Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Pericope Adulteræ
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Pericope Adulteræ

The Pericope Adulteræ (pur-IC-op-ee uh-DUL-ter-igh), meaning "the passage of the adulterous woman" in Latin, is the name traditionally given to verses 7:53-8:11 of the Gospel of John, which is usually referred to in English as "the woman taken in adultery." It reads in the King James Bible:

[7:52 They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.]

7:53 And every man went unto his own house. 1 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. 8:2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. 3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
[12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.]

The pericope is now generally recognized by scholars of the New Testament as an interpolation: it disrupts the story told at the end of chapter 7 and in the remainder of chapter 8; it uses Greek more characteristic of the synoptic Gospels rather than of John; it appears in only one early Greek manuscript and sometimes appears in different places in later manuscripts, even interpolated in one case into the Gospel of Luke. B. M. Metzger summarizes: “the evidence for the non-Johannine origin of the pericope of the adulteress is overwhelming.” Many scholars nevertheless accept it as an authentic tradition of Jesus Christ.

See also: