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Johannine Comma

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The Johannine Comma (1 John 5:7) was added into Erasmus' third edition of the Textus Receptus.[1]

The Johannine Comma (Latin: Comma Johanneum) is an interpolated phrase (comma) in verses 5:7–8 of the First Epistle of John.[2]

The text (with the comma in italics and enclosed by square brackets) in the King James Bible reads:

7For there are three that beare record [in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.] 8[And there are three that beare witnesse in earth], the Spirit, and the Water, and the Blood, and these three agree in one.

— King James Version (1611)

In the Greek Textus Receptus (TR), the verse reads thus:[3]

ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες εν τῷ οὐρανῷ, ὁ πατήρ, ὁ λόγος, καὶ τὸ Ἅγιον Πνεῦμα· καὶ οὗτοι οἱ τρεῖς ἕν εἰσι.

It became a touchpoint for the Christian theological debate over the doctrine of the Trinity from the early church councils to the Catholic and Protestant disputes in the early modern period.[4]

It may first be noted that the words "in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one" (KJV) found in older translations at 1 John 5:7 are thought by some to be spurious additions to the original text. A footnote in The Jerusalem Bible, a Catholic translation, says that these words are "not in any of the early Greek MSS [manuscripts], or any of the early translations, or in the best MSS of the Vulg[ate] itself." A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, by Bruce Metzger (1975, pp. 716-718), traces in detail the history of the passage. It states that the passage is first found in a treatise entitled Liber Apologeticus, of the fourth century, and that it appears in Old Latin and Vulgate manuscripts of the Scriptures, beginning in the sixth century. Modern translations as a whole, both Catholic and Protestant, do not include them in the main body of the text, because of their ostensibly spurious nature.—RS, NE, NAB. [5][6]

The comma is mainly only attested in the Latin manuscripts of the New Testament, being absent from the vast majority of Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, the earliest Greek manuscript being 14th century.[7] It is also totally absent in the Ethiopic, Aramaic, Syriac, Georgian, Arabic and from the early pre-12th century Armenian[8] witnesses to the New Testament. It appears in some English translations of the Bible among other European languages via its inclusion in the first printed New Testament, Novum Instrumentum omne by Erasmus, where it first appeared in the 1522 third edition. In spite of its late date, members of the King James Only movement and those who advocate for the superiority for the Textus Receptus have argued for its authenticity.

The Comma Johanneum is among the most noteworthy variants found within the Textus Receptus in addition to the confession of the Ethiopian eunuch , the long ending of Mark, the Pericope Adulterae, the reading "God" in 1 Timothy 3:16 and the "book of life" in Revelation 22:19.[9]



The "Johannine Comma" is a short clause found in 1 John 5:7–8.

The King James Bible (1611) contains the Johannine comma.[10]

Erasmus omitted the text of the Johannine Comma from his first and second editions of the Greek-Latin New Testament (the Novum Instrumentum omne) because it was not in his Greek manuscripts. He added the text to his Novum Testamentum omne in 1522 after being accused of reviving Arianism and after he was informed of a Greek manuscript that contained the verse,[11] although he expressed doubt as to its authenticity in his Annotations.[12][13]

Many subsequent early printed editions of the Bible include it, such as the Coverdale Bible (1535), the Geneva Bible (1560), the Douay-Rheims Bible (1610), and the King James Bible (1611). Later editions based on the Textus Receptus, such as Robert Young's Literal Translation (1862) and the New King James Version (1979), include the verse. In the 1500s it was not always included in Latin New Testament editions, though it was in the Sixto-Clementine Vulgate (1592). However, Martin Luther did not include it in his Luther Bible.[14]

The text (with the Comma in square brackets and italicised) in the King James Bible reads:

7For there are three that beare record [in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.] 8[And there are three that beare witnesse in earth], the Spirit, and the Water, and the Blood, and these three agree in one.

— King James Version (1611)

The text (with the Comma in square brackets and italicised) in the Latin of the Sixto-Clementine Vulgate reads:

7Quoniam tres sunt, qui testimonium dant [in caelo: Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus Sanctus: et hi tres unum sunt.] 8[Et tres sunt, qui testimonium dant in terra]: spiritus, et aqua, et sanguis: et hi tres unum sunt.

— Sixto-Clementine Vulgate (1592)

The text (with the Comma in square brackets and italicised) in the Greek of the Novum Testamentum omne reads:

7ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες [ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ὁ πατήρ ὁ λόγος καὶ τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα καὶ οὗτοι οἱ τρεῖς ἕν εἰσιν] 8[καὶ τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν τῇ γῇ] τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ καὶ τὸ αἷμα καὶ οἱ τρεῖς εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν.

— Novum Testamentum omne (1522; absent in earlier editions)

There are several variant versions of the Latin and Greek texts.[2]

English translations based on a modern critical text have omitted the comma from the main text since the English Revised Version (1881), including the New American Standard Bible (NASB), English Standard Version (ESV), and New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).


Excerpt from Codex Sinaiticus including 1 John 5:7–9. It lacks the Johannine Comma. The red coloured text says: "There are three witness bearers, the spirit and the water and the blood".

Several early sources which one might expect to include the Comma Johanneum in fact omit it. For example, Clement of Alexandria's (c. 200) quotation of 1 John 5:8 does not include the Comma.[15]

Among the earliest possible references to the Comma appears by the 3rd-century Church father Cyprian (died 258), who in Unity of the Church 1.6[16] quoted John 10:30: "Again it is written of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 'And these three are one.'"[17] However, some believe that he was giving an interpretation of the three elements mentioned in the uncontested part of the verse.[18]

The first undisputed work to quote the Comma Johanneum as an actual part of the Epistle's text appears to be the 4th century Latin homily Liber Apologeticus, probably written by Priscillian of Ávila (died 385), or his close follower Bishop Instantius.[18]


Codex Sangallensis 63 (9th century), Johannine Comma at the bottom: tre[s] sunt pat[er] & uerbu[m] & sps [=spiritus] scs [=sanctus] & tres unum sunt. Translation: "three are the father and the word and the holy spirit and the three are one". The original codex did not contain the Comma Johanneum (in 1 John 5:7), but it was added by a later hand on the margin.[19]

The comma is not in two of the oldest extant Vulgate manuscripts, Codex Fuldensis and the Codex Amiatinus, although it is referenced in the Prologue to the Canonical Epistles of Fuldensis and appears in Old Latin manuscripts of similar antiquity.

The Johannine comma in the Codex Ottobonianus, earliest Greek manuscript to contain the comma.
Codex Montfortianus (1520) page 434 recto with 1 John 5 Comma Johanneum.

The earliest extant Latin manuscripts supporting the comma are dated from the 5th to 7th century. The Freisinger fragment,[20] León palimpsest,[21] besides the younger Codex Speculum, New Testament quotations extant in an 8th- or 9th-century manuscript.[22]

The comma does not appear in the older Greek manuscripts. Nestle-Aland is aware of eight Greek manuscripts that contain the comma.[23] The date of the addition is late, probably dating to the time of Erasmus.[24] In one manuscript, back-translated into Greek from the Vulgate, the phrase "and these three are one" is not present.

The Codex Vaticanus in some places contains umlauts to indicate knowledge of variants. Although there has been some debate on the age of these umlauts and if they were added at a later date, according to a paper made by Philip B. Payne, the ink seems to match that of the original scribe.[25] The Codex Vaticanus contains these dots around 1 John 5:7, however according to McDonald, G. R, it is far more likely that the scribe had encountered other variants in the verse than the Johannine comma, which is not attested in the Greek until the 14th century. [7]

Both Novum Testamentum Graece (NA27) and the United Bible Societies (UBS4) provide three variants. The numbers here follow UBS4, which rates its preference for the first variant as { A }, meaning "virtually certain" to reflect the original text. The second variant is a longer Greek version found in the original text of five manuscripts and the margins of five others. All of the other 500 plus Greek manuscripts that contain 1 John support the first variant. The third variant is found only in Latin manuscripts and patristic works. The Latin variant is considered a trinitarian gloss,[26] explaining or paralleled by the second Greek variant.

  1. The comma in Greek. All non-lectionary evidence cited: Minuscules 61 (Codex Montfortianus, c. 1520), 629 (Codex Ottobonianus, 14th/15th century), 918 (Codex Escurialensis, Σ. I. 5, 16th century), 2318 (18th century) and 2473 (17th century). It is also found in the Complutensian Polyglot (1520), which was cited by Erasmus for his inclusion of the comma alongside the "British Codex" (Identified with Montfortianus).[27][28] Its first full appearance in Greek is from the Greek version of the Acts of the Lateran Council in 1215.[29] Although it later appears in the writings of Emmanuel Calecas (died 1410), Joseph Bryennius (1350 – 1431/38) and in the Orthodox Confession of Moglas (1643).[30][31] [7] There are no full Patristic Greek references to the comma, however, F.H.A. Scrivener mentions two possible allusions in Greek to the comma in the 4th or 5th century from the Synopsis of Holy Scripture and the Disputation with Arius from Pseudo-Athanasius.[32]
  2. The comma at the margins of Greek at the margins of minuscules 88 (Codex Regis, 11th century with margins added at the 16th century), 177 (BSB Cod. graec. 211), 221 (10th century with margins added at the 15th/16th century), 429 (Codex Guelferbytanus, 14th century with margins added at the 16th century), 636 (16th century).
  3. The comma in Latin. testimonium dicunt [or dant] in terra, spiritus [or: spiritus et] aqua et sanguis, et hi tres unum sunt in Christo Iesu. 8 et tres sunt, qui testimonium dicunt in caelo, pater verbum et spiritus. [... "giving evidence on earth, spirit, water and blood, and these three are one in Christ Jesus. 8 And the three, which give evidence in heaven, are father word and spirit."] All evidence from Fathers cited: Clementine edition of Vulgate translation; Pseudo-Augustine's Speculum Peccatoris (V), also (these three with some variation) Cyprian (3rd century), Ps-Cyprian, & Priscillian (died 385) Liber Apologeticus. And Contra-Varimadum (439-484), Eugenius of Carthage (5th century), Vigilius,[32] Pseudo-Jerome (5th century) Prologue to the Catholic Epistles, Fulgentius of Ruspe (died 527) Responsio contra Arianos, Cassiodorus (6th century) Complexiones in Ioannis Epist. ad Parthos, Donation of Constantine (8th century). It is also found in the quotations of multiple later medieval writers, including: Peter Abelard (12th century), Peter Lombard (12th century), Bernard of Clairvaux (12th century), Thomas Aquinas (13th century) and William of Ockham (14th century).[7]
  4. The comma in other languages: The Johannine comma is found in a few late Slavonic manuscripts, and also in the margin of the Moscow edition of 1663, published under Alexis of Russia.[33] Due to Latin influence, the Johannine Comma also found its way into the Armenian language after the 12th century under King Haithom.[8] It was quoted in the 13th century in the Armenian synod of Sis and found in Uscan's Armenian translation of the Bible of the 17th century.[34] It has been suggested that the Syriac writer Jacob of Edessa (640–708) referenced the Comma in his writings, as he made a trinitarian reference alongside the water, blood, and Spirit. However, his statements have also been interpreted as referring to the Latin work "Against Varimadus," especially due to his mention that the Trinity exists "within us." This Latin text had significant influence beyond the Latin-speaking world, leading to the possibility that Jacob's reference was to this text rather than a direct quotation of 1 John 5:7.[7]

The appearance of the Comma in the manuscript evidence is represented in the following tables:

Latin manuscripts
Date Name Place Other information
5th century Codex Speculum (m) Saint Cross monastery (Sessorianus), Rome scripture quotations
546 AD Codex Fuldensis (F) Fulda, Germany The oldest Vulgate manuscript does not have the verse, it does have the Vulgate Prologue which discusses the verse
5th-7th century Frisingensia Fragmenta (r) or (q) Bavarian State Library, Munich Spanish - earthly before heavenly, formerly Fragmenta Monacensia
7th century León palimpsest (l) Beuron 67 León Cathedral Spanish - "and there are three which bear testimony in heaven, the Father, and the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one in Christ Jesus" - earthly before heavenly
8th century Codex Wizanburgensis Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel[35] the dating is controversial.[36]
9th century Codex Cavensis C La Cava de' Tirreni, Biblioteca della Badia, ms memb. 1 Spanish - earthly before heavenly
9th century Codex Ulmensis U or σU British Museum, London 11852 Spanish
927 AD Codex Complutensis I (C) Biblical University Centre 31; Madrid Spanish - purchased by Cardinal Ximenes, used for Complutensian Polyglot, earthly before heavenly, one in Christ Jesus.
8th–9th century Codex Theodulphianus National Library, Paris (BnF) - Latin 9380 Franco-Spanish
8th–9th century Codex Sangallensis 907 Abbey of St. Gallen Franco-Spanish
9th century Codex Lemovicensis-32 (L) National Library of France Lain 328, Paris
9th century Codex Vercellensis Rome, Biblioteca Vallicelliana ms B vi representing the recension of Alcuin, completed in 801
9th century Codex Sangallensis 63 Abbey library of Saint Gall Latin, added later into the margin.[37]
960 AD Codex Gothicus Legionensis Biblioteca Capitular y Archivo de la Real Colegiata de San Isidoro, ms 2
10th century Codex Toletanus Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional ms Vitr. 13-1 Spanish - earthly before heavenly
Greek manuscripts
Date Manuscript no. Name Place Other information
14th [38] –15th century 629 Codex Ottobonianus 298 Vatican Original.
Diglot, Latin and Greek texts.
c. 1520[38] 61 Codex Montfortianus Dublin Original. Articles are missing before nouns.
14th century 209 Venice, Biblioteca Marciana The manuscript is written in Greek, however the comma was added into the margin in Latin during the 15th century.[7]
16th century[38] 918 Codex Escurialensis Σ.I.5 Escorial
16th century   Ravianus (Berolinensis) Berlin Original, facsimile of printed Complutensian Polyglot Bible, removed from NT ms. list in 1908
c. 12th century[38] 88 Codex Regis Victor Emmanuel III National Library, Napoli Margin: 16th century[38]
c. 14th century[38] 429 Codex Guelferbytanus Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbuttel, Germany Margin: 16th century[citation needed]
15th century[38] - 16th century[39][38] 636   Victor Emmanuel III National Library, Naples Margin: 16th century[citation needed]
11th century 177 BSB Cod. graec. 211 Bavarian State Library, Munich Margin: late 16th century or later[40][38]
17th century 2473   National Library, Athens Original.
18th century[38] 2318   Romanian Academy, Bucharest Original.
Commentary mss. perhaps Oecumenius
c. 10th century[38] 221 Bodleian Library, Oxford University Margin: 19th century[citation needed]
11th century 635 Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III This manuscript has sometimes been cited as having the comma added later in the margin.[41][42][7] According to Metzger, it was added in the 17th century.[43]

Patristic writers


Clement of Alexandria

Clement of Alexandria quotes 1 John 5:7 without the comma.

