Grantley McDonald - De Trinitate

Steven Avery


De Trinitate is complicated, printed editions differ (see Porson below), books change numbers, one book can break off to two sections, theories of authorship change five ways from Sunday. We have a more recent theorizer after Lieu 2008, the latest from Grantley.

A new post will cover Witness and some discussions.

De Trinitate Libr Duodecim - Grantley never uses the name with 12 Books

Travis had four quotes, Porson maxed at five but questioned editions.
Grantley has three (two are said to be sort of identical) ... is one missed?

Witness of God has a different approach.

FYI Skipping De Trinitate like Novatian, Augustine, Fulgentius


First let's include the sections from Grantley.

p. 23 - John 10:30 - ps.-Eusebius Vercellensis († c. 370) in De Trinitate III, IV and VII.


p. 25 -
Tertullian’s interpretation of this passage was followed by ps.-Eusebius Vercellensis: “And consequently in the one godhead they are one, but in the names of the persons they are three; therefore the three are one, or the one are three.”25
25 Ps.-Eusebius Vercellensis, De Trinitate I, CCSL 9:15: “Ac per hoc in deitate una unum sunt et in nominibus personarum tres sunt, unde tres unum sunt siue unum sunt tres.”

p. 25
ps.-Eusebius Vercellensis (De Trinitate I, II, VII),
p. 26 -
none of these authors cite the comma, merely a Trinitarian interpretation of 1 Jn 5:8.


p. 38
In support of his contention that the Expositio is Spanish, Künstle noted that the same manuscript contains a Fides Athanasii, which is identical with the eighth chapter of the De Trinitate of ps.-Vigilius, and that the whole collection of documents in this manuscript is a suite of tracts belonging to the anti-Priscillianist movement


p. 50-51
An understanding of how this may have happened is provided by some of the earliest citations of the comma, found in the De Trinitate attributed (erroneously) to Athanasius.68 The form of the comma cited in De Trinitate is as follows: Tres sunt qui testimonium dicunt in cælo: Pater et Verbum et Spiritus, et in Christo Iesu unum sunt.69 This reading is quite close to that given by Priscillian, but differs in two significant details. Firstly, where Priscillian has et tria sunt, the author of De Trinitate has tres sunt. Secondly, the author of De Trinitate omits the phrase et hæc tria unum sunt; this latter textual difference thus occurs at the “switch,” thus underlining the importance of this element in the formation of the comma in all its variants. The author of De Trinitate, like Priscillian, moreover claims to be quoting the words of John, which suggests that both authors had actually seen the words in a biblical manuscript.

68 Despite the attribution, it is clear that Athanasius had no hand in the composition of this work. Instead, it has been attributed variously by Chiffet (1664) to Vigilius of Thapsus († c. 490); and by Künstle (1905) to the Spanish bishop Idacius Clarus (fl. c. 380), an opponent and accuser of Priscillian, as we learn from Isidore of Seville. Morin (1898) pointed out that his work appears to be a composite of shorter works by a number of different hands. For the first three books Morin at first suggested an attribution to bishop Eusebius of Vercelli († c. 370), and then suggested Gregory of Elvira as a possible author. Saltet (1906) suggested a connexion with the Luciferians, but his hypotheses were questioned by Simonetti (1949). The last three books are now generally considered of uncertain authorship. See Ficker, 1897, 55-57; Dattrino, 1976, 10-12 (assessment of evidence for the authorship of Eusebius Vercellensis), 118 (on the comma); and Brown, 1982, 782. Whoever wrote this treatise, the estimate made by Lieu, 2008, 215, that “Such expansion of the text can be traced back to the early third century, and perhaps earlier,” seems to push back a little too far.

69 Ps.-Athanasius/ps.-Eusebius Vercellensis, De Trinitate I, CCSL 9:14 (cf. PL 62:243): “[…]

Ergo quamuis in superioribus exemplis scribturarum tacita sint nomina personarum, tamen unitum nomen diuinitatis per omnia est in his demonstratum sicut et in hoc argumento ueritatis, in quo nomina personarum euidenter sunt ostensa et unitum nomen naturale cluse est declaratum, dicente Iohanne euangelista in epistula sua: Tres sunt, qui testimonium dicunt in cælo, pater et uerbum et spiritus, et in Christo Iesu unum sunt, non tamen unus est, quia non est eorum una persona.”

Ps.-Athanasius/ps.-Eusebius Vercellensis, De Trinitate I, CCSL 9:19 (cf. PL 62:246):

“Iam audisti superius euangelistam Iohannem in epistula sua tam absolute testantem: Tres sunt, qui testimonium dicunt in cælo, pater et uerbum et spiritus, et in Christo Iesu unum sunt.”

Ps.-Athanasius, De Trinitate X, CCSL 9:145 (cf. PL 62:297):
“Vnde et Iohannes in epistula sua ait: Tres sunt qui testimonium dicunt in cælo, pater, uerbum et spiritus: et in Christo Iesu unum sunt; non tamen unus est, quia non est eorum una persona.”

This section from book X appears to be a simple borrowing from the first section cited from book I.


p. 52 - Corbie - a third from ps.-Athanasius’ De Trinitate (Grantley does not mention this is Corbie ms.)

p. 52
There is some evidence for this latter suggestion. From the late fourth century, early orthodox apologists cited the comma as evidence in their struggles against various heresies. We have already noted the appearance if the comma in the ps.-Athanasian De Trinitate.


SA: there is another quote where Grantley properly says that both Orthodox and non could use the same form for different purposes.

The fact that the form of the comma cited by Priscillian and the author of the Expositio fidei chatolice is identical shows how heterodox thinkers could use the same symbola as the orthodox party as the basis of very different systems of belief. The credal formulation unum sunt in Christo Iesu could be used by the author of the Expositio fidei chatolice to express the orthodox belief that the Spirit, water and blood testify unanimously to Christ as the Son of God. The same symbolum could be used by Priscillian or the Panchristian author of the Reply to Pope Damasus to show that the three persons of the Trinity are one God, and that this one God is Jesus Christ.

All these factors suggested to Babut that the comma was already to be found in the bibles of Priscillian’s orthodox opponents as well as in his own.45


Ficker, 1897, 55-57;
Ficker, Gerhard. Studien zu Vigilius von Thapsus. Leipzig: Barth, 1897.

Dattrino, 1976, 10-12 (assessment of evidence for the authorship of Eusebius Vercellensis), 118 (on the comma);
Dattrino, Lorenzo. Il De Trinitate pseudoatanasiano. Studia Ephemeridis Augustinianum 12. Rome: Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum, 1976

Brown, 1982, 782.
Brown, Raymond Edward. The Epistles of John. Translated with Introduction, Notes, and Commentary. Anchor Bible Commentaries 30. Garden City NY: Doubleday, 1982.

Lieu, 2008,
Lieu, Judith. The Theology of the Johannine Epistles. Cambridge: CUP, 1991.


Chiffet (1664) - no bibliographic

Kunstle (1905) a or b?
Künstle, Karl. Das Comma Ioanneum. Auf seine Herkunft untersucht. Freiburg: Herder, 1905a.
-----. Antipriscilliana: Dogmengeschichtliche Untersuchungen und Texte aus dem Streite gegen Priscillians Irrlehre. Freiburg: Herder, 1905b.

Morin (1898)
Morin, G. “Les douze livres sur la Trinité attribués à Vigile de Thapse,” Revue biblique 15
(1898): 1-10.

Saltet (1906) - no bibliographic
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Steven Avery

My notes relating to Travis.

Porson - 1790 - talks about editions - starts here
Writing and Selling of Fiction - reprint of 1829

Letter to Gibbon - 1794 3rd edition, have to check these


The rest of this page is not needed, decided to do the correlating from the Travis five entries as a starting point.

This one works
These to be fixed

Tapensis Book II


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Steven Avery


This first one is given by Grantley as his first one
69 Ps.-Athanasius/ps.-Eusebius Vercellensis, De Trinitate I, CCSL 9:14 (cf. PL 62:243): “[…]

Witness of God

Bk I.50.
In conclusion: although the names of the Divine Persons are implied in the passages of Scripture mentioned above, nevertheless it must always be evident that for all three the validity of the only name of the divinity is proved. In the same way, this doctrine is illustrated in this other passage of Scripture. In it, quite clearly, the names of the Divine Persons are expressed, and together the unique name of the divine nature is confirmed, since this is precisely how John the Evangelist expresses himself in his letter: "There are three who bear witness in heaven: the Father and the Word and the Holy Spirit, and in Christ Jesus they are one." _________________ ADD MORE HERE
(1 John 5:7) (De Trinitate Book 1 : CCSL 9:14)

Latin: Bk I.50.
In qua spe omnes nos vocati sumus. Quae spes fidei nostrae haec est, ut in baptismo unitum divinitatis nomen prius confitearis, ut remissam peccatorum in his personis consequi merearis. Ergo quamvis in superioribus exemplis Scripturarum tacita sint nomina personarum, tamen unitum nomen divinitatis per omnia tibi est in his demonstratum; sicut et in hoc exemplo veritatis, in quo nomina personarum evidenter sunt ostensa, et (0243D) unitum nomen divinitatis clause est declaratum, dicente Ioanne evangelista in Epistola sua: Tres sunt qui testimonium dicunt in coelo, Pater, et Verbum, et Spiritus, et in Christo Iesu unum sunt (I Ioan. V, 7); non tamen unus est, quia non est in his una persona. (De Trinitate Book 1.50; Migne Latina, PL 62.243C; CCSL 9:14)

This next is not in Travis or Grantley, Witness is correct to include it.

