Minimalist vs. Maximalist Restorations Illustrated

Restoring a heavily blurred or faded painting by Michelangelo or Da Vinci or Caravaggio requires an enormous amount of time and expertise. All the more so when the underlying or corroborating evidence is complicated and diffuse.

Restoring the Third Gospel (the Gospel of Marcion or Early Luke) and through it the First Gospel (Qn) deserves the same kind of intensity, skill, boldness, and commitment.

Today I spent six hours restoring just one passage of three verses in the Gospel of Marcion: the interconnected parables of the wineskins and the clothing patches (GMarc // Luke 5.36-38).

The most recent major critical edition of the Gospel of Marcion offers this as the final conclusion based on its minimalist approach to textual restoration.

No professional art dealer, museum curator, or professional art restorationist would find that kind of approach or conclusion remotely acceptable. It is the religious studies equivalent of drawing stick figures or taping a piece of paper over part of a painting and summarizing in five words a complex array of rich color, texture, and detail.

Below are the fruits of my restorationist work today. This is what a professional, maximalist restoration should look like, especially when it comes to the Third Gospel, one of the most important texts in the history of Christianity and the history of religions more generally.

Class is in session.