February 23, 2013

Speaking of being called to a higher law and speaking of speaking....

In the previous post, we're talking about what Jesus wrote in the sand and what he said out loud, in the New Testament story where the scribes and Pharisees present Jesus with the question of what to do with a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. In the Gospel text, we're told Jesus that wrote on the ground, but not what he wrote, and we're told that he subsequently spoke and said "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her."

I'm putting up a separate post because I found the scene that sydney said he loved in the movie "The King of Kings." Made in 1927, it's a silent movie, so no one is saying anything out loud. We see what Jesus says written out on the intertitles, and we also see what he writes in the sand.



Beautiful filmmaking, particularly as the sand-words, not written in Roman letters, transform into our English words, naming the sins that the men in the crowd realize they've committed, and that's why they all turn and walk away.

That's not an accurate depiction of what happens in the biblical text though. The movie shows a mob on the verge of stoning the woman and Jesus intervenes and announces his rule about casting the first stone. Only thereafter, does he write the names of the sins in the sand. But in the Bible story, there is no angry mob with stones in hand. There are scribes and Pharisees demanding that Jesus deliver a legal opinion. Jesus bends down and writes on the ground instead of answering the question.  Only after they persist does he stand up and pronounce his new rule, which causes the scribes and Pharisees to walk away — "beginning with the older ones." The movie would have you see the members of the mob acknowledging their sins and their consequent lack of qualification to cast the first stone. But the text has intellectuals trying to box Jesus in on a question of law, and Jesus getting the better of a conversation he didn't want to have in the first place.

It's not surprising that a movie plays up the visible drama, and it's also not surprising that when I — a law professor — read the text, I see something akin to a law school class. The professors try to stump the student and the student transcends their tricky game. To me, the part where Jesus bends over and writes in the sand is like what happens in a law school class when the lawprof poses a difficult hypothetical and the students bend their heads down and go through motions of writing. They don't want to answer. It's not that they're writing something magically revelatory and startling. But if the lawprof keeps pushing and calls on someone, an answer will be spoken out loud.

I guess the law-professorly interpretation of the text isn't terribly cinematic. It's no wonder the movies present an angry mob with stones in hand and Jesus miraculously knowing and changing the hearts of the sinners. (And the adulteress is an actress evincing exactly the form of sexiness that was fashionable in the year the movie was made. I love the eyeliner!)

But to me the lawprof interpretation is thrilling and dramatic. The professors think they've got the upper hand. They know the legal text and it's tough. And then the brilliant student who will soon be the greatest professor of all gets on top of the dialogue and says something they must accept as correct: If you're going to have strict rules and severe mechanisms of enforcement, you must apply them equally to everyone. This is the structural safeguard of equal protection of the laws that is the necessary component of a democratic system. If there can't be exceptions and special treatment for preferred people, legislatures will resist imposing harsh rules and painful punishments.

In this context, let me give you my favorite Justice Scalia quote, which happens to include one of the key words of Christianity: "Our salvation is the Equal Protection Clause, which requires the democratic majority to accept for themselves and their loved ones what they impose on you and me."

70 comments:

Sam L. said...

"If you're going to have strict rules and severe mechanisms of enforcement, you must apply them equally to everyone."

I give you, David Gregory, for your consideration.

Rick Lee said...

I think it's a stretch to make this like a law school hypothetical, because they have the accused woman right there. It's more like a trial scenario... and the punishment is stoning. That's a pretty dramatic scene, not just a scholarly discussion.

Shouting Thomas said...

The adulteress was played by Viola Louie, who, interestingly, also appeared in a movie entitled The Godless Girl.

Synopsis: "A young couple's flirtation with atheism leads to disaster."

wyo sis said...

We also should note that Christ was the only person there who could have thrown the first stone under His scenario. He is significantly changing the very laws he is being questioned about.

Jules Aimé said...

