Bruce: there is such a thing as a center of gravity of opinion within NT scholarship. It would be useful to know where this center was, so that in arguing against it at some point (say, the Q matter), one would not belabor points already accepted by the majority of critical scholars, and could concentrate on points of difference.
Tim: I think that when it comes to Q there is hardly any centre of gravity. Individual scholars may allow themselves to perceive some centre of gravity (in relation to themselves) but I think it comes down to a theory's perceived profile and 'baggage' (i.e. what else comes with it). And the future (degree of) success for Mark Goodacre will depend on this (with an increasing 'profile' and little 'baggage' the odds are improving).
Bruce: I invite suggestions from the knowledgeable members of this list as to which of the many NT Introductions might best represent that center opinion, and in sufficient detail that one could, if desired, formulate a
counter-argument. I don't mean a book acceptable to the majority of Synoptic list members, but one which they recognize as defining the NT consensus.
Tim: Such a procedure would help list members better articulate what they consider they are arguing against in the first place even if it fails in its goal to "belabor points already accepted by the majority of critical scholars". Since there are so few introductory treatments when it comes to Q, it is difficult to know what the majority accepts. Tuckett's Anchor Bible Dictionary article on Q should be considered. But his conclusion offers little. For Tuckett it is the distinctiveness of the Q material (bringing us beyond an assumed literary source) thus indicating a distinct entity. Tuckett here stated that
"none of the arguments against the existence of Q as a single source is fully convincing."
"It is thus best to assume that Q was a single source, available in Greek and probably in written form."
It would be hard to deny that Goodacre's efforts since Tuckett's ABD article have assisted in making those arguments more convincing. It is interesting, however, that those arguments are still sometimes (e.g. see Vinson's article in _Questioning Q_) being directed against Robert Stein (who does not advocate a written Q but thinks the evidence indicates an oral set of common material) is this due to a lack of representatives (Q scholars) who should be outlining what they do and do not believe are considered convincing arguments for Q? Without many Q scholars outlining such arguments makes it quite difficult for those arguing against them!
Stephen pointed out to me exactly one year ago (Mess# 9853) that
"Q as a single, presumably unified, document is the standard supposition of the Mark-Q theory, as least as far as the published literature is concerned. I am aware that many teachers are less committed to this aspect and view Q more broadly as merely a cover symbol for the Double Tradition. . . . Both the Farrer theory and the Q hypothesis proper propose such a document (Matthew and Q, respectively).
Is Stein non-representation? Donald Guthrie,_New Testament Introduction_(Leicester, England: Apollos; Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1990) Fourth Edition Revised certainly shared this hesitation:
"The symbol Q may still be used as a convenient description of the common material, while each investigator must be left to make clear whether he is thinking of written or oral material or a mixture of both." (p179)
Without a united Q front, what is there specifically left to oppose (except that Lk could not have known Mt). I'm perhaps not a very knowledgeable member but I am perplexed that Farrer theorists only wish to take seriously (for counter-attack) the Two-Document theory.
Timothy M. Lewis
Cranbourne, VIC 3977
Part-time Greek Tutor at Whitley College,
Melbourne College of Divinity, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
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