On Some Textual Questions In The Gospel Of John -- By: Henry Hayman

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 040:157 (Jan 1883)
Article: On Some Textual Questions In The Gospel Of John
Author: Henry Hayman


On Some Textual Questions In The Gospel Of John

Henry Hayman

Among the peculiar features of John’s Gospel, the extent to which several of the larger members of the narrative hang loosely on the thread of continuity claims more consideration than it has yet received; while the famous pericope de adultera, or narrative of the woman taken in adultery, both as regards genuineness, and position if genuine, stands on ground apart from the rest of the Gospel. This last, as having an independent interest, and as involving simpler issues, shall here be considered first.

This pericope is probably referred to by Eusebius at the end of the third book of his Ecclesiastical History, where he says of Papias, the well-known collector of apostolic tradition unrecorded elsewhere, that heἐκτέθειται δὲ καὶ ἄλλην ἱστορίαν πεὶ γυναικὸς ἐπὶ πολλαῖς ἀμαρτίαις διαβληθείσης ἐπὶ τοῦ Κυριου, ἣν τὸ κατ᾿ ῾Εβραίους εὐαγγέλιον περιέχει, “has set forth too another account of a woman accused of many sins to our Lord, which the Gospel according to the Hebrews contains.” Here “many sins” might of course be many repetitions of the same sinful act. The narrative in John 8 is not inconsistent with this, although only the act in which she was taken is there specified. The Lord’s words to her, “Go, and sin no more,” are equally consistent with a single act or with repeated acts. Still, in that narrative she is not accused of many sinful acts, but specifically of one. This, therefore, must be allowed to be a discrepancy, although not an inconsistency It is somewhat similar to the discrepancy of two demoniacs or one (Matt. 8:28; Mark 5:2); and of two blind men or one (Matt. 20:30; Mark

10:46), But Eusebius goes on to say that the narrative is contained in the Gospel according to the Hebrews. It is possible that the Gospel according to the Hebrews may have contained the narrative as we have it in John 8, and that the feature of difference, ἐπὶ πολλαῖς ἁμαρτίαις, may be due to Papias himself — having been received by him from oral tradition, of which he professed to be a diligent collector, through the most authentic channels. Indeed, the remarks which Eusebius makes upon Papias would prepare us to find the latter divergin...

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