Cyprian read Greek (and Tertullian and Fulgentius)

Steven Avery

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New criticisms on the celebrated text, 1 John V. 7. "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one." A synodical lecture (1785 German, English 1829)
Franz Anton Knittel
https://archive.org/details/newcriticismsonc00knitrich/page/34/mode/2up
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Cyprian understood Greek. He read Homer, Plato, Hermes Trismegistus, and Hippocrates. He maintained an Epistolary Correspondence with the Teachers of that Church: nay, he translated into Latin the Greek Epistle written to him by Firmilianus, bishop of Caesarea. His great Master, whose principles he followed-- I mean Tertullian, a man who likewise understood Greek—enjoins us to keep before our eyes the Original Text of the Apostolic Epistles ; and himself frequently appeals to the ancient Manuscripts.

So Cyprian was in correspondence with Firmilian, an eastern church (Greek language) leader! . Hmmm...
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Now we do not know every detail about the correspondence with Firmilian. However, from what is extant, it does clearly give the sound of Cyprian being solid in writing to the Greeks:
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Epistle 74
Firmilian, Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, to Cyprian, Against the Letter of Stephen. A.D. 256.
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/050674.htm
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1. to Cyprian, his brother in the Lord, greeting. We have received by Rogatian, our beloved deacon, the letter sent by you which you wrote to us ... we receive those things which you have written as if they were our own; nor do we read them cursorily, but by frequent repetition have committed them to memory.

SA:
Surely sounds clear that the Greek church leaders were reading directly what was written by Cyprian.
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And see below, those familiar with Cyprian similarly describe stylistically Cyprian translating the Firmilian letter to Latin. A double evidence.

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A little email discussion with Phillip Campbell, author of the recent Cyprian edition where Ryan Grant made this doozy comment, brought out the fact that you simply could not tell by citations:
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"It is hard to say regarding citations, since Cyprian really didn't cite anything. He never even cited Tertullian; he merely seems to repeat things Tertullian says. The only thing - and I mean only - he ever cites is the Bible. His manner of speaking and use of language signify a familiarity with the Latin legal tradition, similar to Tertullian." - Phillip Campbell
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SA:
And Tertullian, with the similar language, read Greek. (And also has a heavenly witnesses allusion which comes before the much stronger referencing in Cyprian.)
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So since you can not expect citations, where is there any real evidence that Cyprian, a learned man, could not read Greek? And what eastern Greek writers was he expected to cite, if he also did not even cite western Latin writers?

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Nathaniel Lardner (1684-1768), a scholar of the early church, shows us that this question had been carefully considered before the Franz Knittel (1721-1792) extract above. Lardner especially mentions the learned Benedictine scholar Prudent Maran (1683-1762) .. note, a fine defender of heavenly witnesses authenticity .. who had gone into specifics when he wrote his Life of Cyprian in 1726.
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The Works of Nathaniel Lardner
Credibility of the Gospel History
https://books.google.com/books?id=iWw_AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA18 (1838 ed) (1815 - Vol 2 p. 39)
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Simon says, that though there was at that time a Latin version generally used by Latin christians, yet it was not uncommon for those who had learning, and understood Greek, to translate for themselves from the original when they saw fit. And to this principally, says he, we ought to ascribe that diversity of translation of the same passages, which is found in the different books of this learned bishop. Nor is it impossible that this method may have been used by some learned men at that time: Cyprian in particular. Massuet indeed is pleased to make a doubt whether Cyprian understood Greek ; but I think he is singular here: others have a better opinion of our bishop's learning ; for it has been generally supposed, that Firmilian's letter written in Greek, was translated into Latin by him. I formerly referred to several men of this sentiment. To then I would now add the learned Benedictine, author of St. Cyprian's life: and it

**** appears to be highly probable, that Cyprian, who in the former part of his life professed rhetoric with reputation in the city of Carthage, was not unskilled in the Greek tongue. And in his remaining writings we find mention of some Greek authors, particularly Plato, and Hermes Trismegistus, Hippocrates, and Soranus: and he mentions them as if he was acquainted with their works, especially those of the two former. ****

