Textual Evidence

on John 8:1-11 (1894)

from: A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament by F.H.A. Scrivener, 4th Ed., Edited by Edward Miller, pg 364-368

Page Index

Last Updated: Feb 19, 2009

Return to TOC

Introduction to Scrivener

Frederick Henry Ambrose Scrivener - (1813-1891), English New Testament textual critic Born at Southwark, Scrivener was educated at Falmouth School and Trinity College, Cambridge. He later became the headmaster of Falmouth (1846-1856) and prebendary of Exeter (1874-1891).

Scrivener spent his entire career working on New Testament manuscripts. He published the texts of twenty manuscripts (including Codex Augiensis and the miniscule 81), produced a list of all extant manuscripts, and created a system for classifying manuscripts. As an enthusiastic supporter of the Textus Receptus, he opposed the text produced by Westcott and Hort but did not gain a following among biblical scholars. He is well known for his book, A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament (1894). [published post-humously]

- Christian Classics Ethereal Library

Scrivener and the Textus Receptus

The traditional Greek New Testament, also known as the Textus Receptus or the "Received Text" was further updated by Frederick H.A.Scrivener, who adamantly opposed the work done by Westcott and Hort in their The New Testament in the Original Greek (1882). Scrivener revised Stephanus' earlier work while following the text chosen by the King James Translators (1611), in response to that of Westcott and Hort.

Return to TOC

Scrivener on John 8:1-11

Last Updated: Dec 13, 2008
Converted to Unicode for modern browsers

Taken from: A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament
by F.H.A. Scrivener, 4th Ed., Edited by Edward Miller, pg 364-368

Mr. Scrivener's original footnotes are displayed in RED and hyperlinked.

Topical headings have been added for clarity, and the text has been reformatted for ease of reading. Modern corrections and notes have been added in BLUE.

The Pericope De Adultera

22. John vii..53 - viii.11. On no other grounds than those just intimated when discussing ch. v. 3, 4 can this celebrated and important paragraph, the pericope adulterae as it is called, be regarded as a portion of St. John's Gospel. It is absent from too many excellent copies not to have been wanting in some of the very earliest; while the arguments in its favour, internal even more than external, are so powerful, that we can scarcely be brought to think it an unauthorized appendage to the writings of one, who in another of his inspired books deprecated so solemnly the adding to or taking away from the blessed testimony he was commissioned to bear (Apoc. Xxii. 18, 19).

The Addition of the Final Chapter: John 21

If ch xx. 30,31 show signs of having been the original end of this Gospel, and ch xxi be a later supplement by the Apostle's own hand, which I think with Dean Alford is evidently the case, why should not St. John have inserted in this second edition both the amplification in ch v.3, 4, and this most edifying and eminently Christian narrative [Jn 8:1-11]? The appended chapter (xxi) would thus be added at once to all copies of the Gospels then in circulation, though a portion of them might well overlook the minuter change in ch v. 3, 4, or, from obvious though mistaken motives, might hesitate to receive for general use or public reading the history of the woman taken in adultery.

It must be in this way, if at all, that we can assign to the Evangelist ch. vii. 53-viii. 11 ; on all intelligent principles of mere criticism the passage must needs be abandoned: and such is the conclusion arrived at by all the critical editors.

Manuscripts Omitting or Marking John 7:53-8:11

It is entirely omitted (ch.viii 12 following continuously to ch. Vii 52)

in the uncial Codd. A A 1 B C 1 T (all very old authorities ) X 2 Λ Δ , but Λ Δ leave a void space (like B's in Mark xvi.9-20) too small to contain the verses (though any space would suffice to intimate the consciousness of some omission), before which Δ* began to write ch. vii. 12 after ch. vii. 52.

Add to these, as omitting the paragraph, the cursives 3 12, 21, 22, 33, 36, 44, 49, 63, (teste Abbott), 72, 87, 95, 97, 106, 108, 123, 131, 134, 139, 143, 149, 157, 168, 169, 181, 186, 194, 195, 210, 213, 228, 249, 250, 253, 255, 261, 269, 314, 331, 388, 392, 401, 416, 453, 473 (with an explanatory note), 486, 510, 550, 559, 561, 582 (in ver. 12 palai for palin): it is absent in the first, added by a second hand in 9, 15, 105, 179, 232, 284, 353, 509, 625: while ch. viii 3-11 is wanting in 77, 242, 324 (sixty-two cursive copies).

