The Q Gospel

by schnell 6 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • schnell

    So, I'm reading "The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins" on Scribd. Check it out:

    If you're not aware (I'm just learning about this), the Q is a term for an early "sayings gospel" of Yeshua, a document that recorded his sayings rather than his supposed life story. In later decades, this document sort of became old light, as it were, in favor of Paul's epistles and the "narrative gospels" that we refer to as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

    This Q gospel was used by the authors of the gospel of Matthew and the gospel of Luke, but it was the earlier gospel of Mark that established the basic plot of his mythologized life story, and that too was used in Matthew, Luke, and John.

    The idea is that before Paul or the churches in Asia Minor and Syria developed the mythology about Christ as a divine being or son of God that we are more familiar with today, Jesus was basically a Jewish Socrates. I don't personally accept that Yeshua didn't exist, but I believe he was a theist philosopher who got made into a legend.

    And, I think he was a cult leader. I think he was *obviously* a cult leader. If you strip away all the mythology and all the divinity, you're left with a guy saying things like this:

    When another said, “Let me first go and bury my father,” Jesus said, “Leave the dead to bury their dead.”

    That's nice. And this:

    Can the blind lead the blind? Won't they both fall into a pit? A student is not better than his teacher. It is enough for a student to be like his teacher.

    (Honest translation: Would I steer you wrong? You're not better than me.)

    To be fair, he was not alone. There were lots of cults at the time, there had been for thousands of years, and there are today as well. From this perspective, Yeshua diminishes in my eyes to a man who preached an ascetic, theistic, apocalyptic philosophy with a persecution complex and an us-and-them world view.

    Sounds familiar.

    Yes, the principle of treating others as you'd like to be treated is a great golden rule. But so much else that's integral to Q and to Christianity is not. I'm not turning the other cheek in every case where someone attacks me, I'm not giving up my shirt if someone takes my coat, I certainly don't think the world is ending, and I love my neighbors enough to not see them as enemies in need of conversion. kthx.

  • schnell

    Another thing that gets me, and I'm by no means the first to notice. The Lord's Prayer contains "As above, so below." And that's pretty weird.

    Let your Kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also on earth.
    Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
  • shepherdless

    I actually heard about the "Q source" in school religious education classes, many years ago. I presume, if it existed, it was something like the Gospel of Thomas.

    We have so little reliable information on Jesus/Yeshua, that it is hard to do more than speculate. We can't even be certain Jesus existed, although he most likely did. If he did exist, I agree with the OP that he was most likely a typical "cult leader".

  • Landy
  • Phizzy

    Not all Scholars agree that a single "Q" (Source) document existed, but if not, then the Gospel writers got their info. from similar verbal sources.

    The four Gospels that are accepted were all written decades after the death of the Nazarene, by people who had not met him, and so were reliant on information passed to them, and their own vivid imaginations. By the time of writing the Jesus Myth was well under construction.

    The similarities suggest a common source, the differences suggest either multiple documents or verbal stories, rather than one Q.

    The seven letters of Paul that were really written by him, not the fakes written in his name after his death, which fakes are Colossians, Ephesians and 2nd Thessalonians, are the oldest Jesus literature we have as part of the Bible, and are not really interested in the Historical Jesus, but only in Paul's views based on his "revelations/visions".

    It would be fascinating to find a "Q" document, perhaps one written before Paul got going. The Sayings recorded there would no doubt be close to what Jesus of Nazareth actually said.

    It is my persoanl belief that some of what he actually said does come down to us in the Gospels, but that also much is "put in to his mouth" by the Gospel writers, sorting out which is which is difficult, to say the least.

  • schnell

    I agree completely, Phizzy. And so much of our JW dogma comes from those fake books, like Acts and the Pastoral letters and Revelation. Ugh. The view on blood transfusions, for instance, is even more untenable when you know Acts 15 is part of a second century forgery.

    I gotta say, I don't get the same encouragement from reading the Bible anymore. Just as with Jesus, if you strip away the mythology and divinity, you find a minority of good advice, and everything else is really flawed and really terrible.

    I could picture an old man telling me the things written in Proverbs, and I imagine just stopping him from time to time so I can disagree. Sure, stay away from thugs and hoes. But don't be afraid to think for yourself or so dependent on others to do the thinking for you! That's terrible!

  • fulltimestudent

    Reading the bible carefully exposes much of the futility of reading it:

    Take Luke 1:1 -

    "Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word."

    Luke says there were already many accounts by the time he set out to write his 'history.'

    When was that? The wikipedia entry on Luke notes:

    "The most probable date for its composition is around 80–100 AD, and there is evidence that it was still being revised well into the 2nd century." (reference:

    Clearly, most of those accounts did not survive., but Luke was relying mostly on second hand eye-witness accounts or earlier documents.

    We will likely never know for sure.

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