Excavating Q: The History and Setting of the Sayings Gospel

Excavating Q: The History and Setting of the Sayings Gospel

Excavating Q: The History and Setting of the Sayings Gospel

Excavating Q: The History and Setting of the Sayings Gospel

Synopsis

In this tour de force, the author offers a comprehensive introduction to the study of Q, the collection of Jesus' sayings long hypothesized as the source for the canonical gospels of Matthew and Luke. Part I deals with the methods for studying Q, their presuppositions, and a survey of current research. Part II addresses more theological and theoretical issues relevant to the Synoptic Problem, Q as a document, its redaction, and its social setting.

Excerpt

This book explores two sets of issues crucial to the study of early Christianity: first, the basic methodological issues bearing on the identification and reconstruction of one of the earliest documents of the Jesus movement; and second, how so seemingly abstract and hypothetical a project has belonged and continues to belong to the history of discourse on early Christianity and what importance it has in that discourse. in short, it is a book on how one talks about Q, and why it matters.

The motivations for this book are several. First, I have been thinking and writing about Q for two decades and have watched it transformed from a documentary source of rather limited interest into a major point of debate in matters of the delineation of the early Jesus movement and in the quest of the historical Jesus. With much work already accomplished, this seems a good juncture at which to review and evaluate what has been done. Second, for the last several years I have also conducted a doctoral seminar on the Synoptic Problem, inviting students to examine seriously, sympathetically, and critically a variety of solutions to the Synoptic Problem—not only the Two Document hypothesis (2DH), but the Two Gospel (Griesbach) hypothesis (2GH), the complex hypotheses of Vaganay, Boismard, and Rolland, the solution of the so-called Jerusalem school, and the Farrer-Goulder hypothesis. Part of my concern has been to ensure that graduate students appreciate both the strengths and weaknesses of various Synoptic solutions, and that they understand the difference between well and poorly constructed hypotheses.

Finally, it is intellectually important for me to live with the consequences of well-constructed hypotheses: the 2DH is one of them. During twenty years of listening to colleagues and students, I have heard a variety of strategies for avoiding those consequences: some declare that the relationship among the Gospels is a "completely open" question, as if two centuries of serious thinking about their origins count for nothing. Others admit to . . .

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