Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Obscurantism on the PA

I'm posting a copy of Steve Avery's observations on how the evidence regarding the PA has been handled below:

HI Folks,

This was posted on our neighborly list, a very interesting point about Johann Lange earnestly considering reasons why the PA dropped from the textline.  Then later I added other elements .... consider this about 3 posts combined ! :)


Teunis van Lopik, Netherlands
Some weeks ago I acquired J.P. Lange's NT volume of his German Bibelwerk. In his commentary on the Gospel of John Lange summarized extremely clear his hypothesis on the PA's suppression theory. I wish to refer to Shaff's translation: p. 270-271:


Thanks, Teunis. (probably not on the forum here, but the comment is general). It is interesting to see that Johann Lange (1802-1884) takes a principled analytical approach, writing before the Hortian Tide tinged so much of the textual writings.

Yet Lange, in simply sharing a reasoned historical approach, was also going against many others who had taken a strident approach against the Pericope.

 e.g. Hengstenberg properly saw the actual dichotomy:

 either John's authorship, or a symbolical fiction ,

- yet declared for the 'pious fraud'.


There is one side-point that I want to notice.  It is a type of gross misrepresentation that seems to be common in modern textcrit, where the writer places his own conclusions and biases upon others.

> Schaff
> The whole section concerning the adulteress .... is rejected as an interpolation .... by Erasmus, Calvin (?), Beza ... 

These two sources for the Lange book are a bit easier to read than

A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: critical, doctrinal, and homiletical, Volume 3 of the NT (Gospel of John) (1871)

Lange on the PA

There was no such
"rejection as an interpolation" as claimed by Philip Schaff (1819-1893) by the learned textual scholars of the Reformation era. A "rejection as an interpolation" means removing the section from their Bibles and being very cautious in any commentary to indicate that the words are not scripture. And the (?) for Calvin does not really help, since it is a three-fold problem. 

Looking at the three learned men, Beza had the strongest concerns, those of Erasmus and Calvin were mild.

Schaff's attack comment ranges from exaggeration to fabrication.

We can learn and have fun looking at the position of the three learned men.


Desiderus Erasmus

Erasmus placed the Pericope in his Greek and Latin NT, he referenced parts of the Pericope in other writings, and the Pericope was included in great depth in his paraphrase. He simply allowed some questioning :

Doddridge says:
Erasmus conjectures it might be added by St. John after some copies of his gospel had been taken ;

This sounds like simply an explanation of why it was missing in some copies. If John added the section late, hardly anyone would contest that this is an argument against scripture. 

Let's note the approach to the Erasmus Paraphrase section. It is a fun read/ (And note: I believe easily a "fair use" as part of a study on the position of Erasmus on the Pericope).

Paraphrase on John - Desiderius Erasmus (1991)
Translated and Annotated by Jane E. Philipps

Now, since they had noticed in him an astounding mercy and gentleness towards common folk, the humble, and the suffering, from what ought to have made them love him they hunted for a handle for an accusation. The law of Moses had decreed a stern punishment for adultery, that if a woman was caught having unlawful intercourse with a man not her husband, she should be stoned at the hands of the people. And now the men indulged themselves and acted violently against women, as if they themselves were innocent before God or were going to escape eternal punishment if, even though they committed graver sins, they had no penalties to pay under the law. For the law only penalizes public crimes. It does not punish arrogance, disdain, envy, hatred; but God condemns these more than the things that the law punishes. So as Jesus was then sitting in the temple, they brought to him a woman taken in adultery - they themselves of course being firm adherents of justice and out of zeal for the law strict against offenders, though inside they were drunk with far worse vices. They set the woman in their midst so that if she were condemned by Christ's judgment some part of the crowd would lose their enthusiasm for him, since he had won popular approval chiefly by his mildness and gentleness; but if he found her innocent, as they expected he would, they would have a charge to level against him because contrary to Moses' rule he had not feared to free an adulteress. They hoped that in the ensuing confusion he would be stoned to death instead of the woman. So then, being themselves much more criminal sinners, they accused the sinning woman before Jesus as before a judge. They said, This woman was just taken in adultery. But in the law Moses commanded us to stone such persons. So we are handing her over to the people to be stoned, unless you disagree. What then is your judgment?'

But Jesus knew secrets of human hearts, and nothing at all, no matter how hidden, escaped his awareness. In his divine wisdom he so eluded their wickedness that he snatched the sinner from the hands of those who would stone her. Yet he did not declare her innocent, lest he seem to abolish the law of Moses, necessarily applied to the control of wrongdoers, for he had come to complete the law, not abolish it. Nor did he declare her guilty, because he had come into the world not to destroy sinners, but to save them. Indeed, in the regulations that the world necessarily observes for the maintenance of public tranquillity, Jesus always so directs his words that he neither approves nor reproves but as the occasion arises warns that every wrongdoing must be shunned, not only those that are punished by the laws of princes; and that certainly in God's judgment there are worse crimes than these, crimes that the laws do not punish but that cannot escape the punishment of an avenging God. So Jesus neither refused the case put before him, since he is the judge of all, nor did he sentence the guilty woman to the people already girded up to stone her, and he did not release her from the case, since she had earned a penalty. In silence he made his defence of the woman who was being rushed to punishment, so that she might be saved for penitence and might repent for salvation. He did not answer in words, but he said more by his very act. He realized that the woman was a guilty sinner, but he knew that her accusers, who wanted to appear just, were much more criminal than she. He did not abolish the law of Moses, but he displayed the mercy of the gospel law that he himself established. He warned those who were dragging the guilty woman to their cruel punishment to sink down within themselves and examine their own conscience in light of divine law, and he warned each person to behave towards his fallen neighbour as he wished to find God his judge behaving towards himself.' Teaching us in this very act, our Lord Jesus stooped down, indicating that each person must put off the disdain and haughtiness with which he flatters himself and in pride of heart looks down on his neighbour, and must sink down within himself. And stooping he wrote on the ground, reminding us of the gospel law by which God will judge us all. The law written on tablets made them proud and arrogant in their false justice; the law written on the ground makes everyone meek and merciful to his neighbour, mindful of his own weakness.

