Augustine, Jerome's Vulgate Prologue, the Regensburg ms. and the Norbert Fickermann paper

Steven Avery

We are continuing from:

Pure Bible Forum
Regensburg ms shows Jerome's support of heavenly witnesses text - Fickermann

Here is the fuller Grantley section, and I add some spacing.

Firstly, in 1934 Norbert Fickermann drew attention to a note in a twelfth-century manuscript of the Regensburg Epistola rhetoricae, which makes the following claims:

“St Jerome argued that that verbal repetition [replicatio] in the [first] Epistle of John—‘And there are three that bear witness, the Father, the Word and the Spirit’—was established as certain. By contrast, St Augustine prescribed that it should be removed, on the basis of the Apostle’s meaning and the authority of the Greek.”34

Given the relatively recent date of this text (eleventh century), its erroneous attribution of the Prologue to the Catholic Epistles to Jerome, and the fact that the statement about Augustine seems not to reflect anything in the Father’s extant works, it is difficult to know how much confidence to place in this assertion. p. 30-31

34 Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek elm 14596, cit. Fickermann, 1934, 350:

“Replicationem illam in epistola Iohannis: et tres sunt qui testimonium dant, pater et verbum et spiritus beatus Hieronimus ratam esse astruit; beatus vero Augustinus ex apostoli sententia et ex grece linguae auctoritate demendam esse prescribit.”

Thiele, 1959, 71-72, takes this statement as possible evidence that Augustine suppressed the comma in his text, evidence he sees in the occurrence of the readings Filius and Spiritus Sanctus in Augustine’s Contra Maximinum; we addressed Thiele’s hypothesis above.
Walter Thiele's important section was on p. 26-27, starting with:

... Walter Thiele (1959) suggested that this passage gives evidence that the comma was already present in the text known to Cyprian. Most modern scholars before Thiele had argued that Cyprian’s invocation of Pater, Filius, Spiritus Sanctus rather than Pater, Verbum, Spiritus Sanctus—the form usually encountered in the comma—suggests that he did not know the comma, but Thiele showed that several Fathers (ps.-Augustine, Eugenius of Carthage, Cassiodorus) also site the comma with Filius, as does the Leon palimpsest, the Theodulfian recension and the Vulgate ms Dijon, Bibi, munic. 9bis. ..
.The addressing done by Grantley is full of irony, weak logic and diversion. One example: he uses an argument based on the non-usage of Augustine, which is what is specifically addressed in the Regensburg ms. and the paper of Fickermann .. Augustine. Circularity, the jewel.
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Steven Avery

Regensburg ms shows Jerome's support of heavenly witnesses text - Fickermann

Dup of 2014 post, with modest enhancement.

The Vulgate Prologue has significant extant medieval referencing. One reference is special for our inquiries as it shows the heavenly witnesses connected to Jerome and contrasts Jerome with Augustine. The Jerome connection is almost surely through the Prologue text, properly accepted by the manuscrpt scribe as Jerome.


Regensburg ms Contrasts Jerome and Augustine on Heavenly Witnesses

Norbert Fickermann's scholarship supports the idea that Augustine may have deliberately bypassed a direct quote of the heavenly witnesses. And the Regensburg ms referenced by Fickermann contrasts the positions of Jerome and Augustine.

Biblische Zeitschrift. 22: 350-358 (1934)

St. Augustinus gegen das 'Comma Johanneum'?
Norbert Fickermann

Fickermann considers evidence from a 12th-century Regensburg manuscript that Augustine specifically avoided referencing the verse directly. The manuscript note contrasts the inclusion position of Jerome in the Vulgate Prologue with the preference for removal by Augustine. This would also tend to confirm that there was awareness of the Greek and Latin ms distinction and that some scribes preferred omission.

This is referenced by Raymond Brown.

Fickermann points to a hitherto unpublished eleventh-century text which says that Jerome considered the Comma to be a genuine part of 1 John--clearly a memory of the Pseudo-Jerome Prologue mentioned above. But the (Fickermann) text goes on to make this claim:

'St. Augustine, on the basis of apostolic thought and on the authority of the Greek text, ordered it to be left out. No known text of Augustine substantiates this, and yet it is strange that a medieval writer would dare to invent a testimony of Augustine against what was being widely accepted as a text of Scripture and which seemingly had Jerome's approval'. Raymond Brown, Epistles of John, 1982, p. 785.
Grantley Robert McDonald in Raising the Ghost of Arius, Erasmus, the Johannine Comma and Religious Difference in Early Modern Europe, p. 30, 2011, wrote it up as follows:

... in 1934 Norbert Fickermann drew attention to a note in a twelth-century manuscript of the Regensburg Epistoloe rhetoricae, which makes the following claims:

"St Jerome argued that verbal repetition [replicatio] in the [first] Epistle of John--'And there are three that bear witness, the Father, the Word and the Spirit'--was established as certain. By contrast, St Augustine prescribed that it should be removed, on the basis of the Apostle's meaning and the authority of the Greek"

Munich. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek clm 14596, cit. Fickermann, 1934, 340: Replicationem illam in epistola lohannis: et tres sunt qui testimonium dant, pater et verbum et spiritus beatus Hieronimus ratam esse astruit; beatus vero Augustinus ex apostoli sententia et ex grece linguae auctoritate demendam esse prescribit."
As for the Augustine reference Fickermann added that it was entirely improbable that someone in the middle ages placed the disapproving note into the mouth of Augustine.


This is mostly missed by modern scholars. Or ignored, as this information about Jerome does not fit the modern forgery myth and the Augustine silence by not knowing the text. Most significantly, it shows a top church writer who preferred to let the heavenly witnesses walk on by, exactly the phenomenon that is referenced by Jerome.

Here is one exception where at least the scholarship references are given.

Die Johannesbriefe (1989)
Georg Strecker

(Picture was here)

R. E. Brown diskutiert und bestreitet die These N. Fickermanns, wonach Augustin das CJ. gekannt, aber verworfen haben könnte. Fickermann verweist dazu auf einen bisher unveröffentlichten Text des 11. Jahrhunderts, in dem behauptet worden sei, Hieronymus habe das C.J für einen echten Bestand des 1 Joh gehalten. Diese These stammt aber aus dem Prolog des Pseudo-Hieronymus und wird durch keinen Text Augustins unterstützt. - W. Thiele 71f macht darauf aufmerksam, daB Augustins Textbenutzung für seine Zeit nicht charakteristisch ist, da Augustin seinen Bibeltext für I Joh durch Revision nach dem Griechischen unter Benutzung der ihm bekannten lateinischen Texte erarbeitete. Die Verwerfung des Entscheidung C J. könnte seine persönliche Entscheidung gewesen sein.
This is a Raymond Brown and Walter Thiele review, with the emphasis on Augustine.

Clearly, it would be nice to have a pic of the Regensburg note and even a pic extract from Fickermann.

Steven Avery
November 27, 2014
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Steven Avery

Fickermann translation

Next we will look for a more complete Latin translation of Fickermann, and thus more analysis.

Also on the schedule for more Latin translation:

Haimo ( Haymo )

Walter Thiele - PDF available.

Sections from Fabricius, Prudent Maran, Mill, and others.
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Steven Avery

textual criticism and TC-Alternate posts

Five post on these topics:

1) tracking down Fickermann bio

2) Augustine mystical interpretation

Augustine "City of God" referenc

Augustine-Aquinas (this is touched on elsewhere, Grantlety thought it was an Aquinas mix-up with Lombard,
. Note though that Anton Pegis is not claiming any direct Augustine citations of 1 John v:7 .. nor is Aquinas using Augustine in any type of textual analysis referencing manner. - compare Pegis translation with that given by Grantlety

[textualcriticism] 2010-09 seeking bio information on Norbert Fickermann - Eickerman Norben Augustine

[textualcriticism] 2010-11 - Augustine and the heavenly witnesses - City of God - Aquinas - Westcott "complete the gloss" - Augustine - Fickermann Metzger (more in Raymond Brown) City of God - Westcott Marcus Dods .. De Trinitate - Contra Maximinum - allusions

[textualcriticism] 2010-11 - Malcolm Robertson compliments MYPOST - Augustine and the heavenly witnesses - City of God - Fickermann

[textualcriticism] 2011-02 - Belsheim Old Latin m - Speculum, Augustine and the heavenly witnesses - Fickermann

[TC-Alternate-list] 2012-11 heavenly witnesses: Tertullian, Treatise on Rebaptism, Athanasius, Augustine allegorical?, Vulgate Prologue, Armenian Bible, Erasmus Promise - Fickermann Raymond Brown
Hi Folks,

Assistance needed.
I am looking for biographic information on Norbert Fickermann.

Fickermann was involved with Old Latin textual matters and his original writings appear to span from 1825 to about 1861. He collaborated with Karl Strecker and Carl Erdmann on some papers. In a couple of places he is referenced as Eickerman, and his first name as Norben (although it seems there is a later Norbert Eickermann as well in the 1970s on "von Herrn Dr. Norbert
Eickermann, Stadtarchiv Soest").

Here is his Worldcat info, the later editions with Karl Strecker (1861-1945) were reprints.

Bruce Metzger references Fickerman's untranslated book in his discussion of the heavenly witnesses.

"The silence of Augustine, contrary to prevailing opinion, cannot be cited as evidence against the genuineness of the Comma. He may indeed have known it. ... " - Annotated bibliography of the textual criticism of the New Testament.. (1955) p. 113

St. Augustinus gegen das 'Comma Johanneum'? - Norbert Fickermann
Biblische Zeitschrift. (old series) 22 (1934) 350-358.

