Critical Edition of Q: A Synopsis Including the
Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Mark and Thomas with English, German and French
Translations of Q and Thomas edited by James McConkey Robinson, Paul Hoffmann,
John S. Kloppenborg (Peeters, Leuven) The existence of Q (simply defined as the
non-Markan material common to Matthew and Luke) as a document in the earliest
churches was first hypothesized by C. H. Weisse in 1838. The existence,
character, and significance of Q as a document from the earliest churches has
further been developed since then by numerous scholars, including the two
groundbreaking Fortress Press books by John S. Kloppenborg Verbin:
The Formation of Q (2000) and
Excavating Q (2000).
Q remains a subject of heated debate. The Q material consists mainly of sayings of Jesus, but begins with some sayings of John the Baptist. For the most part narratives are missing; most conspicuously of all is the Passion Narrative.
The critical text edition will include an introduction; the running text of Q; new translations of Q in English, German, and French; the fully formatted Greek text of Q with parallels in Matthew, Luke, Mark, Gospel of Thomas, and other gospels wherever relevant; a concordance; and a bibliography.
Reflecting the work of more than forty scholars in the International Q Project, this book is a cooperative venture between Fortress Press and Peeters Publishers (Leuven, Belgium). This also is the first volume of Hermeneia Supplements.
The Critical Edition of Q is in the form of a Synopsis including the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Mark and Thomas with English, German, and French Translations of Q and Thomas. It is intended to function as a standard research tool for the study of Q in the future.
The text of Q need no longer be just an imaginary black box lurking somewhere behind certain Matthean and Lukan verses as their source, but can emerge as a text in its own right.
The parallel texts are laid out in as nearly a parallel way as possible, so that their interrelationships are readily visible; Eight columns, on facing pages, present, from left to right: (1) any Markan parallel to Matthew; (2) any Matthean doublet; (3) the Matthean text derived from Q; (4) the critical text of Q; (5) the Lukan text derived from Q; (6) any Lukan doublet; (7) any Markan parallel to Luke; (8) any parallel from the Gospel of Thomas. (For details and exceptions, see the section on The Synopsis Format in Eight Columns in the Technical Data that follows the History of Q Research.)
The critical text of Q (column 4) is highlighted in light grey tones for ready reference. It is the result of the teamwork of the International Q Project and has been edited by the General Editors. A critical apparatus beneath the columns lists divergent readings by the International Q Project when it worked through Q as a committer of the whole (19891996), as well as minority views among the General Editors as they carried through the final establishment of the text.
In the few instances when uncertainties about the Matthean or Lukan text influence the establishing of the critical text of Q, a Text Critical Note follows, listing the manuscript evidence provided in the 27th edition of the Novum Testamentum Graece of Nestle‑Aland. (The relevance of this manuscript evidence for the text of Q is discussed in the section on Text Critical Notes in the Technical Data).
The critical text of Q and the Matthean and Lukan texts derived from Q are formatted with numbered sigla that define each variation unit calling for decision in reconstructing the text of Q. Beneath the columns, similarly numbered definitions of each variation unit are provided, to clarify what is involved in each decision. The Databases and Evaluations leading to the decision regarding each variation unit are being published progressively in the multi‑volume companion series Documenta Q; Reconstructions of Q Through Two Centuries of Gospel Research Excerpted, Sorted, and Evaluated (Leuven: Peeters Press, 1996‑).
The fully formatted text of Q in column 4 makes use of the many sigla needed to analyze in detail the decision‑making process. Hence a simplified text of Q, containing only the very few sigla relevant to the degree of certainty ascribed to the critical text, is also presented below the eight parallel columns, with similar highlighting, as a convenience to those whose interest is less in the critical process of reconstructing the text than in its outcome. This Q text is accompanied by English, is, still further below the columns, a retroversion of the Coptic text into Greek, and, when extant, the Greek text of the Oxyrhynchus papyri, each with English, German, and French translations, to facilitate inclusion of this extra‑canonical Sayings Gospel in one's study of the Q text.
