Talk:Essay:Adulteress Story

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Very interesting exegisis. However, once you open the door to historical scholarship of authorship of the various books of the bible, i dont think you will be pleased with the results. It is, however, a wonderful, vibrant field of scholarship.Palmd001 21:12, 25 March 2007 (EDT)

I too have followed this trend, you speak of. However, I do question the wisdom of deconstructing ancient texts, merely to remove the scholarly foundations for modern day Liberal babble. The parable attributed to Jesus is a valuable one, a logical argument for man not to talk out of both sides of his mouth, eh?--~ TerryK MyTalk 21:41, 25 March 2007 (EDT)
Official Bible translations already recognize that the passage is not authentic. Yet why is it increasingly taught anyway? Because it has an unmistakable liberal spin to it. Let's point out the obvious.--Aschlafly 22:49, 25 March 2007 (EDT)
  • Indeed! But please don't mistake the musings of someone in advanced middle-age for dissent, but merely waxing nostalgic for the time I remember when it was never considered acceptable (or tolerated, for that matter) to bastardize the teachings of the Bible and especially Jesus Christ, to further contemporary political agendas on the part of the Left. I was made to remember having that trend pointed out to me by Norvel Young, when he was still Chancellor at Pepperdine, as something to be vigilant about....--~ TerryK MyTalk 23:06, 25 March 2007 (EDT)

I fear my ignorance prevents me from fully understandcing Terry. Be that as it may, Andy, I understand your point, but if we are to "purge" the" bible of so-called non-original material, it should be done EVERYWHERE, which means some may have a result you like, some may not. Another big "however" is that the parable depends on interpretation, as all parables do. So, you could interpret it as a liberal allegory against the death penalty (although if it was added to the bible, it was done very long ago, before the debate was relevant), or one could see it as a simple plea for Christian Mercy and the recognition of sin present in us all. It does not say anywhere never to kill anyone...that is preserved for the Ten Commandments (and even that wording is subject to interpretation). There is nothing inherent in the parable against the death penalty, simply a recognition that the judgement of man is inherently flawed, especially when measured againg the judgement of the Lord. It does make for an interesting sermon, though. Really it comes down to how you define Biblical literalism. Is the Bible word-for-word true? Which Bible? Which translation? The Apocrypha? The Gnostic Gospels? I don't know the answer. In Judaism, for instance, ancient scholars essentially recognized that Man's understanding is non-divine, therefore flawed, and they spent centuries trying to fully understand the word of God as layed out in the Tanakh (the Jewish portions of the Bible). Christianity has certainly had millenia of interpreters. The biggest problem, though, is that stated above. Canon was set down long ago. What is included in the Bible has been there for a long time. If you wish to created a new Canon,'s a huge and interesting task. Be careful, however, about reading modern motivations into ancient voices, such as this (perhaps later-included) parable. Palmd001 00:00, 26 March 2007 (EDT) Palmd001 23:56, 25 March 2007 (EDT)

I don't necessarily think that this has a "liberal bent", particularly because I've always interpreted this passage (not knowing the controversy over its inclusion in the Bible) as I've thought that Jesus let the woman go because the men were not interested in the woman, but only trying to trap Jesus (notice they never tried to do anything with the man that was presumably also involved in the adultery). MountainDew 00:19, 26 March 2007 (EDT)

The title misspells Adulteress. The text has a correct spelling. RSchlafly 14:14, 23 April 2007 (EDT)

The essay says "This story is not found anywhere else, and its claim of Jesus bending down "to write on the ground with his finger" is found nowhere else." Without the other claims to its inauthenticity, this is a weak one. There are many things that are found in one gospel but not in others.--Britinme 23:16, 8 May 2007 (EDT)

John's Gospel was essentially a "cutting and pasting" of other works, careful reading will show that there are several literary seams. Besides, many parts of the New testament were added later or are by pseudonymous authors calling themselves Paul. Are you suggesting that several epistles be removed, including most of the resurrection story at the end of Mark. This "research" is "I reject your reality and substitute my own." Besides, it's scripture and officially recognized as canon and sacred and you yourself cannot decide what does and does not belong based on interpretations of it. Midnus

