The "Q" Myth in Synoptic Studies
Lewis Foster

Dr. Foster, at the time this paper was written,  was the dean of the graduate school of the Cincinnati Bible Seminary.  This article was originally presented as a paper read at the Annual National Meeting, 1963, of the Evangelical Theological Society. 
Volume X -- Number 4
Summer 1964
pp. 69-81
(C)opyright 1964
All Rights Reserved
The Cincinnati Bible College & Seminary
    The "myth" concept has come to occupy a startling role in the pursuit of Biblical studies. The use of the term in the subject of this paper, however, is not the current technical language of the theologian, but the old Webster second meaning "a person or thing existing only in imagination." Webster's first meaning also finds pertinent application to the present study: "a story, the origin of which is forgotten, ostensibly historical but usually such as to explain some practice, belief, institution, or natural phenomenon." The purpose of this paper is to show that the term myth as defined above describes proper objections to the current place of "Q" in Synoptic studies; viz., (1) there is no such document as Q, but it exists only in the imaginations of its advocates, (2) it was created to explain the phenomena of similarities and differences observed in the relationship of the first three Gospel narratives and (3) the origins of this suggested Q have been well nigh forgotten but its real existence has been assumed and propagated with disregard for establishing its reality. Demythologizing is a real need here. Not the Biblical account, but the scholarly theories of origins and sources need to be rid of mistaken myths which becloud the inspired and trustworthy presentation of the Son of God found within the Scripture.

    Although the two document theory has long held a popular place in the reconstruction of Gospel sources, a denial of Q's existence has not been unheard of, even among those who advocate an interdependence among the Synoptic writers. As early as 1934, James Hardy Ropes maintained in a posthumous publication:

    It is commonly held that Matthew drew much of his matter from an earlier compilation of Jesus' sayings also used by Luke and nowadays sometimes dubbed "Q".  But of such a book no ancient writer seems ever to have heard, and the grounds on which its existence is inferred by modern scholars are far less secure than is commonly represented or supposed . . . 1

    In any case it ought to be repeated that 'Q', if it ever existed, is a pure inference, a strictly hypothetical document. No ancient writer known to us appears to have so much as heard of it, to say nothing of knowing it by personal inspection.

    This theory of a second written source, devised to explain the resemblances of Matthew and Luke seems first to have occurred to the mind of man, or at least to have been published to the world, just one hundred years ago.2

    In recent years Morton Enslin is an example of a Liberal who has sought to rid the field of the Q hypothesis.3 B. C. Butler maintains that "Q is a myth" and should be regarded as "an unnecessary and vicious hypothesis."4 L. Vaganay emphasizes that he has no place for Q in his reconstruction of Gospel sources.5 A. M. Farrer of Trinity College, Oxford has also been crusading for dispensing with Q.6 It is noteworthy, however, that all of these scholars, at the same time they have been arguing against Q, have been attempting to argue in favor of Luke's direct knowledge and use of Matthew. Their main objection to the "Q" hypothesis is a preference for the simpler explanation that the similarities of Matthew and Luke in the non-Marcan passages can be accounted for by one Gospel writer's knowing the work of the other rather than each one's using some unknown source common to both. It is not the purpose of this paper to discount Q by establishing an alternative, but (1) to assess the basis of suggesting Q, (2) to delineate the extent and character of the alleged document, and (3) to evaluate the likelihood that these passages made up a Q gospel. Related questions of the priority of Mark and the form criticism of earlier sources lie beyond the scope of this work.

