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A Quarter-Century Without "Q"

by Edward C. Hobbs (*)

This article first appeared in Perkins School of Theology Journal 33/4 (1980), pp. 10-19
It is reproduced here with the author's permission.
The numbers in bold refer to the original page numbers

The world of New Testament scholarship was in process of settling down to peace once more, after the upheavals and unrest provoked by the discoveries at Qumran less than a decade earlier. The impact of Nag Hammadi was still in the future, the finds being shrouded by cloak-and-dagger intrigue not unknown in that part of the world (or this). Suddenly, it seemed to many, the peace was shattered by the appearance of several bombshell-types of books in Germany, heralding the Athene-like birth of the discipline known now as Redaktionsgeschichte. (1) At about the same time, a quarter-century ago, a book was published in England which contained a firecracker, not a bomb. (2) The firecracker was hurled into the placid scene of source-criticism, often then called "literary criticism," where things had seemed stable for a very long time. But that firecracker seemed to have landed into the worst -- or best -- of places, a cache of fireworks; for before long, matters thought settled were ablaze and exploding on all sides. The particular scene-within-a-scene was that of Gospel source criticism, and it was the assured result of the nineteenth century, the Two-Source Hypothesis, which was being attacked. One of the two sources, the renowned "Q", alias "Second Source," alias "Lambda," alias "Logia," was challenged as a fiction -- and an unnecessary fiction, at that. The firecracker suggested that we dispense with the unnecessary fiction, since it was no longer needed, Gospel scholarship having come of age. (3) The author was not even a full-time New Testament scholar, being one of those widely-gifted oddities found around Oxford University. He was Austin M. Farrer, and his article, "On Dispensing With Q," appeared in the memorial volume of R. H. Lightfoot edited by Dennis Nineham, and intended as a Festschrift before his death in 1953. Studies in the Gospels was its harmless title.

It was not as though there had been no challenges to the Two-Source Hypothesis. There were such challenges, with some regularity; but they were usually directed against [11] the Priority of Mark Hypothesis itself, mostly in favor of the priority of Matthew or of the priority of a lost proto-Mark or proto-Matthew. (4) Until the lack of necessity for Q was widely perceived, such attacks seemed doomed for obscurity.

Nor was it really the case that Farrer's actual proposal was new. There was a history behind it, which Farrer may or may not have known. The foundation was laid in the year 1880, when a doctoral dissertation was published in Bonn, entitled Hat der dritte Evangelist den kanonischen Matthäus benutzt? (5) The dissertation was written at Kaiser-Wilhelms-Universität in Strassburg under the direction of no other than H. J. Holtzmann; its author was Eduard Simons [not von Simons as he is sometimes cited]. The position taken by Simons was that the minor agreements of Luke with Matthew in the Markan material, against the text of Mark, demand the hypothesis that Luke had used Matthew as a secondary source. That is, Matthew used Mark and Lambda (Holtzmann's term for what we know as Q), and Luke used Mark and Lambda as well -- plus a secondary use of Matthew, which also explains some of the apparent overlaps of Mark and Q. He did not draw what might seem the obvious conclusion: that if Luke had seen Matthew, the basis for the Q hypothesis collapses; instead, he maintained the importance of Lambda (Q) as a second main source for Matthew and Luke, with Matthew as a subsidiary source for Luke. (6) It has been suggested that Holtzmann was subsequently persuaded by Simons' arguments, (7) presumably on the basis of his favorable notices of it in TLZ the following year, (8) and in his historical critical introduction to the N.T. in 1885. (9) However, this seems to be the wrong direction of influence, for not only did Simons write the dissertation under Holtzmann's direction, having studied with him for six semesters (according to his own testimony published after Holtzmann's death (10) ), but Holtzmann himself had published just such a view, though briefly expressed, two years before Simons' dissertation was completed. (11)