But when the Jews pressed him to declare his judgment, though he had already declared it in his action, Jesus stood up. Standing there he stated it plainly, since they did not understand what he was doing. 'If anyone among you is free from sin,'let him be the first to throw a stone at her.' In saying this he did not absolve the guilty woman, but he did strike the conscience of everyone. Furthermore, all those who knew themselves guilty feared that Jesus, to whom, as they saw, even hidden things were perfectly well known, would bring their wrongdoings into public view. When he had thrust this barb into their hearts he stooped and wrote on the ground again, in the deed portraying what he wanted done by them. He was censuring the arrogance of those who asserted their own sanctity when they were far more criminal than those whom the law punished with a dreadful punishment. For she whom they had led out to be stoned at the people's hands had not killed her husband but in the weakness of the flesh had made her body available to another man. They, on the other hand, full of envy, hatred, slander, greed, ambition, and deceit, were planning to kill the Lord of the whole law, him who alone of all was free and pure from every sin.

At this answer from the Lord, then, all who knew themselves guilty and feared exposure went out of the temple, elders, Pharisees and scribes, priests and other leaders first, and the rest following behind. For those among them who seemed to be pillars of piety and justice were drunk  within with the greatest vices. After these had left, none of whom was without blame, Jesus alone remained, who alone was free from guilt. And now the sinning woman found him who had never sinned a merciful judge, when she had almost had savage executioners in those who were themselves in bondage to worse offences. So, fearing their savagery, the wretched sinner remained alone with Jesus, a dying woman with her saviour, a sinner with the source of all sanctity. She trembled with the knowledge of her guilt, but Jesus' mercy, which showed itself on his very face, offered good hope. And in the mean time the Lord was writing on the ground, as if doing something else, so that the others should clearly have fled not out of fear of the Lord's threats but condemned by their own guilty knowledge. At last our Lord Jesus stood up, and when he saw that the place was deserted and the woman alone and frightened, addressing her gently he said, 'Woman, where are the people who were accusing you? Has no one condemned you?' She answered, 'No one, Lord.' Then Jesus said, 'And I am not going to be harsher than they, and condemn one whom they left uncondemned, for I came to save everyone. The severity of the law inflicts punishment as a deterrent; the grace of the gospel does not seek the death of a sinner but rather that he repent and live. So go and do not sin any longer.' In this example our Lord Jesus taught those who declare themselves pastors of the people and teachers of the gospel how much gentleness and how much mildness they should use with those who through weakness fall into sin. For when he in whom there was no sin at all  showed himself so merciful towards a known sinner, how much gentleness ought bishops have towards wrongdoers when the bishops themselves are often in more need of God's mercy than those against whose errors they rage! Or if they are not held fast by equal faults, they certainly are not entirely pure from every stain of life; certainly in their human weakness they are capable of falling into every kind of fault.

So with the informers sent away and each one's crimes revealed to him and the sinning woman let go, Jesus used this incident to develop the conversation he had begun earlier." Sins are darkness. Those who are true and simple and are eager to appear as exactly what they are draw near to the light and are freed from the darkness, as the sinning woman approached


Next, here is a summary of the annotation by Erasmus on the verse.  This may be the first edition, apparently there was some change after the correspondence with Lee.

Jane E. Philips note
Emacs!(pic of this text)
Erasmus has a long annotation on 8:3 (adducunt autem scribae et pharisaei mulierem), in which he discusses the divergent Greek and Latin traditions, citing the fact that Chrysostom and Theophylact in their explications of this Gospel pass over the episode in silence, while Augustine both writes commentary on it and cites it in his other works. Erasmus adds that Jerome acknowledged it was not found in all the manuscripts, and that Eusebius thought it imported from an apocryphal gospel; he himself prefers, because of its standing in the Western tradition, not to remove it.

Some of the Erasmus-Lee back and forth on the section is here:
Concerning Note 94
I confess I could not read this annotation of Lee's without laughing. You too will laugh, dear reader, when you come to know the matter. When I was first editing the New Testament in Basel and came to the passage about the woman caught in adultery',  I consulted the commentaries of Augustine to see whether he had explained this passage. By some chance or other, either because I was not attentive enough or because the sequence in the manuscript was different, I convinced myself that this passage had been passed over by Augustine. (continues)

Clearly, while Erasmus was quite open about all the issues, he did not reject the section as an interpolation.
Schaff's comment is simply false.


Theodore Beza has at least one important remark that is simply unreferenced in most of the literature:

Beza's remark that only one out of Stephanus seventeen manuscripts omits the pericope adulterae (Beyond What is Written, Jan Krans)

Jan Krans points out the lack of precision of referring to the 17 Stephanus manuscripts since only about 10 had the section, but this does not fundamentally alter the overwhelming evidence and the reference. 

Beza also expressed doubt, Tregelles gives this extract:

"As far as I am concerned, I do not conceal that I justly regard as suspected what the ancients with such consent either rejected or did not know of. Also such a variety in the reading causes me to doubt the fidelity of the whole of that narration."

And the Latin of Bezae is given from George Campbell in this post, plus some other tidbits, including the urls to some minor Erasmus references.

[TC-Alternate-list] Beza's doubt over the PA - Erasmus, Cajetan, Grotius, Trent, Doddridge, Pearce in Clarke, Lamy, Campbell and Catena - Sept 5, 2010

Here is Codex Bezae (the earliest manuscript witness) in Scrivener's 1864 edition.
I'll include a pic of the first three verses:

Bezae codex Cantabrigiensis, being an exact copy, in ordinary type of the celebrated uncial Graeco-Latin manuscript of the four Gospels and Acts of the apostles:written early in the Sixth century, and presented to the University of Cambridge by Theodore Beza, A.D. 1581



John Calvin is interesting, since you can see a bit of the Augustine referenced concern:
("will this section of scripture match my doctrinal perspective ?")

