Petrus Carolinus (1543-1576) - Ferenc David - Peter Melius

Steven Avery

This is from the fascinating later 1500s, an area where Grantley's opening up new analysis vistas has been extremely helpful. This was largely missed in the days of Butler, Horne and Orme, when they reviewed the debate history. Michael Maynard was also very limited in the 1500s. The 1600s are also a strong point, in terms of many references that otherwise would be under the radar.

Peter Carolinusárolyi_Péter_(püspök)

Brevis, ervdita, et perspicva explicatio orthodoxae fidei de vno vero Deo, patre, filio & spiritu sancto, aduersus blasphemos Georgii Blandratæ et Francisci Davidis errores, libris duobus comprehensa

No text at hand for what might be a fascinating section. Since Carolinus was a grammarian, and was writing utilizing the verse, he may have a grammar note, especially if he noted the torquebit grammaticos of Erasmus.

The use of such images by David and Biandrata was criticised by Peter Karolyi (Petrus Carolius) as a deliberate attempt to make the orthodox conception of the Trinity seem ridiculous.113 Karolyi believed that the Scripture is full of evidence for the Trinity, first of all the comma, which David had incorrectly dismissed as a forgery by Jerome or Athanasius.114 Karolyi claimed that Erasmus had stated that the comma is attested in the writings of many early fathers. Karolyi also argued that it did not matter much whether the phrase ‘these three are one’ refers to a unity of nature or consent. Either way, the passage showed clearly that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one God bearing witness in heaven. 115 It was a feeble defence of the passage, and was soon contested by the Unitarian Johann Sommer (1540—1574). Sommer, who was influenced by Jacob Acontius’ Satanae Stratagemata as well as by his own father-in-law, Ferenc David, declared that the comma had crept surreptitiously into the text of the epistle, and therefore had no reason to be retained there.116 epistle, and therefore had no reason to be retained there."6 By defending their ideas, the Unitarians gained legal recognition in Hungary in 1571, as well as the right to hold worship services.117
113 Karolyi 1571, 31.
114 Karolyi 1571, 15.
115 Karolyi 1571, 248.
116 Sommer 1582, See also Kirolyi 1571, 248; Sommer 1583, I3ir-v. Sommer’s treatises were written in 1571-1572, and only published posthumously. Sommer was the first modern Antitrinitarian to attempt to explain the development of the doctrine of the Trinity through recourse to the history of philosophy. Further, see Pirnat 1961, 38-45.
117 Bianchi 1985, 91
Biblical Criticism p. 99
The feeble argument sounds like Ferenc David with another accusation against the rogue's gallery of supposed interpolators. Maybe we only have this aspect of David wildly accusing through Carolinus? We should check his writings.

Ghost of Arius
17 Sommer, 1582, 155v-156r: "Ideo [Iohannes] colligit tria, dicens. Qui tres sunt, qui testimonium dant. Spiritus, aqua & sanguis. [...] Quomodo irrepserint alia verba de tribus [l56r] testibus in coelo, viderit Carolius.

An interesting question is the various spellings of Carolinus, (and Karolyi Karoli, etc.) CERL gives Carolinus and a few other forms, no Carolius yet we see that Sommer in that day used Carolius. This is likely where Grantley takes Carolius, which also has other occasional historical uses, so it probably should be in CERL.

The Sommer extract is given from:
Sommer, Johann. Refutatio scripti Petri Carolii editi Wittebergae. Ingolstadt [Krakow]: Ravisius, k8z.

Sommer contra Carolnus, looking for the spot above.

Refutatio scripti Petri Carolii (1582)
Johann Sommer
On the images, I would have liked to see some Cerebrus information discussed as well, which has a long history at least form Servetus and Calvin (Servetus was not genteel in his non-Trinitarianism) to, quite surprisingly, William Lane Craig.

While the woodcut of Ligaeus has the similar three-headed aspect, the historical aspect of the Servetus usage clashes severely with some modern uses:

"The principal accusations exhibited against Servetus were, First, his having asserted in his Ptolemee, that the Bible celebrated improperly the fertility of the land of Canaan, whilst it was unfruitful and barren. Secondly, his having called one God in three persons a Cerberus, a three-headed monster."

Memoirs of the Life and Writings of John Calvin: Compiled from the Narrative of Theodore Beza, and Other Authentic Documents : Accompanied with Biographical Sketches of the Reformation (1809)
John Mackenzie (of Huntingdon.)


"crept surreptitiously " - remember how Grantley rags scholar conjectures in favor of authenticity:

"Smith’s lame attempt to refute Simon’s arguments — relying in every case on what might have happened rather than on what demonstrably did."
Biblical Criticism p. 158
So why not similarly dismiss and discount theories of what supposedly surreptitiously happened, in the textline, for which there is no evidence?

