Fourth Lateran Council of AD 1215

Steven Avery

Administrator
RGA
[Simon] thinks that the reading of the British codex was derived from the confession of faith established at the Lateran Council under Innocent III and translated into Latin by an unskilled translator. He relies on these reasons to explain why the words λόγος καὶ πνεῦμα are read without articles, as in the confession of faith, and why both have the reading καὶ οἱ τρεῖς in accordance with the example of the Latin codices.119

119 Maran, 1859, 199: “Memorandus in primis codex Britannicus, quem cum vidisset in Anglia
Erasmus, tanti illum fecit, ut versum septimum in hoc codice repertum, quem in duabus suis
prioribus editionibus omiserat, in editione anni 1522. et aliis deinceps, restitueret sacro
contextui. Non sibi constitit Erasmus in suo de hoc codice judicio: suspicatus est Græcos
codices ope Latinorum emendatos fuisse: quam opinionem Simonius primo rejecit ut vero non
similem, postea ut exploratam defendit. Lectionem codicis Britannici derivatam putat ex
Professione fidei, quam in Concilio Lateranensi sub Innocentio III. conditam, et Latine ab
imperito interprete redditam pronuntiat. His ratiunculis nititur, quod in codice Britannico sine
articulis legantur, ut in Professione fidei, λὀγος καὶ πνεῦμα, et quod in utroque scriptum sit, καὶ
οὕτοι οἱ τρεῖς, ad exemplum codicum Latinorum.”
 
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Steven Avery

Administrator
RGA p. 60

The Acts of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) contain an interesting detail of some relevance to the transmission of the comma. The first book of the Council’s Acts deals with matters of doctrine, beginning with the condemnation of certain criticisms of the lost treatise On the unity or essence of the Trinity (De unitate seu essentia Trinitatis) by Joachim of Fiore (c. 1135-1202). Joachim had accused Peter Lombard (Sententiæ I.1, dist. 5) of introducing a fourth element to
the Trinity, an essence shared by all three persons (communis essentia), which is
not ingenerated, generated or proceeding. Joachim had suggested rather that we
ought to think of the Trinity in terms of a collectivity of three separate beings.
His argument ran as follows: Jesus had prayed that his followers—that is, the
church—might be one, just as he and the Father are one (Jn 17:22). It is clear
that the members of the church are not one thing, but still may be thought of as
one in the sense of belonging to a collectivity. Likewise, when John says that the
Father, Son and Holy Spirit testifying in heaven are one, he is clearly not
attributing to them a unity of essence, since the following verse asserts that the
Spirit, the water and the blood are also one, and this latter assertion can only refer
to an agreement of testimony rather than a unity of essence.102 Joachim’s
suggestion that the Trinity is merely a collectivity rather than an indissoluble
union of three eternally consubstantial persons earned him the Council’s
condemnation.


1960, 142, 233, 375.
102 The text of the Lateran Council’s decision is in Denzinger, 2001, 359-362, §§ 803-808, esp.
803: “Ad hanc autem suam sententiam adstruendam illud potissimum verbum inducit, quod
Christus de fidelibus inquit in Evangelio: Volo, pater, ut sint unum in nobis, sicut et nos unus
sumus, ut sint consummati in unum. Non enim, ut ait, fideles Christi sunt unum, id est quædam
una res, quæ communis sit omnibus, sed hoc modo sunt unum, id est una Ecclesia, propter
catholicæ fidei unitatem, et tandem unum regnum, propter unionem indissolubilis caritatis,
quemadmodum in canonica Ioannis Apostoli epistola legitur: Quia tres sunt, qui testimonium
dant in cælo, Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus: et hi tres unum sunt,
statimque subiungitur: Et
tres sunt, qui testimonium dant in terra: Spiritus, aqua et sanguis: et hi tres unum sunt, sicut in
quibusdam codicibus invenitur.”

Joachim’s position on the comma has certain similarities to
that of Ambrosius Autpertus († 784), who said that since the three that bear witness in heaven
are one, so their testimony must also be one; see his Expositio in Apocalypsin, CCCM 27:42-43:
“De quo et subditur: QVI EST TESTIS FIDELIS, PRIMOGENITVS MORTVORVM, ET PRINCEPS REGVM
TERRÆ. Ea locutionis regula, quam supra præmisimus, solus hoc [43] loco Filius testis uocatur
fidelis, cum et Pater et Spiritus Sanctus simul testimonium fidele perhibeant de ipsis, sicut
scriptum est: Tres sunt qui testimonium dicunt de cælo, Pater et Verbum et Spiritus Sanctus, et hi
tres unum sunt. Sciendum autem, quia sicut hi tres unum sunt, sic horum testimonium unum
esse cognoscitur, quamquam alterius testimonio alter insinuetur.” Ambrosius cites the comma
again, CCCM 27:182. See also Garin, 2008, 1:25-26.
 
