Wednesday, June 04, 2014


Our Bible study class is working its way through Adam Hamilton's book, Making Sense of the Bible.  He tells of a second century man named Tatian who created a document called Diatessaron ("made of four") "in which he combined the four Gospels, removing redundant material, fitting the conflicting material together and creating one continuous story from Jesus' birth to his ascension."

Isn't that interesting?  It is a terrible thing to do to the Gospels, but I wonder if we don't do it too.  Think of our nativity scenes, with the wise men standing next to the shepherds.  Think of what we've done to the gospel stories of the women who anoint Jesus with tears or oil - we combine them and make her Mary.  Think of the resurrection portrayal, and how we mix up what each Gospel tells us into one story - or at least we forget that they tell different stories.

The Gospel didn't need Tatian's help to be a coherent, truthful story.  There is much to be learned by what one author included or emphasized.  We learn more from four different account than we would from one mooshed up one.  The differences in the accounts are important, and they tell us important truths and make important points.

Christianity isn't easy, but it is rich and deep and wonderful.



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