Why, then, did Simons' work have so little effect -- to wit, no effect? Most answers to "Why?"-questions are guesswork; in this case the guessing is more than usually tenuous. My own view is that it was because Simons did not receive any appointment to a faculty until 1893, having been a pastor during those intervening years. In 1893 he went to Bonn as Privat-Dozent, in 1902 to Berlin as Ausserordentlich Professor, then finally to Marburg as Ordentlich Professor in 1911, where he remained until his retirement [12] in 1920, two years before his death. (12) But none of these positions were in New Testament. His faculty posts were in Practical Theology; and his publications are entirely in other fields than New Testament, with the exception of his editing a small work on First Thessalonians by Holtzmann, just after the latter's death in 1910. (13) Obviously, Simons lacked the only secure base from which to promote his own views: a chair in New Testament in a university. And Holtzmann's endorsement of the possibility that Luke had read Matthew, without suggesting that Q thereby became unnecessary, appeared in too trivial a position in too secondary a work by the great scholar to call for much attention. Simons' work was noted occasionally by later scholars (such as Vincent Henry Stanton (14) ), but its full import was unnoticed.

The notion that Q is altogether unnecessary, once it is rendered intelligible that Luke had seen Matthew, seems to have appeared on the scene in America. James Hardy Ropes, professor at Harvard, formulated it in a series of lectures delivered shortly before his death in 1933, and published in the following year as The Synoptic Gospels. (15) The view itself is stated, and Ropes repeatedly affirms it, though with some diffidence, in these lectures. Presumably he expressed the same views earlier in his classes at Harvard. Of his influence we have at least one visible trace, a trace certainly gazed upon by many thousands of students over the years: Morton Scott Enslin, in his 1938 textbook Christian Beginnings, (16) devoted most of his chapter on the Synoptic Problem to the Ropes solution, that Matthew used Mark, and Luke used Mark and Matthew. Enslin was a student of Ropes, and developed his views five years after Ropes' death, in two and a half pages of concentrated discussion. (17) But there was still very little detailed analysis of the supposed objections to the possibility that Luke worked with a copy of Matthew in hand, and despite the book's great and long-term sales, it had little effect on the course of the discussion in the years following.

And so it came to pass that Farrer's article appeared in 1955, from an Oxford setting where the Streeter version of the Two-Source Hypothesis was orthodoxy itself, even if the Streeter elaboration into even more sources was slightly less revered. In a little more than thirty pages, he undermined not the Q Hypothesis, but the foundation on which the Q Hypothesis had been constructed -- to wit, the supposed impossibility of Luke having read Matthew. A restatement of his case is long overdue, and is in order on an occasion of honoring his work.

Why does the Q Hypothesis exist at all? If the materials common to all three Synoptic Gospels are accounted for by the Marcan Priority Hypothesis, we are left with much common material in Matthew and Luke, as well as numerous "minor" agreements [13] against Mark in material apparently derived from Mark. What is the natural explanation of this common material? Surely not a hypothetical lost document, but rather that one of them had seen the other's book. Only when the latter explanation has proved untenable would we think of postulating the former (56). (18) If the two Gospels had come from different literary regions, so that the likelihood of either having ever seen the other is remote, perhaps a lost source would spring to mind. But no such thing is the case; they both come from an area where Mark's Gospel was known. Perhaps, however, there might be other cases in which it would be reasonable to hypothesize a lost source. Indeed, Farrer says, there are such. If the passages common to documents A and B have a strong distinctive flavor, unlike the rest of either A or B, and if these passages when removed from A and B "cry aloud to be strung together in one order rather than in any other; and that being so strung together they make up a satisfyingly complete little book, with beginning, middle and end" -- then indeed a common source might be postulated, without requiring arguments against use of either by the other (57). However, Farrer points out, neither of these two suppositions will hold. No reconstruction of Q has gained anything like overwhelming acceptance, and "no proposed reconstruction is very firmly patterned." If this is defended on the ground that Q may have in fact been somewhat shapeless, one thereby undermines the claim that Q was a single distinct work with cohesion or shape. As for the first supposition, the supposed distinctive character of the common materials, Farrer agrees that the Q materials in Matthew do indeed have a special character, though not one which marks them off from the rest of Matthew. That special character is "Luke-pleasingness"! Luke's Gospel does not show much interest, for example, in the details of the anti-Pharisaic controversy; he does not, therefore, have much interest in those parts of Matthew which offer that detail. To postulate a rabbinic-toned source for the materials unrelated to Luke's purposes as they are displayed in his Gospel, but found in Matthew, and then argue for another source which is non-rabbinic and popular, will give us an M and a Q, but not very high marks in literary criticism.    ". . . Luke let alone what he did not care for, viz., the rabbinic parts of Matthew."

