Review of: Trollope, Analecta Theologica, (1842) pp. 87ff
Last Updated: Feb 19, 2009
Review: - Trollope on John 8:1-11: Excerpt from Analecta Theologica
Notes from Preface - format for authorities cited
I. The Authenticy of John 8:1-11 - various evidences
Modern Footnotes - courtesy of Nazaroo
II. Detailed Discussions - from Analecta, verse by verse
William Trollope, M.A. (1798-1863) author of Analecta Theologica. 2 vols., ( London, Publ. by T. Cadell, Strand: Edinburgh 1830, 2nd ed. 1842) - A condensation of the opinions of eminent expositors, very well executed, and useful except so far as superseded by more modern works.
Trollope was formerly a master of Christ's Hospital, and also wrote A History of the Royal Foundation of Christ's Hospital (1834, London, W. Pickering)
Rev. William Trollope went to Australia in 1849. He was formerly a Classics Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge and he founded a school at Oatlands, Tasmania in 1852. He also wrote several religious pamphlets.
Sources: www.book-academy.co.uk, and,
Nat. Library of Australia, Cat.
The Sources for Analecta Theologica
It turns out that Trollope relied heavily on one specific earlier work: the Annotationis Sacrae (1826), by Samuel Thomas Bloomfield. An examination of that longer, more detailed work reveals the extent to which Trollope not only copied the plan and scope of the work, but also borrowed content, although he often condensed or trunacted it heavily, as in the section on John 8:1-11.
Trollope is an accomplished scholar, and a brilliant exegete. He is also very much aware both of the available textual evidence and its nature, and also of all the opinions and arguments of previous scholars on the passage.
He demonstrates this by presenting fairly the range of intelligent opinion among the best available scholars and commentators, and sorting them for us in order of credibility (along with objections and qualifications), and mutual support.
Trollope comes out unhesitatingly and emphatically for the authenticity of John 7:53-8:11.
Trollope's work is invaluable for his extensive and organized publication of his predecessors alone. He adds immeasurably to this by providing extensive quotations from classical literature to illustrate and clarify difficult questions and issues.
Trollope's example shows not only that there were intelligent and well-read scholars in the 1840s , but that there were clearly many who did not buy into the prevailing skepticism and hysteria of that age, and were willing to do the necessary investigative and organizational work to support their views with real scholarship.
Sadly, although many of the general arguments and conclusions remain valid, the textual-critical details regarding manuscript evidence etc. naturally don't hold up so well. Almost a dozen claims in the very first paragraph are actually errors of fact which require substantial correction! Yet these corrections only strengthen the case for the authenticity of John 8:1-11.
Exerpt taken from:
Analecta Theologica Vol. 2, (1842) p. 87 fwd.
We quote the preface to explain his citation of critical authorities, and extend the quotation past verse 8:12 for completeness, and to give an indication of how Trollope handles the following section in relation to the Pericope de Adultera.
(vol. I) pp. IX, X
The several interpretations of any disputed or doubtful passage have been arranged in the order of their respective merits, beginning with that which has the least, and ending with that which has the greatest, degree of probability.
Every argument of weight, adduced in support of each opinion, is concisely stated; objections are confuted or confirmed;
- and the principal authorities in favour of the adopted exposition are given at the end of the note, distinguished from those on the contrary side by means of [square] brackets.
...I have taken for granted that every student possesses, or has means of access to, Mr. Horne's Introduction. All points, therefore, which he has handled, are purposely omitted; except in some few instances, which seemed to require a fuller investigation than the nature of his work would admit.
...the Sixth edition of Mr. Horne's work has been throughout referred to, with the exception of the first seven chapters of St Matthew's Gospel;
JOHN CHAPTER VIII. (vol. II)
CONTENTS: - The woman taken in adultery, vv.1 - 11. Christ asserts his divinity, vv. 12-20. ...
Verse 1. Ιησους δε κ.τ.λ. The narrative of the Woman taken in adultery, contained in the opening of this chapter, together with the last verse of Chap. VII. are wanting in a great number of the best MSS. 1 Many of those, also, which retain the passage, mark it with obelisks, as an indication of supposed spuriousness; 2 and it exhibits a greater variety of readings than any other portion of the Scriptures whatsoever. 3 In some copies it is found at the end of the Gospel; 4 in others, elsewhere; 5 and in others, again, at the end of Luke ch. 21. 6
Now Papias, in a fragment cited by Eusebius, relates a tradition respecting a woman who was accused of many crimes before our Lord, which was taken from the Apocryphal Gospel of the Nazarenes; and it has been thought 11 that this was the legend in question, which has by some means found its way into the narrative of St John.
