Council of Carthage

Steven Avery

Pure Bible Forum

Council of Carthage

Ambrosius Dorhout (Council of Carthage, Vulgate Prologue and more)

instar centenorum codicum, qui optimae; notae: sunt seculi V. (Dorhout.)
[equivalent to that of a hundred of the best MSS. of the fifth century].

Jodicus Coccius - Victor of Vita - Council of Carthage 1500s editions.

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

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

when James Snapp made lucid arguments on the heavenly witnesses evidences


The Text of the Gospels - Cyprian and the Johannine Comma - James Snapp later

My comment on the Snapp material at BVDB ( similar to "when James Snapp .. ")
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Steven Avery

The Witness of God is Greater

Confession of the 460 Bishops Read Aloud

2.56 We are enjoined by a royal command to provide an account of the catholic faith which we hold. So we are setting out to briefly indicate the things which we believe and proclaim, aware of our lack of ability but supported by divine assistance. We recognize, then, that the first thing we must do is give an explanation of the unity of the substance of the Father and the Son, which the Greeks call homousion. Therefore: we acknowledge the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in the unity of the divine nature in such a way that we can say with a faithful confession that the Father subsists as a distinct person, and the Son equally exists in his own person, and that the Holy Spirit retains the distinctiveness of his own person, not asserting that the Father is the same as the Son, nor confessing that the Son is the same as the Father or the Holy Spirit, nor understanding the Holy Spirit in such a way that he is the Father or the Son; but we believe the unbegotten Father and the Son begotten of the Father and the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father17 to be of one substance and essence, because the unbegotten Father and the begotten Son and the Holy Spirit who proceeds have one divine nature in common; nevertheless, there are three distinct persons.

2.82 And so, no occasion for uncertainty is left. It is clear that the Holy Spirit is also God and the author of his own will, he who is most clearly shown to be at work in all things and to bestow the gifts of the divine dispensation according to the judgment of his own will, because where it is proclaimed that he distributes graces where he wills, servile condition cannot exist, for servitude is to be understood in what is created, but power and freedom in the Trinity. And so that we may teach the Holy Spirit to be of one divinity with the Father and the Son still more clearly than the light, here is proof from the testimony of John the evangelist. For he says: 'There are three who bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one.'47 Surely he does he not say 'three separated by a difference in quality' or 'divided by grades which differentiate, so that there is a great distance between them?' No, he says that the 'three are one.'

Latin: Unde nullus ambiguitati relinquitur locus, quin clareat Spiritum sanctum et Deum esse, et suae
voluntatis auctorem, qui cuncta operari, et secundum propriae voluntatis arbitrium divinae dispensationis
dona largiri apertissime demonstratur. (0227C) Quia ubi voluntaria gratiarum distributio praedicatur, non
potest videri conditio servitutis: in creatura enim servitus intelligenda est, in Trinitate vero dominatio ac
libertas. Et ut adhuc luce clarius unius divinitatis esse cum Patre et Filio Spiritum sanctum
doceamus, Ioannis evangelistae testimonio comprobatur. (0228A) Ait namque: Tres sunt qui
testimonium perhibent in coelo, Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus sanctus, et hi tres unum sunt (I Ioan. V,
7) . Nunquid, ait, tres in differenti aequalitate seiuncti, aut quibuslibet diversitatum gradibus longo
separationis intervallo divisi? sed tres, inquit, unum sunt.

(Victor Vitensis, Historia persecutionis Africae provinciae; Migne Latina, PL 58.227C)

3.1 When our little book had been presented to them and read out, their blind eyes found it impossible to endure the
light of the truth. They raved with intolerable shouts, taking it amiss that in the title of the book we had called ourselves
'Catholics'. Straightaway those liars declared to the king that we had created an uproar while rushing away from the
hearing. He was immediately inflamed and, believing the falsehood, lost no time in doing what he wanted to do.

3.2 He had already drawn up a decree and secretly sent his men with it throughout the· different provinces. So, while the bishops were in Carthage, in one day he closed the churches throughout Mrica and he presented all the property of the bishops and churches to his own bishops as a gift.

(Victor Vitensis, Victor of Vita: history of the Vandal persecution; Translated by Moorehead, Liverpool Press 1992)

[Ben David] The verse is quoted by above four hundred orthodox bishops, in a confession of faith presented to Hunneric, King of the Vandals, in Africa. This was in the year 484, and the confession has these words, which they ascribe to John the Evangelist: "Tres sunt qui testimonium perhibent in coelo. Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus Sanctus." Observe, this is not a quotation of one writer, but of all the heads of the churches in Africa, [PAGE 280] in the Mediterranean islands, in Greece, in Rome, and in other places. The quotation, therefore, virtually presents the united testimony of all the learned throughout the whole Christian world to the genuineness of the text of the three Heavenly Witnesses. The king, who summoned them to appear at Carthage, was a furious Arian, bent on exterminating the orthodox. They produced the verse, they said, as placing the divinity of Christ in a point clearer than light. Could they hope by forging it, to impose upon a powerful enemy, surrounded by all the Arian bishops, who were ready to refute or expose any unfair dealings in their opponents? The thing is impossible: they all knew that, though their interpretation of the verse was opposed, the authenticity of it could not be called in question.

('Ben David' [John Jones], 'Letters to the Editor', The Monthly Repository of Theology and General Literature, vol 21 ,1826, 279-280.)



Hefele : Sec. 214. Religious Conference at Carthage, A.D. 484.

