Friday, April 15, 2016

New Book: The Pericope of the Adulteress in Contemporary Research

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http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/the-pericope-of-the-adulteress-in-contemporary-research-9780567665799/
Finally, the book from the Pericope of the Adulteress Symposium is out (see here), and I am happy to have contributed with a chapter, “The Strange Case of the Missing Adulteress.” This is an expensive book, but a more affordable paperbook will be published in due course.

Publisher’s description: 

The contributors to this volume (J.D. Punch, Jennifer Knust, Tommy Wasserman, Chris Keith, Maurice Robinson, and Larry Hurtado) re-examine the Pericope Adulterae (John 7.53-8.11) asking afresh the question of the paragraph’s authenticity. Each contributor not only presents the reader with arguments for or against the pericope’s authenticity but also with viable theories on how and why the earliest extant manuscripts omit the passage.

Readers are encouraged to evaluate manuscript witnesses, scribal tendencies, patristic witnesses, and internal evidence to assess the plausibility of each contributor’s proposal. Readers are presented with cutting-edge research on the pericope from both scholarly camps: those who argue for its originality, and those who regard it as a later scribal interpolation. In so doing, the volume brings readers face-to-face with the most recent evidence and arguments (several of which are made here for the first time, with new evidence is brought to the table), allowing readers to engage in the controversy and weigh the evidence for themselves.

Read more about the book on Larry Hurtado’s blog. On behalf of the editors, I asked Larry to write a response chapter and I am glad that he accepted to do it.

19 comments :

  1. I presume one new thing about this book would be two robust arguments for the originality of the passage. Anything else new?

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  2. Peter M Head,
    On the premise that it will reflect the conference, there will be some relevant new data from Old Latin breves.

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  3. I attended the conference and enjoyed it. Excellent presentations and discussions. I only wish the book had been published in a less expensive format. The Amazon listing of the US price is $67.19 for the kindle edition and $106.46 for the hardcover. Frowns. The 2008 book edition of the SEBTS conference on the ending of Mark was printed by B & H Academic at a very reasonable price. Wish this one was more accessible.

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  4. Tommy,
    Why was there no extra chapter by an author who favors the genuineness of the passage? Hurtado was Keith's supervisor for Keith's thesis on the PA so it's not hard to foresee that Hurtado will come to the subject as a player on Team Inauthentic, not as a referee.

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  5. James, at the actual conference, I think Team Authentic, including at least one of the editors of the book, were in an overwhelming majority. And the organizers (I think in dialogue with Maurice Robinson) invited the contributors to the conference at SEBTS, all of which had published on the pericope in academic contexts. Then, I proposed to the editors, in order to increase the quality of the publication, to ask an established text-critic to write a response essay (I proposed Larry Hurtado). Moreover, scholars who defend the authenticity of the PA are few in number, as you know. I don't know whom we should have asked to write a response essay.

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  6. Jeff, I remember seeing you there, and I am glad that you enjoyed the conference. There will certainly be a more affordable paperback out in due course, and probably an E-book.

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  7. Tommy: "Moreover, scholars who defend the authenticity of the PA are few in number, as you know. I don’t know whom we should have asked to write a response essay."

    John Paul Heil immediately comes to mind. And yes, I do think it would have been highly preferable to have had two response articles by non-participants, one favoring and one opposing PA authenticity.

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  8. Well, Maurice, I only suggested to the editors, your colleague D.A. Black and assistant, that someone write a response essay, and, in fact, I now remember that the main reason was that the book was too short. In any case, all the contributors (including you and me) were asked in an e-mail about this in advance, before Hurtado was contacted, and everyone gave their go I suppose. Then I also see that the editors were rather specific about what they wanted covered in that response.

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  9. Tommy,

    As I correctly recall, Gail O’Day — not exactly an "established text-critic" or text-critical specialist, but one who has written on the PA in the past — originally was asked by the editors to be a respondent and she initially accepted, but later declined; only after that point was Hurtado selected, apparently on your recommendation. Beyond that, so far as I know, no additional suggestions were sought or offered by the editors (who themselves could have provided a good response but for whatever reason chose not to do so).

    For the sake of completion, however, let me provide two comments from John Paul Heil that might prefigure whatever pro-authenticity response he could have written:

    "Based on the internal evidence the story of Jesus and the adulteress ... fits perfectly well within its narrative context in John’s gospel. There are explicit linguistic links of vocabulary and style as well as thematic literary links between the story and the Johannine narrative. The story contributes to rather than detracts from the narrative flow in John 7-8. It is our hope that this reconsideration of the internal evidence may lead to a reconsideration of the external textual evidence" (Biblica 72 [1991] 191).

    "After examining his [Wallace’s] objections and the new evidence that they raise, we remain convinced that 7:53-8:11 fits nicely within the Fourth Gospel in its primary location in the manuscript tradition. Indeed, the masterfully dramatic story adeptly contributes to rather than disrupts the narrative flow in John 7-8” (Église et Théologie 25 [1994] 361-366).

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  10. Dear Maurice, it was my idea to (a) have someone write a response essay; and (b) ask Larry Hurtado, to which everyone agreed. As for Gail O’Day she was asked to write the foreword, not the response.

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  11. Tommy, that does not comport with what I recall, especially since it would have been expected that the editors would write the foreword (which they did). But obviously no need further to discuss what didn't happen, especially when such strays from the point regarding a balanced set of responses both favoring and opposing PA authenticity.

    If the conference participants were selected so as to be representative of both positions, it would seem that the same consideration should have been given to subsequent responses by conference non-participants (and that's really all I have to say on that issue).

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  12. The editors did not write the foreword:

    http://imgur.com/dmSIAEo

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    1. Minor correction then: the longer Preface and Introduction as opposed to the shorter Foreword. (I have not yet received my copy of the volume, so can't speak specifically to those issues).

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  13. Maurice, for the record: one of the editors confirmed what I said, Gail O' Day was asked to write a Foreword, accepted but then declined. Gary Burge was asked instead.

    Secondly, all the contributors were asked about the idea to have a response essay by Hurtado and no one objected. I assume, you could then have proposed than an alternative or additional scholar wrote a response. That was nothing that I thought of, and, further, I am not one of the editors. In fact, they are closer to you, at least D. A. Black at your institution. When I think about it, it would have been nice if John Paul Heil, or better, Gail O' Day had been invited to the actual symposium at SEBTS in the first place, but I wasn't the organizer either.

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    1. Tommy,

      For the record, both Heil and Dan Wallace were invited (by me) to participate in the Symposium; they both declined for various reasons.

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  14. Thanks Maurice, I didn't know that.

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  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  16. Here is a site dedicated to JOHN 8:1-11 by a Christian who defends the authenticity of the PA.This website is an excellent educational resource and any information can be used and reproduced as long as the use of the information complies with the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Canada License, AND that you PRAY for the person who did all this incredible work for free (self taught too) :) A labour of love. http://pa-john.freehostia.com/

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  17. There are many able self taught text critics out there. For example, I recommend Wieland Willker’s excellent textual commentaries, or Robert Waltz's Encyclopedia of Textual Criticism. However, I would be very cautious about the website just mentioned, pa-john.freehostia.com. It suffices to look at the “opponents” area and look at the way various scholars’ work on the pericope are characterized to raise the red flag.

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