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The Judgment of the Adulteress
The account of the adulterous woman in the Gospel according to John most likely was not originally part of the traditions of the Johannine communities. While this episode is translated in the Vulgate, is commented on by Ambrose, Augustine and Jerome, and appears in an important manuscript of the Western tradition (Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis), it is not included in ancient manuscripts of the fourth Gospel, in the Peshitta, the Syriac version of the New Testament or the Coptic Bohairic version.

Some Church Fathers (Origen, Cyprian, Chrysostom) make no reference to this passage. Moreover, the style of the Greek is not that which characterizes the Gospel according to John. A contextual reading may suggest reasons why the account of the adulteress occupies its present place in the fourth Gospel.

The episode begins with information about time and space. It is dawn, and Jesus goes to the temple. Everyone comes to him to hear the word of God. While Jesus is teaching, the scribes and Pharisees bring to him a woman caught in adultery, and put her in the middle. They address Jesus as “teacher,” and tell him that the charge of adultery is “obvious;” the woman was caught committing the act. The scribes and Pharisees then remind Jesus of the requirements of the Law in cases like this, and ask him for his judgment on the matter. They ask Jesus this question to test and accuse him.
© Union of Catholic Asian News 2023
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