The History of Q Research sketches the major turning points in the study of Q, especially as they relate to the present undertaking of producing The Critical Text of Q. A Concordance of Q at the conclusion of the volume provides ready access to specific terms one seeks to locate in the vocabulary of Q.
Documenta Q: Reconstructions of Q through two Centuries of Gospel Research Excerpted, Sorted and Evaluted: Q 4:1-13,16. The Temptations of Jesus---Nazara by Shawn Carruth and James M. Robinson, edited by Christoph Heil (Peeters) Q 11: 2b-4. The Lord's Prayer. by Shawn Carruth, Albrecht Garsky, edited by S.D. Anderson (Peeters) Q 12:49-59. Children against Parents - Judging the Time - Settling out of Court by Albrecht Garsky, Christoph Heil, Thomas Hieke, Josef Amon, edited by Shawn Carruth (Peeters) The existence of Q was first included in a hypothesis to account for the Synoptic data in 1838, by Christian Hermann Weisse in Die evangelische Geschichte kritisch and philosophisch bearbeitet. This has been the predominant view since 1863, when Heinrich Julius Holtzmann published Die synoptischen Evangelien: Ihr Ursprung undgeschichtlicher Charakter. Since then scholars have debated the exact wording of individual sayings in Q in a vast body of literature published in several languages and scattered among journals, commentaries and monographs for over a century. The literature has in effect become overwhelming and hence inaccessible.
Many scholars have made no effort to move behind Matthew's and Luke's divergences to establish the wording of Q itself, but have merely designated verses as those "behind" which the Q text lurked. This is perhaps the most disconcerting effect of the absence of any manuscript evidence for Q itself. For such a procedure leaves Q nowhere really accessible to serious detailed discussion.
While fraught with various uncertainties, the reconstruction of Q is not in fact as hopeless or hypothetical a project as is sometimes imagined. Comparison of Matthew and Luke in the double tradition indicates that there is verbatim or near-verbatim agreement in approximately fifty percent of the words. Additionally, in a significant number of instances, it is reasonably clear that one Evangelist has intervened in Q, for example, transporting a saying to a new location where it can function in a Markan pericope, or furnishing it with a framework that belongs to the conceptual interests of that Evangelist. In such cases, the history of scholarship reflects a near-unanimous verdict in favor of the other Evangelist.
Of course there are cases where no certainty is possible as to a given Q wording. But any actual papyrus has lacunae that can be filled only with a certain degree of probability or not at all, and yet the more nearly certain parts of the text fully deserve publication. Just so the text of Q, though not extant on papyrus, is eminently worthy of being critically reconstructed and published, to the extent this can be done with a reasonable degree of probability.
Often only a passing observation as to which Evangelist altered the Q wording at a single divergence in a given saying has led to the inference that the whole saying was to be reconstructed according to the other Evangelist. But in textual criticism we have learned that one scribal error does not necessarily mean that the same scribe is in error at the next divergent reading.
Hence each text must be divided into variation units delimiting precisely the extent to which a divergence at one point, e.g.. in the choice of a preposition, brings with it of necessity other divergences, e.g.. the case of the prepositions object, and on the other hand the extent to which the surrounding context is not of necessity drawn into that error, i.e.. is not part of that same variation unit. Hence the sayings of Q have here been analyzed into their respective variation units, each of which involved a discrete decision on the part of the diverging Evangelist and hence a discrete decision on our part in the effort to reconstruct the original wording of Q.
When one Evangelist can be seen to have altered the text of Q, this does not imply necessarily that the other Evangelist has preserved the Q reading. Both may in fact have altered Q (just as at times both altered Mark). Hence at each variation unit one must to a degree analyze each Evangelist separately, deciding largely in terms of that Gospel alone whether that Evangelist has preserved or altered the Q text, leaving it a relatively open question, to be analyzed in a logically distinct operation, whether the other Evangelist has or has not retained the Q wording.
