Gregory Nazianzen and the heavenly and earthly witnesses

Steven Avery

Administrator
Gregory Nazianzen and the heavenly and earthly witnesses

This thread will include various elements related to Gregory Nazianzen.

And there is a sister thread that focuses on recent Net discussions:

Gregory Nazianzen - and James Snapp on the grammatical discordance on BVDB
https://www.purebibleforum.com/index.php/threads/a.781

We will start with the most well known reference.


Oration 31 - The Fifth Theological Oration. On the Holy Spirit, XIX
18. You say things of one essence are counted together, but those which are not consubstantial are reckoned one by one. Where did you get this from? From what teachers of dogma or mythology? Do you not know that every number expresses the quantity of what is included under it, and not the nature of the things? But I am so old-fashioned — or perhaps I should say so unlearned — as to use the word “three” of that number of things, even if they are of a different nature, and to use one and one and one in a different way of so many units, even if they are united in essence, looking not so much at the things themselves as at the quantity of the things in respect of which the emuneration is made. But since you hold so very close to the letter (although you are contending against the letter), pray take your demonstrations from this source. There are in the book of Proverbs three things which go well: a lion, a goat, and a cock; and to these is added a fourth: a king making a speech before the people, 22 to pass over the other sets of four which are there counted up, although things of various natures. And I find in Moses two cherubim counted singly.23 But now, in your technology, could either the former thin gs be called three, when they differ so greatly in their nature, or the latter be treated as units, when they are so closely connected and of one name? For if I were to speak of God and Mammon as two masters, 24 reckoned under one head, when they are so very different from each other, I should probably be still more laughed at for such a connumeration.

19. But to my mind, he says ,25 those things are said to be connumerated and of the same essence of which the names also correspond, as three men, or three gods, but not three this and that. What does this concession amount to? It is suitable to one laying down the law as to names, not to one who is asserting the truth. For I also will assert that Peter and James and John are not three or consubstantial, so long as I cannot say three Peters, or three Jameses, or three Johns; for what you have reserved for common names we demand also for proper names, in accordance with your arrangement; or else you will be unfair in not conceding to others what you assume for yourself.

What about John, then, when in his Catholic Epistle he says that there are three that bear witness, the Spirit and the water and the blood? 26 Do you think he is talking nonsense? First, because he has ventured to reckon under one numeral things which are not consubstantial, though you say this ought to be done only in the case of things which are consubstantial. For who would assert that these are consubstantial? Secondly, because he has not been consistent in the way he has happened upon his terms; for after using three in the masculine gender he adds three words which are neuter, contrary to the definitions and laws which you and your grammarians have laid down.

For what is the difference between putting a masculine three first, and then adding one and one and one in the neuter, or after a masculine one and one and one to use the three not in the masculine but in the neuter, which you yourself disclaim in the case of deity? What have you to say about the crab, which may mean either an animal or an instrument or a constellation? And what about the dog, now terrestrial, now aquatic, now celestial? Do you not see that three crabs or dogs are spoken of? Why, of course it is so. Well, then, are they therefore of one substance? None but a fool would say that. So you see how completely your argument from connumeration has broken down, and is refuted by all these instances. For if things that are of one substance are not always counted under one numeral, things not of one substance are thus counted, and the pronunciation of the name once for all is used in both cases, what advantage do you gain towards your doctrine?

22 Prov. 30:29.
23 Ex. 25:19; 37:8.
24 Matt. 6:24.
25 I.e., Gregory’s Macedonian opponent, elsewhere addressed in the second person.
26. I John 5:8

Likely the best source for this section:

Edward Rochie Hardy (1908-1981)

Christology of the Later Fathers (1954)
https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.88945/page/n207/mode/2up
https://books.google.com/books?id=0PNnTTspIAcC&pg=PA205

Rochie discusses the 'Macedonian opponent' and gives footnotes in p. 302-207 that identifies references to:

Proverbs 30:29-31 (AV)
29 There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going:
30 A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any;
31 A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.

Matthew 6:24 (AV)
No man can serve two masters:
for either he will hate the one, and love the other;
or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.
Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Exodus 25:19 (AV)
And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end:
even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof.

Exodus 37:8 (AV)
One cherub on the end on this side,
and another cherub on the other end on that side:
out of the mercy seat made he the cherubims on the two ends thereof.”

