Peter Ruckman tries to connect Montfortianus to the Old Syriac - Widmanstadt and Moses Mardin

Steven Avery

Isaac Newton Versus the A.V. 1611 (Part 1—1 John 5:7)
Joshua Alvarez

Furthermore, Minuscule 61 provides strong evidence that 1 John 5:7 existed in the Old Syriac text, which predates Jerome by quite a bit. Minuscule 61 is one the Greek manuscripts that contains 1 John 5:7 as it stands in an Authorized Version (1611) (Palmer, First Epistle of John, pg. 21). It is usually thought of by New Testament critics to "have been written between 1519 and 1522" (Ruckman, I John 5:7, pg. 6). Indeed, it certainly existed at that time, since, "it belonged originally to one Froy, a Franciscan friar" (Dobbin, Codex Montfortianus, pg. 6); and this same "Froy went on to leave the Franciscan order in the early 1520’s...and was eventually martyred, in Portugal, in 1531." (Snapp, Jr., "Alexandrinus vs. Montfortianus"). Thus, Minuscule 61 cannot be shown to have originated after the 1520s. The common story about this manuscript given by the 'scholars' is that it was made to order between 1519 and 1522 as a response to Erasmus' first edition of his Greek New Testament (later known as the "Textus Receptus", the Received Text) omitting 1 John 5:7, with Erasmus demanding to see a Greek manuscript with 1 John 5:7 in it so that he could put it in his text. Minuscule 61 is usually held up as the manufactured manuscript made just for Erasmus in the early 1520s.

However, the conventional story doesn't hold weight. Professor John D. Michaelis, after examining Minuscule 61, commented about it:

I have noted three passages in the Gospel of St. Mark [in Minuscule 61—J.A.], which perfectly coincide with the Syriac version.
(Michaelis, Intro. to the New Testament, pg. 286).*

(Michaelis, Intro. to the New Testament, pg. 286).*

(Michaelis, Intro. to the New Testament, pg. 286).*
"The Syriac version"? But, the Syriac New Testament wasn't even known to Europe UNTIL 1555 through Syrian priest Moses Mardin:

Widmanstadt conducted Moses to Vienna; and presented him to Ferdinand, who at once consented to bear the expense of printing the Syriac Testament, paying Moses a salary to superintend the work; Widmanstadt rendering such assistance as his public duties permitted. The artist, Caspar Crapht, engraved in steel the punches for striking the matrices, a beautiful font of type was cast in tin, and Michael Cymbermann (or Zimmerman) was the printer. The Gospels were struck off on May 18, 1555, the Pauline Epistles July 18, the Acts August 14, and the book was completed September 27; being the Editio Princeps of the entire Syriac New Testament, excepting the Apocalypse, II. Peter, II. and III. John, and Jude.
Thus from two distinct communities, in Lebanon and Mardin, came the manuscripts upon whose authority was given to the world the first printed edition of the Syriac Testament...the book at last was printed, and came into the hands of scholars, and since then has never been lost sight of among the learned.
(Murdock, Syriac New Testament, pg. xiv).
This presents an interesting conundrum—how could Minuscule 61 have been manufactured, or made to order for Erasmus in, say, 1520, if it matches peculiar readings in the Old Syriac version (showing it is a translation from it), and the Old Syriac wouldn't be known or read by scholars in Europe for another THIRTY-FIVE YEARS???

There are two great implications from the above facts:

1. Minuscule 61 must have been written long before A.D. 1520.

2. 1 John 5:7 in the A.V. 1611 existed in the Old Syriac text as reflected in Minuscule 61's translation of it!!!

And, the Old Syriac text was translated back in A.D. 170, over 200 years before Jerome supposedly ADDED 1 John 5:7 into the Latin Vulgate (according to Newton). As E.W. Bullinger states:

Of these [i.e. Ancient Versions—J.A.], the Aramaic (or Syriac), i.e. the Peshitto, is the most important, ranking as superior in authority to the oldest Greek manuscripts, and dating from as early as A.D. 170.
(Bullinger, Companion Bible, pg. 136 of "Appendixes").