The style is actually very Johannine, and the message it transmits is actually central to understanding Christ throughout the entire New Testament! What is Yeshua actually saying? He isn't saying that it is wrong to make moral judgements, and in fact at John 7:24 He says quite clearly: "Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment." So why does He speak of those present needing to be without sin? Because they were complicit in setting a trap for Him, using this woman as bait. "[They] said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him." The Jews no longer had the right to execute, as this had been removed by the Romans in AD 30. So if He said that she should be executed, they would accuse Him of sedition against the Romans, and if He ordered her to be released, they would accuse Him of breaking Mosaic law. A very cleverly sprung trap. But Yeshua is the AUTHOR of the Law, and He knows full well that both parties were to be produced and prosecuted (Deut. 22:22). Yeshua understands the set-up, as would contemporary readers. We don't even know if adultery had been committed, that the woman herself isn't part of the trap. But He makes it quite clear that He sees their conspiracy, which is why He won't codemn nor pardon as they want Him to, but instead asks all present to examine their own parts, their own guilt in this. He even puts them on the spot to go ahead and do what they are asking Him to do.
Does He give license to sin with His words to the throng and the woman? Of course not - He gives forgiveness, the central tenet of the Christian religion, as only He can! He is willing to pay the penalty for her sins Himself - "My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense — Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2:1-2).
Does this passage appear in all early manuscripts? No. Does that mean it was an addition? Or more likely a deliberate ommission? The early church fathers accepted it and quoted it, and Ambrose and Augustine were both quite sure that it was an ommission not an addition. Why ommit it? Because its message of forgiveness, of G-d accepting that we can sin but reform, didn't sit comfortably with those who wanted a religion which gave more latitude to condemn than forgive. 10px Fox (talk|contribs) 12:40, 9 March 2008 (EDT)
Well put, Fox. I wouldn't know about all that background material (e.g. Ambrose and Augustine), but certainly I've never had a problem with the passage when sceptics have quoted it at me. The Bible was written for 'a "high context" society -- background data is assumed to be known; no need is seen to re-explain things again and again that the readers already know'[1]. That is, the people of the time (actually, most cultures throughout time) would have understood that when Jesus referred to those "without sin", He could not have been meaning without any sin at all, but something more specific and relevant, such as sin related to this issue, whether that be their own infidelities or their sin of setting him up. As such, sceptic use of this passage to teach against the death penalty or against judging another is misplaced in any case, and we don't have to resort to saying that the passage should not be there in order to answer it. Philip J. Rayment 20:01, 9 March 2008 (EDT)
I agree too. I think it's extremely dangerous and misguided to embroil the teachings of Christ into the polarised politics of today. That way leads to fragmentation and internal strive within the broad church and, let's face it, it doesn't need any more of that. This insistence on trying to equate being a good Christian with being a conservative is too ridiculous for words. Christianity is supposed to be about inclusion and tolerance, a couple of traits sorely lacking here. Of course using Christ's teachings to argue about particular issues such as abortion or morality is perfectly acceptable and indeed desirable. But equating them with left and right is simply shallow and not at all theological. While liberals may well be more predisposed to be agnostics or atheists, that by no means makes none of them Christians. Ajkgordon 18:02, 10 March 2008 (EDT)
Atheism and much of liberal ideology is antithetical to Christian values. There's no denying it. The adulteress story is plainly not authentic and it is used to advance a liberal political agenda. Enough said - the story should be recognized to be phony.--Aschlafly 15:08, 6 April 2008 (EDT)
OK. I'll inform the Vatican. Ajkgordon 15:25, 6 April 2008 (EDT)
"The adulteress story is plainly not authentic...": No, this is not plain at all. In fact, it sounds very much like you are saying that it doesn't appear to be authentic, rather than having actual reasons. If so, this is you making yourself the judge of what's canonical and what's not. However, perhaps you meant that the evidence is plainly on the side of it being not authentic. Some do agree with you that the evidence is sufficient, but others don't agree, so I'm not sure that I'd agree that it is plainly not authentic.
" is used to advance a liberal political agenda.": So is Matthew 7:1 ("Do not judge, or you too will be judged"). Does that mean that Matthew 7:1 doesn't belong either? No, this is not a valid reason.
The only valid reason is convincing evidence that it was added later. All other reasons are invalid, meaningless, or heretical.
Philip J. Rayment 10:48, 7 April 2008 (EDT)
Scholars agree and the documentary evidence proves that the adulteress story was added later. Motivation (politics) is relevant to understanding why logic and proof are rejected, and why the passage remains in the Bible.--Aschlafly 22:13, 7 April 2008 (EDT)
I've done a quick bit of research, and it does appear that most scholars believe that it was added later, and their evidence does appear to be sound. Interestingly some who believe that it was added later (and is therefore not canonical) also believe that it's likely that the account is true, just not put there by John. Philip J. Rayment 05:53, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
It makes no sense for a scholar (a liberal one?) to insist that the story was added later but is still true. John did not release his Gospel until longer after all the other Apostles, and likely all the eyewitnesses, had died. There is no basis for asserting that the fraudulently added story is still true, and many reasons to conclude it is not true.--Aschlafly 10:33, 8 April 2008 (EDT)

Are you suggesting that someone that argues that the account does not belong in the Bible is a liberal?

According to a Samuel P. Tregelles in 1854:

Though I am fully satisfied that this narration is not a genuine part of St. John's Gospel, and though I regard the endeavors to make the evidence appear satisfactory to be such as would involve all Holy Scripture in a mist of uncertainty, I see no reason for doubting that it contains a true narration. There is nothing unworthy of the acting of the Lord Jesus detailed in this history. And thus I accept the narrative as true, although its form and phraseology are wholly uncertain, and although I do not believe it to be a divine record. No doubt, that there were many narrations current in the early church of some of the many unrecorded actions of our Lord, and the only wonder is that more have not been transmitted to us. This, from the variety of its forms, seems to have been handed down through more than one channel. Perhaps some one added it at the end of John's Gospel [one of the places it is found in some manuscripts—PJR], as one of the "many things which Jesus did which are not written in this book," and others afterwards placed it where it seemed to them to belong.

Bruce Metzger:

...the case against its being of Johannine authorship appears to be conclusive.
At the same time the account has all the earmarks of historical veracity. It is obviously a piece of oral tradition which circulated in certain parts of the Western church and which was subsequently incorporated into various manuscripts at various places.

Raymond E. Brown:

However, a good case can be argued that the story had its origins in the East and is truly ancient (see Schilling, art. cit.). ... From the standpoint of internal criticism, the story is quite plausible and quite like some of the other gospel stories of attempts to trap Jesus (Luke xx 20, 27). There is nothing in the story itself or its language that would forbid us to think of it as an early story concerning Jesus. Becker argues strongly for this thesis.

These are from here. What reasons do you have for asserting that it is not true?

Philip J. Rayment 11:00, 8 April 2008 (EDT)

Apparently the above three quoted individuals like the story, but that's no justification for giving in to a hoax. The story has unmistakable liberal overtones and that is a "reason for doubting that it contains a true narration." Details of the story (like Jesus writing, or crediting an inherent value to age, or obtaining 100% acceptance of his teaching) are non-existent or even disproved by authentic portions of the New Testament.--Aschlafly 13:23, 8 April 2008 (EDT)