And perhaps it was also a separate publication, although that could be a google quirk.

There are some other fascinating references to this article, but mostly it has not been noted.

The lack of biographic information is a bit unusual, any help would be appreciated, it appears the was born around 1900, perhaps a bit earlier.

Any response on-list or off-list is fine.


George Somsel
It is notable that, although Aquinas cites the CJ and references Augustine, Augustine nowhere cites the CJ.

Correct, we have no citations of Augustine extant that are direct quotes to the heavenly witnesses. However, that is only part of the story. First, let us remember that his Homilies on 1 John stops short of the verses, ending at 1 John 5:3,, so that evidence from silence means little, even if the verse was in his Bibles we simply would not know.

Then there is the heavily discussed citation in Contra Maximum where it is contended that Augustine was simply applying a strained mystical interpretation to the spirit, the water and the blood. The common simple conclusion can lead to confusion, as it begs the chicken-and-egg question:

a) was the mystical interpretation the result of the scripture which had fallen from many manuscripts ?
b) did the mystical interpretation create the heavenly witnesses verse ?
c) some other dynamic

Bruce Metzger says B probably --- ("The Comma probably originated as a piece of allegorical exegesis of the three witnesses" Text of the New Testament 1968 p. 102 .. more Metzger discussion below).

Also the (b) theory is one that Pieper and many others would contend falls outright to the Cyprian citation. Historically, to combat that early reference was fabricated the anachronistic idea of early allegorizing by various writers known for careful quoting, even against the specific words of Cyprian "it is written". (Anachronistic idea also applied by some to the Tertullian allusion that is corroborative to Cyprian and other early evidences.) Skillfully, Pieper disassembled the scholarship convolution and really showed that Cyprian stands as a verse reference. A number of others like Scrivener had de facto had taken this position earlier, Pieper was simply more willing to take the interpretative understanding to the logical textual conclusion.

And (b) also bumps up against the simple fact that the extant Old Latin manuscripts are close to 100% heavily witnesses supportive. Including the Old Latin Speculum that is also part of the discussion and has been historically connected to Augustine. All told, the Old Latin manuscripts indicate that the heavenly witnesses would likely be seen in some or all of the Augustine Latin Bibles. And also the Greek Bibles of the period are an open question, depending partly on your respect for the Vulgate Prologue information and some other Greek evidences. And the Old Latin is supported by the rich referencing in the period, including the hundreds of bishops at the Council of Carthage of 481, not too long after Augustine. As well as Priscillian, Fulgentius and others.


The paper by Norbert Fickermann could use, some day, an English translation, or at least the German text online. From a copyright standard it may just have hit the public domain in 2009. We at least know one conclusion, our German skilled readers with access to the text are very welcome to share much more.

Norbert Fickermann...
St. Augustine gegen das "Comma Johanneum" BZ, 22
(1934), 350-358.

"The silence of Augustine, contrary to prevailing opinion,
cannot be cited as evidence against the genuineness of the Comma.
He may indeed have known it.."
(Bruce Metzger - Studies and Documents - 1934 & Bibliography of TCNT )

This analysis of Fickermann may have influenced Metzgers open-ended "probably" above, even where Metzger omitted the Fickermann reference later.


We should remember that Augustine has a reference in City of God, that is such a clear allusion that Brooke Westcott accuses it of being part of the verse creation process ! ..
"complete the gloss" ... because of the use of Verbum.

The City of God by Saint Augustine,
Translated by Marcus D. D. Dods; (New York: Modern Library, 1950)

On Seeing God
On the Presence of God
11. Concerning the universal providence of God in the laws of which all things are comprehended

Therefore God supreme and true, with His Word and Holy Spirit (which three are one), one God omnipotent, creator and maker of every soul and of every body; by whose gift all are happy who are happy through verity and not through vanity; who made man a rational animal consisting of soul and body, who, when he sinned, neither permitted him to go unpunished, nor left him without mercy;

BOOK V [XI] Deus itaque summus et verum cum Verbo suo et Spiritu sancto, quae tria unum sunt, Deus unus omnipotens, creator et factor omnis animae atque omnis corporis, cuius sunt participatione felices, quicumque sunt veritate, non uanitate felices, qui fecit hominem rationale animal ex anima et corpore, qui eum peccantem nec inpunitum esse permisit nec sine misericordia dereliquit;


Returning to the concern of George.

The referencing from Aquinas of Augustine in the last post was of the specific doctrinal points being made from Aquinas, points that are language-related to the heavenly witnesses. Aquinas felt no need to use Augustine to
"cite the CJ" (George) since Aquinas simply considered the verse as scripture. Aquinas was using Augustine as interpretative backdrop, which is clear from a careful read.

Basic Writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas: Volume One: God and the order of creation (1945) this is the 1997 edition
Anton Charles Pegis

The specific Augustine references that were given in that article were given by Anton Charles Pegis (1905-1978), President, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto, Canada).