The comma is absent from an extant fragment of Clement of Alexandria (c. 200), through Cassiodorus (6th century), with homily style verse references from 1 John, including verse 1 John 5:6 and 1 John 5:8 without verse 7, the heavenly witnesses.

He says, "This is He who came by water and blood"; and again, – For there are three that bear witness, the spirit, which is life, and the water, which is regeneration and faith, and the blood, which is knowledge; "and these three are one. For in the Saviour are those saving virtues, and life itself exists in His own Son."[15][44]

Another reference that is studied is from Clement's Prophetic Extracts:

Every promise is valid before two or three witnesses, before the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; before whom, as witnesses and helpers, what are called the commandments ought to be kept.[45]

This is seen by some[46] as allusion evidence that Clement was familiar with the verse.



Tertullian, in Against Praxeas (c. 210), supports a Trinitarian view by quoting John 10:30:

So the close series of the Father in the Son and the Son in the Paraclete makes three who cohere, the one attached to the other: And these three are one substance, not one person, (qui tres unum sunt, non unus) in the sense in which it was said, "I and the Father are one" in respect of unity of substance, not of singularity of number.[47]

While many other commentators have argued against any Comma evidence here, most emphatically John Kaye's, "far from containing an allusion to 1 Jo. v. 7, it furnishes most decisive proof that he knew nothing of the verse".[48] Georg Strecker comments cautiously "An initial echo of the Comma Johanneum occurs as early as Tertullian Adv. Pax. 25.1 (CChr 2.1195; written c. 215). In his commentary on John 16:14 he writes that the Father, Son, and Paraclete are one (unum), but not one person (unus). However, this passage cannot be regarded as a certain attestation of the Comma Johanneum."[49]

References from Tertullian in De Pudicitia 21:16 (On Modesty):

The Church, in the peculiar and the most excellent sense, is the Holy Ghost, in which the Three are One, and therefore the whole union of those who agree in this belief (viz. that God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one), is named the Church, after its founder and sanctifier (the Holy Ghost).[50]

and De Baptismo:

Now if every word of God is to be established by three witnesses ... For where there are the three, namely the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, there is the Church which is a body of the three.[51]

have also been presented as verse allusions.[52]

Treatise on Rebaptism


The Treatise on Rebaptism, placed as a 3rd-century writing and transmitted with Cyprian's works, has two sections that directly refer to the earthly witnesses, and thus has been used against authenticity by Nathaniel Lardner, Alfred Plummer and others. However, because of the context being water baptism and the precise wording being "et isti tres unum sunt", the Matthew Henry Commentary uses this as evidence for Cyprian speaking of the heavenly witnesses in Unity of the Church. Arthur Cleveland Coxe and Nathaniel Cornwall also consider the evidence as suggestively positive, as do Westcott and Hort. After approaching the Tertullian and Cyprian references negatively, "morally certain that they would have quoted these words had they known them" Westcott writes about the Rebaptism Treatise:

the evidence of Cent. III is not exclusively negative, for the treatise on Rebaptism contemporary with Cyp. quotes the whole passage simply thus (15: cf. 19), "quia tres testimonium perhibent, spiritus et aqua et sanguis, et isti tres unum sunt".[53]



The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1910 asserts that Jerome "does not seem to know the text",[22] but Charles Forster suggests that the "silent publication of [the text] in the Vulgate ... gives the clearest proof that down to his time the genuineness of this text had never been disputed or questioned."[54]

Many Vulgate manuscripts, including the Codex Fuldensis, the earliest extant Vulgate manuscript, include a Prologue to the Canonical Epistles referring to the Comma:

If the letters were also rendered faithfully by translators into Latin just as their authors composed them, they would not cause the reader confusion, nor would the differences between their wording give rise to contradictions, nor would the various phrases contradict each other, especially in that place where we read the clause about the unity of the Trinity in the first letter of John. Indeed, it has come to our notice that in this letter some unfaithful translators have gone far astray from the truth of the faith, for in their edition they provide just the words for three [witnesses]—namely water, blood and spirit—and omit the testimony of the Father, the Word and the Spirit, by which the Catholic faith is especially strengthened, and proof is tendered of the single substance of divinity possessed by Father, Son and Holy Spirit.77[55]

The Prologue presents itself as a letter of Jerome to Eustochium, to whom Jerome dedicated his commentary on the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel. Despite the first-person salutation, some claim it is the work of an unknown imitator from the late 5th century.[56] (The Codex Fuldensis Prologue references the Comma, but the Codex's version of 1 John omits it, which has led many to believe that the Prologue's reference is spurious.)[57] Its inauthenticity is arguably stressed by the omission of the passage from the manuscript's own text of 1 John; however, this can also be seen as confirming the claim in the Prologue that scribes tended to drop the text.

Marcus Celedensis


Coming down with the writings of Jerome is the extant statement of faith attributed to Marcus Celedensis, friend and correspondent to Jerome, presented to Cyril:

To us there is one Father, and his only Son [who is] very [or true] God, and one Holy Spirit, [who is] very God, and these three are one; – one divinity, and power, and kingdom. And they are three persons, not two nor one.[58][59]

Phoebadius of Agen


Similarly, Jerome wrote of Phoebadius of Agen in his Lives of Illustrious Men. "Phoebadius, bishop of Agen, in Gaul, published a book Against the Arians. There are said to be other works by him, which I have not yet read. He is still living, infirm with age."[60] William Hales looks at Phoebadius:

Phoebadius, A. D. 359, in his controversy with the Arians, Cap, xiv. writes, "The Lord says, I will ask of my Father, and He will give you another advocate." (John xiv. 16) Thus, the Spirit is another from the Son as the Son is another from the Father; so, the third person is in the Spirit, as the second, is in the Son. All, however, are one God, because the three are one, (tres unum sunt.) ... Here, 1 John v. 7, is evidently connected, as a scriptural argument, with John xiv. 16.[61]

Griesbach argued that Phoebadius was only making an allusion to Tertullian,[62] and his unusual explanation was commented on by Reithmayer.[63][64]



Augustine of Hippo has been said to be completely silent on the matter, which has been taken as evidence that the Comma did not exist as part of the epistle's text in his time.[65] This argumentum ex silentio has been contested by other scholars, including Fickermann and Metzger.[66] In addition, some Augustine references have been seen as verse allusions.[67]

The City of God section, from Book V, Chapter 11:

Therefore God supreme and true, with His Word and Holy Spirit (which three are one), one God omnipotent ...[68]

has often been referenced as based upon the scripture verse of the heavenly witnesses.[69] George Strecker acknowledges the City of God reference: "Except for a brief remark in De civitate Dei (5.11; CChr 47.141), where he says of Father, Word, and Spirit that the three are one. Augustine († 430) does not cite the Comma Johanneum. But it is certain on the basis of the work Contra Maximum 2.22.3 (PL 42.794–95) that he interpreted 1 John 5:7–8 in trinitarian terms."[49] Similarly, Homily 10 on the first Epistle of John has been asserted as an allusion to the verse:

And what meaneth "Christ is the end"? Because Christ is God, and "the end of the commandment is charity" and "Charity is God": because Father and Son and Holy Ghost are One.[70][71]

Contra Maximinum has received attention especially for these two sections, especially the allegorical interpretation.

I would not have thee mistake that place in the epistle of John the apostle where he saith, "There are three witnesses: the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and the three are one." Lest haply thou say that the spirit and the water and the blood are diverse substances, and yet it is said, "the three are one": for this cause I have admonished thee, that thou mistake not the matter. For these are mystical expressions, in which the point always to be considered is, not what the actual things are, but what they denote as signs: since they are signs of things, and what they are in their essence is one thing, what they are in their signification another. If then we understand the things signified, we do find these things to be of one substance ... But if we will inquire into the things signified by these, there not unreasonably comes into our thoughts the Trinity itself, which is the One, Only, True, Supreme God, Father and Son and Holy Ghost, of whom it could most truly be said, "There are Three Witnesses, and the Three are One": there has been an ongoing dialog about context and sense.

John Scott Porter writes:

Augustine, in his book against Maximin the Arian, turns every stone to find arguments from the Scriptures to prove that the Spirit is God, and that the Three Persons are the same in substance, but does not adduce this text; nay, clearly shows that he knew nothing of it, for he repeatedly employs the 8th verse, and says, that by the Spirit, the Blood, and the Water—the persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are signified (see Contr. Maxim, cap. xxii.).[72]

Thomas Joseph Lamy offers a different view based on the context and Augustine's purpose.[73] Similarly Thomas Burgess.[74] And Norbert Fickermann's reference and scholarship supports the idea that Augustine may have deliberately bypassed a direct quote of the heavenly witnesses.

Leo the Great


In the Tome of Leo, written to Archbishop Flavian of Constantinople, read at the Council of Chalcedon on 10 October 451 AD,[75] and published in Greek, Leo the Great's usage of 1 John 5 has him moving in discourse from verse 6 to verse 8:

This is the victory which overcometh the world, even our faith"; and: "Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood; and it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear witness, the spirit, the water, and the blood; and the three are one." That is, the Spirit of sanctification, and the blood of redemption, and the water of baptism; which three things are one, and remain undivided ...[76]

This epistle from Leo was considered by Richard Porson to be the "strongest proof" of verse inauthenticity.[77] In response, Thomas Burgess points out that the context of Leo's argument would not call for the 7th verse. And that the verse was referenced in a fully formed manner centuries earlier than Porson's claim, at the time of Fulgentius and the Council of Carthage.[78] Burgess pointed out that there were multiple confirmations that the verse was in the Latin Bibles of Leo's day. Burgess argued, ironically, that the fact that Leo could move from verse 6 to 8 for argument context is, in the bigger picture, favourable to authenticity. "Leo's omission of the Verse is not only counterbalanced by its actual existence in contemporary copies, but the passage of his Letter is, in some material respects, favourable to the authenticity of the Verse, by its contradiction to some assertions confidently urged against the Verse by its opponents, and essential to their theory against it."[79] Today, with the discovery of additional Old Latin evidences in the 19th century, the discourse of Leo is rarely referenced as a significant evidence against verse authenticity.

Cyprian of Carthage - Unity of the Church

Cyprian of Carthage

The 3rd-century Church father Cyprian (c. 200–58), in writing on the Unity of the Church 1.6, quoted John 10:30 and another scriptural spot:

The Lord says, "I and the Father are one"
and again it is written of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
"And these three are one."[80]

The Catholic Encyclopedia concludes "Cyprian ... seems undoubtedly to have had it in mind".[17] Against this view, Daniel B. Wallace writes that since Cyprian does not quote 'the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit', "this in the least does not afford proof that he knew of such wording".[81] The fact that Cyprian did not quote the "exact wording… indicates that a Trinitarian interpretation was superimposed on the text by Cyprian".[82] The Critical Text apparatuses have taken varying positions on the Cyprian reference.[83]

The Cyprian citation, dating to more than a century before any extant Epistle of John manuscripts and before the Arian controversies that are often considered pivotal in verse addition/omission debate, remains a central focus of comma research and textual apologetics. The Scrivener view is often discussed.[84] Westcott and Hort assert: "Tert and Cyp use language which renders it morally certain that they would have quoted these words had they known them; Cyp going so far as to assume a reference to the Trinity in the conclusion of v. 8"[85][86]

In the 20th century, Lutheran scholar Francis Pieper wrote in Christian Dogmatics emphasizing the antiquity and significance of the reference.[87] Frequently commentators have seen Cyprian as having the verse in his Latin Bible, even if not directly supporting and commenting on verse authenticity.[88] Some writers have also seen the denial of the verse in the Bible of Cyprian as worthy of special note and humor.[89]

Daniel B. Wallace notes that although Cyprian uses 1 John to argue for the Trinity, he appeals to this as an allusion via the three witnesses—"written of"—rather than by quoting a proof-text—"written that".[82] Therefore, despite the view of some that Cyprian referred to the passage, the fact that other theologians such as Athanasius of Alexandria and Sabellius and Origen never quoted or referred to that passage is one reason why even many Trinitarians later on also considered the text spurious, and not to have been part of the original text.