In the meantime there was held in Africa, if not a Synod proper, yet an unusually numerous and important assembly of
bishops. Huneric, king of the Vandals, son of the successor of Geiseric, since his entrance on the government, A.D. 477, had not ceased to persecute the Catholics, and had endeavored by all means of craft and violence to obtain a victory for Arianism, which he and his people professed. To this end he sent out, in May 483, a circular letter to Eugenius of Carthage, and all Homoousion bishops, in which he gave orders that, on the first of February in the next year, they should be present at Carthage, in order to have a disputation with his "venerable" bishops on the Homoousion faith, and to examine whether it were scriptural or not.2

[2. Mansi, t. vii. p. 1141; Hardouin, t. ii. p. 857.] Eugenius declared that he was willing to attend, on condition that the Catholic bishops from the other side of the Mediterranean, particularly the Church of Rome, should be [PAGE 36] allowed to take part in the disputation, as the controversy would have reference to the Catholic creed, and not to the special creed of the African Church.1

[1. Mansi, t. vii. p. 1142; Hardouin, l.c.; Victor Vitensis (Victor of Vita), De persecutione Afric. lib. ii. in the Biblioth. Max. PP., Lugd. t. viii. p. 682; also in Baron. ad ann. 483, n. 93 sqq.]
He made this stipulation particularly, because the bishops who were not under Vandal rule could express themselves with much greater freedom than he and his colleagues who were living under that heavy oppression. King Huneric made the scornful reply: "When you make me master of the whole world, then what you want shall be done," that is to say, then shall the bishops be summoned from the whole world. To this Eugenius returned a befitting answer; but instead of complying, Huneric did the reverse, and drove into exile those Orthodox bishops of Africa who were pointed out to him as peculiarly learned and eloquent.2 [2. Victor Vitensis, l.c.]

At last the first of February arrived, and no fewer than 461 Catholic bishops had appeared at Carthage, as is shown by the list of them which is still extant.3

[fn. 3. In Mansi, t. vii. 1156; Hardouin, t. ii. p. 869. Sixteen sees were then made empty, or the bishops sent into exile, so that the Vandal kingdom counted 447 Catholic bishops.]


Most of them were from Africa itself; some were from the islands of Sardinia, Majorica, and Minorica, which belonged to the Vandal kingdom. Huneric had some of the ablest of the Catholic bishops separated from the others and arrested, and Bishop Laetus of Neptis even killed, in order to strike terror into the others. The place of meeting was fixed by their
opponents; but the Catholics immediately selected from their number ten speakers, so that the Arians should not be able to say that they were clamored down by the Catholic bishops by reason of their majority. There were, however, no real debates. At the very beginning the Arian Court Bishop Cyrila placed himself in the president's chair, and the Catholic bishops in vain appealed against this, and demanded an impartial president. When the royal notary gave to Cyrila the title of patriarch, the Orthodox asked "by whose authority Cyrila had assumed the title of patriarch"; and when the Catholic spectators made a noise at this, they were driven by blows from the place of [PAGE 37] assembly. Eugenius complained of violence; but, in order to get at the chief matter in dispute, the Catholic speakers requested Cyrila to open the proceedings, and to lay before them the points which were to be discussed. Cyrila replied, "Nescio latine," and persisted in his objection to the speaking of Latin, although he answered that he had elsewhere made copious use of this language. Victor Vitensis maintains (p. 683) that Cyrila had met the Catholic bishops with better preparation and more boldly than he had expected; but that they had taken the precaution of drawing up a confession of faith in writing of which he gives a copy (lib. iii.), and which is also given in Mansi and Hardouin. 1 [fn. 1. Mansi, t. vii. p. 1143; Hardouin, t. ii. p. 857.] Tillemont shows (p. 797) that, in the subscription of this formula, xii. Kal. Mart. instead of Mai. must be read.

Huneric now put forth an edict, on February 24, in which he blamed the assembled Orthodox bishops that they had not either at the first or second day of sitting (so that the assembly lasted two days) proved the Homoousion from Holy Scripture, although they had been challenged to do so; but, on the contrary, had occasioned a rising and an uproar among the people. He therefore gave orders that their churches should remain closed until they should come and take part in the disputation. Further, the laws which the Roman Emperors, misled by the bishops, had promulgated against heretics, should now be directed against the maintainers of the Homoousion. They were therefore forbidden to hold meetings anywhere; they were not to have a church in any city or village; they must not take part in any baptism, ordination, or the like; and in case they continued in their perverseness, they should be punished with exile. Moreover, the laws of the Roman Emperors against heretical layman should now be in force, and they should be deprived of the right to sell, to leave by will, and to succeed to legacies, inheritances, trusts, etc.; and, moreover, those who occupied dignities and offices should be stripped of them, and should be declared infamous. All books in which they defended their error (the Nicene doctrine) were to be burnt. Anyone, however, who should return from his error by the 1st of June, was [PAGE 38] to be free from all punishments. Finally, all the churches, together with church property, in the whole kingdom, were to be made over to the truth, that is, the Arian bishops and priests.

1 [fn. 1. Victor Vit. lib. iv. l.c. p. 687 sqq.; Mansi, t. vii. p. 1153 sqq.; Hardouin, t. ii. p. 867 sqq.; Baron. ad ann. 484, n. 54; Tillemont, t. xvi. p. 562.]

Besides this, King Huneric had the Catholic bishops present in Carthage sought for in their lodgings, deprived of their property, their servants, and horses, and driven out of the city. Whoever should receive them was to have his house burnt. Later on they were all excommunicated; the majority (302) being sent to different parts of Africa, where they had to live as country people without any spiritual functions, whilst forty-six were sent to the island of Corsica, where they had to hew wood for the royal ships. Victor adds that twenty eight had escaped, one had become a martyr, one a confessor, and eighty eight had died earlier

[2. Victor Vit. l.c. p. 693; Mansi, t. vii. p. 1164; Hardouin, t. ii. p. 875. Cf. Tillemont, t. xvi. p. 565 sqq.]
(Hefele, A History of the Councils of the Church, From the Original Documents, 1895, vol 4, p. 35-38)


Skip a few sections in TWOGIG

Notitia Provinciarum et Civitatum Africae (List of the Provinces and Cities of Africa)
Prayer of Eugenius : 1st Miracle
African Confessors : 2nd Miracle