(Q. 36 Art 1 ) The person of the Holy Ghost

On the contrary, It is said ( 1 John V. 7): There are three who bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. As Augustine says: When we ask, Three what? we say, Three persons. 3 ....For, as Augustine says, Because the Holy Ghost is common to both, He Himself is called that properly which both are called in common. For the Father is a spirit, and the Son is a spirit; and the Father is holy, and the Son is holy. 6

3 De Trin., VII, 4; 6; V, 9 (PL 42, 940; 943; 918).
6 De Trin., XV, 19; V, 11 (PL 42, 1086; 919).

(Q. 30 Art 2 ) The plurality of persons in God
Objection 5. Further, everything within a determinate number is measured, for number is a measure. But the divine persons are immense, as we say in the Creed of Athanasius: "The Father is immense, the Son is immense, the Holy Ghost is immense."
10 Therefore the persons are not contained within the number three. On the contrary, It is said: "There are three who bear witness in heaven, the father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost" (1 John 5:7). To those who ask, "Three what?" we answer, with Augustine (De Trin. vii, 4), "Three persons." 11 Therefore there are but three persons in God.

10 Cf. Symb. "Quicumque" (Denzinger. no. 39)
11 De Trin VII,4;6 V 9 (PL 42, 940, 943, 913)

This is a series of references in De Trinitate given by Pegis. Our early church writer Latin scholars are welcome to pull out each one and study them for conjectured familiarity with our verse :). Note though that Anton Pegis is not claiming any direct Augustine citations of 1 John v:7 .. nor is Aquinas using Augustine in any type of textual analysis referencing manner.

Whether the De Trinitate verses count as allusion references may depend on perspective and the specific analysis, where Charles Forster may well have had a different view than Alfred Plummer. (You will find very little solid writing on these topics in the last century.)

More could be said on Augustine. The Contra Maximum discussion is particularly fascinating and involved, and a bit too much to add to this post. And I hope you at least find these references interesting, though provoking.
malcolm robertson

Dear Steve,

As usual you have presented a plethora of historical info for our consideration. Jolly good!

The problem is that the biblical textual data that we have at present does not support the inclusion of these words as original to the autograpic text. Does this deny, destroy or eradicate the entire biblical witness to the three indiviual persons in the Godhesd of biblical Christianity. Of course not.

Ever since St Augustine noted the excise of the pericope de adulterae by some in some mss and codex Vaticanus omitted 1 Peter 5:3 as well as some slight editorial indications in P66 and 75 I have become more open to the possibility of heretical corruption. The wickedness of Decimus and the observations of St Hippolytus make this reasonable.

The great difficulty arises when we try to pinpoint the source of allusions and references in the patristic literature.

This is why TC is still an art and not simply a mere mechanical science. Historical reconstruction is a sine quo non for TC and once one moves away from the objective historical textual data the art of TC comes into vogue.

Our God reigns!

Wieland Willker

"Fragmenta Novi Testamenti ... ex libro ... Speculum, eruit et ordine librorum Novi Testamenti."

Videnskabs-Selskabet Skrifter. II. Historisk-filosofisk Klasse. 1899. Nr. 2

(the text starts at the PDF page 125)

This Speculum manuscript receives a fair amount of attention historically since it is one of the three extant early Old Latin texts supporting the heavenly witnesses.

c M
m - 5-9 42 Speculum
q - - 5-7 44 Monacensis/Freisinger - Symbol used for r in UBS4.
l - 7 48 Legionensis- Palimpsest .. said to be close to the Liber Comicus (t)

(Granted, all this can get complicated because there is more than one Speculum manuscript. That is not the concern of this post.)

First a bit from Belsheim online.
Often Google is a bit easier to work with than

Fragmenta Novi Testamenti: in translatione Latina antehieronymiana ex libro (1899)
Johannes Engebretsen Belsheim


Nicholas Wiseman wrote about the Speculum here:

Two Letters on Some Parts of the Controversy on some parts of the controversy concerning 1. John v. 7 : containing also an Enquiry Into the Origin of the First Latin Version of Scripture, Commonly Called the Itala (1832-33)
Essays on Various Subjects (1853)
Speculum section about authorship

Ezra Abbot gives his summary.

