Where is the Injil: the Q document or ‘Q?’

· Agnosticism

The Holy Quran states:

Allah is He besides Whom there is no God, the Living, the Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining. He has sent down to thee the Book containing the truth

andfulfilling that which precedes it; and He sent down the Torah and the Injil, before this, as a guidance to the people; and He has sent down the Discrimination (the Quran). (Al Quran 3:3-5)

Here is a 4 minute video clip about the Q document:


The discovery of the Gospel of Thomas was a watershed event in the study of Q document. Prof. Bart Ehrman explains:

Q then provided the material found in Matthew and Luke but not in Mark. It is widely assumed that Q was an actual document, written in Greek, in circula­tion in the early church, a document that recorded at least two deeds of Jesus (the story of Jesus’ temptations is in Q, as is an account of his healing the son of a centurion) and a number of his teachings, including the Lord’s Prayer, the Beatitudes, and other familiar sayings.

In the nineteenth century, one of the principal objections to the existence of this hypothetical lost Gospel, Q, was that it was hard to imagine-impossible for some scholars-that any Christian would have written a Gospel containing almost exclusively Jesus’ teachings. Most striking was the circumstance that in none of the Q materials (that is, in none of the passages found in Matthew and Luke, but not in Mark) is there an account of Jesus’ death and resurrection. How, asked skeptical scholars, could any early Christian write a Gospel that focused on Jesus’ sayings without emphasizing his death and resurrection? Surely

thatis what Gospels are all about: the death of Jesus for the sins of the world and his resurrection as God’s vindication of him and his mission.

This was a common argument against the existence of Q, until the Gospel of Thomas was discovered. For here was a Gospel consisting of 114 sayings of Jesus, with no account of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Even more than that, this was a Gospel that was concerned about salvation but that did not consider Jesus’ death and resurrection to be significant for it, a Gospel that understood salvation to come through some other means.

Salvation through some other means? What other means? Through correctly interpreting the secret sayings of Jesus.

The very beginning of the Gospel of Thomas is quite striking, in that it reveals the author’s purpose and his understanding of the importance of his collection of sayings and, relatedly, of how one can acquire eternal life:

These are the secret sayings which the living Jesus spoke and which Didymus Judas Thomas wrote down. And he said, “Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not experience death.” (Saying 1)

The sayings recorded here are said to be secret; they are not obvious, self­-explanatory, or commonsensical. They are hidden, mysterious, puzzling, se­cret. Jesus spoke them, and Didymus Judas Thomas, his twin brother-wrote them down. And the way to have eternal life is to’ discover their true interpreta­tion. Rarely has an author applied so much pressure on his readers. If you want to live forever, you need to figure out what he means.

Before proceeding to an interpretation of the Gospel, an interpretation that has suddenly assumed an eternal importance, I should say a final word about Thomas in relation to the Synoptics.

No one thinks that Thomas represents the long-lost Q source. A large num­ber of the sayings in Q are not in Thomas, and a number of the sayings in Thomas are not in Q. But they may have been similar documents with compa­rable theological views. The author of Q, too, may have thought that it was the sayings of Jesus that were the key to a right relationship with God. If so, in losing Q we have lost a significant alternative voice in the very earliest period of early Christianity. Most scholars date Q to the 50s of the Common Era, prior to the writing of the Synoptic Gospels (Mark was some ten or fifteen years later; Matthew and Luke some ten or fifteen years after that) and contemporary with Paul. Paul, of course, stressed the death and resurrection of Jesus as the way of salvation. Did the author of Q stress the sayings of Jesus as the way? Many people still today have trouble accepting a literal belief in Jesus’ resur­rection or traditional understandings of his death as an atonement, but call themselves Christian because they try to follow Jesus’ teachings. Maybe there were early Christians who agreed with them, and maybe the author of Q was one of them. If so, the view lost out, and the document was buried. In part, it was buried in the later Gospels of Matthew and Luke, which transformed and thereby negated Q’s message by incorporating it into an account of Jesus’ death and resurrection. One more form of Christianity lost to view until rediscovered in modern times. [1]

The discovery of Gospel of Thomas was an epiphany in the sense also that it shifted the emphasis from death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It resurrected a concept of salvation in early Christianity based on correct interpretation and understanding of Jesus’ sayings and the message that was revealed to him, what the Holy Quran calls ‘Injil.’

Some of the following material is fromWikipedia, the free encyclopedia — My additions and highlights are in red color:


Q documentorQ(from the GermanQuelle, “source”) is a postulated lost textual source for the Gospel of Matthew and Gospel of Luke . It is a theoretical collection of Jesus ‘ sayings, written in Koine Greek. Although many scholars believe that “Q” was a real document, no actual document or fragment has been found.

The Two-Source Hypothesis (or 2SH) is an explanation for the synoptic problem, the pattern of similarities and differences between the three Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It posits that the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke were based on the Gospel of Mark and a lost, hypothetical sayings collection called Q.

The 2SH emerged in the 19th century. Its strengths are its explanatory power regarding the shared and non-shared material in the three gospels; its weaknesses lie in the exceptions to those patterns, and in the hypothetical nature of its proposed collection of Jesus-sayings. Later scholars have advanced numerous elaborations and variations on the basic hypothesis, and even completely alternative hypotheses. Nevertheless, “the 2SH commands the support of most biblical critics from all continents and denominations. [2]

Synoptic Gospels are Mark, Mathew and Luke:

The following diagram breaks down the details:

1 Introduction2 Synoptic Gospels3 Synoptic problem4 Markan priority and the Triple Tradition5 Two-source hypothesis and the double tradition6 Nature of the Q Document7 Sayings gospels and the Gospel of Thomas7.1 Papias’ mention of a Q-like sayings gospel7.2 Case for a common second source7.3 Case against a common second source8 History of the Q hypothesis 9 Notable contents of Q 10 See also 11 References 12 External links


Nineteenth century New Testament scholars who rejected the traditional perspective of the priority of Matthew in favor of Marcan priority speculated that the authors of Matthew and Luke drew the material they have in common with the Gospel of Markfrom that Gospel. Matthew and Luke, however, also share large sections of text which are not found in Mark. They suggested that neither Gospel drew upon the other, but upon

secondcommon source, termed the Q document. This hypothetical lost text—also called theQ Gospel, theSayings Gospel Q, theSecret of Q, theSynoptic Sayings Source, theQ Manuscript, and (in the 19th century) The Logia—is said to have comprised a collection of Jesus ‘ sayings. Acceptance of the theories of the existence of “Q” and the priority of Mark are the two key elements in the ” two-source hypothesis “. (See also the Gospel of the Hebrews and Streeter ). The two-source hypothesis is the most widely accepted solution to the Synoptic Problem , which concerns the literary relationships between and among the first three canonical gospels (the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke), known as the Synoptic Gospels. Similarity in word choices and event placement shows an interrelationship. Theories which address the synoptic problem propose how this interrelation came to pass, as well as the nature of this interrelationship. According to the two-source hypothesis, Matthew and Luke both used the Gospel of Mark, independently of one another. This necessitates the existence of a hypotheticalthirdsource in order to explain thedouble traditionmaterial where there is agreement between Matthew and Luke that is not in Mark. This hypothetical source is namedQout of convenience. It has been suggested by many other scholars, however, that if Luke used Matthew’s Gospel as one of his sources (Luke 1:1-3), that there is no need to fabricate yet another source for the material found in common between Matthew and Luke.

Of the many gospels written in antiquity, only four gospels came to be accepted as part of the New Testament: the gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John. The gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke are very similar to one another. These gospels often recount the same stories about Jesus, generally follow the same sequence, and use similar wording.

In contrast, it has long been recognized that the Gospel of John differs significantly from the other three canonical gospels in theme, content, time duration, order of events, and style. Clement of Alexandriafamously summarized the unique character of the Gospel of John by stating

“John last of all, conscious that the ‘bodily’ facts had been set forth in those [earlier] Gospels … composed a ‘spiritual’ Gospel.”[1]

“Synoptic” is a Greek word meaning “one glimpse” or “one look”, referring to the idea that the events seem to have been seen with one pair of eyes (hence the similarities between the gospels). In light of the many commonalities between the gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke, these three works are known as the ” Synoptic Gospels “.

The synoptic gospels feature an enormous number of parallels between them. About 80% of the verses in Mark have parallels in both Matthew and Luke. [2]Since this material is common to all three gospels, it is known as the

Triple Tradition. The Triple Tradition is largely narrative but contains some “sayings material”.

Additionally, a substantial block of material is found in both Matthew and Luke (but absent from Mark). About 25% of the verses in Matthew have parallels in Luke (but not in Mark). This material which is common to Matthew and Luke is known as the

Double Tradition.

Why did Q disappear

Professor John S Kloppenborg who is an authority on the Gospel of Q, teaches at the University of Toronto, he is also the co-editor of The Critical Edition of Q. He offers a good explanation for disappearance of the Q Gospel:
A better explanation of the disappearance of Q is offered by Dieter Luhrmann. The preservation and disappearance of docu­ments was largely a matter of chance, he says. Before the fourth century:
‘The circumstances of the transmission of the Jesus tradition are so haphazard that Q would have had to be known in Egypt for us to possess a fragment of it. Even for the Gospel of Mark. … there is only a single manuscript [from Egypt, namely sp45-the Chester Beatty I papyrus, from the mid­ third century CE], and that derives from circles which already accepted the canon of Irenaeus.’ Q may have disappeared simply because it was not adopted by one of the communities or groups of communities of the second and third centuries with the resources to recopy documents and distribute them in their networks. Or Q’s disappearance may have been an accident of geography: Q was never copied in Egypt and thus perished along with other documents whose manuscripts could not survive the more humid climates of other parts of the Mediterranean. Or it may have been an accident of history: Q was used by Galilean or Palestinian groups which did not survive the First Revolt, or which simply died out. Theologians sometimes suffer from the conceit that everything connected with Christian­ity occurred for a theological reason. But this is rarely the way in which history works. The details of history are full of random events and accidents that dramatically change its course.[3]Synoptic problemTwo parallel passages from Matthew and Luke. Identical wording is rendered in red. [3]Main article: Synoptic problemThe relationships between the three synoptic gospels go beyond mere similarity in viewpoint. The gospels often recount the same stories, usually in the same order, sometimes using the same words.

Scholars note that the similarities between Mark, Matthew, and Luke are too great to be accounted for by mere coincidence. [4] Because multiple eyewitnesses reporting the same events never relate a story using identical words, scholars and theologians have long assumed that there was some relationship between the three synoptic gospels that was based upon common literary sources.

The precise nature of the relationships between the gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke is known as the

Synoptic Problem. The recognition of the question, and attempts to resolve it, date to antiquity. For example, Augustine of Hippo tried to explain the relationships between the synoptic gospels by proposing that perhaps Matthew was written first, then Mark was written using Matthew as a source, and finally Luke was written using Matthew and Mark as sources. Although this specific solution has fallen out of favor among modern scholars, it represents one of the earliest and most influential proposed solutions to the synoptic problem.

Markan priority and the Triple Tradition

Markan priority hypothesizes Mark was used as a source for Matthew and Luke.

Main article: Markan priority

One of the first steps towards the solution of the synoptic problem was to note that Mark appeared to be the earliest of the four canonical gospels.

Several lines of evidence suggest that this is so. Mark is the shortest of the gospels—suggesting that the longer gospels took Mark as a source and added additional material to it (as opposed to Mark taking longer gospels but deleting substantial chunks of material). Mark’s use of diction and grammar is less sophisticated than that found in Matthew and Luke—suggesting that Matthew and Luke “cleaned up” Mark’s wording (as opposed to Mark intentionally “dumbing down” more sophisticated use of language). Mark regularly included Aramaic quotes (translating them into Greek), whereas Matthew and Luke do not.

For these reasons and others, most scholars accept that the Gospel of Mark was written first, and the Gospels Matthew and Luke use Mark as a source. If Markan priority is correct, the

triple traditionwould be explained as those parts of Mark which both Matthew and Luke chose to copy.

Two-source hypothesis and the double tradition

Main article: Two-source hypothesis

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke were written independently, each using Mark and a second document called “Q” as a source.

Markan priority, while explaining most of the similarities between the three synoptic gospels, is unable to provide a complete solution to the synoptic problem. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke have much material in common. While most of that material appears to have been copied from The Gospel of Mark, some of the material common to Matthew and Luke is not found in Mark.

This material (collectively known as the ”

double tradition“) is often presented in both Matthew and Luke using very similar wording, and often presented in the same order. Since this material is absent from Mark, the use of Mark as a source cannot explain how the same stories, using the same words, came to be found in both Matthew and Luke.

Some scholars therefore suggest that in addition to using Mark as a source, Matthew and Luke may have both had access to some

secondsource, which they both independently used in the creation of their gospels—hence the name “two-source hypothesis”. This hypothetical second source is referred to asQ(from the German “Quelle” meaning “source”).

The two source hypothesis is currently the most widely accepted solution to the synoptic problem.

Nature of the Q Document

If the two-source hypothesis is correct, then the second source, Q, would almost certainly have to be a written document. If Q were merely a shared oral tradition, it could not account for the nearly identical word-for-word similarities between Matthew and Luke when quoting Q material.

Similarly, it is possible to deduce that the Q document, in the form that Matthew and Luke had access to, was written in Greek. If Matthew and Luke were referring to a document that had been written in some other language (for example Aramaic), it is highly unlikely that two independent translations would have exactly the same wording.

The Q document must have been composed prior to the Gospels of both Matthew and Luke. Some scholars even suggest Q may have predated Mark.

The Q document, if it did exist, has since been lost, but scholars believe it can be partially reconstructed by examining elements common to Matthew and Luke (but absent from Mark). This reconstructed Q is notable in that it generally does not describe the events of the life of Jesus: Q does not mention Jesus’ birth, his selection of the 12 disciples, his crucifixion, or the resurrection. Instead, it appears to be a collection of Jesus’ sayings and teachings.

Papias’ mention of a Q-like sayings gospel

Papias , who worked from about 100–150, was the bishop of the church at Hierapolis . Eusebius quoted Papias concerning the origins of the Gospels of Mark and Matthew:

Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him. But afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who accommodated his instructions to the necessities [of his hearers], but with no intention of giving a regular narrative of the Lord’s sayings. Wherefore Mark made no mistake in thus writing some things as he remembered them. For of one thing he took especial care, not to omit anything he had heard, and not to put anything fictitious into the statements.

While many modern scholars question whether the document which Papias described here is the same document that is modernly known as the Gospel of Mark (see Raymond E. Brown,

An Introduction to the New Testament[New York: Doubleday, 1997], pp. 158ff), this was not the opinion of the the early church nor is it the opinion of many other scholars past and present. The reason for which later scholars doubt whether Papias was referring to the canonical Gospel of Mark is because those who accept its historicity also accept the Markan chronology as a historically correct account of the ministry of Jesus. One of the challenges to denying that Papias was writing about the canonical Gospel is the lack of any historical evidence for two works by Mark, and other statements by church fathers which either parallel or drew from Papias’ statement when speaking of the origin of Mark. It is also possible that, given the universal support for Matthean priority in the early church, Mark’s chronology may have been viewed as “haphazard” where it deviated from Matthew’s.

Papias’ statement, however, poses a significant challenge to the “Q” theory, in that he wrote that Matthew was the

sourcefrom which others drew their Gospel materials, without any mention of Matthew making use of some other document such as “Q”:

Matthew put together the sayings [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could.

Case for a common second source

The existence of Q follows from the argument that neither Matthew nor Luke is directly dependent on the other in

the double tradition(what New Testament scholars call the material that Matthew and Luke share that does not appear in Mark). However, the verbal agreement between Matthew and Luke is so close in some parts of the double tradition that possibly the most reasonable explanation for this agreement is common dependence on a written source or sources. Even if Matthew and Luke are independent (see Markan priority), the Q hypothesis states that they used a commondocument. Arguments for Q being a written document include:

Sometimes the exactness in wording is striking, for example, Matthew 6:24 = Luke 16:13 (27 and 28 Greek words respectively); Matthew 7:7–8 = Luke 11:9ö10 (24 Greek words each).
There is sometimes commonality in order between the two, for example Sermon on the Plain / Sermon on the Mount .
The presence of doublets, where Matthew and Luke sometimes present two versions of a similar saying but in different contexts. Doublets may be considered a sign of two written sources.
Certain themes, such as the Deuteronomistic view of history, are more prominent in Q than in either Matthew or Luke individually.
Luke mentions that he knows of other written sources of Jesus’ life, and that he has investigated in order to gather the most information. (Luke 1:1–4)

Case against a common second source

Austin Farrer , [5]Michael Goulder , [6] and Mark Goodacre[7] have argued against Q, maintaining Markan priority, claiming the use of Matthew by Luke. Other scholars argue against Q because they hold to Matthean priority (see: Augustinian hypothesis ). Their arguments include:

There is a ” prima facie case” that two documents, both correcting Mark’s language, adding birth narratives and a resurrection epilogue, and adding a large amount of “sayings material” are likely to resemble each other, rather than to have such similar scope by coincidence.
Specifically, there are 347 instances (by Neirynck’s count) where one or more words are added to the Markan text in both Matthew and Luke; these are called the “minor agreements” against Mark. Some 198 instances involve one word, 82 involve two words, 35 three, 16 four, and 16 instances involve five or more words in the extant texts of Matthew and Luke as compared to Markan passages.
While supporters say that the discovery of the Gospel of Thomas supports the concept of a “sayings gospel,” Mark Goodacre points out that Q has a narrative structure as reconstructed and is not simply a list of sayings.
Some make an argument based on the fact that there is no extant copy of Q and that no early church writer makes an unambiguous reference to a Q document.
Scholars such as William Farmer maintain that Matthew was the first Gospel, Luke the second, and that Mark abbreviated Matthew and Luke (the Griesbach hypothesis ). Q, part of the Two-Source Hypothesis , would not have existed if Matthean priority is true, as Luke would have got his triple tradition (“Markan”) and double tradition (“Q”) material from Matthew.
Scholars such as John Wenham hold to the Augustinian hypothesis that Matthew was the first Gospel, Mark the second, and Luke the third, and object on similar grounds to those who hold to the Griesbach hypothesis. They enjoy the support of church tradition on this point.
In addition, Eta Linnemann rejects the Q document hypothesis and denies the existence of a Synoptic problem at all. [8]Nicholas Perrin has argued that the Gospel of Thomas was based on Tatian ‘s Gospel and harmony with the Diatessaron instead of the Q document. [9]

History of the Q hypothesis

If Q ever existed, it must have disappeared very early, since no copies of it have been recovered and no definitive notices of it have been recorded in antiquity (but see the discussion of the Papias testimony below).

In modern times, the first person [ citation needed ] to hypothesize a Q-like source was an Englishman, Herbert Marsh, in 1801 in a complicated solution to the synoptic problem that his contemporaries ignored. Marsh labeled this source with the Hebrew letter


The next person to advance the Q hypothesis was the German Schleiermacher in 1832, who interpreted an enigmatic statement by the early Christian writer Papias of Hierapolis,

circa125: “Matthew compiled the oracles ( Greek : logia) of the Lord in a Hebrew manner of speech”. Rather than the traditional interpretation that Papias was referring to the writing of Matthew in Hebrew, Schleiermacher believed that Papias was actually giving witness to a sayings collection that was available to the Evangelists.

In 1838 another German, Christian Hermann Weisse , took Schleiermacher’s suggestion of a sayings source and combined it with the idea of Markan priorityto formulate what is now called the Two-Source Hypothesis, in which both Matthew and Luke used Mark

andthe sayings source. Heinrich Julius Holtzmannendorsed this approach in an influential treatment of the synoptic problem in 1863, and the Two-Source Hypothesis has maintained its dominance ever since.

At this time, Q was usually called the

Logiaon account of the Papias statement, and Holtzmann gave it the symbol Lambda (Λ). Toward the end of the 19th century, however, doubts began to grow on the propriety of anchoring the existence of the collection of sayings in the testimony of Papias, so a neutral symbol Q (which was devised by Johannes Weiss based on the GermanQuelle, meaningsource) was adopted to remain neutrally independent of the collection of sayings and its connection to Papias.

In the first two decades of the 20th century, more than a dozen reconstructions of Q were made. However, these reconstructions differed so much from each other that not a single verse of Matthew was present in all of them. As a result, interest in Q subsided and it was neglected for many decades.

This state of affairs changed in the 1960s after translations of a newly discovered and analogous sayings collection, the

Gospel of Thomas, became available. James M. Robinson and Helmut Koester proposed that collections of sayings such as Q and Thomas represented the earliest Christian materials at an early point in a trajectory that eventually resulted in the canonical gospels.

This burst of interest led to increasingly more sophisticated literary and redactional reconstructions of Q, notably the work of John S. Kloppenborg . Kloppenborg, by analyzing certain literary phenomena, argued that Q was composed in three stages. The earliest stage was a collection of wisdom sayings involving such issues as poverty and discipleship. Then this collection was expanded by including a layer of judgmental sayings directed against “this generation”. The final stage included the Temptation of Jesus.

Although Kloppenborg cautioned against assuming that the composition history of Q is the same as the history of the Jesus tradition (i.e. that the oldest layer of Q is necessarily the oldest and pure-layer Jesus tradition), some recent seekers of the Historical Jesus , including the members of the Jesus Seminar , have done just that. Basing their reconstructions primarily on the Gospel of Thomas and the oldest layer of Q, they propose that Jesus functioned as a wisdom sage , rather than a Jewish rabbi , though not all members affirm the two-source hypothesis. Kloppenborg, it should be noted, is now a fellow of the Jesus Seminar himself.

Skeptical of Kloppenborg’s tripartite division of Q, Bruce Griffin writes:

This division of Q has received extensive support from some scholars specializing in Q. But it has received serious criticism from others, and outside the circle of Q specialists it has frequently been seen as evidence that some Q specialists have lost touch with essential scholarly rigor. The idea that we can reconstruct the history of a text which does not exist, and that must itself be reconstructed from Matthew and Luke, comes across as something other than cautious scholarship. But the most serious objection to the proposed revisions of Q is that any attempt to trace the history of revisions of Q undermines the credibility of the whole Q hypothesis itself. For despite the fact that we can identify numerous sayings that Matthew and Luke have in common, we cannot prove that these sayings come from a single unified source; Q may be nothing but a convenient term for a variety of sources shared by Matthew and Luke. Therefore any evidence of revision of Q counts as evidence for disunity in Q, and hence for a variety of sources used by Matthew and Luke. Conversely, any evidence for unity in Q—which must be established in order to see Q as a single document—counts as evidence against the proposed revisions. In order to hold to a threefold revision of Q, one must pull off an intellectual tight-rope act: one must imagine both that there is enough unity to establish a single document and that there is enough disunity to establish revisions. In the absence of any independent attestation of Q, it is an illusion to believe that scholars can walk this tightrope without falling off.

