RGA - BCEME - new questions that arise after March, 2021

Steven Avery

Taken from

The following regarding Thomas Smith should also be checked.

p. 158 - BCEME
Smith also made the startling claim that the evidence for the comma in both Latin and Greek manuscripts was so compelling that neither ‘Erasmus, Sozzini, Sand nor Simon have called it into doubt’.

No reference is given, so I will conjecture Grantley may have misread the Latin. Perhaps he means that Thomas Smith has not been shaken to doubt. Or perhaps they were the main doubters.

Smith clearly knew their positions, e.g. in RGA p. 195:
As representative of this position Smith cites Fausto Sozzini, who wrote: “It is clear that these words are forged, and were stuffed into
this passage by people who desired to defend their dogma of the Trinity by whatever means possible.”110

(also in RGA p. 197, although in a more sensible manner.)

btw, that is where the totally absurd false dichotomy is given by Smith
"However, Smith’s argument seems to acknowledge tacitly that it was he who was in a bind."
That should be covered elsewhere on PBF.

Also on p. 196 the drama queen version from Grantley "horror and satisfaction".


Here he has the 1654 more sensibly
He cites the Creed of Mogilas (1654).... however, I do not think that is a separate Creed.
Rather than the Orthodox Confession as in BCEME (see the next paragraph)

In that paragraph the 1643 Orthodox Confession is put as 1654.
Did that come from Thomas Smith? Likely, there was a reprint or update in 1654, however the Creed is dated to 1643. Or he mixed up the Orthodox Confession with the Creed of Mogilas.

Thomas Smith mentions Mogila here in the Latin, no date:

So where did 1654 come from? Grantley uses it, but gives no source, and there are not obvious spots for either the Orthodox Confession or another Creed of Mogilas in that year. Looks like just an error, maybe typing, where 43 becomes 54.
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Steven Avery


Grantley psychobabble quotient - anxious, fearful, horror - yet simply Bible believers affirming their Scriptures

This had some similar. - combine to one


As Erasmus pointed out, this accusation could not fail to raise horror and indignation, especially amongst the unlettered majority who fail to understand the issues at stake.

Smith observed with horror how Simon had exerted himself in ‘expunging this most famous testimony of the most holy Trinity from the sacred writings’.

Swift's characterisation of religious dissent as immoral and socially deviant expresses something of the horror felt by those who feared that biblical criticism could easily undermine virtue and subvert the social order.


BCEME p. 4
‘God only knows what he thought about the Trinity’, Lorenzo fretted.60
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Steven Avery

With the recent Thomas Smith disaster, where Grantley did not give the Latin, did not give an English translation and his interpretation was wrong and only half the sentence...

I am learning to be very skeptical if Grantley does not give the spot.
Here is one:

BCEME p. 129
In a 1619 disputation, Johann Gerhard argued that even if the comma is not genuine, it nevertheless expresses the same theological essence as other passages of undoubted canonicity, such as Mt 28:19.

No words, or location given. The implication is that Gerhard was expressing doubts. However, I would not take that to the bank without an actual Latin spot, text and translation.

Steven Avery

BCEME p. 114
"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."

Nonsense. There were no critical controversies involving the heavenly witnesses in the Latin world. The only one was around the "these three agree in one" in the earthly witnesses verse. (Joachim - Lateran Council - Aquinas - Complutensian Polyglot.)

This is a very common flaw, or trick, from Grantley. Where he adds a red herring, often false and/or diversionary information, or a contrived false dichotomy, or a contrived nonsensical perceived mental finding of the defender, to divert from the real issues.
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Steven Avery

The Latin Text at the Council of Carthage - Vulgate or Old Latin?

BCEME - p. 114
the presence of the comma in the African text of the Latin Vulgate was indicated by the fact that it was cited by the bishops who appeared before Hunneric.

This was an Old Latin text in use in the 400s at the Council .. not the Latin Vulgate.

Note: If it was the Vulgate, that would immediately eliminate the common false textcrit argument that Jerome did not include the heavenly witnesses in his Vulgate Latin.

However, the Old Latin is even more important, as it is considered as no later than a second century line. In the third century Tertullian and Cyprian were using this text, and Carthage proves it was a very early text, to be fully accepted in this wide region.

This error by Grantley may go back to Isaac Newton, who created a false and even absurd textual lineage that included Jerome inserting the verse in the Latin Vulgate, then onward to Carthage!

