Exerpted from: Dean John Burgon, The Causes of Corruption of the Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels,
ed. Edward Miller (1896, London - George Bell and Sons) Appendix 1: The Pericope De Adultera pp. 232-265
Last Updated: Feb 19, 2009
Modern Introduction to Dean Burgon
Section 1: - Introduction to the Textual Problem of John 7:53-8:11
Section 2: - The Historical Circumstance and Burden of Proof
Section 3: - The First Two Verses of the Passage
Section 4: - The Gospel Context of the Passage
Section 5: - The Content and Meaning of the Passage
Section 6: - The Style and Diction of the Passage
Section 7: - A Survey of Liberal Critical Opinion
Section 8: - Alleged Textual Evidence Against the Passage
Sidebar: - Codex Alexandrinus
Sidebar: - The Ferrar Group (Family 13)
Section 11: - The Cause of the Omission
Section 12: - The Ancient Lectionary Tradition
Section 13: - Silence of Early Commentators Explained
Section 14: - The Voice of the Early Church Identified
Section 15: - Critical Theories Fail to Explain Facts
Section 16: - Spiritual Bankruptcy of the Critical Position
Section 17: - Original Footnotes
John William Burgon (1813-1888): John William Burgon, the Dean of Chichester, was born on August 21, 1813, in Smyrna, a province of Greece. His mother, Catherine Marguerite de Cramer, of French descent, was the daughter of an Austrian consul. Thomas Burgon, his British-born father, was a successful London merchant connected with the commerce of the city of London, a collector and connoisseur of ancient art. When his father's business failed, John was free to follow his desire to study at Oxford University.
He was a master of classical Greek, studying Thucydides, Aeschylus, and the Agamemnon. He also grappled with such classical Greek writers as Aristotle, Aeschylus, and Herodotus. Besides memorizing Latin, Burgon did exercises in Latin and Greek history daily. In addition to advanced philosophical study, Dean Burgon read two chapters of the Old Testament daily.
When Burgon was a pastor, he not only preached two or three times on Sunday, but also had Bible Study at seven o'clock in the early morning with the Oxford students. They came in the evening to study also.
His defenses against apostasy within his own church were remarkable. As far as the record is concerned, Westcott and Hort were silent in all the eleven church controversies in which Burgon found himself:
1. Burgon defended the Bible against rationalism. He stood for the integrity of the Word of God as the church had received it.
2. Burgon stood fast against Dr. Temple, a bishop in his Anglican Church. Temple was a writer of apostate ideas for Essays and Reviews. When Burgon was fifty-seven years of age, he stood against Temple. Affection for the man was not allowed to prevail where the maintenance of the faith was concerned.
3. Burgon battled against the Unitarian, Dr. Vance Smith, of the 1881 English Revised Version Committee of the Bible. Smith's views were intolerable. Burgon even wrote Bishop Ellicott, the Chairman, and suggested that he get that man off the revision committee or get off himself! Burgon said,
"You have knowingly associated yourself with one who has openly denied the Eternal Godhead of our Lord and the inspiration of the Word."
4. Burgon protested the removal of the Athanasian Creed as the theological basis for his church.
5. Burgon opposed Dean Stanley, who wanted to be a teacher at Oxford, because he was a rationalist and a Latitudinarian. A Latitudinarian is one who seeks to destroy revealed truth.
6. Burgon opposed the Romanizing of the Anglican church. He was against the apostasy of his own church and against those who were seeking to have it adopt doctrines and practices of Roman Catholicism.
7. Burgon opposed one of his church's publications on prophecy because the author believed that prophecy by Biblical writers (defined as knowledge of events before they happened) was impossible.
8. Burgon opposed Oxford University's test bill. The University was trying to remove the Church of England's Thirty-Nine Articles of Faith as a test for every student. Only the divinity students had to agree to it not the others.
9. Burgon was against the Darwinian theory of evolution.
10. Burgon did not approve of the spiritualization of Genesis by Professor Prichard who wrote that the Genesis creation was only a "poem." Burgon contended that Genesis was history in the strictest sense.
11. Burgon was against the New Reformation that attempted to change theology and Biblical interpretation.
(Source: The Dean Burgon Society Homepage -
Pericope de Adultera
Dean John Burgon (1896)
Synopsis: A definitive, factual account of John 7:53-8:11 with positive proof to show that it was in the original autographs of John's Gospel.
I have purposely reserved for the last the most difficult problem of all: namely, those twelve famous verses of St. John's Gospel (chap. 7:53-8:11) which contain the history of "the woman taken in adultery" - the Pericope de Adultera, as it is called.
It is altogether indispensable that the reader should approach this portion of the Gospel with the greatest amount of experience and the largest preparation. It would be convenient, no doubt, if he could further divest himself of prejudice; but that is perhaps impossible. Let him at least endeavor to weigh in impartial scales the evidence which will now be laid before him. He must do so of necessity if he would judge rightly, for the matter to be discussed is confessedly very peculiar and in some respects even unique. Let me convince him at once of the truth of what has been so far spoken.
It is a singular circumstance that at the end of eighteen centuries two instances, and but two, should exist of a considerable portion of Scripture left to the mercy (so to speak) of textual criticism. Twelve consecutive verses in the second Gospel and as many consecutive verses in the fourth are in this predicament.
It is singular, I say, that the Providence which has watched so marvelously over the fortunes of the deposit, the Divine wisdom which has made such ample provision of its security all down the ages, should have so ordered the matter that these two coextensive problems have survived to our times to be tests of human sagacity - trials of human faithfulness and skill. They present some striking features of correspondence but far more of contrast, as ill presently appear.
And yet the most important circumstance of all cannot be mentioned too soon namely, that both alike have experienced the same calamitous treatment at the hands of some critics. By common consent the most recent editors deny that either set of verses can have formed part of the Gospel as it proceeded from the hands of its inspired author.
It has already been demonstrated in a separate treatise how mistaken this opinion of theirs is in respect to the last twelve verses of the Gospel according to St. Mark. I must be content in this place to deal in a far less ceremonious manner with the hostile verdict of many critics concerning St John 7:53-8:11.
That I shall be able to satisfy those persons who profess themselves unconvinced by what was offered concerning St. Mark's last twelve verses, I am not so simple as to expect. But I trust that I shall have with me all candid readers who are capable of weighing evidence impartially and understanding the nature of logical proof when it is fully drawn out before them, which indeed is the very qualification I require of them.
Historical Background and Burden of Proof
And first, the case of the Pericope de Adultera requires to be placed before the reader in its true bearings. For those who have discussed it are observed to have ignored certain preliminary considerations which, once clearly apprehended, are all but decisive of the point at issue. There is a fundamental obstacle, I mean, in the way of any attempt to dislodge this portion of the sacred narrative from the context in which it stands, which they seem to have overlooked. I proceed to explain.
Sufficient prominence has never yet been given to the fact that in the present discussion the burden of proof rests entirely with those who challenge the genuineness of the Pericope under review. In other words, the question before us is not by any means, Shall these twelve verses be admitted into the sacred text or must they be refused admission? That point has been settled long, long ago.
St John's twelve verses are in possession. Let those eject them who can. They are known to have occupied their present position for fully seventeen hundred years. As far as is known, there never was a time when they were not where, and to all intents and purposes, they now are. Is it not evident that no merely ordinary method of proof, no merely common argument, will avail to dislodge twelve such verses as these?
