Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Is the story of the woman being stoned for adultery in John 7-8 authentic?

Here’s the leading conservative New Testament scholar Daniel Wallace to explain.

Excerpt:

One hundred and forty years ago, conservative biblical scholar and Dean of Canterbury, Henry Alford, advocated a new translation to replace the King James Bible. One of his reasons was the inferior textual basis of the KJV. Alford argued that “a translator of Holy Scripture must be…ready to sacrifice the choicest text, and the plainest proof of doctrine, if the words are not those of what he is constrained in his conscience to receive as God’s testimony.” He was speaking about the Trinitarian formula found in the KJV rendering of 1 John 5:7–8. Twenty years later, two Cambridge scholars came to the firm conclusion that John 7:53–8:11 also was not part of the original text of scripture. But Westcott and Hort’s view has not had nearly the impact that Alford’s did.

For a long time, biblical scholars have recognized the poor textual credentials of the story of the woman caught in adultery (John 7:53–8:11). The evidence against its authenticity is overwhelming: The earliest manuscripts with substantial portions of John’s Gospel (P66 and P75) lack these verses. They skip from John 7:52to 8:12. The oldest large codices of the Bible also lack these verses: codex Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, both from the fourth century, are normally considered to be the most important biblical manuscripts of the NT extant today. Neither of them has these verses. Codex Alexandrinus, from the fifth century, lacks several leaves in the middle of John. But because of the consistency of the letter size, width of lines, and lines per page, the evidence is conclusive that this manuscript also lacked the pericope adulterae. Codex Ephraemi Rescriptusalso from the fifth century, apparently lacked these verses as well (it is similar to Alexandrinus in that some leaves are missing). The earliest extant manuscript to have these verses is codex Bezae, an eccentric text once in the possession of Theodore Beza. He gave this manuscript to the University of Cambridge in 1581 as a gift, telling the school that he was confident that the scholars there would be able to figure out its significance. He washed his hands of the document. Bezae is indeed the most eccentric NT manuscript extant today, yet it is the chief representative of the Western text-type (the text-form that became dominant in Rome and the Latin West).

When P66, P75, Sinaiticus, and Vaticanus agree, their combined testimony is overwhelmingly strong that a particular reading is not authentic. But it is not only the early Greek manuscripts that lack this text. The great majority of Greek manuscripts through the first eight centuries lack this pericope. And except for Bezae (or codex D), virtually all of the most important Greek witnesses through the first eight centuries do not have the verses. Of the three most important early versions of the New Testament (Coptic, Latin, Syriac), two of them lack the story in their earliest and best witnesses. The Latin alone has the story in its best early witnesses.

Even patristic writers seemed to overlook this text. Bruce Metzger, arguably the greatest textual critic of the twentieth century, argued that “No Greek Church Father prior to Euthymius Zigabenus (twelfth century) comments on the passage, and Euthymius declares that the accurate copies of the Gospel do not contain it” (Textual Commentary, 2nd ed., loc. cit.).

It is an important point to note that although the story of the woman caught in adultery is found in most of our printed Bibles today, the evidence suggests that the majority of Bibles during the first eight centuries of the Christian faith did not contain the story. Externally, most scholars would say that the evidence for it not being an authentic part of John’s Gospel is rock solid.

But textual criticism is not based on external evidence alone; there is also the internal evidence to consider. This is comprised of two parts: intrinsic evidence has to do with what an author is likely to have written;transcriptional evidence has to do with how and why a scribe would have changed the text.

Intrinsically, the vocabulary, syntax, and style look far more like Luke than they do John. There is almost nothing in these twelve verses that has a Johannine flavor. And transcriptionally, scribes were almost always prone to add material rather than omit it—especially a big block of text such as this, rich in its description of Jesus’ mercy. One of the remarkable things about this passage, in fact, is that it is found in multiple locations. Most manuscripts that have it place it in its now traditional location: between John 7:52 and 8:12. But an entire family of manuscripts has the passage at the end of Luke 21, while another family places it at the end of John’s Gospel. Other manuscripts place it at the end of Luke or in various places in John 7.

