Origen Psalm Scholium

Steven Avery

Sister post:
Origen on Psalm 123 (122 in LXX)

Psalms 123:2
Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters,
and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress;
so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God,
until that he have mercy upon us.

1 John 5:7
For there are three that bear record in heaven,
the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost:
and these three are one.

"Ἰδοὺ ὡς ὀφθαλμοὶ δούλων εἰς χεῖρας τῶν κυρίων αὐτῶν, ὡς ὀφθαλμοὶ παιδίσκης εἰς χεῖρας τῆς κυρίας αὐτῆς, οὕτως οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ ἡμῶν πρὸς Κύριον Θεὸν ἡμῶν, ἕως οὗ οἰκτειρήσαι ἡμᾶς, κ. τ. ἑ. ∆οῦλοι κυρίων Πατρὸς καὶ Υἱοῦ πνεῦμα καὶ σῶμα· παιδίσκη δὲ κυρίας τοῦ ἁγίου Πνεύματος ἡ ψυχή. Τὰ δὲ τρία Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν ἐστιν· οἱ γὰρ τρεῖς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν."

"Behold, the eyes of bondservants in the hands of their lord, as the eyes of a bondwoman in the hands of their lady, so are our eyes towards the Lord our God, until he may pity us; spirit and body are the bondservants of the Lord Father and Son; but the soul is the bondwoman of the lady Holy Spirit. And the Lord our God is three, for the three are one." (Translation by KJV Today)

There seems to be a quotation of the Comma in Selecta in Psalmos (PG XII, 1304) attributed to Origen, though perhaps written by one of his students such as Evagrius Ponticus ... The quote "οἱ γὰρ τρεῖς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν" is cited as an authority ("γὰρ") for the Trinity. Thus it bears the mark of a scriptural allusion. Undoubtedly such an allusion would be to the Comma. This Greek witness to the Comma could be as early as the 3rd century, though a non-Origenic authorship would place the date after the 4th century.- KJVToday
It is always a little tricky to discuss what you might call "Trinity apologetics" from Ante-Nicene writers, especially before Tertullian. The key issue for us is the influence of the heavenly witnesses verse on the writing of Origen, not what is orthodox or Nicean or Athanasian, a bit anachronistically.

"The servants of their masters,
the Father and the Son, are the body and spirit;
and the handmaid of her mistress, the Holy Ghost, is the soul;
and the three are the Lord our God; for the three are one"

Henry Cary, Testimonies of the fathers of the first four centuries to the doctrine and discipline of the Church of England as set forth in the Thirty-nine articles, 1835
Opera omnia quae graece vel latine tantum exstant et ejus nomine ...

The authorship by Origen is strengthened by the recent discovery that Jerome specifically has Origen writing homilies on this Psalm.

Jerome’s Letter 33, listing the works of Origen
On the Psalms: ... 2 homilies on Psalm 122, 2 homilies on Psalm 123


Origen homily on Psalm 123.

The homily is included with Origen's material in the extant literature and Origen is considered the likely author. The details of Origenic literature are complex, with Vittorio Peri challenging some previous authorship views of Dom Morin, with large numbers of homilies involved. As discussed by Henri Courzel in The Literature of Origen 1970-1988, Theological Studies 49, 1988. (And see Roger Pearse above for more.) As far as I have been able to see, there is little real contesting of Origen origin on this particular homily, due to the fanciful allegorical style and the inclusion with his material, and the reference from Jerome that shows that Origen did write a homily on this Psalm.


Edward Burton sees Origenic Style

Edward Burton (1794-1836), quite knowledgeable on these topics, even uses this scholium as a typical Origen type of interpretation, even while making a tepid hand-wave dismissal of this as evidence for the heavenly witnesses authenticity. For now, I will just show the Burton study, then separately will show a bit of the give and take in the historical debate on the homily as heavenly witness evidence. (Note that what we know as Psalm 123 may be referred to as Psalm 122 in some studies, probably from the GOT.)