Twelve such verses, I say. For it is the extent of the subject matter which makes the case so formidable. We have here to do with no dubious clause concerning which ancient testimony is divided, no seeming gloss which is suspected to have overstepped its proper limits and to have crept in as from the margin, no importation from another Gospel, no verse of Scripture which has lost its way, no weak amplification of the Evangelical meaning, no tasteless appendix which encumbers the narrative and almost condemns itself. Nothing of the sort.
If it were some inconsiderable portion of Scripture which it was proposed to get rid of by showing that it is disallowed by a vast amount of ancient evidence, the proceeding would be intelligible. But I take leave to point out that twelve consecutive verses of the Gospel cannot be so dealt with.
Squatters on the waste are liable at any moment to be served with a notice of ejectment, but the owner of a mansion surrounded by broad acres which his ancestors are known to have owned before the Heptarchy may on no account be dispossessed by any such summary process.
This (to speak without a figure) is a connected and very striking portion of the sacred narrative. The description of a considerable incident, complete in itself, full of serious teaching, and of a kind which no one would have ever dared to invent. Those who would assail it successfully must come forward with weapons of a very different kind from those usually employed in textual warfare.
It will be presently shown that these twelve verses hold their actual place by a more extraordinary right of tenure than any other twelve verses which can be named in the Gospel.
The First Two Verses of the Passage
It would, however, be premature to enter on the proof of that circumstance now. I prefer to invite the reader's attention next to the actual texture of the Pericope de Adultera, by which name (as already explained) the last verse of St. John 7 together with the verses 1-11 of chapter 8 are familiarly designated.
Although external testimony supplies the sole proof of genuineness, it is nevertheless reasonable to inquire what the verses in question may have to say for themselves. Do they carry on their front the tokens of that baseness of origin which their impugners so confidently seek to fasten on them? Or do the, on the contrary, unmistakably bear the impress of truth?
The first thing which strikes me in them is that the actual narrative concerning the last nine of these verses: being preceded by two short paragraphs is of an entirely different character and complexion. Let these be first produced and studied:
"and every man went to his own house: but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives." "And again, very early in the morning, he presented himself in the temple; and all the people came unto him: and he sat down and taught them."
Now as everyone must see, the former of these two paragraphs is unmistakably not the beginning but the end of a narrative. It purports to be the conclusion of something which went before, not to introduce something which comes after. Without any sort of doubt, it is St. John's account of what occurred at the close of the debate between certain members of the Sanhedrin which terminates his history of the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles.
The verse in question marks the conclusion of the feast - implying, in short, that all is already finished. Remove it, and the antecedent narrative ends abruptly. Retain it, and all proceeds methodically, while an affecting contrast is established which is recognized to be strictly in the manner of Scripture. 1 Each one had gone to his home, but the homeless One had repaired to the Mount of Olives.
In other words, the paragraph under discussion is found to be an integral part of the immediately antecedent narrative, proving to be a fragment of what is universally admitted to be genuine Scripture. By consequence, itself must needs be genuine also. 2
It is vain for anyone to remind us that these two verses are in the same predicament as those which follow: are as ill-supported by MS evidence as the other ten and must therefore share the same fate as the rest. The statement is incorrect, to begin with, as will presently be shown.
But what is even more deserving of attention, since confessedly these twelve verses are either to stand or fall together, it must be candidly admitted that whatever begets a suspicion that certain of them at all events must needs be genuine, throws real doubt on the justice of the sentence of condemnation which has been passed in a lump on all the rest.
The Gospel Context of the Passage
I proceed to call attention to another inconvenient circumstance which some critics in their eagerness have overlooked.
The reader wil bear in mind that - contending, as I do, that the entire Pericope under discussion is genuine Scripture which has been forcibly wrenched away from its lawful context - I began by examining the upper extremity, with a view to ascertaining whether it bore any traces of being a fractured edge. The result is just what might have been anticipated. The first two of the verses which it is the fashion to brand with ignominy were found to carry on their front clear evidence that they are genuine Scripture. How then aoub the other extremity?
Note, that in the 'oracular' Codices B and Aleph immediate transition is made from the words "out of Galilee ariseth no prophet," in chapter 7:52, to the words, "Again therefore, Jesus spake to them, saying," in chapter 8:12. And we are invited by all the adverse critics alike to believe that so the place stood in the inspired autograph of the Evangelist.
But the thing is incredible. Look back at what is contained between chapter 7:37 and 52, and note the following: two hostile parties crowded the temple courts (vv 40-42); some were for laying violent hands on our Lord (v.44); the Sanhedrin, being assembled in debate, were reproaching their servants for not having brought Him prisoner, and disputing one against another 3 (vv.45-52). How can the Evangelist have proceeded, 'Again therefore Jesus spake unto them, saying, "I am the Light of the World"? What is it supposed then that St. John meant when he wrote such words?
But on the contrary, survey the context in any ordinary copy of the New Testament and his meaning is perfectly clear. The last great day of the Feast of Tabernacles is ended. It is the morrow and "very early in the morning." The Holy One has "again presented himself in the temple" where on the previous night He so narrowly escaped violence at the hands of His enemies, and He teaches the people.
While thus engaged - with the time, the place, His own occupation suggesting thoughts of peace and holiness, and love - a rabble rout, headed by the scribes and Pharisees, enter on the foulest of errands; and we all remember with how little success. Such an interruption need not have occupied much time. The woman's accusers having departed, our Saviour resumes His discourse which had been broken off.
"Again therefore" it is said in verse 12, with clear and frequent reference to what had preceded in verse 2: "Jesus spake unto them, saying, I am the Light of the World." And did not that saying of His refer as well to the thick cloud of moral darkness which His words, a few moments before, had succeeded in dispelling, as to the orb of glory which already flooded the temple court with the effulgence of its rising - His own visible emblem and image in the heavens?
I protest that with the incident of "the woman taken in adultery," so introduced, so dismissed, all is lucid and coherent; without those connecting links, the story is scarcely intelligible. These twelve disputed verses, so far from "fatally interrupting the course of St. John's Gospel, if retained in the text," 4 prove to be even necessary for the logical coherence of the entire context in which they stand.
The Content and Meaning of the Passage
But even that is not all. On close and careful inspection, the mysterious texture of the narrative, no less than its "edifying and eminently Christian" character, vindicates for the Pericope de Adultera a right to its place in the Gospel. Let me endeavor to explain what seems to be its spiritual significance; in other words, to interpret the transaction.
The scribes and Pharisees bring a woman to our Saviour on a charge of adultery. The sin prevailed to such an extent among the Jews that the Divine enactments concerning one so accused had long since fallen into practical oblivion. On the present occasion our Lord is observed to revive His own ancient ordinance after a hitherto unheard of fashion. The trial by the bitter water, or water of conviction, 5 was a species of ordeal intended for the vindication of innocence, the conviction of guilt. But according to traditional belief the test proved inefficacious, unless the husband was himself innocent of the crime whereof he accused his wife.
Let the provisions of the law, contained in Numbers 5:16-24, be now considered. The accused woman having been brought near and placed before the Lord, the priest took "holy water in an earthen vessel" and put "of the dust of the floor of the tabernacle into the water." Then, with "the bitter water which causeth the curse" inhis hand, he charged the woman with an oath. Next he wrote the curses in a book and blotted them out with the bitter water, causing the woman to drink the "bitter water which causeth the curse." Whereupon if she were guilty, she fell under a terrible penalty, her body testifying visibly to her sin. If she was innocent, nothing followed.
