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Q or not Q?

The So-Called Triple, Double, and Single Traditions in the Synoptic Gospels

Bartosz Adamczewski

The study analyses the current state of research on the synoptic problem and proves that the Synoptic Gospels were written in the Mark, Luke, Matthew order of direct literary dependence. Moreover, the work demonstrates that the Synoptic Gospels are results of systematic, sequential, hypertextual reworking of the contents of the Pauline letters. Accordingly, the so-called ‘Q source’ turns out to be an invention of nineteenth-century scholars with their Romantic hermeneutic presuppositions. Demonstration of the fact that the Gospels are not records of the activity of the historical Jesus but that they narratively illustrate the identity of Christ as it has been revealed in the person and life of Paul the Apostle will certainly have major consequences for the whole Christian theology.


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General conclusions 441


441 General conclusions Great Augustine was right. The Synoptic Gospels were composed in a linear pattern of direct, sequential literary dependence. However, the order of their composition was not Mt-Mk-Lk, as it was assumed by Augustine, but somewhat different, namely (Paul)-Mk-Lk-(Acts)-Mt. The arguments that prove this thesis and the results of the above-presented analyses may be summarized in a few points. 1. The detailed analysis of the pattern of literary interdependence of the Synoptic Gospels and of their hypertextual dependence on their sources revealed that the hypothesis of the existence of a common Mt-Lk source (the so-called ‘Q’), which dominated the research on the Synoptic Gospels for over a hundred years, has to be entirely rejected. On close investigation, the hypothetical ‘Q’ source turned out to be an artificial scholarly product of a superficial comparison of the sections of Mt and Lk that are not paralleled in Mk. The scholarly error resulted from not recognizing the fact that Mt is literarily dependent on Lk. The analysis of the axiomatic structure of the Q hypothesis revealed that its strength lay mainly in its having been combined in the beginning of the twenti- eth century with the form-critical research on the Gospels (the so-called Form- geschichte). This method of research was based on a post-Romantic assumption that Gospel pericopes and sayings were for a considerable period of time trans- mitted orally, in form of small textual units that were originally independent of one another. This uncritical assumption led scholars...

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