Dean Alford on John 8:1-11
(c. 1849-1863)

Review of: Henry Alford, Greek Testament, (1849-1863)

Page Index

Prologue: - Introduction to Henry Alford
    Alford and Samuel Davidson

Exerpts: - Alford on John 8:1-11: Commentary
    Alford's Textual Apparatus - & uncollated MSS
    General Discussion - Textual History
    Greek Text Adopted - Codex Bezae
    Verse by Verse Commentary - detailed notes

Nicolson (1878) on Alford: - a critique of Alford's Internal Evidence

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Henry Alford (1810-1871) was a biblical scholar in England. He was dean of Canterbury from 1857-1871 and is often referred to as "Dean Alford." His great work was an edition of the Greek New Testament(1849). He wrote the words to the well known hymn, "Come Ye Thankful People Come." He also wrote exegetical notes on the Greek New Testament which is now titled Alford's Greek Testament.

Alford lived in the 19th century, a time when the majority of Bible students held to an amillennial position or a postmillennial position. Both of these positions denied a literal thousand year kingdom and both taught that at the end of time there would be one general resurrection for both the saved and the unsaved and one general judgment.

The minority position, held by the Plymouth Brethren, George Peters, and some others, taught that there would be a millennium kingdom, the character of which would match that which is described in all of the great prophecies of the Old Testament relating to the Messiah and His glorious worldwide reign. They also taught that there would be two resurrections: the first resurrection for the saved and the second resurrection for the unsaved and these two would be separated by a period of a thousand years (see Revelation 20:4-6).

It should also be noted, as Alford does, that the premillennial view was universally held by the early church.

-, Henry Alford

Alford and Samuel Davidson

Alford's Greek NT (1st ed. 1849) came out just one year after Samuel Davidson's Introduction was published, in 1848. Thus it was not directly informed by Davidson's published arguments, but was a work long in the making (just typsetting it must have taken more than a year).

On the other hand, the fact that both men attempt to marshall similar 'internal' arguments against the authenticity of the Percope de Adultera, suggests they may have conversed and exchanged some notes and ideas on this subject. Certainly by the late 1850s, Alford would have been well informed regarding the contents of Davidson's work.

In particular, Alford seems later to have been emboldened to remove (separate) the Pericope de Adultera from the main text in the 5th edition of his Greek Testament (1863). He continues to express his belief in the priority and weight of internal evidence over textual evidence, throughout various editions.

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Alford on John 8:1-11
Greek Text

Taken from The Greek Testament: Vol I, The Four Gospels, 5th ed. (1863, London). pp.777fwd. Differences from the 2nd Ed. (1854) are indicated in RED type, except where noted.

The Pericope de Adultera was removed from the main text of Alford's Greek Testament, and placed on the lower half of the page, from 778 to 784, and separated from the main work by heavy Double Bars. This was a deliberate change of layout, reflecting and emphasizing Alford's decision to retain, but separate the passage from the rest of the text.

The textual apparatus justifying the separation of the verses was given in the 5th edition as follows:

Notation Explanation: "92-4-9" should be read as "92, 94, 99". Thus, "300-2-3-4-5-10-1-2-3-20-3-34-6-7-54-6-62-6-9-78-81." would mean the following manuscripts: "300, 302-305, 310-313, 320,323, 334,336,337, 354,356, 362,366,369, 378, 381.". Alford notes that the readings of many cursive manuscripts were not known at this time, because they were uncollated.

These compressed notes rely heavily on the collations of F. H. A. Scrivener and others, and a more accurate account of the available manuscript evidence as known by the end of the 19th century can be found in Scrivener's Plain Introduction.

Alford cites Augustine and Nicon regarding the probable cause of the omission (but see his discussion below, where he doubts this explanation). Alford also quotes Jerome as to the state of the manuscripts in his own time (c. 400 A.D.).

Alford quotes the Greek (original) text of Eusebius (Eccl. Hist.), who mentions of the testimony of Papias (c. 100 A.D.) regarding a similar story apparently found in the Gospel Acc. to the Hebrews; and Alford accepts this admittedly terse and vague reference as referring essentially to the same story.

At the same time, Alford chooses to adopt the text of Codex Bezae (D) for this passage in his 5th edition, adding textual notes, probably from Tischendorf. He inserts this Greek text below the Double Bars on the page, along with his commentary.

