Friday, February 19, 2010

NT Pod 26: The Case Against Q

NT Pod 26 is the last of our four back to back episodes on the Synoptic Problem. The topic is the case against Q.

It is 13 minutes long. Feel free to leave your comments below.

NT Pod 26: The Case Against Q (mp3)

NT Pod 26: The Case Against Q (mp3) (Alternative location)

Key texts: Matthew 5.1-7.29, Luke 6.20-49, Matthew 2.1-12, Matthew 5.3, Luke 6.20

Programme Notes (NT Blog)

Thanks to Ram2000, Me and You, for the opening theme, released under a Creative Commons agreement.


  1. Two source proponents: "Luke doesn't have Matthew's additions to Mark." Apart from the Mark-Q overlap (which basically refutes this idea) I think it is also important to understand that when an author in those days used two sources he usually did so one at a time. Therefore, when Luke is using Mark, he doesn't have his eyes on Matthew's text (which is why he doesn't have most of Matthew's additions to Mark's text). This is something that Q theorists seem to forget and they treat the Farrer hypothesis as if it is similar to the Griesbach hypothesis, where the third author is conflating his sources.

    However, given the textual uncertainties of the Gospel texts I don't find the minor agreements to be all that problematic for the Q hypothesis.

  2. Thanks, Bill. I agree on the first point. On the second, the textual uncertainties actually cut both ways. It is just as plausible that increased textual evidence would show more Minor Agreements and not fewer, especially given the scribal tendency to harmonize.

  3. Hi Make really enjoying these most recent pods casts, and God willing I'll be able to get your books to have a read of them, I personally don't find Q convincing. Though in saying that I think that Q isn't just one person/source (manuscript) for example, Luke 23:1-25 would quote legal proceedings of the Roman era. (My source for suggesting such a thing escapes me right now but when I find it I'll reference it.) Anyway enjoying listening in on your classes as well.

  4. That is ok Mark I enjoy listening to you and your lectures. The legal proceedings idea was picked up from Bruce W. Winter's lectures on The cross and clash of culture. His work/coediting on Acts would be the book that point to for a written source, I know its not directly Luke's gospel. (The book of Acts in its ancient literary setting‎) Once again enjoying what you have to say.

  5. Mark,

    During the second year of my undergrad back in 1992, we were introduced to the synoptic problem. And to be fair we were introduced to Q, Farrar, and Griesbach. Q never smelled quite right to me. I spent much of the 1990's as a religious bookseller and there was some activity by the neo-Griesbachians in those days, so I read their material. Hmmmm. That did not seem quite right to me either. I am ashamed to say, being the good Anglican that I purport to be, that I never went back and read Farrar's original article to check out his approach, as it was usually so summarily dismissed in the literature. When your "Case Against Q" came out some years ago I read it very carefully. At last something that began to feel right. As I have encountered the synoptic texts in my weekly preaching over the years, one of the things I have enjoyed doing as part of my background preparation is to ask myself synoptic questions. Most often this analysis is for my own amusement and doesn't make it into the sermon (unless I'm trying to underscore a particular detail that is important to the way any given Evangelist makes his narrative case). Through this process I have become more and more convinced that the Farrar-Goulder-Goodacre solution is the correct one.

    Thanks for your part in my ongoing education.

    Fr. Dan Graves

  6. I would also be interested in a NTPod that would talk about subjects such as oral tradition (form critics, through Kelber, Dewey, Bailey, etc), and perhaps a an episode on the more recent "eyewitness tradition" studies (Byrskog, Bauckham). I'd be very interested to hear how these approachs fit (or don't fit) with your approach to the synoptic problem.

    Two things I look forward to every week:
    NTPod, and LOST.

    Thanks again,
    Fr. Dan

  7. Have you discussed in any episode why Matthew can't have copied from Luke?

  8. Thanks, Fr. Dan. Good thoughts -- they are topics I want to get to.

    I haven't in the podcast, Johan, no.

  9. Mark, I recently listened to your extended episodes and one question arose. You emphasized the idea of editorial fatigue in your case for Markan priority. I was curious if you could point to any similar circumstances for Luke's use of Matthew? Thanks

  10. Thanks, yes; I think there are several -- see my article "Fatigue in the Synoptics", . All best, Mark

  11. Dr. Goodacre,
    I was glad to discover last night that your criticisms of the Q-hypothesis had remained with me for several months. (I think hearing your voice contributes toward retention.) I was in Bible study reading the Sermon on the Mount, trying to figure out how in the world Matt. 7:12 fits with what has preceded. It seems to fit with 7:1, but there's so much intrusion of other subjects in between, I couldn't make sense of the whole passage. The version in Luke 6:27-38 flows so much more easily (to my mind, at least) because all of the "do good to your enemy" admonitions are collected together. I found myself thinking that it makes good sense that Luke may have rearranged Matthew's beautiful Sermon on the Mount.

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  13. dear prof Goodacre,

    have you considered this hypothesis against Q?