Testimonies of the ante-Nicene fathers to the doctrine of the Trinity and of the divinity of the Holy Ghost (1831)
Edward Burton

48. Origenis in Psalm. CXXII. 2. vol. II. p. 821.
Origen gives the following fanciful interpretation of those words.

As the eyes of servants took upon the hand of their masters, &c.

The servants of their masters,
the Father and the Son, are the body and spirit;
and the handmaid of her mistress, the Holy Ghost, is the soul;
and the three are the Lord our God; for the three are one

This passage has been advanced in support of the notion, that the disputed text in 1 John v. 7- is genuine, and was read by Origen in his copies of the New Testament. Though this inference will not perhaps be generally allowed, there can be no question as to the writer of this sentence having held the doctrine of the Trinity.
Edward Burton often has an equivocal "perhaps" style of writing on such issues, and did not support the verse as scripture. However it is clear on a simple read that this is strong evidence that Origen was thinking in terms of the heavenly witnesses verse when writing the commentary.


Fabricius notes Origen's usage

Here I take the larger text Greek from Johann Albert Fabricius (1668-1736), currently the earliest known writer on the topic of the Origen scholion in 1703. (Actually I have not found the exact page that this comes from, but it is nice to have a pic from the old books.)


Some Thoughts

Origen does have the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost specifically referenced as the three are one. Ockham (who seems to be very unpopular in modern textual analysis) says clearly that the easiest explanation, the one does not require intellectual hoops, really gets first consideration and a general preference, notwithstanding possible overrides (Avery paraphrase of Ockham).

And that clear and simple understanding has Origen simply thinking of the heavenly witnesses as the commentary for the Psalm. Unless you come to the thinking space with an a priori idea that ...
wait, the verse did not exist, so Origen could not be referencing it:). Could Horticuli ever be slaves to a priori false reasoning ? (An ultra-rhetorical question.)

Origen referencing the heavenly witnesses is, in fact, corroborative with numerous additional evidences in the same period, one of which (Cyprian) has been subject to some of the greatest textual windmill hand-waving ever blown. Then you have the other Cyprian reference, Tertullian, Hundredfold Martyrs (in the apparatus as Ps-Cyprian), Claudius Apollinaris and more. Also see Charles Forster. The only real understanding that makes sense is that the heavenly witnesses was in many Greek and Latin mss in the Ante-Nicene period.

And I believe a sound apparatus would definitely include this Origen reference as a solid allusion, so it could be added when we return to the heavenly witnesses apparatus study.

In a planned part 2 of this post, I will show a bit of the debate. The historical discussion of this evidence, including Burton, is rather fascinating. Some is surely in Latin and hard to dig out, yet it appears to be mainly an English discussion.

Note that if you look for this Origen evidence and discussion in Metzger and the Parrots, you will find ... nothing.


More Specific Special References to Include

The Church Review p. 625-641, (1874) Scholium on pp.634-635
The Genuineness of I John v. 7
Nathaniel Ellsworth Cornwall


A superb article, with important grammatical elements discussed. Ellsworth especially noted the Richard Porson comment in response to the evidence of the Psalm commentary: "The critical chemistry which could extract the doctrine of the Trinity from this place must have been exquisitely refining". Letters to Mr. Archdeacon Travis, p. 234, 1790. He notes that Fabricius wrote about the Origen wording "ad locum 1 Joh v. 7 alludi ab origene non est dubitandum" in the Codex Apocryphus Novi Testamenti, p.544 first published in 1703. This information had been placed on the Wikipedia article on the Comma Johanneum.
Monthly Repository
Ben David on 1 John v. 7


"... other writers quote this very clause to prove the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Thus, Origen virtually cites it, in a Scholium on Psalm cxxii..."
(many additional references of scholars acknowledging this can be added.)

On a Fresh Revision of the English New Testament
ohn Barber Lightfoot (1891)

Textual criticism shows that the clause containing the Three Heavenly Witnesses was not in the first instance a deliberate forgery, but a comparatively innocent gloss, which put a directly theological interpretation on the three genuine witnesses of S. John—the spirit and the water and the blood—a gloss which is given substantially by S. Augustine and was indicated before by Origen and Cyprian, and which first thrust itself into the text in some Latin MSS, where it betrays its origin, not only by its varieties of form, but also by the fact that it occurs sometimes before and sometimes after the mention of the three genuine witnesses which it was intended to explain.
From a contra handwave, Lightfoot is acknowledging that the Origen writing looks like the heavenly witnesses. Thus he has to make a convoluted "gloss" explanation, to try to handwave both Origen and Cyprian.

