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Arguments For Q

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  • E. Bruce Brooks
    Topic: Arguments For Q From: Bruce In Response To: MarkG s Web Archive of the Arnal/Davies/Carlson/Jerez Discussion MarkG has reminded us of his website
    Message 1 of 9 , Sep 7, 1998
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      Topic: Arguments For Q
      From: Bruce
      In Response To: MarkG's Web Archive of the Arnal/Davies/Carlson/Jerez
      Discussion

      MarkG has reminded us of his website update, and referred to the inclusion
      of a previous discussion on CrossTalk with Arnal et al on his Ten Reasons
      to Doubt Q (the specific address for that archive is:
      www.bham.ac.uk/theology/q/debate.htm). Since Mark also mentions that he is
      currently writing a book on this subject, comment may not be out of line.
      My comments (more precisely, reflections) are not on the argument for or
      against Q per se, but rather on some of the conventions and conditions
      under which that argument seems to be carried on at present.

      Prologue: First, I waive comment on some procedural aspects of this
      discussion, such as the occasional "being cute," or the game of seeing who
      is left holding the phrase "scissors and paste," or the epithet "old" as a
      dismissal of an argument, as though valid points were not liable to be
      urged repeatedly over the years - except to say that cuteness and
      caricature and evasion are properly excluded from serious discussion
      precisely because they distract and distort and derail serious discussion.
      Second, to save Yuri the trouble of reiteration, I will here concede the
      point he has earlier urged: Q is absolutely here to stay. Forever. There is
      California money behind it, manifestly it holds the interest of a
      significant nonscholarly readership, there will before long be a theme park
      in Florida for it. All that is given. If I had money to invest
      (unfortunately, Brill has it all), Q is where it would go. Q and Microsoft.
      Any argument about Q is moot from the first: it will only affect a tiny
      handful of ivy-covered scholars. But that argument would still be
      theoretically interesting to have, in a sort of nostalgic, abstract way,
      and my remarks here are by way of seeing whether, given that the argument
      cannot be efficacious, it might at least be cogent in its own terms.

      1. The fact about this interchange that most impresses at least this naive
      spectator is that the Q side of it does not stand still. Take the issue of
      responsibility. Whereas MarkG seems to be, so to speak, a lineally
      accredited spokesman for the FH, so that any concessions he makes may well
      be damaging for the FH in our time, nothing any Q proponent may say in
      response endangers or implicates Q. Bill can grant Mark a point, as in
      admitting the difficulty posed for the QH by the so-called Minor
      Agreements, but his doing so does not affect Q. It is a merely personal
      event. To take the extreme case, Bill might be converted to a position of
      doubt vis-a-vis Q, but Q per se would still be exactly where it was before.

      2. There is a lateral version of this same fact. Bill distances himself at
      one point from the views of certain other Q proponents, thus getting a more
      comfortable position for himself in the discussion, and I suppose that
      (say) John Kloppenborg in the same or a parallel discussion might do the
      same toward Bill, but neither of these distancings *is a Q statement.* It
      does not define the position of Q, or of any other *adherent* of Q, in any
      future discussion. Just as Q evades implication by any statement or
      concession made by any of its adherents (the previous point), so Q
      adherents are apparently entitled to differ *from each other,* without any
      perceptible weakening of their own position; on the contrary, with
      individual strengthening of their own position. If Q can be defended in
      individual discussions only by abandoning some of its tenets, that is in
      principle a point against Q. But there is no referee, no Whiteheadian
      higher recording consciousness, that keeps track of these moves, correlates
      them, and renders a running verdict as to where they collectively leave the
      Q position. Q adherents not only do not implicate Q, they do not implicate
      each other, or even themselves on some future occasion. Unless someone is
      keeping track. And keeping track of anything so large and multiplex as the
      Q enterprise is, to say the least, a daunting prospect. It would require a
      subsidy from Microsoft.

      3. Q also does not stand still as to exactly what it contains. Whether
      certain passages are at a given moment included within Q as visualized by a
      given individual seems to be a continuously variable quantity. Mark notes
      at one point the difficulty of thus engaging a moving target. It is a
      longterm satisfaction for him, I should imagine, that as the expansion of Q
      continues, it grows to look more and more like (say) Matthew, but the
      short-term prospect for meaningful discussion is surely rather bleak. Mark
      has informed me, in a previous conversation, that a Greek text of Q is
      available in the back files of some scholarly periodical. Though I own
      several more accessible English "copies" of Q, it has emerged from my
      attempts to rely on them in discussion that they are not the real McCoy,
      not translations from a firmly reconstructed, pin-downable Greek original,
      but rather (I here speculate, subject as always to correction) merely
      *materials relevant* to Q. Here again, so to speak, these inventories, or
      whatever they are, do not implicate Q. They are merely its outer works. Q
      is abiding as a concept, but fluid as to details. Yet it is only at the
      level of its details that a theory can profitably be subjected to scrutiny.
      This makes for a frustrating, and, more importantly, for an indeterminate,
      discussion.

