Cycles of Continuous Improvement (LODLIB v2.11)

Today’s LODLIB update reflects a major quality control check and normalization of our Hahn (1832) dataset of human-readable Greek, as well as minor corrections to some of the calculations in our Cluster Analysis and Statistical Analysis sections. We’re also happy to confirm via David Galston that Westar will be hosting an online/virtual session devoted to Q and the Gospel of Marcion as part of the upcoming Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting. If you are interested in planning or participating in that session, please let me or David know! Here’s hoping that venue provides a launching pad for a new kind of Jesus Seminar focused on the scientific restoration and reconstruction of the many historical voices embedded within early canonical and non-canonical gospels. This week we also made a few minor corrections to our Harnack JOHD data paper, which should be published very soon.

Channeling the Ghost of Thomas Kuhn (LODLIB v2.10)

This week’s LODLIB spices things up with numerous inspirational/illuminating quotations from Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions strewn throughout Part One of our LODLIB. These quotations inherently convey an outlandish confidence from someone who really thinks to be leading a scientific revolution in the study of the Gospels. Whether our five hypotheses, triangulation theorem, and various other proofs and methods are mostly right or mostly wrong, the field will eventually decide! All I can do is keep writing and moving forward.

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Data Paper and Datasets Accepted for Journal of Open Humanities Data (LODLIB v2.09)

This week’s LODLIB contains the author’s accepted version of our data paper and related datasets of Harnack’s 1924 reconstruction of the Gospel of Marcion (GMarc). Heartfelt thanks go to the journal’s editor-in-chief, Barbara McGillivray, to the four anonymous reviewers for their patient and thorough feedback, and to Paul Dilley for advising me to submit this work to JOHD, one of the many excellent Open Access journals hosted by Ubiquity Press. Because of them, both the paper and the datasets are far better than what I initially submitted. Their constructive criticism is ultimately what pushed me to develop consistent data normalization standards, both for the Harnack datasets and all other reconstructions of GMarc. These standards will allow for consistent and meaningful Computational Linguistics analysis. The fruits of this work are already evident in our data tabulations and visualizations in our LODLIB (a freshly released sample below) and will become more evident as we submit additional datasets and related papers for peer-review and formal publication. We’ll be sure to share DOIs for the paper and datasets ( as they are published.

More GMarc Data Normalization and Synoptic Cluster Analysis (LODLIB v2.08)

This week’s version continues our work to build out data normalization rules and standards for the academic/scientific study of the Gospel of Marcion. We’ve had another fruitful round of feedback about our Harnack datasets and short data paper for the Journal of Open Humanities Data. If we can get peer-reviewed agreement on the normalization of Harnack’s GMarc data, then normalizing the data of all of the other GMarc reconstructions will be far easier by comparison. In the meantime, in this week’s LODLIB, we have proposed new data normalization rules for the reconstructions of GMarc by Tsutsui (1992), Roth (2015), Klinghardt (2015/2020/2021) and Nicolotti (2019).

One of the great things about the LODLIB format is to visualize data while it is in process of peer-review and correction. The slew of data visualizations I released last week (another sample below) can easily be revised and updated if and when there are legitimate peer-reviewed corrections or consensus emerges about data normalization standards and/or the underlying normalized data. Visualizing data is so crucial to understand their importance and recognize their patterns, yet data are so often noisy, messy, and in fluctuation. Hence our modes of scholarly communication must adapt to accommodate these flexible processes, aiming for greater and greater clarity, fidelity, and scholarly consensus with each round of feedback and continuous improvement.

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Shine on You Crazy Diamond (LODLIB v2.07)

This week’s version initiates data normalization for the study of the Gospel of Marcion in concert with our freshly revised datasets for the fourth round of review of a short data paper and related datasets we have submitted to the Journal of Open Humanities Data, whose Editor-in-Chief is Barbara McGillivray at the Alan Turing Institute at Cambridge. The peer-review process has been wonderful and indeed transformative in my thinking and methodology.

The normalization of GMarc data (transforming past messy/noisy reconstructions into standardized data) will—mark my words—prove the tipping point in the transformation of the scholarly study of the canonical and non-canonical gospel strata into legitimate Data Science. In concert with our new normalization standards and normalized datasets of public domain reconstructions, we also release a slew of data visualizations illustrating the contents and relationships of all past GMarc reconstruction datasets. These visualizations clearly reinforce our scientific hypotheses and proofs that GMarc was in fact the third gospel stratum, based on two sources (the first gospel stratum, Qn, and an early version of Mark).

The age of hagiographical controlling bias and assumptions in Gospel Studies is over. The age of Gospel Data Science is upon us. Scholars can either get on board or get out of the way, but no matter what you do, you can’t stop this.

