Jeroen Beekhuizen - The Comma Johanneum revisited

Steven Avery

Administrator
The Comma Johanneum revisited
A Theology bachelor thesis which explores on textcritical and exegetical basis the possibility that the Comma Johanneum is original.

June 2017 - revised March 2018
Thesis supervisor:
Prof. dr. G.H. van Kooten
By Jeroen Beekhuizen

(Geurt Hendrik van Kooten, University of Groningen)
http://ggw.studenttheses.ub.rug.nl/372/1/1617-TH Beekhuizen, J.H. Ba-thesis.pdf
Overview of paper history
http://ggw.studenttheses.ub.rug.nl/372/


Suggestion: download and use a PDF reader, easier to navigate than in a browser window. Added, May 2019, this may now be more restricted.

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

There are a number of excellent points in this paper.
Mini-review planned!

Currently posts are on:

Facebook - Pure Bible
https://www.facebook.com/groups/purebible/permalink/1860005970757950/

Facebook - King James Bible Debate
https://www.facebook.com/groups/21209666692/permalink/10156206866336693/?comment_id=10156211168876693&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R%22%7D

More to be added - this can go on the scholarship forums with more notice, it was written for a well-respected Groningen professor, Geurt Henk van Kooten, (at Cambridge now since 2018) whom I had noticed for his writings on the pagan Jupiter (which we know today is the devil "Yahweh" entity.)

The contra Bill Brown put out his normal reactive response on BVDB after he saw my references to the paper. He makes a couple of decent points (easy to notice) but most of what he wrote is pablum nothing.
https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/bib...ic.php?f=4&t=6082&p=73920&hilit=Jeroen#p73920



 
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Steven Avery

Administrator
an investigation into the entire history of the Church ... the very essence of John's Gospel ..weighed rather than counted

Two superb quotes:

... it has been satisfying because investigating into the Comma Johanneum has been an investigation into the entire history of the Church and of Textual Criticism. What is more, it proved to be an investigation into the very essence of John's Gospel.
... Metzger himself articulates the general axiom of textual critics that "witnesses are to be weighed rather than counted." The weight of the early date Church Father quotations above is more than the weight of those hundreds of (quite to very) late date manuscripts.
(the context is especially Origen and Tertullian and Cyprian)
 
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Steven Avery

Administrator
the blame-game - it's the fault of Erasmus

the blame-game - it's the fault of Erasmus

Introduction
Before the art of printing was invented textual criticism was not totally absent, yet it was necessarily limited to individual manuscripts. With the possibility to print and thus to produce a universally available standard text, textual criticism evolved from a personal quest of the interested individual into a vital part of theological science. With this evolution trouble started for the Comma Johanneum, a verse in 1 John 5 which was part of the Latin tradition but now appeared to be absent from the Greek. Erasmus first decided to omit it, but others dared not to follow his example and ultimately it was included in the so called Textus Receptus. In recent times these facts have found widely different evaluations. In scholarship the general trend is to blame Erasmus for eventually yielding to the pressure, thence subjecting objective textual criticism to orthodox feeling.
1

1 Most explicitly in David M. Whitford, "Yielding to the Prejudices of His Times: Erasmus and the Comma Johanneum," Church History and Religious Culture 95 (2015): 19-40.
Jeroen is 100% right about this dynamic. Blaming Erasmus (and also the Authorized Version) is a common shallow argumentation of the contras.

The paper on Erasmus referenced by the Baylor Professor does look like it might add some interesting points, even if it comes from the point of view of the normal anti-heavenly-witnesses textcrit error.

On Erasmus, I would like to recommend the recent paper by Jeff Riddle, who deals with the issues of the rush to print and the Erasmus promise ("rash wager".)

Erasmus Anecdotes, Puritan Reformed Journal Vol. 9, No. 1 (January 2017): 101-112.
Jeff Riddle
https://www.academia.edu/31085627/Erasmus_Anecdotes_Puritan_Reformed_Journal_Vol._9_No._1_January_2017_101-112

Erasmus Anecdotes - Sermon Audio - Jeff Riddle
http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=32416175197

Jeff Riddle Sidenote: The Greenlee Blunder of Claiming that only the 3rd Edition of Erasmus included the Heavenly Witnesses

In a blog post:

Saturday, March 26, 2016
A Questionable Greenlee Anecdote on the CJ in Erasmus
http://www.jeffriddle.net/2016/03/a-questionable-greenlee-anecdote-on-cj.html

Jeff Riddle describes an Erasmus blunder of Harold Greenlee claiming that it was only the 3rd edition that had the heavenly witnesses. This has been given as "scholarship" from 1964 to 1995 (and even 2008), an example of how shallow had been the heavenly witnesses scholarship by the contras. Jeff makes a very similar point to that of Jeroen.

