Search Our Blog

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

David R. Palmer on the PA

D.R. Palmer has recently made available his detailed collations for John's Gospel, especially the PA, on TC-Alternate-list.  We thank him and post his message and links below:

D.R. Palmer, msg #3796
added TC apparatus footnotes for John  3:13, 5:16, 6:11, 6:22, 8:59, 10:13, 11:41, 13:32, 17:12, 19:16.
Also, my Swanson-style chart of the Pericope of the Adultress has been augmented by the addition of a few minuscules that I personally collated, and I also added their readings for John 5:3b-4.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tommy Wasserman & Jennifer Knust on the PA

 A new article by Tommy Wasserman has been published, on an aspect of the Pericope de Adultera, which is the only place in Holy Scripture where Jesus is recorded as writing.  The article was written earlier, but has finally reached publication, and can be downloaded here:

Tommy's Article

Here is the Synopsis:


Earth Accuses Earth: Tracing What Jesus Wrote on the Ground

Jennifer Knusta1 and Tommy Wassermana2

a1 Boston University
a2 àrebro Theological Seminary

The story of the woman taken in adultery (John 7:53–8:11) has a long, complex history. Well-known in the Latin West, the story was neglected but not forgotten in the East. Incorporated within Late Antique and Early Medieval Gospel manuscripts, depicted in Christian art, East and West, and included within the developing liturgies of Rome and Constantinople, the passage has fascinated interpreters for centuries despite irregularities in its transmission. Throughout this long history, one narrative detail has been of particular interest: the content and significance of Jesus— writing. Discussed in sermons, elaborated in manuscripts, and depicted in magnificent illuminations, Jesus— writing has inspired interpreters at least since the fourth century, when Ambrose of Milan first mentioned it. Offering his opinion on the propriety of capital punishment, the bishop turned to the pericope in order to argue that Christians do well to advocate on behalf of the condemned since, by doing so, they imitate the mercy of Christ. Nevertheless, he averred, the imposition of capital punishment remains an option for Christian rulers and judges. After all, God also judges and condemns, as Christ showed when, responding to the men questioning him and accusing the adulteress, he wrote twice on the ground. Demonstrating that “the Jews were condemned by both testaments,” Christ bent over and wrote “with the finger with which he had written the law,” or so the bishop claimed. Ambrose offered a further conjecture in a subsequent letter: Jesus wrote “earth, earth, write that these men have been disowned,” a saying he attributes to Jeremiah (compare Jer 22:29),. As Jeremiah also explains, “Those who have been disowned by their Father are written on the ground,” but the names of Christians are written in heaven.



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Daniel Wallace on 10th cent. UK MS

In late July, Daniel Wallace posted the following announcement at

Update on the UK Gospels Manuscript: No Pericope Adulterae

Daniel B. Wallace

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts sent a team in June 2009 to a private residence in England to photograph a previously uncatalogued Greek Gospels manuscript. The manuscript turned out to be from the 10th century, containing all four Gospels (except for nine missing leaves). Some of the quires were out of order, but after making a Scripture index of each page the dislocated passages were found.

Of note is the manuscript’s lack of the pericope adulterae (John 7.53–8.11). Images 211ab, 213ab, 214ab, and 215ab contain material from John 7 and 8, though these leaves are located after Luke 23.33 (with leaf 212 containing Matthew 27.51–64). Leaf 211 has John 7.41–8.16; leaf 213 has John 8.16–29; leaf 214 has John 7.28–41; leaf 215 has John 8.29–42. This is followed by leaf 216 which picks up again at Luke 23.33. The rest of the Gospel of John begins on leaf 222.

The pericope adulterae is traditionally located after John 7.52. But it has been found in other locations as well. Among these are: after Luke 21.38 (f13); after John 7.36 (codex 225); after John 7.44 (some Georgian manuscripts); after John 8.12 (codex 115); after Luke 24.53 (the corrector of 1333); and at the end of the Gospel of John (f 1 [1 565 1076 1570 1582] ArmenianMSS).

The UK Gospels manuscript does not have the PA in any of these locations. It thus should be recorded as a witness against the inclusion of the story of the woman caught in adultery.