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Alford on John 8:1-11

Modern notes added for clarity are in [blue] with square brackets. Some (Italicized) subheadings and section dividers have been added for clarity and ease of navigation.

This section was removed from the main text of Alford's Greek Testament, and placed on the lower half of the page, from 778 to 784, and separated from the main work by heavy Double Bars. This was a deliberate change of layout, reflecting and emphasizing Alford's decision to retain, but separate the passage from the rest of the text.

At the same time, Alford chooses to adopt the text of Codex Bezae (D) for this 5th edition, adding textual notes, probably from Tischendorf. He also inserts this Greek text below the Double Bars.

[The Greek text of Codex Bezae, with textual apparatus, is inserted here below the bars at the top of each lower half-page, with Alford's commentary below it. Alford offers no English translation. We skip the Greek text itself and apparatus, which can be downloaded from the internet]

[53—CHAP. VIII. 11]
The history of the woman taken in adultery.

[General Discussion]

– See var. readd.; and a very complete discussion of the authorities for and against the passage in Lucke (3rd ed.), ii. 243 – 256.

The critical examination of the genuineness of this passage is attended with many and complicatied difficulties. Setting aside here purely diplomatic evidence (for which see var. readd.), we may observe

(1) that at first sight, the reasons given by Augustine and Nicon seem enough to warrant the inference that it was expunged on account of the supposed license given by it to sin. And this has been the hypothesis generally adopted by those who would override critical difficulties by strong autocratic assertion. Even Stier and Ebrard decide thus, without pausing to examine the real complications of the question.

(2) But, granting that such an hypothesis might be admissible as regards ch. Viii. 3 – 11, I do not see how the whole passage can be involved in it, especially the opening verse 53, which would naturally appear to form a sequel to what has preceded, and would surely never have been expunged with the offensive paragraph.

(3) No such hypothesis as this will account for the coexistence of so many distinct and independent texts, apparently none of which owes its origin to any attempt to remove matter of offence. This phenomenon (not that of the abundance of various readings, from which it is totally distinct) points undoubtedly to some inherent defect in the text of the passage itself, irrespective of all treatment subsequent to its establishment as a part of the sacred narrative.

(4) At the same time it is an embarrassing circumstance, that the contents of the passage are of such a kind, as to give every countenance to the supposition above dealt with. Had they been otherwise, we should have been much more free in pronouncing a critical decision for or against it.

(5) Another difficulty is presented by the very general concurrences of the MSS. Containing the passage, in placing it here. If it was not originally found in the text, why should this place, of all others have been selected for its insertion? It has no connexion with the context: belongs, apparently, to another portion of our Lord’s ministry: what could induce the interpolators to place it here?

(6) Nor are we helped much by its variations of position in some MSS. The end of Luke xxi seems most to approve itself as the fitting place: but if it was the original one, it is totally inexplicable that we should find no trace of the fact there, except in four of the (best) cursive MSS. Its occurrence here then, seems to me much in its favour.

(7) After all, the most weighty argument against the passage is found in its entire diversity from the style of narrative of our Evangelist. It is not merely that many words and idioms occur which John never uses, but that the whole cast and character of the passage is alien from his manner, in whichever of the existing texts we read it.

[It would be hardly worthwhile to cite an opinion, which affirms that,

‘such a course of argument is very fallacious, leads to nothing but endless logomachies, and can never settle a question of this kind.’

- (Bloomfield, 9th ed.),

-- were it not earnestly to remind my readers, that the more the sacred text is really studied, the more such considerations, duly and cautiously weighed, will be urged and appreciated.]

- this bracketed note was inserted into the 5th ed. onward of Alford.

(8) Balancing all these difficulties, I am almost disposed, as a desperate resource, to adopt the following hypothesis; not as by any means of satisfying or even recommending itself to me, but as really the only one which seems at all to show us a way out of the enigma: That the Evangelist may have, in this solitary case, incorporated a portion of the current oral tradition into his narrative: that this portion may have been afterwards variousy corrected, from the gospel of the Hebrews, or other traditional sources: that being seen in early times to be alien from John’s diction, it may have been by some replaced in the synoptic narrative, in its apparent chronological place, at Luke xxi. fin.: or inserted variously in this Gospel from the mere fact of having dropped out here. Then again the contents of the passage would operate with the above causes to its exclusion altogether from many MSS.: and the fact of some excluding only ch. Viii. 3 – 11, seems certainly to show that the moral element did operate in the matter.

