the interconnected elements of Greek and Latin scholarship - the Chinese Wall myth

Steven Avery

There is a great myth in modern scholarship of a type of "Chinese Wall" between the Greek and Latin scholarship through the centuries.

We recently shared the writing of Aenaes of Paris, where a Latin western scholar specifically addresses the Greek eastern beliefs and uses the heavenly witnesses twice as a major part of his exposition.

This thread will be the central holding point for studies of Greek and Latin interconnection. It will be heavenly witnesses oriented, so we may pass over writers like Irenaeus whose references are on the mild allusion level. Granted, this error in analysis goes way beyond the heavenly witnesses. e.g. Irenaeus has a superb usage of Acts 8:37 which is really worth 100x more than its omission in a later corruption Alexandrian ms.

And will include:





various writers in the early centuries


Aeneas of Paris

Thomas Aquinas

the Lateran Council

Manuel Calecas and Joseph Bryennios

Erasmus and the Reformation scholars

Eugenius Bulgaris

and much more.
The Facebook discussion, Robert Kacak contributing, that brought this to the fore as a separate topic is at:

Facebook - Pure Bible Forum
Aeneas of Paris

After the post on Aeneas here on PBF:

Pure Bible Forum
Aeneas of Paris - heavenly witnesses in Latin-Greek controversies

and this new thread:

Pure Bible Forum
the interconnected elements of Greek and Latin scholarship - the Chinese Wall myth

Steven Avery


Here are references on Tertullian:

Reviving the Memory of the Apostles:
Apocryphal Tradition and Travel Literature in Latin Antiquity
by Scott Fitzgerald Johnson

40 See Johnson. Life and Mircacles Admittedly. Tertullian read Greek and could be reading the Greek original (of the Acts of Paul and Thecla) rather than a Latin translation (ibid.).

The Life and Miracles of Thekla, A Literary Study, 2006
Scott Johnson

Tertullian knew Greek, of course, and could have read the ATh in its original language: see Barnes 1971:67–69. Tertullian is known to have written (now lost) works in Greek on the baptism of heretics, on shows and games, and on the veiling of virgins. Barnes argues for a<wbr> Greek-speaking audience in Carthage for these works.

Tertullian: A Historical and Literary Study (1971, and 1985 edition)
Timothy David Barnes

God in Trinity in Tertullian’s Interpretation of the Act of Creation (Gen: 1–2)
Marcin Wysocki Ph.D
Tertullian, however, also knew Greek well, what could also affect using the term “<wbr>sermo” by him. See T.P. O'Malley, Tertullian and the Bible, pp. 4–8, 17–20;

45 Tertullian for the “Word of God” had used the term "Sermo", otherwise than a hundred years later, St. Jerome translated in the Vulgate, where the latter used the term “verbum” Tertullian probably was using the Latin translation of the Bible, created in Africa, called “Vetus Latina”, in which the term λόγος was translated as “sermo” Tertullian, however, also knew Greek well, what could also affect using the term “sermo” by him. See T.P. O’Malley, Tertullian and the Bible, pp. 4-8, 17-20; R. Braun, Deus Christianorum, pp. 267-270.

These two should be library available, the first seems to be on Scribd

Tertullian and the Bible, language, imagery, explanation
Thomas P. O'Malley

"Deus Christianorum": recherches sur le vocabulaire doctrinal de Tertullien
René Braun


Some earlier related commentary, working forward from the 1700s

New criticisms on the celebrated text, 1 John V. 7. "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one." A synodical lecture
Franz Knittel
Cyprian understood Greek. He read Homeer, Plato, Hermes Trismegistus26, and Hippocrates27. He maintained an Epistolary Correspondence with the Teachers of that Church: nay, he translated into Latin the Greek Epistle written to him by Firmilianus, bishop of Caesarea. His great Master, whose principles he followed—I mean Tertullian, a man who likewise understood Greek—enjoins us to keep before our eyes the Original Text of the Apostolic Epistles ; and himself frequently appeals to the ancient Manuscripts. (continues on the Cyprian heavenly witnesses reference)

Also p. 217

The Eclectic Review tries to lessen the value of the dual language expertise of Cyprian in determining the Greek ms. situation:

George Travis section responding to George Benson (1699-1762) - p. 90-95

Griesbach taken to task in The Quarterly Review (1825)

Thomas Burgess (1829)
“We know that Tertullian, Cyprian, and Jerome were learned in the Greek language, and that Jerome’s version was formed on the most scrupulous collation of the Greek original, and that the most ancient copies of his version have the 7th verse. Of the existence therefore of the verse in the Greek text of the second, third, and fourth centuries, there seems to be no just room to doubt. But from the peculiar liability of the controverted passage to variations of the text, and to omissions, there probably have always been, as there now are, some Latin copies which omit the seventh verse and retain the eighth, or omit the eighth and retain the seventh. Of such unfaithful Latin copies as omitted the seventh verse, we find a complaint in the Prologue to the Canonical Epistles ...
A Critical and Historical Enquiry Into the Origin of the Third Gospel (1901)
by P. C. Sense
He (Hort) proceeds to remark:
“The rich evidence supplied by Tertullian’s works is indeed difficult to disentangle, because he was fond of using his knowledge of Greek by quoting Scripture in immediate and original renderings, the proportion of which to his quotations from the existing version is indeterminate but certainly large.”

The New Testament in the Original Greek, Volume 2 (1881)
edited by Brooke Foss Westcott, Fenton John Anthony Hort

The three witnesses: The disputed text in St. John: considerations new and old
Henry Thomas Armfield (1883)
"Dr. Mill, who thinks that the Italic version had it not from the beginning, is yet of opinion that Tertullian and Cyprian corrected their copies by Greek originals, and that some few transcripts of those corrected copies were publicly used in that very ago in some of their churches. "
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