460 Bishops “stood on the brink of death”


[Brownlee] There is no trace of evidence that any of the different sectaries brought an accusation against the Christian
fathers of having interpolated this verse. — It is a fact on record that our verse was received by the western churches in
Europe, in general, at a very early period. Now on the supposition that this verse had not existed in the ancient genuine
MSS. and that the Christian fathers had brought it forward, and quoted it publickly, without effective evidence of its
authenticity, how is it to be accounted for, I pray you, that all the sectaries kept silence? The Sabellians, and the Arians,
had both the disposition, and the power, and the means in their hands to expose the audacity, and to punish the
sacrilegious deed of these fathers, who had committed the interpolation. If they could not discover the first who dared to add to God’s word, they could easily discover the first who dared to make use of the fraud. How can it be accounted for that they never brought any charges of this kind? It cannot be affirmed that our verse never was quoted against them. This was done. It was done publickly by those brave Christian bishops, who, in Africa, “bearded the lion in his den.” I allude to the famous assembly of bishops in Africa, who laid in their solemn testimony before the king of the Vandals, and the Arian bishops. In the year, 484, Hunneric, by an edict did summon all the orthodox bishops of Africa, and the isles dependent on his power, to appear before him in February of the following year, and to defend and establish out of the Scriptures, their doctrine of the unity of the three divine persons; their doctrine of the 'ὁμοούσιον' homoousian. They had nine months allowed them and their antagonists to prepare themselves; to confer, and to collect MSS. and to draw up their confessions of faith respectively. At the time fixed by the royal edict, there appeared, says Gibbon in his Roman History, four hundred and sixty bishops from the orthodox African churches. They presented their confession of faith to the king. They had known their danger from that man of blood. [PAGE 547] They stood on the brink of death. The bar of their God seemed as it were, almost immediately before them. They had made their preparations of proof for nine months. They knew that the eyes of all the churches of the east and west were on them. Would men ready to offer their lives on the altar of martyrdom—men who actually, after this, braved banishment and death —would these men interpolate, or bring forward a quotation, which by one word could be refuted and exposed by their learned and shrewd and powerful enemies? Would they do a deed which would expose their memory to infamy, before the eyes of all the churches? It is surely not supposable. They knew that their enemies had every facility to expose them by the possession of MSS. of the Scriptures. Hence they must have come conscious that what they were going to quote, they could sustain by ancient and authentic MSS. and by the testimony of the fathers. If they did not all this, then their act of quoting what was not scripture, and their offering what was interpolated, and not found in their enemies copies, was little else than a wanton and a gratuitous act of throwing themselves into the fangs and the jaws of the lion—an act of self destruction—when they had abundance of other texts to sustain them in the dispute.

Now, the following is the clause of their confession, to which I have alluded. It is from Victor Vitensis. “And further that we may teach it to be clearer than the light, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost have one divinity; it is proved from the testimony of the evangelist John: for he says, there are three that bear,testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.” — The Quarterly Review, to get rid of this testimony, tried to impeach the authority of Victor Vitensis. But the able refutation by bishop Burgess has shown that Victor is sustained by the most unexceptionable authority—from that of the Emperor Justinian, even unto Gregory the Great. (Bp. Burgess's Vindication of 1 Jo. v. 7. p. 52. And Horne, vol. iv. p. 448.) Dr. Marsh supposes that the Arians did not stay to reply—or to reason the point. They resorted instantly to violence. But the Arians did reply—not at first by blows—not immediately by cutting out their tongues, but “with the most tumultuous clamours.” They insisted that these words did not prove the point in debate. They insisted that they could not find, in as many words, in the scriptures, the very word — the 'ὁμοούσιον' homoousian — which was the word used by both antagonists in the Arian controversy. (See Kettneri, p. 105.) Hence they did not deny our text — but they denied that the 'ὁμοούσιον' homoousian was contained in the Verse.

Others of our opponents suppose that the Arians must have objected to this text brought against them: but that this has not been recorded by the orthodox, from whom we have the account. To this it has been justly replied, that if they had objected, we should most assuredly have found on the pages of the orthodox some reply to the objection. For it is evident that these fathers could say enough for it, when permitted — and did persuade the whole western churches to receive it as a genuine portion of the word of God! We feel ourselves fairly entitled to say, that the Arians were silent on this point. They brought no such accusations. And this silence seems to us a proof that they had it in their MS. copies of the Bible.

(Brownlee, [Letter to the Editor], No. IV, in the Christian Advocate,
vol 2, 1824, p. 546-547)
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Steven Avery

Grantley Robert McDonald error

On the Council of Carthage we have this from Grantley Robert McDonald:

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."

Ironically, if this were true, it would end any debate about whether the Vulgate of c. AD 400 contained the verse.

ADD Additional Grantley sections.

RGA - p. 40
This foregoing hypothesis—that the comma arose through the attraction of the two symbola to the “core” of the comma—seems to explain why the first references to the Johannine comma are to be found in formal confessions of faith, the natural environment of symbola: the Liber apologeticus of Priscillian, the 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.




Gibbon per Grantley


p, 255-256
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.



307 Gibbon, 1862, 4:335 (XXXVII.4); the latter part of this quotation comes from a footnote.
Gibbon, Edward. History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Ed. William Smith. 8 vols. London: Murray, 1862.


1781 2nd edition - not in first but Trinity finds some interesting stuff like Lucian and pagan trinity

There is one other reference to Hunneric in RGA. - Dublin Review 1881, an excellent article by Charles Vincent Dolman that Grantley tries to diss, Grantley thought it was anonymous.