I am unfamiliar with these other scholars, but Bruce Metzger was one of the most well known conservative biblical scholars of the 20th century. He was certainly no liberal. I do not see how the fact that their interpretation of the origin of the story directly equates to whether they like the story or not - there is no room for personal opinion or likes in sound biblical exegesis. DanH 15:49, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
I'm not aware that Bruce Metzger was a conservative, though he may have rejected professor values of his academic colleagues. His reasoning above does not persuade, as there were many "oral traditions" (like the "Gospel of Thomas") that were properly rejected as not authentic. In the case of the adulteress story, the hoaxsters (vandals?) were more clever about it, appending or inserting it into an authentic work. It is analogous to clever vandalism on wikis today.--Aschlafly 17:07, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
It's quite inappropriate to describe those three individuals as "liking" the story, as though they had a gooey feeling rather than good research. I've answered below about Jesus writing, but how is any of the story "disproved" by other portions of the New Testament? Your 17:07 post is mainly mere assertion, and does nothing to support your case. Philip J. Rayment 06:45, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
Yeah, and besides, if you're going to claim that the whole Adultress story is "false", are you likewise going to call the Douay-Rheims bible false as well? That's the oldest version of the bible known to man. If it were false, it would have lacked the story, being the oldest version out there. Since it's actually IN that bible, it's more likely than not to be true. And this is speaking as someone who really gets annoyed with how Liberals abuse the Adultress story as well as judge not lest you be judged. And let me ask you something else, Andy: Suppose you do get rid of that text, suppose it IS indeed liberal propaganda, does that likewise mean the true, Conservative view of Jesus would have him acting like the Patriots or Galenth Dysley? Because, honestly, that actually makes Jesus look even WORSE, and I honestly think the latter bits regarding the Patriots and Dysley ARE closer to the liberal interpretation of Jesus than the Adultress story is. Pokeria1 (talk) 13:44, 3 May 2017 (EDT)

What Constitutes Gospel?

I think Fox has a convincing take on why this may not be an addition. But even if it's not original, I have to ask how we can be sure that the Almighty wasn't working through whoever added it. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by DLaGrange (talk)

Your faulty logic would apply to anything, including additions or amendments to today.--Aschlafly 15:08, 6 April 2008 (EDT)

Sorry, what's the fault in it? When did God stop talking to and acting through man? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by DLaGrange (talk)

The Bible indicates that it is complete. Anything added after it is complete is not canonical. Philip J. Rayment 10:39, 7 April 2008 (EDT)
Right, and the adulteress story was indisputably added later. Even the evangelical, conservative translation (NIV) expressly notes that in its version.--Aschlafly 10:44, 7 April 2008 (EDT)
Yup. It has brackets around it in mine but curiously doesn't say why. Ajkgordon 10:45, 7 April 2008 (EDT)
It is not "indisputably" added later. Some do dispute it. The NIV's note (I'd be surprised if yours doesn't say why, Ajkgordon), does not say that it was added later. It says, "The earliest and most reliable manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53-8:11.". The implication is that it was added later, but being added later is not what the NIV says. And the implication could be wrong. I'm not saying that it is wrong; just that it could be. Philip J. Rayment 10:52, 7 April 2008 (EDT)
It might, Philip, but I can't see it. Ajkgordon 10:54, 7 April 2008 (EDT)
Begging your pardon. It's the King James and it makes no mention at all, not even brackets. I must have been thinking of another version. My apologies. Ajkgordon 11:02, 7 April 2008 (EDT)

A reason to "conserve" the story

Mr. Schlafly, thank you for this essay. I don't know why I overlooked it up to now.

You make a very good point about how liberals misuse the admonition, "Don't judge":

  • The answer lies in its liberal message: do not criticize or punish immoral conduct unless you are perfect yourself. But one need not be perfect before he can recognize and punish wrongdoing in himself and others. Civilized society may not depend on stoning to deter immoral crimes, but it does depend on retribution enforced by people who are themselves sinners.

Liberals are obviously hypocritical about this, making most of their political ideas into moral issues (e.g., "saving" the environment) and then criticizing others who don't adopt their ideas - often even while violating their own moral dictates themselves. Hypocrisy and double standards are generally a smokescreen to cover up one's own wrong-doing.

Another interpretation of the Jesus and the adulterous woman story is that of God's mercy and forgiveness. When I've taught this story in Sunday School, I tell the children that the key points are:

  1. Jesus does not condemn the woman to immediate execution by mob violence, but he does not excuse the act of adultery either
  2. He shames each member of the mob by "writing on the ground" - we can only speculate on what Jesus wrote, but wouldn't it be interesting if it was the sins committed by the accusers?
  3. He admonishes the woman to stop sinning: "Go and sin no more"

A conservative interpretation of the story might be that God still disapproves of sin and yet is not always willing that a sinner be punished. The point being that He desires obedience to His moral rules, and if a magnanimous act of mercy can encourage a sinner to repent this could be an effective mode of preaching. --Ed Poor Talk 06:59, 8 April 2008 (EDT)

Ed, you've put the best face on a hoax. But it's still a hoax, and a liberal one at that.--Aschlafly 10:33, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
Of course, now that you've shattered people's faith on ONE part of the Bible, what possible reason do they have to believe any of the rest of it? Are you going to "debunk" the Sermon On The Mount next, or maybe the Book of Exodus? --Gulik5 11:34, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
The actual argument (despite impressions you might get from Andy's comments about it being loved by liberals) is that the manuscript evidence shows that the passage doesn't belong in the Bible. You cannot make that argument against almost all the rest of the Bible. Philip J. Rayment 11:50, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
Gulik5's argument may appeal to the dimwitted, but not to anyone else who values reasoned analysis.--Aschlafly 11:51, 8 April 2008 (EDT)

Precisely. And in my analysis, this particular passage is apparently an afterthought, and tacking on extra text goes against Christian thought, as I think Philip explained above. Moreover, the main problem with the story is that - even if it were considered legitimate, the wrong lesson is being taught from it. Jesus never said we shouldn't evaluate the actions of other people as right or wrong and "look only" at our own selves. That false lesson is used by defenders of all sorts of moral evils, when they argue that "according to your own rules you can't judge anyone". I guess they think only they have the right to judge and condemn and order people around, but the Bible does not approve of their opposition to properly constituted authority. --Ed Poor Talk 11:57, 8 April 2008 (EDT)