Wallace's assessment (highlighted) of the meaning of his find, is disappointing, unprofessional, and seems a trifle desperate or hysterical.

(1) The location of the PA in other very late and secondary MSS is no criterion for classifying an unrelated MS as to its value as a witness, either for or against the PA. Since all these unique and unoriginal locations were created at the caprice of individual scribes, they are wholly irrelevant to the placement (or non-placement) of the PA in other documents and traditions. They only testify to either the lack of good textual sources for its location, or else confusion of opinion prevalent in various isolated monasteries and scriptoriums throughout Europe.

(2) As Wallace's own description makes clear, the pages of this new manuscript are either misplaced and re-bound erroneously, or else the same confused state was found in the exemplar it was copied from. Thus the page positions are worthless information on the issue of authenticity. They only testify that accidentally or deliberately, the state of the text was obscured and hidden re: the PA.

(3) As Wallace indicates, a page from Matthew hardly under dispute was also displaced in the same position. This indicates the positions for the pages from John are also meaningless as to the text. Only the text actually found on the pages will have any bearing on the PA.

(4) That the PA is missing from the text we have no doubt. As such this late MS merely testifies to the already known situation in the 10th century, namely that it was left out of some copies. The addition of one more copy hardly tips the balance of the majority of MSS for this century.

(5) It remains to be determined whether any or all of the later omissions were a result of accurate copying of early documents, or just reflect a contemporary policy in place in the scriptoriums where they were made.

Many other key questions remain, not answered by the manuscript or Wallace. How old is the text that the MS copied? Where did it originate? What type of text is it? Regarding the manuscript itself and its immediate ancestor(s), were these pages of John replaced, or secundu manu, or tampered with at any time? Were there any notes about the PA attached to this line of transmission?

Counting this manuscript as any kind of witness regarding the very early omission/addition of the PA into the textual stream is an implausible methodology of counting one's chickens before they hatch, if ever.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Steven Avery on John 8:6

The following is taken from the Textual Criticism Group run by W. Willker:

"Hi Folks,

This variant is not discussed too much because it is embedded within the Pericope Adultera. However it is fascinating for those who accept the Pericope and also in Received Text history. Generally this phrase is in the Greek manuscripts that have the Pericope, not the Latin. (And I have not seen any church writer attestation for the phrase.) A major factor in consideration will be your general perspective on inclusion/omission, however my point here is more historical, which manuscripts and which editions support the phrase, especially in TR editions .. than conceptual.

John 8:6
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.

"as though he heard them not."
mh prospoioumenos - mh prospoioumenos

The Laparola apparatus

This is incomplete, since Scrivener gives the earlier Stephanus editions of 1546 and 1549 as having the phrase. In textual studies, 1550 is the central Stephanus edition, so he changed to omit in 1550, thus the entry. Based on Scrivener the Complutensian has the phrase (following Greek manuscripts against the Vulgate !) and Erasmus does not.

Hodges-Farsted says no, Robinson-Pierpont yes.

One question is the numerical count of Byzantine manuscripts. Interestingly this apparatus does not split the Byz (e.g. Byz-part.) beyond the specified families and mss in the omission section.

Also, my main interest, there is the question of Beza. While Scrivener is indicating that this is not in Beza editions (and Beza's Latin edition online omits the phrase from the Pericope, and that is to be expected) there are notes of interest.


John Gill
"though this clause is not in many copies, nor in the Vulgate Latin, nor in any of the Oriental versions,
but is in five of Beza's copies, and in the Complutensian edition."

Is this based on a Beza annotation ?


Memoirs of the life and works of ... Lancelot Andrewes (1860)
Arthur T. Russell
John viii.6,
mh prospoioumenos, not in Stephens, but in Beza's later editions, as previously in the Complutensian.

This looks to be a direct contradiction to Scrivener.


Dr. William Smith's Dictionary of the Bible (1888)
note about "the enumeration given by Scrivener" includes John 7:8


So it would seem that direct referencing to Beza on the verse needs modern checking.
Is it possible for anyone to assist on this research ?