Ad Jubaianum (Epistle 73)


The second, lesser reference from Cyprian that has been involved in the verse debate is from Ad Jubaianum 23.12. Cyprian, while discussing baptism, writes:

If he obtained the remission of sins, he was sanctified, and if he was sanctified, he was made the temple of God. But of what God? I ask. The Creator?, Impossible; he did not believe in him. Christ? But he could not be made Christ's temple, for he denied the deity of Christ. The Holy Spirit? Since the Three are One, what pleasure could the Holy Spirit take in the enemy of the Father and the Son?[90]

Knittel emphasizes that Cyprian would be familiar with the Bible in Greek as well as Latin. "Cyprian understood Greek. He read Homer, Plato, Hermes Trismegistus and Hippocrates ... he translated into Latin the Greek epistle written to him by Firmilianus".[91] UBS-4 has its entry for text inclusion as (Cyprian).

Ps-Cyprian - Hundredfold Reward for Martyrs and Ascetics


The Hundredfold Reward for Martyrs and Ascetics: De centesima, sexagesimal tricesima[92] speaks of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as "three witnesses" and was passed down with the Cyprian corpus. This was only first published in 1914 and thus does not show up in the historical debate. UBS-4 includes this in the apparatus as (Ps-Cyprian).[93]

Origen and Athanasius


Those who see Cyprian as negative evidence assert that other church writers, such as Athanasius of Alexandria and Origen,[94] never quoted or referred to the passage, which they would have done if the verse was in the Bibles of that era. The contrasting position is that there are in fact such references, and that "evidences from silence" arguments, looking at the extant early church writer material, should not be given much weight as reflecting absence in the manuscripts—with the exception of verse-by-verse homilies, which were uncommon in the Ante-Nicene era.

Origen's scholium on Psalm 123:2


In the scholium on Psalm 123 attributed to Origen is the commentary:

spirit and body are servants to masters,
Father and Son, and the soul is handmaid to a mistress, the Holy Ghost;
and the Lord our God is the three (persons),
for the three are one.

This has been considered by many commentators, including the translation source Nathaniel Ellsworth Cornwall, as an allusion to verse 7.[95] Ellsworth especially noted the Richard Porson comment in response to the evidence of the Psalm commentary: "The critical chemistry which could extract the doctrine of the Trinity from this place must have been exquisitely refining".[96] Fabricius wrote about the Origen wording "ad locum 1 Joh v. 7 alludi ab origene non est dubitandum".[97]

Athanasius and Arius at the Council of Nicea


Traditionally, Athanasius was considered to lend support to the authenticity of the verse, one reason being the Disputation with Arius at the Council of Nicea which circulated with the works of Athanasius, where is found:

Likewise is not the remission of sins procured by that quickening and sanctifying ablution, without which no man shall see the kingdom of heaven, an ablution given to the faithful in the thrice-blessed name. And besides all these, John says, And the three are one.[98]

Today, many scholars consider this a later work Pseudo-Athanasius, perhaps by Maximus the Confessor. Charles Forster in New Plea argues for the writing as stylistically Athanasius.[99] While the author and date are debated, this is a Greek reference directly related to the doctrinal Trinitarian-Arian controversies, and one that purports to be an account of Nicaea when those doctrinal battles were raging. The reference was given in UBS-3 as supporting verse inclusion, yet was removed from UBS-4 for reasons unknown.

The Synopsis of Scripture, often ascribed to Athanasius, has also been referenced as indicating awareness of the Comma.

Priscillian of Avila


The earliest quotation which some scholars consider a direct reference to the heavenly witnesses from the First Epistle of John is from the Spaniard Priscillian c. 380. The Latin reads:

Sicut Ioannes ait: tria sunt quae testimonium dicunt in terra aqua caro et sanguis et haec tria in unum sunt, et tria sunt quae testimonium dicent in caelo pater uerbum et spiritus et haiec tria unum sunt in Christo Iesu.[100]

The English translation:

As John says and there are three which give testimony on earth the water the flesh the blood and these three are in one and there are three which give testimony in heaven the Father the Word and the Spirit and these three are one in Christ Jesus.[101]

Theodor Zahn calls this "the earliest quotation of the passage which is certain and which can be definitely dated (circa 380)",[102] a view expressed by Westcott, Brooke, Metzger and others.[103]

Priscillian was probably a Sabellianist or Modalist Monarchian.[104] Some interpreters have theorized that Priscillian created the Comma Johanneum. However, there are signs of the Comma Johanneum, although no certain attestations, even before Priscillian".[49] And Priscillian in the same section references The Unity of the Church section from Cyprian.[105] In the early 1900s the Karl Künstle theory of Priscillian origination and interpolation was popular: "The verse is an interpolation, first quoted and perhaps introduced by Priscillian (a.d. 380) as a pious fraud to convince doubters of the doctrine of the Trinity."[106]

Expositio Fidei


Another complementary early reference is an exposition of faith published in 1883 by Carl Paul Caspari from the Ambrosian manuscript, which also contains the Muratorian (canon) fragment.

pater est Ingenitus, filius uero sine Initio genitus a patre est, spiritus autem sanctus processit a patre et accipit de filio, Sicut euangelista testatur quia scriptum est, "Tres sunt qui dicunt testimonium in caelo pater uerbum et spiritus:" et haec tria unum sunt in Christo lesu. Non tamen dixit "Unus est in Christo lesu."

Edgar Simmons Buchanan,[107] points out that the reading "in Christo Iesu" is textually valuable, referencing 1 John 5:7.

The authorship is uncertain, however it is often placed around the same period as Priscillian. Karl Künstle saw the writing as anti-Priscillianist, which would have competing doctrinal positions utilizing the verse. Alan England Brooke[108] notes the similarities of the Expositio with the Priscillian form, and the Priscillian form with the Leon Palimpsest. Theodor Zahn[109] refers to the Expositio as "possibly contemporaneous" to Priscillian, "apparently taken from the proselyte Isaac (alias Ambrosiaster)".

John Chapman looked closely at these materials and the section in Liber Apologeticus around the Priscillian faith statement "Pater Deus, Filius, Deus, et Spiritus sanctus Deus; haec unum sunt in Christo Iesu". Chapman saw an indication that Priscillian found himself bound to defend the comma by citing from the "Unity of the Church" Cyprian section.[110]

Council of Carthage, 484


"The Comma ... was invoked at Carthage in 484 when the Catholic bishops of North Africa confessed their faith before Huneric the Vandal (Victor de Vita, Historia persecutionis Africanae Prov 2.82 [3.11]; CSEL, 7, 60)."[111] The Confession of Faith representing the hundreds of Orthodox bishops[112] included the following section, emphasizing the heavenly witnesses to teach luce clarius ("clearer than the light"):

And so, no occasion for uncertainty is left. It is clear that the Holy Spirit is also God and the author of his own will, he who is most clearly shown to be at work in all things and to bestow the gifts of the divine dispensation according to the judgment of his own will, because where it is proclaimed that he distributes graces where he wills, servile condition cannot exist, for servitude is to be understood in what is created, but power and freedom in the Trinity. And so that we may teach the Holy Spirit to be of one divinity with the Father and the Son still more clearly than the light, here is proof from the testimony of John the evangelist. For he says: "There are three who bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one." Surely he does not say "three separated by a difference in quality" or "divided by grades which differentiate, so that there is a great distance between them"? No, he says that the "three are one". But so that the single divinity which the Holy Spirit has with the Father and the Son might be demonstrated still more in the creation of all things, you have in the book of Job the Holy Spirit as a creator: "It is the divine Spirit" .. [113][114]

De Trinitate and Contra Varimadum


There are additional heavenly witnesses references that are considered to be from the same period as the Council of Carthage, including references that have been attributed to Vigilius Tapsensis who attended the Council. Raymond Brown gives one summary:

... in the century following Priscillian, the chief appearance of the Comma is in tractates defending the Trinity. In PL 62 227–334 there is a work De Trinitate consisting of twelve books ... In Books 1 and 10 (PL 62, 243D, 246B, 297B) the Comma is cited three times. Another work on the Trinity consisting of three books Contra Varimadum ... North African origin ca. 450 seems probable. The Comma is cited in 1.5 (CC 90, 20–21).[115]

One of the references in De Trinitate, from Book V:

But the Holy Ghost abides in the Father, and in the Son [Filio] and in himself; as the Evangelist St. John so absolutely testifies in his Epistle: And the three are one. But how, ye heretics, are the three ONE, if their substance he divided or cut asunder? Or how are they one, if they be placed one before another? Or how are the three one. if the Divinity be different in each? How are they one, if there reside not in them the united eternal plenitude of the Godhead?[116] These references are in the UBS apparatus as Ps-Vigilius.

The Contra Varimadum reference:

John the Evangelist, in his Epistle to the Parthians (i.e. his 1st Epistle), says there are three who afford testimony on earth, the Water, the Blood, and the Flesh, and these three are in us; and there are three who afford testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, and these three are one.[117]

This is in the UBS apparatus as Varimadum.

Ebrard, in referencing this quote, comments, "We see that he had before him the passage in his New Testament in its corrupt form (aqua, sanguis et caro, et tres in nobis sunt); but also, that the gloss was already in the text, and not merely in a single copy, but that it was so widely diffused and acknowledged in the West as to be appealed to by him bona fide in his contest with his Arian opponents."[118]

Fulgentius of Ruspe


In the 6th century, Fulgentius of Ruspe, like Cyprian a father of the North African Church, skilled in Greek as well as his native Latin, used the verse in the doctrinal battles of the day, giving an Orthodox explanation of the verse against Arianism and Sabellianism.

Contra Arianos


From Responsio contra Arianos ("Reply against the Arians"; Migne (Ad 10; CC 91A, 797)):

In the Father, therefore, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we acknowledge unity of substance, but dare not confound the persons. For St. John the apostle, testifieth saying, "There are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, and these three are one."

Then Fulgentius discusses the earlier reference by Cyprian, and the interweaving of the two Johannine verses, John 10:30 and 1 John 5:7.

Which also the blessed martyr Cyprian, in his epistle de unitate Ecclesiae (Unity of the Church), confesseth, saying, Who so breaketh the peace of Christ, and concord, acteth against Christ: whoso gathereth elsewhere beside the Church, scattereth. And that he might shew, that the Church of the one God is one, he inserted these testimonies, immediately from the scriptures; The Lord said, "I and the Father are one." And again, of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, it is written, "and these three are one".[119]

Contra Fabianum


Another heavenly witnesses reference from Fulgentius is in Contra Fabianum Fragmenta (Migne (Frag. 21.4: CC 01A,797)):[120]

The blessed Apostle, St. John evidently says, And the three are one; which was said of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as I have before shewn, when you demanded of me for a reason[121]

De Trinitate ad Felicem


Also from Fulgentius in De Trinitate ad Felicem:

See, in short you have it that the Father is one, the Son another, and the Holy Spirit another, in Person, each is other, but in nature they are not other. In this regard He says: "The Father and I, we are one." He teaches us that one refers to Their nature, and we are to Their persons. In like manner it is said: "There are three who bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit; and these three are one."[122]

Today these references are generally accepted as probative to the verse being in the Bible of Fulgentius.[123]

Adversus Pintam episcopum Arianum


A reference in De Fide Catholica adversus Pintam episcopum Arianum that is a Testimonia de Trinitate:

in epistola Johannis, tres sunt in coelo, qui testimonium reddunt,
Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus: et hi tres unum sunt

has been assigned away from Fulgentius to a "Catholic controvertist of the same age".[125]



Cassiodorus wrote Bible commentaries, and was familiar with Old Latin and Vulgate manuscripts,[126] seeking out sacred manuscripts. Cassiodorus was also skilled in Greek. In Complexiones in Epistolis Apostolorum, first published in 1721 by Scipio Maffei, in the commentary section on 1 John, from the Cassiodorus corpus, is written:

On earth three mysteries bear witness,
  the water, the blood, and the spirit,
  which were fulfilled, we read, in the passion of the Lord.
  In heaven, are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
  and these three are one God.[127]

Thomas Joseph Lamy describes the Cassiodorus section[128] and references that Tischendorf saw this as Cassiodorus having the text in his Bible. However, earlier "Porson endeavoured to show that Cassiodorus had, in his copy, no more than the 8th verse, to which he added the gloss of Eucherius, with whose writings he was acquainted."[129]

Isidore of Seville


In the early 7th century, the Testimonia Divinae Scripturae et Patrum is often attributed to Isidore of Seville:

De Distinctions personarum, Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.

In Epistola Joannis. Quoniam tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terra Spiritus, aqua, et sanguis; et tres unum sunt in Christo Jesu; et tres sunt qui testimonium dicunt in coelo, Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus, et tres unum sunt.


Arthur-Marie Le Hir asserts that evidences like Isidore and the Ambrose Ansbert Commentary on Revelation show early circulation of the Vulgate with the verse and thus also should be considered in the issues of Jerome's original Vulgate text and the authenticity of the Vulgate Prologue.[131] Cassiodorus has also been indicated as reflecting the Vulgate text, rather than simply the Vetus Latina.[132]

Commentary on Revelation


Ambrose Ansbert refers to the scripture verse in his Revelation commentary:

Although the expression of faithful witness found therein, refers directly to Jesus Christ alone, – yet it equally characterises the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; according to these words of St. John. There are three which bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.[133]

"Ambrose Ansbert, in the middle of the eighth century, wrote a comment upon the Apocalypse, in which this verse is applied, in explaining the 5th verse of the first chapter of the Revelation".[134]

Medieval use


Fourth Lateran Council


In the Middle Ages a Trinitarian doctrinal debate arose around the position of Joachim of Fiore (1135–1202) which was different from the more traditional view of Peter Lombard (c. 1100–1160). When the Fourth Council of the Lateran was held in 1215 at Rome, with hundreds of Bishops attending, the understanding of the heavenly witnesses was a primary point in siding with Lombard, against the writing of Joachim.