Gulik5 may have a point. After all, Timothy I, Timothy II, and Titus reflect a level of Church organization that did not exist at that early date. Consider also the lengthy interlocution in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. Paul's Greek was very good, but in Corinthians I, there is a long run on sentence, that does not fit with the rest of Pauline corpus--Mathewson 14:44, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
Another thought is that Aschlafly may be on to something here. If the Bible has these fabrications and additions that were added in later, maybe we need to carefully examine the veracity of much of the Bible.--Mathewson 15:41, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
You write as though this is a new idea. This sort of analysis of the Bible has been going on ever since it was written. The authenticity of the particular passage in question here was being debated 1,600 years ago. Philip J. Rayment 05:55, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
If that's your view, then you won't be relying on anything.--Aschlafly 17:07, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
Well, I think you are exactly right. Perhaps if we critically examine the Bible, we will find some things that are correct, but much that we cannot verify, and should consider false.--Mathewson 17:57, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
At issue is not an inability to verify, but hard evidence that early copies of the Bible did not have this passage. Please try sticking to the argument and not going off on tangents. Philip J. Rayment 05:55, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
I am sorry. I will not go "off on tangents" again. Given Sysop's responses on other issues (such as whether or not certain people are professors), I assumed that tangents were perfectly acceptable on Conservapedia. Nevertheless, I do think Aschlafly raises an important point, perhaps the Bible should be examined and all of the material that has added by liberals over the centuries should be purged. Then the Good Book will be truly conservative--Mathewson 08:31, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
Let's try this, Andy. You're saying that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, apart from those parts that clearly aren't. Correct? --Devotchka 18:03, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
That depends on what you mean by "clearly aren't". At issue here is a passage that was not in most or all of the early copies of the Bible, but strongly appears to have been added later. If your question is "our current Bible is the inerrant word of God, apart from those parts that were not in the original Bibles", then the answer is yes. But your question was too ambiguous to answer that way. By the way, I've effectively already pointed this out in earlier posts above, so you don't really have any excuse for misunderstanding that. Philip J. Rayment 05:55, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
Mathewson and Devotchka are illustrating point 1 in liberal tricks. Perhaps they're hoping their fallacious arguments will fool a dimwitted viewer. Just a little thought is required to realize that non-authentic material is not biblical, such as the Gospel of Thomas.--Aschlafly 18:54, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
I didn't advance any argument - I asked for clarification. I'll try again: you're saying that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, apart from those parts that clearly aren't. Correct? --Devotchka 19:00, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
Ah, so now you're going to try logical sophistry. "Parts that clearly aren't" in the Bible are not part of the Bible. Can you follow that?--Aschlafly 19:08, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
Yes. Just like I can follow "Cities that clearly aren't" in America are not part of America. Are you going to answer my question or not? --Devotchka 19:20, 8 April 2008 (EDT)

Inspired Word of God or Not

I trust God to hand The Bible to us in it's correct and accurate form. I have to. The Bible is the inspired Word of God as it has passed through many human hands. I trust God to do His work in this respect and ensure His Word is kept accurate, true and Holy. Clearly you do not trust God in this regard. I think you have crossed a line here.

I resign from this project and request you delete my account. I would also request (although of course I acknowledge I am in no position to demand this) that you delete my name from any part of Conservapedia to which I have contributed with the sole exception of this comment. Re-write The Bible any way you wish. Count me out. While you do it you may wish to think hard about Revelation 22:18-21

Amen. Good-bye, Conservapedia. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Take solace in your last wordism of which you are so quick to accuse others. I won't be back to read it. JThomson 16:06, 8 April 2008 (EDT)

