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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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Was the Pericope Adulterae Suppressed?

Was the Pericope Adulterae Suppressed?

Part I: Ancient Editorial Practice and the (Un)Likelihood of Outright Deletion

(p.96) 3 Was the Pericope Adulterae Suppressed?
To Cast the First Stone

Jennifer Knust

Tommy Wasserman

Princeton University Press

This chapter demonstrates that the outright deletion of a significant block of text like the pericope adulterae from a written Gospel book would be surprising, if not impossible: editorial and literary objections to textual deletion were common; manuscript evidence suggests that scribes preferred to preserve the texts they found in their exemplars, though they did omit or delete a few words here and there; and editors preferred to preserve earlier texts, even if portions of these texts were regarded as spurious. Editors and scholars discussed possible additions to texts, often at length, but they were deeply hesitant to remove these disputed passages. The chapter then considers the suppression theory, which was first articulated by Augustine of Hippo in the fifth century and then revived in the nineteenth century by New Testament scholars interested in explaining the story's early demise.

Keywords:   pericope adulterae, Gospel, textual deletion, suppression theory, Augustine of Hippo, New Testament

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