Friday, February 12, 2010

NT Pod Extended Episode 3: The Synoptic Problem 3

This is the third of the extended episodes of the NT Pod, and it is part three of our discussion of the Synoptic Problem. It is a slightly edited recording of a class on the topic given as as part of for an Introduction to the New Testament class at Duke University (February 2010).

It is 53 minutes long. Feel free to leave your comments below.



NT Pod Extended Episode 3: Synoptic Problem 3: Q (mp3)

NT Pod Extended Episode 3: Synoptic Problem 3: Q (mp3) (Alternative location)

Lecture Handout: Q (PDF)

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

27 comments:

  1. I'm surprised that there aren't many comments up already from teachers of the New Testament all over the country, explaining just how it is their arguments for Q have been misrepresented and distorted quite unfairly, even perversely. Surely if the prevalent theory is so strong those who propound it won't take this attack lying down, and can quickly dispatch Goodacre's arguments.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I prefer the term sondergut instead of "Q". If you read what is alleged to be Q material, you do not get the feeling that it was one single source. For me this in itself is a big argument against "the source". So the Farrer theory (or something similar) could be the correct approach. However, one would still have to explain why Luke didn't adopt some of the material in Matthew. There are probably many possible explanations, and I can think of at least one right away: Luke didn't use a "final" version of Matthew. The scribes writing (or copying) Matthew kept redacting (or making errors), and Luke worked from an intermediate version of Matthew, which could also explain, why Luke has at times a more primitive reading. It could also explain why Luke doesn't have the Magi, beyond Luke's perceived gentile partialities: The Matthew scribes simply added their Nativity sondergut (incl. the Magi) at a later date. But all that is not enough, I fear, because there's also material in Luke that is not in Matthew or Mark, which is why—although I do not reject the possibility that Luke knew Matthew (or some version of Matthew)—I think there were additional sources that at least Luke worked with. But if Luke had additional sources, then the question is opened again if also Matthew knew those sources (or similar ones or alternate versions thereof), but at the same time having a different tendency on what passages of this sondergut to use in order to extend the original Gospel. In any case, I just don't think that there was one single document, the "Quelle", next to GMark. That's a very unlikely hypothesis. I hope I'm making some sense. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. (I have to add that when I refer to sondergut, I don't mean the traditional definition of the term.)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for your comments, James. I don't think that I was unfair in that class and I am sorry to hear that you think so. Of course here I am summarizing arguments that I have made in other places more fully, but there is certainly no intention to distort or to be unfair in the summarizing.

    Thanks for the interesting comments, divusjulius.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I didn't make myself clear. I quite agree you were more than fair, and only meant to suggest that I doubt if those who adhere to the Q hypothesis can answer your arguments. But I'd like to see them try, because frankly I think that some very able and prominent scholars have skimped this part of the their courses and texts and relied too much on what they were taught before your work. They should listen hard to you and see if they can respond adequately. I believe that if they give your arguments their due, they will have to revise their lectures and their texts.

    I am refraining from naming names--I have two or three in mind--but I'm sure they can be guessed. One is a Midwesterner and two are Southerners, one of whom resides just ....

    I think the persistence and prevalence of the Q hypothesis is an intellectual scandal, and quite share the sense of astonishment and indignation that your lecture communicated.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I want to offer two burden-of-proof arguments against Q.
    1, As remarked by Goodacre in his lecture, Occam’s Razor applies to the Q hypothesis. Entities are multiplied, one may fairly presume needlessly. The most formidable of proponents of Q, Klopppenborg, complains that the priority of Mark is no less hypothetical than is the existence of Q. But the existence of Mark (as a document) is not in dispute. And as a text its existence is no more hypothetical than is the text of the Iliad or Oedipus Rex or Tacitus’ Annals. It took no ingenuity or application of the power of reason and inference to discover the existence of Mark, whereas Q was conjured entirely by inference, ingenuity and reason. Mark has been extant as a complete document since the fourth century. The notion that Q existed sometime in the first century was the product of Schleiermacher’s interpretation of Papias’ reference to Matthew’s compilation of the “logia of the Lord.”

