The Sayings Of Jesus: Source (Q) In Recent Research -- By: Leslie Robert Keylock

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 26:1 (Spring 2005)
Article: The Sayings Of Jesus: Source (Q) In Recent Research
Author: Leslie Robert Keylock


The Sayings Of Jesus:
Source (Q) In Recent Research

Leslie Robert Keylock

Leslie Robert Keylock is Professor Emeritus of Bible and Theology at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. He is currently Adjunct Professor of New Testament at Trinity College of Florida in New Port Richey, Florida and Adjunct Professor of Bible at the Baptist College of Florida Extension Tampa in Brandon, Florida.

A Review Article

The dominant view by far today of the way the Synoptic Gospels were composed is still the view classically espoused by B. H. Streeter.1 That view, known as the two-source (or sometimes four-source) theory, holds that Matthew and Luke in the composition of their gospels used both Mark and a collection of the sayings of Jesus that scholars call Q. There have been a number of challenges to the dominant two-source theory of synoptic relationships, however, all of them mutually exclusive; they win the support of only a small portion of those who study the first three gospels. The Owens-Griesbach or two-gospel hypothesis, most recently championed by William H. Farmer and his disciples, argues that Mark was the last gospel and that Luke used Matthew. This view seems to have so many problems that it has not won a large following. Similarly, Mark Goodacre has continued the Farrer and Goulder pattern of dispensing with Q by arguing that Mark was the first gospel, as the two-source hypothesis also maintains, but that Luke used Matthew. Such a view, too, has won only a handful of supporters. Martin Hengel likewise agrees that Mark was the first gospel, but he has suggested that Matthew may have been earlier than Luke and depended on him.2 Thus the view that there was a collection of the sayings of Jesus that the earliest Christians used and that Luke and Matthew each incorporated into their account of the ministry of Jesus seems to continue to be dominant.

On closer analysis, however, recent Q scholarship seems to argue for quite different theories of the nature of this document.3 At one extreme is the view that we should dispense with Q altogether and conclude that Luke altered the sayings of Jesus that are found in Matthew.4 Slightly different, but similar in its rejection of Q, is the two-gospel or Owen-Griesbach view of William Farmer. He argues that Matthew was the first gospel, Luke used Matthew, and Mark condensed both of them in A.D. 69, when Rome was in turmoil and three different emperors followed each other in rapid s...

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