b-greek-digest V1 #603

b-greek-digest             Thursday, 9 March 1995       Volume 01 : Number 603

In this issue:

        Re: Q: reality or fantasy 
        Bibliography request (Lutzelberger)
        re: dogmatic errors 
        Re: Historical Jesus 
        Re: Historical Jesus
        Re: Reflections: Synoptic Question/Quest for Historical Jesus
        re: UBS3 is Poison
        How to Leave
        Q: reality ...Let the Discussion go on 
        re: UBS3 is Poison
        Historical Jesus
        Re: Q: reality or fantasy
        Re: Clarification on cynics, etc.
        Re: Clarification on cynics, etc.
        Re: Mack on Q1 and Cynics


From: DWSchumach@aol.com
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 1995 01:59:05 -0500
Subject: Re: Q: reality or fantasy 

I wrote on 3-8-95:

   It is also difficult to judge the motivations of < German
   Higher Critics> in their academic pursuits.  They may have simply
   the <phenomena of scripture> and developed a theory to explain it
   malicious intents. Unfortunately some concluded that the Bible    was not
   Word, a position that does not necessarily follow from critical

to which Michael I Bushnell responded (in part):

   Your description of the way scholarship happens is a pretty model,     but
    it's hard to believe it any longer.  Most of the various luminaries in
    the subject over the past hundred and fifty years have had axes to
    grind, and grind them they did.

    I don't have any particular opinion on the subject of Q (which was
    part of the origin of this thread), except a slight preference for the
    theory, and an abiding conviction that the whole subject is fairly
    irrelevant to the actual use of the scriptures in the church.

    From my perspective, the musings of most biblical scholarship are
    rather pointless and occasionally useless.  I don't think it's a
    threat the way some fundamentalists might, but I also don't think
    it's particularly important.  The questions that biblical scholars are
    busy addressing are so peripheral to my faith or to the life of the
    church, that they really are just off the mark.


My original concern was that one should not attack a proposition on the basis
of the bias or apparent motivations of the proponent.  The idea needs to be
evaluated on its own merit.  In the case of critical scholarship, many
evangelicals have found merit in the Q hypothesis apart from judgments of its

I would further acknowledge the bias that we all have in how we read and
interpret the Scripture, which is hopefully moderated by the illumination of
the Spirit and historical orthodoxy.

With respect to the relevance of biblical scholarship (a term immediately
given negative connotations by many), I have problems with such a broad
generalization.  A significant portion of Biblical scholarship does become
relevant, as the academics' insight eventually gets distilled into the
church's understanding of scripture and its teachings (esp. in the areas of
exegesis and biblical theology.)

But more specifically, historical criticism also becomes relevant as it is
applied in redaction criticism, which should impact our basic understanding
of the gospels.  The perspective that the evangelists behind synoptic gospels
collected and shaped the oral and written traditions about Jesus which
existed a generation of so after his death, drives us to find unique emphases
in each gospel.  These unique emphases were driven by the pastoral or
evangelistic concerns of the early church and most certainly find their
application in our lives today.

Apart from higher critical methods, the synoptics are reduced to three
somewhat redundant (and somewhat contradictory) historical accounts of the
life of Jesus which Bible teachers feel compelled to harmonize to teach
history, therein missing the intended relevance of the evangelists.  The
gospels are reduced to a historical jigsaw puzzle from which we exegete
events rather than scripture.

Don Schumacher


From: Greg Doudna <gdoudna@ednet1.osl.or.gov>
Date: Wed, 8 Mar 1995 23:01:45 -0800
Subject: Bibliography request (Lutzelberger)

I would be very grateful if someone could assist in identifying
and/or locating a copy of the following incomplete reference:

	Lutzelberger [first name unknown], _Die Kirchl. 
	Tradition uber den Apos. Joh._ 

No city of publication was given nor date, but the date was
probably shortly before 1906.  Thanks in advance,

Greg Doudna

- --


From: DWSchumach@aol.com
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 1995 02:19:38 -0500
Subject: re: dogmatic errors 

You replied to me:

>>You're right, many do hold to this perspective, yet I am becoming more and
more convinced that the major reason why they hold to this dogma, is because
their professors held to it. It's the exact same problem with the matter
over the Greek texts. The majority of really good scholars hold to the
Critical Text for the single reason that their professors held to it and
their professor's professors held to it. Bible students have been told that
the issue between the Traditional Text and the Critical Text is a dead issue
- -- that no scholar "of repute" holds to the Traditional Text.  They never
mention the writings of Burgon, Scrivner, Miller, or Pickering.  They never
stop and take a close look at the fact that the UBS3/ Westcott and Hort Text
is nothing but GARBAGE, and that FJA Hort lied about the Traditional Text
(i.e. the Lucianic Recention never existed outside of Hort's imagination).