Perhaps, however, we recall that at some times and places certain types of books are plentiful -- for example, Victorian novels -- and that literary resemblances might well be accounted for by supposing that they derived from a lost common novel. So many Victorian novels have sunk into oblivion, and they were so plentiful at one time, that such a supposition is plausible. Can we indeed claim that situation for Q? Hardly! Such a document is apparently unique -- at least we have no evidence for other such documents. Streeter's M and L will not do, for they are simply further props to the Q hypothesis. Q would be the unique. Does Luke's preface not claim that books like Q existed prior to his writing? No; for he says that they dealt with "the things fulfilled among us," which means above all the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Will a miscellaneous collection of teachings serve the purpose, prefaced by John's preaching, Jesus' baptism, and his wilderness temptation? The narrative beginning is weighty indeed; but it "peters out in miscellaneous oracles." No Passion, no Resurrection -- not even any ending. This will hardly fit Luke's description, which sounds suspiciously like Gospels such as Mark's, for example (57-58). "To postulate Q is to postulate the unevidenced and the unique."

A final argument for the unevidenced and unique Q might be made on a priori grounds: Q is what was needed around the year 60. The Passion was recited as a set [14] piece; but the teaching was too miscellaneous to retain in the memory as a whole, so a written manual was needed -- a manual which needed no Passion because that was already committed to memory. Will this square with the Q which is postulated? Hardly! Q is not a manual of teaching. It has a strongly narrative exordium, with narrative incidents interspersed elsewhere. And this narrative opening possesses a highly symbolic character in the ordering of its events. The sequence of baptism in the sea, three-fold temptation in the wilderness with appropriate verses of Deuteronomy cited at each, and proceeding to a mountain where teaching of special weight is delivered, is surely a sequence too reminiscent of the Exodus sequence to be other than purposeful symbolism (58-59). The meaning and purpose of such symbolism is not easily discerned in the structure of Q, if such there be. But it certainly has a most natural place in Matthew's Gospel, where it continues and finds its fulfilment. If this order were created by the Evangelist, it makes sense. But what is its function in Q?

Four other possible arguments for the plausibility of Q are given, and shown to be wanting; they are all trivial, and are not generally paraded out in the Q-trials. Some of them have gained a place in Streeter's canon. But at this point Farrer comes to one of the powerful arguments against Q: the so-called "minor agreements of Matthew and Luke against Mark." The prima facie case here is against any view other than that either Matthew or Luke had a copy of the other before him. But such a conclusion, though fairly well demonstrated by Simons in 1880, could not be allowed to stand by the defenders of the Q hypothesis. Farrer examines the classic statement on this question, that by Streeter. How does Streeter reduce the force of the argument? By sub-dividing them into six groups, and finding a special explanation for each; thus no single group of agreements is very large, and no single explanation is required to cover many cases.

Three of the six are imagined scribal errors which assimilated texts to each other. Independent but identical emendations, on stylistic or doctrinal grounds, cover two more groups of passages. One troublesome group remains, and they are the cases where Q is expanded to overlap Mark, thus solving cases beyond salvage on the "scribal error" and "independent emendation" bases. As Farrer says, " . . . it is a plea against apparent evidence . . . other things being equal, we should accept the evidence and drop the plea." (61-62)

The problem for earlier scholars, Farrer points out, was that other things were by no means equal. Q was necessitated by the supposition that Luke cannot have seen Matthew's Gospel. That supposition, in turn, rested on an assumption about the way in which the Evangelists worked, an assumption which severely limited our view of their creativity and literary powers, and necessitated written source documents for virtually every line of new material. This assumption has undergone gradual but great change, and that change has resulted in an understanding of the Evangelists' creativity which eliminates the grounds for denying Luke access to Matthew. If Luke can have seen both Matthew and Mark, and still written the Gospel he did, the Q hypothesis is otiose, a needless superfluity. Can that have been the case? It is this possibility to which Farrer devotes the greater part of his essay.

What are the reasons given for the impossibility of Luke's having read Matthew? Farrer takes up five chief ones which have been adduced.