Gloss and allegory - their fav words to try to mask evidences.


References Used Fully Above

[TC-Alternate-list] Origen's Homilies on Psalms - heavenly witnesses evidence
Steven Avery - June 17, 2012

Origen (or Pseudo-Origen)



More References

[TC-Alternate-list] Origen and the heavenly witnesses - Richard Porson diversion attempt
Steven Avery - June 20, 2012

This is funny, because Porson feigns cluelessness. The issue with the Origen reference is not extracting the Trinity (even the KJVToday comment is a bit weak in that respect) the issue is the heavenly witnesses verse as a source.

[TC-Alternate-list] Origen and the heavenly witnesses - Middleton dismissal attempt
Steven Avery - June 21, 2012


This one is also funny. It is hard to have the slightest clue as to Middleton's reasoning. Middleton is very mixed on the heavenly witnesses.

[textualcriticism] Complutensian ---> Thomas Aquinas .. references on heavenly witnesses
Steven Avery - Oct 30, 2010

This is interesting, but hard to make into any type of specific argument.


Steven Avery
September, 9, 2015 - small adjustments Aug 31, 2018
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Steven Avery

From the Jeroen paper:

1. Origen-9 (third century) quotes the Comma in his commentary on Psalm 123:2. This verse reads in the Septuagint:

"Look, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their lords,
as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God.

Triggered by the facts that 'servants' with 'lords' is masculine plural and 'maid' with 'mistress' is added in the feminine singular and a comparison is drawn with the Lord our God in the singular, Origen cannot but think that this is a reference to the mystery of the Trinity. He explains:

"The servants of the Lords Father and Son are spirit and body; the maid of the Mistress Holy Spirit is the soul. These
Three are the Lord our God, for the Three are One
(Grk.). "

To grasp how Origen is here actually quoting the Comma two things must be especially noted.

(1) With 'spirit, body and soul' Origen alludes to the 'spirit, water and blood’ of 1 John 5:8 (blood commonly symbolises the soul, Lv. 17:11). Note that he is careful to stick to the order of the words in 1 John 5:8 and connects these three to the other Three Witnesses of 1 John 5:7.

(2) Especially noteworthy is the switch in grammatical gender. After stating that these Three are the singular (not plural) Lord our God in neuter (Grk), he confirms it through a reference to Scripture (Grk) which says that the Three (Grk, masculine) are One. He switches to masculine gender in order to stick to the precise wording of the Comma, just as he sticks to the precise order of the witnesses before

And I am not convinced that (2) is especially noteworthy.
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Steven Avery

Charles Forster keeps it clear, simple and accurate:

New Plea (1867)

Upon the first of these quotations, the Scholion on Ps. cxxiii, ascribed to Origen, which Porson affects to slide over, I observe, that it is the essence of the seventh verse, entitled to rank as a tacit reference. St. Paul, 1 Cor. xiii. 13, turns three feminine nouns into neuters. See Bengel on 1 John v. 7.

Matt says that the ms. he is using (unknown if there were others at the time of Cordier and Fabricius) has εἰς

Τὰ δὲ τρία Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν ἐστιν· οἱ γὰρ τρεῖς εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν.

Fair enough.

And It looks to me that the preposition would not change the proper understanding from Charles Forster in the least, we have a tacit reference to the heavenly witnesses.

"The servants of their masters,
the Father and the Son, are the body and spirit;
and the handmaid of her mistress, the Holy Ghost, is the soul;
and the three are the Lord our God; for the three are into one"

(Or the three are in agreement.)
And this was the text of Erasmus third edition, and Stephanus 1550 for the heavenly witnesses.
τρεῖς εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν

All that Matt has done has been to show the possible irrelevance of some scholar sections who emphasized the lack of the pronoun. Ironically, I had already pointed out that such nuanced argumentation was not really the point, in my commentary on material from Jeroen.

