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To Cast the First Stone$
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Jennifer Knust and Tommy Wasserman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691169880

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691169880.001.0001

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Introduction: Loose Texts, Loose Women

Introduction: Loose Texts, Loose Women

(p.1) Introduction: Loose Texts, Loose Women
To Cast the First Stone

Jennifer Knust

Tommy Wasserman

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter provides a background of the pericope adulterae—the episode involving Jesus and a woman caught in adultery. The pericope adulterae boasts a long, complex history of reception and transmission, which, at least early on, placed it on the margins of Christian interpretation. Today the story is so widely known, so widely quoted, and so often alluded to in art, literature, film, and public discourse of all sorts that “throwing stones” serves as a cliché. Even so, the textual instability of the episode has not been forgotten, especially by biblical scholars, who continue to debate the implications of its unusual past. By now, most scholars have concluded that the pericope was not original to the Gospel; rather, it was added by a well-meaning interpolator at some later date, after the Gospel of John was already circulating.

Keywords:   pericope adulterae, Jesus, adultery, Christian interpretation, biblical scholars, Gospels, Gospel of John

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