Re: Q

On Monday, Oct 17, 1994, Gregory Woodhouse wrote
>The evidence for Q may be stronger than you think.  For example, the Gospel
>of Thomas (from the Nag Hammadi library) parallels the synoptics in the Q
>material, but it doesn't contain parallels to the Markan material.

I'm sure I shouldn't enter this thread, but I just can't resist. 
 Mr. Woodhouse's may well be true (if you presuppose the existence of Q), but 
they do not, to my mind, really provide  evidence for the existence of a 
specific document for which you can build a concordance.  Rather, I would aregue
1.  the relationship among the Synnoptics is more subtle than the Q hypothesis
suggests.  It fails to account for many things, hence the strong support for
alternatives like the Greisback Hypothesis (for which I am NOT arguing, though
I do think Q studies should take Farmer, et al, more seriously instead of
just assuming Q and going forward.
2.  No one has ever really dealt adequately with the arguements made a long
time ago in the article "Q is What You Make It" or some such title in 
_New Testament Studies_.  Q was written in Greek.  Q was written in Aramaic.
Q included the Passion.  Q didn't include the Passion.  So on and so forth. 
Indeed, Q in NT studies resembles Q in Star Trek:  The Next Generation.  It
is omnipotent and omnipresent.  It can be found anywhere and contain anything
desired.  After all, with no MS evidence, who's to say what is or isn't in Q?
Any purported document with this level of disagreement over fundamental
questions is hardly adequate philosophically to use to reconstruct the
history of the Gospel text.
3.  We know next to nothing about the Thomas Sayings Collection ( I don't ever
call it a Gospel because it's not, if the Synoptics are Gospels).  We don't
know anything about it much except that it is clearly tendentious and has a
markedly different view of Jesus than the canonical Gospels.  I'm not arguing
here about which source has the right picture.  I am arguing that theories
that put the CG plus Thomas together are methodologically challenged.  It's
like putting the Mishnah and Paul's letter to the Romans together into one work
as the definitive treatise on how Jews should conduct themselves.  Both may 
affirm the Torah in some sense and quote the TOrah, but that's where the 
philosophical agreement ends.  I have a hard enough time coming up with an
explanation for the similarities in the Synoptic Gospels that is coherent
and really answers all the major problems (which I would argue Q doesn't),
without throwing in a document like Thomas I can't anchor anywhere except as
a Gnostic-leaning reinterpretation of the Synoptic tradition.  

Sorry for the long post, but the tendency to "invent" documents and then 
work from them as though there was a MS is most irritating to me.

Ken Litwak
Richmond, CA


   You'll note I did not suggest an alternative.  Send me private mail if you
want to discuss that.