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Acta Theologica

On-line version ISSN 2309-9089
Print version ISSN 1015-8758

Acta theol. vol.35 n.1 Bloemfontein  2015 

"Divided against itself"? Individual maxims and the redaction of Q



L. Howes

University of Johannesburg. Email:




In his analysis, Kloppenborg (1987) identified a number of logia in the main redaction that were more proverbial than prophetic in nature. This article considers the possibility that these sayings originally formed part of Q1, but were added to Q2 by the main redactor during the redactional process. It also explores the possibility that the main redactor not only inserted and interpolated prophetic material into Qi, but also transformed original wisdom sayings into prophetic Q2 material.

Keywords: Sayings Gospel Q, Redaction, Kloppenborg, Stratification, Maxims/Proverbs

Trefwoorde: Spreuke-Evangelie Q, Redaksie, Kloppenborg, Stratifikasie, Spreuke




Ever since the publication of Kloppenborg's (1987) Formation of Q, with its influential proposal for the stratification of Q, the majority of those who have accepted his proposal have assumed a relatively simplistic procedure for the final redactional stage of the Sayings Gospel Q.1 According to this understanding, Q's final stage of editorial activity included the following three aspects.2 Firstly, a redactor simply added large blocks of existing Q2 material to the six blocks of existing Qi material.3 Secondly, the same redactor then interpolated a few passages and phrases into Q1.4 Finally, a different redactor5 added the temptation narrative at the beginning of Q and interpolated two glosses into the document.6 We are presently concerned only with the activity of the former redactor, whom we will dub the "main redactor".7 This redactor was responsible for the first two aspects of Q's final stage of editorial activity, which are likely to have occurred simultaneously.

This article will explore the possibility that the main redactor not only inserted and interpolated prophetic material into Q1, but also transformed original wisdom sayings into prophetic Q2 material. If, as Kloppenborg argues, the main redactor interpolated certain material into the formative stratum, it seems only reasonable to ask whether or not he might have enclosed certain Q1 sayings into the very fabric of Q2 passages (cf. Arnal 2001:6).8 By suggesting that the main redactor contributed a great deal more in the redactional process than simply shuffling existing material, I align myself with recent trends in this regard (cf. Kloppenborg 1995:7; cf., for example, Arnal 1995). Kloppenborg (1987:169) further notices that

there are several sayings which, while not originally prophetic in form, have been employed in Q redaction to articulate a threat against those who fail to apprehend the preaching of the kingdom.

One should at least consider that the main redactor initially found some of these sayings (that were "not originally prophetic in form") in the formative stratum. Accordingly, some of the sayings in question were originally part of the formative stratum, but were reapplied during the compositional process to new and different Q2 contexts. In addition, Kloppenborg (1987:239) acknowledges that "proverbs and wisdom sayings are also found in the judgment speeches". In other words, Kloppenborg admits that there are non-prophetic, sapiential small forms in the main redaction. The fact that the "non-prophetic" sayings in Q2 are mostly proverbial logia only adds to the likelihood that some of these sayings were originally part of Qi. If the latter is accepted, it follows that the main redactor at times built Q2 material around certain wisdom sayings that were originally part of Q1.

Kloppenborg (1987:239) differentiates between the sapiential logia in Q2 and the wisdom sayings in Qi by arguing that the former "function not to reinforce ethical imperatives, but to undergird the pronouncements of judgment". Yet, the function of these sayings in the final Q document (to "undergird the pronouncements of judgment") might only have been assigned to them during the process of redaction. If some of these sayings were originally part of Qi, they might at that stage have had an entirely different function, and perhaps also an entirely different meaning.

This may be an opportune moment to note that the distinction between Qi and Q2 is not one of "wisdom genre versus prophetic genre". Rather, the distinction between Q1 and Q2 is one of "instruction versus chreia" (cf. Howes 2012:125-130). Both of these are examples of sapiential genres (cf. Catchpole 1993:60; Kirk 1998:78; cf. Kloppenborg Verbin 2000:160-161, 306-307). In terms of genre, the whole Sayings Gospel should be seen as a sapiential document. Kloppenborg's designations of the first layer as "sapiential" and the second layer as "prophetic" are not an indication of genre, but of the overarching thematic content of each respective layer. The formative layer makes use of the sapiential genre of instruction to promote a certain ethic, while the main redaction makes use of the sapiential genre of Gnomologium (or "chreia collection") to convey certain typically prophetic themes, such as future judgement.

As such, the intent of this article is not to "move" certain sapiential material out of the "prophetic" layer and into the "sapiential" layer.9 Put differently, the article is not motivated by the incorrect notion that wisdom, prophecy and apocalypticism are somehow incompatible.10 Thus, there is no current interest in making the formative stratum "more sapiential" or the main redaction "less sapiential". Neither is there any interest in creating a "better" distinction between Q1 and Q2 by "removing" the "unwanted" wisdom material from the main redaction into the formative stratum. Instead, this article is motivated by a genuine suspicion that the redactional process was more complex and involved than originally suspected. Hence, when it is argued that certain sayings in Q2 are more typical of Qi, the assumption is that these sayings are "proverbial" in nature, meaning that they attempt to convey general sapiential truths in a way that is more typical of the instructional genre than of the chreia genre. The assumption is not that these sayings are somehow "more sapiential" than the rest of Q2.



