Thus spake Father Echert, another Quatheist.
A few months ago on one of my bible study postings on the gospel of St. Matthew, Karen at Gemoftheocean took exception to Father Echert's claim that St. Matthew's gospel was the earliest. She made some good points as to why she felt St. Mark was the earliest of the gospels. A discussion on the priority (earliest gospel) of Matthew or Mark began.
I had never heard of any debate about which gospel was the earliest before I took the bible study on the gospel of St. Matthew. Interesting discussion. After Karen made some comments on my blog, I read a little bit on the subject, but eventually wrote to Father Echert to ask for his thoughts since we don't have any time in bible study to ask questions (there really should be a period for questions!).
For some prior posts on the topic, go here for the Quatheist post where I discuss my position in a little more detail and discuss the "Q" document,
and here for the original post where the issue was discussed.
This is not an area I'm well versed in, but I really have a hard time believing in a document called "Q." Now, I find Father Echert doesn't believe in it either. (I know Karen hasn't been feeling well lately, so hope this doesn't make her blow a gasket!) I wish Father Echert could spend a few hours lecturing on this and we could ask questions. At this stage, from the bits I have read and from listening to Father Echert, I agree with him...especially about "Q." I might be in the minority maintaining this position, but I don't think St. Peter is going to give me a quiz on the topic "if" I make it to the pearly gates and kick me out if I'm wrong.
However, reading Father's comments about "Protestant interpretors who are biased against ancient tradition in general" really made sense. The more I have looked into this topic, the murkier everything became about who the authors of the gospels really were, who their companions were that might've helped write the gospels, if the each of the gospels were written by more than one person, problems attributing the gospels to the author, suppositions on many, MANY, things. While it is good to get an answer on these topics, I thought this subject, IMHO, was a quagmire that only led me away from belief in the gospels, their authors and authenticity and early church fathers and documents instead of reinforcing, as Father says, "solid ancient testimony of the early Church."
I really couldn't discount the weight of the early church fathers on this subject and just don't believe in "Q," which wasn't hypothesized until quite recently and just seems too incredible to me. (Sorry, Karen!)
Father Echert's response to my query on EWTN is posted below.
I have several reasons for dismissing the so-called "Q" view:
1. It contradicts solid ancient testimony of the early Church
2. There is no such document as "Q" nor anything resembling "Q" (a collection of sayings of Jesus)
3. "Q" is the construct of modern Protestant interpretors who are biased against ancient tradition in general
4. One of the arguments for Markan priority (being earliest) is that it is shorter--based upon a modern principal that shorter is earlier. Yet a careful examination of the Gospels reveals that often Matthew has a shorter version of a particular pericope (event) than Mark, which would suggest that his is the earlier Gospel
Modern thinking scholars tend to reject most or all of ancient tradition regarding the identity of the Evangelists, in part because they favor late dating, beyond the period in which the traditional Evangelists would have written. Why would the Church wait until the death of most of the Apostles to insure a written Gospel, and why would the Church allow pseudonyms to be tagged to them? In fact, the early Church was very insistent that these were apostolic writings, either by Apostles themselves or those who had direct apostolic testimony, such as Luke and Mark.
God bless, Monica