● Bk I.55. And for the same reaction every time it is a question of People they are designated with personal names; whereas, instead, when we speak of divinity, a unique name is referred to; in fact the term "we are" clearly indicates in plural form the names of the Persons. Therefore, the expression "they are one" must refer only to the deity, while the other expression "they are three" refers to the name of the Persons. It follows that "three" constitute one, or even that "one thing is all three." (1 John 5:7) (De Trinitate Book 1 : CCSL 9:15)

○ Latin: Bk I.55. Et ideo ubi (0244B) personae requiruntur, propria nomina per haec distinguuntur, ubi autem Deitas poscitur, unitum nomen indicatur, quoniam sumus ad nomina personarum pluraliter dictum demonstratur. Ac per hoc in deitate divinitatis "unita unum sunt," et in nominibus personarum "tres sunt": unde tres unum sunt, sive unum tres sunt (I Ioan. V, 7).
(De Trinitate Book 1.55; Migne Latina, PL 62.246B ; CCSL 9:15)



This is the second one given by Grantley:
Ps.-Athanasius/ps.-Eusebius Vercellensis, De Trinitate I, CCSL 9:19 (cf. PL 62:246):

Apparently challenged by Porson, but his challenge sluffed off.
"Not in the Old Paris or Cologne editions"

Witness of God

● Bk I.69. And yet, if it is true that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one in the divinity, I beg you to bring me the proofs of the Law. You have already heard the evangelist John, in his epistle, testifies so perfectly: "They are three who bear witness in heaven, the Father and the Word and the Spirit, and in Christ Jesus they are one." (1 John 5: 7) 61 [70]. Certainly, it must be held as a basis that in the divinity, as to their unique and complete essence, they are one, while in the names of the Persons there are three. And then, in order for you to be well informed through all that I previously explained, I intended to demonstrate that in the fullness of the divinity of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit a division or difference of any kind is not admissible. (De Trinitate Book 1; CCSL 9:19)

○ Latin: Bk I.69. Interrogatio. Ergo si Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus sanctus in deitate divinitatis unum sunt, adhuc legis testimonio mihi satisfacias quaeso. Responsio. Iam audisti superius evangelistam Ioannem in Epistola sua tam absolute testantem: Tres sunt qui testimonium dant in coelo, Pater, Verbum et Spiritus sanctus: et in Christo Iesu unum sunt (I Ioan. V, 7). Utique sine dubio in Trinitate divinitatis per omnia unum sunt, et in nominibus personarum tres sunt. Itaque, ut scias de his quae superius comprehendi, nullam divisionem aut distantiam in una (0246C) deitate substantiae plenitudinis Patris, et Filii et sancti Spiritus fecisse me memini. (De Trinitate Book 1.69; Migne Latina, PL 62.246B; CCSL 9:19)



This is not in Grantley. It should be, with the only caveat about editions.
This is one challenged by Porson.
"Not in the Old Paris or Cologne editions"

● Bk V.46. But the Holy Spirit exists in the Father, and in the Son, and in himself, 47. just as John the Evangelist testifies so perfectly in his Epistle: “And these three are one” (1 Jn 5.7). Moreover, why is it called one, if anything concerning it is divided into parts? And why is it called one, if anything concerning it is perceived in different ways? 48. And how, O heretic, are the three one, if the substance is divided or separated in them? Or how are they one, if one is placed above another? Or how are the three one, if there are different divinities in them? How are they one, if there is not in them a united, eternal fullness of divinity? Moreover, just as a single fullness has no division at all into any part, is not a united fullness of divinity unable to be spoken of as having a greater or lesser part?
(De Trinitate Book 5 : CCSL 9:76-77; Translated by Dr. Jake Lake, 2018)

○ Latin: Bk V.46. Sed et Spiritus sanctus in Patre, et in Filio, et in se consistens est; 47. sicut Ioannes evangelista in Epistola sua tam absolute testatur: Et tres unum sunt (I Ioan. V, 7). Porro utquid unum dicitur, si aliquid de eo in partes dividitur? et utquid unum dicitur si diverse quid sentitur (0274D) de eo? 48. et quomodo, o haeretice, tres unum sunt, si divisa vel excisa in his substantia est? aut quomodo unum sunt, si alter alteri praeponitur? aut quomodo tres unum sunt, si diversae in his divinitates sunt? quomodo unum sunt, si non est in his unita sempiterna plenitudo divinitatis? Praeterea dum una plenitudo nullam omnino habeat in parte aliqua divisionem, dum unita plenitudo divinitatis in
parte minor vel maior dici non possit? (De Trinitate Book 5 : CCSL 9:76-77)



This is not in Grantley. It looks substantial enough to be included.

