A Stylistic Trait Of The Fourth Gospel In The Pericope Adulterae? -- By: Alan F. Johnson

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 09:2 (Spring 1966)
Article: A Stylistic Trait Of The Fourth Gospel In The Pericope Adulterae?
Author: Alan F. Johnson


A Stylistic Trait Of The Fourth Gospel In The Pericope Adulterae?

Alan F. Johnson

As an evangelical and thus an adherent of the inerrant inspiration of biblical manuscripts, I am vitally interested in establishing the precise text and readings of the original New Testament documents even when no great doctrinal issue may be at stake. Our subject concerns the question of the genuineness of the celebrated passage about Jesus and the adulterous woman in John 7:53–8:11, known technically as the pericope adulterae. Admittedly, this textual problem has been settled in days past in the minds of most New Testament scholars who, while retaining the authenticity of the incident, exclude the account as an integral part of the Gospel of John. Since the story is found to be (1) absent in the oldest and best manuscripts, versions and patristic citations, 1 (2) foreign to the context 2 and (3) linguistically incompatible with the vocabulary and style of the Fourth Gospel, 3 the cumulative decision reached by most is “conclusive against the Johannine authorship of the section.” 4 However, though the majority to the contrary, a few competent scholars have examined the evidence carefully and have been reluctant to consider the passage as an interpolation. 5 There seems to be warrant for giving further attention to this passage in the contemporary status of New Testament textual criticism. Present trends are toward a shift of authority from external manuscript evidence to internal criteria for

establishing the best text. 6 Years ago Colwell stated that the New Testament had to be determined verse by verse.7 This is known as the eclectic method and is carefully described by Vaganay 8 and first illustrated in the monumental work of Zuntz 9 on P46. The Greek text of The New English Bible, New Testament is the product of modern eclecticism. While external evidence must still be considered to some extent, the lack of certainty as to the genesis of our contemporary manuscripts leads scholars to examine the evidence for each variant impartially with no special predilections for or against any one type of text. 10 Thus, the internal evidence of l...

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