First, the Latin edition.

In evangelium secundum Johannem commentarius pars prior (1997)
John Calvin edition by Helmut Feld

Now in English.

Calvin's Bible Commentaries: John, Part I
3. And the scribes and Pharisees bring to him.
It is plain enough that this passage was unknown anciently to the Greek Churches; and some conjecture that it has been brought from some other place and inserted here. But as it has always been received by the Latin Churches, and is found in many old Greek manuscripts, and contains nothing unworthy of an Apostolic Spirit, there is no reason why we should refuse to apply it to our advantage. When the Evangelist says that the scribes brought to him a woman, he means that it was done by an agreement among them, in order to lay traps for Christ. He expressly mentions the Pharisees, because they were the chief persons in the rank of scribes. In adopting this pretense for slander, they display enormous wickedness, and even their own lips accuse them; for they do not disguise that they have a plain commandment of the Law, and hence it follows that they act maliciously in putting a question as if it were a doubtful matter. But their intention was, to constrain Christ to depart from his office of preaching grace, that he might appear to be fickle and unsteady. They expressly state that adulteresses are condemned by Moses, (Le 20:10) that they may hold Christ bound by the sentence already given by the Law, for it was not lawful to acquit those whom the Law condemned; and, on the other hand, if he had consented to the Law, he might be thought to be somewhat unlike himself. (continues)

Notice that Calvin even comments on the commentary of Augustine:

Nor do I approve of the ingenuity of Augustine, who thinks that in this manner the distinction between the Law and the Gospel is pointed out, because Christ did not write on tables of stone, (Exod. 31:18,) but on man, who is dust and earth.

And all this is very far from a "rejection as an interpolation".



Earlier writers such as Thomas Hartwell Horne,  George Townsend, Samuel Thomas Bloomfield, William Trollope and August Tholuck had all written far more sensibly than Schaff:

Here is one example, notice the accurate writing and balance:

A commentary on the Gospel of St. John p. 203 (1836)
August Tholuck
Emacs!(pic of this section)
Among the learned of later times, after slight doubts had been expressed by Erasmus, Calvin and Beza, the genuineness of this passage has been disputed by Grotius, Wetstein, Sender, Paulus, and Lucke. It has been defended by Lampe, Bengel, Michaelis, Matthaei, Storr, Kuinuel, and especially by Staudlin, Prolusio qua pericopae de adultera veritas ct authentia defenditur, P. I. II. Gott. 1806.

Similarly other writers were reasonably balanced and sensible, and gave references on both sides:

Horne - "its authenticity has been questioned"

Townsend, Bloomfield - "impugned its authenticity" - Townsend - Bloomfield



This type of writing by Schaff,
"rejection as an interpolation" is grossly misrepresenting major historical authors.  Erasmus, Beza Calvin included the verse in their commentaries and Bibles with interesting notes. Schaff is simply giving bias masked as scholarship.

He was actually in the same style as Tregelles, only Schaff was simply that much worse.

An account of the printed text of the Greek New Testament: (1854)
Samuel Prideaux Tregelles
"yet its genuineness was not believed by Erasmus himself: the same opinion was held in that century by Calvin, Beza, and other biblical scholars."

The whole exercise becomes like a game of telephone, until a distorted emphasis becomes at best a fabrication.
In his historical writing context Schaff was reasonable.

History of the Christian church, Volume 6 (1888)
Philip Schaff, David Schley Schaff
Erasmus ... doubted the genuineness of the pericope of the adulteress (John 8:1-11), though he retained it in
the text. 

While in the Encyclopedia Schaff takes another stance.

The new Schaff-Herzog encyclopedia of religious knowledge Vol 6 (1910)
It would be, for example, a serious misnomer to call John viii. 53-ix. 11 (the woman taken in adultery) an interpolation. That it is no part of the Johannine text is now agreed on all hands. Yet there are strong grounds for believing the story to be a piece of genuine and trustworthy tradition.

  ". . . in the Gospel according to John in many manuscripts, both Greek and Latin, is found the story of the adulterous woman who was accused before the Lord."

Augustine by Zane Hodges
"...certain persons of little faith, or rather enemies of the true faith, fearing I suppose, lest their wives should be given impunity in sinning, removed from the manuscripts the Lord's act of forgiveness toward the adulterous,as if He who had said, 'sin no more' had granted permission to sin..."


From Boston University, a special du jour.

Journal of Early Christian Studies
Early Christian Re-Writing and the History of the Pericope Adulterae (2006) p. 485-536
Jennifer Wright Knuth

Jerome's younger contemporary and sometime rival Augustine was a particular fan of the pericope adulterae. He cited the story on no fewer than ten occasions, often at length, and employed the tale as a central proof-text in his treatise De adulterinis coniugiis. (p. 514)

Bruce Metzger is corrected on p. 523. 

Jennifer Wright
Still, the story is largely absent from Greek exegesis until the twelfth century, leading Bruce Metzger to declare that: "No Greek father prior to Euthymius Zigabenus (twelfth century) comments on the passage, and Euthymius declares that the accurate copies of the Gospel do not contain it."
134 Actually, Metzger was not quite correct. The story was cited by one Greek father during the sixth century, in a work that is not widely known and preserved only in Syriac, the Historia Ecclesiastica mistakenly attributed to Zacharias Rhetor. This citation is so remarkable that it deserves to be reproduced here:

Now there was inserted in the gospel of the holy Moro the bishop, in the eighty-ninth canon, a chapter which is related only by John in his gospel, and is not found in other manuscripts, a section running thus: "It happened one day, while Jesus was teaching, they brought Him a woman who had been found to be with child of adultery, and told Him about her. And Jesus said to them (since as God He knew their shameful passions and also their deeds), ' What does He command in the law?' And they said to Him, 'That at the mouth of two or three witnesses she should be stoned.' But He answered and said to them, 'In accordance with the law, whoever is pure and free from these sinful passions, and can bear witness with confidence and authority, as being under no blame in respect of this sin, let him bear witness against her, and let him first throw a stone at her, and then those that are after him, and she shall be stoned.' But they, because they were subject to condemnation and blameworthy in respect of this sinful passion went out one by one from before Him and left the woman. And when they had gone, Jesus looked upon the ground and, writing in the dust there, said to the woman, 'They who brought thee here and wished to bear witness against thee, having understood what I said to them, which thou hast heard, have left thee and departed. Do thou also, therefore, go thy way, and commit not this sin again.' " 135  (p.524)
Emacs! (pic of footnotes)



Also Jennifer Wright points out, in addition to the Greek writing above,

"Greek gospel books include several details specifying the sin and guilt of the woman's accusers." (p. 524)

describing the text of many manuscripts. 
Which is a de facto exposure of the Bruce Metzger word-parsing trickery.

