Re-Post of “Go and Sin No More – Misinterpreting Jesus and the Woman Taken in Adultery”


I came across this post by J. Max Wilson last year and liked it very much since it actually contained my understanding of the passages in question. Today, as I was thinking about it, I thought that I ought to link to it somewhere on my blog so that I could access it more easily. But then I thought, “It contains my understanding of the passage. It should really be put entirely on the blog, and not just as a link.” I looked for a re-blog button, and found none, so I am re-blogging it without permission from the author. To read it at its original location (the Sixteen Small Stones blog), click here.  So, here is the article:


Go and Sin No More – Misinterpreting Jesus and the Woman Taken in Adultery

Go-and-Sin-No-More

Alternate Title: You keep citing that story of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery– I do not think it means what you think it means.

Before I jump into this topic, let me say that there is merit in the idea that we shouldn’t judge people for sinning differently than we do. But like all pithy slogans, this statement loses nuance in favor of brevity. We should love and value people regardless of their sins. But that does not mean we should pretend that they are not sinning any more than it means that we should feign that we are not sinners.

In ongoing conversations about religion, law, sexuality and culture it has become increasingly common for people to argue that the only sin that it is acceptable to reprove is the sin of “reproving the sins of others”.

Of course, that is not how they say it. What they say is that because we are all sinners it is inappropriate for anyone to judge another for what they consider a sin. And when they say it, they are apparently completely oblivious to the fact that by reproving others for being judgmental, they are themselves judging another for what they consider a sin.

That is why the “you have no right to judge another’s sins” line of reasoning is nonsense. It is self-contradictory. It cannot be expressed without violating its own meaning. You cannot advocate for non-judgmentalism without judging those who are (in your estimation) judgmental.

Some advocates for tolerance run into a similar problem because apparently they believe that everything should be tolerated except for those views or actions they consider intolerant.

Ultimately saying that people can’t ever judge someone else means that nobody can ever stand up for what they believe because standing up for any principle or standard will always imply that those who live or think contrary to that principle are in the wrong.

Employing this line of reasoning is really just an emotional rhetorical bludgeon meant to delegitimize a point of view with which you disagree by defining it as “out of bounds” while allowing you to continue to judge others for what you feel is immoral, and impose your own standards of morality on others.

Thus, in our present culture it has become okay to call someone a bigot and shame them because they say that homosexual actions or abortion are sinful, but it is not okay to say someone is sinning because they have an abortion or engage in homosexual behavior–even though calling someone a bigot and calling someone a sinner are both clearly forms of judging and reproving another.

It is common for those who promote this lop-sided and self-refuting viewpoint among Christians to cite the biblical example of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery (John 8:1-11) as a religiously authoritative proof-text of the kind of non-judgmentalism they advocate.

As they retell it, when an adulterous woman was brought before him, Jesus said “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” And since all of them were also sinners (as we all are), nobody was willing to do it and they left. And then Jesus, even knowing that she was guilty, also refrained from condemning her, and let her go with, as they tell it, a friendly, general admonition to “go and sin no more.”

Retelling the story in that way, they then explain that if Jesus refused to condemn this woman for her sins, then we also should never, ever reprove another for sin. EVER. Sometimes also followed by “HOW DARE YOU CLAIM TO BE A CHRISTIAN WHILE  REJECTING THIS CLEAR TEACHING OF JESUS BY SAYING THAT PEOPLE WHO [________] ARE SINNING!”

Again, proclaimed without a hint of self-awareness or irony.

But this is an oversimplification and misinterpretation of the scriptural account. While the story certainly has moral implications, the story of Jesus and the adulterous woman is NOT a parable crafted to teach a specific principle with general application; this is a report of an event from the life of Jesus brought about by specific circumstances.

So it is important to understand the complex dynamics of what was happening before we try to apply it to our modern lives and interactions.

Dore-THE-WOMAN-TAKEN-IN-ADULTERY

The first thing to recognize is that the pharisees who brought the woman before Jesus were not sincere. This is a crucial element of story. These weren’t good, religious men who were concerned about right and wrong and upholding morality and the law. Their entire purpose in bringing her before Jesus was to trap him. They didn’t really care that the woman had sinned. She was merely a pawn in their ongoing efforts to undermine and hopefully kill Jesus.

