The Three Heavenly Witnesses, is a convenient designation of the famous controversy respecting the genuineness of the clause in the first epistle of John (1 John 5:7), “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.”
I. History of its Introduction into the Text. — In all the first printed Bibles, which were those of the Latin Vulgate, as amended by Jerome, the clause appeared substantially as at present (Ed. Princeps, 1462), being found in the great majority of manuscripts of the Vulgate. It may therefore be considered as the generally received form at that period. But when the first edition of the Greek Test. appeared, which was that of Erasmus, published at Basle in 1516, the clause in question [“in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one; and there are three which bear witness in earth”] was wanting. Erasmus was attacked by Stunica, one of the editors of the Complutensian Polyglot, of which the New Test. in Greek and Latin had been printed in 1514 (and consequently before the appearance of Erasmus’s edition), although not published until 1522.
Erasmus replied to Stunica by observing that he had faithfully followed the Greek manuscripts from which he had edited his text, but professed his readiness to insert the clause in another edition, provided but a single Greek manuscript was found to contain it. Such a manuscript was found in England, upon which Erasmus, although entertaining strong suspicions respecting this manuscript, yet, faithful to his word, inserted the clause in his third edition, which was published in 1522, as it now stands in the common Greek text.
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Author: McClintock and Strong Cyclopedia
Keywords: Johannine comma, Johanine comma, Johanine coma, Johannine coma, John's coma, John's comma, Spurious verse, Spurious, Forgery, Forged text, Inserted text, Text inserted, Verse inserted Johannine comma, Scriptures corrupt, Corruption, Trinity, Three gods, Three witnesses, Father Son Holy Spirit, Father Son Holy Ghost, Father Son Spirit, Blood and water, Water and spirit, Bogus passage, Fake passage, Scribal error, Scribal forgery, Comma Johanneum, Trinitarian, Trinitarianism, Triunity
Bible reference(s): 1 John 5:7
Source: John McClintock and James Strong, Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature.
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