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Questions About The Q Gospel

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Post  Neon Genesis Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:23 am

I understand and mostly agree with the Q gospel theory most biblical scholars put forward. I understand that the similarities between the synoptic gospels point to an earlier source that likely served as the proto-type for the canonical gospels. But even if there is a Q gospel, how do we know that it contains the recorded sayings of the historical Jesus? Let's say it was the Gnostic Christians who won the religious battle over who gets to be a "true" Christian and the Gnostics had destroyed all the copies of the synoptic gospels. How would we have been able to determine that the synoptic gospels contained the authentic sayings of the historical Jesus if the Gnostics won and became the orthodox Christians? Would scholars have then presumed that the Gospel of Peter and Thomas contained 18% of the historical sayings of Jesus and we would be debating the historicity of the gospel of Peter?

Neon Genesis

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Post  Matthew Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:17 am

Yes. Exactly.


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Post  2buckchuck Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:26 pm

As mentioned in another thread, there are serious doubts about the historical reality of jesus. It seems quite likely that the new testament, written not by living eyewitnesses but by early members of the christian church, constructed their jesus character to suit their own purposes, borrowing heavily from other religious writings. Hence, it seems virtually certain that all the words of jesus in the new testament are fiction, regardless of the putative author, including the gnostics. Again, see:


All these discussions about different versions of the gospels are likely to be comparable to arguments about the players in "The Lord of the Rings" - debates about fictional characters.

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Post  Mathieu Vandenberghe Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:19 am

Sorry to beat on a dead horse, but...

Neon Genesis,

While it's true that it is impossible to ascertain with any certainty whether or not any specific saying in Q (or gMark) was really said by Jesus, this goes for every single saying reportedly said by every historical figure. We can't know anything for certain about ancient history, but that doesn't mean that we should automatically doubt everything they say. When we look at the saying in Q or Mark, we largely find sayings that are perfectly innocuous and make perfect sense when viewed through the lense of contemporary Jewish apocalyptic thought. There is nothing there that suggests that they are wholly fabricated, and in fact, when we see how later Christian works are trying very hard to get away from the apocalyptic sayings that they are apparently saddled with, it becomes -if anything- more likely that many of these sayings correspond to historical reality in at least some way.

As for the Gnostics, no worries there. They are a later layer of Christian thought and it shows in their works.


Sorry, but that's nonsense. While there is a small clique of writers trying to make a living out of the so-called Jesus Mythicism thesis (some of them peddling ridiculous conspiracy theories in the process), they are a little bit like the small band of creationists trying to make evolution look bad.
Amongst actual scholars, those who adhere to the Jesus Mythicist thesis can be counted on one hand.

Though there is significant debate on what exactly we can say about Jesus apart from the fact that he existed, that he existed is by far the best explanation of the evidence we have. To construct theories that try to get around this fact inevitably leads to more assumptions.

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