ascribed to Jerome (c. 340-420). The earliest extant source of this prologue is Codex Fuldensis. The author of the prologue complains that the lack of uniformity between the various Latin versions of Scripture led to confusion; the biggest single problem with these Latin versions, he contends, was the fact that they omitted the comma:"

Then we get this hoop-twisting convolution, this is unfortunately common in RGA:

"This prologue would be compelling evidence that Jerome considered the comma to be genuine if the text of John’s Epistle in Codex Fuldensis also contained the comma—but it does not.78 We are thus forced either to accept that the preface gives a true picture of the situation, and that the biblical text transmitted in Fuldensis is unreliable—a conclusion which might in turn raise fresh questions about the authenticity of the preface; alternatively, we must reject the prologue as spurious and accept that the comma was not an original part of the Vulgate.79"

Look for other quotes like this (also check my other post on Grantley and the Prologue)

"Fickermann ... its erroneous attribution of the Prologue to the Catholic Epistles to Jerome" ,p. 62
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Steven Avery


RGA p. 184
Indeed, as Selden notes, in some manuscripts this prologue is transmitted without Jerome’s name, a doubt reflected in Wyclif’s translation, where it is simply entitled“ a Prologue on the pistles [sic] of Cristen feith that ben seven in ordre.”


RGA - p. 38
Sidenote: note the circular reasoning, in this one case properly noted by Grantley:

"He concluded that Isaac cannot have written the Expositio, since he lived before the comma Johanneum is first attested, though this argument seems a little circular."
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Steven Avery

John 7:39
Does the Latin text of Erasmus, reflecting the Greek, without datus, mean that the Holy Spirit did not exist?
Or simply was not given?

Note: this is not a scholarly criticism of Grantley, it is meant more to unravel more precisely the new Latin text and the views of Erasmus and how this was mangled by Servetus.

The basic issue is that translating a half-sentence, when the full sentence shows the context, leads to problems.

John 7:39 (AV)
(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive:
for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

BCEME - p. 73-74
"Servet .. adopted Erasmus’ translation of Jn 7:39 (‘the Holy Spirit did not yet exist’), but interpreted it not as an indication that the Apostles had not yet been empowered by the Holy Spirit, but as evidence that the Holy Spirit did not exist before being given to human"

RGA - p. 152
Servetus consistently sides with Erasmus, following arguments from his Annotationes and citing from his translation. If Erasmus emphasised Jesus’ humanity, Servetus took this as the starting-point for a denial of Jesus’ divinity. He also took Erasmus’ translation of Jn 7:39 (“the Holy Spirit did not yet exist”) not as a suggestion that the Apostles had not yet been empowered by the Holy Spirit, but as evidence that the Holy Spirit did not exist before being given to humans. Servetus’ ideas are thus more radical than those of Erasmus.

Encounters with a Radical Erasmus (...ooks.google.com/books?id=1cxY0mm2ZwMC&pg=PA36

In John 7:39, Erasmus translated The Holy Spirit (Spiritus sanctus) did not yet exist/ but in his note he suggested - in fact, correctly - that sanctus was an addition that went back to Greek copyists, while in the Vulgate this had been changed to Spiritus datus so as to avoid any suggestion that the Spirit was not eternal - needlessly so, because John spoke not of the substance of the Holy Spirit, but of the empowerment of the apostles that had not taken place by then. Erasmus' argument led Servetus to the radical conclusion that the Holy Spirit did not exist before men were empowered by it and did not exist independent of being given to men.12

Is the Bietenholz reference given by Grantley? It does seem to be the basic source, as it has the "did not yet exist" wording. He is referenced in a general way in footnote 11 on p. 74 of BCEME.

