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[Excavating-Q] Jesus and "Q"

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  • David C. Hindley
    Professor Kloppenborg-Verbin, While I have not read extensively from the large selection of books devoted to the synoptic problem and the analysis of Q , I
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 3, 2000
      Professor Kloppenborg-Verbin,

      While I have not read extensively from the large selection of
      books devoted to the synoptic problem and the analysis of
      "Q", I had long ago discovered _Formation of Q_ and
      immediately recognized it as perhaps the best analysis of Q
      to be found. One thing that I had noticed was that you seemed
      to emphasize the fact that the sayings do not necessarily
      have to derive from Jesus, even if that is how Q represents

      As stratified by Mack, the basic redactional layer of Q is
      rather bland stuff. In a recent discussion on Mike Grondin's
      "Gospel of Thomas" list (8/20/00), I suggested to Bill Arnal
      that the synoptics could be perceived not so much as
      instructional or devotional literature as propaganda intended to
      change the perception of Jesus held by the Roman
      authorities. To this effect, I quoted you as saying:

      "Koester ("Apocryphal and Canonical Gospels" [HTR 73,
      1980, 105-130]) suggests that Q may have circulated
      anonymously at first. I do not think this is very likely in view of
      Q sayings such as 6:46; 9:57-58; 10:3, etc., which virtually
      demand attachment to a named sage, and more particularly,
      in view of the almost universal tendency of sayings genres to
      attach themselves to names sages. This obviously is no
      guarantee of the ultimate authenticity of any of Q's sayings.
      As in other cases, sayings from other sources may have been
      borrowed by Q and placed on Jesus' lips." (_F of Q_, page

      At this point Bill responded by saying:

      That is a standard view in the field, i.e., that just because
      material is attributed to Jesus doesn't mean he actually said
      it. Kloppenborg is here just trying to avoid the straightforward
      equation of literary with tradition history, i.e., he says this
      because he doesn't want people to *assume* that just
      because material comes from the primary stratum of Q, it
      must go back to Jesus (and likewise doesn't want to promote
      the assumption that just because it comes from Q2, it can't
      go back to Jesus).

      Whether or not Bill has accurately captured your intent when
      you wrote that footnote, I would like to get a better feel for
      where you think these sayings ultimately originated. I have not
      had as much time as I would have liked to closely review your
      book in the three weeks I have had it in my hands. So far,
      though, I have not been able to put my finger on a particular
      spot in _Excavating Q_ where you definitively say where you
      think those sayings come from and why. Yes, you do indeed
      discuss several understandings of the social location of the Q
      community, but it is hard to determine what position you favor
      as to origins of these sayings.

      Unfortunately I have not had a chance to determine whether
      this way of looking at the sayings source(s) holds water when
      applied to the basic redactional level of Q according to your
      stratigraphic analysis. My interest is discovering whether you
      entertain the idea that some of the sayings originate outside of
      the body of Jesus' teachings. If so, why were they so used? It
      does not appear that Q scholars have devoted much attention
      to the possible use of Q material as propaganda intended to
      change outsider's perception of Jesus (i.e., make him seem
      less subversive by converting him from a prophetic reformer,
      say, to a harmless Cynic-like social critic). Could you perhaps
      briefly comment on this possibility?


      Dave Hindley
      Cleveland, Ohio, USA

      This is the _Excavating Q_ Seminar (Oct. 23 -- Nov. 10 2000).
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