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Hell in Q

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  • Mark Goodacre
    Dear Dale Many thanks for sharing with us the materials from your new book and also engaging in this most interesting discussion -- it s very much appreciated.
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 2, 2003
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      Dear Dale

      Many thanks for sharing with us the materials from your new book and
      also engaging in this most interesting discussion -- it's very much
      appreciated. As one who is not yet fully persuaded of the existence
      of Q, I hope you won't mind my asking about that topic. In response
      to Ted Weeden on the John the Baptist material, you wrote:

      > 2. Beyond this general consideration, Q 3:7-9 and 16-17 are full of
      > words and expressions and other things that don't sound to me like Q
      > redaction because they don't show up anywhere else in Q: Snakes'
      > litter, wrath to come, fruits worthy of repentance, ironic use of Isa
      > 51:1-2, children to Abraham, ax at the root of trees, baptism with
      > fire, pitchfork in hand, wheat and chaff as imagery of judgment. I
      > haven't gone through and checked my Greek concordance of Q, but
      unless
      > I've lost my memory, all this stuff is unique to Q 3.

      I agree with this as an assessment of Q, but what does strike me
      about the language and imagery here is that there are multiple
      parallels in Matthew. I'll just draw attention to two:

      - Snakes' litter: 3/0/1, here and at Matt. 12.34 and 23.33. Indeed
      the latter is remarkably similar to Q 3.7, "Brood of vipers! Who
      warned you to escape from the coming wrath?"; Matt. 23.33: "Serpents,
      brood of vipers! How will you escape from the judgement of Gehenna?"

      - Every tree not producing good fruit will be cut down and cast into
      the fire, 2/0/1, here and Matt. 7.19 where the same sentence occurs
      verbatim.

      There are two things I'd like to ask about this that bear on the
      chapters currently under discussion:

      (1) It raises interesting questions about the way Q is reconstructed,
      as Michael Goulder has argued (see "Self Contradiction in the IQP",
      JBL 118). For given that these phrases occur in "bedrock" or
      "minimal" Q, and given that these phrases exhibit language that has
      clear parallels in Matthew outside minimal Q, how can we know that
      elsewhere Q's language differed from Matthew? It is common when
      reconstructing Q to avoid words and phrases that are in any way
      characteristic of Matthew; the assumption being made on such
      occasions is that Q's language is different from Matthew's. But
      given that Q's language is demonstrably similar to Matthew's on at
      least some occasions in minimal / bedrock Q (like the one under
      discussion), the standard assumption that Q's language
      must have differed from Matthew's cannot be right, can it? But if
      that's admitted, then one of the basic principles used by the IQP is
      flawed, no?

      (2) A related question: what do you make of the similarity of the Q
      and M material on hell? I was struck by your comment that we have
      more hell as we move away from Mark. This remark, and the data you
      adduce on hell in the Synoptic tradition, makes good sense on the Q-
      sceptical theory, does it not? I agree that gehenna, judgement and
      hell is clearly present in all strands of Gospel material, Mark, L
      etc., but it's particularly pronounced in the strands that -- for Q
      sceptics -- originate with Matthew, i.e. M & Q. And it's in these
      strands that we see some real identity of language and idea, e.g.
      weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth is 5/0/1. Do you think
      that Matthew saw the phrase on the one occasion that it occurred in Q
      and then repeated it another four times in those other contexts? Or
      is Q just very similar to M here?

      Many thanks for your thoughts on this. I really appreciated the
      essay on hell. One final thought from p. 15: "all of us are bundles
      of inconsistencies, from which generalization I see no reason to
      exempt Jesus." I am sure that must be right. Indeed I wonder if we
      should expect Jesus to be all the more resistant to our attempts to
      find consistency and coherence in what we try to recover of his
      teaching than others? One of the best recent things I've read on the
      historical Jesus is a piece by Jack T. Sanders, chapter 1 in his
      _Charisma, Converts, Competitors_, which compares Jesus as a
      charismatic with Sai Baba, arguing that inconsistency is exactly what
      we should expect to find. I noticed you drew attention to Sanders's
      recent piece on the criterion of coherence and wonder if you've also
      had a chance to consult that book -- it's an excellent read.