And now, who sees not that the Holy One dealt with His hypocritical assailants as if they had been the accused parties? Verily they had been brought into the presence of incarnate Jehovah; and perhaps when He had stooped down and wrote on the ground, it was a bitter sentence against the adulterer and adulteress which He wrote.
We have but to assume some connection between the curse which He thus traced "in the dust of the floor of the tabernacle" and the words which He uttered with His lips, and He may with truth be declared to have "taken of the dust and put in on the water" and "caused them to drink of the bitter water which causeth the curse." For when, by His Holy Spirit, our great High Priest in His human flesh addressed these adulterers, what did He but present them with living water 6 "in an earthen vessel"? 7
Did He not further charge them with an oath of cursing, saying "if ye have not gone aside to uncleanness, be ye free from this bitter water; but if ye be defiled..." On being presented with this alternative, did they not, self-convicted, go out one by one? And what else was this but their own acquittal of the sinful woman, for whose condemnation they showed themselves so impatient? Surely it was "the water of conviction", as it is six times called, which they had been compelled to drink; whereupon, "convicted by their own conscience", as St. John relates, they had pronounced the other's acquittal.
Finally, note that by Himself declining to "condemn" the accused woman, our Lord also did in effect blot out those curses which He had already written against her in the dust, when He made the floor of the sanctuary His "book".
Whatever may be thought of the foregoing exposition (and I am not concerned to defend it in every detail) , on turning to the opposite contention we are struck with the slender amount of actual proof with which the assailants of this passage seem to be furnished. Their evidence is mostly negative, a proceeding which is constantly observed to attend a bad cause; and they are prone to make up for the feebleness of their facts by the strength of their assertions.
But my experience, as one who has given a considerable amount of attention to such subjects, tells me that the narrative before us carries on its front the impress of Divine origin. I venture to think that it vindicates for itself a high, unearthly meaning. It seems to me that it cannot be the work of a fabricator. The more I study it, the more I am impressed with its Divinity. And in what goes before I have been trying to make the reader a partaker of my own conviction.
The Style and Diction of the Passage
To come now to particulars, we may readily see from its very texture that it must needs have been woven on a heavenly loom. Only too obvious is the remark that the very subject matter of the chief transaction recorded in these twelve verses would be sufficient in and by itself to preclude the suspicion that these twelve verses are a spurious addition to the genuine Gospel.
And then we note how entirely in St. John's manner is the little explanatory clause in verse 6: "This they said, tempting Him, that they might have to accuse him." 8 We are struck besides by the prominence given in verses 6 and 8 to the act of writing, allusions to which are met with in every work of the last Evangelist. 9
It does not of course escape us how utterly beyond the reach of a Western interpolator would have been the insertion of the article so faithfully retained to this hour before lithon in verse 7.
On completing our survey, as to the assertions that the Pericope de Adultera "has no right to a place in the text of the four Gospels," is "clearly a Western interpolation, though not Western of the earliest type" 10 (whatever that may mean), and so forth: We can but suspect that the authors very imperfectly realize the difficulty of the problem with which they have to deal.
A Survey of Liberal Critical Opinion
Dr. Hort finally assures us that "no accompanying marks would prevent" this portion of Scripture "from fatally interrupting the course of St. John's Gospel if retained in the text"; and when they relegate it accordingly to a blank page at the end of the Gospels within "double brackets" in order "to show its inferior authority," we can but read and wonder at the want of perception, not to speak of the coolness, which they display. Quousque tandem?
But it is time to turn from such considerations as the foregoing and inquire for the direct testimony, which is assumed by recent editors and critics to be fatal to these twelve verses.
Tischendorf pronounces it "absolutely certain that this narrative was not written by St. John." 11
One, vastly his superior in judgement (Dr. Scrivener), declares that "on all intelligent principles of mere criticism, the passage must needs be abandoned." 12
Tregelles is "fully satisfied that this narrative is not a genuine part of St. John's Gospel." 13
Alford shuts it up in brackets and, like Tregelles, puts it in his footnotes.
Westcott and Hort, harsher than any of their predecessors, will not, as we have seen, allow it to appear even at the foot of the page.
To reproduce all that has been written in disparagement of this precious portion of God's written Word would be a joyless and unprofitable task.
According to Green, "the genuineness of the passage cannot be maintained." 14
Hammond is of opinion that "it would be more satisfactory to separate it from its present context and place it by itself as an appendix to the Gospel." 15
A yet more recent critic [Nicholson] "sums up" that "the external evidence must be held fatal to the genuineness of the passage." 16
The opinions of Bishops Wordsworth, Ellicott, and Lightfoot will be respectfully commented on by and by.
In the meantime, I venture to join issue with every one of these learned persons. I contend that on all intelligent principles of sound criticism the passage before us must be maintained to be genuine Scripture, and that without a particle of doubt.
I cannot even admit that "it has been transmitted to us under circumstances widely different from those connected with any other passage of Scripture whatever." [Scrivener] 17
I contend that it has been transmitted in precisely the same way as all the rest of Scripture and therefore exhibits the same notes of genuineness as any other twelve verses of the same Gospel which can be named.
Nevertheless, like countless other places it is found, for whatever reason, to have given offence in certain quarters; in consequence it has experienced very ill usage at the hands of the ancients and of the moderns also, but especially of the latter.
In other words, these twelve verses exhibit the required notes of genuineness less conspicuously than any other twelve consecutive verses in the same Gospel. But that is all.
The only question to be decided is the following: On a review of the whole of the evidence, is it more reasonable to stigmatize these twelve verses as a spurious accretion to the Gospel or to admit that they must needs be accounted to be genuine?
... I shall show that they are at this hour supported by a weight of testimony which is absolutely overwhelming. I read with satisfaction that my own convictions were shared by Mill, Matthaei, Alder, Scholz, and Vercollone. I have also the learned Ceriani on my side. I should have been just as confident had I stood alone - such is the imperative strength of the evidence.
Alleged Textual Evidence Against the Passage
To begin then. Tischendorf (who may be taken as a fair sample of the assailants of this passage) commences by stating roundly that the Pericope is omitted by Aleph, A, B, D, L, T, X, Delta and about seventy cursives.
I will say that no sincere inquirer after truth could so state the evidence. It is in fact not a true statement. A and C are in this vicinity defective. It is therefore no longer possible to know with certainty what they either did or did not contain. But this is not merely all:
Sidebar: Codex Alexandrinus
I proceed to offer a few words containing Codex A:
Woide, the learned and accurate 18 editor of the Codex Alexandrinus, remarked (in 1785) "Historia adulterae videtur in hoc codice defuisse." But this modest inference of his has been represented as an ascertained fact by subsequent critics. Tischendorf announces it as "certissimum."
Let me be allowed to investigate the problem for myself. Woide's calculation (which has passed unchallenged for nearly a hundred years, and on the strength of which it is nowadays assumed that Codex A must have exactly resembled Codices Aleph and B in omitting the Pericope de Adultera) was far too roughly made to be of any critical use. 19
Two leaves of Codex A have been here lost, namely, from the word καταβαινον in 6:50 to the word λεγεις in 8:52: - a lacuna (as I find by counting the letters in a copy of the ordinary text) of as nearly as possible 8,805 letters, allowing for contractions and of course not reckoning St. John 7:53-8:11.
Now in order to estimate fairly how many letters the two lost leaves actually contained, I have inquired for the sums of the letters on the leaves immediately preceding and succeeding the hiatus; and I find them to be respectively, 4,337 and 4,303: a total of 8,640 letters. But this, it will be seen is insufficient by 165 letters, or eight lines, for the assumed contents of these two missing leaves.
Are we then to suppose that one leaf exhibited somewhere a blank space equivalent to eight lines? Impossible, I answer. There existed, on the contrary, a considerable redundancy of matter in at least the second of those two lost leaves. This is proved by the circumstance that the first column on the next ensuing leaf exhibits the unique phenomenon of being encumbered, at its summit, by two very long lines (containing together fifty-eight letters), for which evidently no room could be found on the page which immediately preceded!
But why should there have been any redundancy of matter at all? Something extraordinary must have produced it. What if the Pericope de Adultera, without being actually inserted in full, was recognized by Codex A? What if the scribe had proceeded as far as the fourth word of St. John 8:3 and then had suddenly checked himself? We cannot tell what appearance St. John 7:53-8:11 presented in Codex A, simply because the entire leaf which should have contained it is lost.
Enough however has been said already to prove that it is incorrect and unfair to throw Aleph , A, B into one and the same category, with a 'certissimum' as Tischendorf does.
As for L and Delta, they exhibit a vacant space after St. John 7:52, which testified to the consciousness of the copyists that they were leaving out something. These are therefore witnesses for - not witnesses against - the passage under discussion.
[Codex] X being a commentary on the Gospel as it was read in church, of course leaves the passage out.
The only uncial MSS therefore which simply leave out the Pericope are the three following: Aleph, B, and codex T. The degree of attention to which such an amount of evidence is entitled has already been proved to be wondrous small.
We cannot forget moreover that the two former of these copies (Aleph, B) enjoy the unenviable distinction of standing alone on a memorable occasion: they alone exhibit St. Mark's Gospel mutilated in respect of its twelve concluding verses.
But I shall be reminded that about seventy (cursive) MSS of later date are without the Pericope de Adultera; that the first Greek father who quotes the Pericope is Euthymius in the twelfth century; that Tertullian, Origen, Chrysostom, Cyril, Nonnus, Cosmas, and Theophylact knew nothing of it; and that it is not contained in the Syriac, Gothic, or Egyptian versions.
Concerning every one of these statements I remark over again that no sincere lover of truth, supposing him to understand the matter about which he is disputing, could so exhibit the evidence for this particular problem.
The first reason is because so to state it is to misrepresent the entire case. The next reason is because some of the articles of indictment are only half true - in fact are untrue. But the chief reason is because in the foregoing enumeration certain considerations are actually suppressed which, had they been fairly stated, would have been found to reverse the issue. Let me now be permitted to conduct this inquiry in my own way.
The Evidences Re-Examined: The Old Latin
The first thing to be done is to enable the reader clearly to understand what the problem before him actually is. The critics insist that twelve verses which, as a matter of fact, are found dovetailed into a certain context of St. John's Gospel, must be dislodged. But do the critics in question prove that they must be? For unless they do, ther is no help for it but that the Pericope de Adultera must be left where it is.
I proceed to show:
(1) first, that it is impossible on any rational principle to dislodge these twelve verses from their actual context. Next, I shall point out that,
(2) the facts adduced in evidence and relied on by the assailants of the passage do not by any means prove the point they are intended to prove, but admit of a sufficient and satisfactory explanation. Thirdly, it will be shown that,
(3) the said explanation carries with it, and implies, a weight of testimony in support of the twelve verses in dispute that is absolutely overwhelming. Fourth,
(4) the positive evidence in favor of these twelve verses will be proved to outweigh largely the negative evidence, which is relied on by those who contend for their removal.
To some people I may seem to express myself with too much confidence. Let then be said once for all that my confidence is inspired by the strength of the arguments which are now to be unfolded. When the Author of Holy Scripture supplies such proofs of His intentions, I cannot do otherwise than rest implicit confidence in them.
Now I begin by establishing as my first proposition that, these twelve verses occupied precisely the same position which they now occupy from the earliest period to which evidence concerning the Gospels themselves reaches.
And this, because it is a mere matter of fact, is sufficiently established by reference to the ancient Latin version of St. John's Gospel. We are thus carried back to the second century of our era, beyond which testimony does not reach. The pericope is observed to stand in situ in Codices b c e ff2 g h j.
Patristic and Versional Support
Jerome (A.D. 385), after a careful survey of older Greek copies, did not hesitate to retain it in the Vulgate. It is freely referred to and commented on by himself 20 in Palestine;
whereas Ambrose at Milan (374) quotes it at least nine times, 21
as well as Augustine in North Africa (396) about twice as often. 22
It is quoted besides by Pacian in the north of Spain (370), 23
by Faustus the African (400), 24
by Rufins at Aquileia (400), 25
by Chrysologus at Ravenna (433), 26
and by Sedulius, a Scot (434). 27
The unknown authors of two famous treatises written at the same period largely quote this portion of the narrative. 28
and by other Fathers of the Western Church.
[See footnotes below: References are found in Burgon,
The Causes of Corruption in the Traditional Text, ]
To this it is idle to object that the cited authors all wrote in Latin. For the purpose in hand their evidence is every bit as conclusive as if they had written in Greek - from which language no one doubts that they derived their knowledge, through a translation.
...But in fact we are not left to Latin authorities:
Bohairic version: (Out of thirty-eight copies of the Bohairic version the Pericope de Adultera is read in fifteen, but in three forms which wil be printed in the Oxford edition. In the remaining twenty-three, it is left out.) How is it intelligible that this passage is thus found in nearly half of the copies, except on the hypothesis that they formed an integral part of the Memphitic version? They might have easily been omitted, but how could they have been inserted?
Once more. The Ethiopic version (5th century), the Palestinian Syriac (which is referred to the 5th century), the Georgian (probably 5th or 6th century), to say nothing of the Slavonic, Arabic,and Persian versions,which are of later date, all contain the portion of narrative in dispute.
The Armenian version (4th-5th century) also originally contained it, though it survives at present in only a few copies.
Add that it is found in Codex D, and it will be seen that in all parts of ancient Christendom this portion of Scripture was familiarly known.
But even this is not all. Jerome, who was familiar with Greek MSS (and who handled non of later date than B and Aleph!), expressly related that the Pericope de Adultera "is found in many copies both Greek and Latin." 33
He calls attention to the fact that what is rendered 'sine peccato' is αναμαρτητος in the Greek: and lets fall an exegetical remark which shews that he was familiar with copies which exhibited (in ver.8) εγραφεν ενος εκαστου αυτων τας αμαρτιας, - a reading which survives to this day in one uncial (U ) and at least 18 cursive copies of the Fourth Gospel. 34
Whence is it - let me ask in passing - that so many critics fail to see that positive testimony like the foregoing far outweighs the adverse negative testimony of Aleph, B, T, yes, and of A and C to boot, if they were reproducible on this point? How comes it to pass that the two codices, Aleph and B, have obtained such a mastery - rather exercise such a tyranny - over the imagination of many critics as quite to overpower their practical judgment?
