Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Star Trek and Q

I have just come across an interesting passage about the relationship between the character Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation and the postulate Q in the Synoptic Problem in a book by Michael Barrett and Duncan Barrett called Star Trek: The Human Frontier (London and New York: Routledge, 2000):
The name may have various sources; an obvious one is 'question' or 'query'. Another possibility is the gadget expert in James Bond films. It has one relevant history in Christian theology, where the so-called 'synoptic problem' of the authorship of the gospels is held by some to involve a 'hypothetical entity' responsible for the creation of parts of these texts not otherwise explicable. 'To postulate Q is to postulate the unevidenced and the unique.' Q is here a sort of residual category, invoked when need arose and now, it seems, the subject of much controversy. (82-83)
It's particularly gratifying to me to see Austin Farrer's "On Dispensing With Q" getting quoted in this context, and to see Q described as "the subject of much controversy"!

1 comment:

Palpatine's Way said...

Luke says he had gathered and investigated the writings about Jesus and his followers that were available at that time:

"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. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. (Luke 1)" 

In order to assert Q against Matthew as a source for Luke, you would have to explain why Matthew's gospel wouldn't have been available for Luke's research, since Matthew's gospel is exactly the type of thing Luke says he was looking for to do his research.

And as the Wikipedia article on Q says:  

"How could a major and respected source, used in two canonical gospels, disappear? If Q did exist, it would have been highly treasured in the early Church. It remains a mystery how such an important document, which was the foundation for two canonical Gospels, could be lost. An even greater mystery is why the extensive Church catalogs compiled by Eusebius and Nicephorus would omit such an important work yet include such non-canonical accounts as the Gospel of Peter and the Gospel of Thomas. The existence of a treasured sayings document in circulation going unmentioned by early Church Fathers remains one of the great conundrums of modern Biblical scholarship."