|Bible Research > Textual Criticism > Story of the Adulteress|
Biblical scholars are nearly all agreed that the Story of the Adulteress (also known as the Pericope Adulterae or the Pericope de Adultera) usually printed in Bibles as John 7:53-8:11 is a later addition to the Gospel. On this page I present some extended quotations from scholarly works that explain the reasons for this judgment. On another page I give an extract from one of the few scholarly defenders of the passage. To give my own opinion, it seems clear to me that the story does not belong in the Bible. If despite its absence from the early manuscripts this passage is thought to be so edifying that it is worthy of being treated as Holy Scripture, we might with equal justice add any number of edifying ancient stories to the Bible. The Quo Vadis legend about Peter's martyrdom, for instance, might just as well be added to the canonical book of Acts. For more on this, see my essay, Quo Vadis?
Marginal annotations of various versions
American Standard Version (1901). Marginal note: "Most of the ancient authorities omit John vii. 53--viii. 11. Those which contain it vary much from each other."
Revised Standard Version (1946). 7:53-8:11 given in the margin, with the note, "Most of the ancient authorities either omit 7.53-8.11, or insert it, with variations of the text, here or at the end of this gospel or after Luke 21.38." Since 1971 the section is printed as ordinary text, with the note, "The most ancient authorities omit 7.53-8.11; other authorities add the passage here or after 7.36 or after 21.25 or after Luke 21.38, with variations of text."
New American Standard Version (1963). "John 7:53-8:11 is not found in most of the old mss."
New International Version (1973). "The most reliable early manuscripts omit John 7:53-8:11." Later editions of the NIV have, "The earliest and most reliable manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53-8:11."
New King James Version (1980). "NU [that is, the United Bible Societies' Greek text] brackets 7:53 through 8:11 as not in the original text. They are present in over 900 mss. of John."
Samuel P. Tregelles, An Account of the Printed Text of the Greek New Testament (London, 1854), pages 236-243.
In the application of criticism to some of the longer passages which are found in some copies, but omitted in others, it is necessary to state the evidence fully and distinctly, so as to obviate, if practicable, all possible misconception as to its value and bearing. A few such passages will now be considered; in doing which, it is only needful to premise that the principle of following the evidence which Divine Providence has caused to be transmitted to us, must in these cases, as well as in all that are similar, be strictly maintained.
St. John vii. 53--viii. 11, is a passage which has held its place in the text by a very doubtful tenure, as is familiar to all who are acquainted with the simple facts relative to biblical criticism; and even in the copies which contain these twelve verses there are peculiarities of a singular kind.
This narrative is found in some form or other in the following authorities: D F G H K U, and more than 300 cursive copies, without any note of doubt or distinction, as also in a few lectionaries. In E it is marked with asterisks in the margin; so, too, in sixteen cursive copies (two of which thus note only from viii. 3). In M there is an asterisk at vii. 53, and at viii. 3. In S, it is noted with obeli, and so, too, in more than forty cursive codices. This narrative is placed at the end of the Gospel, by itself, in ten cursive copies; four others similarly place viii. 3--11. Four MSS. (of which Cod. Leicestensis, 69, is one) place this passage at the end of Luke xxi., and one copy has it after John 7:36.
As to versions, it is found (i.) in Cod. Colbertinus and some others of the Old Latin (Cod. Veronensis is here defective); (ii.) the Vulgate, (iii.) Æthiopic, and (iv.) Jerusalem Syriac Lectionary. (As to the other versions, see below.)
It is mentioned by Jerome as being found in many copies, by Ambrose, Augustine, and other writers since the fourth century. But, though cited from the time of Augustine and onward, that father was well aware that the passage was far from universally read in the copies then extant; and he endeavored to account for the fact by a conjecture: "nonnulli modicæ, vel potius inimici veræ fidei, credo, metuentes peccandi impunitatem dari mulieribus suis, illud, quod de adulteræ indulgentia dominus fecit, auferrent de codicibus suis, quasi permissionem peccandi tribuerit, qui dixit, Deinceps noli peccare. [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 their manuscripts the Lord's act of forgiveness toward the adulteress, as if he who had said, Sin no more, had granted permission to sin]" (De Adult. Conj., ii. 6, 7.) But this supposition of Augustine would not account for the fact of the omission of this passage having been so general, as it will be shown to be when the testimony of the versions against it is stated.
This passage is omitted by A B C T [also now Papyrus 66, Papyrus 75, N, W] (MSS. of the oldest class (1)), by L X D [also Y Q Y], by Cod. 33, and more than fifty other cursive copies, by more than thirty lectionaries, in some of which, if not all, this passage is omitted where it would occur in the middle of a section. In connection with MSS. which omit this section, reference must be made to those mentioned above, which mark it as doubtful, or transfer it to the end of the Gospel, or place it elsewhere; for all these are so far witnesses against its insertion.
The versions to which this section do not belong are (i.) the Old Latin (as found in Cod. Vercellensis, the revised Cod. Brixianus, and some others), (ii.) the Peshito and (iii.) the Harclean Syriac, (iv.) the Memphitic, in the MSS. of value and authority, (v.) the Thebaic, (vi.) the Gothic, (vii.) the Armenian.
It is true that, in some of the editions of the Peshito Syriac, subsequent to that in Walton's Polyglot, this section is found; but it does not belong to that version: and so, too, such MSS. of the later Syriac as are cited as exhibiting it at all, mention that it is an addition. As to the Armenian, six old codices of those used by Zohrab omit the whole passage, as also do the MS. lectionaries; nineteen MSS. have the section separately, at the end of the Gospel, while only five (and those the most recent) place it here. One proof that it is a later addition, and not an original part of this version, is found in the great variety of forms in which it exists in those Armenian copies which contain it at all; some of these are quite peculiar, and resemble none of the Greek copies. It is thus rejected, as not a genuine part of that version. (For this precise statement I am indebted to Mr. Charles Rieu.)
Though the mere silence of ecclesiastical writers is no proof that they were unacquainted with a particular section, yet that silence becomes significant when they wrote expressly on the subject to which it relates, and when they wrote in such a way as to show that they could hardly by possibility have been acquainted with it. So, too, with regard to such ecclesiastical writers as wrote Commentaries.
Thus it may be held for certain, that Tertullian (2) and Cyprian knew nothing of the passage; while Origen and Chrysostom show in their Commentaries, that they were not aware of its existence. It has been indeed objected that nothing is proved by Origen's silence; because he often passes by portions of St. John's Gospel, and he had no occasion to mention this narrative: but, in reading his Commentary on this part of the Gospel, it is difficult (if not impossible) to imagine that he knew of anything between vii. 52 and viii. 12: for he cites and comments on every verse from vii. 40 to 52, and then at once continues from viii. 12 in the same manner (iv. p. 299, ed. De la Rue). The silence of Chrysostom on the subject, as well as that of Cyril of Alexandria, and Theodorus of Mopsuestia, was long ago noticed.
The omission of this section by Nonnus, in his metrical Paraphrase of this Gospel, is worthy of notice; for though he does pass by parts, yet no narrative portion of certain genuineness, and of such length as this, is unnoticed.
It thus appears that the oldest MS. authority for this narration is D, and that the only important versions in its favour are the Vulgate, and such copies of the Old Latin as contain it. The Vulgate resolves itself into the testimony of Jerome, who mentions that copies existed of both kinds,--those which contained it and those which did not. I have put together the authorities which contain this narration, because, in fact, those in which it is found give it in such a variety of phraseology, as exceeds the difference commonly understood by the term various readings. In D, the oldest MS. which contains it, it is utterly unlike the other copies; and they, too, abound in extraordinary variations. This circumstance would weaken the testimony of the authorities which contain this narration, even if there had been a less conclusive array of witnesses (all the oldest MSS. except D, most versions, and decided testimony of fathers) on the other side.
In the fourth century, this section seems to have obtained a place in some copies (first perhaps in the West, where it was first mentioned), but even then it is spoken of doubtfully; it gradually was received into most MSS., but still with expressions of uncertainty, and with notes of its doubtful authenticity; and thus, even though it was adopted as a part of the printed text by the first editors, yet its genuineness was not believed by Erasmus himself: the same opinion was held in that century by Calvin, Beza, (3) and other biblical scholars. If the last three hundred years have removed all feeling of question from many, it has not been from better grounds of certainty having been discovered, but from that kind of traditional inertness of mind, which has rendered many unconscious of what have been deemed the most manifest facts of criticism.
