Eusebius material placed instead in the forum after it vanished from moderation queue.
heavenly witnesses (1 John 5:7) - rethinking the Trinitarian-Arian-Sabellian issues in the Ante-Nicene church
This relates to a blog post
How the Trinity Got Into the New Testament
Bart Ehrman - Jan 7, 2021
1 John 5:7 (AV)
For there are three that bear record in heaven,
the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost:
and these three are one.
Let’s examine the basic theory here!
“doctrine of the Trinity … three distinct persons … all of whom are completely and equally God … existed forever … same essence/substance. ..actually one .. three persons.”
A lot of conjectural extrapolation is needed to make the heavenly witnesses fit the above!
In the first centuries the heavenly witnesses could easily be rejected as Sabellian and non-Trinitarian. As pointed out by various scholars, including Edward Freer Hills (1912-1981). Also Thomas Smith, Frederick Nolan and Edward Burton were among those who emphasized these doctrinal issues.
Hills Revisited (2003) Jon Whitmer:
And since the Sabellian heresy was especially extensive among the Greek-speaking Church, this theory explains why the Johannine Comma might not have continued in the Greek NT, while being “preserved in the Latin texts of Africa and Spain, where the influence of Sabellianism was probably not so great.” – Edward F. Hills, The King Janies Version Defended ” –
The full, longer Edward Freer Hills section:
Note this from Eusebius of Caesarea, the church historian from the 4th century.
τὸ δὲ αὐτὸν εἶναι τοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ λόγου πατέρα, καὶ υἱὸν αὐτοῦ τὸν ἐν αὐτῷ λόγον, τῆς Σαβελλίου κακοδοξίας ἦν γνώρισμα, 3.4.1 ὡς αὖ πάλιν καὶ τὸ λέγειν τὰ τρία ἓν εἶναι, τὸν πατέρα καὶ τὸν υἱὸν καὶ τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα· Σαβελλίου γὰρ καὶ τοῦτο.
“[To say] that the Father is the same as the Word inside him, and that his Son is the Word inside him is the mark of the heresy of Sabellius. So again also the saying that the Three are One, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; for this is also of Sabellius.”
Eusebius of Caesarea (260-340 AD), De Ecclesiastica Theologia Book 3 Chapter III to Chapter IV
Migne Graeca, PG 24 [1001D to 1004A]
This quote only came to English recently, and into discussions about the heavenly witnesses text.
It is sensible to understand that the heavenly witnesses text is authentic New Testament scripture. And it dropped out of most of the Greek line under the doctrinal pressures of the day, likely combined with homoeoteleuton to create the split line. And the theories that claim the heavenly witnesses as an "interpolation" have very great difficulties.
Dutchess County, NY USA
THIS WAS NOT PUT IN THE OP
The general view of Eusebius as an opponent of Marcellus is given in:
Constantine and Eusebius (1981)
Timothy David Barnes
And building on Barnes and looking at Daniel, there is more on Eusebius and Marcellus here:
The Eastern Christian Exegetical Tradition of Daniel's Vision of the Ancient of Days (1999)
Frederick Nolan (1784-1864) discussed the Eusebius opposition to “the three are one” in 1815. Nolan theorized that both sides in the Sabellian controversies were discomfited by the text, and that discomfit contributed to its dropping from the Greek line. A good summary of Nolan's viewpoint is given here:
A reply to the “End of Religious Controversy (1821)
Nolan is here:
An Inquiry Into the Integrity of the Greek Vulgate, or received text of the New Testament (1815)
Jerome also discussed how the heavenly witnesses text would be deliberately dropped, in the Vulgate Prologue to the Canonical Epistles.