The Angst Caused by a Comma…

April 25th, 2012 § Leave a Comment

If  you’re Catholic you were brought up to believe the Trinity is as part and parcel to christianity as Jesus is to the cross.  Most other denominations also hold the Trinity as part of the core  pillars of  faith. But was it always so?

The only relevant passage in the current edition of the Bible is 1 John 5:7-8 which reads in the King James Edition:

7For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

8And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

Sounds pretty cut and dried. Sort of.

First issue is this isn’t a Jesus quote, and not a burning-bush quote. This is a doctrinal commentary by the author of 1-John, presumably the Apostle John.  You’d think that if the Trinity concept was key to Christianity, Jesus would have said so, clearly, and distinctly.  None of the other patriarchs make clear and direct reference (Abraham? Silent. Moses? Silent…)

Secondly, the KJV is the authoritative English translation coming to us in the 1600s, translated from the Greek texts. Only, it doesnt appear in the Greek texts until the 1500s. Ouch. Not there. Never was. Big ouch. The inclusion of this passage in the 1500s caused quite a controversy (the Comma Johanneum) – surely heads were broken and families destroyed over this slight-of-hand.

There are raging debates today whether or not this passage did or did-not exist in some Latin variants prior to the 1500s.

Overall, it seems like pretty weak documentation for a fundamental cornerstone of a christian’s view of the nature of the “god-head”. No serious direct references to the concept exists prior to Jesus, Jesus himself doesnt talk about the new three-party system, and the only passage that seems to support the three-party system has fundamental credibility issues.

Politics 101.

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