Roman s 11:26 (AV)
And so all Israel shall be saved:
as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer,
and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

2 Corinthians 13:14 (AV)
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Ghost,
be with you all. Amen.
 
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Steven Avery

Administrator
Additional Gregory Nazianzen references

Oration 31 - The Fifth Theological Oration. On the Holy Spirit, IX

The three are one in Godhead, and the one three in properties; so that neither is the unity a Sabellian one, nor does the Trinity countenance the present evil distinction.
https://books.google.com/books?id=0PNnTTspIAcC&pg=PA199
https://books.google.com/books?id=SDswAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA320

Mike Ferrando added to this, using Knittel, and noting similarity with the Eusebius quote in Ecclesiastical Theology

Greek: ἑν τὰ τρία τῇ θεότητι, καὶ τὸ ἑν τρία ταῖς ἰδιότησιν· ἵνα μήτε τὸ ἑν Σαβέλλιον ᾖ, μήτε τὰ τρία τῆς πονηρᾶς νῦν διαιρέσεως. (Gregory, Oration 31.9; Migne Graeca, PG 36.141-144)

[Knittel] ...Gregory says, in his 37th Discourse [31st Oration : See the Greek text in Knittel’s footnote],

"The phrase 'the three are one' (Greek: ἑν τὰ τρία) is of such a nature, that neither the 'one' (Greek: ἑν) supports the opinion of Sabellius, nor the 'the three' (Greek: τὰ τρία) the notion of those who falsely separate those Divine persons." We see, then, from this passage, that the phrase 'the three are one' (Greek: ἑν τὰ τρία) interested the Orthodox and the Heretics; both wishing to discover their opinions of it. Phrases which equally interested the Heretics and the Orthodox, and to which they mutually appealed, were none other than phrases in Scripture. This is notorious, and self-evident. Consequently, it is manifest, from the passage just quoted, [I might say] "that the 'the three are one' (Greek: ἑν τὰ τρία), was a phrase in the Bible. Now, as Gregory and all other Greeks did not understand 1 John 5:8 of the Trinity, he must therefore have taken his 'the three are one' (Greek: ἑν τὰ τρία) from the 7th verse." The validity of this reasoning may be easily perceived and felt. For instance: if I say, "The Father of Jesus Christ is greater than He;" and add, "This word 'greater' does not support the opinion of Arius;" it will be immediately inferred that the clause, "The Father of Jesus Christ is greater than He," is taken from Scripture. (Knittel, New Criticisms on the Celebrated Text, 1829, p. 69-70) •

Mike also shares:
If "homoousian" was rejected because it was not in the bible, then the phrase "the three are one" would not be allowed to be used of the Godhead, unless it were biblical, nor would it be allowed in the creeds and confessions. So, the phrase "the three are one" is in fact a biblical phrase, thus the furor over Sabellius interpretation and exposition.

Letters on the Apollinarian Controversy - Letters, No. 101 - MG 37, 117 - NPNF VII, 439

And I say different [elements],7 because it is the reverse of what is the case in the Trinity; for there we acknowledge different [Persons] so as not to confound the Persons; but not different [elements], for the three are one and the same in Godhead.

7 The distinction is between neuter and masculine—in Christ there is manhood and Godhead (alio kai alio) in one Person, while in the one Godhead there are different Persons (alios kai alios).
https://books.google.com/books?id=0PNnTTspIAcC&pg=PA217 (with footnote)
https://books.google.com/books?id=leoK-f67rsYC&pg=PA161

Oration 45: The Second Oration on Easter
"But if we are to be released, in accordance with our desire, and be received into the Heavenly Tabernacle, there too it may be we shall offer You acceptable Sacrifices upon Your Altar, to Father and Word and Holy Ghost; for to You belongs all glory and honour and might, world without end. Amen."

Oration 45 - Chapter 4
"And when I say God, I mean Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; for Godhead is neither diffused beyond These, so as to introduce a mob of gods, nor yet bounded by a smaller compass than These, so as to condemn us for a poverty stricken conception of Deity, either Judaizing to save the Monarchia, or falling into heathenism by the multitude of our gods."

Oration 39 - Oration on the Holy Lights
For the Godhead is one in three, and the three are one, in whom the Godhead is, or to speak more accurately, Who are the Godhead... There is then One God in Three, and These Three are One, as we have said.
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/310239.htm
https://books.google.com/books?id=leoK-f67rsYC&pg=PA161 (first part)
 
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Steven Avery

Administrator
KJV Today on Gregory Nazianzus

KJV Today is very strong on Gregory (and has been nicely utilized by James William Sheffield on the NT Textual Criticism forum of James Snapp)

Comma-absent readings give rise to a grammatical anomaly

Around 379 AD, Gregory of Nazianzus commented on the grammatical anomaly in 1 John 5:7-8 without the Comma. He says,

"...after using Three in the masculine gender [Apostle John] adds three words which are neuter,
contrary to the definitions and laws which you and your grammarians have laid down"
(The Fifth Theological Oration. On the Holy Spirit, XIX).

