“Tatian and the Diatessaron”

Exploring God’s Library

The Diatessaron, known as the first harmony of the four Gospels was composed in Aramaic by Tatian, a disciple of Justin the Martyr an early church Father in about 160 A.D.

This effort by Tatian aimed to compile a seamless history of the four Gospels as one narrative piece on the Life of Christ as revealed in Holy Writ. Why? Simply because each of the four eyewitnesses provides a more complete picture of the life and times of Jesus Christ our King. That does not mean that each of the four Gospel narratives can not stand alone on its own merit. Quite the opposite. Each was written with a particular audience in mind, e.g., Matthew was written to a Jewish audience and Mark to a Greek audience. The Gospel of John surprisingly appeals to Japanese scientists.

Again, why the need? Simply that each of the four Gospels are not all arranged in the same order. Mark is not in chronological order, whereas Luke tells the story chronologically. And yet each Gospel often sheds light on the same event as this band of disciples traveled with him, albeit from a differing viewpoint. As in life, not everyone attended all the events, so the Synoptic Gospels, a term for “To see together” provides a Harmony of the parts, and brings together one large tapestry of the Life of Christ, His birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension.

97% of the words of Mark are in Matthew although from a different perspective. 88% of the words in Mark are found in Luke written by the physician Luke. The Gospel of John provides an independent witness and reveals a high Christological view of Christ. John the beloved was an ancient storyteller with an intimate knowledge of the synoptics and was part of Christ’s inner circle.

The following excellent presentation on the Diatessaron complete with a timeline and short bio of Tatian was designed by the group as seen in the source below.



Published by

James and Elizabeth Stephens

James and Elizabeth Stephens presently live in Southern California and have been married since 1978. In 1999, James completed a MA in Intercultural Studies specializing in Leadership Development and in 2010 Elizabeth completed an Associate in Science in Business Information Technology.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s