Another Letter
written to a friend who had perused the two former Letters.

I have read over the two letters concerning the corruption of the texts of Iohn 5.7 & 1 Tim. 3.16, & am so far satisfied in the discourse that it has put me upon the curiosity of enquiring whether the like corruptions, may not have happened in other places & upon search I find reason to suspect a great many more places of this kind then I expected. I have subjoyned a short account of them, {& I} should be glad to have your opinion of the matter.

Hincmarus &c –

To the end of the letter add.

By the Ethiopic Version I find that the text Philip 2.6 was anciently understood in another sense then what is now put upon it: which makes me suspect that some of the other Versions have been tampered with. ffor the Ethiopic runs thus Qui eam fuit vultus Dei, non abripuit ei qui fuit Deus, & that the Greek is to be understood in this sense I beleive the following considerations will convince you.

3dly, ἰσα put absolutely with a dative case after it is used not for an adjective of equality but always for an adverb of similitude signifying the same thing with ὡσπερ, sicut, instar. ffor in this sense tis used twelve times in the booke of Iob & never in any other.

4. ἐιναι ἰσα θεω & ἐιναι ἰσα θὲον are phrases of like signification & in the ancient greek language signified nothing more then the {illeg} phrases were sometimes applied to {illeg} & then signified {illeg}


[1] sometimes they were applied to men after death & then signified their being honoured with an ἀποθέοσις & divine worship consequent thereto. So Homer of – τορὴν τε λελόγχασιν γαρ ισα θεοω honorem consecuti sunt instar Deorum.

5. Τὸ ἐιναι ἰσα θεω therefore in the language of St Paul signifies nothing else then the being honoured with divine worship. ffor he {useth} it for the name above every name that name at which every knee should bow. ffor he saith that Christ assumed not τὸ ἐιναι ἰσα θεω the being honoured as God but emptied & humbled himself & therefore God exalted him & gave him a name above every name that at the name of Iesus every knee should bow.

1 ἁρπαγμὸν signifies not the action of robbery but the prey, as is manifest by its being joyned by apposition in the same case with τὸ ἐιναι ἰσα θεω & also by the consent of the Greek commentators

2. ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσεσθαι, prædam ducere, signifies to look upon any thing with a desire of taking it. So Tully, Omnium bona prædam suam duxit. And Heliodorus[2] of a youth who resisted the temptation of a young woman, saith οὐχ᾽ ἅρπαγμα, οὔδε ἑρμαιον ηγηιται τὸ πραγμα he counts not this thing a prey & an unexpected gain. And in another place[3] speaking of a thing not easy to be obteined he saith οὐχ ἅρπαγμα τὸ πραγμα The thing is not a prey. So Thucydides somewhere

And Grotius[4] informs us that the Syrians (in whose style the Apostles writ) used the phrase in the same sense: Now that St Paul uses the phrase in this sense is plain by the opposition which is put between the phrase & εκένοτεν {illeg} by meanes of the words ἀλλα Ουχ᾽ {illeg} εκένοτεν ἑαυτον he did not count {illeg} which he had not, but on the contrary {emptied} himself of what he had.


Let the interpretation here given {illeg} confirmed by history. ffor Christ was not worshipped under the {law} {illeg} his incarnation & passion humbled himself & therefore God exalted him & gave him a name above every name that at the name of Iesus every knee should bow.

[1] τόν νυν ἰσα θεω Ιακησιοι ορο{illeg}ς

[2] Heliod Æthiop. Hist l 9.

[3] ib lib 4

[4] Grot. in h. l.

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Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

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Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL - newtonproject@history.ox.ac.uk

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