      4. Balancing its fluidity as a present entity is Q's vagueness as to its
      origins. One can more or less engage the argument for local MS traditions
      (such as the idea of a Caesarean text family) in the work of Streeter, but
      who stands for the QH in the way that Farrer stands for the FH? In the
      absence of such a scrutinizable first statement, modern Q proponents enjoy
      extreme latitude in distancing themselves from the arguments on which Q was
      originally founded. It may be true that noone takes Papias seriously any
      more (though I harbor the suspicion that a show of hands would prove
      otherwise), but they certainly did at one time, and even the most cursory
      reading of Synoptic Problem history suggests that one powerful inducement
      and attraction of Q, considered as a "sayings gospel," is that it seemed to
      supply a previously established, but until then empty, category of "sayings
      gospel," which rested ultimately on the quoted word of Papias. Such
      congruence between previous "prediction" (the Papian empty category) and
      present "observation" (scholarly inferences from certain Synoptic
      relations, to supply the category) is the kind of magic fit that made
      Einstein's reputation, and is, quite rightly, enormously convincing to any
      learned enterprise. It seems safe to say that without Papian
      preconfirmation, the original argument for Q might have had much harder
      going. That it now floats free of Papias is a fact of mass psychology (see
      my above aside to Yuri), but in terms of rigorous argument - the sort of
      thing that leaves a record and can be judged on that record - the Papias
      link is surely part of the picture. To refute the initial argument for Q,
      or, alternatively, to hold Q accountable to the "sayings gospel" terms of
      that initial argument, ought to have more force than present Q proponents
      wish to concede it. But what, precisely, *is* the initial argument for Q?
      Is there a classic exposition, combining Papias with certain Synoptic
      observations, and either arguing against or conspicuously *refusing* to
      argue against Lukan knowledge of Matthew? Who made that argument? When?
      This is the only point in the present note that requests an answer. I would
      really like to know.

      5. I want to state this last point carefully, so as not to come under the
      rule of propriety that I earlier urged against the Farmer conspiracy theory
      of Synoptic History. I do not think that there is a conpiracy between
      knavish proponents and moronic adherents of Q, over these last few
      centuries. I think that Q has made its way among scholars on its merits as
      a scholarly proposal, albeit one with a singular lack of past continuity
      and present accountability. But I think that there is a larger climate that
      has affected the readiness of acceptance of that proposal, and facilitated
      its subsequent suppleness of statement and position. What stands out to me
      in the record from Reimarus to the present is that, whatever the specifics,
      the Synoptic discussion *as a whole* is not content to abide in the thought
      that GMark best represents the earliest Christianity. No sooner is that
      proposition forcefully urged than *something* - Q or some other
      hypothetical text, some archaeologically recovered text, Markan
      Nonpriority, all the above - is put into the space between Jesus and GMark.
      This seems to me to be the one guiding meta-fact that underlies the entire
      debate.

      As to why it should be so, I can only rely on my experience with the
      sometimes parallel behavior of Confucian orthodoxy over the same two
      millennia, to suspect that some critical point of doctine is imperilled by
      recognizing GMark as the most authentic statement of doctrine. My guess
      would be that the felt doctrinal lack in Mark is the one that both GMt and
      GLk already conspicuously fill, that GJn goes on to take into metaphysical
      realms, and that noncanonical texts such as GThos also make statements
      about, namely: an account of the origin and, so to speak, cosmological
      status, of Jesus (and, in the case of GThos, of his alleged brother Jacob).
      I cannot help being impressed by the fact that in the early centuries of
      the Church it had become heretical to doubt that Jesus had existed from the
      beginning of the world. We seem to have here no mere sentimental fondness
      for the manger scene in the Mt/Lk nativity stories, but a perceived
      central concern of early Christianity as such. That concern would seem to
      be logically threatened by accepting GMark, which is entirely silent on
      this issue, as an authentic account of the *earliest* Christianity. It is
      typical of canonical traditions that they tend to deny their own growth,
      and putting GMark alone at the head of the Synoptics strongly implies
      doctrinal growth. What I as an outsider find intuitively convincing about
      the proposed sequence Mk > Mt > Lk is the plausible developmental picture
      that it implies. It may be just this that damns it - unless neutralized by
      a Q hypothesis or some functional equivalent thereof - in its own
      present-day context.

      * * * * * * * * *

      Just thinking out loud. I have no intention of commenting further on Q, and
      I stand reminded that I still owe several listmembers a response to their
      postings on more discussable matters, namely the specific
      interrelationships of the three GSyn. Perhaps the best thing to do with Q
      in that discussion is to hope that it continues to float out there in the
      offing, by the very fact of its existence keeping the Markan Priority
      option in that discussion from triggering the response that I suspect it
      might otherwise do should it threaten to prevail, and in that way levelling
      the playground for the smaller discussion. That, in my view, would be a
      genuine contribution to the smaller discussion.

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks / University of Massachusetts
    • E. Bruce Brooks
      Topic: Arguments for Q From: Bruce In Response To: [Stevan] Davies I think that the message to which Stevan is here replying was posted on Synoptic-L, but I m
      Message 2 of 9 , Sep 7, 1998
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        Topic: Arguments for Q
        From: Bruce
        In Response To: [Stevan] Davies

        I think that the message to which Stevan is here replying was posted on
        Synoptic-L, but I'm the last person to quibble about jurisdictions. I will
        cross-post to Syn-L for protocol's sake. The responses make no pretense of
        preserving the consecutivity of Stevan's remarks.