    Q stands for the German word Quelle meaning source. To understand its role in the Synoptic problem, one must be aware of  the general course of Synoptic studies.7 Notices from antiquity are uniform in considering the Gospel authors as working independently of one another. Matthew is purported to have written first in Aramaic,8 Mark is associated with Peter in his work,9 Luke is associated with Paul.10  Luke does specify in his prologue the presence of other narratives, but his words would indicate at least more than two accounts and his language seeks to leave an impression exactly opposite to his having copied these written gospels as sources, but that he investigated in order to write his own gospel from the testimony of eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word. Irenaeus supports the present order of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke.11 Gospel harmonies were arranged and Eusebius divided the narratives into blocks of material noting the parallels in the fourfold Gospel.12 Not until Augustine was a note preserved about their relationship in authorship. Mark was considered the abridgment of Matthew.13 Christian thought reflects no change of direction through the centuries until the mid-eighteenth century. In the eighteenth century the Synoptic Problem was addressed for the first time and the conjectures were made that the relationship of the Gospel narratives involved the use of one another and other written sources. There was noted an extraordinary similarity in choice of material: from all the things which could have been recorded of the life of Christ, it is significant that the Gospel writers chose to tell very much of the same incidents. Of the different literary forms, the four writers chose a new form, the Gospel. Furthermore concerning the order in which the incidents could have been arranged, the Synoptics follow a fairly similar arrangement. Even to the extent of wording, the records are strikingly alike. .The naturalistic answer to such similarity would be, they copied from one another. This was the first line of suggestion: different theories of mutual dependence with every conceivable combination were proposed.14 Another early theory insisted upon a primitive Gospel which lay behind the present narratives.15 The third avenue of possibility to be pursued was the oral tradition theory.16 Then in the 1830s the two source theory was propounded. The priority of Mark was proposed and the use of Mark by Matthew and Luke was maintained.17 This led to further questions for if the similarities were explained by copying, then where did the material come from which Matthew and Luke had in common, but is not found in Mark? The simple answer was that the one written last had copied from both Mark and the other. But the similarities posed only part of the problem, for the differences must be explained also. Furthermore these differences were of such nature that it would seem impossible for one Gospel writer to have known the other and omitted the details or blocks of material from his own narrative if he was in the habit of copying material from the source available to him. The majority of the scholars committed to the source-copying theory became convinced that Matthew and Luke were not aware of one another, but at those points where they were similar they must have copied from another common source. Thus Q was brought into a theoretical existence to answer the demand of a source theory for the relationship of the Synoptic Gospels.18 This made two main sources for the Synoptic Gospels: Mark (or ur-Marcus) and Logia (the symbol Q did not come into use until later)19 After the first; World War German scholarship came forth with a new thrust, "Formgeschichte," a study of the sources behind the literary sources through attempting to reconstruct the levels of transmission through which the events and sayings had passed by assessing the literary forms in which they are preserved.20 But this Formgeschichte builds upon the early studies made in the two document theory. It does not deny the role of Mark and Q but presses on to further questions.

    The present status of Gospel studies is not so dominantly in one direction as it has been.21 Bultmann's pupils have reversed the decision of their master and determined that the Synoptics must be studied for a modified quest of the historical Jesus. The assured conclusions of a generation ago in Synoptic studies are not so sure now.22 The priority of Mark is being assailed.23 The Roman Catholic restrictions upon its scholars, laid down by the Biblical Commission has no doubt played a role.24 The priority of Matthew had been affirmed by the Catholic Commission in 1911, but this has not stopped the multiplicity of theories. Some in defiance against the decision continue to maintain the two source theory built upon Marcan priority; others have changed the terminology. Instead of calling the second document Q, they have reverted to the old reference to Logia and associated it with Matthew, thus maintaining the priority of an early Matthew, allowing room for Mark to use this but holding that Greek Matthew, coming later, used both Mark and Logia sources. Without a doubt the two document theory still holds the most popular position in the circle of recognized scholars both Protestant and Catholic, but among the two source proponents the weakest link of all is Q; and in effect it casts suspicion on the whole system. It is as though a jigsaw puzzle has been spread before an interested person, and he begins to put the pieces together. Suddenly he becomes convinced there is a piece missing and after noting the size and shape, he whittles the missing piece for himself. If his other pieces are put together properly, and he whittles well, the piece may answer a need; but if his other pieces are ill-fitted and he makes an awkward attempt at filling an opening which has been created by his former mistakes, the results will be still more puzzling. This is the situation as the theorist sets out to fashion Q.