The discussion of a given variation unit can best be understood in the chronological sequence of the history of scholarship. For it is not only relevant to establish who first represented a given point of view that then came to be widely cited. It is also important to be able to place a given opinion within the context of the conscious or unconscious assumptions of a given generation or school of thought. Divergences in wording between Matthew and Luke have been explained on the assumption that Jesus on different occasions presented the same saying but with the normal fluctuations of each "performance"; or that Matthew and Luke used different translations of an original Aramaic saying; or that the transmitting communities shaped sayings to fit their varying situations; or that the redactors introduced their own stylistic and theological preferences. Such factors may always deserve consideration, but in a given epoch may have been weighed very differently. This subjectivity of a given generation or school of thought becomes more apparent as one studies the history of the problem in chronological order.
Such considerations have been constitutive in the way the material has here been organized. The texts of Matthew, Q and Luke are presented in parallel columns (along with any Markan and Thomas parallels), with sigla delimiting each variation unit, which in turn is numbered, so that each can be investigated seriatim in the database of scholarly literature that follows. When there are Markan parallels, they are printed in a column to the left of Matthew (when the closer parallel is Matthew) or to the right of Luke (when the closer parallel is Luke), at times both, aligned so as to facilitate the identification of the parallel formulations, but without sigla.
Each variation unit is presented in four sequences, each in chronological order: Those who have presented reasons to the effect that Luke has preserved the text of Q; then those who have argued that Luke has not preserved the text of Q; then those who have advocated Matthew as preserving the text of Q; and then those who have contested that Matthew equals Q. Footnotes to quotations in the database are included only when relevant to the issue at hand. The presentation is basically conservative, in that it is primarily designed to make accessible what the scholarly tradition has produced thus far. But it is also itself critically creative, in that the analysis of the scholarly literature is followed by Evaluations in which members of the project have brought to expression their own conclusions. The user is then free to move forward into one's own creative use of the scholarly tradition.
This undertaking grew out of the Q Seminar of the Society of Biblical Literature (1985-1989), which then was reconstituted by the Research and Publications Committee of the Society of Biblical Literature as the International Q Project. The team of over forty members has met just before the Annual Meeting of SBL at the convention site, and then in second and third annual meetings at the project's centers, Claremont, CA, USA; Bamberg, Germany; and Toronto, Canada. The procedure has been that for each pericope one member collected and sorted the scholarly literature and wrote a first Evaluation. Then one or more other members responded with their own Evaluations. All this was distributed in advance of a project meeting so that the resultant divergences could be discussed and resolved at such a session. The results of each year's meetings appeared in the fall issue of the journal of Biblical Literature the following year (1990-1995, 1997). Thus the critical text of Q became promptly accessible. Documenta Q incorporates this text in the discussion of each variation unit.
From the beginning it was assumed that the project would be open-ended, to stay abreast of ongoing scholarship, much as Bible translations and critical texts of the Greek New Testament are never "final," but are no sooner published than the next revision is already underway. An Editorial Board of the International Q Project is in charge of this continuing revision, of which Documenta Q is itself a major result: The refinement of the formatting of variation units, the supplementing of the scholarly literature, the reformulations of the Evaluations, the General Editors' establishment of a revised critical text (to be published also in a single volume), and the Managing Editors' publication of this massive database in individual volumes of Documenta Q, are the fruit of this continuing research.
The future volumes are to appear as they become ready, though preferably in their Q sequence, from the discussion of the problem of an Incipit and the sayings of John in Q 3, to the conclusion of Q with the prophecy of the judging of the twelve tribes of Israel by Jesus' followers (Q 22:18,20). (Lucan chapter and verse numeration is used as a convenience and a mere convention.)
It is hoped that Documenta Q, to be supplemented in due time with a machine-readable updating, will become a standard tool to facilitate all Q research of the future.
The work of the International Q Project has been aided by grants from Claremont Graduate University, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Society of Biblical Literature's Research and Publications Committee, for all of which support we are very grateful.
The critical text of Q used here is that adopted by the General Editors, presupposing the work of the International Q Project. The original Evaluations have been updated and those of the General Editors composed in an informal dialogue of those involved. When the critical text differs from the decision of the International Q Project published in the JBL, the original decision is recorded in the critical apparatus with the abbreviation IQP and the date of the meeting at which the decision was made, in conformity with the formatting in this volume. Minority views among the General Editors are also recorded in the critical apparatus, identified by initials: JMR, PH, or JSK.
The Greek text is that of the Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th edition 1993, edited by Barbara Aland et al., Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart. We thank Prof. Dr. Barbara Aland and Dr. Joachim Lange for their cooperation in this undertaking.
Parallels from the Gospel of Thomas have been provided in Coptic and with Greek, English and German translations by the Berliner Arbeitskreis fur koptisch-gnostische Schriften under the responsibility of Hans-Gebhard Bethge, published in the 15th edition of the Synopsis Quattuor Evangeliorum (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, 1996), edited by Barbara Aland. The coordinated French translation is provided by Paul-Hubert Poirier, leader of the Bibliotheque Copte de Nag Hammadi. We wish to express to all involved our appreciation for permission to make use of these texts.
Just prior to the Bibliography at the conclusion of the volume the resultant critical text of Q 12:49-59 is printed, without the many formatting sigla that may well distract the general reader, though with the sigla indicating instances of serious uncertainty in establishing the text. Then this Greek text is followed by English, German and French translations, with the English and German provided by the General Editors, and the French by Mme Isabelle ChappuisJuillard, to whom we would like to express our gratitude for this assistance.
Q: A Reconstruction and Commentary by Harry T. Fleddermann (Biblical Tools and Studies: Peeters) The first major commentary on the Sayings Source Q, the fruit of a lifelong intensive research on Q, the volume serves as a thorough introduction to the field of Q. studies. Fleddermann's commentary is written in critical dialogue with past and current scholarship and includes a substantial introduction and general treatment of all critical issus in Q studies because of its thoroughness in citation and measured new ones of its conclusions and summaries of arguments. This is the first volume in the new series 'Biblical Tools and Studies', edited by G. Van Belle, J. Verheyden, and B. Doyle
Excerpt: The last fifty years have witnessed a remarkable renaissance in Q studies with scholars probing every aspect of the Q hypothesis from the existence and extent of Q to the reconstruction of the original text and the place of the document in the history of early Christianity. The time seems ripe for a major commentary on Q to consolidate and extend the discussion of this important document that Matthew and Luke incorporated into their gospels. Q: A Reconstruction and Commentary contains an argued reconstruction of the original Greek text of Q and a commentary on the reconstructed text along with an introduction that explores all of the main questions that swirl around the Q hypothesis.
Work on this reconstruction and commentary began over twenty-five years ago, and it has progressed slowly. The texts that overlap Mark and Q first attracted my interest in graduate school when I was writing a dissertation of Mark's christology. After the dissertation was completed I began working on the overlap texts in earnest, but I soon discovered that to reconstruct the Q form of each overlap text I needed a better understanding of Q as a whole, so I began pursuing both the reconstruction of all of Q as well as the comparison of Q and Mark. My study of the overlap texts appeared in 1995, and since then I have been working on the reconstruction of all of Q with a commentary on the reconstructed text. A sabbatical in the academic year of 2000-2001 allowed me time to write the commentary, and a leave of absence in the spring of 2004 enabled me to complete the introduction and revise the entire manuscript.
