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The Case Against Q: Studies in Markan Priority and the Synoptic Problem Paperback – February 1, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Goodacre has an impressive knack for exposing weaknesses in what so many have supposed are good arguments. Those who do not believe in Q will find him a mighty ally in their unbelief. Those of us who remain in the Q camp will have to meet his worthy challenge and wrestle with his fresh and instructive observations on the synoptic problem." Dale C. Allison, Jr. Errett M. Grable Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity (Dale C. Allison, Jr.)

The positing of Q as a source for Matthew and Luke is founded on the twin suppositions of Markan priority and the independence of Matthew and Luke. In this lucid and carefully argued exploration of the Synoptic Problem, Goodacre argues that Markan priority is reasonable and well-founded, and that a good case can be made for Luke's direct dependence on Matthew. If his argument should be sustained, Q would become unnecessary and decades of Gospel research will have to be re-thought. But whether or not Goodacre is ultimately correct, The Case Against Q provides the most accessible and compelling defense to date of the theory of Gospel origins championed by James Ropes, Austin Farrer and Michael Goulder.John S. Kloppenborg, Claremont Graduate University and The University of Toronto (John S. Kloppenborg)

This is an urgently needed book in New Testament studies. The Q hypothesis dominates the field partly because of intellectual inertia and partly because it serves the ideological interests of critics who desire a Jesus without a narrative, without a cross. Reminding us that Q is a hypothesis, not an extant ancient document, Goodacre’s sharply-argued book dismantles the shopworn case for Q and challenges us to think freshly about synoptic relationships. His alternative deserves serious consideration: Markan priority, combined with Luke’s use of Matthew as a source alongside Mark. Goodacre’s chapter on narrative criticism and the Sermon on the Mount is especially illuminating. Every intellectually serious teacher of the New Testament must grapple with this book. — Richard B. Hays The George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament The Divinity School, Duke University (Richard B. Hays)

"This is an urgently needed book in New Testament studies Goodacre's sharply argued book dismantles the shopworn case for Q and challenges us to think freshly about synoptic relationships Every intellectually serious teacher of the New testament must grapple with this book." (Richard B. Hays)

"If his agument should be sustained, Q would become unnecessary and decades of Gospel research will have to be re-thought The Case Against Q provides the most accessible and compelling defense to date of the theory of Gospel origins championed by James Ropes, Austin Farrer, and Michael Goulder." (John S. Kloppenborg)

"Those who do not believe in Q will find Goodacre a mighty ally in their unbelief. Those of us who remain in the Q camp will have to meet his worthy challenge and wrestle with his fresh and instructive observations on the synoptic problem." (Dale C. Allison, Jr.)

"..a hypothesis well worth considering and well worth developing. Goddacre's sketch of how it might be developed provides a welcome and refreshing contribution to the discussion of the Synoptic Problem and Lukan editorial procedures."—John S. Kloppenborg, Review of Biblical Literature, Oct. 2002 (John S. Kloppenborg)

"Although some may question his conclusions, the fact remains that Goodacre's work offers a fresh breath to Synoptic studies. His application of narrative critical methodologies and his interaction with modern cinematic views of Jesus provide an ample amount of interesting material to engage. While including some technical language, his book is still fairly easy to read and his arguments are logically presented. This book would offer great material for a seminar on Q and the Synoptic Problem, While serious students of the Synoptic Gospels will find this book both challenging and useful."—Leo Percer, Review of Biblical Literature, Oct. 2002 (Leo Percer)

"...[Goodacre] hassucceeded in producing a wide-ranging, detailed and cogent argument for theomission of Q from synoptic studies. Despite the broad and complex argumentthat Goodacre embraces, the book is easily readable. Goodacre writes in a lucidand clear style that reduces some complex and innovative arguments to prosethat is easily understood. On a more minor point, it is encouraging thatGoodace retains the use of the original Greek (or Coptic in the case of Thomas)throughout the work. This is important when dealing with detailed textualarguments. However, Goodacre courteously renders a translation on almost everyoccasion; thus assisting those for whom Greek (or Coptic) remains a distinctlysecond language. The Case Against Q...isa challenging, well argued and eminently readable work. It is worth seriousconsideration by anyone with an interest in the synoptic problem." — The Expository Times, December 2005


(Expository Times)

"Goodacre has an impressive knack for exposing weaknesses in what so many have supposed are good arguments. Those who do not believe in Q will find him a mighty ally in their unbelief. Those of us who remain in the Q camp will have to meet his worthy challenge and wrestle with his fresh and instructive observations on the synoptic problem." Dale C. Allison, Jr. Errett M. Grable Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity (Sanford Lakoff)

"This is an urgently needed book in New Testament studies Goodacre's sharply argued book dismantles the shopworn case for Q and challenges us to think freshly about synoptic relationships Every intellectually serious teacher of the New testament must grapple with this book." (Sanford Lakoff)

"If his agument should be sustained, Q would become unnecessary and decades of Gospel research will have to be re-thought The Case Against Q provides the most accessible and compelling defense to date of the theory of Gospel origins championed by James Ropes, Austin Farrer, and Michael Goulder." (Sanford Lakoff)

"Those who do not believe in Q will find Goodacre a mighty ally in their unbelief. Those of us who remain in the Q camp will have to meet his worthy challenge and wrestle with his fresh and instructive observations on the synoptic problem." (Sanford Lakoff)