Kloppenborg (1987:169, 239) provides the following examples of proverbial small forms in Q2: Q 7:35; Q 11:17b-18;11 Q 11:20; Q 11:21-22; Q 11:23; Q 11:24-26; Q 11:33; Q 11:34-35; Q 12:54-55; Q 12:58-59 and Q 17:37. I shall now examine each saying in turn, and carefully consider whether or not it could at some stage have formed part of the formative layer.

2.1 Sophia's children (Q 7:35)

The first logion to consider is Q 7:35. Although the concepts introduced in Q 7:31-35 are fairly common in instructional wisdom literature (cf. Prov. 1:20-33; 8:1-21), the notion that Sophia's children will "vindicate" literary history of Q, but rather by his desire to compare Qi with contemporary Cynic texts. By contrast, the current effort to 'move' some Q2 material to Qi is motivated by a concern for Q's literary development, and is not biased by an overall, pre-determined theory of the document's social (or other) affinities. Furthermore, the potential additions currently treated are not only identical in genre and form to those of the formative stratum, but also thematically analogous to the latter.

(έδικαιώθη) Sophia does not sit well with the docile and peaceful content of the remainder of the formative stratum, especially the inaugural sermon.12 In this short saying, the redactional theme of Israel's deuteronomistic history is combined with the traditional sapiential image of "Sophia" in order to promote a negative view of "this generation" (cf. Kloppenborg 1987:112; Piper 1989:125-126, 166-168, 170). The reference to "Sophia" appears elsewhere in Q2 (cf. Q 11:49), but not at all in Qi. It is hard to imagine how this saying with its vindictive message could ever have functioned in the literary context of the formative stratum.

Conversely, the saying fits perfectly in its literary context in Q2 (7:31-35), without seeming in any way forced or synthetic (cf. Kirk 1998:264, 375-376; Catchpole 1993:47-48). This is true despite the apparent composite nature of Q 7:31-35 (cf. Kloppenborg 1987:110-112). It is likely that Kloppenborg (1987:112) is correct in claiming that verse 35 was added to verses 31-34 at a very early stage, most likely during the prehistory of Q2. In verse 31, the out-group, or "this generation", is compared to children at the market place. In verse 35, the in-group, or the "Q people", are described as "Sophia's children". In this Q2 text, the two groups of children are contrasted with each other in favour of the in-group (cf. Piper 1989:168-169; Kirk 1998:376). A similar conclusion is effected if the children of Q 7:35 are linked to the "children of Abraham" in Q 3:8 (cf. Fleddermann 2005:385-387). Hence, there is absolutely no reason for proposing or assuming that Q 7:35 could at some stage have been part of Q1.

2.2 Divided against itself (Q 11:17b-18, 20)

Within the Beelzebul accusation, Kloppenborg (1987:169, 239) identifies both Q 11:17b-18 and Q 11:20 as traditional wisdom sayings. With the naked eye, Q 11:17b certainly resembles a maxim.13 Not only does the saying's use of parallelism remind one of traditional Old Testament proverbs (cf. Ceresko 1999:31), but the gnomic nature and general applicability of the saying also conforms to the typical nature of a maxim (cf. Kirk 1998:90). Nonetheless, Kloppenborg (1987:124) is almost certainly correct in concluding that verses 17-18 were added to verses 14-15 at a very early stage in the tradition (cf. Horsley 1992:191). This confidence derives from the fact that Mark (3:22-26) and Q agree in placing the saying in question directly after the initial accusation (cf. Allison 1997:124-125;

Kirk 1998:186; Casey 2002:161). Such agreement trumps all other pieces of evidence in this regard. It is likely that Kloppenborg (1987:124) is also correct in claiming that verses 19-20 were added thereafter.14 Once again, the Gospel of Mark is determinative in this regard. In Mark's version of the Beelzebul accusation, Q 11:19-20 is entirely missing (cf. Piper 1989:121, 123; Kirk 1998:186). There is an additional reason for concluding that verses 19-20 were added later. The content of Q 11:17-20 represents two different and distinct arguments against the initial accusation (cf. Horsley 1992:191; Kirk 1998:187; Casey 2002:164-165; Fleddermann 2005:505-506).

