Search Our Blog

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Adam Clarke: New Collection Available at LOGOS

The following notice has been approved by the PA website Moderators:

'A Collection has just been made available on our site (Logos Bible Software)  called The Works of Adam Clarke (24 vols.). We offer it digitally and with all the perks of our advanced software, like extensive cross-referencing tools, powerful searches, and word studies, to name a few.

You can find it here: 

If you find it interesting or feel that it might benefit any of your blog followers ...

Thanks, and blessings!
Laura Converse

Logos Bible Software
Product Promotions

Friday, October 28, 2011

Apocryphal Gospel of Peter and Jn 8:1-11

The following is an excerpt from the Article by Nazaroo on G-Peter


Gospel of Peter:
& John 8:1-11

The Gospel of Peter does not quote John 8:1-11. Yet it provides an interesting piece of circumstantial evidence which, while by no means 'proving' its existance and placement in the 2nd century, can only be interpreted as a mild positive inference.
The 'Gospel of Peter' (GPeter) is agreed by most scholars to be a 2nd century production, secondary to the canonical Gospels. Nonetheless its existance in some form by the mid 2nd century is confirmed by its mention by early Christian writers, and some smaller found fragments.
The next significant fact regarding GPeter is that whoever wrote it appears to be familiar with the (real) Gospel of John. Of particular note is the detail given regarding the taunting of the soldiers:

'And they threw a purple robe round Him and made Him sit upon the Judgement Seat, and said, "Judge justly, king of Israel!".
- Gospel of Peter 3:2 (v7)
This appears to be a plain reference to John 7:24,

"Judge not according to (mere) appearance, but judge righteous (true) judgement!"
- John 7:24
This particular way of expressing things only appears in John. The concept is more developed and simplified in Matthew for instance:

"Judge not, that you not be judged: for with the judgement that you judge, you shall be judged; and with the measure you mete out, it shall be measured back to you again."
- Matt. 7:1-2
GPeter 3:2 (v7) then, seems most closely related to John 7:24, and appears to have been inspired by that Gospel. While this does not 'prove' a dependancy upon John, the evidence is in favour of this view and has some substance.
But if we accept this plausible and reasonable premise, something else becomes immediately of import:

Why does GPeter emphasize this?
GPeter records the soldiers actually mocking Jesus as a judge, a back-reference to something in His earthly ministry that relates to this theme.
If the Gospel of John contained only the terse saying in Jn 7:24, but no actual 'trial-like' incident such as the one immediately following (John 8:1-11), then this would be non-sequitous, and almost inexplicable.

'What's the big deal?' the reader might ask, upon reading GPeter. What is GPeter trying to say?

But if we assume that the Gospel of John was in the basic form we have it now, complete with the incident of John 7:53-8:11 in its traditional place, at least by the middle of the 2nd century A.D., then immediately the story detail in GPeter becomes obvious.
The "Judeans" (scribes and Pharisees) are furiously mocking Jesus because He had in fact 'acted as a judge', making a ruling which humiliated and defeated His accusers before all of Israel. And now both the motivation and specific reference to this unique act of revenge recorded in GPeter becomes clear.
Whether or not John 7:53-8:11 is authentic or was found in every copy of John is not the main point. Its simply this: GPeter may have known of it and had apparently accepted the story as an authentic tradition about Jesus in the mid 2nd century A.D., and his knowledge of the passage appears to have come from John's gospel.
While this evidence is only circumstantial and indirect in nature, its preponderance is in favour of the existance of John 7:53-8:11 in John's gospel, however slim this preponderance may be.

Remarkable New Linguistic Evidence
Of special significance is the unexpected testimony regarding grammar and style that GPeter unconsciously provides. It was formerly argued (by Samuel Davidson in 1848 and others) that as a matter of style, John the Evangelist preferred words like "πρωιας" for "early morning" and that the presence of "Ορθρου" in the Pericope de Adultera (v. 8:2) was a "Lukanism" (it also appears in Acts), indicating that John 7:53-8:11 was by another hand.
Yet the 2nd century Greek author of Gospel of Peter clearly used both expressions, ("πρωιας" 9:1/ v34 & "Ορθρου" 12:1 / v50 ) and had no stylistic preference for one or the other. Whether or not GPeter varies his vocabulary for reasons of style or for precision of meaning hardly matters. The point is that a near-contemporary of John the Evangelist found no difficulty in using both expressions, just as they appear together in the Gospel of John.
If someone were to object that GPeter must have copied this conflated stylism from John, then obviously the author of GPeter inadvertantly testifies of the presence of the Pericope de Adultera in John's Gospel.

