Concerning the Latin MSS now extant these things are to be observed. 1 That the vulgar Latin now in use is not the Vulgar Latin but Ierome's Version & therefore his Prefaces – where they are extant are usually found in the MSS prefaced to the sacred books: that also, to the canonical Epistles is extant in one of {illeg} so that the authority of the present vulgar Latin for justifying the testimony of the three in heaven {resolves} it self into Ieroms' authority. 2 That this Version was not an entirely new one, but a new edition of the old vulgar Latin with various corrections made by Ierome & therefore tis not to be wondred if the testimony of the three in heaven hath amongst the rest of his corrections crept into the text. 3 That the MSS which are not above 400 or 500 years old usually have this testimony, but those which are older usually want it & therefore it has crept in by degrees, & was not generally received by the Latins till the disputing age of the schoolmen blew it about. 4 That it is wanting not only in those old MSS which want that Preface but also in the greatest part of those old ones which have it: & therefore the first ages which received Ieromes edition with his Prefaces were averse from receiving the testimony of the three in heaven in the text till the said Preface to the Canonical Epist. (which is found in almost all the old & therefore was first received) began to give it credit. 5 That this testimony of the 3 in h. in some of those old MSS. which have it not in the text is found noted in the margin in another hand & therefore it crept first into the margins of the books by the authority of the said Preface, & then in transcribing the books {illeg} the margins into the text.


Tis agreed that the Latines, after Ieromes Edition began to be received noted out of it his corrections of the Vulgar Latin in the margins of their books & these the transcribers afterwars inserted into the text. By this means the old Latin has been so generally corrected that it is no where to be found sincere. Tis Ierome that we now read & not the old vulgar Latin & what wonder if in Ierome we read the testimony of the three in heaven? For who that inserted the rest of Ierome into the text would easily leave out such a passage for the Trinity as this is now taken to be? And yet as the Latines of Ieromes age received it not but taxed him with falsification of the scriptures for inserting it so those of the next ages were so averse to it that it was a long time before it crept into any competent number of their books & may be recconed one of the last of his corrections which they received. Yet at length by the authority of his Preface it crept by degrees into the margins of their books as the rest of his corrections had done before & thence into the text where we now find it. Yet I can scarce think with F. Simon that it had no other original but from that Preface. ffor the words in cælo & in terra are not in the Preface & therefore were not borrowed from thence but from Ieromes correction of the text or at least corrections which some ffalsary had made in one or more books to put about this reading. Lastly it is to be observed that the reading of this text in ancient MSS is very various and uncertain. For this is a most infallible signe that the text has been tampered with & that those who first inserted this testimony knew of no certain authentick reading which they were to follow, but noted it in the margins of their books in such various forms of words as they thought conformable either to Ieromes correction of the text or to his Preface or to such marginal notes as they had seen in other books & that sometimes without designing to make it part of the text & then the transcribers by these marginal notes corrected the text some one way some another according to the best of their judgments. For as this testimony in some old MSS which want it in the text, is found noted in the margin in another hand so in others the various readings in the text are such as ought to result by transcribing it out of the margins I shall only mention the three or four following varieties. 1 Of the MSS which have not the testimony – – – – – – – – 3dly The testimony of the three in heaven in some of the old MSS which have it, was set before that of the three in earth, as we now read it, but in the far greatest part of them it was set after. Which seems to have proceeded from hence that it was sometimes so noted in the margin that the reader or transcriber knew not whether it were to come before or after & that in Ieromes Preface it was set after. ffor this Preface <118r> {being} in most of their books was always ready at hand to be consulted by all those who wrote it either in the margin or in the text, & therefore would be apt to make them set it after.

