woman adulteryThe following article is an Amazon review of Andrew Wilson's chapter, 'The Adulteress and Her Accusers', in the Robinson Festschrift by Jonathan Borland (see here):

A High Quality Article by Andrew Wilson

This post is not a review but rather a summary of the first article I read on examining arguments frequently leveled against the Pericope adulterae (PA), John 7:53-8:11.

Andrew Wilson, "The Adulteress and Her Accusers," pp. 179-208 in Digging for the Truth: Collected Essays regarding the Byzantine Text of the Greek New Testament: A Festschrift in Honor of Maurice A. Robinson (Norden, Germany: FocusYourMission, 2014).

In his 30-page article Wilson examines two lines of argumentation leveled against the PA: (1) style and vocabulary and (2) unsuitability/interruption of chapters 7 and 8.

Part 1: Style and Vocabulary

1. Numbers of non-Johannine words. Considering the "story" narratives in John, "the PA contains no different numbers of (a) singularly Johannine words and (b) hapax legomena to other similar Johannine narratives." E.g.: John 4:4-16 (18 words used only once in John, 2 of which are NT hapax legomena); 6:3-14 (13 words, 3 of which h.l.); 9:1-12 (7 or 8 words, 2 of which h.l.); 21:1-12 (16 words, 3 of which h.l.).

2. Vocabulary is Synoptic (e.g. Lucan). But of the 298 words found only once in John's Gospel but also elsewhere in the NT, at least 200 are found in Luke or Acts. In addition, a number of Johannine passages have clear verbal links and parallels to the Synoptics (e.g. 4:44-45; 12:1-8 & 11:2; 13:20.

3. The "unJohannine" use of πορευομαι followed by εις (instead of προς). But NT Koine style frequently distinguishes between πορευομαι + εις (= going to a place) and πορευομαι + προς (going to a person). As in the former (7:53; 8:1) so in the latter (14:12, 28; 16:28; 20:17), John is simply consistent with NT style.

4. Mention of the Mount of Olives (8:1). But other geographical locations are also mentioned only once, such as Aenon (3:23), Salim (3:23), Sychar (4:4), Bethzatha/Bethesda (5:2), Bethlehem (7:42), Solomon's Porch (10:23), Ephraim (11:54), Kedron (18:1), Gabbatha (19:13), Golgotha (19:17). No mention of it in 18:1 could have been because Jesus didn't actually go there; he went to a garden in the valley below it.

5. Use of conjunction δε (10 or 11 times in PA) instead of Johannine ουν. But John uses δε more times than ουν (212 to 200), including 9 times in 18:14-25, 10 times in 19:9-19, and in other places where events are nearly as connected by δε as in the PA (5:2, 5, 7, 9, 11; 6:2, 3, 4, 6, 10). But actually και is more frequent in John (over 500 times) with 10-12 occurrences in the PA, just as similarly 14 times in 9:1-12, 13 times each in 13:1-12 and 18:1-12. With ουν (1 time in the PA), other places are similar, such as 0 times in 2:1-13 and 2 times each in 5:1-15 and 6:1-12.

6. [missing in my copy]

7. Use of εν μεσω (8:3, 9) instead of εις το μεσον. But if the PA is authentic then the former is no less common in John than the latter (20:19, 26). Also, John uses diversity with that concept, including the simple μεσος (1:26; 19:18) and the unusual verb form μεσοω (7:14), a NT hapax legomenon.

8. Use of the word "scribes" in 8:3 instead of "Jews." But this specifically relates to why Jesus stooped to _write_ at all, namely, because he was in the presence of scribes, those who wrote out the Law of God, reverenced it, and should have obeyed it. It is not convincing merely to claim that John could have mentioned "scribes" elsewhere, since he also could have mentioned his and his companions' occupation elsewhere (besides just in ch. 21), but chose not to. The same likewise might be said of the word "journey" in 4:6.

9. The uncharacteristic use of παρεγενετο and λαος (8:2). But these actually _are_ used elsewhere in John with the same sense, the former in 3:23 and the latter in 11:50 and 18:14. Merely saying that those words are common in Luke-Acts, rare in John (so D. A. Carson), is hardly an argument.

10. The above observations show that the PA actually matches the statistical numbers of (a) singularly Johannine words and (b) hapax legomena found in other dramatic passages in John. Consequently and alternatively, can the presence of Johannine features actually commend the PA? Its 12 verses is roughly the same length of other Johannine narratives (e.g. wedding in Cana, feeding of 5000). Note also: "this they said" (8:6; also in 6:6; 7:39; 11:51; 12:6; 21:19), the vocative γυναι (8:10; also in 2:4; 4:21; 19:26; 20:13, 15), "sin no more" (8:11; also only in 5:14 in entire NT), historic present αγουσιν (8:3; also in 9:13; 18:28), the scornful use of "this" in reference to a person (8:4; also in 6:52; 7:15; 9:29; 18:30).