Gregory is referring to the grammatical mismatch that results from the masculine construction "τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυρουντες (there are three that bear witness)" introducing three neuter nouns, "το πνευμα (the Spirit)," "το υδωρ (the water)" and "το αιμα (the blood)". Although Gregory seemed to be defending the abbreviated text despite the anomaly, for such a defense to be necessary there likely were both variants in the body of Greek manuscripts.

Gregory of Nazianzus

Gregory of Nazianzus (c. 329 - 390 AD) cites the Comma in the vocative case in the following doxology at the end of Oration 45: The Second Oration on Easter:

"Εἰ δὲ καταλύσαιμεν ἀξίως τοῦ πόθου, καὶ δεχθείημεν ταῖς οὐρανίαις σκηναῖς, τάχα σοι καὶ αὐτόθι θύσομεν δεκτὰ ἐπὶ τὸ ἅγιόν σου θυσιαστήριον, ὦ Πάτερ, καὶ Λόγε, καὶ Πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον· ὅτι σοὶ πρέπει πᾶσα δόξα, τιμὴ, καὶ κράτος, εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Ἀμήν."

"But if we are to be released, in accordance with our desire, and be received into the Heavenly Tabernacle, there too it may be we shall offer You acceptable Sacrifices upon Your Altar, to Father and Word and Holy Ghost; for to You belongs all glory and honour and might, world without end. Amen." (English translation at New Advent)

ONLINE LINK to Oration 45: The Second Oration on Easter

The points supporting this as a citation or at least an allusion to the Comma are as follows:

  • The context is with respect to the "Heavenly Tabernacle", namely, God as revealed in heaven. This mirrors the context of the Comma in which the Father, Word, and Holy Ghost are said to be heavenly witnesses.

  • In this same document at chapter IV, Gregory refers to the Trinity in its usual formula as follows: "And when I say God, I mean Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; for Godhead is neither diffused beyond These, so as to introduce a mob of gods, nor yet bounded by a smaller compass than These, so as to condemn us for a poverty stricken conception of Deity, either Judaizing to save the Monarchia, or falling into heathenism by the multitude of our gods." After stating emphatically that by God he means "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost", it is curious that he would end the same document with a different atypical formula if it were not an import from an established source.

  • The context is ripe with scriptural allusions, namely to the "Heavenly Tabernacle" (Revelation 8:3), "Sacrifices upon Your Altar" (Revelation 15:5: "της σκηνης του μαρτυριου εν τω ουρανω"), and "glory and honour and might, world without end" (Revelation 5:13: "η τιμη και η δοξα και το κρατος εις τους αιωνας των αιωνων"). In this scripturally pregnant context, one must be in a state of denial to suppose that "Father and Word and Holy Ghost" alone is not a scriptural allusion.

  • Furthermore, these scriptural allusions at this last portion of Gregory's oration are all from the Johannine corpus, which makes it more likely that "Father and Word and Holy Ghost" is also from that same corpus.

  • In Oration 31, Gregory of Nazianzus had commented on the unconventional grammar of 1 John 5:6-8 in manuscripts without the Comma (as explained above [LINK]). As is typical among theologians, Gregory's comment may have elicited a debate concerning the unconventional grammar and possible reasons/solutions. Given the Comma existed in the Latin West at this time, it is likely that after composing Oration 31 and prior to composing Oration 45, Gregory had been made aware of the Comma as a possible solution to the grammatical anomaly. This is where Gregory may have committed the unique Trinitarian wording of the Comma to memory so as to make an allusion to it in Oration 45.
 
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Steven Avery

Administrator
Gregory Nazianzen through Germanus - three and one Trinity as witnesses

See Also
https://www.purebibleforum.com/index.php?threads/germanus-patriarch-of-constantinople.1924/

Irish Ecclesiastical Record (1869)
Traces of the Text of the Three Heavenly Witnesses (1869)
Abbe Le Hir
https://books.google.com/books?id=LRMEAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA274
https://archive.org/stream/irishecclesiasti05dubluoft#page/274/mode/1up

4. St. Gregory of Nazianzen, as cited by Germanus, of Constantinople, in the eighth century, thus alludes to the witness of the Trinity:—
(Greek)
"Statim ac illud unum cogito, trium luce circumdor: statim ac tria dividere vellem in illud unum attollor: sed re quis haec testimonia Trinitatis," etc
Trinitiy as a witness.jpg
 
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Steven Avery

Administrator
Holy Ghost - everlastingly ranged with and numbered with the Father and the Son.