● Bk VII.10. Why is it that with this name one finds that God is everywhere honored? Certainly, because in this very name of the Trinity baptism is celebrated in the unity of divinity. Why do you read that the evangelist John stated that "three is one thing" (I John 5: 7), if you then mean that they exist with different natures? How can you assert that there is the gift of a single baptism, according to the testimony of Scripture, if then you assert that different natures are in them? And why do you celebrate a regular baptism according to the rite, and then, in professing the only name of the Trinity, blaspheme? (De Trinitate Book 7 : CCSL 9:94-95)

○ Latin: Bk VII.10. Cur hoc unitum nomen divinitatis celebrari, et honorificari invenitur in gentibus, si in ipso nomine Trinitatis baptismus uniter non celebratur divinitatis? cur Tres unum sunt (I Ioan. V, 7) Ioannem evangelistam dixisse legitis, si diversas naturas in personis esse accipitis? cur unum
donum baptismi secundum stylum Scripturae esse dicitis, si discrepantes naturas in Patre, et Filio, et sancto (0283D) Spiritu esse praescribitis? cur secundum traditionem baptismum celebratis et in confessione unitum sempiternum nomen Trinitatis blasphematis? (De Trinitate Book 7 : CCSL 9:94-95)



Ps.-Athanasius, De Trinitate X, CCSL 9:145 (cf. PL 62:297):

This is similar to the first one.
The quote is the same, but the intro is different, and Grantley properly gives it separately.
Porson claims it as identical, e.g. eorum una persona, etc. however I see no match.

Witness of God gives much more

It is established in my heart that you are not ignorant to the superior, reasonable and true exposition. But for the consummation of faith, I ask you to explain, why the persons and names are divided, when there is one substance of Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit?

Do you not know that the Father is one God, and the Son is one God, and the Holy Spirit is one God? It is one Name, because one is Their Substance. Which is why also John says in his epistle: There are Three who give testimony in heaven, Father, Word and Spirit, and They are One [unum, neuter] in Christ Jesus. Yet not one [unus, masculine], because not one is Their Person. Surely, can it be understood otherwise that if the Father is truly One [unus] who begets, He must not be the same also who is begotten by Himself? And if the Son is One [unus] who does not beget, He must not be the Father? And that the Holy Spirit, who is nor Father nor Son, must be a different Person, if He is in addition referenced as one who neither begets nor is born?

(Heretics questions, the response of Catholics : On the Trinity, Book 10; Translated by Jeroen Beekhuizen, correspondence, March 2020)

○ Latin: [59] Haereticus. Firmata in corde meo non nescias superiora rationabiliter et vere
exposita, sed ad cumulum fidei quaeso exponas, cur personis et nominibus dividuntur, cum sit
una substantia Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus sancti? [60] Athanasius. Ignoras, quia Pater Deus unus
est, et Filius (0297B) unus Deus est, et Spiritus sanctus unus Deus est? Unitum nomen est,
quia una est eorum substantia. Unde et Ioannes in Epistola sua ait: Tres sunt qui
testimonium dicunt in coelo, Pater, Verbum et Spiritus: et in Christo Iesu unum sunt (I
Ioan. V, 7); non tamen unus est, quia non est eorum una persona. Nunquid aliud sentiendum
est, quam Pater verus unus qui genuit, idem non sit qui et genitus ab ipso est; et Filius unus qui
non genuit, Pater non sit; et Spiritus sanctus, qui nec Pater, nec Filius, alter sit in persona,
praeterea qui nec genuit, nec natus referatur. (Interrogationes Haereticorum, et Responsiones
Catholicorum :
De Trinitate liber X; CCSL 9:144-145; Migne Latina, PL 62.297)

Note: De Trinitate Book 10 (PL 62.289-298) consists of 2 parts:
i) Expositio fidei catholicae ad Theophilum, PL 62.288-289;
ii) Expositio fidei catholicae ad Theophilum, PL 62.288-289. ERROR


Porson, the 1829 should be more readable. 1790 1829


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Steven Avery

If we want to start with Travis, which I think is a good way to approach, first we handle these questions.

1) Are there any additional quotes that are from De Trinitate that should be added to Travis above?
2) Are there any of those above that not De Trinitate?
3) Can they have their sections translated into English?

The next question is which of the five have edition issues. Where they might not have been original? If so, why? It is hard to imagine such words jumping in at a secondary time, but if that is the claim, to which of the five does it apply? Then we can look at those separately. Note Porson on this question.

Then we will have our 3-4-5 quotes and they can be placed with the earlier sections theorized fourth century (Books 1-7 if I remember) or the later sections of the last three books, theorized fifth century. (Is there some uncertainty between 10 and 12 total?)

Steven Avery

Witness of God is Greater

Eusebius of Vercelli (d. 371) Three letters written during his exile are extant. The first seven books of De Trinitate, long
attributed to Athanasius or Bishop Vigilius of Thapsus, are generally accepted as Eusebius’s work. (Eusebius of Vercelli
(2018) Encyclopaedia Britannica. Revised and edited by Melissa Petruzzello, Assistant Editor.