We have at all events established our first proposition: namely, that:
(1) From the earliest period to which testimony reaches, the incident of "the woman taken in adultery" occupied its present place in St. John's Gospel.
Sidebar: The Ferrar Group: (Family 13)
The critics eagerly remind us that in four cursive copies (13, 69, 124, 346) the verses in question are found tacked onto the end of St. Luke 21. But have they then forgotten that "these four codices are derived from a common archetype" and therefore represent one and the same ancient and, may I add, corrupt copy?
The same critics are reminded that in the same four codices (commonly called the Ferrar Group) "the agony and bloody sweat" (St. Luke 22:43, 44) is found thrust into St Matthew's Gospel between chapter 26:39 and 40. Such licentiousness on the part of a solitary exemplar of the Gospels no more affects the proper place of these or of those verses than the superfluous digits of a certain man of Gath avail to disturb the induction that to either hand of a human being appertain but five fingers, and to either foot but five toes!
It must be admitted then that as far back as testimony reaches, the passage under discussion stood where it now stands in St. John's Gospel. And this is my first position.
But indeed, to be candid, hardly anyone has seriously called that fact in question. No, nor do any (except Dr. Hort 35 ) doubt that the passage is also of the remotest antiquity.
Adverse critics do but insist that however ancient, it must needs be of spurious origin or else it is an afterthought of the Evangelist. Concerning both of these imaginations we shall have a few words to offer by and by.
It clearly follows - indeed it may be said with truth that it only remains - to inquire what may have led to its so frequent exclusion from the sacred text? For really the difficulty has already resolved itself to into that.
The Cause of the Omission
And on this head, it is idle to affect perplexity. In the earliest age of all - the age which was familiar with the universal decay of heathen virtue but which had not yet witnessed the power of the gospel to fashion society afresh and to build up domestic life on a new and more enduring basis; at a time when the greatest laxity of morals prevailed and the enemies of the gospel were known to be on the lookout for grounds of cavil against Christianity and its Author - what wonder if some were found to remove the Pericope de Adultera from their copies, lest it should be pleaded in extentuation of breaches of the Seventh Commandment?
The very subject matter, I say, of St. John 8:3-11 would sufficiently account for the occasional omission of those nine verses. Moral considerations abundantly explain what is found to have here and there happened. But in fact this not a mere conjecture of my own. It is the reason assigned by Augustine for the erasure of these twelve verses from many copies of the Gospel. 36
Ambrose, a quarter of a century earlier, had clearly intimated that danger was popularly apprehended from this quarter; 37 and Nicon, five centuries later, states plainly that the mischevious tendency of the narrative was the cause why it had been expunged from the Armenian version. 38 Accordingly, just a few Greek copies are still to be found mutilated in respect of those nine verses only.
But in fact the indications are not a few that all the twelve verses under discussion did not by any means labor under the same degree of disrepute. The first three (as I showed at the outset) clearly belong to a different category from the last nine, a circumstance which has been too much overlooked.
The Ancient Lectionary Tradition
In the meantime the Church, for an obvious reason, had made the choice of St. John 7:37-8:12 - the greater part of which is clearly descriptive of what happened at the Feast of Tabernacles - for the Pentecostal lesson. And she judged it expedient, besides omitting as inappropriate to the occasion the incident of the woman taken in adultery, to ignore also the three preceding verses, thus making the severance begin, in fact, as far back as the end of chapter 7:52.
The reason for this is plain. In this way the allusion to a certain departure at night and return next morning (St John 7:53-8:1) was avoided, which entirely marred the effect of the lection as the history of a day of great and special solemnity -"the great day of the feast". And thus it happens that the gospel for the day of Pentecost was made to proceed directly from "Search and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet, " in chapter 7:52, to "Then spake Jesus unto them, saying, I am the Light of the World," in chapter 8:12, with which it ends.
In other words, an omission which owed its beginning to a moral scruple was eventually extended for a liturgical consideration and resulted in severing twelve verses of St.John's Gospel - chapter 7:53-8:11 - from their lawful context.
We may now proceed to the consideration of my second proposition, which is that:
(2) By the very construction of her Lectionary, the church in her corporate capacity and official character has solemnly recognized the narrative in question as an integral part of St. John's Gospel, and as standing in its traditional place, from an exceedingly remote time.
Take into your hands at random the first MS copy of St. John's Gospel which presents itself and turn to the place in question. No, I will cite all the four Evangelia which I call mine, all the seventeen which belong to Lord Zouch, and all the thirty-nine which Baroness Burdett-Coutts imported from Epirus in 1870-1872. Now all these copies (and nearly each of them represents a different line of ancestry) are found to contain the verses in question. How did the verses ever get there?
But the most extraordinary circumstance of the case is behind. Some out of the Evangelia referred to are observed to have been prepared for ecclesiastical use. In other words, they are so rubricated throughout as to show where every separate lection had its 'beginning' and where its end.
Again I ask (and this time does not the riddle admit of only one solution?), When and how does the reader suppose that the narrative of "the woman taken in adultery" first found its way into the middle of the lesson for Pentecost? I pause for an answer. I shall of necessity be told that it never "found its way" into the lection at all; but having once crept into St. John's Gospel (however that may have been affected) and established itself there, it left those ancient men who devised the Church's Lectionary without choice. They could but direct its omission, and employ for that purpose the established liturgical formula in all similar cases.
But first, how is it that those who would reject the narrative are not struck by the essential foolishness of supposing that twelve fabricated verses, purporting to be an integral part of the fourth Gospel, can have so firmly established themselves in every part of Christendom from the second century downward, that they have long since become simply ineradicable?
Did the Church then, pro hac vice, abdicate her function of being a "witness and a keeper of Holy Writ"? Was she all of a sudden forsaken by the inspiring Spirit who, as she was promised, should "guide her into all truth"? And has she been all down the ages guided into the grievous error of imputing to the disciple whom Jesus loved a narrative of which he knew nothing?
For, as I remarked at the outset, this is not merely an assimilated expression, or an unauthorized nominative, or a weakly supported clause, or any such trifling thing. Although be it remarked in passing, I am not aware of a single such trifling excresence which we are not able at once to detect and remove. In other words, this is not at all a question, like the rest, about the genuine text of a passage. Our inquiry is of an essentially different kind, namely : Are these twelve consecutive verses Scripture at all, or not? Divine or human? They claim by their very structure and contents to be an integral part of the Gospel. And such a serious accession to the deposit, I insist, can neither have "crept into" the text nor have "crept out" of it. The thing is unexampled, is unapproached, is impossible.
Above all, (the reader is entreated to give the subject his sustained attention), is it not perceived that the admission involved in the hypothesis before us is fatal to any rational pretense that the passage is of spurious origin? We have got back in thought at least to the third or fourth century of our era.
We are among the Fathers and Doctors of the Eastern Church in conference assembled, and they are determining what shall be the Gospel for the great Festival of Pentecost. "It shall begin," say they, "at the thirty-seventh verse of St John 7, and conclude with the twelfth verse of St. John 8. But so much of it as relates to the breaking up of the Sanhedrin, to the withdrawal of our Lord to the Mount of Olives, and to His return next morning to the temple had better not be read. It disturbs the unity of the narrative.
