Biblical Criticism in Early Modern Europe: Erasmus, the Johannine Comma and Trinitarian Debate

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Cambridge University Press, Jul 27, 2016 - Religion
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Medieval western theologians considered the Johannine comma (1 John 5:7-8) the clearest biblical evidence for the Trinity. When Erasmus failed to find the comma in the Greek manuscripts he used for his New Testament edition, he omitted it. Accused of promoting Antitrinitarian heresy, Erasmus included the comma in his third edition (1522) after seeing it in a Greek codex from England, even though he suspected the manuscript's authenticity. The resulting disputes, involving leading theologians, philologists and controversialists such as Luther, Calvin, Sozzini, Milton, Newton, Bentley, Gibbon and Porson, touched not simply on philological questions, but also on matters of doctrine, morality, social order, and toleration. While the spuriousness of the Johannine comma was established by 1900, it has again assumed iconic status in recent attempts to defend biblical inerrancy amongst the Christian Right. A social history of the Johannine comma thus provides significant insights into the recent culture wars.
 

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Contents

Erasmus
13
The Johannine comma in sixteenthcentury bibles
56
Lutheran reactions to the dispute over the comma
62
English translations
69
Anabaptists Erasmus and the comma
86
Eastcentral European Antitrinitarians of the later sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
94
The comma in the Eastern Orthodox churches
111
Summary
115
David Martin and the rediscovery of Codex Montfortianus
228
Wells Mace Bengel Wettstein Bowyer Harwood
241
Johann Salomo Semler
255
Johann Jacob Griesbach
258
the appeal to pietism
260
Edward Gibbon George Travis Georg Gottlieb Pappelbaum Richard Porson and Herbert Marsh
266
Summary
276
The Johannine comma in the long nineteenth century
279

From Civil War to Enlightenment
117
The beginnings of the Socinian controversy in England
130
John Milton
134
Thomas Hobbes
136
Etienne de Courcelles and Jeremias Felbinger
138
Richard Simon and the development of the historicalcritical method
144
Thomas Smith
156
Isaac Newton a Bigot a Fanatique a Heretique
159
John Mill
181
William Whiston
186
Samuel Clarke
194
Thomas Emlyn
209
satire in the service of orthodoxy
214
between confidence and despair
218
The scientific study of Codex Montfortianus
283
Erasmus and English Unitarianism
287
Erasmus and the Johannine comma in the struggle for Catholic emancipation
291
Lachmann and Tischendorf
292
Renewed defence of the textus receptus
294
Westcott Hort and the Revised Version
296
The Johannine comma and the Catholic modernist crisis
300
Summary
311
Conclusion
312
translation of Erasmus annotations on the Johannine comma 15161535
315
Bibliography
323
Index
375
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About the author (2016)

Grantley McDonald is a postdoctoral fellow at the Universitt Wien, and leader of the research project he Court Chapel of Maximilian I: Between Art and Politics His research has been distinguished with prizes from the Australian Academy of the Humanities (Canberra) and the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation (Amsterdam). His recent work has focussed on print, religious radicalism and censorship.

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