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[Synoptic-L] three arguments that it is unlikely that Q exisited ?

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  • Brian E. Wilson
    (1) The survival of the Gospel of Thomas shows that a collection of sayings attributed to Jesus would have been prized and very likely to be copied and thereby
    Message 1 of 11 , Sep 28, 2001
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      (1) The survival of the Gospel of Thomas shows that a collection of
      sayings attributed to Jesus would have been prized and very likely to be
      copied and thereby preserved. If Q was a collection of mostly sayings
      attributed to Jesus, surely it would likewise have been prized and very
      likely to have been copied and thereby preserved. But this has not
      happened. We have no extant manuscript of Q. Therefore it is unlikely
      that Q ever existed.

      (2) Mark has been copied and preserved even though most of its material
      is largely found in Matthew and Luke. If Q existed, surely it would have
      been copied and preserved even though most of its material would be
      found in Matthew and Luke. But Q has not been copied and preserved.
      Therefore it is unlikely that Q ever existed.

      (3) If Q existed, we should expect there to have been a reference to its
      existence in early Christian writing, for instance in the writing of
      Papias or Justin. But, as J. S. Kloppenborg Verbin has shown, the Papias
      tradition concerning TA LOGIA does not refer to Q but is indeed nonsense
      if Q (as defined by the 2DH) existed. Moreover, Justin
      would appear to make no mention of Q. It would seem that there is no
      clear reference in early Christian writing to Q. It is therefore
      unlikely that Q existed.

      Best wishes,
      BRIAN WILSON

      >HOMEPAGE *** RECENTLY UPDATED *** http://www.twonh.demon.co.uk/

      Rev B.E.Wilson,10 York Close,Godmanchester,Huntingdon,Cambs,PE29 2EB,UK
      > "What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot
      > speak thereof one must be silent." Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Tractatus".
      _

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    • Zeba Crook
      Dear Brian, I think it s interesting that the arguments for and against Q or the 2DH never change, they just get repeated, and that neither camp is ever
      Message 2 of 11 , Sep 28, 2001
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        Dear Brian,

        I think it's interesting that the arguments for and against Q or the 2DH
        never change, they just get repeated, and that neither camp is ever
        convinced by the other's protestations.

        These are all good points you make, but as arguments against Q they're not
        logical and they're not consistent with what we know of other ancient
        documents.

        "Brian E. Wilson" wrote:
        (1) The survival of the Gospel of Thomas shows that a collection of

        > sayings attributed to Jesus would have been prized and very likely to be
        > copied and thereby preserved. If Q was a collection of mostly sayings
        > attributed to Jesus, surely it would likewise have been prized and very
        > likely to have been copied and thereby preserved. But this has not
        > happened. We have no extant manuscript of Q. Therefore it is unlikely
        > that Q ever existed.

        That there is no extant copy of Q is unfortunate, to be sure. But there is
        no logical link being something being prized and its surviving. The fact
        that Q has not survived does not mean, logically, that it was not prized.
        Surely you can predict what a Q supporter would say next: Paul refers in 1
        Cor 5:9 to a letter he wrote which we no longer have. If Q was anything
        like the extant gospels we have, then it was anonymous. Paul on the other
        hand, was obviously a very revered leader (many of his letters were kept,
        many were written in his spirit, and someone wrote extensively about his
        acts), and yet there is a letter of his which has not been preserved.
        Obviously there is no relation between something being treasured and its
        being preserved, for we know that didn't always happen.

        > (2) Mark has been copied and preserved even though most of its material
        > is largely found in Matthew and Luke. If Q existed, surely it would have
        > been copied and preserved even though most of its material would be
        > found in Matthew and Luke. But Q has not been copied and preserved.
        > Therefore it is unlikely that Q ever existed.

        We don't know that it was not copied, and we don't know that attempts were
        not made to preserve it. The only thing we do know is that it did not
        survive. Given how much else from the ancient world has not survived, why
        is it so problematic that Q might be among them?

        > (3) If Q existed, we should expect there to have been a reference to its
        > existence in early Christian writing, for instance in the writing of
        > Papias or Justin. But, as J. S. Kloppenborg Verbin has shown, the Papias
        > tradition concerning TA LOGIA does not refer to Q but is indeed nonsense
        > if Q (as defined by the 2DH) existed. Moreover, Justin
        > would appear to make no mention of Q. It would seem that there is no
        > clear reference in early Christian writing to Q. It is therefore
        > unlikely that Q existed.

        First of all, how often does it happen that what we'd expect is not what we
        find? This is not very strong argumentation. Secondly, returning to Paul's
        lost letter, is it ever referred to in early Christian writings? I myself
        do not know the answer to this, but I suspect it is not. Are we to doubt
        its existence on these grounds?

        Let me clear, nothing of what I've said here is meant to *prove* that Q
        existed, for my own points here are not probative in that direction either.
        I've simply responded to arguments against Q that, based on what we do know,
        don't work logically. In other words, there may be reasons to doubt Q's
        existence, but these are not among them.

        Cheers,

        Zeb

        ***

        Zeba Antonin Crook (Ph.D. Cand)
        University of St. Michael's College
        Faculty of Theology
        81 St. Mary Street
        Toronto, Ontario, Canada
        M5S 1J4

        (416) 964-8629
        http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~zcrook/


        >
        >
        > Best wishes,
        > BRIAN WILSON
        >
        > >HOMEPAGE *** RECENTLY UPDATED *** http://www.twonh.demon.co.uk/
        >
        > Rev B.E.Wilson,10 York Close,Godmanchester,Huntingdon,Cambs,PE29 2EB,UK
        > > "What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot
        > > speak thereof one must be silent." Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Tractatus".
        > _
        >
        > Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
        > List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...


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      • Jeffrey Glen Jackson
        ... Many books in antiquity have been lost. Note Lk 1:1, Now?? many have undertaken to compile an account? of the things?? that have been fulfilled?? among
        Message 3 of 11 , Sep 28, 2001
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          > (1) The survival of the Gospel of Thomas shows that a collection of
          > sayings attributed to Jesus would have been prized and very likely to be
          > copied and thereby preserved. If Q was a collection of mostly sayings
          > attributed to Jesus, surely it would likewise have been prized and very
          > likely to have been copied and thereby preserved. But this has not
          > happened. We have no extant manuscript of Q. Therefore it is unlikely
          > that Q ever existed.

          Many books in antiquity have been lost. Note Lk 1:1, "Now?? many have
          undertaken to compile an account? of the things?? that have been fulfilled??
          among us" [NET], which testifies to the existence of many such works.

          > (2) Mark has been copied and preserved even though most of its material
          > is largely found in Matthew and Luke. If Q existed, surely it would have
          > been copied and preserved even though most of its material would be
          > found in Matthew and Luke. But Q has not been copied and preserved.
          > Therefore it is unlikely that Q ever existed.

          The truncated and reconstructed ending of Mk testifies that it can close
          to being lost, having been reduced to a single damaged manuscript
          at one point. Q was evidently not so lucky.

          > (3) If Q existed, we should expect there to have been a reference to its
          > existence in early Christian writing, for instance in the writing of
          > Papias or Justin. But, as J. S. Kloppenborg Verbin has shown, the Papias
          > tradition concerning TA LOGIA does not refer to Q but is indeed nonsense
          > if Q (as defined by the 2DH) existed. Moreover, Justin
          > would appear to make no mention of Q. It would seem that there is no
          > clear reference in early Christian writing to Q. It is therefore
          > unlikely that Q existed.

          The only way this argument would hold any water is if the Gospels
          really are the late forgeries that so many assume them to be. If,
          on the other hand, the synoptics were written in the 50's and 60's,
          Q's loss would predate Papias et al by a generation or more. They
          don't mention Q any more than they mention the many other accounts
          that Lk 1:1 sites because they lived decades later than Luke's
          composition.