For, he says, Christ's faithful are not one in the sense of a single reality which is common to all. They are one only in this sense, that they form one church through the unity of the catholic faith, and finally one kingdom through a union of indissoluble charity. Thus we read in the canonical letter of John: For there are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father and the Word and the holy Spirit, and these three are one; and he immediately adds, And the three that bear witness on earth are the spirit, water and blood, and the three are one, according to some manuscripts.[135]

The Council thus printed the verse in both Latin and Greek, and this may have contributed to later scholarship references in Greek to the verse. The reference to "some manuscripts" showed an acknowledgment of textual issues, yet this likely related to "and the three are one" in verse eight, not the heavenly witnesses in verse seven.[136] The manuscript issue for the final phrase in verse eight and the commentary by Thomas Aquinas were an influence upon the text and note of the Complutensian Polyglot.

Latin commentaries


In this period, the greater portion of Bible commentary was written in Latin. The references in this era are extensive and wide-ranging. Some of the better-known writers who utilized the comma as scripture, in addition to Peter Lombard and Joachim of Fiore, include Gerbert of Aurillac (Pope Sylvester), Peter Abelard, Bernard of Clairvaux, Duns Scotus, Roger of Wendover (historian, including the Lateran Council), Thomas Aquinas (many verse uses, including one which has Origen relating to "the three that give witness in heaven"), William of Ockham (of razor fame), Nicholas of Lyra and the commentary of the Glossa Ordinaria.[55]

Greek commentaries


Emanual Calecas in the 14th and Joseph Bryennius (c. 1350–1430) in the 15th century reference the comma in their Greek writings.

The Orthodox accepted the comma as Johannine scripture notwithstanding its absence in the Greek manuscripts line. The Orthodox Confession of Faith, published in Greek in 1643 by the multilingual scholar Peter Mogila specifically references the comma. "Accordingly the Evangelist teacheth (1 John v. 7.) There are three that bear Record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost and these three are one …"[30]

Armenia – Synod of Sis


The Epistle of Gregory, the Bishop of Sis, to Haitho c. 1270 utilized 1 John 5:7 in the context of the use of water in the mass. The Synod of Sis of 1307 expressly cited the verse, and deepened the relationship with Rome.[34]

Commentators generally see the Armenian text from the 13th century on as having been modified by the interaction with the Latin church and Bible, including the addition of the comma in some manuscripts.

Manuscripts and special notations


There are a number of special manuscript notations and entries relating to 1 John 5:7. Vulgate scholar Samuel Berger reports on Corbie MS 13174 in the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris that shows the scribe listing four distinct textual variations of the heavenly witnesses. Three are understood by the scribe to have textual lineages of Athanasius, Augustine (two) and Fulgentius. And there is in addition a margin text of the heavenly witnesses that matches the Theodulphian recension.[137] The Franciscan Correctorium gives a note about there being manuscripts with the verses transposed.[138] The Regensburg ms. referenced by Fickermann discusses the positions of Jerome and Augustine. Contarini,[139] The Glossa Ordinaria discusses the Vulgate Prologue in the Preface, in addition to its commentary section on the verse. John J. Contrini in Haimo of Auxerre, Abbot of Sasceium (Cessy-les-Bois), and a New Sermon on I John v. 4–10 discusses a 9th-century manuscript and the Leiden sermon.

Inclusion by Erasmus

Desiderius Erasmus in 1523.

The central figure in the 16th-century history of the Johannine Comma is the humanist Erasmus,[140] and his efforts leading to the publication of the Greek New Testament. The comma was omitted in the first edition in 1516, the Nouum instrumentum omne: diligenter ab Erasmo Roterodamo recognitum et emendatum and the second edition of 1519. The verse is placed in the third edition, published in 1522, and those of 1527 and 1535.

Erasmus included the comma, with commentary, in his paraphrase edition, first published in 1520.[141] And in Ratio seu methodus compendio perueniendi ad ueram theologiam, first published in 1518, Erasmus included the comma in the interpretation of John 12 and 13. Erasmian scholar John Jack Bateman, discussing the Paraphrase and the Ratio uerae theologiae, says of these uses of the comma that "Erasmus attributes some authority to it despite any doubts he had about its transmission in the Greek text."[142]

This photograph shows Greek text of 1 John 5:3–10 which is missing the Comma Johanneum. This text was published in 1524.

The New Testament of Erasmus provoked critical responses that focused on a number of verses, including his text and translation decisions on Romans 9:5, John 1:1, 1 Timothy 1:17, Titus 2:13 and Philippians 2:6.[clarification needed] The absence of the comma from the first two editions received a sharp response from churchmen and scholars, and was discussed and defended by Erasmus in the correspondence with Edward Lee and Diego López de Zúñiga (Stunica), and Erasmus is also known to have referenced the verse in correspondence with Antoine Brugnard in 1518.[143] The first two Erasmus editions only had a small note about the verse. The major Erasmus writing regarding comma issues was in the Annotationes to the third edition of 1522, expanded in the fourth edition of 1527 and then given a small addition in the fifth edition of 1535.

Erasmus is said to have replied to his critics that the comma did not occur in any of the Greek manuscripts he could find, but that he would add it to future editions if it appeared in a single Greek manuscript. When a single such manuscript (the Codex Montfortianus) was subsequently found to contain it, he added the comma to his 1522 edition, though he expressed doubt as to the authenticity of the passage in his Annotations[12] and added a lengthy footnote setting out his suspicion that the manuscript had been prepared expressly to confute him. This manuscript had probably been produced in 1520 by a Franciscan who translated it from the Vulgate.[12] This change was accepted into editions based on the Textus Receptus, the chief source for the King James Version, thereby fixing the comma firmly in the English-language scriptures for centuries.[12] There is no explicit evidence, however, that such a promise was ever made.[144]

The authenticity of the story of Erasmus is questioned by many scholars. Bruce Metzger removed this story from his book's (The Text of the New Testament) third edition although it was included in the first and second editions in the same book.[145]

Modern reception

Comma in Codex Ottobonianus (629 Gregory-Aland)
Hē Kainē Diathēkē 1859, with Griesbach's text of the New Testament. The English note is from the 1859 editor, with reasons for omitting the Johannine Comma.

In 1807 Charles Butler[146] described the dispute to that point as consisting of three distinct phases.

Erasmus and the Reformation


The 1st phase began with the disputes and correspondence involving Erasmus with Edward Lee followed by Jacobus Stunica. And about the 16th-century controversies, Thomas Burgess summarized "In the sixteenth century its chief opponents were Socinus, Blandrata, and the Fratres Poloni; its defenders, Ley, Beza, Bellarmine, and Sixtus Senensis."[147] In the 17th century John Selden in Latin and Francis Cheynell and Henry Hammond were English writers with studies on the verse, Johann Gerhard and Abraham Calovius from the German Lutherans, writing in Latin.

Simon, Newton, Mill and Bengel


The 2nd dispute stage begins with Sandius, the Arian around 1670. Francis Turretin published De Tribus Testibus Coelestibus in 1674 and the verse was a central focus of the writings of Symon Patrick. In 1689 the attack on authenticity by Richard Simon was published in English, in his Critical History of the Text of the New Testament. Many responded directly to the views of Simon, including Thomas Smith,[148] Friedrich Kettner,[149] James Benigne Bossuet,[150] Johann Majus, Thomas Ittigius, Abraham Taylor[151] and the published sermons of Edmund Calamy. There was the verse defences by John Mill and later by Johann Bengel. Also in this era was the David Martin and Thomas Emlyn debate. There were attacks on authenticity by Richard Bentley and Samuel Clarke and William Whiston and defence of authenticity by John Guyse in the Practical Expositor. There were writings by numerous additional scholars, including posthumous publication in London of Isaac Newton's Two Letters in 1754 (An Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture), which he had written to John Locke in 1690. The mariner's compass poem of Bengel was given in a slightly modified form by John Wesley.[152]

Travis and Porson debate


The third stage of the controversy begins with the quote from Edward Gibbon in 1776:

Even the Scriptures themselves were profaned by their rash and sacrilegious hands. The memorable text, which asserts the unity of the three who bear witness in heaven, is condemned by the universal silence of the orthodox fathers, ancient versions, and authentic manuscripts. It was first alleged by the Catholic bishops whom Hunneric summoned to the conference of Carthage. An allegorical interpretation, in the form, perhaps, of a marginal note, invaded the text of the Latin Bibles, which were renewed and corrected in a dark period of ten centuries.[153]

It is followed by the response of George Travis that led to the Porson–Travis debate. In the 1794 3rd edition of Letters to Edward Gibbon, Travis included a 42-part appendix with source references. Another event coincided with the inauguration of this stage of the debate: "a great stirring in sacred science was certainly going on. Griesbach's first edition of the New Testament (1775–7) marks the commencement of a new era."[154] The Griesbach GNT provided an alternative to the Received Text editions to assist as scholarship textual legitimacy for opponents of the verse.

19th century


Some highlights from this era are the Nicholas Wiseman Old Latin and Speculum scholarship, the defence of the verse by the Germans Immanuel Sander, Besser, Georg Karl Mayer and Wilhelm Kölling, the Charles Forster New Plea book which revisited Richard Porson's arguments, and the earlier work by his friend Arthur-Marie Le Hir,[155] Discoveries included the Priscillian reference and Exposito Fidei. Also Old Latin manuscripts including La Cava, and the moving up of the date of the Vulgate Prologue due to its being found in Codex Fuldensis. Ezra Abbot wrote on 1 John V.7 and Luther's German Bible and Scrivener's analysis came forth in Six Lectures and Plain Introduction. In the 1881 Revision came the full removal of the verse.[156] Daniel McCarthy noted the change in position among the textual scholars,[157] and in French there was the sharp Roman Catholic debate in the 1880s involving Pierre Rambouillet, Auguste-François Maunoury, Jean Michel Alfred Vacant, Elie Philippe and Paulin Martin.[158] In Ireland Charles Vincent Dolman wrote about the Revision and the comma in the Dublin Review, noting that "the heavenly witnesses have departed".[159]

20th century


The 20th century saw the scholarship of Alan England Brooke and Joseph Pohle, the RCC controversy following the 1897 Papal declaration as to whether the verse could be challenged by Catholic scholars, the Karl Künstle Priscillian-origin theory, the detailed scholarship of Augustus Bludau in many papers, the Eduard Riggenbach book, and the Franz Pieper and Edward F. Hills defences. There were specialty papers by Anton Baumstark (Syriac reference), Norbert Fickermann (Augustine), Claude Jenkins (Bede), Mateo del Alamo, Teófilo Ayuso Marazuela, Franz Posset (Luther) and Rykle Borger (Peshitta). Verse dismissals, such as that given by Bruce Metzger, became popular.[160] There was the fine technical scholarship of Raymond Brown. And the continuing publication and studies of the Erasmus correspondence, writings and Annotations, some with English translation. From Germany came Walter Thiele's Old Latin studies and sympathy for the comma being in the Bible of Cyprian, and the research by Henk de Jonge on Erasmus and the Received Text and the comma.

Recent scholarship


The first 20 years of the 21st century have seen a popular revival of interest in the historic verse controversies and the textual debate. Factors include the growth of interest in the Received Text and the Authorized Version (including the King James Version Only movement) and the questioning of Critical Text theories, the 1995 book by Michael Maynard documenting the historical debate on 1 John 5:7, and the internet ability to spur research and discussion with participatory interaction. In this period, King James Bible defenders and opponents wrote a number of papers on the Johannine Comma, usually published in evangelical literature and on the internet. In textual criticism scholarship circles, the book by Klaus Wachtel Der byzantinische Text der katholischen Briefe: Eine Untersuchung zur Entstehung der Koine des Neuen Testaments, 1995 contains a section with detailed studies on the Comma. Similarly, Der einzig wahre Bibeltext?, published in 2006 by K. Martin Heide. Special interest has been given to the studies of the Codex Vaticanus umlauts by Philip Barton Payne and Paul Canart, senior paleographer at the Vatican Library.[161] The Erasmus studies have continued, including research on the Valladolid inquiry by Peter G. Bietenholz and Lu Ann Homza. Jan Krans has written on conjectural emendation and other textual topics, looking closely at the Received Text work of Erasmus and Beza. And some elements of the recent scholarship commentary have been especially dismissive and negative.[162]

Catholic Church


The Catholic Church at the Council of Trent in 1546 defined the Biblical canon as "the entire books with all their parts, as these have been wont to be read in the Catholic Church and are contained in the old Latin Vulgate". The Comma appeared in both the Sixtine (1590) and the Clementine (1592) editions of the Vulgate.[163] Although the revised Vulgate contained the Comma, the earliest known copies did not, leaving the status of the Comma Johanneum unclear.[22] On 13 January 1897, during a period of reaction in the Church, the Holy Office decreed that Catholic theologians could not "with safety" deny or call into doubt the Comma's authenticity. Pope Leo XIII approved this decision two days later, though his approval was not in forma specifica[22]—that is, Leo XIII did not invest his full papal authority in the matter, leaving the decree with the ordinary authority possessed by the Holy Office. Three decades later, on 2 June 1927, Pope Pius XI decreed that the Comma Johanneum was open to investigation.[164][165]

King James Only movement


In more recent years, the Comma has become relevant to the King James Only Movement, a Protestant development most prevalent within the fundamentalist and Independent Baptist branch of the Baptist churches. Many proponents view the Comma as an important Trinitarian text.[166] The defense of the verse by Edward Freer Hills in 1956 in his book The King James Version Defended in the section "The Johannine Comma (1 John 5:7)" was unusual due to Hills' textual criticism scholarship credentials.

Grammatical analysis


In 1 John 5:7–8 in the Critical Text and Majority Text, though not the Received Text, we have a shorter text with only the earthly witnesses. And the following words appear.

1 John 5:7-8 … ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ καὶ τὸ αἷμα καὶ οἱ τρεῖς εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν

1 John 5:7-8 … For there are three who bear witness, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and the three agree in one.

