Pro and Con: John 7:53-8:11

Discussion in 'The Gospels & Acts' started by py3ak, Aug 29, 2014.

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  1. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    What are the best treatments of the authenticity of John 7:53-8:11 and its appropriate placement within the Gospel of John? I'd prefer links to online sources, but I can also consult some books. I wish to understand the best case for and against.
  2. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

  3. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    One of the most beautiful, and loved passages in the Gospels. The "Bible Rrsearch" site has an informative overview of scholarly thought on the passage ;

    The Story of the Adulteress
  4. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Do you hear the Voice of your Good Shepherd when you encounter these lines?

    That, it seems to me, is the fundamental question; more significant than any history of transmission, or questions of location (not unimportant issues).

  5. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Bruce, the problem with that question you ask is that it is based on man's thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc. that can err. It is a valid question, though shouldn't be the foundational question.
  6. SeanAnderson

    SeanAnderson Puritan Board Freshman

    Does it matter if a passage is not 'original' (if John actually did not write it) or not in the 'correct' location?

    This does not necessarily mean such a passage is not inspired.

    The Holy Spirit defines truth and the Church has received it.

    I am not against textual criticism, but these verses are still supported by very early manuscripts, have been instrumental in preaching since the Church's beginnings and reflect the true character of Christ. Even if they were 'inserted' by an author other than John, it is not after all John's authorship which makes his gospel canonical, but the Holy Spirit himself. Is there a good reason to remove them?
  7. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    The only reason to 'remove' them is if they are not inspired by God, which actually means they were never there and so they shouldn't be removed. That's only if they are not inspired by God.
  8. SeanAnderson

    SeanAnderson Puritan Board Freshman

    I know Calvin is not infallible, but he wrote these words in his commentary:

  9. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    No, Andrew, I don't agree.

    Why do we accept the Bible we have? Is it entirely on the basis of the authority and wisdom of some earlier collators, and now we simply accept what they preserved for us? Are we subtle Romanists on the question of canon?

    We have not only the privilege of discerning our Lord's Voice, and that in the well-worn channels of the limits of the well-established (after 2000yrs) NT canon. We have the DUTY to listen carefully for the familiar intonations of Jesus voice conveyed to us by Holy Spirit in Scripture, to gasp with Mary Magdalene, "Rabboni!" when we recognize it.

    We ultimately recognize Scripture for what it is, not because we have inherited something from the past, but because we meet the divine Son himself in his Word.

    I, for one, will not abdicate my mature discernment to the opinions of "experts," many of whom are not even believers (no matter how practically reliable their overall ability, or pure their intention). Why should a group of modern scholars--them not especially cognizant of standing in a long historic line of men equally dedicated to accuracy in transmission--determine for me that I should begin with suspicion of Jn.7:53-8:11 as coming from the Spirit of Christ; when 40-50 generations of my fathers heard Him very well in those same words? Perhaps even decline to share that testimony with me?

    So no, the foundational matter is not critical scholarship, history of transmission, etc. Those matters are supplemental to faith. Jn.7:53-8:11 is perhaps a "test case" for us, to see whether we are a bit more "traditional" rather than "faithful" in such things?

    You and I could possibly disagree on the precise words or meaning of a passage, but still agree that it is the Word. Or, we could possibly disagree on whether some verse or verses is actually present as the Voice of the Lord; in which case, the one who dissents must avoid preaching a text where he thinks Christ does not speak. Thankfully, we should still be in agreement as to faith in the true Word as source of authority.

    We know it is the Word of God "because it is the Word of God."
  10. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    Hendriksen takes a very balanced look at this passage in his commentary on John. It is well worth the read if you have access to it.
  11. kainos01

    kainos01 Puritan Board Senior

    While not online, the commentaries on John's Gospel by Morris, Ridderbos, and Beasley-Murray were particularly helpful to me in a study on the "pericope adulterae."
  12. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    The weakness pointed out in this article undermines the probability of the thesis. It must be proved that there was a "motive" for the interpolation in order to give credibility to a case for interpolation. The failure to provide any example from the early Christian tradition makes the thesis one of pure conjecture. In other cases, e.g., the variant "Jesus Barabbas," there are specific statements by the fathers which show a level of concern over the variant reading.
  13. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    I found a very interesting hypothisis, by a student of Daniel Wallace, who finds evidence of a first century date to the source, perhaps oral tradition, of the pericope adulterae. Also, as is I suppose is common knowledge amongst Greek scholars, the structure and syntax resembles that of Luke quite a bit, and of John very little. Academic Archives | Early Christian Archives ( If the links are followed from the two 'layman's articles to the PDF, there is a lot of food for thought.
  14. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    See the JETS article referenced earlier for a reply.
  15. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    Thank you Reverend Winzer. The evidence of the 'explanatory phrase' in 8:6 definitely casts doubt on the Lukan hypothesis.
  16. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Thank you all. It looks like there is some very good material available for digestion.
  17. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    On the Pericope adulterae Scrivener says it is absent from too many excellent copies to have been present in some of the earliest, yet since it is consistent with the scriptural passage, it's possible John wrote this to be added later, and it was appended at the end of some of the existing copies and inserted into this place later. After enumerating problems with the inclusion of this passage, Scrivener adds:

    (from "Introduction to Criticism of the New Testament")

    I think this view is fair, while being reverently cautious about excising something.

    Rev Winzer posted a link to Bible-researcher's posting of Hills' defense of it. Hills' defense is in the minority on that site, with the main page being here:
  18. MichaelNZ

    MichaelNZ Puritan Board Freshman

    Our pastor preached on this passage last year. He told me that he believes that the passage does belong in Scripture, but not necessarily in John.

    I know that some manuscripts place the pericope adulterae after Luke 24:53. John 8:12 also seems to fit right in with John 7:52.

    James White stated that if he was doing expository preaching through the Gospel of John, when he got to this passage he would preach a sermon on textual criticism and then continue from 8:12. He states that because it is found in a variety of places, that casts doubt on its authenticity.
  19. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

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