Bible Review 11:5, October 1995

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Q

By Stephen J. Patterson

Eta Linnemann’s article on the Q hypothesisa takes Burton Mack and me to task not only for our scholarship, but also for what she takes to be our attack on traditional Christian beliefs. It’s a clever exercise in apologetics. However, this attempt to undergird her own very conservative understanding of Christian faith by discrediting the Q hypothesis (and anyone who dares discuss it) is misleading, misinformed and misguided.

Her case against Q is misleading. Take, for example, the point that since Paul does not mention Q, we should assume that it did not exist in his day. Aside from the obvious problem that we do not know what Q was called by early Christians (hence, the modern designation “Q”), Paul never refers to his sources by name. This is understandable. Many ancient documents carry no title; if they were referred to at all, it was by recalling the first few words in the document. In short, we do not know whether Paul ever refers to Q.

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