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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: