John S. Kloppenborg

in Biblical Studies

ISBN: 9780195393361
Published online September 2010 | | DOI:


The Sayings Gospel Q, or “Q,” is a hypothetical document posited by the dominant solution to the Synoptic Problem, the Two Document (or Two Source) Hypothesis. According to this hypothesis, Mark was used independently by Matthew and Luke as a source. Since not all of the material that Matthew and Luke have in common comes from Mark, it is necessary to posit a second source, “Q” (an abbreviation of the German Quelle, “source”). The Q material, most or all of which belonged to a single written source, comprises about 235 verses or 4500 words of text and consists mainly of sayings of John the Baptist and Jesus, with two miracles stories (the healing of the centurion’s serving boy and an exorcism) and the Temptation story. Whether the baptism of Jesus belonged to Q is debated. The significance of Q consists in its focus on Jesus’ sayings, in what it lacks, and in its special emphases. Q lacks a continuous narrative, but is instead organized topically; it lacks a Passion-resurrection narrative and birth stories (although it perhaps contains some oblique references to the death and vindication of Jesus); it has only two miracle stories and is mainly interested the sayings or controversies that these miracles occasion; and while it uses such Christological titles as “Son of Man,” “Son of God” and “the Coming One,” it does not use the term “messiah.” Q is less concerned with defending a certain Christology and more interested in characterizing the “kingdom of God” and the behavior and attitude consistent with the kingdom. Note: Q texts are normally cited by their Lucan versification. Thus, Q 6:20 is the Q text located at Luke 6:20. This does not necessarily imply that Luke preserves Q better than Matthew.

Article.  10170 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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