For example, he compares the Catholic bishops who presented their confession of faith to Hunneric with the committee of revisers, whom he depicts as a bunch of spineless heretics:
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Steven Avery

Some of the major writers on the Council:


Jean Jehan Petit - printer 1493-1500

Beatus Rhenanus


John Bugenhagen - 1550 (apparently not, but an interesting section)

Bellarmine - 1586

Jodocus Coccius - 1599
See separate PBF page

1599 Latin Text (there may be one around 1539, check Simon margin)

Diego Ruiz de Montoya - 1625

1644 edition per Calamy (1722)

Cheynell - 1650 p. 12 and 16

John Selden (Grantley) - 1653 1655

Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet (1727-1704)énigne_Bossuet
Letter to Leibniz
p. 61 -exc
p. 199
p. 541
p. 548

p. 578

Richard Simon - 1689

Isaac Newton - 1690

Thierry Ruinart (1657-1709)
This first is his incredible section on Cyprian of Carthage, not sure yet where the Council info is.
Acta primorum martyrum sincera & selecta: Ex libris cum editis, tum 1713 - with Henry Dodwell
Gentlemen's Magazine - Charles Butler

David Martin - 1719




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Steven Avery

Edmund Calamy - 1722





Leonard Twells - 1731

Prudent Maran (1683-1762) -
Divinitas Domini Nostri Jesu Christi - 1751

Alban Butler - (1710-1773)
The Lives of the Primitive Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints: Compiled from Original Monuments and Other Authentic Records, Volume 7 (1799)

Excellent - Review Alban Butler history

Edward Gibbon - 1781

Long historical section, complementary to Hefele et al.
Then our verse.
All this might be available in text mode, but it is good to see how he laid it out.





George Travis - 1785
William Hales

Richard Porson - 1790

Pretty dumb section from Porson.

One aspect placed here:
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Steven Avery

Johann David Michaelis - 1790
= 436
same type of argument as Porson

Joseph Jowett - 1807
skeptical, minor

Adam Clarke - 1808
—Mr. Clarke mentions in his preface the confession of faith by the Orthodox Bishops, presented to King Huneric,
A. D. 434, and agrees with Mr. Butler in admitting it as an argument highly deserving attention. It had also been urged
by Bossuet in a letter to Leibnitz.

Pharez (text not available
Note contra Pharez
Eclectic Review - Pharez (1810)
Contra Response to Pharez

Claudius Buchanan (1766-1815)
Christian Researches in Asia: With Notices of the Translation of the Scriptures Into the Oriental Languages (1814)


Charles Butler - 1806 letter - 1817

The principal argument in its favour, which appears not to be satisfactorily answered, is its having a place in the Confession of Faith, presented by the African Bishops to Huneric. Mr. Porson has treated this argument with abundance of wit: hut it seems to deserve a more serious treatment. It is not necessary to suppose, as Mr. Porson humourously says, that, each of the four hundred Bishops had a Bible in his pocket, and the useful place doubled down.—If there were such a number of copies exhibiting The Verse, as induced the Bishops to adopt it into the confession of faith, this fact would afford strong ground to contend, that it was inserted in the copies then generally in use.

Butler summarized by Horne




Griesbach - 1810

Ethan Smith - 1814
uses Charles Butler

Frederick Nolan - 1815

William Hales - 1815

Continues - Excellent

John Hewlett - 1816

Thomas Hartwell Horne - (1821)
then flip
He supplies the Butler summary above, compare to it in Butler :)

Burgess - 1822
1826 review



Continues - Excellent

Quarterly Review - 1825

Ben David - 1826
See above - The Witness of God is Greater

William Craig Brownlee - 1824-27
(Brownlee, [Letter to the Editor], No. IV, in the Christian Advocate, vol 2, 1824, p. 546-547)
See above - The Witness of God is Greater
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Steven Avery

Fabricius (nothing?)
Daniel French
Jesse Boyd
Tim Dunkin

After 1827 - ADD MORE FROM LINKMAN Johannine Comma

John Scandrett Harford (1785-1866)
Life of Thomas Burgess

At the Council of Carthage, a. d. 484, an express appeal was made to the seventh verse, by more than 400 Bishops of the Western Church, in their profession of faith, and no exception was made ta its authenticity by the Arian Bishops, who were present at the Council. This fact, testified by Victor Vitensis, is of great importance. It not only tends to prove the existence of the verse at that time, but its recognition by all parties in the African Church. It strengthens the grounds of belief that Cyprian quoted the seventh verse, as also that Facundus has misrepresented and Fulgentius rightly stated Cyprian’s meaning. It forms, in short, the crowning point of the testimony of the African Church in favour of the authenticity of the verse.

John Scott Porter (1801-1880)
Principles of Textual Criticism - 1848
Tries to identify the author as Vigilius.

Plain Introduction - 1861

,,, nor is there much reason to doubt the testimony of Victor Vitensis, who records that the passage was insisted on in a confession of faith drawn up by Eugenius Bishop of Carthage at the end of the fifth century, and presented to the Arian Hunneric, king of the Vandals.
Six Lectures 1875

Victor Potthast - 1862
A Dictionary of Christian Biography, Literature, Sects and Doctrines: Being a Continuation of 'The Dictionary of the Bible', Volume 4
Victor Vitensis - bio

Daniel McCarthy - 1866

Abbe le Hir - 1869

Abbot - (1872) (Orme Memoir)

Karl Halm (1809-1882)
Victoris Vitensis Historia persecutionis africanae provinciae sub Geiserico et Hunrico regibus Wandalorum Vol 12 - 1879

Philip Smith (1817-1885)
The student's ecclesiastical history: the history of the Christian church - 1879
Historical Account

Nathaniel Ellsworth Cornwall (1812-1879)

Charles Anthony Swainson (1875)


