Re: here's what's wrong with Q

From: Larry Swain (
Date: Sat Oct 14 1995 - 14:37:52 EDT

On Sat, 14 Oct 1995, Nichael Cramer wrote:

> The only criterion by which a hypothesis is judged --indeed the only
> criterion by which a hypothesis *can* be judged-- is how well it explains
> the available data. What other, meaningful criterion can there possibly
> be?
> Once again, the question is: Does or does not the hypothesis (the 2DH)
> explain the data (the details of the text of the Synoptic Gospels) better
> than its competitors?

Actually this is 2 criteria. A) Does the hypothesis (any hypothesis)
explain the available data B) Does that explanation accurately take into
account "external factors", which in this case would be such things as
common composition techniques in the ancient world, citation and
reference tools, and so on C) Does another theory explain the phenomena
as well as this one does.

It seems to me that too much of the discussion of the 2SH resides in the
last point: it must be true because Farmer-Griesbach has holes. SO
because F-G is inadequate, 2SH must be the case. Nor have a lot of the
problems with the 2SH been brought to the fore in this discussion, other
than the fact that we don't have any certain knowledge of an actual Q
document in physical form, not as trivial as some would have it, and not
nearly so important as others would like.

As Ed Hobbs pointed out, there are compelling reasons to reevaluate the
2SH, that is the nature of every theory, they should be reevaluated. We
would be doing the guild and students a grave disservice if we didn't.
Think people, don't galvanize yourselves into camps that can't see
another point of view. There are problems with any hypothesis,and even
though the 2SH has great explanatory power it does not follow that it is
therefore historically accurate.

> 2] Again, perhaps it would be useful to explain why it "fails the test".
> So far, the only of argument presented has been amounts "we don't have a
> copy of Q", which as we've seen is of --at most-- margin relevance. The
> important question is how well does the 2DH explain the text? On that
> topic there has been precious little discussion.

True enough. This isn't the place to do it, but the 2SH failure to my
mind rests in 4 areas: Marcan priority, dependance on Mark, lack of hard
proof that the external evidence is utterly and completely wrong, and
finally that we have a Q, but different editions explaining the
differences between Matthew and Luke's use of it. But these areas have
been covered in print elsewhere.

Larry Swain
Parmly Billings Library

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