Syriac Insights Included in First Gospel LODLIB v1.49

Today’s upload has updates to many sections. Building on last week’s release of content newly attributed to Jacob of Serugh, we started combing through various other Syriac attestations to Marcion’s Gospel. (Thanks are due again to Phil Forness, this time for checking over my Syriac transcriptions and translations.) This has yielded additional confirmations of our reconstruction of the opening of this text in 3.1 and 4.31, and the footnotes have been substantially expanded accordingly. Other updates are spread across the book as we continue to practice cycles of continuous improvement. As always, feedback is welcomed!

Outside of this book but related to it, we’ve reached out to a science-focused journalist to ask if expert responses/reviews can be obtained for a potential news article on this book, and we also have a request into an illustrator to design a customized, artistic digital book cover.

Philip Forness’s Find Included in First Gospel LODLIB v1.48

Today’s upload has updates to several sections. We especially want to draw our readers’ attention to our revised reconstruction of the opening of Marcion’s Gospel in verses 3.1 and 4.31. Most notably, we now restore the word “he appeared” / ἐφάνη. In our view, the preponderance of evidence now supports this updated decision, in part based on the newly released finding by Philip Forness of Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main that the quotation about Marcion in British Library, Add. 17215 fol 30-33 can be reliably attributed to Jacob of Serugh. (To Phil: congrats on the recent acceptance of your article for the journal New Testament Studies, and thank you for sharing your article in advance of peer-review and publication and allowing me to make use of it publicly.) Our copious footnotes now include quotations of the primary source texts, including a quotation from Phil’s forthcoming Syriac text and translation. His article (which is already in production) does a great job of walking the reader through the historical debates about this quotation, from Barnes, Zahn, and Harnack to several current scholars.

In other book-related news, we have submitted our Harnack GMarc digital edition datasets (human-readable Greek and lemmatized and morphologically tagged Greek) to the Journal of Open Humanities Data and the JOHD data repository in Harvard’s Dataverse for peer-review. Thank you to Paul Dilley for recommending JOHD and to the journal’s editor-in-chief, Barbara McGillivray, for your responsiveness.

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.

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BeDuhn and Roth Word Counts Complete in First Gospel LODLIB v1.46

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

Major finding: the same internal patterns of word count distribution for Single, Double, and Triple traditions that I previously found in my reconstruction also hold true for the reconstructions of Harnack, BeDuhn and Roth. We are making good progress on compiling datasets of the editions by Klinghardt and Nicolotti, but those columns aren’t yet complete. So far, though, no matter who is doing the editing/reconstructing, the data are clear. GMarc has a systematic lack of uniquely Lukan traditions and a systematic surplus of Double and especially Triple traditions when compared to Lk2. This is one of many compelling proofs that GMarc was in fact an earlier version of Luke.

Lk2 vs GMarc Internals

TraditionLk2%H%R%M%BD%
Single31.8%17.2%17.3%17.8%17.9%
Double20.4%27.3%26.9%26.1%28.2%
Triple42.9%52.4%52.7%52.1%50.7%
Other4.8%3.1%3.1%4.0%3.2%
Total100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%

On a somewhat related note, we’ve recently joined the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL), the ACM SIGKDD, and the Data Visualization Society. We look forward to bringing our scholarly work on the Gospels into conversation with members of these groups in conferences and publications soon and for years to come.

GMarc Editions Compared and TEI XML Sample Released in First Gospel LODLIB v1.45

Today’s upload adds a significant new section to the internal Data Dictionary. DD 1.6 provides a tabular comparison of major editions of Marcion’s Gospel by Harnack, Roth, Klinghardt, Nicolotti, and myself. Thus far we have added verses, word counts, and attestation rates for the first few chapters. In future weeks, we plan to complete this table and add another section, 1.7, noting how specific linguistic features are rendered differently across these editions.

Even with the tabulations and calculations compiled thus far, the various methodological assumptions of the respective editors are already coming into focus. Klinghardt and Nicolotti consistently render more verses and more words within verses than do BeDuhn, Roth, or I. Harnack’s work is most closely followed by Roth, and both are minimalist renditions. Nicolotti follows Klinghardt most closely, and both are (overly) maximalist renditions (in my view). BeDuhn and I are moderate in our methods, attempting to render verses and words that were likely in GMarc even if not clearly attested by patristic witnesses, but not unnecessarily adding verses simply because they are present in Codex Bezae or have variant readings in the Luke manuscript tradition.

The other major addition to this version is a couple sample pages of TEI XML for Harnack’s version of Marcion’s Gospel. This sample is intended to give readers a preliminary sense of the XML structural and tagging conventions we plan to follow for our datasets.

