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Old 05-01-2001, 09:57 AM   #1
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Post The uses and limits of "Q"

There seems to be some confusion about what "Q" and other "source" materials that are believed to have been used to construct the Gospels is and is not, as well as how much it can tell us, and what it cannot. My hope is to clarify this point.

First, what is Q?

At its most basic level, Q is defined as the "sayings" that are found commonly in Luke and Matthew, but NOT in Mark. This is critical to understand. It means that anything that is found in Mark and Matt, Mark and Luke, all three Gospels, or Mark alone CANNOT be considered to be a part of Q. This is a purely arbitrary decision, but allows scholars to have a working definition of what Q is and is not.

Now, could any pre-existent Gospel contain elements found only in one or two of the Gospels besides Matt or Luke? Of course. But for simplicities sake none of these things are considered to be a part of Q. Also, could it include the Passion Narrative? Again, the answer is yes, but the definition of Q is that it is a sayings "document" only, so it is not. Similarily with the birth narratives and miracle stories. They are not sayings, so they do not get included in Q.

The important thing to remember is that Q, as it stands today, is not a real document, or even a proven oral tradition. It is a working hypothesis, and one that helps a great deal in trying to better understand how the Synoptic Gospels were constructed. The view (correct in my opinion) is that Matthew and Luke used Mark, together with some special materials and sources. One of them is called (arbitrarily), "Q" or "Quelle". Matt's unique material (sayings, miracles, ect.) is arbitrarily called "M", and Luke's is called "L".

The evidence that other sources pre-existed the Synoptics, and that the respective authors drew on these sources is a very reasonable position to take. At the end of the day can we actually figure out exactly what all of these sources said, and how many there were? Almost certainly not. But the study of the similarities and differences found within the Synoptics makes for a very interesting puzzle, and can prove very helpful in determining not only what might have really happened during Jesus' ministry, but also how the early Church and its documents was created after His death.

Peace,

Nomad
 
Old 05-01-2001, 11:47 AM   #2
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Nomad - why so many multiple threads? Why didn't you post this as a reply to this recent one? Are you saying anything new here?

http://www.infidels.org/electronic/f...ML/000459.html

I've noticed that you start a lot of threads on similar topics, post a lot of repetitive verbiage, and usually don't respond on threads started by secularists. That's not very friendly behavior, and makes things harder to follow on this board.
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Old 05-01-2001, 11:59 AM   #3
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Toto:
Nomad - why so many multiple threads? Why didn't you post this as a reply to this recent one? Are you saying anything new here?

http://www.infidels.org/electronic/f...ML/000459.html

I've noticed that you start a lot of threads on similar topics, post a lot of repetitive verbiage, and usually don't respond on threads started by secularists. That's not very friendly behavior, and makes things harder to follow on this board.
</font>
Umm. Ish isn't a securalist. At least not that I know of. And there really is no discussion on the other end of that thread Toto.

Why are you being so petty?
 
Old 05-01-2001, 01:05 PM   #4
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
Umm. Ish isn't a securalist. At least not that I know of. And there really is no discussion on the other end of that thread Toto.

Why are you being so petty?
</font>
I didn't mean to whine. But it is annoying to have so many duplicative threads, and I wanted to point that out. I also wanted to post a reference to the other thread, for people interested in further research in the link to the religioustolerance site there.

There was no discussion on the other thread, but there is also no discussion here, and nothing that invites discussion.
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Old 05-05-2001, 08:42 AM   #5
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Nomad:

First, what is Q?...
The important thing to remember is that Q, as it stands today, is not a real document, or even a proven oral tradition. It is a working hypothesis, and one that helps a great deal in trying to better understand how the Synoptic Gospels were constructed.
</font>
If a teacher gets two essays from two different students and there is a sizable amount of material in the two essays that is word-for-word similar and often in the same order, a reasonable assumption would be that both students used a common source which they incorporated into their own individual essays.

If the teacher feels that one or both of the students is beyond reproach and a model of academic integrity the teacher might be able to come up with an alternate explanation of the common source material. It would be very difficult to do, but it presumably could be done.

But make no mistake--it would be far easier to come up with alternative explanations if the essays were written some 2,000 years ago, and if no physical remnants of the essays had survived.

In other words, the essays themselves would be reconstructions of reconstructions by long-dead students of whom plagarism was an unknown concept and footnotes and citing of sources had yet to be conceived.

The meaning of the word "gospel" is literally "good news." The idea of what is "good" varies from person to person and the idea of "news" is that it must be constantly updated to be useful. Each gospel writer had a different idea and updated that idea for a different community of believers.
 
Old 05-05-2001, 08:57 AM   #6
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by aikido7:
</font>
I understand what you are saying aikido, and happen to agree with you. The reason for this thread, however, was to point out that the definition of "Q" is self limiting. For example, it is a purely arbitrary decision to leave out the material shared by all three of the Synoptics from Q. It is equally arbitrary to leave out the material found in only Mark, or in Mark and one of the other Synoptics. After all, we cannot prove that Mark did not have access to a theoretical Q tradition, and merely chose not to use most of it.

Finally, the Synoptics share a great deal of detail in the Passion Narrative, yet the reason this was excluded from the theoretical Q was because Mark uses it too. It is circular reasoning to say that Mark did not use Q because Q is composed of material shared ONLY by Luke and Matt.

I hope that clarifies the point better. No doubt the subject will become more important as we discuss the historical Jesus, and we can get more deeply into these questions.

Peace,

Nomad
 
Old 05-05-2001, 02:10 PM   #7
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Just for the record, Layman is right, I'm a Christian. I do like to think of myself as a skeptic though.

Ish
 
Old 05-05-2001, 02:39 PM   #8
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Too many multiple threads. Here's a reference to the other:

http://www.infidels.org/electronic/f...ML/000459.html

I really fail to see how Q affects the historical Jesus one way or the other. Of course, if Q is a myth, as argued by Mark Goodacre at http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/q/ , then there may be one less "independent source" attesting to anything about Jesus. (Although Goodacre does accept that the Gospels incorporate oral traditions.)
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Old 05-06-2001, 07:03 AM   #9
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Toto:

I've noticed that you start a lot of threads on similar topics, post a lot of repetitive verbiage, and usually don't respond on threads started by secularists. That's not very friendly behavior, and makes things harder to follow on this board.</font>
I just noticed this one, and thought I would make a comment, and a suggestion...

I usually don't respond on threads started by secularists?

Let me help you Toto. First, click on "Search", then type in the name "Nomad" in the box next to where it says "Search by User Names". Start with the Existence of God(s) Board, and you will see that I have participated in 45 threads there since December 6, 2000, almost all of which were started by secularists. Next, do the same search on the Bible Criticism & Archaeology forum and you will see that I have posted on 87 more threads, the majority of which were started by secularists. If that is not enough for you, go into the archives, and try the Philosophical Archives-2000 (10 more threads), and finally the Existence of God(s) Archives 3Q and 4Q-2000 (10 and 44 threads respectively).

After that, could you please tell me what you are talking about here when you say that I usually do not participate on threads started by secularists? Sheesh.

Nomad
 
Old 05-06-2001, 02:04 PM   #10
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Nomad

I must say that this is a very enjoyable topic. Perhaps you can cover the reasons the Q1, Q2, etc (various strata) of Q are not well-accepted?

Also, can you comment on why Crossan's putative Cross Gospel is not well-accepted? What are the concrete reasons it is rejected?

Michael
 
 

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