The “Pericope Adulterae” and the Oldest Manuscripts

I got an excellent question on my post, Is the Oldest Manuscript Really Best?  (See the comment section for the whole question.)  I thought it was worth answering one small part of it on the front page.

The question asked about the Pericope Adulterae, the story of the woman taken in adultery from John 7:53-8:11:  “This did not show up in manuscripts (the Codex Bezae) until much later (4th – 5th century). The same is true with the Comma Johanneum (first showing up in the Latin the Codex Monacensis [6th century]). Certainly nearly half a millennium worth of older manuscripts (used by the early Church fathers) are not incorrect.”

Not in the Earliest Manuscripts We Have

Warning:  this post gets a little technical on the subject of New Testament Textual Criticism.

For this post, I’ll defer the Comma Johanneum discussion, though it certainly is a valid question.  I want to focus on the assertion that the story of the woman taken in adultery must not have been in Scripture, that all those early manuscripts must be right.

At first glance, this sounds correct.  The story of the woman taken in adultery is not in the two main early papyrus manuscripts of John, p66 (around 200 A.D.) and p75 (early third century).  Nor is it in Vaticanus and Sinaiticus (probably mid-fourth century).  We have no manuscripts of the New Testament before sometime around 400 A.D. that included it.  It must be a later addition, right?

Definitely in Many Early Manuscripts

How can I say this account was “definitely” in early manuscripts, if it isn’t in any of the ones we have?

  • The Didascalia (first half of the third century) refers to it.
  • Book II of the Apostolic Constitutions does as well (3rd century).
  • Eusebius cited Papias (early second century, possibly a disciple of John) as referring to a story about a woman accused before Jesus — this might have been a reference to the Pericope Adulterae.
  • Didymus the Blind (350 A.D.) referred to it directly in his commentary on Ecclesiastes.
  • Ambrose preached on it around 375 A.D., saying that it caused offence to the unskilled. (He mentioned the tradition which appears in much early art that Christ wrote in the dust, “Earth accuses earth.”)
  • Jerome, just after 400 A.D., said it was in many (in multis) Greek and Italian manuscripts (Migne, Patrologia Latina, 23), and used it as authoritative in his rebuke to the Pelagians.  You don’t use a passage to refute error if its authority is in question — you use a different passage.  Jerome used this one.
  • Augustine, who wasn’t exactly “best buddies” with Jerome and didn’t hesitate to call him down, said that some people eliminated it from their manuscripts because they didn’t understand it (paraphrasing roughly).
  • Vaticanus has a diacritical mark — a mark that some scribes used to show they were aware of an alternate text at a particular point.  Vaticanus excludes the account, but its scribe apparently knew of it well enough to indicate its existence.

These people were not talking about something that wasn’t in the manuscript history for half a millennium.  It obviously was in manuscripts that they possessed.  The evidence was strong enough that Jerome included it in his Latin translation of the Bible, and strong enough that Augustine didn’t criticise him for doing so.

What Does That Prove?

Just to be clear, none of these citations prove that this account belongs in Scripture.  I believe it does belong, but I haven’t proved it in this post.  For every citation I give, those who believe it doesn’t belong could cite one or more that leave it out.  My purpose was not to prove the passage belongs, but to demonstrate something else.

If we look at the oldest manuscripts existing today, we would say it didn’t exist in any manuscripts back then.  Yet, it did exist back then.  No one could deny it.  The writers of the Didascalia, from Syria, knew of the Pericope Adulterae, and the Didascalia was written as early as any of our manuscripts that leave it out.  Papias, from Turkey, even earlier, may have known of it.  Didymus in Egypt definitely cited it.  Ambrose and Jerome in Italy knew of it and believed it to be Scriptural, as did Augustine in Algeria.  We’ve circled the Mediterranean, all before 400 A.D. (the first manuscript that contains it) — it was mentioned in Italy, possibly Turkey, Syria, Egypt, and Algeria.

The Whole Picture and the Oldest Manuscripts

The early church was a missionary church.  There were thousands upon thousands of copies of the Gospel of John circulating to the churches around the Mediterranean in the third and fourth centuries — and we have four of them, all out of Egypt, and ample evidence that there were many manuscripts from Egypt and many other locations that told a different story.