(1) "There are texts in St. Matthew which St. Luke would not have omitted, had he been acquainted with them." But this supposes that Luke's purpose was to collect everything he could lay his hands on into an anthology, one which omitted no "particular striking blossom." But if Luke was not an [15] anthologist but an architect, then he would of course omit whatever was not serviceable to his architecture (63).

(2) "Where St. Matthew and St. Luke give the same saying of Christ, St. Luke's wording sometimes has the more primitive appearance." But "there is scarcely an instance in which we can determine priority of form without invoking questionable assumptions." Case after case is examined, with the result that both Matthew's and Luke's versions can be seen to fit neatly into their contexts in both form and wording; the rhetoric in each case is not plainly "primitive" versus "advanced" or "developed," but obedience to the logic of the Evangelist's thought. The renowned Lord's Prayer example is handled equally easily: It may be the case that Luke's version is more primitive in its form than Matthew's; but this only means that the hallowed words current in Luke's area were known and prayed in more primitive form than they were in Matthew's area. Why should Luke use the fuller form simply because he finds it in a source-book, when his community knows it well and treasures it in the form given in his Gospel? Our recent and diverse changes in the text of this very prayer in liturgical revisions have shown us how hard it is to make changes in such usage, whatever the authority of their source (63-65).

(3) Luke handles Mark by following his text continuously over long stretches; but he does not handle Matthew this way, if indeed he saw Matthew -- instead, he divides Matthew into small pieces and makes a fresh mosaic of them. But this makes a curious assumption about the process. "To follow two sources with equal regularity is difficult." That Luke threw over Matthew's order in favor of Mark's can hardly be surprising; he needed one or the other for a skeleton, and he chose Mark. To change the image, he laid his plan on Marcan foundations, and quarried Matthew for materials to build up his house (63, 65).

(4) "The order in which St. Luke places the material common to himself and to St. Matthew is mostly less appropriate and less coherent than the order it has in St. Matthew." The answer to this is that it may be so, but it proves nothing. If Luke's alterations to Matthew's structure do not please us as well as Matthew's original structure, Luke would not be the first planner to have done such a thing. Luke's alterations do not have to be literary improvement; all they have to be is capable of attracting Luke! Were he satisfied with Matthew as it stood, he would scarcely have written a new Gospel (63, 65).

(5) In Matthew, the common (Q) material is placed in Marcan paragraphs; Luke places this material elsewhere. This reason is to a certain extent true: Luke indeed usually does not give non-Marcan material the same setting Matthew does. But it is not the case that he transfers it to other Marcan settings. Rather, he follows Mark without these Matthean additions, and places Matthew's additions elsewhere by themselves. This is a striking method, confirming neither hypothesis without further explanation. Farrer gives his explanation in the fifth section of the essay (63, 66).

Half of Farrer's essay is devoted to an examination of Luke in some detail, referring back frequently to Matthew and to the plausibility attaching to the possibility that Matthew lay before Luke while he composed his Gospel (66-82, §§iii & iv). This lengthy examination serves the function of filling in the gap in earlier suggestions or arguments that Luke had seen Matthew: the gap of showing that Luke indeed makes sense as a critical re-working and re-writing of Mark with the benefit of a copy of Matthew as an additional source. That is, in addition to the simple logical argument against the Q-supposition, and to the refutation of contentions of impossibility laid against Luke's use of Matthew, Farrer adds an interpretation of the structure and meaning of Luke which provides credibility to the case for Luke's use of both Mark and Matthew. The question [16] of Streeter has haunted us: How can Luke have looked at Matthew, and done what he has done? There is a curious non-sequitur in this question; it supposes that an author who re-uses and re-works material from another author will only do so when the result is patently superior to the original, in the eye of any observer. But cannot Luke have done something which pleased him more, and pleased many readers more, without pleasing us more? Our task is to understand Luke's plan, not to pronounce it superior to that of his predecessor. And Farrer offers to show that plan in relation to Matthew's work, and make sense of it as a reworking of those materials onto a Marcan foundation.

