Klinghardt and Nicolotti Word Counts Complete in First Gospel LODLIB v1.47

Today’s upload has several columns completed in the internal Data Dictionary (DD 1.6), a quantitative tabular comparison of major editions of Marcion’s Gospel. Several new concluding tabular calculations are also now included.

Several major quantitative findings deserve comment:

  • BeDuhn’s 2013 edition, while in English, stakes out a moderate position in its scope and reconstructions, especially when compared with the appearance of several new maximalist editions
  • Roth’s 2015 edition is highly similar to Harnack’s minimalist reconstruction
  • Klinghardt’s 2015/2020/2021 edition is by far the most extensive attempt to restore Marcion’s Gospel, owing significantly to his confidence in Codex Bezae as a consistent and reliable witness to its text
  • Nicolotti’s 2019 edition is certainly influenced by Klinghardt’s, but pulls back significantly from its reconstruction, both in the total number of passages restored and the extent of the word count restored within those passages

These quantitative findings will feature in two forthcoming reviews, one with Vigiliae Christianae focused on Klinghardt’s edition and a second, more encompassing review for another journal.

For this post, we highlight one table that illustrates the above conclusions. It consists of a compilation of the passages in each edition of Marcion’s Gospel that exceed the total number of words in the respective parallel passages in the canonical Gospel of Luke.

GMarc Passages Restored Over 100% of Lk2

TraditionHRMBDNK
Single000245
Double101636
Triple3233816
Other000011
Total424111628
Key: H = Harnack. R = Roth. M = Bilby. BD = BeDuhn. N = Nicolotti. K = Klinghardt.

A caveat here: since BeDuhn’s edition is is English, the numbers for his underlying Greek text are estimates. While on the whole (as sums or averages) they should be fairly reliable, for some calculations (such as whether the GMarc Greek text word count for a given passage exceeds that of the Lk2 parallel) it should not be taken as a precise measurement, especially given fluctuations in translation patterns from passage to passage.

In any case, the data–especially for the Greek editions–illustrate the inherent contradictions of the starting assumptions and conclusions of some of the editors. For scholars such as Klinghardt who (correctly) start from the position that the Gospel of Marcion is earlier than canonical Luke, it should be self-evident that the Gospel of Marcion in its word counts should almost always be shorter than canonical Luke. For scholars such as Harnack and Roth who (incorrectly) assume the Gospel of Marcion is later than canonical Luke, it should be self-evident that, as a later work, its text should almost always be longer than canonical Luke across specific passages. Abridgements sometimes appear in history, but in general texts and stories grow (i.e., cascade) over time and across later editions.

While my iterative reconstruction aims to be maximalist, it is emerging as occupying a middle space between the editions of Roth/Harnack and BeDuhn, owing to my maximalist (scientific) approach to reconstructing the voice (vocal stratum) of LkR2 (the redactor of canonical Luke).