We can no more canonise this passage, if it were not genuine Scripture from the beginning, than we can the books of the Apocrypha, or any other writings. If the best MSS., versions, and fathers, know nothing of such a portion of Holy Scripture, it behoves all who value God's word not to adopt, as part of it, what is not only unsupported by sufficient evidence, but which is opposed by that which could hardly be surmounted. The ancient translators in general could not have agreed, in so many countries, to pass by so considerable a portion of this Gospel, if they knew it, or had it in their Greek copies.
I do not rest at all on the internal difficulties connected with this passage, on the supposition that it is genuine Scripture; because, if it had been sufficiently attested, they would not present anything insurmountable. The peculiarities of the language are indeed remarkable, and very unlike anything else in St. John's Gospel; but to this it might be said, that the copies differ so much that it is almost impossible to judge what the true phraseology is. Perhaps the difficulties in the passage have been over-estimated: at least we have no reason to conjecture that any omitted it on account of such difficulties, any more than we have to think that any expunged it on doctrinal grounds, as suggested by Augustine.
It may be felt by some to be a serious thing to conclude, that twelve whole verses which they have been accustomed to read are no part of Holy Scripture; and yet if they are only in possession of a moderate share of information, they must know well that they are and have always been regarded as of unproved genuineness: I would also ask such, if it is not a very serious thing to accept, as part of the word of God, what (as they have the full opportunity of knowing) rests on precarious grounds, and is contradicted by the best testimonies? Would it not render all Scripture doubtful, and go far to undermine all true thoughts of its authority, if all that rests on utterly insufficient evidence, and all that is supported by unquestionable testimonies, were placed on the same ground? It is impossible to give real and sufficient sanction to that which is not attested to be a genuine part of a book of Scripture, and thus, while it is in vain to attempt to raise it to the place of authority, the only consequence will be to depress the true Scripture to the low and unsatisfactory level of such unattested additions.
Though I am fully satisfied that this narration is not a genuine part of St. John's Gospel, and though I regard the endeavors to make the evidence appear satisfactory to be such as would involve all Holy Scripture in a mist of uncertainty, I see no reason for doubting that it contains a true narration. There is nothing unworthy of the acting of the Lord Jesus detailed in this history. And thus I accept the narrative as true, although its form and phraseology are wholly uncertain, and although I do not believe it to be a divine record. No doubt, that there were many narrations current in the early church of some of the many unrecorded actions of our Lord, and the only wonder is that more have not been transmitted to us. This, from the variety of its forms, seems to have been handed down through more than one channel. Perhaps some one added it at the end of John's Gospel, as one of the "many things which Jesus did which are not written in this book," and others afterwards placed it where it seemed to them to belong.
We learn from Eusebius, that Papias transmitted an account of a woman who was accused before our Lord, "Papias also put forth another history concerning a woman accused of many sins before the Lord; and this history is contained in the Gospel according to the Hebrews." (H.E., iii. 39) The Hebrew original of St. Matthew's Gospel appears to have been the basis of "the Gospel according to the Hebrews"; and it seems, from the mode in which Eusebius mentions the narrative as having proceeded from Papias, that he regarded it as a later addition introduced into that Hebrew document. It has been much discussed whether this is the same as the narration in John vii. 53--viii. 11. In favour of the identity may be mentioned that in D (Cod. Bezæ) the sin of the woman is spoken of in a general manner, a woman seized for sin, instead of a woman caught in adultery. And if it had been circulated in the fourth century in a Hebrew (Syro-Chaldaic) dress, the leading forms in which it is now found might have originated in different Greek translations of the narrative; or else from the writings of Papias in Greek, and from a Greek translation of the Syro-Chaldaic form of the narration. From Ruffinus's version of the passage in Eusebius, it seems clear that in the age immediately subsequent to that historian, it was thought that the narration to which he referred, was the same as that which had by this time found its way into some copies. Ruffinus renders, "Simul et historiam quandam subjungit de muliere adultera, quæ accusata est a Judæis apud Dominum." Attention to this, and also to the point of resemblance between the Cod. Bezæ and the words of Eusebius, was directed by Dr. Routh; who adds, "Evidenter constat, etiamsi suspecta hæc evangelii pericope eadem esse censeatur atque historia Papiana, nondum eam codici Novi Testamenti tempore Eusebii insertam fuisse" (Rel. Sac., i. 39). The judgment expressed in these last words, however contrary to the notions of those who prefer modern tradition to ancient evidence, is fully confirmed by the most searching investigations. We first hear of this narrative in any copies of the New Testament after the middle of the fourth century. The statement of Eusebius gives us a probable account of its origin, and I believe that we shall not err if we accept this as a true history, transmitted not by the inspired apostle St. John, but by the early ecclesiastical writer Papias.
