Jesus and the Woman Caught in Adultery

The Woman taken in Adultery, c.1621 (oil on canvas)
DPG18456 The Woman taken in Adultery, c.1621 (oil on canvas) by Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) (1591-1666); 98.2×122.7 cm; © Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, UK; Italian, out of copyright

You may be familiar with the story in John 7:53-8:11 of a woman brought to Jesus by a group of “Scribes and Pharisees” who accused her saying she had “been caught in the very act of adultery.” We will discuss this story on Sunday in a way you may have not heard before. In addition to asking what the surface meaning of the story might be, we will examine it’s history in the development of the canon of the New Testament. What does it’s placement at this point in John’s story mean? How might it’s meaning change in a different context?

Added February 21, 2016
I have uploaded the presentation I used this morning. You can find it here.

If you are interested in reading more on this topic, you can find related resources at, a website created and maintained by the Society of Biblical Literature.

2 Replies to “Jesus and the Woman Caught in Adultery”

  1. Michael and Allen, I liked your class very much this past Sunday – I learned a lot about a story I have read, but never had an understanding of any of it!

    I’d just like to make a few suggestions: 1. Ask people to introduce themselves – not everybody knows everybody; 2. Perhaps ask that we turn-read the actual Biblical verses for the lesson – just to increase participation.

    Thank you both for leading this class! Charles

    1. Those are great suggestions, Charles.

      I have it in my plan for this coming Sunday for participants to read the passage with a partner and contemplate a couple of questions about it. I will add the introductions to the plan to help me remember!

      Thank you.

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