Tuesday, January 07, 2020

The Greek Manuscripts of the Comma Johanneum (1 John 5:7–8)

Warning: long post because there’s a lot of detail here.

Although it is one of the easiest text-critical decisions, a lot of attention often goes to the Comma Johanneum (henceforth, CJ), the addition at 1 John 5:7–8 (addition in italics): “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. (1 John 5:7-8 KJV).” A lot of people who take a textus receptus position vigorously defend the CJ because of its theological value. This was actually one of my first tastes of the implications of textual criticism—I was doing evangelism with my John MacArthur NKJV Study Bible back when I was much younger and found this amazing verse that ‘proves’ the Trinity, until my friend told me I couldn’t use it because it wasn’t original to 1 John but not to worry because there was ample proof of the Trinity elsewhere in Scripture. As it turns out, a mere appeal to 1 John 5:7–8 without also having a Trinitarian interpretation of the passage does not automatically ‘prove’ the Trinity, because Oneness Pentecostals (=a branch of Pentecostalism that denies the Trinity) who use the KJV also appeal to this passage as a proof of their anti-Trinitarian doctrine—they claim that the phrase “and these three are one” teaches their “oneness” doctrine (a great example here).

The Tyndale House Greek New Testament gives special treatment to the CJ by breaking its normal pattern of citing very few witnesses, and in the last few days, I decided to examine each of the Greek manuscripts that contain some form of the CJ to learn a bit more about each of them. The following are some of my findings. There are 10 Greek manuscripts that have the CJ, but only three of them have it in the same form as in Stephanus’ 1550 edition and Scrivener’s edition reprinted by the TBS—these three are 221marg, 2318 and 2473. All ten of these manuscripts are indexed for 1 John 5:7–8 at the INTF’s VMR, so you are free to verify them yourself. Regarding scribes and manuscript acquisition histories/provenance, I got all of that information from a combination of catalogues of manuscripts in those libraries (see the short bibliography at the end of this post) and shelfmarks/information given at the online Liste.

Before I get there, I want to mention that sometimes an eleventh Greek manuscript is cited. GA 635 is sometimes cited as having the CJ in the margin, but it does not.

GA 635 
I can’t make out all the words, but I’m seeing το πν(ευμ)α το αγιο(ν) και ο π(ατ)ηρ (και)...the rest is more difficult. αιματος? It’s probably an obvious solution, and I’m happy to update the post if someone has a better image or can make more sense of it. There are a number of notes like this in the margins of 635, and there isn’t room for the whole CJ here anyway, so I didn’t want to spend too much time on it.

I discuss below the 10 manuscripts with the CJ, with the first eight in approximate chronological order of the inclusion of the CJ. I want to mention from the start that I have drawn attention to the Roman Catholic provenance of a few of these. I’ll explain more at the end why I do so, but the short version is that some of the most vehement defenders of the CJ are Protestant textus receptus advocates who subscribe to the Westminster or London Baptist confessions and claim doctrinal purity via affirmation of these confessions, yet in order to defend the CJ by appealing to the Greek manuscripts, they have to appeal to manuscripts from the tradition from which their own tradition broke away, and in some cases, manuscripts that were made (or marginal notes that were added) after that break.

1. GA 629 (1362–1363)

GA 629, f. 105v, images at https://digi.vatlib.it/view/MSS_Ott.gr.298
629 is dated 1362–1363 and is the earliest known Greek manuscript of the CJ. There are earlier manuscripts, than 629 but in those, the CJ is still later, so, say in the year 1400, those manuscripts themselves existed but they did not have the CJ yet, where as in the year 1400, 629 did.

While I haven’t yet figured out where 629 came from, there is a note on f. 2 that identifies it as being the property of “Joannis Angeli Ducis ab Altaemps”. This would be Giovanni Angelo D’Altemps, who, if that Italian Wikipedia article is correct, seems to have inherited at least part of his library from his grandfather, Cardinal Mark Sittich von Hohenems Altemps, who himself was the nephew of Pope Pius IV. Today, 629 is in the Vatican Library as Ottob. gr. 298. That is all to say that as much as I can tell about the original provenance of this manuscript (and the manuscript does pre-date its known owner by more than 200 years), by the time of later editions of the TR, it can be tied to a Roman Catholic family.
GA 629, f. 2r
629 is a Latin-Greek diglot, which should raise suspicions about its witness to the CJ. After all, the contention is that the CJ was translated into Greek from Latin and that’s how it ended up in a few Greek manuscripts, and that looks exactly like what happened here. Notice above that there are no definite articles in the three heavenly witnesses, but Latin does not have definite articles like Greek, so the lack of articles here in Greek suggests that it is a translation from Latin. Also note that this manuscript is not a witness to the form of the CJ as it appears in the TR. In fact, in these 23–25 words, I count 8 differences between the CJ here and the CJ as it appears in the Trinitarian Bible Society’s textus receptus (at least according to the TBT TR on Bibleworks). They are απο του ουρανου, απο της γης, the article(3x), the order of Πνεῦμα Ἅγιον, οὗτοι in the TBT and εἰς τὸ in 629:

ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ πατήρ λόγος καὶ τὸ Ἅγιον Πνεῦμα καὶ οὗτοι οἱ τρεῖς ἕν εἰσι καὶ τρεῖς εἰσὶν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν τῇ γῇ

629: απο του ουρανου πατήρ λόγος καὶ Πνεῦμα Ἅγιον καὶ οἱ τρεῖς εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν καὶ τρεῖς εἰσὶν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες απο της γης

In short, 629 appears to be a thoroughly Roman Catholic manuscript that has an unusual form of the CJ as a translation from Latin into Greek, probably (and this is purely my guess at this point) to harmonise the differences between the Latin and Greek columns. An interesting study would be for someone to compare these two columns in more detail to see if they appear to be harmonised.

2. Codex Montfortianus (GA 61)

GA 61, f. 439r, catalogue record here
GA 61 is the infamous manuscript on whose authority Erasmus added the CJ to his third edition of the Greek New Testament (1522). No, Erasmus didn’t promise to include the CJ if someone could give him a Greek manuscript with it, and no, 61 wasn’t made to force Erasmus’ hand.

Still, we can make a few observations about the manuscript—and for all this and more, see Brown, A. J. “Codex 61 (Montfortianus) and 1 John 5,7–8.” and Grantley McDonald, Biblical Criticism in Early Modern Europe: Erasmus, the Johannine Comma and Trinitarian Debate (Bibliographic information at the end of this post).