When we think about “the oldest manuscripts,” we need to remember that they tell a microscopic fraction of the manuscript story of the third and fourth centuries.  These are merely the few that, for some reason, were little used and survived.  Many (such as Jerome) who had far more and better evidence than we have today, and were fully aware of manuscripts that excluded the account, included it when they copied the Scriptures.

We have four somewhat complete manuscripts of John from before 400 A.D. that leave the account out.  How many manuscripts (from before 400 A.D.) did Jerome have supporting his decision to include it in his Latin translation in 380-390 A.D.?  His were ALL before 400 A.D., and he said there were “many”.  If we happened to have ten of Jerome’s Greek manuscripts available today, and one from the time of the Didascalia, and a few from the time of Didymus, how would that affect the view of textual critics on this passage?  Shouldn’t the fact that we know those manuscripts existed affect our view of the passage even if we don’t have them?

The Pericope Adulterae, far from showing the superiority of the oldest manuscripts, simply illustrates how incomplete is their evidence.  To answer the question directly, it is indeed very possible that those earliest manuscripts we have now are incorrect — since we know there were many other early manuscripts that disagreed with them.  The fact that those manuscripts have now perished doesn’t mean they don’t count.  We know they existed, and we know the text of later manuscripts essentially matches the testimony of Jerome and Didymus.

Pesky Papyrii

It isn’t just the Pericope that demonstrates this point.  The discovery of many ancient papyrii in the early twentieth century should have killed the “oldest is best” theory, once and for all.  Bruce Metzger, in Chapters in the History of New Testament Textual Criticism (p. 38), quoted by Harry Sturz, cited 16 places where p66 (mentioned above, from 200 A.D.) had text that was only matched by “late” manuscripts (“distinctively” Byzantine, for those familiar with NTTC).  In other words, textual critics had rejected the readings of these manuscripts because they didn’t occur in any manuscripts before 400 A.D., so they weren’t in the “oldest and best”, and suddenly they pop up in a new “oldest and best” manuscript from 200 A.D.  How dare they! 🙂

“Oldest is best” becomes problematic when “oldest” is a moving target and the new “oldest” doesn’t agree with the previous “oldest.”  It makes your previous “oldest is best” assertion look pretty silly, and makes one wonder what the next “oldest” they discover is going to say….

At this point, textual critics should have humbly said, “We didn’t have the complete picture before, and we still don’t.  There were probably hundreds of thousands of manuscripts in the first three centuries, and we have no evidence that the ones that have survived are representative.  ‘Oldest is best’ isn’t valid when you know there were so many manuscripts and you have such a small set of them.”

To be fair, textual critics like Bruce Metzger, Francis Burkitt, Gunther Zuntz, and E.C. Colwell did acknowledge that readings previously rejected as “late” were actually very, very old.  Zuntz says that the later manuscripts “did not hit upon these readings by conjecture or independent error.  They reproduced an older tradition” (The Text of the Epistles, p. 55).  These textual critics, however, did not accept the text of the later manuscripts.  They simply (finally) admitted that the wording of the manuscripts was older than the manuscripts that recorded it.

The Age of the Manuscript Proves Little

Once you admit that, you’ve really killed the idea that “the oldest manuscript is best.”  Once you admit that a particular wording may be several hundred years older than the manuscript that records it, you admit that the age of the manuscript doesn’t necessarily prove anything at all, as to what is the most accurate text.  If one manuscript is 200 years older than the next one, but the text of the newer one goes back to 200 years before the older one, then the age of the manuscripts just don’t matter anymore.

The Pericope Adulterae and the papyrii discoveries of the twentieth century speak with one voice.  They tell us that the oldest surviving manuscripts of the Bible do not give an accurate or complete picture of the many thousands upon thousands of manuscripts of the Bible in the second through fourth centuries.  The testimony of Christian writers proves it in the case of the Pericope.  The testimony of new papyrus manuscript discoveries demonstrates it as well.

When someone tells you that the oldest manuscripts are best, remember Didymus the Blind and Ambrose, on opposite sides of the Mediterranean, preaching on the woman taken in adultery.  There were an innumerable multitude of “oldest” manuscripts that were used, copied, preached from, and perished.  The voice of those perished manuscripts comes down to us in “later” manuscripts, but that doesn’t mean that voice wasn’t speaking in early days.