"And the adulteress is an actress evincing exactly the form of sexiness that was fashionable in the year the movie was made."

I think she looks pretty good right now.

Ann Althouse said...

"He is significantly changing the very laws he is being questioned about."

He's being circumspect about the existing law. He don't change them but adds another layer of requirement about how the law must be administered.

It's like the procedural requirements imposed on government in modern law.

But then when you see these higher standards of imposing the law, it becomes the case that the existing law cannot be enforced.

It reminds me of cases today involving the death penalty where advocates argue about how to carry it out, and it become so hard to actually do it that the people who deserve the penalty under the law are never executed.

It also reminds me of the "pound of flesh" speech in "The Merchant of Venice." You're entitled to the pound of flesh, but you must take only exactly that, and there is no way to do it.

Shouting Thomas said...

Keep going on the Biblical stories, Althouse. I'm writing a series of new songs with this theme.

Adam and Eve definitely deserve a tune. The stoning seems like a great tune, too, although Dylan covered it with "Everybody must get stoned." I'm sure I can find a new angle.

Ann Althouse said...

"That's a pretty dramatic scene, not just a scholarly discussion."

Read the text again. The woman is there, but there is no sign that the punishment is about to take place. You can't even assume anyone wants to kill the woman. They want to arrest Jesus. The men who are there are not the mob, but the scribes and Pharisees, and their goal is explicitly stated to get Jesus to say the wrong thing so they can arrest him.

What is dramatic is this effort to get Jesus.

The movies are getting it wrong.

Ann Althouse said...

"Everybody must get stoned."

Yeah, that's a much better interpretation of the Dylan song than everybody must smoke marijuana.

Uncle Pavian said...

How does the teaching point change if we see Jesus as the teacher instead of the student? Among other things, the Pharisees would be a bunch of smart-alecky young punks who think they know everything halfway through the semester.

EDH said...

But the text has intellectuals trying to box Jesus in on a question of law, and Jesus getting the better of a conversation he didn't want to have in the first place.

Surprised Jesus just didn't say, "it's a tax".

BDNYC said...

Was killing an adulteress a duty of all persons under Mosaic law? What's with the private enforcement of the law?

Was Jesus, free of sin, required to stone the adulteress and the men with whom she had sex?

Mitchell the Bat said...

I guess nobody would be talking about Jesus today if he had said "pass."

Michael said...

"as the sand-words, not written in Roman letters,"

Those sand-words are Hebrew (though they could be Aramaic, I don't have a complete dictionary on that.)

edutcher said...

As I said in the other post, the idea He was playing for a little time (He was a human being as well as the Son of God) makes a little more sense.

The movie interpretation asks a lot in terms of, "You buy the premise, you buy the bit". I also always envisioned this happening out in the country so Christ just leaned down, rather than having to go find the sand.

The point of the story is the corrupt politicians want a reason to lynch the good guy and He outwits them - and saves the girl in the bargain.

Ann Althouse said...

(And the adulteress is an actress evincing exactly the form of sexiness that was fashionable in the year the movie was made. I love the eyeliner!)

Only the flappers - the kind of girls with whom Gatsby hobnobbed - wore makeup in 1927, so they were making the point a lot of mothers and older girls would understand.

PS I've always envisioned this acted out in a Western, not unlike Yul Brynner offering to drive the hearse in "The Magnificent Seven".

But that's just me.

EDH said...

Who did the casting for that scene, Mel Gibson?

DADvocate said...

To bad equal protection went out the window 40-50 years ago.

Hagar said...

Jon Corzine is walking free, and I understand there are folks who think his being banned from stock-trading and prohibited from starting up another hedge fund is much to severe punishment for such a nice man and faithful Democrat.

edutcher said...

BDNYC said...

Was killing an adulteress a duty of all persons under Mosaic law? What's with the private enforcement of the law?

Was Jesus, free of sin, required to stone the adulteress and the men with whom she had sex?


The idea is it's a parable about Nannyism.

The Chooms, Joes, Cuomos, and Bloomies of this world ought to spend more time getting their own houses in order.

But the point is an interesting one. Was there something He knew or saw or heard that made Him know the girl was getting a raw deal?

Maybe just the idea they wanted to kill her, but not him.

Titus said...

I was born and raised catholic. Communion, confirmation, CCD every Wednesday night. Parents go to mass faithfully every week.

I am pretty smart and generally remember stuff well-especially stuff I read from books in school.

The one thing I don't know shit about or remember is anything about the Bible, New/Old Testament, what Jesus did or God did. Nothing.

But when I go home and sometimes go to Mass with my parents I do remember when to sit, stand and kneel.

I always wondered if I deliberately made myself forget all the religion I was taught because I was faggy.

wyo sis said...

Jesus fulfilled the Mosaic law. After Christ, as Christ himself preached, the Mosaic law would be moot, and that is why the scribes and Pharisees are so eager to trip him up.
I don't think He needed time to think of an answer to their questions. He knew what they were up to from the beginning. He can so easily answer their cunning questions, because he has knowledge they don't.

Mark O said...

I suppose that Jesus' mother, Mary, might have tossed a rock.

F said...

It's pretty clear Jesus would not have written "it's above my pay grade." Good lesson all around.

Mark O said...

Sure, Titus. Being faggy absolves you of all sin.

Mark said...

The Scalia quote is another angle on John Rawls "veil of ignorance" - for maximal equal protection, the people making the rules should not know where they'll stand with respect to the rules until after the rules have been made.

virgil xenophon said...

"Everybody must get stoned"

Funny, the actual stoning bit was exactly how I first interpreted the lyrics too..,although in my case the song came out when I was part of an under-grad college generation that was predominately pre-drug usage in my part of the country so "stoned" and "stoners" hadn't quite become part of the furniture yet..

Don't know if the fact ST and I are both Prairie Staters and rough contemporaries ( I'm a few yrs older) has anything to do with it, but take of it what you will, lol.

Titus said...

I did enjoy the the pomp of the mass though.

The procession, the costumes, sashes, hats, cleaning the pretty wine goblet, breaking the flat bread, lighting candles, the windows, the pews, the organ, the choir, seeing others wearing their "Sunday Best".

chickelit said...

That is an interesting scene where the would be stoners are seen by Jesus for what they are. It reminded me a bit of a 14th century story attributed to Marco Polo about the three wise Kings and the Epiphany:

Now when they came to the place where the child was born, the youngest of the three kings went in alone to see him: what he found looked like himself: a child of his age and appearance. The young king came out full of wonder. The second king (of middle age) entered after him, and to him the child also seemed a likeness in appearance and in age. The second king came out dumbfounded. Then the third king, the oldest, went in and the same thing happened as with the other two. And he came out very upset. When the three kings found themselves together, they told each other what they had seen. They were very much amazed and decided to all go in together. They went in together to look and found a child who looked the expected age of only thirteen days.* Then they worshipped him and offered him gold, frankincense and myrrh. The child took all three offerings and gave them a sealed box. And the three kings left to return to their country.

The rest of the story is here.

Titus said...

There was a catholic church in Boston and the entire congregation was fags. And the place was fucking packed on Sundays.

I took my mom and sister their once. My mom hung out with the nuns and my sister went to a pot luck at some fags house when she came to visit me. My mom told me one of the nuns, whom she said was hilarious, had a drinking problem. Probably because she was surrounded by all those fags.

They sold the place after the Boston Church Scandal and now the building is all lofts priced at about 2 million each, no parking, natch.

I found the entire scene fucking weird.

edutcher said...

Titus, God loves you, but you just may have to spend a little time in Purgatory.

Just be glad it won't be with Hatman.

PS The post's title, "Speaking of being called to a higher law...", sounds as if it should be sponsored by Hebrew National.

