Art Imitates Life: Biblical Forgery Edition

Christ and the Adulteress

“Christ and the Adulteress”, a forged ‘Vermeer’ painted by Han van Meegeren and sold to Hermann Göring.

A master painter from the Netherlands

Johannes Vermeer, 1632-1675, was an inspired painter, one of the old Dutch masters.  Some consider him to be one of the holy trinity of Dutch painters along with Rembrandt and Vincent van Gogh.  Vermeer was a popular painter in his hometown of Delft during his heyday.  However, due to the economic hard times brought on by the Third Anglo-Dutch War at sea occurring at the same time as the Dutch Republic was being invaded during the Franco-Dutch War, Vermeer had borrowed a large sum of money in hopes of being able to earn more money as an art dealer rather than just as an artist.  Shortly thereafter he died suddenly at age 43 leaving his wife Catharina and the 11 surviving children of the 15 she had born to him, deep in debt.  Vermeer and his work quickly faded into obscurity until, In the 19th century, Vermeer’s work was rediscovered by Gustav Friedrich Waagen and Théophile Thoré-Bürger, who published a highly influential essay on Vermeer’s art and attributed 66 paintings to him.  There are currently only 34 paintings that are universally attributed to Vermeer, but at one time there were more than 150 paintings that were claimed to be his work. 

Vermeer’s work is seemingly broken into two time frames and styles.  Vermeer’s early Baroque paintings were often large-scale biblical and mythological scenes, while his later work showed scenes of daily middle class life in interior house settings.  Vermeer’s later mature style is crisper and clearer than the more subdued tones and colors he used in his earlier work.  The art world, which had once again become enthralled with Vermeer’s work, even debated on whether ‘Vermeer’ might have actually been more that one painter.  The art world was eagerly hoping to discover some transitional works proving that Vermeer’s early style had in fact evolved into Vermeer’s later style. 

(Which reminds me of how Evolutionists are so eager to find a “missing link” between humans and apes, that they conjured up ‘Nebraska Man’ from only a pigs tooth and fraudulently combined the jaw of an orangutan with a microcephalic human skull to produce ‘Piltdown Man’.)

Adding to Vermeer’s inspired works of art 

Next in today’s tale comes aspiring Dutch artist Han van Meegeren, 1889-1947, whose paintings mimicked the styles of artists from the Dutch Golden Age, but critics disparaged his paintings as “derivative” and “unoriginal”.  Eventually, to make a better living, van Meegeren became an art dealer just like his idol, Vermeer, had also ended up doing.  He sold his own paintings for tiny amounts while selling older works for huge sums.  Because he was an art dealer Han van Meegeren became familiar with all the existing ways to authenticate old paintings.  Eventually he figured out that he could fool all the inspections by buying old canvases scrubbing the artwork off of them and instead of mixing the old-time powder pigments with oil he mixed them with Bakelite resin and then baked the paintings in his oven until they appeared as if they were dried and cracked from old age.  

In 1937 van Meegeren copied Johannes Vermeer’s style in his painting “Supper at Emmaus,”.  He then called in art expert Abraham Bredius, nicknamed “the Pope”, reflecting the authority he held in the art world, Bredius then publicly pronounced van Meegeren’s forgery to be “the masterpiece of Johannes Vermeer of Delft.”  Although van Meegeren was not nearly as good of an artist as Vermeer, whose art he forged, because he painted exactly what people were dreaming of finding, they paid a fine price for his miraculous “finds” and trusted the art world’s “experts” and testing with regard to their legitimacy.  And so it came about that Han van Meegeren ended up trading the poor quality painting shown above to Nazi Germany’s second in command, Hermann Göring, in exchange for over one hundred real original Dutch works the Nazi high command had seized, that were worth a great fortune.  Hermann Göring knew that there were very few authenticated works by Vermeer and he did not realize that small number was already inflated by eleven of van Meegeren’s personal forgeries.  The rare “Vermeer” painting was everything that Hermann Göring could have wished for, Jesus and the forgiven woman both looked German while the unspecified Jews in the background were dark and sinister looking!

In 2020, while many theatres were closed down, the fascinating drama concerning Han van Meegeren and his forgeries was released as a movie, “The Last Vermeer”, based on the 2008 book “The Man Who Made Vermeers”.

Chicom chicanery

Next our story skips to recent times in communist China where textbooks are being produced, for vocational students by the Chinese University of Electronic Science and Technology Press, containing a modified “Bible story” to teach students professional ethics and respect for the law. 

