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[Excavating-Q] A comment on Q and the HJ and a question on genre

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  • Sukie Curtis
    Dr. Kloppenborg Verbin, I am greatly enjoying reading _Excavating Q_ and want to add my voice to those who have already expressed their appreciation for your
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 4 7:31 AM
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      Dr. Kloppenborg Verbin,

      I am greatly enjoying reading _Excavating Q_ and want to add my voice to
      those who have already expressed their appreciation for your time given to
      this seminar.

      I have both a comment and a question. First the comment, in response to the
      following which you wrote in response to David Hindley:

      > The methodological problem is that we don't have any access to the Jesus
      > tradition independent of our earliest (somewhat tendentious) sources (Q,
      > Mark, Thomas, bits of Paul, bits of James, some Sondergut), and it is
      > problematic to *assume* that the "Jesus" behind these was a "radical" but
      > that Q1, Mark, Thomas and the others all toned that down so that his
      > original character is no longer really visible. I'd prefer to begin with
      > rhetorical construals of Jesus present in Q, Mark, James, Thomas, etc. and
      > look for commonalities, both explicit and implicit.

      I believe there is a close connection between your preference for "looking
      for commonalities" in "our earliest (somewhat tendentious) sources" and what
      Dean Pielstuck was referring to the other day regarding Crossan's Common
      Sayings Tradition--that is, those 37 sayings common to both Q and the Gospel
      of Thomas. Using your stratigraphy of Q (Q1 sapiential; Q2 apocalyptic)and
      Arnal's stratigraphy of Thomas (first strand, sapiential; second strand,
      Gnostic) and Patterson's comparative stratigraphy of Q and Thomas, Crossan
      concludes in agreement with Patterson, "the original Common Sayings
      Tradition contained neither Gnosticism nor apocalypticism but required
      adaptation toward either or both of those eschatologies." (_The Birth of
      Christianity_, p. 255) And he sets out to explore a question posed first by
      Patterson: "If Q and Thomas lie on diverging trajectories each grounded in,
      yet moving away from, an early sapiential tradition, what can be said about
      this early tradition itself?" (cited by Crossan, TBoC, 255). (I won't give
      away the ending!)

      Second, a question (or two): Your discussion of the genre of Q1 presents a
      close "'family resemblance' between Q and other documents typically
      designated 'instructions'" (159). You also mention the brief narrative
      framing of Q2 as characteristic of chria. My question concerns the
      relationship between those two named genre: Are instructions and chriae
      collections considered two distinct genre, yet sometimes sharing common
      features (you mention that both often begin with an ordeal or test of the
      sage)? And what of the term that one frequently encounters these days,
      "sayings gospel"? Does that enter the discussion of genre, or is that a
      descriptive term of another (theologically less neutral!) order?

      Sukie Curtis
      Cumberland Foreside, Maine

      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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