Summarization of this large part of his essay would make an over-long essay of this one. It must suffice to mention a few important observations made by Farrer. The non-Marcan material in Luke is not simply in strips; one strip is vastly longer than the others, and it corresponds to a part of the Gospel noticed by almost every reader -- the prolonged lull in the action between chapters 10 and 18. This section is used to present the greater part of Jesus' teaching, at the cost of a near-standstill in the narrative. Fresh episodes break the long teaching section, but nothing much happens. It is not an unqualified success. But it allows Luke to present his vision of the gospel according to his own inspiration. His inspiration seems to have been devoted to novelty of combination: every episode in this section "puts together two texts at the least which had not been combined before, and the new combination reveals the point that St. Luke is specially inspired to make" (68). The fact that "every one of the short episodes in Luke 10:25-18:11 is composite" explains much of Luke's so-called "odd" handling of Matthew -- that is, his drawing materials from more than one passage in Matthew into a single episode, to focus on his concern rather than Matthew's. Example after example of this device is examined by Farrer, showing clearly the systematic character of Matthew's materials in such different fashion from his treatment of Mark. He then turns to examine the other non-Marcan "strips." The same mode of analysis is followed, exhibiting the new sense achieved by Luke through his re-working of his two sources. Farrer rejects, rightly, the question as to why Luke did what he did; no one knows that, but we can know what he did and what he meant by it.

What did he do with Matthew's overall structure? Here Farrer achieves a kind of tour-de-force. Matthew's hexateuchal organization is briefly summarized (it had been presented much more fully in his book on Matthew and Mark (19) ), and then he argues that the plan is neither adopted nor rejected by Luke, but allowed to stand with the weight of the teaching redistributed, placing the bulk of it in the Deuteronomic position. A short sermon at the foot of the Mountain in chapter 6, following Matthew's plan, sets the stage for a Second Law, much fuller and following the structure of Deuteronomy itself. (This part of Luke's method is examined in detail in another essay in the same volume, immediately preceding Farrer's: Christopher F. Evans, "The Central Section of St. Luke's Gospel," pp. 37-53. Evans shows in detail the remarkable coincidence in the sequence of Deuteronomy and of Luke's central section.) It is this focus on Deuteronomy which accounts for much of Luke's repeated mining of the Matthean text for materials suitable to his own teaching section. Further confirmation of another portion of this Lucan plan was offered two years later, in "St. Luke's Genesis," by M. D. Goulder and M. L. Sanderson, who showed Luke's success in constructing a much more detailed and interesting Genesis than Matthew had done. (20)

Farrer concludes with a surprising point, [17] for that time. The result of the abandonment of the Q Hypothesis will be to allow us to see Matthew's creativity better. Matthew had a source, namely Mark; but he also stood in the stream of a living oral tradition, as Mark did, and he was free, as Mark was, to draw on it and be creative with it. Matthew's work takes on quite new colors when seen in this light, an observation confirmed later by Goulder in striking fashion. (21)

The effect of this remarkable essay was not immediately great, but neither was it long in coming. In England, of course at Oxford, the response was more than immediate: it was proleptic! In the summer of 1954, there began the series of, not Tea Parties, but Q Parties, meeting three times each term, for the purpose of discussion of Farrer's attack on Q within its own chief stronghold. The essay had been circulated earlier -- indeed, the entire volume was largely completed long before its much-delayed publication -- and the biblical scholars of Oxford gathered to debate the synoptic texts in the light of Farrer vs. Streeter, or of Matthew v. Q. (22) This was concentrated on the so-called "minor agreements" passages. The results of these Parties was apparently inconclusive, but unsettling for those who had swallowed Q with their mothers' milk. (23) The real result was a much longer range effect, the creation of new interpretations of Luke's materials, and Matthew's as well, not based on the assumption of their use of a now-lost Q. More of that in a moment.

