Thursday, February 5, 2009

To Post or Not To Post

I should post today, but I sit here at my computer in the office, 32 minutes before I start my work day, with a mostly detached mind. It's not writer's block, for I can think of twenty things to write about, but none of those seem well enough developed in my thinking to begin writing for public consumption.

My evening writing time for the last three or four weeks has been devoted to the Harmony of the Gospels I've been working on for some years. Right now I'm entering the NIV footnotes (my base text is NIV). This has been a tedious task. Sometimes the footnote will say that it applies to the noted verse and several other numbered verses in the passage. Since I don't have numbered verses, I have to alter the footnote. I began the footnote work with Matthew, then Mark, then Luke, and am now to the 13th chapter of John. With each gospel, as I got to a parallel passage, I found fewer notes to enter, the same footnotes typically applying to the multiple versions of the passage. Also, as I typed much of the unique passages from John, I entered some of the footnotes as I went along. So, tonight I should finish John.

As I entered footnotes, I found a couple of places where I had missed something in the harmonizing. And, I left two or three places up in the air as I did the original work in manuscript, passages that were particularly difficult to blend, or to establish a most probably timeline, so I put them off to a later date. That later date arrives this weekend, it looks like.

Also, one difficult part of harmonizing is knowing how to fit the unique passages in John into the approximate timeline presented by the synoptic gospels. John Chapter 5, for example, a trip to Jerusalem. Where does that go in the synoptics? Assuming John's gospel is chronological and not topical (a dangerous assumption!), all we know is it goes between Jesus' second miracle in Galilee and the feeding of the five thousand. That puts it anywhere between Matthew 4:13 and 14:13, or Mark 1:2 and 6:30, or Luke 4:38 and 9:10--assuming each of those is chronological, again a dangerous assumption. The same can be asked for chapters 7 through 12 in John; where do they fit in?

In general, I followed the chronology suggested in the NIV Life Application Bible. After I was about a third of the way through my original harmonizing, I checked the harmonizing of events in the NIV-LIB, and found that we had exactly agreed up to that point. So from that point on I just followed the NIV-LIB order, rather than develop my own chronology. However, I now think I need to shift John chapter 7 to a later point than I have it. I also need to figure out what to do with Luke 9:51, which seems to upset much of my chronology.

All of this will not likely lead to publication. But it is fun; it stimulates my mind; and should produce something useful for Bible study, even if only for me.

I think, however, when I come to a good stopping point in the Harmony, which I see coming in about two weeks, I will shift back to In Front of Fifty-Thousand Screaming People, and try to finish that.


~ Brandilyn Collins said...

David, just wanted to stop by and say thanks for reading my blog, Forensics and Faith. I appreciated your comment to my post. Hope to see your name pop up there again!


~ Brandilyn

David A. Todd said...


Thanks for coming by my blog and commenting.