Erasmus and the Problem of the Johannine Comma (1999)
Joseph M. Levine

When the Englishman Standish denounced him again at St. Paul’s for having omitted the word datus from John 7:39, he had to explain again that it was not in the Greek manuscripts because they were corrupt—excised, according to Standish, by the wicked Arians—but because it had never been there. If it had, Erasmus was certain that the orthodox fathers would have mentioned it. And if the Arians had excised it, the orthodox Christians would certainly not have kept silent about so impious an act. Nor was it clear to Erasmus just what the benefit would have been, since neither the addition nor the subtraction much affected the sense. Besides, Erasmus was only the translator of the Greek text; would Standish have him supply what was not in the manuscripts?74

74 The absence of the participle datus indicated to Standish that Erasmus mistook the Holy Spirit for a creature. Erasmus to Robert Aldridge, 23 Aug. 1527. Allen, no. 1858, VII, 128-41.

"Nondum enim erat spiritus sanctus, quia Iesus nondum erat glorificatus."

We can pull out the Paraphrase on John and the Response to Lee to have the Erasmus understanding more complete.


Chrysostom had the same Latin words, without datus, and he surely was not meaning that the Holy Spirit did not exist.

Plus, Latin mss., including early ones, had this text as well.


As for Erasmus having a low view of the divinity of the Holy Spirit, Grantley shared three points in our correspondence.

Erasmus writes:
"Pater frequentissime Deus vocatur, Filius aliquoties, Spiritus Sanctus nunquam"

At Valladolid, the opinion about Erasmus was:
"valde scandalose de Spiritus Sancti divinitate loquitur"

And about Hilary of Poitiers, he writes:
"Nusquam sanctus Hilarius scribit adorandum Spiritum Sanctum, nusquam tribuit ei Dei vocabulum"

Metzger's Textual Commentary, p. 218 - close to Erasmus
Raymond Brown's commentary, p. 324

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Steven Avery

Francis Turretin and Michael Walther and Thomas Smith

There are many problems here, let's first go down some of the references, with my notes interspersed.

Errors and problems include:

Turretin source is Walther (nope)
Walther would have to be a major heavenly witnesses source, he is not, he is barely mentioned over the centuries.
First published 1661 (1674 heavenly - 1676 earthly)
Thomas Smith borrowing Turretin - does not fit, dates very close, texts and emphasis very different
omitting the names of the two Turretin dissertations, the most basic research element.

Saying virtually nothing about the fascinating 30 pages except a minor Erasmus section

BCEME - p. 158
"Turretin's source is Walther 1654, 1347-1348"

No mention at all of Walther in RGA. If it had been for the Dissertation, the reviewers likely would have told Grantley that Turretin is a major figure with two large dissertations, while Walther is a nothing-burger in the heavenly witnesses realm, so the Walther source claim is impossible.

RGA - p. 144
"In his disputation on the three heavenly witnesses (first published 1661), François Turrettini (1623-1687) reviewed the manuscript evidence for the passage."

The earliest anyone has the two Disputations written in 1674 heavenly and 1676 earthly. It is hard to figure out this 1661 claim.

- no ref given

RGA - p. 197 BCEME - p. 158
Smith then employs the principles of textual criticism to argue his case. (Some of these arguments appear to have been borrowed from Turrettini’s disputation on the comma.)147 (147 is in BCEME)

Smith's 1675 work can be compared to the Turretin 30-pages total heavenly and earthly witnesses dissertations, which were c. 1674 and 1676 (not available easily online, the later 1687 editions talk of a response to Pictet, whose main works are 1696 but conceivably was an earlier writing.)

It is conceivable that Smith's used Turretin 1674, however the themes of the verse defense writings are very different. Thomas Smith emphasis is on Early Church Writers, Turretin mentions them briefly and is talking internal evidences.

See this bibliography of Turretin writings:

BCEME - p. 158
147 Turrettin 1687, 94; cf. Turrettin 1679–1686, 1:283. Turretin’s source is Walther 1654, 1347–1348. Du Pin 1699a, 2:226–227; Du Pin 1699b, 2:79.

Bibliography Entries

BCEME - p. 371
Walther, Michael. Harmonia Biblica. 7th ed. Nuremberg: Endter, 1654.

