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Friday, August 7, 2015

The PA and Deut. 13:6-18

I want to add a recent discovery of mine,
which resolves a puzzle concerning one part of John 8:1-11
that has been left fuzzy at the least for a long time.

I credit Shabir Ally for his own accidental and unintended tip-off.
He is a muslim apologist who critiques the Bible and prefers the Quran.

He of course has no knowledge of my discovery:

The issue concerns why Jesus used the exact expression here,

"The sinless one among you, let him first cast a stone at her..."
(Jn. 8:7)

For previously, (without a second look at a certain passage in Deuteronomy),
I found that this remained a puzzle, because it does not directly
quote an O.T. Law or offer an explanation for Jesus' apparent demand.

The Law of Moses did not require "sinless" men to initiate stonings.

So many have thought that Jesus is here (as apparently in other places)
adding to the law or raising it up to a new higher and stricter standard.

But this new insight which I will offer below,
may suggest that Jesus actually wrote out a reference to Deut. 13:6-21.

If this is the case, then His 'incomplete' quote needs to be taken
in this context, and we need to complete the idea ourselves from the Law.

That is, Jesus may have said little, that is, just enough to call the
Deuteronomic Law into memory for the scribes and Pharisees.

Jesus' Shorthand Responses:

When we (often) as modern readers assume the passage is 'self-sufficient'
or 'self-explanatory' on its face, we can make serious mistakes,
or at least miss the historical context and deeper meaning of Jesus.

An example of this is marriage, where Jesus on a few occasions
appears to give a new law or rule on marriage and divorce,
i.e., divorce is only lawful for the reason of actual adultery/fornication.

Knowing that there was a vigorous debate among
the two major Rabbinical schools on divorce,
and that they and the Jews sought Jesus' opinion on it,
makes Jesus' statements much clearer and provides the scope for their application.

Jesus on Divorce:
'Divorce was a controversial topic in Jesus' day, with two main schools
of thought, centered around two of its most famous proponents.
The first was the school of Rabbi Shammai (a more strict and unpopular view)
and second was the school of Rabbi Hillel (a more lax and popular view).

Under the thinking of Hillel, "a man could divorce his wife if she spoiled his dinner, if she spun, or went with unbound hair, or spoke to men in the streets, if she spoke disrespectfully of his parents in his presence, or if she was a brawling woman whose voice could be heard in the next house. Rabbi Akiba even went the length of saying…that a man could divorce his wife if he found a woman whom he liked better and considered more beautiful." (Barclay)

Each school of thought understood that the Mosaic law gave permission for divorce in Deuteronomy 24:1:

When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house.
Each side knew and believed Deuteronomy 24:1;
the question was, "What constitutes

The school of Rabbi Shammai understood that uncleanness meant sexual immorality, and said this was the only valid reason for divorce.

The school of Rabbi Hillel understood uncleanness to mean any sort of indiscretion; even to the point where for some rabbis, burning a husband's breakfast was considered valid grounds for divorce.
So in their question, the Pharisees tried to get Jesus to side with one teaching or the other. If He agreed with the lax school of Rabbi Hillel, it was clear that Jesus did not take the Law of Moses seriously. If He agreed with the strict school of Rabbi Shammai, then Jesus might become unpopular with the multitude, who generally liked access to an easy divorce. The religious leaders had reason to believe they had caught Jesus on the horns of a dilemma.

The Pharisees wanted to talk about divorce and rabbinical opinions, but Jesus wanted to go back to the Scriptures...

"By answering the question, not from Shammai or Hillel, but from Moses, our blessed Lord defeated their malice, and confounded their devices." (Clarke)

Jesus interpreted the meaning of the word uncleanness in the Mosaic Law, showing that it refers to sexual immorality, not just anything that might displease the husband. Therefore, divorce - and the freedom to remarry without sin - is only permitted in the case of sexual immorality.
To this permission for divorce, the Apostle Paul added the case of abandonment by an unbelieving spouse (1st Cor. 7:15).