        STEVAN (a propos my objection, in a previous exchange, to "being cute,"
        etc): I would comment on this unwarranted attack on the pleasing rhetoric
        of cuteness but, in his own cuteness below, he belies himself.

        BRUCE: I submit that there is an analytically consequential difference
        between kidding Yuri in the prolegomena (the "cuteness" to which Stevan
        here refers), and burlesquing positions in the body, of a discussion. Yuri
        doesn't get very much in return for all he puts into these conversations. I
        think he is entitled to a chuckle once in a while. If he himself is
        offended, he is perfectly capable of saying so. Pending that, I plead
        innocent of beliement.

        STEVAN (on the futility of trying to engage the fluid Q in argument): I
        sense that the great majority of SBL members who do believe in Q do so
        because "everybody else" does. A strong well publicized case against Q,
        which one hopes is forthcoming from Mark G., might well sway opinion more
        than you think. Probably attract adherents in inverse proportion to their
        age.

        BRUCE: On the outcome, I wouldn't dare predict, but on the demographics of
        accessibility to argument, I suspect Stevan is pretty close. I would guess:
        both those just beginning their careers, and leery of launching them upon a
        sea of uncertain presumption, and those just ending them, whose own
        contributions are historically secure and whose resources of personal
        magnanimity are thus available to the situation. It's in between - those
        with something more to gain from their previous investment in the theory -
        that you get problems of opposition to a refutation of the theory. I'm sure
        MarkG is the last person to underrate those problems. My own tactical sense
        is that, whereas the Synoptic Problem is ready to be had, Q will still be
        standing when it collapses. It is no longer inextricably implicated in the
        Synoptic Problem as such. It has developed other reasons for being. It can
        at most be made functionally obsolete in the eyes of a couple dozen
        ivy-covered scholars. In short, of my crowd.

        STEVAN (on the numbers of people involved in the QH vs the FH): In my
        investigations of the Maya I was surprised to find so few people involved.
        Perhaps 20 of prominence and 100 more. Far as I know there are fewer
        serious Mayanists than there were people at the SBL session I addressed
        last fall. There are probably more books on Paul's Epistle to the
        Philippians than on Tikal, Copan, Uxmal, put together. There are literally
        thousands of professors who take a position on the Q question even though
        most probably have done little more than read up on the question for a grad
        school class. How many specialists
        are there in America on the Tao Te Ching's textual history? How many
        critically analyze the early Confucian texts?

        BRUCE: Way up in the hundreds, at least to hear them tell it.
        Internationally, tens of thousands (though to be sure China is a rather
        populous country, compared to Guatemala). But I don't disagree that (1)
        matters of scale are consequential in these situations, and (2) the many
        are typically led by the few. This general tendency is further exaggerated,
        in the case of Q, by the sociological structure of academic disciplines.
        Boring but true.

        STEVAN (on the claimed latitude of Q proponents in distancing themselves
        from the arguments on which Q was originally founded): I'm pretty sure this
        is a pseudo-problem. Sounds like a version of the genetic fallacy.

        BRUCE: Not all genetics are fallacious, just as not all circles are
        vicious, and not all distinctions are invidious. I seem to notice that a
        recent challenge to Streeter's argument for Markan priority has led,
        certainly on these lists, to a re-examination of Streeter's argument for
        Markan priority. Why not Q? But I will amend my request for information. I
        would like to have someone tell me: (1) What is the classic argument for Q,
        who made it, and when? (2) If the present argument for Q has shifted from
        that position, what is the current position, who articulated it, and when?

        STEVAN (on the seemingly widespread wish, in the NT field, for something
        between GMk and the HJ): Yes. For one thing we have the letters of Paul and
        early letters of his associates (e.g. Colossians) in that space. For
        another thing we have, in that space, the assumption that Jesus' disciples
        were not themselves going about lamenting their culpable ignorance but that
        Mark constructs them as culpably ignorant. Thus one surely is permitted to
        wonder what there was, promulgated by disciples, before Mark and thus open
        the possibility of some hypothetical (Q) or archaeological (Thomas) text
        conveying pre-Markan information
        that could well be more reliable than that transmitted by Mark.

        BRUCE: I agree as to GMk. I have suggested previously that it is probably a
        major incorrect assumption of the HJ enterprise that it expects to find the
        HJ at the end of the solved Synoptic Problem. GMk, to me the intuitively
        attractive candidate for earliest Gospel, certainly betrays many traces of
        reshaping, rather than passive reporting, of its material. Even if you can
        bring the boat in, the dock doesn't reach all the way to the shore. It's
        better than being at sea. It's worth doing. Just not under the HJ rubric,
        which promises too much.