And I will suggest that the alternative text be considered in Origen scholium write-ups (especially if it can be shown that this ms. was used by Cordier , Fabricius, et al, leading to Migne). However it barely moves the needle of the allusion.
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Steven Avery

Steven, the burden of proof falls upon you to prove that this is not the manuscript that Cordier used for his text.
I can see you've been editing your posts on Origen's Scholia (i.e. damage control in light of conclusive new research).

Please do not lie. You undercut your position.
Everything from Cornwall, Fabricius, Jeroen, and all the others is untouched. Including my dismissal of one of Jeroen's arguments.

And I did delete one new post that simply was not relevant to the issue. It involved a 1700s writer who actually was not discussing the scholium.

And I added the text from Charles Forster right above, since he keeps it nice and simple.

And you are wrong. There is no burden of proof to prove other mss. If they put in a different text, it is a good possibility that it was based on the manuscripts in hand. Maybe yes, maybe no. Maybe other mss. Maybe scribal faux pas. Logic 101.
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Steven Avery

Now Puxanto gives us the absurd invisible allegory argument, which simply makes no sense in the Ante-Nicene period.

At least he does understand that it is very possible there were other manuscripts.
Unlike Matt.

On Origen's scholia I must agree with you ``Matt13weedhacker'': in the patristic texts (-https: //www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/20vs/103 ... ne,_PG_012_ (02-00) _Origenes._Opera_Omnia, _GM. pdf '' 'PG 12 col 1633D-1634D' '' -) it says: '' 'οἱ γὰρ τρεῖς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν' '', while from the manuscripts you carry instead '' 'οἱ γὰρ τρεῖς εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν' ''

Above all I have read that γὰρ many scholars believe it serves to introduce a quotation so here Origen would be quoting the ending of Spirit, water and blood interpreting it in reference to the Trinity.
Are there no other manuscripts of this Scholia? Where did the authors of Patrology get it from '' 'οἱ γὰρ τρεῖς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν' ''?

Steven Avery

Oh, I figured out what might be behind Matt's lying above.

My forum switched from vBulletin to Xenforo last year. Many posts ended up scrunched, or with pics too small, or a quote made into two boxes. So when I am in a particular section, I go into the posts and switch the fonts to 15 instead of 12, and see if Pics are ok, stuff like that. Make it more readable. As I have done on the two main Origen Psalm Scholium threads (maybe every post.)

In so doing, it will have an update to the date edited.

So Matt can show some integrity, and apologize for the false accusation. It would help us move on.
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Steven Avery

Matt has shown basically nothing, and he finds he has to lie again and again.

Steven Avery says there were more manuscripts that Cordier (assumedly must have said/wrote) he used for this specific text (Psalm 122.2 LXX). So you need to contact him and ask him to show you the proof. If his claim is factual, and not an anecdotal theory, then he can actually show you the specific catalogue entries for these manuscripts in the different libraries (and specific universities, museums etc) listing the manuscript names, dates, contents etc with a specific reference to a Catena on Psalm 122.2 LXX by Origen of Alexandria.

Read above. I simply said maybe, that they may well have had a ms. that matches the text they used.

And you are wrong. There is no burden of proof to prove other mss. If they put in a different text, it is a good possibility that it was based on the manuscripts in hand. Maybe yes, maybe no. Maybe other mss. Maybe scribal faux pas. Logic 101.

Why are you lying again and again?

First, about my supposedly changing earlier posts.
Now about what I just wrote earlier today.


Now, where are all the Ante-Nicene hidden Trinity allegories?


All this fluff and puff about one of the moderate evidences.
When will you discuss the biggies?


Oh, here is the new post today:

Facebook - Textus Receptus Academy
Beautiful summary about the Hebraic parallelism with the heavenly and earthly witnesses.

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Steven Avery

More ignorance from Matt:

A different text (Steven this is as simple as it gets) means a different interpretation. Remember who your dealing with, Steven, your dealing with Origen of Alexandria - THE KING - of the allegorists. No allegory? From a text attributed to Origen? Denial is ugly.