From Mike Ferrando:

Revelation 16:5 : Gregory of Nazianzus (329-390 AD) : Oration 41 : Allusion

ἦν μὲν ἀεὶ, καὶ ἔστι, καὶ ἔσται
==
Τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἦν μὲν ἀεὶ, καὶ ἔστι, καὶ ἔσται, οὔτε ἀρξάμενον , οὔτε παυσόμενον, ἀλλ' ἀεὶ Πατρὶ καὶ Υἱῷ συντεταγμένον, καὶ συναριθμού μενον· οὐδὲ γὰρ ἔπρεπεν ἐλλείπειν ποτὲ, ἢ Υἱὸν Πα τρὶ, ἢ Πνεῦμα Υἱῷ.
==

The Holy Ghost, then, always existed, and exists, and always will exist. He neither had a beginning, nor will He have an end; but He was everlastingly ranged with and numbered with the Father and the Son.

===SOURCE:
IX. The Holy Ghost, then, always existed, and exists, and always will exist. He neither had a beginning, nor will He have an end; but He was everlastingly ranged with and numbered with the Father and the Son. For it was not ever fitting that either the Son should be wanting to the Father, or the Spirit to the Son. For then Deity would be shorn of Its Glory in its greatest respect, for It would seem to have arrived at the consummation of perfection as if by an afterthought. Therefore He was ever being partaken, but not partaking; perfecting, not being perfected; sanctifying, not being sanctified; deifying, not being deified; Himself ever the same with Himself, and with Those with Whom He is ranged; invisible, eternal, incomprehensible, unchangeable, without quality, without quantity, without form, impalpable, self-moving, eternally moving, with free-will, self-powerful, All-powerful (even though all that is of the Spirit is referable to the First Cause, just as is all that is of the Only-begotten); Life and Lifegiver; Light and Lightgiver; absolute Good, and Spring of Goodness; the Right, the Princely Spirit; the Lord, the Sender, the Separator; Builder of His own Temple; leading, working as He wills; distributing His own Gifts; the Spirit of Adoption, of Truth, of Wisdom, of Understanding, of Knowledge, of Godliness, of Counsel, of Fear (which are ascribed to Him ) by Whom the Father is known and the Son is glorified; and by Whom alone He is known; one class, one service, worship, power, perfection, sanctification. Why make a long discourse of it? All that the Father has the Son has also, except the being Unbegotten; and all that the Son has the Spirit has also, except the Generation. And these two matters do not divide the Substance, as I understand it, but rather are divisions within the Substance.

==

Translated by Charles Gordon Browne and James Edward Swallow. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 7. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1894.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight.
www.newadvent.org/fathers/310241.htm

===SOURCE:

Oratio XLI. In Pentecosten [41]
Θʹ. Τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἦν μὲν ἀεὶ, καὶ ἔστι, καὶ ἔσται, οὔτε ἀρξάμενον , οὔτε παυσόμενον, ἀλλ' ἀεὶ Πατρὶ καὶ Υἱῷ συντεταγμένον, καὶ συναριθμού μενον· οὐδὲ γὰρ ἔπρεπεν ἐλλείπειν ποτὲ, ἢ Υἱὸν Πα τρὶ, ἢ Πνεῦμα Υἱῷ. Τῷ μεγίστῳ γὰρ ἂν ἦν ἄδοξος ἡ θεότης, ὥσπερ ἐκ μεταμελείας ἐλθοῦσα εἰς συμ πλήρωσιν τελειότητος. Ἦν οὖν ἀεὶ μεταληπτὸν, οὐ μεταληπτικόν· τελειοῦν, οὐ τελειούμενον· πληροῦν, οὐ πληρούμενον· ἁγιάζον, οὐχ ἁγιαζόμενον· θεοῦν, οὐ θεούμενον· αὐτὸ ἑαυτῷ ταυτὸν ἀεὶ, καὶ οἷς συν τέτακται· ἀόρατον, ἄχρονον, ἀχώρητον, ἀναλλοίωτον, ἄποιον, ἄποσον, ἀνείδεον, ἀναφὲς, αὐτοκίνητον, ἀει κίνητον, αὐτεξούσιον, αὐτοδύναμον, παντοδύναμον (εἰ καὶ πρὸς τὴν πρώτην αἰτίαν, ὥσπερ τὰ τοῦ Μο νογενοῦς ἅπαντα, οὕτω δὴ καὶ τὰ τοῦ Πνεύματος ἀναπέμπεται)· ζωὴ, καὶ ζωοποιόν· φῶς, καὶ χορη γὸν φωτός· αὐτοαγαθὸν, καὶ πηγὴ ἀγαθότητος· Πνεῦμα εὐθὲς, ἡγεμονικὸν, κύριον, ἀποστέλλον, ἀφ ορίζον, ναοποιοῦν ἑαυτῷ, ὁδηγοῦν, ἐνεργοῦν ὡς βούλε ται, διαιροῦν χαρίσματα· Πνεῦμα υἱοθεσίας, ἀλη θείας, σοφίας, συνέσεως, γνώσεως, εὐσεβείας, βου λῆς, ἰσχύος, φόβου, τῶν ἀπηριθμημένων· δι' οὗ Πατὴρ γινώσκεται, καὶ Υἱὸς δοξάζεται, καὶ παρ' ὧν μόνων γινώσκεται, μία σύνταξις, λατρεία μία, προσκύνησις, δύναμις, τελειότης, ἁγιασμός. Τί μοι μακρολογεῖν; Πάντα ὅσα ὁ Πατὴρ, τοῦ Υἱοῦ, πλὴν τῆς ἀγεννησίας. Πάντα ὅσα ὁ Υἱὸς, τοῦ Πνεύματος, πλὴν τῆς γεννήσεως. Ταῦτα δὲ οὐκ οὐ σίας ἀφορίζει, κατά γε τὸν ἐμὸν λόγον, περὶ οὐσίαν δὲ ἀφορίζεται.