      Thanks again and very best wishes
      Mark

      ------------------
      Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
      Dept of Theology tel.: +44 121 414 7512
      University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 4381
      Birmingham B15 2TT UK

      http://www.theology.bham.ac.uk/goodacre
      http://NTGateway.com
    • Dale Allison
      Dear Mark Oh my--questions about the existence of Q! I feel out of my depth here. The reason is that while I have continued to read with interest contributions
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 3, 2003
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        Dear Mark

        Oh my--questions about the existence of Q! I feel out of my depth here. The reason is that while I have continued to read with interest contributions to the synoptic problem, I haven't written anything about that problem in several years. Actually, most of the last two years have been spent working on a long, detailed commentary on the Testament of Abraham (which de Gruyter tells me now will be out this summer). And I find that when I read about a subject but don't write on it, I'm not able to think it through. That's why my blurb for your own book, The Case Against Q, is open-minded: >>Those who do not believe in Q ill find....Those of us who remain in the Q camp will....<< I'm not sure what to think at the moment; I certainly don't dismiss your questions. I've just been going along hoping that the conclusions I came to when I worked through all the details during the Matthean phase of my life haven't been blown up by clever arguments. But then I can't really add anything to the argument at this point. I could repeat some of the things in Derrenbacker and Kloppenborg in JBL 20, but what would that serve? You've already heard them. And you may already have written up a response to that particular piece. So just a few things--
        i. Surely Matthew could have taken over a phrase from Q and run with it. We've all heard a phrase from somebody, a phrase we liked, and then made it our own. Now I don't know how many examples of this you could come up with if you worked through Matthew and Mark, but the following are expressions that appear once in Mark and several times in Matthew--pater + humon/sou/auton/hemon + ho + en (tois) ouranois (Mt 13; Mk 1); pleroo used of the scriptures (Mt 12; Mk 1), hypokrites (Mt 13; Mk 1), synagoge + auton/humon (Mt 6; Mk 1). You speak of "Luke pleasing" in your book. Well, wouldn't you have to argue, given your own belief in Markan priority, that these phrases in Mark were "Matthew pleasing"? And if Matthew could do this with Mark, why not Q?
        ii. I have no trouble at all regarding "Brood of vipers" in Mt 12:34; 23:33 and the cut down tree in Mt 7:19 as Matthean redaction based upon Q 3 (a commonplace verdict in the guild). That Matthew would take words of the Baptist and put them into Jesus' mouth actually fits a Matthean tendency to assimilate the two figures. So to observe that Matthew and Q share certain words and expressions is not in itself damning. I suppose it'd be a question of quantity, and for this you can appeal to Goulder's work. But do you know, Mark, if anyone has done a comparative study here? That is, has anyone asked, assuming Markan priority and Q, how many words and phrases Matthew took over from Mark and how many words and phrases he took over from Q? I'd be interested in the answer.
        iii. I've got another question for you, Mark. Do you think that any of my major conclusions about the historical Jesus and Gehenna would change if I were to give up Q? And would you be hesitant, if there were no Q, to trace some of the M hell stuff back to Jesus? This isn't a trap--I'm honestly asking for your judgment. Either way you answer, it seems to me significant and I'll need to think through the ramifications. I've tended to think myself that Q doesn't matter for this question as for many others, but maybe I'm wrong and I need to think further about how to hedge my bets.
        iv. Finally, I am familiar with Jack Sanders' little essay on Jesus and consistency, but I don't know the book--which I just discovered our library has. I'll check it out this morning.
        Best,
        Dale
      • Mark Goodacre
        Dear Dale Many thanks for your thoughtful answer to my questions about Q; sorry for bringing up the Synoptic Problem. I should be more careful not to come
        Message 3 of 4 , Apr 4, 2003
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          Dear Dale