However, scholars supporting the hypothesis of the three-stage historical development of Q, such as Burton L. Mack , argue that the unity of Q comes not only from its being shared by Matthew and Luke, but also because, in the layers of Q as reconstructed, the later layers build upon and presuppose the earlier ones, whereas the reverse is not the case. So evidence that Q has been revised is not evidence for disunity in Q, since the hypothesised revisions depend upon asymmetric logical connections between what are posited to be the later and earlier layers. [10]

Notable contents of Q

Some of the most notable portions of the New Testament are believed to have originated in Q: [11]

The BeatitudesLove your enemiesThe Golden RuleJudge not, lest ye be judgedThe Test of a Good PersonThe Parable of the Wise and the Foolish BuildersThe Parable of the Lost Sheep The Parable of the Wedding FeastThe Parable of the TalentsThe Parable of the LeavenThe Parable of the blind leading the blindThe Lord’s PrayerExpounding of the LawThe Birds of Heaven and The Lilies in the Field

See also

Gospel harmonyGospel of ThomasList of GospelsAgraphaLogiaMarkan prioritySynoptic problemTwo-source hypothesis


^ In Eusebius , Historia Ecclesiastica vi.14.7

^ Honoré, A. M. “A Statistical Study of the Synoptic Problem.” Novum Testamentum 10 Aug.-July (1968): 95–147. On page 96 Honoré compares the similarities between the three Gospels with the number of words in common.

^ Matt 3:7–10 & Luke 3:7–9. Text from 1894 Scrivener New Testament

^ * Ehrman, Bart D. (2004). The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings . New York: Oxford. p.84. ISBN 0-19-515462-2 .

^ Austin M. Farrer, “On Dispensing with Q” in D. E. Nineham (ed.), Studies in the Gospels: Essays in Memory of R. H. Lightfoot (Oxford: Blackwell, 1955), pp. 55–88, reproduced at http://NTGateway.com/Q/Farrer.htm .

^ For example, Michael Goulder, “Is Q a Juggernaut”, Journal of Biblical Literature 115 (1996), pp. 667–81, reproduced at http://ntgateway.com/Q/goulder.htm .

^ See, for example, Mark Goodacre, The Case Against Q: Studies in Marcan Priority and the Synoptic Problem (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2002)

^http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/q_linnemann.pdf^ Thomas and Tatian: The Relationship Between the Gospel of Thomas and the Diatessaron by Nicholas Perrin published by the Academia Biblican Society of Biblical Literature 2001 ISBN 1589830458 see also NT Wright on Trusting the Gospels^The Lost Gospel: The Book Q and Christian OriginsMacmillan Co. (1993, paperback 1994).^Reconstruction of Q by Tabor

External links

Text and on-line resources for the Lost Sayings Gospel QThe New Testament Gateway: The Synoptic Problem and QThe Case Against Q, by Mark Goodacre“Jesu Logia (“Sayings of Jesus”)” . Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Jesu_Logia_(%22Sayings_of_Jesus%22) .


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  1. Zia Shah

    Information from Answers.com — Biblical scholars long ago accepted that Mark’s Gospel was the first of the New Testament gospels written, and that it must have been written in Greek. They also noticed that whenever Matthew’s Gospel and Luke’s Gospel agreed with Mark, they almost always used the same words in Greek. Most scholars see this as evidence that Matthew and Luke are largely derived from Mark. Scholars then noticed that many passages in Matthew and Luke also contain other sayings that are identical in their Greek wording, although the sayings are placed in different places, time and context by each of the two authors. They realised that the two authors must have been using a common source for those sayings, and that must be a written source, in fact written in Greek, for the wording of the sayings to be so consistent. German scholars suggested a hypothetical document that they called the Quelle (or ‘Q’) Document. Scholars began to analyse the two gospels to see if they could piece together the original wording of the Q Document. Clearly it was almost entirely a book of sayings, since it contained no reference to the life of Jesus, or to any of his works. Scholars have been unable to explain the fact that Q has a central theme was the killing of the prophets but it never refers to the crucifixion or resurrection of Jesus. Gradually, scholars put together an outline of the original document. In 1964, J. M. Robinson noted the formal similarity of Q to other early Christian documents such as the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas and the Didache, as well as the parables in Mark chapter 4. Parts of ‘Q’ may have been derived from these documents, or they may have been partly dependent on Q. The Q-Document seems to have evolved over a period of time, with different layers reflecting theological beliefs of that time, but is nevertheless a well organised unit with an integral theological outlook, which can eventually offer a more plausible explanation of the twilight period of the emergence of Christianity and its advance to conquer the Greco-Roman world. The picture it gives is complete enough to help reconstruct the history of the early Church to the extent no other document from the earliest times has done, at least to this moment. Q is considered likely to have come from a Christian community outside the direct influence of the Pauline and Jerusalem churches, the forerunners of orthodox Christianity. A view expressed by the Editorial Board of the International Q Project is that the Q movement, a mission limited to Jews, was less successful than the mission to the gentiles and gradually died out. Scribes no longer made new copies of the Q Gospel as the existing copies became damaged or lost, and it survived only as incorporated into the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