Memoir of the controversy respecting the three heavenly witnesses (1866)
Ezra Abbot
A new argument in favor of this thesis is based on an anonymous work called the Speculum^ or "Mirror," found in a manuscript assigned by Wiseman to the sixth or seventh century, belonging to the library of Santa Croce in Gerusaleinme in Rome. This work consists wholly of quotations from Scripture, arranged under one hundred and forty-four heads, embracing the chief points of Christian belief and practice. The text is that of the Old Latin version, and generally agrees with the quotations of the African fathers. It has been published by Cardinal Mai in his Nova Bibliotheca Patrum, Tom. I. Pars IL, Rome, 1852, 4to. No title is given to the manuscript by the original transcriber, but several different and later hands have prefixed inscriptions erroneously identifying it with a treatise of Augustine's against the Donatists, which Possidius, in his list of that father's works, entitles De Testimoniis Scripturarum contra Donatislas et Idola. One of the four titles, however, thus prefixed to the work, reads simply Libri de Speculo. We know that Augustine made a collection of practical extracts from Scripture which bore the name of Speculum^ serving the reader as a "mirror" of character; and Wiseman and Mai argue that the present compilation is no other than that work. (continues)

An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures (1856)
Thomas Horne
This Ms. has the peculiarity that 1 John v. 7. is cited in it twice

Dublin Review (1881)
How is it that the Santa Croce Speculum, which Cardinal Wiseman thought to be St. Augustines own, gives the words three separate times as the words of Scripture?

The Vienna Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum. IV
Reviewed Work(s): S. Augustini Opera
Priscilliani quae supersunt
Author(s) of Review: W. Sanday
The Classical Review, Vol. 4, No. 9 (Nov., 1890), pp. 414-417
This article consists of 4 page(s).<414:TVCSEL>2.0.CO;2-P

The Norbert Fickermann paper really could use an English translation or summary, as It appears to be foundational to these questions, and gets only a bit of mention. e.g. Refernenced by Raymond Brown,

And Bruce Metzger en passant:

"The silence of Augustine, contrary to prevailing opinion, cannot be cited as evidence against the genuineness of the Comma. He may indeed have known it." - Annotated bibliography of the textual criticism of the New Testament.. (1955) p. 113

St. Augustinus gegen das 'Comma Johanneum'?:
Norbert Fickermann

[textualcriticism] seeking bio information on Norbert Fickermann

Scholars who are less concerned with hand-waving heavenly witnesses evidences seem to connect Augustine and the Speculum manuscripts more directly than those who have a preexisting condition that there were no early evidences for the verse.

Augustine (2005)
Mary T. Clark

Steven Avery
Queens, NY

And here is another obscure reference:

A transcription of Tischendorf's Old Latin m:

Johannes Belsheim

"Fragmenta Novi Testamenti ... ex libro ... Speculum, eruit et ordine librorum Novi Testamenti."

Videnskabs-Selskabet Skrifter. II. Historisk-filosofisk Klasse. 1899. Nr. 2

(the text starts at the PDF page 125)

The book is the so called Pseudo-Augustinian Speculum of the 8th or 9th CE. It is located in Rom. It is not a continuous text, but some kind of florilegium. No references to Hebrews can be found. Hort suspected it to be a recension from Spain (Gregory), perhaps because it agrees with the text of Priscillian. Souter cites it as "a work probably not later than the beginning of the fifth century, written in Spain or North Africa." This Latin text is not in J�licher and also not noted by the Vetus Latina project. Perhaps someone knows more about it?

Best wishes Wieland

  • Hi,

    1 John 5:7
    For there are three that bear record in heaven,
    the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost:
    and these three are one.

    A Defense of the Johannine Comma
    Setting the Record Straight on I John 5:7-8
    Tim Dunkin

    Show message history​

    Thanks. I usually pay little attention to Greek ms. issues.
    I'll see if I can contact Tim and compare notes on that section.

    "I do not know of many researchers who have looked into the question in any depth since the Preface was found in Codex Fuldensis."​

    Nor do I. It seems to be a neglected topic; I would call it ossified scholarship too except there doesn't seem to be much scholarship to ossify about this, just an assumption.​

    There is a fair amount, almost all before Fuldensis. The quality of it varies, some is in Latin.

    From my own studies the general logical and conclusion of Tim is spot-on. Antoine Eugène Genoud in the Sainte Bible Volume 5, 1839, p.681-682. commentary described the reasons given for claiming a forgery as frivolous. My research so far says that Genoud was spot-on and it is a fascinating study. Remember, the first accusations came after the beginning of the heavenly witnesses verse debate

    When, by God's grace, I write a section on the Vulgate Prologue issues, there might be a few things different than what you see in Tim's paper. If you like, I could go into this more, either the historical scholarship or the detail analysis.

    "There is a lot of evidence to consider about the tampering historical concerns . . . ."​

    Evidence of possibilities is not evidence of actual events. On a practical level, I don't think you'll get anywhere with that approach because it simply
    sounds too conspiratorial and Is Not Evidence.... My point about Tim's statement is that it is a statement about a possibility that the evidence may /allow/; whereas reader-persuading statements tend to be statements that are, and appear to be, /evidence-driven/.​

    You missed the point. There are specific discussions in the early church writings as well as issues visible with specific variants. While it is not generally my issue, I felt a need to correct your misrepresentation that there is only speculation of no value when discussing theories of textual tampering.

    If you really want to criticize speculation, you could deal with the theories that Cyprian was actually making a commentary on verse 8, this became a marginal note, and it quickly overran the Latin textline.

