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Tatian's Diatessaron: Its Creation, Dissemination, Significance, and History in Scholarship
William L. Petersen
Publication Date
February 2013


A gospel harmony composed around 172 C.E., the Diatessaron is one of the earliest witnesses to the gospels. Regarded as the first version of the gospels in Latin, Syriac, and Armenian, the Diatessaron was used by Encratites, Judaic-Christians, and “Great Church” Christians alike. This study is the first comprehensive treatment of the Diatessaron in more than a century. After sketching the second-century setting and Tatian’s biography, it describes virtually every Diatessaronic witness and provides a scholar-by-scholar summary of research from 546 to the mid-1990s. Criteria for reconstructing Diatessaronic readings are developed, and numerous examples offer the reader first-hand experience with the witnesses. It contains the first bibliography of research on the Diatessaron (more than 600 titles) and the only “Catalog of Manuscripts of Diatessaronic Witnesses and Related Works” ever published.

William L. Petersen,† Dr. Theol. (1984), University of Utrecht, was Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Pennsylvania State University. His publications include The Diatessaron and Ephrem Syrus as Sources of Romanos the Melodist (Peeters) and Gospel Traditions in the Second Century: Origins, Recensions, Text, and Transmission (University of Notre Dame).

Hardcover edition available from Brill Academic Publishers (