Today, we have really sincere God-loving men of the Bible that hold to the
theory of the existence of a "missing" Q document.  I praise God that many
of them are being used of God to reach the lost, but it does not negate the
fact that it is wrong. The German Higher Critics <ref. to the majority>, did
not recognize the Verbal Plenary Inspiration of the Word of God. They
treated the Scriptures (as did Hort) just like any other ancient manuscript
(Homer, Aristotle, Plato, etc.).  They placed the authority of their
intellect over the authority of Scriptures. This is clearly seen in their
writings and in their attitude toward the Scriptures. Malicious? Only God
knows.... Ignorant of the truth -- absolutely!



Yes, the critical text is promoted by those I referred to.  However, you
again resort to ad hominem arguements and simplistic generalizations, rather
than bringing the to the table the essential issues.  I could at best
regurgitate the arguments that have been exchanged by those on both sides who
are infinitely more qualified, and I doubt that either you or I have anything
novel to add to the discussion beyond our passions for one side or the other!

  (By the way, I recall the Textus Receptus has a bit of a sordid history
itself in connection with Erasmus, the antogonist of Luther). 

One other detail to note is that UBS3 isn't identical to W-H, but is an
improvement upon it.

Don Schumacher


From: Timster132@aol.com
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 1995 03:33:50 -0500
Subject: Re: Historical Jesus 

From: timster132@aol.com (Tim Staker)
To: cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu (Carl W Conrad)
CC: b-greek@virginia.edu (NTGreek Discussion)
CC: gbloomquist@spu.stpaul.uottawa.ca (Gregory Bloomquist)

I wanted to explain my comment on the quest for the historical Jesus, and try
to answer your (Carl Conrad's) questions about my position....

>One comment in yesterday's exchanges seemed to voice a wish
>that the "quest for the historical Jesus" would die a
>natural death and not suffer (I pun consciously and
>deliberately) repeated and annoying resurrections. This
>puzzles me...

  Shortly after reading Jeremias' book on <Jesus and Judaism> I lost interest
in the "quest".  Jeremias covers the sources well and arguably concludes
according to specific principles (unlike the Jesus seminar's dubious voting
process) that there are about 6 things we know about the historical Jesus for
  For example the gospel of Mark is mostly a midrash of the OT, grafted into
a biography of Jesus' life.  Even the passion account in Mark is so full of
midrash that it is difficult to discern what is historical and what is interpr
etation of OT Scripture.  Of cource, the writers of midrash didn't care about
historicity--- they had the understanding that wisdom and truth transcend
time, and that time collapses upon itself as truth is revealed.
  Then Matthew wrote his midrash on top of Mark's, and it appears that by the
time we get to Luke, Luke seems to take things more literally, conflating as
much as possible.  So by the time we have all the synoptics, they are more
midrash than historical.
  That is good tho, because the interpretation (midrash) tells us more about
who Jesus was than bare historical facts might.  It is a witness of the
gospel writer's faith that inspires our faith, not the historical facts that
may prove or disprove Jesus' uniqueness.
  The pitfall that most historical Jesus questors eventually fall into in
that of creating Jesus into their own image.  Since there is so little absolut
e information we have about the historical Jesus, the conjectures that arise
about who he historically was often betray the interests of the investigator.
It boils down to the uncertainty principle, which comes to us from quantum
physics: whenever we observe an event, our observation of the event changes
the event itself as we enter into it.  It is a matter of reflexivity.
  So, the reasons I am not interested in the historical Jesus are 1) there is
too little historical data to form a hypotheses 2) most quests of the
historical Jesus make him into an image that pleases the questors and 3) I
believe the witness to the "Jesus of faith", ie, the early church's faith
witness to the Jesus they knew is more helpful to my faith than the "Jesus of

> In fact, I really can see only one reason for any endeavor to pour
>cold water on the ever-renewed quest: fear that it may lead
>to something embarrassing. And that strikes me as an
>unworthy motive, for a believer, at least.

