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Yielding to the Prejudices of His Times

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Erasmus and the Comma Johanneum

In 1516, Desiderius Erasmus published the first Greek New Testament. Almost immediately, it became embroiled in controversy and Erasmus was accused of heresy because of critical decisions he made about the text. The most controversial was his decision to not include 1John 5,7, the so-called Comma Johanneum, which was used as a defense of the Trinity. This essay examines the ways in which Erasmus attempted to protect himself and his New Testament from heresy charges as he revised it for its second edition. Then, it offers a further contextualization for why those attempts failed. Erasmus reinserted 1John 5,7 in his third edition.

Affiliations: 1: Baylor University, Waco, TX


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