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RE: [GTh] "What is Q"

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  • Rick Hubbard
    Andrew- Pardon the delay but I have been preoccupied with some other matters. Also, I m very surprised someone else didn t offer an answer to your question.
    Message 1 of 6 , Aug 1, 2001
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      Andrew-

      Pardon the delay but I have been preoccupied with some other
      matters. Also, I'm very surprised someone else didn't offer an
      answer to your question.

      {You asked:]
      Sorry to be ignorant, but....... what exactly is "Q"?

      Q is the name scholars have assigned to a text that is
      presupposed to have been used by the persons who wrote the
      canonical gospels known as Matthew and Luke.

      There is some disagreement about the extent of this text and the
      way in which various researchers have reconstructed it. If you
      wish to read more extensively about Q I recommend a book by
      Burton L. Mack. _The Lost Gospel_. (San Francisco:
      HarperSanFrancisco, 1993). This as about the most concise AND
      readable book I can think of as an introduction.

      Rick Hubbard
      Humble Maine Woodsman



      -----Original Message-----
      From: Aryad [mailto:aryad42001@...]
      Sent: Monday, July 30, 2001 12:58 PM
      To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [GTh] Digest Number 283



      Sorry to be ignorant, but....... what exactly is "Q"?

      Thanks in advance
      Andrew

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    • Mark Goodacre
      ... There is also disagreement about the existence of this hypothetical document. I have provided an introduction to some of the issues involved on my web
      Message 2 of 6 , Aug 2, 2001
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        On 1 Aug 2001, at 18:45, Rick Hubbard wrote:

        > There is some disagreement about the extent of this text and the
        > way in which various researchers have reconstructed it. If you
        > wish to read more extensively about Q I recommend a book by
        > Burton L. Mack. _The Lost Gospel_. (San Francisco:
        > HarperSanFrancisco, 1993). This as about the most concise AND
        > readable book I can think of as an introduction.

        There is also disagreement about the existence of this hypothetical
        document. I have provided an introduction to some of the issues
        involved on my web site on Marcan Priority without Q
        (http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/q/) and there is an annotated list
        of web materials on the Synoptic Problem and Q on the New
        Testament Gateway at http://www.ntgateway.com/synoptic.

        I agree that Mack's book is concise and readable. Indeed it is
        enjoyably imaginative, like all of Mack's writing. In my opinion it is
        probably not the ideal introduction to the topic, however, since it
        does not give an adequate account of the role Q plays in the
        Synoptic Problem and scarcely hints that the document is an
        hypothetical one. For a useful introduction to the Synoptic
        Problem, I would recommend Sanders and Davies's _Studying the
        Synoptic Gospels_. For an excellent discussion of many of the
        key aspects in Q research, I would recommend John S.
        Kloppenborg Verbin's _Excavating Q_.

        Mark
        -----------------------------
        Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
        Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
        University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
        Birmingham B15 2TT
        United Kingdom

        http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
        Homepage
        http://NTGateway.com
        The New Testament Gateway
      • Rick Hubbard
        First, two apologies: I was unaware that Peter Kirby had previously responded to Andrew s question, so my own note may have caused some confusion. Also, my
        Message 3 of 6 , Aug 4, 2001
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          First, two apologies: I was unaware that Peter Kirby had
          previously responded to Andrew's question, so my own note may
          have caused some confusion. Also, my apology for the delay in
          responding to Mark's recent post (as an alibi I'll offer that it
          has to do with my fascination over a big bass who lives in the
          river behind my house. So far this year I've fed him about $40
          worth of lures, so I figure in a few more weeks I'll be able to
          catch him with a rope and a magnet. Meanwhile I keep trying more
          conventional tactics).

          Although I tried to be as "neutral" as possible in my answer to
          Andrew's question about Q, it was probably inevitable that
          someone would haul me to task. Mark Goodacre wrote:

          There is also disagreement about the existence of this
          hypothetical
          document.

          Mark is correct. There indeed is an abundance of qualified
          scholars, as well as many non-specialists, who dispute the very
          existence of Q (and therefore, certainly, its reconstruction).
          There are also a great many equally well-qualified scholars who
          hold the opposite view-- that Q does exist. Mark Goodacre is, of
          course, an articulate member of the former group.

          The current discussions about Q revolve around a host of highly
          complex issues and arguments. It seems to me that those who are
          not well-informed about the subject would be well advised stay
          out of the debate (which is one of the reasons why I have very
          little to say about the matter). Nevertheless, anyone who is
          interested in the history of the development of Christianity will
          almost certainly be obligated to migrate to one "Q pole" or the
          other. Some decision is almost mandatory. Consequently, one's
          final judgment on the matter will very likely depend on which
          "side" of the debate is the most persuasive AND on the shape of
          one's own biases.