  2. Zia Shah

    The Two Document Hypothesis and Heinrich Julius Holtzmann — The Two Document Hypothesis implies that Mathew and Luke are borrowed from two documents, one is Mark and other is a proposed, but not yet discovered Gospel of sayings now called the Q document.According to Wikepedia:”Heinrich Julius Holtzmann (May 7, 1832 – 1910), German Protestant theologian, son of Karl Julius Holtzmann (1804-1877), was born at Karlsruhe, where his father ultimately became prelate and counsellor to the supreme consistory.He studied at Berlin, and eventually (1874) was appointed professor ordinarius at Strassburg. A moderately liberal theologian, he became best known as a New Testament critic and exegete, being the author of the Commentary on the Synoptics (1889; 3rd ed., 1901), the Johannine books (1890; 2nd ed., 1893), and the Acts of the Apostles (1901), in the series Handkommentar zum Neuen Testament.On the question of the relationship of the Synoptic Gospels, Holtzmann in his early work, Die synoptischen Evangelien, ihr Ursprung und geschichtlicher Charakter (The Synoptic Gospels: Their Origin and Historical Character; Leipzig, 1863), presents a view which has been widely accepted, maintaining the priority of Mark, deriving Matthew in its present form from Mark and from Matthew’s earlier “collection of Sayings,” the Logia of Papias, and Luke from Matthew and Mark in the form in which we have them. This view was a modified version of Christian Weisse’s hypothesis.”A lot of work was done by Heinrich Julius Holtzmann. Here is one of his books from Google. It is not in English:http://books.google.com/books?id=LUAtAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=HJ+Holtzmann&cd=7#v=onepage&q=&f=false

  3. Zia Shah

    The two and the four source hypotheses — According to Encyclopedia Britannica:The two-source hypothesis is predicated upon the following observations: Matthew and Luke used Mark, both for its narrative material as well as for the basic structural outline of chronology of Jesus’ life. Matthew and Luke use a second source, which is called Q (from German Quelle, “source”), not extant, for the sayings (logia) found in common in both of them. Thus, Mark and Q are the main components of Matthew and Luke. In both Matthew and Luke there is material that is peculiar to each of their Gospels; this material is probably drawn from some other sources, which may be designated M (material found only in Matthew’s special source) and L (material found only in Luke’s special source). This is known as the four-document hypothesis, which was elaborated in 1925 by B.H. Streeter, an English biblical scholar. The placement of Q material in Luke and Matthew disagrees at certain points according to the needs and theologies of the addressees of the gospels, but in Matthew the Marcan chronology is the basic scheme into which Q is put. Mark’s order is kept, on the whole, by Matthew and Luke, but, where it differs, at least one agrees with Mark. After chapter 4 in Matthew and Luke, not a single passage from Q is in the same place. Q was a source written in Greek as was Mark, which can be demonstrated by word agreement (not possible, for example, with a translation from Aramaic, although perhaps the Greek has vestiges of Semitic structure form). A diagram might thus be:In approximate figures, Mark’s text has 661 verses, more than 600 of which appear in Matthew and 350 in Luke. Only c. 31 verses of Mark are found nowhere in Matthew or Luke. In the material common to all three Synoptics, there is very seldom verbatim agreement of Matthew and Luke against Mark, though such agreement is common between Matthew and Mark or Luke and Mark or where all three concur.The postulated common saying source of Matthew and Luke, Q, would account for much verbatim agreement of Matthew and Luke when they include sayings absent from Mark. The fact that the sayings are used in different ways or different contexts in Matthew and Luke is an indication of a somewhat free way in which the editors could take material and mold it to their given situations and needs. An example of this is the parable in Matthew and Luke about the lost sheep (Matt. 18:10–14, Luke 15:3–7). The basic material has been used in different ways. In Matthew, the context is church discipline—how a brother in Christ who has lapsed or who is in danger of doing so is to be gently and graciously dealt with—and Matthew shapes it accordingly (the sheep has “gone astray”). In Luke, the parable exemplifies Jesus’ attitude toward sinners and is directed against the critical Pharisees and scribes who object to Jesus’ contact with sinners and outsiders (the sheep is “lost”).Another example of two passages used verbatim in Luke and Matthew is Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem. In Luke (13:34–35; the lament over Jerusalem) Jesus refers to how they will cry “Blessed be the King who comes in the name of the Lord” when he enters Jerusalem (Lk. 19:38). In Luke, the passage is structured into the life of Jesus and refers to his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”). In Matthew (23:37–39) this same lament is placed after the entry into the city (21:9) and thus refers to the fall of Jerusalem and the Last Judgment. Apparently, Luke has historicized a primarily eschatological saying.Since the 1930s, scholars have increasingly refined sources, postulated sources behind sources, and many stages of their formation. The premise of the two- (or four-) source hypothesis is basic and provides information as to literary sources; further refinement is of interest only to the specialist. Another movement in synoptic research—and also research including John—is that which concentrates rather on the treatment of gospels as a whole, formally and theologically, with patterns or cycles to be investigated. It may be significant that the latest and best regarded Greek synopsis is that of the German scholar Kurt Aland, Synopsis Quattuor Evangeliorum (1964; Synopsis of the Four Gospels, 1972), which includes the Gospel According to John and, as an appendix, the Gospel of Thomas, as well as ample quotations from noncanonical gospels and Jesus’ sayings preserved in the Church Fathers.”biblical literature.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 21 Feb. 2010 .

