Structural Outlines of the Fourth Gospel
by Rev. Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

[The Woman Caught in Adultery:  7:53--8:11]
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  1. This episode was not originally in John's Gospel, since it is not found in the best and oldest manuscripts of John.
  2. It is included in other places in some ancient biblical manuscripts (e.g., after Luke 21:38 or 24:53; or after John 7:36 or 21:25).
  3. It was later inserted here, probably to illustrate the themes of John 8:15 (others judge by appearances, but Jesus does not condemn)
  4. Its vocabulary and theology is not typically Johannine, but closer to the Synoptics (e.g., Mount of Olives, scribes, elders, adultery, etc., are not mentioned elsewhere in John, but frequently in the Matthew, Mark, and Luke)

Memorable Features:

  1. The adulterous woman alone is singled out (vv. 3-4); where's the man with whom she was having intercourse?
  2. Jesus writes on the ground (vv. 6, 8), leading to much speculation (was he just doodling? or what words did he write? each person's sins? some biblical quotations?)
  3. Jesus challenges the accusers, "Let the sinless one among you be the first to throw a stone at her!" (v. 7)
  4. Jesus comforts and admonishes the woman: "Has no one condemned you? Neither do I. Go, but don't sin any more!" (v. 11)

Note: Most scholars agree that John 8:12-59 is a continuation of the dialogues begun in John 7:1-52, thus also take place at the Feast of Tabernacles.

Jesus, the Light of the World (8:12-30)
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A: Jesus Disputes with the Pharisees (vv. 12-20)

B: Jesus Disputes with the Jewish Authorities (vv. 21-30)

Jesus and Abraham (8:31-59)

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