          The influence of biases (or proclivities, or presuppositions, or
          assumptions, or what ever else they may be called) cannot be
          underestimated. For example Burton Mack, in his book, _The Lost
          Gospel_, suggests that the Q hypothesis is a byproduct of
          Reformation Christianity's effort to recover "original
          Christianity's" primal form from the NT Gospels. The bias at work
          behind this strategy, if I read Mack correctly, was that the
          Catholic church had somehow gotten the core message of
          Christianity "wrong" during 15 centuries of hegemony. Whether or
          not his assertion is correct is not important. What is important
          is that the tactical approach of these early researchers relied
          almost exclusively on a literary analysis of the gospels. Biases
          seek approaches that are ideologically compatible.

          From almost the very beginning of their inquiry, early
          researchers recognized that three of the four gospels in the New
          Testament exhibited some undeniable similarity in wording and in
          order. They noticed also that two of the gospels, Matthew and
          Luke, always followed the order and wording of the third (Mark)
          except in certain cases. When Matthew and Luke deviated from Mark
          (in either wording or order of events) they tended to agree with
          each other. This led some influential scholars to suggest that
          the authors of Luke and Matthew used a form of Mark to write
          their gospels IN ADDITION TO another source which they knew, but
          perhaps Mark did not know (that source ultimately was designated
          simply as Q). In some respects, the results of the investigation
          backfired. Instead of being able to neatly separate the strands
          of early Christianity from the biblical gospels, suddenly
          evidence was introduced that another text lay behind the synoptic
          gospels.

          Early on, the line of demarcation between advocates and opponents
          of the Q hypothesis seems to have been drawn along confessional
          lines. In general, opponents were those who simply choked on the
          idea that anyone would dare call into question the integrity of
          the gospels. The boundary between present -day advocates and
          opponents is much less ideological, but nevertheless it is
          sometimes still helpful to know what biases are present (for both
          opponents and advocates). In other words, are the arguments and
          objections of both sides purely objective or do they disclose
          some confessional agenda?

          Personally, I am ambivalent about the entire matter. I am
          convinced however, that other (non-canonical) traditions about
          Jesus circulated in the first century Mediterranean basin, and
          that clusters of these traditions were favored by discrete
          communities of people whose social circumstances were unique. The
          traditions that have been preserved in the biblical canon do not
          represent the only show that was in town, nor were the
          communities in which they were curated the only one's with an
          interest in Jesus. The clearest evidence of this presence is GTh.
          At least half of the content of Thomas is unique. Moreover what
          GTh does **not** contain, namely any mention of the
          Passion-Execution-Resurrection cycle, demonstrates that there was
          a community in which Jesus was an important figure, but not
          necessarily as a messiah, son of God or risen Lord. It is
          becoming increasingly clear that this same community had a social
          setting that can only be described as "counter-cultural." In
          addition, Raymond E. Brown has suggested quite convincingly that
          the Johannine community was theologically and socially distinct
          from other Jesus-oriented groups. Other scholars have
          characterized the Johannines also as counter-cultural. It is
          therefore, in my thinking, completely plausible that there could
          have been any number of other communities that collected their
          favorite Jesus traditions and committed them to writing. The
          community that is presupposed by the Q hypothesis would therefore
          not be an anomaly. The question therefore revolves almost
          exclusively around a documentary approach that has become so
          technical and complex that I am frankly bewildered by it.

          This much I can say: I own two books that contain what is alleged
          to be reconstructed texts of Q (_The Critical Edition of Q_ and
          _Q Parallels_). If somebody walked into my office and asked
          whether Q exists, all I would need to do is hand them either
          book. The decision thereafter is theirs alone.

          Rick Hubbard
          Humble Maine Woodsman
        • Stephen C. Carlson
          ... I disagree. The radical Tübingen school under F. C. Baur, who called into question the integrity of nearly the entire New Testament, had no use for Q.
          Message 4 of 6 , Aug 4, 2001
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            At 10:56 AM 8/4/01 -0400, Rick Hubbard wrote:
            >Early on, the line of demarcation between advocates and opponents
            >of the Q hypothesis seems to have been drawn along confessional
            >lines. In general, opponents were those who simply choked on the
            >idea that anyone would dare call into question the integrity of
            >the gospels.

            I disagree. The radical Tübingen school under F. C. Baur, who
            called into question the integrity of nearly the entire New
            Testament, had no use for Q.

            >The boundary between present -day advocates and
            >opponents is much less ideological, but nevertheless it is
            >sometimes still helpful to know what biases are present (for both
            >opponents and advocates). In other words, are the arguments and
            >objections of both sides purely objective or do they disclose
            >some confessional agenda?

            Your point is both helpful and unhelpful. It is always a good
            idea to examine the biases of anyone who is making an argument,
            but it is unfair to single out "some confessional agenda" as
            the culprit. There are many other kinds biases, basically as
            preconceptions in how early Christianity had to develop that
            are not directly related to articles of the faith.

            Among Q skeptics, there is a great range of diverse religious
            beliefs, spanning the gamut from Farrer to Goulder, with Spong
            in between. As a result, I don't see a confessional agenda
            being a major factor in their healthy skepticism.

            Stephen Carlson
            --
            Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
            Synoptic Problem Home Page http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/
            "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
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