  I hope I have shown some other reasons for abandoning the quest.  I am not
really afraid of being embarrassed by what the historical Jesus might turn
out to be, I guess because I don't see the possibility of un/recovering the
historcial Jesus.
  I am aware that as the Qumran studies advance, this may uncover some very
illuminating things about Palestinian Judaism that could 
inform us about who the historical Jesus was.  Some have even gone so far as
to insinuate that there has been a conspiracy to cover this up (which I DO
NOT believe-- I believe you know how hard it is to transcribe manuscripts
that are in relative good shape, let alone in a million pieces).  But if
Qumran shakes us up a little, I can't see how this would hurt, if it is true,
then it is true.  I am like you, I want the truth, whatever it is
(epistimological arguments aside).
  I know in the early days of form criticism and historical criticism, much
was made of how the poetry, mythology, laws and customs
of the Bible weren't unique-- and how much later we got beyond showing all
the similarities and started rediscovering how the Bible writers and
redactors had their own special twist on these poems and stories, and their
theological contributions.  I think people still have fears from the old days
of some iconoclasts.  I know there are still people fighting the dictation
theories of inspiration out there in our culture.  Literalists today, as in
the early 20th century, are afraid of what the historical Jesus might be. 
  So I hope this all clarifies my comment (which I guess I made sort of
carelessly).  I am of the opinion tho, that the historical Jesus quest isn't
that relevant to me or my faith.  Since I think it is a dead end, I also see
the quest as irrelevent to Biblica studies... unless someone could resurrect
(pun intended) some hard data/evidence that could let us reexamine the quest.
  Thanks for your thoughts and time.
  Peace to you
  Tim Staker--- Timster132@AOL.COM


From: Stan Anderson <ANDERSOS@cgs.edu>
Date: Thu, 09 Mar 1995 01:36:49 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Historical Jesus

>It boils down to the uncertainty principle, which comes to us from quantum
>physics: whenever we observe an event, our observation of the event changes
>the event itself as we enter into it.  It is a matter of reflexivity.
>  So, the reasons I am not interested in the historical Jesus are 1) there is
>too little historical data to form a hypotheses 2) most quests of the
>historical Jesus make him into an image that pleases the questors and 3) I
>believe the witness to the "Jesus of faith", ie, the early church's faith
>witness to the Jesus they knew is more helpful to my faith than the "Jesus of

A couple of observations.  First, the uncertainty principle of quantum
physics (Which may not be a very good analogy to use here.) also
affirms that the observer is changed by the event as well as the event
being changed by the observer.  So one might argue that even though in
your point 2) the questor molds Jesus into the questor's image the
process will still have an effect on the investigator so that the
investigator has been transformed by the search.

Second doesn't your uncertainty principle objection to the quest for
the historical Jesus also aply to your study of the "early church's
faith witness to the Jesus they knew"?  

Stan Anderson
The Claremont Graduate School
Institute for Antiquity and Christianity


From: Carl W Conrad <cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu>
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 1995 04:44:16 -0600 (GMT-0600)
Subject: Re: Reflections: Synoptic Question/Quest for Historical Jesus

On Wed, 8 Mar 1995, Philip L. Graber wrote:
> On Wed, 8 Mar 1995, Carl W Conrad wrote:
> > How then can one [who] confesses and professes
> > that faith fail to be passionately interested in all that
> > can be known about Jesus?
> Carl,
> I share your reaction to those who seem to react negatively to the
> historical quest out of fear for what results might be produced and the
> resulting damage to one's faith.  However, I (not speaking for anyone
> else) find myself strangely unaffected by the question reproduced above. 
> Perhaps it is my failing as a student of biblical theology. Or perhaps I
> have been too much convinced by the skeptics regarding the possibility of
> historical knowledge. Or perhaps I have too much of Karl Barth and Hans
> Frei in my theological heritage. I fear nothing from the results of
> historical research (my response to the rhetoric of historical researchers
> is another matter), but I cannot bring myself to be excited about the
> quest for the historical Jesus, in spite of the fact that the doctrine of
> the incarnation has always been an exciting and intriguing one to me. If 
> this is a malady for which I need theological therapy, I can tell you 
> that at least my malady is not a phobia.
Phil, your response certainly does expose the naivete of my quoted 
statement. I should and do acknowledge that there are untold numbers of 
believing Christians who are NOT passionately interested in all that can 
be known/discovered about Jesus--and I certainly am not so much disturbed 
by that fact as I am by those believing Christians who (to shift the 
position of the adverb in the interests of clarity, I hope) are 
PASSIONATELY not interested in all that can be known/discovered about 
Jesus. I can do without the rhetoric on both sides of the issue; I'm 
actually protesting against some of it, but I fear that I have simply 
contributed to the rhetorical cross-fire, and that in the wrong forum for 
such an exchange. 