Eerie Parallels to Pericope De Adultera

The surviving passage from the Gospel of Peter provides even more eerie parallels to John 8:1-11:

In verse 1:1, GPeter refers to the "judges of Herod", an expression seemingly unheard of elsewhere. Why 'judges' rather than 'princes' or 'rulers', 'captains' etc.?
In 2:3 (v5) we find the unusual "For it is written in the Law..."...While the dialogue is suspiciously artificial, the expression is also similar to that of the Pharisees in John 8:5.
In 3:2 (7), 'they...made Him sit upon the judgement seat and said, "Judge justly, King of Israel!"' has already been mentioned. (John 8:2 etc.)
In 4:1 (10), "but He kept silent..." again stands out, as the phrases accumulate. (see John 8:6,8)
In 5:3 (17), "they ... brought their sins upon their own heads' is again remarkable, as the story builds.
In 5:6 (20), the mention of "the temple" is also striking. (John 8:2)
In 6:1 (21) we find Jesus' "hands" mentioned in close proximity to the phrase "on the ground", both rare expressions in themselves (e.g., John 8:6 etc.)
In 7:1 (25) we have repeated 'over-determination' in "Jews and elders and priests", and again in 8:1 (28) "scribes and Pharisees and elders". The inclusion of elders is unusual in passion accounts, and raises an eyebrow. 8:4 (31) also mentions "elders" (e.g. John 8:9)
8:1 (28) needs a second mention, for "all the people" (ho laos), and "He must have been innocent" (John 8:2, 7)
9:1 (34) is surely unique, mentioning "At dawn..." ('orthrou'), a phrase only appearing in John 8:2 and Luke 24:1. Later, GPeter also uses "early" ('proi') in 12:1 (50), just as John the Evangelist does (John 8:2, John 20:1)
7:1 (25) 'the elders and the priests, ...began to lament and say "Woe unto [us for] our sins! The judgement and the end of Jerusalem is near!"' The mention of the destruction of Jerusalem (c. 70 A.D.) makes the text relatively late, but the similarity to John 8:9 is striking, even if GPeter actually exaggerates and inserts anachronistically here.
8:6 (33) "they pitched a tent there" could ironically allude to the Feast of Booths, the occasion of John 8:1-11. It is an odd detail as well.
12:1 (50) "Early on the Lord's Day, Mary Magdala..." a woman with a dubious past takes the central stage for a moment. (see John 8:3)
12:5 (54) the "stone" and the verb "cast" are cleverly placed together, although the story hardly requires this embellishment. (compare John 8:7)
14:2 (59) is perhaps most remarkable of all, for each "went to his own home" (compare John 7:53!)

We honestly couldn't contrive more parallels if we deliberately set out to fabricate a passion account. Can so many coincidences really be accidental? No such similar parallel can be drawn from any other passion account. The best one can do is a few minor parallels here and there.
It seems from this evidence that something more than just "having the Gospel of John before him" was at work in the composition of this piece. Why so many seemingly superfluous insertions, all bearing a relation to John 8:1-11?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Luke and the PA

"The Synoptic Problem becomes significant here:

Did John (or an interpolator) have access to Luke, or did Luke have access to John in writing Luke/Acts?
John appears to take great pains to maintain independance from the Synoptic Gospels, in regard to both style and content. He appears only to make direct reference to Mark, and makes no effort to use or even confirm the 'Q' material from Luke and Matthew.
Yet a handful of peculiar clauses and expressions are shared between John and Luke: Why would John insert these phrases into his own Gospel in such a random manner, with no apparent purpose?

If Luke made Use of John...