Many people have helped me along the way. Once again I want to acknowledge my
The document we call Q vanished shortly after it was written but not before
Matthew and Luke incorporated it into their gospels. As far as anyone knows no
one has seen a copy of Q for almost two thousand years, nor will this situation
change unless the sands of the
The argument for Q begins by establishing the existence of Q. The existence of Q rests, in turn, on five arguments which form part of the overall argument for Q. The first three arguments – the verbal agreements, the agreement in order, and the doublets – are classical arguments that dominated the discussion of Q when the hypothesis was first formulated at the end of the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth century.' The fourth and fifth arguments – the priority discrepancy and the internal coherence – are not really new. They have long served as subsidiary arguments or implicit assumptions in the discussion, but they have played an increasingly important role in the current debate and they merit explicit formulation. The arguments for Q are extremely powerful. Besides establishing the existence of Q, they rule out other explanations of the double tradition and they enable us to draw some conclusions about the nature of Q.
Since Q contained the material that Matthew and Luke did not derive from Mark, we should be able to describe the extent of Q by listing the double tradition passages, preferably in Luke's order because Luke preserves the original order better than Matthew. Scholars have frequently drawn up such lists, but the lists do not agree in all details because problems arise in three areas — disputed double tradition passages, the possible presence of Q material in Matthean and Lucan Sondergut, and the extent of the Mark-Q overlap. I will first propose a list of Q passages and then discuss the problems in turn.
No matter what else we might want to say about the document we should begin by identifying Q as a literary work. Although such a statement might seem too obvious to mention, all too often scholars approach Q as an artifact important not so much in itself but in terms of something else like the historical Jesus or the history of early Christianity.' No literary work thrives in an environment in which readers approach it not for itself but for something else. As a literary work Q possesses a recognizable literary profile. Furthermore, Q seeks to persuade, so Q also has rhetorical features. Scholars like Holtzmann, Harnack, and Manson tried to articulate the literary features of Q and even at times to distinguish them from the features of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.2 Despite their work the discussion of the literary features of Q remains an underdeveloped area of Q studies primarily because the lack of a complete reconstruction of Q has not allowed a thorough study of the literary features to proceed. This chapter will study Q's literary characteristics and identify the main features of the author's style, what we can call the style markers of Q.
Q's theology flows from the gospel genre. As we have seen two questions
inform the gospel genre, "Who is Jesus?" and "What does it mean to be Jesus'
disciple?" The author of Q attempts to answer the questions by writing Q, and
every part of the gospel contributes to the answers. In keeping with the Q's
aesthetic that values symbolic and metaphorical reasoning, the author uses two
main symbols — the Son of Man and the kingdom of God — to help work out the
contours of the answers, but every pericope has some insight to offer even when
these symbols do not appear. As eschatological symbols both the Son of Man and
If Q ever contained any references to the place where it was written, to its date or author, these references all vanished when Matthew and Luke incorporated Q into their gospels. We can only infer Q's original language, its date, its place of origin, the milieu in which it appeared, and its author and readers by analyzing the reconstructed text.
Q comes to us mediated through the gospels of Matthew and Luke. How did each of the two evangelists who preserved Q incorporate Q into their gospels? Mark and Thomas contain some speeches, sayings, and parables that we also find in Q. How do Mark and Thomas relate to Q? Jesus speaks throughout Q, raising the question of the relationship between Q and the historical Jesus. Does Q allow us to hear the voice of the historical Jesus? Scholars have also suspected that a long process of transmission links Jesus and the final form of Q. How did this process unfold? We turn now to these questions.The argument for Q remains incomplete without a reconstruction of the original text and a commentary on the reconstructed text. Discussions of Q often appear hazy when they do not rest on an adequately reconstructed text because the reader constantly wonders whether the discussion really deals with Q or with Matthew's and Luke's thought. A reconstruction also makes it possible for the study of the literary features of Q to progress beyond generalities. No area of Q studies would fail to benefit from a base in a solidly reconstructed Greek text. Once achieved, a reconstructed text cries out for a commentary. 'What kind of a writing does the reader encounter? What does the text mean? These questions need answers.
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