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


From: John Calvin Hall <johnhall@gulf.net>
Date: Thu, 09 Mar 1995 06:27:17 -0400
Subject: re: UBS3 is Poison

>I could at best
>regurgitate the arguments that have been exchanged by those on both sides who
>are infinitely more qualified, and I doubt that either you or I have anything
>novel to add to the discussion beyond our passions for one side or the other!

That sounds like a good idea. I have to admit that I have not been following
this thread completely. 

>  (By the way, I recall the Textus Receptus has a bit of a sordid history
>itself in connection with Erasmus, the antogonist of Luther). 

Yes, I remember listening to the "contorted" views of the TR and her
history, in the manner that was explained by those who were proponents of
the Ecclectic Text. I don't deny that Erasmus was as fallable as the rest of
us, but the Traditional Text did not originate with him. The Traditional
Text is the whole corporate body of the Byzantine Manuscripts, untainted by
Codices Aleph and B.

I hold to a very simple dogma when dealing with God's Word - - He promised
to preserve it for _all_ generations. Therefore, we have the very word of
God, either in the Traditional Text, or in the Ecclectic Text (to say that
God preserved His thoughts and not his words, would call the Bible and our
Lord, a liar, and I am not about to do that). 

When looking at the two side-by-side, it is very clear which is superior:
The Traditional Text, foundin the TR.

>One other detail to note is that UBS3 isn't identical to W-H, but is an
>improvement upon it.

Absolutely. But it is still retaining many of the Arianistic heresies
embedded in Aleph and B. [illustration: a BLT sandwich might have the best
tomatoes, and bacon, but it's still poison if the mayo is rancid! ::grin::].
The UBS3 is poison.



From: David John Marotta <djm5g@virginia.edu>
Date: 09 Mar 95 08:33:49 EST
Subject: How to Leave

Here is a reminder of how to unsubscribe from the B-GREEK list.
Please keep this reminder handy, and do *not* send an unsubscribe
message to the *entire* list!

To unsubscribe, send an e-mail message to


 with the following request as the TEXT (not subject) of the message:


 or if you are reading the digested version of B-GREEK send:


 For further information, send the following to the same address:


   As a last resort, contact me at djm5g@virginia.edu

  Thank you.

David John Marotta, Medical Center Computing, Stacey Hall
Univ of Virginia (804) 982-3718 wrk INTERNET: djm5g@virginia.edu
Box 512 Med Cntr (804) 924-5261 msg  PRODIGY: KCMR45A
C'ville VA 22908 (804) 296-7209 fax   IBM US: usuvarg8
*** Forwarding note from SMTP    --DMT03    03/08/95 18:23 ***
Received: from virginia.edu by DMT03.mcc.Virginia.EDU (IBM VM SMTP V2R2)
   with TCP; Wed, 08 Mar 95 18:23:16 EST
Received: from mail06.mail.aol.com by uvaarpa.virginia.edu id aa08431;
          8 Mar 95 18:23 EST
Received: by mail06.mail.aol.com
	( id AA042924980; Wed, 8 Mar 1995 18:23:00 -0500
Date: Wed, 8 Mar 1995 18:23:00 -0500
From: DDDJ@aol.com
Message-Id: <950308182258_43492074@aol.com>
To: owner-bible-digest@virginia.edu
Cc: Jh50@aol.com
Subject: How to Leave

Addreess: Majordomo@virginia.edu
Message :  unsubscribe

That should do it. In some lists you must write your "name" after
unsubscribe, but not here I think.
Keep your Faq's!
I decided to post this to everyone to remind everyone


From: Tim McLay <nstn1533@fox.nstn.ca>
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 95 10:46:55 -0400
Subject: Q: reality ...Let the Discussion go on 

To an otherwise interesting discussion of faith, critical methods, 
presuppositions, Q, etc., someone has posted a very negative note in 
a very critical spirit.  May I suggest that the discussion proceed 
without allowing itself to become sidetracked or discontinued by someone 
who, at least at this point in his life, is unwilling to dialogue 
Tim McLay

 Tim McLay              
 Halifax, NS                        


From: John Baima <jbaima@onramp.net>
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 1995 08:58:48 -0600
Subject: re: UBS3 is Poison

>When looking at the two side-by-side, it is very clear which is superior:
>The Traditional Text, foundin the TR.

