The Gospel Of The Lord.The Q document Michael F. Bird. part 2

Bird comments on page 45.

I have to confess that I was originally skeptical about the prospect of notebooks being used to preserve Jesus’ teachings. It struck me as a rather convenient way of preserving Jesus’ words, and we do not actually have any surviving notebooks containing Jesus’ words. I once regarded with incredulity Paul Barnett’s claim: “In our view, Jesus’ disciples must have begun memorizing Jesus teachings, and perhaps even writing them down, while he was still with them.” But my initial reservations have been assuaged.

I have to confess also that I too was incredulous about notebooks being used to record Jesus teachings and their reference in writing the Gospels. I first came across this notion in Why Four Gospels, by David Alan Black. I am not convinced by Bird’s proposal that notebooks were used by the early disciples to memorize his teachings and indeed in the following pages, he quickly moves on from this initial statement without actually showing how the disciples themselves used these methods for memorizing His teachings.

He certainly makes a strong case using societal examples that notes were taken and the teachings of the Apostles were most likely recorded by some of his listeners. Though we do have to acknowledge that some of the disciples of Jesus did have the capability of note taking – taking Zachariah the tax collector as an example.

I suspect the Synoptic Gospels were written by scribes recording the preaching and teaching of the Apostles to the early church. That the so called Q document was not a written document – but instead, was the actual Apostles themselves. There is little dispute that the Gospels as we have them contain editorial marks / comments from their authors. I find it telling that the Gospels are written from the perspective of an outsider and not as a first person insider. Eg Matthew 5:1-2 records Jesus turning from the crowd towards his disciples to teach them – which point to the Gospels being a subsequent written account of the Apostolic teachings.


About Craig Benno

I'm an average aussie guy who has lived perhaps a not so average life.
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4 Responses to The Gospel Of The Lord.The Q document Michael F. Bird. part 2

  1. Drewe says:

    An interesting thought – could the first recordings be actual private letters? Take our little tax collecting man – he could have recorded some of Jesus sayings to him and others and posted to his mates – pre facebook style. Now whilst these mostly wouldn’ t be public documents, they could start… For example – what if a Synagogue leader were to post some of the things Jesus said to some of his college mates? They could then tell their congregations if they wanted (and argue for or against) – but again, with someone as popular as Jesus, I personally don’t doubt this is happening, just as people would tweet\facebook\or as a last resort email it these days!

  2. Craig Benno says:

    I have no doubt there were private letters and recordings. Certainly we learn from the writings of Josephus that the Government recorded certain events. That doesn’t explain the question of the Q document, which some believe was a central pre-existent document which the Gospel writers drew on to write their own.

    Within this scenario, I believe the Apostles themselves have to be the Q source / a living document.

    • Drewe says:

      Don’t get too sold on Q – many scholars don’t agree that it existed. It is a ‘nice’ concept – it helps scholars neatly pigeon hole the commonality among the gospels. I always find it interesting that they never seem to consider that most of the people may have just been there, or the people recording where talking to someone who was. We never seem to get back to that level of actual people hearing Jesus, only ‘sources’.

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