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 10572 words, far less than Hahn’s 14400 14442, 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.

One Year LODLIB Anniversary (v2.01 released)

It’s been a year today since we first publicly released our findings about discovering a scientific solution to the Synoptic Problem and reconstruction of the first Gospel (Qn). Given that, we are transitioning from version 1 to version 2 in the numbering of our LODLIB (Linked Open Data Living Informational Book). Over 1000 pages (many of them 11×17) and almost 350,000 words is pretty amazing progress to have made in a year’s time. While there is still a lot more work to do, it’s good to celebrate this milestone.

Today’s upload has significant improvements, especially to the “Popular Script Translation of the First Gospel” and the “Iterative Critical Edition and Translation of the Third Gospel Stratum”. Many other updates are to be found across the book, following our cycles of continuous improvement. A lot of our work recently has involved checking the wording and manuscript variants of the critical editions of Tertullian’s treatise Against Marcion and Epiphanius’ Panarion (our two main sources of attestations of Marcion’s Gospel) and inserting specific page references to these scholarly texts in our footnotes. We hope our readers and reviewers–present and future–appreciate this scholarly rigor and attention to detail.

As always, constructive feedback and opportunities for collaboration are most welcomed! The great thing about a LODLIB, especially one built on scientifically testable hypotheses, is that it can evolve, not only to correct errors, but also to respond to legitimate critique and to build out new proofs.

History of Stylometric and Statistical Scholarship on GMarc Debuts in First Gospel LODLIB v1.54

Today’s upload has many new updates, most notably several new pages on the history of statistical and stylometric scholarship on Marcion’s Gospel, from William Sanday to John Knox to Joseph Tyson and most recently, Daniel A. Smith of Huron University, who earned his PhD under Kloppenborg and whom I had the pleasure of meeting at KU Leuven several years ago. This history of scholarship culminates in a close comparison of Smith’s work and mine, summarized in this table:

The subsequent conclusions explain and evaluate the differences between Smith’s numbers and mine, conceiving of each approach (passage counts, verse counts, word counts) as lenses with increasing levels of magnification or granularity. Smith’s findings dovetail significantly with my own, that Q (in some version) and Mark (in some version) were both sources of GMarc.

Following continuous cycles of improvement, we have made many other content and formatting updates but will leave these for our readers to discover and enjoy. Every week our LODLIB gets a little better!

New Iterative Critical Edition Format and Content Debuts in First Gospel LODLIB v1.53

Today’s upload has numerous updates. The most significant is a complete reformatting of the Iterative Critical Edition of Lk1/GMarc to tabloid landscape, both to facilitate reading and to allow for columns with cross-references to other recent editions of GMarc. We have also started adding specific page references to the Sources Chrétiennes critical edition of Tertullian’s Contra Marcionem by Braun and Moreschini to the footnotes after having checked these texts against those in Evans and Roth. One significant decision new to this version is the removal of A253, Children welcomed, from QnLk1. Given the unreliability of Adamantius Dialogue, we now read that signal cascade as originating in Lk2 (117-138), picturing Jesus as a rabbi practicing circumcision in defiance of the Hadrianic proscription against circumcision, only for later strata of Mark and Matthew in the 140s to reframe the story as about the baptism of children as an early-orthodox substitution for circumcision. Lots of other new and interesting insights and updates are there for scholars and lay readers interested in combing through the reconstructions and notes.

e-Clavis Entry on the Narrative of Joseph of Arimathea (CANT 76; ECCA 274)

The entry is completed and now posted on the e-Clavis site. Thank you: to Stephen Hopkins (the section editor) for persistently and patiently nudging me to finish this entry; to Bradley Rice for insightful correspondence about the relationship of the Greek Narrative of Joseph of Arimathea to the distinctive Georgian Story of Joseph of Arimathea (the seminal story in Holy Grail lore); to Tony Burke for editorial skill and rigor that always makes my writing far better than what I submitted; and to Slavomír Čéplö for your expertise and assistance with the Slavic manuscripts and related literature on this text. Teamwork makes the dream work!

Now back to work on the Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity article on this fascinating text, where I get to dig into the historical and literary contexts! In my analysis, its portrayal of Demas (aka Dismas or Dysmas) is highly significant in the history of the cult of the so-called Good Thief.

Incidentally, NASSCAL already tweeted about this new entry…

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