I usually don't get involved in these religious debates, but I can't help
myself. I was just wondering if you knew, Mr Hall, that the TR is closer to
UBS3 than the Byzantine text type in the book of Revelation. Does that
matter to you?

I'd also be interested in your opinion on the major gaff at the end of the
book of Rev?

Just my 2 cents . . .

- -John Baima


From: Timothy Bratton <bratton@acc.jc.edu>
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 1995 09:12:48 -36000
Subject: Historical Jesus

Dr. Timothy L. Bratton			bratton@acc.jc.edu
Department of History/Pol. Science	work: 1-701-252-3467, ext. 2022 
6006 Jamestown College			home: 1-701-252-8895
Jamestown, ND 58405		        home phone/fax: 1-701-252-7507

	I find the allegations that not enough "historical" material has
survived to write about Jesus incredible when E.P. Sanders wrote a 337
page _The Historical Figure of Jesus_ (N.Y., N.Y.: Penguin, 1993) so
recently.  Since I am a relatively new member on this board, were there
extensive on-line discussions and reviews of this work?  And if not,
perhaps this is the time to do it!  I have the book myself, but have not
had the leisure to read it yet; I believe that Leroy Huizenga has a copy and
may have started to study it.  Any contributors? 
	As an historian, I feel very uneasy with the argument that we are
to accept Jesus solely on the grounds of faith.  For example, a Moslem
might approach me claiming that I should accept the _Qu'ran_ as the
revealed word of Allah, with Muhammed as His Prophet.  C.S. Lewis, in
_Mere Christianity_, reminds us that rationalism is needed to judge
between the claims of rival religions; for example, Islam soon appears
inferior to Christianity because Islam's claims to be a religion of love
is incompatible with the _jihad_, and it imposes a tremendous barrier
between God and mankind, whereas in Christianity "God so loved the world
that he sent his only begotten Son" to save us.  It is AFTER we have
decided which religion is most likely to be "true" that we accept its
remaining tenets on FAITH, and gain additional insights through REVELATION
in Scripture.  There seems to be something curiously bloodless in talking
about religions in which Zoroaster, Buddha, Moses, Muhammed, and Jesus
appear as abstractions, not people.  Indeed, isn't there a name for when
Christians regard Jesus as pure divinity while ignoring His human
attributes? -- the Monophysite heresy? 


From: "Larry W. Hurtado" <hurtado@cc.umanitoba.ca>
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 1995 09:25:43 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Q: reality or fantasy

Mr. John Calvin Hall:
I respectfully say, sir, that you are misguided at virtually all crucial 
points in your posting.  The historical investigation of the Bible, 
attempting to understand it in light of its historical setting, language 
and circumstances of writing, and taking account of the historical 
processes by which it came to be--all that became embryonically with your 
name sake, John Calvin, and others, Protestant and Catholic, influenced 
by the Renaissance aim of historical knowledge.
	There are those who pursue/use historical criticism for polemical 
purposes, including the attempt to discredit the Bible and all it 
teaches, or, more frequently, to discredit some portion of the Bible in 
favor of others, etc.  But the attempt to understand the historical 
processes by which the first Christians attempted to be "servants of the 
word" (Lk 1:2) is by no means necessarily restricted to hostile critics 
of the Bible.  Indeed, logically speaking, one could suggest that the 
higher the attitude toward the importance of the Bible, the more 
imperative it is to pursue diligently the historical investigation of the 
Bible, how it came to be, how it has been interpreted, etc.
	So, please holster your guns and stop firing at every sudden 
sound.  Learn some things about what it is you think you must hate.  
There is always time for hate, but, please, only after you have paid your 
dues in respectful attempts to understand what you find strange.

Larry Hurtado, Religion, Univ. of Manitoba 


From: "Larry W. Hurtado" <hurtado@cc.umanitoba.ca>
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 1995 09:28:26 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Clarification on cynics, etc.