The pericope adulterae has all the earmarks of a pericope that was looking for a home. It took up permanent residence, in the ninth century, in the middle of the fourth gospel.

Wallace teaches at the ultra-conservative fundamentalist Dallas Theological Seminary, and is the foremost evangelical manuscript expert in the world.

Why is this important? I think it is important because this story is very prominent for a great many Christians, especially Christian women, who use this to justify a variety of positions that are inconsistent with the rest of the Bible. These Christians do not like the idea of anyone being judged and so they are naturally inclined to blow this disputed passage into an entire theology that repudiates making moral judgments on such things as capital punishment. In fact, in another post, I was accused of being the equivalent of one of the people who wanted to stone the woman taken for adultery because I oppose fornication and single motherhood. That’s how far this has gone, where some Christians, especially Christian feminists, have leveraged this passage to redefine the Bible so that women are no longer responsible to the Bible’s moral rules and can never be blamed for acting irresponsibly.

Is WK a big liberal?

As this debate between Peter Williams and Bart Ehrman shows, there are only TWO disputed passages in the entire NT that are theologically significant. The long ending of Mark and this adultery passage. A good case can be made for the long ending of Mark, but it’s best not to assume it in a debate. The adultery passage is difficult to defend as authentic. Dr. Wallace talks about both passages in this Parchment & Pen article (reclaimingthemind.org). Wallace has also debated Bart Ehrman in the Greer-Heard Forum. What that debate showed is that the New Testament text is actually quite reliable except for those two passages, but it’s important to be honest about the two places that are not well supported.

The other other NT passages that are a concern are the earthquake passage and the guard story in Matthew. I think that the earthquake is apocalyptic language and the guard is more likely historical than not.

For a closer look at what the Bible says about capital punishment, look here.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gay New Jersey waitress hate crime revealed to be a hoax

NBC News reports:

Excerpt:

After a gay server at a New Jersey restaurant said a customer denied her a tip and wrote her a hateful note on the receipt, a local family contacted NBC 4 New York and said their receipt shows they paid a tip and didn’t write any such note.

Dayna Morales, a former Marine and a server at Gallop Asian Bistro in Bridgewater, posted a photo on Facebook earlier this month, showing the bill with a line through the space for a tip. The photo of the receipt showed someone had written, “I’m sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle.”

Morales indicated in her Facebook post, and in subsequent media interviews — including with NBC 4 New York — that the customer wrote that line.

But a family contacted NBC 4 New York claiming their receipt from the restaurant shows they did leave a tip, and provided what they said was a credit card statement as proof.

The husband and wife, who asked to remain anonymous, showed NBC 4 New York a receipt that appeared to be printed at the same minute, on the same date, for the same $93.55 total, except with an $18 tip.

They also provided a document they said was a Visa bill, which appears to indicate their card was charged for the meal plus the tip, for a total of $111.55.

The couple told NBC 4 New York that they believed their receipt was used for a hoax. The wife says she is left-handed and could not have made the slash in the tip line, which she said looks to be drawn from the right.

“We’ve never not left a tip when someone gave good service, and we would never leave a note like that,” the wife said.

The husband said he and his wife have both worked in restaurants and believe in the value of tipping, and noted that he didn’t vote for Gov. Chris Christie because the governor doesn’t support gay marriage.

“Never would a message like that come from us,” he said.

Morales told NBC 4 New York on Monday that she was certain she did not receive a tip, and insisted the handwriting on the receipt was not hers. When asked if there had been some sort of misunderstanding, she said, “I don’t know, all I know is what I’ve been saying.”

A manager and the restaurant owner insisted they had the original ticket for the $93.55 charge, but would not produce the receipt for NBC 4 New York and could not explain why the family’s credit card was charged for more.