Jeff Riddle
As I’ve pointed out before, there seems to have been a distinct effort to disparage Erasmus’ work by modern critics who were keen on toppling the Textus Receptus in favor of the rise of the modern critical text, beginning early in the nineteenth century.
Here are examples of blunders galore, and this from a writer, Harold Greenlee (1918-2015) who was usually reliable:

The Text of the New Testament: From Manuscript to Modern Edition (2008)
By J. Harold Greenlee
https://books.google.com/books?id=ocmqh77o6dIC&pg=PT45

The New Testament Meets the Printing Press

... In his fourth and subsequent editions he again omitted the passage. By a quirk of circumstances, however, it was Erasmus’s third edition that proved to have the most lasting influence on other editions by other editors, and thus the reference to the heavenly witnesses, which is not found in any Greek New Testament ms produced earlier than the sixteenth century, came to be an accepted part of the Greek text and later found its way into the kjv in English.
Also in 1985 we can see online. This is as bad as James White and his errors on Sinaiticus, the blunder remains for decades, Greenlee's was over 40 years. However, it did not have the bad faith, railing accusation component of the White boomerang attack.

Scribes, scrolls, and scripture: a student's guide to New Testament textual criticism (1985)
https://books.google.com/books?id=R...ved=0ahUKEwiCz_mqppzdAhXqqFkKHWnECmEQ6AEILzAB
 

Steven Avery

Administrator
working with the Metzger agitprop disinformation campaign


§1.1 Introduction
The textcritical arguments against the authenticity of the Comma can be found in almost every commentary on 1 John and often with little variation. Unfortunately these arguments cannot be said to be presented in a fair and balanced manner; misleading statements and exaggeration is not uncommon. Since most of these commentaries derive their arguments from the work of Bruce M. Metzger2 the best method to proceed will be to closely evaluate his arguments while assessing the evidence.

In short words Metzger's argument is that the Comma is (1) absent from far most of the Greek manuscripts, (2) not quoted by the Greek Fathers, (3) absent from all ancient versions including the earliest Latin versions, (4) can be explained as allegorical gloss, (5) no good reason can be found for its omission were it original and finally (6) it "makes an awkward break in the sense" of 1 John 5.3 Whether the last argument is correct will be explored in chapter 2, but the other arguments will one by one be tested on their validity in this chapter. Certainly, if Metzger is correct then defending the Comma will indeed hardly be worth the effort, yet it will become apparent that these arguments are not what they seem.

2 Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (2nd edition; Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2002).
This Metzger trickery, used by so many parrots, is something I had noticed as well, e.g.:

[TC-Alternate-list] heavenly witnesses - Metzger word-parsing disinformation attempt
Steven Avery - July, 2012
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/TC-Alternate-list/conversations/topics/5064


§1.3 Second argument: the Greek Fathers

... In the entire TLG database I have only found 13 quotations of these verses of 1 John. This is telling: if in the existing Greek texts of fourteen centuries these verses (be it with or without Comma) are only 13 times quoted, then lack of quotation can never be an argument against the Comma.8 What is more, there are no Greek quotations without the Comma before the fifth century.


8 If Greek translations of Latin works are included it will be a little more than 13 quotations. Those do have the Comma, however, so it makes no difference for my argument.
I'm leading with this because it is an important detail, researched with an exact number. I would like to look at each reference. e.g. If a reference is in the context of water baptism, then there is little significance.

His italics are a bit overstated, but the basic point of the paucity of referencing is ultra-sound. On the other hand there are many ways to strengthen his argument, including the fact that many Greek scholars would also know the Latin referencing.