Grantley Robert McDonald gives the history of the 1780 letter[167] from Eugenius Bulgaris (1716–1806) along with an explanation of the grammatical gender discordance issue when the text has only the earthly witnesses.

"As further evidence for the genuineness of the comma, Bulgaris noted the lack of grammatical coordination between the masculine τρεῖς μαρτυροῦντες and the three neuter nouns τὸ πνεῦμα, καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ, καὶ τὸ αἷμα. He remarked that although it is possible in Greek to agree masculine or feminine nouns with neuter adjectives or pronouns, the reverse was unusual; one would more normally expect τρία εἰσι τὰ μαρτυροῦντα . . . καὶ τὰ τρία. Bulgaris seems then to be the first to have argued for the genuineness of the comma through the argument from grammar ..." Biblical Criticism in Early Modern England p. 114 [3]

Earlier, Desiderius Erasmus noticed the unusual grammar when his text has only the earthly witnesses,[168][169] and Thomas Naogeorgus (1511–1578) also wondered about the grammar.[170]

In addition, Matthaei reported on a scholium from about 1000 AD.[171] Porson's Letters to Travis gives the scholium text as "Three in the masculine gender, in token of the Trinity: the spirit, of the Godhead; the water, of the enlightening knowledge to mankind, by the spirit; the blood, of the incarnation."

In the 300s, Gregory Nazianzen in Oration 37 disputed with some Macedonian Christians. The context indicates that they pointed out the grammatical issue.[172]

Eugenius Bulgaris saw the "heavenly witnesses" as grammatically necessary to explain the masculine grammar, else the earthly witnesses alone would be a solecism. Frederick Nolan,[173] in his 1815 book, An Inquiry into the Integrity of the Greek Vulgate, brought the argument of Eugenius to the English debate. John Oxlee,[174] in debate with Nolan, took the position that the "earthly witnesses" grammar was sound. Robert Dabney[175] took a position similar to Eugenius Bulgaris and Frederick Nolan, as did Edward Hills.[176] Daniel Wallace[177] offers a possible explanation for the short text grammar.

In 1 John 5:7-8 in the Received Text, the following words appear (the words in bold print are the words of the Johannine Comma).

(Received Text) 1 John 5:7 … οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ὁ πατὴρ ὁ λόγος καὶ τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα … 8 … οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν τῇ γῇ τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ καὶ τὸ αἷμα …

In 1 John 5:7-8 in the Critical Text and Majority Text, the following words appear.

(Critical and Majority Text) 1 John 5:7 … οἱ μαρτυροῦντες 8 τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ καὶ τὸ αἷμα …

According to Johann Bengel,[178] Eugenius Bulgaris,[179] John Oxlee[180] and Daniel Wallace,[181] each article-participle phrase (οἱ μαρτυροῦντες) in 1 John 5:7-8 functions as a substantive and agrees with the natural gender (masculine) of the idea being expressed (persons), to which three subsequent appositional (added for clarification) articular (preceded by an article) nouns (ὁ πατὴρ ὁ λόγος καὶ τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα / τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ καὶ τὸ αἷμα) are added.

According to Frederick Nolan,[182] Robert Dabney[183] and Edward Hills,[184] each article-participle phrase (οἱ μαρτυροῦντες) in 1 John 5:7-8 functions as an adjective that modifies the three subsequent articular nouns (ὁ πατὴρ ὁ λόγος καὶ τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα / τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ καὶ τὸ αἷμα) and therefore must agree with the grammatical gender (masculine / neuter) of the first subsequent articular noun (ὁ πατὴρ / τὸ πνεῦμα).

Titus 2:13 is an example of how an article-adjective (or article-participle) phrase looks when it functions as an adjective that modifies multiple subsequent nouns.

(Received Text) Titus 2:13 … τὴν μακαρίαν ἐλπίδα καὶ ἐπιφάνειαν …

Matthew 23:23 is an example of how an article-adjective (or article-participle) phrase looks when it functions as a substantive to which multiple subsequent appositional articular nouns are added.

(Received Text) Matthew 23:23 … τὰ βαρύτερα τοῦ νόμου τὴν κρίσιν καὶ τὸν ἔλεον καὶ τὴν πίστιν …

According to Bengel, Bulgaris, Oxlee and Wallace, 1 John 5:7-8 is like Matthew 23:23, not like Titus 2:13.

According to Nolan, Dabney and Hills, 1 John 5:7-8 is like Titus 2:13, not like Matthew 23:23.

See also


Other disputed New Testament passages



  1. ^ Heide, Martin (7 February 2023). "Erasmus and the Search for the Original Text of the New Testament". Text & Canon Institute. Retrieved 19 May 2024.
  2. ^ a b Metzger, Bruce M. (1994). A textual commentary on the Greek New Testament: a companion volume to the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament (fourth revised edition) (2 ed.). Stuttgart: Deutsche Biblegesellschaft. pp. 647–649. ISBN 978-3-438-06010-5.
  3. ^ "Bible Gateway passage: 1 John 5:7 - New English Translation". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 19 May 2024.
  4. ^ Gurry, Peter (2018). "Comma Johanneum". In Hunter, David G.; van Geest, Paul J. J.; Lietaert Peerbolte, Bert Jan (eds.). Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online. Leiden and Boston: Brill Publishers. doi:10.1163/2589-7993_EECO_SIM_00000724. ISSN 2589-7993.
  5. ^ "Spirit." Insight on the Scriptures- Volume 2. Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. p. 1019
  6. ^ Metzger, Bruce. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. pp. 716-718. 1975.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g McDonald, G. R (2011). Raising the ghost of Arius : Erasmus, the Johannine comma and religious difference in early modern Europe (Doctoral dissertation). Leiden University. hdl:1887/16486.
  8. ^ a b "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Epistles of Saint John". www.newadvent.org. Retrieved 24 May 2024. The Armenian manuscripts, which favour the reading of the Vulgate, are admitted to represent a Latin influence which dates from the twelfth century
  9. ^ Andrews, Edward D. (15 June 2023). THE TEXTUS RECEPTUS: The “Received Text” of the New Testament. Christian Publishing House. ISBN 979-8-3984-5852-7.
  10. ^ "The Johannine Comma". www.bible-researcher.com. Retrieved 13 June 2024.
  11. ^ Grantley McDonald, The Johannine Comma from Erasmus to Westminster (2017). Scriptural Authority and Biblical Criticism in the Dutch Golden Age: God's Word Questioned. OUP Oxford. pp. 64–. ISBN 978-0-19-252982-4.
  12. ^ a b c d Metzger, Bruce M.; Ehrman, Bart D. (2005) [1964]. "Chapter 3. THE PRECRITICAL PERIOD. The Origin and Dominance of the Textus Receptus". The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (4th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 146. ISBN 9780195161229.
  13. ^ Erasmus, Desiderius (1 August 1993). Reeve, Anne (ed.). Erasmus' Annotations on the New Testament: Galatians to the Apocalypse. Facsimile of the Final Latin Text with All Earlier Variants. Studies in the History of Christian Traditions, Volume: 52. Brill. p. 770. ISBN 978-90-04-09906-7.
  14. ^ The Correspondence of Erasmus: Letters 1802 to 1925. University of Toronto Press. 1 April 2010. ISBN 978-1-4875-2337-4.
  15. ^ a b "Fragments of Clemens Alexandrius", translated by Rev. William Wilson, section 3.
  16. ^ CCEL: The Treatises of Cyprian
  17. ^ a b Et iterum de Patre et Filio et Spiritu Sancto scriptum est—Et hi tres unum sunt. Cyprian, De Unitate Ecclesiæ (On the Unity of the Church) IV. "Epistles of Saint John", Catholic Encyclopedia.
  18. ^ a b "The Comma Johanneum and Cyprian | Bible.org". bible.org. Retrieved 19 May 2024.
  19. ^ Scrivener, Frederick Henry Ambrose; Edward Miller (1894). A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament. 2 (4 ed.). London: George Bell & Sons. p. 86.
  20. ^ 'r' in the UBS-4 also 'it-q' and Beuron 64 are apparatus names today. These fragments were formerly known as Fragmenta Monacensia, as in the Handbook to the textual criticism of the New Testament, by Frederic George Kenyon, 1901, p. 178.
  21. ^ Aland, B.; Aland, K.; J. Karavidopoulos, C. M. Martini, B. Metzger, A. Wikgren (1993). The Greek New Testament. Stuttgart: United Bible Societies. p. 819. ISBN 978-3-438-05110-3.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) [UBS4]
  22. ^ a b c d Catholic Encyclopedia, "Epistles of St John"
  23. ^ NA26: mss 61, 629, 918, 2318, besides in mss. 88, 221, 429, 636 as later additions.
  24. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia: "in only four rather recent cursives – one of the fifteenth and three of the sixteenth century." This is updated in the list below.
  25. ^ Payne, Philip B.; Canart, Paul (2000). "The Originality of Text-Critical Symbols in Codex Vaticanus". Novum Testamentum. 42 (2): 105–113. doi:10.1163/156853600506799. ISSN 0048-1009. JSTOR 1561327.
  26. ^ John Painter, Daniel J. Harrington. 1, 2, and 3 John
  27. ^ Erasmus, Desiderius (26 March 2019). The New Testament Scholarship of Erasmus: An Introduction with Erasmus' Prefaces and Ancillary Writings. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0-8020-9222-9.
  28. ^ The Correspondence of Erasmus: Letters 1802 to 1925. University of Toronto Press. 1 April 2010. ISBN 978-1-4875-2337-4.
  29. ^ "The Comma Johanneum and Cyprian | Bible.org". bible.org. Retrieved 19 May 2024.
  30. ^ a b The orthodox confession of the catholic and apostolic Eastern-Church, p.16, 1762. Greek and Latin in Schaff The Creeds of Christendom p. 275, 1877
  31. ^ "Philip Schaff: Creeds of Christendom, with a History and Critical notes. Volume I. The History of Creeds. - Christian Classics Ethereal Library". www.ccel.org. Retrieved 19 May 2024.
  32. ^ a b Scrivener, Frederick Henry Ambrose (1894). A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament for the Use of Biblical Students. G. Bell.
  33. ^ Scrivener, Frederick H. (12 November 1997). A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament, 2 Volumes. Wipf and Stock Publishers. ISBN 978-1-57910-071-1.
  34. ^ a b HORNE, Thomas Hartwell (1856). An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures ... Third Edition, Corrected, Etc.
  35. ^ FirstJohnCh5v7
  36. ^ Some scholars have mistakenly considered it a Greek manuscript but it is a manuscript of the Latin Vulgate. Wizanburgensis Revisited
  37. ^ Scrivener, Frederick Henry Ambrose; Edward Miller (1894). A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament. 2 (4 ed.). London: George Bell & Sons. p. 86.
  38. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Wallace, Daniel B. (7 February 2010). "The Comma Johanneum in an Overlooked Manuscript". The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts. Archived from the original on 25 July 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2022.
  39. ^ According to Bruce M. Metzger, Textual Commentary, 2nd edition, page 647
  40. ^ "The note is written in a much later hand—at least second half of the sixteenth century as can be seen by the introduction which specifies ‘v. 7.’ Verse numbers were not invented until 1551, in Stephanus’ fourth edition of his Greek New Testament. Hence, this cannot be any earlier than that date. The hand, however, looks to be much later. I would judge it to be 17th–18th century."
  41. ^ Nichol, Francis David (1956). The Seventh-Day Adventist Bible Commentary: The Holy Bible with Exegetical and Expository Comment. Review and Herald Pub. Association.
  42. ^ Hiebert, David E. (1991). The Epistles of John: An Expositional Commentary. Bob Jones University Press. ISBN 978-0-89084-588-2.
  43. ^ Metzger, Bruce M. (Bruce Manning) (1994). A textual commentary on the Greek New Testament : a companion volume to the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament (fourth revised edition). Internet Archive. Stuttgart : Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft ; U.S.A. : United Bible Societies. ISBN 978-3-438-06010-5.
  44. ^ Charles Forster in A new plea for the authenticity of the text of the three heavenly witnesses p 54–55 (1867) notes that the quote of verse 6 is partial, bypassing phrases in verse 6 as well as verse 7. And that Clement's "words et iterum clearly mark the interpolation of other topics and intervening text, between the two quotations". Et iterum is "and again" in the English translation.
  45. ^ Eclogae propheticae 13.1Ben David, Monthly Review, 1826 p. 277)
  46. ^ Bengel, John Gill, Ben David and Thomas Burgess
  47. ^ Systematic Theology: Roman Catholic Perspectives,, Francis Schüssler Fiorenza, John P. Galvin, 2011, p. 159, the Latin is "Ita connexus Patris in Filio, et Filii in Paracleto, tres efficit cohaerentes alterum ex altero: qui tres unum sunt, non unus quomodo dictum est, Ego et Pater unum sumus"
  48. ^ John Kaye, The Ecclesiastical History of the Second and Third Centuries, Illustrated from the Writings of Tertullian 1826. p. 550.
  49. ^ a b c Georg Strecker, The Johannine Letters (Hermeneia); Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996. ‘Excursus: The Textual Tradition of the "Comma Johanneum"’.
  50. ^ August Neander, The History of the Christian Religion and the Church During the Three First Centuries, Volume 2, 1841, p. 184. Latin, Item de pudic. 21. Et ecclesia proprie et principaliter ipse est spiritus, in quo est trinitas unius divinitatis Pater et Filius et Spiritus Sanctus. Tischendorf apparatus
  51. ^ Documents in Early Christian Thought, editors Maurice Wiles and Mark Santer, 1977, p.178, Latin Bibliotheca Patrum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum Selecta 1839.
  52. ^ Burgess, Tracts on the Divinity of Christ, 1820, pp.333–334. Irish Ecclesiastical Review, Traces of the Text of the Three Heavenly Witnesses, 1869 p. 274
  53. ^ Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in the Original Greek Note on Selected Readings, 1 John v 7,8, 1882, p104.
  54. ^ Forster, Charles (1867). A New Plea for the Authenticity of the Text of the Three Heavenly Witness; Or, Porson's Letters to Travis Eclectically Examined and the External and Internal Evidences for 1 John V, 7 Eclectically Re-surveyed. Deighton, Bell. pp. 111-112. ISBN 9780790500805.. Quote: "... the witness of Tertullian and Cyprian is followed and sustained in the Latin Church by that of St. Jerome; whose adoption of the text of the three Heavenly Witnesses in the Vulgate carries in it more weight than the most formal quotation. This point has been unaccountably overlooked in the controversy; insomuch that one of the latest writers on it, Dr. Adam Clarke, sets down Jerome among those to whom the text was unknown! On the contrary, by his silent publication of it in the Vulgate, this most learned of the Fathers not only puts his sign-manual to its authenticity, but gives the clearest proof that down to his time the genuineness of this text had never been disputed or questioned."
  55. ^ a b McDonald, Grantley Robert (15 February 2011). Raising the ghost of Arius: Erasmus, the Johannine comma and religious difference in early modern Europe (Thesis). Leiden University. pp. 54–55. hdl:1887/16486.
  56. ^ Houghton, H. A. G. (2016). The Latin New Testament: a guide to its early history, texts, and manuscripts. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 178–179. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198744733.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-874473-3.
  57. ^ Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 2nd ed., Stuttgart, 1993.
  58. ^ Horne, critical study 1933, p. 451
  59. ^ Travis references Jerome as writing approvingly of the confession. George Travis, Letters to Edward Gibbon, 1785 p. 108. The Latin is "Nobis unus Pater, et unus Filius ejus, verus Deus, et unus Spiritus Sanctus, verus Deus; et hi tres unum sunt; una divimtas, et potentia, et regnum. Sunt autem tres Personae, non-duae, non-una" Marc Celed. Exposit. Fid. ad Cyril apud Hieronymi Opera, tom. ix. p. 73g. Frederick Nolan, An inquiry into the integrity of the Greek Vulgate, 1815, p. 291.
  60. ^ Jerome, Lives of Illustrious Men, translated by Ernest Cushing Richardson, footnote: "Bishop 353, died about 392".
  61. ^ William Hales, Inspector, Antijacobin Review, Sabellian Controversy, Letter XII 1816, p. 590. "Denique Dominus: Petam, inquit, a Patre meo et alium advocatum dabit vobis ... Sic alius a Filio Spiritus, sicut a Patre Filius. Sic tertia in Spiritu, ut in Filio secunda persona: unus tamen Deus omnia, tres unum sunt. Phoebadius, Liber Contra Arianos
  62. ^ Griesbach, Diatribe, p. 700
  63. ^ Introduction historique et critique aux libres de Nouveau Testament 1861, p.564.
  64. ^ In dismissing Phoebadius in this fashion, Griesbach was following Porson, whose explanation began, "Phoebadius plainly imitates Tertullian ... and therefore, is not a distinct evidence", Letters to Archdeacon Travis, 1790, p. 247.
  65. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia: "The silence of the great and voluminous Augustine and the variation in form of the text in the African Church are admitted facts that militate against the canonicity of the three witnesses."
  66. ^ "The silence of Augustine, contrary to prevailing opinion, cannot be cited as evidence against the genuineness of the Comma. He may indeed have known it" Annotated bibliography of the textual criticism of the New Testament p. 113 Bruce Manning Metzger, 1955. Metzger was citing S. Augustinus gegen das Comma Johanneum? by Norbert Fickermann, 1934, who considers evidence from a 12th-century Regensburg manuscript that Augustine specifically avoided referencing the verse directly. The manuscript note contrasts the inclusion position of Jerome in the Vulgate Prologue with the preference for removal by Augustine. This confirms that there was awareness of the Greek and Latin ms. distinction and that some scribes preferred omission. Raymond Brown writes: "Fickermann points to a hitherto unpublished eleventh-century text which says that Jerome considered the Comma to be a genuine part of 1 John—clearly a memory of the Pseudo-Jerome Prologue mentioned above. But the text goes on to make this claim: 'St. Augustine, on the basis of apostolic thought and on the authority of the Greek text, ordered it to be left out.'" Raymond Brown, Epistles of John, 1982, p. 785.
  67. ^ Augustine scholar Edmund Hill says about a reference in The Trinity – Book IX that "this allusion of Augustine's suggests that it had already found its way into his text".
  68. ^ The City of God, Volume 1, trans. by Marcus Dods 1888 p. 197, Latin: Deus itaque summus et verum cum Verbo suo et Spiritu sancto, quae tria unum sunt, Deus unus omnipotens
  69. ^ e.g. Franz Anton Knittel, Thomas Burgess, Arthur-Marie Le Hir, Francis Patrick Kenrick, Charles Forster and Pierre Rambouillet
  70. ^ Homilies, 1849, p. 1224. Latin: et quid est: finis christus? quia christus deus, et finis praecepti caritas, et deus caritas quia et pater et filius et spiritus sanctus unum sunt.
  71. ^ George Travis summarized of Augustinian passages: The striking reiteration, in these passages, of the same expressions, Unum sunt—Hi tres unum sunt—Unum sunt, and Hi tres qui unum sunt seems to bespeak their derivation from the verse ...Letters to Edward Gibbon, 1794, p. 46
  72. ^ Principles of Textual Criticism, p. 506, 1820.
  73. ^ Thomas Joseph Lamy The Decision of the Holy Office on the "Comma Joanneum" pp.449–483 American ecclesiastical review, 1897.
  74. ^ Thomas Burgess, A vindication of I John, V. 7, p.46, 1821.
  75. ^ The Acts of the Council of Chalcedon, Vol 3, The Second Session, pp. 22–23, 2005, Richard Price, editor
  76. ^ Edward Rochie Hardy Christology of the Later Fathers 1954, p. 368
  77. ^ "the strongest proof that this verse is spurious may be drawn from the Epistle of Leo the Great to Flavianus upon the Incarnation" Richard Porson, Letters to Archdeacon Travis 1790 p.378 "The verse ...remained a rude, unformed mass, and was not completely licked into shape till the end of the tenth century" p. 401
  78. ^ Thomas Burgess, An introduction to the controversy on the disputed verse of st. John, 1835, p. xxvi
  79. ^ Thomas Burgess, An introduction to the controversy on the disputed verse of st. John, 1835, p. xxxi
  80. ^ Robert Ernest Wallis, translator, The writings of Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, Volume 1 1868, p. 382
  81. ^ While mentioning the usage of Son instead of Word as a possible argument against Cyprian awareness of the Comma, Raymond Brown points out that Son "is an occasional variant in the text of the Comma" and gives the example of Fulgentius referencing "Son" in Contra Fabrianum and "Word" in Reponsio Contra Arianos, Epistles of John p. 784, 1982.
  82. ^ a b Daniel B. Wallace, "The Comma Johanneum and Cyprian.
  83. ^ The earlier critical edition of the New Testament (NA26 and UBS3) considered Cyprian a witness against the Comma. This can be seen in The Greek New Testament (1966) UBS p. 824 by Kurt Aland. In 1983 the UBS Preface p.x announced plans for a "thorough revision of the textual apparatus, with special emphasis upon evidence from the ancient versions, the Diatessaron, and the Church Fathers". The latest edition of UBS4 updated many early church writer references and now has Cyprian for Comma inclusion. This citation is in parentheses, which is given the meaning that while a citation of a Father supports a reading, still it "deviates from it in minor details" UBS4, p. 36.
  84. ^ Scrivener, while opposing verse authenticity, wrote in Plain Introduction in 1861 "it is surely safer and more candid to admit that Cyprian read v. 7 in his copies, than to resort to the explanation of Facundus, that the holy Bishop was merely putting on v. 8 a spiritual meaning". Scrivener then placed mystical interpretation as the root of Comma formation "although we must acknowledge that it was in this way v. 7 obtained a place, first in the margin, then in the text of the Latin copies … mystical interpretation". In the 1883 edition Scrivener wrote "It is hard to believe that 1 John v. 7, 8 was not cited by Cyprian". Thus, Scrivener would be taking the position of a mystical interpretation by scribes unknown, working through the margin and later adding to the text, all before Cyprian. "they were originally brought into Latin copies in Africa from the margin, where they had been placed as a pious and orthodox gloss on ver. 8" p.654. Under this possible scenario the comma "was known and received in some places, as early as the second or third century" (p. 652 1883-ed) which, in the Scrivener textual economy, would be analogous to Acts 8:37. Acts 8:37 has undisputed early citations by Irenaeus and Cyprian and yet is considered by Scrivener and most modern theorists as inauthentic. Despite allowing an early textual formation for the Unity of the Church citation, Scrivener quoted approvingly negative views of the Tertullian and Cyprian Jubaianum references. Scrivener also quoted Tischendorf about the weightiness of the Cyprian referencing gravissimus est Cyprianus de eccles. unitate 5.
  85. ^ Westcott and Hort The New Testament in the Original Greek, p. 104, 1881.
  86. ^ Bruce Metzger, who is used as the main source by many writers in recent decades, ignores the references entirely: "the passage ... is not found (a) in the Old Latin in its early form (Tertullian Cyprian Augustine)", A textual commentary on the Greek New Testament, p. 717, 1971, and later editions. James White references Metzger and writes about the possibility that "Cyprian ... could just as well be interpreting the three witnesses of 1 John 5:6 as a Trinitarian reference" A Bit More on the Comma 3/16/2006 (White means 5:8). White is conceptually similar to the earlier Raymond Brown section: "There is a good chance that Cyprian's second citation, like the first (Ad Jubianum), is Johannine and comes from the OL text of I John 5:8, which says, 'And these three are one', in reference to the Spirit, the water, and the blood. His application of it to the divine trinitarian figures need not represent a knowledge of the comma, but rather a continuance of the reflections of Tertullian combined with a general patristic tendency to invoke any scriptural group of three as symbolic of or applicable to the Trinity. In other words, Cyprian may exemplify the thought process that gave rise to the Comma." In a footnote Brown acknowledges "It has been argued seriously by Thiele and others that Cyprian knew the Comma". Epistles of John p. 784, 1982.