          ><> Jeffrey Glen Jackson, son of Albert, son of George, son of <><
          ><> Henry, son of Miles, son of Randolph, son of Ephraim, son of <><
          ><> Thomas, son of John, son of Thomas, .... sonne of Jack. <><
          mailto:jeff@... http://www.jeff-jackson.com
          "The blithe 'reconstruction' not only of Q, not only of its different
          stages of composition, but even of complete communities whose
          beliefs are accurately reflected in these different stages, betokens
          a naive willingness to believe in anything as long as it is nothing
          like Mark (let alone Paul)." N. T. Wright




          Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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        • Zeba Crook
          ... Could you expand on what you mean by late forgeries ? Who is it that assumes this? Zeb *** Zeba Antonin Crook (Ph.D. Cand) University of St. Michael s
          Message 4 of 11 , Sep 28, 2001
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            Jeffrey Glen Jackson wrote:

            > if the Gospels really are the late forgeries that so many assume them to be

            Could you expand on what you mean by "late forgeries"? Who is it that assumes
            this?

            Zeb

            ***

            Zeba Antonin Crook (Ph.D. Cand)
            University of St. Michael's College
            Faculty of Theology
            81 St. Mary Street
            Toronto, Ontario, Canada
            M5S 1J4

            (416) 964-8629
            http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~zcrook/



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          • Maluflen@aol.com
            In a message dated 9/28/2001 10:27:39 AM Eastern Daylight Time, jeff@jeff-jackson.com writes:
            Message 5 of 11 , Sep 28, 2001
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              In a message dated 9/28/2001 10:27:39 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
              jeff@... writes:

              << Many books in antiquity have been lost. Note Lk 1:1, "Now?? many have
              undertaken to compile an account? of the things?? that have been fulfilled??
              among us" [NET], which testifies to the existence of many such works.>>


              This interpretation of Lk 1:1 is problematic: it assumes, anachronistically I
              think, that Luke would already have conceived a clear break between Old and
              New Testaments of the kind that we take for granted today. It is perfectly
              possible that the works alluded to by Luke in this verse are not at all
              "lost". Luke may have regarded Matthew as simply a continuation of a long
              line of Jewish scribes who have written about the "things which have been
              brought to fulfillment in our midst, as those who were eyewitnesses and
              ministers of the word have handed down to us". If mine is NOT the correct
              interpretation of Lk 1:1, then it is rather surprising that Luke never
              alludes in his prologue to known books from antiquity from which he
              demonstrably and copiously drew in writing his own Gospel narrative,
              beginning in 1:5.

              Leonard Maluf

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            • Emmanuel Fritsch
              ... I understand, Jeffrey, but perhabs your demonstration would be valid even if the synoptics were written between 70 and 100. And more over, considering the
              Message 6 of 11 , Sep 28, 2001
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                Brian said, Jeffrey Glen Jackson answered :

                > > (3) If Q existed, we should expect there to have been a reference to its
                > > existence in early Christian writing, for instance in the writing of
                > > Papias or Justin. But, as J. S. Kloppenborg Verbin has shown, the Papias
                > > tradition concerning TA LOGIA does not refer to Q but is indeed nonsense
                > > if Q (as defined by the 2DH) existed. Moreover, Justin
                > > would appear to make no mention of Q. It would seem that there is no
                > > clear reference in early Christian writing to Q. It is therefore
                > > unlikely that Q existed.
                >
                > The only way this argument would hold any water is if the Gospels
                > really are the late forgeries that so many assume them to be. If,
                > on the other hand, the synoptics were written in the 50's and 60's,
                > Q's loss would predate Papias et al by a generation or more. They
                > don't mention Q any more than they mention the many other accounts
                > that Lk 1:1 sites because they lived decades later than Luke's
                > composition.

                I understand, Jeffrey, but perhabs your demonstration would
                be valid even if the synoptics were written between 70 and 100.
                And more over, considering the worst case of gospels being a
                late forgery, the forgery would have included the silence about
                sources...