[Morin] Finally, three manuscripts [of De Trinitate that] offer another name, that of a Saint Eusebius. It is especially on
this last attribution I would like to draw attention of the reader. (Morin, "Les douze livres sur la Trinité attribués à Vigile de
Thapse", 1898, p. 9)

[Kuper] De Trinitate, Eusebius of Vercelli: Nearly every aspect of this De Trinitate, a dialogue of which two recensions
are extant, has been the subject of disagreement. Although it was traditionally attributed to Vigilius of Thapsus or
Athanasius, Vincent Bulhart in the middle of the twentieth century reintroduced the possibility of Eusebian authorship and
defended it in his critical edition of the text (Bulhart, Eusebii Vercellensis, vii–xxviii), and this position was independently
supported by D.H. Williams (Williams, Ambrose of Milan, 1995, p. 96–102, and 239–242.). Though many manuscripts and
[PAGE 60] compilations contain a text of twelve libelli, only the first seven are original and authentically Eusebian. (Kuper,
Latin Controversial Dialogues, 2017, p. 59-60)

[Williams] Appendix III. Eusebian Authorship of De trinitate, I-VII. With the publication of the CCSL ix edition (Turnhout, 1957), Bulhart revived the idea, as advanced in the beginning of the seventeenth century by Jean Etienne Ferreri and later expounded by Morin ("Les Douze Livres sur la Trinite", RB 15 (1898), 1-10), of Eusebian authorship for the first seven books of De trinitate. ...

[PAGE 240] With regards to the to authorship, Bulhart's suggestion that there was one author for books I-VII, a probably different writer of book VIII, and an unknown redactor for all eight books (Praefatio, pp. xxxiii-xxxiv) has received little opposition. Was Eusebius of Vercelli the author of the original seven books? Apart from the problems of chronology, the strongest objections leveled against Eusebian authorship are those which attempt to argue that the work originated from Spain and/or from the pen of a Luciferian. It can be shown, however, that such arguments have virtually no substance, and it is just as possible that the De trinitate was written in the south or north Italy. The actual evidence which has been advanced for Eusebian authorship is admittedly slight and inconclusive. We cannot hope to solve all the problems of authorship here, but a few additional points can be made. First is the general

[PAGE 241] observation that there is nothing in the De trinitate which Eusebius could not have said. Another way to say this is to ask what we would expect to find if the treatise were from Eusebius' hand. Assuming that the work was written after his return to the west, we should expect it to bear traces of a broadened theological perspective as a result of the writer having been in exile in the east for over seven years. Like Hilary of Poitiers, Eusebius would have become much more informed as to the complexity of certain contemporary issues, Trinitarian and Christological, at a date probably earlier than his western colleagues. More specifically, we know that Eusebius attended at least one eastern synod since he was present at Alexandria in 362 and was jointly responsible for the decisions which that assembly concluded. He lived for almost another decade after this synod. One would envision that there should be some resemblance between the doctrine promulgated in the synodical letter, the "Epistola Catholica", and especially the Tomus from Alexandria, and the theological ideas expressed in the De trinitate. Parallels of similar content between these works can be found. ...the sensitivities in the De trinitate to reputed Arian views (about the creaturehood of the Holy Spirit; dividing the members of the Trinity in a hierarchical fashion; the denial that the Son possesses an identical nature to the Father; as well as having a conscious "anthropos-sarx" model of the incarnation) correspond to the assertions found in the Tomus and the "Epistola". It is quite plausible for Eusebius of Vercelli to have brought back to the west awareness of such theological developments, since he was, after all, commissioned by the synod as its delegate to disseminate its decisions in the west (Rufinius, HE I. 29). In this regard it is also significant that the writer of the De trinitate levels a series of anathemas against those "who believe that grace should not be bestowed

[PAGE 242] upon the penitent who lapsed" (VI. 16. 2). This is an obvious reference to the controversy which racked eastern and western churches after the capitulation of so many bishops to the Homoian decrees propounded at the dual councils Armininum/ Seleucia, and it rules out that the work was by the hand of a Luciferian. (Williams, Ambrose of Milan, 1995, p. 239-242)

This next one is placed in the end of this section, another section coming up for book 10