The Christian Reflector and Theological Inquirer, Volume 1 (1820)

Isaac Newton The history of the corruption appears to be this; First, some of the Latins interpreted the Spirit, Water, and Blood, to mean the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to prove them one. Then Jerome, for the same end, inserted the Trinity in express words into his version. And from him the Africans began to allege it against the Vandals, about 64 years after his death. Afterwards the Latins noted his variations in the margins of their books, and thence it began at length to creep into the text by transcribing, and that chiefly in the 12th and following centuries, when disputing was revived by the Schoolmen.

This was corrected by a strong source, totally missed by Grantley (the type of source he denigrates as 'mediocre' in our Facebook discussion. Grantley would do well to read a bit wider, maybe then he can write a follow-up paper accepting Heavenly Witnesses authenticity!)

The Three Witnesses. The Disputed Text in St. John: Considerations New and Old
Henry Thomas Armfield:

Note, absurd claims of first use are frequently absurd, such as Gibbon claiming the Council of Carthage actually was the place of interpolation. Given without correction in RGA p. 256.

Finding a specific analysis of the Council Latin text is a bit more difficult, however it is well-known that Vulgate dominance really took until the 600s, after Cassiodorus.


Note: Grantley does not tell his readers that this was c 400+ bishops from a wide Mediterranean region, and how the verse was fully affirmed. There are other posts here about how the Council is referenced in RGA and BCEME.
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Steven Avery

Rheims New Testament - "daggers"

RGA - p. 146
The Douay-Rheims version (1582) was translated from the Vulgate for Roman Catholic readers, and accordingly it includes the comma, albeit marked off with daggers.

BCEME - p. 70
The Douay-Rheims version (1582) was translated from the Vulgate for Roman Catholic readers, and accordingly it includes the comma, though it is marked off with daggers.

Not sure where Grantley got this, pretty easy to check.

No daggers, there is one double-quote mark. However, not one on the closing.
Plus single quote marks around the the last phrase of verse 8, and these three be one.

Rheims NT1582

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Steven Avery

Jean Pierre Paulin Martin support of traditional Mark ending and Pericope Adulterae

Here is a new one, from the French authors, very interesting.

BCEME p. 302-303 (Not in RGA, this would likely have been caught by the readers.)
The fourth came from Jules Didiot, who condemned Martin’s desire to downgrade to the rank of pseudepigrapha those passages present in the Vulgate but not in the Hebrew bible or the earliest Greek manuscripts of the New Testament - the Song of the Three Young Men and the story of Susanna in Daniel, the woman caught in adultery in John, the longer ending of Mark, or the Johannine comma - as a violation of the decree of the council of Trent.

Did Didiot say this?
J. P. P. Martin was a strong supporter of the traditional Mark ending, he had no downgrade desire!

Also, Schafff says he "sustains' the Pericope Adulterae.

If Didiot said this, it needs correction, not to place the wrong position or motives on Martin.
Yes, he did list these elements (not sure how it connects to J. P. P. Martin, would have to translate the paragraph or full section carefully.)

A Companion to the Greek Testament and the English Version (1887)
Philip Schaff

Here Schaff talks about J. P. P. Martin's position, including the Mark ending and the Pericope.


accept, to question, or to reject.
Abbe Martin is an advocate of the traditional (Latin) text of the Roman Church, he depreciates the oldest MSS. (Aleph, A, B, C, D) as texts “fabricated” from Origen and other Greek fathers, and gives the highest authority to the lectionaries, although he knows them to be incomplete and full of liturgical additions and changes! His extraordinary learning is controlled by dogmatic prepossessions and strange eccentricities, which shake confidence in his conclusions. Some years ago (in Des Versions Syriennes) he amused the learned world by the hoax (accepted by Dr. Scrivener, in the third ed. of his Introduction, pp. 323,325,328,331, in sober earnest) that the (older) Curetonian Syriac Version was a corruption of the (younger) Peshitto made in the sixth century with the aid of a Greek MS. resembling Codex Bezae!

An example of his writing!
This is Volume One. Schaff says in Volume Two, 554 pages.

Introduction à la critique textuelle du Nouveau Testament, leçons. Pt. pratique (1884)
Jean Pierre Paulin Martin



97 J.-P. P. Martin 1887,100.
98 On Rambouillet, see Montclos 1996, 217-218.
99 Didiot 1890, 207-210.

The Jules Didiot French can be checked here, to see what he said about the Mark ending and Pericope Adulterae in relation to Martin.

Didiot, Jules. ‘Commentaire traditionnel de la IVe session du Concile de Trente.’ Revue des sciences ecclesiastiques 62 (1890): 193—226, 385—400.

