This episode was not originally in John's Gospel,
since it is not found in the best and oldest manuscripts of John.
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
It was later inserted here, probably to illustrate
the themes of John 8:15 (others judge by appearances, but Jesus does
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)
The adulterous woman alone is singled out (vv.
3-4); where's the man with whom she was having intercourse?
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?)
Jesus challenges the accusers, "Let the
sinless one among you be the first to throw a stone at her!" (v. 7)
Jesus comforts and admonishes the woman: "Has
no one condemned you? Neither do I. Go, but don't sin any more!" (v.
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.