Digital Edition of Theodor Zahn’s 1892 Reconstruction of GMarc Features in LODLIB v2.06

This week’s version puts us over 400,000 words. In concert with the peer-review of our Harnack 1924 datasets for the Journal of Open Humanities Data, we have compiled datasets for other closely related, public domain reconstructions of Marcion’s Gospel. Today’s release features Zahn’s 1892 reconstruction, the second major reconstruction in the history of scholarship. Zahn’s edition totals 10571 words, far less than Hahn’s 14400, yet far more than Harnack’s 4207 4338. The disparity between these reconstructions exemplifies how much the results of reconstruction are determined by a priori assumptions and methodologies. We anticipate adding granular word counts by passage and tradition type (single, double, triple) for the editions of Hahn and Zahn in the Data Dictionary (DD 1.6) of next week’s LODLIB update.

GMarc 6.5 Relocated in LODLIB v2.05

Now up to 390,000 words in today’s upload. We continue to make solid progress as we practice cycles of continuous improvement across our iterative digital book. This past week one significant change was relocating GMarc/Lk1 6.5 after GMarc/Lk1 6.10, where many scholars (Harnack, Tsutsui, BeDuhn, Klinghardt, and Nicolotti) have also placed it, based on the alignment between Tertullian’s testimony and Codex Bezae. Our fresh assessment of the evidence confirmed this conclusion of previous scholars. We also expanded and made a few corrections to our tallies and calculations demonstrating how Q traditions indicated as dubious or stricken are the best attested of all tradition types for GMarc. Lots of new quotations and translations of comparative citations by Tertullian are to be found in the footnotes of the Comparative Reconstruction for chapters 4-6. It takes a lot of time and meticulous effort to restore GMarc in a precise way, but if our hypotheses are correct, then this is absolutely crucial work, clarifying and reconstructing the earliest gospel strata scientifically for the first time.

Digital Edition of August Hahn’s Reconstruction of GMarc Debuts in LODLIB v2.04

Now up to 385,000 words in today’s upload. As we await the last round of journal review on our Harnack datasets, we have gone ahead and compiled a digital edition of the first major reconstruction of Marcion’s Gospel, that made by August Hahn in 1832. The more I work on these datasets, the clearer the connections between them become. Among books in the public domain, Hahn’s work is certainly not as important as Harnack’s, and yet it is still foundational to the history of scholarship on GMarc. Even as a defender of the early orthodox view that GMarc was a later, abridged version of canonical Luke, Hahn sought to reconstruct a maximalist, continuous version of GMarc. In our view, Hahn’s edition (which totals 14400 words) restores far too much content from canonical Luke that was not attested for GMarc and thus, as an Lk1 dataset, it is deeply contaminated by Lk2 vocal signals and patterns.

In our iterative Critical Edition, we have also filled out additional columns with page numbers from several more scholarly editions of GMarc, including those by Hahn, Zahn, and Tsutsui, which altogether now total nine different comparative editions in addition to our own. The page numbers are sometimes supplemented with abbreviated indications to show at a glance how the various editors accounted for the data in a given verse, whether na (= not attested), np (= not present), anw (= attested but no wording), or ganw (generally attested but no wording). This allows for quick comparison of editor decisions.

We hope these new resources and supplements are useful to enthusiastic readers and to scholars specializing on GMarc. As always, constructive feedback and offers of collaboration are welcomed!

Scholarly Doubt about Q/First Gospel Contents is the Best Predictor of GMarc Attestation (LODLIB v2.03)

Lot’s of progress made in today’s upload. We’d specifically like to call attention to an expansion to our statistical proofs, especially in conversation with Daniel Smith’s 2019 chapter in BZNW 235 focusing on a statistical analysis of GMarc. In the interest of facilitating access for readers, we present the bulk of the content found on the page in our LODLIB that details our finding, building on Smith’s verse counts but nuancing them and challenging his starting goal (“On Not Dispensing with Any of Q”) and ultimate conclusions.


Smith Verse Count: GMarc Attested as a Percentage of Lk2

Tradition TypeGMarc Verses AttestedLk2 VersesGMarc Attested / Lk2

Even without questioning or changing any of the traditional contents considered secure for Q, according to Smith’s verse count approach, Q verses are the best attested of any tradition type. That is a highly significant finding on its own.

But what happens if we adjust our method to account separately for the 83 verses considered but doubted or rejected within CEQ? … [more below the fold]

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Epiphanius Citation Journey Complete (LODLIB v2.02)

The major milestone in today’s upload is that we have finished combing through the nearly 230 references to the text of Marcion’s Gospel made by Epiphanius in his Panarion. Our LODLIB now includes quotations, translations, and page references for this content according to the latest critical editions of the series Griechischen Christlichen Schriftsteller. As a condensation of this work, we have assembled a catalog of these passages, a helpful panoramic overview of the journey Epiphanius took through Marcion’s Gospel, with references sorted in order of appearance. A screenshot of half of this literary itinerary is appended below. We hope it is useful to other scholars and the interested public.

Lots of other improvements have been made, but we will leave those for readers to discover. One other important bit of news is that our Harnack GMarc dataset is now in the third round of review for the Journal of Open Humanities Data. The review process has been quick and very helpful, and we are grateful to the reviewers for their constructive feedback. Fingers crossed on its acceptance! As always, we welcome constructive feedback on our LODLIB as well as offers of collaboration and research fellowship/position opportunities.