The Book of Q

The Lost Gospel

Information on the Lost Sayings Gospel Q

According to the Two Source Hypothesis accepted by a majority of contemporary scholars, the authors of Matthew and Luke each made use of two different sources: the Gospel of Mark and a non-extant second source termed Q. The siglum Q derives from the German word “Quelle,” which means “Source.” Q primarily consists of the “double tradition” material, that which is present in both Matthew and Luke but not Mark. However, Q may also contain material that is preserved only by Matthew or only by Luke (called “Sondergut”) as well as material that is paralleled in Mark (called Mark/Q overlaps). Although the temptation story and the healing of the centurion’s son are usually ascribed to Q, the majority of the material consists of sayings. For this reason, Q is sometimes called the Synoptic Sayings Source or the Sayings Gospel. Some scholars have observed that the Gospel of Thomas and the Q material, as contrasted with the four canonical gospels, are similar in their emphasis on the sayings of Jesus instead of the passion of Jesus.

Arguments in favour of the Two Source Hypothesis can be found in the essay on The Existence of Q.

The content shared between the synoptic gospels (Mark, Matthew, and Luke) means that they share a direct literary relationship. The most commonly accepted hypothesis states that Mark was written first and the authors of Matthew and Luke used Mark to write their own accounts. However, for this to be true, they must have also shared an additional gospel, now lost, which scholars call “Q”. What’s the evidence for Q? If it existed, who wrote it and what can it tell us about the historical Jesus?

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