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.

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Smith Verse Count: GMarc Attested as a Percentage of Lk2

Tradition TypeGMarc Verses AttestedLk2 VersesGMarc Attested / Lk2
Single13549827.1%
Double/Q12823155.4%
Markan/Triple21642251.2%
Total479115141.6%

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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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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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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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.

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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The First Gospel (LODLIB v1.41 release notes)

This week’s edition has incremental improvements over the last addition, some new additions to the Comparative Restoration and Data Dictionary, and spelling and grammatical corrections throughout. Finalizing my forthcoming co-authored Harvard Theological Review article on Iphigenia, Librarian duties and home responsibilities have all made work on the First Gospel book slower going than usual, but I’m hoping to get back in the groove of uploading an updated edition each week.

On a related, very positive note, I recently received complementary review copies of Matthias Klinghardt’s freshly published two volume work: The Oldest Gospel (Leuven: Peeters, 2021), which I’m reviewing for the Brill journal Vigiliae Christianae. Thank you to Peeters and to the editor(s) at Brill for this opportunity.

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The First Gospel (LODLIB v1.37 release notes)

This week’s edition puts us over 700 pages and 293,000 words. Notable highlights:

  • Identification of an additional 20 signature features showing statistically significant variance between Lk1/GMarc and Lk2 that will be used in future proofs of the Schwegler hypothesis and our five hypotheses. These now include several features with disproportionately high frequencies in Lk1/GMarc compared to Lk2, not just vice versa. Many of these newly listed features are morphologically nuanced bigrams, trigrams, and quadigrams we’ve been identifying over the past several editions of our LODLIB in DD 1.2.
  • Forked three sections (Computational Linguistics and the Synoptic [Signals] Problem; Data Visualizations; Excursus on Related Topics) from other areas to have their own sections.
  • Hundreds more “clear” vocal signal tags are now assigned across any and all strata throughout the entire reconstruction in anticipation of the future compilation of NLP training datasets for each vocal stratum.
  • Dozens of new entries to the Data Dictionary, adding further clarification and disambiguation of the Qn, Lk1, and Lk2 vocal strata.
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First and Third Gospel Discovery: Christmas Edition (v1.32)

This evening’s edition brings us to 580 pages of detailed and ever-growing evidence proving my five hypotheses to uncover and reconstruct the first and third gospel strata. Besides reorganizing the table of contents and chapter order to be cleaner, we’ve added lots of new content:

  • an in-book Dataset and Code Repository section, which debuts here with a digital edition of Harnack’s critical reconstruction of Marcion’s Gospel
  • lots of footnotes on the history of scholarship of Marcion’s Gospel
  • a new section, “Half of a Love Letter to Advocates of the Marcionite Hypothesis”
  • a new excursus calling for a new Quest for the Historical Marcion and critiquing the failure of scholars to set Marcion squarely and thoroughly within his Roman historical setting, almost entirely ignoring the major role that Pliny the Younger (the first Roman official on record to execute Christians) probably played in Marcion’s life and thinking as his local governor in Pontus

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