Key page


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Steven Avery

Erasmus Annotationes - Vulgate and Old Latin mix-up

Again Grantley gets confused on Vulgate and Old Latin, this time inserting the wrong word in the Annotationes. The Vulgate was in the process of production, the question refers to what was in the previous Greek and Latin texts.

RGA p. 317

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Steven Avery

Decretals and Motive of supporting Heavenly Witnesses Authenticity?

Grantley has a very unusual assertion that the purpose of the Decretals was for Heavenly Witnesses authenticity. I have not heard this theory from anyone else. There was no dispute in the Latin about authenticity at all.

Hyginus - forged Decretal ascribed to Isidore Mercator - heavenly witnesses motive?
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Steven Avery

Richard Simon - Erasmus and Latinization of Greek mss. - Vaticanus, Montfortianus, more - Council of Florence

There are a few problems here. A little date problem, 1698 instead of 1689.

The big one is the idea that Erasmus was only speaking of Montfortianus. when he talks of Latinization of manuscripts.

This apparently led to a vague and false claim against "the pubished English translation" (actually there are two) of Simon.

RGA p. 191-192
Simon also suggested that the Trinitarian interpretation of the words “these three are one” in the spurious Disputation of Athanasius against Arius at the Council of Nicaea may have occasioned the insertion of the comma into the body text in some Greek manuscripts, an explanation he finds more plausible than Erasmus’ suggestion that Greek manuscripts had been corrected against Latin ones. (Simon apparently failed to realise that Erasmus was speaking merely of Montfortianus, not a widespread program of textual reform of the Greek text.)102

102 Simon, 1698a, 213-214: “(French, placed below)” The published English translation at this point is misleading. See also de Jonge’s note in ASD IX.2:259, l. 542.

Erasmus was involved in theorizing that many mss. were changed by Latinization. Grantley does not go into this theory, which also involved Vaticanus. (Understandably, it is only peripheral to the Heavenly Witnesses.)

More information:
Pure Bible Forum

Florentine Council, Vaticanus and Latinization - Erasmus, Brugensis and more -

Erasmus says that the Vaticanus omission affected his heavenly witnesses decision - latinization

Possibly, this contributed to Grantley seeing the Simon English text as misleading. I am pretty sure this 1689 text was Richard Simon, after his French edition.


The 1698 above is an error.

RGA bibliography

Simon, Richard. Histoire critique du texte du Nouveau Testament, Où l’on établit la Vérité des Actes sur lesquels la Religion Chrêtienne est fondée. Rotterdam: Leers, 1689a.

-----. Critical History of the Text of the New Testament, Wherein is firmly Established the Truth of those Acts on which the Foundation of Christian Religion is Laid. London: Taylor, 1689b.

BCEME bibliography


French in Simon, where he says the English is misleading. (unlikely.) We could look for the 1689 English or the Hunwick edition.

Cela me paroît bien plus probable que le sentiment d’Erasme, qui a [214] crû que les Exemplaires Grecs où on lit le témoignage du Père, du Fils & du Saint Esprit, ont été reformés sur les Exemplaires Latins. S’il n’avait parlé que des Exemplaires Grecs qui ont été écrits par des Latins, & qui ont servy à leur usage, sa proposition aurait plus de vraisemblance. Mais il est contre toute apparence de verité, que les Grecs, depuis même leur reünion avec les Latins, ayent reformé leurs Exemplaires du Nouveau Testament sur ceux des Latins. Il paroît au contraire que ceux qu’ils ont décrits depuis ce temps-là ne contiennent point ce témoignage.

Richard Simon - 1689
Notice that in the expanded quote, Simon even mentions Florence!

Hunwick p. 181
This seems to be far more likely than the view of Erasmus, who thought that the Greek manuscripts that included the testimony of Father, Son and Holy Spirit were revised on the basis of Latin manuscripts. His theory would have seemed more probable had he been referring solely to Greek manuscripts written by Latin writers for their own use. But for the Greeks, even after reuniting with the Latins., to have revised their New Testament manuscripts on the basis of Latin texts flies in the face of all probability. On the contrary it seems that the manuscripts to which they have referred since that time do not contain the aforesaid testimony.
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Steven Avery


RGA p. 190
matter are based on the fact that had had only read Erasmus’ Apologia ad Stunicam, and not

he had

(Grantley probably knows this by now :) )


RGA - p. 55
preface all share certain textual corrputions not evident


RGA- p. 213
Mills, an associate of Newton, included the comma in his text mainly because he had chosen to reproduce the text of Stephen’s editio regia of 1550, with only a few readings adoped from other editions,


BCEME p. 367
‘Socinianism and Newtonianism: The Case of William Whiston.’ In Szczucki 2005b: 373–413.