    2. As Kloppenborg handsomely remarks, “The case for Q rests on the implausibility of Luke’s direct use of Matthew” [or, as is concededly implausible and seldom held, of Matthew’s direct use of Luke] That is to say, the case rests on the contention that a superbly skilled writer and masterly story teller should be supposed unable or disinclined to rework the materials presented to him by Matthew. It seems implausible to suppose that Luke was incapable of such redaction, so it must be supposed that he was disinclined. It’s not disputed, however, that he did rework Mark. The supposition is then, that in recounting the sayings--parables, teachings--of Jesus, Luke could only have shied away from revising what he found in Matthew. But why would a strong-minded, highly creative, and immensely gifted writer have done so? What present-day reader of Luke would dare presume that he was not eager and able to stamp what he read of Matthew with his own impress? Not to say here and now that he was not, but to say that the burden of proof lies on those who maintain that he was not.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks, James. It looks like I misread your first comment!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Finding these three 50 minute programmes on the Synoptic Problem really useful and very well structured. Just wondered whether you were planning to do something similar for other lectures in your undergraduate course - you mention two or three lectures on Mark's Gospel in one of these - something on the line of Dale Martin's excellent 24 part lecture series from from Yale?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks, John. I have had so much good feedback on the extended episodes that I am inclined to do more. The extended episodes do take a bit longer to edit, but one thing that occurs to me is that I could release them over a longer period of time. I don't think I'd be able to keep up with editing them and releasing them as I walk through the course.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hear hear. The extended episodes are great. I even got my wife to listen to one. My 3 month old, however, fell asleep. That's a good thing, though. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks very much. Delighted to send your three month old to sleep.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I loved the 3 lectures. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks, Bob. I hope to have some more in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Here's another request for extended episodes! I would love to hear the entire class edited or no!

    It would also be interesting to see your syllabus to aid self-study, not that I want to deny Duke its proper tuition! Is that be asking too much? :D

    Lastly, your presentation is more casual in the extended sets. You slip from your NTPod Oxford accent into your more natural regional accent. Worcestershire, perhaps? Not that the regular NTPods aren't, but the classes make for quite enjoyable listening. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks, Jeff. Recordings are available for a lot of my classes, but there is a lot of extraneous material (discussion of mid-term assignments etc.). It doesn't take too long to edit them, though, so I will release more in the future, as time allows. Interesting thought about the syllabus. "NT Pod Oxford accent"?! Actually, I'm from the East Midlands.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you for your helpful insights. I have one question I did not hear addressed: why assume that Matthew predates Luke? Could it be the Matthew used Luke? I assume you have reasons for this assumption, but I didn't hear them addressed in your lecture. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks for the interesting question. I have sketched an answer here:

    http://ntweblog.blogspot.com/2009/09/why-not-matthews-use-of-luke.html

    ReplyDelete
  18. I've just listened again to these episodes. Thanks so much for them.

    It occurred to me in your discussion of why Luke might change Matthews account of "poor in spirit" to "poor" might be on a theological basis. If Luke saw Jesus' comments here reflecting the tone of Isaiah 61:1 (commissioned to bring good news to the poor) he might very well think that "poor" was a better representation of what Jesus had said and what his commission was.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks, EK. Yes, absolutely. And just what Luke focuses on in 4.16.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I am new to this blog and have thoroughly enjoyed listening to your podcast--particularly these extended episodes! Thank you for making these studies available to the general public--I'd love to see more of these full classes on your blog over time.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks. I do intend to do extended eps. again in the future but it depends on my getting decent recordings of classes, and that's not always straightforward.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thank you for these excellent extended episodes. Hearing the lectures have been a nice repetition after reading The Case Against Q.

    You are a very engaging and entertaining speaker.

    I'm a new reader/listener after Richard Carrier recommended your book as presenting the best evidence for Q.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Many thanks for your kind words.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I got an idea concernig this Matthean "poor in spirit".
    Maybe Matthew added "in spirit" because he opposed to Ebionites and he didn't want this passage sounded like pro-ebionite...
    And Luke didn't care about it, and took original version, just "poor"?

    ReplyDelete
  25. I know John is not a synoptic. Nevertheless, concerning the renaming of Simon as Peter/Cephas, what do we then call the parallel between Matthew 16:13-20 and John 1:40-42 if not a 'synoptic problem?'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The name change is only common between these two and further the oral tradition reads a primary.

      Delete