Wednesday, June 1, 2011

An Alternate Interpretation of Q: Some Thoughts

A question that’s been weighing on my mind, as of recent, is whether or not there is any credence to the Q source hypothesis. I think there is, but probably not for the reasons Biblical scholars usually give. What if the Q source isn’t evidence for some illusive artifact or document of ancient history so much as it is evidence for an emerging literary tradition?

In other words, Q may not actually be dealing with any genuine artifact, that is, it may not represent any original sayings at all, but rather, it could represent a type of literary progression. In this case, the progression would be a set of basic logia which have been lifted from an ancient form of oral treaties and philosophical discourses and then seamlessly blended into later literary constructions so that they get transformed. Therefore the sayings, although probably unreliable, may still contain allusions or reference(s) to real historical figures (e.g., Socrates, Pythagoras, Apollonius of Tyana, Jesus of Nazareth, etc.). The problem is, even if they do contain historical information, they may ultimately prove to be little more than imagined dialectics embellished with legend, a real possibility, and one I think my alternative interpretation of the Q hypothesis alludes to.