Q Document
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Basic Information

The Q Hypothesis is a widely-accepted solution to a puzzle in biblical scholarship known as the Synoptic Problem. Simply put, it runs like this: Three of the Gospels in the New Testament are known as "Synoptic Gospels" (from the Greek "seeing together") because they share similar outlines and in many cases use identical wording. Of these three, the Gospel of Mark is considered to be the oldest. Although the other two gospels, Matthew and Luke, contain a lot of material from Mark, they also contain material in common that is not found in the earlier Gospel.

In the Nineteenth Century, some German theologians came up with a theory that Matthew and Luke used two sources for their works: Mark's Gospel, and a hitherto undiscovered collection of "Sayings of Jesus" which they called "Quelle", or "Q",meaning "source". Succeeding scholars have tried to reconstruct this Q Document by compiling the material Matthew and Luke have in common but which is not found in Mark.

Some scholars hold that the material from the Q Document represent the most authentic teachings of the historical Jesus and that the narrative portions of the Gospels are later additions.

But although the Q Hypothesis sounds quite plausible, it runs aground on the fact that no such document has ever actually been found; nor are there any mentions by any of the Church Fathers of a collection of Jesus' teachings which might be the Q Document. The discovery of the Nag Hammadi library in 1945, however, raises the possibility that there are more "lost" books of the Bible out there and that such a document might someday be found.

And it is a pretty theory.


Game and Story Use

  • Archaeologists in the Middle East have uncovered a cache of ancient scrolls, one of which could be Q! Can the PC's get the Q Document before their rivals do?
  • Perhaps the Q document was suppressed by the Early Church because it contained secrets too terrible to reveal!
    • Or that it just contained material considered embarrassing for other reasons. Like that Mary Magdelene's love child was the Rightful King of France
    • Both are unlikely, given that Q is inferred from the material that is reproduced in other gospels.
      • Not that unlikely for there to be parts missing, given that the various gospels have been edited a fair amount. Maybe pieces were removed from Q and are as such missing from the other gospels?
    • The problem with a "suppression" theory is that it fails to account for the fact that, not only was "the Early Church" simply not capable of that sort of level of coordinated action, there were plenty of places where Christians, heretical or orthodox, lived beyond any reasonable idea of its reach - and that Christian writings were also freely picked up by non-Christian readers. Given the variety of outright fan-fic that did survive, anything with the heft to be quoted by two gospel authors is unlikely to have vanished so completely.
  • Q may also have been a person who was known to both Matthew and Luke … possibly one of the Apostles themselves.
  • Memetically or otherwise, this is not a regular document with concealed guns.
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