John 7:53-8:11

"And every man went unto his own house. Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."

Among textual critics, this passage is designated "Pericope De Adultera" and refers to the woman caught in the act of adultery. The passage has long been questioned as genuine and is omitted in a great number of manuscripts. It is, of course, removed from Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, as well as L, N, T, W, X, Y DELTA, THETA, PSI, 053, and 0141 among the uncial manuscripts. It is also missing from several of the minuscules manuscripts; 22, 33, 157, 209, 565, 1230, 1241, 1242, 1253, and 2193.

However, the passage is in numerous uncials, including Codex D (Bazae Cantabrigiensis), G, H, K, M, U, and GAMMA. Among the minuscule/cursive manuscripts it is in 28, 700, 892, 1009, 1010, 1071, 1079, 1195, 1216, 1344, 1365, 1546, 1646, 2148, and 2174. It also is in early translations such as the Bohairic Coptic Version, the Syriac Palestinian Version and the Ethiopic Version, all of which date from the second to the sixth centuries, as well as in the majority of the Old Latin manuscripts and the Latin Vulgate by Jerome.

Further, the passage is cited by a number of Church Fathers. Among them are Didascalia (third century), Ambrosiaster (fourth century), Ambrose (fourth century), and is in the Apostolic Constitutions, which are the largest liturgical collections of writings from Antioch Syria in about 380 AD. Saint Augustine (430 AD) makes an astounding statement concerning the authenticity of this passage. After citing the forgiving phrase from Christ, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more," Augustine writes:

"This proceeding, however, shocks the minds of some weak believers, or rather unbelievers and enemies of the Christian faith: inasmuch that, after (I suppose) of its giving their wives impunity of sinning, they struck out from their copies of the Gospel this that our Lord did in pardoning the woman taken in adultery: as if He granted leave of sinning, Who said, Go and sin no more!" (Saint Augustine, De Conjug. Adult., II:6.).

This passage is found in all the early English versions and the major translations of the Reformation.


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