We note that incompatibility, not loving each other anymore, brutality, and misery are not grounds for divorce, though they may be proper grounds for a separation and consequent "celibacy within marriage" as Paul indicates in 1 Corinthians 7:11. These words of Paul show us that a Christian couple may in fact split up for reasons that do not justify a Biblical divorce. It may be because of a misguided sense of spirituality; it may be because of general unhappiness, or conflict, or abuse, or misery, addiction, or poverty. Paul recognizes (without at all encouraging) that one might depart in such circumstance, but they cannot consider themselves divorced, with the right to remarry, because their marriage had not split up for reasons that justify a Biblical divorce.

I provided the rather longwinded excerpt above,
to illustrate Jesus' modus operandi or typical habit of
referring back to the Law of Moses on almost all of his conflicts
and controversies with the scribes and Pharisees.

Thus we should also expect Jesus to be referring to, calling to mind,
or referencing some O.T. Laws here as well. And not necessarily only one
law or O.T. reference, but a more whollistic view.

Christians read the passage (Jn. 8:1-11) typically as an independent thing,
and the only O.T. reference in mind is usually the law of stoning for adultery.
It is presumed that this is all that is needed to understand it.

However, there is another O.T. Law, more general and far-reaching in scope,
that ALSO covers adultery and governs legal procedure.

Its Deuteronomy 13:6-21. This law includes Adultery without mentioning
that word specifically, and encompasses a set of procedures that all
such cases ought to conform to in appropriate community situations.

Here is the first part:

6 If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, 7 gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), 8 do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. 9 You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people.10 Stone them to death, because they tried to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 11 Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and no one among you will do such an evil thing again. ...

- Deut. 13:6-11 (NIV)

At first glance, this does not seem to be about adultery.

However, the commandment against Adultery (Exod. 20:14, Deut. 5:18)
is given as one of the Ten Commandments
which DEFINE the God of Israel, His nature, His very Identity:
Jehovah is the Biblical God, the God of the Ten Commandments.

As a consequence, anyone leading others to break those commandments,
is proposing the abandonment of the worship of the Biblical God,

and the turning towards 'another god', a non-Biblical god, a false god,
and an idol.

Adultery is just a single special case of general Idolatry,
and therefore it falls under the authority of this wider Law.

And in the actual historical context of foreigners in the land
worshipping 'other gods' through temple prostitution and
celebrations of fornication etc., its clear that the main lure
into the worship of other gods was sex, i.e., fornication and adultery.
This was often done 'in secret' inside temples for the purpose of illicit sex,
and prostitution and harlotry.
Israelite men were lured into these temples under a promise of secrecy
and discretion, while Israelite women were lured under a promise of
money and/or threats and blackmail.

Conspirators typically would approach individuals alone,
and sexual crimes like adultery would take place inside homes
and dwellings in private and not visible to the larger community.

Adultery would typically be discovered and reported by those
in the household where the crime occurred, and the head of that house
would be held 'responsible' and accountable, and need to prove
their own innocence in the matter.

One way to force the patriarch, home-owner, husband, or father
into account
was to require that THEY be the first to cast a stone
at their own daughter or wife, to prove their loyalty to the Law and God,
and their innocence and/or ignorance of what had been transpiring
in their own house under their nose.
This act was mandatory for the stoning according to this Law,
and ensured that mere accusations from outside parties could not
wreck homes and falsely have people killed for alterior motives or grievances.
And this act of throwing the First Stone was a self-testimony of the
appropriate male in charge of his own innocence in the matter,
and his belief in the accused's guilt.

Thus the expression of Jesus,

"The One Without Sin, Let him cast the first stone at her."

Refers directly to this overruling and preemptory Law,
required especially for the case of adultery, which was typically committed
inside someone's house, home, or private property away from the
eyes of the community.