You're funny Jack. I really chuckled at this one. You win the "Parthian Shot of the Month"!--Aschlafly 16:40, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
I respect Jack for taking a stand for the Bible and I agree with most of what he said. Although, Mr. Schlafly, I love and respect you, and am subservient to you on this website, I must say he was correct defending the inerrancy of the scripture. It may be naive, but I still believe the Bible, Authorized Version 1611. Christ said not one jot or tittle would go out of the law, so I assume that any addition to it would be valid and Spirit-inspired. --Steve 19:28, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
Steve, I don't think Jack was really taking a stand for the Bible and Christianity. But I hope you're right.
To me, the Gospel of John was vandalized by the liberal adulteress story, which is used today to oppose the death penalty, make light of promiscuity, downplay Hell, and undermine Christian teaching about asking for and receiving forgiveness. The story pretends to be an eyewitness account, but was added long after all the eyewitnesses had died. No big deal: I'd do the Lord's work by "reverting" the vandalism.--Aschlafly 20:45, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
The Bible is considered to be inerrant in its original form. We believe we have a good indication of what was preached and told, but understand that there may be small differences such as that section in John and the end of Mark. In comparison to any other work of antiquity, the cohesion of the Bible and lack of differences among different copies is unparalleled.
On a different note though, I wouldn't call the story a liberal falsehood, as concepts of liberal and conservative as understood today did not have a direction correlation to that time. One of the issues that is left out, is the fact that only the woman was brought before Jesus. Where was the man since she was caught 'in the very act of adultery'. The Pharisees, to put it in terms that do have meaning to us today, were being deceitful. Their reason to confront Jesus was to discredit Him in a no win situation, not because they had a deep desire to see that justice was done. Many of the concepts in the story can be found in other areas of Scipture. For instance Jesus is known for performing miracles in different ways; the idea of him writing on the ground is only a difficulty if we go out of our way to read one into it -- in my opinion. Other concepts of 'Judge not lest you be judged' and 'taking the log out of your own eye before helping your neighbor take the speck out of their eye' from other areas of Scripture also show a hesitancy to judge. Reproof of others should be done in a spirit of humility and with a goal to help the person. I think that is the greatest interpretation that can be taken from this story and from other areas of the Bible that echo similar themes. Learn together 01:25, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
Learn together is correct that the Bible is considered to be inerrant in its original form, not in the various translations that we have today (and they can't be, as some differ, even if only in trivial details). So JThomson, genuine though I believe he was, was wrong to imply that God has ensured that the Bible we have today is exactly as God intended it to be. He is also being close-minded in not hanging around to see if any of us can offer counter-arguments to his post. And his reference to Revelation 22:18-21 is begging the question.
Steve, you don't express yourself clearly enough, so I might be misunderstanding you, but the original autographs, not the 1611 translation of them, were the inspired, infallible, Word of God.
Andy, your comment that it was added long after all eyewitnesses had died ignores the possibility that the story had been around since the time of Jesus, even though not part of the book of John. That in itself is not reason to claim that it's an invention.
Learn together, your comments are very good. I would add regarding Jesus writing on the ground that there is a precedent: Jesus is God, and God wrote with his own "finger" on the tablets of stone that Moses prepared. In both cases we have God/Jesus writing with His finger on "earth material" (stone/dirt).
Philip J. Rayment 06:40, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
No, I don't think there is evidence that the adulteress story is as old as Jesus's ministry. The story conflicts with fundamental teachings of Christianity, such as the need to ask for forgiveness and the complete forgiveness that is then granted. Rather, the story implicitly conveys the wrong message that unforgiven sin is a function of age, and that older people are wiser in recognizing that. The unanimous acceptance of Jesus's answer is also absurd: Jesus had enemies, many of them, who would never accept His teaching.
The story is plainly anti-Christian vandalism and, as in a wiki, should be "reverted".--Aschlafly 10:02, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
Who are you to say what is anti-Christian? The quote "cast the first stone" is one of the most remembered quotes from the Bible. The case that it was not part of the original text is not rock-solid, and the fact is that whether or not it was in the Gospels that were officially sanctioned by the early Catholic church, the story of the adulteress and the "cast the first stone" quote have been an iconic piece of Christianity for many centuries. Furthermore, the claim that the teaching is not consistent with the rest of Jesus' teachings is ridiculous. Matthew 7:1-5 has exactly the same message, and this is a passage from the sermon on the mount! Perhaps the Conservative Bible Project should revisit the sermon on the mount-- It seems to have liberal values! But now we see the absurdity of the project: Removing the sermon on the mount would be no less than heresy. You do not get to change the truth to fit your political beliefs. mbsq 11:58, 6 October 2009 (EDT)
Liberals love the adulteress story. It's anti-death-penalty, pro-adultery, anti-repentance, anti-Hell, and illogical. Liberals promote it every chance they get. They use the phrase "cast the first stone" to shout down anyone who criticizes immorality or talks about Hell. Too bad the story is liberal vandalism. The gig is up and all scholars admit the story is not authentic.--Andy Schlafly 12:40, 6 October 2009 (EDT)
Jesus, when on the cross, forgave the soldiers without them asking. Philip J. Rayment 10:11, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
Good point, but due to extraordinary circumstances. The soldiers did not know any better, for example, while the adulteress surely did. Moreover, you're responding to only a small part of the conflict with Christian doctrine in the story.--Aschlafly 10:32, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
Hooey. That God gives unconditional love and forgiveness--even to the undeserving--and that we should follow His example, is a consistent theme throughout the New Testament. --RossC 11:48, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
I realised that I was only responding to one point. I thought that I'd tackle one point at a time. I think you're surmising more than you are entitled to, as you don't know how much the woman knew compared to how much the soldiers knew. And Jesus may have had a special reason in this case: Because the accusers were using her to try and trap Jesus, Jesus decided to show her extra mercy. Philip J. Rayment 12:00, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
Philip, I don't find your argument persuasive, and don't know why you're pursuing a tangential issue here. Think Jesus was feeling pressure to forgive the woman as a way out of the trap? I don't buy it. Jesus did mercifully forgive those who sought forgiveness. All bets are off for those who do not.
The bigger conflict with Christianity in the story is how it portrays the older people as more sinful -- and more wise -- that the younger ones. That's absurd, and implicitly denies the effectiveness of forgiveness, which is central to Christianity. The adulteress story is an anti-Christian act of vandalism to the Bible, one that should be "reverted" so that others are not misled by it.--Aschlafly 14:22, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
When can we look forward to the new, Liberalism-free Andrew Schlafly Edition of the Bible? Hopefully, it'll contain all those Special Conservative Scriptures that never made it into the Liberal-Contaminated editions, like "Blessed are the rich in money, for they are better than the Poor", "Thou shalt not bear false witness, unless it's against a Liberal", and "Thou shalt not admit adultery."
All sarcasm aside, what a lot of you are worshipping might not be Jesus. --Gulik5 23:18, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
Interesting how the first quote on your link to support a liberal interpretation of Jesus is ... the phony adulteress story. Will you admit that liberals' favorite quote from the Gospels is widely recognized not to be an authentic original?--Aschlafly 23:41, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
I think the arguments above - that later addition might not be an adequate proxy for falsity - are well made. The Bible was compiled from various authors at various times. Some built upon the works of others, and added their own experiences. That a late edition must needs be a falsity doesn't follow. Further, if you're admitting that the Bible isn't all literal - that it's open to interpretation on some issues - there's a much harder issue you must face. How do you know which parts are open to interpretation, and which aren't? How can you be certain of any of your literal interpretations, anymore? This is a slipper slope, upon which I'm surprised to see you embark.-ArcturusM 00:18, 10 April 2008 (EDT)
The issue of the authenticity of a passage with respect to the Bible is unrelated and irrelevant to the truth of the Bible itself. There is no slippery slope.
It's not just that the adulteress passage was added later that makes it a hoax. It's also that the passage fundamentally contradicts both Christian principles (including the nature of forgiveness of sin and its complete effectiveness for those who seek it) and common sense (including the fact that Jesus would never have enjoyed unanimous support). The passage today is liberals's favorite part of the Gospels, and the passage is a hoax.--Aschlafly 09:39, 10 April 2008 (EDT)
There is absolutely a slippery slope and you have shocked and disappointed me by taking the most liberal position I've ever known you to have. I'm taking time away from my essay to warn you of what my Pastor told me. Once you make yourself judge of what in the Bible can be authentic and what can not be authentic, nothing is off limits. No one can no for sure that there is not some earlier manuscript with the account of the adulteress in it. When you begin to make yourself guardian of the scriptures, protecting it and "making reversions as in a wiki," you are taking authority from God. Don't you trust Him to keep His own Word infallible? --Steve 10:36, 10 April 2008 (EDT)
Steve, your point is well taken. I haven't been ignoring it, but have been reflecting on it. We agree that the Bible is the Word of God, but I can't say that a particular translation or version is perfect.
I see obvious conflicts between the adulteress story and the Gospels and feel that removing it on the grounds that it is not authentic would result in a strengthening of faith. In fact, I expect that eventually one or more conservative Christian churches will do exactly that.--Aschlafly 20:55, 11 April 2008 (EDT)
I do not believe that Aschlafly is making an error here. The Bible has many insertions and contradictions that have been added over the centuries. Many of them, as Aschlafly notes, were probably added by liberals. I propose that Conservapedia start a project to revert these insertions, and make a truly conservative Bible available online.--Mathewson 12:02, 10 April 2008 (EDT)
Before this gets out of hand with liberal comments like Mathewson's, there are very, very few passages in the Bible that are of questionable authenticity. Look through the NIV (or other translation) and you'll have a hard time finding anything of questionable origin.--Aschlafly 12:08, 10 April 2008 (EDT)
I do not think my comments were liberal, and I am sorry if they came off that way. I do think however, that there is much material that, as you put it, could be reverted, making the Bible a more conservative, and Christian document. Please give my proposal some thought.--Mathewson 14:21, 11 April 2008 (EDT)
Whether or not you agree with Andy's premise, it is being made based upon differences between ancient manuscripts. It is not just deciding what he likes and doesn't like in the Bible. Trying to equate the two is like trying to equate day and night. Learn together 19:21, 11 April 2008 (EDT)
How questionable is the origin of Matthew 19:21 (sell all that you have and give to the poor), or the bit in Mark 10:25, Luke 18:25, AND Matthew 19:24--obviously the work of not just Liberal saboteurs, but TIME-TRAVELLING COMMUNISTS!!!@!!1one!
Of course, this entire foofaraw is ignoring the fact that the Bible was a compilation in about 300AD of various texts that had been floating around before then. And if we're throwing things out, how about EVERYTHING "Saint" Paul wrote? Not only was he not Jesus, he never even MET the guy.
And as I pointed out earlier, there's a few Biblical scholars and historians who make a case for a chunk of the Old Testament being bogus.
Not that I expect you to address any of these points--as far as I can tell, you're just upset because anyone's suggested that Jesus might think forgiveness is more important than the death penalty. --Gulik5 13:08, 10 April 2008 (EDT)