[Williams] Throughout the De trinitate the Holy Spirit is rigorously and repeatedly defended as partaking
in the fullness of deity."6 This emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit in a relation of absolute equality with the
other two divine persons represents a marked difference from most other Latin Trinitarians of the Neo-Nicene
period. For in the work of Hilary of [PAGE 101] Poitiers, as in that of Phoebadius of Agen, Gregory of Elvira, and
the Commentarius in symbolum Nicaeanum, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit receives only marginal attention.
Simonetti has argued therefore that this treatment of the Holy Spirit in De trinitate demands a date after 380 since
in the west 'only the De Spiritu Sancto of Ambrose, which is from 381, shows interest in this aspect of Trinitarian
polemic'.117 Such issues of the relation of the Holy Spirit to the Father and Son were articulated in the east much
earlier, as Simonetti observes in Athanasius' letter to Serapion (dated f.370). Surely this letter is symptomatic of
an interest already current though not articulated with the precision of later years. One can venture back almost a
decade to the 'Epistola Catholica' and the Tomus of Alexandria (362) and find the early stages of an intentional
language which was used apologetically to substantiate the equality of the Spirit with the Father and Son. In
chapter 5 of the Tomus, the readers are asked to acknowledge that the Holy Spirit subsists along with the Father
and the Son, making a 'Holy Trinity, one Godhead, and one beginning, and that the Son is co-essential with the
Father, as the fathers said; while the Holy Spirit is not a creature, nor external, but proper to and inseparable from
the essence of the Father and the Son'."8 If the writer of the De trinitate had had previous exposure to
eastern Trinitarian theology of this type, which is certain in the case of Eusebius of Vercelli, there are
equally good grounds for believing that De trinitate was written not as late as Simonetti claims, but
perhaps shared the responsibility for introducing the terminology of a full Trinitarianism to the west. Even
if we were to draw such hard and fast lines between the exchange of eastern and western theologies, we
must amend Simonetti's assessment about the presence of a burgeoning doctrine of the Holy Spirit in the
west. Already by 366, fierce debate had begun in the Illyrian provinces over the relation of the Holy Spirit
to the Father and Son. This is seen in the minutes of the Altercatio between Germinius and Heraclianus,
during which the first third of the dialogue concerns the full divinity of the Holy Spirit. Against Germinius'
insistence that the Spirit is created, the Nicene layman Heraclianus argues that the Scriptures teach a
divine Trinity.119 From this passage it does not naturally follow that the debates over the
consubstantiality of the Holy Spirit were already in full swing by 366. It does sufficiently demonstrate, along
with the documents of 362, that the pro-Nicenes were being compelled to articulate a doctrine of the [PAGE 102]
Spirit by the later 360s that answered their opponents' hierarchical form of Trinitarianism and which was
consistent with their own arguments for the nature of the Father and Son. The De trinitate does not offer
theologically sophisticated arguments for the consubstantiality of the Spirit with the Father and Son. Indeed, the
treatise assumes the full divinity of the Holy Spirit in the course of its argumentation just like the writer of the
Commentarius. But here the writer is acutely aware that the doctrine continues to have its detractors and must be
affirmed if one intends to be faithful to the full teaching of Nicaea.
(Williams, Ambrose of Milan and the End of the
Nicene-Arian Conflicts, 1995, p. 100-102)


De Trinitate Book 10, PL 62.237-334 (circa 350-450 AD)
[Quasten] The twelve books De Trinitate attributed to St. Athanasius, which Migne (ML 62.237-334; CCSL
9:145) has printed among the works of the African bishop Vigilius of Thapsus, who lived in the second half of
the fifth century, are not by Athanasius nor by Vigilius. They [De Trinitate] represent a collection of treatises by
several unknown authors of the West, who composed them approximately in the second half [PAGE 34] of the
fourth and in the fifth century. They [De Trinitate] are very valuable as documents of the struggle of the
Western Church against Arianism. Their dependence upon the Greek Fathers and their influence on the later
writers of the West, as for instance St. Ambrose, St. Augustine and others, has still to be investigated. A new
edition is being prepared by M. Simonetti [Pseudo-Athanasii De Trinitate libri X-XII, 1956]. So far the last three
books [De Trinitate books X, XI, XII] have been published comprising the "Expositio fidei catholicae" (p. 19-39),
the "Professio Ariana et confessio catholica" (p. 41-68) and the "De Trinitate et De Spiritu Sancto" (p. 69-145).
They are three independent works by three different authors. Since St. Augustine makes use of the first two
treatises in his Ep. 148 n. 10, they must have been composed before 413-414 AD. The last tract is important
for the doctrine of the Holy Spirit and seems to be of an earlier date. Simonetti proved that it must have been
written before 381, because St. Ambrose shows acquaintance with it in his own "De Spiritu Sancto." Bulhart's
new edition provides the complete text [CCSL 9 (1957)]. [Studies: Sul De Spiritus Sancti potentia di Niceta di
Remesiana e sulle fonti del De Spiritu Sancto di S. Ambrogio: Maia 4 (1951) 239-248, proves that Nicetas
depends on books X and XII and Ambrose on book XII.] (Quasten, g. Pseudo-Athanasii De Trinitate Libri XII"
in Patrology, vol 3, 1986, p. 33-34)

[Chadwick] Among the works of Vigilius, bishop of Thapsus in Byzacena (Migne, PL LXII), there stand
twelve books "De Trinitate" which in the manuscripts are ascribed to Athanasius. The last three [De Trinitate X,
XI, XII] stand apart, and are here given a critical edition. All three tracts belong to the Western anti-Arian
literature of the late fourth and mid-fifth centuries. They are evidently not the work of a single author, but
otherwise are not easy to place. Simonetti ventures some improbable guesses (p. 8). The first and third [Book
10 & 12] seem to me earlier than the second. The "Expositio fidei catholicae" is of about the time of Ambrose
(340-397 AD); c. 6 cannot be as late as Augustine, whose "De Trinitate" [Augustine wrote a work with the
same title consisting of 15 books] contains a polemic against the view there expressed. Similarly the last piece,
"De Trinitate et de Spiritu Sancto", does not look later than the last quarter of the fourth century. On the other
hand, the second item, "Professio arriana et confessio catholica", strenuously pleads for the doctrine of the
double procession of the Spirit in a manner dependent upon Augustine, and a phrase in c. 9 ("Salva
proprietate utriusque naturae") is cited from Leo's Tome of 449 AD. There is a strange misprint at p. 25, line 2.
(Chadwick, Review of "Pseudo-Athanasii de Trinitate libri x-xii" by M. Simonetti, 1958, p. 148)
Note: De Trinitate Book 10 (PL 62.289-298) consists of 2 parts: i) Expositio fidei catholicae ad Theophilum, PL
62.288-289; ii) Expositio fidei catholicae ad Theophilum, PL 62.288-289.

[Musurillo] The first opus (De Trinitate Book X), entitled "Expositio fidei catholicae", would really seem, I think,
to be a composite work. §§ 1-2 are an exhortation to believe in the Trinity (credere iubemur...) against the
Arian heresy (§1), and also in the fact that Christ was truly man, against the Doncetes (§2), with suggested
proofs given from various texts from Scripture. It is at once an exhortation to Christians, a confession of faith
and a "summula" of texts which might be used in disputation. But with §§ 3-8 of the same expositio the form
has changed ; these numbers consist of a dramatic dialogue, without introduction, between haereticus
and catholicus on the deeper theological problems involved in an understanding of the Trinity. But the
dialogue seems purely a form ; the catholicus is given the longest, most explanatory speeches, and
the haereticus is reduced very often to asking merely for information (e. g., quaeso exponas). §§ 3-8
must therefore have been circulated as a catechetical manual for the instruction of catechumens or of
the faithful. For the Expositio (or book X of the original edition) Simonetti has used five MSS, some
fragments of a fine eighth century Verona codex and the quotations in the libellus emendationis which
the Council of Carthage forced the Pelagian Bishop Leporius to sign in token of recantation. In this
way the substance of the Expositio became incorporated in early doctrine. (Musurillo. Review of
"Pseudo-Athanasii De Trinitate libri X-XII, éd. Manlio Simonetti, Bologne, Cappelli, 1956". Latomus, 17(1),
1958, p. 126)

A. Expositio fidei catholicae ad Theophilum, De Trinitate Book 10, PL 62.288-289

● [Extended Quote from : Nicetas of Remesiana (335-414 AD) : present-day Bela Palanka, Serbia]
○ [Burn] The manuscripts of Book III. Part 1., "de ratione fidei" (Cod. Vatic. 314. 15th century).
The title given in this MS. "allocutio sancti Nicetae" agrees with the testimony of Gennadius
[a.k.a. Gennadius Scholasticus (d.496)] that this treatise was first preached to Catechumens,
but it may have been preached again in Italy. It has been suggested that Gennadius invented
the title de fide unicae maiestatis. Cassiodorus had simply de fide and later MSS. de ratione
fidei. But in this, as in other cases, Gennadius expanded the title to give some idea of the main
argument, and he does so very correctly. The main object of the author was to persuade men to
worship the Son and the Spirit as of one majesty with the Father. But it is possible that
Gennadius may have had in his mind the terms of the decree of Theodosius, dated July 30,
381: “We command all the Churches to be delivered to those Bishops who confess the Father
and the Son and the Holy Spirit to be of one majesty and power, of the same glory, of one
brightness.” There is a long quotation from this treatise in the [PAGE LXIII] "De Trinitate" lib. X.
[PL 62.289D-290C], ascribed to Vigilius Tapsensis. I have quoted the variant readings in my
apparatus [infra pages 15-17]. (Burn, "Introduction" in Niceta of Remesiana: His Life and Works,
1905, p. lxii-lxiii)

● [Clear Parallels from : Gregory of Elvira (d. 392) : province of Baetica, Spain]
○ [Marrou : Review of Pseudo-Athanasii De Trinitate Liber X-XII by Simonetti] ...From the
discussion only partial conclusions emerge: our books X-XII are directly inspired by Lettres à
Sérapion and des Sermons contre les Ariens d'Athanase (356- 359); Book X offers very clear
parallels with De fide de d'Elvire (361); (Marrou, Review of "Pseudo-Athanasii De Trinitate Ll.
X- XII by Manlio Simonetti" in: L'antiquité classique, Tome 26, fasc. 2, 1957, p. 477-478;
Translated by Google <>. March 2020.)

B. Interrogationes Haereticorum, et Responsiones Catholicorum, De Trinitate Book 10, PL 62.289-298.

● [Verona Codex 8th century] Fragmentum Dialogi Hominis Catholici cum Haeretico. CH.
Ediciones: Mai, Nova Patrum bibliotheca. vol. 1, p. 496-497. Roma 1852. codice capituli veronensis
antiquissimo n. 59.

○ Mai, Angelo. Novae patrum bibliothecae. Romae: Typis sacri Consilii propogando christiano
nomini, 1844. <>.