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Steven Avery

Administrator
Witness of God is Greater

Thus we read in the canonical letter of John : For there are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father and the Word and the holy Spirit, and these three are one; and he immediately adds, And the three that bear witness on earth are the spirit, water and blood, and the three are one, according to some manuscripts.
• Fourth Lateran Council 1215, 2. On the error of abbot Joachim. Councils. 1116-1225 AD, vol. 7, 1714-1715, p. 17-18; Translation by Norman P. Tanner. This material was translated to Greek and Latin


Greek: Ὅν τρόπον ἐν τῇ κανονικῇ τοῦ Ιωαννοῦ ἐπιστολῇ ἀναγινώσκεται, Ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ
μαρτυροῦντες ἐν οὐρανῷ ὁ πατὴρ, λόγος, καὶ πνεῦμα ἅγιον· καὶ τοῦτος (a mistake for οὗτοι) οἱ
τρεῖς εἰσι. Εὐθύς τε προστίθνσι ⁂ ⁂ ⁂ ⁂ ⁂ ⁂ καθὼς ἔν τισι κώδηξιν εὑρίσκεται. (Cossart & Laabbe
& Hardouin, Lateran Council Fourth. Councils. 1116-1225 AD, vol. 7, 1714-1715, p. 17-18)

Latin:
Quemadmodum in canonical Joannis epistola legitur :”Quia tres sunt qui testimonium dant in caelo, Pater, Verbum, & Spiritus sanctus; & hi tres unum sunt.”Statimque subjungitur:”Et tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terra, Spiritus, aqua, & sanguis; & tres unum sunt", sicut in codicibus quibusdam inventur.
(Cossart & Laabbe & Hardouin, Lateran Council Fourth. Councils. 1116-1225 AD, vol. 7, 1714-1715, p. 17-18)
 

Steven Avery

Administrator
RGA p. 65
One of the issues discussed at the Fourth Lateran Council was a
rapprochement between the Roman and Byzantine churches; as part of this
process, the Acts of the Council were translated into Greek. The section in which
Joachim’s propositions are condemned is the first documented occurrence of the
comma in Greek.113

113 “The passage from the Greek translation of the Acta is given in Martin, 1717, 138; Martin, 1722, 170; Horne, 1821, 4:505; Seiler, 1835, 616: ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν οὐρανῷ, ὁ πατήρ, λόγος, καὶ πνεῦμα ἅγιον, καὶ τοὕτοι [sc. οὗτοι] οἱ τρεῖς ἕν εἰσιν. This reading resembles that in Codex Montfortianus (except for the omission of τῷ before οὐρανῷ and the insertion of the article ὁ, which apparently does duty for all three persons) so closely that we might suspect that the scribe of Montfortianus had consulted this document. There is a fifteenth-century Greek ms of the Acta of the Lateran Council in the Bodleian Library, but it is one of the Codices Barocciani, brought from Venice and given to the University in 1629 by Lord Pembroke”.

ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν οὐρανῷ, ὁ πατήρ, λόγος, καὶ πνεῦμα ἅγιον, καὶ τοὕτοι [sc. οὗτοι] οἱ τρεῖς ἕν εἰσιν.

WOGIG
Greek:
Ὅν τρόπον ἐν τῇ κανονικῇ τοῦ Ιωαννοῦ ἐπιστολῇ ἀναγινώσκεται, Ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν οὐρανῷ ὁ πατὴρ, λόγος, καὶ πνεῦμα ἅγιον· καὶ τοῦτος (a mistake for οὗτοι) οἱ τρεῖς εἰσι. Εὐθύς τε προστίθνσι ⁂ ⁂ ⁂ ⁂ ⁂ ⁂ καθὼς ἔν τισι κώδηξιν εὑρίσκεται.

(Cossart & Laabbe & Hardouin, Lateran Council Fourth. Councils. 1116-1225 AD, vol. 7, 1714-1715, p. 17-18)
 
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