four causes of omission

Steven Avery

Reasons that the heavenly witnesses verse dropped from the Greek manuscript line.

1) homoeteleuton - dropping by the similarity of verses
This only has to happen once in the early copying years to have a major effect.
homoeoteleuton and the ease of omission
James Snapp helps on the homoeoteleuton cause of omission

2) doctrinal preference
This can come to play easily when a scribe is faced with split manuscripts, inclusion and omission.
Note that this was specifically written about by Jerome in the Vulgate Prologue.
The theories of omission in the Sabellian controversies would be an example, as explained by Edward Freer Hills.
Similar theories of Arian removal as well.
Also the Eusebius unhappiness with the three as one, and leaving the verse out of the 50 Constantine Bibles, as explained by Frederick Nolan.
scholars theorizing that the Sabellian controversies contributed to the Greek ms line drop
Eusebius and the Sabellian Controversies
Grantley McDonald - skimming over the theories that the heavenly witnesses was interpolated or favored by Arians and Sabellians
Vulgate Prologue - super-evidence - English translations

3) textual preference
similar to (2) but the scribe may be doing simply a textual analysis, as in the lectio brevior theory, or lectio difficilior potior or even based on variations in the inclusion manuscripts

4) disciplina arcani or secret doctrine
disciplina arcani
This could have been a major contributor, especially in the 100s to 300s.
It also comes up in discussions of the Pericope Adulterae, Acts 8:37 the Matthew 6:13 doxology and more.


Note that the Byzantine manuscripts harmonized on readings after the early centuries. So once the verse was largely out of the textline, most of the 500 mss. were simply copy to copy, without special consideration.

There are indications of grammatical concerns, the Macedonians to Gregory Nazianzen and the Matthaei scholium saying that the Trinity caused the masculine grammar.

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