Only one entry (maybe an OER entry was meant)

Szczucki, Lech, ed. Faustus Socinus and His Heritage. Kraków: Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2005.


BCEME - p. 262
Even though Wesley did not have a copy of Bengel’s commentary to hand


BCEME p. 271
Footnote - 632 Travis 1785, 471.
That is the 1794 3rd edition


RGA p. 139

164 Naogeorgos, 1544, 128r-v: “In omnibus ferè Latinis, & nonnullis quoque Græcis, quæ ipse uiderim, exemplaribus, ante textum, Quoniam tres sunt, qui testimonium dant in terra &c. legitur: Quoniam tres sunt qui testimonum dant in coelo. pater, uerbum & spiritus sanctus, & hi tres unum sunt.


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Steven Avery

Not Exposing Anachronistic or Erroneous Arguments made by Contras -
Vulgate Prologue authenticity - Fuldensis c. 1850 discovery

Grantley continually accuses defenders of not being aware of future discoveries, like attacking the use of Hyginus in the 1500s. Worse, he assumes his own opposition to evidences, like the very weak claim that the Vulgate Prologue is not from Jerome. In one spot, he says that the claim itself of non-Jeromeness manages to counter the evidence!


The new emphasis here is how Grantley gives arguments from contras that are now known to be simply false and that information is hidden from the reader:

BCEME - p. 211
Emlyn applauded Mill’s refusal to credit the improbable notion that the comma was erased by heretics, and his rejection of the prologue to the Catholic Epistles as the work of ‘some silly Rhapsodist after Bede’s time’.
Biblical Criticism in Early Modern Europe: Erasmus, the Johannine Comma and Trinitarian Debate p. 211

Also posted at:

The post-Bede argument from Emlyn was totally refuted with the Codex Fuldensis discovery c. 1850.

That information must be given to the reader wherever the defunct late manuscript contra argument is given!

Note: David Martin points out that this Bede argument comes from Richard Simon:

The Richard Simon blunder is here:

And Grantley has the same omission on Simon, before Emlyn:

RGA p. 190-191
Simon thus sets out to demonstrate that the prologue assigned to Jerome is not genuine. In many of the very earliest manuscripts, he points out, this prologue is not to be found with Jerome’s authentic prefaces. And in the earliest copies that do contain the prologue—such as Charles the Bald’s bible (now Paris, BnF ms lat. 1)—the name of the author is not given. Rather, Simon suggests, this preface was written by some forger in imitation of Jerome’s style ....

Again, Grantley reneged on the scholar's responsibility to point out that the Codex Fuldensis discovery refuted every intimation that the Vulgate Prologue was a late creation.
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Steven Avery

Grantley Continually Assumes his Weak Position that the Vulgate Prologue is a Forgery, not by Jerome

Again and again.
Either Grantley is
a) allowing false, incomplete history, uncorrected or he is
b) falsely claiming non-authenticity as somehow proven.

RGA p. 193
Despite some errors of fact and judgment, Simon’s book was an important landmark in the understanding of the comma. Firstly it was important for showing that the prologue to the Catholic Epistles could not have been written by Jerome.

Simply untrue. Simon threw out a bunch of fuzz and buzz, he tried to make an argument but to claim he showed it could not be written by Jerome is simply shoddy bias, not scholarship.


RGA - p. 79
John Selden (1653) and Christoph Sandius (1680) would later suggest that this prologue is a pseudonymous forgery. Richard Simon (1689) brought cogent arguments to support their suggestion.19

19 Selden, 1653, 2:136; Sandius, 1669, 383; Simon, 1689a, 206-211; Simon, 1689b, 2:4-11; Bludau, 1904; Bludau, 1921, 16.


For reviewing Simon on the Vulgate Prologue in English:

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)
p. 4-11 (actually the Prologue is p. 4-7)


Cogent arguments?
How does Grantley handle the David Martin refutations?

Oops, the 10 page section from Martin that rips the arguments of Richard Simon on the Vulgate Prologue to shreds is totally ignored.

A Critical Dissertation Upon the Seventh Verse of the Fifth Chapter of St. John's First Epistle, There are Three, that Bear Record in Heaven, (1719)
p. 23-32

This is how Grantley plays the game.


