The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins   -     By: Burton L. Mack
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The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins

HarperCollins / 1993 / Paperback

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Product Description

This book is separated into four main parts. The first part chronicles the discovery and reconstruction of Q. "Q" which in German is "quelle" and means "source", refers to the wri tings compiled by the original followers of Jesus. These writings and Mark's gospel were the sources for the later gospels Matthew and Luke. Part II provides the English translation of Q with a reader's guide. Part III is an analysis. It makes observations on the lit erary history of the piece. Some remarks cannot be ascribed to Jesus as they bear marks of reflection on later social ex- perience. Part IV locates Q on the map of early Christian literature and integrates the Jesus movement with other traditions that eventually fed into the making of Christianity. This book from a critical, liberal viewpoint is written for the informed lay person rather than the academic/scholar and so attempts to bring to the lay person a detailed look at Christian origins in relation to the study of Q. Contains a select bibliography.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 288
Vendor: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 1993
Dimensions: 6 X 9 1/4 X 3/4 (inches)
ISBN: 0060653752
ISBN-13: 9780060653750
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Publisher's Description

The first book to give the full account of the lost gospel of Jesus' original followers, revealing him to be a Jewish Socrates who was mythologized into the New Testament Christ.

Author Bio

Burton L. Mack is John Wesley Professor of the New Testament at the school of Theology at Claremont and the author of The Lost Gospel: The Book Q and Christian Origin and A Myth of Innocence: Mark and Christian Origins.

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  1. Sacramento, CA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    2 Stars Out Of 5
    Singularly Unconvincing
    February 14, 2012
    Philip Tutt
    Sacramento, CA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 2
    Value: 1
    Meets Expectations: 1
    This book is exceptionally difficult for any traditionalist student to read, even one who, like myself, has no doubt (without any prompting from Prof. Mack) that the gospel texts which have come down to us reflect editing, erroneous copying, and (probably) gross propagandizing.

    I have a number of problems with the book, not the least of which that "Q", a supposed earliest source of Jesus' words, is nothing more than scholarly conjecture. The author allows as much at the outset, but then goes on to treat "Q" as if it is a discovery (something like a lost manuscript recently unearthed), rather than a hypothesis.

    The case for "Q" seems to me to sum up as follows: when Matthew and Luke do not look like Mark, they tend to look like each other (with some exceptions); ergo, they must be drawing from a common source ("Q"). On this assumption, finding "Q" becomes an exercise syntax, thematic analysis, and textual "seam" recognition, all set against some very broad assumptions about the history of Galilee at the time of Jesus, plus a characterization of Jesus as a Cynic-like sage (in the classical sense of countercultural thinker, not in the modern sense of down-on-life curmudgeon).

    With these sorts of analytical tools, one can "discover" source "texts" in just about anything. Mark, which is dismissed outright as a source text, seems to me to be the better starting point. Assume that it is what it looks like: a bad cut-and-paste job from an earlier source, and take the analysis of the synoptic gospels from there.

    This, and my overall rating of the book notwithstanding, I would gladly recommend the book to anyone who finds himself or herself too comfortable with the gosepls. So: worth a read, if only as a wake-up call to a more conservative school of analysis.
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