First, it has a Franciscan provenance. Even if the Franciscan Observant Francis Frowick was merely the earliest known owner of the manuscript and not its copyist, the manuscript was definitely copied by a Franciscan, probably in the window of 1495–1521 (date based on the watermarks of the paper and that Erasmus seems to have known about it by 1521). We know it is a Franciscan production because the copyist wrote “Jesus, Mary, Francis” in it, which is apparently a thing that Franciscans often did (it is on this basis that Ussher identified the manuscript as Franciscan according to Brown [p.44]).
GA 61, f. 198v, “Jesus, Mary, Francis”
Also interestingly, we can tell that 61 is a copy of 326 in the Catholic Epistles. GA 326 doesn’t have the CJ, and there are a number of places where 61 diverges from the text of 326 to ‘Latinise’ the manuscript an introduce Vulgate-derived readings. Of course, that’s more what you would expect from a Western, Latin tradition making Greek manuscripts. Another piece of evidence that the 61 likely reflects a translation from Latin into Greek is that it also lacks definite articles here. I only count four differences between the CJ in 61 and the CJ in the TBT edition: three definite articles and the order of Πνεῦμα Ἅγιον, but four is still a lot for a length of text this size.

ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ πατήρ λόγος καὶ τὸ Ἅγιον Πνεῦμα καὶ οὗτοι οἱ τρεῖς ἕν εἰσι καὶ τρεῖς εἰσὶν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν τῇ γῇ

ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ πατήρ λόγος καὶ Πνεῦμα Ἅγιον καὶ οὗτοι οἱ τρεῖς ἕν εἰσιν καὶ τρεῖς εἰσὶν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν τῇ γῇ

In short, 61 is a manuscript of Catholic (Franciscan) provenance that has a series of what looks like private owners, suggesting that it was either not made for church use or never made it to church use, copied by a scribe who diverged from his exemplar in order to introduce Latin readings into his text rather than copying what was there in the Greek. (Also, there’s a nice little section on GA 61 and some of its philological marginalia by co-blogger Peter Malik in Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism).

3. 429marg (date: after 1522)

GA 429marg, f. 177r

GA 429 is itself 14th century, but the marginal addition of the CJ happened after 1522. We know that because it was copied from Erasmus’ third edition. It contains the exact form of the CJ as in Erasmus’ third edition (without articles; UPDATE: also note that there are no nomina sacra here), but Erasmus added definite articles in his 4th edition and kept them in his 5th. GA 429 is also a member of the Harklean group, but it’s the only member of its group to contain the CJ. If a single manuscript diverges from all the other members of its subgroup, it’s a more than reasonable assumption that it is the one that changed the text. More than that, 429 has a series of notes in it, some of which explicitly cite Erasmus as the source of the note, including one on the facing page.
GA 429, f. 176v. It’s blurry, but you can see “Eras” there.
For more on this manuscript, see Klaus Wachtel’s monograph Der byzantinische Text (full title and bibliographic info at the end of this post). In short, the marginal note in 429 was copied from Erasmus’ third edition and is an addition that causes 429 to diverge here from the group of manuscripts to which it belongs. 429marg is not a witness to a pre-Erasmian CJ.

4. 918 (date: probably 1573–1578)

GA 918, f. 390r
GA 918 is another manuscript with a Catholic provenance. It is one of three manuscripts (the other two are 61 and 429marg) that have a CJ in exactly the same form as Erasmus’ third edition, so Erasmus is likely the source of the CJ here. If that were not enough, Wachtel (Der byzantinische Text) places 918 in “Group 453”. It is the youngest member of that group by a couple of centuries and the only member to have the CJ, so per my remarks above, it’s beyond a reasonable doubt that the CJ is an addition derived from Erasmus. We might have expected the Complutensian Polyglot here given its Spanish Catholic provenance (see below), but there are a number of differences between Erasmus’ third edition and the Complutensian Polyglot in the CJ, and 918 matches Erasmus perfectly. Consequently, 918 is not a witness to a pre-Erasmian CJ.

We can say a bit more about 918. We know that the scribe is one Nicolás de la Torre (sometimes written as Νικόλαος Τουρριανός; see the reference in Ernst Gamillscheg and Dieter Harlfinger, Repertorium der griechischen Kopisten 800–1600). Nikolaos was born in Crete, but he worked for Philip II of Spain at the Library of El Escorial beginning in 1573. Nikolaos’ dated manuscripts have a range of 1562–1586, but given the ties to El Escorial (where the manuscript remains to this day), and given what we know about Nikolaos employment there and travels elsewhere, I would expect that he made the manuscript between 1573 and 1578.

Conclusion: GA 918 is a manuscript of Spanish Catholic provenance from the 1570s that broke from its textual tradition by adding the CJ from Erasmus’ third edition.

5. 2473 (1634)

GA 2473, f. 301r
I haven’t yet found much about 2473 except that it’s dated 1634, and Wachtel considers it to be a copy of one of the later editions of the textus receptus based on its textual affinity (Der byzantinische Text, 320). Still, the King James Version already existed by the time this manuscript rolled around.

6. 2318 (1700s)

GA 2318, f. 394r
GA 2318, f. 394v
GA 2318 is the only manuscript for which the CJ spans a page turn. Palaeographically, it dates to the 1700s. It came to the Romanian Academy Library from the “Central Seminary”, but I haven’t tracked down more than that yet. It is a commentary manuscript, and the first page (which is Romans) identifies the commentary as that of Oecumenius. Of course, the identification of the actual author of these sorts of things is not always easy. If it is Oecumenius, he seems to have advocated the impeccability of Mary, but I haven’t checked to see if this manuscript advocates that. Wachtel thinks the biblical text is copied from one of the later editions of the textus receptus (Der byzantinische Text). At any rate, it seems to have a clearly non-Protestant provenance in the 1700s.

7. 177marg (c. 1785)

GA 177, f. 174r
GA 177 is fun. The manuscript dates to the 11th century, but the CJ dates to 1785. Notice, it’s introduced by a chapter and verse reference [EDIT: I was interpreting the "v" as a Roman numeral V indicating the chapter, but now that I think about it, it could be an abbreviation for versus. Either way, it clearly designates the marginal addition as verse 7, and the verse number is the later feature anyway], which firmly places it later than 1551, when Stephanus first introduced the modern chapter/verse system.

The fun part is that we know who wrote the note and when:
GA 177, f. 224v
The ink is different, and some of the letters are a little stylized, but this looks to me to be clearly the same hand. A lot of the letters are distinctively the same (ρ, ς especially), and neither sample of handwriting has very many accents/breathing marks. The author of the note is Ignatius Hardt (1749–1811), priest of the city of Munich, in the year 1785, month of June, the 20th.

