Q and Papias

	I am still waiting for an argument that adequately accounts for the
poorer quality Greek that consistently characterizes Mark over against 
Matthew or Luke from those who reject the argument that Matthew and Luke have
improved the markan text.  Why would one consistently downgrade the quality
of a text that one is editing?  The only analogous situation that I can think
of is the ABS "Good News for Modern Man," which limited the vocabulary used
in the translation of the Bible.  Yet, it was written by extremely well-
educated scholars who are conversant in several languages and it does not
"dummy-up" the grammar.  If anything, the "Good News" version of Mark is
comparably better quality English than the Greek of Mark.  Hence, even when
intentionally "dummied-up," it is STILL an improvement.  Yt, even if the 
author of Mark was less educated than the author of Matthew (or Luke), if
(scratch the preceding "if"), something which we generally all agree on --
well, scratch both the above "ifs" -- I have a hard time seeing someone
with a lesser grasp of a language consistently being able to downgrade the
quality of a text (s)he is copying from.  It takes a clear and thorough-
going consistency and intentionality to pull that off.  
	The assumption that Matthew and Luke have improved the Greek of Mark
is a much simpler solution.
	Notice that, when comparing the Greek of Matthew and Mark, we're not
comparing Mark with difficult-to-read Greek like Paul.  If anything, Matthew
is just as easy to read, particularly when compared to the Greek of Paul. 
No, intentionally dumying-up the text just doesn't work for me when arguing
for the priority of Matthew over Mark.  

	By the way, as an added note to previous postings, I don't think I 
know of a single scholar working on Q who thinks that Matthew and Luke used
Mark and Q alone.  Not one.  Clearly, if Mark and Q were used, Matthew and
Luke used other sources as well: parable sources, birth narratives, resur-
rection appearances, etc., etc.  Posing the basic problem in a classroom as
one of M and L using two main sources, Mk and Q, helps explain most of the 
material in Matthew and Luke.  But it only works as a generalization of how
most scholars have worked out the issue.  And I know of no scholar working 
on Q who would say otherwise.

	One other little note.  This whole discussion seemed to get going
because of the citation of the '50's article that mocks Q as "what we make
it."  When exactly was Mark written?  Who wrote it?  Where was it written?
WHY was Mark written?  What are the central issues in Mark?  How should
Mark be outlined -- what are its major structural narrative breaks? What
is, or how would one describe, the christology of Mark?  Did the author
of Mark employ sources other than the witness of Peter?  If so, what are 
the parameters of those sources?  IS THERE ANY AGREEMENT IN THE GUILD 
concerning any of the above questions?  Alas, so it is with Matthew, Luke,
John, and the hypothetical Q.  Clearly, the difficulties that scholars face
when working on Q, such as noted above, are not an a priori argument 
against the existence of Q as a source for Matthew and Luke.  Indeed, such
a stance obviates discussion of a Semeia source in John, miracle catenae
behind the synoptics, an "Aramaic Vorlage" to any of these texts, etc., 
etc., because the sources do not exist as extant early CE manuscripts.  But
enough said.

Steve Johnson