Friday, February 10, 2012

Progress on the Harmony

As I’ve written on this blog before, for several years I’ve been working on writing a harmony of the gospels. I won’t repeat what I’ve written before, but direct those interested to any of these posts for a description.

Analyzing the Chronology of Gospel Events
To Post or Not to Post
Still Writing with the Flow

I thought I should give a progress report. Early last year I was working hot and heavy on what I call Passage Notes. These are where I put parallel passages side by side in a table, divide them into small units, and explain the process I went through to harmonize the passage. I made a lot of progress early in 2011, maybe even through mid-year, then pulled off. My mind was tired of it at that point, and other writing interests had hold of whatever gray cells I could muster.

Then late in 2011, having completed a number of other projects, I picked up the Harmony again. This time I went to the Appendixes. These differ from the Passage Notes in that they analysis of broader issues that must be addressed in a harmony, such as the chronology of Jesus’ life and apparent or actual duplication of teaching, events, miracles, etc. As I began again this work, I had ten appendixes identified by name and purpose, and eight of them started or complete.

First I took time to address how many appendixes were needed. I looked at some other publications of or about harmonies, and saw what they covered and what they ignored. I compared that to what I considered important by way of explanation, and came up with a final list. I’ll need thirteen appendixes to explain what I feel needs to be explained. As of November/December of last year I had seven of thirteen either complete or well along, one about a third done, and five as title only or maybe an opening paragraph.

So I set to work on the appendixes, and by mid-January had completed three of those, plus the one that was half done is now seven-eighths done. At that point I shifted back to the Passage Notes. As I resumed work on them I looked ahead and saw that I really didn’t have as much to do on them as I thought I did. I thought I might have six months more writing to do, but I actually finished the Passage Notes yesterday—subject to editing and proofreading, of course. So now it’s down to two and one-eighth appendixes, and the book will be complete.

I know some people will ask, “Why spend so much time on a non-commercial project?” My only answers are because I want to, and because I can. It has been a rewarding experience. I have a much better understanding of the gospels as a result of this, especially how our orthodox understanding of Jesus requires all four gospels. No one of them tells the whole story, though each of them, in their own way, tells a complete story. How’s that for inspiration?

So the long work is nearing completion. Yesterday and today I worked on adding bookmarks and cross-references between the Passage Notes and the harmony text. I will likely finish that on Monday or Tuesday. The next step will be to print a proofreading copy. I’ll slowly proofread it while at the same time get back to work on the last couple of appendixes. I believe I may have some text done on one of them, residing somewhere in a separate document. I also want to add some references to all the appendixes. I consulted a number of scholarly works throughout the writing, but haven’t added the references. It’s time to do so.


David A. Todd said...

Today I finished adding the cross-references to the Passage Notes section. Tomorrow I'll print a copy. Then I'll set it aside for a while and work on other project. In a month or two I'll come back and tackle the last few appendixes.

Rob Thimmes said...

Mr. Todd,
I am one of your fellow writers at Buildipedia. Finding your blog is refreshing. I am glad to see someone not just thinking of subjects to write about (my status), but actually writing. We share a great many interests. I am curious to know more about the writers' group you mention. I have not read through everything on your blog, so maybe that information is contained therein. I will look for it. In the mean time, good work and I will see you in the pages of Buildipedia.

David A. Todd said...

Hi Rob:

Thanks for looking up my blog, and for commenting. I'll look for your articles at Buildipedia. I just received contracts for the next two articles in my regular column, so I guess the management there is reasonably pleased with it.

Our writers group is a ministry I started at our church. We have fourteen on our mailing list, but only four or five attend with any regularity. The holidays, winter travel, and some illnesses have reduced our number of attendees over the last three months. We are less than a year old.

If we share interests, why not consider buying my book, Documenting America. It's available both as an e-book and print book. You can find the links at my website,