(9) Dropping all idea of the hypothesis just suggested, our conclusion on the data must I think be, to retain the passage, as we retain Mark xvi. 9 ff. [i.e., The Long Ending of Mark], with a distinction from the rest of the text.

Text of Codex Bezae Adopted for Convenience

With regard to the question, what text of the passage itself to adopt, it would seem idle to attempt to unite into one by critical processes texts which seem to be due to different sources.

Our solution of the question must be merely formal and diplomatic. And, thus solving it, it has been thought best in this [5th] Edition to give the text as it is found in the only one of our most ancient MSS which contains it: the amount and nature of the variations being fully seem in the accompanying Digest.

In adopting this plan, it will be observed that no judgement whatever is given on the purity of the text thus adopted, - no approval whatever of the Codex Bezae as a fons lectionum: our proceeding is simply a formal and objective one, adopted as a necessity where no other seemed even moderately satisfactory.

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Alford on John 8:1-11
Verse by Verse

We have added small letters (a), (b),... etc., to enumerate those points which are marked by Nicolson as 'internal evidence' against the authenticity of the passage, and which are addressed by him below in the next section. This allows for their easy location in their original context.

Verse by Verse Commentary

[verse 7:53.]
The circumstance that this verse is included in the dubious passage is remarkable, and seems to show, as remarked above, that the doubt has not arisen from any ethical difficulty, as Augustine hints (var. readd.), -- for then the passage would have begun with ch. viii. 1. Nor can this verse have been expunged to keep up the connexion with ch. viii. 12 – for that is just as good with it, -- if understood, as usually, of the members of the Sanhedrim. We must now regard it as fragmentary, forming the beginning of the account of the woman taken in adultery. It is therefore not clear to what the words apply. Taken in conjunction with what follows (see on ch. viii 5), I should say that they indicate some time during the last days of the Lord’s ministry, when He spent the night on the Mount of Olives, as the date of the occurrence. Certainly the end of Luke xxi. seems to be its fitter place.

[verse 8:1]
(a) John never elsewhere mentions the Mount of Olives (not even ch. xviii. 1): and (b) when he introduces a new place, it is his habit to give explanations (see ch. 1. 45; v. 2, and λεγομενην ch. iv. 5; xix. 13, 17).
[Stier, who says (iv. 348, 2nd ed.), “The simple answer to Alford’s remark is, that John here, and here only, mentions the Mount of Olives.”, omits all allusion to this habit of the Evangelist, which alone gives weight to my remark.]

(c) πορευομαι with εις is not found elsewhere in John; not (in the Gospels) only in Matt. And Luke, and the frag. Mark xvi. fin.

(d) Nor is ορθρον

(e) nor παραγινομαι εις:

(f) nor ο λαος in this sense, but always ο οχλος (see ο λαος ch. xi. 50; xviii. 14):

(g) nor such an expression as καθισας εδιδασκεν αυτους but all these are found in Luke.

(h) It is not in John’s manner to relate that Jesus taught them, without relating what he taught.

[verse 8:3]
(i) John does not usually connect with δε , more commonly with ουν : but δε is found thus used here, vv. 1, 2, 3. (5, where the conjunction of δε is not in St. John’s manner, see Gal. ii. 20) 6 (twice v. r.), 7, 9, 10, 11 (twice v. r.) Thence, there is not one δε of mere connexion (ver. 35 is no exception) through the remaining forty-eight verses of the chapter.

(j) Nor does he ever mention γραμματεις elsewhere, but usually calls the opponents of Jesus Ιουδαιοι or οι αρχοντες .

οι γραμματεις και οι Φαρισαιοι is a very common expression in the synoptic narrative.

The account gives no light as to the capacity in which these Scribes and Pharisees acted when they brought the woman. Probably, only as tempting Jesus, and not in the course of any legal proceedings against her. Such would have required (Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22) that the man also should have been put to death.

[verse 8:4]
(k) That λεγουσιν αυτω εκπειραζοντες αυτον savours much more of the synoptic gospels than of John: see Mt. Xvi. 1; xix. 3; xxii. 18, 35; Mk. Viii. 11; x. 2; xii. 15, &c. Obviously our Jn 6:6 is no example to the contrary. (So Luthardt.)