        STEVAN (on the early evolution of the cosmological status of Jesus): This
        "trajectory" toward greater cosmological assertions about Jesus is often
        assumed but easily refuted. Such assertions are found in Paul's letters
        (e.g. 2 Cor 4 3-6) ca. 57 and the non-Paul but
        generally-dated-60's letter Colossians (1:15-17). It is a trajectory that
        seems to be one that logically should be there... but it isn't.

        BRUCE: That's twice Colossians has been mentioned. The tendency with
        suspect Epistles, as far as I can tell, is to put them aside and
        concentrate instead on the genuine ones. I think Colossians/Ephesians are
        due for serious discussion precisely as representing a deutero- and
        possibly trito-Pauline position that is very much part of the late 1c
        picture. But not here, not now. If it has already been capably done, I
        would appreciate a reference.

        STEVAN (on my announced intention not to comment further on Q): Are you
        sure this is an intellectually respectable position? That you will
        determinedly ignore what is, for the great majority of scholars who have
        carefully investigated the matter, and the great majority of
        scholars who take those investigations to have settled the issue, the
        single most explanatory and convincing hypothesis in existence....

        BRUCE: Sure, why not? Q doesn't explain anything for me. I note in passing
        that suddenly the many sheep of SBL (see above), as adherents of Q, have
        become in the present paragraph virtually the whole of past scholarship, to
        whom the homage of attention, and protracted analysis, and open-ended
        discussion with uncertainly accredited emissaries, is due from all
        right-thinking persons. Even if so, I'm not impressed. I don't care that
        much for the society of right-thinking persons. I still opt out. For one
        thing, it saves time. For another: Suppose, as Stevan suggests (not here
        repeated), on Day 1 MarkG's book comes out, on Day 2 Kloppenborg and
        Company, or whoever speaks for Q, throw in the towel; what happens on Day
        3? We need somebody to have been preparing the ground for the World After Q
        by having conceptually colonized the World Without Q, so that the entire NT
        community won't awake on Day 3 not knowing what the landscape is like, and
        going into permanent irreversible shock. Anybody who has been doing their
        bit to acclimate people, if only subliminally, to that future situation, by
        steadily declining to calculate in terms of Q, and thus in a small way
        accustoming others to think without Q, can at that future date claim to
        have been working in the common interest. Isn't that acceptable?

        Yet again, and here I admit is a merely selfish consideration: I suspect,
        as I have said before on this list, that the demise of Q in its present
        form won't leave a blank. I suspect that it will leave a hole, for which
        Synoptic evidence will tend to indicate a filler. That post-Q (I still like
        R for it) will not have the same contents or character as Q, since for one
        thing it will not be doing the job of accounting for common material in
        Mt/Lk (Luke's use of Matthew seems a much more natural presumption), but
        *it will be doing something.* By the mental discipline of ignoring Q, and
        letting any, so to speak, Q-ward indications in the Synoptic data reappear
        unhampered, I expect to get a leg up on the R Hypothesis (RH). Having by a
        few years and a little bad luck missed out on being first with FH, soon
        perhaps heading for triumph, I don't intend to blow this second
        opportunity. Call it intellectual ambition, and also, I could use the
        money. I still owe Brill for the last three.

        Bruce

        E Bruce Brooks / University of Massachusetts
      • Stevan Davies
        Well now, I thought I d send y all a copy of the letter Bruce has already responded to, some of which concerns itself with the presumption that Bruce isn t
        Message 3 of 9 , Sep 8, 1998
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          Well now, I thought I'd send y'all a copy of the letter Bruce
          has already responded to, some of which concerns itself
          with the presumption that Bruce isn't going to respond to it.

          Steve

          ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++=
          It's a rainy Labor Day holiday here in Pennsylvania. So I think
          I'll reply to Bruce even though he says he plans not to respond.
          The (potential) Baseball Game of the Century isn't due to start
          for awhile.

          > Prologue: First, I waive comment on some procedural aspects of this
          > discussion, such as the occasional "being cute," or the game of seeing who
          > is left holding the phrase "scissors and paste," or the epithet "old" as a
          > dismissal of an argument, as though valid points were not liable to be
          > urged repeatedly over the years - except to say that cuteness and
          > caricature and evasion are properly excluded from serious discussion
          > precisely because they distract and distort and derail serious discussion.

          I would comment on this unwarrented attack on the pleasing rhetoric
          of cuteness but, in his own cuteness below, he belies himself.

          > Second, to save Yuri the trouble of reiteration, I will here concede the
          > point he has earlier urged: Q is absolutely here to stay. Forever. There is
          > California money behind it, manifestly it holds the interest of a
          > significant nonscholarly readership, there will before long be a theme park
          > in Florida for it. All that is given. If I had money to invest
          > (unfortunately, Brill has it all), Q is where it would go. Q and Microsoft.

          And a fine cuteness it is.

          > Any argument about Q is moot from the first: it will only affect a tiny
          > handful of ivy-covered scholars. But that argument would still be
          > theoretically interesting to have, in a sort of nostalgic, abstract way,
          > and my remarks here are by way of seeing whether, given that the argument
          > cannot be efficacious, it might at least be cogent in its own terms.

          I can tell by sensing the vibrations in the air with my antennae that
          there are two considerations that speak against this dour thesis.