(check Trigland too, later Dorhout and others)


More Examples of the Bluster of the Vulgate Prologue not being by Jerome, being a Forgery

p. 207
Newton makes rather heavy weather with his treatment of Jerome, but his difficulties—like those of Erasmus—all sprang from the false belief that the prologue to the Catholic Epistles was one of Jerome’s genuine works.

RGA - p. 361 - Erasmus Annotationes
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.
(5. The uneven reception of the comma in the Latin middle ages p. 42-56) - this is a wild section that deserves its own post.

IIII St Jerome did not write the prologue to the Catholic Epistles (incipit Non ita ordo est …).
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Steven Avery

Grantley's Wild Summary of the Vulgate Prologue Authenticity

RGA - p. 361 - Erasmus Annotationes
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.

Which takes us to: (5. The uneven reception of the comma in the Latin middle ages p. 42-56) -

This is a wild section that deserves its own post.

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:

So, while Grantley claims everywhere that the Prologue is a forgery, without ever laying out the evidences, here he retreats back to "serious doubts". Quite obviously, the fact that Grantley has doubts does NOT make it a forgery.

This is NOT scholarship. It is not even shoddy scholarship. It is bias destroying the paper.

"The most important early witness" -

Along with Cyprian and the Council of Carthage, doubt-free.

"The earliest extant source of this prologue is Codex Fuldensis."

Why not tell the readers that this is the oldest extant Vulgate manuscript?
Close enough to the passing of Jerome to make a forgery very difficult.

If the letters were also rendered faithfully by translators into Latin just as their authors composed them, they would not cause the reader confusion, nor would the differences between their wording give rise to contradictions, nor would the various phrases contradict each other, especially in that place where we read the clause about the unity of the Trinity in the first letter of John. Indeed, it has come to our notice that in this letter some unfaithful translators have gone far astray from the truth of the faith, for in their edition they provide just the words for three [witnesses]—namely water, blood and spirit—and omit the testimony of the Father, the Word and the Spirit, by which the Catholic faith is especially strengthened, and proof is tendered of the single substance of divinity possessed by Father, Son and Holy Spirit.77

Note 77 is about the Wordsworth-White Latin.
No indication who gave this translation, was it Grantley, or done for him professionally?

After the Latin, Note 77 continues

Further on this preface, see Berger, 1904, 11-12, suggests that the author may have read Cassiodorus’ Institutiones, written in 544, just two years before Fuldensis was copied. However, I suggest that the degree of textual corruption in the text of the prologue as it stands in Fuldensis argues against such a close connexion. Künstle, 1905, 27-28, also found Berger’s suggestion unlikely, and instead attributed the preface to Peregrinus. Chapman, 1908, 262-267, refuted Künstle’s attribution to Peregrinus, pointing out that the Spanish sources containing the preface all share certain textual corrputions (sic) not evident in copies from elsewhere, which one would not expect if the work had been composed in Spain.
-----. “Les préfaces jointes aux livres de la Bible dans les manuscrits de la Vulgate.” Mémoires présentés par divers savants à l’Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres de l’Institut de France. Série 1, 11.2 (1904): 1-78.

Here you get a Punch and Judy show of competing and refuted theories. Various super-weak proposals are rejected.

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 78 Ranke, 1868, XXIV; Bludau, 1921, provides a full review of the question.

This has to be one of the dumbest arguments offered. The Prologue tells you that there was a tendency to drop the verse. Why be surprised that what is says .. occurred? The Prologue IS compelling evidence.

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

Grantley is good at stringing along sentences that simply make no logical sense. If the Prologue gives a true picture, and Fuldensis is corrupted by not having the verse, we simply accept the truth, nothing is forced. This does not raise "fresh questions". Grantley is the Master of the False Dichotomy. There is no reason we "must reject the prologue as spurious".

79 The preface is listed as spurious by Berger, 1904, 66, who notes the manuscripts in which it is found.

Berger gives no reasons for it to be spurious, so the listing is irrelevant, he is following ossified scholarship that is mostly circular to an animus to the authenticity of the heavenly witnesses verse.

Martin, 1887, 218, and Bludau, 1905a, 27-28, suggested that the preface was written by Peregrinus; this suggestion was questioned by Chapman, 1908, 266-267, and Bludau, 1921, 132-135. On Jerome’s role in the revision of the Gospels in the Vulgate, see Fischer, 1975, 29.

All part of the humorous Punch and Judy show, looking for the real perp, while not looking simply at the real author, Jerome.