    Wait .. that is your theory !
    Against huge difficulties on every end, many pointed out by Cornwall.

    At the moment it looks like Rummel is correct. Is de Jonge still alive? I thought he died a couple of years ago. (And, touch , I meant Rummel, not Kummel.)​

    No wonder I could not find your reference.

    Henk Jan de Jonge, afaik, is 69 years young, and is listed as :

    Henk Jan de Jonge is emeritus Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature at Leiden University.
    1 August 2012 - July 2013: President of the international Society for New Testament Studies.

    And I read the Henk de Jonge original 1980 paper, Rummel's section, and the de Jonge's note to Michael Maynard about the Rummel response, where he said specifically that Rummel :

    "cuts the quotation short, so that the real sense of the passage becomes unrecognizable. She is absolutely not justified in speaking of a challenge in this case or in the case of any other passage on the subject."

    Please understand gathering your information from a censorship-oriented forum is not likely to lead to very accurate and complete information :) .

    While I personally believe the whole "Erasmus promise" issue is given way too much ink in most writings about our verse, it arose is because of how it was abused from Porson to Metzger as an agitprop theme. So I spend a little time making the correction.

    "Dunkin completely misrepresents the testimony of De Rebaptismate; it is as clear as day that the CJ was not in the author's text of First John."]​

    "No, you are wrong on this. Not just the very astute Arthur Cleveland Coxe writes on this, properly referenced by Tim, even Westcott saw this as a positive

    James Snapp
    I don't see how anyone could draw such a conclusion. You're welcome to zoom in on this to get it sorted out. (Perhaps someone has misunderstood another
    writer's turgid syntax??)​

    We already covered this to some extent on TC-Alternate, you can see the turgid syntax of Westcott (who is likely not as bad as Hort).

    Ps-Cyprian and Rebaptism

    Note that after that post was written, the "Ps-Cyprian" issue was unraveled, it is aprarently a reference to yet another early evidence:

    The Hundredfold Reward for Martyrs and Ascetics: De centesima, sexagesimal tricesima

    [On the Armenian Version's testimony to I Jn. 5:7] "I find both Tim's writing and yours as helpful, the only disagreement, if there is one, is emphasis."​

    James (now)
    No; we disagree almost diametrically about this; he interprets the presence of the CJ in Armenian copies from the 1300's as if it implies that the CJ was in the initial base-text of Mesrop c. 411, or in the base-text used for the revision of the Armenian version c. 431,​

    Tim only said that it is an evidence in that direction.

    whereas I insist that it reflects much later Catholic influence (i.e., when and where the Vulgate spread into Armenia, attempts were made to conform Armenian texts to the Vulgate).​

    You were not insisting in your last post, you carefully pointed out the difficulties in this realm and that your theories were at times head-toppings from the Bermuda Triangle :) .

    James (earlier)
    Fourteenth, by 1307, parts of Armenia were heavily influenced by Catholicism, so it is no surprise to see that conformation to the Vulgate text (with the CJ) was well underway by that time. The Armenian Version in the Middle Ages is a veritable Bermuda Triangle of research, but I think a pattern could be established (if Armenian researchers not-named-Nersessian would ever bother to publish anything in English; grr!) showing that the Armenian Version was adjusted to conform to certain aspects of the Vulgate such as the inclusion of the CJ, particularly in Cilician Armenian MSS (although Dunkin is correct that this was not due to any act by Haitho).​

    The same influence, I suspect (although this is off the top of my head; see Nersessian for details), can be observed when it comes to the canon; the canon in the
    Cilician Armenian MSS tend to match the Roman Catholic canon.

    you are hardening your position to be contrary. Anyway, I do tend to sympathize with your interpretation of the history, so I have no objection to your offering counterpoint on this.

    "Quite clearly, this (Tertullian) is a reference to the Comma."​

    I don't see why you think this is a clear reference. It does not look clear to me. Perhaps we should look over that material by Pieper that you mentioned.​

    George Wade has a nice section on this as well, as do some other writers.

    I'll have to look and see if I have Pieper in type-text, OCR-ready, or what. I'll make a note to check, he is very good.

    Please note that you incorrectly ascribed Tim's actual words to me.

    Here is what I wrote and will defend unto precision of wording:

    > It is definitely clear testimony .. easy to understand .. the only question is the strength of the testimony. I think Arthur Cleveland Coxe and Nathaniel Ellsworth Cornwall address it nicely, as does Tim. Clearly, the many corroborative evidences of that period strengthen each other, dynamically, logarithmically if you will, to those who try to see the full picture.

    "Have you gone over all the references in Carthage, Varimadum and the Twelve Books of the Trinity ?"​

    Well I have not done so today? But to keep the discussion focused, I withdraw the question (about why V. Tapsensis' non-TR rendering of I Jn. 5:8 poses no
    problem although his rendering of I Jn. 5:7 is so weighty).​

    This is trivial. If a person shows that they have the heavenly witnesses, the fact that they have variants in the earthly witnesses is not a negation at all. In fact, Nathaniel Ellis Cornwall, in the article you recommend, shows very powerfully how those very same variants demonstrate that the Latin of the heavenly witnesses section came from Greek exemplars.

    That point should be your more profitable emphasis, even regarding the variant of 1 John 5:8 in Virgilius Tapsensis.

    "This [Augustine's Trinitarian allegorical interpretation of I John 5:8] is covered in a number of excellent sections which I could pull out for you separately. In fact, if I remember, I answered the censored BVDB folks on that exact point on another forum, you did not read it because of the BVDB censorship."​

    The Squarespace link was taking too long to load on my computer​

    My apologies for giving you the wrong link.

    This should be helpful, I will include a bit more, the first two are intro ..
    You could go to post #125 and simply read down the 3 posts.

    I John 5:7
    The silence of Augustine, contrary to prevailing opinion, cannot be cited as evidence #116 6-24-2010

    Raymond Brown on the Norbert Fickermann paper on Augustine - 9-24-2012 #122

    Contra Maximinum - Thomas Joseph Lamy contextual analysis - and more

    Posts #125 #126 and #130

    This link is given because it directly responds to your specific question, in my words.
    If you like I can cut and paste the sections into here.

    KJV-Today on Augustine does not add much, misses a lot, and is partly conjecture that I find so-so.

    Augustine (410) -

    > So: why do *you* think that Augustine's statement implies that he was aware of the existence of the CJ?​

    See my links above, from my past writings. I agree with Lamy and Burgess and note the significant Fickerman evidence, and other allusions like from City of God. Incidentally, John Jones is interesting, if a bit unusual, on Augustine as well.

    (No fair consulting the link that I provide near the end of this post first!)​

    In general, I am well aware of the KJVToday argumentation :) I do not think I have used them on this question.

    [Athanasius used the CJ in . . .] Disputati Contra Arium.​

    That is quoting Tim.. please keep this distinction correct in the future.

    That's an 82-page non-searchable file!! I'm not looking through that just so that I can report that Athanasius does not make any distinct reference to the unified witness of the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit. (Do you have a page-and-line reference?) Fortunately I've managed to take a shortcut and find the relevant Greek snippet: Athanasius simply says, after stating that remission of sins is procured by baptism administered to the faithful in the thrice-blessed name, "And besides all these, John says, `And the three are one.'" Greek: KAI OI TREIS TO EN EISIN, which corresponds to 5:8b as well as it does to 5:7b. This might be granted as evidence that Athanasius interpreted I John 5:8 allegorically, but not as evidence that he possessed Greek copies of First John containing the CJ.​
    "Likewise is not the remission of sins procured by that quickening and sanctifying ablution, without which no man shall see the kingdom of heaven, an ablution given to the faithful in the thrice-blessed name. And besides all these, John says, And the three are one."

    This is a clear allusion, considering that it is a doctrinal disputation with the Arians, even accepted by some of the Hortian apparatus mechanisms, such as UBS-3.

    [TC-Alternate-list] heavenly witnesses - Disputation of Athanasius with Arius - UBS-4 omission
    Steven Avery - Oct 2, 2011

    As Daniel wrote :

    [TC-Alternate-list] heavenly witnesses - Disputation of Athanasius with Arius - UBS-4 omission
    Steven Avery - Oct 3, 2011

    Hmmm. There doesn't seem to be much reason to exclude this witness, other than that it was for inclusion--as if that was a valid reason. It has the following essesial elements:
    1) John is being quoted by name.
    2) The quotation matches up with the text of 1 John 5:7-8.
    3) And--purely as a bonus--the context seems to be over the question of Trinitarianism (especially given the reputed actors in the disputation).

    KJV-Today adds some good, some so-so points to this Athanasius issue:

    Athanasius appears to have quoted the Comma in Disputatio Contra Arium:

    On a related point:
    SA: "In my last post, I wrote the first Peshitta printing as 1561. I am not sure of the exact year."
    Then take in hand the edited extract from Michaelis, describing the Peshitta, that I recently put in the Files!​

    Thanks for supplying the resource
    . Time has been limited and that exact year is not so important, since my point was that it was after Stephanus 1550 and before the later Beza editions. I do hope to study that Michaelis section. It would be interesting to compare his argumentation with the Oxford debate of 1897 (Gwilliam, Miller, Sanday, Headlam, et al).