But what if Luke was composed after John, and had access to it, or at least to traditions originating in the Johannine community? In fact, a remarkable number of passages in Luke appear to depend upon the Johannine tradition, such as Luke 9:55-56 (cf. Jn 3:16-17), Luke 10:1-24, especially 10:2-3 (cf. Jn 4:35-36), and 10:21-22 (cf. Jn 5:25-27, 8:42-43, 10:27-30 etc.), Luke 11:29-36 (cf. Jn 2:18 etc.), and Luke 12:14 (cf. Jn 8:15-16).
The parallels between Luke 11:20 (cf. Jn 8:6,8!), and especially Luke 21:37-38/Acts 5:21 (cf. Jn 7:53-8:2) become now become more explicable. Luke takes the Johannine traditions and works them into his compilation of previous written and oral tradition, modifying them extensively just as he has done with Mark. Luke openly confesses as much, in the first 4 verses (Luke 1:1-4).
Most importantly, now the amazing parallel in Luke 21:37-38 takes on a new meaning: Besides providing the authoritative background for Luke's following material, Luke carefully preserves together material from both sides of the apparent 'seam' between John 8:1 and 8:2. Could Luke have done this to prevent or combat the physical cutting apart of this seam and removal of John 8:2-11?
If so, Luke would become the earliest known witness to the authenticity of the Pericope de Adultera!

- Nazaroo

Friday, September 30, 2011

G.A. Clark on the PA and TC

G.A. Clark

In 1986 (revised 1990) G.A. Clark issued a small book(let) entitled, Logical Criticisms of Textual Criticism   (Trinity Foundation, Maryland; 70 pgs).

It is only an introductory view of the subject, but before dismissing it out of hand, a word or two about G. A. Clark is in order. He was a well-educated, highly respected Presbyterian theologian.
"He began teaching at the University of Pennsylvania after receiving his bachelor's degree and also taught at Reformed Episcopal Seminary in Philadelphia. In 1936, he accepted a professorship in Philosophy at Wheaton College, Illinois, where he remained until 1943, when he accepted the Chairmanship of the Philosophy Department at Butler University in Indianapolis. In 1973, he retired from Butler University and taught at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, and Sangre de Cristo Seminary in Westcliffe, Colorado.  ...Clark was a prolific author who wrote more than forty books, including texts on ancient and contemporary philosophy, volumes on Christian doctrines, commentaries on the New Testament and a one-volume history of philosophy. "
- wikipedia on  G. H. Clark.
When approaching Textual Criticism, Clark was humble, but his extensive knowledge, scientific and linguistic training, should not be underestimated.   In writing his booklet, his concern was always to clarify and assist the ordinary Christian layman, not pander to academics.  He remained a firm believer in the traditional Bible and the Protestant faith.  In his chapter on John's gospel, he faces the Pericope de Adultera head-on:
"This is the passage concerning Jesus' judgment of the woman whom the Pharisees caught in the very act of adultery.  It is the longest and probably the most peculiar textual problem in all the New Testament; and though the liberal critics would not say so, the consevative scholars must admit that it is the most difficult also." ( - Gordon H. Clark, p. 37)
He is certainly right in recognizing both the size and difficulty of the textual problem.  Dean John Burgon held the same view over 120 years ago:
"I have purposely reserved for the last the most difficult problem of all: namely, those 12 famous verses of St. John's Gospel (7:53-8:11) which contain ...the Pericope de Adultera ... It is altogether indispensable that the reader should approach this portion of the Gospel with the greatest amount of experience and the largest preparation."  
( - John Burgon, the Pericope de Adultera)

On pg 39, Clark briefly reviews the so-called 'textual evidence' as typically presented, and remarks:
"On the basis of this evidence [alone], it is doubtful that the original contained the verses because it is unlikely that so many scribes would have deleted it. On the other hand, if it was not in the original , how can one explain so many manuscripts that include it?"  (Clark , p. 39)
This is the other side of the same coin.  The very 'textual evidence' that is held to be against the passage simply cannot be explained any better by just rejecting the passage.   This is because the evidence itself is irrepairably split, and some other mechanism and/or explanation must be sought beyond textual evidence alone; that evidence is not only ambiguous, but self-contradictory, and self-condemning.

Clark then turns to the pre-textual situation (the extant manuscripts only go back to about 250-300 A.D. with Papyri P66 and P75).  Since all critics are in the same boat, Clark proposes  an alternate conjecture: 
" will be at least a possibility [that] just perchance the Apostle John himself wrote a second edition of his Gospel, adding a paragraph.  [second editions often have additional material added].  ...Could not John have don similarly?" ( - Clark, p. 39)
Its an interesting idea.  Many critics have felt this both a necessary and plausible solution to the fact that there are two very divergent versions of the book of Acts (i.e., 2 editions released by Luke).   But as Clark himself acknowledges, this is not a necessary hypothesis.  

