Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Chronology of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus

The Year and the Season
The 15th year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign (circa AD 27) coincided with the beginning of Christ’s earthly ministry (Luke 3:1, 23), followed by approximately three to three-and-a-half years incorporating at least three and probably four Passovers (John 2:13; [5:1]; 6:4; 12:1).The year of the Lord’s death and resurrection would have been circa AD 30.It was springtime in Judea, around March/April just before Passover (Mark 14:1, 12), approximately six weeks prior to ripe figs (Mark 11:12-13; 13:28). 
The Historical and Political Setting
When Judea became a province of the Roman Empire in AD 6, the Romans deposed Archalaeus (son of Herod the Great), set up a military prefect,and appointed Annas as high priest. Annas was then removed in AD 15 and replaced by his son-in-law Caiaphas, although Annas and Caiaphas continued to jointly exercise authority and influence among the Jews (Luke 3:2). Pontius Pilate was the sixth prefect of Judea, appointed in the 12th year of Tiberius Caesar and governed during the years 26-36 (cf. Luke 3:1; 23:1).4
Jesus was arrested and brought first to Annas, then to Caiaphas (John 18:13, 24) and the Sanhedrin (Matt. 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65; Luke 22:66-71), charged with blasphemy and sentenced to death (cf. John 19:7). The Romans had divested the power from the Sanhedrin to execute the death penalty (John 18:31), so Jesus was delivered to the local prefect Pontius Pilate (Matt. 27:11-14; Mark 15:1-5; cf. John 18:28-38)
The Lord was essentially accused of sedition, treason, and insurrection (Luke 23:2, 3, 5, 14; John 19:12) – a very serious charge.Only Luke records Pontius Pilate sending Jesus to Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee and Perea (4 BC–AD 39), who then returned Jesus to the prefect (Luke 23:6-12, 15a; cf. Acts 4:27) as the one with greater authority as the emperor’s personal representative. 
When Pontius Pilate gave the Jewish crowds the choice of which prisoner to be released – the humble Galilean preacher (Jesus) or the defiant patriotic militant (Barabbas) – their decision was no doubt influenced by their misconceived messianic expectations.It had become customary during the Passover feast for the Roman prefect in Judea to release to the Jews a prisoner of their choosing (Matt. 27:15; Mark 15:6, 8; Luke 23:17; John 18:39). This was neither a law nor a custom of the Romans or the Jews but appears to have been an attempt to placate the volatile Jewish people in order to deter further civil unrest and maintain some semblance of peace (cf. Matt. 27:24; Mark 15:15; John 19:8, 12).
The Crucifixion and Burial
While the Romans may have learned about crucifixion from the 6th-century-BC Carthaginians in N. Africa, they perfected it as a means of humiliation and torture and a deterrent to insurrection. It was not until the 4th century AD that Constantine banned the barbaric practice. The intent of this brutal form of capital punishment was to inflict maximum suffering with a slow, agonizing death.7
In Classical Greek (until the early 4th century BC), the term stauróreferred to an upright stake for impaling (H. G. Liddell and R. Scott, Greek-English Lexicon 595), but in Koinē Greek it denoted the wooden object upon which the Romans executed criminals.The condemned was forced to carry the implement upon which he would die to the place of execution. Seeing that an entire Roman cross weighed over 135 kg (300 lb.), it was the crossbeam, weighing approximately 35-60 kg (75-125 lb.), that was typically carried. Jesus was beaten, crucified, and then buried in a borrowed tomb. 
The Resurrection9
Early Sunday morning (the first day of the week), women journeyed to the tomb “while it was still dark” (John 20:1), and as it “began to dawn” (Matt. 28:1) they arrived at the tomb “when the sun had risen” (Mark 16:1). About a year earlier Jesus had issued the first clear prediction of his death and resurrection, saying he would be killed and then raised “after three days” [metà treîs hēméras] (Mark 8:31). In Jewish usage the expression “after three days” is equivalent to “the third day” [tētrítē hēméra] (Matt. 16:21; Luke 9:22); each evangelist has provided his own Greek translation of the Lord’s Aramaic words. 
Earlier Jesus had spoken more enigmatically, viz. of raising up the temple of his body “in three days” (John 2:19-22), then making a comparison to Jonah in the fish’s belly “three days and three nights” (Matt. 12:38-40). Before wrestling with any perceived discrepancies in the chronological record, our first consideration ought to be what the Lord intended by these words and how his immediate listening audience would have understood them. Since Matthew is the only Gospel writer to have recorded the latter prediction, another consideration is what this would have meant to his original reading audience. The surest interpretation of a biblical prophecy is to be found in its fulfillment. 
According to ancient time reckoning, any part of a day is counted as a full day, and the expression “three days and three nights” is the idiomatic equivalent of “three days” (see, e.g., 1 Sam. 30:12-13; Esth. 4:16; 5:1; cf. Gen. 42:17-18; 2 Chron. 10:5, 12).10 The enemies of Jesus knew he had predicted his resurrection “after three days” [metà treîhēméras] (Matt. 27:63), understanding this to mean “until the third day” [héōs tēs trítēs hēméras] (v. 64). In other words, after the third day has come, not after the third day has past. If antagonists had understood the prophecy otherwise, they could have (would have?) easily charged the Lord with having made an erroneous claim. What was meant by the prophetic words was indeed fulfilled.
Jesus was crucified “the day before the Sabbath” (Mark 15:42; John 19:31), i.e., Friday. His corpse was in the tomb on the Sabbath, i.e., Saturday. He arose early on the first day of the week (Mark 16:1-2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1), “after the Sabbath” [opsè …sabbátōn] (Matt. 28:1),11 i.e., Sunday. On the day of the Lord’s resurrection, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, having just described his death, said to Jesus, “today is the third day since these things happened” (Luke 24:20-21).12
The death and resurrection of Jesus provide the cornerstone of the Christian faith (Rom. 6:3-5; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; 1 Pet. 3:21), without which our entire belief system is empty and futile (1 Cor. 15:14-19). Every first day of the week (Sunday) thereafter has been a special day of significance for followers of Jesus Christ (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2; cf. Acts 2:1; Rev. 1:10).
--Kevin L. Moore

     1The first Passover during his ministry was 46 years after Herod had begun construction on the temple (John 2:13, 20), which was about 20/19 BC, the 18th year of Herod’s reign (cf. Josephus, Ant.15.11.1).
     2The traditional date of AD 33 is based on the assumption that the Lord’s ministry began at year 30, even though the biblical record says he was “about” 30 (Luke 3:23), not to mention the 6th-century miscalculations of Dionysius Exiguus. 
     3Sometimes the term “procurator” is used, but procurators were usually civilian financial officers, whereas prefects were military men. The “Pilate Stone,” an inscription discovered at Caesarea Maritima in 1961, identifies Pontius Pilate as “prefect” of Judea.
     4See Tacitus, Annals 15.44; Josephus, Ant. 18.4.1-2. 
     5Cf. also Matt. 27:11, 29, 37, 42; Mark 15:2, 9, 12, 18, 26, 32; Luke 23:37, 38; John 18:33, 39; 19:3, 14, 15. “Ideologically, the Pax Romana [Roman Peace] was predicated upon the universality of Rome’s political and military authority, as well as its laws, institutions, customs, and cultural mores…. the Romans genuinely believed that whatever means had been used to impose this peace, and however great its human and material costs, the Pax Romana they had established was characterized by prosperity and by physical and spiritual concord. Accordingly, it justified Rome’s imperium and legitimized every effort to sustain it” (A. Parchami, Hegemonic Peace and Empire 26, 30).
     6See K. L. Moore, “Barabbas,” Moore Perspective (30 Nov. 2012). 
     7For a well-researched medical and historical analysis, see William D. Edwards, Wesley J. Gabel, and Floyd E. Hosmer, “On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ,” JAMA 255:11 (21 March 1986): 1455-63. For a more recent medical anthropological perspective, see Emanuela Gualdi-Russo, Ursula Thun Hohenstein, Nicoletta Onisto, Elena Pilli, and David Carmelli, “A multidisciplinary study of calcaneal trauma in Roman Italy: a possible case of crucifixion?,” Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences (April 2018): 10.1007/s12520-018-0631-9 <Link>.
     8Early patristic authors, writing about the “cross” upon which Jesus was crucified, unanimously describe it as having a crossbeam (e.g. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 15; cf. Epistle of Barnabas 9.7-8).
     9Matt. 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-11; John 20:1-2. On the textual integrity of the ending of Mark’s Gospel, see K. L. Moore, A Critical Introduction to the New Testament 71-79.
     10Saying to a friend in a modern-day western culture, “I’m here for you 24/7,” is simply an expressive way of conveying long-term loyalty and care, but not intended or understood as a literal commitment of unceasing presence. To say that a job was completed “at the eleventh hour” has nothing to do with precision of time. The same is true of other modern idioms, like “fifteen minutes of fame,” “four letter words,” “put two and two together,” “scattered to the four winds,” “six feet under,” “the whole nine yards,” “six of one and half a dozen of the other,” et al.
     11CSB, ESV, NASB, NET, NIV, NKJV, N/RSV. Some English translations have obscured this reference, e.g., “in the end of the sabbath” (KJV); “now late on the sabbath day” (ASV). According to Jewish convention, the Sabbath began at sunset (Friday p.m.) and ended at the following sunset (Saturday p.m.), leading into the early hours of the first day of the week.
     12Over a period of 40 days Jesus was seen alive by more than 500 eyewitnesses in Galilee and Judea prior to his ascension into heaven (Matt. 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-19; Luke 24:1-51; John 20:1–25:25; Act 1:11; 1 Cor. 15:3-7). The Passover was on the 14th day of the first Jewish lunar month (Ex. 12:6), and the church was established 50 days later on Pentecost (Lev. 23:16; Acts 2:1-47).