The theme of pseudo-scholarly conjectures that are used in contra argumentation is one that will need careful consideration. Especially if we apply the standard above ... "what might have happenned rather than on what demostrably did". Think of all the different rogue's gallery theories, and all the various conjectured margin entries that crept into the text. We do note that on one such theory, Grantley took a strong stance against a questionable Richard Simon textual conjecture. So there can be an opening agreement on the nature of the problem.


Stancarus- check out.articles like this one.

Trinitarianism versus Antitrinitarianism in the Hungarian Reformation (1944)
William Toth

p. 255-268

William Toth gives us a very fine overview of a fascinating era.


Peter Melius Juhasz, a senior pastor of the Reformed church in Hungary, convened a synod at Debrecen in 1567 to forge a united front against Antitrinitarianism. The following year, King Janos II Zsigmond Szapolyai ...

TBC (to be continued)

Biandrata and other luminaries of the age planned on separate thread.


Steven Avery

David Ferencz

David Ferenc contra Peter Melius (1567)

Refutatio Scripti Petri Melii,

heavenly witnesses p. 38-39

There are two other references from Ferenc in Grantley's Biblical Criticism (nothing in Ghost of Arius, however Biandrata is well covered):

David, Ferenc, ed.
Brevis enarratio disputationis Albanae de Deo trino et Christo duplici coram Serenissimo Principe, & tota ecclesia decem diebus habita.
Alba Iulia: Widow of Raphael Hoffhalter, 1568.

David, Ferenc and Giorgio Biandrata.
Refutatio scripti Georgii Maioris, in quo Deum trinum in personis, et unum in Essentia: Vnicum deinde eius Filium in persona, & duplicem in naturis, ex lacunis Antichristi probare conatus est
. [Cluj-Napoca]: [n. p.], 1569.

And a number of interesting sections (albeit not the Unitarian/Socinian heresy trial.)

A bit more:

Enarratio disputationis Albanae de Deo trino et Christo duplici coram serenissimo principe et tota ecclesia decem diebus habita anno domini MDLXVII
Ferinc David

An intersting note is how Ferenc was put on trial for blasphemy ... by the Unitarians!

Blasphemy: Verbal Offense Against the Sacred, from Moses to Salman Rushdie (1995)
by Leonard Williams Levy

Of all the blasphemy cases of the sixteenth century, that of Francis David was the strangest and least likely: his persecutors were Socinians, the most rational and tolerant of sects, and he was the head of their church. The locale, moreover, was the most liberal in Europe, the eastern region of Hungary known as Transylvania. Adecreeof IJJ7, intended to promote religious peace, provided that “every one might hold the faith of his choice, together with the new rites or former ones, without offense to any.” Reenactments benefited Calvinists and even anti-Trinitarians or Unitarians, as they came to be known. Transylvania was the only place on the continent where the Socinians would call themselves Unitarians. It was also the only place where Unitarianism became an established religion, and the only place ever to have a Unitarian monarch. The man mainly responsible for the Unitarian triumphs in Transylvania was a charismatic minister named Francis David (David Ferencz).34

David, who never reached a theological stasis, kept embracing innovations. The most controversial was his rejection of the invocation of Christ. David believed that there was no scriptural authority for invoking Christ’s name in prayer. Royal admonitions against repudiating the invocation did not silence David. At a general synod of the Unitarian churches of Transylvania in 1578, he opposed prayers to Jesus because he was not divine. Unitarian leaders worried whether Unitarianism might be discredited by David’s heresy. Faustus Socinus, the foremost divine of Unitarianism in Europe, came to Transylvania and stayed as a guest in David’s home for months, but could not sway him. In 1579, conventional Unitarians denounced David to Prince Blathory for innovations and blasphemy. Socinus framed a document which became the basis of an indictment; its theme was that to imply that Christians could not find salvation through Jesus Christ was blasphemous.

Prince Blathory summoned David under armed guard to be tried before the Hungarian Diet at the capital. The trial lasted two days, with the prince himself presiding. Denying the charge of blasphemy, David contended that to worship anyone but God was unscriptural. The members of the Diet, with some Unitarian nobles dissenting, returned a verdict of guilty. Blathory sentenced David to life imprisonment in a dungeon for execrable blasphemies and innovations. He died of illness in prison, probably within a year, an eccentric quester denied the religious liberty he had won for so many. The Unitarians who were responsible for his persecution doubtless acted to save the reputation of their church and defend its faith. In that regard, they were little different from their counterparts in Geneva or Rome
It will be interesting to see if this history is described differently by other writers, compared to Leonard Williams Levy above.

