What year did the NWT drop John 7:53-8:11? Was it ever in the NWT?
Jesus Forgives a Woman Taken in Adultery
This story, beloved for its revelation of God's mercy toward sinners, is found only in John. It was almost certainly not part of John's original Gospel. The NIV separates this passage off from the rest of the Gospel with the note, "The earliest and most reliable manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53--8:11." That is, the earliest Greek manuscripts, the earliest translations and the earliest church fathers all lack reference to this story. Furthermore, some manuscripts place it at other points within John (after 7:36, 7:44 or 21:25), others include it in the Gospel of Luke (placing it after Luke 21:38), and many manuscripts have marks that indicate the scribes "were aware that it lacked satisfactory credentials" (Metzger 1994:189). Furthermore, it contains many expressions that are more like those in the Synoptic Gospels than those in John.
Has the Watchtower Society ever taught on this passage?
Was it ever included in the NWT? If so, when was it removed?
As the "mouthpiece of Jehovah" I would be compelled to believe the WTS was an early proponent
of identifying this passage as bogus. It would be downright embarassing for Holy Spirit to have missed this detail.
It was included, but with smaller font, in all versions of the NWT from 1950-2013. There was a footnote stating that some early manuscripts exclude those verses, but others include them.
It was dropped in the 2013 revision.
There is a note in one of the 2013 revision's appendices, something along the lines of "virtually all Bible scholars agree that that passage from John was not in the original manuscripts".
I know your next point - "no one has any idea what was in the original manuscripts!" - and I agree - but that is what the official JW explanation is.
Oh, by the way, they also used to have a "short conclusion" and a "long conclusion" to Mark, again in the smaller font, and those are dropped from the RNWT (2013 version). Same reason given.
There have been a number of discussions on here on this section of scripture, making some quite striking points as to why it can be considered "genuine" in some ways, if perhaps never part of the Gospel of John. By "genuine" I mean part of early Chrisitian teaching and liturgy, it was read in church before the time of the oldest manuscripts we have for example.
The point I found most pertinent to the dropping entirely of these verses in RNWT is where a poster pointed out that the teaching contained within these verses goes against the strict Pharasaical Rules and Regs. of the W.T.
To be fair, that is why most other religions (crusty old male led) in the past objected to the verses too.
The WT uses loaded language about these verses, calling them "spurious", which is not a word that is applicable in view of the above.
The statement that "virtually all Bible scholars agree that that passage from John was not in the original manuscripts" is disingenuous too, well a half-truth at best. Most scholars agree it was probably not in the original of the Gospel of John, but they recognise the truth of what I said above, in other words the verses have a good Provenance, unlike the unwarranted and dishonest insertion of the name "Jehovah" by the WT, which has no Provenance at all.
Bruce Metzger's comment on its "credentials" was mainly in reference to its right to be in any Gospel that we have, not to its right to be considered part of early teaching about Christs words.
Their removal of the verses by the WT is hypocritical and their reasons for so doing are not honestly explained.
Well frankly, what is interesting to me about the Watchtower Society and "scholars" has to do with
inconsistency in ACCEPTING the opinion and REJECTING the same scholars as it suits them.
Will we ever hear a phrase in any Society publication: "Our own scholars have found . . . "?
NO! The WTS has an extraordinary position among conservative Christianity.
As far as I know, they are the only religion without accredited education among the decision makers!
The GB cannot attest to the truth of anything on the basis of having studied it and passed a test.
Wouldn't you expect a practising physician to have attended and passed the Board Certification of a Medical School?
Well, these Watchtower gobs are practising surgery on 8 million minds! They bootstrap their opinions.
THIS IS THE NUMBER ONE REASON THEY HAVE TO CONTINUAL CHANGE THEIR TEACHINGS!
They botch things up through ignorance, then have their noses rubbed in it by people (apostates) who know better!
Embarassed, they must conform, adapt, adjust and pretend it was due to "further research."
I'm calling "bullshit" on that!
All I know it would have been a good scripture to use as a counter scripture if corrected or DF'd. They use scriptures to correct you & you can use this to correct the Elders.
I think the reason it was kept in when it was shown to NOT be in the oldest copies is that it is consistent with the teachings of Christ and inline with the general theology of John's gospel.
There is no "new" or "contrary" theology that is effected by it's inclusion and since there is actually much to learn from that passge, why not keep it in there?
Perhaps the JW scholars viewed it the same ( it was known to be an "add-on" for some time).
Though it is a stand alone piece of writing of doubtful antiquity, but certainly older than our oldest manuscripts, it is, I feel in my gut, one of the few instances that we can see what may well have been the real teachings and actions of Jesus.
As it gives us a well known idiom in the English language, about "casting the first stone" it seems both silly and churlish to leave it out.
I have gone with gut feelings about Jesus since leaving organized religion. The teachings either find a home in me or I throw them out. Is this cherry-picking? I'm not the only one then. There are ancient texts that early church fathers dis-allowed or cherry-picked from the beginning. Texts that suggest that Jesus never styled himself as the "Apostles Creed" does.
The story of the woman taken in adultery is wonderful--whoever told it.
Sacramento : "There is no "new" or "contrary" theology that is effected by it's inclusion and since there is actually much to learn from that passge, why not keep it in there?"
Actually, there are huge problems. According to "Jesus" nobody can judge anyone for any sin, because everybody has sinned. That's irrational and leads to anarchy, but it has the emotional appeal. Besides "Jesus" wants to have it both ways. In the passage, he proposes to ignore the law while claiming in other places in the Gospels to adhere to the law (Matthew 5:18). That's hypocrisy
The story is not wonderful, it only sound wonderful. If we follow its message, then we don't need a code of laws, police or even a government that metes out punishment. The story promotes anarchy until the only worthy of being a judge comes to judge. Wouldn't the Governing Body love to use this scripture in front of the judge when they are accused in court of protecting pedophiles.
An excellent thread, Terry.