==

Migne Graeca PG 36, 441-442 [441B]
https://books.google.com/books?id=7fMUAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA411
 
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Steven Avery

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Henry Thomas Armfield

Armfield p. 23-24 - (this can be placed on a new thread, light ECW quoting of the Catholic Epistles)

First of all, by way of extenuation, a fact may be pleaded which does not seem to have been sufficiently regarded in previous discussions of the question before us — the fact, I mean, that comparatively slight notice seems to have been taken by the Greek Fathers, of the seven Catholic Epistles of St. James, St. Peter, St. John, and St. Jude. As to why this was so, various reasons will probably occur to those who are professionally acquainted with the subject ; but the fact remains that, on a general survey of early Greek Christian literature, the quotations from these Catholic Epistles are, even in proportion to their length, very much more rare than quotations from, say, the Epistles of St. Paul and certain other books of Holy Scripture. The copious indexes of Scriptural quotations, which generally accompany the large editions of Greek Fathers, furnish us with a ready means of arriving at something like an arithmetical estimate of this proportion. In St. Gregory of Nazianzum, for example, who might from the nature of his argument have been eminently expected to cite the disputed verse, and who actually does once cite the verse next to it, there are in the Cologne edition no less than seven folio pages of references to Scripture in his works ; yet, out of all this mass, there are but seven references to the whole of the Catholic Epistles.

CHAPTER IV.
LEADING DIFFICULTIES — TRUE CONTROVERSIAL VALUE OF THE VERSE.

But there is another plea to be advanced of an entirely different character. The difficulty, let it be remembered, is that the Greek Fathers do not quote the disputed verse in their arguments about the Trinity, when, it is alleged, it would have gone a long way towards settling the question at issue between the Catholic party and their opponents. There are, however, some considerations about the verse which would have made it in some respects an eminently undesirable verse to quote in answer to those particular opponents whom they had to combat. It is ....

Continues to p. 35, then the Grotius Arian issue to p. 37
Gregory is on p. 32-34
 
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Steven Avery

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Tim Dunkin - and referencing Franz Knittel

Tim Dunkin - 2010 (when less information was available than today, see above)
http://web.archive.org/web/20170107091941/http://studytoanswer.net/bibleversions/commadefense.pdf

While it seems that Gregory himself does not know of the Comma, it is also apparent that those with whom he was discussing the passage recognized a grammatical error that is present in the text if the Comma is not included. Knittel notes both the objection to verse 8 offered by Gregory's opponents on the basis of the grammatical solecism introduced by the deletion of the Comma, as well as Gregory's attempt to get around the problem by an effected indifference to the problem. He writes,

And what says the venerable Greek bishop in reply? He says, "It is indifferent to me whether we say treis or tria, in speaking of things of the neuter gender." Yet, surely, the Linguists of his day would scarcely have conceded that point to him. Neither Gregory, nor any other Greek, as far as I know, confirms this rule by their style of writing. Neither can we attempt to call the treis marturountes, a Hellenism: at least, St. John has distinctly shewn, that he cannot be liable to such an imputation in the present instance; nor, indeed, throughout his First Epistle."79

Knittel's argument is simply that despite Gregory's indifference, no knowledgeable Greek writer in that day would actually have believed the argument Gregory makes. Gregory's indifference appears to be more intended to turn aside an argument from his opponents through denigration, rather than by an appeal to reason or fact. Gregory himself, as well as other Greek writers (including John himself), did not make the sort of grammatical error introduced into the Johannine text by the deletion of the Comma. Far from being discovered "lately" by Robert Dabney (as certain Critical Text supporters on various internet forums have tried to claim), recognition of the grammatical difficulty for the Critical text supporter in this passage was recognized by a Greek-speaking patristic writer over sixteen centuries ago, though he apparently did not know what to make of it.

79 F.A. Knittel, New Criticisms of the Celebrated Text 1 John v. 7, Ed. Trans. W.A. Evanson, p. 208
 
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Steven Avery

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This is the earlier translation, very similar, than the one from Rochie, different footnotes.