Marked Manuscripts

The passage is noted by an asterisk or obelus or other mark in Codd. MS, 4, 8, 14, 18, 24, 34 (with an explanatory note), 35, 83, 109, 125, 141, 148 (secunda manu), 156, 161, 166, 167, 178, 179, 189, 196, 198,201, 202, 219, 226, 230, 231 (secunda manu), 241, 246, 271, 274, 277, 284 ?, 285, 338, 348, 360, 361, 363, 376, 391 (secunda manu), 394, 407, 408, 413 (a row of commas), 422, 436, 518 (secunda manu), 534, 542, 549, 568, 575, 600. There are thus noted vers. 2-11 in E, 606: vers. 3-11 in Π (hait ver. 6), 128, 137, 147: vers 4-11 in 212 (with unique rubrical directions) and 355: with explanatory scholia appended in 164, 215, 262 3 (sixty-one cursives).

Speaking generally, copies which contain a commentary omit the paragraph, but Codd. 59-66, 503, 526, 536 are exceptions to this practice.

Manuscripts Including John 7:53-8:11

Scholz, who has taken unusual pains in the examination of this question, enumerates 290 cursives, others since his time forty-one more [i.e. 331 manuscripts], which contain the paragraph with no trace of suspicion, as do the uncials D F (partly defective) G H K U Γ (with a hiatus after στησαντες αυτην ver. 3): to which add Cod. 736 (see addenda) and the recovered Cod. 64, for which Mill on ver. 2 cited Cod. 63 in error.

Cod. 145 has it only secunda manu [i.e., written 'by a secondary (unknown) hand'], with a note that from ch. viii. 3 [onward to verse 11],
τουτο το κεφαλαιον εν πολλοις αντιγραφοις ου κειται .
[transl.: "this section in many copies is not found"]

The obelized Cod. 422 at the same place has in the margin by a more recent hand
εν τησιν αντιγραφης ουτως .
["...in some copies (it is) thus."]

The Farrar Group etc.

Codd. 1, 19, 20, 129, 135, 207 4, 215, 301, 347, 478, 604, 629, Evst. 86 contain the whole pericope at the end of the Gospel. Of these, Cod 1 in a scholium pleads its absence -
ως εν τοις πλειοσιν αντιγραφοις
["as in many ancient copies" ]
from (of) the commentaries of Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria, and Theodore of Mopsuestia;

While 135, 301 confess they found it ...
εν αρχαιοις αντιγραφοις
["in (the) ancient copies"] :

Codd. 20, 215, 559 are obelized at the end of the section, and have a scholium which runs in the text;

τα ωβελισμενα, κειμενα δε εις το τελος, εκ τωνδε ωδε την ακολουθιαν εχει

, and on the back of the last leaf of both copies
το υπερβατον το οπισθεν ζητουμενον .

Oddball Manuscripts

In Codd. 37, 102, 105, ch viii 3-11 alone is put at the end of the Gospel, which is all that 259 supplies, though its omission in the text begins at ch. vii. 53.

Cod. 237 on the contrary, omits only from ch. viii 3, but at the end inserts the whole passage from ch. vii.53:

In Cod. 478, ch. vii 53-viii 2 stands prima manu with an asterisk, the rest later.

Cod. 225 sets ch.vii. 53-viii.11 after ch. vii.36; in Cod 115, ch. viii.12 is inserted between ch. vii.52 and 53[!], and repeated again in its proper place.

Finally, Codd. 13, 69, 124, 346 (being Abbott's group), and 556 give the whole passage at the end of Luke xxi. 37 with John viii.1; and has ωρθριζε Luke xxi 38 with ορθρου at John vii. 2 5.

