About the Comma Johanneum

Comma JohanneumDr. James White – About the Comma Johanneum:

I commented on a post earlier today on my phone regarding the insertion into the Greek text of line, ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσὶν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, ὁ πατήρ, ὁ λόγος, καὶ τὸ Ἅγιον, or, if you prefer, I have attached an image of Codex Montfortianus’ rendering, which seems to have been quite central in the insertion of this material into 1 John.
Those who promote the TR (NOT those who promote the Byzantine Text Platform—Dr. Maurice Robinson, for example does not believe the Comma original, and you will search in vain for it in his GNT—in fact, if the ET guys wish to defend the indefensible, they now get to contradict themselves: if they want to defend the Pericope Adulterae based upon Greek manuscripts “used by the church,” those exact Greek manuscripts do NOT contain the Comma) have come up with a whole group of arguments in its defense. All of them, of course, have been answered many times over the years, but I want to focus upon the most obvious issue here.

There simply is no textual critical methodology to TROism. Well, I guess there is: if it is in the TR, it is true, if it isn’t, it isn’t. But the why and the how—there’s nothing there. And the defense of the Comma proves that this is not a textual critical theory but a tradition, plain and simple.

And here’s how I prove it: name me a SINGLE other text where you use the SAME textual critical argumentation to defend its appearance in the biblical text. You see, if you go back to Erasmus and use his TC position, you won’t have the Comma, because he knew it was not original, included a lengthy note in the Annotations on the issue, etc. So, his own TC theory did not support the insertion (it was inserted under pressure, as everyone knows). If Erasmus had not caved to that pressure, or, if he had been just a little less acerbic as a scholar, no one might have bothered to write out an entire manuscript (such as Montfortianus) to confute him. And you wouldn’t have the Comma in your KJV or your TR, and we would have more time to lament the judgment plainly seen in having Clinton and Trump as the only two viable Presidential candidates in the US. But, Erasmus was that acerbic, and the codex was written, and so we get to discuss it. James-White23

But here’s the point: there are ALL SORTS of readings found in the Latin tradition that have patristic support, for example. So, IF the argumentation presented in the comments here in the Pub are to be taken seriously, then those making those arguments SHOULD be inserting THOSE texts into the TR as well, right? Well, no, of course not, because they are not even TRYING to be consistent and could totally and could not care LESS about readings in the Latin text that are unknown in the Greek text. They do not even THINK about the mess they are introducing to the field by alleging that entire, deeply theological texts, can disappear from the Greek manuscript tradition FOR A MILLENNIUM only to be found in other traditions (yeah, so much for the ET argument, huh?) So, how about unique readings in the Coptic, or Syriac translations? Shall we start inserting these as well? Oh, but, see, they do not even give a second thought to these issues because consistent textual critical practice is NOT their goal or even their interest. Their goal is to defend the TR, period, end of discussion. Who cares if all meaningfully consistent textual critical practice has to be thrown out the window? Our ultimate goal is to get folks to agree with our tradition (TROism) so it doesn’t matter, even if that involves our using fully contradictory methods (as has been seen here in the Pub just over the past few months—go back and look at what was posted in defense of the Pericope Adulterae). Someone has said inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument. And indeed, such is the truth. And when you find Reformed folks promoting such traditionalism, well—that’s an inconsistency of great weight and import.