At this time, the Jews in Israel were under the control of the Roman Empire. That is why in the story of the Nativity, Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem to be taxed by decree of the Roman Emperor, Cæsar Augustus.

Under Roman rule, the power to impose capital punishment, including by stoning, had been taken away from all Jewish authorities. Only a Roman tribunal could impose the death penalty. That is why even after Jesus was eventually arrested and condemned to death by the Jewish Sanhedrin, they didn’t stone him immediately themselves; he had to be taken before the Roman governor, Pilate, to actually impose the death penalty. And when it was imposed he was killed using the Roman method — crucifixion– not stoning. The Jewish leaders had no legal authority to put him to death.

The same was true of the adulterous woman. Even though adultery was punishable by death under the Law of Moses, under Roman law, adultery was not a capital crime. Neither Jesus nor the pharisees could legally have stoned the woman to death for having committed adultery.

So when the pharisees brought the woman before Jesus, and asked “Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?” They weren’t actually planning to stone her at all. They couldn’t. If they had, they would have violated Roman Law and endangered their own positions of power. Bringing the woman to Jesus was simply a form of emotional theater meant to manipulate the crowd and pressure Jesus into answering carelessly by making the question real and immediate instead of just hypothetical. (And to this day readers are still falling for their theatrics, caught up in the drama while largely oblivious to the real trap.)

The pharisees were trying to construct a verbal snare for Jesus. If he answered that the woman should be stoned as the law of Moses dictates, then they would paint him as a revolutionary and try to have him arrested by the Romans for advocating the violation of Roman rule. If he responded that the woman should not be stoned, they would accuse him of rejecting the law of Moses and use it to undermine his influence among the believing Jews who considered him a great Rabbi or potentially the Messiah.

For the pharisees, whether the woman was guilty or not was completely irrelevant to their purpose. Had they actually been concerned about following the law of Moses, they would have brought both the woman and the man with whom she had been caught. If she was caught “in the very act” as they had claimed then they would have caught the man simultaneously, and the punishment in the law of Moses for adultery was death for both participants.

Jesus wisely ignored them initially. He wasn’t about to be pressured into giving an off-the-cuff response by their contrived theatrics and the spectators it attracted. They kept demanding an answer while he wrote in the dirt with his finger.

When he finally does respond, his brilliant answer turns the snare back onto the trappers. “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

He recognized the demands of the law of Moses, but he also knew that the pharisees could not carry it out any more than he could without violating the Roman law.

The law of Moses dictated that to be convicted to death because of adultery, there had to be at least two witnesses. It also dictated that the witnesses whose testimonies established the guilt of accused were to be the first to begin the stoning. So Jesus was asking those who claimed to have witnessed the adultery to step forward themselves to impose the punishment as the law demands. And so the accusers were entrapped in their own catch-22. If they stepped forward as witnesses, they would have opened themselves to questions about how they witnessed the act and why the man involved is not also accused as demanded by Moses. If they try to carry out the stoning, they will be in violation of Roman law.

We don’t know what Jesus was writing in the dirt. But I like to speculate that, being the Son of God and knowing the thoughts and intents of the hearts of the pharisees, he may have been writing quotes from the law of Moses related to the the specific secret sins of each of these men.

The other thing to keep in mind is that these men were secretly plotting to have Jesus murdered. This is clear from the previous chapter and throughout the rest of the Gospels. They put on a public show of concern about piety and the Law of Moses, but they cared little for the law in private. They were perfectly willing to violate the law in secret in order to remove Jesus as a threat to their power. In the terms of The Book of Mormon, they were essentially a secret combination. So another possibility I like to speculate about is that Jesus was writing their secret oaths and plans in the dirt; telling them essentially “I know your plans and your secret.”

But that is just speculative. As I said, we don’t know what he wrote in the dirt.

But we do know that when Jesus tells them that he who is without sin should cast the first stone, he isn’t just talking about typical human sins of weakness. He was not talking to honest men who have fallen short of an ideal in which they truly believe. He is talking to evil men whose secret plot to murder and get power is far more wicked than anything the woman may have done.

Unable to legally stone the woman, unwilling to step forward and act as the witnesses who would throw the first stone in violation of the Roman law and face cross examination, and confronted with the fact that their trap had failed, the pharisees left in silence.

Jesus then asked the woman, “where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

The law required two witnesses. But nobody was willing to step forward and claim to be a witness.

No man, Lord,” she responds.

And Jesus declares, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

Whether or not she is guilty, to be judged guilty the law requires witnesses, and since Jesus himself did not witness her alleged adultery himself (even though being the Son of God he knows), and there are no witnesses, he cannot condemn her either.

The chances that she was going to be stoned contrary to Roman rule were low in the first place. If it had happened it would have been a lawless act of mob violence. Even among the Jews stoning for adultery hadn’t been actively practiced in a long time. The whole thing had been contrived. She had been an unfortunate prop in the pharisee’s theater.

—————————————

Now, having explored this complex story in depth, let’s return to the original discussion of how this story applies as as support for a modern concept of non-judgmentalism.

First off, it has to be pointed out that there is a vast difference between saying someone is a sinner in need of repentance, and threatening the death penalty. The woman in the story isn’t just being verbally reproached for being a sinner, the condemnation they are discussing is condemnation to death and damnation not verbal condemnation . The stones are not metaphors for judgement. They are literal stones.

So it is a huge stretch to say that when Jesus says that he who is without sin should cast the first stone he is saying that nobody should reprove someone else for sin. He was talking about severe, final punishment for sin, not merely calling someone a sinner.

Additionally, the story is clearly not primarily about the woman’s guilt. It is about the snare set by the pharisees against Jesus involving specific contradictions between the Law of Moses and Roman Law and presented theatrically instead of hypothetically in order to try to force an error by Jesus. Trying to extrapolate a general principle about whether or not it is appropriate to reprove someone else for sin from this very complex, specific event is difficult if not impossible.

There is simply no comparison between the wicked, murderous pharisees who were trying to trap Jesus and good, honest religious folks today who are truly concerned about serious sins and their effect on our society and their families. The pharisees didn’t really care about the woman’s sin. Their concern about righteousness was false. That is why Jesus called them “whited sepulchres” on another occasion. (For more on this topic, see my previous post: Having A Form of Godliness – Modern Mormon Pharisees)

When the pharisees leave in silence it is not because they realize that as sinners they have no right to judge another’s sins; they leave chagrined because they have been outwitted and caught in their own trap– and it is clear that Jesus knows their wicked plot against him.

Furthermore, when he did not condemn the woman, Jesus wasn’t being merciful at the expense of the law. He was following the letter and intent of the law: Jesus didn’t condemn the woman because there were no legal witnesses and because Roman law did not allow capital punishment. So his words toward her do not imply that love is more important than law. To the contrary, his strict adherence to the law, including not condemning another to punishment without witnesses, shows how important the law is.

And seeing that his lack of condemnation was primarily an act of strict adherence to the law, the only thing he says regarding the woman’s adultery is that she should “go and sin no more.” So he clearly calls her actions sinful and exhorts her to repent and abstain from sin.

It seems clear that there is nothing in this story that can be legitimately used to support a blanket doctrine of non-judgmentalism.

As Christians, we are in fact required to preach the Gospel consisting of Faith in Jesus as our Savior, Repentance, Baptism, and the reception of the Gift of the Holy Ghost. People cannot repent unless they know that they are sinning. But if it is out of bounds to say that someone is sinning, then we can never say that someone needs to repent because doing so implies that they are doing something wrong, and judging others is wrong (except when you are judging others for judging…).

It is our duty as followers of Jesus Christ to preach repentance and as I have written previously, A Real Friend Will Say What You’d Rather Not Hear.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Twelve Apostles of the LDS Church has spoken extensively about the relationship between Love and Law, as well as Appropriate and Inappropriate Judging.

Rather than get caught up in modern notions of non-judgmentalism, we should take counsel of the words of a modern apostle:

“Judge Not” and Judging by Elder Dallin H. Oaks 1998

There are two kinds of judging: final judgments, which we are forbidden to make, and intermediate judgments, which we are directed to make, but upon righteous principles.

Love and Law by Elder Dallin H. Oaks 2009

The love of God does not supersede His laws and His commandments, and the effect of God’s laws and commandments does not diminish the purpose and effect of His love.

As I have written previously, I’m not saying we should be mean or constantly beat those who disagree with us over the head with our beliefs. There are times when love means treading softly so as not to offend. But there are other times when love means calling a sin a sin even if it offends.

We have a responsibility to try to uphold right and wrong and extend mercy simultaneously.

Even though I have quoted it previously in an unrelated post years ago, to close I’m going to reprint an excerpt of Orson Scott Card’s novel Speaker for the Dead that is particularly appropriate to this post and the story of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery. It is a short story told at the beginning of one chapter of Speaker for the Dead (Emphasis added):

A great rabbi stands teaching in the marketplace. It happens that a husband finds proof that morning of his wife’s adultery, and a mob carries her to the marketplace to stone her to death. (There is a familiar version of this story, but a friend of mine, a Speaker for the Dead, has told me of two other rabbis that faced the same situation. Those are the ones I’m going to tell you.)

The rabbi walks forward and stands beside the woman. Out of respect for him the mob forbears, and waits with the stones heavy in their hands. “Is there anyone here,” he says to them, “who has not desired another man’s wife, another woman’s husband?”

They murmur and say, “We all know the desire. But, Rabbi, none of us has acted on it.”

The rabbi says, “Then kneel down and give thanks that God made you strong.” He takes the woman by the hand and leads her out of the market. Just before he lets her go, he whispers to her, “Tell the lord magistrate who saved his mistress. Then he’ll know I am his loyal servant.”

So the woman lives, because the community is too corrupt to protect itself from disorder.

Another rabbi, another city. He goes to her and stops the mob, as in the other story, and says, “Which of you is without sin? Let him cast the first stone.”

The people are abashed, and they forget their unity of purpose in the memory of their own individual sins. Someday, they think, I may be like this woman, and I’ll hope for forgiveness and another chance. I should treat her the way I wish to be treated.

As they open their hands and let the stones fall to the ground, the rabbi picks up one of the fallen stones, lifts it high over the woman’s head, and throws it straight down with all his might. It crushes her skull and dashes her brains onto the cobblestones.

“Nor am I without sin,” he says to the people. “But if we allow only perfect people to enforce the law, the law will soon be dead, and our city with it.”

So the woman died because her community was too rigid to endure her deviance.

The famous version of this story is noteworthy because it is so startlingly rare in our experience. Most communities lurch between decay and rigor mortis, and when they veer too far, they die. Only one rabbi dared to expect of us such a perfect balance that we could preserve the law and still forgive the deviation. So, of course, we killed him.


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8 Comments

  1. This has always been one of my favorite stories.

    I once read an interpretation that the “he who is without sin” isn’t a reference to anyone in the audience who’s never done wrong — rather it is a specific reference to the husband of the woman.

    In a legal context, the husband is the one “without sin” when adultery was committed. Because he was the offended party, the husband was the only one who had the right to cast the first stone — and if he refused to condemn her, then no one else could.

    This interpretation concluded that Jesus may have in fact been the husband of the woman, and that’s why they brought her to Him. It also suggested that Jesus learned this from Joseph — i.e., that a woman “caught” in adultery can be spared if the husband refuses to bring-up charges. So, following his step-dad’s example, He too refused to condemn this woman.

    Also, I’ve noticed that it’s clear the Pharisees weren’t interested in justice or in the law of Moses because the passage they cite concerning capital punishment for adultery:

    now Moses
    in the law
    commanded us
    that such
    should be stoned

    says

    and that man
    that committeth adultery

    with another man’s wife
    even the adulterer and the adulteress
    shall surely be put to death

    They betrayed their misogyny by not worrying about bringing the adulterer — their disdain and hypocrisy is present in how they refer to the adulteress not even as a person [“that such should be stoned”] without any concern or indignation for the man who was just as guilty as she.

  2. I really enjoyed the article.. some very profound info…

    When we fail to make righteous judgments, the moral foundation of church and society collapses, which I think is taking place right now.

    I would also enjoy reading the interpretation that Jason speaks of regarding the husband’s possible role in such a scenario back in NT times… quite thought provoking.

    “In a legal context, the husband is the one “without sin” when adultery was committed. Because he was the offended party, the husband was the only one who had the right to cast the first stone — and if he refused to condemn her, then no one else could”

    Perhaps that is why Joseph was able to protect and preserve the reputation of Mary, and the status of Jesus, even though it must have been apparent that Mary was with child not of Joseph… ?!?!