Dublin Review 1881 - 1882 - 1890



1882 or 1890

Notes on Selected Readings
Epistles of St. John, the Greek Text

Henry Thomas Armfield 1836-1898
4 pages

Karl Hefele 1895
See above in The Witness of God is Greater

American Ecclesiastical Review - 1897
Thomas Joseph Lamy

Irish Ecclesiastical Record 1898

Joseph Arbitage Robinson

Johannes Alzog - 1907
Manual of Universal Church History


And history section

Otto Bardenhewer - 1908

John A. Moorhead - 1992
History of the Vandal Persecution

Andrew H. Merrills - 2004

Jonathan J. Arnold - 2008

Peter Sarris - 2011

Jonathan Conant - 2012

David E. Wilhite - 2017

Being Christian in Vandal Africa
Robert Whelan - 2018

Michael Marlowe[/URL
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Steven Avery

Arian Conferences


During the Arian period, which subsisted for about forty years previous to the Council of Constantinople, in the year 381, eleven professions of faith were published by the Councils of Antioch, Surmium, Ariminum, Saleucia, &c. by all of which the term ὁμοούσια was omitted; expressly rejected by three of them, and anathematised bv two.) - p. 74

(Burgess, A letter to the clergy of the diocese of St. David's on a passage of the second Symbolum Antiochenum of the fourth century as an evidence of the authenticity of 1 John v. 7, 1825, p. 71-78)

Lot's of additional material in that book to study.


This quote is in TWOGIG under the section.

Greek MSS. of the Anti-Homoousian period


Councils of Arimini and Seleucia, 359 AD
by Zlatomira Gerdzhikova

Council of Sirmium
by Zlatomira Gerdzhikova


Monthly Repository (1826)
Ben David on 1 John v. 7


They knew, too, that the very Arian bishops now preparing to put down the Homoousian doctrine of the Trinity, had assembled only forty years before at Antioch, and interpreted the unity spoken of in the apostolic verse as meaning unity of testimony, and thus their very opponents in a body sanctioned its genuineness.


Facebook - Textus Receptus Academy
Robert Lee Vaughn

In The Monthly Repository of Theology and General Literature, the same author mentioned above says that the same Arian bishops had met in Antioch forty years earlier (which would be ca. AD 444) and interpreted the verse as meaning unity of testimony. His point there being that the Arian bishops were familiar with the statement we know as Comman Johanneum. However, I am not personally familiar with what council he is talking about.


Robert Lee Vaughn - yes that was Ben David (John Jones 1766-1827) in 1826, here is the url and text.
Monthly Repository (1826)
Ben David on 1 John v. 7

They knew, too, that the very Arian bishops now preparing to put down the Homoousian doctrine of the Trinity, had assembled only forty years before at Antioch, and interpreted the unity spoken of in the apostolic verse as meaning unity of testimony, and thus their very opponents in a body sanctioned its genuineness.


Raymond Brown

34 Harnack. “Textkritik” 572-73, argues that the trinitarlan modallsm of the Comma is close to that of the so-called Symbol of Sardica (343) sometimes attributed to the Western bishops under the leadership of Hosius of Cordoba, and he and Julicher and Thiele would move the formation of the Comma back into the third century. The evidence, in my judgment, shows the formative process at work in the third century, but we do not know that the Comma existed before the fourth century; and we remain uncertain how soon after its formation it found its way Into biblical texts.
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Steven Avery

CARM discussion


Arians and Vandals of the 4th-6th Centuries: Annotated translations of the historical works by Bishops Victor of Vita (Historia Persecutionis ... religious works by Bishop Victor of Cartenna (2008)
by John R. C. Martyn (Author), Preface by David O Brien (Author)

The only thing in Latin was the confession of faith by Victor Vitensis which contained the Comma. There wasn't a lot of debate as Latin was disallowed. So the homousion couldn't be proved.
A good account of the African disputation can be found here

[The homousion couldn't be proved] is a startling result since the unity of God runs throughout the bible. Deut 6:4 ("Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one"), "Is Christ divided? (1 Cor 1:13)" and "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30) &etc are so fundamental that they beg the question as to why Eugenius's confession of faith (Professio fidei Catholicorum episcoporum Hunerico regi oblata) didn't suffice with the Arians?

The answer is because the Comma and the Homoousion in the religious worldview of those days wasn't about unity of will / spirit, but about parity of divinity, and therefore divisive against the Arians who didn't accept it by reason of Eph 4:6 &etc. What this shows is that if the Comma and the Homoousion sufficed as anti-Sabellian arguments, they didn't suffice against Arianism, which was more sophisticated.

From Professio fidei Catholicorum episcoporum Hunerico regi oblata

Arians and Vandals of the 4th-6th Centuries

As a background to this study of the Arians and Vandals in North Africa, and their impact on the Catholic Church, three books have been written recently by John Martyn, investigating the same period (late sixth century) and the same country. They are, firstly, Pope Gregory's Letters (published...

The Professio fidei Catholicorum episcoporum Hunerico regi oblata charges the Arians directly with heresy, but really with socinianism in failing to concede a middle ground, which is that the Word always existed, just as the Father himself:

"..And a heresy has arisen against this Catholic and Apostolic faith, introducing a new interpretation, asserting that the Son was not born from the substance of the Father, but from no existing thing, that is having substance from nothing. A Greek word 'όμοούσιον' ('consubstantiality') has been coined to refute and totally abolish this impious proposition, that has arisen against our faith, as it is interpreted as 'being of one substance and essence,' and it signifies that the Son was not bom from nothing, nor came from any substance other than the Father." But anyone who thinks that 'consubstantiality' should be removed wants to assert that the Son was born from nothing. But the Son is not from nothing, without doubt he is from the Father, and the Son is rightly consubstantial, that is, of one substance with the Father."

