To Cast the First Stone: The Transmission of a Gospel Story

Princeton University Press
Free sample

The story of the woman taken in adultery features a dramatic confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees over whether the adulteress should be stoned as the law commands. In response, Jesus famously states, “Let him who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” To Cast the First Stone traces the history of this provocative story from its first appearance to its enduring presence today.

Likely added to the Gospel of John in the third century, the passage is often held up by modern critics as an example of textual corruption by early Christian scribes and editors, yet a judgment of corruption obscures the warm embrace the story actually received. Jennifer Knust and Tommy Wasserman trace the story’s incorporation into Gospel books, liturgical practices, storytelling, and art, overturning the mistaken perception that it was either peripheral or suppressed, even in the Greek East. The authors also explore the story’s many different meanings. Taken as an illustration of the expansiveness of Christ’s mercy, the purported superiority of Christians over Jews, the necessity of penance, and more, this vivid episode has invited any number of creative receptions. This history reveals as much about the changing priorities of audiences, scribes, editors, and scholars as it does about an “original” text of John.

To Cast the First Stone calls attention to significant shifts in Christian book cultures and the enduring impact of oral tradition on the preservation—and destabilization—of scripture.

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About the author

Jennifer Knust is associate professor of New Testament and Christian origins at Boston University. Her books include Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions about Sex and Desire. Tommy Wasserman is professor of Biblical studies at Ansgar Teologiske Høgskole in Norway. His books include The Epistle of Jude: Its Text and Transmission.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Nov 13, 2018
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Pages
464
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ISBN
9780691184463
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Language
English
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Genres
Bibles / General
Religion / Biblical Criticism & Interpretation / New Testament
Religion / Biblical Studies / Exegesis & Hermeneutics
Religion / Biblical Studies / General
Religion / Biblical Studies / History & Culture
Religion / Biblical Studies / New Testament
Religion / Christian Theology / General
Religion / Christianity / General
Religion / Christianity / History
Religion / History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A rare chance to know Jesus as his first disciples knew him.

What would it be like to journey back to the first century and sit at the feet of Rabbi Jesus as one of his Jewish disciples? How would your understanding of the gospel have been shaped by the customs, beliefs, and traditions of the Jewish culture in which you lived?

Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus takes you on a fascinating tour of the Jewish world of Jesus, offering inspirational insights that can transform your faith. Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg paint powerful scenes from Jesus’ ministry, immersing you in the prayers, feasts, history, culture, and customs that shaped Jesus and those who followed him. You will hear the parables as they must have sounded to first-century Jews, powerful and surprising. You will join the conversations that were already going on among the rabbis of his day. You will watch with new understanding as the events of his life unfold. And you will emerge with new excitement about the roots of your own Christian faith.

Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus will change the way you read Scripture and deepen your understanding of the life of Jesus. It will also help you to adapt the rich prayers and customs you learn about to your own life, in ways that both respect and enrich your Christian faith. By looking at the Jewishness of Jesus, Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg take you on a captivating journey into the heart of Judaism, one that is both balanced and insightful, helping you to better understand and appreciate your own faith.

This newly expanded softcover edition includes a discussion guide for both individuals and groups, and instructions for a simple home Passover Seder celebration.

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