 

Steven Avery

Administrator
Eusebius and the Sabellian controversies

Three sister threads:

Jeroen Beekhuizen - The Comma Johanneum revisited
Eusebius and the Sabellian controversies
https://www.purebibleforum.com/index.php/threads/a.792/post-1699

Raising the Ghost of Arius - Grantley McDonald
skimming over the theories that the heavenly witnesses was interpolated or favored by Arians and Sabellians
https://www.purebibleforum.com/index.php/threads/a.421/post-4977

scholars theorizing that the Sabellian controversies contributed to the Greek ms line drop
https://www.purebibleforum.com/index.php/threads/a.671
Eusebius :
Eusebius.jpg
Eusebius 2.jpg
3. Eusebius 11 (fourth century) has an interesting passage which may be a reference to the Comma. In his Ecclesiastical Theology where he refutes some Sabellian opinions of Marcellus he says:

"[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 (Grk), the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; for this is also of Sabellius (Grk).
"

Although I am not claiming that Eusebius quotes the Comma here, his phraseology is remarkable. He could have said 'saying that the Three are One is also of Sabellius', but now he adds his last clause in a way that puts special emphasis on the saying 'that the Three are One' - 'for this is also of Sabellius'. Whether Eusebius had the Comma in mind or not, it is clear that the language of the Comma could be regarded as Sabellian.

11 Eusebius of Caesarea, De Ecclesiastica Theologia 3.3-3.4 (PG 24:1001-1004c).
This is a good find, and confirms the idea that the verse may have dropped out because of the fact that it might be more comfortable for the Sabellians than the Trinitarians in the early controversies.

sister thread

scholars theorizing that the Sabellian controversies contributed to the Greek ms line drop
https://www.purebibleforum.com/index.php/threads/a.671
Did Frederick Nolan write of this Eusebius saying in the context of the heavenly witnesses? Nolan tended to finger Eusebius as being directly a part of the suppression of the heavenly witnesses. And the controversy over the heavenly witness verse would be a very sensible backdrop to this saying by Eusebius.

Charles Forster (and perhaps Knittel and also the Latin-only authors) should be checked.

Why are we just getting this information now?

Forthcoming: translation of Eusebius’ “Contra Marcellum” and “Ecclesiastical Theology”
Roger Pearsse - August 29, 2013
https://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog...contra-marcellum-and-ecclesiastical-theology/

We have English translations of a great deal of Patristic literature. One of the most conspicuous absences, however, has been the five books that Eusebius of Caesarea wrote against Marcellus of Ancyra after the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. These are the Contra Marcellum and the Ecclesiastical Theology
.
An extract from Eusebius, “Ecclesiastical Theology” III, 4-6
Roger Pearse - August 30, 2013
https://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/2013/08/30/an-extract-from-eusebius-ecclesiastical-theology-iii-4-6/

A portion of Eusebius of Caesarea’s Ecclesiastical Theology, written against Marcellus of Ancyra, was edited and translated in John Mackett, Eusebius of Caesarea’s Theology of the Holy Spirit. Milwaukee, WI : Marquette University, 1990. As it is not too long, I think it might be interesting to give the passage translated here.

Mackett goes on to discuss the meaning of the discussion – a very necessary thing! – but I have no access to that portion of his dissertation.

Marcellus of Ancyra had written a text against Asterius, a former sophist and one of the early Arians. Eusebius responds to this work.

What strikes us, forcibly, is that this text is only meaningful to people with an interest in Trinitarian theology. This explains why a translation has been so long in coming. I am told that the usage of the terms in Eusebius differs from that of later writers, just to complicate things.

The term “hypostasis” means “being” or “substantive reality”, I think. Later it comes to mean “person”, and the formula that God is three hypostases / persons in one ousia / being appears. But that’s about as far as I can go.

Let us now hear from Eusebius.
* * * * * *
How Marcellus, not understanding the Scriptures, determined for himself that the hypostasis of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one.

And thus once again the statement that the three (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) are one is also Sabellian. Marcellus also expressed this same opinion and somewhere wrote: “For it is impossible for three existing hypostases to be united in a monad unless earlier the Triad should have its beginning from a monad. For St. Paul said that those things which in no way belong to the unity in God will be brought together in a monad; for only the Word and the Spirit belong to the unity in God. ...

Now through these arguments (and ones like them) the smart aleck tries to build his case that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one and the same, because three names are given to one hypostasis. ...

Wherefore only this spirit has been included in the holy and thrice-blessed Triad. This is not different from the Savior’s explaining to his apostles his sacrament of rebirth for all those from the nations who believe in him. He commanded them to baptize “them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Of the Father because he has full authority and gives the grace. Of the Son because he ministers to this grace (for “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”). Of the Holy Spirit, that is, the Paraclete, who is himself provided according to the diversity of graces in himself: ‘For to one is given a word of wisdom through the Spirit, but to another a word of knowledge according to the same spirit. To another is given faith by the same Spirit” and likewise the things considered with these. ...

