has quite properly reinforced the earlier insight of form criticism that tradition can hardly be thought of as other than community tradition.44 Though the question should not be ignored, whether such a document was simply a deposit of a community's tradition or may have been addressed to a community (in exhortation or rebuke) by a particular author. There is some tension here, not always perceived or clarified, between Q as simply a collection of community tradition and Q as a carefully constructed composition.
More serious, however, is the assumption that Q somehow defines its community: it is a 'Q community' or 'Q-group' in the sense that the Q material is its only Jesus tradition; it holds to this material in distinction from (defiance of?) other communities who presumably are similarly defined by their document.46 There are several flaws in the logic here.
First is what we might call the 'one document per community' fa llacy.It simply will not do to identify the character of a community with the character of a document associated with it.47 Such a document will no doubt indicate concerns and emphases in the community's teaching. But only if we can be confident that the single document was the community's sole document (or traditional material) could we legitimately infer that the concerns and beliefs of the community did not extend beyond those of the document. And we cannot have such confidence. On the same logic we could speak of 'wisdom villages' in the land of Israel which knew no prophetic books, or prophetic communities at odds with Torah communities. The Dead Sea Scrolls should surely have banished forever the idea that communities possessed and treasured only one document or only one genre of tradition. Where documents have different purposes, the lack of cross-reference between them tells us nothing as to whether both docu
Easter situation' (58; Formation 26). See also Kloppenborg, 'Literary Convention, Self-Evidence and the Social History of the Q People', Semeia 55 (1992) 77-102; Vaage, Galilean Upstarts. Hoffmann prefers to speak of a 'Q-group' rather than a 'Q community' (Studien 10), but so long as the developed ecclesiastical overtones of 'church' are kept under control, the issues are not significantly different (cf. Kloppenborg Verbin, Excavating Q 170-71).
46. In Excavating Q, Kloppenborg Verbin makes the point more subtly by pressing the distinction between 'diversity' and 'difference' (354-63): 'Q's "differentness"is substantial and that difference has the potential of undermining some of the tidy models for imagining theological continuity' (363).
47. Kloppenborg, Formation 25; 'Q represents a theologically autonomous sphere of Christian theology' (27), 'a discrete group in which Q functioned as the central theological expression' (39). Koester, Ancient Christian Gospels: 'Both documents [the Gospel of Thomas and Q] presuppose that Jesus' significance lay in his words, and in his words alone' (86, my emphasis). See also B. Mack, The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1993) 213-14, 245-47.
ments were known or unknown to the writers or recipients of each.48 The life and identity of any community of Jesus' earliest followers was unlikely to be dependent solely on the written traditions it possessed, let alone a single document.49 Thus, the absence of various themes from Q (e.g., purity issues, To-rah) should not be taken necessarily as evidence of the Q community's limited concerns, but may rather indicate that Q does not represent the whole concerns of the Q people.
Second, allied to the one document per community fallacy is a particularly important argument from silence. The absence of indications that Q was influenced by the Passion kerygma or narratives is taken by some to imply that the Q community did not know either Passion kerygma or Passion stories and maintained a Christology at odds with the Christology of the canonical Gospels. Of course it is incredible that there were groups in Galilee who cherished the memory of Jesus' teaching but who either did not know or were unconcerned that Jesus had been executed. In fact, Q does show awareness of Jesus' death. So the argument reduces to points in Q's collection where Q might have borrowed some element from the Passion kerygma but consistently failed to do so — an argumentum ex silentio indeed. But there are different ways of presenting and understanding Jesus' death in the NT writings; they are not mutually exclusive, nor do they testify to ignorance of others. It is well known, for example, that the evangelistic sermons in Acts do not attribute a soteriological function to Jesus' death; their pat
48. Lindemann observes that Q belongs to a different Gattung from Mark, that is a Gattung other than 'Gospel' ('Logienquelle Q' 13-17).
49. See further H. W. Attridge, 'Reflections on Research into Q\Semeia 55 (1992) 22334 (here 228-29); D. C. Allison, The Jesus Tradition in Q (Harrisburg: Trinity, 1997) 43-46: 'The truth is that while Q may omit some things, it does not include anything really at odds with what Matthew or Luke held dear' (45); 'We know for a fact that Q's authors believed in much that Q does not tell us about' (46).
50. Kloppenborg Verbin, Excavating Q 199.
51. Particularly Mack, Lost Gospel 4.
52. Kloppenborg Verbin cites Q 6.22-23; 13.34-35; 11.49-51; and 14.27 (Excavating Q 369-71). Cf. the fact that Q alludes to many more miracles (Q 7.22; 10.13; 11.20) than it actually records (did Matt. 8.13/Luke 7.10 and Matt. 9.33/Luke 11.14 appear in Q?). Kloppenborg suggests 'that the appeal to wonder-working would be largely irrelevant to the formative stratum [of Q], since it is not concerned to defend a particular portrait of Jesus, but to promote an ethic based on the providential care and loving surveillance of God' ('Sayings Gospel Q' 330). One might simply observe that the limited purpose of a particular collection of Jesus' sayings should not be taken as indication that this purpose encompassed the full extent of the concerns and knowledge of Jesus tradition on the part of those who compiled or used the collection.
53. Kloppenborg Verbin, Excavating Q 374.
54. Paul uses several metaphors, by no means all entirely consistent with each other (see my Theology ofPaul, chapter 9).
tern of suffering-vindication, in fact, is rather close to what is implied in the Q allusions to Jesus' death.
Third, a further fallacy is the assumption that communities of disciples were isolated from one another and that documents were written only for the use of the scribe's own community — as though teachers who had been teaching the same range of tradition for many years suddenly found it necessary to commit it to writing for the community already long familiar with that tradition through their teaching. But the evidence of our earliest sources is that communities maintained communication with one another; and it is more probable that tradition was written down in order to facilitate communication at a distance. It is hardly likely that Luke was the only one who knew that 'many (had) taken in hand to compile an account of the things that had been accomplished among us' (Luke 1.1). And we simply do not know how widely Q was circulated. The fact that both Matthew and Luke had access to copies points in a different direction.
In short, while the hypothesis that Q represents teaching material of/for one or several communities is entirely plausible, the further hypotheses that there were distinctively 'Q communities', in effect isolated from other early Christian communities, depends on deductions which go well beyond what the data of Q itself indicate.
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