          Many thanks for your thoughtful answer to my questions about Q;
          sorry for bringing up the Synoptic Problem. I should be more careful
          not to come across as a Johnny One Note and ask questions about Q! I
          am working on different things now, but the prominence of Q in two of
          the chapters I read meant I couldn't resist a comment. To comment on
          your comments:

          (1) Yes, one also finds some Matthaean style expressions in Mark (as
          the Griesbachians are keen to point out) and yes, I agree with you --
          on the whole -- on what happened with Matthew's use of those sorts of
          expressions in Mark: he's seen something "Matthew-pleasing".
          However, more nuancing is necessary on some of them, e.g. what is
          distinctive about hUPOKRITHS is not so much Matthew's use of the word
          but his use of the vocative hUPOKRITA/AI; Mark 7.6 is PERI hUMWN TWN
          hUPOKRITWN. And it's difficult to find anything like as striking as
          some of the expressions we have in Q, e.g. the neologism OLIGOPISTOI
          or whole phrases like weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth.

          (2) But the point about my question was not just that striking
          Matthaean locutions turn up in Q; it is that their presence in
          minimal Q places a question mark over the assumption that Q's
          language and Matthew's language was different, the assumption that is
          at the base of reconstructions of Q. Although this has important
          source-critical ramifications, the point is not primarily a source-
          critical one. It is one about the reconstruction of the text of Q.
          In other words, I'm trying to understand the way that the Q theory
          works, to make sense of the reconstruction of its wording and I keep
          running up against this problem. The difficulty is that it is a
          problem that is not acknowledged or even discussed by those who
          accept the existence of Q.

          To take "weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth", for example, the
          question we need to ask ourselves is: if this did not occur in a
          parallel Lucan context in Luke 13, would we include it in Q? Well,
          I'm pretty sure we wouldn't, would we? We'd say it showed clear
          signs of Matthaean redaction, as the IQP regularly says when
          discounting Matthaean phrases elsewhere in Matthew's versions of Q
          passages. But distinctive Matthaean phrases like this, and others
          like o ye of little faith, do crop up in minimal Q. Minimal Q
          therefore for at least some of the time sounds like Matthew. So what
          I cannot understand is where the assumption comes from that Q's
          language was different from Matthew? It is something that is never
          argued; indeed it's not even admitted in the Kloppenborg-
          Derrenbacker defence to which you refer. It may be that there is a
          reasonable answer to this point, but I've not been able to think of
          one myself.

          I'd like to have another look at the "brood of vipers" etc. material
          too:

          > ii. I have no trouble at
          > all regarding "Brood of vipers" in Mt 12:34; 23:33 and the cut down
          > tree in Mt 7:19 as Matthean redaction based upon Q 3 (a commonplace
          > verdict in the guild). That Matthew would take words of the Baptist
          > and put them into Jesus' mouth actually fits a Matthean tendency to
          > assimilate the two figures. So to observe that Matthew and Q share
          > certain words and expressions is not in itself damning.