Therefore these mysteries are handed over to the holy and catholic Church through the divine titles. But Marcellus confuses everything: sometimes he takes into himself the whole depth of Sabellius, another time he tries to revive the heresy of Paul of Samosata, and other times he is openly refuted as a Jew for he introduces one three-faced and, as it were, three-named hypostasis by saying God, the Word in him, and the Holy Spirit are the same.”
(continues)

More context on the Roger Pearse site. Then more still in the book.

Plus, we should briefly mention Greek evidences not included by Jeroem, like the Synopsis of Sacred Scripture and Quaestiones Aliae

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

Amd historically Frederick Cornwallis Conybeare (1856-1924), in:

The Authorship of the Contra Marcellum (1905)
Frederick Cornwallis Conybeare
https://www.degruyter.com/abstract/j/zntw.1905.6.issue-1/zntw.1905.6.1.250/zntw.1905.6.1.250.xml

questioned the attribution to Eusebius of Caesarea of the letters to Marcellum, offering the alternative of Eusebius of Emesa, and was fully rebuffed by:

Note on the Authorship of the Contra Marcellum and the De Ecclesistica Theologia (1905)
Chase, Frederic Henry (1853-1925), and Bethune-Balcer, J. F.,
https://archive.org/details/journaltheologi04unkngoog/page/n542
 
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Steven Avery

Administrator
homoeoarcton and homoeoteleuton

Important for textcritical purposes is the observation that there is repetition of 'there are three who testify' which opens the possibility of the Comma being dropped out by homoeoarcton: the scribes eye jumped from the first to the second clause because they open with the same words.
Usually this is put in the context of the "three are one" ending, which is the similar homoeoteleuton. Perhaps the small difference in the ending, where only the last two words are identical, led Jeroem to write of the front side.
 

Steven Avery

Administrator
Robin Whalen book - Being Christian in Vandal Africa


Facebook
Patristics for Protestants
https://www.facebook.com/groups/884...=2052613351491116&comment_tracking={"tn":"R"}

Steven Avery
Robin Whelan seems to stumble on the actual Biblical passage recognition. This can be the result of the nexus where Biblical scholarship meets historical scholarship.

In this section, Athanasius is purported to be Vigilius writing as Athanasius (A friend is doing some special research on this question, this section from Robin Whelan is helpful for that attribution.)

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

Being Christian in Vandal Africa: The Politics of Orthodoxy in the Post-Imperial West (2018)
Robin Whelan
https://books.google.com/books?id=oxc-DwAAQBAJ&pg=PA125

In the midst of a long Trinitarian discourse in the Dialogue, Athanasius refers Arius to a detailed treatment of a particularly important Pauline passage, “confirming that the three are one God”.

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

And I think it is safe to say that Robin Whelan is referencing the heavenly witnesses, which is very Johannine and not Pauline! :)
In the thread you can see the interesting question as to whether the Vandals should be called Arian. The Robin Whelan book has a lot of fine material, here is a note I made.

However, I want to offer many kudos to the Robin Whelan book.

Here is one quote, from p. 123, that illustrates one major point from Andrew Davis above.

(it is very neat that so much of the meat of what we are discussing is on Google books immediately available.)

Robin Whelan
"If Arius was a Homoian, a Eunomian, and a Triousian, so Homoians in Vandal Africa were Eunomians, Triousians, and, fundamentally, Arians"

A neat phrase-turner.
 

Steven Avery

Administrator
From the Patristics for Protestants discussion:

Steven Avery
Andrew Davis - there are many elements to this question.

The primary one is simple. Where did the wide-ranging "and these three are one" phrasing for "Christology" have its genesis?. Charles Forster, following in the footsteps of Franz Knittel,r wrote a great book "New Plea" that basically gives the one sensible answer .. the heavenly witnesses scripture verse, even if it fell out of the Greek line. This can be accepted no matter how you feel the verse should be interpreted.

Plus the vector of dropping of a verse is much easier than any proposed adding that is supposed to take over a major language line. (the largest line, Latin). The preservational imperative indicates there are no bogus scriptures in our Greek, Latin or Syriac lines (nor others), contra Ehrman, Wallace and many lemmings.