Kevin said...

All I did was say to my wife, "That piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah!"

Shouting Thomas said...

There was a catholic church in Boston and the entire congregation was fags. And the place was fucking packed on Sundays.

In the Philippines, all gays that I know are devout Catholics. They don't seem to see any difficulty with that. Nor does my Filipino family.

Even here in the U.S., I've taken my Filipino gay male friends to dances in the basement of a Catholic Church in Jersey City. My old friend, Ricky, dresses in full drag for these events.

I don't know why, but my Filipino end of the family doesn't seem to think that gays are a problem in any way, nor do they think the political and social situation of gays needs to be fixed. Odd, huh?

R. Chatt said...

You're correct, stoning for adultery was not practiced during Christ's time and that the NT story was really about the attempt to trap Jesus into saying something like, "I don't believe or follow the old rules of the Torah," IOW confess to being a heretic.

I read and referenced an entry on adultery from the Jewish Encyclopedia yesterday which described the historical details. By Christ's time the punishment for adultery was divorce and loss of property.

Incidentally, those letters in the sand were Hebrew, גנב - thief, רצוח - murderer, etc. How's that for authenticity?

I always assumed Christ was writing in the sand to not expose the individuals to the whole group as an act of kindness on his part. I guess that is obvious. As a person with higher consciousness he was capable of "seeing" everything about a person, not to be used as a weapon but as a tool of love. He had what we call psychic ability.

It struck me upon reflection that by the time of Mohammed in the 7th century, the Jews had not punished adulterers with stoning for centuries. That makes the present day punishment of adulterers by stoning in Iran and public executions in Afghanistan, etc., and even more bizarre.

Chip S. said...

Incidentally, those letters in the sand were Hebrew, גנב - thief, רצוח - murderer, etc. How's that for authenticity?

Thanks to Cedarford, I'm not surprised by this at all.

jr565 said...

Our salvation is the Equal Protection Clause, which requires the democratic majority to accept for themselves and their loved ones what they impose on you and me."

Note in this though that things are IMPOSED on you and me. Imposed through laws and penalties and through social norms.
So, lets look at this in the case of marriage. If marriage is defined as X, and is so imposed, then how can you have a problem with that? You may disagree with how X should be defined, but it seems that many in the pro gay side of the equaition seem to suggest that such a definition cannot even be imposed.

Shouting Thomas said...

A commenter last night noted that the moral error of the feminism's was demanding that women be identical in every way to men. This is what feminists call "equality."

This is also the error that Althouse is committing in her gay activism. Gays aren't the same as heteros. Their role in society isn't the same, nor is it meant to be. Demanding that gays be identical in every way to straights is a incorrect view of "equality."

No, Althouse, you're making the same error all over again that you made with feminism. This isn't about intellectualism, which is why your rationalizing is failing, and why you can't see it.

Your vanity about intellect is leading you to advocate nonsense.

jr565 said...

and in the case of marriage the majority accepts for themselves and their loved ones what they impose on you and me." No person can marry another person of the same sex (unless the state allows it). No person can marry a person underage, no person can marry more than one person, or be in more than one marraige, no person can marry an animal.No man can marry his mother or sister.

jr565 said...

This is also the error that Althouse is committing in her gay activism. Gays aren't the same as heteros. Their role in society isn't the same, nor is it meant to be. Demanding that gays be identical in every way to straights is a incorrect view of "equality."


Exactly! Gay marriage is a different entity than hetero marriage. It has the word GAY in front of it. It doesn't have a bride and a groom it has two grooms or two brides. The very vocabulary is different.
When black men couldn't marry white women you could make an argument that there was an equal protection claim because a man is allowed to marry a woman. Whether a man is black or white doesn't defniitionally change marriage. However, a man marrying another man would. As would saying polygamy suddenly means "marriage".
Maybe there is a case for gay civil unions. But it shouldn't be argued under an equal protectoin argument, nor under the idea that society can't impose its morals. What a crock that is. Gay marriage advocates are not saying gay polygamy should be legal (Yet) so they are still clinging to the notion that a marriage must consist of two people only. Is that not having society impose it's morality on marriage still? Is saying kids cant marry adults not imposing morality on marriage?

