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What's The Straight Dope On The Prostitute Cast The First Stone Story (john 8:7)


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I've heard conflicting stories about the origin of this bible passage.

 

 

John 8:7

King James Version (KJV)

 

 

 

7So 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.

 

 

Somewhere I heard that it was a forgery and was not in early manuscripts, but then the apolgetics respond something about that it was only excluded from one manuscript but not others. I may have that wrong, I'm confused. Please set me straight on just where the controversy lies and what the best bible scholars on both sides agree on.

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Scholars can't agree. That's why the addition is in dispute. The bible has been added to enough times to make it unreliable as a 'true and without error™' reference. The passage probably did not show up in a translation because they had no time to copy it in yet.

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Would it help if we told you it is all BS?

 

This passage is claimed to be a later edition. I cannot remember the details but the idea of more tolerance was brought in. The reality is the origins of xianity has many pagan values and when it was being invented, they incorporated and made it feel more palatable to those pagans that did use pros in temple situations aka religious orgies.

 

It's all out there to research, google your question and you should find the answers. Obviously xian apologist sites to be avoided.

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Thanks for the responses. It's not like my disbelief hinges on this one passage. In fact I didn't even learn about the dispute until after deconverting. I just thought it was quite interesting that one of the most cited Jesus quotes may be a late forgery.

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For a fascinating lecture on this kind of thing go the Lion's Den and find the thread called "Theists. Does This Do Anything To Your Consciousness?" There is a video by Dr. Bart Ehrman which addresses how the Bible got changed over time. According to Ehrman, the story in question did not appear in any know manuscript until the 10th century and is not so much a forgery as an addition of a great story. But not original.

 

 

 

Ehrman describes the woman at the well story at mark 46minuts. But I would encourage you to watch the whole thing. He is well spoken and very understandable. This lecture as well as his lectures on suffering sped me along my de-conversion path.

 

 

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For a fascinating lecture on this kind of thing go the Lion's Den and find the thread called "Theists. Does This Do Anything To Your Consciousness?" There is a video by Dr. Bart Ehrman which addresses how the Bible got changed over time. According to Ehrman, the story in question did not appear in any know manuscript until the 10th century and is not so much a forgery as an addition of a great story. But not original.

 

 

 

Ehrman describes the woman at the well story at mark 46minuts. But I would encourage you to watch the whole thing. He is well spoken and very understandable. This lecture as well as his lectures on suffering sped me along my de-conversion path.

 

 

 

Thank you. I've seen a couple of Ehrman's lectures on youtube, I'm checking out this thread right now.

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This is from an apologetics site [Tekton]:

The account of the woman caught in adultery (John 7:53-8:11) has a textual history that makes heads spin. Michaels in her commentary on John [146] offers the details: It is not in the earliest manuscripts (with one exception); in those manuscripts where we do find it, it is not found in one place. Some have it at the end of John. Some put it after our John 7:36; one puts it after 7:44. Some have it in Luke, after Luke 21:38.

It's not in the earliest mss of G.John (save one). It moves about a bit in the later copies of G.John and it even appears in some copies of G.Luke.

 

Seems suspicious to me. But suspicious or not people want this to reflect an actual event in the life of "jesus" and so it's generally thought to be just that. Never mind that if it really is accurate and she is an adulteress then she must die according to Jewish law (which is what we should assume has already happened to her boyfriend and why he's not present...he's faced his punishment). If we further assume that "jesus" is truly "perfect" then he's the only who should be able to throw the first stone, but he doesn't, yet he doesn't explicitly appear to forgive her like he has done to others so she remains unforgiven and unpunished. Can he do neither in this situation? It's an oddity to be sure.

 

mwc

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  • 4 months later...

I knew about that passage even when I was a Christian, and even then, I knew it wasn't in the original manuscripts, which basically means it wasn't in the autographs. The consensus among serious scholars is the same; that passage was perhaps a popular folk tale that was told by Jesus that some scribe along the way decided to include.

 

But I agree with nptphotos, Ehrman has some great material on this sort of thing. His book "Misquoting Jesus" is fantastic. I read it about 7-8 months ago.

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