De Trinitate Libr Duodecim
Grantley McDonald - De Trinitate
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.”
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.
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
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.)
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, 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, G. “Les douze livres sur la Trinité attribués à Vigile de Thapse,” Revue biblique 15
Saltet (1906) - no bibliographic