Let's move right away from particularly Anglican concerns for a day ...
One of the greatest stories told about Jesus is one we can be least clear and sure about whether it actually rests on historical fact, that Jesus had such a particular encounter with a woman, the so-called Pericopae Adulterae or Woman Caught in Adultery, most frequently published these days at John 7:53-8:11.
This post is NOT about sexual ethics (let's have a continuing Lenten Fast on those matters) but about the fascination of the quest to find out - if possible - just when and how the scribes of the NT manuscripts came upon and then included the Pericopae Adulterae in their scriptural activities.
On the one hand this quest is a quest of textual critical detectives, working from a limited range of manuscripts in which the PA occurs (and, for that matter, another range of manuscripts in which the PA is not found) and a certain amount of confusion as to who copied from whom and when that took place.
On the other hand, it is a matter of controversy at present as many modern publications of the Bible do, the PA in the same typeface as passages either side, with only a footnote to indicate that just maybe the PA is not original to any early copy of John's Gospel or for that matter any other manuscript of NT writings.
One tiny aspect of this quest is the focus of this Evangelical Textual Criticism post: how the PA became part of the Syriac NT.
Included in the post is this delightful picture:
Marginal note in CCM 64, f. 79r, (17th cent.) explaining the origin of the Pericope Adulterae."
I often think that the power of the PA as a story lies in the fact that whether it is original or not to the stories of Jesus told after his death and resurrection it makes us readers sure that this is what Jesus would have said if he had been confronted with such a challenge. It is a convincing story about Jesus and that, presumably, is why it has been incorporated into NT manuscripts over the centuries and continues to be published, even within the main body of the gospel of John and not (as some have done) as an appendix.
But is it a genuinel, original, historical part of the biography of Jesus?