The Chinese have pirated the story of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery and changed the ending:

The crowd wanted to stone the woman to death as per their law. But Jesus said, ‘Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.’ Hearing this, they slipped away one by one.  When the crowd disappeared, Jesus stoned the sinner to death saying, “I too am a sinner. But if the law could only be executed by men without blemish, the law would be dead,” the textbook said.

LOL  So the Chicoms just authored an apocryphal declaration by Jesus that, He too was a sinner.  While their swipe at Christianity is transparent, to us, they combine their big lie with a bit of solid truth, rightly teaching that: if nobody who makes mistakes and has flaws is allowed to enforce the law, you thereby allow for no enforcement at all and are in fact putting all laws to death.

The Chinese communist government has often pirated and modified Bible stories in the past, to suit their purposes, but now the Chinese Roman Catholic Church has finally decided to fight back.  Apparently the Chicoms making alterations to this particular “Bible story”, that formerly had shown Jesus assisting a woman in cuckolding her husband and getting off scot-free, does not sit well with the Church of Rome.

And why would changing that particular Bible story finally raise the ire of the Church of Rome?

Don’t adulterate our Biblical forgery! 

Because the entire story of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery, sometimes referred to in Latin as the “Pericope Adulterae”, (John 7:53–8:11) is in fact Roman Catholicism’s own apocryphal addition to the Gospel of John. It was first added into lost Latin manuscripts by the Great Whore of Rome, possibly sometime during the AD 300’s.  In some Bibles the Pericope Adulterae was inserted into Luke’s Gospel rather than John’s.

The Pericope Adulterae is not in Papyrus 66 or in Papyrus 75, both of which have been assigned to the late 100s or early 200s, nor in two important manuscripts produced in the early or mid 300s, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus. The first surviving Greek manuscript to contain the pericope is the Latin-Greek diglot Codex Bezae, produced in the 400s or 500s.

Most notated Bibles will have a note that the text of John 7:53–8:11 is not in any of the earliest manuscripts.  It is pretty well recognized that the Pericope Adulterae was written long after the apostles inspired works had all been finished, and we don’t really know who first wrote it, just that it wasn’t John or any of the other original inspired apostles who wrote the New Testament.

Christianity first began to flourish under Roman rule during the time of Emperor Constantine, who converted to the religion in 312 A.D. Although he brought a strong Christian presence to the empire, Roman culture and institutions resisted the change for more than half a century.  Christianity became the official religion of Rome during the reign of Emperor Theodosius the Great, who ruled from 379 to 395 A.D.

I believe John 7:53–8:11 was composed and added to the original inspired Gospel of John around the time that the church was being co-opted by the rulers of Rome on its way to becoming their official religion for the Roman Empire.  As I have mentioned elsewhere, there were many polytheistic goddess worshippers in Rome, whose religion had included orgies and temple prostitution, who were then forcibly converted to the new state religion of Christianity.  Much was done to appease them.  I’m sure the Roman rulers didn’t want to have to put all of the adulterous population to death as God’s law, given through Moses, required. (Leviticus 20:10 & Deuteronomy 22:22)

How much better it would be if somebody could “remember” being told an old story of Jesus forgiving somebody who was clearly guilty of adultery, and then that story could be added to one of the Gospels.  Perhaps the person could be a sympathetic figure, better make it a woman.  Then all adulterers and adulteresses can be absolved of the earthly penalties of the law set up by God for societies own protection.  No more law.  Voila!

Unfortunately they didn’t just grandfather their whores and whoremongers into Christianity.  By adding to God’s inspired words they bound the gate open for all sorts of future lawlessness within Christendom. 

As a case in point, I was reading a news story recently about a young boy who had been horrifically abused to death over a number of weeks by his mother’s new boyfriend while his mother helped him to cover up the boys injuries and declining condition and then tried to make her son’s murder appear to be from natural causes.  The crime was so gruesome and heinous that most commenters were calling for the mother and her boyfriend to either get the death penalty or life imprisonment.  But some chowder-head (a churchian I presume) publicly reprimanded all the other commenters claiming that nobody should be “casting stones” (not even comments indicating a desire to see fitting punishment) at the guilty murderers because we are all sinners as well.  And there you have the fruit of it!  Churchians will now defend even murderous child abusers against the slightest insult, based solely upon an apocryphal passage added to God’s word.  No wonder the Chicoms want to fix that erroneous passage, and prevent any resulting lawlessness that would cause decline in their civilization.

The added passage, when applied, invalidates all law enforcement within Christianity and aids and abets lawlessness.