    "If you know of any stronger, taking any position, please share away."​

    Well, Cornwall, with his quotation from Greg-Naz, makes the strongest grammar-based case,

    Daniel was wondering about this, could you supply the page # - url, on a quick check I am not sure as to what you are referring.

    but at there is presentation which, I imagine, is extremely effective (although part of the reason why it probably persuades persons new to the issue is its abundance of one-sided evidence-distortions). Despite this presentation's numerous overstatements and flaws, it also has a few sharp points, one of which involves the transmission of I John 2:23.​

    That section about 1 John variants is very good.

    and one of which involves Athanasius' rare usage of Mt. 28:19,​

    Also a good point, some of those points are a smidgen uneven (eg. with Eusebius) but generally it is quite good.

    and one of which involves several illustrations (with illustrations from pictures of MSS) of parableptic error, along with a well-made
    reconstruction. Further down the page, there's a nice chart, too.​

    Agreed. Nice presentation.


    SA: "The problem here is that you are doing a Snapp-style tangential swipe."

    I protest; simply mentioning how a school of thought has been treated is not a tangential swipe at it.

    Hi Folks,

    Continuing from:

    [TC-Alternate-list] Re: 'A Defense of the Johannine Comma' under astute scrutiny
    Daniel Buck Tue Nov 20, 2012

    > "We are discussing the Tim Dunkin article."

    And other articles as well, where are the blunders ?
    And I earlier did show some distance from KJVToday, who has some very good sections.

    Steven (earlier)
    > KJV-Today on Augustine does not add much, misses a lot, and is​
    partly conjecture that I find so-so."
    > KJV-Today adds some good, some so-so points to this Athanasius​

    However, I think it helps us to look at any of these issues, very few articles by any writer on any side are 100%. On the contra side only Raymond Brown, in my experience, is close to a knowledgeable presentation that tries to be fair. On the pro-authenticity side, no one article is pristine and full-orbed, and many of the really good ones are a while back. And some on the net now are getting to a higher quality.


    I agree. The site is uneven and the logic fails, it is not the actual issues we have with Zigabenus. On KJV-Today a few sections are truly excellent and look to involve original research. A few sections are good-ok.

    And a few sections have problems like this one you caught with Zigabenus
    Two of the most problematic are:

    4.2 Non-extant manuscripts
    4.4 1904 Patriarchal Text - Teunis Van Lopik brought this one up on textualcriticism.

    Here is a site that says that the ms info is against Zigabenus:

    Manuscript revision in harmony with the Johannine Comma:
    The case of Euthymius Zigabenus' (Zigadenus) Panoplia dogmatica
    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    The Commentary on the Letters of John: Zigabenus did not read in his NT text (early 12th cent.) the Johannine Comma /
    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    Questions about whether Zigabenus is a real evidence or not go back some centuries, even to the sections by Matthaei and Knittel. And involve both ms and interpretation so they are a bit complex. (I have never used Zigabenus as an evidence.) This article is a review of Burgess, and a reference from Cyril of Alexandria is involved

    London Quarterly Review
    Controversy on 1 John v. 7

    My view. This is one of those places where most look at the issues superficially. I would like to study it more, however it would take a while to even lay out the issues. They involve context and interpretation, the relationship with Cyril of Alexandria's writings and the manuscript issues.

    However, you are right that the logic on KJV-Today looks a bit weak.


    This post archived at:

    [TC-Alternate-list] Euthymius Zigabenus, the Panoplia Dogmatica and the heavenly witnesses
    Steven Avery - November 20, 2012


    Steven Avery
    Bayside, NY

    > Daniel
    > and didn't make the sort of obvious blunders that a monolingual American typically commits when he takes up the subject.

    > Steven
    > We are discussing the Tim Dunkin article. Are you asserting any blunders ? If so, where. And if you are referring to other articles, then please at least give us some sense of your target, so that readers do not get the wrong impression.

    No, you were tangentially disparaging the "school of thought".

    If I wrote, in some totally different context, tangentially:

    "the scholarship of the defenders of the Mark ending as canonical scripture is rather abysmal"

    I certainly would expect your objection, even if your name is not mentioned.
    Be more careful with your swipes, and there will be no need to object.

    As least we have alivened the forum. I hope some of our readers are finding this interesting and on a solid level. I give James a lot of credit for wading right there in on the tuff issue.

    Archived at :

    [TC-Alternate-list] heavenly witnesses: Tertullian, Treatise on Rebaptism, Athanasius, Augustine allegorical?, Vulgate Prologue, Armenian Bible, Erasmus Promise
    Steven Avery - November 15, 2012

    Steven Avery

Last edited:

Steven Avery

The Key Phrase - give it its own page:

● [Letter no. 8] St Jerome argued that that verbal repetition [replicatio] in the [first] Epistle of John — "And there are three that bear witness, the Father, the Word and the Spirit" — was established as certain. St. Augustine, on the basis of apostolic thought and on the authority of the Greek text, ordered it to be left out. (Letter No. 8, Lines 3-10, from Egilbert of Trier to Theoderic of Verdun, in Regensburg clm 14596; Fickermann, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek clm 14596; Fickermann, ed. Die Regensburger rhetorischen Briefe, p. 306; Translated by Deborah Adlam, 2011)