          I realise that this is a commonplace verdict in the guild; I'd say
          that something like this must have happened if the Two-Source Theory
          is right. What I'm wondering is whether this is one of those
          occasions, like the ones you refer to in your Liking & Disliking
          Chapter, where commitment to a particular viewpoint causes us to see
          the data in a certain way. Since I've never believed in Q, I suppose
          I am inclined to see this data as being friendly to my view where you
          see it as friendly to to the Q theory. But let me attempt to explain
          how it looks to me. When we read John's Gospel and see Jesus, John
          the Baptist and the narrator all speaking in the same way, we have to
          say with F. C. Baur that this is the evangelist stamping his own way
          of talking on John, Jesus and the narrator. When we see the same
          thing in Matthew, John and Jesus speaking in identical ways (with the
          preponderance of this kind of language occurring in Jesus' mouth and
          not in John's), it seems more natural to me to think that Matthew has
          stamped his own way of talking on Jesus and John. This seems to me
          much more plausible than the notion that Matthew has imitated the
          wording of one short Q passage on John and applied it on multiple
          occasions to Jesus. After all, it's not just the language but the
          very imagery and thought-process. It's Matthew among the evangelists
          who particularly thinks of judgement in these stark terms of
          separation between the righteous and the wicked, often using harvest
          imagery but also other, similar images, wheat / chaff, wheat /
          weeds, good fruit / bad fruit, good fish / bad fish, sheep / goats.
          When I read the John the Baptist speech, its thought, language and
          imagery just looks to me so markedly Matthaean and I can't help
          finding it more plausible to think that it therefore originated with
          Matthew rather than that Matthew derived the other material from this
          passage in Q. I understand your point here, can see that it makes
          sense, but don't feel that it is as plausible as the Q sceptical
          view; but perhaps that does have something to do with the way I am
          used to looking at the data. I was unlucky enough never to have been
          taught Q at university -- Ed Sanders used to say he found it the
          least plausible solution to the Synoptic Problem; I disagree about
          that -- I find 2ST much more plausible than Griesbach -- but
          sometimes patterns of thought are very difficult to unlearn.

          > iii. I've got another question for you,
          > Mark. Do you think that any of my major conclusions about the
          > historical Jesus and Gehenna would change if I were to give up Q? And
          > would you be hesitant, if there were no Q, to trace some of the M hell
          > stuff back to Jesus? This isn't a trap--I'm honestly asking for your
          > judgment. Either way you answer, it seems to me significant and I'll
          > need to think through the ramifications. I've tended to think myself
          > that Q doesn't matter for this question as for many others, but maybe
          > I'm wrong and I need to think further about how to hedge my bets.

          Thank you for asking an interesting question; I don't have a simple
          answer. On the general issue, I differ from Michael Goulder and side
          with Ed Sanders in thinking that dispensing with Q does not mean one
          has to go for the implausible view that Matthew (and Luke) "made it
          all up", for want of a better expression. I am impressed by the fact
          that there are other streams in early Christianity that do not
          witness to a distinct Q or a distinct M tradition, but bind them
          together, e.g. epistle of James and the Gospel of Thomas -- both
          heavier on (what we call) Q + M than on L or other strands.

          On the specific question, let us say that Matthew is the author of
          that particularly distinctive way of talking about hell, with
          weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth etc., and that this only finds
          its way into Luke in fragments. What that would leave us with is
          Matthew making a pretty decisive contribution to the language and
          imagery in which hell is cast in early Christianity. The Q theory, I
          think, pushes this material much earlier and enhances the multiple
          attestation element of this particular way of expressing hell. So I
          think here this would actually make stronger your own observation
          that hell becomes more prominent as we move further away from Mark.
          But we still have it in Mark; it's there independently in Luke's
          Dives & Lazarus (which, unlike Goulder, I don't think Luke made up);
          and just because Matthew frames the language and imagery in a
          distinctive way does not mean that he has not taken over his own
          material from the tradition.

          Sorry that this answer is a little long-winded and not as coherent as
          it should be; I have had to write it quickly in order to see if I
          can get it in before the moderators call a halt to proceedings. I'm
          most grateful for your time and once again thank you for the really
          stimulating articles & the discussion.

          All best
          Mark
          ------------------
          Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
          Dept of Theology tel.: +44 121 414 7512
          University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 4381
          Birmingham B15 2TT UK

          http://www.theology.bham.ac.uk/goodacre
          http://NTGateway.com
        • Dale Allison
          Dear Mark Well, this is the end of the line for me; thanks to everyone for your questions and comments, which have been helpful. Now, to your commments Mark:
          Message 4 of 4 , Apr 5, 2003
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            Dear Mark
            Well, this is the end of the line for me; thanks to everyone for your questions and comments, which have been helpful.
            Now, to your commments Mark:

            i. You write: >>it's difficult to find anything like as striking as some of the expressions we have in Q, e.g. the neologism OLIGOPISTOI or whole phrases like weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth.<< I've never tried to look for these, but if you're right, then you do it seems have a good question for the Q guild.