But even if this prologue was not written by Jerome, it is clear that Jerome was aware of the Trinitarian allegoresis of 1 Jn 5:8, to which he refers in a sermon preached at Bethlehem in 401. Nevertheless, the way in which Jerome cites the surrounding context gives no indication that he was familiar with the comma in the form it has come down to us. Moreover, Jerome suggests that the attendant speculations about the nature of the Trinity—Joseph Denk suggested that he may have had the followers of Priscillian in mind—were controversial, dangerous
and presumptuous, tantamount to the speculations of an earthernware vessel on the nature of the potter who fashioned it.80

80 Jerome, Tractatuum in psalmos series altera, de Psalmo 91, CCSL 78, 424-429: “Relatum est mihi, fratres, quia inter se quidam fratres disputando quæsissent, quomodo Pater et Filius et Spiritus sanctus et tres et unum sunt. Videtis ex quæstione, quam periculosa sit disputatio: lutum et vas fictile de creatore disputat, et ad rationem suæ naturæ non potest pervenire; et curiose quærit scire de mysterio Trinitatis, quod angeli in cælo scire non possunt.” This section of Jerome’s commentary constitutes the incipit of Augustine’s Sermo de sancta trinitate, PL 39:2173 (Appendix, Sermo 232), as noted by Fischer, 2007, 119. Denk, 1906, asserted that this passage shows Jerome as “den klassischen Zeugen für die Existenz des Comma Johanneum in der spanischen Bibel des 4. Jahr., der es (gleichviel ob mit der Lesart tres oder tria) nicht für schriftwidrig hielt, trotzdem er es von seiner Bibelrevision ausschloß.” But this evidence is not at all compelling. As Denk himself admits, the passage Jerome himself provides to demonstrate the three persons of the Trinity is Mt 28:19, not the Johannine comma.

This is actually corroborative to Jerome knowing the heavenly witnsses. Grantley tries to throw some sand, however he knows from a scholarship standpoint, he has to include these referernces. They essentially destroy any theory that Jerome did not know the verse, independent of the Vulgate Prologue.


One more point - Martianay

RGA - p. 216
Le Clerc was glad that Mills had expressly rejected the attribution of the preface to the Catholic Epistles to Jerome, as had Martianay and Pouget, who produced the recent Paris edition of Jerome (1693-1706).

Jerome. Sancti Eusebii Hieronymi Stridonensis presbyteri Divina bibliotheca. Ed. J. Martianay and A. Pouget. 5 vols. Paris: Anisson, 1693-1706

Martianay actually gave some reasons, often different than Simon. They were absurdly weak, and easily refuted. Grantley seems to want to hide the supposed arguments for forgery. We have a lot of this on the forum.

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Steven Avery

Grantley generally did a fine job on the French debate bibliography.
The following is not an error, just an omission where I found one more writing.


Notice the second from Rambouillet, which makes it more complete.

It is possible that the Martin article in La Science Catholique is different.

And I have added the urls.


ADDED May 5, 2021 -

Eugene Elie Philippe
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Steven Avery

Jonathan Edwards and Richard Simon

RGA - p. 187

For Simon, as for Erasmus, any attempt to prove or disprove the doctrine of the Trinity on the basis of the comma alone was bound to fail. Simon’s examination of the verse was perhaps inconclusive, but his defence of orthodox Trinitarian belief was unwavering.94

94 Simon’s position was shared by Jonathan Edwards, the Master of Jesus College Oxford ...

This makes no sense.
Simon was essentially negatory to the verse, Jonathan Edwards was a strong defender and famous as a preacher.

Were their Trinitarian views shared? Possibly to a degree, possibly not, but not really relevant. Edwards did write about the Covenant of Redeption, which was likely not on Simon's radar.

Steven Avery

John Mill's Purpose

This is meant not as a severe critique of Grantley, who overall handles Mill reasonably, simply to add some tweaking and balance.

BCEME- p. 187

Indeed, Mills explicit intention was to restore the New Testament text to its original and primitive state by laying bare to view all the errors in its transmission through time.258

258 Mill 1707, cliii; cf. Sheehan 2005, 45

This makes it sound like Mills was against the TR in various major readings, like Whiston and Newton. However, when you read the full page from Sheehan it shows his defense of the TR.


67 James H. Monk, The Life of Richard Bentley (London, 1833), 1:348.
68 Fox, Mill and Bentley, 54.
69 Mill, Prolegomena to Novum Testamentum cum lectionibus variantibus (Oxford, 1707), 154.
70 Stillingfleet, Objections, 5.
71 Mill, Prolegomena, 154.

