Is John 8:1-11 about the female adulterer fictional?


I was a little heart broken to learn that one of my favorite teachings, “May a non sinner cast the first stone” may not have been written by John at all. How should I feel about this? Did this story really happen and what evidence do we have that this is a real event?


…interesting subject…


Even if it was not written by John it is still Holy Scripture inspired by God. A a few of Pauls writing may not have been written by Paul himself although they contain his theology. The Church accepted Johns Gospel so we too accept it. There is a lot of high Christology in Johns Gospel which points to Jesus not only as the son of God but Jesus being God in the flesh, God the Son.


The message is too unique and powerful for it to not be real.

Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”


I always keep in mind that the earliest fragments that still exist of Gospel texts are many, many decades after the deaths of their authors. It isn’t that much of a stretch to think that in the days of manually copying a text that some things can be accidentally left out or, even, that a pious copier could insert things to embellish events. Remember that the Gospels were originally written as a means to capture the oral teachings of the Church by the apostles. It isn’t a far reach to think that teachings or sayings that were prominent in one group’s traditions could spill into another’s. It wouldn’t be until later that the Church per se would begin to standardize it’s teachings and a form of orthodoxy would emerge. While the episode about the woman caught in adultery may not be completely accurate to the letter, I am sure that the tradition behind the story is of substance.


It has always been my understanding that while the story may not be original to the Gospel the story itself is certainly consistent with Apostolic teaching and of such antiquity that it may be Apostolic in origin though not necessarily placed by John in this Gospel in this place. However that in no fashion precludes it from being historical fact. Furthermore since the Gospel of John has received the blessing of the Church I think there is really nothing to. Be concerned about.


This passage is indeed inspired whether it was written by St John or not because the Magisterium said so. It could have been sacred tradition passed on and inserted into scripture. This is not unusual as most scholars believe the book of Isaiah was written by several authors.

Interestingly, St Augustine tells us this passage was deliberately left out when the gospel was being copied because the message created scandal. People interpreted the mercy of Jesus to the adulteress as a licence to commit sin and then be forgiven. St Augustine’s explanation explains the fact we find in a few of the most ancient manuscripts an asterix (*) inserted in between John 7:53-8:11, acknowledging this passage.


it seems as if the higher you get into education the bigger disconnect there is with God. It use to not be this way centuries ago, it was actually quite opposite. Then came German higher criticism and it went to the crapper in many ways. When you look at much of modern scholarship in the area of the Bible you see a level of antagonism within. That’s why when many people who have been raised on pious tradition who read the self antagonistic works based upon the historical critical method you have people wonder if atheist wrote it. My suggestion is to avoid that school of thought and seek what has been traditionally believed.


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