    The first argument against Q's real existence is not only the absence of ancient notices, but the failure of its proponents to agree upon its extent.25 The simplest identification is those passages where Matthew and Luke have common material not found in Mark. Upon closer examination, however, it is found that some of the passages are so different that no one could claim common origin for them.26 Thus the statement must be revised to allow the omission of all Matthew-Luke passages which are not similar enough. Then it is also found that certain passages in the triple tradition (those appearing in Matthew, Mark, and Luke) present closer parallels between Matthew and Luke than they do to Mark. Some would assign these to Q to relieve the difficulty of differences from Mark in Marcan passages. These are the overlapping passages. Then some would also include material found in but one Gospel writer and label it as a Q passage. Of course, the possibility must also be allowed that if the Q document had actual existence, perhaps all of it was not used by the Gospel writers and its extent is not known because all of its passages are not preserved. Some also maintain that Mark used Q and his writings must be combed for its passages as well. It is not surprising then that the popular concept of Q, i.e. the Matthew-Luke passages of about 235 verses,27 must be revised; but no two can agree as to how? Five scholars, all advocating the existence of Q, could only agree on 80 verses of Luke or less than half of the total number of verses claimed to have been derived from Q although the one maintaining the highest number of verses was 255 for Luke and the lowest number was 190 verses. One maintained as many as 302 verses of Matthew came from Q, another as few as 190; they could all five agree on only 101 verses of Matthew. It would be unfair to say that because the extent of Q remains so disputed that its non-existence is established. On the other hand the very elusive nature of its bounds and the silence of antiquity contribute to the uncertainty of its existence.

    In attempting to establish the relationship between Mark as used by Matthew and Luke, it has been customary to point out that in the case of the Synoptics, the literary form is identical, the subject matter corresponds, the arrangement is very much in the same order, and the wording is very much alike. Regardless of whether this makes out the case for Marcan usage in Matthew and Luke, one should be able to expect at least this much of Q, if it were a real document.28 One can test the core Q passages to see what kind of assurance can be gained from these areas of form, subject matter, arrangement, and wording.29

    The very form of Q is under question. The early Church had its writings in epistles, homilies, gospels, and apocalypses. The very fact that the alleged Q is preserved within Gospel narratives automatically causes it to absorb something of the Gospel form. The outline of its contents, however, as reconstructed by its proponents leaves it something less than a Gospel. There is strong consensus that Q began with the ministry of John and the Baptism of Jesus, proceeded through the temptation of Jesus, the Great Sermon, and then the healing of the centurion's servant and the sayings of Jesus including the Mission Charge, Denunciation of the Pharisees, the woe upon Jerusalem and the coming judgment. But no place is left in the hypothetical Q for the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.30 Any account without these central elements in the person of Christ is no Gospel. The inexplicable condition of an extended document about Christ with no reference to His death and resurrection is only emphasized by Streeter's feeble twofold reply. He argues that the Passion and its redemptive significance could be taught orally and could be omitted from a written record; and he appeals to the possibility that there were those who, unlike Paul, did not put such an emphasis upon the cross of Christ and preferred to avoid the difficulty of the crucifixion. Such reasoning still leaves Q less than a Gospel, and if so, of a form for which there is no example in the early church, since it fails to fall in any other known category.

    What of the subject matter of the theoretical Q? Of course, the subject matter will be somewhat limited in the posited source since its reconstruction is wholly dependent upon the existing Gospels. But this is true only by definition. It has been said that Q is found at those places where Matthew and Luke treat the same subject not found in Mark and that a collection of these results in a gathering of the sayings of Jesus. The results are not so easily gained as it sounds. The first three places where Matthew and Luke treat the same subject are the genealogy of Jesus, his birth and the settlement in Nazareth. In all three of these the differences are so great in detail that the same source is not claimed. So by definition the field is narrowed to only those passages which show striking similarity. The results of this are not all sayings. The healing of the centurion's servant is an example which forbids speaking of Q as purely a collection of Jesus' sayings.31 The amount of setting and transition material is another area of dispute. If it is impossible to deny Q's existence on the ground of variant subject matter, it is likewise impossible to maintain its existence upon the ground of a sayings' collection.