            ii. Re the reconstruction of the wording of Q. This is hard for me to think through because there are so many facts I don't have to hand. For one thing, I'd need to go through The Critical Edition and see if there are any phrases that sound Lukan and whether they come close to balancing the phrases that sound Matthean. (Your comments imply No, but I've not done this myself.) Further, I'd want to see how many things in The Critical Edition do not sound Matthean, things that in each case, if The Critical Edition is correct, Matthew consistently changed. Once I had these facts, then I'd want the details regarding what Matthew has done to the Markan sayings (not the narratives) to see to what degree Jesus' Mark sounds like Matthew's Mark. With all this in hand, then I could answer your question. Seems to me that if you could do all this, and if Matthew looks a lot more like Q's Jesus than Mark's Jesus, and if our official Q is consistently (and not just once in a while) not non-Matthean, we'd need to have some thoughts that I haven't had until now.

            iii. I'd also want, if I were working through all this now, to attempt to reconstruct the sayings of Jesus in Mark with only Matthew and Luke to hand (that is, pretending not to have Mark), using the methods of the official Q project. Would Mark end up looking more Matthean than Lukan? What would this tell us?

            iv. Re your attempt to assign John's speeches in Q 3 to Matthew (if I understand you rightly), a couple of things may be said. One is that the idea of pure redaction--but you may not be saying this--seems to me to be problematic. >>The Son of man<< in Mt 16:28 is >>pure<< redaction, being a replacement of >>the kingdom of God<< in the Markan parallel. But Matthew took his phrase from the tradition, and it doesn't sound unlike Jesus elsewhere in the synoptic tradition, does it? Again and again, redaction takes up items from the tradition, and Jesus is usually in character. No evangelist could have had him say, e.g., that there is no God. This leads into the second thing, which is that what I see with Q 3, namely, Matthew using it for other things, seems to me to be so natural because I see it everywhere in the Jesus tradition; that is, people are constantly assimilating one thing to another. Mark has assimilated the feeding of the 5000 to the Lord's Supper, right? The parallels don't argue that he invented both. Mark has also created the second feeding story to match the first, or at least assimilated them to one another, but he didn't create both, did he? Mark has probably written Gethsemane to correlate with Mark 13:32-37 (or maybe it's the other way around)--but this doesn't mean he invented both Gethsemane and the parable in Mark 13 out of nothing or nothing much. Of course I could go on and on--tons of stuff in Talbert's old list of parallels in Luke-Acts, and tons of assimilation of this story about Jesus to that OT text--and (recalling your own work on the OT in the passion narrative), Mark isn't making up the passion narrative but assimilating Bible and traditions for the most part? Assimilating this to that is just how these people worked, so Q 3 is just one more example. Of course, this doesn't prove anything at all; it just explains how I'm looking at something, and in part because I grew up with Q. To go back to the essay on apocalyptic and ideology, I really do feel that most of us, most of the time, are working from ideas we formed at the beginning, ideas which we've gotten used to and so now must defend; most of us are very bad at converting after the teenage years; we're rather typically stuck in our ways.

            v. Glad to see that you think the main points of the article on Gehenna may stand up without Q.

            vi. Thanks for the mention of Jack Sanders' new book, which I had missed. Looks worthwhile.

            vii. Have just started Steve Hultgren's Narrative Elements in the Double Tradition. More reason why I can't just go down the road assuming what I took to be knowledge when I was still going to school; or rather, I just never get out of school. I will, however, now that this so-called Seminar is over, take a brief recess.

            Best,
            Dale







            ------------------
            Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
            Dept of Theology tel.: +44 121 414 7512
            University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 4381
            Birmingham B15 2TT UK

            http://www.theology.bham.ac.uk/goodacre
            http://NTGateway.com



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