Originally Posted by Malaikah
Yeah, simple answer, it probably is.:rollseyes
For a more complex analysis of the textual criticism which leads most scholars to consider it unlikley to have been part of the original autograph, you can read below:
Recall that no original autographs (manuscripts in John's handwriting) exist. What we have today are copies, and copies of copies. Some fragments of copies made in the first century. Some a few complete copies from the second century. Then even a few more copies in subsequent centuries. Some times a biblical passage (or a supposed biblical passage) is quoted in a letter, or it is found in a prayer book. Scholars try to trace this back, grouping them by families so that 100 copies made in 350 are not more important than 10 copies made in 225. But also, if several different families from widely divergent parts of Christendom (say Syria, Eygpt, Byzantium and all similar) then even if they are from 225, maybe they copied from a better original source than the one from Rome in 220 that is slightly different. In the end, these scholars make their best guess (and honestly that is what it is, a guess) as to what the original most likely looked like.
Of this particular story, what the scholars say is: It is absent from such early and diverse manuscripts as p66, p75, Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and about 27 others of the best known and most reliable manuscripts. Plus it is also absent from the oldest of the syriac manuscripts, as well as the Sahidic and Bohairic manuscripts and all but 5 of the 30 Armenian manuscripts.
No Greek Church Father prior to the 12th century even comments on it. Though it is found as early as the fourth century, it isn't till the 6th century that it begins to appear regularly in the Latin church and around this same time in the syriac manuscripts.
So, how did it become some widespread in the church today? Well, Jerome included it in his translation of the Bible from Greek into Latin in his well known Vulgate. In 1516 Erasmus edited a text of the Greek New Testament. He had few Greek manuscripts available to him, and when in doubt used Jerome's Vulgate to guide him as to which to accept as most accurate. Sometimes even having to translate it himself back out of the Latin Vulgate into Greek because he had no Greek manuscript available to him for that portion of the Bible. It is Erasmus' edition of the Greek New Testament which Guttenberg used when printing the first book, the Bible, on a printing press. Subsequent to that historic event, Erasmus' text was given the moniker "Textus Receptus" (or received text) and for generations many thought it was the most accurate text available. The Textus Receptus is the text behind the King James Version of the Bible, which was the most popular English language Bible in the USA until just recently and still distributed by the millions across the globe.
So, given that it probably shouldn't be in the Bible, why is it included? It is undoubtedly an ancient story, at least as old as the 4th century, and probably older. It appears to come from an oral tradition about Jesus, even if not actually penned by John. Thus the story might be authentic. (I am still of the opinion that it is apocryphal.) The best answer is that all scholars recognize that it shouldn't be included. And some versions do not include it. But, most publishers are hesitant to completely remove such a well know story and take the tactic used by the NIV, they set it off either by brackets or a change in print type to indicate that readers should take note of something different about this passage, and then have a note that most reliable early manuscripts omit the passage.
Hey, all you Muslims keep saying our Christian Bible is corrupted. Now you even know exactly where. :D Another passage that has the same problems is the doxological ending to Matthew 6:15 ("for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen."). I hope you will also realize, how seriously those of us who care about the authenticity of the Bible are to be sure to note where it is corrupted and correct it. You will note that NIV does not include that doxological ending and clearly footnotes the passage we have been talking about. This is why I have confidence that though there are minor variant readings, that the main message of the Gospel and the rest of the New Testament (and for that matter the Old Testament, or the Jewish Bible) is accurately preserved and its message is intact and correctly transmitted through the generations to us.
Recent findings of Old Testament texts in the caves of Qumram which gave us a glimpse into how good a job was done of not corrupting either the text or the message. Prior to Qumran the oldest copy of a scroll of Isaiah dated to 800 AD. But the Qumram scrolls gave us a copy that dated 200 BC -- a 1000 year jump. In comparing the two, even though they were from different family lines, there were no significant variations. Thus what you read today (assuming you pay careful attention to footnotes) can safely be said to be the same message that was written nearly 2000 years ago (or more when referring to the Old Testament). You may take exception with what they wrote, but what we read is what they wrote.