"So also had the incident of the woman taken in adultery better not be read. It is inappropriate to the Pentecostal Festival." The authors of the great Oriental Liturgy therefore admit that they find the disputed verses in their copies, and thus they vouch for their genuineness. For none will doubt that, had they regarded them as a spurious accretion to the inspired page, they would have said so plainly.
Nor can it be denied that if in their corporate capacity they had disallowed these twelve verses, such an authoritative condemnation would most certainly have resulted in the perpretual exclusion from the sacred text of the part of those verses which was actually adopted as a lection. What stronger testimony on the contrary can be imagined to the genuineness of any given portion of the everlasting Gospel than that it should have been canonized or recognized as part of inspired Scripture by the collective wisdom of the Church in the third or fourth century?
And no one may regard it as a suspicious circumstance that the present Pentecostal lesson has been thus maimed and mutilated in respect to twelve of its verses. There is nothing at all extraordinary in the treatment which St. John 7:37-8:12 has here experienced. The phenomenon is even of perpetual recurrance in the Lectionary of the East, - as will be explained below. 39
Permit me to suppose that, between the Treasury and Whitehall, the remote descendant of some Saxon thane occupied a small tenement and garden which stood in the very middle of the ample highway. Suppose further, the property thereabouts being government property, that the road on either side of this estate had been measured a hundred times, and jealously watched, ever since Westminster became Westminster.
Well, an act of parliament might no doubt compel the supposed proprietor of this singular estate to surrender his patrimony; but I submit that no government lawyer would ever think of setting up the plea that the owner of that peculiar strip of land was an imposter. The man might not have title deeds to produce, to be sure; but counsel for the defendant would plead that neither did he require any. "This man's title," counsel would say, "is - occupation for a thousand years. His evidences are - the allowance of the State throughout that long interval. Every procession to St. Stephen's every procession to the Abbey has swept by the defendant's property, on this side of it and on that, since the days of Edward the Confessor. And if my client refuses to quit the soil, I defy you - except by violence - to get rid of him."
It is in this way then that the testimony borne to these verses by the Lectionary of the East proves to be of the most opportune and convincing character. The careful provision made for passing by the twelve verses in dispute, as well as the minute directions which fence those twelve verses off on this side and on that - directions issued we may be sure by the highest ecclesiastical authority, because recognized in every part of the ancient Church - establish them effectually in their rightful place. In addition, and what is at least of equal importance, these directions fully explain the adverse phenomenae which are ostentatiously paraded by adverse critics and which, until the clue has been supplied, are calculated to mislead the judgement.
The Silence of Early Commentators Explained
For now, for the first time, it becomes abundantly plain why Chrysostom and Cyril, in publicly commenting on St. John's Gospel, pass straight from chapter 7:52 to chapter 8:12. Of course they do. Why should they, how could they, comment on what was not publicly read before the congregation? The same thing is related (in a well-known scholion) to have been done by Apolinarius and Theodore of Mopsuestia. Origen's name, for aught I care, may be added to those who did the same thing, though the adverse critics have no right to claim him, seeing that his commentary on that part of John' s Gospel is lost.
A triumphant refutation of the proposed inference from the silence of these many Fathers is furnished by the single fact that Theophylact must also be added to their number. Theophylact, I say ignores the Pericope de Adultera - passes it by, I mean - exactly as do Chrysostom and Cyril. But will anyone pretend that Theophylact, writing in A.D. 1077, did not know of St. John 7:53-8:11? Why, in nineteen out of every twenty copies within his reach, the whole of those twelve verses must have been present.
The proposed inference from the silence of certain of the Fathers is therefore invalid. The argument e silentio, always an insecure argument, proves inapplicable in this particular case. When the antecedent facts have been once explained, all the subsequent phenomena become intelligible. But a more effectual and satisfactory reply to the difficulty occasioned by the general silence of the Fathers remains to be offered.
Underneath the appeal to patristic authority lies an opinion - not expressed indeed, yet consciously entertained by us all - which in fact gives the appeal all its weight and cogency, and which must now by all means be brought to the front.
The Fathers of the Church were not only her Doctors and teachers but also the living voices by which alone her mind could be proclaimed to the world, and by which her decrees used to be authoritatively promulgated. This fact makes their words, whenever they are delivered, so very important; their approval, if they approve, so weighty; their condemnation, if the condemn, so fatal.
But then, in the present instance, they neither approve nor condemn. They simply say nothing. They are silent; and in what precedes, I have explained the reason why. We wish it had been otherwise. We would give a great deal to persuade those ancient oracles to speak on the subject of these twelve verses, but they are all but inexorably silent.
No, I am overstating the case against myself. Two of the greatest Fathers (Augustine and Ambrose) actually do utter a few words; and they are to the effect that the verses undoubtedly genuine: "Be it known to all men," they say, "that this passage is genuine; but the nature of its subject matter has at once procured its ejection from MSS and resulted in the silence of the commentators." The most learned of the Fathers in addition practically endorses the passage; for Jerome not only leaves it standing in the Vulgate where he found it in the Old Latin version, but relates that it was supported by Greek as well as Latin authorities.
To proceed however with what I was about to say.
It is the authoritative sentence of the Church then on this difficult subject that we desiderate. We resorted to the Fathers for that, intending to regard any quotations of theirs, however brief, as their practical endorsement of all the twelve verses. We desired to infer from their general recognition of the passage that the Church in her collective capacity accepted it likewise.
The Voice of the Early Church Identified
As I have shown, the Fathers decline, almost to a man, to return any answer. But are we then without the Church's authoritative guidance on this subject? For this, I repeat, is the only thing we are in search of. It was only in order to get at this that we adopted the laborious expedient of watching for the casual utterances of any of the giants of old time. Are we, I say, left without the Church's opinion?
Not so, I answer. The reverse is the truth. The great Eastern Church speaks out on this subject in a voice of thunder. In all her Patriarchates, as far back as the written records of her practice reach (and they reach back to the time of those very Fathers whose silence we felt to be embarrassing), the Eastern Church has selected nine out of these twelve verses to be the special lesson for October 8.
It would be impossible to adduce a more significant circumstance in evidence. Any pretense to fasten a charge of spuriousness on a portion of Scripture so singled out by the Church for honour is nothing else but monstrous. It would be in fact to raise quite a distinct issue, namely, to inquire what amount of respect is due to the Church's authority in determining the authenticity of Scripture? I appeal not to an opinion, but to a fact. That fact is, that though the Fathers of the Church for a very sufficient reason are nearly silent on the subject of these twelve verses, the Church herself has spoken with a voice of authority so loud, that none can affect not to hear it. Indeed, it is so plain that it cannot possibly be misunderstood.
And let me not be told that I am hereby setting up the Lectionary as the true standard of appeal for the text of the New Testament; still less let me be suspected of charging on the collective body of the faithful whatever irregularities are discoverable in the codices which were employed for the public reading of Scripture. Such as suspicion could only be entertained by one who has failed to apprehend the precise point just now under consideration.
We are not examining the text of St. John 7:53-8:11. We are only discussing whether those twelve verses en bloc are to be regarded as an integral part of the fourth Gospel, or as a spurious accretion to it. And that is a point on which the Church in her corporate character must needs be competent to pronounce, and in respect of which her verdict in favor of these twelve verses, remember, at a time when her copies of the Gospels were of papyrus as well as "old uncials" on vellum. ON the contrary, before "old uncials" on vellum were at least in any general use.