The ONLY potential argument for gay marriage is a rational one not an emotional one. Not one that undermines the rational basis for a hetero marriage by suggesting there is no rational basis to order a marriage that way.
That's pretty arrogant and frankly intolerant.

Derek Brown said...

One way to look at it is like in the Devil in Daniel Webster. Daniel Webster shows up out of noble sentiments to help his fellow New Hampsherite, but upon looking into the devils eyes realizes that the devil is there for his soul not the defendents and thus begins to mount the case of his life. Instinctively, Jesus recognizes what the Pharisees are really after

Ann Althouse said...

"Hebrew (though they could be Aramaic...)"

That's why I wrote it the way I did.

chickelit said...

A commenter last night noted that the moral error of the feminism's was demanding that women be identical in every way to men. This is what feminists call "equality."

Equality is an apparent cornerstone of the Law, but it's not at all a feature of natural law (as I understand it): There is for example, the famous Heisenberg Inequality; there is Bell's Theorem (which commenter Gabriel hanna pointed out the other day); there Clausius' famous inequality which represents the Second Law of Thermodynamics. These inequalities are profound expressions of our understanding of the natural order. There are no doubt others. In chemistry, the notion of equivalency supersedes that of equality. I think that the dogmatic insistence that X must equal Y violates something, but I'm not sure what.

jr565 said...

When black men couldn't marry white women you could make an argument that there was an equal protection claim because a man is allowed to marry a woman. Whether a man is black or white doesn't defniitionally change marriage. However, a man marrying another man would.
And also, even if a black man could marry a white woman he still couldn't marry two white women, or an underage white woman or have two marriages with white women or even his black mother or father or another black man or two other black men. or an underage black man.

All restrictions would still be in place as two what he would be allowed to "marry" because definitionally marriage means between a man and a woman period (and with restrictions on that as well).
And society would be able to define marriage as well as set the restrictions.

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim S. said...

The idea that he wrote down their sins in the dust is a later interpolation. That's exactly how myths build: there can't be any detail that doesn't have some deeper meaning or some role to play in the larger drama. That's why I like the versions from the earlier manuscripts. They just depict Jesus as crouching down and doodling in the sand. No deeper point, no larger role to play. That's one of the reasons why I think it's authentic, i.e. historical.

Chip S. said...

John Nash (the crazy mathematician movie-married to Jennifer Connolly) based his analysis of bargaining on the concept of symmetry--that the outcome of a bargain is independent of the mere identities (tho not the specific traits) of the bargainers.

In the case of bargainers w/ identical preferences toward risk, symmetry (plus the other axioms) yields equality of outcomes. But equality itself is not axiomatic.

tiger said...

As more than a just a movie fan I'm surprised to see should engaging film making from the silent era - those movies just never appealed to me and I need to re-evaluate that.

The professor's comments on what was happening in the film were certainly seem right on point too.

Thanks all the way around!

tiger said...

Shouting Thomas said...
The adulteress was played by Viola Louie, who, interestingly, also appeared in a movie entitled The Godless Girl.

Synopsis: "A young couple's flirtation with atheism leads to disaster."

Thanks! I was wondering who she was besides being a knock-out!

jr565 said...


Suppose we were talking about under age marriages. In theory there is no reason why someone shouldn't be able to marry a three year old, BUT for social restrictions IMPOSED on us. If you want to marry a three year old or if you are a three year old and want to marry, you might feel that such an imposition is unfair.

But is it?
If you think that society can restrict marriage in this way, then you accept the premise that society can restrict marriage in ways that it deems fit. So then why would you make the argument that somehow society can't do that (because that's the implicit argument of gay marriage advocates). An argument could be made that society SHOULDN'T define marriage in a way that it does, but that's a far different argument.