                But I think, my objection to Brian would be : for what reason
                should Justin have mention of Q ? Does he have mention of Luke,
                Mark, Matthew ?
                Am I wrong if I say that the single Justin's mention of a
                NT writer is the John of Revelation ?

                Silence arguments look allways weak for me. With such arguments,
                so easy to prove that Jesus, Descartes or Attila never existed.
                Are silence arguments well-considered in NT scholarship ?

                a+
                manu

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              • Jeffrey Glen Jackson
                ... I should have used more care in this forum about how I worded that. I should have used the term psuedepigrapha instead of forgeries as it is less
                Message 7 of 11 , Sep 28, 2001
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                  > Could you expand on what you mean by "late forgeries"?
                  > Who is it that assumes this?

                  I should have used more care in this forum about how I
                  worded that. I should have used the term "psuedepigrapha"
                  instead of "forgeries" as it is less judgmental of the
                  authors.

                  Most scholars date the synoptics to the late first century
                  (about 70 AD for Mark, 80 AD for Luke, and 90 AD for
                  Matthew seem to be the most common dates one sees)
                  and reject the traditional authorship ascriptions.

                  Most would probably object to the term "forgery" or
                  even "pseudepigraphon" (I'm sure I'm not spelling
                  that right) since it is usually held that the Gospels were
                  originally anonymous. However, there is no manuscript
                  evidence for anything other than the traditional titles, and
                  early tradition is unanimous regarding the authors as well.
                  I think it likely the titles were there from the first copies.

                  ><> Jeffrey Glen Jackson, son of Albert, son of George, son of <><
                  ><> Henry, son of Miles, son of Randolph, son of Ephraim, son of <><
                  ><> Thomas, son of John, son of Thomas, .... sonne of Jack. <><
                  mailto:jeff@... http://www.jeff-jackson.com
                  "The blithe 'reconstruction' not only of Q, not only of its different
                  stages of composition, but even of complete communities whose
                  beliefs are accurately reflected in these different stages, betokens
                  a naive willingness to believe in anything as long as it is nothing
                  like Mark (let alone Paul)." N. T. Wright




                  Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
                  List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
                • Jeffrey Glen Jackson
                  ... Exactly. It is a weak argument that they didn t know Q. And even if they didn t know Q, it can just as easily mean that Q is no longer extant (later
                  Message 8 of 11 , Sep 28, 2001
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                    > Silence arguments look always weak for me. With such arguments,
                    > so easy to prove that Jesus, Descartes or Attila never existed.
                    > Are silence arguments well-considered in NT scholarship ?

                    Exactly. It is a weak argument that they didn't know Q. And even
                    if they didn't know Q, it can just as easily mean that Q is no longer
                    extant (later Gospels make this less likely) as it can mean that Q
                    never existed.


                    ><> Jeffrey Glen Jackson, son of Albert, son of George, son of <><
                    ><> Henry, son of Miles, son of Randolph, son of Ephraim, son of <><
                    ><> Thomas, son of John, son of Thomas, .... sonne of Jack. <><
                    mailto:jeff@... http://www.jeff-jackson.com
                    "The blithe 'reconstruction' not only of Q, not only of its different
                    stages of composition, but even of complete communities whose
                    beliefs are accurately reflected in these different stages, betokens
                    a naive willingness to believe in anything as long as it is nothing
                    like Mark (let alone Paul)." N. T. Wright




                    Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
                    List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
                  • David Gentile
                    Besides the standard arguments, here is a non-standard theory: Q was in fact contained within a full gospel, something like a proto-Matthew. Call it
                    Message 9 of 11 , Sep 28, 2001
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                      Besides the standard arguments, here is a non-standard theory:

                      Q was in fact contained within a full gospel, something like a
                      proto-Matthew.
                      Call it "gospel-C".
                      The sayings were not integrated. Certain parts, like John's special
                      preaching were in their places. But most were inserted in the form of a
                      list. For example, the sermon on the mound/plain could have been very
                      unstructured, and simply been a list of "and Jesus said"s.

                      Such a document might invite re-writes to better integrate the sayings into
                      the narrative, (leading to Matthew and Luke), but would not in itself demand
                      preservation.

                      Mark does contain detail not contained in the other gospels, this might of
                      helped it to be preserved.
                      (And also might indicate it is not an original document either.)
                      If gospel-C had no extra text, there would be very little reason to preserve
                      it.

                      Dave Gentile
                      Riverside, IL


                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: "Brian E. Wilson" <brian@...>
                      To: <Synoptic-L@...>
                      Sent: Friday, September 28, 2001 5:03 AM
                      Subject: [Synoptic-L] three arguments that it is unlikely that Q exisited ?




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                    • Brian E. Wilson
                      Tim Reynolds wrote (concerning Q ) -- ... Tim, I agree that it is not necessary to posit Q (as defined by the 2DH) to solve the synoptic problem. I see the
                      Message 10 of 11 , Sep 30, 2001
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                        Tim Reynolds wrote (concerning "Q") --
                        >
                        >Plus (4) it's unnecessary.
                        >
                        Tim,
                        I agree that it is not necessary to posit Q (as defined by the 2DH)
                        to solve the synoptic problem.

                        I see the problem, however, not in Q being an *unnecessary* hypothetical
                        entity, but in Q being a hypothetical document *as defined by the 2DH*.

                        My suggestion is that there was a documentary source (not a continuous
                        gospel, but a set of individual notes for teaching Jesus tradition)
                        larger than any synoptic gospel and containing virtually all the
                        material in them (in Greek), and that each synoptic gospel is basically
                        a cut-down version of this document.

                        In other words, think of "Q" as vastly expanded to include virtually
                        everything in the synoptic gospels, and of each synoptic gospel being
                        produced by connecting together an independent edited selection of self-
                        contained units of Jesus tradition from this.

                        Best wishes,
                        BRIAN WILSON

                        >HOMEPAGE *** RECENTLY UPDATED *** http://www.twonh.demon.co.uk/

                        Rev B.E.Wilson,10 York Close,Godmanchester,Huntingdon,Cambs,PE29 2EB,UK
                        > "What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot
                        > speak thereof one must be silent." Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Tractatus".
                        _

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                      • Tim Reynolds
                        Mt23.24 tim ... Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@bham.ac.uk
                        Message 11 of 11 , Oct 1, 2001
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                          Mt23.24

                          tim

                          "Brian E. Wilson" wrote:
                          >
                          > Tim Reynolds wrote (concerning "Q") --
                          > >
                          > >Plus (4) it's unnecessary.
                          > >
                          > Tim,
                          > I agree that it is not necessary to posit Q (as defined by the 2DH)
                          > to solve the synoptic problem.
                          >
                          > I see the problem, however, not in Q being an *unnecessary* hypothetical
                          > entity, but in Q being a hypothetical document *as defined by the 2DH*.
                          >
                          > My suggestion is that there was a documentary source (not a continuous
                          > gospel, but a set of individual notes for teaching Jesus tradition)
                          > larger than any synoptic gospel and containing virtually all the
                          > material in them (in Greek), and that each synoptic gospel is basically
                          > a cut-down version of this document.
                          >
                          > In other words, think of "Q" as vastly expanded to include virtually
                          > everything in the synoptic gospels, and of each synoptic gospel being
                          > produced by connecting together an independent edited selection of self-
                          > contained units of Jesus tradition from this.
                          >
                          > Best wishes,
                          > BRIAN WILSON
                          >
                          > >HOMEPAGE *** RECENTLY UPDATED *** http://www.twonh.demon.co.uk/
                          >
                          > Rev B.E.Wilson,10 York Close,Godmanchester,Huntingdon,Cambs,PE29 2EB,UK
                          > > "What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot
                          > > speak thereof one must be silent." Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Tractatus".
                          > _
                          >
                          > Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
                          > List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...

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