○ [Musurillo] For the Expositio (or book X of the original edition) Simonetti has used five MSS, some fragments of a fine eighth century Verona codex and the quotations in the libellus emendationis which the Council of Carthage forced the Pelagian Bishop Leporius to sign in token of recantation. In this way the substance of the Expositio became incorporated in early doctrine. (Musurillo. Review of "Pseudo-Athanasii De Trinitate libri X-XII, éd. Manlio Simonetti, Bologne, Cappelli, 1956". Latomus, 17(1), 1958, p. 126) ○ MS. 59. Capituli Veronensis. Codex Veronensis membranaceus, overgrown with many changes over time, is of minored square form, yet of capital (majuscule) letters, but written so clumsy and distorted that it is very difficult to read. It is considered to be of the 8th century. (Ballerini, Sancti Leonis Magni romani pontificis Opera Omnia, 1757, vol. 4, p. cclvii; Translated by Jeroen Beekhuizen, correspondence, March 2020)
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Steven Avery

There are connections in other spots to De Trinitate
Caesarius of Arles

Carolingian Reform : Codex 1370 (800-850 AD)

[Catechising of the Uninstructed] On Baptism

Aeneas of Paris (d. 870).
Against the Greeks

Hincmar of Rheims

Corbie ms.13174

Bianchini, Giuseppe, Athanasius, Giovanni Antonio Faldoni, Giuseppe Filosi, Vigilius, Lodovico Perini, and Anastasius.
Enarratio pseudo-Athanasiana in symbolum ante hac inedita. Et Vigilii Tapsitani De trinitate ad Theophilum liber 6. Nunc
primum genuinus, atque assumentis carens prolatus ex vetustissimo codice amplissimi Capituli Veronensis, opera et
studio Josephi Blanchini ... Accedit Symbolum Nicænum, cum Symmachi papæ vita ex vetustissimis membranis nunc
integre in lucem emissa. Veronæ: ex typographia Petri Antonii Berni bibliopolæ, 1732.
<>. <>.

Chadwick, H. (1958). Pseudo-Athanasii de Trinitate libri x–xii: Expositio fidei catholicae, Professio arriana et confessio
catholica, De Trinitate et de Spiritu Sancto. Recognovit brevique adnotatione critica instruxit Manlius Simonetti. Pp. 148.
Bologna: Cappelli, 1956. Paper. The Classical Review, 8(1), 86-86. doi:10.1017/S0009840X00164054

H. Musurillo. Review of "Pseudo-Athanasii De Trinitate libri X-XII, éd. Manlio Simonetti, Bologne, Cappelli, 1956".
Latomus, 17(1), 1958, p. 125-127. <>.

Marrou H.I. Manlio Simonetti, Pseudo-Athanasii De Trinitate Ll. X- XII. Expositio fidei catholicae. Professio arriana et
confessio catholica. De Trinitate et de Spiritu Sancto. In: L'antiquité classique, Tome 26, fasc. 2, 1957. pp. 477-479.

Add the books and papers that are in the Witness text.
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Steven Avery

Helpful summary (doubtful on Eusebius)

Eusebius of Vercelli – *De trinitate
Many scholars doubt the accuracy of this work’s attribution to Eusebius. The theological language, they claim, is too advanced for Eusebius or the date at which he would have authored the work. These scholars, therefore, suggest a later date and an unknown author familiar with the theological developments of the later fourth century; nevertheless, other scholars point out the lack of definitive argument against Eusebius’ authorship. (See references to Kwon below.)

Bulhart, Vincent, ed. Corpus Christianorum Series Latina, vol. IX. (Turnhout: Brepols, 1957), pp. 3-9

Quasten, Johannes. Patrology, vol. iv., pp. 62-64.

Williams, Daniel H. Ambrose of Milan and the End of the Nicene-Arian Conflicts, pp. 51.


Does Junghoo Kwon with Markus Vinzent contribute?

The Pseudo-Athanasian De Trinitate and its Place of Origin (2011)
Markus Vinzent review - Spain rather than Italy, not Eusebius of Vercelli

The Latin Pseudo-Athanasian De trinitate Attributed to Eusebius of Vercelli and its Place of Composition: Spain or Northern Italy

A Theological Investigation of the De Trinitate Attributed to Eusebius of Vercelli - 494 pgs. - Project MUSE - Toronto School of Theology Theses Completed 2011–2012 Academic Year

— “Letters of Eusebius of Vercelli and the Authorship of the De Trinitate: Did Eusebius of Vercelli Write the Pseudo-Athanasian De Trinitate?”
Junghoo Kwon
in Scrinium vol. 5 (St. Pétersburg: 2010), 89-112.
(The contents of this article are expanded in the first chapter of the previously listed dissertation.)


Irene Dingel, Kestutis Daugirdas - Antitrinitarische Streitigkeiten: Die tritheistische Phase (1560–1568) - p. 560-584
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