Instead Clark prefers to turn to internal evidence, like Hodges and Farstad do (Majority Text, etc.), to seek additional evidence that could tip the scales in one direction or another.  Both find evidence of John's linguistic style in John 8:6 of the passage: τουτο δε ελεγον πειραζοντες ('this they said tempting him').  Similar phrases are found in: John 6:6, 7:39, 11:51, 12:6, 33, and 21:19.  Hodges and Farstad mention other keys also, but  Clark is happy not to insist too strongly on those evidences: 
"the [presence of] favorite introductory phrases is far from proving that someone else could not have used it occasionally.  The most that can be concluded is that the phrase does not destroy authenticity. 
The authors add three other, less striking items.  At least the second is less striking:  It is the argument that the passage fits nicely in its place.  This can hardly be contested, though their evidences are slightly too many [i.e., overstated].   
But if the authors have not demonstrated authenticity, their argument is quite satisfactory in undermining any counter claim.  There is also a third argument, a very complex genealogical argument, too difficult to reproduce here.  The data are important, but the whole requires further investigation." (p. 39-40). 

Given G. H. Clark's state of knowledge in 1990, his position is a most reasonable compromise, worthy of and similar to  F.H.A. Scrivener's position in the 1880s. 

We now know that there is substantive additional structural evidence for the authenticity of the passage, far stronger, and more reliable than mere linguistic or stylistic evidence.  We recommend reviewing this additional material below:

1997M. SchneiderMORE internal evidence
1998R. A. CulpepperNEW internal evidence!
1999J. StaleyChiasm, Unity of ch 7-8 new!

2000J. M. C. ScottMORE internal evidence
2007A. W. WilsonMORE internal evidence

Nor should one miss the following new findings:

Moses and John 8:1-11 - Thematic Structure discovered!
O.T. Quotation Structure in John - powerful new evidence
CHIASTIC Structure (2008) & Jn 8:1-11 - new evidence!
Mount of Olives CHIASM - English Version!
Mount of Olives CHIASM - Greek Unicode 

 All in all, Gordon H. Clark's position on the PA has indeed held up over time, in an era of many new discoveries and advances in the study of the Holy Scriptures.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

John's Connection to Mark and the PA

Mark as a Base Outline for John

Mark and John are also similar in size and in the arrangement of their contents. And there seems to be a much stronger correspondence than would be indicated by the strictly 'parallel' material between the Synoptics and John.
At the same time, we can expect any Gospel to have a significant body of common material, with a (practically forced) standard arrangement /order (e.g. triumphal entry, passion, resurrection). And certain major events will act as a backbone against which the rest of the material is chronologically arranged.
We can see this basic structural outline in the position of several key events and sequences:

Shared Backbone

Its from this shared backbone that all the other elements find their relative chronological placement and correspondence between the two Gospels, Mark and John.
Although a few items are clearly displaced (e.g. the Temple Cleansing, the Annointing etc.), most other items have a surprising correspondence and connection between the Gospels. Some sections, although displaced, are only slightly and locally rearranged. One may discover that most of these minor oddities seem to have an additional structural purpose of their own.
Before assuming that diverse material is completely unrelated, we are obligated to examine the possibility that various segments which are chronologically parallel (relative to the Gospel frameworks) are related in other more subtle ways. Three obvious relations are:

(1) that parallel but divergent material is supplementary, and expands upon the (previous) narrative/discourse with which it has been paired off.
(2) that the alternate material is complimentary in some sense or function, such as for didactic purpose or ritual use.
(3) that this material is meant to create a larger wholistic 'meta-picture' which is only partially seen in individual Gospel accounts, or is even non-existant in fragments themselves.
It is only when avenues like these are exhausted, that we should probably abandon the idea that there may be a deliberate relation between the opposing passages in each Gospel. Opening up these lines of investigation allows us to consider many ways in which the Gospels may have been composed, and designed to work together.