    At least one can test the order of this proposed document by checking the sequence of the usages in Matthew and Luke. Once again this only leads to more problems for the reconstruction of Q. In the argument that Mark is prior to Matthew and Luke and has been used by them, great emphasis is made that the order of Mark is followed in general and when Matthew or Luke departs, they never both leave Mark's order at the same time; either one or the other is always in agreement with Mark and each does not depart more than a half dozen times in the whole of their narratives. Whether this is true because they are using Mark or not, at least some similar semblance of order should be expected in the use of a second documentary source. Such is not the case. Hawkins sums up the data thus: "It will be seen that 49, or more than two-thirds of them (the total of 72 sections he designates as coming from Logia) are placed differently in the two Gospels."32 It is exceedingly interesting to see how the proponents of Q will use the argument of order against those who maintain that Luke copied from Matthew but pass over the same dilemma when faced in Matthew and Luke's use of Q. Patton maintains: "If Matthew copied from Luke, he would naturally have followed his order, which he does not do. Or deviating from the order for obvious reasons, he would naturally return to it when those reasons no longer prevailed, which he does not do."33 In similar fashion, Streeter pointed out how Hawkins demonstrated to him that when each non-Marcan saying common to Matthew and Luke was noted in its relationship to Marcan order: "It then appeared that, subsequent to the Temptation story there is not a single case in which Matthew and Luke agree in inserting the same saying at the same point in the Marcan outline."34 Streeter could only suggest that if anyone, would strive to resolve this difficulty, still maintaining one used the other, "we had reason to believe he was a crank." This Streeter states of one attempting to justify Luke's use of Matthew; but this difference in order condemns his own theory when he confronts the same data and recognizes the problem, by his admission: "the common material (between Matthew and Luke) occurs in quite different order in the two Gospels."35 Streeter proceeds to write a chapter in the Oxford Studies as "an attempt to show that the very diverse order in which the Q sections appear in Matthew and Luke is no objection to the theory that the bulk of them were derived from a single written source."36 Harnack attempted the same task and with a few revisions sounded an enthusiastic astonishment at how logically the difficulties could be resolved.37 One more difficulty arose, however: Streeter disagreed with him.38 In the problem of the order, it will be just as difficult to explain why Matthew and Luke would have revised the order of another source as it would be to suggest why Luke should change the order of Matthew. This is another mark against Q as well as against Luke's use of Matthew.

    As far as a study of wording in the source Q goes, one must recognize two results, there are similarities and there are differences. One can choose to emphasize the one or the other. Once again Streeter points up the problem succinctly: "The degree of resemblance between the parallel passages varies considerably. For example, the two versions of John the Baptist's denunciation, 'Generation of vipers. . ' (Matthew 3:7-10; Luke 3:7-9) agree in 97% of the words used; but the two versions of the Beatitudes present contrasts as striking as their resemblances."39 The same is true of many other passages in its differences e.g., the Lord's Prayer. Another result of word study is the lack of any vocabulary which can be isolated as characteristic of Q After making exhaustive lists of the words used in the Q passages, Harnack concludes that no stringent proof can be offered for the homogeneity of Q from the character of the verbs; but he finally maintains that the simplicity and homogeneity of the vocabulary does seem to incline the balance in favor of the unity of Q.40 To say, however, that the absence of any characteristics in vocabulary is an indication of a unity in a supposed document is more of a strain than to maintain that an absence of Q vocabulary is one more indication of the absence of Q.

    Thus having surveyed certain areas used to demonstrate use of sources, viz., same subject matter, same form, same arrangement, same wording, one finds that the subject matter is the same, but only by definition because the sections are omitted from consideration which are the same in subject matter but different in details, the form is not that of a Gospel but is without parallel, the sections are not arranged in order and the wording shows striking differences as well as similarities. In the absence of any notices concerning Q in antiquity, in the areas one expects indication of source usages, plus mounting improbabilities it appears that Q never did have a real existence, but is a purely manufactured item, a myth concocted to meet the demands of a theory concerning literary origins.

    All that has been maintained in this paper is the denial of the existence of Q as a written document in Gospel form with a beginning middle and end used as a copy-source for Matthew and Luke.41 We do have, however, indication that other accounts than our canonical gospels were in existence. Luke makes particular reference to them.42 It is significant that Luke makes reference to sources and not Matthew. The two source theory pictures the extraordinary condition of an eyewitness, Matthew, getting his material from one who was not of the apostolic band, Mark. But this is not the end of the matter. This supposition, Matthew's alleged use of Mark, is then used to prove that Matthew did not write Matthew. Some Conservatives have become impressed with the current emphasis in similarities, but have insisted it need not follow that Matthew did not write Matthew.43 It still remains that a position so wrongly used should be suspect, and if suspect the evidence must be all the more compelling to establish its acceptance. Q has been accepted,44 not because of its compelling evidence but because of a compelling need in the theory, and the very misfit that is found by the need gives indication that the whole of the theory is wrong-headed as well.45 Not only the similarities but the differences must be explained; and not only the personality and purpose of the men authoring the books, but the guidance of the Holy Spirit must have a place as well.

    Irenaeus speaks of teachers who read from unwritten books "making ropes out of sand." The basis of our knowledge of the life of Jesus Christ is not to be relegated to non-existent sources concocted as a scholarly myth, but has foundation in the inspired writings of men of God.


1J H. Ropes, The Synoptic Gospels (1934), p.37.
2Ibid., p. 68. Karl Lachmann published an article in 1835 affirming that "Mark is the thread of Ariadne for the first three Gospels." The use of the term "Q", is a later innovation about the turn of this century. There is some dispute about its first usage. See Stephen Neill, The Interpretation of the New Testament 1861-1961 (1964), p. 119.
3M. Enslin, Christian Beginnings (1938), pp.431-434.
4B. C. Butler, The Originality of St. Matthew (1951), pp. 118, 170. See also Edward Blair, "Recent Study of the Sources of Matthew," Journal of Bible and Religion, 27 (July, 1959) 206-210.
5L. Vaganay, Le Probleme Synoptique (1952), p.136. But Vaganay's "document S is as obscure as Q, the logia source." See Alfred Wikenhauser, New Testament Introduction (transl. 1963), pp.237, 289.
6A. M. Farrer, "On Dispensing with Q", in D. E. Nineham (ed.), Studies in the Gospels, Essays in Memory of R. H. Lightfoot (1955), pp.55 86. See also, A Study in St. Mark (1951); Hollis W. Huston, "The 'Q Parties' at Oxford," Journal of Bible and Religion, 25 (April, 1957), 123-28. See also A. W. Angyle, "Agreements between Mark and Luke," The Expository Times, 73 (1961), 19-21.
7For historical surveys of the Synoptic Problem see: Theodor Zahn, Introduction of the New Testament, vol. II (transl. 1909), pp 400-26; Alfred Wikenhauser, op. cit., pp. 221-52; L. Vagahay, op. cit., pp. 1-32; Henry Thiessen, New Testament Introduction (1943), pp.101-61. 0. T. Rowlingson, "Synoptic Problem," The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, vol. IV (1962), pp. 491-95.
8Eusebius, Hist. Ecci. iii, 39.
9Ibid., iii, 39,15.
10Ibid., vi, 25; ii, 4.
11Irenaeus, Against Heresies, iii, 1. So also Origen: see Eusebius, Hist. EccI., vi, 25, 3.
12See Theodor Zahn, op. cit., pp.401, 420f.
13Augustine, The Harmony of the Gospels. I, 2, 3.4. Only in passing does he deal with the question of their interdependence; he considered that they wrote in the order of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and assumed that each used his predecessors. See Wikenhauser, op. cit., p 231.
14See L. Vaganay, op. cit., p. 2. A more recent example of interdependent theories would be T. Zahn, Grundiss der Einleitung in das Neue Testament (1928). According to Zahn, Matthew wrote his Gospel in Aramaic, then Mark, while in Rome, wrote in Greek Peter's preaching using Aramaic Matthew: Luke used Mark besides oral sources. Later some unknown person translated Aramaic Matthew into Greek. L. Vaganay has proposed a complex theory: an Aramaic primitive Matthew (Papias: logia designated M in its Greek version designated Mg) is the foundation for our canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Matthew used Mg and Mark and a supplement to M (designated as S and translated into Greek - Sg). Mark used the preaching of Peter in Jerusalem (Mg) and in Rome (Pi). Luke used Mark and Mg as well as S. Luke is independent of Matthew.
15E.g., G. E. Lessing and J. G. Eichhorn held there was an "Urevanglium" from which all three Synoptic writers drew their material. Lessing held that the Aramaic Gospel of the Nazarenes was written early by Matthew and afterwards he made an abstract for his Greek readers which has become our canonical Gospel of Matthew.
16J G. Herder (1797 and J. C. L. Gieseler (1818). See T. Zahn, op. cit., pp. 408-11. Present insistence upon the similarities between the Synoptics' being so definite and minute that the existence of common written sources has to be assumed has led away from this explanation. E. J. Goodspeed, however, has given prominence to Papias' "Logia" as simply the oral Gospel. In his view Matthew and Luke must have employed this unwritten Gospel as one of their sources. E. J. Goodspeed, An Introduction to the New Testament (1937). pp.174, 206f. Cf. W. F. Arndt, Bible Commentary: The Gospel Ac-cording to St. Luke (1956), pp.11, 12.  Some would recognize both written and oral sources in the Synoptics; e.g., Caird considers Luke more than an editor and maintains that the half of his Gospel not found in Mark and Q came from oral tradition. G B. Caird, The Gospel of St. Luke (1913), p.19.
17"Matthew used about 600 out of the 661 verses of Mark. . . Luke used just over half of Mark." G. B. Caird, op. cit., p. 18. "Matthew and Luke have abbreviated, polished, corrected; but even so, in the parallel passages, they still reproduce respectively 51 per cent and 53 per cent of Mark's actual words, and they follow his order so closely that there is only one small incident which is differently placed in all three Gospels." Ibid.
18This was no new method of literary criticism but has been used to explain folk lore in many cultures, e.g., Icelandic lore.
19There are many developments from the two document theory, e.g., B. H. Streeter, The Four Gospels (1931), advocated the two sources, Mark and Q, plus two other major sources. Luke had a Caesarean document of about A.D. 60 plus a special source containing material found in Luke chapters one and two. Matthew too was supposed to have had two other sources.
20Martin Dibelius, Formgeschichte des Evangehwns (1919), transl. From Tradition to Gospel (1935). Rudolf Bultmann, Die Geschichte der sl'noptischen Tradition (19312); transl. The History of the Synoptic Tradition (1963). B. S. Easton, The Gospel Before the Gospels (1928), F. C. Grant, Form Criticism (1934). For a critique, Vincent Taylor, The Formation of the Gospel Tradition (1933).
21E.g., "On the whole, modern scholarship has become less confident that there was a special source (Q or 'Logia') than was the case about forty years ago." See Arndt, op. cit., p. 19.
22"The one universally accepted result of modern study of the Synoptic problem is the dependence of Matthew and Luke upon the Gospel of Mark." Carl Patton, Sources of the Synoptic Gospels (1915), p.3. But Hollis W. Huston maintains that "a cloud no larger than a man's hand" appeared in 1951 when Farrer rejected the Q hypothesis and now the cloud is growing in the support of the priority of Matthew. Hollis W. Huston, "The Q Parties' at Oxford," Journal of Bible and Religion 25 (April, 1957) 123-28. Cf. Edward P. Blair, "Recent Study of the Sources of Matthew," Journal of Bible and Religion 27 (July, 1954) 206-10. See also Ned B. Stonehouse, Origins of the Synoptic Gospels (1963) pp.48-92. Although Stonehouse favored the priority of Mark, he reviews the present controversy.
23The case for the priority of Mark is most forcefully presented by Streeter, 00. cit., Part II, Chapter 7.  B. C. Butler supports the priority of Matthew; The Originality of St. Matthew (1951).
24For the text see~John Chapman, The Four Gospels (1944), pp.75-83. See also Edward Blair, op. cit., pp.206, 208.
25"It is notorious that Q cannot be convincingly reconstructed." Farrer, op. cit., p.57.
26E.g., the genealogies: Matthew 1:1-16; Luke 3:23-28.
27They amount altogether to about one-sixth of the text of Luke and two elevenths of the text oi Matthew. See C. S. Patton, Sources of the Synoptic Gospels (1915), pp. 108-20 for the extent of Q maintained by Harnack, Wellhausen, Hawkins, J. Weiss ~d Wernie.
28Streeter himself sets down the proposition, "One cardinal principle will guide our investigation. It may be presumed that Matthew and Luke would each deal with his second authority in much the same way as he dealt with his first." see op. cit., p. 185.
29In the testing, twenty-four passages have been used as listed in Arndt, op. cit., p. 18. Streeter lists fifty-five passages, but his break-down is different and only adds a few passages and leaves out four which Arndt includes. Harnack deais with sixty sections.
30Burkitt seems to be quite alone in conjecturing that Q included references to the passion. See Gospel History and Its Transmission (1907), p. 135.
31Harnack divides the sixty sections he considers part of Q in this way: seven narratives, eleven (twelve) parables (and similes), thirteen groups o( sayings, and twenty-nine single sayings, and twenty-nine single sayings of smaller or greater length. Op. cit., p. 163.
32John C. Hawkins, Horae Synoptica (1899), p. 88.
33Patton, op. cit., pp. 98, 99.
34Streeter, Four Gospels (1930), p. 183.
35Ibid., p. 182.
36Sanday, ed., Oxford Studies, in the Synoptic Problem (1911), p. 140.
37Harnack, op. cit., p. 174.
38Streeter, in Oxford Studies, op. cit., pp. 160-164.
39It is noteworthy that Harnack divides his investigation of the text of the Q passages into two sections: the second is made up of those passages common to Matthew and Luke in which the differences are greater. He lists the passage which Streeter cites as 97% in word agreement under the first section (p. 1), all except the opening of the section, Matthew 3:7 and the opening of Luke 3:7. The opening of these verses he lists under the second section (p.40) because of thirteen words in Matthew and ten words in Luke, only "de" is used in both. Therefore Streeter also has disregarded the introductory phrases in his calculation of 97%. The close parallel actually begins with the direct quotation, and this is typical of other Matthew-Luke passages as well. The transition, introductory phrases vary, but the closest parallels are found in the record of the sayings. Another observation concerning this particular passage: this message of John the Baptist is consistently cited as the opening passage copied from Q; but this is a block of material that is in the midst of a larger block which appears also in Mark. Is it not strange that two men using sources independently, as the advocates of the two source theory maintain, each copying from Mark, should each independently reach for Q and insert the same verses into Mark and lay Q down to take up Mark at the same point? A similar predicament accompanies the next section where Mark notes the temptation of Jesus and, according to the believers in Q, the two reached for their second source again to supply the conversation between Jesus and Satan. But the order of the temptations is different in Matthew and Luke!
40Harnack, op. cit., p.152.
41Some have come to use Q as a symbol for whatever type of source they feel is needed. "In his essay in the Oxford Studies, Mr. Bartlet seems to use the symbol to cover the general apostolic tradition (it is not always apparent whether he means written or not)." Patton, op. cit., p. 108. See also, R H. Fuller, The New Testament in Current Study (1962), p.74. To leave the theory of "Q" in an etheral form, not claiming an actual discernable existence but only a hypothetical state, is not sufficient to answer the demands for a written Gospel source in the current Synoptic copying-theories. Yet this is precisely the most popular procedure today in the treatment of the source theories in the Synoptic Problem.
42Would this include Matthew and Luke if they were already written? Arndt gives "an emphatic, 'No., " Bible Commentary: the Gospel According to St. Luke (1956), p.9.
43"The author of the Gospel of Matthew ... can hardly have been the apostle Matthew, one of the Twelve. The real reason which forbids this . . . Mark dependent on Peter for knowledge of events of Jesus' life. Now it is inconceivable that one of the Twelve, such as the Apostle Matthew, should have been so dependent as the author of the First Gospel shows himself to have been on an informant whose opportunities for knowledge of the events were incomparably inferior to his own. Consequently the conclusion seems inevitable that the author of the First Gospel, the so-called Gospel of Matthew, was not the Apostle Matthew." J. H. Ropes, The Synoptic Gospels (1934), p. 38. "I am aware there are conservatives who disagree with this argument, e.g., George Ladd, 'More Light on the Synoptics,' Christianity Today 3 (March 2, 1959), 15; Ned B. Stonehouse, Origins of the Synoptic Gospels (1963), pp. 22, 23.
44Whereas Luke's accuracy as a historian has been impugned on the grounds of his editorial freedom in rewriting his sources. See Caird, op. cit., p.281.
45The argument that variant answers to the same problem cancel one another out is frequently overdone. But those who argue against Q in favor of Luke's copying from Matthew dispose of Q, while those who support Q do a good job of making it inconceivable that Luke copied from Matthew. Having cleared the field of copied sources the argument fit best for independent accounts. E.g. Robinson Smith attempts to dispose of Ur-Marcus and Q (Hibbert Journal 39 (April, 1912) pp. 615-25) while establishing Lukan use of Matthew. His treatment of differences not only shows how unlikely the use of Q is, but of Mark also and fails to establish Luke's use of Matthew. Cf. Patton, op. cit., pp 100-7.

Scanned: Michael Riggs
Corrected: Daniel Dyke