Once more into the breach.
> Sterling certainly doesn't need me to defend him or the position re. Q. Nor
> should my comments be construed as necessarily those that Sterling might think
> appropriate. Thus, Larry's attempt to pile all of us "rigidists" into the same
> category strikes me as a "tad" unfair. (A little like his critique of those
> today who lump all possibilities into one for the hellenistic period, no?)
I didn't use the term rigidists, nor would I use it in this case. I do
see how you may have inferred that from my post, but that was not my
intent to cast labels, and thus aspersions, on avid Q supporters.
> For example, I have no idea what persons Larry refers to when he suggests that
> >guild cites one-Q, ubiquitous, omnisicient, multi layered SOURCE waved
> >over gospel criticism like a magic wand.
Well, think about it. What is posited is a document (oral or written?
Aramaic or Greek? etc), a single document which explains (in some
circles) the GosThom, and the commonalities between Matt and Lk. We have
no multiplicity of sources, we have One which explains it. Q studies
have changed much in the last decade, but the criticism which was leveled
in 1959 still fits many quarters (although not all)-Q becomes whatever is
needed to resolve a Gospel problem to the point that some now discuss an
original Q community, a theology of Q, and of course Mack's recent book
in which based on a dissection of Q into various levels claims made on
the nature of early Christianity. Now think about how this is. We have
a hypothetical construct that some teach as an historical truth. This
hypothetical construct is then examined in favor over the actual
documents we have, and conclusions are reached about the nature of Jesus,
his preaching, and the beliefs of the early church (ultimately
unrecoverable by HISTORICAL means if we want to get back to Day 1)-all
based on a construct. Imagine if in another field a discussion of the
Civil War was based on a hypothetical construct of what would have
happened if Lincoln had not won-it makes great speculative fiction, but
has little to do with history. Q as construct does take us pretty far.
Q taught as an historical document puts egg on our face-this little thing
called evidence gets in the way. Q as an historical probability is the
most we can say.
> I think that it is the very complexity of the hellenistic world, to which
> scholars of the guild have pointed, that has so enfuriated those of a more
> conservative stripe. And, when Thomas is pointed to, it is not meant to
> undermine that variety, only to say that while the "Hellenistic sayings
> collections of various philosophers" could be a good model for the "collected
> sayings of Jesus" as Larry indicates (possibly following Charles Talbert's
> lead in "What is a Gospel"), why ignore Thomas which does the same thing with
> the words of Jesus, as opposed to the words of another philosopher?
Two things here. I have no problem with that variety. I have no problem
with sayings collections. I have a problem with an equation that is
often put forth: Gosp of Thomas is a sayings gospel= proof for the
existance of Q. Folks: the equation has been made. The most that Thomas
can do for Q is demonstrate the plausibility of such a thing-it is not
proof. Nor does it demonstrate that in discussing Q we should look for
One source rather than more than one. As far as ignoring Thomas goes,
that is a good point. However, it seems to me that if we want to look
for Q, and the plausibility of Q, we are better served by looking at
precedent rather than postcedent. In this vein, all Thomas shows is that
this community had a collection of Jesus sayings-who knows what else they
may have used or would have rejected. WE know they used this.
So perhaps if you will give me this point, precedent is more valuable for
proving Q than something which comes after, just maybe my protest is not
> Nevertheless, I do think Larry makes an interesting suggestion when he asks
> >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.
> Well, give it a try. Of course, CNN has different media, as does the NYTimes
> now. But, we're only comparing written media, or are we? If Larry wants to
> discuss the possibility that Mt or Lk may have taken materials from an oral Q
> as opposed to a written Q, that's an interesting question -- one that STerling
> would doubtless be able to address. But, what would "Matthew's citations of
> Q and Luke's Q" mean as "different documents"? Does Larry mean entirely
> separate Q texts, or differently edited Q texts, etc.?
> In sum, Larry raises an interesting question in his last paragraph,
> questions that seem to open the door to positive discussion about how one
> reconstructs these difficult texts. The problem is that it may not be that
> B-GREEK is the most appropriate place to discuss such issues, unless of course
> they are directly relevant to the Greek found in the texts.
That is part of the question, isn't it. At the moment I am more
convinced by arguments for orality and multiplicity rather than written
and singular. Why I suggest perhaps Quellen. I do not then mean
different edited Q texts, but perhaps different collections altogether.
Still in the mulling over stages.
Parmly Billings Library
- From: Larry Swain <email@example.com>