Coombs relies on a reconstruction of the Diatessaron based on the following:
11th-century Arabic harmony
6th century Latin Codex Fuldensis
13th century Middle Dutch Liege
14th century Middle English Pepsyian
Amazingly Coombs says that where the order of the Arabic (considered the best witness and evidence of the weakness of the reconstructed text) LE agrees with the Western we can be certain that it is original. Note how the above coordinates with the conclusion/speculation that the LE is not original to the Diatessaron:
- 1) Patristics is unsure whether Tatian wrote the Diatessaron in Greek or Syriac. It's more likely it was Greek and Patristics did not want the Greek tradition because it lacked the LE and genealogies.
2) Patristics translate everything of interest into Latin and versions are more likely to include additions.
3) The Diatessaron is a harmony anyway so it would be more likely to include non-Gospel information as opposed to a Gospel.
4) Note that none of the main sources are Syriac. This coordinates with the 12th century Patristic observation that the Syriac tradition did not have the LE.
5) All of the main sources, except the Latin, are around or after 4).
6) Regarding the Latin, we know that the LE was added to the Latin tradition since Jerome confesses that in his time it was rare in the Greek and Latin but based on his and Eusebius authority it was acceptable to add the LE and that is exactly what Jerome did in his Vulgate which became the standard for the Latin.
Coombs implies that this is somehow an explanation for the contradictory Syrian tradition but it seems more likely that the relationship goes the other way. Theodoros confirms the tradition that the post resurrection contradictions were a serious issue for Tatian and were not harmonized. Theodoros adds to the tradition of Tatian that Tatian simply included the contradictory post resurrection stories. Doesn't really work as the whole point of the Diatessaron was to harmonize. Eliminating the problem at the source would solve the contradictions. Interestingly, Theodoros invokes Irenaeus of Lyons (yes, "Lyons") ridiculous "four" solution.Another eighth-century tradition provides more context and perhaps also offers clarification. In a scholion, Theodōrōs bar Kōnī writes of Tatian as follows: And finally there came the Greek Tatian, and he saw that in the Evangelion da-Mepharreshe [lit., Gospel of the separated ones = the four separate Gospels] events were described two and three times, and he began to write them down one by one and (thus) compiled from all four one book, and called it Diatessaron. And when he reached the pericope of the resurrection, he saw that the testimonies of all four differed, because each one described that He was risen from the dead at the time that our Lord appeared to him. And so as not to have to choose one testimony and omit three, he spoke thus—to take account of the testimony of all four—: ‘In the night—(I quote)—when the first day of the week dawned our Lord rose from the dead’. For the four are analogous to the four rivers and to the four elements and the four winds.
Skeptical Textual Criticism