Here is the famous Comma reference, showing that parity of divinity, not unity, was seen to as the essence of the Comma. Not even sure that this argument is sustainable from scripture as the Holy Spirit takes from Christ, not himself:

"Thus no place is left for ambiguity, but rather it should be clear that the Holy Spirit is both God and author of his own will, as he is shown most clearly to operate all things and bestow the gifts of divine dispensation according to the judgment of his own will. For when a voluntary distribution of grace is recommended, there is no sign of a servile condition. For in created things, servitude should be understood, but in the Trinity, power and freedom should be. And so that we may explain even more clearly than light that the Holy Spirit is of one divinity with the Father and the Son, it is proved by the testimony of John the evangelist. For he says: "There are three that bear witness in Heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one." Are there, he says, three separated with different equality, or three divided by various grades of differences with a wide separating gap? Rather, he says; "Three are one.""

The 'consubstantiality' argument:

Section 2: Proof from Scripture
That He is born from the Father, that is, of one substance with the Father, is supported by these testimonies, as the apostle says: *Who being the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power.' And again God the Father himself, while chastising the perfidy of the unbelievers, who were unwilling to listen to the voice of his Son preaching through the prophets, and continuing in his substance, said: 'They heard not the voice of my substance.' Rebuking those who despise the voice of his substance with a terrifying statement. He speaks to the same prophet: 'Accept weeping over the mountains and over the paths of the desert accept grief, because they have given up, for the reason that there are no men there; they heard not the voice of my substance, from the fowl of the air right down to the cattle.'

And again he upbraids those who declined to admit one substance and were unwilling to stay in the same substance of faith, saying: 'If they had stood in my substance, then I should have turned them from their evil way, and from their very wicked thoughts.'

And again it is declared most openly that the Son is to be confessed as not being outside the substance of the Father, but is to be considered to be in the same substance, by a faithful eye, as the prophet says: 'Who has stood in the substance of the Lord, and has seen, and has heard his voice?' It was proved long ago by prophetic oracles that the Son is the substance of his Father.......
Section 3: Father and Son are Equals
For so that the unity of the substance of Father and Son may be still more evident, and the equality of their divinity may be revealed, He himself says in the gospel: "I am in the Father and the Father is in me." And "I and my Father are one." And this refers not only to unity of will but also to one and the same substance, because he does not say "The Father and I have one will", but "we are one." For the assertion of paternal unity is declared not so much from what they will but from what they are. John the evangelist says the same: Therefore the Jews sought to kill him because he not only had broken the Sabbath but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.....

Steven Avery

Sections Skipped Above

Notitia Provinciarum et Civitatum Africae (List of the Provinces and Cities of Africa)

• The Notice of the Provinces and Cities of Africa (Latin: Notitia Provinciarum et Civitatum Africae) is a Byzantine-era document listing the bishops and sees in the Roman provinces of North Africa.[1] The cause of its preparation was the summoning of the episcopate to Carthage on 1 February 484 by the Arian king of the Vandals, Huneric (477–84). The Notitia Provinciarum and Civitatum Africae [Migne Latin, PL 58.267] is the conventional title long, in Latin but it is also known as the Notitia or Notitia Africae which is in turn, abbreviated in NA.[6] it is a record of the Bishops of North Africa[7] and represents a register of the provinces and cities of Africa, and the Organization of the Catholic Church (?) in North Africa at the end of the 5th century, an important time in the development of Catholic dogma. It also by inference describes the extent of the Vandal Kingdom at that time. The Notitia lists the Catholic Bishops (nomina episcorum catholicorum) who participated in the conference held at Carthage, February 1 484,[8] convened by Huneric. It summarizes the total number of bishops, in North Africa, the number of those who died in the Vandal Persecution, those who remained alive and, among these those who were relegated [exiled] (exciled), and those who fled (fugerunt). It lists four hundred and eighty-three dioceses in seven provinces, five of which follow the secular Roman provinces. The order of the provinces seems to follow the chronological order of the creation of the primaties. Arranged according to provinces in this order: Proconsularis, Numidia, Byzacena, Mauretania Caesariensis, Mauretania Sitifensis, Tripolitana, Sardinia. It also names the exiled bishops and vacant sees, and is an important authority for the history of the African Church and the geography of these provinces. It is incorporated in the only extant

manuscript to the history of the Vandal persecution by Bishop Victor Vitensis.[2][3][4][5]
(Notitia Provinciarum et Civitatum Africae. Wikipedia. <>)

Prayer of Eugenius : 1st Miracle

• 2.47 But when the fire of persecution was already kindled and the flame of the attacking king burned everywhere, our God displayed through his servant Eugenius a miracle which I must not pass over. In that same town of Carthage there was a certain blind man, a citizen very well known in the town, whose name was Felix. This man was visited by the Lord and was told by him in a vision one night, when the day of the Epiphany was dawning, ”Rise, go to my servant bishop Eugenius, and tell him that I have sent you to him. And at the time when he blesses the font so that those coming to the faith may be baptized, he will touch your eyes. They will be opened and you will see the light."2S

• 2.48 Having been instructed by this vision, the blind man believed that he had been deluded by a dream, as often happens, and decided not to get up. But while he was sinking back to sleep, he was urged in the same fashion to go to Eugenius. Again he paid no attention, and a third time he was threatened, speedily and fiercely. He roused the boy who usually guided him by the hand, and went with all speed to the basilica of Faustus. When he came there he prayed with many tears and asked a deacon, Peregrinus by name, to announce his arrival to the bishop, indicating that he had a
secret of some kind to make known to him.

• 2.49 Hearing of this the bishop ordered the man to come in. Because of the feast day that was being celebrated, the hymns of the night were already resounding throughout the church as the people sang. The blind man told the bishop the story of his vision and said to him: “I will not let you go until you let me have my sight back, just as you have been ordered by the Lord.” The holy Eugenius said to him: “Depart from me, brother, for I am an unworthy sinner (cf Luke 5:8) and a wrongdoer above all men, seeing that even in these times I have been preserved."

• 2.50 But that man held onto his knees and said nothing beyond what he had said earlier: ”Restore my sight to me, as has been ordered.” Eugenius paid attention to his reverent trust and, because time was now pressing, he proceeded with him to the font in the company of the officiating clergy. There, immovable on his knees and groaning deeply, he disturbed heaven with his sobs. He blessed the rippling baptismal pool,29 and when he had completed his prayer he arose and replied to the blind man in this way: “I have already told you, Felix my brother, that I am a sinful man; but may he who has deigned to visit you act in accordance with your faith and open your eyes.” At the same time he signed his eyes with the standard of the cross, and immediately the blind man received his sight, as the Lord gave it back. The bishop kept him with him until all had been baptized in case the crowd, excited by such a great miracle, should crush the man who had received the light.

• 2.51 Afterwards the miracle was made public throughout the church. The man who had been blind went forward to the altar with Eugenius to return to the Lord a thank offering for the restoration of his health, in accordance with the custom. The bishop received it and placed it on the altar. In the joy that followed, an uproar which could not be controlled arose from the people. Immediately, a messenger went to the tyrant. Felix was seized, and he was asked what had happened and how he had received the light. He explained everything in proper order, and the bishops of the Arians said: ”Eugenius did this through sorcery."
• (Victor Vitensis, Victor of Vita: history of the Vandal persecution; Translated by Moorhead, Liverpool Press 1992)

African Confessors : 2nd Miracle

• 3.29 But let us go on quickly to tell what was done to the glory of God in the town of Tipasa (Tifech) in greater Mauritania. When they saw that a former notary of Cyrila had been ordained as the Arian bishop for their town, to the perdition of souls, the entire town fled together all at once on the next sailing to Spain, leaving behind only a few who had not been able to sail.14 The bishop of the Arians began to put pressure on these people, first by blandishments and later by threats, in an attempt to make Arians of them. But they were strong in the Lord: not only did they laugh at the madness of the man who was exhorting them, but they also began to celebrate the divine mysteries in public, gathering together in a house. When the bishop found out about this, in secret he sent to Carthage a report about it which was hostile to them.

• 3.30 When this came to the attention of the king, in his wrath he sent a count with orders that the entire province was to be gathered together in the middle of the forum, and that he was to cut the tongues and right hands of these people completely off. But when this was done, thanks to the operation of the Holy Spirit they spoke, and continued to speak, just as they had spoken before. And if anyone finds this hard to believe, he should go to Constantinople now, and there he will find one of them, the subdeacon Reparatus, speaking correctly and in a faultless manner. For this reason he is held to be worthy of reverence in the palace of the emperor Zeno, and the queen in particular venerates him with an extraordinary devotion.
• (Victor Vitensis, Victor of Vita: history of the Vandal persecution; Translated by Moorhead, Liverpool Press 1992)

• [Twistleton] After several preliminary remarks, and after referring to the passage in Victor Vitensis, which I have already translated somewhat more fully, Dr. Newman translates the evidence of six writers, viz. i) Aeneas of Gaza; ii) Procopius of Caesarea; iii) the Emperor Justinian; iv) Count Marcellinus; v) Victor bishop of Tonno; vi) Pope Gregory I. [Newman, Two Essays on Biblical and on Ecclesiastical Miracles, 1892, §222-§230] Their evidence is set forth by him as follows:

• 1. AEneas of Gaza was the contemporary of Victor. When a Gentile, he had been a philosopher and a [PAGE 37] rhetorician, and did not altogether throw off his profession of Platonism when he became a Christian. He wrote a dialogue on the 'Immortality of the Soul and the Resurrection of the Body ;' and in it, after giving various instances of miracles, he proceeds, in the character of Axitheus, to speak of the miracle of the African Confessors : ' Other such things have been and will be ; but what took place the other day I suppose you have seen yourself. A bitter tyranny is oppressing the greater Africa, and humanity and orthodoxy have no influence over tyranny. Accordingly this tyrant takes offence at the piety of his subjects, and commands the priests to deny their glorious dogma. When they refuse, O the impiety! he cuts out that religious tongue, as Tereus in the fable. But the damsel wove the deed upon the robe, and divulged it by her skill when nature no longer gave her power to speak ; they, on the other hand, needing neither robe nor skill, call upon Nature's Maker, who vouchsafes to them a new nature on the third day, not giving them another tongue, but the faculty to discourse without a tongue more plainly than before. I had thought it impossible for a piper to show his skill without his pipes, or harper to play his music without his harp ; but now this novel sight forces me to change my mind, and to account for nothing fixed that is seen, if it be God's will to alter it. I myself saw the men, and heard them speak ; and wondering at the [PAGE 38] articulateness of the sound, I began to inquire what its organ was ; and distrusting my ears, I committed the decision to my eyes, and opening their mouth, I perceived the tongue entirely gone from the roots ; and astounded, I fell to wonder not how they could talk, but how they had not died.” He saw them at Constantinople.

• 2. Procopius of Caesarea was secretary to Belisarius, whom he accompanied into Africa, Sicily, and Italy and to Constantinople, in the years between 527 and 542. By Belisarius he was employed in various political matters of great moment, and was at one time at the head of the commissariat and the fleet. He seems to have conformed to Christianity, but Cave observes, from his tone of writing, that he was no real believer in it, nay preferred the old Paganism, though he despised its rites and fables. He wrote the history of the Persian, Vandalic, and Gothic war, of which Gibbon speaks in the following terms :”His facts are collected from the personal experience and free conversation of a soldier, a statesman, and a traveller ; his style continually aspires, and often attains, to the merit of strength and elegance ; his reflections, more especially in the speeches which he too frequently inserts, contain a rich fund of political knowledge, and the historian, excited by the generous ambition of pleasing and instructing posterity, appears to disdain the prejudices of the people and the flattery [PAGE 39] of courts.” Such is Procopius, and thus he speaks on the subject of this stupendous miracle:

”Huneric became the most savage and iniquitous of men towards the African Christians. For forcing them to Arianize, whomever he found unwilling to comply, he burnt and otherwise put to death. And of many he cut out the tongue as low down as the throat, who even as late as my time were alive in Byzantium, and talked without any impediment, feeling no effects whatsoever of the punishment. But two of them having allowed themselves to hold converse with abandoned women, ceased to speak.”