Steven Avery
Queens, NY

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jesse Boyd on the Lectionary Evidence

"In the lectionaries, it is interesting to note the Church’s use of John’s Gospel for the Pentecost Lesson. It begins with 7:37-52, overleaps 7:53-8:11, and continues with 8:12. On the surface, such a fact might be seen as evidence against the pericope. However, a closer look yields quite the contrary. The story of the adulteress has little to do with Pentecost. Therefore, it was probably removed along with the three introductory verses (7:53-8:2) to maintain continuity. 15

John Burgon personally handled over sixty lections. 16 In each of them, he found the instruction “υπερβα” (overleap) written after 7:52, directing the reader to skip down to καιμηκετι αμαρτανε in 8:11. It is there that the instruction “αρξαι” (recommence) is found. If the passage were not part of John’s Gospel, it seems nonsensical for such rubrication.

C.R. Gregory, a well-known authority on lectionaries, believed that the lessons for Sundays in particular were chosen at a very early date. 17 This being true, the Pentecostal Lesson must have been chosen extremely early, for Pentecost was one of the most important Sunday’s on the Ecclesiastical Calendar. Let’s suppose the passage were an interpolation. It seems utterly ridiculous that a scribe, wishing to add to the sacred text, would insert it right into the middle of the passage used for Pentecost. Most assuredly, there were many other places in the Gospels that it would have fit better.

Apparently the scribes who penned the four mss. of the Farrar group thought so, for they place the pericope after Luke 21:38. As for the small number of manuscripts that place the pericope elsewhere in John, this was probably done to keep from disturbing the verse sequence as read in the lectionaries.

The rubrication of John 7-8 in the Church lectionaries makes plain why Eastern Fathers such as Chrysostom and Cyril did not cite the pericope. They were publicly commenting on John 6-8 according to the lectionary. Nevertheless, the Eastern Church is not without witness. According to Burgon, as far back as the Eastern patriarchies reach, nine out of the twelve disputed verses were selected to be a special lesson for October 8--St. Pelagia’s Day. 18 Metzger conveniently fails to mention this fact.

15. This practice of overleaping Scriptures is common from the pulpit, especially in topical sermons.

16. Burgon, “The Woman Taken In Adultery--John 7:53-8:11,” In Unholy Hands on the Bible. Ed. by Jay P. Green (Lafayette, IN: Sovereign Grace Trust Fund, 1990)

17. C.R. Gregory, Canon and Text of the New Testament (New York: Charles Scriber’s Sons. 1907), 387.

18. Burgon, F-13.

Excerpt from:

Saturday, November 27, 2010

How to get to the Pericope Adultera Website

Hey there.

In case you got here through Google or some search engine, here are the links to the major sites and blogs:

The Pericope de Adultera Homepage:

PA HomePage < - - Click here.

From there you can get back here, or to the mirror-site (bookmark both in case)

PA MirrorSite < - - Click here.

Here are some new Blog Sites we are experimenting with:

Nazaroo's Blog < - - Click here.

Homoioteleuton < - - Click here.

Mr. Scrivener's Blog < - - Click here.

Our New Kid's TC Page < - - Click here.

Happy Blogging

Friday, November 26, 2010

Women as Witnesses: Dropped NT Passages

This is from Mr. Scrivener on TC-Alt-List:

There is an intertextual, literary, content-based connection between the ME and the PA. And I don't mean a mere similarity in their problematic textual transmission history (transcriptional problems).

I'm talking about Intrinsic Evidence, that is content.

What? a connection between these two disparate stories?

Yes. Its about women. And its not simply that women were at the tomb, and a woman was also dragged before Israel in the Temple.

I noticed it in listening to this fellow talking about the role and status of women in the early church, and discussing various problem passages in that controversy.

Mark Goodacre has conveniently posted Tom Wright's youtube video in his latest entry on
his blog:

You can get it from youtube under this title:
Tom Wright on the Apostles Junia and Mary Magdalene (Women in Ministry Part 5)

There Tom discusses the role of women, namely that the first person to witness and report the resurrection of Christ is Mary Magdalene.

He interestingly refers to the list of witnesses Paul provides as "later official church tradition", and notes tellingly that the women don't even make the list, even though it is preposterous not to acknowledge that every impportant Christian leader knew the women got to the tomb and saw Jesus first.

