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Re: Q and the Historical Jesus

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  • Brian Trafford
    ... I am not so certain that the existence or non-existence of Q is going to have much, if any, bearing on the question of the Historical Jesus (HJ). For
    Message 1 of 42 , Feb 14, 2006
      --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, "Eric Eve" <eric.eve@...> wrote:
      >>Bill Arnal wrote:
      >>For Mark Goodacre's alternative, which dispenses with the
      >>need for Q, is that Luke used Matthew as a source as well as Mark,
      >>meaning that Luke's redactional processes and motives are quite
      >>different from how we have normally understood them. An example of
      >>this came up fairly recently on this list -- if Mark Goodacre is
      >>right, Luke's version of the beatitude on the poor is redactionally
      >>motivated and secondary to Matthew's. This has huge implications for
      >>the HJ.
      >
      >Eric Eve replied:
      >Indeed so. Furthermore, if Mark Goodacre is right this could surely
      >have large implications for the way we should view not only Luke's
      >redactional processes but *Matthew's* as well; a world without Q
      >might allow a far more creative Matthew than we have hitherto allowed
      >for, and render the Historical Jesus even more elusive than he was
      >before.

      I am not so certain that the existence or non-existence of Q is going
      to have much, if any, bearing on the question of the Historical Jesus
      (HJ). For example, in _Excavating Q_, J.S. Kloppenborg sets out to
      demonstrate far more than the mere existence of Q, going to tremendous
      lengths to uncover the nature and beliefs of the Q community and the
      authors who stand behind this source document. Likewise, Bill Arnal
      has written extensively on Q, the authors of Q and the community in
      which they lived. Yet Kloppenborg specifically tells us he does not
      see his work as having any bearing at all on the question of the HJ,
      and Arnal has been very clear in his own personal agnosticism on the
      question of us ever coming to know anything meaningful about HJ.

      Many Q scholars appear to have long since detached any question as to
      what Jesus might, or might not, have done or said from the Q document
      itself. No doubt Crossan, Borg, and others have put great stake in
      it, but if Q is shown to be non-existent, this affects only their
      particular arguments on HJ, not the overall case itself. Put simply,
      whether the author of the sayings material found in the Matt/Luke
      double tradition turns out to have originated in Matt or Q makes
      little difference. Kloppenborg, for example, is not even certain that
      much of the material found in Q pre-dates GMark (if memory serves, he
      puts most of it very late in the Second Temple, or even post-70AD),
      leaving open the question as to how freely he composed his material.
      Why would we think that the "Q-author" was necessarily any more, or
      less, creative, than Matthew?

      Brian Trafford
      Calgary, AB, Canada
    • Brian Trafford
      ... Well, I don t know about Regina, but it IS mighty cold here in Calgary today. ;^) ... And while I agree (!!!), I also believe that the reverse is likely
      Message 42 of 42 , Feb 16, 2006
        --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, "William Arnal" <warnal@...> wrote:
        >Brian Trafford wrote all kinds of good stuff, mostly snipped, and:
        >
        >>Why would we think that the "Q-author" was necessarily any more, or
        >>less, creative, than Matthew?
        >
        >I couldn't agree more, not only with the above statement, but with
        >much of the snipped material as well. (Is Hell freezing over?)

        Well, I don't know about Regina, but it IS mighty cold here in Calgary
        today. ;^)

        >I maintain my conviction that at least some of the critiques that
        >have been made of certain positions in Q scholarship have likely been
        >made because of those conclusions' (or their implications')
        >unattractiveness for the HJ.

        And while I agree (!!!), I also believe that the reverse is likely
        true, as more than one scholar has used Q to promote a rather
        different theology than is commonly associated with orthodox
        Christianity. Both forms of reasoning are fallacious. The double
        tradition stands as a fact (or at least as close to a fact as one can
        get in this kind of business). Put simply, Matt and Luke shared a
        bunch of stuff not found anywhere else. Now, whether this material
        originated in a shared common document (as the Q advocates believe),
        or in Mattew (or, I suppose, possibly even in Luke), as the Q-sceptics
        maintain, the question of how much of it can presumably be traced back
        to the historical Jesus is a red herring. I was pleased to see that
        in both Kloppenborg's and Goodacre's radically different treatments of
        Q, both set aside the question of the historicity of the double
        tradition, and rightly so.

        >But is there a necessary and logical connection? Not at all. Q
        >scholarship shouldn't be constrained by orthodoxies of the HJ field
        >(if there are any left) -- but neither should the HJ be constrained
        >by Q scholarship and its orthodoxies.

        And as a Q sceptic, I would only add that proponents of the Farrer
        Hypothesis (and any other theories seeking to resolve the Synoptic
        Problem) likewise divorce that effort from the quest for HJ. Though
        Bill and I probably agree on just about nothing else (is that too
        strong?), I think that the HJ debates have not served to advance the
        study (or debunking) of Q. In my view the Synoptic Problem is a
        literary question more than an historical one, and should be treated
        as such. One can only imagine studing the Bard for historical
        sources, and musings about the historicity of the "sayings and deeds
        of Macbeth" coming to dominate the discussion.

        Peace,

        Brian Trafford
        Calgary, AB, Canada
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