  3. I talked about that a bit in The Adultery of Mary post. The point I was making can also been seen in The Nativity Story movie.

    I don’t remember exactly what book that interpretation I read was from. I’d have to dig through my library, which I haven’t the energy to do at the moment — but the story of Joseph refusing to pass judgement on Mary [which prevented anyone else from passing judgement on her] certainly accorded with what I’d read in that book about the “woman taken in adultery” likely being the wife of Jesus [which was why when He refused to cast the first stone, no one else could].

  4. I think that stands to reason. Since adultery is an offense against the husband, it would be up to the husband if an offense has been made. If there has not been offended then there is no adultery.

  5. It is my understanding that it is that aspect of this story that makes it an illustration of how the atonement of Jesus “works”. Penal substitution doesn’t comport with the principle of justice, and it also doesn’t make any sense. However, through witnessing the full-scope of the suffering of Christ [a man on whom no one or no thing could claim any offense], the heart of a wronged person who carries a just claim against another for a transgression is softened and they no longer desire to make their claims for justice against the transgressor.

    Jesus effectively removes any accusers by getting the people making just accusations to cease their demands for His sake. If justice isn’t making any demands, then there can be no offense.

    God can’t forgive sin by beating it out of Jesus — it’s forgiven only through the hearts of those demanding justice for the sins committed against them being softened and them choosing to “drop all charges”. Heaven will be filled with people who’ve refused to hold any charge against someone because Jesus has asked them to end the suffering for His sake — and Hell will be filled with all those people who refused to cease their demands for retribution against others.

  6. If Jesus’ whole point here was to avoid trouble with “The Law” then he didn’t really do such a good job. If I was a Pharisee wanting to catch him on charges of inciting violence contrary to Roman law or even condoning it, I would certainly have proceeded giddy with the way in which Jesus stepped right into the trap lain for him. The words “Let ….. cast the first stone”…no matter who they might refer to would definitely qualify as defiance of Roman law. If I were a prideful and wicked religious leader ,I would do as all prideful and wicked religious leaders and the only thing that would detour me in my secret acts would be the fear of exposure. That is why Jesus specified “he who is without sin AMONG YOU” after writing the sins of those present on the ground in front of everyone. He was not inferring that there was some guiltless party in all of this who was absent and needed to be present even if they were to proceed and observe the law of Moses to the letter.
    The portion of this well written post that is labeled with the safe disclaimer of “speculation” is in fact the most insightful and crucial point of all. The writing Jesus made with his finger in the dirt was not mere doodles and the part that it plays in this story is the part for those with ears to hear only. It falls into the “greater things” category that God tells Moroni will be generally withheld from the average latter-day gentile due to disbelief, though it is readily available to those who will drop their preconceived notions based on the precepts of men, in favor of being led by Christ who they claim to follow, resulting in a reversal of the erring described in 2Nephi 28:14 …an avoidance of the stumbling blocks which Jesus calls “commandments of men” in Matt. 15:9. To illustrate Jesus as an upholder of the precepts of men is to make him out to be a participant in our modes of hypocrisy and to miss entirely the godly power by which he lived and from which he derived and displayed inherent authority. Was this a trap set by the Pharisees? It most certainly was. Was Jesus clever as a serpent and peaceful as a dove in how he chose to deal with these wicked Priesthood Authorities? He definitely was. But to make our matter of focus his shrewdness in dealing with those who seek to enforce the laws of man rather than his mission as a representative of and advocate for Divine Law everlasting is kind of sad. Jesus literally knew better, as may any man via the Holy Spirit. And many, from Bob Marley to the Apostle Paul have not let their imperfections prevent them from not only preaching about but personally knowing the “more excellent” and perfect way. It is precisely worry over and attention to the laws of society that keep us from more fully knowing these things of true and utmost importance. Higher law must receive higher priority…and only then will things fall into proper place in this physical realm. We cannot judge what is that proper place is or will be by examination of the letter of the law…we will be deceived. For what seems right to us is not what is right in Truth. Had Jesus been going about things in the backwards MANner to which we have become accustomed, he would have dived into the trap like a doctrinal know-it-all in the back row at an Elder’s Quroum meeting and more plainly asked for the adulterous man involved, and or the witnesses to be produced. But as it is written of him in John 2:25, he “needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man. ”