Image credit: https://www.newyorkapologetics.com/arguments-against-the-empty-tomb-of-jesus/

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Was Jesus “the Son of God” Prior to His Incarnation?

     The apostle Paul affirms: “but when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, having been born out of woman, having been born under [the] law” (Gal. 4:4).1 Does the fact that “God sent forth his Son” suggest Jesus was the Son of God prior to his incarnation? R. Y. K. Fung argues: “It is to be observed that Christ was already Son when God sent him, that it was not the sending which made him the Son of God; in other words, his Sonship is to be understood not merely in a functional sense but in an ontological sense” (Galatians [NICNT] 181-82). But is this a valid inference, and is it consistent with overall biblical teaching? 
     There are only three references in the OT to Jesus as “Son” (Psa. 2:7, 12; Dan. 7:13), all of which are predictive messianic prophecies. The formal title “the Son of God” does not occur in the Hebrew scriptures.2 There are eleven verses in the OT alluding to God as “Father” (Deut. 32:6; 2 Sam. 7:14; 1 Chron. 17:14; Psa. 89:26; Isa. 9:6; 63:16; 64:8; Jer. 3:4; 31:9; Mal. 1:6; 2:10), though not as the Father of a Son but of the nation of Israel.3 And one of these passages (Isa. 9:6) is actually a messianic prophecy applicable to Jesus Christ!
     Paul connects the sending forth of God’s Son with the occasion of “having been born of woman.” In Luke’s account of the birth narrative, the angel Gabriel proclaims to Mary: “And behold you will conceive in [your] womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. This [one] will be great and will be called Son of [the] Most High …. [the] Holy Spirit will overshadow you; therefore also the holy [one] being born will be called Son of God” (Luke 1:31-35, emp. added). The future tense of this proclamation indicates that Jesus was recognized as “Son” in conjunction with his human conception and birth, not before.
     The fact that “Jesus Christ” is said to have been “sent” (John 17:3) does not mean that he was known as “Jesus Christ” prior to the incarnation (cf. Matt. 1:21). The expression “God sent forth his Son,” therefore, does not necessarily imply previous recognition as God’s Son. To speak of “the Son of God” being “manifested” (1 John 3:8) is comparable to saying that “Jesus Christ” was “manifested” (2 Tim. 1:9-10; 1 Pet. 1:13, 19, 20), neither of which imply prior existence as either the Son of God or as Jesus Christ.
     Paul appears to be making a proleptic statement, i.e., using current language to describe something in the past. For example, Moses speaks of “Bethel” as he records Abraham’s entrance into the land of Canaan (Gen. 12:8), even though the place was not actually named Bethel until several decades after the arrival of Abraham (Gen. 28:10-19). At the time the historical narrative was transcribed, the place was known as Bethel and thus so designated in the text. In John 11:1-2, in the account of Lazarus’ illness and subsequent death, Mary is described as the one who anointed the Lord’s feet (an act for which she was known at the time of writing), although chronologically this did not occur until a few months later (John 12:5).
     Paul’s employment of the term “Son” to designate the one sent forth from God “resonates with the surrounding verses, in which he states that believers are also ‘sons of God’” (L. A. Jervis, Galatians [NIBC] 109). In relation to God, the significance of the designation “the Son of God” is twofold, suggesting: (a) subordination of role or position (cf. John 14:28); and (b) equality of nature and essence (John 5:17-18; 10:24-33; 19:5-7). While the latter was in place prior to the incarnation, the former was not (cf. Phil. 2:5-7).
--Kevin L. Moore