Summary Page (with links) for the “Oldest and Best” series

About Jon Gleason

Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
This entry was posted in Bibliology, NT Textual Criticism and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to The “Pericope Adulterae” and the Oldest Manuscripts

  1. Andrew Cahill says:

    Thanks for the answer. That clears up some of my questions, and admittedly there can’t be a “good” answer for everything I asked. To bad this isn’t easier…

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Thanks, Andy. If it is God’s Word (and it is), and it “isn’t easier”, then we know God had a reason for it not being easier. I have some thoughts on that which I’ll post at some point in the future.

  2. Angus MacKillop says:

    Dear Jon,
    I read your posts with interest as they arrive.
    Today, however, as I looked at the text, the initial appreciation of your effort and diligence was overcome by a question burning deep in my heart: “How does this effort help the Church of Jesus Christ prepare itself in these end times in which we live”?
    As I read daily through the world’s Christian related new stories, it saddens my heart when I see the blatant and outright persecution of the Church and all Christ stands for, in the world today. Both the USA and the UK appear to be the subject of a coordinated heavily anti-Christian media onslaught. In North Africa and the Middle East, in Nigeria, in Pakistan and in Sudan, Christians are being slaughtered daily by the hundreds and the thousands.
    Brother Jon, from the depth of my heart and in brotherly love, I ask you whether you can refocus your considerable gifts and talents on preparing Christians for the end times which are soon to arrive?
    I live in a country where proselytising Muslims is illegal. I live in a country where government agents infiltrate churches seeking converts. I live in a country where Christians are under increasing pressure. Before all this comes to you and yours, I ask you to recall the words of Rev. Martin Niemoller from 1945:
    First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up,
    because I wasn’t a Communist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up,
    because I wasn’t a Jew.
    Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up,
    because I was a Protestant.
    Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one
    left to speak up for me.
    May I pray that you to spend time with the Lord in Prayer on this matter and hear that which He is saying to you, my dear Brother Jon.
    Blessings in Christ, Angus

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Angus, thank you for this comment. I did pray long and hard, and sought counsel from some other pastors before deciding to tackle the topic of “oldest and best manuscripts.” Although it is interesting to me, it isn’t something I have preached on, or intend to.

      Unfortunately, the pastor’s work is also defensive. He needs to be on guard to protect the flock from error. And I am convinced that this “oldest and best manuscripts” teaching is an error that has, unfortunately, undermined the confidence of many of God’s people in His Word. Some, such as Bart Ehrman, have even twisted it to advocate full apostasy. If I can take a little bit of time to strengthen the faith of some in this regard, I believe it is profitable. Other pastors, who also don’t want to preach on this topic, find this kind of work helpful to pass on to people who are struggling with it. I knew, going in, that some would not find it particularly profitable, even if they found it interesting. Much teaching is like that, though — needful for some, not particularly helpful for others.

      However, you will have noticed that I’ve not abandoned other posting as I deal with this topic. Eleven days passed between the prior post on this topic and this one. This is not going to be a blog about NTTC, even if I have a few posts on the topic. I will write infrequently about political matters as well, but I have no intention of letting that take over the blog, either.

      I want to say this, though. I do appreciate the challenge. The question of “is this profitable” is one that needs to be asked. I believe, for the prior post, that the answer was clearly affirmative, as it put so much focus on the missionary zeal and love for the Word of the early persecuted church. That is an example that we emphasise too little today. For this post, the answer was not so obvious. I chose to put it on the front page because it answered a question that I believed many would have after reading the first post. It was a tough call for me whether to put it here or merely answer in the comments. I do very much appreciate the reminder of the need to ask, “Is this profitable,” and I welcome feedback if something seems unprofitable.

      May the Lord bless your service for Him, Angus, wherever He takes you. Keep on keeping on.

  3. Chris Long says:

    Bro. Jon,

    I have found these posts very profitable. It is greatly edifying to be reminded that we don’t have to swallow the world’s false philosophies, and allow them to undermine God’s word. There are many believers whose faith is being shaken by “Yea, hath God said”. If the church is to be prepared for the end times, it must have utter confidence in it’s charter document. There is a reason that the Scriptures close with a warning about anyone who would alter (or undermine) God’s authority.

    I hope you will continue to provide a mix of articles, including sermons. I varied diet is good. Thank you for your labours.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hi, Chris. Thanks for the encouragement. In general, I agree with you, but I understand where Angus is coming from, and his perspective is valuable for us to remember. Even here in Britain, it is very comfortable to be a Christian. Where he lives, much less so, and he isn’t all that far from very severe persecution, either.