Earl Morse Wilbur is sympathetic to David.

A History of Unitarianism: In Transylvania, England, and America (1945)
Chapter V
Unitarianism in Transylvania to the Death of Francis David 1571–1579:
Earl Morse Wilbur

...the book DE falso et vera Dei cognitione which Biandrata and Dávid put out in 1567...
published two years later in the Defencio Francisci Davidis
This historical aspect does not make Biblical Criticism, the major split between David and Biandrata is covered in this limited way:

Impressed by this work, Biandrata invited Sozzini to come to Cluj-Napoca (Kolozsvar) to help him bring his colleague David back from a position he had taken in about 1575. David had concluded that since Jesus is not divine, he is not worthy to receive worship or supplication. Biandrata considered this position (dubbed ‘non-adorationism’) as a relapse into Judaism. Unsuccessful in this attempt, Sozzini moved to Poland, where he associated with the Polish Brethren, defending their beliefs in debate against other radical groups.
Biblical Criticism p. 103.
This doctrinal non-adration component has similarities of doctrine to Stancarus, as described in the William Toth paper above. Stancars emphasized 1 Timothy 2:5 to emphasize the humanity of Jesus.

Steven Avery

Ferenc David on rogue's gallery

More with blaming Jerome in the rogue's gallery:

According to Biandrata and David, Erasmus’ Annotations on the New Testament had revealed the extent to which the church had hoodwinked simple believers about the true nature of the faith. Erasmus’ annotation on the Johannine comma in particular revealed the inconsistency of the fathers (notably Jerome) on this point. Erasmus had shown that the comma is absent from the best codices, ‘but had been added by some enemy of the Arians’. He had also pointed out that the Glossa ordinaria interprets the unity of the witnesses as one of testimony rather than one of essence.106 Although Biandrata and David denied that Erasmus was an Arian, they believed that it was due to divine providence that he appeared on the scene when he did, to draw attention to the problematic status of the comma and to investigate the issue of God’s unitary essence. Providence had likewise raised up men like Servet to continue Erasmus’ project.107 .... Biandrata, relying on Erasmus, criticised Melius’ reliance on the comma in his exposition of the Trinity. He maintained that the only father to defend the comma was the ‘shameless Jerome’, and that it was present only in the ‘Spanish codex’, that is, the Complutensian Polyglot, or perhaps the manuscripts on which it purported to be based.109

106 Biandrata and David 1567, L2r-Miv. Further, see Bietenholz 2008, 42-46.
107 Biandrata and David 1567, Eiv-2r, Miv, AA2r-v.
109 David 1568, D4V-51-. Further, see Bludau 1903a, 405; Murdock 2011, 410-411.

[This can be combined with the above references in post #2 to seek out a fairly complete David and Biandrata list, as well as the one that came after David's trial and death.:

Biandrata, Giorgio and Ferenc David.
De falsa et vera unius Dei Patris, Filii, et Spiritus Sancti cognitione, libri duo. Alba Iulia [Gyulafehervar]: [n. p.], [1567].
(also in Ghost of Arius)"
(this one has the long quotes. "published anonymously in 1567 or 1568", and appears is the writing printed in 1988 by Antal Pirnát)

Bietenhoz gives a fine explanation:

Nowhere else is Erasmus placed so squarely at the centre of the sixteenth-century Unitarian argument as in chapter VII of the first book of De falsa. This offers a succinct list of many of his New Testament annotations with the explicit goal of demonstrating the confusing diversity of past exegesis and the traditional proclivity for twisting the meaning in support of the Trinitarian cause. The cited notes are chosen to show either the correctness of a Unitarian interpretation or the fallacy of a Trinitarian one, often fabricated by manipulating the text. In stressing that Erasmus shows the 'variety and inconstancy' of translations and comments, the unknown authors of this chapter appear to admit that Erasmus' support for their own view is often far from obvious. He may stress that more than one understanding has merit; or he may indicate interpretations that militate against the Trinitarian orthodoxy, but at the same time distance himself from them; or he may 'balance' his endorsement ofan Antitrinitarian interpretation with pledges of his personal ortho- doxy. In their concluding remarks the authors warn that anyone trying to find fault with Erasmus' judgment had better produce solid arguments or he would face ridicule. They also state that they could have produced many more annotations in which Erasmus exposes 'the laughable tricks of Trinitarian philosophizers/ while at the same time defending him against the slanderers that accuse him of favouring 'Arian trifles.'39

Biandrata, Giorgio and Ferenc David.
Demonstratio fabitatis doctrinae Petri Melii, & reliquorum Sophistarum. Alba Iulia [Gyulafehervar]: [n. p.], [n. d.].