On Wed, 8 Mar 1995 JOHNSOST@cgs.edu wrote:

> (most recently Larry Hurtado's claim that Claremont and Harvard folks are the
> only ones who take Walter Bauer's _Orthodoxy and Heresy_ seriously anymore.
> Larry, I've been wondering -- where the heck did that one come from?  Bizarre!
> Surely you've read Bart Ehrman's _The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture_.  Or,
> is Bart an isolated phenomenon? (I don't think so -- n.b. to B. E.: I agree
> with your respondents at SBL.  What a study!!!))
>         So, let's press on with the thread and discuss the issue.  Here's a
> great excuse for all of us to run to the library and get our copies of Diogenes
> or the Cynic epistles or others, do some non-biblical Greek reading, and maybe
> debate how extensive greek popular philosophy has had an impact on Judaism and
> Jesus (sorry, adverb above) in the first century.
> Steve Johnson
> (Guess where!)


From: "Larry W. Hurtado" <hurtado@cc.umanitoba.ca>
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 1995 09:37:02 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Clarification on cynics, etc.

On Wed, 8 Mar 1995 JOHNSOST@cgs.edu wrote:

>         I suppose I'm sounding a little testy on this point.  But this is
> partly do to the fact that such labels (and I am sure that Gregory did not
> intend this) make it easier to dismiss a discussion as relevant only to a few
> individuals; partly due to the fact that it then labels Claremont grads and
> students as holding to a particular point of view, when in fact, in this case,
> most do not (though I personally will back up Mack on a number of points
> concerning Q and hellenistic popular philosophy); and partly because I've seen
> some pretty irrational Claremont and Harvard bashing lately that ticked me off
> (most recently Larry Hurtado's claim that Claremont and Harvard folks are the
> only ones who take Walter Bauer's _Orthodoxy and Heresy_ seriously anymore.
> Larry, I've been wondering -- where the heck did that one come from?  Bizarre!
> Surely you've read Bart Ehrman's _The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture_.  Or,
> is Bart an isolated phenomenon? (I don't think so -- n.b. to B. E.: I agree

Uh, Steve, please quote where I stated what you attribute to me above.  I 
DO remember stating that folks at Claremont and Harvard esp. seem unaware 
of the damaging criticisms that have been laid against Bauer's work, 
criticisms that make it a dubious macro model for understanding earliest 
Christianity.  Bart's book is on my desk for reading presently, so I 
can't comment yet on how any indebtedness to Bauer might have affected 
his conclusions.  From reviews by people competent in the subject (and 
among the SBL respondents only Gamble could be thus described), the 
strength of the book appears to lie more in exposing to a wider circle of 
NT scholars (who otherwise know little of text criticism) something 
commonly known among the text-critical guild for some time--that there 
are clearly some variants resulting from doctrinal concerns of scribes.  
This hardly, however, requires or supports Bauer's rather more sweeping 
claims about the chronological relationships of "heresy" and "orthodoxy" 
in early Christianity.
	Getting "testy" is unavoidable now & then.  But please don't 
exaggerate or distort what I or others say in order to try to score 
points.  Bless ya!

Larry Hurtado, Religion, Univ. of Manitoba 


From: Gregory Bloomquist <GBLOOMQUIST@spu.stpaul.uottawa.ca>
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 1995 11:41:40 EDT
Subject: Re: Mack on Q1 and Cynics

Ken Litwak asks some foundational questions.  They are as follows:
> If the
> Q hypothesis is correct, as opposed to my own view (the Synoptics are
> based primarily on the common preaching of the Jersusalem Church), how
> does this hypothesis help me in understanding the text as it stands
> (which is hard enough, never mind any theoretical antecedents)? 
> I'm absolutely serioius.  The articles that I have read that talk about
> Q seem to argue that some saying had some form in Q as opposed to 
> MT/Lk.  The authors seem to imply that MT/Lk have thus engaged in 
> highly creative activity and invented their version of the story.
> That doesn't help me understand the text much as it is.  How does Q
> inform my exegesis of Mt/Lk?  Thanks.