      The spiritual dangers that “comfortable Christians” face are very different from those faced by our brethren who are under active persecution. The things we would want to talk about, the messages from God’s Word we want to here, would in many cases be different if we faced the same situations. And those times may be coming soon. While I think it is necessary at times for us to speak to this issue, and my training equips me to do so, my heart is with Angus to a great degree on this.

      So as I said, I’ll spend some posts on this, but not a lot. You are right, but so is Angus. Blessings to you.

  4. Jon,

    I go out preaching every week at least two or three times. Many in our church go out preaching every week. We continually cover our area with preaching. Defending Scripture, defense of the faith, defending the authority of Scripture—this work—is also very important. I’ve preached to thousands and thousands in the 25 years I’ve been pastoring and I have seen the erosion of trust Scripture because of what you are talking about. There is also a trickle down effect that causes great damage. I say this in light of the criticism you are receiving for doing such work as you have done here in writing. It’s important that we have men who will spend the time to be careful in answering these questions and issues. I can appreciate any legitimate concern for this as a replacement for evangelism, but it really isn’t an either-or, but a both-and.

    • Angus MacKillop says:

      Dear Jon,
      Apologies for the late response to your reply, with which I agree totally 🙂
      And as Kent rightly says “it really isn’t an either-or, but a both-and.”
      To Kent’s point on “a trickle down effect that causes great damage” I wholeheartedly agree. It was for that reason, CS Lewis (I believe) suggested that for each book by a living Christian author we read, we ought to read one from a deceased author: he thought it helps us keep on track and avoid the slow changes the enemy seeks in solid doctrine.
      My original comment was not intended as criticism, rather a warning call – waving the red flag. Christian persecution is dramatically on the increase. The trouble as I see it, is that few in the Church seems to be preparing the troops and thus practically all are blind as to even who the enemy is, let alone know how to use the weapons the Lord has provided for our use.
      Again, appreciation of your effort and diligence from me!
      Blessings in Christ!
      Angus

      • Jon Gleason says:

        Thank you, both of you. People who live thousands of miles from each other may have very different persectives. Truth is truth, wherever we live, but the things that need emphasis in our ministries may vary widely depending on the particular dangers the flock is facing.

        Angus, I read your comment the way you are saying it was intended, not as criticism but as a reminder of a needed focus, and one with which I agree. I also know that you know more than most of my readers the kinds of issues a persecuted church faces, and will be thankful if you keep bringing that perspective to comments on this blog from time to time.

        I do know this. The best way to “prepare the troops” is to teach them to love the Lord with all their heart and soul and mind and strength, to love their neighbour, and to love their enemies. To be firmly grounded in the love of God and its outworking towards others is to be prepared for anything our adversary can throw at us. I hope this blog is helping with that to some extent, though it can only serve as a supplement to commitment to a local fellowship of believers. I hope that increased confidence in God’s Word helps His people to love Him more.

        Blessings to you as you continue to serve Him.

  5. Banging stuff Jon, a great article, very helpful. I’d read elsewhere on it, academically, wikipedia etc, but this was one of the most applied and helpful articles I’ve read. I have happy memories of having visited your church years ago when a friend of mine was living nearby, in a hostel called The Wash.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, Thomas, thank you for the kind comment.

      I’ve searched my memory banks and I have to confess I don’t remember your visit. Perhaps I’m aging. 🙂 It’s a good thing the Lord never forgets us, isn’t it?

  6. dayvidvictor says:

    Hi John,

    First, thank you for writing this article. It was very helpful. But, honestly, it is easy to understand someone who doubts this passage. But it would be silly to say that this event did not occur, given so many evidences of early fathers of that fact.

    Does this argument also apply to the last verses of the Gospel of Mark? Do we have manuscripts of the early fathers aware of this passage?

    I’ve seen theories that the Periscope Adulterae has characteristics of Luke’s gospel, so it was more likely that it belongs in some of the earlier traditions used by Luke (“L source”, “Q source” …). What are your thoughts on that?

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, Dayvid, thank you for the comment. It is easy to understand someone who doubts this passage, but it is ludicrous to treat it as if it must be spurious simply because it is missing from a few old manuscripts. We know it was extant before those mss were copied.

      I would say the same about the last verses of Mark. Verse 20 says, “And they went forth, and preached everywhere.” Justin Martyr, middle of the second century, wrote, “Which his apostles, going forth from Jerusalem, preached everywhere.” (First Apology, 45). That’s not an explicit citation referring to Mark, but the similarity is striking, and Tatian (who was closely associated with Justin Martyr), a few years later, included the “longer ending” in the Diatesseron.

      Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book 3 chapter 10: “Also, towards the conclusion of his Gospel, Mark says: So then, after the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God.” That’s verse 19, right at the end of the “longer ending.” So before the end of the 2nd century, this verse was identified as being at the end of Mark. So we have mid-second century attestation of the long ending of Mark in both France and Rome, is perhaps 150 years before Vaticanus and Sinaiticus.

      If we had a manuscript from around 170 A.D. which included it, would those who discard it be so quick to do so? But we know Irenaus DID have a manuscript back then which included it, and he didn’t expect his citation of it to be challenged, either. Was it the primary reading back then? That would be hard to prove, but this kind of citation would be unusual if it was considered particularly controversial….

      So I would say this key passage demonstrates the exact same thing as John 8 — that these early manuscripts do not even begin to give us a full picture of the manuscripts extant in the second and third centuries. These readings were around long before the manuscripts extant today that exclude them. Therefore, the extant readings prove one thing only — that the absence of these texts is as old as the manuscripts themselves. We know they were absent in some manuscripts that go way back. We know they were present in some manuscripts that go way back. We can’t sort this out based solely on extant manuscripts.

      As to the Luke question, Luke appeared to indicate that he drew from sources, spoke to eyewitnesses, etc. I think the idea that this has characteristics of Luke’s Gospel is overdrawn. But though I would hold firmly to the divine inspiration of Luke’s account, that is no reason to conclude that he did not draw on sources and the accounts of eyewitnesses.

      Was John one of Luke’s sources? Since Luke wrote things, including Mary’s own inner thoughts, that only Mary would have been likely to tell him, I think there is good basis for thinking Luke spoke to Mary. And Mary was entrusted to John’s care by our Saviour when He was on the cross, so it is not hard to imagine Luke also speaking to John. What an opportunity that would have been, if he wanted to write an account of our Lord’s time on this earth!

      Perhaps those who think they see Lucan elements in this account have it backwards. Perhaps they see Johannine elements in parts of Luke’s account. Just a thought for you.

  7. Mark Lloyd says:

    Mark

    to Jon,

    Grace to you for your article. I jointly testify with you that the passage about Jesus not condemning the adulterous woman is Scripture. Here is why I think this is so.

    The God who made the heavens and the earth, teaches us in his word how to establish a word.

    In Deuteronomy 19:15, it is written:

    AT  MOUTH  OF TWO  WITNESSES
    AND  AT  MOUTH  OF  THREE  WITNESSES
    ESTABLISHED  SHALL  BE  EVERY  WORD

    And in Second Corinthians 13:1, it is written:

    THIS  THIRD  TIME  COMING  AM  I  TO  YOU
    UPON  MOUTH  OF  TWO  WITNESSES  ALSO  OF  THREE
    ESTABLISHED  SHALL  BE  EVERY  WORD

    And again in Matthew 18:16, it is written:

    NOW  IF  NOT  HEAR  SHALL  HE
    TAKE  WITH  THEE  BESIDES  ONE  OR  TWO
    THAT  UPON  MOUTH  OF  TWO  WITNESSES  OR  THREE
    MAY  STAND  EVERY  WORD

    According to God, the way to establish a word is by the mouth of two or three witnesses. This means a plurality of witnesses in agreement is needed. A witness is one who speaks or testifies to something. If two, or three witnesses separately testify to the same thing then their testimony is to be accepted and their word is to be considered established.

    I believe this method of establishing a word can be applied to either words given by the lips (spoken) or through the hand (written). In this sense, a hand that writes is like a mouth that speaks. For a word to be written it must first be spoken (or thought) by the mind. A witness can witness by his lips or by his hands.

    From this I conclude that the way to establish each written word of God is by checking to see if there are two or three separate witnesses that testify in agreement to that word. If there is such a testimony then that word is to be considered established.

    Because there are two or three witnesses to the word about the woman caught in adultery, then this word is established.

    The manuscripts that do not include the account of the adulterous woman, are not witnesses but silence. Silence is not greater than a plurality of agreeing witnesses. That which has no substance is not greater than that which has substance.

    The grace and peace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, Mark, thank you for your comment. A few thoughts.

      You are certainly correct to say that a written word can be testimony as much as a spoken word can be.

      But it is only fair to say that silence can be testimony. For instance, my most recent post is on a time when Jesus stopped reading at an intentionally chosen point in Isaiah, and His silence on what came next in the text is powerful testimony. https://mindrenewers.com/2015/04/19/a-strategically-closed-book/

      In this case, the manuscripts that leave out this account are testifying that the next verse after John 7:52 is John 8:12. I’m persuaded they are not reliable witnesses, but it is testimony.

      We do have to remember that not every witness is reliable. Sometimes, we have multiple witnesses on both sides of a question, as in this case. At that point, we have to evaluate the reliability of the witnesses.

      In this case, the most important witness is that of the Holy Spirit. We are told by early Christian writers that this passage was called into question as early as 1700-1800 years ago, yet it has been accepted down through the centuries by believers everywhere as the Word of God. Even most who have a NTTC theory that tells them it isn’t Scripture find it hard to just throw it away. They will say things like, “It is almost certainly true” and “It is very like Jesus.” That is because, deep down, they know it is true, even if they’ve fooled themselves with their theories into thinking it isn’t Scripture.

      The apologetics people like to say the Scriptures are self-authenticating. Really, what they mean is that the Holy Spirit bears witness to the truth of the Scriptures, and anyone who reads them with an honest desire to know will hear the Scriptures ringing true in their hearts, due to the testimony of the Spirit. And that is what happens with this passage — those who want to hear will hear the testimony of the Spirit, bearing witness with their spirit, that this text is God’s Word.

  8. Michael Fenske says:

    I have just come across your blog, in search of finding out about the Pericope Adulterae. Thank you, I am astounded how, in a few clear words, you can bring clarity to this question. When looking at this passage I also believe that one of Kurt Aland’s criteria for establishing the reliability of a passage, i.e. that external evidence always outweighs internal evidence, has caused a lot of damage. In the case of this passage the internal evidence that it fits beautifully where it is, and would leave a gap if it was not there, proves the point. Interestingly, Mark’s comment above mentions 2 or more witnesses. And that is exactly what this passage and its context (!) is all about: Nicodemus questions the prejudiced judgment of the Sanhedrin, Jesus questions the judgment of the accusers of the woman (no witnesses come forward), and the Pharisees then question Jesus’ claim of being the Light of the World as he, according to their view, has no other witnesses for this, to which Jesus replies that he has the Father to witness for him. And all this takes place in the Treasury which was located in the Court of the Women. If you take out the event with the adulteress you take out the heart of this whole sequence.

  9. David says:

    I love how older blog posts show up from time to time so that I see and read them. Thank you for this information! I really disliked how some translations point-blank say “not found in earliest manuscripts.” This leaves the reader feeling that if he were even to try to quote that passage in support of something it would be heresy or borderline blasphemous. This is good background to show that the Bible as we know it really is trustworthy.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Thanks, David. This one percolates to the top frequently, it is still commonly shared/linked. I think the prequel to it is a better article, personally, but this one has grabbed a lot of attention.

      A LOT of people are concerned / bothered to always be hearing about the “oldest and best” manuscripts being different from their Book-in-hand. I think the constant harping on this is very destructive, and damaging to faith, even if it were accurate. And I am convinced that there are serious reasons, both theological and historical, to call into question its accuracy.

      I suppose I should add to this “oldest and best” series. It’s something I want to do when I return to active blogging again.

  10. Rev Ogedi says:

    Thanks Jon
    I admire your calm but resolute answers to some challanging ideas about your write-up espacially in the light of the happenings around the world viz-aviz the persecution of Christians here in Nigeria, Middle-East, Euroupe and elsewhere. Thank you for standing in the gap at the Schorlarship end more importantly as there seems to be less Christian Authors, i mean Christian Authors who will write in defence of the Gospel and dare to challenge the herectic preaching and misleading ramataz that is going on around the world with its attandant decrease in appeal towards to soul of the sinner. Now we have more reasearchers around the world more on social and scientific and technological issues are on the increase. This makes it easier for all sorts of teaching and writtings indirectly watering down the WORD of God. The so called Christian authors that we have now are busy looking for money thereby writing on sensetional matters that will elicite the emotion of readers for the gain secks. May God bless your Efforts Rev. Ogedi.

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