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Post "Casting the First Stone" and Adultery in Jewish Law
Created by John Eipper on 10/24/20 4:16 AM

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"Casting the First Stone" and Adultery in Jewish Law (Edward Jajko, USA, 10/24/20 4:16 am)

John 7:53-8:11, the casting of the first stone, story of the woman taken in adultery, and the disposition of the matter by Jesus, is in the Authorized Version, the King James Version, because it is in the Greek text and the Vulgate.

The question is, how did it get into those texts, since it is generally accepted or theorized that it is an extra-Biblical story that may have been inserted rather awkwardly into the text, perhaps by a copyist. Possibly even originally a popular tale, sort of se non e vero, e ben trovato story that was inserted into the Bible, and now has the force of, well, Scripture.

The Jewish law governing here is rather more complex than the simple statement of the Pharisees. Witnesses to the act of adultery are required, I believe at least two, and what they must witness is, if I recall the translation of the Hebrew correctly, is ‘the insertion of the kohl applier into the kohl pot,' which is to say actual penetration.

The late Irish comedian Dave Allen (David Tynan O'Mahony), who used to tell jokes based on religion and the Church, had one about this Scripture passage. He told the story straight, then ended it with Jesus saying, "Let the one who is without sin among you cast the first stone." Then pause, then, chidingly, "Now, MOTHER!"

JE comments:  I've heard several versions of that joke.  Usually it involves an older lady throwing the rock, with Jesus exclaiming, "Mom, sometimes you really piss me off."

Careful, folks, where you put your kohl sticks and kohl pots!

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