Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Chapter 1 so far

Currently included in Chapter 1
The Good Shepherd; Catacomb of Callixtus/Callisto
See the posts from January 20 and 23

Below is the list of the what I have included in Chapter 1 so far.  The chapter needs to be approximately 20,000 words, but the first draft is ~29,000. I needed to "write long," however, so that I could work and think through the material in some depth. When I wrote the section on Irenaeus, for example, I did not yet know (a) exactly what interpretations of the parables the chapter needed to have so that I could build upon that particular interpretation with material from other people later in the book (such as Origen), (b) exactly what interpretations of the parables were so distinctive that they needed to be included (some are immediately discernible, such as Origen's discussion of the Pearl of Great Price), and (c) what needed to be covered to make sure that the book treated most of the NT parables. 

My next task will be to go back over the chapter draft many, many times, to cut, trim, edit, and craft a "coherent" narrative/story. I hope that I can get the chapter near to 20,000 words through that process; if that fails, I will have to consider cutting an entire section (which I would prefer not to do) and use that material elsewhere, such as in an article. The Gospel of Philip might be an option to cut, although that seems helpful to include in light of Irenaeus's writings. The Good Shepherd is another possibility to cut completely, since that technically is not a parable. This work on the chapter draft involves not only separating the wheat from the chaff, but also constructing a chapter (and book) that really is comprehensive and, as much as possible in such a work, coherent.

So I need to cut about one-third of the draft of Chapter 1. Unfortunately, I recently came across an interpretation of the Prodigal Son that I also should include in this chapter. It is from the Kontakia: On the Life of Christ by Romanos the Melodist. kontakion (my automatic spell check changed that to contagion!) is a chanted sermon, and the one on the Prodigal Son is the earliest material that I have found so far that gives the answer to whether the elder brother joins in the celebration of his brother's return (he does). Since I have found that positive answer given elsewhere (Chartres Cathedral stained-glass windows, Antonia Pulci's Prodigal Son play, Robert Wilkins's blues song, etc.), it would be good to add a brief section on that kontakion. That will be one connection upon which the work can build. So the chapter will break 30,000 words before I start cutting/editing it.

The longest section in this chapter currently is on Origen: 4324 words (Chrysostom is 3961 words). The shortest is on the Ravenna mosaics: 534 words.

I always write long, and cutting material is always the most difficult part in the writing process. With so much material from which to choose and with so much that one could say about particular interpretations, the choices are very difficult to make.

Chapter 1: The Early Church until ~550 CE (currently ~29,000 words):

  • Irenaeus
  • Clement
  • Tertullian
  • Origen
  • Gospel of Philip
  • John Chrysostom
  • Augustine
  • Macrina the Younger
  • Ephrem the Syrian
  • Byzantine mosaics (S. Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Italy)
  • Roman Catacombs (the Good Shepherd)
  • Dura Europos (the Good Shepherd in the house church)
  • Rossano Gospels

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