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Birmingham Seminar: 'The Case of the Missing Adulteress'

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Joined: 24 May 2007
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Location: Birmingham

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 11:51 am    Post subject: Birmingham Seminar: 'The Case of the Missing Adulteress' Reply with quote #151

The Graduate Institute of Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham is hosting the following seminar in New Testament Textual Criticism:

‘The Singular Case of the Missing Adulteress’

Dr. Jennifer Wright Knust, Boston University

Wednesday 19 March 2008

2pm, Room 001 (Elmfield House, Selly Oak Campus)

Abstract: In their Introduction to The New Testament in the Original Greek, Westcott and Hort selected the pericope adulterae as a particularly striking case of textual corruption through interpolation. Although they conceded that the story traveled in apostolic circles, they nevertheless argued that it has no claim to the Gospel of John. Their solution was to place the passage in an appendix, inserted between John and Acts. Here they followed an example already set by Constantin von Tischendorf, who set it within the textual apparatus instead of the main text of John, and F.A. Scrivener, who printed the passage within the main text but set it apart by means of a small, darker Greek font. Modern critical editions have tended to follow suit, placing the passage in brackets or otherwise marking its derivative position within the Gospel. As I argue, however, the relegation of the passage to brackets, margins or an appendix obscures the manner in which gospel books were first transmitted, suggesting that a hypothetical “original text” can be recovered. No direct manuscript evidence of the pericope adulterae can be found prior to its appearance in Codex Bezae (ca. 400), but this does not prove that the story is an interloper, nor do the scant patristic references to it suggest the story’s explicit marginalization, as some have claimed. The interpolation of the pericope within the Gospel of John and its treatment by second- and third-century Christian authors are wholly consistent with the way in which gospel traditions were understood and transmitted. Thus, the pericope adulterae serves not as an example of textual corruption but as evidence of the dynamic character of “gospel” and the books that came to carry this name.

For more information, contact Dr. Helen Ingram at h.ingram@bham.ac.uk

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