I started Mark Goodacre's The Case Against Q. Many scholars believe in Markan Priority and Q. Markan Priority states that the Gospel of Mark came first and that the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke used Mark's Gospel as a source. But there are things (particularly sayings) that the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke have in common, which are not in the Gospel of Mark. According to many scholars, Matthew and Luke are getting that stuff from a source called "Q".
I first learned about Q in an undergraduate New Testament
class. Students acted as if the concept of a Q source challenged their
faith, perhaps because it was totally new to them, or they thought that
Matthew and Luke drawing from a Q source would contradict their Gospels
being records of their eyewitness testimony to Jesus (even though Luke
explicitly says in his prologue that he's drawing from sources). As I
think about how I will teach certain religion classes once I get a
teaching position, I envision myself telling my students about Q in an
Intro to New Testament course. But I'd also like to communicate to my
students that Q is not the only game in town when it comes to New
Testament scholarship. Consequently, I decided to read Goodacre's book
in order to see what a case against Q looks like.
In my reading
so far, Goodacre has referred to two challenges against the existence of
a Q source. First, there is the Griesbach Hypothesis, which states
"that Matthew's is the first Gospel, that Luke used Matthew and that
Mark used them both" (page 10). The late William Farmer was a major
proponent of this view, and Mark's motive under this hypothesis is
sometimes held to be an attempt to unify "within the collective
consciousness of the church the diverse and sometimes diverging accounts
of Matthew and Luke" (page 29). There is no Markan Priority in this
view, nor is there a Q, for the commonalities between Matthew and Luke
that are absent from Mark are attributed to Luke using Matthew as a
source, not to a Q source.
Second, there is the idea that Matthew
used Mark and other sources, while creating some sayings of Jesus, and
that Luke then used Matthew and Mark. A major proponent of this view is
Michael Goulder. Unlike the Griesbach Hypothesis, this particular view
holds to Markan Priority, the notion that Mark's Gospel came first.
But it does not believe in Q because the commonalities between Matthew
and Luke that are not in Mark are attributed to Luke using Matthew as a
source. Goodacre supports a modified version of this view, one that
does not ascribe to Matthew as much of a creative role.
spends pages defending Markan Priority because he thinks that
scholarship tends to lump Markan Priority together with Q, when there
are scholars who believe in Markan Priority while not accepting the
existence of Q. Goodacre wants to look at Q on its own merits or lack
thereof, apart from the question of Markan Priority, and so he affirms
and defends his support for Markan Priority at the outset.
stop here. There's more in what I have read in this book so far than
what I have covered in this blog post----such as the question of how we
can tell that one source is using another one, rather than vice versa. I
may get into that issue in coming posts.