If those in favour of women's participation in the church cannot then argue that Mark ended at 16:8, with the women "afraid", and failing to tell anyone. In that case, like the story of Peter's denial (with dramatic additional material like John 21), this story would also have been used from early times to put women down!

Christian leaders would have argued along the lines of,

"The women proved themselves to be unreliable witnesses. With something so important as the Resurrection of our Lord, they dropped the ball and hid, and said nothing. Their witness is worthless and their leadership abilities are non-existant."

But instead, what the church did was protect themselves from charges of relying upon "unreliable women's testimony", by producing the official list of those who "saw our Lord", ALL MEN. The women's testimony was not denied, nor was any supposed 'failure' used to maintain or lower their authority or status.

This is the strongest evidence of all, that Mark could not have ended his Gospel at 16:8, as some doorknobs have tried to claim. If Mark had done so, then there would have been no redeeming testimony that the women immediately went and fetched the Apostles. if such a 'fix' were added later, it would have been violently opposed, since it would have falsely enthroned the women as witnesses when in fact they were known to be derelict deserters.

Mark must have issued with the complimentary story of the women going to tell the Apostles, or else they would have been scorned and left languishing in Jewish 'invalid witness' status.

Now we turn to the PA:

Wright successfully argues that the women's roles as witnesses and participants in gospel-preaching is the earlier tradition, while the church shortly afterward (after immediate challenge on women as witnesses?) quietly composed an 'official list' dropping them off from it.

If this is the treatment the early church gave to the difficulties regarding women as witnesses re: resurrection (a pivotal doctrine!), the would have given the same treatment to the difficulties regarding the story of the woman in the PA re: the Law (another highly charged doctrinal contention with the Jews).

That is, on the one hand there would be no denial of the incident or accusation of 'interpolation'. But at the same time, the church quietly dropped the public reading of this section (Easter), and relegated it later to a different time of year.

This is precisely what we find on the PA, and the ME: Absolute silence regarding the authenticity of the stories, but strange behavior in the making of MS copies where they should appear.

These two passages, may have indeed suffered similar fates, for similar reasons; not because of questions of inauthenticity, but because of the controversy of womens' status in the 1st and following centuries.

mr. scrivener

(taken from TC-Alt-List, Yahoo Groups)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Full Story on "Codex X"

Further Debate

(From Evan.TC Blog, 2010)

The following discussion is extended from:

ETC Blog Article comments < - - Original posts.

W.Willker's Post 1:

"Codex X/033 is a continuous text manuscript. I have collated it for the online commentary.

It is only debatable if it should be considered an uncial manuscript, but that doesn't matter much.

It is noteworthy that X is only about 50% Byzantine in John, comparable to 33.

I posted some comments on the manuscript

...Jn 19:14 is cited in the text as "it were the third
. Several other witnesses read so, too. The commentary
has "it were the sixth hour", noting explicitly the
difference between Mark and John.

7:57 AM, May 26, 2010

W.Willker's Post 2:

"Please show one instance where the Gospel text in X is not continuous (except for the missing folios). Codex X is a commentary manuscript and the commentary is not continuous. But the Gospel text is continuous.

This is all clear and straightforward. There is no confusion.
The PA is not in the text."

2:02 PM, May 28, 2010

Nazaroo Replies:

I want to respond directly to Mr.Willker's posts, because his questions are serious and important.

But first let me recap the essential issue, to show how the 'confusion' element enters.

There are three key questions:

1. What exactly is "codex X"?

2. Is it relevant evidence re: the PA? And if so, how?

3. How should it be cited in an apparatus, if at all?

Lets take question 1:

1. What exactly is "codex X"?

(1) The Physical Layout and Content of Codex X

W.WIllker categorizes the document:

"Codex X is a commentary manuscript."

Codex X is a composite document, alternating short Gospel sections with accompanying commentary. The Gospels and commentary were originally separate documents, later copied in combined form. Each Gospel was split apart into sections and likewise the commentary, then they were matched up and alternately block-copied in A/B/A/B fashion to create a new document.