Hardt also published catalogues of manuscripts in Bavaria (see one of them here). I found one reference to him as a Weltpriester, and he worked in the Electoral Court Library in Munich. As far as I can tell, those two elements point to a Catholic provenance. The Electoral Court Library appears to have acquired a large collection from the Jesuits in 1773, so maybe this was one of those? I haven’t looked that far into it, since the name, date and verse number of the CJ here more or less disqualify it as a genuine Greek New Testament witness to be taken seriously when establishing the original text. GA 177marg is not mentioned in the Text und Textwert volumes, though 177 is cited as one of the 500 or so manuscripts that do not have the CJ. This is pure conjecture on my part, but I imagine it’s because the chapter and verse numbers strongly suggest that it was not copied from any ancient Greek manuscript tradition but loosely and from a printed source.

I should also note that the form of the CJ here is unique among manuscripts. Of the editions I checked (admittedly not many), it’s closest to the Complutensian Polyglot. It doesn’t have v.8 at all. I give a comparison below of 177marg and the Trinitarian Bible Society’s textus receptus, with differences underlined:

ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ πατήρ  λόγος καὶ τὸ Ἅγιον Πνεῦμα καὶ οὗτοι οἱ τρεῖς ἕν εἰσι καὶ τρεῖς εἰσὶν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν τῇ γῇ

ἐν οὐρανῷ πατήρ λόγος καὶ Πνεῦμα Ἅγιον καὶ οἱ τρεῖς εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν

Although I can’t say much about the provenance of the manuscript, the provenance of the CJ here is a Catholic priest in Munich making the note so recently that by the time he did it, the United States already existed as a country.

8. 221marg (after c. 1850?)

GA 221, f. 150r
GA 221 was also a complete surprise when I looked into it. It is the oldest manuscript (10th century) with the youngest CJ. It’s in Oxford, and Klaus Wachtel (Der byzantinische Text, 319–320) observed that Henry Coxe’s catalogue of manuscripts printed in 1854 explicitly states that this manuscript lacks 1 John 5:7.

Coxe, Henry. Catalogi codicum manuscriptorum bibliothecae Bodleianae: Pars tertia. Oxford: Typographeo Academico, 1854, p. 100
The implication of the note that 221 explicitly lacks the CJ is clear: the CJ looks to be added after that catalogue was prepared. The one published in 1854. I mean, for all I know Charles Spurgeon was alive in time to see this manuscript before somebody added in the CJ.
There are two more manuscripts with the CJ in the margins, but I couldn’t place the dates accurately other than that the CJ is added in later hands.

9. 88marg

GA 88, f. 54r
GA 88 itself is 12th century, but the hand of the note is later. We know that the manuscript came to the Biblioteca Nazionale in Naples (where it is Ms. II. A. 7) from the “Bibliotheca Farnesianae,” which would be the collection of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese (not to be confused with another A. Farnes relevant to manuscript studies), would would become Pope Paul III (note: see Counter-Reformation). There is a Latin note on f. 2r of the manuscript that notes that the CJ is omitted and uses chapter/verse numbers, though it does not prove when the CJ was added. Still, it would not surprise me if the addition post-dates printed editions. The only ligature is κ(αί), and the letters are otherwise cleanly separated. I might expect more ligatures from a native Greek hand of a pre-printing press era. Also, the α in the marginal addition looks to me far more like a Latin a than a Greek α, but I could be wrong on that. More than that, there are interestingly no nomina sacra used, which is highly unusual except in a printed book. Though I can’t say much about its 12th-century provenance, 88 does have strong ties to Counter-Reformation Roman Catholicism by the time the CJ seems to have been written in it.

GA 88, f. 2r

10. 636marg

GA 636, f. 74r
GA 636 is a 15th-century manuscript, but again the CJ looks like a later hand. It lacks the definite articles, so it could be an independent translation of the Latin. It’s textually similar to Erasmus’ third edition except that it lacks οὗτοι, which Erasmus has. We know that the manuscript came to the Biblioteca Nazionale in Naples (where it is Ms. II. A. 9) from an Augustinian Monastery associated with what is today the Church of San Giovanni a Carbonara in Naples. That seems to give the manuscript itself a 15th-century Roman Catholic provenance, though it is unclear when the marginal addition was written. It does have numerous Greek and Latin notes, both in the margins and interlinearly, and an interesting study might be for someone to go through 636 and try to identify the source of these notes.

GA 636, sample of notes, f. 4r


I wanted to give a survey of the manuscripts here that goes slightly beyond merely mentioning them. If you’re just dealing with numbers and vague generalities, it’s really easy to lose sight of the significance of what each manuscript is. To someone who doesn’t know how to evaluate evidence, 10 manuscripts of the CJ might look like it’s even more or better/stronger evidence than places where modern editions go with a reading that has fewer manuscripts in support, but when you are so focused on a big idea that you neglect to look at the evidence you are claiming to support your idea at specific points, you don’t see things like what I have pointed out here. More than that, a lot of people don’t want to just “trust the scholars”. That’s another discussion, but I wanted to lift the curtain a bit and show why the scholars can arrive at some of the conclusions we do. I’ve tried to walk through in a few cases why I think these are the reasonable observations about the manuscripts and from those, the reasonable conclusions about where the data leads (note: yes, data is a Latin neuter plural, but let’s not forget that in both Greek and Latin, a neuter plural subject can take a singular verb).

Maybe I have been reading too much from textus receptus advocates, but it struck me that some of the arguments I hear from them actually work against the textus receptus position once you take the time to step away from the grand claims and look at how the specifics about manuscripts fit in with those grand claims. I often hear from people who want to do away with modern textual criticism that the textus receptus is based on manuscripts with known provenance (and I think they mean “approved texts used by the Church”) whereas the Oxyrhynchus papyri were discarded as rubbish, etc. (Yet I don’t think I’ve ever seen any textus receptus advocate making this claim acknowledge the lectionary markings in Codex Bezae, which are as sure indicators of church use as anything.) In my experience, some of the manuscripts whose provenance we do know are the ones that should be most quickly rejected by people whose position on the text is derived from a particular reading of the Westminster Confession or London Baptist Confession. This is why I made all the references to Roman Catholic provenance in this post. If Protestants (specifically, those who actively align themselves with the Protestant Reformation and the Puritans and claim to have the correct view of the text based on confessional statements made in the 1600s) are citing the Greek manuscript evidence for the CJ, they are appealing to manuscripts produced by, owned by, and used by those whom their own theological predecessors rigorously opposed.

