As part of my goal to read at least 30 minutes a day in relation to my writing, I started Mark Goodacre and Nicholas Perrin's book Questioning Q today. I am such a ridiculously slow reader and easily distracted by children and multitudes of other things. After over an hour I had only read the Foreward by N. T. Wright and the 12 page Introduction by Perrin, "Reasons for Questioning Q."
In any case, I have updated my reading list on the side and will be adding a couple other books in the days ahead. Because I have a short span of attention, I hope to rotate around these books, finishing a chapter in one and then rotating to the next.
I had not known (silly me) that either Wright or Perrin would favor such positions, although to be honest, Wright did not exactly take a position in his Foreward. He rather told his own surprise over the years that the Q hypothesis had not been questioned more often. For those who aren't aware of this issue, the majority position among gospel scholars has long been that Mark was the first gospel and that Matthew and Luke both independently used a sayings source commonly called "Q" (from the German Quelle) to explain the similar material they have in common.
I have generally accepted the majority position on the issue, although in the name of truth I insist on being open to other hypotheses as the evidence is marshalled. I am quite open to the possibility that Luke knew Matthew, for example. On the other hand, I will approach this material wondering whether that possibility in itself eliminates justification for a sayings source. We'll see. In my critical issues series, the Synoptic Problem is next up, so this is my research for that section. Yes, Goodacre is right, I am a "lazy believer" in Q.
Perrin recounts the story of how the Q hypothesis developed. I'll save that story for my own summary to come. One key point is his sense that David Strauss' mid-1800s claims that the gospels were full of "myth" begged for an account like that of H. J. Holtzmann that arrived at some sort of Jesus bedrock--in his case an earlier version of Mark and a collection of Jesus' sayings.
Hopefully more to come. I hate to say it but with 10 more chapters, this may take me a while.
Oh me, oh life...