Now that the MSS are such as we have here described will appear by the account which learned men have given of those they have consulted. Erasmus in describing seven old ones besides that followed in the Badian Edition tels us that this testimony was wanting in five & in the Badian & set after the spirit water & blood in the other two & that in one of the five it was noted in the margin in a newer hand. His words are: In codice qui mihi suppeditatus est e Bibliotheca Minoritarum Antuerpiensium in margine scholium erat ascriptum de testimonio patris verbi et spiritus sed manu recentiore ut consentaneum sit hoc adjectum ab erudito quopiam qui noluerit hanc particulam prætermitti, quandoquidem nec in æditione Badiana ulla sit mentio patris filij et spiritus sancti – Duos consului codices miræ vetustatis Latinos in Bibliotheca quæ Brugis est {bimi} 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. In exemplari Constantiensi utroque post testimonium aquæ sanguinis et spiritus adjectum erat testimonum patris verbi et spiritus, his verbis, sicut in cælo tres sunt pater verbum et spiritus et tres unum sunt. Nec erat additum testimonium dant nec pronomen hi. In codice quem exhibuit publica bibliotheca Scholæ Basiliensis non erat testimonium spiritus aquæ et sanguinis. Adhæc Paulus Bombasius vir doctus et integer meo rogatu locum hunc ad verbum descripsit ex Bibliothecæ Vaticanæ codice pervetusto in quo non habebatur, testimonium patris verbi et spiritus. Si movet authoritas vetustatis, liber erat antiquissimus, si Pontificis ex illius bibliotheca petitum est testimonium. Thus far Erasmus in h. l. Peter Cholinus notes in the margin of his latin edition of the scriptures printed A.C. 1543 & 1544 that it was wanting in the most ancient MS of the Tigurine library Hessalius in his commentary on the first Epistle of Iohn tells us that the MS of St Peters Church in Lovane sets the testimony in heaven after that in earth reading the text thus Tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terra spiritus aqua et sanguis et tres sunt qui testimonium dant in cælo pater verbum et spiritus et tres unum sunt. And this reading he preferrs. Dr Gilbert Burnet in the first letter of his travelles tells us that Ieromes Preface to the Canonical Epistles was in all the MSS ancient & modern of those Bibles that he ever saw & gives us an account how in consulting eight very ancient MSS he found it in all of them but one & the testimony of the three in heaven was wanting in five of these eight MSS & set after that of the spirit water & blood in the other three & in two of the five he found it noted in the margin in another hand. One of these was at Zurich & seemed to him to be about 800 years old because <118v> written in a hand which began to be used in Charles the great's time. Another was at Basil of the same antiquity & in both these Ieromes Preface was extant but the testimony of father word & holy spirit was wanting. At Strasburg he saw 4 very ancient MSS of the new Testament in latin. Three of these seemed to be about the time of Charles the great & so above 800 years old but the 4th seemed to be much ancienter & might belong to the seventh century. In it neither the Prologue nor the place was extant but it was added at the foot of the page in another hand. In two of the other the Prologue is extant but the place is not: only in one of them it is added in the margin. In the fourth as the Prologue is extant so is the place, but it comes after the verse of the other three & is joyned to it thus sicut tres sunt in cælo. In the old MS Bible of Geneva which seemed to be above 700 years old & also in a MS latin Bible in the Library of St Laurence of fflorence both St Ieromes Preface & the passage are extant, but this passage comes after that of the other three contrary to the received reading & in that of fflorence is pinned to it with a sicut as in that at Strasburg, but sicut is not in the Geneva MS. These are the 8 old MSS consulted by Dr Burnet besides a 9th which he saw in St Marks library in Venice in three languages Greek Latin & Arabick that seemed not above 400 years old in which this passage was not in the Greek, but it was in the Latin set after that of the other three with a sicut.