          1. I sense that the great majority of SBL members who do believe in Q
          do so because "everybody else" does. A strong well publicized case
          against Q, which one hopes is forthcoming from Mark G., might well
          sway opinion more than you think. Probably attract adherents in
          inverse proportion to their age.

          2. I sense that Burton Mack is thought to have gone way too far with
          Q so that there is some wondering "if this is what Q leads to, maybe
          we need to think about this again." Along with this I sense a general
          disturbance with the idea that Q can be analyzed a la Kloppenborg as
          a discreet text. And following along with these two sensings, I sense
          a frisson in the more conservative wing of the SBL that adherence to
          Q might well lead to the assertion a la Mack that a non-canonical
          source is a superior source for knowledge of the Lord.... that having
          knocked down and stomped on Thomas for its presumption, it might
          be time to do the same for Q.

          This may be the high water mark of Q acceptance, but I see no
          reason to think that the tide might not recede. In this scenario
          Mark plays the role of King Knute... but potentially, at least, he
          could have more success.

          > 1. The fact about this interchange that most impresses at least this naive
          > spectator is that the Q side of it does not stand still. Take the issue of
          > responsibility. Whereas MarkG seems to be, so to speak, a lineally
          > accredited spokesman for the FH, so that any concessions he makes may well
          > be damaging for the FH in our time, nothing any Q proponent may say in
          > response endangers or implicates Q................

          This appears to be a function of the numbers of people involved.

          In my investigations of the Maya I was surprised to find so few
          people involved. Perhaps 20 of prominence and 100 more. Far as I
          know there are fewer serious Mayanists than there were people at the
          SBL session I addressed last fall. There are probably more books on
          Paul's Epistle to the Philippians than on Tikal, Copan, Uxmal, put
          together.

          There are literally thousands of professors who take a position on
          the Q question even though most probably have done little more than
          read up on the question for a grad school class. How many specialists
          are there in America on the Tao Te Ching's textual history? How many
          critically analyze the early Confucian texts?

          The difficulty of changing opinon on Q is both a problem of argument
          and a sociological problem.

          > 2. There is a lateral version of this same fact. Bill distances himself at
          > one point from the views of certain other Q proponents, thus getting a more
          > comfortable position for himself in the discussion. ---------------

          > Q adherents not only do not implicate Q, they do not implicate
          > each other, or even themselves on some future occasion. Unless someone is
          > keeping track. And keeping track of anything so large and multiplex as the
          > Q enterprise is, to say the least, a daunting prospect. It would require a
          > subsidy from Microsoft.

          I think these observations are correct for Internet discussions just
          as they would be correct for face to face conversations. But when
          Mark G's book arrives and, let us assume, Bill and Klop review it
          very favorably for prominent journals conceding their inability to
          overcome his arguments.... then the immovable object would shift.
          But granted that no amount of internet discussion is going to shift
          it.

          > 3.Q
          > is abiding as a concept, but fluid as to details. Yet it is only at the
          > level of its details that a theory can profitably be subjected to scrutiny.
          > This makes for a frustrating, and, more importantly, for an indeterminate,
          > discussion.

          I can certainly understand that. But it is inherent in the nature of
          the beast, a hypothetical variously reconstructable text. Only if one
          says (as has been said on crosstalk) that a hypothetical variously
          reconstructable text cannot be considered as any form of evidence
          for anything at all can one do more than say that, while the
          discussion will be frustrating and indeterminate it should be carried
          on regardless. I'd wager that most discussions in the Humanities
          are frustrating and indeterminate, e.g. the matter of the Historical
          Jesus.

          > 4. modern Q proponents enjoy
          > extreme latitude in distancing themselves from the arguments on which Q was
          > originally founded. ----------------

          I'm pretty sure this is a pseudo-problem. Sounds like a version of
          the genetic fallacy.

          > 5. What stands out to me
          > in the record from Reimarus to the present is that, whatever the specifics,
          > the Synoptic discussion *as a whole* is not content to abide in the thought
          > that GMark best represents the earliest Christianity. No sooner is that
          > proposition forcefully urged than *something* - Q or some other
          > hypothetical text, some archaeologically recovered text, Markan
          > Nonpriority, all the above - is put into the space between Jesus and GMark.
          > This seems to me to be the one guiding meta-fact that underlies the entire
          > debate.

          Yes. For one thing we have the letters of Paul and early letters of
          his associates (e.g. Colossians) in that space. For another thing we
          have, in that space, the assumption that Jesus' disciples were not
          themselves going about lamenting their culpable ignorance but that
          Mark constructs them as culpably ignorant. Thus one surely is
          permitted to wonder what there was, promulgated by disciples, before
          Mark and thus open the possibility of some hypothetical (Q)
          or archaeological (Thomas) text conveying pre-Markan information
          that could well be more reliable than that transmitted by Mark.

          > suspect that some critical point of doctine is imperilled by
          > recognizing GMark as the most authentic statement of doctrine.

          You've lost me. I suppose you're correct.... but the only person
          I know of who ever recognized GMark to be this was AMark.