[the Greek for Jn 6:6 reads, τουτο δε ελεγε πειραζων αυτον,..., but Alford's point is that Jesus is testing a disciple in 6:6: the narrator is not describing religious leaders testing Jesus.    - Nazaroo]

The difficulty is even greater than the last, to say, in what sense this was a temptation, to lead to His accusation. The principal solutions of it have been,

(1) that the command of the law had fallen into disuse from the frequency of the crime, and to re-assert it would be contrary to the known mildness of Jesus (Michaelis [first part], Aug., Euthym.).

But what reason had any of His sayings, -- who came to fulfill the Law, not to destroy it, – given them to expect such mildness in this case? And suppose He had re-asserted the law, – and how could they have accused Him?

(2) That some political snare was hereby laid for Him, whereby the Roman power might have been brought to bear against Him (Grotius and others).

But this does not in any way appear; for:

(a) the Romans certainly allowed to the Jews (by connivance) the power of putting to death according to their law, -- as they did in the case pf Stephen:

(b) our Lord’s answer need not have been so worded as to trench upon this matter: and

(c) the accusers would have been more deeply involved than Himself, if such had been the case, being by the law and the prominent person in the execution.

So that I leave the difficulty unsolved. Lucke (whose discussion on it see, ii. 216 ff.) observes:

‘Since Jesus seems to avoid every kind of decision on the question put to Him, it follows that He found in it to reference to the great subjects of His teaching, but treated it as purely civil or political matter, which in His ministry He had no concern. Some kind of civil or political collision the question certainly was calculated to provoke: but from the brevity of the narration, and our want of more accurate knowledge of criminal proceedings at the time, it is impossible to lay down definitely, wherein the collision would have consisted.’

- Lucke, p. 267.

[verse 8:5]
(l) I will just remark that the very fact of their questioning thus, ‘Moses commanded, … but what sayest Thou?’ belongs to the last days of the Lord’s ministry, and cannot well be introduced chronologically where it here stands:

(m) nor does John anywhere introduce these questions between the law of Moses and Jesus; but the synoptic gospels often do.

The command here mentioned is not to be found, unless ‘putting to death’ generally, is to be interpreted as = stoning; -- compare Exod. Xxxi. 14; xxxv. 2, with Num. Xv 35,36, in which the special order given by God would sanction such a view.

But the Rabbis taught ‘omne mortis supplicium in scriptires absolute positum esse strangulationem.’ Tract Sanhedr. Ch. x. (Lucke, De Wette.)

The passage Ezek. Xvi. 38, 40 proves nothing, or proves too much; for it is added, ‘and thrust thee through with their swords.’

I would rather suppose that from Deut. 22:21, 23, 24, an inference was drawn what kind of a death was intended in ver. 22, the crime being regarded as the same; “he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife.” We have similar indefiniteness in ib. ver. 25, where evidently the same punishment is meant: see the whole matter discussed in Lucke, ii. 257 ff.

[verse 8:6]
κατεγραφεν εις την γην:

οπερ ειωθασι πολλακις ποιειν οι μη θελοντες ανακρινεσθαι προς τους ερωτωντας ακαιρα και αναξια. γνους φαρ αυτων την μηχανην προσεποιειτο γραφειν εις την γην, και μη προς εχειν οις ελεγον.

- Euthymius

The habit was a usual one to signify pre-occupation of the mind, or intentional inattention; -- see instances in Wetstein and Lucke. The one ordinarily cited from Aelian is irrelevant: see Lucke, ii. 269 note.

The additions προσποιουμενος, μη προσποιουμενος are glosses. It does not follow that any thing was actually written. Stier refers to Jer. Xvii. 13, but perhaps without reason. This minute circumstance speaks strongly for the authenticity of the narration.

[verse 8:7]
αναμαρτ. ιs common in the classics: see instances in Lucke.

It is not here used in the general sense, ‘without sin’ (E.V.), nor in the strictest, ‘free from the crime of adultery’s (it can hardly be that any of the Pharisees should have held themselves sinless, -- or that all should have been implicated in adultery): -- but – as αμαρτωλος, Luke 7:37, -- of the sin of uncleanness generally.

Stier, who contends strongly for the genuineness of this narrative in this place, finds in ver. 46 an allusion to this saying. I cannot say that his attempts to establish a connexion with the subsequent discourse are to me at all satisfactory: I am much more inclined to think with Luthardt (i. 16), that the whole arrangement and plan of our Gospel is broken by the insertion of this passage.