And this is in addition to the better known Didymus (p. 499-5020 reference.
Which Wright does not mention in this context of Metzger error and deception.


And as Nazaroo points out:
His (Metzger) cleverly worded remark that "no Greek father" before the 12th century comments on the PA, skipping quickly over a dozen Greek-speaking Latin fathers who do comment on it.  (and the sad failure to correct this by his final editor Ehrman, the very scholar who wrote a book on Didymus the Blind - a 4th century Greek father who does comment on it..).

Metzger on John 8:1-11
But Metzger is factually incorrect here as well. One Greek father, Didymus the Blind (c. 350 A.D.!) is known to have cited the passage extensively in his commentary on Ecclesiastes, discovered in the 1940's. Metzger, writing in 1971 is hardly unaware of this important find. In fact, Ehrman, who was chosen as 'editor' of the 2nd edition of Metzger's book (2000 A.D.), felt compelled to correct this 'oversight' with a footnote, even though he himself is against the authenticity of the passage.

Chris Keith gives yet another reference, from Nicon contra Metzger, which Nazaroo also discusses (Nikon)

The Pericope Adulterae, the Gospel of John, and the literacy of Jesus (2009)
Chris Keith

Now, if you do enough word-parsing, you may be technically accurate, and extremely deceptive.
That is the Metzger-Ehrman style is issues like this Pericope assertion.



A helpful thread from the excellent blog of Roger Pearse.
We learn more, and Metzger is also deceptive about Euthymius Zigabenus.

Euthymius Zigabenus and the Pericope Adulterae - July 29, 2009

Stephen C. Carlson
Metzger's statement is less helpful than it may first appear. The negation is tightly controlled. "Greek father" of course does not cover Jerome, nor does "comment" refer to a discussion of it by Didymus as part of a different gospel.

Roger Pearse
...  Hmm, that's really misleading then. I think most people reading that statement would understand from this that there are no ancient witnesses to it (even if that is not precisely what is said). On learning different, it would not be adequate to discover that it was couched in wording that covered the writer's backside, but sort of failed to mention these other points....


James Snapp summary review of Metzger claim in 2008 had some of these elements.

[textualcriticism]  The Pericope de Adultera - October 10, 2008 - James Snapp



And since Metzger is rarely original, and generally does not give his sources, we go back to the dynamic duo.

The Gospel according to st John: the authorised version with intr. and notes by B.F. Westcott (1882)
Tim Wellings
Could Metzger be echoing what Dr. Brooke Westcott said in his commentary on John? ....
Euthymius Zigabenus ...the earliest Greek commentator who writes upon it, observes that it is not found in "the accurate copies" or is obelized in them, and that therefore it is not to be accounted genuine.' --The Gospel According to St. John, Brooke Wescott, Page 141

[textualcriticism] The Pericope de Adultera and Greek Lectionary influence - October 10, 2008
Daniel Buck quoting Hort
"Have you realised that the Pericope [de adultera] was apparently absolutely unknown to every Greek Father whose writings have been preserved, till Euthymius Zigabenus in the 11th century?" -

This Hort quote goes back to :

Dr. Leslie McFall - 22 Dec 2002
Subject: [tc-list] Hort on the Pericope Adultery

And I have not seen the primary source, however Leslie McFall is quite reliable.

The Metzger "borrowing" was discussed here

[textualcriticism] The Pericope Adulterae - Nov 9, 2005 - Steven Avery
... I think it is important to point out that Metzger was repeating an assertion of
Hort. And I will conjecture that Metzger was familiar with Hort's argumentation. ...



My Favorite Passage that's Not in the Bible
Daniel Wallace

Even patristic writers seemed to overlook this text. Bruce Metzger, arguably the greatest textual critic of the twentieth century, argued that "No Greek Church Father prior to Euthymius Zigabenus (twelfth century) comments on the passage, and Euthymius declares that the accurate copies of the Gospel do not contain it" (Textual Commentary, 2nd ed., loc. cit.).

Ignorance or deception ?


Nevertheless, these are the facts:
. No Greek Church Father prior to Euthymius Zigabenus (twelfth century) comments on the passage, and Euthymius declares that the accurate copies of the Gospel do not contain it.

Ignorance or deception ?



"No Greek Church Father prior to Euthymius Zigabenus (twelfth century) comments on the passage, and
Euthymius declares that the accurate copies of the Gospel do not contain it."

And Bart backtracked humorously on the textual forum, adding yet another qualification:

>> Bart Ehrman
>> I certainly don't think that it is not *mentioned* by Greek writers prior to the 12th century. The point is that the biblical commentaries on John (e.g., Origen!!) have no knowledge of it before then.<<

Fair enough.
Here are the negative evidences of this kind:

Andrew Criddle
Origen did write a detailed commentary on John. It was apparently never finished but covered more than half of the Gospel. Unfortunately it does not survive complete and the detailed treatment of the end of chapter 7 and beginning of chapter 8 is among the parts missing. However a list by Origen of what he had covered in that part of John makes it unlikely that he mentioned the Pericope. 

John Chrysostom wrote a detailed and original set of homilies on John without mentioning the Pericope
Cyril of Alexandria wrote a detailed commentary on John without mentioning the Pericope
Nonnus wrote a paraphrase of John in Greek hexameters without mentioning the Pericope.

