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The Case Against Q: Studies in Markan Priority and Synoptic Problem [Paperback]

By Mark Goodacre (Author)
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Item description for The Case Against Q: Studies in Markan Priority and Synoptic Problem by Mark Goodacre...

Q is a hypothetical entity, part of the standard solution to the Synoptic Problem - the study of the inter-relationship of Matthew, Mark and Luke. This solution supposes that Matthew and Luke made independent use not only of Mark but also another source - now lost - called "Q". Belief in its existence is commonplace, but there have always been doubters. Mark Goodacre is one of them. In The Case Against Q, Goodacre presents a careful, balanced and detailed critque of the Q hypothesis, examining the most important arguments of Q's proponents. He offers new arguments and fresh reflections, creating a more plausible picture of Synoptic relationships than has ever been available.

Publishers Description
For over a century Gospel scholarship has accepted a hypothetical document called Q as one of the major sources of the Synoptic Gospels. In recent times, it has even been transformed from a sayings source to a Gospel in its own right. But, says Mark Goodacre in The Case Against Q, the majority acceptance of Q cannot function as an argument for its existence. From time to time dissenting voices have spoken against such widespread acceptance of Q as a Gospel. Scholars have pointed out, for instance, that Luke's knowledge of Matthew and Mark would enable one to dispense with Q. Yet, such voices often have gone unheeded due to the lack of a clear, balanced, and scholarly treatment of the case against Q. So, in The Case Against Q Goodacre offers a careful and detailed critique of the Q hypothesis, examining the most important arguments of Q's proponents. He then offers new arguments and fresh reflections reaffirming Markan Priority as the key to successful Synoptic scholarship. With this book, Goodacre provides a more plausible picture of Synoptic relationships than has previously been available, as he reconstructs Synoptic interrelationships and Christian origins. Mark Goodacre is Lecturer in New Testament in the Department of Theology at the University of Birmingham (England) and the author of The Synoptic Problem: A Way Through the Maze.

Citations And Professional Reviews
The Case Against Q: Studies in Markan Priority and Synoptic Problem by Mark Goodacre has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Choice - 10/01/2002 page 295
  • Christian Century - 01/11/2003 page 38

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Continuum
Pages   240
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.01" Width: 6.05" Height: 0.74"
Weight:   0.87 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2002
Publisher   Trinity Press International
Edition  New  
ISBN  1563383349  
ISBN13  9781563383342  

Availability  95 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 28, 2016 07:31.
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More About Mark Goodacre

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Mark Goodacre is associate professor in New Testament at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. His other books include "The Case Against Q: Studies in Markan Priority and the Synoptic Problem." He is well known, an award-winning web directory of internet New Testament resources."

Mark Goodacre has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement (Hardcover
  2. Library of New Testament Studies

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Bible & Other Sacred Texts > Bible > New Testament
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > Criticism & Interpretation
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament > Study
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Case Against Q: Studies in Markan Priority and Synoptic Problem?

A Balanced and Intellectually Honest View   Aug 22, 2008
As a layman interested in how to read the New Testament I have been very grateful for the recent literature that is now available on the history and origins of early Christian writings. Bart Ehrman and the Jesus Seminar have been a breath of fresh air, and the idea that the books that should be included in scripture are those that have historical authenticity and not just approval by the Church is an attractive idea. I want to know what Jesus really said. Not what the Church tells me he said.

The problem has been that much of what is available in the field assumes the existence of Q, the common source for Luke and Matthew, without explaining why. This is not a problem, of course, if the reader knows why Q is believed in by so many scholars. Q seems to be a tidy way of understanding how Mathew and Luke got some material in common. However even I, without a knowledge of Greek, can think of reasons why there should be other ways to think of the origins of what the three evangelists teach.

Goodacre's book is very helpful in this regard. He uses the original Greek freely so the reader can see exactly what is being compared, word against word. He makes the case that the language of the Q proponents has become uncritical. They use hyperbolic language that denigrates their opponents' ideas and shuts out any true intellectual discourse about the alternatives. He points out inconsistencies in the Q hypothesis that are very reasonable to infer from the data and for which data to not exist to prove the

The scientific method requires that one postulate a theory and then look for data that contradict it. In the field of New Testament studies it is not possible to produce data at will, so the method has to be modified somewhat, to account for the possibilities with any hypothesis. Goodacre points out that there are holes in the Q hypothesis that make it still a hypothesis and that maybe assuming it to be accepted as firmly as, say, the theories of relativity, may be premature.

Some highlights  Jul 4, 2002
Ch1 The psychological reasons Q is taken for granted. Q literature is written in the language of "discovery" as if an archaeological find rather than a hypothesis. The literature goes from calling it a "source" to calling it a "gospel document." Many scholars either ignore or are unaware of rival hypotheses. Although Q is taken for granted, people can't agree on a reconstruction of it.

Ch2 Arguments for the priority of Mark. His strongest argument is the argument from fatigue. Where Matthew or Luke alter Mark, they sometimes fail to incorporate the change throughout the passage being redacted leaving it incoherent.

