Here are the answers to your question.
1) from Petersen Tatian's Diatessaron p. 196 (on the subject of the Dura Europos fragment of the Diatessaron) '... since the verso is blank it would seem that the Fragment was part of a roll, not a codex.'
2) sorry for addressing my comments to 'Dirk' I was hiking in a forest and texting on my BlackBerry. The follow question is mean to be addressed to A. Dirkzwager
So are you saying that if - as I demonstrated in a previous post - P52 matches the material in the Diatessaron as well as it does the Gospel of Johnyou couldn't dismiss the argument that it might have come from a Diatessaron- like text (an ancestor of Tatian's text) merely based on Tom's observation that a gospel harmony using letters as big as those in P52 couldn't fit on a single quire?"
3) I don't understand your point about introducing speculation into the discussion about P52. I am merely questioning the scientific basis behind the claim that P52 IS a witness to the canonical gospel of John.
The standard view in NT scholarship is to assume that because P52 lines up with the familiar text in the canonical gospel of John and P52 can be dated to the early second century that P52 proves that the canonical Gospel of John dates from the early second century.
All I did was to notice that the same section in the canonical Gospel of John also appears in the Diatessaron word for word. In other words, P52 could also be used to prove that the Diatessaron came from the second century period. If indeed all the texts of the canonical gospel of John were destroyed in a past age and all the only Christian gospel that was available
was a Diatessaron and P52 was uncovered we would all be nodding our heads agreeing that it proved that we had just found evidence that the Diatessaron dated from the early second century period.
This isn't speculation. It is an observation about the making statements like 'P52 proves that the Gospel of John comes from the second century.' The proper thing to say would be 'P52 proves that a story from John is witnessed in the early second century' or 'P52 proves that a story common to the John and the Diatessaron is witnessed in the early second century.'
Irenaeus may witness the existence of the canonical gospel of John
and most of us assume that this text was transmitted from John to Irenaeus by Polycarp. But as I have noted time and time again Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians employs a Diatessaron for its gospel citations. Moreover there were other texts closely associated with John (the Acts of John) which explicitly suggest that John's gospel was a Diatessaron or a pre-Diatessaronic single, long gospel.
I am going to trash Irenaeus' reliability as a witness. The point is that he is just one witness as to the form of the gospel of John - Polycarp, Leucius and Florinus argued for a different text. That's all.
should be noted time and again that Irenaeus does not say that Tatian wrote, edited, constructed or fabricated the Diatessaron. The ommission is curious given that Irenaeus finds a number of things that he doesn't like about Tatian's beliefs. I think Polycarp's acknowledged use of a Diatessaronic witness has something to do with this failure to criticize Tatian's gospel.
Tatian's teacher has been demonstrated to have used a so-called 'gospel harmony.' Justin may well have been Christian in the period of P52. It has been argued (by Petersen among others) that Justin's text did not have Johannine material. Yet P52 is from the Passion narrative where one might imagine Johannine readings might well have been witnessed in a single, long gospel.
To dismiss the idea that P52 COULD BE a Diatessaron fragment is reckless. It based on a collective assumption of what gospels SHOULD BE found in the early second century based on an inherited faith not solid science.
As I doubt very strongly you have ever spent much time looking at the various 'gospel harmonies' I should make it clear that there is a common misunderstanding that every section in the text looks like a fusion of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The reality is that there are whole pages where we see material common to John and then another page where it is all looks like Matthew etc.
If we can imagine a scenario where someone in the second century took a pair of scissors and shredded the Diatessaron, by your inherited assumptions you would only recognize those fragments as 'Diatessaron fragments' when there was harmonization evident. A passage which happened to be common to the canonical gospel of John - let's say for argument's sake the P52 fragment or others like it - would always, always, always be identified as proof of a Gospel of John.
Finding texts which prove an early date for the canonical gospels is good for church apologetics but surely this is not the point of scientific research. Science can only eliminate hypothesis when the
available evidence no longer supports that possibility.
I am not saying that you can prove that P52 is a Diatessaron fragment. I am just saying (especially with the help of A. Dirkzwager's recent post) that you can't prove it isn't.
From: Mitch Larramore <mitchlarramore@...>
Sent: Sunday, August 9, 2009 7:03:55 PM
Subject: Re: [textualcriticism] Notebook use in first century
"Can you think of any logical reason
why the Dura Europa community would have apparently had their
Diatessaron gospel written out on a scroll?"
ML: No. Such was simply not practiced. Luke was about as big a scroll as you will find -- this is why he breaks up Luke-Acts into two scrolls. Four Gospels (the length of the canonical Gospels) on one scroll would not even have been a consideration.
In another email, you wrote:
So are you saying that if - as I demonstrated in a previous post - P52 matches the material in the Diatessaron as well as it does the Gospel of John
you couldn't dismiss the argument that it might have come from a
Diatessaron- like text (an ancestor of Tatian's text) merely based on
Tom's observation that a gospel harmony using letters as big as those
in P52 couldn't fit on a single quire?"
ML: First, there is a well-known TC scholar named Dirk Jongkind. Using "Dirk" to address A. Dirkzwager I think will only confuse things a bit.
ML: Concerning your comment about dismissing "the argument that it [p52] might have come from a
Diatessaron- like text (an ancestor of Tatian's text)..."
I think you have now introduced sheer speculation into the discussion. It is very difficult to proceed with this thread if such speculation enters the picture. I am not trying to discourage you from following a "hunch," but I would say that you need at least some evidence before you bring your ideas before a group like this. Bear in mind that I could be completely misunderstanding where you are coming from. If so, kindly set me straight.