Returning to Bart Ehrman, this type of report is frequent, like Metzger, he has an MD ..
Master of Disinformation.

This is how he is understood in his presentations (one of these was the lay public unfamiliar).

Ehrman on John 8:1-11
(1) It is implied that the Pericope de Adultera (John 8:1-11) has been somehow accidentally added to the Bible sometime in the Middle Ages by error-prone and unsupervised scribes. .... What is most disturbing and of concern is that again Ehrman seems to be obsessing on John 8:1-11. Again at least one third of the interview is about the Pericope de Adultera, and this has been carefully crafted by Ehrman.

Will Kinney
. Mr. Erhman actually says that this story is not found in any good manuscripts before the 10th century, a 1000 years after the N.T. was written, and he tells his audience at Stanford that this story came into our English bibles via the King James Bible in 1611. This statement is totally false for a number of reasons.

And a sample response listening to parsed disinformation.
He mentioned in the excerpt that the famous story in John of the woman who was caught in the act of adultery, where Jesus says "let the one without sin cast the first stone", was not in the original, and in fact did not show up in copies of the NT until the Middle of the 12th century, and it was this copy that was used in the translation of the KJV, which is why it is now in the English versions we are familiar with.


One irony is that while Metzger, Ehrman, Wallace and White build their case largely on an "evidence from silence" yet
they show their own silence on fundamental references like Jerome and Augustine.

Here is a sample from James White when he did have to respond:

The references to Augustine, Ambrose, etc. are virtually irrelevant, as it does nothing to over-turn all of the evidence summarized above.  (James White)

Talk about scholastic incoherence.

And I believe that writing a major scholastic review section on the Pericope Adultera without mentioning Jerome,  Augustine and Ambrose, as done by Bruce Metzger, should be considered
criminal scholarship. Why mince words ?  Such is not real scholarship, it is simply agiprop, Hortian apologetics.

And this Metzger section is quoted still today by scholastic midgets like James White and Daniel Wallace, as we see above, who should have known the facts years ago.  And the deceptive style continues in their own presentations. 

Note: thus we can spend a lot of time on the Euthymius Zigabenus word-parsing, which is :) in a way, and miss the even more fundamental deceptions. (There are many more.)


From Jennifer Wright Knuth, p. 526-530 is a chart of evidences.


And I hope you enjoyed the read. 
You got a package lunch here, with appetizer, main course and desert all mixed together. 
So I hope it digests well.

Steven Avery
Queens, NY

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ezra Abbot's Corrections to Scrivener re: PA


In 1885, Ezra Abbot, with help from J. R. Harris, Warfield,  C. R. Gregory published a 50 page list of corrections and expansions to Scrivener's Plain Introduction.  The subsequent 4th edition of Scrivener (edited by Miller) corrected many of the typos and errors, and may have incorporated some of Abbot's suggestions.  Consequently, Abbot's 50 page booklet fell into obscurity.  It is interesting however, in that it documents some details of various MSS and readings, and also the fact that Abbot was working closely with Gregory, and Warfield and Thayer. (Full title is:  Critical Appendix to the Andover Review Vol. III, Notes on Scrivener's "Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament", 3rd ed., Chiefly from memoranda of the late Prof. Ezra Abbot, with additions from Profs. Harris and Warfield and Dr. C. R. Gregory,  Edited by Joseph Henry Thayer, D.D.)

On pg 28, the following informative note appears:
"[MS 594 may be described as follows: Cod. Mon. 594 (dated 1079), Carpl, Eus. tl, κεφ., t., pict., τιτλ., Amm., αρχαι και τελη, syn., men.,
The synaxarion gives the lessons for every day from Easter to Whit Monday, after which only the Saturday and Sunday lessons are given.  At the close of the book there are some scribe's iambics and the tract οτι ου διαφωνοισιν οι ευαγγελισται περι την του Χυ αναστασιν.  The MS has some curious readings in the Pericope de Adultera: e.g. John 8:6 εγραφεν εις την γην μη προσποιομενος; vs. 8 εγραψεν εις την γην ενος εκαστου αιτων τας αμαρτιας; but its text does not seem to be generally different from that of the ordinary cursive copies. (J. R. Harris)]
[μη προσποιομενος   at John 8:6 occurs more frequently than not.  I have a collation of 40 MSS in my hand, only 14 of which omit μη προσποιομενος , and one of the 14 reads μη προσποιουμενος  , while still another adds  at the end of verse 8.   The addition to verse 8 is comparatively rare; of the 40 MSS referred to only two contain it (see on MS 604 below). (C.R. Gregory)]'
and pg 29:
'Page 243, MS 604, line 1, for "296" read "396" (Burgon).  [Add "Recently collated by W.H. Simcox, whose results, particularly as respects St. Luke, are published in the Am. Journ. of Philol. v.4 pp. 454-465.". (J. R. Harris)] [This MS (which is not one of the 40 above referred to; see on MS 594) also adds ενος εκαστου αυτων τας αμαρτιας to John 8:8 (C. R. Gregory)]'


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Malan on the PA (12 Ancient Versions with Notes!)

The following are the original pages from Solomon Malan's opus Gospel of John (1862).  He gives 12 major versions (translated into English with notes):  the AV, Syriac, Ethiopic, Sahidic, Memphitic, Gothic, Armenian, Georgian, Slavonic, Anglo-Saxon (Old Saxon), Arabic, and Persian texts :
(Click on picture to enlarge, backspace to return.  To save pictures, right-click on them while viewing large versions).

Saturday, August 6, 2011

T. S. Green (1856) on the PA

Shortly before the Revised Version fiasco, Rev. Thomas Sheldon Green (M.A. Christ's College Cambridge) published a manifesto on how to improve the English Authorized Version (KJV), called A Course of Developed Criticism (Bagster - London, 1856), subtitled remarkably enough, "Passages of the NT materially affected by Various Readings" (!).
Green's influence, himself influenced by Tregelles and Tischendorf, was strongly felt by those who would shortly begin work on the Revised Version.  Yet his analysis of the PA, like so many of his other examples, simply doesn't cut it:

JOHN 7:53 - 8: 11

'The question which arises respecting the spuriousness of this entire passage, is one of special interest, not only from its import ance, but on account of singular points involved in the evidence.