In America, the effect was also rapid, but totally uncoordinated. Apparently many readers were struck by the crucial importance of Farrer's challenge, and made a variety of responses to it. My former dean and colleague, Sherman Johnson, wrote the J.B.L. review of the book, and significantly used half of his space discussing the attack on Q, (24) without being convinced, saying that Streeter was more vulnerable than Q itself. My own response is perhaps typical of many. I found the whole case unbelievable, but at the same time recognized that the case for Q does indeed depend on the improbability of Luke having seen Matthew. During the following year, most of my study time was spent working through Huck's Synopsis again, line by line, with this question in mind. My faith was shattered; and my teaching took a new turn. Henceforth I presented the standard view, the Two-Source Hypothesis; but I also made clear that a few of us held to an alternative view, that no source is missing, and that Q is needless entity-multiplication. I realized, too, that many difficult questions raised by students over the years while I was defending Q were the very questions raised by Farrer; and many of their replies to my defenses of the traditional arguments were similar to Farrer's replies. I hope this is not a "conversion story," a feature noted by Frans Neirynck in relation to the priority-of-Matthew issue. (25) Not being much of an entrepreneur, I did not set out to learn if others were in my same position; but after the angel descended to the SBL pool and stirred up the waters vigorously (my gloss on this gloss says the angel's name was William Farmer), many discovered that we had not been first into the pool. Hence, perhaps, I was not healed of that particular disease -- the Priority-of-Mark ailment, which I still share with many -- and my earlier [18] cure, that of my blindness about Q, was just that: a cure, not a conversion so that I did not become a missionary. Perhaps Farmer would suggest, unfairly, that I still see men as trees walking, and need a second pass to see all things clearly! In any event, the situation gradually evolved into one where we found we were not alone, that many, even if not 7,000, had not bowed the knee to Q.

Support continued to develop from British scholars: Nigel Turner, (26) A. W. Argyle, (27) and R. T. Simpson (28) were among those who published early in support of the thesis of Farrer. Almost unbelievably, support also began appearing in Germany: Wilhelm Wilkens, a redaction-critic who saw the implications of the new method for our view of how an evangelist used sources, argued in 1966 that Luke knew the Matthean redaction, and that he had made literary use of the Gospel of Matthew. (29) Where Luke copies Mark but shows influence of Matthew (i.e., the traditional "overlapping of Mark and Q"), Wilkens says that he has Matthew's version in his hearing at the same time. In Switzerland, as one might possibly expect, a modified version of Farrer's case found acceptance -- or rather, more precisely, Simons' case was re-stated with powerful statistical support: Robert Morgenthaler, professor at Bern, working with incredibly detailed analyses of the text and command of the statistics necessitated by those analyses, concluded that there should be a Three Source Theory -- Matthew and Luke had two sources, Mark and Q, and Luke had a third source, namely, Matthew. He insisted that his work did not call into question the existence of Q, so it is not an adoption of the full Farrer position; nevertheless, he praised Farrer's judgments on many points, while calling the choice between Q and Luke's use of Matthew a "false alternative." (30) With Morgenthaler, we seem to have come full circle, back to the position which started the Luke-read-Matthew alternative in 1880.

Earlier I referred to the creation of new interpretations of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke not based on the Q Hypothesis. One of the tests of any hypothesis of sources of the Gospels must be the writing of a commentary on the text in terms of that hypothesis. Commentaries are also a sign of the coming of age of a source-theory, even if not of its truth. In 1973 John Drury published a commentary on Luke based on the view that Luke's sources were Mark and Matthew, dealing with the source question in one brief footnote where he gives the view of "most scholars" (Q), then says he follows "the minority who believe that Luke used Matthew." He then in one sentence points out the obvious advantage of such an effort, allowing the reader "to see Luke's work on an accessible and existing source" if the non-Q school is right. (31) The commentary is brief but very suggestive, offering an extended essay in redaction-criticism without recourse to the common device in that discipline of reconstructing the material being redacted in such a way as to support the redaction-theory being proposed. Such a process is inevitable, perhaps, when the source is oral tradition, now lost except in written redactions; but it is an enormous relief to have the source lying before one's eyes, and at least we can see what Drury has before his eyes -- it is the same as that before our own.

In the following year, 1974, an astonishing commentary on Matthew appeared, written by M. D. Goulder, and dedicated to the memory of Austin Farrer. (32) The volume, Midrash and Lection in Matthew, was based on the Speaker's Lectures in Biblical Studies for 1969 through 1971 at Oxford University; Farrer died three weeks before the first lecture was delivered. Goulder argues that Matthew was genuinely an author, and that he had only Mark's Gospel as a source before him. He does not even have recourse to the form-critical hypothesis of traditions still floating about; at least, he will not fall back on Matthew's being a collection of such tradition. If Matthew is to be called an editor, it is in the sense of darshan, rewriting and expounding as needful for edification. But in our language, he is an author. This is shocking, to say the least; what it does to our knowledge of the historical Jesus is much more drastic than any surgery performed by Bultmann. That conclusion would suffice by itself to discredit the work of Goulder; abandonment of knowing Jesus according to the flesh is best left to the likes of Paul, not New Testament scholars like us. But whatever our feelings about what Goulder has done, it cannot be denied that he has provided a striking account of how the Gospel called Matthew could have been written with no source but Mark before him, thus offering possibility, if not (to many) probability. Finding a theory conceivable is usually a useful prelude to finding it believable. Goulder has additionally presented us with two careful essays furthering the case against Q, published back-to-back in New Testament Studies (33) in the January 1978 issue.