  87. ^ Two Francis Pieper extracts: "In our opinion the decision as to the authenticity or the spuriousness of these words depends on the understanding of certain words of Cyprian (p. 340) ... Cyprian is quoting John 10:30. And he immediately adds: Et iterum de Patre et Filio et Spiritu Sancto scriptum est: "Et tres unum sunt ("and again it is written of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost: 'And the Three are One'") Now, those who assert that Cyprian is here not quoting the words 1 John 5:7, are obliged to show that the words of Cyprian: 'Et tres unum sunt' applied to the three Persons of the Trinity, are found elsewhere in the Scriptures than 1 John 5. Griesbach counters that Cyprian is here not quoting from Scripture, but giving his own allegorical interpretation of the three witnesses on earth. 'The Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one.' That will hardly do. Cyprian states distinctly that he is quoting Bible passages, not only in the words: 'I and the Father are one', but also in the words: 'And again it is written of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost.' These are, in our opinion, the objective facts." p.341 (1950 English edition). Similarly, Elie Philippe wrote "Le témoignage de saint Cyprien est précieux, peut-être même péremptoire dans la question." (The testimony of St. Cyprian is precious, perhaps even peremptory to the question.) La Science Catholique, 1889, p. 238.
  88. ^ Henry Donald Maurice Spence, in Plumptre's Bible Educator wrote "... there is little doubt that Cyprian, before the middle of the third century, knew of the passage and quoted it as the genuine words of St. John." James Bennett, in The Theology of the Early Christian Church: Exhibited in Quotations from the Writers of the First Three Centuries, with Reflections 41, p.136, 1841, wrote "the disputed text in John's First Epistle, v. 7, is quoted ... Jerome seems to have been falsely charged with introducing the disputed words, without authority, into the Vulgate; for Cyprian had read them in a Latin version, long before." Bennett also sees the "probability is strengthened" that the Tertullian reference is from his Bible. And Bennett rejects the Griesbach "allegorised the eighth verse" attempt "for they (Tertullian and Cyprian) here argue, as from express testimonies of Scripture, without any hint of that allegorical interpretation which, it must be confessed, the later writers abundantly employ". And the most emphatic position is taken by the modern Cyprian scholar, Ezio Gallicet of the University of Turin, in this book on Cyprian's Unity of the Church, La Chiesa: Sui cristiani caduti nella persecuzione; L'unità della Chiesa cattolica p. 206, 1997. Gallicet, after referencing the usual claims of an interpolation from Caspar René Gregory and Rudolf Bultmann, wrote: "Dal modo in cui Cipriano cita, non sembra che si possano avanzare dubbi: egli conosceva il « comma giovanneo ». (Colloquially ... "there is no doubt about it, the Comma Johanneum was in Cyprian's Bible".)
  89. ^ Arthur Cleveland Coxe, annotating Cyprian in the early church writings edition, wrote of the positions denying Cyprian referring the Bible verse in Unity of the Church, as the "usual explainings away" Ante-Nicene Fathers p.418, 1886. And Nathaniel Ellis Cornwall referred to the logic behind attempts to deny Cyprian's usage of the verse (Cornwall looks closely at Porson, Lange and Tischendorf) as "astonishing feats of sophistical fencing". The Genuineness of I John v. 7 p. 638, 1874.
  90. ^ Stanley Lawrence Greenslade, Early Latin Theology: Selections from Tertullian, Cyprian, Ambrose, and Jerome 1956, p. 164. The Latin is "si peccatorum remissam consecutus est, et sanctificatus est, et templum Dei factus est: quaero, cujus Dei? Si creatoris, non potuit, qui in eum non credidit: si Christi, non hujus potest sieri templum, qui negat Deum Christum : si Spiritus Sancti, cum tres unum sunt, quomodo Spiritus Sanctus placatus esse ei potest, qui aut Patris aut Filii inimicus est?"
  91. ^ Franz Anton Knittel New Criticisms on the Celebrated Text 1785 p. 34
  92. ^ Philip Sellew, Critica Et Philologica, 2001, p. 94
  93. ^ The use of parentheses is described as "these witnesses attest the readings in question, but that they also exhibit certain negligible variations which do not need to be described in detail". Kurt Aland, The Text of the New Testament, 1995, p. 243.
  94. ^ Origen, discussing water baptism in his commentary on the Gospel of John, references only verse 8 the earthly witnesses: "And it agrees with this that the disciple John speaks in his epistle of the spirit, and the water, and the blood, as being one."
  95. ^ The Church Review p. 625-641, 1874., The Genuineness of I John v. 7, Scholium on pp. 634–635
  96. ^ Richard Porson, Letters to Mr. Archdeacon Travis, p.234, 1790.
  97. ^ Codex Apocryphus Novi Testamenti, p.544 first published in 1703.
  98. ^ English translation by Richard Porson, also given in Charles Forster's New Plea. Greek text, Disputation Contra Arium
  99. ^ In modern times, scholars on early church writings outside the textual battles are more likely to see the work as from Athanasius, or an actual account of an Athanasius-Arius debate. Examples are John Williams Proudfit Remarks on the history, structure, and theories of the Apostles' Creed 1852, p.58 and George Smeaton, The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, 1882, p. 272
  100. ^ Kaiserl.[lichen] Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien; Corpus scriptorum ecclesiasticorum Latinorum (1866) Vol XVIII, p. 6. Also Alan England Brooke from Georg Schepps, Vienna Corpus, xviii
  101. ^ Liber Apologetics given in Maynard p. 39. [capitals speculative; punctuation deleted from English translation as probably little or no punctuation in original]
  102. ^ Introduction to the New Testament, p. 372, Vol. 3, 1909.
  103. ^ Westcott comments "The gloss which had thus become an established interpretation of St John's words is first quoted as part of the Epistle in a tract of Priscillian (c 385)." The Epistles of St. John p. 203, 1892. Alan England Brooke "The earliest certain instance of the gloss being quoted as part of the actual text of the Epistle is in the Liber Apologeticus (? a.d. 380) of Priscillian" The Epistles of St. John, p.158, 1912. And Bruce Metzger "The earliest instance of the passage being quoted as a part of the actual text of the Epistle is in a fourth century Latin treatise entitled Liber Apologeticus". Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, p.717, 1971. Georg Strecker : "The oldest undoubted instance is in Priscillian Liber apologeticus I.4 (CSEL 18.6). Similar to these are William Sullivan, John Pohle, John Seldon Whale, F. F. Bruce, Ian Howard Marshall and others.
  104. ^ For an alternate view, and explanation of the terms, see Was Priscillian a Modalist Monarchian? by Tarmo Toom
  105. ^ John Chapman Notes on the Early History of the Vulgate Gospels (1908) p. 264
  106. ^ Preserved Smith Erasmus, A Study Of His Life, Ideals And Place In History, p.165, 1st ed. 1923. However, Priscillian is generally considered as non-Trinitarian. The Künstle idea was more nuanced. William Edie summarizes "To Priscillian, therefore, in all probability, must be attributed the origin of the gloss in this its original and heretical form. Afterwards it was brought into harmony with the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity by the omission of the words in Christo Jesu and the Substitution of tres for tria." The Review of Theology and Philosophy The Comma Joanneum p.169, 1906. The accusation of a Trinitarian heresy by Priscillian was not in the charges that led to the execution of Priscillian and six followers; we see this in the later 5th-century writings.
  107. ^ The Codex Muratorianus, Journal of Theological Studies, 1907 pp.537–545
  108. ^ Alan England Brooke, A critical and exegetical commentary on the Johannine epistles, 1912, pp.158–159
  109. ^ Theodor Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament, Vol 3, 1909, p. 372
  110. ^ "It seems plain that the passage of St, Cyprian was lying open before the Priscillianist author of the Creed (Priscillian himself?) because he was accustomed to appeal to it in the same way. In Priscillian's day St. Cyprian had a unique position as the one great Western Doctor." John Chapman, Notes on the Early History of the Vulgate Gospels, 1908, p.264
  111. ^ Raymond Brown, The Epistles of John, the Anchor Yale Bible Commentary, 1982 p. 782.
  112. ^ About four hundred bishops of Africa and Mauritania, together with others from Corsica and Sardinia, met in Carthage" Thomas Joseph Lamy, American Ecclesiastical Review, 1 John v 7, 1897 p.464
  113. ^ John Moorhead, Victor of Vita: history of the Vandal persecution 1992, p. 56, Latin at Histoire de la Persécution des Vandales par Victor, évêque de Vita, dans la Byzacène
  114. ^ Frederick Nolan summarizes the history and gives his view of the significance: "Between three and four hundred prelates attended the Council, which met at Carthage; and Eugenius, as bishop of that see, drew up the Confession of the orthodox, in which the contested verse is expressly quoted. That a whole church should thus concur in quoting a verse which was not contained in the received text, is wholly inconceivable: and admitting that 1 Joh v. 7 was then generally received, its universal prevalence in that text is only to be accounted for by supposing it to have existed in it from the beginning." Inquiry, 1815, p. 296. Bruce Metzger, in the commentary that accompanies the UBS GNT, bypassed the context of the Council and the Confession of Faith, "In the fifth century the gloss was quoted by Latin Fathers in North Africa and Italy as part of the text of the Epistle" A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 1971, p.717 and 2nd ed. 1993, and 2002 p.648.
  115. ^ Raymond Brown, Anchor Bible, Epistles of John pp. 782–783.
  116. ^ Travis, Letters to Edward Gibbon, 1794, pp. 41–42. Latin at De Trinitate Book V, p. 274 In total, Travis notes five times in the books that John is referenced in the context of the wording of 1 John 5:7, twice in Book One, and once each in Books 5, 7, and 10.
  117. ^ John Scott Porter, Principles of Textual Criticism, 1848, p.509 Latin: Et Joannes evangelista ait; In principio erat verbum, et verbum erat apud Deurn et Deus erat verbum. Item ad Parthos; Tres sunt, inquit, qui testimonium perhibent in terra, aqua sanguis el caro, et tres in nobis sunt. Et tres sunt qui testimonium perhibent in caelo. Pater, Verbum, et spiritus, et hi tres unum sunt. McCarthy, Daniel The Epistles and Gospels of the Sundays, 1866, p. 518. The full book is at Patrologiae cursus completus: Series latina Vol 62:359, 1800. Nathaniel Ellis Cornwall explains how Idacius Clarus, of the 4th century and an opponent of Priscillian, is internally accredited as the original author Genuineness Proved by Neglected Witnesses 1877, p. 515. The work was originally published in 1528 by Sichard as Idacius Clarus Hispanus, Otto Bardenhewer, Patrology, the Lives and Works of the Fathers, p. 429, 1908.
  118. ^ Biblical commentary on the Epistles of St John, 1850, p.326, "In Continuation of the Work of Olshausen ... translated (from the German) by W. B. Pope".
  119. ^ "William Hales, Antijacobin Review, Sabellian Controversy, Letter XII, 1816 p. 595
  120. ^ Migne (Frag. 21.4: CC 01A,797)
  121. ^ Thomas Burgess, Letter to the Reverend Thomas Beynon 1829, p.649. The Latin is "Beatus vero Joannes Apostolus evidenter ait, Et tres unum sunt, quod de Patre, et Filio et Spiritu Sancto, dictum, sicut superius, cum rationem flagitares, ostendimus."
  122. ^ Fulgentius continues "Let Sabellius hear we are, let him hear three, and let him believe that there are three Persons. Let him not blaspheme in his sacrilegious heart by saying that the Father is the same in Himself as the Son is the same in Himself and as the Holy Spirit is the same in Himself, as if in some way He could beget Himself, or in some way proceed from Himself. Even in created natures it is never able to be found that something is able to beget itself. Let also Arius hear one; and let him not say that the Son is of a different nature, if one cannot be said of that, the nature of which is different." William A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, 1970 Volume 3. pp. 291–292.
  123. ^ In the historic debate, Thomas Emlyn, George Benson, Richard Porson, Samuel Lee and John Oxlee denied these references as demonstrating the verse as in the Bible of Fulgentius, by a set of differing rationales. Henry Thomas Armfield reviews debate theories and history and offered his conclusion "Surely it is quite clear from the writings of Fulgentius, both that he had himself seen the verse in the copies of the New Testament; and that those with whom he argues had not the objection to offer that the verse was not then extant in St. John's Epistle." Armfield, The Three Witnesses, the Disputed Text, 1883, p.171. Armfield also reviews the Facundus and Fulgentius comparison in depth. Facundus and Fulgentius were often compared in their Cyprian references, with Facundus quoted in support of Cyprian being involved in a mystical interpretation.
  124. ^ Migne
  125. ^ Alban Butler, The lives of the fathers, martyrs, and other principal saints, Volume 1(1846) and is referenced by Karl Künstle as Pseudo-Fulgentius.
  126. ^ Joseph Pohle in The Divine Trinity: A Dogmatic Treatise accuses Cassiodorus of inserting the Comma into the Vulgate from early manuscripts. "The defence can also claim the authority of Cassiodorus, who, about the middle of the sixth century, with many ancient manuscripts at his elbow, revised the entire Vulgate of St. Jerome, especially the Apostolic Epistles, and deliberately inserted I John V, 7, which St. Jerome had left out." Divine Trinity, 1911 p. 38-39
  127. ^ The Latin is "Cui rei testificantur in terra tria mysteria: aqua, sanguis et spiritus, quae in passione Domini leguntur impleta: in coelo autem Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus sanctus; et hi tres unus est Deus" – Patrilogiae Cursus Completus, Series Latina by Migne, vol. 70, col. 1373. HTML version at Cassiodorus Complexiones in Epistulas apostolorum English text based on Porson and Maynard p.46.
  128. ^ Lamy says that in going through 1 John 5 Cassiodorus "mystically interprets water, blood and spirit as three symbols concerning the Passion of Christ. To those three earthly symbols in terra, he opposes the three heavenly witnesses in coelo the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one God. Evidently we have here verse 7. Cassiodorus does not cite it textually, but he gives the sense of it. He puts it in opposition to verse 8, for he contrasts in coelo with in terra. The last words: Et hi tres unus est Deus can be referred only to verse 7, since Cassiodorus refers tria unum sunt of verse 8, to the Passion of Our Saviour ... Maffei's conclusion is therefore justified when he says : Verse 7 was read not only in Africa, but in the most ancient and the most accurate Codices of the Roman Church, since Cassiodorus recommended to the monks to seek, above all else, the correct copies and to compare them with the Greek."
  129. ^ William Wright, Biblical hermeneutics, 1835, p.640.
  130. ^ Daniel M'Carthy The Epistles and Gospels of the Sundays 1866, p. 521. (Patrolog. Lat. ed. Migne), Tom. lxxxiii. p. 1203).
  131. ^ Arthur-Marie Le Hir, Les Trois Témoins Célestes Études bibliques, 1869 pp.1–72
  132. ^ Some see Testimonia Divinae Scripturae as earlier than Isidore. "Most learned critics believe to be more ancient than St. Isidore". John MacEvilly An Exposition of the Epistles of St. Paul, 1875, p.424, M'Carthy: "The question of authorship is not, however, important in our controversy, provided the antiquity of the document be admitted"
  133. ^ Robert Jack, "Remarks on the Authenticity of 1 John v. 7" c. 1834. "... sicut scriptum est: Tres sunt qui testimonium dicunt de caelo, Pater et Verbum, et Spiritus sanctus, et hi tres unum sunt, in primo huius opens libro aperte docuimus." Ambrose Ansbert, Ambrosij Ansberti … Apocalypsim libri decem
  134. ^ David Harrower, "A Defence of the Trinitarian System", 1822 pp.43–44
  135. ^ Fourth Lateran Council – 1215 A.D.
  136. ^ As explained by Thomas Joseph Lamy, American Ecclesiastical Review, The Decision of the Holy Office, 1897, pp. 478–479.
  137. ^ Samuel Berger, Histoire de la Vulgate pendant les premiers siècles du moyen âge, 1893 pp. 103–105
  138. ^ Johann Leonhard Hug Introduction to the New Testament, p. 475, 1827.
  139. ^ Norbert Fickermann, Biblische Zeitschrift. 22: 350-358 (1934) St. Augustinus gegen das 'Comma Johanneum'?
  140. ^ McDonald, Grantley Robert (15 February 2011). Raising the ghost of Arius: Erasmus, the Johannine comma and religious difference in early modern Europe (Thesis). Leiden University. hdl:1887/16486. McDonald, Grantley (31 March 2016). "Erasmus and the Johannine Comma (1 John 5.7-8)". The Bible Translator. 67 (1): 42–55. doi:10.1177/2051677016628244. S2CID 170991947.
  141. ^ "For the Spirit too is truth just as the Father and the Son are. The truth of all three is one, just as the nature of all three is one, just as the nature of all three is one. For there are three in heaven who furnish testimony to Christ: the Father, the Word, and the Spirit. The Father, who not once but twice sent forth his voice from the sky and publicly testified that this was his uniquely beloved Son in whom he found no offence; the Word, who, by performing so many miracles and by dying and rising again, showed that he was the true Christ, both God and human alike, the reconciler of God and humankind; the holy Spirit, who descended on his head at baptism and after the resurrection glided down upon the disciples. The agreement of these three is absolute. The Father is the author, the Son the messenger, the Spirit the inspirer. There are likewise three things on earth which attest Christ: the human spirit which he laid down on the cross, the water, and the blood which flowed from his side in death. And these three witnesses are in agreement. They testify that he was a man. The first three declare him to be God." (p. 174) Collected Works of Erasmus – Paraphrase on the First Epistle of John Translator John J Bateman
  142. ^ John Jack Bateman (1931–2011), editor. Opera omnia : recognita ed adnotatione critica instructa notisque illustrata, 1997, p. 252.
  143. ^ Stunica, one of the Complutensian editors, published in 1520 Annotationes Iacobi Lopidis Stunicae contra Erasmum Roterodamum in defensionem tralationis Noui Testamenti, which included half of a page on the heavenly witnesses. Later Erasmus correspondence on the verse included a letter to William Farel in 1524 in which Erasmus noted the lack of Greek manuscript support and the verse not being used in the Arian controversies. In 1531 Erasmus corresponded with Alberto Pio, a critic of Erasmus.
  144. ^ de Jonge, Henk Jan (1980). "Erasmus and the Comma Johanneum". Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses. 56: 381–389. hdl:1887/1023.
  145. ^ "Johannine Comma" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 August 2019. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  146. ^ Charles Butler Horae Biblicae, 1807 p. 257
  147. ^ Thomas Burgess A Letter to Mr. Thomas Beynon 1829, p. xii.
  148. ^ Thomas Smith, Integritas loci 1 Jo. V, 7, 1690.
  149. ^ Kettner referred to the heavenly witnesses as "the most precious of Biblical pearls, the fairest flower of the New Testament, the compendium by way of analogy of faith in the Trinity." Conybeare, History of New Testament Criticism, 1910, p. 71. In 1697 Kettner wrote Insignis ac celeberrimi de SS. trinitate loci, qui I. Joh. V, 7. extat, divina autoritas sensus et usus dissertatione theol. demonstratus and in 1713 Vindiciae novae dicti vexatissimi de tribus in coelo testibus, 1 Joh. V, 7 and Historia dicti Johannei de Sanctissima Trinitate, I Joh. cap. V vers. 7
  150. ^ Bossuet, Instructions sur la version du N. T. [de R. Simon] impr. à Trevoux, 1703, pp. 185–90. Bossuet also wrote in favor of the verse in correspondence with Newton's mathematical rival Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. Butler and Orme include Bossuet material.
  151. ^ Abraham Taylor, The True Scripture doctrine of the holy and ever-blessed Trinity, stated and defended, in opposition to the Arian scheme, pp. 31–58, 1727. On p. 32 Taylor lists 17 recent writings on the verse, against authenticity were by Simon, Jean le Clerc, Samuel Clarke and Emlyn.
  152. ^