As for Eusebius, Frekderick Nolan felt that his leverage with the fifty copies for Constantine was important, and he was adverse to the verse. This would be the case whether it was in some of his source Greek Bibles or not. Once there is a split line, it is easy to say "no way" as the supporters of the Westcott-Hort recension do today with the Pericope Adultera, the Mark resurrection appearances of the Lord Jesus, "Father, forgive them", and verses galore. They can be sincere in believing these verses are not scripture, and they are sincerely wrong. So the same could be for Eusebius in the 4th century. Sincere .. and wrong.

So to say that Eusebius did not accept the verse as scripture is quite surely true, but not very relevant. In addition to the open-ended Greek ms. question, (as discussed later in Jerome's Vuglate Prologue), Cyprian's writing would be available, and the Old Latin mss, it is only convoluted and absurd modern confusion non-scholarship that tries to make the heavenly witnesses a post- Nicaea creation.

The argument from silence is of minor import because

1) we have little directly from Sabellians, and the great mass of what they wrote is gone-text

2) Athanasius can talk of the Trinity and not mention Matthew 28:19, silences are limited in significance.

3) there is in fact wide ranging Ante-Nicene allusions to the verse , in Latin and Greek, supporting the Cyprian direct reference

4) those in the Sabellian camp could also be discomfited by the verse (as are some oneness adherents, and almost all unitarians, today ... Ben David was a quirky exception) .. so it might have been both sides that like the verse bypass

5) the disciplina arcanii can come to play, as mentioned by Cyril of Jerusalem

6) Constantine wrote to Alexander and Arius about a hot-button verse, that sounds very much like the heavenly witnesses

7) we have the direct statement from Eusebius that sounds like he is addressing this very question

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

"How Marcellus, not under*standing the Scriptures, determined for himself that the hypostasis of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one.

And thus once again the statement that the three (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) are one is also Sabellian."

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

Frederick Nolan did not have that available, but it fits his theory of Eusebius falling on the contra side to a "T".

There may be more, but I think this can help see the picture clearer.

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

Thanks for your searching thoughts, I hope my sharing here is edifying as well.

Steven
Steven Avery
Andrew Davis - I will look into your doctrinal distinction. This would be fine by me, if the description is more accurate not to use Arian for Huneric and the Vandals.

Your last point about the Council looks a little strained, especially with the quote referencing John's Epistle as "clearer than the light."

The Nicene group was under lots of pressure at the conference, as you know. If the heavenly witnesses was not actually in the Bibles of both sides, the handy-dandy accusation of forging scripture would have been a extra-heavy club that the Vandals would use.

As to being late, not really. The theory of the non-heavenly-witnesses side are that the verse barely existed until about 400 AD. If that were the case, there would be zero vector of transmission to have the verse in the 500+ Old Latin Bibles of Carthage. This problem is never addressed by those opposing authenticity, in my experience.

The learned Ambrosius Dorhout (1699-1776) wrote about it in Latin, and I am hoping to have the fuller section translated, he wrote about this historical evidence:

...instar centenorum codicum, qui eptimae notae sunt seculi V
[equivalent to that of a hundred of the best MSS. of the fifth century].
(Christian Observer 1824 p.683)

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

And of course, this should not be viewed in isolation. We go into Cyprian (and the similar Tertullian ref), the incredible Vulgate Prologue of Jerome, the extant Old Latin mss., the many Latin apologetic references of the era, the solecism in the short Greek text, and a dozen or two other corroborating evidences.

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

However, I would like to return more to Eusebius above.

While appreciating your contributions on Carthage. So I am all ears to the counterpoint. It is good to finally have helpful contributions.
Steven Avery
Andrew Davis - I will look into your doctrinal distinction. This would be fine by me, if the description is more accurate not to use Arian for Huneric and the Vandals.

Your last point about the Council looks a little strained, especially with the quote referencing John's Epistle as "clearer than the light."

The Nicene group was under lots of pressure at the conference, as you know. If the heavenly witnesses was not actually in the Bibles of both sides, the handy-dandy accusation of forging scripture would have been a extra-heavy club that the Vandals would use.

As to being late, not really. The theory of the non-heavenly-witnesses side are that the verse barely existed until about 400 AD. If that were the case, there would be zero vector of transmission to have the verse in the 500+ Old Latin Bibles of Carthage. This problem is never addressed by those opposing authenticity, in my experience.