     1 Unless otherwise noted, scripture quotations are the author’s own translation.
     2 When Nebuchadnezzar said “the appearance” [wə-rê-wêh] of the fourth person in the furnace “is like” [dā-mêh] “a son” [lə-ḇar-] “of gods” [’ĕ-lā-hîn] (Dan. 3:25, cf. ESV, N/ASV, etc.), it is highly unlikely that the pagan king had any concept of “the Son of God” (N/KJV) in the NT sense. The pre-incarnate Christ would not be manifested as the Son of God for another six centuries. Nebuchadnezzar was simply trying to explain what he saw as “a divine being” (ISV), perhaps an “angel” (3:28). Elsewhere in the book of Daniel the same terminology is used with reference to pagan “gods” (2:11, 47; 5:11b; cf. most translations of 4:8, 9, 18; 5:11a, 14).
     3 An apparent exception is 2 Sam. 7:14 and the parallel account in 1 Chron. 17:14, where David is reassured that after his death God will take his place as Solomon’s father, in the sense of exercising special care for him. In addition to the fact that the Davidic king represents the Davidic kingdom (i.e. the people of God), this passage seems to have messianic implications, as it is later quoted in Heb. 1:5 to discount angels from the role of divine sonship, establishing Christ’s superiority over them. In the OT “fatherhood” is just one of several metaphors describing God’s relationship with his people; cp. “husband” (Isa. 54:5; Hos. 2:16), “shepherd” (Psa. 23:1; Isa. 40:10-11), “vinedresser” (Isa. 5:1-7), “shelter” (Psa. 61:3-8), etc.

Image credit: https://www.cgtrader.com/3d-print-models/art/sculptures/jesus-prayer

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

The Pericopae Adulterae (John 7:53–8:11)