Ch3 Answers some arguments for Luke's independence from Matt. According to Burton Mack, Matt was written in the late 80's and Luke around 120, yet Luke had a copy of Q, but not Matt. Goodacre argues that if Luke was written that late, he would be more likely to have a copy of Matt than Q because Q was waning in popularity and Matt was gaining in popularity. Fitzmyer argued that Luke is ignorant of Matt's additions to Mark, but Goodacre shows that Luke agrees with Matt's additions to Mark.

Ch4 Explains why Luke follows Mark's order, but not Matt's. If Luke follows Mark's order but not Matt's, so the argument goes, because he's following Q, and not Matt. Goodacre thinks the claim is overstated because Luke somtimes DOES diverge from Mark's order. Since Matt was written later than Mark, Luke was likely more familiar with Mark. Mark became his primary source and Matt was suplementary. Goodacres shows that Luke breaks up long discourse in Mark 4 which makes it understandable that he would break up Matt's sermon on the mount. Sermon on the mount is very Mathean, so it's reasonable to think Luke would alter it.

Ch5 How narrative criticism could shed light on redaction criticism. Fitzmyer said, "Why would so literary an artist as Luke want to destroy the Matthean masterpiece of the Sermon on the Mount?" Goodacre replies, "It is the thesis of this chapter that it is precisely because Luke is 'so literary an artist' that he would have wanted creatively to rework the Sermon on the Mount." He points out that Luke's purpose was to write an orderly account, so Luke was able to take from Matt's long discourses and weave them into a more plausible historical biography.

Ch6 How Jesus films can shed light on the synoptic problem--analogy of film makers working with their sources. JESUS OF NAZARETH has no Sermon the Mount, but distibutes the material. Film makers abreviate, omit, relocate, and redistrubute to add dramatic effect and biographical plausibility, especially with the Sermon on the Mount, yet they know Matt and aren't cranks for changing it. On the other hand, some of these reworkings were probably inspired by Luke's reworking. But that shows Matt's sermon is not superior to Luke since film makers choose Luke over Matt. Goodacre refutes the argument that Luke wouldn't have altered Matt's masterpeice unless he was a crank because Matt's version is superior to Luke's.

Ch7 Discusses the beatitude, blessed are the poor (in spirit). Matt has "in spirit" but not Luke or Thomas, so it is argued that the version without "in spirit" is more primitive, and therefore reflects Q, explaining why Luke doesn't use Matt's "in spirit." Goodacre explains why Luke would change Matt's version by pointing out that 1) Luke is concerned with the poor, 2) reversals in Luke (blessings and woes) would not work with "in the spirit," for it would have to be contrasted with "woe to the rich in flesh" or "woe to the rich in spirit" which doesn't make sense, and 3) beatitude was addressed to disciples who had left worldly posessions to follow Jesus and were actually poor. Goodacre also says that Luke and Thomas probably agree because Thomas relied on Luke. To explain why, in the beatitudes, Thomas changed "kingdom of God" to "kingdom of heaven" while Luke has "kingdom of heaven" and Matt has "kingdom of God," Goodacre points out that nowhere in Thomas do you find "kingdom of heaven."

Ch8 Argues that Luke used Matt, which is evident in the minor agreements between Luke and Matt against Mark in triple tradition. Against the argument that the minor agreements are too minor to prove anything, Goodacre points out that there's a sliding scale from minor agreements to major agreements (called Mark-Q overlap by Q theorists) to double traditions, and these categories are artificial.

Ch9 Discusses the relevence of Thomas on the synoptic problem, since Thomas seems to give precedence to the genre of "sayings gospel." He argues that they really aren't the same genre since Q has a narrative sequence containing chronology and biography not found in Thomas, especially in the first 1/3 of Q. He explains the other 2/3 and how it is explicable on the assumption that Luke used Matt.

Goodacre is an outstanding teacher. He took a tedius subject and explained it in a way that was easy to follow. His arguments are sharp and well-articulated. He uses footnotes instead of endnotes so you don't have to flip back and forth to read them. The only bad things I have to say about the book is that the vast majority of it answers objections to Luke's use of Matthew, and only a small percentage of the book makes the case that Luke used Matt. He does a great job of tearing down one point of view, but doesn't do much in the way of building up his own case. Ch8 seemed to be the only chapter that really argued positively for his case, and I think more should've been said about the major and minor agreements between Matt and Luke against Mark. The book is way over-priced. There are 17 pages of bibliography, but there are only 189 pages of text.

Meticulously researched, well-reasoned, carefully documented  Apr 12, 2002
The Case Against Q: Studies In Markan Priority And Synoptic Problem By Mark Goodacre (Lecturer in New Testament, Department of Theology, University of Birmingham, England) is a crucial and scholarly study of the relationship between the Biblical figures of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The "Q" hypothesis claims that Matthew and Luke referred to another source as well as Mark. That source, now lost, is called "Q." The Case Against Q is a meticulously researched, well-reasoned, carefully documented, cautious analysis and criticism of the Q hypothesis. A fascinating in-depth look at Synoptic relationships, The Case Against Q is a seminal and highly recommended addition to Biblical studies reading lists and reference collections.

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