JEPD Evidence - Diatessaron

Stig Norin stig.norin at
Wed Dec 22 08:30:54 EST 1999

A lot of years ago, I wrote a paper over Tatians diatessaron, working from
the arabic version, which as far as I know is the only complete text we
have today.

I don't know if it coud be possible to reconstruct the 4 gospels from that
text, but an intersting feature is, that the compilers have put the
priority in using ALL material even if the result not always becomes very
logical. If there are two version of something Diatessaron often takes
both, and does not make any compromise between them. I think this fact
makes the diatessaron very comparable with the Pentateuch, where we often
have J and E or even more version of one and the same story, and the
compiler didn't make a choise between them but used both.


Stig Norin

At 16.32 99-12-21, Andrew Davies wrote:
>Tatian's Diatesseron is a document known to be composed of the four gospels.
>If the only gospel that survived was the Diatesseron, would scholars be
>wrong to subdivide it into four sources?
>No, but then this is an entirely different circumstance.  Aren't the four
>traditions separated already clearly in the text?  I thought they were in
>columns, but then I might be thinking of the hexapla. There is a big
>difference between this and postulating a number of hypothetical sources
>which no one can be sure existed (and no one agrees upon the extent,
>definition, context and characteristics of).
>To be honest, I'm surprised as a newbie to this list to find so much heated
>discussion on this issue.  I for one am sceptical that we can ever know for
>certain anything of the origins of the biblical texts we have and find
>myself getting increasingly frustrated by attempts to propose histories for
>the traditions.  Let's be honest, where does it really take us?  And if
>anyone would suggest it gives us insight into the cultural context in which
>the traditions arose, then, might I ask, how can any text give us any
>information about the 'real' historical world?  Texts are texts, constructs
>of reality, and the biblical account of Israel's history is no more and no
>less a construct than Professor Lemche's.  The difference is, for me as an
>evangelical Christian, that I accept the biblical account as authoritative
>(no matter who wrote it and when).
>Andrew Davies
>Mattersey Hall
>Email a.davies at
>-----Original Message-----
>From:   Stephen C. Carlson [mailto:scarlson at]
>Sent:   21 December 1999 14:45
>To:     Biblical Hebrew
>Subject:        Re:  JEPD Evidence
>At 09:21 PM 12/20/99 -0800, kdlitwak wrote:
>>There are many problems with JEDP, such as
>>the lack of a parallel document that
>>is known to be composed of multiple sources
>Stephen Carlson
>Stephen C. Carlson                        mailto:scarlson at
>Synoptic Problem Home Page
>"Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words."  Shujing 2.35
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