Q on Tape
- Right, back to basics.
Q is a hypothetical document expounded by one particular solution
to the Synoptic problem. It has never been found, its content is
deduced from the other Gospels. It's existence is now increasingly
I have no problem with the media on which it appears, that is
irrelevant. The problem is that the words seem to describe it
as a concrete and known document. This kind of sickly writing
promotes Q beyond its value in the eyes of many of the
listeners and readers minds.
- On Wednesday, July 08, 1998 11:17 AM, Mike Bossingham
> Right, back to basics.Right, I don't think many of us have any problems with the provenance of
> Q is a hypothetical document expounded by one particular solution
> to the Synoptic problem. It has never been found, its content is
> deduced from the other Gospels. It's existence is now increasingly
> being questioned.
Q. But I wonder whether the implied concern about the tape edition of Q
betrays an ambivalence on the part of scholars about the role of public
debate. Q has been, rightly or wrongly, a scholarly preserve for 150
years. We now hear about Q on TV, radio, occasionally even from the
pulpit, and now from our Walkman or car audio system. Ownership of *this*
synoptic solution is no longer isolated to those in academia. Questions
about whether the great unwashed have the intellectual capacity to handle
the nuances of the debate seems to me to be the general response among
>I think it useful for us to remember another thing. Q is important not
> I have no problem with the media on which it appears, that is
> irrelevant. The problem is that the words seem to describe it
> as a concrete and known document. This kind of sickly writing
> promotes Q beyond its value in the eyes of many of the
> listeners and readers minds.
*just* because it is a solution to the synoptic problem. It is part of
other contexts as well, one of which is general scholarly debates about
the NT involving literary criticism, redaction criticism,
interdisciplinary methodologies, etc.
The broadest context is, of course, where scholars and the general public
converge. The tape edition is a popular publication. But it leaves little
doubt that Q is a scholarly construct, a hypothetical text whose actual
words are not hypothetical at all, but part of the apparently familiar
text of the synoptics. Words familiar in one context, unfamiliar in
another. Hence the value of the tape edition. We hear them, words,
phrases out of context, yet mysteriously provocative and insightful (yes,
I know, this is not a scholarly evaluation, merely personal impression).
It's part of what Mack calls "defamiliarization". Scholarly
consternation and public fascination turn out to be pretty much the same
thing - loss of the familiar and curiosity about the unknown.
"A high proportion of what I say is probably wrong...The only problem is
that I do not know which bits are wrong."
N. T. Wright