Further we may note it has been written on expensive parchment, in neat narrow double-columns of constant width, and was probably made for use in public reading, for comment on the Gospel sections being read during services. This was not a private book, but would have belonged to a local parish or bishop.

(2) The Handwriting & Style of Codex X

A portion of Page 5 (photo 8, the 3rd surviving page) shown below, illustrating the cursive
(small connected handwriting) used for the commentary portion (of Chrysostom), and the contrasting capital script ('pseudo-Uncial') used for NT quotations. Here the Quotation of Matt. 6:6 is being highlighted to show the change in 'font style' used to indicate quoted text.

Tregelles described this handwriting as follows:

[the letters are] "small and upright; though some of them are compressed, they seem as if they were partial imitations of those [letters] used in the very earliest copies."

This is not 'real' Uncial script, nor was it intended to deceive. It is written in the same size and hand as the rest, and was used decoratively to mark off quotations. There is no risk of mistaking this for ancient (4th century) Uncial script.

(3) The Dating of the Text of John in Codex X

W.Willker has collated X for his own commentary. He tells us:

"It is noteworthy that X is only about 50% Byzantine 1 in John,
[and is] comparable to [the 11th cent. miniscule MS] 33." 2

Codex X' John then appears to be a 10/11th cent. 'mixed Byzantine' text. 3
If so, most textual critics view such late copies of late mixed texts to be of little value for textual criticism. What we do know however, is that during the 8th-9th centuries 70% of copies of John contained the PA (Jn 7:53-8:11). 4

1. Historically speaking, the practice of 'quantifying' texts by a "% agreement" has been plagued with ambiguity in meaning, inconsistency in method and unreliability in result. Until Mr. Willker gives more details, "50%" is best viewed as a guesstimate.

2. Manuscript # 33 - is listed incorrectly as 9th cent. in UBS-2. Although the O.T. portions may be 9th century, the NT portions are by a later hand dated to the 10th or 11th. (See both Gregory, & Scrivener). If Codex X is comparable to 33, this again links its production to the 10th/11th century. Mr.Willker may want to associate Codex X with 33 because 33 omits the PA, although this is the exception for this period, not the rule.

3. This may hint at when the text/commentary combo was put together (i.e., post-11th cent.).

4. From the 10th century onward, over 90% of copies contain the PA.

(4) The Classification of the Text of John in Codex X


"Codex X contains a near-complete 'continuous-text' copy of John."

This expression makes two necessary distinctions:

(1) 'continuous-text' is in single-quotes to make clear that we are only categorizing the type of text it contains, not the quality, accuracy, or value of that text.

(2) Codex X itself is NOT a 'continuous-text' MS, nor is it a simple copy of one. Key features of that text have been lost because of how Codex X has presented that text.

This second part b) of the question is precisely where the 'confusion' element enters, and that is why Mr. Willker's less precise expression is inadequate.

Mr.Willker says, "But the Gospel text is continuous.";

But he uses 'continuous' here as if it were an ordinary adjective implying something about the text itself, whereas what is needed is to make clear that categorizing the text-type as "continuous-text" does not and should not imply anything about the contents or quality of its readings, or even what we may be able to know about them from the physical form of the text given by codex X.

The issue was never about how the manuscript has been classified by a bunch of self-appointed German critics, or any minor quibble about what the definition of a "continuous-text" MS is.

The Definition of "Continous-Text MS"

But for what its worth, its not *us* who have misunderstood the meaning or significance of the classification of X as a 'continuous-text MS'. We have understood it perfectly well and uphold the 'standard' definition, which is this:

This designation means simply that a manuscript contains a text which has not been edited or modified so that the sections can be used as "stand-alone" lections.

*non*-"continuous-text" MSS divide the text into sections which are then modified at the beginning and end of each section, so that each can function as an independant story unit, and be read in isolation publicly in church.

The purpose of the classification is not to indicate how complete the MS is as a copy, nor even to indicate whether the text has been divided up into sections physically, or marked off. Nor is the designation intended to indicate the quality of the text-type, other than whether or not it exhibits this special editing feature.

The reason for the interest in alterations at the beginning and end of each section is that the presumption is that the gospels were originally "continuous-text" in this sense, and that the 'pericopizing features' are in fact secondary.