This is actually not the first time that the left has faked hate crimes against itself. Here is a fairly recent article by respected writer David Freddoso that catalogs over a dozen recent hate crime hoaxes by the political left.

My favorites:

2013: Award-winning liberal blogger and 28-year-old University of Wyoming student Meg Lanker Simons goes on trial in October for allegedly anonymously threatening herself with rape on Facebook, then lying to police about it.

2012: A Montana man admitted he’d made up a story about being attacked because he was gay. He was embarrassed that he’d hurt himself doing a backflip outside a Missoula bar, so he made up an attack.

2012: Aimee Whitchurch and Kristel Conklin threatened themselves by painting their home with anti-gay graffiti and hanging a noose on their door, then reported the incident and insinuated that their neighbors were responsible. They pleaded guilty and got off the hook with 12 months’ probation and community service.

2012: Olivia McRae and Tanasia Linton, two students at Montclair State University in New Jersey, reported that racist graffiti had been scrawled on their door. Days later, they were charged with making a false report, accused of writing the message themselves.

2012: Alexandra Pennell, a student at Central Connecticut State University, claimed to have received threatening anti-gay messages. When it was discovered she’d sent them to herself, she was expelled and barred from all state universities for five years.

2011-12: Khalilah Ford was expelled from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside for an especially frightening hoax that reportedly prompted some students to drop out of school from fear. She circulated an anonymously penned list of black students with a threat that they’d be dead soon, including herself on the hit-list. A second student, Janet Uppman, was also expelled for writing a racial epithet on a white board as part of the hoax. Both hoaxers got off easy — they were issued tickets for $400.

2011: UNC-Chapel Hill freshman Quinn Matney claimed to have been branded with a hot object by someone who called him an anti-gay slur. In fact, the wound was self-inflicted. When friends noticed it, he made up the story out of embarrassment to explain the injury. A friend, believing he’d actually been attacked, urged him to report it to police, and he did.

2008: Elmhurst College student Safia Jilani claimed to have been attacked in a bathroom by a masked gunman and to have had her locker marked with a swastika, both because of her Islamic faith. At the time, her report caused a campus lockdown. She was later indicted for making a false report.

2007: Colorado University student Alta Rae Merkling claimed to have been attacked by a group of men who cut an “X” into her face, shouting, “X marks the f*ggot!” She was later charged with filing a false report.

2007: Case Western Reserve statistics Prof Ramani Sri Pilla mailed hate letters to herself and then falsely accused her co-workers to the FBI — apparently an attempt to bolster a racial discrimination lawsuit she was bringing against her university. She got six months in prison and must pay the costs of the investigation — $66,000.

2004: Claremont Professor Kerri Dunn slashed her own tires, and broke her own windows, and vandalized her own car with anti-semitic messages. An activist who constantly inveighed against hate, she had been seen vandalizing her own car by two random people in the parking lot. She ended up being sentenced to a year in prison for insurance fraud and was forced to repay $19,000.

He provides links to all the stories exposing the hate crimes as hoaxes.

The political left is always interested in lying in order to portray themselves as helpless victims, while normal, healthy, moral people are portrayed as evil, vindictive bigots. Famous cases like the Matthew Shepard murder and the Jamie Leigh Jones rape have been revealed to be misrepresented by the political left. The reason why these tactics work is because people on the political right still care about being good and just, and so they are easily bullied into acceptance of things we disagree with, like binge drinking and promiscuity. The hoaxes are always trumpeted loudly as fact by the liberal media. The retractions come months or years later, after the elections are done.

UPDATE: Linked by Blazing Cat Fur, who linked to this list of 32 hate crime hoaxes.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Woman raped at gunpoint in “gun free zone” on university campus

CNS News reports.

Excerpt:

Recently, Revealing Politics released a video of Colorado Rep. Joe Salazar arguing that college women don’t need guns to prevent rape because they can use whistles, “safe zones”, and call boxes instead. His theory behind this was that just because women feel they’re going to be raped, doesn’t mean it’s actually going to happen.