Foundational questions are never easy to answer.  On this morning's 
CBC program Morningside, the presenter was interviewing Dr. Melissa 
Franklin (my apologies if I have misspelled the name) who, with her 
team at Harvard, where she teaches (though she is Canadian!), has 
just recently discovered the "top quark".  Incredible, I thought: a 
few years ago, few of us (well, maybe quite a few!) had even heard of 
the sub-atomic particle called the "quark", much less the 6 
hypothetical levels that made up the quark.  They were, in fact, 
hypothetical.  Because, as Dr. Franklin went on to note in her 
discussion, the only reason for looking for any of them, including 
the top quark (as well as "charm" and "strange", etc.) was because 
the model required it.  Now, thanks to Franklin and her team, there is 
empirical evidence of the existence of the "top quark", even though 
the Harvard team had to create it, since it doesn't exist naturally --
 being one of those big bang pieces that probably exists on the edge 
of the universe, rather than in my chair!

We appear to have no difficulty with thinking of the hypothesis as a 
tool when it comes to science, but we seem to have GREAT difficulty 
of thinking of the hypothesis as a tool when it comes to matters 
dealing with humanity and God.  Yet, why does this modern dichotomy 
exist that allows us to posit one approach to the natural world and 
another for everything else? 

Likewise, we don't find too much difficulty in positing, on the basis 
of hypotheses, that the end result of finding the "top quark" or of 
finding out that the mass that is missing in the universe is that of 
the neutrino, etc. have some value.  The hypothesis is clearly 
something that, within the community of scholars, we build on.  It is 
not something that stands on its own.  It may not have direct 
relevance but it shapes our whole way we approach the world and the 
consequent ethos. 

Likewise with form critical studies of the Gospels, and the resulting 
tools, such as the Q hypothesis.  In the theological context within 
which I work, I do not find it difficult at all to relate the Q 
hypothesis, and form critical hypotheses in general, to what my 
colleagues and fellow students are doing.  I say to my students, for 
example, that what we see going on in the Gospel traditions is what 
we see going on in our own faith lives as we reflect on our encounter 
with God -- which, in the Christian tradition, happens in Jesus.  

They are quick to catch on: they begin to compare what is being 
suggested for Q to their own growth in faith, from Sunday school 
phraseology to more reasoned and sophisticated approaches -- not that 
the latter are right, but they are a definite move away from 
something to something else.  They see that the theological task is 
not new to us in our age but something that the earliest followers of 
Jesus --  and possibly Jesus himself! -- engaged in.  They are then 
both more confident to grow in their own spiritual and 
theological lives - - feeling that they are not leaving behind 
something essential but growing with a confidence that moving forward 
is helpful not bad -- and to understand the Scriptures from the angle 
of growth -- rather than just the static framework within which pre-
critical method held them.

So, yes, Ken, this does suggest "highly creative activity", something 
that as Christians I think that the earliest followers did a lot of 
and something that I think we have not done enough of!  We have before 
us a vast multitude of people in N. America who hold as their gospel 
the gospel of science and scientific understanding and scientific 
solutions and a tremendous paucity of imagination.  If, however, we 
can use science and the scientific method  to give people an 
imagination and to move them to the kind of creative thinking that 
will suggest new ways of looking at God and the experience of faith, 
something that I have no doubt the earliest Gospel tradents did, then 
I feel that we must seize this opportunity with all of our might 
rather than run from it as a threat.  In this, of course, I am an 

So, if the model dictates that there must be 3 layers, then let's 
look for them, and feast on the marvelous creativity that may result. 
If, at the end of our search, we find that there is no way we can 
come up with one of the layers, then we modify our search and our 
conclusions.  This is not being tossed around by every wind of false 
teaching; this is realising that the final authoritative decision of 
what is true and is not true is not in our hands but in the hands of 
One who is clearly more wise in every way than we are.  Together, 
however, we work as a community of scholars, building on each other's 
contribution to the whole, sailing in a marvelous "Americas Cup" 
that fills the universe.

Faculty of Theology   | Faculte de Theologie
Saint Paul University | Universite Saint-Paul
(University of Ottawa | Universite d'Ottawa)
223 Main, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 1C4 CANADA

Voice:    613-236-1393 (messages) / 613-782-3027 (direct)
Fax:      613-236-4108


End of b-greek-digest V1 #603


To unsubscribe from this list write


with "unsubscribe b-greek-digest" as your message content.  For other
automated services write to the above address with the message content

For further information, you can write the owner of the list at


You can send mail to the entire list via the address: