Re: John 8:7

From: Edward Hobbs (
Date: Fri Feb 13 1998 - 17:24:24 EST


It is awkward for the Chair of B-Greek to respond to posts which challenge
his accuracy or fairness or competence, since to do so might seem to take
advantage of that position. But Andrew Kulikowsky's criticism of my simple
reply about textual criticism and John 8:7, having provoked several other
replies, seems to deserve some response from me.

His post was:


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Edward Hobbs []
> Sent: Friday, February 13, 1998 6:03 AM
> To:
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: John 8:7

> On this passage (John 7:53--8:11), see [Bruce Metzger's] _Textual
> Commentary on the Greek New Testament_, which has a lengthy discussion
> of this most-famous non-original pericope in the GNT.

        Don't you mean "the pericope which many believe (including E
Hobbs) to be non-original". Considering we don't have the originals and
only a handful of manuscripts and fragments from the early centuries it
does seem a little premature to pronounce the pericope as definitely


Alkl of us on this B-Greek List use (or surely use?) either the UBS-GNT or
the Nestle-Aland GNT. These standard texts, like all critical texts for
the last century, bracket this passage, as one of those "which are
regarded as later additions to the text, but which are of evident antiquity
and importance" (UBS Intro), or "are known not to be a part of the original
text" (Nestle-Aland Intro).

That a campaign to reinstate the "Majority Text" or the "T-R" is underway
is known to me. Those efforts do not find support in the world of textual
criticism which is acknowledged by leading universities, graduate schools,
and resarch institutes. This is not an issue of "liberal" amnd
"conservative"; some of the leading textual critics of our time are
theological "conservatives," including some on the committee(s) which
edited the texts we use (UBS ed.1 through 4, Nestle-Aland 26-27).

Metzger writes of this passage: "The evidence for the non-Johannine origin
of this pericope of the adulteress is overwhelming." He then cites the
massive evidence of its absence in early centuries. After other issues
(style, language, etc.) are discussed, he says: "...the case against its
being of Johannine authorship appears to be conclusive." "... the
Committee was unanimous that the pericope was originally no part of the
Fourth Gospel...."
It was inserted into the text of John in three different places, as well as
into the Gospel of Luke in some MSS.

But a majority of the Committee, "in deference to the evident antiquity of
the passage," decided to print it within double brackets (whose meaning is
quoted above).

All of this surely says that it is "the most-famous non-original pericope in
the GNT." This description is hardly controversial, and certainly not the
opinion of "many including E Hobbs".

If Andrew cannot read a statement like this, and statements like several
others which he has recently responded to, without firing off a flame
(even rejecting one comment on Genesis because the poster did not know the
author of Genesis), then he should consider whether he should continue
to read the messages posted to this List. Carl Conrad's recent comments on
the tenor of recent threads should be taken seriously to heart, and the FAQ
should be read once more. This List is not a place for any of us to vent
our irritation at comments made by others. Jonathan and Carl have
repeatedly offered wonderful advice to all of us about this matter;
please, let's all of us pay heed.

This is NOT an invitation to a new thread on the subject. If anyone wishes
to make a response, please address it personally to me or to my Co-Chair,
Carl Conrad. There has been too much heat, and too little light, in some
recent postings. More light! More light! (--to quote Mr. Capulet)

Edward Hobbs

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