An intriguing argument that should really be given serious attention by scholars, even if NT scholarship as a whole is heavily invested in the Q hypothesis.
Thanks Daniel. The problem is more extensive even than the embedded status of the classic understanding of Q. A very early (original) Didache is potentially disruptive to many other cherished ideas - across NT studies. I hope that the next set of videos (date for launch unknown!) will show that the case for a very early Original Didache is not only compelling but also positive for our understanding and appreciation of substantial elements of the NT - especially Luke-Acts and Paul.
Before watching your videos, so I could get a feel for the problem on my own first, I analyzed the opening of Didache line by line and compared it with its synoptic Lukan and Matthean equivalents. Now that I watch the videos, you confirm many of my observations and (of course) notice many important features of the text that I did not. I think you are very much on to something.
Is your work on the Didache going to be formally published, and if so, when? I'd also be curious to hear your thoughts on the Lord's Prayer.
Thanks Paul. This set of videos is scheduled to come out in print form in July next year - as an article in /New Testament Studies/.
You might find this interesting.
Delbert Burkett (2009, p. 90) writes:
‘Luke has taken the the pericope on nonresistance (Luke 6:29–30) and the golden rule (Luke 6:3) and inserted them into the pericope “Love enemies” (Luke 6:27–28, 32–36). That Luke’s order is secondary here is shown by the fact that it breaks the connection between the command to “Love your enemies” (Luke 6:27) and the justification for that command (Luke 6:32–33).’
Burkett's insight is correct, for he just predicted the contents of Didache 1:3.
Thanks Paul, that's a brilliant bit of observation. Something similar happens in David Catchpole's 'The Quest for Q' (1993:25). He reconstructs the original behind Matthew's and Luke's 'marred' versions of Turn the Other Cheek and Give Your Shirt as Well as Your Tunic ... and comes up with versions of these sayings that are remarkably similar to those found in Did. 1.4! All this in a passage that make no mention of the Didache at all.
Very interesting videos. Just wondering what you thought about an early version of the Gospel of Thomas as another possible candidate for "Extant Q"?
Thanks Kent. It doesn't seem especially unlikely that some sayings, or groups of sayings, that eventually made it into the the Gospel of Thomas were also known to Luke and Matthew. It does seem unlikely (to me), however, that Luke and Matthew knew these sayings in a text already recognisable as The Gospel of Thomas.
Excellent work on the Didache, Alan. When will we hear more?
One thing bugs me though. Why don't we hear more of the Two Ways in the Gospels, if it was such a key concept?
Thanks Adam. Don't hold your breath for the next instalment - though I am working on it currently, so (slow) progress is happening.
If the Two Ways was widely known from an early period then, in the early days of 'The Way', it would have been unnecessary to keep repeating this ethical foundation in full. What you'd expect to see, instead, is allusions to this foundation - which is what does seem to occur: e.g. Matthew 7.13-14; Luke 13.24; Acts 19.9,23 etc; Gal 5.16-26; Romans 12.9-13.10 (less 13.1-7); Epistle of James has similar ethical instructions; Epistle of Barnabas 18-20 quotes Two Ways more or less in full; and so on.
What do you make of St Paul's referring to what appears to be a Gospel? John Robinson makes mention of it in his "Redating the NT" quite a bit. Was there an Ur-Gospel? Could it have been the original core of the Didache? Of course what we call "Gospels" today are really testimonies about JC's life. I've just read Bauckham, thus the phrase. Not sure I quite buy his whole thesis, but it makes more sense than the dominant paradigm.
Hi Adam, you ask an interesting question. The quick answer is that I think there is a connection between Paul's use of the term 'gospel' and the original core of the Didache. The slow answer might get published in due course.
Is the Didache sufficient to account for the additions to Mark we see in Mathew and Luke? Or is there quite a bit of material common to Matthew and Luke that is not found in the Didache that might be from a different source Q?
Most of the additions to Mark we see in Luke and Matthew came to be there (I propose) by the following process. Luke knew various sources (the 'many' of his preface) and he combined them with Mark. Matthew then used Luke and sometimes copied, almost verbatim, what Luke added to Mark.
Sometimes, however, Matthew knew Luke's original source as well as Luke's version of that source. When this happened, Matthew conflated Luke's version with the original. The article 'An Extant Instance of 'Q'' shows how this happens in one particular example - there are likely to be others - but not that many.
So, to answer your question, there may be other examples of 'Q' - as in sayings of Jesus used by both Luke and Matthew - but most of the time the Double Tradition is simply a product of Matthew copying Luke.
I am just a simple soul that wonders about simple things. Given the fact that so many flooded into the Christian church in the first century, the need for a quick, directly to the point document that would help the newly committed learn to live a Christian life be needed? I think so. Given the fact that Paul's letters and directives were yet to reach so many either as a single or a composite also account for a great void in gentile education. The early church did sort out what it wanted to maintain from its Jewish traditions so the Jewish converts had a great advantage in knowing some of how to walk the walk. The Gentiles had none of that, so their need to learn was much greater. Just an observation. Thanks for the vids..i enjoyed them very much. I have since sem days been a fan of the synoptics. Take care...
Would it be possible to combine the arguments about scroll/codex, a critical part of the argument regarding Luke/Matthew's use of Mark, with the discussion of reliance specifically on the Didache - simply to make it explicit?
Hi Jon, It does seem to be the case that Luke treats the Didache as he treats Mark ... and Matthew also treats the Didache as he also treats Mark. The sample size is so small, however, that I only thought this was worth a passing mention. (I think I said something to this effect in the print version of the article) Thanks.
Alan Garrow is Vicar of St Peter's Harrogate and a member of SIIBS at the University of Sheffield.