Deinde and the ever expanding Q
Good old, pool drawing Danny Deinde continues to interact with my book and I continue to be too stupid (I absolutely concede that criticism ;-)) to use the comments section. Now, in fear of opening the can of Q worms (now that's an images), I'll respond to this bit of Danny's comments which isn't a criticism, as Danny points out, but more for further debate:
Now here is my question-- if we are accepting the existence of Q though not as an actual document, can we speak of something 'common to Q', whether it be themes or words, etc? Especially if Maurice Casey's "dispersed set of traditions" (and I imagine Crossley is more than sympathetic to Casey in that he is his doctoral father, I believe) is applied to what we call 'Q material', can we speak of common themes? I would tend to think that if we are accepting Q as a swirling mix of oral traditions not circulating together as a unified tradition, then we cannot speak of a common theme--at least not in the sense of a purposeful common theme by the original tellers. Of course having said this, I can understand the possible existence of a common theme if the swirling Q traditions are all originating from the same person, Jesus.
In another fear of being accused of being an evangelical or something, I would actually accept - with a wee bit of qualification perhaps - the last sentence with reference to legal interpretation, especially as a lot of the synoptic material has a great deal in common in this area. My own interest is more the transmission of this material and the views this material reflects. There are some clear changes involving gentiles and law in earliest Christianity and these traditions were circulated at the same time. As this implies, one of the major reasons for chosing this material was because of its potentially early date (remember the time frame I went for was 26-50CE). For me the important question was how do these traditions deal with this effectively new social situation, especially as there seems to me to be a clear law observant attitude and little material explicitly concerned with a gentile mission right across the material labelled Q. This is part of the reason why I didn't feel the need to have a strong definition of Q because the question remains the same irrespective. As it happens, and here I could expect some response, there remains the good possibility that the passages I chose are early (the stuff on cups and tithing in particular), and if this is the case it almost does not matter if a vague Q, strong Q, or no-Q, is chosen. Put another way, the themes I outlined were across the synoptic tradition and is present in Markan and non-Markan material, then it must have come from somewhere and must be early. (Apart from my gentle nature, this was why I was keen to defuse the whole Q debate in relation to what I wrote a couple of months back: maybe I should have made this point more explicit?). Additionally, whether this can be labelled a purposeful theme or not (not an easy question to answer), it all refelcts something about the transmission of materials and what people were doing with the issue of gentiles with a theme of law observance.
Incidentally, writing this in a blog context, I feel very conscious of the possibility that someone like me who accepts Q, no matter how much it is qualified, could actually be in a minority.