' NCCG.ORG, FAQ 360. The John 8 Pericope: Does It Disprove the Luni-Solar Sabbath?
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    FAQ 360
    The John 8 Pericope
    Does It Disprove the Luni-Solar Sabbath?

    Q. John 7:37 speaks of "the last and greatest day of the feast [of Sukkot]", or Shemini Atseret, which is a Sabbath. John 8:2 speaks of dawn the next day and John 9:13,16 says that this next say is the Sabbath. If Shemini Atseret is a sabbath day and the day after is a sabbath day too, does this not disprove the Creation Calendar and luni-solar Sabbath teaching which says that Shemini Atseret was a regular sabbath and not an added extra 'High' Sabbath?

    A. On the face of it, what you say appears to be a correct interpretation. Unfortunately for this hypothesis, it has been well established that John 7:53-8:11 (the account of the woman caught in adultery) is a later interpolation, along with a parallel interpolation in Luke but in a different place chronologically, and was not originally an organic part of the Gospel of John [1]. Deborah Peterson comments:

      "The evidence [for an interpolation] includes:

      • 1. The story is missing from all the Greek manuscripts of John before the fifth century;

      • 2. All the earliest church fathers omit this passage in commenting on John and pass directly from John 7:52 to John 8:12;

      • 3. In fact, the text flows very nicely from 7:52 to 8:12 if you leave out the story and just read the passage as though the story were not there;

      • 4. No Eastern church father cites the passage before the tenth century when dealing with this Gospel;

      • 5. When the story starts to appear in manuscript copies of the Gospel of John, it shows up in three different places other than here (after 7:36; 7:44; and 21:25), and in one manuscript of Luke, it shows up after 21:38; and

      • 6. Its style and vocabulary is more unlike the rest of John's Gospel than any other paragraph in the Gospel.

      "This is also the reason many Bibles either only include those verses in a footnote or mention in the footnote that the verses weren't in the original and most reliable manuscripts.

      "From what I've read [2], it seems that they believe it was a story shared by word of mouth in the community of the believers for a long time and an attempt was later made to add it to the gospels while they were being copied (and this would explain why the story was placed in different points both in the Manuscripts of John that contained them, and also the manuscript of Luke).

      "Many believe it may have been/was a true event in Yah'shua's (Jesus') life, but not an organic part of the text and timeline, but rather a separate story or event that was inserted at that point (in at least one of the manuscripts).

      "When we put John 7:53-8:11 aside as a separate event (and time) that was inserted at a later point and not a part of the original text, passing directly from John 7:52 to John 8:12 like the original/earliest manuscripts were, we see a different timeline (as verse 7:53&54, that seems to end and start new days, fall away). The events then show that Yah'shua's (Jesus') statements about being the Light of the world and being before Abraham were made on that last day of the feast, while He was still at the temple, but after the people's debate as to whether He was a prophet or not. So it was that same day that He was chased out of the temple for saying He was before Abraham, and it was while avoiding the people that he healed the blind man. This confirms, in fact, both that Shemini Atseret or the Last Great Day was a Shabbat and harmonises with the Creation Calendar model." [3]

    Does the fact that John 7:52-8:12 was added later indicate:

    • 1. The account of the woman caught in adultery was fiction;
    • 2. The Gospel of John is uninspired; or
    • 3. Shemini Atseret is a Talmudic invention?

    In my opinion, the answer to all three questions is No. However, modern versions are correct in questioning its placement since we do not know where in the actual timeline of Yah'shua's (Jesus') ministry the account of the adulterous woman fits. In my view, emet (truth) and scriptural harmony would be best served by the pericope being appended at the end of the Gospel of John as an authentic event which some later copyists, long after the event, unwisely tried to paste into the main body of John's evangel without knowing where to actually put it. Doing so makes the events of John 7-9 more logical and preserves the otherwise flawless harmony of the Creation Calendar throughout the rest of Scripture.

    Endnotes

    [1] John Piper, Neither Do I Condemn You
    [2] Daniel B. Wallace, My Favorite Passage thatís Not in the Bible; J.P.Harding, Is John 8 Genuine?; Dave Ginter, Bibleís Accuracy: Does John 8ís story of the Adulterous Woman belong in the Bible?
    [3] Deborah Peterson, Email to the author, 3 January 2013

    This page was created on 3 January 2013
    Last updated on 3 January 2013

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