James Snapp struggles against the heavenly witnesses - Proverbs 18:17
when James Snapp made lucid arguments on the heavenly witnesses evidemces
This was originally placed here on Facebook, then brought to PBF
James Snapp struggles against the heavenly witnesses
James in brown
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Cyprian and the Comma Johanneum - James Snapp
Lets go over this article by James Snapp.
"Comma Johanneum in Greek manuscripts is staggeringly poor."
Virtually all these mss are late, and the Greek Byzantine text had normalized on omission. So, how many are before 500 AD? 700 AD? 900 AD? (you can even include the SInaiticus 1800s ms). That information is critical in such a discussion of the significance of omission.
"The Latin support for the inclusion of the Comma Johanneum is plentiful, and its earliest components are only slightly later than the earliest manuscript-evidence for non-inclusion."
This "slightly later" is absurd, as it is circular to the Snapp later lack of logic. Cyprian is clearly far earlier than any omission ms. evidence. There are numerous supporting early allusions, e.g. Hundredfold Martyrs has been in the modern version apparatus as Ps-Cyprian. Cyprian (two refs), Tertullian and Hundredfold Martyrs give you four (and more) components earlier than any ms, two of which have even been in the tinged modern apparatus.
In listing the major fully accepted references (even by hardened contras) evidences, the 10 Books on the Trinity, that have multiple references, is omitted.
Numerous lesser references are omitted. Even a trip to Wikipedia would have filled in many of these gaps.
The Councils of Carthage section is fair, James omits a few salient points. One perplexity I will mention here:
"about four hundred bishops of Africa and Mauritania, together with others from Corsica and Sardinia, met in Carthage"
Thomas Joseph Lamy, American Ecclesiastical Review, 1 John v 7, 1897 p.464
How did James reduce this to "over 100"?
"more probably by Vigilius Tapsensis in North Africa "
As I remember, this is old scholarship, quite dubious, yet commonly repeated.
"the CJ is mentioned in the Preface to the Canonical Epistles"
James is extremely deceptive here, since he does not even mention that this is a first-person writing of Jerome. And consistent with Jerome's history, style and knowledge.
James has tried to take the position that it is a forgery, but has never been willing to try to expound and defend that position, which really is a frivolous objection of no merit. Especially since the original accusation was built upon the idea that the Prologue only showed up in later mss.
Probably understood, this is one of the super-evidences, like Cyprian, like Carthage, like the grammar and internal evidences, which, with the large Old Latin and Latin ms body of evidence, any one of which is probative to authenticity.
(to be continued
The Diversion of the Negative Analogy - Missing the Real Analogy
Now I want to stop for a moment on the "negative analogy", the analogy that misses the point, and thus does more harm than good. This is a skill that James has honed.
"Against the point that none of the early Greek manuscripts of First John contain the CJ, the counterpoint may be submitted that Hort, in 1881, argued for six readings in the General Epistles which are likewise supported by no ancient Greek manuscripts – and in 2013, the Nestle-Aland compilers adopted a reading into the text of Second Peter 3:10 that is found in no Greek manuscripts. Clearly, at least among some highly influential textual critics, the lack of early Greek manuscript support does not rule out the plausibility of a textual variant."
We don't really care about some Critical Text absurdities and oddball variants. The simplest and strongest analogy verse to the heavenly witnesses is Acts 8:37, a verse that James has defended as authentic scripture. It has many similar elements.
1) full verse
2) doctrinally salient
3) easy methods to omission
4) likelihood of inclusion over omission a basic textual truth
5) blatant obvious lacuna if verse is omitted
6) weak Greek support
7) strong ECW and Latin support
The major differences it that the heavenly witnesses has a powerful grammatical argument.
Looking at Critical Text silliness is barely even majoring in the minors, it is just a distraction from the real issues, looking instead to non-issues and pseudo-issues.
James Snapp misrepresentation of heavenly witnesses defense
"So those who defend the CJ may have an answer to Dan Wallace’s charge that they are denying history. They are proposing that early scribal errors resulted in the corruption of all of the early Greek manuscripts"
Here we have Snapp engaging in error begets error, following his own errant emphasis. He pretends that pure Bible defenders of the heavenly witnesses rely on homoeoteleuton as their full argument.