David, Ferenc, ed.
Brevis enarratio disputationis Albanae de Deo trino et Christo duplici coram Serenissimo Principe, & tota ecclesia decem diebus habita. Alba Iulia: Widow of Raphael Hoffhalter, 1568.
https://primarysources.brillonline....bus-habita-anno-domini-mdlxviii-8-martii;hr52 (1588?)

Demonstratio falsitatis doctrince Petri Melii, & reliquorum Sophistarum. Alba Iulia [Gyulafehervar]: [n. p.], [n. d.].

(Ghost of Arius)

David, Ferenc and Giorgio Biandrata.
Refutatio scripti Georgii Maioris, in quo Deum trinum in personis, et unum in Essentia: Vnicum deinde eius Filium in persona, & duplicem in naturis, ex lacunis Antichristi probare conatus est. [Cluj-Napoca]: [n. p.], 1569.


De mediatoris Jesu Christi hominis divinitate, aequalitateque libellus; item ... - Franciscus David
The above is from Biblical Criticism, I add tweaks like some easy-read formatting and the urls. The text in the Dissertation is similar and we add:

10 Biandrata, 1567, Mir: “1 Ioannis 5. Tres sunt, qui testimonium. Hic ostendit [Erasmus]
Patrum inconstantiam, & Hieronymum flagellat, quod sit parum pudens, violentus plerunque,
& sibi non constans. Ostendit deesse illa tria nomina, patris, filii, & spiritus sancti in melioribus
codicibus, sed in margine a quopiam Arianorum hoste addita. Ostendit & Cyrillum (ex eo
quod additum est, testimonium Dei maius est) elicere spiritum sanctum esse Deum. Ostendit,
Hieronymum voluisse ex professo addere, Patrem, filium, & spiritum sanctum, vt inde
euinceret tres personas in vnica Essentia. Sed hoc est (inquit Erasmus) non fidem confirmare,
sed supectam reddere: Praesertim cum & Glossa ordinaria, & veteres praecipui illud vnum de
vno testimonio non Essentia interpretentur. Et ideo (inquit) qu6d negant hic Ariani, non video
posse doceri, nisi ratiocinatione. Notat & Augustini regulam, quod nulla vnum dici possunt,
nisi quae sunt eiusdem substantiae, quam tam veram esse dicit, quam probat, cum nihil probet:
qui hic contra Maximinum neruos intendit, vt probet ex hoc loco spiritum sanctum esse Deum.
Vide qu<im solidis argumentis vtantur.”

11 Biandrata, 1567, Mlv: “Erasmi vero censuram si quis superciliose reiiciet, nihil obstabit,
quominus ille, quisquis est, ab omnibus doctis, & eruditis etiam rideatur, nisi solidis rationibus
euicerit, Erasmum in iudicando parum fuisse perspicacem. Hominem eum agnoscimus, at
eiusmodi, vt in omni disciplinarum genere cCim istis Aristarchis fuerit conferendus, nedum vt ii
sint audiendi, qui, eum Arii nugis fauisse, calumniantur.”

12 Biandrata, 1567, AA2r-v: “Stabilitis istis tenuioribus fundamentis, Deus, qui nihil
imperfectum vnquam reliquit, tandem exerta Maiestatis suae diuinae clementia, ad sui, filiique
sui cognitionem & notitiam indagandam, alios atque alios excitauit, quanquam semina
quaedam semper eiecisset per omnes aetates. Excitauit autem Erasmum Roterodamum, qui
nostra aetate primus mouit hunc lapidem, & non obscuri de vno Deo patre docuit, carpens
ceteros magis, quam aperte aliquid pronuntians: post Erasmum surrexit Michael Seruetus, qui
& diligenter, & palam de vno Deo Patre, eiusque filio, contra doctrinam receptam scripsit,
damnans totam illam Antichristi Sophisticam Theologiam, qui [AA2v] cum careret fautoribus,
& coadiutoribus, a Caluino suo Antagonista Geneuae combustus est, non absque piorum
multorum offendiculo; sanguine tamen doctrinam suam confirmauit, relictisque doctissimis
scriptis, multos sensim ad articuli illius considerationem, & cognitionem perduxit: quorum
laboribus tandem res tota (vti videmus) in arenam producta: nec dubitandum, quin & de illis
diis fictitiis, & binaturiis Christis, Dei Ecclesia, nostra etiam tempestate, bona ex parte non
repurgetur, vt vt acerrimos sit hostes habitura, & ingentes persequutiones passura: Nouit enim
dominus suos de tentationibus eripere.”

And more