An Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture


An Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture

An Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture is a dissertation by the English mathematician and scholar Isaac Newton. First published in 1754, 27 years after Newton's death, it reviewed all the textual evidence available from ancient sources on two disputed Bible passages, at niv|1John|5:7|1 John 5:7 and niv|1Timothy|3:16|1 Timothy 3:16.

1 John 5:7

In the King James Version Bible, 1 John 5:7 reads:

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

Using the writings of the early Church Fathers, the Greek and Latin manuscripts and the testimony of the first versions of the Bible, Newton attempted to demonstrate that the words "in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one," in support of the Trinity doctrine, did not appear in the original inspired Greek Scriptures. He then traced the way in which the spurious reading crept into the Latin versions, first as a marginal note, and later into the text itself. He argued Fact|date=March 2007 that it was first taken into a Greek text in 1515 by Cardinal Ximenes on the strength of a late Greek manuscript corrected from the Latin. Finally, Newton considered the sense and context of the verse, concluding, "Thus is the sense plain and natural, and the argument full and strong; but if you insert the testimony of 'the Three in Heaven' you interrupt and spoil it."

1 Timothy 3:16

The shorter portion of Newton's dissertation was concerned with 1 Timothy 3:16, which reads (in the King James Version):

:"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

Newton argued that, by a small alteration in the Greek text, the word "God" was substituted to make the phrase read "God was manifest in the flesh." instead of "He was manifest in the flesh." He demonstrated that early Church writers in referring to the verse knew nothing of such an alteration.

ummary of both passages

Summing up both passages, Newton said: "If the ancient churches in debating and deciding the greatest mysteries of religion, knew nothing of these two texts, I understand not, why we should be so fond of them now the debates are over." In the two hundred years and more since that treatise was compiled by Isaac Newton, only a few minor corrections have been necessary to the evidence he adduced. Yet it was only in the nineteenth century that Bible translations appeared correcting these passages. Modern versions of the Bible usually omit 1 John 5:7, but some place it in a footnote, with a comment indicating that it is not found in the earliest manuscripts. Modern translations of 1 Timothy 3:16 usually omit "God".

Historical background

Newton did not publish these findings during his lifetime, likely due to the political climate. Those who wrote against the doctrine of the Trinity were subject to persecution in England. As late as 1698 the Act for the Suppression of Blasphemy and Profaneness made it an offense to deny one of the persons of the Trinity to be God, punishable with loss of office, employment and profit on the first occasion, and imprisonment for a repetition. Newton's friend William Whiston (translator of the works of Josephus) lost his professorship at Cambridge for this reason in 1711. In 1693 a pamphlet attacking the Trinity was burned by order of the House of Lords, and the next year its printer and author were prosecuted. In 1697 Thomas Aikenhead, an eighteen-year-old student charged with denying the Trinity, was hanged at Edinburgh, Scotland.

ee also

*Isaac Newton's religious views


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • An Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture — est un mémoire du polymathe britannique Isaac Newton. Publié pour la première fois en 1754, 27 ans après sa mort, il fait un compte rendu de toutes les critiques textuelles, disponibles alors, sur deux passages controversés de la Bible :… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Biblical inerrancy — is the conservative evangelical doctrinal position [ [http://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinalstatement/ Doctrinal Statement Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) ] ] that in its original form, the Bible is totally without error, and free from all… …   Wikipedia

  • Textual criticism — Carmina Cantabrigiensia, Manuscript C, folio 436v, 11th century Textual criticism (or lower criticism) is a branch of literary criticism that is concerned with the identification and removal of transcription errors in the texts of manuscripts.… …   Wikipedia

  • Isaac Newton — Sir Isaac Newton …   Wikipedia

  • Comma Johanneum — The Comma Johanneum is a comma (a short clause) in the First Epistle of John (1 John 5:7–8) according to the Latin Vulgate text as transmitted since the Early Middle Ages, based on Vetus Latina minority readings dating to the 7th… …   Wikipedia

  • Isaac Newton's occult studies — Isaac Newton (1643 ndash; 1727), the noted British scientist and mathematician, wrote many works that would now be classified as occult studies. These occult works explored chronology, alchemy, and Biblical interpretation (especially of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Timeline of Christianity — This article is about the timeline of Christianity beginning with Jesus. For the timeline, see Biblical chronology. For the history of Christianity, see History of Christianity. For the timeline of the Roman Catholic Church, see Timeline of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Isaac Newton's religious views — Sir Isaac Newton at 46 in Godfrey Kneller s 1689 portrait The life of Isaac Newton Early life Middle years Later life …   Wikipedia

  • Biblical preservation — is a doctrine stating that God is actively involved in preserving creation, Jerusalem and the Jewish people, the saints, and scripture.Preservation of CreationPreservation of Jerusalem and the JewsPreservation of the SaintsPreservation of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Ньютон, Исаак — У этого термина существуют и другие значения, см. Ньютон. Исаак Ньютон Isaac Newton …   Википедия


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.