Mosaic law

Steve, your cite to the Mosaic law is terrific. But liberal Christians will cite the adulteress story as changing Mosaic law. Indeed, the increasing reliance on this adulteress story in churches is leading to an increased opposition to the death penalty.--Aschlafly 20:01, 8 April 2008 (EDT)

You're right Mr. Schlafly, the way liberal Christians are twisting the adulteress story for political gain drives me nuts. Phillip, you're right: I don't express myself clearly enough. This is a tough topic. I'm not really sure what to think about it, and perhaps my vagueness stopped me from saying something ludicrous. I will consult my Pastor before further comments. --Steve 13:33, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
I second Steve's comments. I think that Conservapedia should embark on a project to purge the Bible of the insertions that liberals have added over the centuries. Conservapedia could create a truly conservative online edition of the Bible--Mathewson 14:01, 9 April 2008 (EDT).
Dude, there already is a truly conservative edition of the Bible: The King James! See my recent additions to Liberal Christianity. Although truly conservative Christians are rare, even rarer than anyone else on the net, this site is the one of the closest I've found. That's why it bugged me when Aschlafly said the NIV was a conservative Bible. N means "new!" NIV, and all the other "new" versions, are based on a completely different Greek translation of the Bible than KJV. That's why the doctrine they get from it is so different. --Steve 14:13, 9 April 2008 (EDT)


"Nearly all modern scholars agree that this Pericope de Adultera is not authentic"....shouldn't it read "modern biblical scholars"? Wandering 17:08, 16 May 2008 (EDT)

conservative scholars against the adulteress story being in the Bible and conservative scholars in favor of it being in the Bible

I looked into the adulteress story controversy somewhat and it was more interesting than I thought it was gone to be. There appears to be good arguments on both sides of the aisle from conservative Bible scholars.

Here are conservative Bible scholars both attacking and defending the adulteress story in the Gospel of John:

Conservative Bible scholars against the adulteress story:

So far the most prominent conservative Bible scholar I could find that did not believe that the adulteress story should be in the Bible was J.B. Lightfoot who nonetheless believed the story actually happened:

Conservative Bible scholars in favor of the the adulteress story being in the Bible:

I hope this information is helpful. conservative 16:33, 6 September 2009 (EDT)

Will review carefully soon. Thanks much.--Andy Schlafly 16:47, 6 September 2009 (EDT)
You probably have to include Genesis 38 [2] Jesus delayed a little before answering, evidently considering if not for the blood line of Judah and Tamar, he wouldn't have been born. Rob Smith 17:32, 6 September 2009 (EDT)

I looked at the first citation above supporting the adulteress story as authentic. ( It misses the political factor entirely, and one of its main arguments is why would someone insert the story? The answer is obvious: the story denies human authority to implement capital punishment, and denies rules in general. Because the critic fails to see and address the political motivation, his analysis is unpersuasive. Will review more later.--Andy Schlafly 19:42, 6 September 2009 (EDT)

