From: Stephen Carlson (
Date: Fri Oct 13 1995 - 16:08:43 EDT wrote:
>As a "Q-agnostic", let me note the following:
>1.) Synopses (even those as excellent as Aland's) are not without their biases.
> For instance, if the person organizing the synopsis is convinced of Markan
>priority, they will organize their synopsis according to that conviction. This
>automatically lessens some of the phenomena that weigh for Matthean priority
>(e.g. Luke's "scattering" of Matthean material.)
>Thus the two-gospels group of the SBL encourages those who are interested in
>weighing the two-gospel hypothesis to provisionally make their own synopses.

Many teachers stress the importance of making one's own synopsis. That
effort in itself is invaluable. Stein recommends it at the beginning of
his book, THE SYNOPTIC PROBLEM: An Introduction, a must-read.

I do know that there are least two ways to place the Sermon on the Mount
in the Marcan order (after 1:20 or 1:39). Sometimes a writer may over-
simplify an example by not matching up certain verses. For example, in
Stein's argument that Luke did not know Matthew, he discusses several
Matthean additions to the triple tradition. But in one of his examples
(pp93-94), it looks just as possible (to my eyes) that Mark clumsily
omitted the quote from Is6:9-10, leaving the final bit. The comparison
is more striking in the Greek (compare MHPOTH EPISTREYWSIN KAI AFEQH AUTOIS
Mk4:12c with MHPOTH ... EPISTREYWSIN KAI IASOMAI AUTOUS Mt13:15c) than in
the RSV Stein used for the book (Mk's "turn again" and Mt's "turn for
me" both translate the identical EPISTREYWSIN).

>2.) William Farmer has just published an *excellent* summary of the two-gospel
>hypothesis. This book (*The Gospel of Jesus*) is aimed at the popular market
>(a broadside at the Jesus Seminar, to be sure.) But it is filled with reams of
>valuable research, both historical and textual. There are things published
>here that are simply not widely available anywhere else (e.g., an overview of
>Augustine's views on the composition of the gospels, an overview of the
>politics of German scholarship at the time of Bismark, etc.)

I was more than a little disappointed with Farmer's book, because he chose
to deal more with the ramifications of the two theories on theology than
the factual details. Christianity should have nothing to fear from the

>3.) This is especially important, so pardon me if I shout:
>Holtzmann (see Dr. Hobb's article in Perkins Journal), Austin Farrer, and
>others down to Michael Goulder and E. P. Sanders today believe that Luke used
>Mark and Matthew as his primary sources rather than Mark and Q. This has two
>advantages over the two-source hypothesis. First, we don't have to make large
>scale appeals to non-existent hypothetical documents. Second, it sufficiently
>explains the minor agreements between Mt. and Lk. against Mark.

I'm unaware of this view of Holtzmann particularly considering his key
role in the Two-Source Hypothesis with his Alpha (Ur-Markus) and Lambda
(for LOGIA, i.e., Q). I hope you mean "non-existent" as in "nonextant"
rather than "never existed." An argument has been made that the minor
agreements are just as much as a problem for Goulder, because they are
both too little (hence Goulder's Marcan Block policy for Luke) and too
much. It's not completely persuasive, but in general Goulder's explanation
for Luke's redaction procedure has been rejected as "too fantastic."

Stephen Carlson

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