Potamius of Lisbon writes of heavenly witnesses (1 John 5:7) verse, to Athanasius

Potamius of Lisbon, in the mid-4th century, involved in the Arian controversies, repeatedly referenced the heavenly witnesses verse. Potamius was writing of "the three are one", from the writings of John, in the direct context of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Recently discovered for our analysis, although first published in 1908.)

1 John 5:7 (AV)
For there are three that bear record in heaven,
the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost:
and these three are one.

We have four extant uses from Potamius:
Epistula ad Athanasium 1x
Epistula de substantia Patris et Filii et Spiritus sancti 3x

And there was correspondence between Athanasius and Potamius,in both directions. There is a work Disputatio contra Arium which has a strong allusion to the verse by Athanasius.

These four references from Potamius should help eliminate any idea that the verse was not circulating in Bibles during the Arian controversies of the 4th century.

And those who over-emphasize Priscillian with the verse in their scholarly papers should be rewriting their sections. Since Priscillian was about 20 years after Potamius. Plus this is yet another Old Latin evidence (one of many), predating the Vulgate, confirming other Old Latin references using the heavenly witnesses like Cyprian in the Unity of the Church.

With thanks to the new book The Witness of God is Greater, which brought forth the translations of the sections of the four quotes. And it is rather amazing that this has not been brought into the public heavenly witnesses research and study until 2021. e.g Nothing from Raymond Brown. And Grantley McDonald has only a bibliographic index to the Athanasius letter of Potamius.

More information, including quotes and Potamius background, is at:

Pure Bible Forum
Potamius of Lisbon

This can also help explain why the verse was dodgy for various doctrinal viewpoints, including the Orthodox, and the writers might prefer to use the manuscripts with only the earthly witnesses.
Jerome described this dynamic of scribes preferring to drop the text in his Prologue to the Canonical Epistles.

Steven Avery
Dutchess County, NY, USA