1 John 5:7 [Textus Receptus (Elzevir) (1624)]798
Ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, ὁ Πατήρ, ὁ Λόγος, καὶ τὸ ἅγιον Πνεῦμα· καὶ οὗτοι οἱ τρεῖς ἕν εἰσι.
1 John 5:7 [Codex Sinaiticus (א or 01) (4th century)]q89f8rc1
οτι οι τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυρου-τες
1 John 5:7 [Codex Alexandrinus (Royal MS 1 D VIII) (A02) (5th century)]
οτι οι τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυρουντες
1 John 5:7 [Codex Vaticanus Gr. 1209 (B03) (4th century)]1441c2
ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦ-τες
MSS: B, 5 (f74v), 201 (f320v-321r), 699 (f247v), 910 (f106r), 1720 (f145r), 2926 (f127v)
1 John 5:7 [Codex Ephraemi Syri Rescriptus (C04) (5th century)]
Lacunae from 1 Jn 4:2-end
Critical Apparatus :
(1) εισιν : א, A, B, 5, 6, 201, 699, 910, 1720, 2926
(2) OMIT εισιν : 322
(3) τω ουρανω ο πατηρ ο λογος και το αγιον πνευμα και ουτοι οι τρεις εν εισι : Elzevir, Cyprian of Carthage (et tres unum sunt) (de cathol. eccl. un. 6)
(4) OMIT τω ουρανω ο πατηρ ο λογος και το αγιον πνευμα και ουτοι οι τρεις εν εισι : א, A, B, 5, 6, 201, 699, 910, 1720, 2926
A Textual Commentary On 1 John 5:7
(a) The publication of Erasmus’s first edition excited great attention amongst scholars and theologians. There were many who hailed its appearance, while others condemned it on every possible ground. If he had been content with publishing the Greek text, or if he had only subjoined the Latin Vulgate, as then in common use, all might have been well ; but his own revised Latin version was regarded as such an innovation, that every variation from what had been commonly read, was regarded as presumption or even as heresy. In fact the outcry with which Jerome had once been assailed was now renewed against Erasmus. The annotations also by which he justified what were regarded as his in novations were fresh causes of displeasure to many amongst the monkish theologians of the day.
He did not insert the testimony of the heavenly witnesses, 1 John v. 7, and this was a ground of suspicion on the part of many. It was in vain for him to say that it was not his place, as an editor, to add to the Greek text which was before him ; he was treated as other critics have since been) as though it had been his duty to have invented evidence when he did not find it. The controversies in which Erasmus was involved, in consequence of the publication of his Greek Testament, are not without instruction to us ; for we thus see what were the opinions on critical subjects which were current in that day. He was attacked by Edward Lee, afterwards Archbishop of York, and also by Stunica, the Complutensian editor. The ignorance and presumption of the former, are such as might seem almost incredible . If Erasmus’s MSS. did not contain what Lee said ought to have been there, he should have condemned and rejected them as worthless! Stunica was an antagonist of a different stamp ; and he had the tact to point out the marks of overhaste in the edition of Erasmus, and to object to those things which really required correction.
Especially did Lee and Stunica complain of the omission of 1 John v. 7 ; and it was in vain for Erasmus to answer that this was a case not of omission, but simply of non-addition. He showed that even some Latin copies did not contain the verse ; and that Cyril of Alexandria, in his “Thesaurus,” so cited the context of the passage as to show that he knew nothing of the words in question. All this availed nothing in a dispute with dogmatic At length Erasmus promised that if a Greek MS. were produced which contained the words, he would insert them. It was some time, however, before such a MS. made its appearance. In the course of the discussions on this passage, the authority of the Codex Vaticanus was appealed to for the first time in a point of criticism. Erasmus requested his friend, Paulus Bombasius, at Rome, to examine the Codex Vaticanus for him as to this passage ; and accordingly, in a letter, dated Rome, June 18, 1521, he sent him a transcript of the introductory verses of both the 4th and the 5th chapters of St. John’s 1st Epistle.
In the course of these discussions Erasmus expressed an opinion, that Greek MSS. which contained any such passages must have been altered from the Latin subsequently to the council of Florence, in the fifteenth century. This was apparently suggested to have been a secret agreement of that council. Much has been made of this hint of Erasmus by later writers, as if the alteration of Greek MSS. to make them suit the Latin version had been a thing practised in early ages.
In proof that Erasmus at times used the Vulgate to amend his Greek MSS., where he thought them defective, we need only turn to his annotations for proof. Thus, Acts ix. 5, 6, we find in the annotations : “ Durum est tibi.) In græcis codicibus id non additur hoc loco, cum mox sequatur, Surge ; sed aliquanto inferius, cum narratur hæc res. ” And yet in his text there is the full passage, answering to the Latin, σκληρόν σοι προς κέντρα λακτίζειν τρέμων τε και θαμβων είπεν, κύριε τι με θέλεις ποιήσαι ; και ο κύριος προς αυτόν , ανάστηθι, instead of the simple reading αλλα αναστηθι ..