1. A and C are defective in this part of St. John's Gospel; but it is certain, from the exactitude with which the quantity in each page of these MSS. can be calculated, that they could not have contained these twelve verses.
2. Granville Penn, in his "Annotations to the Book of the New Covenant," states well the argument which may be drawn from Tertullian's silence: he says, "That the passage was wholly unknown to Tertullian, at the end of the second century, is manifest in his book De Pudicitia. The Bishop of Rome had issued an edict, granting pardon to the crime of adultery, on repentance. This new assumption of power fired the indignation of Tertullian, who thus apostrophised him: "Audio [etiam] edictum esse propositum, et quidem peremptorium, Pontifex scilicet Maximus [quod est] episcopus episcoporum, dicit [edicit]: Ego et moechiæ et fornicationis delicta, poenitentia functis dimitto" (c. 1). He then breaks out in terms of the highest reprobation against that invasion of the divine prerogative; and (c. 6) thus challenges: "Si ostendas de quibus patrociniis exemplorum præceptorumque coelestium, soli moechiæ, et in ea fornicationi quoque, januam poenitentiæ expandas, ad hanc jam lineam dimicabit nostra congressio." "If thou canst show me by what authority of heavenly examples or precepts thou openest a door for penitence to adultery alone, and therein to fornication, our controversy shall be disputed on that ground." And he concludes with asserting , "Quæcunque auctoritas, quæcunque ratio moecho et fornicatori pacem ecclesiasticam reddit, cadem dedebit et homicidæ et idololatriæ poenitentibus subvenire." "Whatever authority, whatever consideration, restores the peace of the church to the adulterer and fornicator, ought to come to the relief of those who repent of murder or idolatry." It is manifest, therefore, that the copies of St. John with which Tertullian was acquainted did not contain the exemplum coeleste,--the divine example, devised in the story of the "woman taken in adultery" (pp. 267, 268). Was this edict that of Callistus, referred to in the recently-discovered Philosophoumena (of Hippolytus), ix. 12, pp. 290, 291?
3. Theodore Beza [whose annotated Greek text was the basis of the King James version] did not suppose that a text ought to be traditionally adopted, and then, as it were, stereotyped: his notes gave him the opportunity for expressing his opinions; and he thus proved that if his attention were properly directed to ancient evidence on a passage, he so weighed it as to consider that it ought to prevail. Thus the passage in John viii. 1-12, the omission of which by critical editors has seemed to some such a proof of temerity, or of want of reverence for Holy Scripture, was differently regarded by Beza: he states the manner in which various ancient writers knew nothing about it, and the great variation in MSS.; he then concludes thus:--"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." [from Tregelles p. 34. Notice also the comment of John Calvin (Commentary on the Gospel of John, on John 8:1). Calvin introduces the passage thus: "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." Notice that Calvin does not pretend to decide the question of authenticity here. - M.D.M.].
F.H.A. Scrivener, A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament (4th edition. London, 1894), volume ii, pages 364-368.
. . . on all intelligent principles of mere criticism the passage must needs be abandoned: and such is the conclusion arrived at by all the critical editors . . . we cannot help admitting that if this section be indeed the composition of St. John, it has been transmitted to us under circumstances widely different from those connected with any other genuine passage of Scripture whatever.
Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Stuttgart, 1971), pages 219-221.
The evidence for the non-Johannine origin of the pericope of the adulteress is overwhelming. It is absent from such early and diverse manuscripts as Papyrus66.75 Aleph B L N T W X Y D Q Y 0141 0211 22 33 124 157 209 788 828 1230 1241 1242 1253 2193 al. Codices A and C are defective in this part of John, but it is highly probable that neither contained the pericope, for careful measurement discloses that there would not have been space enough on the missing leaves to include the section along with the rest of the text. In the East the passage is absent from the oldest form of the Syriac version (syrc.s. and the best manuscripts of syrp), as well as from the Sahidic and the sub-Achmimic versions and the older Bohairic manuscripts. Some Armenian manuscripts and the old Georgian version omit it. In the West the passage is absent from the Gothic version and from several Old Latin manuscripts (ita.l*.q). No Greek Church Father prior to Euthymius Zigabenus (twelfth century) comments on the passage, and Euthymius declares that the accurate copies of the Gospels do not contain it.
When one adds to this impressive and diversified list of external evidence the consideration that the style and vocabulary of the pericope differ noticeably from the rest of the Fourth Gospel (see any critical commentary), and that it interrupts the sequence of 7.52 and 8.12 ff., the case against its being of Johannine authorship appears to be conclusive.
At the same time the account has all the earmarks of historical veracity. It is obviously a piece of oral tradition which circulated in certain parts of the Western church and which was subsequently incorporated into various manuscripts at various places. Most copyists apparently thought that it would interrupt John's narrative least if it were inserted after 7.52 (D E F G H K M U G P 28 700 892 al). Others placed it after 7.36 (ms. 225) or after 7.44 (several Georgian mss.) or after 21.25 (1 565 1076 1570 1582 armmss) or after Luke 21.38 (f13). Significantly enough, in many of the witnesses which contain the passage it is marked with asterisks or obeli, indicating that, though the scribes included the account, they were aware that it lacked satisfactory credentials.
Sometimes it is stated that the pericope was deliberately expunged from the Fourth Gospel because it was liable to be understood in a sense too indulgent to adultery. But, apart from the absence of any instance elsewhere of scribal excision of an extensive passage because of moral prudence, this theory fails "to explain why the three preliminary verses (vii 53; viii 1-2), so important as apparently descriptive of the time and place at which all the discourses of chapter viii were spoken, should have been omitted with the rest" (Hort, "Notes on Select Readings," pp. 86 f.).
Although the committee [that is, the editorial committee of the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament] was unanimous that the pericope was originally no part of the Fourth Gospel, in deference to the evident antiquity of the passage a majority decided to print it, enclosed within double square brackets, at its traditional place following John 7.52.
Raymond E. Brown, The Gospel According to John (i-xii), in the Anchor Bible series (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1966), pages 335-6.
Problems of Authorship and of Canonicity
These problems must be treated as a series of distinct questions. The first question is whether the story of the adulteress was part of the original Gospel according to John or whether it was inserted at a later period. The answer to this question is clearly that it was a later insertion. This passage is not found in any of the important early Greek textual witnesses of Eastern provenance (e.g., in neither Bodmer papyrus); nor is it found in the Old Syriac or the Coptic. There are no comments on this passage by the Greek writers on John of the first Christian millenium, and it is only from about AD 900 that it begins to appear in the standard Greek text. The evidence for the passage as Scripture in the early centuries is confined to the Western Church. It appears in some Old Latin texts of the Gospels. Ambrose and Augustine wanted it read as part of the Gospel, and Jerome included it in the Vulgate. It appears in the fifth-century Greco-Latin Codex Bezae.
However, a good case can be argued that the story had its origins in the East and is truly ancient (see Schilling, art. cit.). Eusebius (Hist. III 39:17; GCS 91: 292) says, "Papias relates another story of a woman who was accused of many sins before the Lord, which is contained in the Gospel according to the Hebrews." If this is the same story as that of the adulteress, the reference would point to early Palestinian origins; but we cannot be certain that our story is the one meant. The third-century Didascalia Apostolorum (II 24:6; Funk ed., I, 93) gives a clear reference to the story of the adulteress and uses it as a presumably well-known example of our Lord's gentleness; this work is of Syrian origin, and the reference means that the story was known (but not necessarily as Scripture) in second-century Syria. From the standpoint of internal criticism, the story is quite plausible and quite like some of the other gospel stories of attempts to trap Jesus (Luke xx 20, 27). There is nothing in the story itself or its language that would forbid us to think of it as an early story concerning Jesus. Becker argues strongly for this thesis.
