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dantxny
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Q
« on: January 23, 2006, 08:46:04 PM »

As of late several people have been pushing the Q theory realting to the Gospels.  I've always been suspicious of this theory, but never have any arguments against it.  Does the Church have any writings or theologins that have a defence against it?  That said, on the other side, what advantage would "Q" pose us, for those on the opposite side?  I can see how it would be advantageous to Protestants who have no tradition, but not Orthodox or even Catholics (who I've often met many proponents for this that are Romans).
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« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2006, 03:11:57 PM »

Isn't Q that race of "super beings" from Star Trek The Next Generation?  Huh
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« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2006, 03:40:41 PM »

Isn't Q that race of "super beings" from Star Trek The Next Generation?ÂÂ  Huh

That's exactly what I was thinking...LOL.
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dantxny
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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2006, 03:47:32 PM »

Isn't Q that race of "super beings" from Star Trek The Next Generation?  Huh
Yes . . . . and to show my geekiness, he's actually a very good character . .. .  Cool  (It's also the name of each member in a race)
He's also the brains behind James Bond, well was, now there's R.

However, from reliable old Wikipedia,

In biblical criticism, Q is an abbreviation used by scholars of the New Testament to describe the Q document, a hypothetical lost written "source" (German, Quelle, hence, Q) behind the Synoptic Gospels. 
Its a theory that I've seen pushed around a lot recently and was wondering what a response is.
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« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2006, 05:51:42 PM »

I'm quite familiar with the idea, as it comes up a lot in my theological debates. Whether Q existed or not is still very much an opinion, but the idea can be used to your advantage if the person you are speaking with believes in it. For example, Q must have been pretty Orthodox for multiple, distinct gospels to be derived from it, all of which are also completely Orthodox.

Personally, though, I don't believe in it. There is simply no patrisitc mention of it, no copies, etc. As the quote from Wikipedia said, it's all theoretical.
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« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2006, 07:01:07 PM »

As of late several people have been pushing the Q theory realting to the Gospels.ÂÂ  I've always been suspicious of this theory, but never have any arguments against it.ÂÂ  Does the Church have any writings or theologins that have a defence against it?ÂÂ  That said, on the other side, what advantage would "Q" pose us, for those on the opposite side?ÂÂ  I can see how it would be advantageous to Protestants who have no tradition, but not Orthodox or even Catholics (who I've often met many proponents for this that are Romans).

I'm certainly no expert, but as discussed above "Q" to my knowledge is a hypothetical written "source" for the Synoptic Gospels.  ÃƒÆ’‚  
Arguments against it:

1. it's a hypothesis and there's no proof it existed.  To my knowledge, the theory comes up because people have looked into the "style" of the Gospels and have come up with commonalities, differences in content and style and hypothesized that there might be a common source.  They will never be able to prove it, unless a major archaelogical find comes up.  ÃƒÆ’‚ My opinion: the theories of Q make assumptions based on theories of writing and "hearsay" applicable to modern people, but not necessarily applicable to 1st century AD Palestinians and Greeks.  ÃƒÆ’‚Â

2. It seems to me that they make too much the "written" souces and ignore the idea of oral transmission.
  • how did an indiividual scholar make his hypothesis?  ÃƒÆ’‚ Some may have done so in good faith and on solid academic grounds.  Others make weak hypothesis, which clearly have an agenda, and go  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚ one to push it as their career.  The scholarly soundess of any Bible hypothesis has to be closely examined.  ÃƒÆ’‚Â
  • many key points of the content of the Gospels is reflected in the other books of the New Testament
  • even the hypothesized earliest book of the New Testment (James) has sections which to me clearly show that a LOT was going on in the early Church that wasn't written down explicitly (i.e. the last chapter, which makes passing the sacraments of healing and confession, with the underlying assumption that the audience knows what it is and has done it; he's exhorting them to partake of the sacrament frequently).  ÃƒÆ’‚  

In the end, we just don't know enough about the writing of the Gospels to make any judgments on how they were derived [my completely unscholarly opinion: St. Luke's Gospel, especially the first two chapters, comes from a direct source that Luke interviewed.ÂÂ  Hint: he painted a few pictures of her.ÂÂ  SmileyÂÂ  ]


As far as who it benefits: the only people much of this kind of work has benefited are those who wish to change Christianity, be they "liberal" mainline Protestants or "liberal" Catholics.  ÃƒÆ’‚ Biblical inerrancy-type evangelicals generally have nothing to do with this scholarship.  ÃƒÆ’‚  Rome (as opposed to some ostensibly Catholic scholars) has encouraged academic study, hoping for new insights, while cautioning that the books are divinely inspired and that any conclusions must be consistent with the Faith.  To my knowledge it has not approved of any theories that have come out of this movement.  ÃƒÆ’‚Â
« Last Edit: January 24, 2006, 07:04:08 PM by MarkosC » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2006, 07:54:54 PM »

To my knowledge, the theory comes up because people have looked into the "style" of the Gospels and have come up with commonalities, differences in content and style and hypothesized that there might be a common source.

Common source? Yes, it's called history...
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« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2006, 12:47:44 PM »

There are ultra-liberals who claim that Q is just like the Gospel of Thomas, meaning it is just a a "sayings" Gospel that contains no indication of the divine nature of Jesus. 

I think there are perfectly legit ways of looking at the potential for a "Q" source.  When you look at a chart of the verses of the synoptic Gospels there does appear to be a pretty clear-cut pattern of material that is common to all (the Mark tradition), material common to Matthew/Luke only (Q), and material unique to Matthew and Luke.  I don't think it is unreasonable to conclude there might have been an oral tradition about Jesus that was "Q" that Matthew and Luke decided to use in their Gospels that Mark did not use, for some reason.   
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« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2006, 02:19:41 PM »

Many people think that Jesus + Tradition/Reflection = "The Christ of Faith." So peel away the Tradition and you get "The Jesus of History." Problem is, the Gospels already reflect theological reflection on who Christ is: i.e. the Crucifixion (Christ suffering on the Cross shows who God is).  So really it's like (Christ + Reflection) + Tradition/Reflection = What we know about Jesus and you can't ever find "The Jesus of History" because even the first sources are already theological reflections! If you peel away the layers, you end up with nothing.

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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2006, 03:32:51 PM »

All good points, Anastasios.  I think it's perfectly reasonable to think that there might have been a collection of sayings of Jesus that was passed around before any of the four Gospels were composed.  No, there's no proof, but the fact that the synoptics contain so much similar material at least makes it possible.  Fact? I don't know.  But it makes some sense.
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« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2006, 03:35:19 PM »

All good points, Anastasios.  I think it's perfectly reasonable to think that there might have been a collection of sayings of Jesus that was passed around before any of the four Gospels were composed.  No, there's no proof, but the fact that the synoptics contain so much similar material at least makes it possible.  Fact? I don't know.  But it makes some sense.

I think the resemblane is due to the facts that they were recording history, and were inspired.
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« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2006, 03:37:35 PM »

I think the resemblane is due to the facts that they were recording history, and were inspired.

I don't think they were recording history though.  They were recording their theological reflections on what happened. This is not to say it a) didn't happen or b) that they were making stuff up, but rather that it was being presented already in the light of the Cross and as a reflection, not as a mere set of details to be recorded and tabulated.  The similarities in the accounts is because they shared a common source tradition and mind; the differences are accounted to the different points the authors are trying to make.

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« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2006, 03:39:26 PM »

I don't think they were recording history though.  They were recording their theological reflections on what happened. This is not to say it a) didn't happen or b) that they were making stuff up, but rather that it was being presented already in the light of the Cross and as a reflection, not as a mere set of details to be recorded and tabulated.

I'm not too sure what you just said, but ok  Wink
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« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2006, 04:06:07 PM »

I'm not too sure what you just said, but ok  Wink

It was really hard for me to understand in class, too. I'm not sure I have it down completely yet myself.  Basically, you could assume that the Apostles were like journalists, trying to record details in a straightforward manner.  But then you run into discrepancies like two separate temple cleansings.  Some fundamentalists try to assert there were two temple cleansings, but that seems a stretch.  At any rate, this view is often referred to as the "if I had a video camera" view of history.

But what we are talking about is retrospective history.  When the Apostles were with Christ for three years, most of them did not "get" that he was God.  They just kept getting confused over and over again.  Now, after the Cross, they saw who Christ was and then retrospectively--ie. projected back--put that view on the past.  Let me give you an example.

Say tomorrow I leave the Orthdox Church and become a Muslim, and then die on the streets of Baghdad figting the American occupation.  People will thus remember Orthodoxy as a spec on my radar; a temporary "outlier."  But if I go to Saudi Arabia and die a martyr, then people will tend to view everything leading up to this event as "preparation" for my mission and my conversion to Orthodoxy not a blip but the last key in the equation.

So my point is that the Apostles in writing the Gospels were not writing blow by blow journalistic accounts of what happened and letting the reader cull meaning from their literal accounts, but they are reflecting back on events that happened years before in the light of the  Passion--which is when most of them finally figured out who Christ really was.  They deliberately were already theologizing so that we would be presented with an interpretation (the Orthodox one) of the events.  No room for guessing Smiley

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« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2006, 04:07:46 PM »

Hence, Q is irrelevant. If it existed, it was rejected because a sayings collection that did not feature a passion narrative was pointless for the Apostles's project of Gospel.

Anastasios
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« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2006, 01:13:31 PM »

All good points, Anastasios.  I believe one of the major problems for a certain strain of Evangelical biblical exegesis is a tendency to view the Gospels as much as history textbooks as inspired theological writings.  The Gospel accounts are not modern, formal biographical texts -- they are aids to salvation.  The apostles, and/or those closely associated with them, were writing down accounts of things they now "got," under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  And they were writing them down because years had passed without the expected return of Christ to earth and there was a great need to explain things for those who had not been there.  They were not writing several editions of The Authorized Biography of Jesus of Nazareth.

Sidebar:  A, you mentioned the Passion narratives in your last post.  I have heard they were probably the first parts of the Gospels to be written down.  Did they teach that in seminary?
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« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2006, 02:14:57 PM »

Biblical studies was not my area of expertise, but I believe so. At least I know the Gospel of Mark was as its entire structure leads up to the Passion narrative at the end of it.

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« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2006, 05:07:47 PM »

One thing I don't understand about Q, why does it have to be  a lost book.  Perhaps it was an oral tradition that didn't get written down, that both Luke and Matthew drew from as well as from Mark and their own sources.
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