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Q, the Earliest Gospel: An Introduction to the Original Stories and Sayings of Jesus Paperback – October 3, 2008

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About the Author

John S. Kloppenborg is Professor of Religion at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is author of Excavating Q: The History and Setting of the Sayings Gospel and coeditor of The Critical Edition of Q.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press (October 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664232221
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664232221
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #320,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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The author of this book, Professor John S. Kloppenborg, was the co-editor of both "The Critical Edition of Q" and "The Sayings Gospel Q in Greek and English." He is therefore in a unique position not only to introduce this initial collection of sayings and stories of Jesus, but to explain both how this reconstruction was formulated, and its importance to an understanding of the philosophy and character of early Christianity. In the course of this discussion, Professor Kloppenborg is also of course concerned to demonstrate how both Matthew and Luke adapted Document Q to suit their own purposes. For example, the beatitudes which Matthew groups in what we term his "chapter five", using the well-known literary device we call "The Sermon on the Mount", were probably originally gathered in Document Q in various places. From Q, they can be rendered as follows: "Blessed are you poor, for God's reign is for you. Blessed are you who hunger, for you will eat your fill. Blessed are you who mourn, for you will be consoled. Blessed are you when they insult and persecute you, and say every kind of evil against you because of the Son of Man. Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. Many prophets and kings longed to see what you see, but never saw it, and to hear what you hear, but never heard it. [Blessed are the humble]. Everyone exalting himself will be humbled, but whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord." Notice that this list omits the verse promising "the humble and lowly" that they will "inherit the earth", which, in my opinion, can certainly be regarded as a gloss. All told, this introduction to Q is fascinating, informative and superbly researched. I have only two extremely minor reservations.Read more ›
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I had wanted a book to really explain Q, but one that was written by an academic who thoroughly knew it. Kloppenborg is a Professor of Religion at the University of Toronto who has written extensively on the Gospel of Q, and in this book brings us up to date on what is currently known, as well as what is still unknown on the Gospel of Q. And in this book he does a masterful job of slowly breaking down what is known and what is theory when it comes to this key gospel, which is possibly the earliest document of Christianity and which was directly referenced by the writers of the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, Thomas, and the letters of James.

This book is concise enough to keep moving along, but detailed enough to make you have to reread some lines to make sure you are fully comprehending what he is telling you. Kloppenborg gets into discussions about whether Q was in fact oral tradition that was handed down or was it a written document? He shows different sides of the arguments regarding the influences of Q on the Gospels, and why some of them were written differently even though they came from the same source document. He explains how Q talks about Jesus differently from the Gospel of Mark, and therefore sheds light on Jesus in important ways. Kloppenborg explains how early writers of the Gospels wrote their versions of the Gospel of Q slightly differently, creating interpretations based on their audiences, which was something used by scribes and translators at the that time to try to make their version more accessible to the audience it was being written for. This book is a great book for beginning to grasp what is known, and what is still unknown, as it relates to the Q Gospel. He also explains why it is referred to as a Gospel.
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Format: Paperback
John S. Kloppenborg is Professor of Religion and Chair of the Department of Religion at the University of Toronto. He received both an M.A. and Ph.D. in New Testament and Early Christian Literature from the University of St. Michael’s College, where he completed his doctoral work under Heinz O. Guenther on the literary genre of the synoptic sayings source. Kloppenborg has since authored numerous books, including Q Parallels: Synopsis, Critical Notes & Concordance (Polebridge Press, 1988), The Formation of Q: Trajectories in Ancient Wisdom Collections (Fortress Press, 1987), Excavating Q: The History and Setting of the Sayings Gospel (Fortress Press, 2000), A Critical Edition of Q (with James M. Robinson and Paul Hoffman; Fortress Press, 2000), and the focus of the present review, Q, The Earliest Gospel: An Introduction to the Original Stories and Sayings of Jesus (Westminster John Knox, 2010).

Today, Kloppenborg is considered by many in the field to be one of the world’s leading experts on the Q source. The issues surrounding Q can be especially complex for the average reader who is unfamiliar with the synoptic problem and the conversations therein. Of course, this makes the task of creating a widely accessible introduction particularly challenging, as it requires beyond average familiarity with practically every corner of this scholarly discussion. It is here, I believe, that Q, The Earliest Gospel has provided something special for readers of all interest levels to engage. Kloppenborg attentively guides the reader through four fundamental questions—why should we think there was a Q? What did Q look like? What difference does Q make? And what happened to Q?—and provides the reader with ample interaction and examples to evaluate therein.
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