Others have thought that the incident is the relation of a real fact; but that it is one of those events in our Lord's ministry which were not inserted, for want of room, in any of the four Canonical Gospels, though they were long preserved in the Church by oral tradition. 12 See Luke 1:1, John 20:30.
Several of these histories were recorded in the margins of early copies, so that some of them at length obtained a place in the text; 13 and it may not be impossible, from the remarkable variations in the MSS., that the preservation of this story is to be thus accounted for. 14 See on Matt. 20:28 Luke 6:1.
The weight of the evidence however, both internal and external, unquestionably preponderates in favour of its authenticity. 15
The majority of MSS. are considerably on its side; and its absence from those in which it does not appear, is traced by Augustine (de Adult. Conjug. II.e.) to a scrupulous fear, that the ignorant might be thereby induced to think lightly of the sin of adultery. 16
At the same time it is sufficiently evident, why Jesus thought proper to evade the question of the Scribes. A snare was laid for him similar to that which lurked in the insidious question respecting tribute-money in Matt. 22:17. 17
Had he countenanced the punishment of the woman, they would have accused him to the Romans of invading their judicial authority; 18 and had he, on the other hand, referred them to the pro-consular tribunal, they would have held him up to popular hatred, as sanctioning the infringement fo their liberties and rights.
That he did not palliate the atrocity of the offence is evident from the caution with which he finally dismissed her. 19
Whitby, Lightfoot, Mill, A. Clarke, Michaelis, Kuinoel, Doddridge, &c. - [Grotius, Beza, Le Clerc, Wetsein, Tittman, &c.] See also Horne's Introd. Vol. IV. p. 315. 20
Footnotes courtesy of Nazaroo:
1. The circularity of the logic should not escape the reader: Since the manuscripts are seriously divided, it is the manuscripts which ought to be judged "best" or otherwise, based on the text they carry, and not the text being judged by conveniently selected manuscripts.
Also, "best" is only a relative term, and gives no real indication of the objective quality of any manuscript. It is conceivable that all manuscripts could be about equally "bad". If the original text can in fact be logically reconstructed with reasonable accuracy from available evidence (something which proponents of any critical text claim), then it is quite possible (and perhaps likely), that even the best individual manuscript will be inferior to a corrected 'critical' text.
Finally, no manuscripts are identified as "best", and no evidences or arguments are offered to indicate independantly which ones are "best" or otherwise, or why, or even who is doing the categorizing. This is simply not real science.
Incidentally, "a great number" (not given) turns out to be less than a dozen manuscripts, out of thousands which contain the verses. The phrase "a great number of the best" is meaningless, without clear scientific criteria for which manuscripts are "best", and why others are to be excluded from the count. It is obvious that the vote can be arbitrarily rigged by how manuscripts are classified, and which manuscripts are to be counted at all.
2. Obelisks or other small marks in the margin could have any meaning. In fact marks on manuscripts have a full range of popular meanings, for example segmentation of the continuous text for public reading, Lection ('Lesson') marks, liturgical instructions, breathing and pause-marks for public readers and cantors, special notices for calendars and sermon scheduling, punctuation, accents, abbreviations of names and keywords, corrector's marks, and finally, primitive text-critical or religious notes and annotations.
The majority of "marked" manuscripts will have the passage in its proper place, written in the hand of the original scribe. Many marginal markings are clearly by a second, unknown hand, and have often been added centuries after the manuscript was made. With others, it is impossible to detect when the markings were made or who made them.
At their very best, these marks must be considered secondary to the evidence of the main and original text of the manuscript, and cannot possibly cancel out the significance or weight of original hand including the passage.
In any case, automatically assuming ALL such marks must indicate spuriousness or doubt is a plain fallacy, but not one made by accident. It is designed to mislead, by obscurring the typical usage of the manuscripts, and the common meanings for such markings.
3. This often repeated claim appears to be based upon some brief collations made by Beza centuries earlier. The majority of manuscripts in existance have never been collated, and neither has any particular passage in the NT been thoroughly collated. No one can possibly know at this time where in the NT text we will find the most variations.
The claim is unsupportable with the available evidence.
4. In fact, the copies referred to in some cases place the passage after the SECOND LAST verse of John's Gospel. But only one manuscript in existance leaves out the last verse: Codex Sinaiticus (and the passage also). This is another strike against the manuscript, indicating clearly that Alexandrian editorial activity has been at work here.