The situation today is vastly different than it was in 1955. There is no serenity in the field of the sources of the Gospels, there are no longer "assured results of scholarship," and it is not even clear where the battle lines are, if indeed battle has broken out again. Perhaps it seems more like the quickly-changing warfare of guerillas, with considerable doubt that any central government exists any longer. For this confusing, but exciting, state of affairs in New Testament research, there are many in our recent past to thank -- or blame; but very few are owed so much by so many as Austin Farrer is owed. He is dead these ten years; the posterity of his work lives after him, to declare his wisdom and to summon his successors to honor him, as in fact we do this day.


* Dr. Hobbs is a former member of the Perkins faculty, and currently is Professor of Theology, Hermeneutics, and New Testament at the Graduate Theological Union, and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, California. His essay was read at the Society of Biblical Literature meeting in N.Y. City in November, 1979. {Since 1981, at Wellesley College and sometime Harvard University.}

(1) For example, Hans Conzelmann, Die Mitte der Zeit, 1954; Willi Marxsen, Der Evangelist Markus, 1956; Günther Bornkamm, Gerhard Barth, and Heinz Joachim Held, Überlieferung und Auslegung in Matthäusevangelium, 1960 (the last containing a 1948 essay by Bornkamm on the stilling of the storm, published in Wort und Dienst, as well as the 1955 and 1957 doctoral dissertations of his students at Heidelberg).

(2) Dennis E. Nineham (ed.), Studies in the Gospels: Essays in Memory of R. H. Lightfoot (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1955).

(3) Austin M. Farrer, "On Dispensing with Q," in Nineham (note 2).

(4) For example, E. W. Lummis, How Luke Was Written (Cambridge: University Press, 1915); H. G. Jameson, The Origin of the Synoptic Gospels (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1922); B. C. Butler, The Originality of St. Matthew: A Critique of the Two-Document Hypothesis (Cambridge: University Press, 1951); Pierson Parker, The Gospel Before Mark (Chicago: University Press, 1953).

(5) Eduard Simons, Hat der dritte Evangelist den kanonischen Matthäus benutzt? (Bonn: Universitäts-Buchdruckerei von Carl Georgi, 1880): Abhandlung der theologischen Fakultät an der Kaiser-Wilhelms-Universität Strassburg.

(6) Ibid, p. 112.

(7) E.g., by William R. Farmer, in The Synoptic Problem: A Critical Analysis (New York: Macmillan, 1964), pp. 20, 40, 47. So also Humphrey Palmer, The Logic of Gospel Criticism (London: Macmillan, 1968), p. 136 (apparently wholly dependent on Farmer).

(8) Heinrich Julius Holtzmann, in Theologische Literaturzeitung 6 (1881), pp. 180-183.

(9) Holtzmann, Lehrbuch der historisch-kritischen Einleitung in das Neue Testament (Leipzig, 1885; 3rd ed. 1892), pp. 350 and 356-358.

(10) Edward Simons, Heinrich Holtzmann's Praktische Erklärung des 1. Thessalonicherbriefes (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr [Paul Siebeck], 1911), p.VI. This is a touching work, showing Simons endeavoring to demonstrate that Holtzmann was not a mere scientist, removed from the church, but that he was concerned with "practical exegesis," assisting the pastor in his work of preaching and teaching. To this end he edited and brought out in book-form this commentary. The death of Holtzmann on 4 August 1910 prevented Simons from presenting it to him personally; he signed his introduction the following year in Berlin, dating it "on Holtzmann's birthday."

(11) Holtzmann, Jahrbücher für protestantische Theologie 4 (1878), pp. 553-554; Theologische Literaturzeitung 3 (1878), p. 553.