The Lord Jesus was not sent to be a ruler and a judge in this or that particular case of crime, see Luke xxi. 14; but the Ruler and Judge of all: and His answer expresses this, by convicting them all of sin before Him.

τον (λιθον) (see digest), if genuine, refers to the first stone, which by Deut. 17:7 the witnesses were to cast.

[verse 8:8]

ινα μη, βλεποντος εις αυτους, αισχυνωνται, ραον ουτως ελεγχθεντες, και ινα, ως αυτου δηθεν ασχολουμενου εις το γραφειν, εξη αυτοις υπαναχωρησαι προφανερωτερας καταγνωσεως και αυτων φαρ ιφειδετο δι υπερβολην χρηστοτητος.

- Euthymius

The gloss in U (see var. read.) is curious.

[verse 8:9]
They had said, τας τοιαυτας -- they now perceive that they themselves were τοιουτοι.

There is no historical difficulty in this conduct of the Pharisees, as Olahausen finds; -- they were struck by the power of the word of Christ. It was a case somewhat analogous to that in which His εγω ειμι struck His foes to the ground, ch. xviii. 6.

The variations of reading are very wide (see digest) in the latter part of the verse. We can hardly (with some) lay any stress on the πρεσβυτερων, as indicating the natural order of conviction of sin. If the consciences of older sinners have heavier loads on them, those of younger ones are more tender.

μονος, i.e. with the multitude and disciples; the woman standing between Him and the disciples on one hand, -- and the multitude on the other.

[verse 8:10-11]
(n) πλην is only found here in John, Gosp. αnd Epp.

(o) κατακρινω also is not found in elsewhere in John, who uses κρινω in its strict sense for it. The question is evidently so worded for the sake of ουδε εγω σε κατακρινω: but it expresses the truth in the depth of their hearts. The Lord’s challenge to them would lead to a condemnation by comparison with themselves, if they condemned at all: which they had not done. The works of Jesus were in fact a far deeper and more solemn testimony against the sin that could be any mere penal sentence. And in judging of them we must never forget that He who thus spoke knew the hearts, -- and what was the peculiar state of this woman as to penitence. We must not apply in all cases a sentence which requires His divine knowledge to make it a just one.]

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Nicolson on Alford's
Internal Evidence
on John 8:1-11

The following is taken from E. B. Nicolson's The Gospel According to the Hebrews (1879), wherein he discusses the supposed 'Internal Evidence' against the Pericope de Adultera brought forth by Alford in his Greek Testament (1863).


I feel bound to admit that the force of the internal evidence has been greatly overrated. The following are Alford's specifications :

(a) That John nowhere else mentions the Mt. of Olives.

McClellan (New Testament, 724) answers that each of the Synoptists mentions Gennesaret only once. There is no proof, however, that they had due occasion for naming it more frequently, whereas we should certainly have expected to find the Mt. of Olives named in John xii. or xviii., as Matthew and Mark each mention it 3 times and Luke 4 times. Still it may be thought less unlikely that John should name it here only than that he should never name it at all.

(b) That, when John introduces a new place, it is his habit to give explanations.

McClellan answers that in xviii. 1 the brook Kedron is introduced without explanation, and that in any case the Mt. of Olives was too well known to need it. McClellan s instance is not conclusive, since the winter-torrent Kedron is itself merely mentioned to explain the situation of the garden to which Jesus withdrew : and the 'sea of Galilee' ought not to have needed the addition (vi. 1) of the words 'which is the sea of Tiberias.'

(c) That πορευομαι with εις is not found elsewhere in John. This is not the fact : it is so found in vii. 35, only 18 verses before.

(d) That ορθρον is not found elsewhere in John. But it is only found once in Luke's Gospel, once in Acts, and nowhere else in the N.T., and is a word which one would not expect to find more than once in so short a book.

(e) That παραγινομαι with εις is not found elsewhere in John. Imagine one giving as evidence against the genuineness of an English paragraph the fact that it contained the construction 'came into', whereas in the rest of the author's book no example occurred of 'came into', but only of 'came' and 'came to' ! Cf. Matt., who has this construction only once, and Luke, who has it not once in his Gospel and yet 3 times in Acts.

(f) That John uses λαος elsewhere in a different sense, and would have used οχλος here. But, as John only uses λαος in two other places, it is not just to attribute to him alone among the evangelists an exclusively narrow sense of the word. And in the second place οχλος in John never means more than crowd, whereas here he may be describing the united impulse of all the people gathered together at the feast of tabernacles. Lastly, 3 uncials and 20 cursives actually read οχλος and not λαος , while 7 cursives omit the entire sentence.

(g) That such an expression as is not found elsewhere in John. True. But it is found (without ) only once in Luke, and McClellan reasonably asks, supposing that Jesus did on occasions sit down and teach, whether it is any more inconsistent with S. John's style than with S. Luke's or with any other writer s once to say so. Let me add that D and 7 cursives omit the clause.

(h) That 'it is not in John s manner to relate that Jesus taught them, without relating what He taught.' But there is a marked instance of his doing so in the previous chapter, vii. 14, 'Jesus went up into the Temple, and taught.'

(i) That 'John does not usually connect with δε' But McClellan has shown from other parts of John the complete fallacy of this argument, and has observed that δε occurs 204 times in the Gospel as against ουν 206 times.

(j) That John never mentions οι γραμματεις elsewhere, but usually calls the opponents of Jesus οι Ιουδαιοι, οι αρχοντες . It certainly is remarkable that the name Scribes occurs nowhere else in this Gospel. McClellan, who paraphrases it by Doctors of the Law, says But the question was one of the Law This answer seems at first fairly satisfactory, but becomes less so when we observe
(i.) that there was no dispute about the Law at all : the question was not what the Law, but what Jesus prescribed ;
(ii.) that in cases where the legality of the acts of Jesus is questioned (v. 10-16, ix. 13-16) the Scribes are not mentioned by John, who speaks of the Jews and the Pharisees.

It is true that three cursives, with Coptic and Armenian MSS., read the 'CHIEF-PRIESTS and the Pharisees' and we cannot prove that this, which admirably suits John's usage, was not the original reading. But the authority for it is slender, and the fact of its being thoroughly Johannine will explain its introduction : that 'chief- priests' was, on the other hand, corrupted into 'scribes' is the less likely because in passages of John where the 'chief-priests' are mentioned 'scribes' is never found as a various reading.

(k) That λεγουσιν αυτω εκπειραζοντες αυτον savours much more of tlie synoptic Gospels than of John. Clearly, because they contain more incidents which admit of such an expression. The use of the word πειραζω is not alien to John, who describes Jesus as , trying, Philip with a question (vi. 6).

(l) That the very fact of their questioning thus, "Moses commanded, .... but what sayest Thou?" belongs to the last days of the Lord s ministry, and cannot well be introduced chronologically where it here stands.

John, however, clothes the figure of Jesus at Jerusalem at this stage of his career with as much public importance as the Synoptists do in the week previous to his death. And would not the same objection apply equally to iii. 13-17, the account of the cleansing of the Temple ?

(m) That 'John nowhere introduces these questions between the law of Moses and Jesus ; but the synoptic Gospels often do.' The same might be said of the miracle at Cana (c. ii.) and that of the nobleman s son (c. iv.) : miracles which do not serve as the occasion for discourses are quite foreign to the general scope of the Gospel.

(n) That 'πλην is only found here in John, Gosp. and Epp.' True, but it is also found once, and once only, in Mark. And it is only found once in the Apocalypse which, if the Apocalypse was written by the writer of the Gospel, is likewise a proof of its being one of his words.

(o) That ' κατακρινω also is not found elsewhere in John, who uses K-jO/j w in its strict sense for it.' Equally true, but here again we have a parallel in Luke, who also uses κατακρινω in two consecutive verses (xi. 31, 32) but nowhere else.

Reviewing these 15 items of the indictment, we find that 3 of them (c h i ) must be given up as against fact ; that 5 (d e g n o ) are exactly applicable to other Gospels (e and g are otherwise weak) ; and that 4 (f k l m ) are untenable for various reasons. Only 3 are left (a, b, j ). I think that these (particularly the last) do afford a presumption against Johannine authorship, though to each of them there is some sort of answer not altogether beneath notice.

To sum up, ...the internal evidence, while insufficient of itself to establish the same conclusion [as the textual evidence against the genuineness of the passage], must be taken to confirm it.

Notes on Nicolson:

Nicolson essentially dismisses the supposed "Internal Evidence" against the passage, although allowing that in the end it is weakly negative regarding authenticity.

Nicolson however, has already rejected the authenticity of John 8:1-11 on textual grounds: so he is no defender of the passage. This makes his rejection of Alford's 'internal' arguments against the passage all the more forceful.

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