Andy, one of the rules of exegesis that conservative Bible scholars use when translating a passage is to research and the historical-cultural background of the text so as to place it in the right context. Doing so is important to determine the author's original intent. The problem with your theory that an illegitimate insertion was done for political reasons is that I do believe there was non-existent or at the very least rare opposition to the death penalty in the ancient near east or the time shortly after that. Opposition to the death penalty in the Middle East is likely fairly recent. It also appears the Roman Republic did not ban the death penalty until 1849. I think you are looking at the biblical text through modern eyes and coming up with a theory that is not grounded on sufficient knowledge of the historical background and culture of the text of the Gospel of John. I do not think a New Testament retranslation project can provide a quality translation without the following: translators being knowledgeable of the ancient period in terms of its history and culture, having a good knowledge of ancient Greek, and without knowing basic rules of sound biblical exegesis which heavily considers the author's original intent. Unless you recruit scholars, it would be impossible to produce a quality translation. If you can't obtain quality scholars on a volunteer basis or at a reasonable rate (or get others to do this), and if you have strong feelings about this matter, the best approach would be to help facilitate a wider distribution of translations you think are better. Lastly, it does appear as if the main opponents of the adulteress story are liberals which is not surprising. Liberals often claim that this verse or that verse of the Bible were later additions. Of course, Lightfoot was a conservative scholar so just because a person does not believe a Bible verse is authentic, does not automatically make them a liberal. conservative 17:48, 7 September 2009 (EDT)
Textual analysis of the oldest manuscripts is important, and the adulteress story is not in the oldest manuscripts. Politics is also important, because it distorts the perspective of the translators. A liberal scholar is going to look at the same ancient text and translate key phrases (like "virgin" or "young woman") differently from a conservative scholar. These days, virtually all professors are liberal, and this needs to be taken into consideration as the liberals prepare to replace the NIV.
Liberals love the adulteress story, and cite and repeat it endlessly. It flatly contradicts both the culture of the time and Jesus's own teachings, it is contrary to the death penalty and morality, and it directly undermines Christian values. Do you know of any conservative scholar who earnestly defends its authenticity? By conservative I mean in a political sense.--Andy Schlafly 18:47, 7 September 2009 (EDT)
Andy, I think you missed an important point concerning politics entering into the equation by someone who opposed the death penalty. I wrote: "Opposition to the death penalty in the Middle East is likely fairly recent. It also appears the Roman Republic did not ban the death penalty until 1849." In short, the liberal knee jerk opposition to the death penalty did not likely exist (or was extremely rare) in the ANE culture of that time. The ANE culture as it relates to Judaism/Christianity was very conservative. conservative 00:57, 8 September 2009 (EDT)

Reversion explained

A lengthy diatribe was reverted because it opened with the false and unsupported claim that "conservatives" supported retention of the passage, and because the diatribe read like a copy of something published elsewhere. Only original work, please, and false claims about what "conservatives" think are particularly disfavored here, especially when made by liberals.--Andy Schlafly 21:52, 9 October 2009 (EDT)

I never saw this revert, and it was neither a "diatribe," nor is it a copy of something published elsewhere, but a compilation of referenced material, and my own words of descriptions and argumentation. Moreover, the section opened with the words, "The strongest support for the retention of the pericope de adultera comes from certain conservatives" which is entirely true (as refs above on this page and in the article attest). As is the fact that liberals love to cut and paste from the Bible, and find Jesus calling adultery "sin" and commanding her to cease practicing it, to be repulsive. While liberals also love to quote Mt. 7:1, and no doubt we might be tempted to delete that as well, yet the issue 2Pet. 3:16 warns of is always a reality. See Dave Miller at apologetics press [3] for his reproof of liberals on Jn. 8.
Rather than quickly deleting the whole thing, your objection to the opening claim could have easily been rectified by changing conservatives to "certain commentators," and suspicions about plagiarism addressed to me, who puts a priority upon referencing things.
Below is the section that was nuked: Daniel1212 09:27, 26 July 2010 (EDT)

Arguments for retention

The strongest support for the retention of the pericope de adultera comes from certain conservatives, who contend that there is abundant evidence in support of its inclusion,[1] as it is included or referenced,

(1) In many Greek uncials and minuscules mainly of the Majority or Byzantine text-type. It is found in all the MSS of Jerome and in Codex D.

(2) In the ancient versions or translations: Old Latin, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, and Ethiopic,

(3) In the writings of the Church Fathers: Didascalia, Ambrosiaster, Apostolic Constitutions, Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine.[2]

Jerome (AD 340-420), who translated the Latin Bible called the Vulgate, states

. . . in the Gospel according to John in many manuscripts, both Greek and Latin, is found the story of the adulterous woman who was accused before the Lord.” Jerome considered the pericope genuine, and included it in his Vulgate.

Likewise Calvin commented,

it has always been received by the Latin Churches, and is found in many old Greek manuscripts, and contains nothing unworthy of an Apostolic Spirit, there is no reason why we should refuse to apply it to our advantage.

Contextually, it is argued that that if John 7:53-8:11 is removed from the Gospel, then it leaves a awkward gap between the words 7:52 and 8:12, abruptly introducing Jesus in 8:12 where it is recorded that He spoke to them again.[3]

The reliance upon Vaticanus and Sinaiticus to warrant excluding the pericope de adultera is countered by noting the multitudinous significant variants between the two, and notable absences of other words or verses included in the Majority Text. The conclusions of Dean Burgon, noted defender of the latter manuscripts, is invoked, as he asserted that the codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus are among “the most corrupt copies in existence.” “I am able to demonstrate that every one of them singly is in a high degree corrupt, and is condemned upon evidence older than itself” (John William Burgon’s The Revision Revised [Collingswood NJ: The Bible For Today, 1981 reprint], 548 pp)

Vaticanus is missing Luke 22:43-44, and has none of 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Revelation, while Sinaiticus adds part of the Apocrypha.

Burgon argues more extensively on this,[4] and his words provide an example of how strong many conservatives feel about the arguments to exclude periscope.