If the story of the adulteress was an ancient story about Jesus, why did it not immediately become part of the accepted Gospels? Riesenfeld has given the most plausible explanation of the delay in the acceptance of this story. The ease with which Jesus forgave the adulteress was hard to reconcile with the stern penitential discipline in vogue in the early Church. It was only when a more liberal penitential practice was firmly established that this story received wide acceptance. (Riesenfeld traces its liturgical acceptance to the fifth century as a reading for the feast of St. Pelagia.)
The second question is whether or not the story is of Johannine origin. The fact that the story was added to the Gospel only at a later period does not rule out the possibility that we are dealing with a stray narrative composed in Johannine circles. The Greek text of the story shows a number of variant readings (stemming from the fact that it was not fully accepted at first), but in general the style is not Johannine either in vocabulary or grammar. Stylistically, the story is more Lucan than Johannine.
Nor is the manuscript evidence unanimous in associating the story with John. One important group of witnesses places the story after Luke xxi 38, a localization which would be far more appropriate than the present position of the story in John, where it breaks up the sequence of the discourses at Tabernacles.
If the story was not of Johannine origin and is really out of place, what prompted its localization after John vii 52? (actually, a few witnesses place it elsewhere in John: after vii 36 or at the end of the Gospel.) There are several views. Schilling, p. 97 ff., insisting on the parallels with the Susanna story, draws attention to echoes of Daniel in John, and thus makes the Daniel motif a guiding factor to the introduction of the story of the adulteress into John. A more certain explanation for the localization of the story in the general context of John vii and viii can be found in the fact that it illustrates certain statements of Jesus in those chapters, for example, viii 15, "I pass judgement on no one"; viii 46, "Can any of you convict me of sin?" Derrett, p. 13, who thinks that the key to the story lies in the unworthiness of the accusers and the witnesses, points out that the theme of admissibility of evidence comes up in the immediate context of vii 51 and viii 13. Hoskyns, p. 571, hits on a truth when he says that, while the story may be textually out of place, from a theological viewpoint it fits into the theme of judgment in ch. viii.
The third question is whether the story is canonical or not. For some this question will have already been answered above, since in their view the fact that the story is a later addition to the Gospel and is not of Johannine origin means that it is not canonical Scripture (even though it may be an ancient and true story). For others canonicity is a question of traditional ecclesiastical acceptance and usage. Thus, in the Roman Catholic Church the criterion of canonicity is acceptance into the Vulgate, for the Church has used the Vulgate as its Bible for centuries. The story of the adulteress was accepted by Jerome, and so Catholics regard it as canonical. It also found its way into the received text of the Byzantine Church, and ultimately into the King James Bible. And so the majority of the non-Roman Christians also accept the story as Scripture.
-------- Works cited by Brown ---------
Becker, U., Jesus und die Ehebrecherin (Beihefte zur ZNW, no. 28; Berlin: Töpelmann, 1963).
Derret, J.D.M., "Law in the New Testament: The Story of the Woman Taken in Adultery," NTS 10 (1963-64), 1-16. Abbreviated in StEv, II, pp. 170-73.
Riesenfeld, H., "Die Perikope von der Ehebrecherin in der frühkirchlichen Tradition," Svensk Exegetisk Arsbok 17 (1952), 106-11.
Schilling, Frederick A., "The Story of Jesus and the Adulteress," Anglican Theological Review 37 (1955), pp. 91-106.
Page NB (52) of Papyrus 66, a codex of John's Gospel from about AD 200, illustrates the omission of the Story of the Adulteress from early manuscripts. The text begins in the middle of the word εραυνησον ("search") in John 7:52. On the second line the sentence ends with a punctuation mark and is immediately followed by Παλιν ουν αυτοις ελαλησεν ο Ις ("again Jesus spoke to them") in 8:12. The manuscript has been annotated by a scribe who used diagonal strokes to note a word-order variant in the first and second lines, but the Story of the Adulteress is omitted without any scribal notation. Click on the image for a larger view.
|Bible Research > Textual Criticism > Story of the Adulteress|