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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 II: Adulteresses and their Opposites

(p.136) 4 Was the Pericope Adulterae Suppressed?
To Cast the First Stone

Jennifer Knust

Tommy Wasserman

Princeton University Press

This chapter addresses the possibility that the pericope adulterae was deleted rather than interpolated. Contemporary scholars have often suggested that the unusual history of the pericope adulterae can best be explained by its seemingly radical content. In a world where adultery on the part of women was heavily censured, this story may have pushed the limits of Christian mercy too far, especially since the earliest Christians were often accused of sexual misconduct. In addition, the woman showed no apparent signs of repentance. Nevertheless, outright deletion or intentional suppression are both highly improbable: scribes and scholars were trained never to delete, even when they doubted the authenticity of a given passage, and the widespread affection for stories about adulterous women across the ancient world belies the thesis that this story was censored.

Keywords:   pericope adulterae, adultery, censorship, Christian mercy, Christians, sexual misconduct, repentance, adulterous women

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