In the first place, there must be noted the circumstance of its shifting position. It is placed by one MS. after 7:36 of this Gospel, at the end of it by at least ten, and at the end of Luke 21 by four. Though none of these MSS. are of high antiquity, yet on this particular point their evidence is not impaired on that account. (1)  Now the several copyists that respectively first gave to the passage these various positions, must have encountered it in some detached state, which left them free to give it a location according to the judgment or fancy of each. (2)   But it is not easy to conceive a genuine portion of the Gospel narrative thus set adrift, to find a fresh lodgment as it may. (3)

Next, there is a remarkable variation of shape. One distinct phase or cast of the passage is exhibited by D alone; (4)  and in the other copies that contain it, the text fluctuates more broadly than to the extent of various readings, ordinarily so called, (5)  and seems to indicate the existence of two other shapes. (6)

The passage is visibly wanting in B, L, T, X, Δ, and more than fifty others, besides lectionaries; (7)  and though A and C are here defective, its absence from them in their complete state is ascertainable by strict calculation, based on the uniform amount of matter in their pages. (8)  Of the mass of MSS which contain the passage more than 60 stigmatise it with marks of suspicion. (9)
It is wanting in a, f, etc., of the Old Latin, in the Sahidic, the Gothic, and the best authorities of the Coptic, Armenian, and both Syriac versions.  (10)
The commentaries of Origen and Chrysostom evince no knowledge, or, at least, no recognition of this section: and the same may be said of Tertullian, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Cyril, Basil, and others. The paraphrase of Nonnus has nothing answering to it. (11)
Though the judgment of Jerome is in favour of it, and hence its place in the Vulgate, yet this is accompanied with an admission of its absence from many copies: (12) and to the same purport are the scholia in various MSS.  (13)
In the face of evidence thus varied and significant, the genuineness of the passage cannot be maintained. It may be regarded as having been originally a detached narrative, founded on a real transaction, and one of a probably numerous class that obtained more or less currency.  (14)  Such a view agrees well with an air of strangeness, that, apart from the miraculous, is not observable in the other Gospel narratives. The cast of the story has an artificial look, as designed for effect. (15)
In this case, as elsewhere, recourse has been freely had, both in ancient and modern times, to the suggestion of wilful suppression. With respect to the likelihood of such a proceeding, opinions may vary; but one thing at least is certain, that such a supposition will not serve, in the case of the present passage, to account for two principal facts of adverse evidence, namely, its shiftings of place and shape. (16)
It may be well to note the entire coherence of the narrative on the removal of this section. (17)  The scene has been transferred, and with it also the dispute about Galilee, from the populace to the conclave (vs. 7:45, 52). This, however, implies no suspension of the discourse of Jesus with those about him; and the broken report of the really unbroken discourse is at once resumed after the digression by the words παλιν ουν, κ.τ.λ. [i.e., 8:12 fwd] (18)

Nazaroo has given the following notes to Rev. Green's argument:

(1)  Green wishes to dismiss the fact that all the MSS which displace the PA or put it at the end of John are very late (10th century or newer).   But these shuffles cannot be traced further back, and they are well accounted for by von Soden and others as the result of its absence in some copies and perhaps an attempt to preserve (by hiding) the passage.  That is, some scribes disobeyed their orders to delete it (cf. Rev. 22:18) and stuck it where it would not be noticed (in Luke or at the end of John between 2nd last and last verse). 

(2) Green's own explanation here is entirely fanciful and highly improbable.  What copyist, finding a story in a detached state, would insert it into a Holy Gospel, no matter how good it was?  The idea that this happened multiple times is even more improbable.   Scribes generally did not have any such freedoms or attitudes.  They carried their work out with almost superstitious awe and reverence.   Green's imaginative story is anachronistic to the Middle Ages.

(3)  Green's explanation rightly appears difficult to believe, as he himself acknowledges.  But we don't need fanciful conjectures, when straightforward mechanical explanations are more than sufficient (e.g., see von Soden).

(4) Codex D's unique version of the passage is not unique however to Codex D in this place alone.  That is, Codex D often exhibits an idiosyncratic and plainly edited text, replete with displacements, omissions and additions in many other places.  So the behavior of Codex D here says nothing about the PA, but a lot about itself.

(5)  We have documented the exaggerated claims of variation for this passage elsewhere.  The fact is, (a) other important MSS have not been collated as thoroughly in other passages, and (b) the count of variants has been inflated by counting Codex D, when this is not done to the same extent elsewhere.

(6) The existance of two basic versions of the text is perfectly normal, given that one is the Lectionary text, and the other is the one found in the continuous-text MSS.  This is true of every other passage in the NT which is also used in the Lectionary, although the differences vary with each case.

(7)  The absence of the passage in many Lectionaries is meaningless, since the Lectionary systems don't cover the entire NT.  For instance the whole book of Revelation is omitted by all Lectionary systems.

(8) This may be the first claim of a calculation having been made.  The actual calculation however, as usual is omitted.  But even granting that someone did such a calculation adequately, this misses the point.  Now that the pages are actually missing for these two MSS, there is no way of knowing if there was a mark or note at this point in the text, or what it might have said.   The witnesses have been rendered worthless, probably by abuse.  This itself is interesting evidence, but impossible to evaluate, because it merely reflects the vandalism of an unknown party, post-4th century.

(9)  Dr. Maurice Robinson, who has personally examined all available MSS in this place, has ascertained that the marks are all late, and there are no early MSS including the PA with such marks (excepting possibly Codex B).  Further, he has established that the marks (asterisks and obelii) are not in the main text-critical marks, but are in fact Lectionary marks for use in public reading of the text in services.