A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church: Second Series, Volume 7 (1894)
Edited by Henry Wace and Philip Schaff
Gregory Nazianzen section by
Charles Gordon Browne. M.A.. Rector of Lvmpstone. Devon ;
James Edward Swallow. M.A.. Chaplain of the House of Mercy, Horbury.
https://books.google.com/books?id=inA7AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA323
https://books.google.com/books?id=GE9GDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA124
https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/310231.htm
https://englewoodreview.org/gregory-of-nazianzus-oration-on-the-holy-spirit/4/

Oration 31 - The Fifth Theological Oration. On the Holy Spirit, XIX

XIX. But to my mind, he says, those things are said to be connumerated and of the same essence of which the names also correspond, as Three Men, or Three gods, but not Three this and that. What does this concession amount to? It is suitable to one laying down the law as to names, not to one who is asserting the truth. For I also will assert that Peter and James and John are not three or consubstantial, so long as I cannot say Three Peters, or Three Jameses, or Three Johns; for what you have reserved for common names we demand also for proper names, in accordance with your arrangement; or else you will be unfair in not conceding to others what you assume for yourself.

What about John then, when in his Catholic Epistle he says that there are Three that bear witness, the Spirit and the Water and the Blood? Do you think he is talking nonsense? First, because he has ventured to reckon under one numeral things which are not consubstantial, though you say this ought to be done only in the case of things which are consubstantial. For who would assert that these are consubstantial? Secondly, because he has not been consistent in the way he has happened upon his terms; for after using Three in the masculine gender he adds three words which are neuter, contrary to the definitions and laws which you and your grammarians have laid down.

For what is the difference between putting a masculine Three first, and then adding One and One and One in the neuter, or after a masculine One and One and One to use the Three not in the masculine but in the neuter, which you yourself disclaim in the case of Deity? What have you to say about the Crab, which may mean either an animal, or an instrument, or a constellation? And what about the Dog, now terrestrial, now aquatic, now celestial? Do you not see that three crabs or dogs are spoken of? Why of course it is so. Well then, are they therefore of one substance? None but a fool would say that. So you see how completely your argument from connumeration has broken down, and is refuted by all these instances. For if things that are of one substance are not always counted under one numeral, and things not of one substance are thus counted, and the pronunciation of the name once for all is used in both cases, what advantage do you gain towards your doctrine?
 
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Steven Avery

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Grammar and the criticism from the Macedonian Opponents.
Charles Foster - Henry Thomas Armfield - Nathaniel Ellsworth Cornwall
(note Armfield above)

==========================================

For this one, also see Tim Dunkin above.

New Criticisms -
Franz Knittel
https://archive.org/details/newcriticismsonc00knitrich/page/206/mode/2up

.... and it is, at least in my judgment, exceedingly remarkable, that Gregory Nazianzen quotes an objection of his opponents against the 8th verse, drawn from this identical solecism.
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Charles Forster
http://books.google.com/books?id=yXIsAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA26
This is the Athanasius writing contra the Macedonians.

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Cornwall
http://books.google.com/books?id=rkQUAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA628
http://books.google.com/books?id=rkQUAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA641

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Armfield
http://books.google.com/books?id=5eQCAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA32

The Catholic doctors seem to have been quite alive to the possibility of this unfavourable turn being given to the argument. The passage of St. Gregory of Nazianzum, which has been so often quoted adversely to the disputed verse, betrays the consciousness of this. He cites the eighth verse of St. John’s chapter, but takes no notice of the seventh, which is in dispute. Barely stated, his omission constitutes one of the most formidable considerations against the verse, but any one who takes the trouble to read a page or two in this part of St. Gregory’s Oration will see that the disputed verse would have been entirely foreign to the point which at the moment St. Gregory was enforcing. His adversary, somewhat unfortunately for himself, had alleged that the usages of language did not admit of things being counted together, unless there was some community of nature among them. What about St. John? replies the Orator. “When he says in the Catholic Epistles that there are three who bear witness—the Spirit, the water, the blood—does he appear to you to be trifling ? First indeed because he has ventured to reckon together things which are not of the same nature—a process which you allow only in the case of things that are of the same of nature ? *

Is not this a clue to the kind of use which St. Gregory knew would have been made of the disputed verse if he had drawn it into the controversy at all ? The Catholic position, which he could quite well substantiate from other parts of Scripture, would have been impeded, embarrassed, and obscured by a subsidiary discussion as to whether the Three Witnesses classed by St. John in the same category, were meant to be regarded as of the same nature or of different natures ; whether in short, the parallel between the group of heavenly witnesses and the group of earthly witnesses was to be allowed as including a diversity of their several natures or not.