Again, on Acts viii. 37, the note is, “ Dixit autem Philippus, Si credis & c.) et usque ad eum locum. Et jussit stare currum, non reperi in Græco codice, quanquam arbitror omissum librariorum incuria. Nam et hæc in quodam codice græco asscripta reperi sed in margine. ” And this verse, little as is its claim to be considered part of Holy Scripture, was inserted by Erasmus, as being sup posed to have been incorrectly omitted in his MSS.; and from his edition, this and similar passages have been perpetuated, just as if they were undoubtedly genuine.
In such cases, we repeatedly find the Complutensian editors, in spite of their reverence for the Vulgate, give the Greek as they found it in their copies ; although from their mode of editing they must have been very well aware of the difference between it and the Latin by the side ; where, in fact, they fill up the Greek column in such a manner as to make the variation conspicuous. In such places, if the Complutensian text had ever acquired a place in common use, the many uphold what they read, traditionally, just because they are accustomed to it, would have been as strenuous in repudiating words as spurious, as they now are in defending them as genuine.
But let us make whatever deductions are needful, still Erasmus is entitled to our thanks for the labour which he undertook and accomplished, in spite of so many hindrances. He furnished the Greek readers of the Word of God with the first published edition, six years before they could have obtained that which had been prepared under the auspices of Ximenes.
The next published edition was that which appeared at Venice in 1518, at the end of the Aldine LXX. It was taken from the first edition of Erasmus, to whom it was dedicated. Of course, it omitted the text, 1 John v. 7.
In March , 1519 , Erasmus’s second edition was published, * while he himself was absent from Basle : he employed much of the time which had passed since the appearance of his first edition in examining MSS., and in revising and improving his own Latin translation.
To this edition was prefixed a letter of thanks, which Pope Leo X. had addressed to Erasmus the preceding year, for his Greek Testament. And yet, in his prefaces, sentiments had been expressed but little in accordance with papal dogmas. He had spoken of the importance of Holy Scripture to all Christians ; and had expressed a wish that it might be so translated and used, as not to be in the hands of the learned merely, but also of the common people, such (he specifies) as the Scots and Irish. Little did the Pope think that in encouraging the publication of Holy Scripture, he was sharpening that weapon which the Spirit of God was about to use so powerfully against Rome, and Romish doctrine and practice. Perhaps Erasmus, who was so conscious of the evils which arose from ignorance of Holy Scripture, would have recoiled from the work in which he was engaged, if he could only have seen the use which God would make of the New Testament, in the hands of the Christian people, even in his own day,
As to this second edition, Erasmus enjoyed comparative leisure ; he was not over – worked in reading proof sheets and copying for the press, so as to be hardly able to accomplish the work pressing on him. In this edition, others undertook the labour of correct ing what he transmitted to Basle.
The places in which the text was altered in this edition were ( according to Mill ) four hundred ; many of these were the errata which had arisen from overhaste in the execution of the first edition. It may be doubted whether all the changes were im provements. The text 1 John v. was still not introduced. Erasmus was not able , however, to bestow on this edition all the care that he desired ; he was hindered, he says, by the state of his health.
It is not often that we know, with any exactitude, the number of copies of an edition of any work which were published in early times : we are, however, informed in one place by Erasmus, that the numbers unitedly of his first two editions amounted to three thousand three hundred : how many of these belonged respectively to each edition, we do not know. The whole of these, however, were in circulation by the year 1522, as is shown by Erasmus then bringing out his third edition. This shows that the demand for the Greek New Testament was considerable ; and that Froben had shown his judgment, in taking steps to meet a requirement on the part of theological students.
The revision of the Latin version of Erasmus, in his edition of 1519, raised up against him yet more enemies. In his first edition, he retained, in the beginning of St. John’s Gospel, the expression of the Vulgate, “In principio erat Verbum” : in 1519, however, he followed the phraseology of the early Latin fathers , substituting “Sermo” for “Verbum.” This was deemed almost, if not quite, a heresy ; and he had to defend himself, in consequence against many attacks,
Erasmus’s third edition appeared in 1522 ; in this he introduced the verse 1 John v. 7, in fulfilment of his promise that he would do so, if it were found in any Greek MS. Between 1519 and 1522, a MS. was brought forward in England, containing the verse in a particular form ; and he inserted it, not as convinced of its genuineness, but to redeem his promise, and to take away the handle for calumniating him which had been afforded by his ho nestly following his MSS. in this passage. The verse in question continued to hold its place in the other editions of Erasmus, and in those which were taken from them ; it was, however, soon moulded into a grammatical form, and one which did not so fully display its origin in the Latin Vulgate as did the MS. from which it was taken.*
This third edition differed from the text of the preceding (according to Mill) in 118 places : several of the amended readings were such as Erasmus took from the tacit corrections which had been introduced into the Aldine reprint of his own first edition.