(10)  Green sadly here omits any list of MSS (Greek or Latin) which contain the verses, giving a wrong impression of the state of the MS evidence at the time they were produced.

(11)  The early commentators wrote their commentaries for use in church, and strictly follow only the texts which were actually read during the services.  They cannot comment on texts which were not read to the public attending church.  Other examples are problematic:  Tertullian appears to have known the PA, and Nonnus was just a poet, while Theodore's fragmentary scholia are too late to be of text-critical value.

(12)  Green here actually reverses the testimony of Jerome!  Jerome actually noted that the PA is CONTAINED in many copies, implying its absence in less copies, and in less accurate copies.  This is an unscrupulous use of patristic testimony, which goes completely against the evidence that Jerome gives us.

(13)  The 'scholia' (marginal notes) are again all found in very late copies, post 9th century, and are not traceable to earlier authorities, but are in fact anonymous comments which cannot be granted credibility without corroboration.

(14)  There is no evidence of this being a 'detached narrative' or floating pericope, as many critics have claimed.  In the first place, there is no evidence that any such hypothetical entities ever existed.  It appears that the NT documents were written documents from their very inception (e.g. Paul's letters, the Gospels, Acts etc.).  Some may incorporate earlier written documents, but there is little evidence of any  'oral tradition' independent of and different from the NT.

(15)  This is the first time we have seen this claim proposed in print.  But even if the passage were judged 'artificial' or contrived in some sense, it would be impossible to differentiate it from any other similar pericope or passage in the NT gospels.  In what sense for instance are the parables not 'contrived'?  Or does the 'walking on water' incident seem less artificial than a debate in the temple?

(16)  Green here claims suppression or deletion does not account for variation in story or displacement.  But we have already seen that 'displacement' is late and fully accounted for by other factors, like the historical situation that some copies had already omitted the passage.   Since the only significant 'variation' in versions of the story stems from Codex Bezae (D, 4th cent.), there is no need for a theory of omission to account for it.  To this very day, NO textual critic has ever given an adequate account of the many unusual and bizzare textual variations found in Codex D.   More importantly, no account of early omission of the PA needs to nor should it provide any explanation for Codex D.  How could any explanation for the PA account for Codex D?  The suggestion is preposterous.

 (17)  While noting that the 'omission' of the PA allows for the reconnection of 7:52 to 8:12, Green actually fails to note the most important problem: that one must make the cuts at 7:53, grouping the unrelated ending of the prior incident with the actual PA story (8:2-11).    This is tautological and demonstrates nothing, except that whoever made the cut did so purposefully so as to minimize the damage.  But we can already assume the deletion was intentional, since it is too large a section to be simply accounted for by homoeoteleuton (an eye skip).
This problem was noted by John  Burgon also.
Perhaps more importantly, others, even those who reject the authenticity of the PA, don't accept the rejoining of 7:52 to 8:12 as original or natural, such as for instance Bultmann.  He felt compelled to chop off several more large portions of chapter 9 of John, in order to fit the pieces together.

(18)  It is surely remarkable that after all is said and done, Green admits also that there is a change of scene twice, from Jesus publicly speaking, to the backroom with the Pharisees, and back again at 8:12 without even a 'hello', or an explanatory notice.  "Again then Jesus said..." is hardly adequate for such leaps in time and place.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

AC Clark on the PA

I'm stealing this quote from Dean's post on KJV0nly2, because it happens to encapsulate A.C. Clark's remarkable statements concerning John 8:1-11:

Here is A. C. Clark's original (1914) preface to The Primitive Text of the Gospels and Acts (1914):

'The chief result of my investigation has been to show the falsity of the principle brevior lectio potior ['prefer the shorter reading']. This was laid down by Griesbach as a canon of criticism in the words :
'Brevior lectio, nisi testium vetustorum et gravium auctoritate penitus destituatur, praeferenda est verbosiori. Librarii enim multo proniores ad addendum fuerunt quam ad omittendum.'  ["A shorter reading, unless the authority of the witnesses completely lacks weight and antiquity, is preferable to a verbose one.  For a copyist is much more prone to further additions than to make omissions."]
Unless my method is based upon a delusion, this statement has no foundation in facts. I may also observe that it is not so easy to invent as it is to omit.
It will be understood that my work has been almost exclusively confined to the text of Cicero. It was only recently, after I had gained confidence in the use of my method, that, in a spirit of curiosity, I happened to apply it to the text of the Gospels. The results were so surprising that I gave up, for the present, my work upon Cicero, which can only interest a small circle, and devoted myself to this more important inquiry.
I must here state that when I began my investigation, I had not made any study of New Testament criticism. I had been brought up to look on the Revised Text [1881] as final, to smile at persons who maintained the authenticity of St. Mark 16:9-20, or St. John 7:53-8:11, and to suppose that the 'vagaries' of the 'Western' text were due to wholesale interpolation. The object which I had in view was merely to study the mutual relations of the oldest Greek Uncials, notably, the Vaticanus (B), the Sinaiticus (א), and the Alexandrinus (A). I was, however, soon dislodged from this arrogant attitude, and irresistibly driven to very different conclusions.  These I can only briefly indicate here, and must refer the reader to my subsequent discussion for the evidence. 
Nowhere is the falsity of the maxim brevior lectio potior more evident than in the New Testament. The process has been one of contraction, not of expansion. The primitive text is the longest, not the shortest. It is to be found not in B/א, or in the majority of Greek MSS., but in the 'Western' family, i. e. in the ancient versions and the Codex Bezae (D). If my analysis is sound, we are brought back to an archetype of the four Gospels in book-form, which cannot be later than the middle of the 2nd century. This archetype appears to have contained the passages which have been most seriously suspected by recent critics, e.g. the End of St. Mark and St. John 7:53-8:11.  
This statement concerning St. Mark 16:9-20 will appear so startling that I must insert a caveat. I do not pretend to go one step further than I am led by the method which I have followed. The ultimate problems of New Testament autographs do not concern me. I only deal with one set of phenomena, and my starting-point is the text current in the second century. I have made no attempt to acquaint myself with the Synoptic problem, and do not venture to encroach upon the domain of the Higher Criticism. Also, I do not regard my method as a panacea. I am sensible that much must be due to accident and to mere coincidence. It is for the reader to determine, whether the cumulative evidence which I adduce is so great as, in certain cases, to transcend the limits of coincidence.
The results at which I have arrived in the case of the Acts are even more striking. It is here that the problem of the 'Western' recension has been felt most strongly. Thus a recent writer says   : 
'It is the correct method to study the Western readings in Acts first of all, and to form some kind of judgement on them, and after this to turn to the Gospels and apply to them the conclusions derived from the study of the Acts.'  (Lake, The Text of the New Testament, p. 91.)
This was not the process which I followed, but the conclusions arrived at in the case of the Acts greatly confirm the results furnished by the study of the Gospels.
It is briefly this, that all our MSS., including D, are descended from an ancestor written not in lines of equal length, as in the case of the Gospels, but in cola and commata, i. e. sense-lines of varying length, such as those found in D. The ordinary text has been developed from this by the frequent omission of lines, followed by modifications in the text. For proof of this statement I must refer the reader to the chapter upon the Acts.
I have not extended my inquiry to other parts of the New Testament, since I found that the Gospels and Acts provided more material than I could deal with in the time at my disposal. It appeared to me from some preliminary observations that the Pauline Epistles must be studied together. It is unnecessary to point out that the Apocalypse is a unique document which must be considered separately.'

