> As a follow-up to Sterling's comments, I would simply add that, whatever one
> makes of the dating of the Gospel of Thomas, surely one of the things that
> Thomas does is to underscore the POSSIBILITY of the existence of a document
> like Q, thus undercutting the objection that a Gospel must be a narrative (like
> Mark).

As long as it remains stated that it demonstrates the POSSIBILITY-I have 
read some who have made it a certainty.  It is that certitude that I 
react to.  Second, perhaps I missed something in the earlier posts but I 
see a couple of connections in yours that I was unaware of.  a. that to 
reject the guild's use and teaching of Q results in a belief that the 
gospel must be in narrative form.  It seems to me that this is a non 
sequitur.  Below you state the problem better-a variety of sources-the 
guild cites one-Q, ubiquitous, omnisicient, multi layered SOURCE waved 
over gospel criticism like a magic wand.  I think that the Hellenistic 
world was a tad more complex, and we would better put our efforts into 
Quellen rather than Quelle.  b. that GospThom underscores the 
possibility-what does the Gospel of Thomas have to do with it?  About all 
those Hellenistic sayings collections of various philosophers etc-I think 
that they demonstrate the possibility of collected sayings of Jesus 
better than Thomas, or at least as well.  

> Thus, even if the text of the NT WAS fluid before the 4th century, as Sterling
> is willing to allow, a variety of aids were certainly created, some of which
> were in narrative form, some of which were in poetic form (carmina Christi),
> some were doubtless in oral form (Papias' predilection), and some were very
> likely in a kind of florilegial form (Thomas, and probably Q).
> I think there is reason to believe that early Christians made use of a variety
> of aids and devices for both preserving and disseminating their traditions.
> Why should one presuppose rigidity of form when everything we are learning
> about the hellenistic world, including hellenistic Judaism, implies a wide
> scope of literary forms?
And this is the difficulty I have.  As I see it out of one side of the 
mouth we say that there must have been a multiplicity of documents in 
diverse forms disseminated in sundry ways.  Out of the other side of the 
mouth we reduce that world to 2 sources-Q and Mark.  I will ask what a 
student once asked me:  Why can't the differences between Matthew's 
citations of Q and Luke's Q be different documents altogether rather than 
saying that they are different editions of the same thing?  The 
difference perhaps between CNN, AP, and the NYT.

Larry Swain
Parmly Billings Library

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