A couple close scholarly friends have recently provided private critical feedback about my reconstruction of the Gospel of Marcion and the First Gospel (Qn). Generally, their response simply repeated the common, traditional position: there was only one version of Luke, and the Gospel of Marcion is a later abridgement of that. I’d rather not have to tell friends that they are wrong, but friends, you are wrong. Please allow me to explain why, even without drawing at all on my scientific method and approach to signals synthesis and triangulation.
Here is a growing list of redactional features seen frequently across many passages and verses in Luke that happen to be not present or unattested for GMarc.
- Affairs of State
- Aristocratic Identity/Connections
- Character Motivation
- Collective Speech
- Complaint against Protagonist
- Deference to Authority/Procedure
- Elaborate or Layered Storytelling
- Emotional Descriptors
- Ethical/Philosophical Dialogue
- Euripidean Imitations (Bacchae, Ion, Iphigenia)
- Female Disciple Piety
- Filial Piety
- Historiographical Notices
- Hospitality Decorum/Protocols
- Internal Thinking/Dialogue
- Jewish Ritual/Temple Piety
- Josephus’ Antiquities imitations
- Literacy of Jesus’ followers
- Frequent/Long Journey/Pilgrimage
- LXX Devotion/Quotations/Use
- Matthean motifs (e.g., virgin birth, kingdom of heaven, future reward)
- Narrative Crisis/Dramatization
- Oracular-Poetic Speech
- Place names
- Plato/Socrates Imitations
- Pronouncements of Innocence
- Property/Slave Owner Concerns
- Salvation History Fulfillment
- Synkrisis of Characters (piety and ethics, not socio-economic)
- Third Parties / Incidental Characters
Several hundred examples of these features are in evidence throughout Luke, yet these examples are somehow either entirely or largely absent from GMarc. Once our reconstruction of GMarc is complete, we will generate tagged datasets enumerating these features and the relative positioning of their examples. We anticipate that our maximalist reconstruction of GMarc will total nearly 10,000 words. Thus the fully reconstructed GMarc will be roughly half the size of Luke, totaling around 20,000 words. Data visualizations of these tagged datasets will show that these features are massively and disproportionately clustered within the 10,000 words in Luke that just so happen to be missing from GMarc.
This will leave readers with two options, either 1) believe that GMarc somehow represents the most skilled or random abridgement of Canonical Luke, surgically or miraculously removing hundreds of examples small and large of over 30 different kinds of distinctive, learned, and creative redactional tendencies with extraordinary consistency, or 2) accept that GMarc is an earlier, simpler edition of Luke. Again, we ask readers to use Occam’s razor to cut through the unscientific, ideological, fideistic nonsense that interprets the Gospels as singular compositions by individual authors, rather than as fluid oral-textual performances supplemented and reworked in multiple layers representing multiple generations.
Abridgements of Shakespeare can’t help but sound like Shakespeare. If Luke sounds like Gospel Shakespeare to you, listen to it and then listen to GMarc again, all the way through. Then decide if GMarc sounds more like Later Condensed Shakespeare, Pre-Shakespeare, or Baby/Teenage Shakespeare. Regarding GMarc being an earlier edition of Luke, several high profile scholars have already come to the same conclusion (Joseph Tyson, Matthias Klinghardt, Marcus Vinzent, et al). While my ultimate conclusions and reconstructions for GMarc and Qn are quite different from these scholars, we all arrived independently at the shared conclusion that there were two major editions of Luke, and that GMarc represents the earlier version. This shared conclusion is not only now well-established. It also deserves to be consensus based strictly on scientific methods and evidence, not preconceived ideological bias.