Monday, October 25, 2004

Several (Deinde; NT Gateway; Jim West) have recently commented on a privately-published Gospel harmony, "the Gospel of the Four" by Peter Jones. The tone of the press release in particular raises my hackles: "unprecedented", "controversial", "the correct number of miracles performed by Christ", and so forth seem mainly designed to attract publicity. But we are now well into a new age where it is trivially easy for anyone to publish anything: that's why we all blog, right? I agree with Mark Goodacre's points about the value (and difficulty) of reviewed publication: if you want to wear the mantle of scholarship, you ought to have evidence to support your claim.

By the way, i deliberately avoided the word "harmony" in describing the Composite Gospel Index, because i'm not attempting to harmonize the accounts: that's a task for scholars and speculators. My far less ambitious goal was to simply organize related material side-by-side to give a more holistic view of the Gospel (singular), rather than the Gospels (plural). I completely agree with those who argue that each writer has a unique perspective which should not be lost. The counter to that, though, is that our church traditions focus almost exclusively on the separate views, rather than the composite one: i see value in both. And i have an additional goal: to put this material squarely in the internet culture by making it machine, as well as human, readable. A next release in RDF has occupied much of my attention in the last few weeks: more to come.

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