why the contras have to deny the clear authenticity of the Vulgate Prologue of Jerome

Steven Avery

Written on Facebook the other day.
Note the follow-up conversation as well.

Pure Bible

The Vulgate Prologue of Jerome and the heavenly witnesses verse.

The contras making an argument for the inauthenticity of the beautiful and majestic and Johannine-cohering and Johannine-consistent heavenly witnesses:

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.

ironically have to assume an extremely weak argument against the authenticity of the Vulgate Prologue of Jerome.

In fact, virtually none of the contras really even know what are the presumed arguments against the Prologue's not simply being a first-person writing by Jerome. The main argument historically was that it appeared late, which was totally refuted by the c. 1850 discovery that the Prologue is in the earliest Vulgate-text ms. extant, Codex Fuldensis (which is a harmony ms. in the Gospels, full text in the rest of the NT.)

A small group of arguments are transparently weak, another case of a 'multiplication of nothings'. And nobody repeats them today, and were properly and astutely described as "frivole" by Antoine-Eugène Genoude (1792-1849). The arguments for authenticity are about 10 to 100 times stronger. Especially as the Prologue is a first-person writing to Eustochium, in Jerome's style.

You would have to presume a really cagey, dishonest forger writing the Prologue, shortly after the death of Jerome, getting away with it, and somehow pushing his writing into the text-line as if it was from Jerome. Maybe a twin brother.

And some of our modern textual absurdists, including Westcott, thus theorize that some unknown nobody wrote a beautiful Prologue exactly like Jerome for the express nefarious purpose of supporting the heavenly witnesses as scripture!. Za-zam. Amazing. Absurd.
And Occam says .. Jerome!

Think about it. If the contras accepted the virtual certainty of the Vulgate Prologue being from Jerome, stylistic, historical, first-person, matching his knowledge and method ... and they were at all honest ... the discussion would be over.

On top of the other massive authenticity evidences (including the Tertullian and Cyprian references, the 484 AD Council of Carthage with hundreds of bishops from the wide Meditteranean region affirming the verse, Old Latin mss, perhaps 1,000 Vulgate mss., some excellent Greek evidences, and the incredible fact of the grating solecism in the short Greek text ... as well as the preservational imperative ... )

You have the greatest textual expert of the early church discussing how the verse was deliberately omitted by translators (in context, scribes in general.) Meaning that the heavenly witnesses was extant in ancient Greek and Latin mss, acknowledged by Jerome, the one man in the world who had the most access to such mss in both languages. And Jerome even gives us the fingerprints of how it could drop out of the Greek text-line, and some Latin mss. Likely after some homoeoteleuton jump-start omission. Many scribes simply preferred gone-verse, when faced with the split line.

Thus, authentic.

Jerome makes it crystal clear.

Thus, the contras simply avoid the Vulgate Prologue issue, and pretend that there is real evidence against the Prologue's authenticity. There is not.

They only make the claim of inauthenticity of the Prologue because of their unsupportable circular presuppositions of the heavenly witnesses being some type of interpolation by forgery or margin-error ... at some time, some how. They only deny the authenticity of the Prologue because they presume their own position against the authenticity of the heavenly witnesses!

"How could Jerome write that way?", they think.. "since we know from our Metzger textual adoration that the heavenly witnesses verse was not there for Jerome to make such a comment".

Circular is as circular does.

Yours in Jesus name,
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Steven Avery

A bit more.

Steven Avery
Thanks. I've been tweaking it for awhile, since I consider it a very fundamental understanding, often overlooked, that became a bit clearer to me tonight!


Less fundamental, "Advanced Placement", :) and potentially corroborative.

Through the early centuries there was a type of equal-opportunity doctrinal concern about the heavenly witnesses verse. Trinitarians in the early years might consider it too Sabellian, Arians might consider it too Trinitarian. Sort of a rock-paper-scissors Christology dynamic. Leading to the dynamic noted by Jerome, of scribal omission, especially when faced with the split-line choice.

There is some value-added I might write up about Constantine and Alexander, the Bishop of Alexandria, about a "certain passage of scripture" or of "the law" that caused controversy. This fits perfectly.

(Ben David is very interesting on this point, Frederick Nolan is generally worth reading on the 300s dynamic.)

The issue of the disciplina arcani could come directly into play as well. Another reason for some scribes to act specifically in the way noted by Jerome.

And we have direct evidence, written, that Augustine, while knowing of the verse, preferred it not. This comes out of one of the incredible medieval manuscripts with commentary that delves into the verse. One actually gives multiple forms in use.

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