I myself have always had misgivings about that story of Jesus preventing an adulteress from receiving the earthly penalty of His Father’s law against adultery.  She is neither recorded as expressing repentance nor faith.  Why would Jesus help her to cuckold her husband, and to deny the cheated husband the justice of the law, and instead condemn the victim to a life he never chose of being bound to an adulteress. 

Right about now some Feminist chowder-head churchian is probably already starting to speculate that the husband must have deserved to be cheated on.  SMH  Seriously!  Quit worshipping all whores over God’s laws!

Anyhow, after I expressed my misgivings about the passage here previously, commenter “burnstaicho” pointed out to me that the whole story was not a part of the original inspired Greek New Testament.  https://laf443259520.wordpress.com/2019/06/28/horny-housewives-of-the-patristic-age/#comment-1593

(Sorry, but I don’t fall in with the silly “inspired-KJV” dogmatists who think that the King James English translation is somehow God’s only inspired word.  I think the KJV is one of the very best English translations, but, it came primarily from Latin manuscripts not directly from the mind of God.  Refuting that heresy would be a lengthy post in itself.)

Recently, on another site, when I wrote about the snake-handling, poison-drinking, passage (Mark 16:9-20) that it was also not in the original manuscripts, I got warned that I was likely arousing disbelief among “seekers” by questioning the use of passages we know were later added to the inspired New Testament books.  FWIW Mark 16:9-20 seems to have been added in to the New Testament a little bit earlier than John 7:53–8:11, and so even its apocryphal provenance is less dubious than the whore story.  But is it really those of us who don’t want spurious and faulty passages kept in the Bible, and taught as inspired truth, who end up discrediting God’s word?  We are told elsewhere in the Bible neither to add nor take away from God’s words.  Would God have bothered to tell that to us Bible readers if nobody was ever going to effectively try to add or take away from His words?  Shouldn’t we be zealous in removing the human-concocted doctrines added by the Great Whore of Rome?  If you study the history of the New Testament you’ll see that a few other apocryphal bits that were added to the New Testament have already been removed from most current Bibles.  

(If you believe Mark 16:9-20, then get your clot-shot, because believers are supposedly immune to all poisons.  /S  However I wouldn’t ever recommend risking your future based upon apocryphal additions to the Bible’s known inspired texts.)

The good news is that the Hebrew Old Testament was kept accurately by the Jewish scribes and whenever we find new manuscripts, like the Dead Sea Scrolls, they only further prove the absolute accuracy of the Old Testament’s transcription down through time.  Every jot and tittle is the same.  Also with all the early manuscripts we have of the Greek New Testament and early translations from around the ancient world we can clearly tell what the original writing’s did say with great certainty.  Any serious arguments over alternate wordings are seemingly only related to the very few pieces of later added wording where whoever was adding these apocryphal additions to the original text was also often taking liberties with where they added it and how it was worded.  The best way to honor God’s word is to not allow these couple of clearly apocryphal additions to remain in it, nor to try to change or ignore any of the original text due to being ashamed of it or disliking it.

You can do your own research about how the Pericope Adulterae was first added into various Latin Gospels hundreds of years after the apostles were gone, and how it didn’t likely even originate from Greek text like the rest of the inspired New Testament did.  There are enablers of lawlessness who defend this passage not being included in any of the earliest manuscripts, but unbiased Biblical scholars have concluded that the Pericope Adulterae is an apocryphal addition to the original text added hundreds of years later and first added into Latin manuscripts and then later added into Greek manuscripts.  It kills the law of God that Jesus came to do and uphold:

Matthew 5:17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

It has always been clear to me that the Pericope Adulterae trashes our heavenly Father’s law and abnegates discipline within the church leading us to today’s lawless churches.  Once I found out the passage wasn’t even part of the original Greek Gospel of John, it didn’t take me long to have a zeal to see it removed again, to the glory of my Christ who certainly would not have assisted in violating His Father’s law to keep the cheated husband of an adulteress bound in a cuckolded state.   Jesus came to free us from our bondage to sin, not to empower us to sin.   Abnegating the enforcement of God’s laws and church discipline will get many unsuspecting churchians cast into hell.

Matthew 7:22  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Just as Han van Meegeren’s poorly painted “Vermeers” were a stain on the beautiful work of Johannes Vermeer until they were discredited and no longer attributed to Vermeer, so also any uninspired passages added to the Bible will only be a stain on the word of God until they are removed and we refuted their enabling of lawlessness.