To bring the ‘Evangelical’ back into Evangelical Textual Criticism, one of the most liberating things to me is knowing that Jesus is powerful enough to save me—to grant forgiveness of my sins and reconcile me to God, and God’s promises to preserve his word are so strong that I am not powerful enough to screw it up. As a result, I don’t have to scramble to explain away things that are difficult for my position in order to try to preserve the integrity of my position, because that would be exhausting. When it comes to manuscripts, I can let the chips fall where they may because Jesus is king (and they’re his chips, after all!). As my dad always says, “The truth don’t hurt unless it ought to”. I can take rest and comfort in the knowledge that I must do my best with what I’ve been given, and if I make a mistake, well I’ve been wrong before (just ask anyone who was at my 2016 SBL paper! [EDIT: or ask the friend who found a typo in this very sentence before I updated the post just now to fix it]), and I’m sure I’ll be wrong again, but no matter what, Christ is enough, and I am not powerful enough to thwart his purposes.

A few of the catalogues and sources I used (in case anyone wants to double-check my facts):

Aland, Kurt, and Barbara Aland, eds. Text und Textwert der griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments: IV. Die synoptischen Evangelien: 2. Das Markusevangelium: 1:2. Resultate der Kollation und Hauptliste. ANTF 27. Berlin: De Gruyter, 1998.

Brown, A. J. “Codex 61 (Montfortianus) and 1 John 5,7–8.” In Novum Testamentum Ab Erasmo Recognitum, IV, Epistolae Apostolicae (Secunda Pars) et Apocalypsis Iohannis, edited by A. J. Brown, 30–111. ASD, VI–4. Leiden: Brill, 2012.

Coxe, Henry. Catalogi codicum manuscriptorum bibliothecae Bodleianae: Pars tertia. Oxford: Typographeo Academico, 1854.

Gamillscheg, Ernst, and Dieter Harlfinger. Repertorium der griechischen Kopisten 800–1600: 1. Handschriften aus Bibliotheken Grossbritanniens: A. Verzeichnis der Kopisten. Veröffentlichungen der Kommission für Byzantinistik, III/1 A. Vienna: Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1981.

Litzica, Constantin. Biblioteca Academiei Románe: Catalogul Manuscriptelor Greceşti. Bucharest: Instit. de Arte Grafice “Carol Göbl” S-r I. St. Rasidescu, 1909.

McDonald, Grantley. Biblical Criticism in Early Modern Europe: Erasmus, the Johannine Comma and Trinitarian Debate. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Mioni, Elpidius. Catalogus codicum graecorum Bibliothecae Nationalis Neapolitanae: Volumen 1, 1. Rome: Istituto Poligrafico dello Stato, 1992.

Pierleoni, Ginus. Catalogus codicum graecorum Bibliothecae Nationalis Neapolitanae: Volumen 1. Rome: Istituto Poligrafico dello Stato, 1962.

Wachtel, Klaus. Der byzantinische Text der katholischen Briefe: eine Untersuchung zur Entstehung der Koine des Neuen Testaments. ANTF 24. Berlin: de Gruyter, 1995.


  1. Great write-up Elijah! I especially enjoyed your personal note at the end.

  2. “in both Greek and Latin, a neuter plural subject can take a singular verb.” But your verb is in ENGLISH!

    1. Don't forget that my native dialect is one that gets subtitles on American reality TV. I'm just saying I have good Classical precedent for it.

  3. Thanks Elijah,

    The only evidence for the CJ of any consequence here is ms.629. The rest could just as easily be looked upon as testimony against the reading generally speaking (i.e. post Erasmus mss. and/or later marginal insertions are of little weight here, in fact they are very telling). The primary rebuttal/plea is usually an overestimated evaluation of the Patristic and versional evidences, coupled with a personal preference for the KJV and the more prominent TR editions; the combination of which screams of a blatant confirmation bias.

    What I think most TR advocates miss here is the fact that the omission of the CJ is *also* contained within the TR tradition (e.g. Erasmus ed. 1,2). Why not follow those TR editions here and stay on the solid ground--and overwhelming weight of the all but universal Greek manuscript tradition?

    1. And of course there are other examples out there where the reading of the Textus Receptus has no Greek support whatsoever. That is, Greek manuscripts containing the TR reading that pre-date Erasmus' first edition. Revelation 17:16 is but one example.

  4. When you say a CJ "matches exactly" are you disregarding the moveable nu in εἰσὶν?

  5. You're a gifted blogger. I have joined your feed and anticipate looking for a greater amount of your awesome post. Additionally, I have shared your site in my informal communities!

  6. Looking at 636, there's some sort of erased note in the middle of the inside front cover (image 40 on the NTVMR) – this might help if only we had better images.

  7. Great post and discussion!

    Over the years I have been making a major point on the accuracy of Greek ms. representation on the heavenly witnesses. My emphasis was often the Stephanus manuscript issue as well as placing the c. 10 extant mss in proper context.

    So I really appreciate this blog post and possible future paper from Elijah Hixson, which can help clarify issues. . .

    While I would like to add a few notes here, the most important in terms of the scholastic element follows:


    MS 635
    Here is what Elijah says about ms 635:


    Elijah Hixson

    ... I want to mention that sometimes an eleventh Greek manuscript is cited. GA 635 is sometimes cited as having the CJ in the margin … I’m happy to update the post if someone has a better image or can make more sense of it. …


    This “635mg” likely traces to a Bruce Metzger and UBS-1 error (likely a typo) and then Ian Howard Marshall had a note.

    Metzger in 1968, the second edition, p. 101, did not include 635 or 636

    Metzger 1971, corrected 1975, p. 716-717 – definitely in 1975, apparently same p. in 1971
    “and ms. 635, an eleventh century manuscript which has the passage written in the margin by a seventeenth century hand.”

    Metzger-Ehrman 2005 (updated, no error)


    The question is described here by Rodriquo Galiza in 2018

    The Johannine Comma (1 John 5:7–8): The Status of Its Textual History and Theological Usage in English, Greek and Latin (2018)
    Rodriquo Galiza and John W. Reeve

    Please note that “635mg” was apparently a typographical error in Metzger’s first edition (635, without mg) that in his later work (idem, 2nd ed., 1994) is corrected to “636v.r.."


    Here we have the mention of UBS-1, which I have not confirmed.