It was not the absence of the male party in the adultery per se,
which could be simply explained on the basis that
the man was ALWAYS put to death when found guilty of adultery,
and may have already been executed, or could simply have escaped,
which would by no means exonerate the woman.

It was the absence of the OVERSEER, the HomeOwner, the Property Manager,
the Father, the Husband, the Guardian(!) which meant
that no stoning could proceed.

It was THIS man's innocence that must be publicly declared
along with his testimony to the guilt of the accused party,
and consummated by an act which initiated an execution.
It was THIS man's authority that must be thoroughly investigated,
and the crime on his watch explained.

For it must also be remembered that EVERY woman in Israel
was according to the Law of Moses under someone's authority,
supervision, and responsibility, including widows!

A woman was to live with and be under the authority of her father
until marriage, or the patriarch of the household or extended tribe.
A woman was under the authority of her husband during marriage,
with all contracts and permissions requiring his knowledge and assent.
A woman was under the authority of the tribe, king, and priesthood,
when she was widowed, and there were rules for remarriage and
distribution of inheritance of the family line. In cases of dire poverty,
widows had recourse to judges who could impose taxes and provide
food and shelter in Israel.

Thus no Israelite woman was 'free' to wander under her own authority,
and no property in Israel was not under the authority of some adult
and recognized male authority.

Only this man, could by his presence initiate a stoning,
he who had authority over the woman, who lived with the woman,
and who was required to instruct and discipline the woman
as to the Law of God and acceptable behaviour within the community.

The following verses (Deut. 13:12 fwd) give instructions to wipe out whole pockets or towns,
communities which have been hopelessly corrupted and are engaged in
false worship of fake gods, and the subsequent adultery and fornication.
Thus the firmness (merciless) requirement to destroy all those involved,
and burning down of all the property (no profit-motivated excursions allowed). The Law there seeks to stomp out all opportunities for straying from true worship, and also seeks to prevent the abuse of the Law to justify mere pillaging and robbery/murder for profit.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

New Book on the Pericope de Adultera

A few interesting names of current researchers in this area appear in the news item on this new book.

Peter Head has quoted Mr. Black as giving the general outline of contents on the new volume, which comes out of the recent conference on the PA:

'Well, the papers have now been assembled in book form. Yours truly and my former assistant and current Th.M. student Jacob Cerone are serving as editors. Here are the contents:
Foreword:  Gail O’Day
Preface: David Alan Black
Introduction: Jacob N. Cerone
Chapter 1: John David Punch: “The Piously Offensive Pericope Adulterae
Chapter 2: Jennifer Knust: ” ‘Taking Away From': Patristic Evidence and the Omission of the Pericope Adulterae from John’s Gospel”
Chapter 3: Tommy Wasserman: “The Strange Case of the Missing Adulteress”
Chapter 4:  Chris Keith: “The Pericope Adulterae: A Theory of Attentive Insertion”
Chapter 5: Maurice Robinson: “The Pericope Adulterae: A Johannine Tapestry with Double Interlock”
Chapter 6: Larry Hurtado: “The Pericope Adulterae: Where from Here?

J. D. Punch has had his work (2010) reviewed by us on the Main Website,
as well as Chris Keith (2008).

2008C. Keith recent survey
2010J.D. Punch more review soon!

We also quoted Gail O'Day a few times in our review of 400 years worth of commentary on these verses, here:
The Best of the Commentators - on Jn 8:1-11

Dr. Maurice Robinson is best known for his textual critical work on the Received and Majority Text found among the many manuscripts spanning nearly a millenium and a  half.

We have happily cited his articles and comments and also reviewed some of his analysis on several of our related sites, such as here:

M. Robinson (2001) Byzantine Text - its priority
M. Robinson (/06) Majority Method - D.Black Interview

Dr. Maurice Robinson on Textual Variants

So we are very interested in reading the new collection of articles, which will reflect modern viewpoints on the passage, and also give a significant slice of opinion and modern criticism of John and the PA. 

The link to C.&C. Clarke's publishing site seems to be a broken link, but we expect that will be rectified soon.





Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Codex Bezae online with High res and Text

The Codex Bezae (D) NT (Greek and Latin Bilingual MS) is online here now,
with both high res photos (zoomable) and transcription (text in Greek/Latin).

The four pages relevant are from John pages 236-238 inclusive of the Pericope de Adultera (John 7:53-8:11) along with the surrounding text:

Greek side (p236) Jn 7:43-8:4

Latin side (237) Jn 7:43-8:4

Greek side (238) Jn 8:4-17

Latin side (239) Jn 8:4-17

Greek text: (p.236/238)

κατ(α) ιωαν(νην)
δι αυτον 44 πε τινες δε ηθελον εξ αυτων
πιασαι αυτον αλλ ουδεις
  επεβαλεν επ αυτον τας χειρας 45 ηλθον ουν
πϛ οι υπηρεται προς τους αρχιερεις
και φαρισαιους και ειπον αυτοις εκεινοι
  διατι ουκ ηγαγατε αυτον
46 απεκριθησαν δε οι ϋπηρεται ουδεποτε ουτως
ανθρωπος ελαλησεν ως ουτος λαλει
 47 απεκριθησαν αυτοις οι φαρισαιοι
μη κε ϋμεις πεπλανησθαι
48 μη τις εκ των αρχοντων πιστευει
  εις αυτον η εκ των φαρισαιων
49 αλλα ο οχλος ουτος ο μη γεινωσκων
τον νομον επικαταρατοι εισιν
  50 λεγει νεικοδημος προς αυτους · εις ων εξ αυτω(ν)
ο ελθων προς αυτον νυκτος το πρωτον
51 μη ο νομος ημων κρεινι τον ανθρωπον
  εαν μη ακουση πρωτον παρ αυτου
και επιγνωσθη τι εποιησεν
52 απεκριθησαν και ειπαν αυτω · μη και σοι εκ της
  γαλιλαιας ει · ερευνησον και ϊδε τας γραφας
οτι προφητης εκ της γαλιλαιας
ουκ εγειρεται 53 και επορευθησαν
 εκαστος εις τον οικον αυτου · 8: 1 ιης δε επορευθη
εις το ορος των ελαιων · 2 ορθρου δε
παλιν παραγεινεται εις το ειερον
  και πας ο λαος ηρχετο προς αυτον Lect. Note
3 αγουσιν δε οι γραμματεις και οι φαρισαιοι
επι αμαρτεια · γυναικα ειλημμενην
  και στησαντες αυτην εν μεσω · 4 λεγουσιν αυτω
εκπειραζοντες αυτον οι ϊερεις ϊνα εχωσιν
κατηγορειαν αυτου διδασκαλε αυτη η γυνη
  κατειληπται επαυτοφωρω μοιχευομενη 

 κατ(α) ιωαν(νην)
5 μωϋσης δε εν τω νομω εκελευσεν τας τοιαυτας
λιθαζειν · συ δε νυν τι λεγεις
 6 ο δε ιης κατω κυψας τω δακτυλω κατεγραφεν
εις την γην 7 ως δε επεμενον ερωτωντες
ανεκυψεν και ειπεν αυτοις · ο αναμαρτητος
  ϋμων πρωτος επ αυτην βαλετω λιθον
8 και παλιν κατακυψας τω δακτυλω
κατεγραφεν εις την γην 9 εκαστος δε
  των ϊουδαιων εξηρχετο αρξαμενοι απο των
πρεσβυτερων ωστε παντας εξελθειν
και κατελειφθη μονος και η γυνη εν μεσω ουσα
 10 ανακυψας δε ο ιης ειπεν τη γυναικει
που εισιν ουδεις σε κατεκρεινεν
11 κακεινη ειπεν αυτω ουδεις κε
  ο δε ειπεν ουδε εγω σε κατακρεινω
ϋπαγε απο του νυν μηκετι αμαρτανε
12 Lect. Note παλιν ουν ελαλησεν αυτοις ο ιης λεγων
  εγω ειμι το φως του κοσμου · ο ακολουθων εμοι
ου μη περιπατησει εν τη σκοτεια
αλλα εξει το φως της ζωης
  13 ειπον ουν αυτω οι φαρισαιοι
συ περι σεαυτου μαρτυρεις
η μαρτυρια σου ουκ εστιν αληθης
 14 απεκρειθη ο ιης και ειπεν αυτοις
καν εγω μαρτυρω περι εμαυτου
αληθεινη μου εστιν η μαρτυρεια
 οτι οιδα ποθεν ηλθον και που ϋπαγω
υμεις δε ουκ οικ ποθεν ερχομαι
η που ϋπαγω · 15 ϋμεις κατα την σαρκα κρεινετε
  εγω ου κρεινω ουδενα · 16 και εαν κρινω δε εγω
η κρισις η εμη αληθινη εστιν · οτι μονος εγω
ουκ ειμι · αλλα εγω και ο πεμψας με
 17 και εν τω νομω δε τω ϋμετερω 


Latin Text: (p.237/239)

sec(undum) iohan(nem) VII· VIII·
115 134

propter eum 44 quidam autem ex illis uolebant
adpraehendere eum sed nemo
  misit in illum manums 45 uenerunt ergo
ministri · ad principes sacerdotum
et farisaeos et dixerunt eis illi
  quare non adduxistis illum
46 responderunt autem ministri · numquid sic
homo locutus est quomodo hic loquituitur
  47 responderunt illis pharisaei
numquid et uos seducti estis
48 numquid aliquis de principibus credit
  in eum aut de pharisaeis
49 sed turba haec quae nescit
legem maledicti sunt
 50 dicit nicodemus ad illos unus ex illis
qui uenit ad illum nocte ante hoc
51 numquid lex nostra iudicat hominem
 si non audiat ante ab ipso
et cognoscatur quid fecit
52 responderunt et dixerunt ei · numquid et tu de
 de galilaea es scrutina et uide scripturas
quoniam propheta de galilaea
non surgit 53 et abierunt
  unusquisque in domum suam · 8: 1 ihs autem abiit viii·
in montem oliuarum · 2 mane autem
iterum uenit in templum Note
  et omnis populus ueniebat ad eum
3 adducunt autem scribae et pharisaei
in peccato muliere mulierem conpraehensam
  et statuentes eam in medio
4 dicunt illi temptantes eum sacerdotes ut haberent
accusare eum magister haec mulier
 conpraehensa est palam in adulterio 

 sec(undum) iohan(nem) VIII·
116 135

5 moyses autem in lege praecepit tales
lapidare · tu autem nunc quid dicis ·
 6 ihs autem inclinatus Note · digito suo scribebat
in terram 7 cum autem inmanerent interrogant es
erexit se et dixit illis quis est sine peccato
 uestrum prior super eam mittat lapidem
8 et iterum inclinatus digito suo
scribebat in terram · 9 unusquisque autem
  iudaeorum exiebant incipientes
a presbyteris uti omnes exire
et remansit solus · et mulier in medio cum esset
 10 erigens autem se ihs dixit mulieri
ubi sunt nemo te condemnauit
11 ad illa dixit illi nemo dme
  ad ille dixit nec ego te condemno
uade et ex hoc iam noli peccare
12 iterum ergo loquebatur ad illos ihs dicens
  ego sum lux mundi · qui me sequitur
non ambulauit in tenebris
sed habebit lucem uitae
 13 dixerunt autem illi pharisaei
tu de te testimonium dicis
testimonium tuum non est uerum
  14 respondit ihs et dixit illis
etsi ego testificor de me
uerum est testimonium meum
  quoniam scio unde ueni et ubi uado
uos autem nescitis unde uenio
et ubi uado · 15 uos secundum carnem iudicatis
 ego autem neminem iudico · 16 et si iudico tamen ego
iudicium meum uerum est · quoniam solus ego
non sum · sed ego et qui me misit
 17 sed et in lege uestra 


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Matthew: The Second Earliest Witness to the PA?

'But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman
to lust after her hath committed adultery
with her already in his heart.'
- Matthew 5:28 KJV

This 'quote' is from the Sermon on the Mount,
which is an artificial and non-historical speech
that is really a kind of 'Halakah' or attempt
to sum up Jesus' teaching, but divides much of it from its context.

This 'quote' is not an authentic saying of Jesus,
but is in fact prime forensic evidence for the authenticity of John 8:1-11.

When we grasp that this verse is an interpretation of Jesus,
inspired by His actions in John 8:1-11,
we immediately get several valuable things out of it:

(1) John 8:1-11 is authentic, and although problematic because of its ambiguity,
was given an interpretation by the early Church that Jews and Christians could accept,
allowing them to skip over the more difficult questions raised by
the original incident.

(2) Matthew (or the church-committe that created it) overstepped his (their) authority,
in assigning meanings to Jesus' actions that were not necessarily originally intended by Jesus.

(3) The 'sayings' of Jesus in Matthew are 'elaborated' and interpreted,
often provided without their original context, and so are neither verifiable,
nor binding for Christians who want to follow Jesus precisely.

This verse is good case in point.

No rational person can accept that the mere thought or momentary
consideration of a crime is or can be fully equal to consenting to it,
planning it, and acting on it, with real-world results.

What Jesus did teach remains true, namely that thinking, desiring,
and scheming leads to sinning, and may involve sin, but they are not
all equivalent acts, nor do they result in equal guilt.

Jesus Himself refutes such a claim in another passage
which is likely a very authentic saying from a different speech:
"No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit." - Luke 6:43
This saying also has been elaborated and expanded in Matthew,
for the purpose of explaining it and expounding it,
"You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.* So then, you will know them by their fruits. " - Matt. 7:16-20
...however this did not likely happen in public orations by Jesus,
since in Mark we are told how Jesus really operated:
As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables. And He was saying to them, "To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables, so that while seeing they may see and not perceive, and while hearing they may hear and not understand, otherwise they might repent and be forgiven. "
. Mark 4:10-12
The account in Mark is earlier and likely more accurate in portraying
Jesus earthly ministry.

The 'Speech' in Matthew is really meant as a timeless message which
summarizes the main teachings of Jesus as the early church understood them,
and so is presented as a 'universal speech' to all believers for all time,
meant to remind hearers of all the teachings and stories behind the 'sayings'.

Matthew is the gospel prepared for church service and worship,
topically arranged and expanded with additional materials from
the era of the early church.

In the Gospels of Luke and Mark, Jesus begins His ministry
in Galilee (a synagogue in Capernaum), not on a mountain.

The interpretation that Matthew gives the Pericope de Adultera (John 8:1-11)
is important, for one of the (several) purposes behind Matthew's expansions is to provide ammo and arguments in disputes between Christians and Jews (who rejected Jesus as Messiah).

Here, a very likely early objection to John 8:1-11 was that it casts the Pharisees and scribes as possibly physically guilty of adultery with the woman, something which would be implausible to many Jews who might be potential converts.

Here Matthew has a ready reply:  The Pharisees were guilty of adultery anyway, for even thinking about committing fornication with the woman.  She was their captive, and may have been caught (in the act) without even having clothing on.  Finally, how long she was 'under arrest' away from the Romans and under who's charge would remain unclear and open to counter-questions. 

Note also that "is cut down and thrown into the fire.* in Matthew 7:20 
is also strong evidence that he is drawing from John's gospel in other places (cf. John 15:6 etc.), to remind his readers of those urgent teachings.