Different text? You still have the wording of Erasmus and Stephanus for the heavenly witnesses.
Nothing substantial is changed.

Show all the Ante-Nicene hidden Trinity allegories.
From Origen or anybody.

(If we can even call Origen a Trinitarian., which is a bit of a stretch.)

spirit, water and blood are not even mentioned!


Oh, why were you a liar above? No integrity.
The big one: you falsely accused me of changing stuff, blah blah.

Matt lying
editing your posts on Origen's Scholia (i.e. damage control in light of conclusive new research).

Your research has blown up. So you switched to lying.

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Steven Avery

For Matt on the Origen fragments:

Monitum. Ad Origenis ΕΞΗΓΗΤΙΚΑ In Psalmos.
Migne Graeca, PG 12.1052-1053
• [La Rue] The catenae of the Greek Fathers on the Psalms, both in manuscripts and in editions, offer virtually countless fragments under Origen’s name. We have neither deemed them all to be rejected, nor seen fit to include them all in this edition. We have thought it good to leave out all those that are not unanimously attributed to Origen by the catenae, or that we have detected to be the work of other Church writers like Eusebius, Theodoret or any others. We have chosen to include all the other fragments, not because they are beyond all doubt the work of Origen or (with a very few exceptions) because they were clearly taken from the Tomes, the Enchiridion or the Homilies, but because we have not found any definite proof that they were not authored by our Adamantius. Those fragments were taken partly from the catenae edited by Balthasar Cordier and Daniele Barbaro; partly from the papers of Grabe, who transcribed the Anglican codices, and of Combefis, who transcribed the royal codices; and, finally, partly from the codices of the Coislinian Library, as well as other sources, which are indicated in the relevant places. (Translated by Sarah Van der Pas,)

This goes against your idea that there was only one ms. in the days of Cordier, Fabricius, Migne, etc.

And all their texts are missing your fav εἰς

Which is all irrelevant anyway, as pointed out by Brownlee and Knittel.

However, since you are under the delusion that the evidence supports only one ms., and everybody else got it wrong, this can help you see a bit clearer.

And a reminder that you lied about my editing earlier posts.

Steven Avery

Matt, in addition to lying, falsely claiming I changed earlier posts, (you really should simply apologize) you are majoring in the minors.

Steven, can you name ANY SPECIFIC Catena manuscript, dating before Cordier, with the EXACT SPECIFIC (can I be any clearer) text attributed to Origen of Alexandria, Selecta in Psalmos 122.2 LXX? That's not Catena in Psalms 124.2 LXX. That's not Catena in Psalms 121.2 LXX etc etc. Do you get where I'm coming from? And where is it stored? Can you? Can anyone?


The Origen scholium is clearly an allusion to the heavenly witnesses verse.
Brownlee and Knittel explain that to you.

Basically there is no "thing" of an invisible allegory. An allegory will by nature state the text, then the allegory.
And the allegory concept does not work about the Trinity in Greek in the Ante-Nicene period. Not a thing.
Pointed out by Brownlee and Knittel.


As to what was in the hands of Cordier and Fabricius et al. the issue is like this:

For the Migne text - this was the only text published by any of the scholars
Against the Migne text - the one known extant ms. today has the extra irrelevant word.
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Steven Avery

A bunch of nothing from Matt.
”WHY? Because they are not "beyond all reasonable doubt" in order to qualify as genuine evidence.”

Matt is clueless. Let him study the Mark ending.

Matt knows nothing about textual evidence. He is confusing it with criminal convictions.

What can we expect from JWs who have a text with an insertion of Jehovah in the New Testament.
What can we expect from Matt who does not even have the basic integrity to retract his fabrication (lie) about my changing earlier posts.
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Steven Avery

Know-nothing Matt, who lied about my changing earlier posts, and is unable to own up to his false accusation.
Because they are not "beyond all reasonable doubt" in order to qualify as genuine evidence.

So why are you using a corruption version? Where Vaticanus may be one of the worse texts available, and copied anytime before 1000AD, and Sinaiticus is likely an 1800s creation. Neither is genuine evidence.