On Wednesday, NRA News Radio Host Cam Edwards interviewed Amanda Collins, a woman who was raped at the University of Nevada at gun point in a gun free zone. The brave woman responds to the comments made by Rep. Joe Salazar.

“It is so frustrating. I wish I could sit down with each one of these policy makers and have a face-to-face conversation with them and tell them my story, especially the representative out of Colorado who made the comment that he did on Friday – I have it in front of me. He said, ‘It’s why we have call boxes, it’s why we have safe zones, it’s why we have whistles.’ And, I can just go through and argue each one of those statements with the experience that I had.

“For one, all of these are just sentiments that give a false sense of security. In my experience, I know that. The university that I attended, the University of Nevada, Reno, they didn’t have any call boxes the night that I was attacked, they afterwards they installed them. I can tell you that a call box above my head while I was straddled on the parking garage floor being brutally raped wouldn’t have helped me one bit. The safe zones? Well I was in a safe zone and my attacker didn’t care,” said Collins.

Edwards asks, “What do you mean you were in a safe zone?”

“The campuses are designated as a safe zone, or as I take it, a gun free zone. All it does is ensure the perpetrator that they are going to be unmatched when they pick a victim”, Collins responds.

“You were attacked in what would be considered a safe zone, I’m assuming. You were within sight of the campus police department.”

“Right. I’m going to share something this afternoon that I haven’t shared before, and that is that knowing that I could see the police cruisers less than 50 feet away from me where from where I was being attacked- the moment I saw those cruisers I knew no one was coming for me”, she replied.

Here’s Dr. John R. Lott to explain why gun-free zones should really be called “helpless victim zones”.

Excerpt:

Contrary to public perception, Western Europe, most of whose countries have much tougher gun laws than the United States, has experienced many of the worst multiple-victim public shootings. Particularly telling, all the multiple-victim public shootings in Western Europe have occurred in places where civilians are not permitted to carry guns. The same is true in the United States: All the public shootings in which more than three people have been killed have occurred in places where civilians may not legally bring guns.

Look at recent history. Where have the worst K–12 school shootings occurred? Nearly all of them in Europe. The very worst one occurred in a high school in Erfurt, Germany, in 2002, where 18 were killed. The second-worst took place in Dunblane, Scotland, in 1996, where 16 kindergartners and their teacher were killed. The third-worst, with 15 dead, happened in Winnenden, Germany. The fourth-worst was in the U.S. — Columbine High School in 1999, leaving 13 dead. The fifth-worst, with eleven murdered, occurred in Emsdetten, Germany.

It may be a surprise to those who believe in gun control that Germany was home to three of the five worst attacks. Though not quite as tight as the U.K.’s regulations, Germany’s gun-control laws are some of the most restrictive in Europe. German gun licenses are valid for only three years, and to obtain one, the person must demonstrate such hard-to-define characteristics as trustworthiness, and must also convince authorities that he needs a gun. This is on top of prohibitions on gun ownership for those with mental disorders, drug or alcohol addictions, violent or aggressive tendencies, or felony convictions.

The phenomenon is not limited to school attacks. Multiple-victim public shootings in general appear to be at least as common in Western Europe as they are here. The following is a partial list of attacks since 2001. As mentioned, all of them occurred in gun-free zones — places where guns in the hands of civilians are outlawed.

Dr. Lott then lists about two dozen incidents – all occurring in gun free zones. The only reliable way to defend yourself against a criminal is to defend yourself yourself. The only people who oppose self-defense are the people who think that only criminals should have guns – not law-abiding citizens. Gun control supporters don’t care if law-abiding people are raped, killed, robbed or tortured. They are more concerned about criminals – they don’t want the criminals to be scared or hurt when they are raping, stealing and killing their law-abiding victims.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Man shoots robbery suspect to protect his 2-year-old son

Here’s a local news story from Columbus, Ohio about gun violence.