The enlistment of Jewish polemics is militated against by the fact that many of of such are fallaciously attack Christ, and here the periscope upholds the clear O.T. prescription of stoning for an adultery, (Deu 22:21-25) just as other sins (Deu_17:6-7: burning, sometimes commanded, is thought to have been done posthumously), versus the Jewish assertion that such would be strangled (though Phinehas used a sword: Num. 25:6-8). In addition, it is not unreasonable to assume the Pharisees actually were eyewitnesses to the iniquity.

The doctrinally based argument for the exclusion of pericope de adultera, that it promotes censoring any judging of others as sinful, is countered by the argument that this is a misappropriation of the text, and that, as in other instances of "wresting" scripture, context shows this to be another example (Mt. 7:1; 9:11; 12:2ff; 15:2ff) of Christ reproving a censorious spirit, while commanding believers to exercise righteous judgment. (Mt. 7:5; Jn. 7:54; cf. 1Cor. 5:12,13)

As often in other places, the scribes and Pharisees heart is what is reproved here, one that was not driven by reverence for the law of God and hatred of sin, (Ps. 119:53,158) but one that was blind to its own sins while being preoccupied with those of others, in seeking to justify itself. Concomitant with that, as revealed in other texts, (Lk. 20:20) they sought to find cause to crucify Christ. However, as the proverb states, "In the net which they spread is their own foot taken." so Jesus "turned the conviction of the prisoner upon the prosecutor", (Henry) and the two-edged Word of God slew them. Meanwhile, the women was told to "go and sin no more", exactly what He commanded in Jn. 5:14.

Moreover, the theme here can be seen to be consistent with John, contrasting the law of Moses with the grace and truth of Christ, with Him writing twice on the ground, with His finger, just as the law of Moses was inscribed twice by the finger of God.

While the manuscript evidence may be seen to have some warrant, such evidence cannot be conclusive, while seeking the exclusion of Jn. 7:53 - Jn. 8:12 due to its misappropriation by liberals would be far less viable. On this basis alone, its logic would favor many other texts being excised, from feeding the multitudes, to Jesus' rebuke of those in authority, which things is about all a "liberal Bible" effectively holds as authoritative.

In addition, it is noted that it is liberal scholarship which is at the forefront of seeking to deny Divine inspiration of biblical texts, in part of in whole, and including pericope de adultera . All the editors of the United Bible Societies Greek NT (including Philip Schaff, and Bruce Metzger) are charged with rejecting the doctrine of verbal inspiration, and believing that the Bible contains myths.

An example of why it is quite likely that this issue will continue to be the subject of debate till the Lord returns, can be seen here: Daniel1212 09:24, 26 July 2010 (EDT)


I'm open-minded, but every argument above for inclusion of the adulteress story fails to withstand scrutiny. The story lacks credibility in several respects and portrays both Jesus and the crowd completely out of character. Stoning wasn't even the punishment for adultery at the time. Over hundreds of years, it is to be expected that some vandals would insert things into the Bible, just as is done today with a wiki.

The easiest way to recognize that this passage is not authentic is to see the politics of it: the passage has obviously liberal bias contrary to the rest of the Bible. If you want to avoid the political angle, then you can pick any other test of authenticity and the conclusion is the same.

Pick what you think is your strongest point above and let's address it.--Andy Schlafly 19:09, 26 July 2010 (EDT)

Catholic question?

I see that the lead of this essay reads: “Increasingly many Christian churches, including the Catholic Church, are reciting, teaching and popularizing the Pericope de Adultera (Latin for ‘the passage of the adulterous woman’), set forth at from John 7:53-8:11.” Did any of the œcumenical councils or popes make an official, dogmatic determination regarding the authenticity or canonicity of this passage? I apologize for my ignorance in this regard. Npov2 20:23, 2 February 2012 (EST)

The passage remains remains the Catholic Bible, a core church teaching and doctrine. Rob Smith 21:31, 2 February 2012 (EST)
You can read some papal commentary here. PeterKa 17:29, 18 December 2013 (EST)
The passage is a popular theme for sermons. Many even think the passage requires opposing the death penalty - which is one reason liberals promote the apocryphal passage so much.--Andy Schlafly 23:30, 18 December 2013 (EST)
In this case, the Pharisees accused the woman in order to entrap Jesus. We should not assume that his response would be the same to an accusation brought in good faith. The gospels are based on a group of lost source documents referred to by names like "Q source" and "L source". So the story could have circulated separately before it was appended to John. See this article. PeterKa 02:20, 21 December 2013 (EST)


Augustine wrote, "Certain persons of little faith, or rather enemies of the true faith, fearing, I suppose, lest their wives should be given impunity in sinning, removed from their manuscripts the Lord's act of forgiveness toward the adulteress, as if He who had said 'sin no more' had granted permission to sin." That's a little too cute to be real history. But it does show that the passage was well-known in ancient times. PeterKa 10:40, 17 December 2013 (EST)


  1. See, part of which reads: Notwithstanding the weight of the external evidence of these important authorities, it is possible to adduce still more important testimony in favour of the authenticity of the passage. As for the manuscripts, we know on the authority of St. Jerome that the incident "was contained in many Greek and Latin codices" (Contra Pelagium 2:17), a testimony supported today by the Codex Bez of Canterbury (D) and many others. The authenticity of the passage is also favoured by the Vulgate, by the Ethiopians Arabic, and Slavonic translations, and by many manuscripts of the Itala and of the Armenian and Syrian text. Of the commentaries of the Greek Fathers, the books of Origen dealing with this portion of the Gospel are no longer extant; only a portion of the commentary of St. Cyril of Alexandria has reached us, while the homilies of St. John Chrysostom on the Fourth Gospel must be considered a treatment of selected passages rather than of the whole text. Among the Latin Fathers, Sts. Ambrose and Augustine included the pericope in their text, and seek an explanation of its omission from other manuscripts in the fact that the incident might easily give rise to offense (cf. especially Augustine, " De coniugiis adulteris," 2, 7).