In point of fact it comes to this—that the disputed verse, if it could be divorced from its context, would have been the strongest possible argument for the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity ; but that if it be read in connection with the verse that follows, it is capable of being turned very seriously to the disadvantage of that doctrine. It is indeed affirmed by Aquinas that full advantage was taken of this consideration on the part of the Arian heretics ...

* Greg. Naz. Orat. 37 p. 603, ed. Colon. 16S0.

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Controversy
https://books.google.com/books?id=dVqwFG_y_4kC&pg=PA90

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Steven Avery

Administrator
Witness of God - Check each reference and is Orations 37 (it is really only Oration 31 Discourse 37) included?

Gregory of Nazianzus (329-390 AD) - Wikipedia
Gregory of Nazianzus (Greek: Γρηγόριος ὁ Ναζιανζηνός, Grēgorios ho Nazianzēnos; c. 329[2] – 25 January 390),[2][3] also known as Gregory the Theologian or Gregory Nazianzen, was a 4th-century Archbishop of Constantinople, and theologian. He is widely considered the most accomplished rhetorical stylist of the patristic age.[4] As a classically trained orator and philosopher he infused Hellenism into the early church, establishing the paradigm of Byzantine theologians and church officials.[4] Gregory made a significant impact on the shape of Trinitarian theology among both Greek- and Latin speaking theologians, and he is remembered as the "Trinitarian Theologian".
 
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Steven Avery

Administrator
The Witness of God is Greater

Gregory : Fifth Theological Oration (Oration 31) : Verse 7 & 8
Gregory says, in his 37th Discourse [Oration 31], “The Persons in the Godhead are one; not only as regards
that wherewith they are conjoined, but also as regards themselves, because of the Oneness of Essence and
Power: in short, they are ὁμοούσιοι.” Now this Unity, maintained by the Orthodox, was assailed by their
opponents, who attempted to prove an absurdity and inconsistency in the Orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. And
what gave [PAGE 59] occasion to this attack? I answer, ‘The clause, Three are one (Greek: TPIA EN).’
“You cannot deny,” said the adversaries, “that you understand by the "one" (Greek:‘EN), in this passage, a
perfect equality of the whole Divine Essence”. [fn. 49. This is evident from the connection with what
immediately follows: for they built their whole objection on the connumerating of the Persons in the Godhead;
on the Three (Greek: TA TPIA); and on the idea of the One (To ‘EN). I have therefore unravelled the intricate
argument of the opponents, for greater perspicuity's sake.]

You maintain further, that each Person of the Godhead is not a Quality, a mere relative denomination, but is
actually self-existent; and is, therefore, a separate Substance.—Now see the absurd consequences of this!”
How so? “Thus. By the Three (TA TPIA), the Divine Persons are here συναριθμούμενοι, that is,
connumerated." — This was undeniable. But then they assumed an axiom, to this effect: “Things only can be
connumerated which are of the same essence (Greek: τὰ ὁμοούσια) [fn. 50. The adversaries seem here to
have taken the word ὁμοούσιος in the erroneous sense, which was rejected by the Church in the year 273, at
the Councils of Antioch; according to which, there was no difference of the Persons.] : those, on the contrary,
which are not of the same essence (τὰ μὴ ὁμοούσια) cannot be connumerated.” And, thence, they argued
thus: “As, in the passage ‘Three are one,’ the Persons of the Godhead are connumerated; you must, "whether
they will or not" (Latin: nolentes volentes), in virtue of our axiom and this passage, grant the existence of Three
Gods — What absurdity?”

Gregory commences his refutation by controverting the axiom on which the objection of his adversaries was
founded. “You say," said he, “if things are to be connumerated, [PAGE 60] they must be of the same essence;
and therefore there must be no difference between them. What absurdity : Know ye not, that Numerals are
merely competent to express the quantity, and not the nature, of the things whose sum they designate? I call
things Three, which are that many in number, though they are different in Essence : likewise, I call One and
One and One, so many Units, namely, Three, when they have the same essence. For I look not, herein, to
their essence; but to their quantity, which constitutes the number that I affix to them.”

Now, though this was clear as the sun, and perfectly sufficient to confute the opponent's axiom, still Gregory
strikes into another path: and it is very interesting, very remarkable. [fn. 51. We see, therefore, that the whole
dispute originated in the connumerating of the Persons in the Godhead; which occurs only once in the Bible,
i.e., 1 John V.7.] — “Well, what is it?" — This.

“Since you,” says the bishop, “adhere so strictly to the letter of Scripture in this instance; namely, to the word
‘Three;’ though you generally controvert it; I therefore will also adduce proof from the same source (exeidsv);
namely, the letter of Holy Scripture”, which [PAGE 61] demonstrates the proposition, ‘Things also can be
connumerated which have not the same essence, but are different:’ ” — and accordingly he quotes passages
of Scripture, in which things of different kinds are numbered together; e.g. Prov. xxx. 29–31. Exod. xxxvii. 7.
Matt. vi. 24.

