Over the last couple decades a number of scholars have proposed that a collection of Jesus' sayings, commonly thought to have been used by the authors of Matthew and Luke and usually referred to today as Q, represents a very early type of first-century followers of Jesus (often placed in Galilee), who held a view of him very different from those more familiar in the New Testament writings. The textual basis for this claim is the widely accepted view of what Q did and did not contain.1 It is commonly agreed upon that Q was mainly a sayings collection (comprising some 225 to 250 or so verses, or a Greek text of about 3,500 to over 4,000 words).2 Scholars also agree, in particular, that Q contained no narrative of Jesus' crucifixion, no saying where Jesus directly predicts his death, and no explicit references to Jesus' death as an atoning event or to his resurrection.3
1. The great majority of New Testament scholars accept the hypothesis that a sayings col-
lection used by the authors of Matthew and Luke best accounts for the large body of sayings
material shared by these two Evangelists. I intend no disrespect for those who dissent from this
position, but I cannot engage here their objections and alternative views.
2. In his valuable tool, Q Parallels: Synopsis, Critical Notes, and Concordance, FFNT
(Sonoma, Calif: Polebridge Press, 1988), 209, John S. Kloppenborg gives the following statistics
on Q material: 4,464 Matthean Q words; 4,652 Lukan Q words, with 2,400 verbatim agreements.
The proposed reconstruction of the Greek text of Q from the International Q Project amounts
to 3,519 words (with "a total vocabulary of some 760 words"): James M. Robinson, Paul
Hoffmann, and John S. Kloppenborg, eds., The Critical Edition of Q (Minneapolis: Fortress;
Leuven: Peeters, 2000), 563.
3. The basic contents and their general arrangement in Q are widely agreed upon. The Q
material is mainly sayings of Jesus, but it also includes sayings set within chriae (short narratives
in which a saying of Jesus is climactic), and other narratizing elements such as the material on
John the Baptist (Q/Luke 3:3, 7-9, 16-17), Jesus' baptism (Q/Luke 3:21-22), and the healing story