F. Simon who had searched divers old MSS tells us that the Preface to the Canonical Epistles ascribed to Ierom is found with other Prefaces & such Latin Copies as have been made not above six hundred years ago: but in those which were written above 7 or 800 years ago he saith it is extant in some few only of such copies & instances in three such old copies which want it & yet he adds that the addition of the testimony of the three in heaven is not in most of those old copies of Ieromes Bible to which the Preface is prefixt & tells us of two copies of this kind one in the King's Library & the other in Mr Colbert's. He observes also that this addition is placed in the margin of most of those ancient copies in the body of which it is not extant. For in that copy of the Kings library marked 3584 in the margin over against these words, Tres sunt qui testimonium dant there are these other words added In cælo Pater Verbum et Spiritus & tres sunt qui testimonium dant in Terra & hi tres unum sunt: & the writing of this addition appears to be no less ancient then that text. The like addition is to be {seen} in the copy in Monr Colberts library marked 158, where in the margin over against these words tres sunt qui testimonium dant, these are added {in c}ælo pater Verbum et Spiritus. Et tres sunt qui testimonium dant in {terr}a, sanguis aqua et caro: & to make the text & addition agreeable, there are some of the words of the text amended or put out. <119r> There is {nothing} of this Addition to be {read} {illeg} copies of the library belonging to the Benedictines of the Abby of S. {Germans} {illeg}{er}ly it is placed in the margin of one of these copies & the {Addition} is as old as the text it self. Yet it is extant in a fourth copy in the same Library written eight hundred years ago in the time of Lotharius II but in an inverted order & strangely disfigured. ffor in that copy the reading was formerly thus Sunt tres qui testimonium dant (the words in terrà being interlined) spiritus aqua et sanguis; & tres unum sunt: & tres sunt qui de cælo testificantur pater verbum & spiritus et tres unum sunt. But some time afterwards the words de cælo testificantur were defaced to make room for these testimonium dicunt in cælo. And thus far F. Simon.

Lucas Brugensis tells us that in an ancient book which he calls C{orollari}um & which he saith conteins an accurate & elaborate collation of ancient MSS of the scriptures, this Addition is noted to be wanting in the greek MSS & in the ancient Latine ones. Lucas himself collating many Latine MSS notes it wanting in only five, that is in the few old ones he had: for his MSS were almost all of them new ones. [1] ffor he praises the Codex Lobiensis written A.C. 1084 & the Codex Tornacensis written A.C. 1105 as most ancient & venerable for antiquity & used others much more new of which a great number was easily had such as was his Codex Buslidianus written A.C. 1432, that is but 8 years before the invention of printing. Lucas tells us also that such books & authors as want the testimony of the 3 in heaven usually want the particle in terra, thô not always that the words hi tres unum a[2] sunt, were wanting in 15 of his MSS after the spirit water & blood tho both in old Authors & MSS they are usually extant there. He mentions also one of his MSS which had the testimony of the three in heaven set after that of the other three, which he saith is all one as if it were wanting.

The Lateran Council collected under Innocent the third A.C. 1215 can. 2 mentions Ioachim the Abbot quoting the texts in these words: Quoniam in canonica Ioannis Epistola legitur, Quia tres sunt qui testimonium dant in cælo Pater & Verbum et Spiritus et hi tres unum sunt statimque subjungitur, et tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terra spiritus aqua et sanguis et tres unum sunt sicut in codicibus quibusdam invenitur. This was writ by Ioachim in the Papacy of Alexander the 3d that is {in} or before the year 1180 & therefore this reading was then got but into some books. ffor the words sicut in codicibus quibusdam invenitur refer as well to the first words of Ioachim Quoniam in Canonica Ioannis Epistola legitur as to the next statimque subjungitur; & more to the first then to the next because the first part of the citation was then but in some books as appears by ancient MSS but the second part was in almost all the words tres unum sunt being in all the books which want <119v> the testimony of the three in heaven & in most of those which have it, tho afterwards left out in many when branded by the Schoolmen for Arian. So then till Ioachim the Abbot set the schoolmen upon disputing about the Trinity this Addition crept but into some MSS & the most wanted it.

But to go to the original of the corruption, [3] Gregory the great writes that Ierome's Version was in use in his time & therefore no wonder if the testimony of the three in heaven began to be cited out of it before. Eugenius bishop of Carthage in the seventh year of Hunneric king of the Vandals A.C. 484, in the summary of his faith exhibited to that king, cited it the first of any man so far as I can find: but whether he read the testimony of the three in heaven before or after that of the other three is uncertain. A while after ffulgentius another African bishop disputing against the same Vandals cited it again & backt it with the forementioned place of Cyprian applied to the testimony of the three in heaven. And so its probable that by that abused authority of Cyprian it began first in Afric in the disputes with the ignorant Vandals to get some credit, & thence at length crept into Europe. It occurs also in Vigelius Tapsensis another African Bishop contemporary to Fuglentius. In its defense some allege earlier writers, namely the first Epistle of Pope Hyginus, the first Epistle of Pope Iohn II, the book of Idacius Clarus against Varimadus & the book de unita Deitate Trinitatis ascribed to Athanasius. But Chiffletius who published the works of Victor Vitensis & Vigilius Tapsensis together, sufficiently proves the book against Varimadus to be this Vigilius's & erroneously ascribed to Idacius. To the same Vigilius he asserts also the book de unita Deitate Trinitatis. Certainly Athanasius was not its Author. All the Epistle of Hyginus except the beginning & end, & the first part of the epistle of Pope Iohn wherein the testimony of the three in heaven is cited are nothing else then fragments of the book against Varimadus, described word for word by some forger of Decretal Epistles, as may appear by comparing them.