    And, indeed, what the sun is in the world,
    what the heart is in a man,
    what the needle is in the mariner's compass,
    this verse is in the epistle.".

    (John Wesley, with appreciation to Bengelius, Explanatory Notes, 1754)

  153. ^ The footnotes included "In 1689, the papist Simon strove to be free; in 1707, the protestant Mill wished to be a slave; in 1751, the Arminian Wetstein used the liberty of his times, and of his sect." The history of the decline and fall of the Roman empire
  154. ^ John William Burgon, Lives of Twelve Good Men, Volume 1 Martin Joseph Routh, the Learned Divine, p. 37, 1788.
  155. ^ Arthur-Marie Le Hir. Les Trois Témoins Célestes Études bibliques, 1869, pp. 1–89.
  156. ^ Denounced by evangelist Thomas DeWitt Talmage in a speech covered in the New York Times "Taking up the Bible he turned to the fifth chapter of John, but passed it with the remark, 'I will not read that, for it has been abolished or made doubtful by the new revision.'The Revision Denounced; Strong Language from the Rev. Mr. Talmage, New York Times, June 6, 1881]. See also Peter Johannes Thuesen, In Discordance with the Scriptures: American Protestant Battles Over Translating the Bible 2002, p. 54.
  157. ^ Daniel McCarthy: … the first to expunge v. 7. altogether (J. D. Michaelis gives that honor to an 'Anonymous Englishman' who published the N. T, Greek and English, London, 1729, with a text revised on the principles of 'common sense'), but his rash example was followed unhappily by the three ablest critics of our own day, Scholz, a Catholic Prof, in Bonn, Lachmann, and Tischendorf; and approved by Wegscheid, Michaelis, Davidson, Horne, Alford, Tregelles, &c; so that it may be truly said the current of Protestant opinion in England and Germany is now as strong against, as it was for the genuineness of the controverted words even within this century. The change is unaccountable when we bear in mind that the evidence for the verse, both negative and positive, has been increasing every day, whilst the arguments against its authenticity were brought out as fully by Erasmus as by any modern critic. The Epistles and Gospels of the Sundays, 1866, p. 512. The Anonymous Englishman is Daniel Mace.
  158. ^ Adam Hamilton, Dublin Review, 1890, The Abbé Martin and 1 John v. 7, 1890 (pp. 182–91), puts the debate into English, Hamilton supporting authenticity, Martin the principal opponent.
  159. ^ The Revision of the New Testament Dublin Review, 1981, pp. 140–43.
  160. ^ Oft-repeated is "that these words are spurious and have no right to stand in the New Testament is certain …" from Metzger's Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 1971, p. 716.
  161. ^ Summarized with pictures on the web site KJV Today Umlaut in Codex Vaticanus, although the conclusion "an early scribe of Vaticanus at least knew of a significant textual variant here" is only one theory. Discussions have continued on the Evangelical Textual Criticism web site, the Yahoogroups textualcriticism forum and helpful is the web page of Wieland Willker, Codex Vaticanus Graece 1209, B/03 The Umlauts Archived 26 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  162. ^ David Charles Parker, while lauding the 1881 Westcott and Hort "purified text", writes of "the ridiculous business of the Johannine Comma" Textual Criticism and Theology, 2009, p. 324. Parker writes of "the presence in a few manuscripts, most of them Latin". The actual number is many thousands of manuscripts. Daniel Wallace comments that the verse "infected the history of the English Bible in a huge way", referring to a "rabid path". The Comma Johanneum in an Overlooked Manuscript, July 2, 2010 Archived 25 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine James White, even while engaging in discussions on the Puritanboard forums, wrote "I draw the line with the Comma. Anyone who defends the insertion of the Comma is, to me, outside the realm of meaningful scholarship, unless, I guess, they likewise support the radical reworking of the entire text of the New Testament along consistent lines … plainly uninspired insertion." The Comma Johanneum Again 4 March 2006, also 16 March 2006. In an earlier day, Eberhard Nestle wrote that "The fact that it is still defended even from the Protestant side is interesting only from a pathological point of view." Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the Greek New Testament, 1901, p. 327, translation by William Edie 1899 German of the German pathologisches.
  163. ^ Raymond Brown, Anchor Bible, Epistle of John Appendix IV: The Johannine Comma pp. 776–87 (1982)
  164. ^ "The declaration adds that there was no intention of stopping investigation of the passage by Catholic scholars who act in a moderate and temperate way and tend to think the verse not genuine; provided, however, that such scholars promise to accept the judgment of the Church which is by Christ's appointment the sole guardian and custodian of Holy Scripture (Enchiridion Bibttcum. Documenta Ecdesiastica Sacrum Scripturam Spectantia, Romae, apud Librarian! Vaticanam 1927, pp. 46–47)". Explanation given in Under Orders The Autobiography of William Laurence Sullivan, p. 186, 1945. Sullivan had written an article in 1906 opposing authenticity in the New York Review.
  165. ^ "EWTN.com - 1 John 5: 7; the status of the Johannine Comma". www.ewtn.com. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  166. ^ James H. Sightler The King James Bible is Inspired (2011) Archived 8 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine "The modern versions… omit or cast doubt on I John 5:7. the most important Trinitarian verse in the Bible and the one verse most often attacked in history"
  167. ^ Letter in a book published by Christian Frederick Matthaei (1744–1811) [1]. See also Franz Anton Knittel, [2] New criticisms on the celebrated text, 1 John v. 7
  168. ^ Nathaniel Ellsworth 1812-1879), Page 641 The Genuineness of I John v.7 discusses the torquebit grammaticos of Erasmus.
  169. ^ Grantley McDonald, Raising the Ghost of Arius Latin p. 376, English p. 377 It will torture the grammarians that the Spirit, water and blood are described by the phrases “there are three” and “these are one,” especially since the words “Spirit,” “water” and “blood” are grammatically neuter in Greek. Indeed, the Apostle pays more regard to the sense than to the words, and for three witnesses, as if they were three people, he substitutes three things: Spirit, water and blood. You use the same construction if you say: “The building is a witness to the kind of builder you are.”
  170. ^ "He ends his reflections on the comma by wondering why John should have applied masculine participles to things that are grammatically neuter" Raising the Ghost of Arius p. 149-150, In Primam D. Ioannis Epistolam Annotationes, quae uice prolixi commentarij (Commentary on the First Epistle of John) 1544
  171. ^ SS[ancti] apostolorum septem epistolae catholicae which gave this margin explanation of the grammar: “He uses τρεῖς in the Masculine, because these things (the Spirit, the water, and the blood) are symbols of the Trinity.” Johann Christian Friedrich Steudel, footnote on Bengel Gnomon of the New Testament
  172. ^ "What about John, then, when in his Catholic Epistle he says that there are three that bear witness, the spirit and the water and the blood? ... he has not been consistent in the way he has happened upon his terms; for after using three in the masculine gender he adds three words which are neuter, contrary to the definitions and laws which you and your grammarians have laid down."
  173. ^ Frederick Nolan (1784–1864), pages 257-262,564-565
  174. ^ John Oxlee (1779–1854), pages 134-138, 260-264 in the 1822 (volume 4) edition of the Christian Remembrancer journal
  175. ^ Robert Dabney (1820–98)in the 1871 Southern Presbyterian Review Vol 22, and in pages 350–390 of Dabney's 1890 book, Discussions Theological and Evangelical in the chapter The Doctrinal Various Readings of the New Testament Greek pages 377–378
  176. ^ Edward Hills (1912–81) The King James Version Defended 1956
  177. ^ Daniel Wallace (1952–) footnote 44 on page 332 in his 1996 book, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics
  178. ^ Johann Bengel (1687–1752), Page 145 in volume 5 of the 1873 English translation of the 1759 second edition of his 1742 book, The Gnomon of the New Testament.
  179. ^ Eugenius Bulgaris (1716–1806), a letter that Eugenius wrote in 1780
  180. ^ John Oxlee (1779–1854), pages 136, 138, 260 in the 1822 (volume 4) edition of the Christian Remembrancer journal
  181. ^ Daniel Wallace (1952–), footnote 44 (you may have to reload page 332 in order to view it) on page 332 in his 1996 book, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics.
  182. ^ Frederick Nolan (1784–1864), pages 257, 260 565 in his 1815 book, An Inquiry into the Integrity of the Greek Vulgate
  183. ^ Robert Dabney (1820–98), page 221 in his 1871 article, The Doctrinal Various Readings of the New Testament Greek, which originally appears on pages 191–234 in the 1871 (volume 22) edition of the Southern Presbyterian Review journal, and which also appears on pages 350-390 of Dabney’s 1890 book, Discussions Theological and Evangelical (pages 377-378 in the 1890 book corresponding to page 221 in the 1871 article)
  184. ^ Edward Hills (1912–1981), page 169 in his 1956 book, The King James Version Defended

Further reading

  • Houghton, H. A. G. (2016). The Latin New Testament: a guide to its early history, texts, and manuscripts. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 178–179. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198744733.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-874473-3.
  • de Jonge, Henk Jan (1980). "Erasmus and the Comma Johanneum". Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses. 56: 381–389. hdl:1887/1023.
  • Levine, Joseph M. (1997). "Erasmus and the Problem of the Johannine Comma". Journal of the History of Ideas. 58 (4): 573–596. doi:10.2307/3653961. ISSN 0022-5037. JSTOR 3653961. Republished in Levine, Joseph M. (1999). The autonomy of history: truth and method from Erasmus to Gibbon. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-47541-7.
  • McDonald, Grantley (2016). Biblical criticism in early modern Europe: Erasmus, the Johannine comma, and Trinitarian debate. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9781316408964. ISBN 978-1-107-12536-0. Revision of the author's doctoral thesis: McDonald, Grantley Robert (15 February 2011). Raising the ghost of Arius: Erasmus, the Johannine comma and religious difference in early modern Europe (Thesis). Leiden University. hdl:1887/16486.
  • McDonald, Grantley (2017). "The Johannine Comma from Erasmus to Westminster". In Dirk van Miert; Henk J. M. Nellen; Piet Steenbakkers; Jetze Touber (eds.). Scriptural authority and biblical criticism in the Dutch Golden Age: God's word questioned. Vol. 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 61–72. doi:10.1093/oso/9780198806837.003.0003. ISBN 978-0-19-880683-7.
  • Metzger, Bruce M. (1994). A textual commentary on the Greek New Testament: a companion volume to the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament (fourth revised edition) (2 ed.). Stuttgart: Deutsche Biblegesellschaft. pp. 647–649. ISBN 978-3-438-06010-5.
  • Thiele, Walter (1959). "Beobachtungen zum Comma Iohanneum (I Joh 5 7 f.)". Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der Älteren Kirche (in German). 50 (1). doi:10.1515/zntw.1959.50.1.61. S2CID 170571396.