  4. Zia Shah

    Opinion of Professor John S Kloppenborg — Professor John S Kloppenborg who is an authority on the Gospel of Q, teaches at the University of Toronto, he is alsothe co-editor of The Critical Edition of Q. He writes:We do not have papyrus or parchment copies of Q. It disappeared along with many other documents of the early Jesus movement. We do have echoes of Q-like collections of sayings in such documents as 1 Clement and the Didache, even if there is no proof that these knew or cited Q. And we have one substantial document, the Gospel of Thomas, that belongs to the same genre as Q: a sayings Gospel, consisting of sayings o f Jesus without a sustained narrative framework and therefore with no account of Jesus’ death.While Matthew and Luke give us the closest to verbatim copies of Q, it is the letter of James which perhaps gives us the best idea of how Q was intended to be used. It is hardly likely that those who framed and composed Q did so merely to provide a source for later writers. I have already emphasized that the culture of Jewish Palestine was an oral-scribal culture, where most people knew texts only through their oral performance. If James is an index of how Q was intended to be used, we might suggest that Q was not composed to be a source but rather to be a resource-a resource for moral exhortation and for the inculcation of an alternate ethos, called “the kingdom of God.”Whether those who first used Q in Jewish Palestine were as well educated and skilled in verbal transformation as James is doubtful. Nevertheless, even for its first users, Q was probably not a collection of sayings meant to be quoted, but as a guide and example of exhortations about the kingdom intended to be imitated and emulated.So Q disappeared. We see it quoted and adapted by Matthew and Luke, and employed in a very different way by James. We are now in a position to be able to reconstitute this lost Sayings Gospel. It gives us a glimpse of the earliest Jesus movement in the Galilee, a different Gospel with a different view of Jesus’ significance. It is not a dying and rising savior that we see in Q, but a sage with uncommon wisdom, wisdom that addressed the daily realities of small-town life in Jewish Galilee. Knowing about Q lets us think differently about the complexion of the early Jesus movement, differently about the development of the Synoptic Gospels, differently about the creation of documents such as the letter of James, differently about the death of Jesus and Jesus’ vindication, and differently about the core and essence of the Jesus movement.Professor John S Kloppenborg. Q the earliest Gospel: an introduction to the original stories and sayings of Jesus. Westminster John Knox Press, 2008. Page, 120-121.

  5. Zia Shah

    The Proposed text of Q document — Burton L Mack writes:”Of critical importance for the study of Q was a reconstruction of the minimal text and some consensus about its composition as a ‘ recognizable form of literary activity. Text-critical studies have been produced by Siegfried Schulz (1972), Wolfgang Schenk (1981), Athanasius Polag (1982), and Dieter Zeller (1984). Schulz also provided a synoptic edition of the parallel texts from Matthew and Luke with a German translation. This would have been a great advance, except for one feature. He made the mistake of organizing the material by theme and thus erased both the Matthean and Lukan orders. Polag then offered a reconstruction of Q, published in a study of the sayings by Ivan Havener (1987). And in 1988 John Kloppenborg published an edition of the Q Parallels in Greek that followed the Lukan order and provided enumerated units, an English translation, anapparatus of scholarly judgments on variant readings, parallels per saying from other early Christian literature, and a Greek concordance.Kloppenborg’s Q Parallels is currently the standard text of reference for Q studies in America. But a parallel text is not yet a unified text. To produce a unified text, all of the variant readings must be carefully examined and decisions rendered as to the more original formulation in keeping with a complex set of criteria that includes detailed knowledge of the vocabularies, styles, and ideological preferences of Matthew and Luke as authors. This task is being performed by the International Q Project and the Q Project of the Society of Biblical Literature under the direction of James Robinson at the Institute’ for Antiquity and Christianity, Claremont. The publication of this project will be a scholarly reconstruction of the Greek text of Q that both Matthew and Luke had at their disposal when writing their gospels. When this critical text appears, the story of Q’s retrieval from the layers of textual history that effectively buried it for so long a time will finally come to a close.With the unified text of Q so close to the surface, coming to terms with its content and composition is already a possibility. The recent excitement over Q has produced a large number of fine studies that acknowledge its integrity and focus on its distinctive contribution to our knowledge of early Christian history. Scholars have been able to identify its genre, elucidate its content, and chart its history of composition. A brief summary of these studies in the next three chapters will set the stage for my own translation of Q in part II. The shards of a lost text have finally been pieced together.”(Burton L Mack. The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins. HarperOne, 1993. Page 26-27.)

  6. Zia Shah

    Opinion of Professor John S Kloppenborg — Professor John S Kloppenborg who is an authority on the Gospel of Q, teaches at the University of Toronto, writes:The center of Q’s teachings is not, as it is in Mark, the identity of Jesus as the son of God, but rather the behavior and attitudes that reflect God’s reign. There is, of course, some interest in the identity of Jesus, who is called the One to Come and the Son of Man. But much more space is devoted to articulating the ethos of the reign of God. Sophia, God’s wisdom, is the supervening force in Q’s world; the kingdom of God is more important than the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus is not a suffering messiah who dies as expiation for sins but, as Burton Mack puts it, “a sage whose sayings and the wisdom to be derived from them made all the difference that mattered. “31 The Q folk, to be sure, looked to Jesus as the privileged teacher who, above all others, was the model for emulation. There is not much evidence that this Jesus was memorialized as a savior, as he was in the Christ-confessing churches of Paul. As Crossan puts it, the continuity between Jesus and the Q folk “is not in mnemonics but in mimetics, not in remembrance but in imitation, not in word but in deed.”Thus, the Sayings Gospel Q represents a different gospel. It is a gospel that circulated not among urbanites, but among the rural poor, not in the Gentile cities of the east, but in the towns of Jewish Galilee. It took significantly different views of miracles, Jesus’ death, and Jesus’ vindication than what is found in the Synoptics and Paul. Its ethical teachings give us a glimpse of the life and attitudes, not of the urban classes in which the Jesus movement eventually spread, but the villages and towns of the Galilee, where God’s actions and reign had everything to do with the basics of life: food, debt, the supports for ordinary life and the threats to it.Professor John S Kloppenborg. Q the earliest Gospel: an introduction to the original stories and sayings of Jesus. Westminster John Knox Press, 2008. Page, 97.