Sheehan (not given by Grantley)
"it helped both to restore the primitive authenticity and purity of Scripture and to confirm the essential coherence of the textus receptus,
would have the happy result of “destroying] the opportunity for atheists and other enemies of our religion to sneer” at the scriptural canon.71"

RGA- p. 213
Mills, an associate of Newton, included the comma in his text mainly because he had chosen to reproduce the text of Stephen’s editio regia of 1550, with only a few readings adoped (sic) from other editions, mainly those of the Elzeviers.

Yet, he declared positive for the verse. So of course this explains his including the heavenly witnesses. It looks like Grantley simply fabricated the motive above.


RGA p. 215

He also mentions the Acta of the Lateran Council and Calecas as witnesses to this passage. He then treats of the citations and seeming-citations of the passage in the work of the Latin Fathers. He concluded that the seeming-citation in Tertullian was merely a mystical interpretation of verse 8. He disposes of Cyprian and Augustine in the same way. He disputes the attribution of the preface to the Catholic Epistles to Jerome. But then, just when the reader expects Mills to conclude his account by definitively rejecting the comma, the critic executes a sudden backflip, stating that after weighing all the evidence he could see no evidence to excise the passage.165

165 Mills, 1707, 749: “Verum de Pericope hâc vexatissimâ plus satis. Quæ in utramque partem cum ad minuendam, tum ad firmandam Commatis hujus αὐθεντίαν allata hactenus sunt rationum momenta, sedulò perpendimus. Utra pars præponderet, eruditis judicandum relinquimus. Mihi, fateor, (meliora, si quid melius certiusque dederit longior dies, discere parato) argumentis ad auctoritatem huic Versiculo conciliandam modo adductis tantum roboris inesse videtur, ut eum nullo modo de loco suo movendum esse censeam.”

These pages can be found in 1707 or Adnotationes Milli from Burgess

https://books.google.com/books?id=RPv-vW3gPs8C&pg=PA742 - Stephanus Brugensis Simon
https://books.google.com/books?id=RPv-vW3gPs8C&pg=PA749 - conclusion

Many evidences given by Mill are omitted. Plus we want to double-check his wording on some above. (Also check his wording on Brugensis and Simon contra the Stephanus mss.)


Joseph Turnbull does a good job comparing Mills, Bengel and Griesbach:

The Seven Epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude, and the Revelation, Translated from the Original Greek; with Critical Notes, and a Dissertation on the Authenticity. of 1 John V. 7, 8 (1858)

Possibly the one important part of his pages on the verse. He was criticized by Tregelles in Memoir
on some factual issues, however nothing that involves the section I am highlighting.

The Turnbull book is in the BCEME bibliography.


FYI: This top spot in BCEME may be one spot in BCEME where Grantley goes against his use of "Mill" except where he is quoting "Mills" from a third party. Perhaps he meant Mill's, can check RGA later..

RGA p. 213
159 According to the entry “Mills, John,” in Cross and Livingstone, 1997, 1087: “His correct name appears to have been ‘Mills’, not (as commonly given) ‘Mill’.” Those who knew him, such as Newton and Whiston, used the form “Mills.”

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Steven Avery

John Mill and Cyprian

This is such a blunder from Grantley that it deserves its own post, then we can pick up the collateral damage, like Tertullian. If Mill really had considered Cyprian a non-evidence, there would be a real puzzle about his conclusion of authenticity. For me, the Cyprian claim did not pass the smell test. This should make a big 10 of Grantley blunders, and you also have to wonder about the thesis readers.

Notice that Grantley does not give any actual reference spot or Latin text for Mill and Cyprian.

RGA p. 215
He also mentions the Acta of the Lateran Council and Calecas as witnesses to this passage. He then treats of the citations and seeming-citations of the passage in the work of the Latin Fathers. He (John Mill) concluded that the seeming-citation in Tertullian was merely a mystical interpretation of verse 8. He disposes of Cyprian and Augustine in the same way. He disputes the attribution of the preface to the Catholic Epistles to Jerome. But then, just when the reader expects Mills to conclude his account by definitively rejecting the comma, the critic executes a sudden backflip, stating that after weighing all the evidence he could see no evidence to excise the passage.165

165 Mills, 1707, 749: “Verum de Pericope hâc vexatissimâ plus satis. Quæ in utramque partem cum ad minuendam, tum ad firmandam Commatis hujus αὐθεντίαν allata hactenus sunt rationum momenta, sedulò perpendimus. Utra pars præponderet, eruditis judicandum relinquimus. Mihi, fateor, (meliora, si quid melius certiusque dederit longior dies, discere parato) argumentis ad auctoritatem huic Versiculo conciliandam modo adductis tantum roboris inesse videtur, ut eum nullo modo de loco suo movendum esse censeam.”