The theory of omission includes two major complementary components:
1) doctrinal preference
The "history" can easily involve both components. Homoeoteleuton leads to a missing verse, while doctrinal preferences lead to accepting the mangled, shortened verse in a scribal decision, faced with alternative manuscripts. The ONLY virtually impossible scenario is (2) -- homoeoteleuton only. Far more likely is either (2) followed by (1) or simply (1). The advantage of (2) followed by (1) is that it keeps a level of scribal integrity, but (1) alone is surely possible. The major dropping of the Greek line could have occurred during the "Sabellian" controversies, where "and these three are one" might be seen as too supportive of their position.
If James was really familiar with the writings of men like Edward Freer Hills and Henry Thomas Armfield, he would be more aware of this element. There are many reasons why in the Ante-Nicene period (referred to by Hills and Armfield), or even in the Reformation era, scribes would prefer the shortened, mangled verse.
In the latter period, better known, a couple of names to research would be Bugenhagen and Luther, and Grotius. Even Erasmus may have well been influenced to hold back the verse in the editions 1 & 2 by what is called his semi-Arian doctrine.
The last thing in the world AV and heavenly witnesses defenders need is James Snapp doing a faux formulation of our arguments.
My view, we really do not need frenemies of the pure Bible posturing, and thus pretending to speak for us.
The Phantasmogorical idea of Cyprian Allegorizing
The next argument from James is a total fail. You can not make a reasonable analogy from 400 AD or 600 AD to mystical or allegorical interpretations and try to force them back on Cyprian and try to force them back on Cyprian in 250 AD in the Ante-Nicene era before the Arian controversies.
1) Cyprian is a careful quoter of scripture. And in the Unity of the Church quote he specifically says he is quoting scripture.
2) By 400 to 600 AD you had a whole history of back and forth with the heavenly and earthly witnesses. As an example the paper by Fickermann proposes that Augustine was well aware of the heavenly witnesses and simply preferred to bypass the verse (likely knowing that it involved split line theory). The doctrinal and textual echos of the heavenly witnesses would be the root cause the very selfsame later allegorizing.
The idea of James that you can backward analogize from Scotti Anonymi to Cyprian is a joke. Many astute writers like Armfield and Pieper have dealt with this phony argumentation. Marty Shue dealt with this years ago in the online discussions. Yes, it could be its own mini-paper.
"when these nouns are rearranged as “the water and the blood and the spirit,” a symbolic interpretation becomes much more natural."
Not for Cyprian, there is no way to mangle his precise writing and do a wild mind-reading, except as a worthless ultra-conjectural nothing.
Omission as Trickery
The last point about this Cyprian article is tricky omission, how James deceives in trying to pretend to be giving an overview of all the issues.
The massive Latin mss preponderance is bypassed.
The virtually complete Old Latin ms support is unmentioned.
Many ECW evidences in Greek and Latin are unmentioned.
The knowledge that omission is easy, inclusion is difficult.
The believer's understanding of the providential imperative. God would not "fool" a major part of his church with a faux fundamental scripture.
1 John 5:4-9
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world:
and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world,
but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ;
not by water only, but by water and blood.
And it is the Spirit that beareth witness,
because the Spirit is truth.
For there are three that bear record in heaven,
the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost:
and these three are one.
And there are three that bear witness in earth,
the spirit, and the water, and the blood:
and these three agree in one.
If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater:
for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.
"Internal" evidences, including the solecism, are unmentioned. This includes the incredible Johannine style and wording, and elements like the flat repetition when verse 7 is omitted, the "witness of God" in verse 9 pointing right back to the heavenly witnesses and more.
You almost have to be an ignoramus, or at least dull to the life of the scripture (or a modern textual critic), to try to argue against this verse with the wealth of support now available. The heavenly witnesses is the heart and mariner's compass (Bengel and Wesley) of the chapter, the Epistle and the writings of John.