"..a hypothesis well worth considering and well worth developing. Goddacre's sketch of how it might be developed provides a welcome and refreshing contribution to the discussion of the Synoptic Problem and Lukan editorial procedures."—John S. Kloppenborg, Review of Biblical Literature, Oct. 2002 (Sanford Lakoff)

"Although some may question his conclusions, the fact remains that Goodacre's work offers a fresh breath to Synoptic studies. His application of narrative critical methodologies and his interaction with modern cinematic views of Jesus provide an ample amount of interesting material to engage. While including some technical language, his book is still fairly easy to read and his arguments are logically presented. This book would offer great material for a seminar on Q and the Synoptic Problem, While serious students of the Synoptic Gospels will find this book both challenging and useful."—Leo Percer, Review of Biblical Literature, Oct. 2002 (Sanford Lakoff)

“…[Goodacre] hassucceeded in producing a wide-ranging, detailed and cogent argument for theomission of Q from synoptic studies. Despite the broad and complex argumentthat Goodacre embraces, the book is easily readable. Goodacre writes in a lucidand clear style that reduces some complex and innovative arguments to prosethat is easily understood. On a more minor point, it is encouraging thatGoodace retains the use of the original Greek (or Coptic in the case of Thomas)throughout the work. This is important when dealing with detailed textualarguments. However, Goodacre courteously renders a translation on almost everyoccasion; thus assisting those for whom Greek (or Coptic) remains a distinctlysecond language. The Case Against Q…isa challenging, well argued and eminently readable work. It is worth seriousconsideration by anyone with an interest in the synoptic problem.” – The Expository Times, December 2005


(Expository Times)

About the Author

Mark Goodacre is Associate Professor in New Testament, Department of Religion, Duke University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury T&T Clark; 1 edition (February 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563383349
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563383342
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #497,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark Goodacre is an Associate Professor in New Testament at the Department of Religion, Duke University, North Carolina, USA. He earned his MA, M.Phil and DPhil at the University of Oxford and was Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham until 2005. His research interests include the Synoptic Gospels, the Historical Jesus and the Gospel of Thomas. Goodacre is editor of the Library of New Testament Studies book series and the author of four books including The Case Against Q: Studies in Markan Priority and the Synoptic Problem (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2002) and Thomas and the Gospels: The Case for Thomas's Familiarity with the Synoptics (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012). He is well known for the award-winning internet site, The New Testament Gateway, the web directory of academic New Testament resources, and he has his own regular podcast on the New Testament, the NT Pod. Goodacre has acted as consultant for several TV and radio programs including The Passion (BBC / HBO, 2008) and The Bible: A History (Channel 4, 2010). For more details, see Mark Goodacre's homepage.

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74 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Sam Harper on July 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
Ch1 The psychological reasons Q is taken for granted. Q literature is written in the language of "discovery" as if an archaeological find rather than a hypothesis. The literature goes from calling it a "source" to calling it a "gospel document." Many scholars either ignore or are unaware of rival hypotheses. Although Q is taken for granted, people can't agree on a reconstruction of it.
Ch2 Arguments for the priority of Mark. His strongest argument is the argument from fatigue. Where Matthew or Luke alter Mark, they sometimes fail to incorporate the change throughout the passage being redacted leaving it incoherent.
Ch3 Answers some arguments for Luke's independence from Matt. According to Burton Mack, Matt was written in the late 80's and Luke around 120, yet Luke had a copy of Q, but not Matt. Goodacre argues that if Luke was written that late, he would be more likely to have a copy of Matt than Q because Q was waning in popularity and Matt was gaining in popularity. Fitzmyer argued that Luke is ignorant of Matt's additions to Mark, but Goodacre shows that Luke agrees with Matt's additions to Mark.
Ch4 Explains why Luke follows Mark's order, but not Matt's. If Luke follows Mark's order but not Matt's, so the argument goes, because he's following Q, and not Matt. Goodacre thinks the claim is overstated because Luke somtimes DOES diverge from Mark's order. Since Matt was written later than Mark, Luke was likely more familiar with Mark. Mark became his primary source and Matt was suplementary. Goodacres shows that Luke breaks up long discourse in Mark 4 which makes it understandable that he would break up Matt's sermon on the mount. Sermon on the mount is very Mathean, so it's reasonable to think Luke would alter it.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Case Against Q: Studies In Markan Priority And Synoptic Problem By Mark Goodacre (Lecturer in New Testament, Department of Theology, University of Birmingham, England) is a crucial and scholarly study of the relationship between the Biblical figures of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The "Q" hypothesis claims that Matthew and Luke referred to another source as well as Mark. That source, now lost, is called "Q." The Case Against Q is a meticulously researched, well-reasoned, carefully documented, cautious analysis and criticism of the Q hypothesis. A fascinating in-depth look at Synoptic relationships, The Case Against Q is a seminal and highly recommended addition to Biblical studies reading lists and reference collections.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By N. McNeely on June 19, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a great read for anyone even remotely interested in New Testament studies. The existence of Q is quite often just assumed and spoken of as a document that we actually possess (authors go as far as to date Q and even Q's sources!).

Goodacre provides a detailed account of why all of the arguments for Q fail. From there, it's just occam's razor: we can explain all of the evidence (including the absence of the document or any mention of the document) without postulating an extra entity.

There is no reason to think that Q exists, and this book shows why. And if you want to read more, the book is about 1/4 footnotes.
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