Even Richard Porson, through Thomas Turton, could have helped Grantley avoid this blunder.
Clear as a bell.

A Vindication of the Literary Character of the late Professor Porson, from the Animadversions of the Right Reverend Thomas Burgess ... Lord Bishop of Salisbury, in various publications on 1 John v. 7. (1827)
by Crito Cantabrigiensis (Thomas Turton)

It certainly does seem very strange that Dr. Mill should have considered the authority of Tertullian and Cyprian as quite sufficient to establish the genuineness of the text; even supposing it to have been utterly unknown to the Greeks, and never to have appeared in a single manuscript. p. 295 ... Dr. Mill contrived to persuade himself that Tertullian and Cyprian had really quoted the text of the heavenly witnesses; and, inferring that it was in their copies, he thence concluded that it must have existed in the autograph of St. John. p. 297 ...
Dr. Mill however, believing that Tertullian and Cyprian had quoted the text of the heavenly witnesses, and placing perhaps an undue value upon the quotations of those Fathers, inferred that the text originally existed in the Epistle of St. John.

Turton usually has Porson's view, here he might be trying to spin his own argument. Three times he is de facto pre-correcting the blunder of Grantley.

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

The superb book from Armfield did not even make Grantley's bibliography, and it could have been an incredible help to his understanding the evidences, as here.




BCEME takes a contradictory path
BCEME - p. 183
Mill’s note on the Johannine comma covers ten relentless folio pages of small type.241 ... Mill concluded that the seeming citations in Tertullian, Cyprian and Augustine were merely allegorical readings of v. 8.

Same blunder as in RGA.

BCEME - p. 185
Even at a remove of eighty years, Richard Porson could barely conceal his disgust: ‘Mill, after fairly summing up the evidence on both sides, just as we should expect him to declare the verse spurious, is unaccountably transformed into a defender.’251
251 Porson 1790, v.

Nothing there about Mill and Cyprian.
The book is here.

Porson, Richard. Letters to Mr. Archdeacon Travis in Answer to His Defence of the Three Heavenly Witnesses, 1 John V. 7. London: Egerton, 1790.

BCEME - p. 188
In response, Lloyd wrote (April 1709) that this doctrine is implicit in the form of baptism given by Jesus himself, as well as in several other passages in the New Testament, notably Jn 10:30 and the Johannine comma, cited by Tertullian, Cyprian and several other African fathers, as Mill had noted:

It is evident that not only those Fathers themselves did not doubt but that St. John wrote those Words, but that neither did those that they wrote against, question it. For those Fathers did not only quote those Words, but they argued from them; which had been ridiculous if there had been any doubt of the Text. [. . .] This I take to be a sufficient Proof of the Unity of the Three Persons in the Divine Nature: and I think there needs no other Proof of their Consubstantiality and Coequality.263
263 Whiston 1711a, 31–33.

If Grantley had been paying attention, this would have alerted him to the problem!
This directly contradicts his earlier section!

BCEME p. 202
Clarke also cited Mill to support his statement that the comma was not present in the Scriptural text known to Tertullian and Cyprian.321
321 S. Clarke 1714b, 210–212

A Reply to the Objections of Robert Nelson, Esq; and of an anonymous Author, against Dr Clarke’s Scripture-Doctrine of the Trinity. London: Knapton, 1714b.

Nothing there, Samuel Clarke is speculating and mentions Mill en passant.

BCEME - p. 211
Mill placed confidence in the apparent quotations in the Latin fathers Tertullian, Cyprian, Victor Vitensis, Vigilius Tapsensis, Fulgentius and the author of the Explication of the Faith. However, Emlyn argued that Tertullian and Cyprian seem to be giving some ‘mystical Interpretation’ of 1 Jn 5:8, as Facundus believed.

And this similarly should have alerted Grantley to his blunder. Super clear.
A total contradiction in Grantley's writing in the book.


How did this happen? Hmm.. I have to conjecture that Grantley tried to work with the Latin unsuccessfully. Or simply jumped to the conclusion by a facile reading of a 3rd-party comment about Mill and Cyprian. Perhaps he took a Porson comment trying to lambaste Mill and came to the confusion conclusion himself.

This should be added to his errata, and it would be helpful if Grantley explained how this occurred.

The root cause is that Grantley really does not understand the heavenly witnesses debate.


How did Grantley make this blunder?

Perhaps he was duped by this page V section from Porson.


Perhaps Grantley misread the Latin.
Or both.
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