John 7:53

John 7:53 [Textus Receptus (Elzevir) (1624)]336
Καὶ ἐπορεύθη ἕκαστος εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ.

MSS: E (f275v), G (f214vc1), K (f224v-225r)

John 7:53 [Codex Sinaiticus (א or 01) (4th century)]q80f6rc1
OMITTED. John 7:53-John 8:12

MSS: א, B, L (f220r), X (f19rc1)

John 7:53 [Codex Alexandrinus (A02) (5th century)]
2 leaves missing. John 6:50John 8:52

John 7:53 [Codex Vaticanus Gr. 1209 (B03) (4th century)]1361c3
OMITTED. John 7:53-John 8:12

John 7:53 [Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis (D05) (5th century)]133v|236
και επορευθησαν εκαστος εις τον οικον αυτου·

MSS: D, M (f224vc1)

Critical Apparatus :

(1) John 7:53 : D, E, G, K, M, Stephanus, Beza, Elzevir, [Tischendorf], [von Soden]
(2) OMIT John 7:53 : א, B, L, W, X, Y, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Westcott & Hort, Weiss,

(3) επορευθη : E, G, K, Stephanus, Beza, Elzevir,
(4) επορευθησαν : D, M, [Tischendorf], von Soden



A Textual Commentary On John 7:53

(a) And he (Papias) relates another story of a woman, who was accused of many sins before the Lord, which is contained in the Gospel according to the Hebrews.

Ἐκτέθειται δἑ και ἄλλην ἱστορίαν περὶ γυναικὸς ἐπὶ πολλαῖς ἁμαρτίαις διαβληθείσης ἐπὶ τοῦ Κυρίου, ήν το καθ’ Ἑβραίους Εὐαγγέλιον περιέχει (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. iii. 39)

(b) Westcott-Hort write in their very careful notes on the attestation of this famous pericope (it. p. 85) :

‘ In the whole range of Greek patristic literature before cent. (x. or) xii. there is but one trace of any knowledge of its existence, the reference to it in the Apestolic Constitutions, as an authority for the reception of penitents (associated with the cases of St. Matthew, St. Peter, St. Paul, and the αμαρτωλος γυνη of Lk 7:37), without, however, any indication of the book from which it was quoted.’

The Apostolic Constitutions, as is well known, rest on an older work, the Didascalia, preserved to us as yet only in Syriac, and partially in Latin. Strange to say, nobody as yet seems to have asked how it stands in this document with the attestation. Lagarde, in his edition of the Conititutions, placed on the margin the pages of his edition of the Didascaiia, and just there, where in the Conititutions the reference to this pericope begins (ii. 24 p. 49: ετεραν δε τινα ημαρτηκυιαν εστησαν), stands the reference to p. 31 of the Didascalta. Now a look into this source of the Constitutions shows that here the association, pointed out by Westcott-Hort, with the cases of Matthew, Peter, Paul, and the woman of Lk 7, is missing; here the woman of Jn 8 stands for herself. The whole connexion runs as follows : —

‘Therefore must thou, bishop, with all power thou canst, prescribe those that have not sinned, that they remain without sinning, and those that convert from sins thou must heal and receive. But if thou dost not receive him that converts, because thou art without mercy, thou sinnest against the Lord God, because thou obeyest not our Saviour and our God, to do, as also He did to her who sinned, whom the elders placed before Him and left the judgment in His hands, and went off. But He, the perceiver of hearts, asked her and said to her, Have the elders condemned thee. My daughter?She said to Him, No, Lord. And He said to her, Go ; nor do I condemn thee.
‘In this, iherefore, our Saviour and our King must be a goal to you, bishops, and Him ye must imitate,’ etc.

By a good fortune this very piece has been preserved in the Latin fragments of the Didascalia, discovered and edited by E. Hauler (Leipzig, 1900, p. 35); there it runs :—

‘ Si aulem penitentem, cum sis sine misericordia, non susciperis, peccabis in Dominum Deum, quoniam non es persuasus nec credidisti salvatori Deo nostro, ut faceres, sicut ille fecit in ea muliere, quae peccaverat, quam statuerunt presbyteri ante eum, et in eo ponentes iudicium exierunt. Scrutator autem cordis interrogabat eam, si condemnassent illam presbyteri. Cum autem dixisset < :  “Non,” dixit > ad eam : Vade ; nec ego te condemno.
‘Hunc salvalorem, regem et dominum nostrum, o episcope, prospectorem vobis habere oportet et eius imitatores esse,’ etc.

It is interesting to compare these three recensions (Syriac, Latin, Greek of the Constitutions) with each other and with the Greek texts in the Gospel MSS. One touch is peculiar to the Syriac ; that Jesus addressing her directly (as in the Gospel), calls her ‘My daughter’ ( = ‘daughter,’ θυγατερ, as in Mt 9:22, etc.).
It is not my intention to enter more fully into the question about this story ; it seems only worth while to refer to the Didascalia, because hitherto always the Constitutions have been mentioned as the oldest reference in the whole range of Greek literature.
(Eb. Nestle, THE EXPOSITORY TIMES, vol. 13, October 1901-September 1902, pp. 94-95)



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