Facebook - NT Textual Criticism
Arians sing against "three are one"
Early Latin La Cava ms. counters Arian hostility to the heavenly witnesses
The Elements of Plainsong: Compiled from a Series of Lectures Delivered Before the Members of the Plainsong & Mediaeval Music Society (1895)
Henry Bremridge Briggs
"Cassian tells us of the custom in the 4th century of lengthening out the Psalms with Antiphons. S. Chrysostom employed this method of chanting, by way of opposing the heretical practice of the Arians, who sang their Psalmody antiphonally, intercalating the verses with the blasphemous refrain, 'And now where are they that affirm that the Three are One?'"
Reported by Henry Bremridge Briggs (1850-1901) and Frederic William Farrar (1831-1903).
Gathering Clouds: A Tale of the Days of St. Chrysostom
Chapter XXII - Manifold Struggles
When the earthquakes ceased the Arians began to give trouble. They had been a powerful party in Constantinople since the days of Valens, and they were strong in the adherence of so many of the warrior Goths of Gaïnas. By a decree of Theodosius they were not allowed to worship within the walls of Constantinople, but they still cherished the determination to get a church assigned to them. They began to inaugurate nightly processions, which marched through the streets and colonnades chanting in antiphon the strange theological hymns of Arius. Among these was one which had the taunting refrain:
Where are now the men who say,
In their enigmatic way—
Who the riddle right can see?—
’Three are one, and one is three?’
Having chanted such strains all the night, they retired at dawn to their church outside the walls.
We shall be searching out the primary sources. Already there was great controversy about the "three are one". The Greek textline would be the original source of the controversy. And yet the verse was largely dropped from the line, so the Greek Arians might be derisive without feeling they were countermanding scripture. (No such derision known in the Latin historical controversies, see the Council of Carthage as an example.)
The La Cava Latin manuscript, likely from the 5th century, breaking the Greek-Latin non-barrier, shows awareness of the Arius hostile position to the heavenly witnesses verse with the marginal note:
"audiat hoc Arius et ceteri"
(Wiseman - Audiat hoc Arrius et ceteri)
New Plea for the Authenticity of the Text of the Three Heavenly Witness (1867)
Scrivener, following Wiseman, points out that, while mentioning Arius, to the scribe who wrote La Cava "its authenticity was unquestioned".
A plain introduction to the criticism of the New Testament (1883)
Frederick Henry A. Scrivener
We should note that this emphasis on the verse contra Arius (who did not write or speak in Latin afawk) is the:
** first actual ms commentary on the heavenly witnesses.**
(There are more in the later period around 900 AD.) And the emphasis and result is exactly the opposite of the convoluted "margin commentary to text" theory of the Metzgerians. The note simply affims authenticity, encouraging the Arians to hear the scripture.
And this of course fits perfectly with the use by Athanasius in the Disputation against Arius at Nicea. And his likely authorship of the Synopsis of Greek Scripture. Recently discussed on this forum.
Overall, so much fits together. Many infallible proofs that there was a Greek controversy that originated directly from the heavenly witnesses verse being in early Greek mss. Internal evidences are strongly supportive as well, to the point of proof for any who have a high view of scripture.
The difference was that the verse was in the process of being dropped from the Greek mss, while the Latin maintained the role of long-term viability and preservation of the inspired scripture.
The preservational imperative would not allow a single verse to be lost in all the major lines, and later the harmony of the Greek and Latin was stabalized in the Reformation Bible. And it would not allow a false scripture to take over a line.
Referrring to the amazing La Cava note:
Essays on Various Subjects, Volume 1 (1853, originally 1832-1833)
Nicholas Patrick Wiseman
3. The dogmatical use made of this text in the margin is likewise worthy of very particular attention. The very earnest manner in which every argument for the Divinity of Christ seems urged by the writer of the notes, would almost lead us to suppose that they were written during the Arian controversy. The energetic and pithy annotation, audiat hoc Arius et ceteri demonstrates better than the longest commentary could have done, the force which the writer attributed to our verse, and the total absence from his mind of any doubt of its genuineness. ... the document shows... the dogmatical use made of the passage.
Additional historical evidences corroborate, this post is only touching on those that rather directly relate to Arius.
In that regard, we have additional confirmation of the Christological centrality of "the three are one" in the Arian controversies from Melitus.
Agapius, Universal History (1909) part 2. pp.1-287.
[Translated by Alexander Vasiliev]
Going up (into the pulpit) to preach, Meletius showed them, during his sermon, his three fingers; and he said to them: "All three are one." Arians, seeing that he did not agree with them, deposed him, after he had governed (the Church) for two years, and established in his place Euzoius, who was an Arian from Egypt.
Meletius of Antioch (d. 381)
Agapius of Hierapolis