  7. Zia Shah

    Parallels between the Gospel of Thomas and Q — Professor John S Kloppenborg who is an authority on the Gospel of Q, teaches at the University of Toronto, he is alsothe co-editor of The Critical Edition of Q. He writes:With the discovery of a full Coptic version of the Gospel of Thomas in 1945, it became clear that the three Oxyrhynchus fragments were earlier Greek copies of the Gospel of Thomas. The discovery of a “gospel” that consisted exclusively of sayings, without any reference to the death and resurrection, was sensational, and initiated a fresh examination of Q. No longer was it necessary to imagine that Q was a supplement of the passion kerygma. Q could well represent a discrete and autonomous type of early Christian theologizing, and ultimately be a gospel in its own right.Thomas presents sayings of Jesus seriatim, introduced simply by “Jesus says” or occasionally, “The disciples said.” Take for example sayings 25-26:25 Jesus says: Love your brother like your life! Protect him like the apple of your eye!26 Jesus says: You see the splinter that is in your brother’s eye, but you do not see the beam that is in your (own) eye. When you remove the beam from your eye, then you will see clearly (enough) to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.The first Thomas saying appears to be a variant of Leviticus 19:18, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself,” or the Didache’s “you shall not hate anyone. . . and some you shall love more than your own soul” (2.7). The second Thomas saying finds a parallel inQ 6:43-44. The two sayings appear to be joined on the basis of the catchworqs, “your brother” and “eye.” This is a composition technique also found in wisdom books such as Proverbs.Other kinds of linkages are attested. Some clusters of sayings are joined by common formulae or common forms. Sayings 96-98 all begin “The kingdom of the father is like. . .” and then tell a parable. In other instances a common theme unifies the sayings. Sayings 63-65, consisting also of three parables, are all about wealthy persons whose pursuit of wealth obscures more important pursuits. Q displays many of the same associative techniques. Some sayings are connected by catchwords, famously Q 12:33-34 and Q 12:39-40, connected on the basis of two catchwords, “dig through” and “robber.”…If there is a generic relationship between Q and the Gospel of Thomas is there a genetic relationship as well? Thomas shares with Q, 37 or almost one-third of its 114 sayings (although sometimes Thomas has two or three parallels to Q in the same saying). Of Q’s 92 units, there are 42 contacts with Thomas (again, sometimes one Q saying has several different resonances with Thomas). The overlap between Q and Thomas is substantial, far more than the overlap between Q and 1 Clement or Q and the Didache. Despite this, it is almost impossible to propose a scenario whereby either Thomas drew on Q or Q drew on Thomas.Thomas shares with Q many aphorisms, including saying 47.Professor John S Kloppenborg. Q the earliest Gospel: an introduction to the original stories and sayings of Jesus. Westminster John Knox Press, 2008. Page, 107-109.

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    WHAT ABOUT DOCUMENT Q? — and Luke. In Mark’s vigorous, fast-moving account of Jesus’ ministry, there are actually more than 180 passages and fascinating details that are not found in Matthew and Luke, making it a truly unique account of Jesus’ life.—See box on page 13.What About Document Q?What can be said about document Q, which some claim was a source for Matthew and Luke? James M. Robinson, professor of religion, states: “Q is surely the most important Christian text that we have.” That statement is surprising because document Q does not exist today, and in reality, no one can prove that it ever existed! Its total disappearance is all the more remarkable because scholars claim that several copies of the document must have circulated. In addition, document Q is never quoted by the Church Fathers.Think about this. Q is supposed to have existed and to have supported the hypothetical priority of Mark’s Gospel. Is that not a case of one hypothesis built upon another hypothesis? When it comes to theories such as these, we are wise to keep this proverb in mind: “A simple man believes every word he hears; a clever man understands the need for proof.”—Proverbs 14:15, The New English Bible.The Gospels—Authentic and ReliableIn their speculations and unfounded hypotheses, critical scholars have distracted many from examining the reliable Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry. These accounts clearly show that the early Christians did not view the events of Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and resurrection as myths. Hundreds of eyewitnesses confirmed the truthfulness of these facts. These early Christians, who were willing to face persecution and death to follow Jesus, fully realized that being a Christian would be senseless if Jesus’ ministry and resurrection were mere fantasy.—1 Corinthians 15:3-8, 17, 19; 2 Timothy 2:2.Referring to the controversy that surrounds the hypotheses about the supposed priority of Mark’s Gospel and the mysterious lost document Q, George W. Buchanan, professor of theology, says: “Concentration on hypotheses of origin distracts the Bible student from studying the text itself.” That thought is in harmony with the apostle Paul’s counsel to Timothy not “to pay attention to false stories and to genealogies, which end up in nothing, but which furnish questions for research rather than a dispensing of anything by God in connection with faith.”—1 Timothy 1:4.The Gospels are reliable. They contain trustworthy accounts of eyewitnesses. They are based on thorough research. They bring to us many fascinating facts about the life of Jesus Christ. Therefore, like Timothy of old, we do well to heed Paul’s words: “Continue in the things that you learned and were persuaded to believe.” We have solid reason to accept that “all Scripture is inspired of God”—including the four Gospels.—2 Timothy 3:14-17.

  9. Zia Shah

    Half of New Testament forged, Bible scholar says — By John Blake, CNNA frail man sits in chains inside a dank, cold prison cell. He has escaped death before but now realizes that his execution is drawing near.“I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come,” the man –the Apostle Paul – says in the Bible’s 2 Timothy. “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”The passage is one of the most dramatic scenes in the New Testament. Paul, the most prolific New Testament author, is saying goodbye from a Roman prison cell before being beheaded. His goodbye veers from loneliness to defiance and, finally, to joy. There’s one just one problem – Paul didn’t write those words. In fact, virtually half the New Testament was written by impostors taking on the names of apostles like Paul. At least according to Bart D. Ehrman, a renowned biblical scholar, who makes the charges in his new book “Forged.”“There were a lot of people in the ancient world who thought that lying could serve a greater good,” says Ehrman, an expert on ancient biblical manuscripts.In “Forged,” Ehrman claims that:* At least 11 of the 27 New Testament books are forgeries.* The New Testament books attributed to Jesus’ disciples could not have been written by them because they were illiterate.* Many of the New Testament’s forgeries were manufactured by early Christian leaders trying to settle theological feuds.http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/13/half-of-new-testament-forged-bible-scholar-says/?

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