Article 2 – Have The Gospels Been Merged Before?

One might ask;

"How many other synoptic mergers have there been that combine and harmonize the texts of the New Testament Gospel accounts?”

Since at least Tatian’s Diatessaron of 160 CE, the four familiar Gospels of the New Testament have been read together, both as a harmony in columns side-by-side, and also as a merger where the individual words of the parallel verses are combined or unified in some way.

Tatian created his merger Diatessaron by adding material from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, to the Gospel of John. In those many places where the texts from two or more of the four Gospels closely parallel each other, Tatian chose one set of verses (usually the longest, most detailed version of the saying or event) from one Gospel over the other(s).

Despite its editorial shortcomings, being a more complete narrative than reading even any two of the Gospel accounts separately, Diatessaron was widely read throughout the early church, from Rome in the west to Constantinople in the east, where it was used exclusively as the Gospel by the eastern and Coptic churches for more than 200 years.

In 405 CE, the Roman Catholic Church produced the Vulgate version of the New Testament in Latin. The Vulgate opened with the same four Gospel records of the life of Jesus that Tatian had used, except once again as four separate accounts. Since Tatian, there have been many harmonies, and several mergers of the words of the three more closely related "synoptic" Gospels, and also a few works that include the text of the Gospel of John. Learning from past examples, and using a precise system of notation, this book goes beyond all previous mergers and harmonies by splitting the parallel verses into sets of individual words, which were then carefully aligned on a word-for-word, and thought-for-thought, basis.

In the end, with each and every word from each of the four Gospel accounts of the New Testament included or accounted for, The Synoptic Gospel is the most complete and accurate word-for-word merged harmonization of the texts of the four Gospel accounts of the New Testament that has ever been produced.

Click to see the next Article, Article 3 Why Include The Gospel of John?