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Richard Heard (1950) and the PA


Richard Heard on John 8:1-11

Heard fully acknowledges the difficulties created by the fragmentary and contrary textual evidence available. But he goes on to point out the most fatal circumstance against not only the supposed 'internal evidence' presented against the passage, but also against the entire enterprise.
Heard shows that the methodology itself, originated by 19th century German critics, is from a scientific viewpoint utterly worthless. The point is this:

(1) The Passage could be utterly devoid of 'Johannine' style and content and still be a product of John the Evangelist. In fact, a genuine passage of this type is more likely to be "un-Johannine" than "Johannine".
(2) Looking for "Johannine" features within the passage is a worthless enterprise. A scientific approach would look instead for 'internal evidence' in the rest of the Gospel.
The logic is devilishly simple: The question cannot be, "Does the passage know anything of John?", but rather:

"Does John know anything of the existence of the passage?"

Heard on John 8:1-11

Excerpt from:
An Introduction to the New Testament (Harper Bro. NY, 1950)
by Richard Heard

Chapter 10: The Gospel of John

The Unity of Composition
The gospel shows a remarkable unity of style and language. Many distinctive words, phrases, and constructions occur repeatedly in the gospel and nowhere else in the New Testament except in the Johannine epistles which are probably by the same author.
This unity extends to the Appendix (21) as a whole although it is disputed in the case of the last two verses (24-25).
Only in the story of The Woman taken in Adultery (7: 53-8:11) are the distinctively ‘Johannine’ characteristics altogether lacking, 1 and the textual evidence -- only one early Greek MS. contains the story -- as well as the way in which it breaks the close connection between ch. 7 and 8:12, make it clear that this story is a later insertion in the gospel.
It has been shown, however, that there are a number of passages in the gospel where the ‘Johannine’ characteristics of style, although not entirely absent, are relatively scarce. (E. Schweizer, Ego Eimi, 1939 [a German work, not yet translated into English]).
These following passages are all narratives of a synoptic type and include:

the Miracle at Cana (2:1-11),
the Cleansing of the Temple (2:14-16),
the Healing of the Nobleman’s Son (4:46-53)’
the Anointing at Bethany (12:1-8) and the
the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (12:12-15);
It is at least possible that the evangelist was here using a written source or oral tradition that had become comparatively ‘fixed’ in form.'
- Richard Heard,
Introduction to the NT, ch 10, p. 

1. However, even on this point, both the critics and Mr. Heard are in serious error. The passage actually abounds with "Johannine" grammatical and stylistic features, as well as literary ones!
Some examples include the strong linguistic parallels to John chapter 6:

Comparison of John 8:1-11 and John 6:1-21: 

6:3 : ανηλθεν δε εις το ορος Ιησουν (Jesus went to the mount...)
8:1 : Ιησουν δε ανηλθεν εις το ορος (Jesus went to the mount..)

6:5 : πολυς οχλος ερχεται προς αυτον (a great crowd came to Him)
8:2 : πας ο λαος ηρχετο προς αυτον (all the people came to Him)

6:6 : τουτο δε ελεγεν πειραζων αυτον (but this He said testing him)
8:6 : τουτο δε ελεγον πειραζοντες αυτον (but this they said testing him )

6:10 αναπεσειν...αναπεσαν...οι ανδρες (sit ... they sat down)
8:6 : ο δε Ιησους κατω κυψας ...(but Jesus bent down...)
8:2: και καθισας... (and having sat down...)

8:6b κατεγραφεν εις την γην ([Jesus was] writing in the ground )
6:21 και ευθεως εγενετο το πλοιον επι της γης
(and instantly the ship was upon the ground)
The minor changes in word order and vocabulary are simply stylistic variants to avoid repetition and boredom.
Then there are the many other parallels in content and thematic connections:

5:14: μηκετι αμαρτανε... ("Go, and sin no more!..")
8:11: μηκετι αμαρτανε... ("Go, and sin no more!..")

3:2 Ραββι...διδασκαλος... ("Teacher (/Rabbi)!..")
8:4 "διδασκαλε... ("Teacher (/Rabbi)!..")

4:18 ("...and the man you have now is not your husband!")
8:3 ("...this woman was taken in adultery...")

8:15 ("...I judge no one: ...")
8:11 ("...nor do I judge thee: ...")
It is difficult to imagine how more linguistic, literary and thematic parallels could be crammed into 12 short verses, even if that were one's deliberate goal, and highest priority.