          > My guess
          > would be that the felt doctrinal lack in Mark is the one that both GMt and
          > GLk already conspicuously fill, that GJn goes on to take into metaphysical
          > realms, and that noncanonical texts such as GThos also make statements
          > about, namely: an account of the origin and, so to speak, cosmological
          > status, of Jesus

          This "trajectory" toward greater cosmological assertions about Jesus
          is often assumed but easily refuted. Such assertions are found in
          Paul's letters (e.g. 2 Cor 4 3-6) ca. 57 and the non-Paul but
          generally-dated-60's letter Colossians (1:15-17). It is a trajectory
          that seems to be one that logically should be there... but it isn't.

          Or, one might say, it is a trajectory of thought that arose and
          culminated prior to the writing of the canonical gospels.

          > I cannot help being impressed by the fact that in the early centuries of
          > the Church it had become heretical to doubt that Jesus had existed from the
          > beginning of the world.

          Perhaps so. Idea was asserted in the first decades (Col. 1:15).
          Idea is not in Mark but Mark IS in the Canon, so it was not heretical
          not to mention it. In fact I believe that the canonical status of
          Mark was considerably less subject to dispute than the canonical
          status of John.

          > Just thinking out loud. I have no intention of commenting further on Q, and
          > I stand reminded that I still owe several listmembers a response to their
          > postings on more discussable matters, namely the specific
          > interrelationships of the three GSyn.

          Are you sure this is an intellectually respectable position? That you
          will determinedly ignore what is, for the great majority of scholars
          who have carefully investigated the matter, and the great majority of
          scholars who take those investigations to have settled the issue, the
          single most explanatory and convincing hypothesis in existence....

          A. If one refuses on principle to discuss hypothetical Q.
          B. Admits synoptic intertexutality.
          C. Admits Markan priority.
          D. Accepts on Faith that Luke is later than Mark.
          E. Ignores Thomas
          Then one through principle and Faith has arrived at the the Farrer/
          Goodacre theory and can sit back satisfied and content but,
          outside of, perhaps, ruminating over C. above I don't know what
          there would be left to discuss.

          Steve
        • Jeff Peterson
          I ve found helpful the exchange between Bruce and Stevan on the reasons for continued adherence to Q and prospects for same. I here wish to comment on only one
          Message 4 of 9 , Sep 8, 1998
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            I've found helpful the exchange between Bruce and Stevan on the reasons for
            continued adherence to Q and prospects for same. I here wish to comment on
            only one aspect of Bruce's reflections on the topic, viz., the motives that
            encourage adherence to Q. I'll begin by quoting the relevant passage from
            Bruce's original post to Synoptic-L for interested CrossTalkers who may
            have missed it.

            >5. (SNIP) What stands out to me
            >in the record from Reimarus to the present is that, whatever the specifics,
            >the Synoptic discussion *as a whole* is not content to abide in the thought
            >that GMark best represents the earliest Christianity. No sooner is that
            >proposition forcefully urged than *something* - Q or some other
            >hypothetical text, some archaeologically recovered text, Markan
            >Nonpriority, all the above - is put into the space between Jesus and GMark.
            (SNIP)
            >
            >As to why it should be so, I (SNIP) suspect that some critical point of
            >doctine is imperilled by
            >recognizing GMark as the most authentic statement of doctrine. My guess
            >would be that the felt doctrinal lack in Mark is the one that both GMt and
            >GLk already conspicuously fill, that GJn goes on to take into metaphysical
            >realms, and that noncanonical texts such as GThos also make statements
            >about, namely: an account of the origin and, so to speak, cosmological
            >status, of Jesus (and, in the case of GThos, of his alleged brother Jacob).
            >I cannot help being impressed by the fact that in the early centuries of
            >the Church it had become heretical to doubt that Jesus had existed from the
            >beginning of the world. We seem to have here no mere sentimental fondness
            >for the manger scene in the Mt/Lk nativity stories, but a perceived
            >central concern of early Christianity as such. That concern would seem to
            >be logically threatened by accepting GMark, which is entirely silent on
            >this issue, as an authentic account of the *earliest* Christianity.

            I think Bruce is right to consider scholarly motives along with evidence in
            assessing the vigor of Q in the past century and a half of NT scholarship,
            but I don't think the motive he suggests here will explain the attraction
            of the hypothesis, since the non-Marcan virginal conception shared by
            Matthew and Luke is not included in the reconstructed lost document
            accounting for their agreements against Mark (although it should be, as I
            suggested in a previous post on "Q 1:31"). Q rather answers to two distinct
            interests of scholars along the theological spectrum. First, for
            theologically conservative scholars, Q represents documentary evidence
            transmitted independently of Mark and thus gives us an additional witness
            to put on the stand when inquiring after the historical Jesus. Second, this
            witness's testimony can be particularly congenial to theologically liberal
            scholars at least since Harnack, as (legitimately or illegitimately) it is
            taken to represent a variety of early Christianity unencumbered with
            doctrines of atoning death and bodily resurrection; if one stratifies Q one
            can even be rid of that pre-scientific Second Coming business. So Q
            provides conservatives a further link in the evidential chain connecting us
            to Jesus, and Q provides liberals historical legitimation for excising from
            Christianity elements ill comporting with the Enlightenment distaste for
            superstition. What could be better?

