October 23, 2000
A briefer response to James Warren.
James Warren notes that while the 2 Document Hypothesis
has been a standard explanatory model for years, the
"existence" of Q has not found its way into more popular
consciousness. Mr/Dr. Warren asks about how to introduce Q
into biblical literacy in a non-alienating manner.
Robert Funk once observed how ineffective New Testament
scholars are in conveying their ideas to what (one might think)
would be their most important audience, the church-going
public. They have been ineffective not only when it comes to Q
and the Synoptic Problem, but the historical Jesus, the
nonauthenticity of the Pastoral epistles, editorial differences
among the Gospels, the mythic nature of Gen 1-11, etc, etc.
Funk has been an advocate of biblical literacy for years and
has tried to promote this in the fact of American
fundamentalism--a noble but losing battle, I should say. There
are, however, all sorts of ordinary Christians and non
Christians who are completely receptive to the results of
biblical criticism, when they are presented in a responsible
manner. There's no magic involved. It's only a matter of finding
venues and presenting stuff in an engaging manner.
On the other hand, I do not think it a good idea to present the
2DH and Q as if they are the "assured results of criticism" or
the key to understanding the gospels. They are good
explanatory models, but not the only ones. It is more
important, in my view, to raise biblical literacy by unpacking
the various assumptions, methods, arguments, etc. that we all
use and show the effectiveness of these in making sense of
This is the _Excavating Q_ Seminar (Oct. 23-Nov. 10 2000).
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