The learned Ambrosius Dorhout (1699-1776) wrote about it in Latin, and I am hoping to have the fuller section translated, he wrote about this historical evidence:

...instar centenorum codicum, qui eptimae notae sunt seculi V
[equivalent to that of a hundred of the best MSS. of the fifth century].
(Christian Observer 1824 p.683)

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

And of course, this should not be viewed in isolation. We go into Cyprian (and the similar Tertullian ref), the incredible Vulgate Prologue of Jerome, the extant Old Latin mss., the many Latin apologetic references of the era, the solecism in the short Greek text, and a dozen or two other corroborating evidences.

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

However, I would like to return more to Eusebius above.

While appreciating your contributions on Carthage. So I am all ears to the counterpoint. It is good to finally have helpful contributions.
 

Steven Avery

Administrator
John K. Mackett - Preface

Extracts
https://search.proquest.com/docview/303836259

Preface

It has generally been assumed by historical theologians that there was no significant development in the theology of the Holy Spirit until after the question concerning the Son's relationship to the Father had been dogmatically defined at the Council of Nicaea (325). Recent historical scholarship has called into question the adequacy of viewing the Council of Nicaea as the historical and doctrinal pivot point that earlier generations of scholars thought it was. This calls for a renewal of studies of the theology of the fourth century in general and the theology of the Holy Spirit in particular.

One of the key bishops at the Council of Nicaea was Eusebius of Caesarea (bom A. D. 260, died A. D. 339). Historians of theology have tended to pass over the study of Eusebius' theology—assuming either that Eusebius was a historian, not a theologian, or that his theology simply reproduced the thinking of Origen. With the renewal of studies in fourth century theology has come a new understanding of Eusebius as a theologian in his own right and a new intexest in what Eusebius' theology was.

One area of Eusebius' theology that has been neglected is his theology of the Holy Spirit. This dissertation seeks to address that lack and so contribute both to the new understanding of Eusebius of Caesarea the theologian and to the study of the development of the theology of the Holy Spirit.

Completing a dissertation in historical theology has caused me to reflect some on my own history. This has aroused deep feelings of gratitude to the many who have helped me to complete this project. Special thanks are due to: Rev. Joseph T. Lienhard, S. ]., for his excellent teaching and helpful direction of this dissertation; the Council of Elders and Pastors of Elmbrook Church, particularly Stuart Briscoe, Mel Lawrenz, Dave Seemuth, and Dave Hubbard, for their continual encouragement; Astrid Mehring and Tom Keppeler for their assistance; and the Deacons of the Praise Gathering and Neighborhood Groups. I want to give special acknowledgement to my late father Richard and my mother Shirley, who always encouraged me in my educational endeavors, and to Elmer and Fran Pannier, my parents in the faith, who have prayed daily for me as I worked on this project.

This dissertation is dedicated to Betsy (truly a Proverbs 31 woman!) and David with the prayer that the Holy Spirit will pour out upon our family the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that are the special gifts of his working in our lives. Soli Deo gloria.
INTRODUCTION

The approximately three hundred bishops who gathered together in a sacred Council in the city of Nicaea in the year A. D. 325 had this to say about
the third Person of the Trinity: "And [we believe] in the Holy Spirit." According to tradition, fifty-six years later, one hundred fifty bishops gathered
in Constantinople and affirmed this about the Holy Spirit: "We believe in the Holy Spirit the Lord, and giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father;
who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified; who spake by the prophets." Obviously the latter Council had much more to say
about the Holy Spirit than the former.

Textbooks on the history of Christian theology generally interpret the difference between the two conciliar statements as indicating that it was only
after the question of the Son's relationship to the Father was settled at the Council of Nicaea that the Church became interested in theological questions about the Holy Spirit. They point to the rise of the Pneumatomachi (the so-called "fighters against the Spirit" who flourished ca. 360) and St. Athanasius' response to them in his Letters to Serapion on the Holy Spirit as the beginning point of interest in the theology of the Holy Spirit.


Ancient writers leave us with the same impression. Commenting
. D. 373 on the Creed of Nicaea, Basil of Caesarea says:

... the doctrine concerning the Holy Spirit is laid down very briefly as requiring no discussion, because at that time this question had not yet been stirred up, but the concept of it remained unchallenged in the souls of the faithful.1



1 Basil of Caesarea, Ep. 125,3. Tram, by A. C. Way, Saint Basil. Letters, Volume 1: 2- 185 (New York: Fathers of the Church, 1951), pp. 258-259.
(continues .. )


Recommended Citation

Mackett, John K, "Eusebius of Caesarea's theology of the Holy Spirit" (1990). Dissertations (1962 - 2010)
Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9117354.
https://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI9117354
 
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Steven Avery

Administrator
rounding out the basics - expanding the studies

Post planned for
https://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog...rom-eusebius-ecclesiastical-theology-iii-4-6/


Hi Roger,

Great info!

The quote you have above (from the 1990 John K. Mackett book)

"And thus once again the statement that the three (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) are one is also Sabellian."

Is given in the recent paper by Jeroen Beekhuizen:

The Comma Johanneum revisited
http://ggw.studenttheses.ub.rug.nl/372/

And it is consistent with Eusebius knowing of the heavenly witnesses variant, at least as a Sabellian teaching. Perhaps there was a split textline in the early centuries. The paper was done at Groningen under the learned Prof. Geurt Hendrik van Kooten, now at Cambridge.

And I have placed some of this info online on PBF, also there are Facebook discussions:

Eusebius and the Sabellian controversies
https://www.purebibleforum.com/index.php/threads/a.792/post-1699

Jeroen Beekhuizen - The Comma Johanneum revisited
https://www.purebibleforum.com/index.php/threads/a.792/post-1692
Thoughts from Mike Ferrando, compliment Jeroen on post #6. Mike is aware of how Frederick Nolan really focused on Eusebius in regard to the heavenly witnesses. Right now our earliest confirmed find of this in Latin is Migne in 1857, after Nolan.

If you read what Jeroen says about the hit, this could be a smoking-gun.
If Eusebius believes that the phrase "the three are one" about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a sabellianism, then this is really a clue to why the verse has been stripped out of the Greek MSS created at that time (via Constantine's commission to Eusebius: Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus).


My conclusion is that the reason why there are no (or not any we have today) Greek MSS that omit verse 7 but have "three witnesses IN EARTH, the Spirit, ..." is because the excision was done by an intelligent agent who purposely wanted to remove all trace.

The Eusebian section is the reason why it was removed by Eusebius and his scribes.

==

Also, I would add, that Eusebius condemnation make it very difficult to get a Trinity out of verse 8. If the phrase "the three are one" is a sabellianism then inventing a "mystical interpretation" of verse 8 "spirit, water, blood" == Father, Holy Spirit, Son (or which ever version of this is proposed) would result in the charge of sabellianism.

So, there really is no good way to spin this for the critics (Eusebius' statement and involvement).
One ironic aspect is that the scholars today tend to look back on those centuries with Reformation or ultra-modern apologetic or ultra-modern secularist glasses. Thus they have a cut-and-dried perspective of the heavenly witnesses as being favorable only to a late orthodox perspective. From that faux perspective they try to figure out a vector of interpolation and transmission, but bump up against the Cyprian and Old Latin mss and grammatical roadblocks.
 

Steven Avery

Administrator
summary post - (will add Mike interpretative element)

Placed on the Facebook thread on PureBible:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/pur...=2199702046788339&comment_tracking={"tn":"R"}


Steven Avery
Courtesy of Mike Ferrando, here is the spot in the Eusebius source book:

Heuriskomena panta: 6 (1857)
Migne
https://books.google.com/books?id=3xFKAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA1003

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 1001-1002 to 1003-1004 [1001D to 1004A : omit chapter heading]
Was this actually missed by the scholars until 1990 (have to check if Mackett has commentary) and then the recent Jeroen paper?
It is an incredible evidence, and very important in understanding why the verse would drop from the Greek line.
 

Steven Avery

Administrator
Richard Grier Summary of Frederick Nolan -
two opposite doctrinal sides were happy to see the heavenly witnesses verse drop

Facebook - Pure Bible
https://www.facebook.com/groups/purebible/permalink/1860005970757950/?comment_id=2922434911181712

There is a wonderful interplay of Eusebius and Jerome (Homily 69 and the Vulgate Prologue) that really helps explain how the verse dropped.

Nolan also helped with understanding the Eusebius aversion to the verse.

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

Richard Grier gave a fine Nolan summary here:

A reply to the “End of Religious Controversy;” as discussed in a correspondence between a supposed Society of Protestants and ... J. Milner, Bishop of Castabala, etc (1821)

"As Sabellius held that the Father, Word, and Holy Spirit, were three energies in the Divinity, (Grk) ; so he held, that these three energies were one person, and thus confounded the persons of the Trinity. Marcellus, therefore, and others who leaned towards his error, would not quote 1 John, v. 7, as this text contained the term (Greek-three) which made against their confounding the persons. On the other hand, Eusebius would not appeal to it, on account of its containing the term (Greek-one) which made as much against his dividing the substance. As neither party, therefore, speak of it during their controversy, Mr. Nolan justly concludes, that its unsuitableness to their respective purposes, was the cause why one expunged the text from his edition of the New Testament, and the other acquiesced in its suppression.
Nolan's Inquiry pp. 305, 528—539, and 563.

Also good is p. 52, the Poole internal discussion, and this Grier text can uwse one more review.

==========

See also:

PBF (this post)

The Homilies of Saint Jerome, Volume 2 (Homilies 60–96)
Jerome - Homily 69
https://books.google.com/books?id=_i6VTYmF_PEC&pg=PA90

It has come to my attention, brethren, that certain brothers had raised the question among themselves and were arguing about how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are both three and one. You realize from the problem how dangerous such a discussion is. An earthen vessel of potter's clay that cannot even arrive at the principle of its own nature, argues about the Creator and curiously seeks to know about the mystery of the Trinity which the angels in heaven do not understand. In fact, what do the angels say? ‘Who is this king of glory? The Lord of hosts; he is the king of glory.’9 Similarly, in Isaia: ‘Who is this that comes from Edom, in radiant garments?’10 Notice what the angels do: they proclaim His beauty, but are silent about His essence.
A bit later Jerome goes into the question of the name in baptism. This is a handy adjunct to the Rebaptism treatise. (Note that this also goes well with the emphasis on the Disciplini Arcani, which is also mentioned by Bengel, Nolan and other scholars. See the next post.

King James Bible Debate - Snapp Snipps
https://www.facebook.com/groups/212...157672548626693/?comment_id=10157673784866693
 
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Steven Avery

Administrator
Jerome on Trinity and Baptism and Names

A bit later Jerome goes into the question of the name in baptism. This is a handy adjunct to the Rebaptism treatise. (Note that this also goes well with the emphasis on the Disciplini Arcani, which is also mentioned by Bengel, Nolan and other scholars.
"Let us cite proof from Holy Writ and follow, not reason, but the authority of the Lord Savior. When He is about to ascend into heaven, what does He say to His apostles to whom, as Master and Lord, He is giving instructions? No one can speak thus about his own nature except Him who is Himself God; let it be enough for us to know of the Trinity only what the Lord had deigned to reveal. What does He say to the apostles? ‘Go, baptize all nations in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.'14

I hear three names, and yet ‘name’ is singular, for He did not say in the names, but in the name.15 He mentioned three names; why, then, does He use the singular and say: ‘In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit’? The name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Spirit is one name, but it is the name belonging to the Trinity.16 If He says, in the name of God the Father, in the name of God the Son, in the name of God the Holy Spirit, then Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the one name of the Godhead. Do you still ask me how three are called by one name? I do not know, and I frankly acknowledge my ignorance because Christ did not wish to reveal anything about it. This only I know: I am a Christian because I acknowledge one God in Trinity. If, on the contrary, I should maintain that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit is only one person, I would be called a Sabellian, and I would begin to be a Jew, not a Christian, for the Jew says there is one God, but because he does not know the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, he does not believe in the mystery of the Trinity. If, therefore, we speak of one God in a sense to exclude the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit from the mystery of the Trinity, we become Jews.

I admit frankly, not on my own authority, but on the statement of the Savior, that a stumbling block does spring up in the soul of the listener, namely, ‘How can there be one in three?’ How is it that the Father, the Son. and the Holy Spirit are undivided in the Godhead? Whenever I use the term persons, I beg you not to think that I mean human persons. I do not speak of persons in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as being human persons, but as persons according to appropriation. I say the person of the Father because there is a Father; of the Son because there is a Son; of the Holy Spirit because there is a Holy Spirit. The Father is not Son, nor the Son Father, nor the Holy Spirit Father or Son; they are divided by their proper attributions, but are united in their nature. See, this is the obstacle Philip the Apostle was up against when he said to the Lord: ‘Lord show us the Father and it is enough for us.'17 The Lord answers him: ‘Philip, have I been so long a time with you, and you do not know the Father? He who sees me sees also the Father.'18 It would be wrong to say that the Father is the same as the Son, but if you hear the word Son, think also of the Father, for the Son cannot be called Son if He did not have a Father. The name Father, on the other hand, would be meaningless if there did not exist a Son.
 
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