So then Eugenius & his bishops are the first upon record who cite the Addition & they began first to cite it in their controversies with the ignorant Vandals about 60 years after Ierome's death. From Afric it past into Europe & there crept silently & slowly into MSS during all the dark ages that is for six hundred years together, there being in all that time no controversies about the Trinity to turn mens eyes upon it & spread it faster. But at length in the 12th & 13th Centuries when learning began to revive, S. Bernard, the Schoolmen Ioachim & the Lateran Council by their Sermons, disputes & definitions made it known to all men & gave it credit. In the dark ages it crept not into one half of the MSS & in those which had it the reading is so various & uncertain that its plain there was then no certain authentick reading received. But when learning revived & new disputes about the Trinity were raised the reading which learned men followed in those disputes prevailed above the rest & became generally received. ffor this is plain by the change then made in the order of the testimonies in heaven & earth. For the Africans in their disputes with the Vandals set the Addition of the three in heaven after the testimony of the spirit water & blood as I gather out of Vigilius Tapsensis advo Varimadum c. 5 where it is set after: & the same order was also followed in the dark ages {in} almost all the MSS which have this Addition as is plain by the account we have given of those MSS above. But about 500 years ago the Schoolmen & Ioachim in their new disputes about the Trinity followed the contrary reading which sets the Addition before the spirit water & blood {&} this reading by the authority which it received from them & the Lateran Council has crept into <120v> all the later MSS & is now become generally received as if it were of Apostolick authority. And thus much concerning the original of this Addition in the Latin

In the next place – – –


For all the known MSS & particularly those in the Kings {illeg} library {illeg} which omit the words εν τω ουραν{ω} {illeg} the next words ὁ πατὴρ καὶ ὁ λόγος καὶ τὸ ἅγιον πνευμά

– and the seven at Oxford viz Roe's, Laud's & the {Barneian} MSS in {the Bod}leian Library, collated by Dr Mills that | {One} in New College, that | one in Magdalen College (both very old) {that} in Lincoln College, & five at Cambridge one in Christ's College & four brought out of Greece & collated by Dr Covil {and} by Dr Mills. The very same reading have also the three MSS of Mons {Petavius} Gachon a Senator of Paris whose various Lections collated by his son Iohn Gachon were printed in the Oxford Edition of the new Testament A.C. 1675. The same reading have also five | seven MSS in the K of France's library & five in Colberts consulted by P. Simon. The same reading is also is in the MS brought out of Greece by D. Huntington, & in two MS at Basil & in the Codex Leicestrensis & the Codex Genevensis.

The history of the corruption in short is this. ffirst Tertullian & his followers the Latines interpreted the spirit water & blood – – – both {illeg}

The arguments alleged for the Testimonies of the three in heaven are the Authorities of Tertullian Cyprian Athanasius & Ierome & many Greek Manuscripts & almost all the Latine ones.

Tertullians words run thus. Cæterum, inquit, de meo sumet [Paracletus] sicut ipse de Patris: ita connexus Patris in filio & ffilij in Paracleto tres {efficit} cohærentes, alterum ex altero. Qui tres unum sunt, non unus; quomodo dictum est Ego et Pater unum sumus; ad substantiæ unitatem non ad numeri singularitatem. By his using the words son & Paraclete which are not in the text & {quoting} the words Ego et Pater unum sumus to illustrate the words tres unum sunt, I conclude that he applied the words tres unum sunt to the father son & Paraclete by way of interpretation. And hence Cyprian who studied the writings of Tertullian & called him his Master, writes in this manner. The Lord saith I & the father am one & again of the ffather son & holy Ghost it is written: And these three are one.