Mark / John
Interconnections: Part I

Having accepted the possibility that John for instance has used Mark as a blueprint or structural basis for his own outline, the investigation is straightforward. Let us take the first third of the Gospel(s) and see what can be plausibly connected.

Stunning Parallels
Relaxing the requirement for strict literal parallelism gives a dramatic result: It is clear that a large portion of John interconnects with Mark. But most importantly, John is clearly meant to act as a kind of commentary or 'midrash' on Mark.
Many of the once puzzling Johannine Discourses, thought by some to have been virtually made up by John, are seen to be direct verbal interpretations of physical acts in the public ministry of Jesus. Its as though while Jesus is traveling through Galilee and Samaria, he is simultaneously debating with the Judaean authorities in Jerusalem.
We can see for instance how the Third Discourse (the Son of God Discourse, Jn 5:19-47) follows closely the narrative events in Mark 5:21-6:29. Both the chronological order of events is matched by the Discourses and the thematic content also is strongly connected, emphasized, and expanded.
Perhaps some of this exchange was historically carried out in a kind of long distance 'correspondence' between representatives from Jerusalem and Jesus/John during their public activity among the Lost Tribes of the North.
John has been written not only to function as a complete Gospel in itself, but also as a detailed commentary on Mark. This is now so evident that trying to write a commentary on Mark without consulting John appears foolish.

A Door Closes
The first Third of Mark's Gospel fittingly begins and ends with John the Baptist's ministry and testimony. What is left ringing in our ears, because of details only provided by Mark is that the Herodians (Mark 3:6) were actively behind the plot to kill Jesus. We recall that Herod had appointed and controlled the 'puppet priests', and his will was behind their organized activity, supported by the powerful Pharisees.
The Herodian party had already murdered John the Baptist, and John the Baptist's indictment against them was headed by the blatant "Accusation of Moses"(Jn 5:45) against their 'king': ADULTERY (Exod. 20:14) -

"It is not lawful for you to have her." (John Baptist, in Mark 6:18). And so this large section of the Gospel closes.

Mark / John
Interconnections: Part II

Now examining the next section, we are able to see again the same remarkable connections across both Gospels:

While some material undergoes a significant rearrangement locally, the main backbone remains full and solid, and the ADULTERY connection is glaring.
It seems quite plain that the confrontation between the Herodian religious authorities and Jesus in John's account (Jn 8:1-11) is meant to illustrate and resonate loudly with Jesus' teaching in Mark on ADULTERY and DIVORCE.
But the most powerful and remarkable feature of the whole correspondence, is that the two very difficult, almost impenetrable mysteries in John taken alone, the seemingly random "Jesus went to the Mount of Olives",(Jn 8:1) and the equally weak, almost disconnected Jn 8:12, "I am the Light of the World", suddenly jumps out at us and hits us over the head with a hammer:
John is calling to rememberance the Transfiguration on the Mount, but does not speak of it openly (he was under oath not to discuss it - Mk 9:9, but this no longer holds: yet there may be danger to parties still living in Jerusalem). Mark, writing in Rome from Peter's intimate testimony, is not under any such restriction, and happily reports the amazing event that transpired on the Mountain, including the discussion with Moses and Elijah.


Of course all study of Holy Scripture is a rewarding endeavour in itself.
We are content at the moment however, with revealing to the reader the remarkable evidence from the Gospel of Mark itself, as to the Authenticity of the Pericope de Adultera .
Even though we happily concede that Mark was probably written before John wrote his own Gospel, the fact that John used Mark as a base for his own supplementary historical and teaching material exposes for us the remarkable feature that John intended his story of the Woman Taken in Adultery to resonate with Mark's report.
Jesus' teaching regarding the Accusation of Moses exposed by John the Baptist against the Herodians, His teaching regarding Divorce and Adultery, is aptly contrasted with His tender mercy toward a woman caught in the middle of this epic battle between the corrupt Religious authorities of Jerusalem and the King of Kings.
Mark has become the earliest textual witness for the authenticity of John 8:1-11, being acknowledged to be the first gospel written, and penned some 150 years before the oldest known copy of any gospel.
Some may think it must end here. For how could there be an even earlier witness to the existance and authenticity of John 8:1-11?
We can only remind our brothers and sisters in Christ, that with the Lord, anything is possible. And more evidence will surely follow, since it is a task of the Holy Spirit to bring the truth of the Gospel to the light of day.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pat Robertson on Adultery and Alzheimers

Recently Pat Robertson apparently advised a man whose wife had contracted Alzheimers to divorce and remarry...

