For those interested in the Q debate the following is adapted from a footnote in Andrejevs, Olegs. 2019. Apocalypticism in the Synoptic Sayings Source: A Reassessment of Q’s Stratigraphy. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. (p. 1)
For recent arguments against the 2DH, see, e.g.,
- Mark S. Goodacre, The Case Against Q: Studies in Markan Priority and the Synoptic Problem (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2002);
- Francis Watson, Gospel Writing: A Canonical Perspective (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2013).
For responses to these scholars, see, e.g.,
- Paul Foster, “Is It Possible to Dispense with Q?” NovT 45 (2003): 313-37;
- John S. Kloppenborg, “On Dispensing with Q? Goodacre on the Relation of Luke to Matthew,” NTS 49 (2003): 210-36;
- Christopher M. Tuckett, “Watson, Q and L/M,” in Gospel Interpretation and the Q-Hypothesis (ed. Mogens Müller and Heike Omerzu; LNTS 573; London: T&T Clark, 2018), 115-38
(for Watson’s rejoinder, see “Seven Theses on the Synoptic Problem, in Disagreement with Christopher Tuckett,” in Idem, 139^47).
For classic comprehensive cases in support of the 2DH, see
- Joseph A. Fitzmyer, “The Priority of Mark and the ‘Q’ Source in Luke,” in Jesus and Man’s Hope (ed. Donald G. Miller; Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, 1970), 131-70;
- W. D. Davies and Dale C. Allison, The Gospel According to Saint Matthew (ICC 26; 3 vols.; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1988-97), 1.115-21;
- John S. Kloppenborg Verbin, Excavating Q: The History and Setting of the Sayings Gospel(Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000), 11-54.
For recent investigations demonstrating the viability of the 2DH, see
- Robert A. Derrenbacker, Ancient Compositional Practices and the Synoptic Problem (BETL 186; Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2005);
- Alan Kirk, Q in Matthew: Ancient Media, Memory, and Early Scribal Transmission of the Jesus Tradition (LNTS 564; London: T&T Clark, 2016).
For additional recent statements by Q scholars, see
- Simon J. Joseph, The Nonviolent Messiah: Jesus, Q, and the Enochic Tradition (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2014), 8-10;
- Giovanni B. Bazzana, Kingdom of Bureaucracy: The Political Ideology of Village Scribes in the Sayings Gospel Q (BETL 274; Leuven: Peeters, 2015), 2-3.
While a close discussion of the synoptic problem lies outside the scope of this monograph, it is perhaps worth emphasizing that the solutions of Goodacre and Watson are equally, if not more so, hypothetical than the 2DH.
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19 thoughts on “Q debate: some sources”
And, are we ignoring Thomas L. Brodie’s take on the Q discussion?
His omission does encourage questions.
Okay…So, why has Brodie been omitted? I rather like his approach, which, if I may paraphrase, is that Q has been there all the time, staring us in the face. It was the Septuagint, the Hebrew Bible in Greek. It provided the storylines and the background resources. It is Q. I believe that Burton Mack alluded to a very similar sourcing, but never connected the hypothetical Q with the actual Septuagint, like Brodie did.
Brodie had enough of a struggle having some of his ideas taken seriously when he was most active in scholarly publishing. Now that he has retired I think some of his views are even less likely to gain traction until someone or some others take them up and press actively for their acceptance.
While this is certainly out of the mainstream, I thin its worth adding David Oliver Smith’s “Matthew, Mark, Luke and Paul” to the list. In that he makes a case for much of “Q” being traced back to the Pauline epistles.
“2DH”? Neil, is that a typo, and you mean “2SH”, the two-source hypothesis?
2DH (Two-Document Hypothesis) is widely used in the lit.
I find it amazing and amusing how apologists have to invent a source and jump through logical hoops to defend a more complicated theory because for theological reasons they can’t admit that the evangelists invented stuff.
Oh, I just saw the picture in “Related Posts”, with “2DH” == “2SH”.
Have you written anything about scripture writing scribes workflow? If I had all of the documents suggested as “influences” on any of the gospels open on my desktop, I would struggle greatly cobbling together a competing different version of a narrative. Do you think these “authors” had the written documents in their possession or just access to them. Did they keep all of their ideas in memory or did they outline things on parchment/paper?
Do we know anything of these processes. Could a lone scribe do this without access to a temple library or the equivalent?
I am asking because one needs to calculate in things like memory failures, mistakes, misinterpretations, sources in foreign languages being mistranslated, etc.
You will probably be interested in this thesis: http://etana.org/node/9012 (“Ancient Compositional Practices and the Synoptic Problem”)
Sometimes we see an influence of other literature, including the Bible, in other people’s writing, and presumably the authors are conscious of their borrowing. Is that a fair comparison? I have imagined the authors of the gospels as having been immersed not only in many years of hearing and reading the “scriptures” and related texts but also in much intense discussion about what they hear and read. I can’t imagine “Mark” having copies of Genesis, Isaiah, Daniel, Psalms, etc open in front of him as ready references as he wrote.
The bit at the end is a classic – “the solutions of Goodacre and Watson are equally, if not more so, hypothetical than the 2DH.”
While it is obviously true that both proposed solutions are hypothesis, only one offends parsimony by positing a not strictly necessary hypothetical source.
I suspect what is meant here by “hypothetical” is something like prior probability (which actually can be more or less), where clearly someone doing Q Stratigraphy is going to have artificially high priors for Q (especially as compared to what parsimony would suggest), even then it is a dubious thing to add as a throwaway remark.
what is meant here by “hypothetical” is something like prior probability
Does Virgil’s Aeneid and Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey factor in to “something like prior probability” for Q ?
I am not advocating Joseph Atwill’s thesis here, but, in a roundabout way, it offers up Josephus as Q.
I wouldn’t say Josephos is “Q” but he is certainly one of the sources being mined and argued with.
Didache and The Epistle of Barnabas are two other actual documents that can be argued as standing behind G.Mk and G.Mt. Didache reads to me very much as G.Mt minus the Marcan material and as the teaching put into Jesus’ mouth in the material “scholars” attribute to “Q”. The Epistle of Barnabas reads like the thinking that preceded, and led to, G.Mk. I think it unlikely G.Mk is pre-Bar Kochva, and it and the other 3 canonical gospels only seem to have come to Eirēnaios’ attention during his writing of Against Heresie c.180. That is notwithstanding all the other contributory materials already mentioned. There are probably more than half a dozen more parsimonious than the 2D and Historicity hypotheses possibilities jostling in the probability space. You only need one Black Swan.
Can you delete the two previous please Neil. Nothing is going right here.
I have fixed the formatting of one of them. If it is not what you wanted let me know and I’ll delete that, too. Some interesting possibilities to explore.