“Good bishop,” replied his opponents, “thou still understandest not all that we charge upon the clause ‘Three
are one.’ It is absurd; and therefore cannot possibly be derived from the discourse of the Apostle John. For, of
things, we can only say, ‘they are connumerated, and of like essence,' when the names proper to them (i.e.
those resulting from the identity of their essence) are expressly stated in their sums total. For instance, Three
men, Three Gods; not merely indefinite Three. No sensible man thinks, speaks, or writes otherwise. Away then
with the fancy, that the clause ‘Three are one,' originated with the Apostle!”

After Gregory had, in his own way, exposed the absurdity of this new principle also, he attacks the
consequence which the Heretics had inferred from this axiom, against the authenticity of the clause. “What,”
says he, “What! — the Apostle John? – shall he not be the author of this text, because in your opinion it
involves an absurdity. - Listen! — I will lay before you another passage of St. John (Greek: Τί δαὶ ὁ Ἰωάννης;),
whose authenticity you do not [PAGE 62] deny, which is conceived in the very same manner; namely, 1 John
V.8. ‘There are three that bear record, the spirit, the water, and the blood.’ What say you to that? Has the
Apostle expressed himself absurdly here; in the first place, because he combines things which are different in
essence? (For who will maintain, that spirit, water, and blood, are things of one and the same essence?)
Secondly, because he construes ungrammatically; inasmuch as he says of three things which are of the neuter
gender, that they are three (τρεῖς) in the masculine?”

Now what rational man, under such circumstances, will assert that Gregory wished to prove the existence of
the Trinity from 1 John V.8? It is therefore clear as the sun that the bishop was ignorant of the mystical
meaning of the 8th verse, Nay, I know not one of the [PAGE 63] Greek Fathers, though I have anxiously
perused them, who discovered Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in the 8th verse of 1 John V. I am therefore
convinced, by experience, of what honest Mill says: “No Greek understood the 8th verse mystically of the Holy
Trinity:" — an important maxim in criticising our disputed clause! It deprives our opponents of all recourse to 1
John V.8, when they meet with undeniable allusions to 1 John V. 7. in Greek Authors. I have also found what
Mill says, in this respect, of the Latin Fathers, perfectly correct. Augustin, of whom I have spoken above, is
unquestionably the first who metamorphosed the meaning of the 8th verse.
Origen, Ambrose, Cassiodore, Pope Leo the Great, Bede, and others, explain it quite differently; and much
more naturally.

It is therefore beyond all doubt that Gregory did not take his ‘EN TA TPIA, his TA TPIA EN, (which he
vindicates so sharply, as expressions of St. John) from the 8th verse. Nay, in citing this verse, he never once
quotes the words, "and these three agree in one" (Greek: καὶ οἱ τρεῖς εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν) etc. [Note: verse 8 without
the final clause] Now, would he have omitted words of such importance to him, if he had grounded his ‘EN TA
TPIA upon them? Assuredly not! Perhaps, indeed, they were not in his copy; and this would justify, or at least
excuse, the celebrated Note of St. [PAGE 64] Thomas Aquinas, on 1 John V.8. [Note: in the Complutensian
Polyglot] If it be said that Gregory did not consider them to be the words of the Apostle, there is only this
alternative: Either the bishop himself first invented this clause, or borrowed it elsewhere. That he was not the
inventor, is, I think, palpably evident; because the phrase ‘EN TA TPIA, long before the middle of the 4th
century, was a solemn form of expression, and generally known, among the Greek Christians, to designate the
Holy Trinity. I appeal to the author of the Didascomenus [Note: "Philopatris" by Lucian], of whose testimony I
shall speak more circumstantially hereafter. The Latins used the same expression in the 2d and 3d centuries.
"the three are one" (Latin:‘Tres unum sunt'), says Tertullian. "the three are one" (Latin:‘Tres unum sunt'), says
Cyprian. Now, as it plainly appears, as well from the Didascomenus as from Cyprian, that they took this phrase
from Scripture, and indeed from 1 John V.7, there remains no doubt that Gregory derived his TA TPIA EN from
the same source — l John V.7.

The expression was by no means merely technical, in Gregory's estimation: for he vindicates his TA TPIA EN
very zealously and firmly; which he never does in the case of technical terms. In the latter, he is very indulgent;
nay, he shuns all controversies of the kind, and holds them to be useless and ridiculous.

Knittel, New Criticisms on the Celebrated Text, 1 John V. 7, 1785; 1829, p. 58-64.
http://books.google.com/books?id=kKsCAAAAQAAJ&pg=PPA58
 
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