Background and Context

This coming Sunday is the 5th Sunday in Lent, Year C. The gospel for the day is the well-known “woman caught in adultery.” Interestingly, it does not seem as “well known” in ancient times. It does not appear in the earliest manuscripts of John’s gospel yet it appears in well attested manuscripts. Is it not original to John? Is it a later addition? St. Augustine held that it was authentic but scribes, thinking Jesus was too lenient on the adulterous woman, simply did not copy it into their manuscript. The technical specialists will debate the topic – probably until the second coming, but even the hardest critics admit that the sense of the story is Johannine is its “feel.” Continue reading