The classifcation of Codex X as "continuous-text" implies nothing more or less than the absence of these specialized features at the beginning and ending of each standard section (well-known from the Lectionary tradition). It does not indicate (as the language of W. Willker, P. Head, and T. Wasserman wrongly suggests) anything else about the quality or text-type contained in the manuscript, or its physical layout or completeness.

This (distracting) side-issue being finally dealt with once and for all, lets move back to the real topic at hand.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Greek Test: εν αρχη ην ο λογος

John 1:1: εν αρχη ην ο λογος και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον.

Just a test.

J.D. Punch's New Article on the PA

The announcement and link to this free online dissertation on the PA was originally posted on Evangelical Textual Criticism blog by Wasserman.

Its a 500 page article on the PA that goes into depth in considering the main options as to the origin and history of John 7:53-8:11 (the Pericope [de] Adultera[e] PA).

J.D. Punch's Thesis on PA <-- Click Here, or right-click to save to disk.

I am posting this short review of a part of it, to give people some idea of what is in it:


First a general comment:

This section is anything but "(pseudo)scholarly": It is a really first-rate and deep discussion of many of the vocabulary questions. Something of a 'coup de grace'.

3.2 orthros(ou). An excellent and thorough 3 page discussion on this word, providing a wealth of material for future commentators. Full marks.

3.3 paraginomai. Great, informative talk, which will be of assistance to those at intermediate-level Greek, seeking more nuance.

3.4 laos/oxlos. An excellent and deep introduction to the usage of these words in the Gospels, NT, & LXX. Hats off. Very compelling.

3.5 kathizo. Subtle nuances of usage, again useful for those wishing to master Koine, and are wondering as to the weight of stylistic variation vs. meaning.

3.6 hoi grammateis kai hoi pharisaioi.

This is your best section to this point: a three-page masterpiece, filling out a very complex background on many levels of culture, context, religion and literary purpose. What a model.

I have left off commenting on 3.1, in part because I think some things were missed in this section. A future discussion can await that.

Generally, Sections 1-3 of this chapter are a tour-de-force, a scholarly and balanced response with excellent references and a good grasp of the issues, and more than adequate answer to the stylistic objections of the 19th century, beginning with Samuel Davidson.

Congrats on a great piece, which ought to be well-quoted and useful for students of both NT Greek and TC.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Gospel of Barnabas and the PA

We've posted a tentative introduction to the Gospel of Barnabas onsite.

Nazaroo has contributed a brief analysis of the editing to the PA done in the process of including it in the final version of Gospel of Barnabas (GB).

What intrigues me is just how much of GB is from the late author/editor (disgruntled monk/Islam apologist), and how much of the GB is borrowed from a previous harmony something like the Diatessaron.

If this original harmony (perhaps even a lost or banned version of GB, c. 500 A.D.) had in it the PA, this would be remarkable evidence for the existance of the standard text, even though it has been heavily edited in the final version of GB.

Does anyone have an opinion of the extent of the Islamic apologist's contribution to this book? (GB).


Saturday, May 8, 2010


The Story of John 8: 1-11 shows forgivesness but does not show the restoration or the other parties engaged in the sins which this woman was participating in. We know she was guilty of something because Jesus said, "Sin no More" Who was he sinning with and would Jesus have gone to confront these sinners after or perhaps confronted the Pharisees once more time after the girl was gone
Does scripture indicate what sort of restoration took place in the community? (besides the general confirmation scripture gives for restoration to all those who repent) Surley Jesus had other witnesses to the events afterwards. What happened in the days following ? Surely we as Christians can have that wisdom and understanding from the Lord, as to what happened

Isaiah 43:10

(10) " You are My witnesses," says the LORD,

The Pericope de Adultera Website now has a blog!

Dear friends:

We have decided to try the Google Blog resources, to allow those interested in Johannine studies to have an input in the direction of future research on our site. Please post your comments and suggestions in the comments.

We will probably moderate comments in the same way we have been running the TC-Alternate-List Yahoo Groups (textual criticism) group.

We are looking forward to input on the site from those who wish more to be accomplished in this field.