True, the transcribers of Lectionaries have proved themselves just as liable to error as the men who transcribed Evangelia. But, then, it is incredible that those men forged the Gospel for St. Pelagia's Day; and it is impossible, if it were a forgery, that the Church should have adopted it. And it is the significance of the Church having adopted the Pericope de Adultera as the lection for Oct 8, which has never been sufficiently attended to, and which I defy the critics to account for on any hypothesis but one: namely, that the Pericope was recognized by the ancient Eastern Church as an integral part of the Gospel.
Now when to this has been added what is implied in the rubrical direction that a ceremonious respect should be shown to the Festival of Pentecost by dropping the twelve verses, I submit that I have fully established my second position, namely, that by the very construction of her Lectionary the Church in her corporate capacity and official character has solemnly recognized the narrative in question as an integral part of St. John's Gospel, and as standing in its traditional place, from an exceedingly remote time.
Critical Theories Fail to Explain Facts
For (I entreat the candid reader's sustained attention), the circumstances of the present problem altogether refuse to accommodate themselves to any hypothesis of a spurious original for these verses, as I proceed to show.
Repair in thought to any collection of MSS you please - suppose to the British Museum. Request to be shown their seventy-three copies of St. John's Gospel, and turn to the close of his seventh chapter. At that particular place you will find, in sixty-one of these copies, these twelve verses; and in thirty-five ofthem you will discover, after the words Prophetes ek tes Galilaias ouk eg. A rubrical not to the effect that "on Whitsunday, these twelve verses are to be dropped; and the reader is to go on at chapter 8:12".
What can be the meaning of this respectful treatment of the Pericope in question? How can it ever have come to pass that it has been thus ceremoniously handled down through the ages? Surely on no possible view of the matter but one can the phenomenon just now described be accounted for.
Else, will anyone gravely pretend to tell me that at some indefinitely remote period (1) these verses were fabricated; (2) were thrust into the place they at present occupy in the sacred text; (3) were unsuspectingly believed to be genuine by the Church; and in consequence they were at once passed over by her direction on Whitsunday as incongruous, and appointed by the Church to be read on October 8, as appropriate to the occasion?
But further, how is it proposed to explain why one of St. John's afterthoughts should have fared so badly at the Church's hands and another, so well? It is suggested that perhaps the subject matter may sufficiently account for all that has happened to the Pericope de Adultera. And so it may, no doubt. But then, once admit this, and the hypothesis under consideration becomes simply nugatory; it fails even to touch the difficulty it professes to remove.
For if men are capable of thinking scorn of these twelve verses when they found them in the "second and improved edition of St. John's Gospel," why may they not have been just as irreverent in respect of the same verses when they appeared in the first edition?
How is it one whit more probable that every Greek Father for a thousand years should have systematically overlooked the twelve verses in dispute when they appeared in the second edition of St. John's Gospel, than that the same Fathers should have done the same thing when they appeared in the first? 40
But the hypothesis is gratuitous and nugatory; for it has been invented in order to account for the phenomenon that whereas twelve verses of St. John's Gospel are found in the large majority of the later copies, the same verses are observed to be absent from all but one of the five oldest codices.
But how (I wish to be informed) is that hypothesis supposed to square with these phenomena? It cannot be meant that the "second edition" of St. John did not come abroad until after Codices Aleph, A, B, C, T were written.
For we know that the old Italic Version (a document of the 2nd Century) contains all the three portions of narrative which are claimed for the second edition. But if this is not meant, it is plain that some further hypothesis must be invented in order to explain why certain Greek manuscripts of the fourth and fifth centuries are without the verses in dispute. And this fresh hypothesis will render the one under consideration (as I said) nugatory and show that it was gratutitous.
Spiritual Bankruptcy of the Critical Position
What chiefly offends me however in this extraordinary suggestion is its irreverence. It assumes that the Gospel According to St. John was composed like any ordinary modern book: capable therefore of being improved in the second edition, by rescension, addition, omission, retraction, or what not. For we may not presume to limit the changes effected in a second edition.
And yet the true Author of the Gospel is confessedly God the Holy Ghost, and I know of no reason for supposing that His works are imperfect when they proceed forth from His hands.
The cogency of what precedes has in fact weighed so powerfully with thoughtful and learned divines that they have felt themselves constrained, as their last resource, to cast about for some hypothesis which will at once account for the absence of these verses from so many copies of St. John's Gospel and yet retain them for their rightful owner and author, St. John.
Singular to relate, the assumption which has best approved itself to their judgment has been, that there must have existed two editions of St.John's Gospel - the earlier edition without, the later edition with, the incident under discussion. It is, I presume, in order to concilliate favor to this singular hypothesis that it has been further proposed to regard St. John 5:3,4 and the whole of St. John 21 (besides St. John 7:53-8:11) as afterthoughts of the Evangelist.
But this is unreasonable, for nothing else but the absence of St.John 7:53-8:11 from so many copies of the Gospel has constrained the critics to regard those verses with suspicion.
Indeed, on the contrary, there is not known to exist a copy in the world which omits so much as a single verse of chapter 21. Why then are we to assume that the whole of that chapter was away from the original draft of the Gospel? Where is the evidence for so extravagant an assumption?
So, concerning St. John 5:3,4, to which there really attaches no matter of doubt, as I have elsewhere shown, 41 we find the following: thirty-two precious words in that place are indeed omitted by Aleph B C and twenty-seven by D. But by this time the reader knows what degree of importance is to be attached to such an amount of evidence. On the other hand, they are found in all other copies. They are vouched for by the Syriac 42 and Latin versions, in the Apostolic Constitutions, by Chrysostom, Cyril, Didymus, and Ammonius; among the Greeks, by Tertullian; among the Latins by Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine. Why a passage so attested is to be assumed an afterthought of the Evangelist has never yet been explained. Nor will it ever be.
Assuming, however, just for a moment the hypothesis correct for argument's sake, namely, that in the second edition of St.John's Gospel the history of the woman taken in adultery appeared for the first time. Invite the authors of that hypothesis to consider what follows. The discovery that five out of six of the oldest uncials extant (to reckon here the fragment T) are without the verses in question, which yet are contained in ninety-nine out of every hundred of the despised cursives: what other inference can be drawn from such premises, but that the cursives fortified with other evidence are by far the more trustworthy witnesses of what St. John in his old age actually entrusted to the Church's keeping?
(Miller: The MS. [Burgon's] here leaves off, except that a few pencilled words are added in an incomplete form. I have been afraid to finish so clever and characteristic an essay.)
(provided from the Edition by Edward Miller from Burgon's notes and his own verifications and collations of same.)
1 Sam 24:22 - 'And Saul went home: But David and his men got them up into the hold.'
1 Kings 18:42: 'So Ahab went up to eat and to drink: and Elijah went up to the top of Carmel, and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees.'
Esther 3:15: 'And the king and Haman sat down to drink: but the city of Shushan was perplexed.' Such are the idioms of the Bible.
2. Ammonius (Cord. Cat. p.216), with evident reference to it, remarks that our Lord's words in verse 37 and 38 were intended as a viaticum which all might take home with them, at the close of this, 'the last, the great day of the feast'.