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Liz, Adam, Mitt… How about joining us in democracy- and truth-land?

When the former VP Dick Cheney has to join 10 former SecDefs to co-author an op-ed prior to January 6 and then call his daughter that day to warn her about Trump threatening her on Twitter, only for Liz to be censured by her own state’s party for her patriotic, evidence-based calls to impeach Trump…

When the family and friends of Adam Kinzinger–a military veteran and patriot–disown him for taking the principled stand

When Mitt Romney gets booed and heckled as a traitor by the members of his own party in his own Mormon-majority state…

It’s time to ask all of these life-long Republicans, is the GOP beyond saving?

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First Gospel LODLIB v1.44 release notes

Today’s upload contains updates to several sections, particularly to the Statistically Significant Signature Features, Comparative Restoration, and Data Dictionary. We are increasingly including cross-references to the respective works of BeDuhn, Klinghardt, Gramaglia, and Nicolotti in our footnotes in the Comparative Restoration. We have also been spreading out the content in that section so that, whenever possible, there is one page for each verse in GMarc/Lk1. We hope that this offers a better reading experience and avoids having an overabundance of main text and footnotes on any given page. Outside of this book yet in relation to it, we are also continuing to build a lemmatized and morphologically tagged version of Klinghardt’s edition of GMarc as part of our rigorous analysis and forthcoming review of his work for the journal Vigiliae Christianae.

Statistical Proofs of GMarc Having a Different Author than Canonical Luke (First Gospel LODLIB v1.43 release notes)

This week’s release has several major updates. The Statistically Significant Features section now includes binomial distribution probabilities. At the top of the list, the preposition pros (πρός) in the accusative form. It occurs in 157 different places in Luke and 152 of those are in the Lk2 stratum, but only 4 in the Qn stratum. The odds of this distribution being due to random chance are 9E-12 (i.e., 0.0000000000092 or 1 in 100 billion!). The characteristically Lukan participle + “then” / δέ transition also evidences a huge magnitude of statistical significance: 1 occurrence in the Qn stratum compared to 93 total occurrences in Luke, which yields a binomial distribution probability of 8E-09 (i.e., 0.0000000081522 or 1 in 100 million!). As that section notes, these isolated features, while clearly statistically significant, are only part of a far more compelling picture once we begin to identify and correlate clusters of more than 100 additional signature features that occur less frequently in Luke, yet seldom or never in Qn.

We’ve also added numerous footnotes to recent academic literature in Computational Linguistics related to Authorship Attribution as we continue to comb through it and see how best to apply authorship attribution methods to the earliest Gospel vocal strata. Major updates have also been made to the main sections (Comparative Restoration and Data Dictionary).

As always, feedback and collaboration–public or private–are welcome.

Joining NASSCAL’s Board of Directors and Westar’s Fellows

Heard yesterday from Tony Burke at York University (Canada) that I’ve been voted onto the Board of Directors as a Member-at-Large for the North American Society for the Study of Christian Apocryphal Literature starting this Fall. NASSCAL has been an intellectual home for a significant amount of my scholarship. It’s been especially delightful to see the eClavis Digital Humanities project (co-developed by me, Tony, and Brad Rice) take root and flourish as a leading, trusted source of academic knowledge for Christian fictions/legends. Tony’s tireless work and the formation of an editorial board of experts have made all the difference. I’m looking forward to participating in the governance of this academic association and seeing what the future holds!

Heard today that my application to become a Fellow of the Westar Institute was accepted. While the organization is new to me, many of its members are friends, including Dennis MacDonald at Claremont and Ben Hubbard here at Fullerton. David Galston graciously allowed me to organize a Westar session at SBL in Denver in 2018, and it looks like David and I might be able to bring together a Westar session on the Gospel of Marcion and Q at SBL 2021. I’m honored to be part of this group of scholars committed to honesty, rigor, public transparency, humanistic inclusivity and inter-religious peer-review in scholarship about sacred texts and traditions.

The First Gospel (LODLIB v1.42 release notes)

This week’s edition releases a major update to the internal Data Dictionary to include a Discourse Analysis and Rhetorical Techniques section (DD 1.3) that builds on the work of Stephen H. Levinsohn for the BART (Biblical Analysis and Research Tool) project. Initial findings from my comparison of Discourse Analysis features in GMarc and canonical Luke, along with cumulative findings from the other sections, have now brought our list of distinctive vocal features demonstrating Statistically Significant Variance between Lk1 and Lk2 to over a hundred. I have thus strengthened our proofs for the Schwegler hypothesis that GMarc is an earlier version of Luke with over a thousand different data points. Essentially, I’ve now scientifically clarified the distinct voice of the editor of canonical Luke in contrast to its sources for the first time in history.

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