Text added, yet still canonical?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by BrianT, Aug 11, 2003.

  1. BrianT

    BrianT
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    I came across the following footnote in the NAB (New American Bible (Catholic), not to be confused with the NASB), dealing with the story of the woman caught in adultery, John 7:53-8:11:

    "The story of the woman caught in adultery is a later insertion here, missing from all early Greek manuscripts. A Western text-type insertion, attested mainly in Old Latin translations, it is found in different places in different manuscripts: here, or after John 7:36 or at the end of this gospel, or after Luke 21:38, or at the end of that gospel. There are many non-Johannine features in the language, and there are also many doubtful readings within the passage. The style and motifs are similar to those of Luke, and it fits better with the general situation at the end of Luke 21:but it was probably inserted here because of the allusion to Jeremiah 17:13 (cf the note on John John 8:6) and the statement, "I do not judge anyone," in John 8:15. The Catholic Church accepts this passage as canonical scripture."

    I've bolded two parts that together present an interesting position: belief that the passage was *added* to scripture by someone other than John, yet still accepting it as canonical.

    Does this work? How does it affect "inspiration"? How does it affect trying to be faithful to the "original manuscripts"?

    Is the same sort of thing going on in Deuteronomy 34, where we accept Deut as being written by Moses, but another added text (which we accept as scripture) to the end of the book after he died?

    Brian
     
  2. Rev. Joshua

    Rev. Joshua
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    Brian,

    I was fortunate enough to take a course on the Gospel of John from Alan Culpepper, one of the foremeost living scholars on the Fourth Gospel. I specifically remember his comment on that story. "We don't know where it belongs, but it definitely doesn't belong there."

    Insertions, deletions, and editing may pose an issue for the verbal, plenary crowd; but they do not for me. The text as we have it represents the early Church's best understanding of the nature of the Christian community. Regardless of how it attained its shape at the time it was cannonized; the shape it had was consistent with their understanding of what it means to be a Christian.

    Joshua
     
  3. Dr. Bob

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    I have to [gulp] agree with Rev. Joshua and his position. Oh my.

    It may be inserted incorrectly, but I believe it probably does belong (in Luke) in the Bible and is inspired.

    Remember, MOST of the additions into the Greek are adding words like "Lord" to Jesus Christ, or "Christ" to Lord Jesus. It is used that way in previous verses and parallel passages, so such additions are not EVIL or WRONG. Just extra in that verse.
     
  4. BrianT

    BrianT
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    Interesting comments. So you guys think that trying to most accurately represent the 'originals' is maybe not the ultimate goal?

    What of verses like Prov 30:6 and Rev 22:18-19? I believe these passages refers primarily to both God's written and spoken words, and the book of Revelation respectively, but I think the priniciple generally applies to scripture as a whole.

    The two largest passages under question in the NT are John 7:53-8:11, and the ending of Mark. Are both these passages to be considered "scripture" even if they were added after the "original" Gospels were complete? Why or why not?
     
  5. HankD

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    If the Spirit of God added them then yes they are Scripture.

    HankD
     
  6. Johnv

    Johnv
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    If the passages in question were in place at the time the canon was set, then I'll accept them as a matter of faith, regardless of the origins.

    I don't think it's unbiblical to recognize that the passages may have been inserted after the original authorship.
     
  7. BrianT

    BrianT
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    Thanks for the very interesting thoughts. I'm surprised this thread didn't get more participation. [​IMG]
     
  8. aefting

    aefting
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    I've been out on vacation, otherwise I would have commented earlier.

    My view, based on the textual evidence (or lack thereof), is that this passage is on the same level as the Apocrypha -- interesting, maybe reliable, but not inspired.

    I like the following comments by Michael Marlowe:

    Andy
     
  9. DCK

    DCK
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    It is my belief that God intended Mark 16:9-20 and John 7:53-8:11 to be in the Bible, even if not original to those gospels. That, of course, cannot be proved; it's just my feeling on the matter.

    There is some evidence of editing and later additions in the Old Testament, and in fact a Jewish tradition ascribes this editing duty to Ezra. I'm not talking about wholesale redaction such as posited by the old documentary hypothesis, but merely a clarification here and there (Genesis 36:31 may be one example of this, and also the final chapter of Deuteronomy was probably added later). So, if editing could be done to the OT, presumably under inspiration, then the NT could also have been edited or added to in the same way. This would not violate authority or inerrancy, if it was done under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Once the canon was closed, no more additions could be made.
     

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