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The one minor contra reference to is to René Massuet (1666–1716) the French Benedictine writer, in his edition of Irenaeus.
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And there are more details in the footnotes, e.g., this is from Prudent Maran (whose edition of Cyprian was first with Étienne Baluze, 1718, Paris and the Life of Cyprian published in 1726):
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haec autem Firmiliani epistola, quae Latine reddita extat inter Cyprianicas septuagesima quinta, sic Cyprianicum stilum redolet, ut non alium interpretem habuisse videatur. Vit S. Cypr. n. 31. p. 118 init.
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and was also quoted by Martin Joseph Routh (1755-1854) with more context when writing on the Firmilian Epistle:
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Scriptorum ecclesiasticorum opuscula praecipua quaedam, Volume 1 (1840, p. 253)
edited by Martin Joseph Routh
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And the earlier section from Lardner on Cyprian and Firmilian referenced above is here:
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The Works of Nathaniel Lardner - Vol 1
St. Firmilian - Vol 1 Ch XXXIX (1815)
https://books.google.com/books?id=EW...J&pg=RA1-PA575
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Firmilian sided with St. Cyprian in the dispute about baptizing heretics that returned to the catholic church, and upon that subject wrote a long letter to St. Cyprian, which is still extant; but whereas undoubtedly it was written in Greek, we have now only a Latin translation : however it may be reckoned a good one, since learned men are generally agreed in allowing it to have been made by St. Cyprian himself, whose style it resembles. This letter was written in the year 256, and near the end of it.
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And the footnote in Vol 1 refers to a Nicholas Rigalt (1577-1654) note. He prepared a Cyprian edition in 1648 and wrote on the Firmilian epistle. And the Cyprian edition of William Cave (1637-1713) and also Louis-Sébastien Le Nain de Tillemont (1637–1698). The earlier scholars, before Maran, who were seeing the Firmilian letter as being translated by Cyprian into Latin.
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A very strong group of church historian writers all saw Cyprian as translating Greek to Latin!
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So the scholarship looks very strong, and so far we do not have any indication that Ryan Grant even interacted with the historic understanding. Thus Ryan Grant's limited one sentence appraisal, without any real scholarship backing at all, was quoted by Bill Brown, the textus corruptus confused parrot of Daniel Wallace.
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And, based on the evidences, we can confidently asserted that not only did Cyprian directly reference the heavenly witnesses from his Bible, but that he was most assuredly familiar with Latin and Greek Bibles of the 200s.
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Stoeckhardt and the Comma Johanneum
http://www.blts.edu/.../2014/08/GS-Comma-Johanneum.pdf
Reprinted from George Stoeckhardt.
Lectures on the Three Letters of John.
Translated by Hugo W. Degner. Aitkin, Minnesota: Hope Press, 1963, pp. 116–123.
Karl Georg Stoeckhardt (1842-1913)
http://www.confessionallutherans.org/papers/stoecky.html
EXTRACT:
Now the question arises, What do these passages that have been quoted conclusively prove? Very obviously this, that these church fathers must have had a codex in hand in which the words which they quoted did occur. And such a codex must have been at least as old as the oldest we know of today. It must have been a manuscript of the second century. We know very little of the older codices and manuscripts. Very few of the older ones are extant. We will have to assume that in the second century every congregation had a manuscript of one or more of the Gospels. So there were once thousands of such sacred manuscripts, yet only ten of these have come down us. We must say that we lack an accurate knowledge of these older manuscripts.
^^^ But so much appears certain that those words we are concerned with must have been found in the codices which were in the hands of those early North African Christians. Not only Tertullian, Cyprian, and Phoebadius knew of these words of Scripture, but also all their readers. The fathers quoted these for the purpose that their readers might reassure themselves by looking up and reading for themselves these Scripture references. Hence, the reading containing these words must have been common. ***
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