Criteria for Evaluating Gospel Strata Sequential Hypotheses

Uploaded v1.28 today. This major update brings the book series draft over 180,000 words, including some significant new content. Most important is the development of a set of twelve complementary criteria to expand and nuance my evolving scientific method for clarifying vocal strata within gospels and putting them in the correct historical sequence.

These twelve criteria are: 1) identifying signatures, 2) expansion/multiplication, 3) rhetorical density, 4) conceptual density, 5) transitional smoothness, 6) sequence preservation, 7) upward mobility, 8) honor/shame delineation, 9) hybridized intertextuality, 10) element preservation, 11) selective source alternation, 12) occasional weakness.

Along with a description of these twelve criteria, I provide a seven page set of tables showing how they work in practice.

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Luke 1-4 Parallel Sets Completed

Uploaded v1.26 this morning. This major update brings the book series draft up to nearly 450 pages and 160,000 words, including some significant new content:

  • Worked carefully through the infancy and childhood narratives, the genealogy, the introduction of John the baptizer, the baptism of Jesus, and the temptation to show that none of this content was present in the First Gospel (Qn) and Third Gospel (GMarc), but all quite clearly created or adapted from early sources by the Late Luke redactor, LkR2 (working 117-138 CE).
  • Started to develop a new proof of my hypotheses based on mapping the respective travels that Joshua/Jesus takes in each textual stratum. In Qn, Jesus makes a single trip from Nazareth to Jerusalem. In GMarc/Lk1, Jesus wanders around a few extra spots in Galilee before making the Qn single major journey. But in Lk2, Jesus, his parents, and his followers all make numerous back and forth trips between Galilee and Judea/Jerusalem.
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First and Third Gospel Reconstructions complete through chp. 11

Uploaded v1.24 today, another major update:

  • Draft reconstructions and translations for the First Gospel (Qn) and the Third Gospel (Early Luke / Gospel of Marcion) are now complete through chapter 11
  • Shifted to SBL fonts for the entire document
  • A more nuanced indication system is now in use to show precisely how the reconstructions relate to Roth’s critical edition
    • upgrade – ⸂⸃
    • emendation – ⸄⸅
    • explicit restoration – ⟨⟩
    • improvised restoration – ⟪⟫

Feedback welcomed, especially on the latest materials in chapter 11!

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First and Third Gospel Reconstructions complete through chp. 10

Uploaded v1.23 today, a major update:

  • Now up over 150,000 words (1.22 was around 125,000 words)
  • Draft reconstructions for the First Gospel (Qn) and the Third Gospel (Early Luke / Gospel of Marcion) are now complete through chapter 10
  • Lots of corrections made to earlier chapters as new evidence has continued to come to light
  • The page format in the Signals Reconstruction section is now uniform (tabloid size, landscape layout), facilitating a cleaner reading experience

Feedback welcomed, especially on the latest materials in chapter 10!

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LiveScience features my chapter from More New Testament Apocrypha

The indefatigable Religion meets Science reporter Owen Jarus gave a very generous summary of a chapter I contributed to volume 2 of the MNTA series published by Eerdmans, edited by Tony Burke.

It’s a little known crusader-era tale about San Dimas (Saint Dysmas) being a border guard between Israel and Egypt and his decision to practice civil disobedience to allow a very special group of impoverished refugees (Joseph, Mary, and Jesus) find asylum. While it’s an 800 year old Latin story, for some reason it feels strangely contemporary.

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Many Mostly Right; Some Flatly Wrong

New scientific breakthroughs in scholarship can feel like a game of winners and losers, and it’s never fun to lose. But real scholarship–scholarship based on scientific reality, method, and evidence–is not and can never be a winner take all prize. While the scientific discovery and reconstruction of the First and Third Gospels does completely invalidate some lines of inquiry and schools of thought, it simultaneously provides deep confirmation and reconciliation of many historic and current lines of scholarly inquiry and the rigorous work of scholars in those areas.

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First and Third Gospel v1.22 uploaded

Finished reconstructions and tagging of Early Luke / Gospel of Marcion through most of chapter 9. I’ve also improved numerous prior passages by breaking out more of Late Mark (Mk2, 140s CE) and Late Matthew (Mt2, 140s CE), as well as splitting up the Johannine strata (e.g., Jn1, 100-110; Jn2, 110-117). This scientific signals synthesis and triangulation method actually works! My fresh analysis is confirming much of what Vinzent, Klinghardt, Knox, Tyson and others have found about the Gospel of Marcion and its relationship to the synoptic Gospels.

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First and Third Gospel Reconstruction v1.21 Uploaded

Continuing to make great progress. Now up to 383 pages and over 116,000 words. A few notable changes in this version and/or the last couple versions:

  • new subsection: “Comprehensive Analysis of the Synoptic Receptions of the Markan Source” (this should convince many scholars about my two-source hypothesis for the Gospel of Marcion, as should the next one)
  • new subsection: “Lukan Redactional Features Disproportionately Missing from GMarc”
  • developed new abbreviations for signals tagging (one dot, two dots, three dots rather than 1, 2, 3) and Gospels (Lk1, Mt1, Mt2, etc.)
  • tagging and parallel set reconstructions up through GMarc chapter 8 now complete
  • starting to split out Late Mark (140s) and Late Matthew (140s) redactions into separate columns, a significant data visualization improvement
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