* The Codex Britannicus to which Erasmus referred is the Codex Montfortianus , now in the library of Trinity College, Dublin. His note on the place, in his third edition , concludes thus : ” Verumtamen ne quid dissimulem repertus est apud Anglos Græcus codex unus in quo habetur quod in Vulgatis deest. Scriptum est enim hunc ad modum , ότι τρεις εισίν οι μαρτυρούντες εν τω ουρανώ, πατήρ, λόγος, και πνεύμα και ουτοι οι τρεις έν είσιν . Και τρείς εισίν μαρτυρούντες εν τη γη πνεύμα, ύδωρ, και αιμα εί την μαρτυρίαν των åvOpútwr , etc. Quanquam haud scio an casu factum sit, ut hoc loco non repetatur quod est in Graecis nostris , και οι τρεις εις το έν είσιν. Εx hoc igitur codice Britannico reposuimus , quod in nostris dicebatur deesse : ne cui sit ansa calumniandi. Tametsi suspicor codicem illum ad nostros esse correctum. Duos consului codices miræ vetustatis Latinos in bibliotheca quæ Brugis est divi Donatiani . Neuter habebat testimonium patris, verbi, et spiritus. Ac ne illud quidem in altero addebatur, In terra. Tantum erat, Et tres sunt qui testimonium dant, spiritus, aqua, et sanguis. ” Accordingly in this form the passage stands in Erasmus’s third edition, only äycov is added after πνεύμα, οι is inserted before the second μαρτυρούντες, and και before ύδωρ ( the two former of these words are thus in the MS.) ; the discrepancy between the text and the note probably arose from an oversight in copying. Erasmus did not omit the end of verse 8.
In his subsequent editions, he inserted the articles before πατηρ, λογος and πνευμα (though he did not make a similar improvement in verse 8) ; and when subsequent editors had grammatically placed αγιον between the article and the substantive, the verse assumed, in the common editions, the form which it has retained. Its origin, however, is clear : the Complutensian editors translated it from the modern Latin, and so did the writer of the Dublin MS.; the latter, however, was too clumsy even to insert the articles.
(S. P. Tregelles, An Account of the Printed Text of the Greek New Testament, pp. 21-26)
(b) Erasmus, in his two earliest editions of the Greek Testament, did not insert the text 1 John v. 7., as not finding it in the MSS. which he had seen : this was charged against him as a serious fault ; and he promised that if any Greek copy were found containing the text, he would insert it. Before the appearance of his third edition in 1522, he heard of a certain Codex Britannicus containing the words ; and on its authority he redeemed his promise by making the addition, though certainly without being convinced of its genuineness. The close verbal agreement of the text, as thus printed by Erasmus, with the Codex Montfortianus is almost in itself a proof of its identity with the Codex Britannicus of which he had heard; and this becomes all the more evident when it is borne in mind that no other MS. containing the text in such a form as this has been found, though the libraries of Europe have been well searched: and farther, this MS. seems to have originated in England, and never to have left this country until its removal to its present location, Dublin. Also the resemblance is not confined merely to the words of this verse, for Erasmus had received from England a copy of the seventh, eighth, and part of the ninth verses, which in his Annotations of 1522, and also in “Apologia ad Stunicam,” are printed (with two errors, indeed, which his Greek Testament corrects. These errors were repeated in each impression of this note, and of the “Apologia.” They consisted in the omission of οἱ before the second μαρτυροῦντες, and the omission of ἅγιον after πνεῦμα. But as the note refers to the Greek Testament which accompanied it, it is worse than folly to argue (as some have done) on this difference.) ; and here there is so much peculiarity as to show that the identity is complete. The non-insertion of the article before the witnesses, either heavenly or earthly, was a pretty plain indication that the MS. had not been copied by any one whose vernacular tongue was Greek ; and this was a good intimation of Latin origin or something of the kind. Erasmus suspected that the text of the heavenly witnesses had been introduced by translation from the Latin Vulgate : he also pointed out that in the extract which he had received the omission of the final clause of ver. 8. was in accordance with the copies of the Vulgate then current (and this is a strong proof of the identity of his Codex Britannicus with Codex Montfortianus). The Latin influence in this passage is also just as plainly marked in the introduction of Χριστὸς instead of πνεῦμα in the end of ver. 6., — a reading which is found in no other Greek copy, and which sprung up from the confusion in Latin MSS. of the contractions SPS and XPS.
Thus this place with the context affords abundant evidence that this (i.e. Codex Montfortianus) was the MS. to which Erasmus referred, and that in this passage the copyist was influenced by the Latin Vulgate, introducing, as he did, not a few things which could have no Greek origin. Hence the conclusion is manifest that in this place he followed not any Greek copy whatever, but the Latin, with which he was more familiar. This may have been done, as it was by the Complutensian editors, from honest ignorance and misconception ; or it may have originated from a definite design. It is singular, at least, that the Complutensian editors and this copyist should both have omitted the conclusion of the eighth verse ; a procedure which in this case looks certainly rather suspicious.
