Inventory conventions and symbols.

For use with the synoptic inventories.

There are two kinds of inventories, a listed inventory and an itemized inventory. The listed inventory breaks each gospel down into passages or pericopes, and lists them side by side in parallel. The itemized inventory does the same, but then further breaks down each passage into phrases, or items.

For separate listed inventories of each synoptic gospel, see the following:

I try to employ the same set of conventions and symbols throughout my synoptic inventories and related discussions. The following set applies to inventories of all three synoptic gospels. Not every point below will apply to the individual gospel inventories:

  1. Each passage or pericope makes the list at least once. A passage will make the list exactly once only if one gospel alone contains it, or two contain it and both place it at the same location in the narrative, or all three contain it and place it at the same location. It will appear twice or thrice if any of the gospels locate it differently in their narratives.
  2. Passages listed more than once are marked with at least one asterisk. A single asterisk * marks any passage listed for the first time in the inventory, a double ** any passage listed for the second time, and a triple *** any passage listed for the third time. The asterisks are also hyperlinks. Click on a single asterisk to visit the second instance, on a double asterisk to visit the third, if it exists, or the first if the third does not, and on a triple asterisk to visit the first. (Asterisks are omitted in the individual gospel inventories.)
  3. Some passages are marked as part 1 or part 2 of a series. Click on part 1 to visit part 2, and on part 2 to visit part 1.
  4. At any given point in the inventory, the table will be following the sequence of at least one of the gospels, and, if at all possible, of two or even all three of them. Passages whose sequence is being followed at the time will be boldfaced, and their table cells will be shaded. It is thus possible to scan only the boldfaced passages down a single column in order to find the entire scope of that gospel laid out from start to finish.
  5. Braces {} enclose passages listed as parallels out of their own sequence.
  6. Brackets [] enclose passages whose order has in some way been merely transposed on a local level, involving purely contiguous passages.
  7. This inventory is repetitious. It will list a passage shaded and in boldface in its proper sequence, and it will list it again braced {} as a parallel to a passage differently located in another gospel. Those that are bracketed [] I have not bothered to relist, since brackets mark local transpositions which may be spotted at a glance. Any given passage may, therefore, be repeated up to three times, but it will be boldfaced only once. (The individual inventories of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, on the other hand, are not repetitious, cycling through the gospel at hand only once.)
  8. Where all three gospels agree as to order, I of course follow that order. Where two agree against one, I follow the two, then come back later to the one dissenter, unless the latter merely adds a passage or two to the general sequence, in which case I list the miscellaneous passages, then resume the threefold sequence as soon as possible. Where all three diverge, I make an editorial decision as to which to follow, based both on chronological considerations and on ease of presentation. Such decisions are in no way intended to prefer one synoptic solution over another.
  9. I use a tilde ~ to express doubt or reservation about the parallelism of any given passages.
  10. The division of any one gospel into sections admits of a certain degree of arbitrariness, never mind two or three gospels considered together. I include these groupings before each inventory to help with navigation.