Calvin on 1 Jn 5:7-8

From: Rodney J. Decker (
Date: Wed Oct 27 1999 - 07:43:53 EDT

In re. to the famous Johannine comma, someone pointed out to me recently
that "Calvin says it was in the best MSS in his day." (Implying, I suspect
[based on his follow up question], some sinister conspiracy that has
destroyed all those MSS since that time! :) So I checked Calvin's comm. on
the passage, and sure enough, he says: "as I see that it is found in the
best and most approved *copies,* I am inclined to receive it as the true
reading" (ad loc., my emphasis). Calvin's editor has a note that he
suspects Calvin to be referring to *printed editions,* not to Greek MSS
(1855 ed. by John Owen). That would certainly make sense given that it was
included in the 3d, 4th, & 5th editions of Erasmus and, so far as I know,
most (all?) the later editions based on Erasmus (Stephanus and Bezae at
least). So, my question: is the editor's suggestion a viable explanation?
Is there anything to be gained from checking the word that Calvin used in
his original (I presume, Latin? though it could have been French, I
suppose)? I.e., does the word the Owen translated as "copies" have a
technical reference? (This is, I suppose, best suited for the txt. crit.
list, but I'm not subscribed there, and it does relate to the Greek text.)

Thanks for any info,


Rodney J. Decker, Th.D. Baptist Bible Seminary
Assoc. Prof./NT PO Box 800, Clarks Summit, PA 18411
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