    Rick Henwood
    “635mg XI cited by Metzger and UBS-1, but not N-A”

    "The Attempts Throughout History to Corrupt and Counterfeit the Word of God”


    The Ian Howard Marshall text can be seen here:

    (citing The Text of the New Testament, Metzger 1971, p. 717)
    The Epistles of John (1978)
    Ian Howard Marshall

    “635mg -- so Metzger, 717; but UBS gives ... 636mg”

    As pointed out by Galiza, Metzger was 635 not 635mg


    Clearly this section from Elijah Hixson on 635 should be “updated” to reflect the history. There is no need for a pic, or to talk about the text of the ms. And the blame for the errors in the books, Bruce Metzger followed by Ian Howard Marshall, and possibly UBS-1, can be assigned.

    The paper from Rodrigo Galiza has an error about the 1582 Douay-Rheims and later simply the Douay-Rheims not having the verse. Four references total.

    Steven Avery
    Dutchess County, NY

  8. Thank you, Elijah, for compiling this list of not only pictures of the manuscripts that have the Comma Johanneum, but also a sketch of their history, as far as it is known. The CJ in Greek does seem to be a post-1500 phenomenon for the most part, except for manuscript 629.
    We might think that all of the Greek manuscripts have been discovered, but what about the note of John Gill (in his exposition at 1 John 5:7)? He wrote :

    "out of sixteen ancient copies of Robert Stephens's, nine of them had it [the Comma Johanneum]."

    Was he wrong? Is there other evidence that Stephanus had nine MSS with the CJ? Did these nine manuscript, for the most part, have it added to the margin after 1521? (Nine of sixteen is a high ratio.)
    Not all of the 10 MSS you listed here could have been part of the 9 (if there were indeed 9) MSS with the CJ around 1550 because some were copied or had it added later. Maybe some were destroyed since then?
    The Comma appears... and disappears...

    1. Matthew B,
      << Was he wrong? >>

      Yes; he was wrong.

      << Is there other evidence that Stephanus had nine MSS with the CJ? >>

      No; there was a printing error that could lead one to deduce such a thing, but it really and truly was a printing error.

    2. Matthew B.,

      Check this link:


      Pg.242 should be helpful.

    3. Hi Matthew,

      Yes, it is quite definite that John Gill was wrong, despite his general accuracy.

      And I have a lot of detail on this at:

      the Stephanus manuscript question - crochet, semi-circles

      "And I think the surprise is that John Gill (1697-1771), normally very astute (including on his heavenly witnesses analysis) made the claim, since it had been a matter of analysis for a long time before he wrote. At a quick glance my notes reference Lucas Brugensis ("Louvain divines"), Richard Simon, John Mill, John Louis Roger, the debate between David Martin and Thomas Emlyn, and Isaac Newton as among those who had discussed the Stephanus mss before John Gill."


      "The CJ in Greek does seem to be a post-1500 phenomenon for the most part, except for manuscript 629."

      This omits several important historical points. The Lateran Council c. 1215 especially, which has the diglot aspect and is a good discussion in tandem with 629. Then you have two church writers in Greek, Manuel Calacas (d. 1410) and Joseph Bryennios (1400s).

      In the Latin I believe there were way over 100 writers in the years from 1000-1500.


      Steven Avery
      Dutchess County, NY

    4. Thank you for those references! I always found Gill's statement hard to believe and thought that if the number was correct, most of the nine must have been recent additions to the margins. But this fits better with what we find today.
      And I should have said "The CL **in Greek Bible manuscripts**.

    5. Thanks, M.M.R.

      The theory, given with some equivocation, from Jan Krans that:

      "it appears that .. Beza followed Stephanus' typographical error"

      Has some difficulties.

      Info is from John Jones (Ben David)
      Three Letters Addressed to the Editor of the Quarterly Review:
      In which is Demonstrated the Genuiness of the Three Heavenly Witnesses (1825)

      Afaik, Beza did not write about nine mss., he only wrote on this topic:

      "This verse is found in the English manuscript, in the Complutensian Edition, and in some ancient manuscripts of Stephens."

      And from John Morinus (1591-1659):

      "Morinus tells us, that to assist him in the prosecution of this work, Beza borrowed from Robert Stephens the sixteen manuscripts in his possession.”

      Granted, none of this is decisive, but it does put into question the theory that Beza was following the “typographical error” (or misplaced markings) of Stephanus.

  9. Hi ETC,

    Very interesting material!

    A Greek and Latin manuscript that could be checked is said to be in Wolfenbüttel. Guelpherbytanus D, Michaelis #131, Griesbach 69. This ms. is late, since it has material from Vatable, Castalio and Beza.

    This manuscript was written about by Franz Knittel (1721-1792). In English in his 1829 New criticisms on the celebrated text, from his 1785 German. And this ms. had a fair amount of discussion in the 1800s. (Including some errors by Joseph Turnbull that were cleared up by Samuel Prideaux Tregelles.)

    Any updates on this would be appreciated!


    Steven Avery
    Dutchess County, NY

  10. Excellent information Elijah. It really helps to see the manuscript images. There is so much miss-information out there on the CJ, it's refreshing to see someone just put some bare bones data, facts, about these Ms.



  11. One more search!

    There is a Greek ms. of special importance, even though it does not contain the heavenly witnesses verse.

    Richard Porson in 1790 translated the scholium as:

    “Three in the masculine gender, in token of the Trinity: the spirit, of the Godhead; the water, of the enlightening knowlege to mankind, by the spirit; the blood, of the incarnation.”

    Letters to Mr. Archdeacon Travis


    Steudel updating Bengel's Gnomen has it as:

    "He uses τρεῖς in the Masculine, because these things (the Spirit, the water, and the blood) are symbols of the Trinity.”

    Steudel notes on Gnomen


    The Matthaei section is here:

    Also discussed by Friedrich Lucke, JFB, Tischendorf "Schol apud Matth", Friedric Charles Cook, Meyer. Lots of solid interest and discussion up till 1900.

    And Christopher Wordsworth (different translation)

    This is a remarkable indication of an awareness of the Greek grammatical problem in the short text (see also torquebit grammaticos by Erasmus), often seen as a solecism. And in the scholium we see an early attempt to offer an explanation of sorts. (Gregory of Nazianzen is earlier, however that dialog with writers unknown has layers of nuance.)

    Overall, John writing an epistle, and extemporaneously adjusting his grammar to allegorize spirit, water and blood is really a non-starter.


    See Richard Simon here:
    Pic- Facebook - NT Textual Criticism (2014)


    *** Yet where is this Matthaei manuscript now? ***

    (And those referenced by Richard Simon.)

    Thanks! Any help appreciated.

  12. Manuscripts referenced by Richard Simon can be seen below:


  13. É muita incoerência dos protestantes ao discordarem dos católicos romanos por defenderem o dogma de que a igreja determina o cânon, sendo que eles (os protestantes) deixam que o "clero" da crítica textual determine o texto para a igreja. Não tem lógica essa submissão dos protestantes modernos pelos da critica. Não podemos ter segurança alguma no texto crítico (a não ser para estudos acadêmicos). A única segurança que temos é que o Texto crítico irá mudar daqui um tempo novamente. Os católicos ortodoxos são os mais coerentes. O texto eclesiástico é o texto da igreja. Quem é a crítica para determinar o texto da igreja?

  14. does this mean that the cj was first in the text not in the margin

  15. Most critical text proponents don't even engage in the grammatical issues surrounding the Johannine Comma, and those who do, such as Barry Hoffstetter, or James White, only reveal that they are not adequately informed about this issue.

    In an email discussion with Professor Georgios Babiniotis a few months ago, I asked him about validity of the claims of legendary Greek professor Eugenius Voulgaris concerning the Johannine Comma. Those familiar with the grammatical arguments made by Voulgaris will be pleased to know that Babiniotis, who is probably one of the most important Greek linguists alive today, said that not only was Voulgaris correct to say we need to keep the Comma for grammatical reasons, and he also took it a step further by pointing out that verse 7 justifies verse 8 because of the “syntactic parallelism” of these two verses.

    Babiniotis is a Greek linguist and philologist who has written several books about Greek grammar, etymology, and other Greek language related topics. He is the former Minister of Education and Religious Affairs of Greece, and previously served as rector of Athens University.

    As David Crystal is to English speaking people, so Georgios Babiniotis is to the Greek speaker. You may know of Babiniotis from his Greek dictionary which is often simply called the "Babiniotis" dictionary.

    In May he wrote the following and attached a word doc:

    “...Dear Mr Sayers,

    I apologize that only now I can answer your kind letter about the N.T. passage discussed by Ευγένιος Βούλγαρης.

    Here is my opinion as a linguist, not as an expert in theology.

    Γ. Μπαμπινιώτης...”


    (Word Doc)

    I will not discuss the opinion of the really great theologist and scholar (yet not a linguist) bishop Ευγένιος Βούλγαρης as I do not know on what conditions it was formulated. However, linguistically —though with another explanation— Ευγένιος Βούλγαρης is right to consider verse 5.7 obligatory for the existence of verse 5.8.

    What you are asking has two aspects: a theological and a linguistic one. I can only say my own opinion on the linguistic aspect of the specific text within the frame of what is quite often used in regard to the Greek language and passages of New Testament Greek.

    The use of masculine gender and not neuter on 5.8.

    «καὶ τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν τῇ γῇ,
    τὸ Πνεῦμα καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ καὶ τὸ αἷμα
    καὶ οἱ τρεῖς εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν»

    is linguistically justified on the pattern of “syntactic parallelism”, i.e. on the ground that it makes a pattern completely the same (“parallel”) in structure with that of 5.7.

    ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ,
    ὁ Πατήρ, ὁ Λόγος καὶ τὸ Ἅγιον Πνεῦμα
    καὶ οὗτοι οἱ τρεῖς ἕν είσι

    So for Modern Linguistic analysis what is important is not the mere grammatical “gender agreement rule” (which would lead to the usage of neuter gender : «καὶ τρία εἰσὶ τὰ μαρτυροῦντα ἐν τῇ γῇ…»), but the overruling schema of “syntactic parallelism” which is much more stronger than a simple gender agreement rule.

    Conclusion. The issue we refer to has more to do with the linguistic style of the passage; it is the result of a stylistic selection which is far beyond the usage of a grammatical/syntactic rule that would lead to neuter gender and which furthermore would eliminate verse 5.7.

    (End of word doc)

    George later said in an email:

    “...I have given you my own linguistic explanation which is to keep verse 5.7. which justifies verse 5.8. It is grammatical and mainly “syntactic parallelism” of these two verses...”

    So I hereby challenge those of the Anglo Sanhedrin who desire to delete the Comma, to refute the claims of this top Greek linguist who has basically just confirmed that the Greek grammatical argumentation that myself (Nick Sayers), Steven Avery, Will Kinney, Edward Hill, Jack Moorman, and many other TR/KJV people hold to, is not only correct, but that the Comma is also linguistically justified on the pattern of “syntactic parallelism”.

    1. I have a problem with the logic of using Babiniotis's grammatical argument text-critically.

      Babiniotis has given a good explanation for the masculine participle in the longer version of 1 John 5:8, as a syntactical parallel for the masculine participle in the longer version of v. 7, in a text that has those longer readings.

      However, this comes from the starting point of a text with those longer readings, which is precisely the point in dispute.

      What is needed is to address the grammatical peculiarity of the masculine participle in the shorter version, where the argument of syntactical parallelism would not apply.

      Is Babiniotis really saying that the shorter version is linguistically impossible? That no other explanation for the masculine participle aside from syntactical parallelism can possibly be given? His use of the word "obligatory" in the above quote implies this. But I doubt that he could possibly mean something that extreme. Of course there are possible explanations for the masculine participle in the shorter text. There may not be any that are obvious enough to say, "This one explanation is certainly the reason the author used the masculine form." But possible explanations exist. For example, perhaps the author's choice was prompted more by the sense of the participle μαρτυροῦντες, which personified the following nouns as a group of men who bore witness to something, than it was by those nouns themselves. But whether that be the explanation or not, disagreements in gender are not unprecedented in the Greek NT, nor in other Greek literature, nor in other writings in any other languages that use gendered words. Whatever grammatical rules we come up with, we'll find people breaking them.

      Suffice it to say, the grammar of the shorter text, peculiar though it may be, is not so jarring that a Greek reader who reads it will have no choice but to say to themselves, "This grammar is wrong. There must have originally been another clause before this one which has been omitted from my copy and which obliged John to use a masculine participle for the sake of syntactical parallelism."

      After all, we know that the shorter version of the text is the only one that was read by most if not all native Greek speakers for many centuries up until printed Greek Bibles added the longer version, with only very few and very late exceptions. They read it, and the tolerated the grammar.

      If we accept Babiniotis' argument as decisive here, would we then be justified in correcting every other example of gender disagreement in the NT by adding words to the text now 2000 years after it was written that will provide better explanations for the grammar than the explanations that are permissible with the shorter more original text, and then pretend that our grammatically improved versions are more original on account of the grammatical improvements?

    2. Mr Sayers - I appreciate you removing me from the list of people you were insulting in your opening lines. I'm sure Dan Wallace appreciates you removing his name as well, assuredly because you feared he might actually respond to you here.

      Now, let us deal with this rather pointed challenge:
      So I hereby challenge those of the Anglo Sanhedrin who desire to delete the Comma, to refute the claims of this top Greek linguist who has basically just confirmed that the Greek grammatical argumentation that myself (Nick Sayers), Steven Avery, Will Kinney, Edward Hill, Jack Moorman, and many other TR/KJV people hold to, is not only correct, but that the Comma is also linguistically justified on the pattern of “syntactic parallelism”.

      Now - first of all, I'm not aware of anyone in the group you name BESIDES Dr. E. F. Hills (whose name you misspelled) that even knows Greek. You do not, Avery does not, Kinney does not, Moorman does not, and we don't engage phantom scholars any more than we do phantom manuscripts that allegedly support your POV.

      But your challenge is a journey into the absurd. You are literally demanding for people to respond to a partial email that may not even accurately represent the person given or at the very least may not convey what he wishes (note the he very specifically says he doesn't even know Bulgaris's conditions for formulation).

      Now - was this issue ever important enough for the good linguist to actually write about in a textbook or paper or something? I'm unaware of any scholar on planet earth who considers emails to be some sort of divinely inspired polemic.

      If you have the book where he argues thusly, please let the rest of us know. Otherwise, it is a bit of a futile enterprise.

  16. Lee van Cliff9/17/2020 5:59 am

    A few things here Nick,

    1.) The primary evidence for the acceptance and establishment of the CJ (or any passage) should be the hard external evidence. In this case your position is found wanting, and is instead leaning heavily upon the internal (as well as secondary and subjective) evidences.

    2.) Syntax and grammar is flexible and can change over time. It's also secondary to language and common usage; it's an after thought to some degree. Besides, it's not always cookie cutter correct in the Greek NT.

    3.) Although an argument from silence--it is very difficult to fathom that the early Church fathers of the Nicean age did not heavily interact with this passage if extant and readily available. It would be expected that most should/would have commented exhaustively on the CJ if available, would it not?

    And lastly, the true reason for your support of this passage is it's inclusion within the A.V. 1611 and nothing else. No, not because of Greek grammar, not because it's found within some editions of the TR, and definitely not because it's the traditional or common reading within the Greek manuscript tradition (which it is not).

    So the game is up, and it's probably time for grown Christian men to check their biases at the door, instead of allowing them to distort proper judgement. Emotions, nostalgia, pride and strong opinions have very little place in giving a fair verdict, indeed, they generally blind!

    1. Hi Lee,

      Similarly, I would like to go over your post point-by-point.


      "1.) The primary evidence for the acceptance and establishment of the CJ (or any passage) should be the hard external evidence."

      The external evidence for the heavenly witnesses is extremely strong, including the Ante-Nicene usage of Tertullian and Cyprian, the textual pronouncement of Jerome in the Vulgate Prologue which related the scribal tendency to omit the verse, and the special declaration at the Council of Carthage of 484 AD, between orthodox and 'Arians', many hundreds asserting the verse from John as a primary text. Plus the Old Latin and Vulgate text lines. While those enmeshed in modern scientific textual criticism may wring their hands in Greek ms. angst, they should try to see the overall picture. And the grammatical and Johannine style and 'internal' elements fit in perfectly.


      "2.) Syntax and grammar is flexible and can change over time."

      We are discussing two world-class Greek scholars, familiar with ancient, modern and Biblical Greek.
      Their analysis stands very strong.


      "the early Church fathers of the Nicean age"

      It is very likely that the split line occurred early, even during the Sabellian controversies.
      Some would not know the verse, some would be hesitate to use the heavenly witnesses.
      Eusebius shows an aversion to the verse.
      The Disputatio contra Arium is one of a number of Greek evidences.
      Latin evidences span from the 200s to the 500s and later.


      "the true reason for your support of this passage is it's inclusion within the A.V. 1611"

      This psycho-babble argument really dishonors the attempt to defend the short, solecism, corruption text.


      "they generally blind!"

      A good description of many of the defenders of the text with only the earthly witnesses.


      Thanks for your consideration!

      Steven Avery
      Dutchess County, NY, USA

    2. Lee van Cliff10/14/2020 9:13 pm

      Hi Steven, you mentioned that:

      "The external evidence for the heavenly witnesses is extremely strong,"

      In another context perhaps, but not as far as NT text critical evidences go. The external evidence against the CJ is stronger, and yet how could something be stronger than "extremely strong"? It appears that you're overstating your case.

      I previously stated:

      the true reason for your support of this passage is it's inclusion within the A.V. 1611 and nothing else

      Steven replies:

      "This psycho-babble argument really dishonors the attempt to defend the short, solecism, corruption text."

      What one labels or considers something to be, isn't really relevant. What's relevant is whether or not what was said is true. I'll take it that my comment is true--and that you're not too thrilled about it.

  17. Hi Eric,

    You raise some interesting points, and I would like to respond to them one by one.

    "Is Babiniotis really saying that the shorter version is linguistically impossible? "

    He is saying that it is solecistic. He may be aware that liberals with a low view of the text do not mind a solecistic Johannine text. He is concerned with proper Greek.


    "the author's choice was prompted more by the sense of the participle μαρτυροῦντες, which personified the following nouns as a group of men who bore witness to something,"

    Trying to mind-read the shorter text, if it were from John, to a "group of men" is very difficult. And to try to make this case, Barry Hofstetter has offered absurd analogy verses, that have no relevance to the heavenly and earthly witnesses grammar.


    "disagreements in gender are not unprecedented in the Greek NT, nor in other Greek literature"

    True, and as Eugenius Bulgaris points out, the inverse discordance would not be a problem. Masculine or feminine nouns with neuter grammar. However, neuter nouns with masculine (or feminine) grammar is a bald and grating solecism. It is a standard misunderstanding, or even a trick, to try to pretend that the issue is a vague question of 'gender discordance.'


    "Whatever grammatical rules we come up with, we'll find people breaking them."

    Not according to two world-class Greek scholars, Eugenius Bulgaris c. 1780 and Georgios Babiniotis. What they share should be highly respected.


    "the grammar of the shorter text, peculiar though it may be, is not so jarring that a Greek reader"

    True, to an American seminarian-trained Critical Text Greek reader. Not true according to these world-class scholars who are truly and fully fluent in the Biblical, modern and ancient Greek dialect. They do in fact declare: "This grammar is wrong."


    "After all, we know that the shorter version of the text is the only one that was read by most if not all native Greek speakers for many centuries"

    And one manuscript tried to explain the awkward grammar by the Trinity. Another very difficult mind-reading. The Macedonians pointed out the grammatical problem to Gregory Nazianzen. Erasmus referred to "torquebit grammaticos". Beyond that, in the Critical Text omission theory, the Greek grammar was 'fixed' by a Latin interpolation which created a beautiful syntactic parallelism, a truly amazing Ockham event.


    "If we accept Babiniotis' argument as decisive here, would we then be justified in correcting every other example of gender disagreement in the NT "

    Again, this is incorrect. It is a very specific, grating gender discordance, neuter noun substantives with masculine (or feminine) grammar. Please read Eugenius Bulgaris. Afaik, nobody has found another example of this discordance in the NT.


    Steven Avery
    Dutchess County, NY, USA

    1. //He is saying that it is solecistic. He may be aware that liberals with a low view of the text do not mind a solecistic Johannine text. He is concerned with proper Greek.//

      It is not just liberal scholars who are comfortable with solecisms in scripture, but conservatives as well. In fact, I'm not aware of any scholars who understand Greek who insist that inspired scripture must be free of solecism. I doubt that Babiniotis would say that.

      If the argument that you are making starts with the premise that inspired scripture must be free from solecisms, then simply rejecting that premise is all that's needed to counter your argument.

      Since solecisms can and do occur in inspired scripture just as they occur commonly in both spoken and written communication, and since it would be nearly impossible for an original longer reading in a NT text to leave such puny and late evidence as the longer reading of 1 John 5:7-8 does, we must conclude that the probability of the shorter reading of 1 John 5:7-8 being a solecism that was in the original autograph is much higher than the probability that the longer reading was present in the original autograph.

  18. Since Steven Avery has chosen this line of attack yet again - by posting on a thread dead since pre-Corona - maybe he will offer us his insights to this insulting line of attack:

    "True, to an American seminarian-trained Critical Text Greek reader. Not true according to these world-class scholars who are truly and fully fluent in the Biblical, modern and ancient Greek dialect."

    Now I want you to give us some actual specifics given you have made a very specific charge.

    What SPECIFICALLY was taught in the Greek courses in the seminaries attended by the posters on this site that was somehow wrong? Were we told there are 5 noun cases (generally accepted now) and there are really 14 cases? Were we told that the pluperfect tense exists but it doesn't really? Since you have gone down this path, it is incumbent for you to inform the rest of us about what things you know we were taught.

    Now, I'm going to remind the other readers of something important here: Steven Avery not only does not know Greek IN ANY WAY (he doesn't even know the alphabet), but he INSISTS that he understands Greek grammar BETTER than those of us who, you know, actually studied it in the seminary (though this immense trove of knowledge fails to help him do his own translating).

    Now - I've offered to debate this guy on the Comma Johanneum for nine years now, which, of course, includes the grammar of this passage. But he (and wisely I might add) - despite claiming he knows the subject better than I - won't dare cross that threshold given it will only take one question from me about "what is the lexical form of" (and trust me, I won't pull some word from 1 John) before he has his meltdown.

    Knowing these facts do not preclude him from his boasting or insulting. Nevertheless, they are facts and undisputed, and they tell us all we need to know about the subject.

    Here's the reality - you don't even know how well Bulgaris or Babinitos actually KNOWS Greek. You just have someone who said something that will allow you to defend your KJVO tradition, so you latch onto them and get indignant. But the reality is that out of one side of your mouth you think all of the OTHER textbooks are wrong but in this case you think a guy who didn't even consider it a major argument plus a guy writing an email is Joseph Smith finding the glasses to be able to read the plates.

    Before you were banned (from your second site in two weeks - way to go), I told you this, which is there are 3 undeniable realities that will remain true tommorrow morning and for that matter ten years from now:

    1) the Comma Johanneum will still not be in the vast majority of Christian Bibles, and yet most (unlike you) will still embrace the Trinity

    2) I will still have my education

    3) You will still lack same.

    Now - do you have anything more substantive than "my scholar is better than your scholar," which seminary students lose as their modus operandi the first month of Intro to Theology?

  19. Hi Bill Brown,

    If you want to make a whiny personal attack post, your norm, the Evangelical Textual Criticism Forum is definitely not the right place.

    So I suggest Facebook PureBible, BVDB, www.purebibleforum.com or a forum to be named later. :). I can easily be reached on Facebook or Twitter.

    This type of post has only one purpose, to encourage the ETC mods to close the discussion.


    Steven Avery
    Dutchess County, NY, USA

    1. The man who insulted who every poster here that possesses a seminary education is falsely accusing me of a personal attack.

      This isn’t CARM; me pointing out your lack of knowledge of Greek while you insult the education of most of the posters here isn’t a personal attack in any way.

      Now....can you please inform the rest of us what we learned wrong in seminary? You are the one who made the accusation without evidence.

      Do you have any evidence? Or what?

  20. 1. Not all manuscripts have been collated, and using omnicrons seems to be the method.
    2. CJ has nothing to do with the trinity.
    3. The marginal notes prove it was supposed to be included, not the reverse.

    1. 1) irrelevant. Appealing to never demonstrated readings on the basis of wishful thinking isn’t evidence.

      2) given the Trinitarian controversies, it’s ludicrous to suggest this passage wouldn’t be cited if they had it

      3) an assertion, nothing more.

      There are UFO sightings with more evidence than the authenticity of the CJ.

    2. Collated or not, it's safe to say that every single extant manuscript of 1 John has been checked for the presence or absence of the CJ isn't it?

    3. Anon,

      It would be more respectable if you could use your real name instead of hiding behind anonymity to make such assertions. A lot of us here may disagree with most of what Steven Avery says, but at least he has the integrity to use his name when making such comments and stand by what he writes.

      1. Not all manuscripts have been collated fully, but Eric is correct that all known manuscripts have been checked *here*, at least as of 1987 when the data was published for all then-known manuscripts of the Catholic Epistles at the time. This is in the Text und Textwert series, where manuscripts are checked at test passages (and the CJ is one), and that data is published. But throwing out the ole "not all manuscripts have been collated" objection (as if it helps a pro-CJ case) only proves that in this instance, you don't know the data or the resources available, but you're still willing to make assertions about what we do and don't know.
      2. I wouldn't say it has nothing to do with the Trinity, but interpretation matters here. Non-trinitarians can interpret the CJ as teaching oneness, not the Trinity.
      3. Not true in a general sense. Not only is Bill right that all you did was make an assertion, but there is historical evidence against you here. See Ulrich Schmid's articles on reader's notes for examples of marginal notes that were not supposed to be brought into the main text. Additionally, even if later copyists/readers such as these did think the CJ belonged in the text (and were not merely marking differences), the question is not what they thought but what earlier copyists thought.