• 3. Our next witness, and of the same date, is the Emperor Justinian, who, in an edict addressed to Archelaus, Praetorian Prefect of Africa, on the subject of his office, after Belisarius had recovered the country to the Roman Empire, writes as follows : ”The present mercy which Almighty God has deigned to manifest through us for his praise and his Name's sake, exceeds all the wonderful works which have happened in the world — viz., that Africa should through us recover in so short a time its liberty, after being in captivity under the Vandals for ninety-five years, those enemies alike of soul and body. For such souls as could not sustain their various tortures and punishments by rebaptizing, they translated into their own misbelief; and the bodies of free men they subjected to the hardships of a barbaric yoke. Nay, the very churches sacred to [PAGE 40] God did they defile with their deeds of misbelief ; some they turned into stables. We have seen the venerable men who, when their tongues had been cut off at the roots, yet piteously recounted their pains. Others, after diverse tortures, were dispersed through diverse provinces, and ended their days in exile.”

• 4. Count Marcellinus, chancellor to Justinian before he came to the throne, is the fourth layman to whose testimony we are able to appeal. He, too, as two of the former, speaks as an eyewitness, and the additional circumstances with which he commences seem to throw light upon Aeneas's singular account, that the confessors spoke “more plainly than before.”“Through the whole of Africa,” he says, in his Chronicon, under the date 484, ”the cruel persecution of Huneric, King of the Vandals, was inflicted upon our Catholics. For after the expulsion and dispersion of more than 334 bishops of the orthodox, and the shutting of their churches, the flocks of the faithful, afflicted by various punishments, consummated their blessed conflict. Then it was that the same King Huneric ordered the tongue to be cut out of a Catholic youth who from his birth had lived without speech at all ; soon after he spoke, and gave glory to God with the first sounds of his voice. In short, I myself have seen at Byzantium a few out of the [PAGE 41] company of the faithful religious men, with their tongues cut off and their hands amputated, speaking with perfect voice.”

• 5. Victor, bishop of Tonno, in Africa, Proconsularis, another contemporary, and a strenuous defender of the”Three Chapters” (Latin: Tria Capitula), which were condemned in the Fifth Ecumenical Council, has left behind him a Chronicon also, which at the same date runs as follows : ”Huneric, King of the Vandals, urging a furious persecution through the
whole of Africa, banished to Tubunnae, Macrinippi, and other parts of the desert, not only Catholic clerks of every order, but even monks and laymen, to the number of about four thousand, and makes confessors and martyrs, and cuts off the tongues of the confessors. As to which confessors, the royal city where their bodies lie attests that after their tongues were cut out they spoke perfectly even to the end. Then Laetus, bishop of the Church of Nepte, is crowned with martyrdom, &c. It is observable from this statement that the miracle was recorded for the instruction of posterity at the place of their burial.”

• 6. Lastly, Pope Gregory I. thus speaks in his Dialogues : “In the time of Justinian Augustus, when the Arian persecution raised by the Vandals [PAGE 42] against the faith of Catholics was raging violently in Africa, some bishops, courageously persisting in the defence of the truth, were brought under notice ; whom the King of the Vandals, failing to persuade to his belief with words and offers, thought he could break with torture. For when in the midst of their defence of the truth, he bade them be silent, but they would not bear the misbelief quietly, lest it might be interpreted as assent. Breaking out into rage, he had their tongues cut off from the roots. A wonderful thing, and known to many senior persons, for afterwards, even without tongue, they spoke for the defence of the truth, just as they had been accustomed before to speak by means of it. These then, being fugitives at that time, came to Constantinople. At the time, moreover, that I was myself sent to the emperor to conduct the business of the Church, I fell in with a certain senior, a bishop, who attested that he had seen their mouths speaking, though without tongues, so that with open mouths they cried out, 'Behold, and see ; for we have not tongues and we speak.' And it appeared to those who inspected, as it was said, as if their tongues were being cut off from the roots, there was a sort of open depth in their throat, and yet in that empty mouth the words were formed full and perfect. Of whom one, having fallen into licentiousness, was soon after deprived of the gift of miracle.”

• [Twistleton] Dr. Newman then recapitulates the evidence as [PAGE 43] follows :”Little observation is necessary on evidence such as this. What is perhaps most striking in it, is the variety of the witnesses, both in their persons and the details of their testimony, together with the consistency and unity of that testimony in all material points. Out of the seven writers adduced, six are contemporaries ; three, if not four, are eye witnesses of the miracle ; one reports from an eyewitness ; and one testifies to a permanent record at the burial-place of the subjects of it. All seven were living, or had been staying at one or other of the two places which are mentioned as their abode. One is a pope, a second a Catholic bishop, a third a bishop of a schismatical party, a fourth an emperor, a fifth a soldier, a politician, and a suspected infidel, a sixth a statesman and courtier, a seventh a rhetorician and philosopher. ‘He cut out the tongues by the roots,’ says Victor, Bishop of Vite ; ‘I perceived the tongue entirely gone by the roots’ says Aeneas ; ‘as low down as the throat,’ says Procopius ; ‘at the roots,’ say Justinian and St. Gregory. ‘He spoke like an educated man without impediment,’ says Victor of Vite ; ‘with articulateness’ says Aeneas, ‘better than before ’; ‘they talked without impediment,’ says Procopius; ‘speaking with perfect voice,’ says Marcellinus ; ‘they spoke perfectly even to the end,’ says the second Victor ; ‘the words were formed full and perfect’ says St. Gregory."
• (Twisleton, Edward Turner Boyd. The Tongue Not Essential to Speech; With Illustrations of the Power of Speech in the African Confessors. London: J. Murray, 1873, p. 36-43)
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