At our church, the pastoral team is preaching through the Gospel of John. Next week, the sermon will be on John 7:53-8:11, the story of Jesus with the woman at the well.
As Kyle Hughes has explained:
The great majority of scholars hold that the so-called pericope adulterae or “PA” (the story of Jesus and the adulteress found in John 7.53–8.11) is not original to John’s Gospel. The first manuscript of John to include this story is Codex Bezae (D), which dates to the fifth century, and on internal grounds these verses interrupt the narrative of John’s Gospel and feature non-Johannine vocabulary and grammar. But if the PA is not from the hand of the Fourth Evangelist, where did it come from?
- Keith makes a twofold argument: (a) the PA is best understood as making a claim that Jesus was “grapho-literate” (i.e., he could write) in the face of challenges from the Pharisees in John 7:15 (cf. 7:52) that he was illiterate; and (b) the PA was inserted into the Johannine textual tradition in the third century in order to respond to pagan challenges that Christians (and their founder) were illiterate and uneducated. Keith has produced a most worth-while volume that will be a benefit not only to those in textual criticism, but also those more broadly in the field of New Testament studies and early Christian history.
This creates a challenge for a sermon on the passage! I think Daniel Wallace has given an excellent summary of the numerous problems with this passage. The pastor who will be preaching this week plans to send members to our Sunday community, called “Ask Your Question,” the following week. Our topic will be, “Do we have the original text of the Gospel of John?”
As I begin to dig into the research for this question, I thought I might save myself some time and energy to first see if anyone in Connect had some good resources on the textual reliability of the Gospel of John.