Excerpt:

A Columbus man said that he fought back when a man tried to rob him at gunpoint in west Columbus Monday night.

Kelby Smith, 34, told police he was in the driveway of the home on Crescent Drive just before 9 p.m. when he was approached by a robber.

Smith said that he had his 2-month-old in a car carrier and had to shield him from the robber who held a gun at Smith’s head.

The suspect took Smith’s money and started to flee the scene as he pointed the gun back at Smith and his child.

That’s when Smith pulled out his own gun and fired at the robber.

The robber continued to run, but police said that a man fitting his description arrived at Mount Carmel West a short time later with a gunshot wound.

Authorities said Smith does have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, and they believe he was trying to defend himself.

Police are continuing to investigate, but the man at the hospital could face charges if it’s determined he is the robbery suspect.

Smith and his child were uninjured in the robbery.

Right now, the Democrats are going to be pushing for restrictions on guns, but it’s important to understand what guns are most commonly used for. For every one school shooting, there are hundreds of thousands of cases where guns are used for self-defense. If you are a leftist who believes in banning guns, ask yourself what would have happened if that legally-owned gun had not been there in this story. What should the victim do when confronted with a criminal? What I hear from leftists when I ask that question is that they think that criminals have more rights to commit crimes than law-abiding people have to defend themselves. That’s their view, although they usually don’t come out and say it. For people on the left, those who have property and wealth didn’t get it by working, and so it can be stolen from them. Law-abiding people have no right to upset the poor criminals by defending themselves.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Woman uses gun to defend herself and her children from home intruder

From WSB-TV in Georgia. (H/T Pro-Existence)

Excerpt:

A woman hiding in her attic with children shot an intruder multiple times before fleeing to safety Friday.

The incident happened at a home on Henderson Ridge Lane in Loganville around 1 p.m. The woman was working in an upstairs office when she spotted a strange man outside a window, according to Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman. He said she took her 9-year-old twins to a crawlspace before the man broke in using a crowbar.

But the man eventually found the family.

“The perpetrator opens that door. Of course, at that time he’s staring at her, her two children and a .38 revolver,” Chapman told Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh.

The woman then shot him five times, but he survived, Chapman said. He said the woman ran out of bullets but threatened to shoot the intruder if he moved.

“She’s standing over him, and she realizes she’s fired all six rounds. And the guy’s telling her to quit shooting,” Chapman said.

[...]In February, Slater was arrested on simple battery charges, according to the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office. He has been arrested six other times in the county since 2008.

And here’s what makes this story interesting to me:

Kavanaugh was the first reporter at the scene as deputies investigated. The victim’s husband told Kavanaugh he’s proud of his wife. He was on the phone with her as the intruder broke in.

“My wife is a hero. She protected her kids. She did what she was supposed to do as responsible, prepared gun owner,” Donnie Herman said.

He said he’s thankful for his family’s safety.

“Her life is saved, and her kids’ life is saved, and that’s all I’d like to say,” Herman said.

I think that this last part is important. I have many reasons for being cautious about marriage in a time like this. Marriage is a particular thing and there are certain jobs that men and women need to perform in the marriage. Society can either support them or hinder them in those roles. Married men are supposed to be protectors, providers and moral/spiritual leaders in the home, but some laws and policies can hinder their ability to do those roles. For example, high tax rates prevent men from providing, by decreasing economic growth and decreasing take-home pay. Similarly, laws that regulate, ban and criminalize self-defense deter marriage-minded men from marrying. In the UK, homeowners are regularly arrested, tried and convicted for defending their property and family from criminals.

If I were to get married, I need to be able to defend my family. That means owning weapons and being legally protected to use them. Although gun regulations and bans are very popular with single women, I think that this is just another areas where single women need to change their view. Single women have to understand that marriage is a lot more complicated than “happily ever after”. There are specific tasks to perform in marriage. Each parent is suited to different tasks. Single women need to change their views to support policies that are marriage-friendly.

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