This past Sunday, a colleague of mine preached from John 8. While his sermon was on the entire chapter, the majority of his time was spent on the pericope of the woman caught in the act of adultery (vv. 1-11).
The preacher gave an overview about the uncertainty surrounding the text in question, and finally concluded on the matter with a quote from F.F. Bruce, “They [the manuscripts which have John 7:53-811] constitute, in fact, a fragment of authentic gospel material not originally included in any of the four Gospels.”
Before italicizing the passage in question, the new NIV Bible (2011) has this textual note:
[The earliest manuscripts and many other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53-8:11. A few manuscripts include these verses, wholly or in part, after John 7:36, John 21:25, Luke 21:38 or Luke 24:53.]
As I sat there and listened to my colleague preached from the text in question, and especially about how Jesus came to the woman’s rescue and acquitted her, the phrase “a fragment of authentic gospel material” began to do a number on me.
Most scholars may consider this passage an insertion into the text of John’s Gospel, because the best extant Greek manuscripts do not have it, and when they do, it appears in a various places–but it sure does have an authentically Jesus thing about it!