            Best,

            Jeff

            Jeffrey Peterson
            Institute for Christian Studies
            Austin, Texas, USA
          • E. Bruce Brooks
            Topic: Arguments for Q From: Bruce In Response To: Jeff Peterson JEFF: I think Bruce is right to consider scholarly motives along with evidence in assessing
            Message 5 of 9 , Sep 9, 1998
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              Topic: Arguments for Q
              From: Bruce
              In Response To: Jeff Peterson

              JEFF: I think Bruce is right to consider scholarly motives along with
              evidence in assessing the vigor of Q in the past century and a half of NT
              scholarship, but I don't think the motive he suggests here will explain the
              attraction of the hypothesis, since the non-Marcan virginal conception
              shared by Matthew and Luke is not included in the reconstructed lost
              document accounting for their agreements against Mark (although it should
              be, as I
              suggested in a previous post on "Q 1:31").

              BRUCE: I agree with Jeff; I think the passages to which he points do
              logically belong in Q (assuming that anyone succeeds in holding Q
              accountable to its ostensible logic). In that case, his exception to the
              applicability of my general suggestion (which by the way was at the level
              of the collective Zeitgeist, and made a point of not addressing individual
              scholarly motives) vanishes, and my general suggestion stands. As a
              suggestion. A Zeitgeist suggestion.

              JEFF: Q rather answers to two distinct interests of scholars along the
              theological spectrum. First, for theologically conservative scholars, Q
              represents documentary evidence
              transmitted independently of Mark and thus gives us an additional witness
              to put on the stand when inquiring after the historical Jesus.

              BRUCE: I have earlier suggested, I think on CrossTalk, that the chief
              ultimate effect of Q is to privilege Luke, on perhaps the majority view the
              latest of the gospels, above either Matthew or Mark. The result in practice
              is to yield a very Lukan Historical Jesus, what I have called the "Nice
              Jesus," to which, for example, the deliberations of the Jesus Seminar, for
              whom Q is not a parallel early source but in practice a source *earlier
              than* Mark, have demonstrably led. My suggestion is that this result, and
              many parallel ones, is far more comfortable for the scholarly and church
              community than the more austere Markan Jesus would have been. And thus has,
              in Darwinian and not conspiratorial terms, a far higher chance of survival
              in scholarly debate, publication, and general acceptance.

              JEFF: Second, this witness's testimony can be particularly congenial to
              theologically liberal
              scholars at least since Harnack, as (legitimately or illegitimately) it is
              taken to represent a variety of early Christianity unencumbered with
              doctrines of atoning death and bodily resurrection; if one stratifies Q one
              can even be rid of that pre-scientific Second Coming business. So Q
              provides conservatives a further link in the evidential chain connecting us
              to Jesus, and Q provides liberals historical legitimation for excising from
              Christianity elements ill comporting with the Enlightenment distaste for
              superstition. What could be better?

              BRUCE: On the evidence, nothing so far. Whether the parallel track of
              Buddhist-attenuated Christianity will oontz it out, who can say? But
              analytically, I think Jeff is right to point to the further appeal implicit
              in the stratification of Q: Adherents can not only have their cake, they
              can pick their layer. This substantially broadens the possible adherent
              base, and, again, increases the Darwinian coefficient of Q as against other
              accounts of the Synoptic situation.

              E Bruce Brooks / University of Massachusetts
            • Jack Kilmon
              ... Since the earliest writings by Paul and Mark, and that of a separatecommunity with an early history (Yohannine) do not mention what is unique enough to be
              Message 6 of 9 , Sep 9, 1998
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                E. Bruce Brooks wrote:

                > Topic: Arguments for Q
                > From: Bruce
                > In Response To: Jeff Peterson
                >
                > JEFF: I think Bruce is right to consider scholarly motives along with
                > evidence in assessing the vigor of Q in the past century and a half of NT
                > scholarship, but I don't think the motive he suggests here will explain the
                > attraction of the hypothesis, since the non-Marcan virginal conception
                > shared by Matthew and Luke is not included in the reconstructed lost
                > document accounting for their agreements against Mark (although it should
                > be, as I
                > suggested in a previous post on "Q 1:31").
                >
                >

                Since the earliest writings by Paul and Mark, and that of a separatecommunity
                with an early history (Yohannine) do not mention what
                is unique enough to be mentioned (virgin birth), I can only assume
                that the tradition began as a midrash by the Matthean scribe and was
                later "historicized" by Luke (if Luke used Matthew) or by a Lukan
                redactor (if Luke has priority to Matthew).

                It's problematic to me to include this tradition in any primitive
                source (Q or otherwise) predating the destruction.

                What would be the reason for believing it should have been in Q?
                Mebbe I missed dat part.