I

Astro said...

The good guy wore white.
Such obvious devices always bother me. The same way laugh tracks annoy me.
Hollywood can't do subtle.

jnseward said...

Pardon me for gushing, Ann, but what a brilliant post! It simultaneously provides sharp insight into Christianity, the Constitution, movie-making, and sin. Makes me want to go buy something on Amazon.

Renee said...

Most people don't believe in sin, of any kind. Well at least, all most everyone do not believe that they are sinners.

Renee said...

Titus, stop using the word f*g. It is like when a black person uses the n-word. Respect yourself, first. You're only making a jerk out of yourself. You're not funny, just pathetic.

Renee said...

Gays and straights are the same. It is males and females that are different.

DADvocate said...

Mosaic law.

Actually, the Mosaic law only concerns itself with rules applied to "creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials." Penalties for failing to follow mosaic law are mild, usually a poor grade in art class.

William said...

Even in antiquity Goth chicks were nothing but trouble.

Skyler said...

Ann, I want to thank you for your analysis of that part of the Bible. From my earliest days that is how I understood that passage, but seemingly no one else seems to think so. I never figured out why everyone assumes that he's writing a bunch of sins on the ground when it seems to me that he's just creating a dramatic pause. Then he makes his challenge, and the scholars depart as they realize his wisdom.

R. Chatt said...

True, if Christ wasn't doodling in the sand as a distraction to piss off the Pharisees, he might have been writing in Aramaic, it probably wasn't modern Hebrew script!

Regarding the discussion about the basis of gay marriage which I found a little hard to follow, I think the basis is that gay people form partnerships, committed relationships which deserve the equal protection of the laws. No one is saying that society doesn't reserve the right to impose laws.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann, I want to thank you for your analysis of that part of the Bible. From my earliest days that is how I understood that passage, but seemingly no one else seems to think so. I never figured out why everyone assumes that he's writing a bunch of sins on the ground when it seems to me that he's just creating a dramatic pause. Then he makes his challenge, and the scholars depart as they realize his wisdom."

As I said in the other post, I had never paid attention to the puzzle that other people seem to view as central: What did Jesus write?

It's interesting to me that people have focused on something that to me was left unsaid because it didn't matter. I didn't think it was a brain teaser. Jesus wrote something: can you deduce from these other facts what he wrote?

I think that's wrong, but it's a fascinating misreading, producing a question that can then have a best answer.

As I said in the other post, I don't think the best answer is naming particular sins like "theft," which is what we see in "King of Kings."

My guess was that he wrote "the man and the woman," which is text from the Old Testament, and stoning only the woman doesn't fulfill that text.

But that's not what made the men walk away. It was the rule about who is qualified to cast the first stone, a procedural requirement that cannot be met.

In that view, the harsher implication is written on the ground: "the man and the woman." Everyone who has committed adultery needs to get on the receiving end of the stones. Not only can't you throw. You must get stoned.

At which point, the men walk away: Okay, you've convinced us. We won't throw. You don't need to step up to the next level and tell us we need to submit to a stoning.

But, again, that's not what I think the writing on the ground was about.

This was all a big operation to trick Jesus into making himself subject to arrest. He understood that it was a pretty good trick. He took the time to think it through. And he not only outsmarted them, he took the opportunity to do something he did many times: Show respect for the Old Testament, the tradition of his culture, and, without disavowing it, bring people within that tradition to a higher understanding of the moral principles of law, which include procedural regularity and equal application.

Kirk Parker said...

Virgil and ST,

A few friends and I nearly got into serious trouble over "Rainy Day Women". One Christmas vacation our varsity basketball had a game scheduled, and our band director (an absolutely wonderful guy!) didn't want to try to drag in an official pep band during vacation, so he asked a few of us (some of whom where in a band together) to fill in unofficially.