Peter Paul Rubens 1577-1640
Textual Concerns
     The paragraph known as the Pericopae Adulterae in the NT, concerning a woman caught in adultery (John 7:53–8:11), is not included in the earliest extant manuscripts and versions of John’s Gospel and is displaced in others. Note, however, in some manuscripts (e.g. Codex Alexandrinus, Codex Ephraemi) the leaves that originally contained the section in question are missing. The text is not found in the 3rd-century papyri P66 and P75, or the 4th-century Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, or Boharic Bodmer Papyrus III, although Vaticanus has an umlaut (¨) marking the place where the passage is disputed and reserves an empty space. In some manuscripts (E, M, S, L, P, W, 1424mg, pm270) it is marked with obeli (÷) as to indicate its authenticity was questioned at the time the copy was made. In some manuscripts it is located at the end of the Gospel, and in one manuscript family (f13) it appears after Luke 21:38.
     The text also contains a disproportionately large number of variants. Some argue that the narrative disrupts the textual flow, as 8:12 follows naturally after 7:52. On the other hand, while 7:53–8:11 might be regarded as textually disruptive, it is not necessarily theologically disruptive (cf. 8:16) and may be viewed as a brief digression. Ecclesiastical writers, such as Chrysostom, Origen, and Cyril, do not discuss this passage in their commentaries on John. Tertullian, Cyprian, and Irenaeus do not mention the story in their writings. 
     B. F. Westcott concludes: “the only natural explanation of the unquestioned facts is that the narrative was current in the third century in a Greek but not in a Latin text, though over a narrow range; that towards the end of the fourth century it was introduced in various places, but particularly where it now stands, and was thence taken into the Latin texts; that from the sixth century onwards it was found more and more frequently in the Constantinopolitan texts and all but universally in the Latin texts, and in the course of time was partially introduced into other versions” (The Gospel According to St. John 142; see also D. A. Carson and D. J. Moo, An Introduction to the NT 273-74).
Textual Support
     The pericope is included in the 5th/6th-century Codex Bezae (D), a few later uncial manuscripts, and a large number of minuscules. Virtually no Alexandrian manuscripts contain the Pericopae Adulterae, while most Western and Byzantine manuscripts do (although the evidence is divided). See Text of the NT Part 1 and Part 2. For a comprehensive list of the manuscript evidence, see W. Willker, Textual Commentary on the Greek Gospels 4b:4-7, 24-26.
     Papias (ca. 60-140?), who according to Irenaeus was a contemporary of the apostle John (Adv. Haer. 5.33.4) and according to Eusebius was “a man well-skilled in all manner of learning and well-acquainted with the scriptures” (Eccl. Hist. 3.36.2), appears to have been familiar with the story. Eusebius says of Papias: “He also gave another history of a woman who had been accused of many sins before the Lord, which was also contained in the gospel according to the Hebrews” (Eccl. Hist. 3.39.17). Although Eusebius reports that the account of Papias involved a woman “accused of many sins,” Tyrannius Rufinus (340-410), who translated Eusebius’ work into Latin, labels the woman an “adulteress.” It is uncertain whether “the gospel according to the Hebrews” is an obscure reference to John’s Gospel or, more likely, to a document that is no longer extant containing a version of the story comparable to the account in John (see Original Form of Matthew).
     The early 3rd-century Syrian manual of discipline Didascalia Apostolorum refers to the account. It is translated from Syriac in Codex Sangermanensis (MS Syr 62): “do as he also did with her that had sinned, whom the elders set before him, and leaving the judgment in his hands, departed. But he, the searcher of hearts, asked her and said to her: ‘Have the elders condemned you, my daughter?’ She says to him: ‘Nay, Lord.’ And he said to her: ‘Go your way: neither do I condemn you.’” A similar version was conveyed by the 4th-century Alexandrian Didymus the Blind (see B. D. Ehrman, “Jesus and the Adulteress” 24-44; A. Criddle, “Origins of the Pericope Adulterae”).
     The account is particularly mentioned by patristic writers from the time of Ambrose (ca. 374), Ambrosiaster (366-384),1 Pacian of Barcelona (370-390), Jerome (346-420) and Augustine (354-430). Jerome reports that it was found in many Greek and Latin manuscripts of his time (adv. Pelag. 2.17), which, incidentally, were earlier than the oldest manuscripts available today.
     Augustine refers to the pericope at least ten times, and he suggests that it was removed from the Latin text by some who were hostile to the true faith in order to avoid scandal,2 although his explanation is disputed by modern critics. A number of marginal notes in various texts mention that it was present in ancient copies. It is found in most Latin copies, the Jerusalem Syriac, the Ethiopic, and some later versions.
Responding to Objections
     The fact that Chrysostom, Origen, and Cyril do not mention this passage in their commentaries is not a definitive argument. The extant copies of the commentaries of Cyril and Origen are fragmentary, and the sections that address John 8 are missing. Chrysostom’s commentary only deals with specific passages and is not a verse-by-verse analysis of John’s Gospel. As noted above, other patristic writers testify to the genuineness of the text, including Ambrose, Ambrosiaster, Pacian, Jerome, and Augustine.
     The silence of Tertullian, Cyprian, and Irenaeus is inconclusive. Even though Tertullian examines the issue of adultery in a number of long treatises, it is presumptuous to assume that an account containing what appears to be only a mild rebuke would necessarily be pertinent to his discussion. In fact, Tertullian, Cyprian, and Origen considered sexual sins to be particularly heinous.
     The textual peculiarities of the passage may very well be related to lectionary usage, as W. Willker notes: “Of course it is very probable that the insertion points before 7:37 or after 8:12 and also possibly at the end of John originate from lectionary usage. It is also probable that the markings with asterisks and obeli are the result of this lectionary usage” (Textual Commentary 15). This would also be a viable explanation for the obscure placement of the pericope after Luke 21:38 in f13. There is a close resemblance between Luke 21:37-38 and John 7:53; 8:1-2. The lectionary reading for 7th October was Luke 21:12-19 and for 8th October it was often the Pericopae Adulterae. “That a single MS (the exemplar of f13), and a very unreliable [one] at that, preserves the true place of the PA is very improbable. Note also that f13 also transposes the ‘agony, bloody sweat’ incident from Lk 22:43, 44 to after Mt 26:39” (W. Willker, Textual Commentary 17).
     An evaluation of internal features, i.e., contextual and stylistic matters, is disputable, since a case can be made both for and against the veracity of the text.3 M. C. Tenney observes: “To say that the passage is not an integral part of John does not dismiss it, however. It is still necessary to account for its presence. Even those who exclude it from the body of John on textual grounds admit that its tenor is wholly in keeping with the character and ministry of Jesus, and that it doubtless constitutes a genuine account of an episode of His career, though it may be misplaced” (John: the Gospel of Belief 138).
     It is plausible that John 7:53–8:11 embodies one of the “many other things that Jesus did” that had previously been unrecorded (John 20:30; 21:25) but eventually made its way into the text. It has been suggested that Papias, a contemporary of the apostle John, may have been responsible for preserving the account (B. F. Wescott, The Gospel According to St. John 125). B. M. Metzger and B. D. Ehrman comment that the pericope “has many earmarks of historical veracity; no ascetically minded monk would have invented a narrative that closes with what seems to be only a mild rebuke on Jesus’ part” (The Text of the NT 319).S. J. Kaczorowski calls it an inspired text inserted into an inspired text (The Pericope of the Woman, JETS 61/2 [2018]: 321-37). 
--Kevin L. Moore

