Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Jenny Knust and Tommy Wasserman's Breakthrough in Pericope Adulterae Research—Chris Keith
"The account is lacking in the best Greek manuscripts. . . . No Greek Church father for 1,000 years after Christ refers to the pericope as belonging to the fourth Gospel, including even those who, like Origen, Chrysostom, and Nonnus . . . dealth with the entire Gospel verse by verse. Euthymius Zigabenus, who lived in the first part of the twelfth century, is the first Greek writer to comment on the passage." (319-20, 4th ed.).
In the commentaries on the Fourth Gospel that treat John 7:53-8:11, you very regularly find some version of this statement about Euthymius in the 12th century. I'm happy to say that in my 2009 monograph I disagreed with Metzger's claim on the basis of the sixth-century Syriac Chronicle of Zacharias Rhetor (translatedfrom a fifth-century Greek text) and Nicon (possibly tenth century). Knust goes further in challenging Metzger: "Yes, prior to the twelfth-century the passage was overlooked in Byzantine homilies and commentaries, but somehow, and for some unstated reason, the pericope adulterae became important enough that it was granted its own, unique chapter." In short, most Byzantine manuscripts have an 18-chapter version of the Gospel of John, but a minority add a 19th chapter in order to include the story of the adulteress. These manuscripts themselves are later, but three manuscripts in Family 1 (1 [12 cent. in NA28], 565 [9th cent.], 1582 [948 CE]) have a scribal note that states that (1) most manuscripts do not have the kephalaion about the adulteress, (2) John Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria, and Theodore of Mopsuestia do not mention the story, and (3) it is found in a few manuscripts, and in these it is in the 86th Ammonian section after John 7:52. In light of the uniform nature of the comment, the particular fathers mentioned, and the possibility that the 10th-century scribe of 1582 had access to the library of Caesarea (argued by Amy Anderson), as well as some supporting evidence from Eusebius' scribal practices, Knust concludes that it is possible to date a 19-chapter Greek Gospel of John that includes the kephalaion of the adulteress to the fifth century CE. Independently of this, however, the kephalaia, as a para-textual reference system, demonstrates conclusively that Greek scribal authorities "commented on" the Pericope Adulterae prior to the 12th century.
Jenny Knust and Tommy Wasserman have just re-written Bruce Metzger.