Item description for The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins by Burton L. Mack...
Overview This book is separated into four main parts. The first part chronicles the discovery and reconstruction of Q. "Q" which in German is "quelle" and means "source", refers to the wri tings compiled by the original followers of Jesus. These writings and Mark's gospel were the sources for the later gospels Matthew and Luke. Part II provides the English translation of Q with a reader's guide. Part III is an analysis. It makes observations on the lit erary history of the piece. Some remarks cannot be ascribed to Jesus as they bear marks of reflection on later social ex- perience. Part IV locates Q on the map of early Christian literature and integrates the Jesus movement with other traditions that eventually fed into the making of Christianity. This book from a critical, liberal viewpoint is written for the informed lay person rather than the academic/scholar and so attempts to bring to the lay person a detailed look at Christian origins in relation to the study of Q. Contains a select bibliography.
The first book to give the full account of the lost gospel of Jesus' original followers, revealing him to be a Jewish Socrates who was mythologized into the New Testament Christ.
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More About Burton L. Mack
Burton L. Mack, Emeritus Professor of Early Christianity at the Claremont School of Theology, is the author of A Myth of Innocence: Mark and Christian Origins; The Lost Gospel: Q and Christian Origins; and Who Wrote the New Testament: The Making of the Christian Myth.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins?
Removes the Mystery of "Q" and Gospel Origins Mar 31, 2008
Most Christians do not know the origins of the gospels they read, or that are read to them on Sunday mornings. FEW realize that the four canonical gospels, as they have reached us some 2000 years after they were written, differ widely from each other when read "horizontally." (Reading 'horizontally' means comparing the four gospels side-by-side to see just how very different they really are.) Biblical scholars pretty much agree that the earliest, and shortest, gospel was attributed to a man named Mark. We say "attributed" because the precise authorship of any of the gospels is really not known. They were all written anonymously, from 25 to 70 years after the death of the Jewish healer and sage named Yeshua Bar Yosef (you know him better by his Romanized name: Jesus). Following Mark, the gospels according to Matthew and Luke appear some 15-20 years later, around the year 50-55 C.E.
But these gospels of Matthew and Luke contain much that Mark's gospel does not have, so biblical scholars have posited that these two writers, Matthew and Luke, must have had additional sources from which they borrowed in order to write a fuller, more detailed gospel than their predecessor Mark had available to him. Much of the difference amounted to a series sayings (with additional narratives to round them out) that are only found in Matthew and Luke-- but not in Mark.
When the gospel of Mark is "subtracted" from those of Matthew and Luke, the remainder constitutes what scholars determine to have been this mysterious source material, called "Q"-- ("Q" from the German word quella, meaning "source.") This ancient source "document" is not something that scholars could actually lay their hands on. This Gospel of Q was basically a "sayings gospel," with no narrative added to enhance or detract from the teachings of Jesus. Unfortunately, no version of it has physically survived the ravages of time-- and the early Church Fathers-- who likely regarded it to have been a threat to the early Christian church as it was being invented, defined and refined by them. Its existence was arrived at by a process of inductive reasoning, in much the same way that Sherlock Holmes solved mysteries by perceiving clues that were all around, but that other investigators failed to see.
This book, "The Lost Gospel, the Book of Christian Origins" by Burton L. Mack thoroughly dissects this mysterious, multi-layered source document and presents a readable and most informative treatise on the contents of "Q" as a gospel source, adding richness and depth of understanding to the quest of those who want to know the who-what-where-when and why of the gospel traditions that inform the doctrine and tenets of Christianity today. If you're looking for insights into perhaps the most influential collection of writings the western world had ever known, this book will do much to enrich your understanding of how the gospels we came to know were written, and the sources which helped to flesh them out.
Informative Jan 10, 2008
Burton Mack's "The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins" came to be a highly informative work on the subject on the origins of Christianity from a look at the lost gospel called the "Q." This book is indeed an interesting analysis of the role of lost gospel and the history behind it.
This work consisted of roughly 14 chapters and close to 260 pages, and it is an easy-to-read. It is with a suggestion that this book to be recommended.
Nothing Groundbreaking Dec 3, 2007
This book is a moderately interesting read for someone trying to keep up to speed on current bible dialog. However, to contend that the idea of a common source for the gospels of Matthew and Luke is revolutionary is extremely naive.
I had classes in both Catholic high school and a Catholic University (70s & 80s) that included study of the Bible . Several things routinely taught are now portrayed as shocking and "shaking the foundations of Christianity." It is commonly understood that Matthew and Luke borrowed from Mark and some other common source. This other source was even referred to as "Q". We were also taught that the letters of Paul (or some of them) were likely not written by Paul - shocking.
What the author of this book does is take this concept of a common source for the Gospels and build it into something much more concrete that can not (and is not) substantiated.
An exciting book with a refreshing view of the Jesus people Nov 15, 2007
I found this to be a very informative book to read with a thorough look at the lost gospel of Q. The description given by Mack of the early Jesus people is that of a social movement which dared to experiment in new ways of living together across racial, ethnic, cultural and monetary boundaries. Mack mentions that the tradition that this movement was inspired by, was that of the early cynics, who were the social critics of that era, making pointed comment on human behaviour where ever possible. This part in particular did I find very inspiring to read and it gave me a very refreshing new look at the Jesus figure.
Mack does a great job at covering early research and in showing how the people of Q gradually changed as outside pressures grew. The story of Q demonstrates that the narrative gospels have no claim as historical accounts, and are carefully crafted myths with a powerful political design.
It is clear that Mack knew the difficulties in getting the message of Q to be read and accepted by the majority of Christians.
As he writes:
"The discovery of Q may create some consternation for Christians because accepting Q's challenge is not merely a matter of revising a familiar chapter of history. It is a matter of being forced to acknowledge an affair with one's own mythology. The disclosure of a myth is deemed academic as long as the myth belongs to somebody else. Recognising one's own myth is always much more difficult, if not downright dangerous."
The book is easy to read for the lay person and can be highly recommended. Considering the influence that Christianity has in the world, this book deserves to be read by every Christian and the challenge given by Q ought to be taken seriously and discussed.
Christianity, it`s Origins. Jun 14, 2007
B.L.Mack writes that there is a frightfull lack of knowledge about the formatiom of the New Tastament among average Christians. His book is an overdue,refreshing, and challenging examination of early Christian origins.and the formation of the historical Jesus movement during the times and circumstances that conditioned it's development The conclusions arrived at are at variance with much of Christianity and it's many manifestations. An excellent read. Brian Hoadley, Calapan City Oriental Mindoro Philippines.