Article 2 – Have The Gospels Been Merged Before?

One might ask;

"How many synoptic mergers have been created that combine, harmonize and unify the words of the four New Testament Gospel accounts?"


The four familiar Gospel accounts have long been read together, both as a harmony with the texts of several Gospels in columns side-by-side, and also as a merger or synopsis, where the individual words of the parallel and overlapping verses are combined or unified in some way.  Although there may have been even earlier works that combine and unify the words of the Gospels, Diatessaron was compiled by Tatian using the four familiar Gospels in about 160 CE, which is about 130 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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 Christian 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 (Common) 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 and overlapping accounts.

Since at least Tatian’s Diatessaron, many harmonies and several mergers of the words of the three more closely related "synoptic" Gospels have been created, along with 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 sets of parallel verses into individual words, which were 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?