5. "elsewhere" is vague. In fact in only 2 or 3 manuscripts of very late date (12th century) is the passage misplaced to the wrong point in John's Gospel. This must have occurred when scribes attempted to restore the passage from a copy where it was previously deleted, but had no copy on hand to tell them where to put it.
This clearly indicates two things however: (1) that some copy or copies were missing the passage (in the 12th century), and that (2) the scribes believed the passage to be authentic, but had no means to restore it. In any case, the vote of the scribes who made the copies outweighs the vote of the unknown copy lacking the verses, since we cannot establish even what text that missing copy contained, how old it was, or who made it.
6. Again, the "others" who insert the passage at Luke 21 are also very late manuscripts (10th-12th century), and have clearly been copied from one another, or a common ancestor, and form a close genealogical "family". They are not then independant witnesses, but their vote collapses to their common ancestor, which cannot be traced earlier than the 9th century.
This case tells us clearly two important facts however: (1) someone had at some point given orders to leave out the passage, and (2) at least one copyist chose to disobey his orders and hide the passage in Luke. This is a strong vote in favour of the passage, while at the same time revealing conscious and hostile editorial activity to remove the verses.
It matters not that the orders to delete the passage may have been justified in someone's mind on the basis of some ancient exemplar. The point is these manuscripts sabotage their own testimony by revealing that the very people who made them did not assent to the textual omission of the passage. The manuscripts are self-neutralizing, and tell us nothing new, since it is already known that early manuscripts also left out the verses on many occasions.
7. The supposed 'silence' of Chrysostom has been cast in doubt by the fact that a 13th century monk appears to have known of a text by that author whereby he mentions the passage. We quote Wieland Willker's recent post in his Textual Criticism Blog:
Tommy Wasserman and Jennifer Knust (SBL 2008, via ETC blog) mention an interesting reference to Chrysostom:
"Jacobus de Voragine, a thirteenth-century Dominican monk, scholar and author, serves as our final example. Preaching a sermon on the pericope on the third Saturday of Lent, he offered a list of by then traditional suggestions regarding what Jesus wrote: 'According to Ambrose,' Jacobus reports, 'Jesus wrote, "terra terram accusat"; according to Augustine, he wrote this [also] (i.e., terra terram accusat) and then, afterwards said to the woman "qui sine peccato est uestrum"; according to the Glossa, Jesus wrote their sins ('eorum pecccata' ); and, according to John Chrysostom (who, as far as we know, never discussed the pericope adulterae), he wrote 'terra absorbe hos uiros abdicatos' ("Earth, swallow these men who have been disowned.")"
(Sabbato Sermo 1.45-48)
We have no other reference that shows Chrysostom's acquaintance with the PA. It is possible that Jacques de Voragine simply misattributes the words. On the other hand it is possible that he had access to sources lost today. The sermon can be found online at:
Does anybody know anything more about this?
Whether or not this monk may have turned out to have made a mistake in his own citation or identification of the author, it is likely that some early father/writer made the statement that the monk found.
But until positive evidence can be found eliminating Chrysostom from the list of possible writers, the claim of his 'silence' regarding the passage must forever hang in doubt.
In any case, Chrysostom's silence may very well pale into insignificance, if a contemporary writer of equal note indeed cited John 8:1-11. At that point, Chrysostom's actions will hardly matter.
8. This statement is simply wrong. It is "explained" by Ambrose (c. 370 A.D.) and Augustine (c. 400 A.D.) to name a few rather important early writers.
Nor is Euthymius even the only "Greek-speaking" writer to mention the passage, since a commentary by Didymus (c. 360 A.D.) quotes the story, and both Rufinus and Theodoret give rather strong allusions to it.
9. Unfortunately, the 'old versions', (e.g., Syriac, Armenian etc.) appear to have been originally made from Lectionary-style texts, that is, copies of the Gospels prepared for church use. This is no surprise, since those forms of the text would be most useful to underground churches just starting out in foreign lands and distant outposts of the Empire.
If the passage existed in those times (and it appears to have existed), it was avoided in public reading during church services, as being too controversial or unedifying, just as many other passages are avoided by the Lectionaries and liturgical calendars.
This is no indication of inauthenticity or doubt however. Its just the pragmatic activity of church organizers, choosing whats "best" for their congregations, under surveilance by hostile forces.
