Snapp Text of the Gospels Nov 2021 discussion

Steven Avery


Hi friends,

Joining in the discussion, although I have a bit above.

The 500 Greek manuscripts give us a good picture that the Greek manuscript line normalized without the verse from c. AD 700 to AD 1200. At that point the Lateran Council began a return of the Greek text which included the Council having the verse in Greek and Latin (discussing the doctrines of Joachim Fiore), Codex Ottobonianus, Manuel Calecas and Joseph Bryennius, before Erasmus and the 1500s activity.

Also we have a good picture of the Latin line from about AD 200 (Tertullian and Cyprian) continuing onward with the verse in an estimated 1,000 manuscripts. This includes Old Latin mss. which line was translated no later than the 2nd century. And heavenly witnesses usage by about 100 Latin authors from the 300s consistently through to the Reformation era.

Then we have cross-language evidences like Jerome's Prologue to the Canonical Epistles that points to ancient mss. with the verse.

We have the Council of Carthage of 484 with 400+ orthodox confirming their faith specifically citing the Johannine heavenly witnesses verse. This shows that the Old Latin line having the verse was widely accepted without any pushback.

Similarly the grammatical solecism without the verse in the short Greek text tells any true Bible believer that this verse is from John, along with powerful corroborating stylistic and internal evidences. A simple example is the "Witness of God" of verse 9 points right back to the heavenly witnesses of verse 7. Another is the wooden redundancy of verse 6 to verse 8 when the heavenly witnesses are removed. Another is the beautiful parallelism, in the minds of the short text afficianados there is not even a reference to heavenly or earthly! This is a beautiful Johannine parallelism, not that of Clunk the Margin Writer and Flunk the Interpolator.

We also have some Greek evidences such as the Disputation of Athanasius against an Arian at Nicea that show the verse. And the Synopsis of Scripture.

So to focus almost obsessively on simply Greek manuscripts, which are almost all quite late, is a trick of the modern textual critics who really do not understand the evidences. For this verse, the Greek manuscripts are simply one modest group of evidences.

It is exceedingly easy to explain the verse dropping out of the Greek line, but a wacky margin insertion that fixes the Greek text solecism in translation from Latin, and develops a beautiful harmonious parallelism is, for the Bible believer, a road too far.

As Demian said:
"Five manuscripts in a period of 700 years is good enough for you to establish a firm tradition of Greek manuscripts from the autographs all the way until the 7th century? Five manuscripts in 700 years!"

Blessings and grace in Jesus name!

Steven Avery
Dutchess County, NY USA
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Steven Avery

Good discussion!

Here is one of the earliest Greek evidences. Charles Forster p. 59-63 in his New Plea places this as direct writing form Athansius, "The theme is peculiarity Athanasian", there is some earlier weak scholarship that tries to place it around AD 600, and today's view of Annette von Stockhausen is early 400s.


Athanasius - Disputation Contra Arium 44; Migne Graeca, PG 28.499-500

[Athanasius responds]
Likewise isn’t it the remission of sins procured by that quickening and sanctifying ablution [baptism], without which no man shall see the kingdom of heaven, [a baptism] given to the faithful in the thrice-blessed name? And besides all these, John says: ”And the three are the one”.
(Richard Porson, Letters to Travis, 1790 p. 214 and 1828 p. 199)


And it is strongly corroborated by Potamius of Lisbon writing of the heavenly witnesses to Athanasius.


AD 350 - Potamius of Lisbon

● Letter to Athanasius the Bishop of Alexandria on the consubstantiality of the Son of God.

You must justly admit that, when your poisonous desire of impure slander was inflamed, the venerable fathers transfixed you with pious arrows in that holier council. Here also it is clearly shown that you held before you fetters of malicious distortion, since the Savoir says: "I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of him who sent him." (John 6:38) What do you answer, serpent? Is it really possible that you seek to obfuscate the brightness of this [PAGE 138] pure profession, which they consider to be a very small problem? The occasion has a bearing on the matter. The Lord our Savior appeared to mankind as a human being, since he had clothed himself with a human body. Therefore, he said: "I have come down from heaven not to do my own will." (John 6:38) He denied the exercise of the humanity that was in him. Therefore, he cries out in order to proclaim in himself the predecessor whom he remembers as his Father and begetter. Since the Son is named second, therefore he who precedes is greater: but, because "these three are one", the substance of him who sends and of him who is sent, in the context of the unity of the Godhead, is one: "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30), and "He sees me, sees the Father." (John 14:9) and, as the Savoir himself said to the Apostles: "I have been so long with you and yet you do not know the Father." (John 14:9)

(Potamius of Lisbon. "Letter to Athanasius the Bishop of Alexandria on the consubstantiality of the Son of God" in the life and works of Potamius of Lisbon edited and translated by Marco Conti, 1998, p. 136)


Since the assigning of Vaticanus to the 300s is quite dubious,and not particularly relevant since it is such a corrupt Reader's Digest edition (and should we mention the umlaut/distigme?) and Sinaiticus is 1800s, the Disputation may well be our earliest extant clear Greek evidence. And it points directly to the heavenly witnesses verse being in the Bible of Athanasius.


Steven Avery

Looking, I found a point of interest above.
Note that Barry Hofstetter was discussed.

Above, he was very easily refuted, since his article on the grammar of the short earthly witnesses text depends on there being discordance on verses that are NOT analogies and have no discordance.

Steven Avery above:
"Matthew 23:23 and 1 John 2:16 are given as supposed analogies to the gender discordance in the short earthly witnesses text."

FYI: James Snapp has fallen into the same pit with a famous quote on Facebook :) .
"discord is discord"{"tn"%3A"R5"%7D

Masculine (or feminine) grammar with neuter substantives is the case at issue, as Eugenius Bulgaris makes very clear. And similarly affirmed by Georgios Babiniotis.

Neuter grammar can easily include masculine or feminine subatantives, as in the bogus analogy verses given by Barry Hofstetter. Since those verses have no discordance, they can not be used as prototypes of a substantive participle.

If there was a subsstantive participle in the earthly witnesses verse, this would actually make the three nouns irrelevant to the grammar! (Which is clearly the bogus claim of Hofstetter, although he avoids saying so outright.) In his wild and wacky analysis, there would still be masculine grammar even if the three nouns were feminine!

There is more wrong with his paper, however I would say the above is the refutation of his fundamental error.

Feedback and thoughts most welcome! (Even from potty-mouth.) This has been brought up to Barry Hofstetter and he only tried an ad hominem attack in response.

Note: this really is all rather simple.

Steven Avery
Dutchess County, NY USA

Steven Avery


This is a big nothing. Let's allow the possibility that Simonides simply tailored his story to say what was convenient at the time, since only part of Hermas was in Sinaiticus. Simonides was surely capable of fudging some facts, David Daniels points out that he fudged the number of trips to Sinai. Although his account of the production is generally substantive and well corroborated, and a number of folks still alive were referenced. Compare this to the gross fabrications from Tischendorf about his 1844 brazen theft that included five intact quires, and his fabrication 15 years later that he had saved the leaves from fire! What is far more significant ABOUT HERMAS is how Tischendorf accused the 1856 Simonides Greek Hermas of being a Latin retroversion! And then, after Sinaiticus in 1859, gave virtually the same Greek text, Tischendorf slyly RETRACTED the accusation (which had some truth, and which he had supported with examples) simply because it would sink Ship Sinaiticus. As pointed out by Scottish scholar James Donaldson in 1864 to 1877. Good try, James!