(12) He died shortly before the high-point in the career of his younger first-cousin, Walter Simons, also born in Elberfeld (in 1861 -- Eduard was born in 1855). Walter was a jurist, who rose in the system until, during the Weimar Republic, he became Chief Justice ("President") of the Supreme Court of Germany. Following the death of President Ebert, he became acting President of the German Republic, until the election of Hindenburg as successor. Under the Nazi regime he rapidly fell from power into obscurity.

(13) Cf. note (10), above.

(14) V. H. Stanton, "Some Points in the Synoptic Problem," Expositor 4th Series, VII (London, 1893), pp. 81-97; 179-196; 256-266, 336-353 (especially see pp. 263-266). Also his The Gospels as Historical Documents. Part II: The Synoptic Gospels (Cambridge: University Press, 1909), esp. pp. 140-141, 207.

(15) James Hardy Ropes, The Synoptic Gospels (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1934), republished in 1960, with new Preface by Dennis E. Nineham, by Oxford University Press (London). See esp. pp. 37; 66-68; 92-93; 101-103; 107-108.

(16) Morton Scott Enslin, Christian Beginnings (New York & London: Harper & Bros., 1938) esp. pp. 426-436.

(17) Curiously, Enslin nowhere in this discussion refers to Ropes' views, nor even to Ropes himself, though Ropes was his teacher, and he must have heard his views on the subject; further, Enslin refers to Ropes' posthumous volume discussing the topic (see previous note), with high praise earlier in his book (p. 396, note 29).

(18) Page numbers in this section of the paper refer to pages in Farrer's article, "On Dispensing With Q" (cf. notes (2) & (3), above).

(19) Austin M. Farrer, St Matthew and St Mark (Westminster: Dacre Press, 1954).

(20) M. D. Goulder and M. L. Sanderson, "St. Luke's Genesis," Journal of Theological Studies N.S. VIII (April 1957), pp. 12-30.

(21) See Goulder's book detailed in note (32), below.

(22) For an interesting discussion of the "Q Parties," written by a visitor during their second year, see Hollis W. Huston, "The 'Q Parties' at Oxford," The Journal of Bible and Religion XXV (April 1957), pp. 123-128.

(23) See Huston's "impressions," pp. 126-127, in his article (note (22), above).

(24) Journal of Biblical Literature LXXV (September 1956), pp. 248, 250.

(25) Frans Neirynck, "The Argument From Order and St. Luke's Transpositions," Ephem. Theol. Lovan. 49 (1973), pp. 784-815. Reprinted in his The Minor Agreements of Matthew and Luke against Mark; witb a Cumulative List (in collaboration with Theo Hansen and Frans Van Segbroeck) [Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium XXXVIII] (Louvain: Leuven University Press, 1974). See p. 302 (in the 1974 volume), note 35.

(26) Nigel Turner, "The Minor Verbal Agreements of Mt. and Lk. against Mk.," Studia Evangelica [Texte und Untersuchungen 73] (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1959), pp. 223-234.

(27) A. W. Argyle, "Agreements Between Matthew and Luke," Expository Times 73 (October 1961), pp. 19-22.

(28) R. T. Simpson, "The Major Agreements of Matthew and Luke against Mark," New Testament Studies 12 (April 1966), 273-284.

(29) Wilhelm Wilkens, "Zur Frage der literarischen Beziehung zwischen Matthäus und Lukas," Novum Testamentum VIII (1966), pp. 48-57. Esp. see his results ("Ergebnis," pp. 56-57) and the last paragraph of section 10 on p. 56.

(30) Robert Morgenthaler, Statistische Synopse (Zürich/Stuttgart: Gotthelf-Verlag, 1971), pp. 300-301 (section 2.3.1). Pp. 300-305 discuss the use of Matthew by Luke; see also the footnotes on pp. 311-312.

(31) John Drury, The Gospel of Luke [cover; on title-page, simply Luke] (New York: Macmillan, 1973).

(32) M D. Goulder, Midrash and Lection in Matthew (London: SPCK, 1974). Subtitled "The Speaker's Lectures in Biblical Studies, 1969-7l."

(33) M. D. Goulder, "On putting Q to the test," and "Mark xvi. 1-8 and parallels," New Testament Studies 24 (January 1978), pp. 218-234 and 235-240.

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