10. Again this seems logically fallacious, and puts the cart before the horse. Who are the "best" critics should be judged by their performances, and not the other way around. We can't decide on the status of Holy Scripture or the "best" text based on the opinions of critics.
11. Apparently this idea was first proposed by Schmidt in his Einleit. in d. NT. TH. 1. p.159 seq., according to Bloomfield.
12. The claim that the Pericope de Adultera was an oral tradition that circulated for a long time cannot be sustained. This idea is based on theories of oral transmission by the 19th century German schools, which were discredited by subsequent textual discoveries and archaeological evidence. See Kenyon, The Bible and Modern Scholarship, pp. 16 fwd. and especially pp. 7-9.
13. The claim here is incredible. Even if a verse or two could be shown to be an interpolation (such as those possible unsuccessful interpolations found in Codex Bezae), no story of the size of the Pericope de Adultera has ever been interpolated into the NT, in any known manuscript, either successfully or unsuccessfully.
The only (half-)verse that comes close to having the appearance of a (temporarily) successful "gloss" is the infamous 1st John 5:7,8. But this unique case is something that happened after the invention of printing and mass-publications, 1,500 years after the NT was written. (We will not comment on the merits of the variant here, only that its timing was essential for the plausibility of any case for a "gloss".)
The whole inquiry concerning the Pericope de Adultera is to determine if this could have actually happened in this one clearly unique case. To claim it has happened elsewhere without any evidence is an absurdly unscientific way to approach the investigation. It is unknown what critic provided this falsifiable and blatantly false claim.
Not surprisingly however, it is a popular myth among secular humanists and other atheists who attack the Bible, even today. Apparently the philosophy is that "the end justifies the means", that is, its okay to lie about the Bible, because Christianity is "bad".
14. The 'logical' connection is here again completely non-sequitous. The number of variants found spread across the textual evidences cannot have any bearing on the claim that it was mistakenly copied from the margin of a manuscript. It doesn't make sense.
If the passage was indeed inserted into the textual transmission stream for John's Gospel at some specific later time through a unique event such as envisioned, then all copies of the passage should be even more homogenous than the background text, which would have had time to develop variations.
Even the allowance of "cross-pollenation" and mixing of texts through comparison and correction would still fail to generate MORE variants for the passage than the support text, namely John. Extra variants must be created either through sloppy copying, or deliberate editing, but the nature of the variants in the Pericope de Adultera is random and hardly affects the sense of the passage.
Only an independant written or oral process could create textual variants, but presumably the very same scribes copied the background and the passage together. In that case, only an oral process could account for the variants.
But here's the kicker. In order for the oral variants to be copied into the textual stream, the passage would have had to have been inserted simultaneously and independantly from many (corrupted) oral sources, not inserted in a single event such as from the margin by a copyist.
Could hundreds of copyists suddenly have found many differing copies of the passage in the margins of many exemplars, and then make the same boo boo, copying what they saw into the text?
15. Given what Trollope has presented here, this is an astounding conclusion. Did someone edit his work before it hit the press?
No. The answer is simpler. Trollope came to his own conclusion based upon the much larger and detailed evidence he found in his main source-book for this work: the Annotationis Sacrae (1826) by Samuel Thomas Bloomfield. There Trollope found plenty of evidence and arguments to convince him the passage was genuine.
However, rather sadly, he didn't adequately copy over those arguments and evidences here.
16. Later, Westcott & Hort and others would challenge the plausibility of Augustine's explanation for the omission of the passage.
But this is attack on Augustine is misguided and ineffective. Its not Augustine's explanation that matters at all. Its his witness to the existance of the passage in some manuscripts, and its omission in others. Whether or not Augustine rightly or wrongly imputed motives to those contending over the passage, the fact is, he witnesses to the battle itself, and in passing, the existance of the passage in many manuscripts, and its acceptance among the Latins in his time.
And this is both entirely consistent with other evidence and testimony, such as Jerome and Ambrose, and also an immense hurdle to those claiming the passage was an 'insertion'. No plausible mechanism for such a fraud or even a credible timing for its occurance has been proposed.
17. On the other hand, the consistency of the passage with Synoptic accounts of the controversy between Jesus and the religious authorities on other matters like taxes, also has little to do with the authenticity of the passage.
What needs to be shown is its consistency with the content and purpose of John, not the Synoptics.
18. This has been shown to be a weak argument, when based on the existing form and content of the passage.
Just how would consulting a travelling Rabbi on stoning get Jesus in more trouble than those who brought the woman to Him in the first place? Wouldn't the Romans be more angry with the scribes and Pharisees, than with Jesus? It was they who seemed to instigate the incident and attempt the stoning, not Jesus. He could easily defend himself before His accusers in this scenario, providing there was a fair hearing.