The Socinians here deale too injuriously – – –

Stephens has indeed put a comma after ἐν τω οὐρανω as if only those words were wanting in his 7 MSS: but there is no MS extant where those words alone are wanting. The whole 7th vers is wanting in all MSS. ffour of Stephens 7 MSS were in the King of ffrance's Library & P. Simon found all the 7th vers wanting in all the 7 MSS consulted by him in thatthat Library: & therefore the comma {is} by mistake set after οὐρανω & should have been set the end of the vers

So then this interpretation seems to have been invented by the Montanists for giving countenance to their Trinity: for Tertullian was a Montanist when he wrote this.

Cyprian tho not a Montanist, yet admired & studied Tertullians writings & called him his Master, & seems to have followed him in the interpretation of the text. ffor he {illeg} this Text in such a manner as if he had been just reading Tertullian, & was imitating him. His words are these.

And so its probable that it began first in Afric & by consequence that some of those Africans who received the interpretation of Tertullian & Cyprian first noted it in the margin of their books, as it is found noted in the margins of some old {books} still extant, & that in copying after those Books some Scribes began to insert it into {texts} {illeg} written before the days of Eugenius, ffulgentius, & Vigilius & being got into texts of some books it soon began to be quoted, & was first quoted by Eugenius in his disputes with the ignorant Vandals, & from the Books of the Africans & Ieroms Version {by degrees} crept into the Books of the Europeans.

It occurs also frequently in Vigilius Tapsensis another African Bishop contemporary {with ffulgen}tius. And so its probable that it began first in Afric & by consequence that some of those Africans – – – – – Europeans.

In its defense


Then some Latines who {read} either Tertullians {works} or Ieromes Version noted it in the margins of their Books, whence it crept into the text of some new Manuscripts, by transcribing. About the year of Christ {illeg} it was cited by Eugenius Bishop of Carthage against the Vandals, but {it got} not much into the text till the 12th & following Centuries when – – –

The pretence that the Arians corrupted this text being ridiculous, Dr Mills in his Notes on this Text rejects it & supposes that it was not corrupted by the Gnosticks {&} Basilides Saturninus Valentinus Marcion and others {tho hereticks} of the same {illeg} {ones} with this long before the Arian controversy began] either by the Arians {or} ancienter hereticks, but was casually omitted by the {Scribes} in the first ages of {illeg} so as to be wanting in all the MSS written about an hundred years before the days of Tertullian & Cyprian, & even in those copies which were followed in the ancient Versions {illeg} Whence it came to be wanting in the old vulgar Latin, the Syriac the Coptic and other Versions. And that Tertullian & Cyprian {at length met} with an old authentic copy or two in which it was extant and {ancient} books to be copied from thence which remained in the Churches of {Afric} but were not much taken notice of nor multiplied till 80 or 100 years after the death of Cyprian, but began to abound in Afric before the dispute between Eugenius & the Vandals, & were thence propagated {into} the rest of the Latine Churches.

So then the testimony of the three in heaven was generally wanting in the first ages of Christianity & does not appear to have been extant in any one copy before the heat of the Athanasian controversy was over. ffor that Tertullian or Cyprian saw it in {some} Greek copy is an hypothesis without any proof & tis not probable that they did {for} they were Latines & interpreted the water spirit & blood of the Trinity.

Then the Africans began to note the interpretation in the margins of their books. And at length in copying these books began to transcribe it out of the margin into the text. In the {fourth or} the fift century to {illeg} it against the Vandals. And from the MSS of Afric it crept into the MSS of Europe. Some {illeg} {and Ierome inserted} it into his Version {so that from thence} it came into the Vulgar Latin. But it crept not much into the text of the European MSS till the twelfth & following centuries when disputing was revived by the Schoolmen. And when printing came up – – – – on both sides.

Hon. Sr

This Gentleman the Bearer, was the sole {illeg}

[1] Luc. Brug in calce annot.

[2] a Matth. Paris. l. Hist. ann. 1179.

[3] See Walton's Proleg. 10. § 5.

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Professor Rob Iliffe
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