In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviewed by:
  • Marcan Priority without Q: Explorations in the Farrer Hypothesis eds. by John C. Poirier and Jeffrey Peterson
  • Llewellyn Howes
Poirier, John C., and Jeffrey Peterson, eds. 2015. Marcan Priority without Q: Explorations in the Farrer Hypothesis. Library of New Testament Studies 455. London & New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark. Hardback. ISBN 978-0567159137. Pp. 272. $110.

This compilation of independent, but mutually relevant essays, advances source-critical research by defending the Farrer Hypothesis against the reigning Two-Document Hypothesis. The closing chapter features a response from the perspective of the Two-Document Hypothesis. The Farrer Hypothesis accepts that Matthew and Luke both made use of Mark, but holds that Luke also made use of Matthew as a source. John C. Poirier writes the introduction (1–15). True to the book’s title, he argues that if Luke knew Matthew, it would obviate any need for Q, although he goes on to clarify in a footnote that Matthew might still have made use of a “‘sayings source’ of sorts” (1). Poirier correctly maintains that the Farrer Hypothesis is presently the main contender of the Two-Document Hypothesis (2).

In the first chapter (16–43), Eric Eve performs a detailed source-critical analysis of the Beelzebul Controversy, which has parallel versions in Matt 12:22–37, Mark 3:20–30 and Luke 11:14–23. In an attempt to highlight the role of oral performances and memory during the writing of the gospels, the author prefers to speak of the evangelists “reworking” their sources, as opposed to “redacting” or “editing” them. This is not to deny that the evangelists made use of written sources (in addition to oral sources), but rather to challenge traditional conceptions of how these sources were used. In broad terms, Eve argues that the Farrer Hypothesis offers a better explanation than the Two-Document Hypothesis for the [End Page 204] configuration of agreements and disagreements between the three versions of the Beelzebul Controversy.

When constructing the Critical Edition of Q, the International Q Project developed criteria for determining when a word or phrase in the double tradition is unlikely to have derived from Q. These criteria included the general rule that if Matthew (in this case) has a redactional tendency to add certain words or phrases to his sources (primarily Mark), and Luke has no aversion to the material in question, it is unlikely to have derived from Q. Stephen C. Carlson calls the second leg of this rule the “non-aversion principle,” and questions its legitimacy in the second chapter of our book (44–61). Focusing on the first line of the Lord’s Prayer in Luke 11:2 and Matt 6:9, he argues that the non-aversion principle fails to support the high degree of certainty with which this text is reconstructed by the International Q Project.

The third chapter (62–81) is made up of two parts. In part one, Heather M. Gorman measures Luke’s macro-structure against the principles of ancient rhetoric set out by the progymnasmata. She finds that Luke’s presentation coheres with ancient conventions. This finding is intended as a response to critics who claim that Luke’s reordering of Matthew’s sequence does not make sense according to the Farrer Hypothesis. In part two, Gorman measures the redactional activity of Luke in the Sermon on the Plain against the principles of ancient rhetoric in the progymnasmata. She assumes the Farrer Hypothesis, and endeavours “to see if the editorial moves that Luke would have made if he had used Matthew can be justified with what we know of ancient rhetoric” (73). She concludes in the affirmative. This second finding is intended as a response to critics who claim that Luke’s redaction of Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount does not make sense on the Farrer Hypothesis.

With the clever title “Too Good to Be Q,” Mark Goodacre argues in the fourth chapter (82–100) that the high degree of verbatim agreement in the double tradition supports the Farrer Hypothesis rather than the Two-Document Hypothesis. Goodacre explains: “Where two documents show very close agreement in wording in parallel passages, the best explanation is that one is...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 204-208
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.