Part 2: Unsuitability/Interruption John Chapters 7 and 8

Wilson analyzes chs. 7-10 as this section contains the 4th of 5 journeys to Judea (chs. 1-12), noting that if the PA is original to John's Gospel, it should complement the major themes woven throughout chs. 7-10, and if not, it should present novel, unrelated, irrelevant themes. He claims the overall motif is secrecy vs. openness (7:4, 10, 13, 34, 36; 8:21, 59; 10:1-2, 25-39 in response to 10:24).

1. The brilliance of Christ's words and teachings. John 7 focuses on Jesus' teaching in the temple (7:14, 15, 16-18, 28, 33-35, 37-40). Similarly, ch. 8 emphasizes Jesus' word, words, teaching, speaking, saying (8:20, 25-29, 30, 31, 37, 38, 43, 47, 51-52, 55). The brilliant saying "He who is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone" fits well following the statement "No man ever spoke like this man" (7:46). Further PA links with the thematic context include Jesus teaching the people in the temple (8:2) and the scribes & Pharisees addressing him as "teacher." Other points of connection between the PA and ch. 7 (via Chris Keith) include: the γραφ-morpheme (7:15, 38, 42; 8:3, 6, 8, 17); Moses & Mosaic law (7:19, 22, 23; 8:5); theme of correct interpretation of the law (7:21-24, 51-52; 8:5); Jesus' authority to teach without formal education (7:15-18; 8:2); Jewish leaders' dismissive attitude because of Jesus' Galilean origin (7:1, 8, 41, 52).

2. Judgment. The theme of judgment is met with in ch. 5 (5:19-30), prompted by Jesus' healing a man on the Sabbath and defense by calling upon four witnesses (5:31-47). The theme arises again in 7:19-24 and Jesus' statement, "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment" (7:24). Nicodemus issues a similar plea just before the PA: "Does our law judge a man before it hears him?" (7:51). Repeated references to testimony, witness, witnesses appear in 8:13, 14, 17, 18, as well as references to judge and judgment in 8:15, 16, later followed by Jesus' "I have many things to say and to judge concerning you" (8:26) and "Which of you convicts me of sin?" (8:46). Ch. 9 includes the long trial of the man born blind and the statement in 9:39. However, the most remarkable statement in connection with the PA, though, occurs in 8:15: "You judge according to the flesh. I judge no one." A sub-theme is the way that Jesus repeatedly turns from being the defendant to the judge, just as in the PA (8:7, 11).

3. The Light of the World. Jesus twice declares himself to be the light (8:12; 9:5) contrasted with darkness or blindness, intertwining nicely with the openness versus secrecy motif of chs. 7-10. In John ch. 8 the Light exposes us as sinners (diagnoses), while in ch. 9 he gives us sight (heals). So in the PA, the accusers realize their sinfulness, while the accused is given pardon. The PA ties all three thematic levels of darkness seen in chs. 7-10 together: physical, moral, spiritual. Wilson also answers Hort's denial of any real connections (he said they were merely "surface only") with four observations.

4. Jesus the Shepherd. Although Jesus' role as a pastor-teacher stands out primarily in ch. 10 (eps. vss. 3, 4, 5, 16, 27), one also witnesses Jesus' shepherd-care for the blind man in ch. 9. Both chapters contrast Jesus the shepherd with the tyranny and false-shepherd nature of the Jewish leaders. In this sense the PA represents Jesus the shepherd of ch. 10 remarkably well: his interaction with individuals, special interest in outcasts & sinners, his care, mercy, & love instead of condemnation, and his words which bring healing.

A number of other sub-themes from chs. 7-10 and their connections with the PA are also mentioned.

In summary: (1) the numbers of singularly Johannine words in the PA match other Johannine narratives; (2) the numbers of hapax legomena in the PA match other Johannine narratives; (3) the PA provides a bridge (not an interruption) between 7:52 and 8:11; (4) the theme of Jesus' brilliant, authoritative words and teachings matches John 7; (5) the theme of (non-)judgment suits John 8 perfectly; (6) the multi-faceted theme of light versus darkness is found in John 8 & 9, with the ideas of escape and entrapment, sin and righteousness, and spiritual blindness and perception; (7) the theme of Jesus' personal, pastoral care for sinners connects with John 10.

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