The CCP “translation” reproduces the story more or less word for word — up until the point at which Jesus is left alone with the woman whom the Pharisees had dragged before him. Events then take an altogether bizarre and diabolical turn:

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.”

You read that right: In this telling, Jesus gets rid of the crowd so he can have the pleasure of bashing the woman’s skull in himself.

Needless to say, this alteration is blasphemous and offensive to Christians, but we would do well to understand why the CCP has decided to make it. The story of Jesus and the adulteress is clearly impermissible to the Party in its original form. Though everything up until Jesus is left alone with the woman can be assimilated, their final exchange is disqualified, replaced by something not just tolerable but useful to the CCP. Such points of divergence between the CCP Bible and its source material tell us a lot about what the Politburo sees as the irreconcilable differences between Western and Chinese civilization.