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date: 10 December 2019

Woman taken in Adultery 

Source:
The Oxford Dictionary of Christian Art and Architecture
Author(s):
Tom Devonshire JonesTom Devonshire Jones, Linda MurrayLinda Murray, Peter MurrayPeter Murray

This is recorded only by S. John (8: 3–11). Under Mosaic Law the punishment for adultery was death by stoning, so when a woman was caught in the act, the Scribes and Pharisees, anxious to destroy Jesus, asked Him whether she should be stoned, knowing that if He said ‘No’, He would repudiate Moses; and if He said ‘Yes’, He would break Roman law, which allowed only Roman judges to sentence to death. ‘Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground … He straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to cast a stone at her.”… When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning at the elders … Jesus … said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no man condemned you?” She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and … do not sin again.”’ John does not record what Jesus wrote on the ground, but, in the fairly rare cases where He is represented as doing so He usually writes ‘Qui sine peccato est vestrum, primus in illam lapidem mittat’ (Who among you is without sin, let him be the first to cast a stone at her) or its equivalent in the vernacular (e.g. in Flemish in Bruegel's grisaille of ... ...

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