                Jack
                jkilmon@...
              • Jeff Peterson
                ... I suggested in a post a few days ago that if the governing definition of Q is source of non-Marcan matter common to Matthew and Luke, then the common
                Message 7 of 9 , Sep 9, 1998
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                  At 5:00 PM 9/9/98, Jack Kilmon wrote:

                  >Since the earliest writings by Paul and Mark, and that of a separatecommunity
                  >with an early history (Yohannine) do not mention what
                  >is unique enough to be mentioned (virgin birth), I can only assume
                  >that the tradition began as a midrash by the Matthean scribe and was
                  >later "historicized" by Luke (if Luke used Matthew) or by a Lukan
                  >redactor (if Luke has priority to Matthew).
                  >
                  >It's problematic to me to include this tradition in any primitive
                  >source (Q or otherwise) predating the destruction.
                  >
                  >What would be the reason for believing it should have been in Q?
                  >Mebbe I missed dat part.

                  I suggested in a post a few days ago that if the governing definition of Q
                  is "source of non-Marcan matter common to Matthew and Luke," then the
                  common phrase KAI TEXH(I)//TEXETAI DE hUION KAIKALESEIS TO ONOMA AUTOU
                  IHSOUN (Luke 1:31//Matt 1:21) qualifies and should figure as Q 1:31 in a
                  methodologically rigorous reconstruction of Q.

                  Best,

                  Jeff

                  Jeffrey Peterson
                  Institute for Christian Studies
                  Austin, Texas, USA
                • Jack Kilmon
                  ... I understand now. I have been thinking about this from the Luke knew Matthew paradigm. I see this as classical aggadic midrash and since I cannot
                  Message 8 of 9 , Sep 9, 1998
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                    Jeff Peterson wrote:

                    > At 5:00 PM 9/9/98, Jack Kilmon wrote:
                    >
                    > >Since the earliest writings by Paul and Mark, and that of a separatecommunity
                    > >with an early history (Yohannine) do not mention what
                    > >is unique enough to be mentioned (virgin birth), I can only assume
                    > >that the tradition began as a midrash by the Matthean scribe and was
                    > >later "historicized" by Luke (if Luke used Matthew) or by a Lukan
                    > >redactor (if Luke has priority to Matthew).
                    > >
                    > >It's problematic to me to include this tradition in any primitive
                    > >source (Q or otherwise) predating the destruction.
                    > >
                    > >What would be the reason for believing it should have been in Q?
                    > >Mebbe I missed dat part.
                    >
                    > I suggested in a post a few days ago that if the governing definition of Q
                    > is "source of non-Marcan matter common to Matthew and Luke," then the
                    > common phrase KAI TEXH(I)//TEXETAI DE hUION KAIKALESEIS TO ONOMA AUTOU
                    > IHSOUN (Luke 1:31//Matt 1:21) qualifies and should figure as Q 1:31 in a
                    > methodologically rigorous reconstruction of Q.

                    I understand now. I have been thinking about this from the "Luke knew Matthew"
                    paradigm. I see this as classical aggadic midrash and since I cannot attribute
                    this primary Jewish literary style to Luke, have to assume it originated with
                    the Jewish Matthean scribe...even evidenced by his use of the LXX. The
                    "virgin birth" as creative historiography typical to midrashic style makes
                    sense to me given the Matthean scribe's noted preoccupation with OT
                    authority. In this case, it would be "special M" material which leaves the
                    question on how it got in Luke. I see only two trajectories. Either Matthew
                    was known to Luke or it's the result of a later Lukan redactor who attempting
                    to "harmonize" and not understanding midrashic style, historicised it.
                    Still struggling with the "Luke knew Matthew" possibility, I am, for now,
                    more comfortable with the latter.

                    Jack
                    jkilmon@...
                  • Tim Reynolds
                    ... EBB s description of the Q community applies nicely to the AntiStratfordian community. I once attended a meeting, 2-300 people. Affable disagreement on
                    Message 9 of 9 , Sep 10, 1998
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                      > Just as Q evades implication by any statement or
                      > concession made by any of its adherents (the previous point), so Q
                      > adherents are apparently entitled to differ *from each other,* without any
                      > perceptible weakening of their own position; on the contrary, with
                      > individual strengthening of their own position. If Q can be defended in
                      > individual discussions only by abandoning some of its tenets, that is in
                      > principle a point against Q. But there is no referee, no Whiteheadian
                      > higher recording consciousness, that keeps track of these moves, correlates
                      > them, and renders a running verdict as to where they collectively leave the
                      > Q position. Q adherents not only do not implicate Q, they do not implicate
                      > each other, or even themselves on some future occasion. Unless someone is
                      > keeping track.

                      EBB's description of the Q community applies nicely to the AntiStratfordian community. I once attended a meeting, 2-300 people. Affable disagreement on who had produced the Work, unanimous agreement that the Stratford fellow had *not*. No referee.

                      The auditory piracy model -- that the assemblers of Mt and Lk had access to Mk only via public readings -- eliminates one Q argument I've run across. It goes: Look how they dicked around with Mk, which they naively believed to be the revered Peter's recollections. So why not Q?

                      In the 1790's one Robert Holcroft's "greatest coup was the pirating of Beaumarchais's play Figaro, by memorizing it in the Paris theater where it was being played." They keep turning up.

                      I like the Q theme park.

                      Tertium datur,

                      Tim Reynolds


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