The Lectionary Evidence

In the lectionaries, as we have had to occasion to state before (Vol.I. p 81 note), this section was never read as a part of the lesson for Pentecost (John vii 37 - viii 12), but was reserved for the festivals of such saints as Theodora Sept. 18, or St. Pelagia Oct.8 (see Vol. I. p 87, notes 2 and 3), as also in Codd. 547, 604, and in many Service-books, whose Menology was not very full (e.g. 150, 189, 257,259), it would thus be omitted altogether. Accordingly, in that remarkable Lectionary, the Jerusalem Syriac, the lesson for Pentecost ends at ch. viii 2, the other verses (3-11) being assigned to St. Euphemia's day (Sept. 16).

The Syriac Version

Of the other versions, the paragraph is entirely omitted in the true Peshitto (being however inserted in printed books with the circumstances before stated under that version), in Cureton's Syriac, and in the Harkleian; though it appears in the Codex Barsalibaei, from which White appended it to the end of St. John: a Syriac note in this copy states that it does not belong to the Philoxenian, but was translated in A.D. 622 by Maras, Bishop of Amida. Maras, however, lived about A.D. 520, and a fragment of a very different version of the section, bearing his name, is cited by Assemani (Biblioth. Orient. ii 53) from the writings of Barsalibi himself (Cod. Clem.-Vat. Syr. 16).

Ridley's text bears much resemblance to that of de Dieu, as does a fourth version of ch. vii 53 - viii. 11 found by Adler (N.T. version. Syr., p 57) in a Paris codex, with the marginal annotation that this 'συνταξις ' is not in all the copies, but was interpreted into Syriac by the Abbot Mar Paulus.

Other Versions (Translations)

Of the other versions it is not found in the Sahidic, or in som of Wilkins' and all Schwartze's Bohairic copies 6, in the Gothic, Zohrab's Armenian from six ancient codices (but five very recont ones and Uscan's edition contain it), or in a f l (text) q of the Old Latin. In b the whole text from ch vii.44 to viii.12 has been wilfully erased, but the passage is found in c e (we have given them at large, pp.362-3), ff 7 g j l (margin), the Vulgate (even am. Fuld. For san. ), Ethiopic, Slavonic, Anglo-Saxon, Persic (but in a Vatican codex placed in ch. x), and Arabic.

The Early Greek Fathers

Of the fathers, Euthymius [xii], the first among the Greeks to mention the paragraph in its proper place, declares that
παρα τοις ακριβεσιν αντιγραφοις η ουξ ευρηται η ωβελισται διο φαινονται παρεγγραπτα και προσθηκη.

The Apostolic Constitutions [iii or iv] had plainly alluded to it, and Eusebius (Hist. Eccl.ii 39 fin.) had described from Papias[c. 150 A.D.], and as contained in the Gospel of the Hebrews, the story of a woman
επι πολλαις αμαρτιαις διαβληθεισην επι του κυριου ,
but did not at all regard it as Scripture.

Codd. K M too are the earliest which raise the number of τιτλοι [ - titloi, (short section "titles")] or larger κεφαλαια [ - kefalaia, "(section) headings"] in St. John from 18 to 19, by interpolating [into the TOC]
κεφ. I' - Περι της Μοιχαλιδος
- which soon found admittance into the mass of copies: e.g., Evan. 482.

The Latin Fathers

Among the Latins, as being in their old version, the narrative was more generally received for St. John's.

Jerome testifies that it was found in his time 'in multis et Graecis et Latinis codicibus; '

Ambrose cites it, and Augustine (de adult. Conjugiis, lib ii. c. 7) complains that,

'nonnulli modicae fidei, vel potius inimici verae fidei',
["those of little faith, or rather enemies of the true faith..."]
"removed it from their codices,..."
'credo metuentes peccandi impunitatem dari muleiribus suis...'
[ ...fearing I think, that liberty to sin with impunity is granted their wives...] 7


When to all these sources of doubt, and to so many hostile authorities, is added the fact that in no portion of the N.T. do the variations of manuscripts (of D beyond all the rest) and of other documents bear any sort of proportion, whether in number or extent, to those in these twelve verses (of which statement of full evidence may be seen in any collection of various readings) 8 , we cannot help admitting that if this section be indeed the composition of St. John, it has been transmitted to us under circumstances widely different from those connected with any other genuine passage of Scripture whatever." 9

Original Footnotes from book (reformatted):

1. Codd. A C are defective in this place, but by measuring the space we have shown (p. 99, note 2) that A does not contain the twelve verses and the same method applies to C. The reckoning, as McClellan remarks (N.T., p 723), 'does not preclude the possibility of small gaps having existed in A and C to mark the place of the Section, as in Λ and Δ.'

