While reading Mark Goodacre’s book pictured to the right, something stood out that I sorta wanted to do a blog post on since it didn’t fit well with my book. He noted that Q is the bastion of both liberals and conservatives in that it feeds both of their theological needs. For the liberals, Q gives them an ethical Jesus free of non-scientific miracles including the resurrection. For conservatives, it is an eyewitness to Jesus. Mythicists love to dispense with Q because it removes any suggestion that there was in face a historical Jesus.
I don’t believe in Q. It is the Santa Claus of New Testament studies in my opinion.
But, the question is, is if we do not have an eye witness to Jesus through Q, is their still proof of a historical Jesus? I mean, besides Paul’s writings and even a few non-biblical sources that date after the New Testament itself?
I think so. I don’t Mark just invented a story completely by himself out of a rather thin layer of story telling surrounding a supposedly spiritual Jesus in Paul’s writings. Let me clarify: the Jesus in Paul’s writings is very real and is not spiritual. To suggest otherwise is to deny sound methods. Sound historical methods.
Of course, while the Gospels do contain glimpses of the Historical Jesus, it is really not worth the effort to dig through them to discover what we think is there. In other words, acknowledge the Gospels for what they are, Plutarch’s bios, and the such and move on. To base a historical Jesus or a mythical Jesus on the Gospels is still, almost as silly as suggesting that Thomas Jefferson is mythical because David Barton is a loon rather than an actual historian.
The Gospels tells us more about the historical development of the -ologies within various Christian communities at different stages. Mark, in my opinion, is the first to face a real crisis and thus moves to solidify the messiah that Jesus was. Matthew moves to solidify the community in continuity with Judaism in light of the destruction of the Temple and in opposition to the Pax Romana, whereas Luke… I dunno yet. I still think he wants to be Superman.
Just some thoughts.