Thought for the Day – Woman taken in adultery

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Last week in her Thought for the Day the Rev. Lucy Winkert cited the New Testament story of Jesus being asked to adjudicate in the case of a woman caught in adultery. This text is traditionally read in church on the day Winkert  was speaking (26 February).

The Jewish law prescribed stoning to death in such a case, but Jesus asks the woman’s accusers to say which of them is without sin. None  answers, so Jesus refuses to condemn the woman and tells her to go away and sin no more, thereby no doubt saving her life.

It’s a good story so it’s a pity that it doesn’t seem to be authentic.   It’s only found in John (the latest of the four canonical gospels) and it isn’t there in the oldest texts; apparently it was inserted by mediaeval scribes (see Bart D. Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus).

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