Re: _The Formation of Q_

From: Stephen C. Carlson (
Date: Fri Aug 23 1996 - 21:35:25 EDT

At 01:30 8/23/96 -0500, Greg Carey wrote [reformatted]:
>Does anyone else find the formation of Q hypothesis (not so much
>Kloppenborrg's version as Mack's) as odd as I do? It's not that
>I would deny the document's existence, or even its development
>over time, but the hypothesis relies upon several assumptions.
>1) We know what Q is. This assumption neglects the possibility
>that there could be more to Q than we can reconstruct.

It relies on three key assumptions: (1) Q exists, (2) Q's order is
preserved in Luke, (3) Q's extent is limited to what is found in
Matthew or Luke. Some of these assumptions are more reasonable
than others.

>2) Layers of Q may be discerned through careful comparative work.

This is the strongest part of Kloppenborg's work and carefully argued,
but it relies on those three key assumptions, so its results are
necessaily more tentative than the existence of Q itself.

>3) Each reconstructed layer accurately reflects the defining
>characteristics (beliefs, behaviors, etc.) of particular communities.
>Does ANY document do that?
>4) We can trace the histories of these layers over time and place.
>Well, we can apply known analogies, but that's about all we can do.

This is where Kloppenborg and Mack part company. Kloppenborg explicitly
states (pp.244-5):

    To say that the wisdom components were formative for Q and that
    the prophetic judgment oracles and apophthegms describing Jesus'
    conflict with "this generation" are secondary is *not* to imply
    anything about the ultimate tradition-historical provenance of
    any of the sayings. It is indeed possible, indeed probable, that
    some of the materials from the secondary compositional phase are
    domenical or at least very old, and that some of the formative
    elements are, from the standpoint of authenticity or tradition-
    history, relatively young. Tradition-history is not convertible
    with *literary history*, and it is the latter we are treating
(FORMATION 244-45, emphases in original)

Mack seems to have ignored Kloppenborg's careful caveats and assumed
that what was secondary in the composition of Q was also secondary

>Let's face it. This is poor historiography. If an American historian
>were to work on a Supreme Court case with this sort of method and
>comparable external data, the results would stun us.

I've read quite a few Supreme Court cases and I'm willing to bet that
many of the opinions have a complex literary history, starting with
the winning laywer's brief that is converted into the law clerk's
first draft which was edited and reworked by the justice and modified
after comments.

Stephen Carlson

Stephen C. Carlson                   : Poetry speaks of aspirations,              : and songs chant the words. :               -- Shujing 2.35

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