Excavating Q: The History and Setting of the Sayings Gospel / the Critical Edition of Q: Synopsis Including the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Mark and Thomas with English, German, and French Translations of Q and Thomas
Keylock, Leslie R., Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Excavating Q: The History and Setting of the Sayings Gospel. By John S. Kloppenborg. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2000, xii + 546 pp. $32.00 paper. The Critical Edition of Q: Synopsis Including the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Mark and Thomas with English, German, and French Translations of Q and Thomas. Edited by James M. Robinson, Paul Hoffmann, and John S. Kloppenborg. Hermeneia Supplements. Minneapolis: Fortress, cvii + 581 pages, $60.00.
John Kloppenborg's "stratigraphy" of Q is a very thorough study of the history of Q studies and the setting in which Kloppenborg and others believe Q emerged. His book is divided into two parallel sections. Part 1 deals with text and history. Part 2 discusses theology and ideology and is primarily an attack against opponents of the TwoDocument Hypothesis. The first section contains discussions of source criticism ("Q and the Synoptic Problem"), form criticism, redaction criticism, and sociological criticism. The second section argues in a surprisingly ad hominem way against those who have rejected each of the four types of criticism of Q.
The book is supposedly designed as an introduction to Q for students, but its use will no doubt be primarily in doctoral seminars. For Kloppenborg, Q represents a form of Christianity in Galilee that was ignorant of the Pauline tradition, knew nothing of Jesus' atoning death and resurrection, and made up sayings of Jesus after his death so that, if they had known of his atoning death and resurrection, they would have included it. Q contains, not the traditional 235 verses, but 264. It was composed in three stages, Q1, Q2, and Q3. Against those who reject his analysis, he repeatedly insists that his conclusions are based on objective literary, not subjective theological, presuppositions. Q', the "formative stratum," consists of six subcollections of hortatory stories, some of which were from a repertoire or sayings of Jesus originally spoken in other contexts and influenced by the instruction genre of wisdom literature. Q2 adds narrative framing or chreia that change the Q document into a Cynic-sage bios, though Klop-- penborg broadens this redactional stage to include more than just Cynic influence narrowly conceived. The result is that Q2 transforms the document into a mythological construct melding Sophia and Son of man sayings. Q3 then adds Son of God, Torah, and Temple sayings. All three stages were composed in Galilee by lower-level Galilean scribes who belonged to the "Q group."
The second part of the book argues against the theological and ideological presuppositions of those who reject what Kloppenborg has argued in the first part. He sometimes seems to aver that he alone is "objective" and that many of his opponents have "larger theological projects and sensibilities" that force them to reject the objective literary and historical facts. He repeatedly speaks of his opponents as motivated by "theological worry" and "fear that it La sociological-historical treatment of Q] will evacuate or render questionable theological applications." As a result, they make "vacuous," "tedious," or "dubious" arguments with no foundation other than "the often-unstated ideological concerns that lurk beneath the surface of supposedly critical historiography" (p. 420). It is almost as if he is unable to see that his views may also be influenced by theological presuppositions. In the sixty-page chap. 6, however, he recognizes that subjective factors, especially reactions to Reimarus and the rise of the Enlightenment, influenced the formation of the Two-Document Hypothesis. He is more sensitive than many liberal scholars in his admission that his criticism may be "unfairly demeaning" (p. 422), but he still insists that the facts may have "problematized various dearly held theological positions" (p. 423). He also proves that Farmer and Dungan are wrong in suggesting that Protestants adopted Markan priority as an anti-Catholic polemic against Petrine primacy as found in Matthew's Gospel. …