2. Yet Burgon's caution should be attended to:

'It is to mislead - rather it is to misrepresent the facts of the case - to say (with the critics) that Codex X leaves out the "pericope de adultera". This Codex is nothing else but a commentary on the Gospel, as the Gospel used to be read in public. Of necessity, therefore, it leaves out those parts of the Gospel which are observed not to have been publicly read'

(- Dean John Burgon, Guardian, Sept. 10, 1873).

3. The kindred copies Codd. L, 215 (20 has an asterisk only against the place), 262, &c., have the following scholium at ch vii 53:

"τα ωβελισμενα εν τισιν αντιγραφοις οι κειται, ουδε Απολλιναριω. εν δε τοις αρχαιοις κειηται μνημονευουσιν της περικοφης ταυς και οι αποστολοι, εν αις εξεθεντο διαταξεσιν εις οικοδμην της εκκλησιας "

The reference is to the Apostolic Constitutions (ii.24. 4) as Tischendorf perceives.

4. Yet so that the first hand of Cod. 207 recognizes it in the text, but setting in the margin,
" το δε λοιπον ζητει εις το τελος του βιβλιου"

( - Burgon, Guardian, Oct 1, 1873)

5. A learned friend suggests that, supposing the true place for this supplemental history to be yet in doubt, there would be this reason for the narrative to be set after Luke xxi, that a reader of the Synoptic Gospels would be aware of no other occasion when the Lord had to lodge outside the city: whereas with St. John's narrative before him, he would see that this was probably the usual lot of a late comer at the Feast of Tabernacles (ch. vii. 14).
Mr J Rendel Harris thinks that the true place for the pericope is between ch. v and ch. vi, as for other reasons which we cannot depend upon, so from our illustrating the mention of the Mosaic Law in ch. viii 5 by ch. v. 45, 46.

6. Yet on the whole this paragraph is found in more of Bp. Lightfoot's copies than would have been anticipated: viz. In the text of 3, 8, 14, 17, 18, 23, 24, in the margin of 1, and on a later leaf of 20. It is wanting in 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 19, 21, 25, 26.


'Similiter Nicon ejectam esse vult narrationem ab Armenis, blaberan
ειναι τοις πολλοις τεν τοιαντην
akroasin dicentibus.'

-Tischendorf ad loc.

Nicon lived in or about the tenth century, but Theophylact in the eleventh does not use the paragraph.

[ Hort also comments on Nicon, perhaps a little less cryptically, relaying the same observation with some comments of his own:]

"A Nicon who wrote a Greek tract On the impious religion of the vile Armenians (printed by Cotelier, Patr. Apost. on Const. Ap. l.c.), and has been with little probability identified with the Armenian Nicon of Cent. X, accuses the Armenians of rejecting Luke xxii 43 f. and this Section (Jn 7:53-8:11), as being "injurious for most persons to listen to": like much else in the tract, this can only be an attempt to find matter of reproach against a detested church in the difference of its national traditions from Constantinopolitan usage. "

- Hort, Introduction, Vol 2, Selected Notes p. 82-83

8. Notice especially the reading of 48, 64, 604, 736 (prima manu) in ver. 8:
εγραφεν εις την γην ενος εκαστου αυτων τας αμαρτιας
[He wrote in the ground a record of their sins]

9. We are not surprised in this instance at Dr. Hort's verdict (Introduction P.299):

'No interpolation is more clearly Western, though it is not Western of the earliest type.'

Dean Burgon has left amongst his papers an elaborate vindication of this passage, from which however the Editor cannot quote.

[ Burgon's masterpiece was unplubished at that time (1891). Burgon died in 1891, and his work was published post-humously by Edward Miller. Scrivener himself (who was the same age) died in 1894.
We have now put Burgon's final defense online here:

Dean Burgon on John 8:1-11
<== Click Here for Burgon. ]