RGA - p. 424
Turrettini, François. Opera. 4 vols. Edinburgh: Lowe, 1847-1848.

BCEME - p. 370
Turrettin, François.
Institutio theologiae elencticae
. 3 vols. Geneva: Samuel de Tournes, 1679–1686.
De necessaria secessione nostra ab Ecclesia romana, et Impossibili cum Eâ syncretismo, disputationes. 2nd ed. Geneva: Samuel de Tournes, 1687.
The treatise on the heavenly witnesses could not have been published in 1661

What is Walther the source for? Textual criticism? Apologetics? Exact words? Its vague, and Walther is very under-the-radar, hardly ever mentioned in any heavenly witnesses discussions. (Grantley, afaik, is the first to even notice his writing.) Where did this idea of Turretin being dependent on t Walther come from? And what is the specific evidence? And is plagiarism implied??

Michael Walther der Ältere – (1593-1662)

Walther, Michael. Harmonia Biblica. 7th ed. Nuremberg: Endter, 1654.

Harmonia Biblica -(1666) - p. 1347-1348
Michael Walther
This is the same as 1654 and the pages are 1347-1351.
Grantley places these two of five pages the supposed "source" for Turretin.

Turretin's verse apologetic is two sections, about 30 pages and individually named, 15 on the heavenly and 15 on the earthly.

Disputatio Textualis
De Tribus Testibus Caelestibus Coelestibus (1691)
Ex 1 Joh v. 7
Respondente Benedicto Genevensi
p. 289-393

Disputatio Textualis
De Spiritu, Aqua, et Sanguine, in Terra Testantibus (1848)
Respondente Joanne Sarraceno Lugdunensi
Ex. 1 Joh v. 8
p. 307-321

The name of these two dissertations never shows up in Grantley! :)
In RGA he simply extracts a tiny ref.
And in BCEME simply gives as a reference the full corpus of the Turretin Opera, 4 Volumes.

single T in this one spot in Grantley's notes, usually double.

Turrettin 1687, 94; cf. Turrettin 1679 –1686, 1:283. Turretin’s source is Walther 1654 , 1347–1348. Du Pin 1699a , 2:226–227; Du Pin 1699b, 2:79

Turretin 1687. p. 92-111 on v. 7 - o, 112-130 on v. 8

the main reference is to Turrettin 1687 , 94
clearly paraphrasing Walther ? 1654 , 1347–1348 - nahhh

Grantley gave a presumed connected Walther-Turretin pages (2 on Walther, 1 from Turretin on his 30 page dissertations) - different references throughout, do not see the connection

Milquetoast example given by Grantley in response to how Turretin used Walther.

Walther, pp. 1347–1348: Codex Britannicus, de quo Erasmus ipse in Annotationibus Anno [15]40 editis pag. 770 testatur, quod habeat id, qui in vulgatis deest. Hic Codex ob vetustatem tantae fuit apud Erasmum authoritatis, ut versiculum illum in prioribus Versionibus suae Editionibus omissum, in posterioribus accuratissima [1348] cura recognitis restitueret […].

Turretin, p. 96: Erasmus fatetur extare in Codice Britannico vetustissimo, qui tantae fuit apud ipsum authoritatis, ut versiculum istum in prioribus Editionibus omissum, in posterioribus accuratissima cura, ut ipse scribit recognitis, restitueret.

This is a very weak indication that the large, well-regarded Turretin work depended on the small, minor Walther work. Simply makes no sense.

When Metzger lifted a few sentences with minor changes from John Scott Porter, and many others, in the midst of a major essay, that is simply common but it does not mean the essay is dependent. The concern is plagiarism, but that is not remotely in the picture with Walther and Turretin.

Michael Marlowe writes
"Institutio Theologicae Elencticae ("Summary of Refutational Theology") completed in 1674 and published in 3 volumes, 1679, 1682, and 1685."
Caution with Marlowe's interpretations, however. Turretin is misread and mangled by Michael Marlowe, maybe others:

Francis Turretin and the heavenly witnesses
from Senensis - "from the very times of the apostles".

FYI: here Turretin is writing as early as 1640, but the heavenly witnesses remains 1674
And this a cleaner read


Brought over from the Francis Turretin page

One of the few contras who engage the Turretin section is Grantley McDonald. However, only in a one-dimensional way. From Raising the ghost of Arius : Erasmus, the Johannine comma and religious difference in early modern Europe.

Within the Calvinist discourse, the question of the comma was never far from the spectre of Arianism. In his disputation on the three heavenly witnesses (first published 1661), Francois Turrettini (1623-1687) reviewed the manuscript evidence for the passage. “Erasmus,” Turrettini narrated, “declares that [the comma] is found in the very ancient British Codex, which he considered so authoritative that he restored this verse, omitted from his previous editions, in the later editions, which he revised with utmost care, as he himself says.” If the comma is missing from other manuscripts, this is to be attributed to the wicked fraud of the Arians, who removed it.175 It is perhaps for this reason that the comma is cited not once, but twice in the footnotes of the Westminster catechism (1646).176

175 Turrettini, 1847-1848, IV:290: “Erasmus fatetur [hunc versum] extare in Codice Britannico vetustissimo, qui tantae fuit apud ipsum authoritatis, ut versiculum istum in prioribus Editionibus omissum, in posterioribus accuratissima cura, ut ipse scribit, recognitis, restitueret. Laudatissimae Editiones, Complutensis, Regia Antuerpiensis, Ariae Montani, Rob. Stephani, Eliae Hutteri, Valtoni, quae probatissimis et vetustissimis Codicibus usae sunt, retinent. Unde si in quibusdam desideratur, hoc fraudi et dolo malo Arianorum adscribendum est, qui textum hunc eraserunt, quia punctim transfigebat eorum haeresim; ut Hieronymus testatur.”

176 The Confession of Faith, 1658, 155, 159.
About fifteen pages (30 pages including his dissertation on the earthly witnesses) of solid analysis from Turretin, and Grantley will only see one element, the reference to Erasmus. The readers who have not seen the dissertation will not get an accurate picture.


The biggest chronology puzzle remains:

Turretin in 1674 is said to have his edition as a response to Benedict Pictet (1655-1724) a cousin, (also later editions)
This is based on bibliographic information (possible they mixed up the later edition?) Not seeing the 1674 or 1676.

Catalogue des thèses de théologie soutenues à l'Academie de Genève pendatnt les XVIe, XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles (1898)
Henn Heyer

Pictet material generally begins in 1695.
Turretin passed in 1687.
Pictet material by 1674 is unlikely.
Maybe Henn Heyer is wrong about the Respondente info. Maybe that is all Edition 2.

Maybe inquire of James Mark Beach.



Sidenote: different Walther involved in textual criticism.

Friedrich Rudolf Walther (1741-1779), later than Turretin, also specializes on textual criticism:

Most telling are the ruminations of the secondary-school pedagogue Friedrich Walther, whose Probe... einer Uebersetzung der kleinen Propheten (1779) contained an encomium to text criticism as the true fundament of secondary learning. It is absolutely essential that the “child be led as early as possible to a ... correct taste in philology, and to a fundamental learning of the original languages.” The child must be soaked with “the best and the healthiest taste in Biblical philology, with the best and most fundamental ways of interpreting scripture, and particularly with the genius of the original languages.” Only translations filled with “critical and philological annotations” can serve as the “strongest weapons” against religious disbelief; only such translations can provide the “single true source of religious knowledge” for young readers.98

98 Friedrich Walther, Probe und Ankundigung einer Uebersetzung der kleinen Propheten (Stendal, 1779), 8,5-6,9,4,3.

The Enlightenment Bible: Translation, Scholarship, Culture (2005)
Jonathan Sheehan

Michael Walther, the younger, writing on Jehovah
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