An imperfect collation of this MS., as far as the latter part of the Acts, made while it was in the possession of Archbishop Usher, is printed in the last vol. of Walton’s Polyglott. Dr. Barrett collated the remainder of the MS. and published it at the end of his edition of the Dublin palimpsest Z. : he pointed out the identity of text of this MS. and the Codex Leicestrensis in the Apocalypse, and also drew attention to the close resemblance of many of the readings in the Acts and Epistles to those of a MS. in the library of Lincoln College, Oxford (No. 39. St. Paul’s Epp., No. 33. Acts and Cath. Epp.) — a resemblance sufficiently great to lead to the supposition that the one may have been used in part as the exemplar from which the other was taken. Recently Dr. Dobbin has carefully collated the portion of the Codex Montfortianus which was not re-collated by Dr. Barrett; and he has also taken some pains to ascertain what were the MSS. used in its formation. In doing this he has collated the Lincoln College MS., and he states that the resemblance is quite as great as would have been supposed from what Barrett had noticed.The proofs of identity of text which he gives arc by no means conclusive ; for they are almost all of them particulars in which very many MSS. agree : some of them indeed are such as are found in the generality of copies ; so that coincidences of this kind prove nothing ; they might indeed seem to weaken the cause which they are brought forward to uphold. And thus the conclusion at which Dr. Dobbin arrives is one which cannot be said to rest on true logical data ; for he supposes that he has shown that the Lincoln College MS. is the archetype of the Epistle in the Cod. Montfort. (the very point which for his argument required unexceptionable proof), and then, as the Lincoln College MS. does not contain 1 John v. 7., he thinks that he has proved its insertion in the Montfort MS. to be an unjustified addition. This conclusion is quite correct, though this process of proof is not sufficient. The relation of this MS. to that of Lincoln College was a fact previously known, and such it still remains, even though this could hardly be demonstrated from the new evidence on the subject, at least from that part of it which has been published.
To conclude all that need be said of the Codex Montfortianus : the Gospels (which in part appear to have been copied from MSS. still at Oxford) cannot be much older than the year 1500, even if not more modern. The Epistles and Acts were afterwards added; and this could not have been done much before the time when this MS. was used as evidence against Erasmus : and as it is certain that the copyist here altered the Greek, and made it suit the Latin, and as it was brought forward just when it was needed (having been in that sense found, while so many other MSS. remained in obscurity), and no similar copy having ever since appeared which has not been proved to be a forgery, it is hardly too severe a conclusion, if we believe that the Epistles were written at that time, and added to the Gospels, in order to meet Erasmus, and to compel him to insert the text. And thus, whether by mistake or fraud, from this MS. the text 1 John v. 7. (with a few corrections for the sake of grammatical propriety) has been established in the common text, and has been introduced into the greater part (if not all) of the modern translations of Holy Scripture. The only part of this MS. which possesses any critical value is the most recent, i.e. the Apocalypse ; for as the Codex Leicestrensis is defective at the end, this transcript from it of that book has been the means of preserving the readings of that part which is now defective.
(S. P. Tregelles, An Introduction to Textual Criticism of the New Testament, pp-214-216)
(c) In 1789 Dr. Zohrab published an improved edition of the New Testament at Venice (in which 1 John v. 7. was denoted as not being found in the Armenian MSS.), and in 1805 he brought out his edition of the whole Armenian Bible, in which he used the authority of MSS. throughout. The basis was a codex written in Cilicia in the fourteenth century: with this several other MSS. were compared ; and the results of the collations are subjoined (with great care apparently) at the foot of the pages. The number of MSS. employed by Zohrab and his coadjutors is said to have been eight of the whole Bible, and twenty of the New Testament; but particular portions, such as the Psalms, seem to have been contained in several others.
It had been early noticed that Uscan’s text contains the verse 1 John v. 7.; and this led to the suspicion that he had himself inserted it by translation from the Latin : indeed he seems to have admitted that he used the Latin to supply what he found defective in his MS. But it was doubted whether this addition was due to Uscan, for it was said that Haitho or Haithom, the king of Armenia in the thirteenth century (1224-70), had introduced the verse; in fact, that he had revised the Armenian version by the Latin Vulgate, and that he had translated even all the prefaces which bear the name of Jerome, real and spurious, into Armenian : that he did this last work seems pretty certain.
As 1 John v. 7. is quoted by a synod held at Sis in Armenia thirty-seven years after the death of Haithom, it was deemed pretty certain that it had been brought into the text by that king, whose adherence to the Western Church was very marked, and who at length became a Franciscan monk.
Thus there rested on this version a kind of suspicion, which could only be removed, or else changed into a certainty, by the facts of the case, and the nature of the version being better known.
The omission of 1 John v. 7. by Zohrab, because of its not being the reading of his MSS., did something towards rehabilitating this version as a critical witness. The facts of the case are thus stated by Dr. Charles Rieu : “Out of eighteen MSS. used by Zohrab, only one, written A. D. 1656, has this passage as in the Stephanie Greek text. An ancient MS. presents a similar reading, but it has evidently been altered in that place by a recent hand.” It should farther be added that Dr. Rieu gives the wording of this passage, as found in the MS. of 1656, differently from its form in Uscan’s text. Thus there was a trace of this reading in Armenian before the time of Uscan, but it had not affected the copies in general, and he at least was independent of what was found elsewhere in Armenian. But did he obtain it from the Latin ? The probability of this is obvious to every one who can apprehend the bearing of the subject, and this will become a moral certainty if we find in the context proofs of comparison with the Vulgate. Now in ver. 6. for τὸ πνεῦμά ἐστιν ἡ ἀληθεία, Uscan’s Armenian differs from all the other collated Armenian MSS. in having the reading of the Vulgate ” Christus est Veritas.” (So too Cod. Montfort.) In ver. 20. for ἐσμεν, Uscan’s Armenian agrees with the Latin in reading the subj. ὦμεν, simus. (So too Cod. Montfort.) This may seem a trifling point, but the other Armenian MSS. differ even here. Chap. iii. 11., for ἀγαπῶμεν, the Vulgate has diligatis; so Uscan alone. Rev. i. 11., Uscan with the Vulgate has ταῖς ἐν Ἀσίᾳ of the common text. vi. 3. and 5., Uscan’s alone of the Armenian copies has ἔρχου καὶ ἴδε : so too the modern Vulgate. James i. 1., Vulgate has Domini nostri, and so Uscan. These may be taken as proofs that either Uscan himself, or some one who went before him, had occasionally used the Vulgate. But it is in the combined evidence of 1 John v. in verses 6. and 7. that the most conclusive evidence is found against Uscan’s Armenian, just as against the Codex Montfortianus.
But even if Uscan’s Armenian text alone were known, it would be impossible to substantiate a charge of general or systematic alteration : the places in which the Armenian differs from the Vulgate in marked or characteristic readings, are so many throughout the New Testament, as to prove this to be impossible ; while, on the other hand, the resemblances in general are not greater than exist between the Armenian and some of the other ancient versions. Coincidence of reading does not prove Latinizing to be a well founded charge.
It appears that MSS. are not known which take us back beyond the days of Haithom ; but certainly no tolerably old codices have been brought forward which exhibit any proofs that they were altered to suit the Latin in his days : it is utterly uncertain whether the synod of Sis cited 1 John v. 7. from his having introduced it. If he really translated the Hieronymian prefaces, including the spurious one prefixed to the Catholic Epistles, that text would be there found, and this might have been all that Haithom actually did in bringing it into notice.
(S. P. Tregelles, An Introduction to Textual Criticism of the New Testament, pp. 311-314)
(d) How much of the Slavonic version belongs to these two brethren is incapable of being ascertained : it is doubtful if all the Old Testament was translated even in that age. The oldest edition of any part of the New Testament of this version is that of the four Gospels which appeared in Wallachia in 1512. Then came the Wilna edition of the same portion in 1575 ; and in 1581 the whole Bible was published at Ostrog in Volhynia: from this was taken the Moscow Bible of 1663 ; in the text of which, however, 1 John v. 7. had been previously introduced (in 1653 apparently, when the Patriarch Nicon published an edition of the Acts and Epistles).
(S. P. Tregelles, An Introduction to Textual Criticism of the New Testament, p. 327)
(e) It may seem superfluous to enter into a formal and detailed discussion of the reading of this passage ; for it may be thought that the application of the ordinary rules of evidence will amply suffice to lead to a definite conclusion. It may also be considered that this subject belongs rather to obsolete discussions than to those which can be regarded as if they were possessed of any importance in the present day. This view of the question is perfectly correct; and on the part of critical scholars there exists now but one opinion on the question which was once so warmly debated, and which, prior to the examination of MSS., seemed so far enveloped in mystery as to afford some apparent ground for those who maintained what they regarded as the more orthodox view of the passage. But though the maintainers of the doctrine of the Trinity know full well that this essential article of the Christian faith is proved by passages of the most unquestionable authority, and though they aie aware how the longer reading of this passage was introduced into our common copies, so that they rest nothing on a foundation worse than precarious, yet the discussions which once took place have an historical importance ; and in an Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament some statement of the evidence is not out of place : any where else it would now appear as superfluous as an exposition of the Ptolemaic system of astronomy does to the man of science.¹ The passage 1 John v. 7, 8. stands thus in the common printed text: — ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες [εν τῷ οὐρανῷ, ὁ πατήρ, ὁ λόγος, καὶ τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα· καὶ οὗτοι οἱ τρεῖς ἕν εἰσι. καὶ τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἕν τῇ γῇ,] τὸ πνεῦμα, καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ, καὶ τὸ αἷμα· καὶ οἱ τρεῖς εἰς τὸ ἐν εἰσιν. The words enclosed between brackets are those under discussion ; they comprise the greater part of the seventh verse and a portion of the eighth. This must be remembered ; for the controversy is commonly said to be about the genuineness of 1 John v. 7. ; and this, though sufficiently exact for a general statement, might cause misapprehension as to the precise limits of the discussion. When the genuineness of any word or clause which claims to be a portion of Scripture (or other ancient writing) is in question, if the affirmative evidence be first considered, we have something positive, definite, and tangible to discuss; the negative statement may then follow. The Greek MSS. which contain this passage in the text in any form are two ; the Codex Montfortianus, and the Codex Ottobonianus, 298. in the Vatican. The following is a facsimile of the passage in the Codex Montfortianus: —
The passage, divested of its contractions, runs thus : —
This MS., which is of very recent date, is described above (p. 213)
In the Codex Ottobonianus, the passage is thus found in Greek and Latin.
which runs thus in ordinary characters : —
Besides these there is no occasion here particularly to describe those MSS. which have been mentioned as authorities for the passage; which all of them prove to be either modern copies taken from printed editions, or else MSS. in which a recent hand has added the passage in the margin. A MS. of the latter kind, preserved at Naples, is described above, p. 218.²
VERSIONS. — Although printed editions may be produced of some of the ancient versions containing this passage, it is not to be found in the MSS. of the greater part of them ; such, for instance, as the Peshito and Harclean Syriac, the Memphitic, the Thebaic, the Armenian, and the Æthiopic ; it may, in fact, be said briefly that with the single exception of the Latin there is not an ancient version which can be claimed as containing the passage. In some it is not found at all, either in MSS. or editions; in others it has been inserted in printed editions without any MS. authority ; and in others it has been introduced into very recent MSS., subsequent in date to the invention of printing. It is found in the common printed copies of the Latin Vulgate. It is also found in the greater part of the MSS. of that version ; but if an examination be instituted, it is seen that the oldest Latin MSS. have no trace of the passage. In some more recent it is found as a marginal scholion appended to the eighth verse. Then it is introduced pro more into the text after ver. 8., with the antithesis of “in terra” and “in caelo,” and then it finds its present place before ver. 8. The variations, however, are considerable as to verbal phrase ology, even when its place in the Latin text was established. Some copies read “filius,” and others “verbum ;” and in MSS. of the thirteenth and following centuries the final clausule of ver. 8. was (for dogmatic reasons) omitted. The earliest proof which has been given of the insertion of this passage in Latin copies, is its occurrence in the “Speculum,” published by Cardinal Mai.
FATHERS. — There is no citation of this passage by any of the Greek Fathers ; nor, in reality, by any of the early Latins.* Thus for the passage there can only be cited two modern Greek MSS. and the more recent copies of one version. But though absent from the known Greek MSS. in general, this passage is found in the Complutensian Polyglott, which contains the first printed edition of the Greek New Testament, where it stands as on the opposite page.
‘On this facsimile it is to be observed, 1. That the first five lines, both of the Greek and Latin, are at the top of the opposite page to that on which the other four lines are found ; and, 2. That the alphabetical letters, intermingled with the Greek text, refer to the corresponding words in the Latin text, which is printed in a parallel column in the Complutensian edition, and marked with the same letters, in order to ascertain more easily the corresponding Greek and Latin words. As the size of the page does not admit of the Greek and Latin texts being disposed in parallel columns, they are necessarily placed one below the other.
‘But the Complutensian Polyglott, however rare and valuable in other respects, is in this case of no authority beyond that of any common Greek Testament, any further than it is supported by ancient MSS. The editors of the Complutensian Greek Testament, indeed, profess to have followed the best and most ancient manuscripts of the Vatican : but in that age copies two or three hundred years old were considered as ancient. It is also most certain that they did not consult the celebrated Codex Vaticanus, which is reputed to be one of the most ancient MSS., if it be not the most ancient manuscript extant (for that manuscript has not the disputed clause), and that they have not only departed from its readings in many places, but have also varied from the order of things in point of time and place. Wetstein, Semler, and Griesbach1, are unanimously of opinion that the MSS. used by the Complutensian editors were neither ancient nor valuable : for they scarcely ever consent with the most ancient copies or Fathers, except in conjunction with modern copies, and they almost always agree with the modern copies where these differ from the more ancient. Because the Complutensian editors admitted the disputed passage into their text of the New Testament, it has been supposed that they found it in their MSS. ; but it is more probable that they inserted it upon the authority of the Latin Vulgate Version. For,
‘(1.) In the first place, It is not usual — indeed it forms no part of the plan of the Complutensian edition — to insert notes in the margin of the Greek text. Not more than three instances of such notes occur throughout this edition : ” and therefore,” as Sir Isaac Newton has forcibly argued, “there must be something extraordinary, and that in respect of the Greek, because it is in the margin of this text. In 1 Cor. xv. there is noticed in this margin a notable variation in the Greek reading. In Matt. vi. 13., where they, in their edition, recede from the Greek copies and correct it by the Latin, they make a marginal note to justify their doing so. And so here, where the testimony of ‘ the Three in heaven ‘ is generally wanting in the Greek copies, they make a third marginal note, to secure themselves from being blamed for printing it. Now, in such a case as this, there is no question but they would make the best defence they could ; and yet they do not tell of any various lections in the Greek manuscripts, nor produce any one Greek manuscript on their side, but have recourse to the authority of Thomas Aquinas” 1 ” Thomas, say they, in treating of the three which bear witness in heaven, teaches, that the words ‘ these Three are one,’ are subjoined for in sinuating the unity of the essence of the Three Persons. And whereas one Joachim interpreted this unity to be only love and con sent, it being thus said of the Spirit, Water, and Blood, in some copies, that ‘ these Three are one : ‘ Thomas replied, that this clause is not extant in the true copies, but was added by the Arians for perverting the sense.” Thus far, this annotation. ” Now this plainly respects the Latin copies (for Aquinas understood not Greek), and therefore part of the design of this annotation is to set right the Latin reading. But this is not the main design. For so the annotation should have been set in the margin of the Latin version. Its being set in the margin of the Greek text shows that its main design is to justify the Greek by the Latin thus rectified and confirmed. Now to make Thomas thus, in a few words, do all the work, was very artificial : and in Spain, where Thomas is of apostolical authority, it might pass for a very judicious and substantial defence of the printed Greek. But to us, Thomas Aquinas is no apostle. We are seeking for the authority of Greek manuscripts.”‘
‘(2.) Secondly, we have a further proof that this text was not extant in Greek, but was inserted from the Latin Vulgate (and sub sequently translated into Greek), in the fact that when Stunica, one of the four editors of the Complutensian Polyglott, on censuring Erasmus for omitting it, was challenged by him to produce his authority for inserting it, he never appealed to Greek manuscripts. On the contrary, he affirmed that the Greek copies were corrupt, but that the Latin contained the very truth.8 Now this declaration is of great importance, as it amounts to a confession that none of the manuscripts procured for that edition by the great influence of Cardinal Ximenes contained the disputed passage.’ It was not inserted in the two earlier editions of Erasmus 1516, 1519, the first that were published, nor yet in some reprints which were taken from them. This omission, as it was deemed, of some thing contained in the Latin, led to much vituperation ; he therefore promised that if a Greek MS. were produced which contained the text (for none such had he seen) he would insert it. This he was compelled to do by the production of the Codex Montfortianus (see above, p. 214.); and afterwards he brought the passage into a rather more correct form aa to its Greek phraseology. From Erasmus, even more than from the Complutensian text, the passage obtained a place in the common text. And when Stephens, in his large Greek Testament, 1550, noted that in several of the collated MSS. the words commencing ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ were absent ; the mark which in dicated how far the omission extended having been wrongly placed after those three words, and not after ἕν τῇ γῇ in ver. 8. ; it was imagined that the copies in question omitted those three words only, and that thus they were authorities for all the rest of the passage. The real state of the case is known not only from the non-appearance of any of the MSS. which omit ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ and contain the rest, but also from the demonstration by Bishop Marsh that one of these MSS. is now in the University Library at Cambridge, which contains no part of the introduced text.1 Thus against the passage are all the known Greek MSS. which are extant in this place of various ages and countries, with the exception of those above named. The number of these is about out hundred and eighty.’
VERSIONS. — It is contained in the manuscripts of no other ancient version besides the Latin.2 ‘It is wanting in the manuscripts of the Peshito Syriac version3, and also in that of the Harclean Syriac. It is wanting in the manuscripts of the Memphitic, a version in the dialect anciently spoken in Lower Egypt ; and in those of the Thebaic, a version in the dialect anciently spoken in Upper Egypt. It is wanting in the manuscripts of the Æthiopic version, and in those of the Armenian. It is wanting in all the manuscripts of all the known Arabic versions ; and it is absent from all the manuscripts of the Sclavonic or Old Russian version, executed in the ninth century.
‘Not all the manuscripts, even of the Latin version, contain this clause, which is wanting in the most ancient manuscripts of that version, which contain the entire New Testament.’
THE VULGATE LATIN VERSION he Vulgate Latin Version is justly valued as an important relic of Christian antiquity, and, generally speaking, as a good and faithful translation : but, in its passage from the fifth to the fifteenth century, it has undergone many corruptions and interpolations. The disputed clause is wanting in more than fifty of the oldest Latin manuscripts, containing the entire New Testament.1 ” Some of them, indeed, have the passage in the margin, added by a later hand ; but it is the reading of the text which constitutes the reading of the manuscript … At the end of the fourth century, the celebrated Latin Father, Augustine, who wrote ten treatises on the first Epistle of St. John, in all of which we seek in vain for the seventh verse of the fifth chapter, was induced in his controversy with Maximin to compose a gloss upon the eighth verse. Augustine gives it pro fessedly as a gloss upon the words of the eighth verse, and shows by his own reasoning that the seventh verse did not then exist.8 The high character of Augustine in the Latin church soon gave celebrity to his gloss ; and in a short time it was generally adopted. It ap peared, indeed, under different forms ; but it was still the gloss of Augustine, though variously modified. The gloss having once obtained credit in the Latin church, the possessors of Latin manuscripts began to note it in the margin, by the side of the eighth verse. Hence the oldest of those Latin manuscripts, which have the passage in the margin, have it in a different hand from that of the text. In later manuscripts we find margin and text in the same hand ; for transcribers did not venture immediately to move it into the body of the text, though in some manuscripts it is interlined, but interlined by a later hand. After the eighth century the insertion became general. For Latin manuscripts written after that period have generally, though not always, the passage in the body of the text. Further, when the seventh verse made its first appearance in the Latin manuscripts, it appeared in as many different forms as there were forms to the gloss upon the eighth verse.3 And though it now precedes the eighth verse, it followed the eighth verse, at its first insertion, as a gloss would naturally follow the text upon which it was made.”4
¹ One special reason for this subject being treated here in some detail is, that it forms a part of the topics discussed by the Rev. T. H. Horne under the 1st Epistle of St. John. Its omission would therefore have been a serious defect. It is now transferred with some additions, flee, to what appears to the present writer to be a more suitable place in this volume ; the general argument, however, is that of Mr. Horne.