Many, such as Dr. Moore, condemned the teaching as anti-Christian, and rightfully so.  What struck my eye however was another comment by a reader of the post, who went a little deeper into the issues:

"Moore completely missed the point, although everything he said is good and right. Folks, did you not hear what Pat Robertson subtly said in the interview? He called Alzheimer’s a type of “death,” and on THAT basis, justified divorce. This is the exact same trap, in principle, that virtually every Christian pastor and writer has fallen for in the matter of divorce on the grounds of—not Alzheimer’s but—adultery. From John MacArthur to Tony Evans to James Dobson to Charles Swindol to Charles Stanley and on and on, they argue that when a spouse commits adultery, such adultery amounts to the death of the marriage, since in the Old Testament, adultery would have resulted in the death penalty of the guilty spouse, hence, no more marriage. Therefore, they argue, in the New Testament, divorce is the “gracious” alternative to the death penalty that would have otherwise ensued. What Pat Robertson did is no different in principle than what any of your favorite preachers do when they say that adultery kills a marriage and therefore divorce is OK. We need to set the record straight with ALL these guys, not just Pat Robertson, and say that death means death; Alzheimer’s doesn’t kill a marriage, and neither does adultery. Divorce is not the alternative to the Old Testament death penalty; forgiveness is! You have no right to criticize Pat Robertson’s “Alzheimer’s-equals-death-of-marriage” view if you yourself hold the “adultery-equals-death-of-marriage” view. Both are built on the same premise and both must be condemned. “Till death us do part” does not include adultery any more than it includes Alzheimer’s, or any other thing we want to insert that we believe “kills” a marriage, including desertion, or incompatibility. Death means casket-death, and nothing less. If you’re going to criticize Pat Robertson, you must attack the foundation of his premise, which is that Alzheimer’s amounts to the death of a marriage. But if you’re going to do that, then you must [also] be consistent and condemn the view that says adultery amounts to the death of a marriage."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

James Snapp Jr's Observations on Asterisks

In his discussion of the Ending of Mark, James Snapp Jr. had some remarks concerning the function and meaning of different forms of asterisks in the margin of manuscripts.  His observations however, equally apply to manuscripts which have marks in the margin beside John 7:53-8:11:

----------------------------------------------------- QUOTE ---

Msg #6619:

'Bruce Metzger wrote that

"Not a few manuscripts which contain the passage have scribal notes stating that older Greek copies lack it, and in other witnesses the passage is marked with asterisks or obeli, the conventional signs used by copyists to indicate a spurious addition to a document." (Bruce Metzger, p. 123, A Textual Commentary on the Greek N. T., � 1971 by the United Bible Societies.)
The second part of Dr. Metzger's statement is incorrect. To the best of my knowledge, not a single manuscript that does not have a note about the passage has been shown to place asterisks or obeli alongside it to convey scribal doubt about the passage. When copyists wanted to signify doubt about a large passage, they ordinarily placed a *series* of asterisks or other marks alongside it. But the marks that have been claimed to signify scribal doubt about the passage in unannotated manuscripts are solitary. I looked into this, and in every case that I could track down, where the presence of a mark at Mark 16:9 has been verified, and it does not refer to a note in the margin, the same mark appears elsewhere in the same manuscript at places where there is no textual issue, but there is  a lection-division."

(...See, regarding this, my earlier posts about those copies [at Willker's TC-Group]. There is still one MS in Spain that I have not been able to check out. But it's a MS with a commentary accompanying the text. Time in.)

'In other words, these manuscripts were studied superficially, and marks that were made as part of the lectionary apparatus were misidentified as if they were made to convey scribal doubt. In the real world, instead of conveying scribal doubt, they do just the opposite, showing that the passage was expected to be read in the churches as a normal part of the church-services on Ascension-day, and as part of an eleven-part series of readings about Christ's resurrection'.

Yours in Christ,

James Snapp, Jr.


...The implications for those manuscripts having singular asterisks at the beginning and end of John 7:53-8:11 (the Pericope de Adultera) are obvious.


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.