    Jesus does not shy away from speaking of sin…but neither does he address directly this specific case as the “sin” to which he generally refers yet specifically and authoritatively charges the would-be condemners.through his ability to not be distracted with the things of man but to see with spiritual eyes and the help of some divinatory techniques (geomancy – drawing on the ground) for clear perception in and of the moment. It may appear to us in our limited understanding and stubborn leaning unto that understanding…that Jesus is engaged in a juggling act with balls of Church Law, State Law and Divine Law. But all these balls are encompassed in one sphere and that is the “Christ-All” ball through which Jesus sees and shows the truth of all things. The severe case of double-vision which corrupts man’s way of looking at his world is precisely what enables and protects the original secret combination of hypocrisy. Jesus’ actions here can be seen and described through one lens or the other of our devil-vision or they can be seen through the combined light and dark lenses of Urim & Thummin. Our division of Heaven and Earth as separate precincts with jurisdictions and loyalties split between two masters is precisely what Jesus spoke out publically and incessantly against and what he came to lovingly correct. Geomancy literally and spiritually demonstrates and accomplishes a more perfect union between Earth and Heaven. As a discipline and practice it predates not only the Law of Moses but the true precedent for this evil concept of murder supposedly correcting adultery. Anyone with access to Wikipedia (Holy Ghost aside) and a logical mind plus a even a semi-healthy conscience and a half-way honest and functioning faculty of reason can know that the practice of stoning women for sharing love with more than one man is traced directly to the terrorizing King Urukagina in ancient Mesopotamia. Unless we want to include this guy as an inspired prophet of God then I don’t think we ought to be so hasty to exaggerate Jesus’ respect for the Law of Moses, or any man for that matter.

    Non-Judgmentalism as a rule (and as all rules) is only another side in the tug-o-war attempts to continue hypocrisy. People will toggle back and forth between either spitting out rules, or laws (despite these being clearly defined in scripture itself as leading to nowhere but DEAD ends) or they will spit out the cliché “don’t judge me”. At first glance there may seem to be two separate camps but this division is an illusion, since both “camps” reside in people at the individual level. A “perfect” example of one person who manifests tendencies towards both tactics is ironically cited here near the end of the original post by the ‘author’ as an ‘authority’ on such matters. Dallin H. Oaks Esq. is a lawyer and logically should be expected to defend man’s laws. Whether it be retrospect respect for and defense of the time-period appropriate application of a particular law with a man’s name (like Moses) attached to it, or the most current man-made legal implement coming from Church and/or State, Dallin Oaks is a defender of the law. As such he is also a defender of persons and personhood but not so much of human beings and much less of human souls. He has about as much interest in defending faith as it pertains to individual or collective salvation of body and soul as did the Pharisees in the story so expertly dissected by J. Max Wilson . When human beings mistake authority for truth rather than taking truth for authority then they are misled. This type of faux-thority hides ‘generally’ behind mantles and says: “Now don’t judge me. To judge me and the fraternity to which I belong as guilty of sin is a sin itself on your part.” So we see how Geriatric Atrophy sets in and holds things like seniority up as a-trophy. This type of senile sin-denial is just as rigidly adhered to in our day as it was in Jesus’ time. The story in question illustrates this when it closes with the Church Elders making their exit “one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last” in the exact same manner as one can observe the Pharisees of the LDS Church vacate the stand after a conference session.

  7. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that the Anonymous commenter above was none other than Elder Chantdown.

  8. An excerpt from a philosophical text might serve an apropos to the re-post
    or to Anonymous comment above or neither way:

    ‘…The men who brought to Jesus the woman caught in adultery
    had this form of dilemma in mind.

    Jesus will either urge that she be stoned to death or that she be released
    without stoning.
    if he urges the first, he will make himself unpopular with the
    But people because of his severity;
    if he urges the second, he will get into trouble with the Jewish
    authorities for disregarding the law of Moses.
    Therefore he will either become unpopular with the people or get into
    trouble with the Jewish authorities.

    You will recall how Jesus slipped between the horns of this dilemma
    by writing on the sand and saying, “Let him who is without sin
    cast the first stone.”’

    ANDREW H. BACHHUBER, S. J.
    1957


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