In giving the reading of the facsimile above, p. 218., Scholz was followed, who com mences the last line but one inrb fiji yfjs ; whereas it is most certainly Art ttjs ttjs, as any one may see who will study the formation of the letters in the facsimile. The letters between the columns appear to consist of the beginnings of lines. The two first seem to be ol fiap …. oiirov …. and the last rb al[p.a).
² This Codex Begins Neapolitan us is mystified in more ways than one by Scholz: 1st, he gives this reading from it without stating that it is a marginal addition (putting together ” 34. 162. 173. iiquo ex versione latina sacc xvi. vel. xvii. in his tribus codd. trajectum”); 2nd, he also cites 173. on the opposite side ; 3rd, he quotes from it the readings itrb rov oupavov and icwb r^s Tfls, in opposition to that which we know from Birch (see above, p. 219.) to be the actual reading ; and 4th, Scholz seems entirely to confound the MS. which he calls 1 73. with that which is 83. in the notation both of Griesbach and himself. He cites 83., another Neapolitan MS. (or the same), as not containing the passage a prima manu, but without stating what the alteration may be. In fact, it is very clear that two different MSS. have been confounded, or else one MS. has been doubly cited. As Scholz professed to have met with no new MS. except the Codex Ottobonianus containing the passage, we are precluded from imagining anotlier Neapolitan Codex of this kind besides the one described by Birch.
(f) It was very soon reported that Bentley was engaged in such an edition ; and before the end of the year in which he had informed Archbishop Wake what he had in hand, some took alarm in the belief that he would not insert 1 John v. 7. This was made the subject of a kind of an anonymous argumentative remonstrance to Bentley ; who replied (Jan. 1, 1716-17) that the decision as to that verse must depend on ancient evidence, the same as all other passages. In the following 1st of May, Bentley, who was little accustomed to withhold his opinions, delivered his probationary lecture as candidate for the Regius Professorship of Divinity ; in this lecture he gave his decided judgment for the rejection of the verse in question . In such a case boldness is prudence ; if the verse is not owned as part of Holy Writ by competent authorities, it is needful to speak out, even though the equanimity of subjec tive dogmatists be ruffled, and though they may raise an antici pative feeling of condemnation against the honest critic.
(S. P. Tregelles, An Account of the Printed Text of the Greek New Testament, p. 61)
(g) While Bentley was prosecuting this design , discussions were carried on as to the genuineness of the verse 1 John v. 7, as if all criticism of Scripture must be directed to that one point, as if no principles of evidence could be good unless they established its authenticity, and as if none could be holders of the Christian faith on the subject of the Trinity, unless this verse were maintained to be part of divine Scripture. These discussions, conducted in such a manner, could not really further Biblical studies : it is in vain to determine a priori what must be received as God’s Word, and then to condemn all the evidence which would contradict such pre-devised conclusions. All this, however, made many feel that a critical text of the New Testament would be a very dangerous book. The maintainers of orthodox truth who decried criticism, were punished for the line of conduct which they pursued ; for in 1729 DANIEL MACE published his Greek Testament, with an English translation, in which he boldly and arbitrarily changed passages, with evidence or without it, in accordance with his own subjective notions. He was a man apparently of some ingenuity, of no real or accurate scholarship, and possessed of but little principle ; he so contrived to use remarks in Mill’s Prolegomena, as to have apparently the sanction of the name of that critic for his mode of editing passages. In 1732 he was answered by Dr. Leonard Twells, whose work met with great approbation at the time : a fact which does not speak highly for the knowledge of criticism then commonly possessed.
(S. P. Tregelles, An Account of the Printed Text of the Greek New Testament, pp. 65-66)
(h) A resolution of the Holy Office of 13th January 1897 pronounced even the Comma Johanneum (1 John v. 7) to be an integral part of the New Testament. This was confirmed by the Pope on the 15th January, and published in the Monitore Ecclesiastico of the 28th February of the same year. An edition in Greek and Latin was issued by BRANDSCHEID at Freiburg in 1893.
(Eberhard Nestle, Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the Greek New Testament, pp. 25-26)
(i) Gutbir inserted in his edition of the Peshitto Syriac New Testament (Hamburg, 1664) the passage containing the three heavenly witnesses (1 John v. 7), and remarks in his critical notes: “Since it is known [sic !] that the Arians spared in this place neither the Greek text itself, nor the oriental versions, we have inserted this verse, wanting in other editions, from the notes of Tremellius.”
(Prof. Henry M. Harman, Some Observations Upon Tikkun Sopherim, pp. 35-36)
(j) Again in the edition of the Armenian Version made by Uscan (1668), he confesses to having introduced several passages from the Latin without any manuscript authority, as for instance, John v. 4, John vii. 53- viii. 11, 1 John v. 7. From such errors the later critical edition of Zohrab ( 1805 ) is free.
(Ll. J. M. Bebb, THE EVIDENCE OF THE EARLY VERSIONS AND PATRISTIC QUOTATIONS ON THE TEXT OF THE BOOKS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, Studia Biblica et Ecclesiastica, vol. 2, p. 197)