Re: Bellinzoni (ed), The Two-Source Hypothesis

Jack Kilmon (
Thu, 22 Aug 1996 20:34:32 -0600

Brian E. Wilson wrote:

> >
> > I think the hypothesis is interesting but much too simplistic an
> >explanation for the development of the Gospels. Apparently there was an
> >array of "Jesus said" writings during the latter 1st century of Gospel
> >authorship and editing. I am one who believes that a very early account
> >of sayings was written down by one of the disciples (probably cousin Matthew)
> >and was foundational to later interpolations. This "sayings gospel" may have
> >been seminal to QI, QII, the Gospel of Thomas, etc.
> >
> > The 2NH does not seem to take into account a variety of
> "memoirs" that
> >circulated among the Yeshuines that were later embedded in "Christian"
> >
> To answer your comments, it would be helpful if you could please give
> some justification for accepting the existence of hypothetical QI and
> QII.

I would refer you to John S. Kloppenberg, "The Formation of Q:
Trajectories in Ancient Wisdom Collections" Studies in Antiquity and
Christianity, Phila, Fortress. 1977 and Dieter Luhrmann, "Die Redaktion
der Logiequelle" WMAHT33, Neukirchen; Neukirchenr Verlag 1969.

The earlier stage of Q (QI) finds parallels in the Gospel of Thomas
while the latter stage (QII) is used by Luke and would include a more developed
understanding of Jesus as the "future Son of Man." Comparisons can be seen
in GT 68 (QI) vs. QII/Luke 6:22; GT 95 (QI) vs. QII/Luke 6:34 (here Matthew 5:42
preserves the wording of QI); GT 89 (QI) vs. QII/Luke 11:39-40.

My copy is presently loaned from my library (isn't that always the way?)
but I am sure Helmet Koester in "Ancient Christian Gospels, their history and
development" gives a summary of the 2 stages of Q.

QI is therefore a pre-Christian collection composed very early and
is devoid of the developed christology of the triple tradition.

Also, I wonder why the "very early account...written down by one
> of the disciples (probably cousin Matthew)" should not have contained
> narratives as well as sayings, just as there are five narratives in the
> Gospel of Thomas besides discourse material?

Simply beacuse the "people of Q" and somewhat in Thomas were interested
in the teachings of Jesus in a Jewish "Pre-Christian" setting (the group
that I refer to as "Yeshuine Jews"). Jesus is still Y'shua bar Yosef, a
charismatic Jewish Hasid and not yet the "Christ of Faith" that will be
developed in an Hellenistic setting.

If I were allowed to speculate, I would choose the people surrounding
Yaqub bar Yosef (James), Jesus' brother, as the "people of QI."

And why should the
> "memoirs circulated among the Yeshuines...later embedded in Christian
> gospels" not have been the Notebooks N1 and N2 later embedded in the
> Christian synoptic gospels?

Perhaps, Brian...but I cannot form an opinion until I know what was
IN N1 and N2 and the stage of christological development in each.
> It seems to me that the crucial test of a hypothesis put forward to
> explain the similarities and differences between the synoptic gospels is
> whether it fits the data in the synoptic gospels themselves. The Two
> Notebook Hypothesis is unique in that it fits all the data, whereas
> other hypotheses (like the 2SH, 2GH and FGH) do not fit the data
> completely. I agree that the 2NH is simple, but isn't that a good thing
> given that it also fits all the synoptic patterns? Is there any need for
> a less simplistic hypothesis?

I have to withhold judgment until I have a better understanding of
just what N1 and N2 was. Early church historians report that Jesus' cousin
Mattathia Levi ben Alfai (Matthew) composed "oracles" of Jesus (probably
as he spoke) and sure enough we have a "sayings source" embedded in the
Gospel of Matthew. That relationship may be the reason the Syrian Greek
speaking Jew who wrote Matthew used his name. The Gospel of Thomas may
not be considered canonical but most scholars agree that it is a genuine
source of very early "Jesus sayings" perhaps by the enigmatic figure of
the disciple Yehudah "the twin" himself. It is also reported that Jesus'
brother James also oversaw a "recollection" of Jesus sayings in the
Jerusalem synagogue of Yeshuine Jews. I, for one, believe that a "proto-
John" gospel/memoir preceded Mark. Jesus' family...his brothers and
cousins...remained the leaders of the Jerusalem assembly clear up to the time
of Diocletian when his grand-nephews were put on the carpet. I find it
hard to believe that these "disposynoi" did not also produce writings
about their famous cousin/uncle.

I find the 2NH very intriguing, but I want to know more about how
they fit in, who wrote them..when..and more importantly, what did they

Jack Kilmon