So we did, and an instrumental version of R.D.W. was one of the songs in our meager set list.

Well, when school started back up again, our ringleader (not me) was called into the principal's office where the old man ripped him a few new ones... but nothing more serious happened in terms of consequences.

The killer? Among the standards in the high-school pep band repertoire in those days, one that we played literally every home game for football and basketball was... ... ... yes, you remember, don't you? "The Stripper". You can imagine how this whole scene set off our youthful hypocrisy detectors.

Lydia said...

The New Testament is filled with allusions to things that happened or were said in the Old Testament, put there to provide legitimacy for Christ's deeds and words.

As Bender pointed out on the other thread about this, that's what Pope Benedict sees in the writing-in-the-sand incident:

"There is a detail that is highlighted by the evangelist St. John: While the accusers question him insistently, Jesus bends down and starts writing with his finger on the ground. St. Augustine observes that this gesture displays Jesus as the divine lawgiver: Indeed, God wrote the law with his finger on the tables of stone (cf. Commentary on the Gospel of John 33:5). Thus, Jesus is the lawgiver, justice incarnate. And what is his judgment? 'Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to cast a stone at her'."

Kirk Parker said...

Althouse,

Scalia's quote is wonderful. And, it's a nice theory--too bad we don't have that in practice.

Smilin' Jack said...

And then the brilliant student who will soon be the greatest professor of all gets on top of the dialogue and says something they must accept as correct: If you're going to have strict rules and severe mechanisms of enforcement, you must apply them equally to everyone.

Bullshit. He's not saying that at all. In modern terms, he's saying that if you're on a jury, you can never vote to convict unless you yourself have never broken a law. in other words, the same kind of dumbass shit He was always saying.

Paul said...

"Our salvation is the Equal Protection Clause, which requires the democratic majority to accept for themselves and their loved ones what they impose on you and me."

I also feel equal protection should mean EQUAL ENFORCEMENT OF THE LAW. For you see we don't enforce the law equally among races, classes, sexes, etc.. Way to much 'officer discretion' where sheriffs, prosecutors, and even the president can ignore law and just not enforce it.

chickelit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chickelit said...

Ann Althouse said...

(And the adulteress is an actress evincing exactly the form of sexiness that was fashionable in the year the movie was made. I love the eyeliner!)

Back in Jesus' day it would been made of stibnite. Antimony is still used in eyeliner.

The Godfather said...

Ann, thanks for the clip from the old movie. I just sent it on to the members of my Education for Ministry group. I call it a midrash, because it uses the Gospel story as the basis for a discussion of religious issues.

An interesting side issue is that, although this is one of the best known New Testament stories, scholars don't think it's part of the original Gospel of John. It doesn't appear in most of the old manuscripts of that Gospel (it appears in some old manuscripts of Luke's Gospel, but doesn't appear to belong there either). Scholars think it's an authentic story, that got added into John's Gospel at some point.

Jerome said...

i always assumed that the point of that passage was that once Jesus had said that, anyone who tried to throw a stone would be claiming to be without sin, in front of a lot of people who might be inclined to dispute the proposition.

traditionalguy said...

But Jesus never met a MADD Mother who wanted her pound of flesh for their dead child from every other man caught drinking and driving small amounts.

What are men going to do with an omniscient God?

Nini said...

I have a feeling that Ann's fascination of late with the biblical story on "those of you who have no sins, cast the first stone" and her noting a quote from Justice Scalia (she has posted 3 times on this theme in the last 3 days) is tangentially related to her posts on homosexual discrimination and marriage equality.

DADvocate said...

I have a feeling that Ann's fascination of late with the biblical story on "those of you who have no sins, cast the first stone" and her noting a quote from Justice Scalia (she has posted 3 times on this theme in the last 3 days) is tangentially related to her posts on homosexual discrimination and marriage equality.

Ya think?