Re: Which do I seek ?

On Mon, 24 Oct 1994, John Whitlock wrote:
> I basically agree with your reply, but I would like to make some 
> observations:  1)In the short time I have been on this mailing list, I have 
> seen numerous cases of labeling and name-calling, and 2)I believe the point 
> made was relevant.
Yes, there have been instances of labeling and name-calling, and I would 
hope we can avoid that even where we disagree intensely with the points 
others are asserting. And I agree that relevant points were made on both 
sides of the discussion of Q, despite one or two postings that were, it 
seemed to me, all heat and no light.
> I also have a question: Do we really have to forget about our faith in 
> order to have an "academic" study.  I am not a Bible scholar.  I 
> subscribed to this list because I have studied NT Greek in my spare time 
> and thought that I may learn something from reading the observations of 
> those who are studying it full-time.  But do Q discussions really 
> belong here?  Q is not an existing document.  While studying the possible 
> form and content of such a document is certainly interesting and 
> challenging, it is not an actual Greek text.

No, I don't think we have to forget about faith in order to engage in 
"academic" study, and to do so would surely be a form of dishonesty. But 
we can explore options without endorsing them, entertain possibilities 
and attempt to see what the implications of an idea that one has never 
seriously considered before might be. It does seem to me that a certain 
degree of openness to the persuasiveness of different ideas is 
appropriate to discussion here.

And, so far as regards Q, I think the discussion was helpful. While Q may 
not be an "existing document," there's a sizable chunk of text from 
Matthew and Luke that is in identical phrasing in the Greek and other 
pieces that are close enough in the Greek phrasing to make the hypothesis 
at worst plausible and to many quite persuasive that they derive from a 
common source document in Greek. I, for one, think the discussion has 
been, for the most part, useful. I'm going to be teaching a course on the 
Synoptic Problem next semester, and I'm interested in learning what I can 
from partisans and opponents of the Q hypothesis alike.
> If we decide Q discussions do belong here, then it seems we should 
> certainly allow the discussion of one's opinions of Q study (I hope you 
> agree, since that's what this post is).  I will not say Q is a waste of 
> time, but I have no interest in studying it intellectually.  If an actual 
> document or reference to it is found, this is interesting, but I 
> primarily want better understanding of the NT and the actual events it 
> records and the reason is based in my belief in Jesus Crist.

I hope that I have already said I think that opinions of Q study are 
appropriate here, although I would hope that opinions finding expression 
are accompanied by some reasoning and not just warnings from opposing 
sides against attacking one's own sacred cow.

There's another issue (maybe it's the same one) in the questions you have 
posed. Are there definite limits to the text-critical questions that may 
be raised and discussed here? Is lower criticism acceptable but higher 
criticism off limits? Or, insofar as there is plausible evidence in the 
Greek text for phases of development of the NT texts, is there some place 
that is more appropriate to discuss them than this list? I almost fear to 
raise such a question, but I'd like to know what others think. 

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA
(314) 935-4018
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu  OR cwc@oui.com

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