     1 The anonymous work, Quaestiones ex Utroque Mixtim 102: Contra Novatianum (PL Migne Vol. 35, 2303), was earlier assigned to Augustine but now is considered to be from Ambrosiaster.
     2 “Certain persons of little faith, or rather enemies of the true faith, fearing, I suppose, lest their wives should be given impunity in sinning, removed from their manuscripts the Lord's act of forgiveness toward the adulteress, as if he who had said, Sin no more, had granted permission to sin” (De Conj. Adult. 2.6-7).
     3 For: E. A. Abbott, Johannne Vocabulary 353-54; R. C. Foster, Studies in the Life of Christ 798. Against: B. F. Westcott, The Gospel According to St. John 142-43; W. Willker, Textual Commentary 20-22.
     4 See also J. H. Bernard and A. H. McNeile, John 716; F. F. Bruce, Gospel of John 413; D. A. Carson, Gospel according to John 333; L. Morris, John 779; Z. Hodges, “The Woman Taken in Adultery” (1979) 318-72; (1980): 41-53; C. A. Louviere, “The Pericope De Adultera” 1-39.

Related Posts:

Image credit: http://www.artnet.com/artists/peter-paul-rubens/christ-and-the-woman-taken-in-adultery-f2nwKMlBBXeyVPcBKyfxmw2

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

The Comma Johanneum (1 John 5:7-8)

     The Textus Receptus includes a series of words at 1 John 5:7b-8a not found in any other Greek text, sometimes referred to as the Comma Johanneum or the “Trinitarian Witness.” The additional words are the following: en tō ouranō, ho Patēr, ho Logos, kai to Hagion Pneuma; kai houtoi hoi treis hen eisi. kai treis eisin hoi marturountes. The KJV renders these words (also included in the RAV and NKJV) as follows: “… 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 Textus Receptus was essentially based on the third edition of the Greek text of Erasmus (early 16th century), which itself was based on merely a half dozen late Greek manuscripts.1 While the Comma Johanneum was included in the Latin Vulgate, it appeared in no Greek manuscripts available to Erasmus and was thus omitted from his first two editions. In the face of criticism Erasmus promised that if a single Greek manuscript could be found that contained the disputed passage, he would include it in his next edition. A 16th-century manuscript was then produced that contained the words in question,2 so Erasmus kept his promise and inserted the passage in the third edition of his Greek text (1522).
     Among the multiplied thousands of extant Greek manuscripts, the Comma Johanneum occurs in only eight very late ones (12th-16th centuries), though in half of these it appears as a variant reading in the margin. The passage is never quoted among the patristic writers (even in the trinitarian debates) and is absent from all ancient versions except the later Latin versions.
     Guy N. Woods comments: “There is, therefore, not the slightest ground for assuming that these words were a part of the original composition of the apostle John, or entitled to a place in the sacred text; nor is there any loss whatsoever in yielding them up as spurious, since nothing is taught in them not abundantly taught elsewhere in the New Testament” (Epistles of Peter, John, and Jude 326). On the theology of this text taught elsewhere in scripture, see The Triune Godhead.
--Kevin L. Moore

     1 See The Text of the NT Part 1 and Part 2.
     2 The codex MS (61) “gives every appearance of having been produced expressly for the purpose of confuting Erasmus …. [and] had probably been written in Oxford about 1520 by a Franciscan friar named Froy (or Roy), who took the disputed words from the Latin Vulgate” (B. M. Metzger, The Text of the NT 88, 146).

Related Posts:

Image credit: http://www.thetextofthegospels.com/2016/08/hand-to-hand-combat-alexandrinus-vs.html