3. So Eusebius: οτε κατα το αυτο συναχθεντες οι των Ιουδαιων εθνους αρχοντες επι της Ιερουσαλημ, συνεδριον εποιησαντο και σκεψιν ορως αυτον απολεσωςιν εν ω οι μεν θανατον αυτου κατεψηφισαντο. ετεροι δε αντελεγον, ως ο Νικοδεημος, κ.τ.λ., (in Psalmos, p. 230a)
4. Westcott and Hort's prefatory matter (1870) to their revised Text of the New Testament, p. xxvii.
5. So in the LXX. See Num. v. 11-31.
6. Verse 17. So the LXX.
7. 2 Cor. 4:7, 5:1.
8. Compare ch. vi.6, 71: vii.39: xi.13, 51: xii 5, 33: xiii. 11,28: xxi. 19.
9. Consider ch. xix.19,20,21,22: xx.30,31: xxi.24,25. - 1John i.4: ii.1,7,8,12,13,14,21,26: v.13. - 2 John 5,12. 3 John 9, 13. - Rev. passim., especially i.11,19: ii.11,19: ii.1, &c.: x.4: xiv.13: xvii.8: xix.9: xx.12,15: xxi.5,27: xxii18,29.
10. Westcott and Hort, ibid. pp. xxvii, xxvi.
11. Novum Testamentum, 1869, p. 829
12. Plain Introduction, 1894, ii. 364.
13. Printed Texts, 1854, p. 241.
14. Developed Criticism, p. 82.
15. Outlines, &c., p. 103.
16. Nicholson's Gospel according to the Hebrews, p. 141.
17. Scrivener, ut supra, ii. 368.
18. I insert this epithet on sufficient authority. Mr. Edw. A. Guy, an intelligent young American, - himself a very accurate observer and a competant judge, - collated a considerable part of Cod. A in 1875, and assured me that he scarcely ever found any discrepancy between the Codex and Woide's reprint. One instance of italicism[itacism?] was in fact all that had been overlooked in the course of many pages.
19. It is inaccurate also. His five lines contain eight mistakes. (Woide) Praefat. p. xxx, para. 86.
20. (Jerome:) ii. 630, addressing Rufinus, A.D. 403. Also ii. 748-9.
21. (Ambrose:) i. 291, 692, 707, 1367: ii. 668, 894, 1082: iii. 892-3, 896-7.
22. (Augustine:) i. 30: ii. 527, 529-30: iii1. 774: iii2. 158, 183, 531-2 (where he quotes the place extensively and comments upon it): iv. 149, 466 (quoted largely), 1120: v.80, 1230 (quoted largely both places): vi 407, 413: viii. 377, 574.
23. Pacian (372 A.D.) refers the Novatians to the narrative as something which all men knew. "Nolite in Evangelio legere quod pepercerit Dominus etiam adulterae confitenti, quam nemo damnarat?" Pacianus, Op. Epist. iii. Contr. Novat. (A.D. 372). Ap. Galland. vii. 267.
24. (Faustus:) Ap. Augustin. viii. 463.
25. (Rufinus:) In his translation of Eusebius. Nicholson, p. 53.
26. Chrysologus (433 A.D.) Abp. of Ravenna. Venet. 1742. Ile mystically explains the entire incident. Serm. cxv. para.5.
27. Sedulius the Scot (435 A.D.) makes it the subject of a poem, and devotes a whole chapter to it. Ap. Galland, ix. 553 and 590.
28. (anonymous:) 'Promiss.' De Promissionibus dimid. temp. (saec. iv). Quotes Jn viii 4,5,9. P.2, c. 22, col. 147b. Ignot. Auct., De Vocatione omnium Gentium (circa, 440 A.D.), ap. OPp. Prosper. Aquit. (1782), i. p. 460-1: - "Adulteram ex legis constitutione lapidandam...liberavit...cum executores praecepti de conscientiis territi, trementem ream sub illius iudicio reliquissent...Et inclinatus, id est ad humana dimissus..."digito scribebat in terram," ut legem mandatorum per gratiae decreta vacuaret," &c.
29. (Vigilius:) Wrongly ascribed to Idacius.
30. Gelasius P. (492 A.D.) Conc. iv. 1235. Quotes Jn viii 3, 7, 10 , 11.
31. Cassiodorus (514 A.D.) Venet. 1729. Quotes Jn viii 11. See ii. p. 96, 3, 5-180.
32. (Gregory:) Dialogues, xiv. 15.
33. (Jerome:) ii. 748: - "In evangelio secundum Ioannem in multis et Graecis et Latinis codicibus invenitur de adultera muliere, quae accusata est apud Dominum."
34. ενος εκαστου αυτων τας αμαρτιας Ev. 95. 40, 48, 64, 73, 100, 122, 127, 142, 234, 264, 267, 274, 433, 115, 121, 604, 736.
35. (Hort:) Appendix, p. 88.
Sed hoc videlicet infidelium sensus exhorret, ita ut nonnulli modicae fidei vel potius inimici verae fidei, (credo metuentes peccandi impunitatem dari mulieribus suis), illud quod de adulterae indulgentia Dominus fecit, auferrent de codicibus suis: quasi permissionem peccandi tribuerit qui dixit, 'Iam deinceps noli peccare;' aut ideo non debuerit mulier a medico Deo illius peccati remissione sanari, ne offenderentur insani.
De coniug. adult. ii. cap. 7. i. 707: - "Fortasse non mediocrem scrupulum movere potuit imperitis Evangelii lectio, quae decursa est, in quo advertistis adulteram Christo oblatam, eamque sine damnatione dimissam. Nam profecto si quis ea auribus accipiat otiosis, incentivum erroris incurrit, cum leget quod Deus censuerit adulterium non esse damnandum."
37. (Ambrose:) Epist. 58. "Quid scribebat? nisi illud Propheticum (Jer. xxii. 29-30), Terra, terra, scribe hos vivos abdicatos.
38. (Nicon:) Constt. App. (Gen. iii. 49), Nicon (Gen. iii. 250). (Miller:) I am not certain about these two references.
39. (Lectionary Mutilations of Scripture:) Two precious verses (viz. the 43rd and 44th) used to be omitted from the lection for Tuesday before Quinquagesima, - viz. St. Luke xxii. 39 - xxiii. 1.
The lection for the preceding Sabbath (viz. St. Luke xxi. 8-36) consisted of only the following verses, - verse 8, 9, 25-27, 33-36. All the rest (viz. verses 10-24 and 28-32) was omitted.
On the ensuing Thursday, St Luke xxiii was handling in a similar style: viz. ver. 1-31, 33, 44-56 alone were read, - all the other verses being left out.
On the 1st Sabbath after Pentecost (All Saint's), the lesson consisted of St. Matt. x. 32, 33, 37-38: xix. 27-30.
On the 15th Sabbath after Pentecost, the lesson was St. Matt. xxiv 1-9, 13 (leaving out 11, 12)
On the 16th Sabbath after Pentecost, the lesson was St. Matt. xxiv 34-37, 42-44 (leaving out 38-41).
On the 6th Sabbath of St Luke, - the lesson was ch. viii. 26-35 followed by verses 38 and 39.
40. (Scrivener:) "This celebrated paragraph....was probably not contained in the first edition of St. John's Gospel but added at the time when his last chapter was annexed to what had once been the close of his narrative, - xx. 30, 31." Scrivener's Introduction to Cod. D, p. 50.
41. ...in a so far unpublished paper.
42. It is omitted in some MSS of the Peshitto.