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Documenta Q


Reconstructions of Q Through Two Centuries of Gospel Research

Excerpted, Sorted and Evaluated


General Editors: Paul Hoffmann, John S. Kloppenborg, Joseph Verheyden and Christoph Heil

Founder of the International Q Project and former General Editor: James M. Robinson

Managing Editors: Robert A. Derrenbacker, Jr., Gertraud Harb, Steven R. Johnson and Markus Tiwald

Former Managing Editors: Stanley D. Anderson, Sterling G. Bjorndahl, Shawn Carruth, Thomas Hieke and Milton C. Moreland


Documenta Q is the Database of the International Q Project presupposed in its reconstruction of. the Sayings Gospel Q. It consists of scholarly literature from two centuries, excerpted, sorted and evaluated, and includes practically all the efforts thus far to establish the precise Greek wording of Q, that is, the approximately 235 verses (or parts of verses) in the canonical Gospels of Matthew and Luke that share enough in wording and sequence to indicate a shared written Greek source other than Mark.

Each saying has been subdivided into aseries of variation units, modelled after those of textual criticism, where Matthew or Luke diverge in the wording or sequence of Q. Scholarly assessments of these divergences are excerpted in English, German or French (as well as published translations), and these data are sorted into four lists, each in chronological order covering the whole period of Q scholarship down to the present: arguments supporting the view that Luke did (1) or did not (2) preserve the original reading for that variation unit, followed by those holding that Matthew did (3) or did not (4) preserve the Q reading. Each variation unit is furnished by evaluations: first by the scholar who initially compiled, then by one or more respondents, then by the International Q Project at one of its annual meetings, or by a sub-committee at supplemental meetings. Finally the entire text of Q has been reviewed by the General Editors of the editio maior of Q itself.

The need for a critical tool for the reconstruction of Q is obvious once it is recognized that the pertinent literature is both vast, and widely scattered in commentary, monograph, Festschrift and periodical literature, in all of the modern research languages. In effect, it is beyond access even for the most conscientious study. The inevitable result has been that scholars refer to a parallel in Matthew and Luke „behind“ which lies a Q saying whose wording is not even attempted, or, at best, hypothesized, often on the basis of an arbitrary fraction of scholarly opinion.

The explosion of literature in the field, especially in recent years, proposing reconstructions of the Q wording of individual sayings, makes it apparent that the academic community needs a systematic ordering of relevant opinion. Documenta Q is this tool, a resource made available here to the scholarly public as a by-product of producing the critical text of Q itself. By presenting all arguments bearing on the reconstruction of Q for the past 160 years in a consistent and standardized format, Documenta Q permits easier access to, and a much more thorough grasp of, the entire context of Q-scholarship than most individual study would allow. It is a Q library in nuce.

As research moves forward, the database and evaluations will be updated periodically in machine readable form, so that a future generation can have comparable access that for them too is up to date.

Documenta Q is thus a resource provided to the scholarly community to facilitate its work in this field. Q has seemed all too difficult to study in the absence of manuscript evidence from which a critical text can be established. It is hoped that this Database will compensate in part for this inherent deficiency in Q studies, and thus provide a solid basis and practical stimulus for ongoing studies of the Sayings Gospel Q.