What did you find in your reading? Did you notice there is none of the classic John elements in this section that link it to any of his themes. It is like a stand alone. I wonder if you noted any of the following.
Internal evidence in favour of the inclusion of 8:1-11 (7:53-8:11):
(1) 7:53 fits in the context. If the “last great day of the feast” (7:37) refers to the conclusion of the Feast of Tabernacles, then the statement refers to the pilgrims and worshippers going home after living in “booths” for the week while visiting Jerusalem.
(2) The chief priests and Pharisees had just mocked Nicodemus for suggesting that Jesus’ claims might possibly be true. In particular they heaped scorn on Jesus’ Galilean origins (7:52). But far more than a prophet was to come from Galilee, according to Isa 9:1-2 (NASB):
‘But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.’
In view of John’s observed fondness for Isaiah, it seems impossible that he was unaware of this prophecy. But if he was aware of it, we might expect him to work it into the background of the narrative, as he has often done before. And that is exactly what we find: 8:12 is the point when Jesus describes himself as the Light of the world. But the section in question mentions that Jesus returned to the temple at “early dawn” (“Orqrou, 8:2). This is the “dawning” of the Light of the world (8:12) mentioned by Isa 9:2.
Furthermore, note the relationship to what follows: just prior to presenting Jesus’ statement that He is the Light of the world, John presents us with an example that shows Jesus as the light. Once again, this calls to mind one of the major themes of the Gospel: light and darkness (compare especially 3:19-21). Also it links to the light theme used at the Feast of Tabernacles. Here the woman “came to the light” (although not at first willingly!) while her accusers shrank away into the shadows, because their deeds were evil. This could be seen as an appropriate setting for Jesus to follow with the statement of 8:12, “I am the light of the world.”
Internal evidence against the inclusion of 8:1-11 (7:53-8:11):
· In reply to the claim that the introduction to the pericope, 7:53, fits the context, it should also be noted that the narrative reads well without the pericope, so that Jesus’ reply in 8:12 is directed against the charge of the Pharisees in 7:52 that no prophet comes from Galilee.
· The assumption that the Evangelist “must” somehow work Isa 9:1-2 into the narrative is simply that—an assumption. The statement by the Pharisees in 7:52 about Jesus’ Galilean origins is allowed to stand without correction by the Evangelist, although we might have expected him to mention that Jesus was really born in Bethlehem. And 8:12 does directly mention Jesus’ claim to be the Light of the world. The Evangelist may well have presumed familiarity with Isa 9:1-2 on the part of his readers because of its widespread association with Jesus among early Christians.
· The fact that the pericope deals with the light/darkness motif does not inherently strengthen its claim to authenticity, because the motif is so prominent in the Fourth Gospel that it may well have been the reason why someone felt that the pericope, circulating as an independent tradition, fit so well here.
· In general the style of the pericope is not John’s either in vocabulary or grammar. According to R. Brown it is closer stylistically to Luke’s material. Interestingly one important family of manuscripts, family 13, places the pericope after Luke 21:38.
· It does not match the style of John and it breaks the flow of text from 7:52 to 8:12.
B. M. Metzger summarizes:
“…the evidence for the non-Johannine origin of the pericope of the adulteress is overwhelming.” (i.e that this is not John’s original material).
That these verses were not a part of the original Gospel of John can now be determined with certainty. They were seemingly not part of John’s material yet they appear to be a true story added later but authenticated from oral tradition. What is said here is in keeping with the doctrine and the spirit of what is elsewhere taught in the New Testament. However it is clear that it breaks John’s flow and has none of the signs or of John’s stamp upon it that indicate he is deliberately using this to add to his theme. The testimony of Eusebius and Papias indicates, the story of the accused woman had been circulating orally at least by the 2nd Century.
In ancient manuscripts, moreover, its position is not fixed: it sometimes appears in John between 7:52 and 8:12, but it is also found in other locations in John – after 7:36, after 7:44, and at the end of the Gospel. It even appears in one group of manuscripts after Luke 21:38. It does not have a fixed place.
I will link the themes for you in he next Gem. In the meantime you can do some more thinking in the light of this new material.
The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.ANON
Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape.ANON