The plausibility of the entrapment rests on the other horn of the dilemma: that if Jesus clumsily backed out of the stoning, they could scandalize him before the Jewish people.
19. This finally, makes sound logic. But it unfortunately has no clear bearing on the authenticity of the passage, unless other evidences and arguments can be brought forward.
20. Horne also strongly defended the authenticity of the passage, in his Introduction, through at least nine editions. It was Samuel Davidson and Samuel Tregelles who took over the editing of the 10th edition, that cast doubt upon the passage, against the judgment of the original author.
This was a notorious bit of dirty-fighting, documented here:
Horne on John 8:1-11 < - - Click here for details.
Further exerpt taken from:
Analecta Theologica Vol. 2, (1842) p. 87 fwd.
With γεγομενου, v.2, the participle is understood. See on Luke 24:1.
Ver. 5 λιθοβολεισθαι.
The Law required generally that adultery should be punished with death (Levit. 20:10, Deut.22:22 ), but did not determine the kind of it; and, according to the Rabbins, where no particular death is specified, strangling is invariably intended. Some, therefore, have thought that being taken επαυτοφωρω, in the very act, incurred the severer penalty of stoning, and refer to the laws of Solon and the twelve tables in support of the opinion.
It appears, however, from Deut.22:23,24 that a betrothed damsel, who was guilty of adultery, was to be stoned; and hence, perhaps, the tradition in Sanhedrim, p. 51, 2:
'A daughter of an Israelite, if she commit adultery after she is married, must be strangled; if only betrothed, she must be stoned.'
It has been conjectured, therefore, that the woman now before Jesus was only betrothed. But the distinction has no foundation; for it is evident from Ezek. 16:38,40 that all adultresses were stoned; and that the difficulty, which has been alleged as an internal proof of the spuriousness of the passage, originated in the unwarranted assumption of the Rabbins.
That capital punishment, mentioned in general terms, might imply stoning, is manifest from Exod. 31:14, 15:2, compared with Numb. 15:32,34. Macknight, Michaelis, Kuinoel. - [Hammond, Lightfoot, Whitby, Lampe, Wetstein, &c.]
Of the term επαυτοφωρω, or as it is classically written, επ' αυτοφωρω, see Lex Pent. Gr. in v. αυτοφωρος: and that stoning was the punishment of adultery in most of the Eastern nations, see my note on Hom. Il. Γ. 57.
Ver. 6 εγραφεν εις την γην ['he wrote in the ground' ].
There are many idle conjectures respecting what Jesus wrote on the earth, and his motive for writing at all. Some suggest that he traced in the sand some short maxim or proverb; others that he marked out the words, which he immediately afterwards uttered aloud, (v. 7) ; others, again, imagine that the action was symbolical, and denoted that the Pharisees would be written in the earth, an allusion to Jer. 17:13, or that he manifested a desire to act, as far as circumstances would permit, in conformity to the rules laid down for the trial of an adulterous wife in Numb. 5:11 sqq. See especially verses 17,25.
Such conjectures, however, are of little avail, and perhaps presumptuous.
Nescire velle, quae magister optimus nescire nos vult, erudita inscitia est.
It is very possible that our Lord's writing had no reference to what was passing around him, but merely indicated his aversion to concern himself in the matter. Parallel instances occur in the Rabbinical writings; and AElian relates an anecdote of a philosopher (V. H. XIV. 19.) who, by writing on a wall, manifested his reluctance to answer a question proposed to him.
The words μη προσποιουμενος, which are rendered in the E. T. [A.V.] 'as though he heard them not', are wanting in so many copies, that they may fairly be rejected as supposititious; and that our translators so regarded them as evident from their being printed in Italics. Hammond, Schoettgen, Kypke - [Grotius, Lightfoot, &c.]
In the next verse some would confine the word αναμαρτητος to the sin of adultery; and in this sense αμαρτανω is frequently used. See on Luke 7:37 and compare Matt. 12:29, Rom. 2:22.
But there seems to be no sufficient reason for this restriction, as the object which our Lord had in view, and the instruction which he meant to convey would be equally forwarded by understanding him to refer to any gross immorality.
It cannot be imagined, however, that he intended freedom from all sins generally; for where is the man that sinneth not? It is to be observed also, that the words were immediately addressed to the woman's accusers, who were of the Pharisees, a sect notoriously guilty of the most heinous crimes, which they committed under a cloak of religion.
Hence, instead of throwing the first stone, the principal witness, upon whom that duty devolved (Deut. 13:9 , 17:7), left the place conscience struck; and he was followed by all the rest, not of the multitude, but of the party who had brought the accusation.
The disciples and the people remained behind with Jesus; and it was in the midst of these that the woman was left standing. With a similar latitude μονος is used in John 6:22. The judgment of our Lord upon this occasion may be compared with Cic. Orat. Verr. III. 1.:
Vis corruptorem aliquem vel adulterum accusare? Providendum est, ne in tua vita vestigium libidinis appareat. Etenim non est ferendus accusator is, qui, quod in altero vitium reprehendit, in eo ipse deprehenditur.
Other parallels have also been cited from Xenophon, Seneca, Pliny, and others. The Rabbins also held that the guilt of the husband set aside the punishment of the wife. See also Rom. 2:1,23. Grotius, Lampe, Macknight, Lightfoot &c. - [Whitby, Kypke, Schleusner, Kuinoel]
Of the phrase εις καθ εις in verse 9, see on Mark 14:19. The word πρεσβυτερων must be understood in the sense of dignity, rather than of age; since εσχατοι, to which it is opposed, can scarsely mean the youngest. Compare Matt.19:30, 20:16 Mark 9:35 Luke 14:9. So also homines postremi in Cic.Rosc. para 47. Aul. Gell. XV.12.. Kuinoel, Schleusner, Macknight.
Verse 10 ουδεις σε κατεκρινεν
The verb κατακρινειν here signifies to adjudge to punishment, as in Matt.20:18, 27:3, Mark 16:16. That her accusers had not passed sentence upon here, is clear from their leaving her in the temple, where the sentence could not have been executed. Kuinoel, Campbell, Lampe.
Of the verb ανακυπτω, see on Luke 21:25.
Commentators are not agreed as to the time when the following discourse (verses 12 fwd) was delivered by our Lord. Those who reject the narrative of the Woman Taken in Adultery suppose that it was delivered on the great day of the feast, in connections with verse 37 fwd of the last chapter (7). Of those who retain the narrative in question, some would refer it to an indefinite time after the feast of Tabernacles, supporting their opinion by the absence of any allusion to the preceeding incident, and by the use of παλιν with similar latitude in John 9:15, Acts 17:32 and elsewhere.
It is more natural, however, to understand the adverb of the resumption of the teaching, which had been interrupted in 8:2, by the introduction of the woman: and, although no reference had been made to what had just happened, nothing positive could be deduced from the omission.
But there does appear to be such a reference as that which is required: Our Lord's words in verse 8:15, "I judge no man," were in all probability suggested by his refusal to act as judge in the case which had just been brought before him. "Ye judge of me,", he observed, "...according to the prejudices which you entertain respecting the Messiah and his office; by my office, while on earth, is not that of a judge but of a teacher, however correct my judgment would unquestionably be."
According to another interpretation, indeed, κατα σαρκα is repeated with κρινω from the preceding clause; but the sense is not thus very evident; and we may accordingly conclude that the discourse was delivered on the day after the feast. Lampe, Whitby, Macknight. - [Kuinoel].
Verse 12 το φως του κοσμου
This is the title which is frequently given to the Messiah, as in Isaiah 42:6, 49:6, Mal 4:2; and the Jews occasionally applied it to the Deity. Thus in Tanchuma, p. 63, 3. Bemidbar R para 15, p. 229, 1:
The Israelites said to God, Holy, blessed Lord of the whole world, thou art the light of the world.'
Christ, therefore, here lays claim not only to the Messiahshipo, but to the Godhead; and in reply to the cavil that his pretensions rested on no solid testimony, he proceeds to establish them by two distinct proofs.
First he tells them that his own testimony is true, inasmuch as it was divine, though their prejudices would not allow them to appreciate it (verse 14-16); and secondly, that two witnesses being recognized by their own law (Deut. 17:6, 19:15) as sufficient to establish a fact, he had the concurrent voice of himself and his Father in his behalf, (verse 17,18).
There is no contradiction here to what is said in John 5:31, 7:28, for he is there speaking of his human, here his divine nature. In verse 15 σαρξ is used, as elsewhere in the NT to denote passion or prejudice, as opposed to πνευμα, which denotes reason or conscience. Schoettgen, Grotius, Campbell, Kuinoel.