Despite the likelihood that verses 19-20 were added at a later stage, it is still highly unlikely that any part of it ever belonged to the formative stratum. Verse 19 clearly presupposes the accusation of verse 15, as is evidenced by the repetition of the phrase "by Beelzebul ... cast out demons" (έν Βεελ£εβούλ έκβάλλει / έκβάλλω τά δαιμόνια) in both verses (cf. Kloppenborg 1987:122).15 In fact, the second argument is perhaps a more direct and appropriate response to the initial accusation than the one in verses 17-18 (cf. Horsley 1992:191). The argument of verses 19-20 begins by repeating the accusation word for word, but turning it into a conditional clause and redirecting the very same accusation at the initial accusers. This type of deflection is an expected response to an accusation of such gravity and magnitude. Moreover, the rhetorical questions at the end of verse 18 and at the beginning of verse 19, as well as the threefold repetition of the conditional conjunction "if" (εΐ) in verses 18, 19 and 20, unite the two respective arguments in Q 11:17-18 and Q 11:19-20 (cf. Kirk 1998:186-187; Fleddermann 2005:502).

More significant, though, is the likelihood that verses 19 and 20 belong together. The latter is supported by the use in both verses of the conditional clause "if by ... I cast out demons" (εΐ έν ... έγώ έκβάλλω τά δαιμόνια) (cf. Kirk 1998:189). It is further reinforced by the conjunction "but" (δέ) at the beginning of verse 20. The possibility should not be overlooked that the latter conjunction was added by the main redactor in order to effect a smooth transition between two formerly separate sayings. Nevertheless, the association between verses 19 and 20 seems exceptionally firm (cf. Casey 2002:170). If, then, verse 19 only makes sense as part of the initial accusation, and verse 20 should be read with verse 19, it follows that these two verses were added to Q 11:14-18 during the prehistory of Q2. As such, it is unlikely that verse 20 could at any stage have been part of the formative stratum. This conclusion is confirmed by the fact that the formative stratum is altogether unconcerned with demonology and exorcism. On the other hand, verses 19 and 20 show several thematic links with another Q2 passage, namely Q 11:31-32 (cf. Kloppenborg 1987:124-125).

2.3 Stealing from a strong person (Q 11:21-22)

There is legitimate doubt as to whether or not the sapiential saying of Q 11:21-22 actually belongs in Q (cf. Kloppenborg 1987:125, especially note 105; Piper 1989:243-244, note 120). Scholars wanting to include this saying point to the agreement between Matthew and Luke regarding the placement of this logion after the saying of Q 11:20 (cf. Neirynck 1995:271; Casey 2002:173-174). Against this, the likelihood should not be overlooked that Luke and Matthew both chose this placement without the help of Q. Regardless of its history of redaction, Q 11:14-20 functions as a literary unit, with a proper introduction in verse 14 and a proper conclusion in verse 20 (cf. Fleddermann 2005:502, 506; Kirk 1998:186-189, especially 187, 188). In Mark, the saying about looting a strong man's house appears directly after the Markan version of the Beelzebul accusation (i.e. Mark 3:20-26, without Q 11:19-20). It follows that if this saying occurred only in Mark 3:27 (and not in Q), the most natural position for it would be after Q's version of the Beelzebul accusation (i.e. after Q 11:20).16 It is not at all unlikely that both evangelists would have followed the same (somewhat inevitable) logic at this point, and placed Mark's saying after Q's more elaborate refutation of the Beelzebul accusation. The large degree of accord between Matthew 12:29 and Mark 3:27 suggests that, in this instance, Matthew used only Mark as a source. Although Luke (11:21-22) did not copy Mark 3:27 word for word, his rendering is easily understood as an imaginative elaboration of Mark at this point (cf. Kloppenborg 1987:125, note 105).

If this saying was in Q (which seems doubtful), it agreed with Mark as far as its placement after the Beelzebul accusation is concerned. Consequently, even if this saying were in Q, it could not have been part of the formative layer, for this would mean that it originally appeared after Q 11:13. The latter is extremely unlikely, given the location of the saying in Mark. The content of Q 11:21-22 further supports the conclusion that, even if this saying did occur in Q, it could not at any stage have been part of the formative layer. If the saying did follow directly after Q 11:13, the "strong person" (ισχυρός) who owns the "house" (οΐκία in Matt.) would, in this instance, have referred to God. In view of the supposed literary context of this saying in Qi, where God is repeatedly referred to as the "Father" (πατήρ) of his symbolic family, the previous conclusion is inescapable.17 In the family metaphor, God is undeniably painted as the pater familias (cf. Moxnes 2003:115-121, 152; cf. especially Q 11:11-13).

It follows that if Q 11:21-22 did at first appear after Q 11:13, the logical and inevitable conclusion would have been that there is an external threat, described in Luke's metaphor as a "stronger person" (ισχυρότερος), with the ability to overpower God. This deduction is so apparent that any first-century Jew would have noticed it almost immediately. Given their unshakable belief that the Jewish God is more powerful than other ancient gods, not to even mention earthly beings or worldly threats, it should be accepted as a near impossibility that Q 11:21-22 was ever part of the formative stratum. That any first-century Jew would have spoken or placed a saying in a context that leads to the implication that God could in any conceivable manner be overpowered is a near impossibility. In summary, it seems highly unlikely that this logion was ever part of the Sayings Gospel Q, not to even mention the formative layer.

2.4 In or out? (Q 11:23)

In the Sayings Gospel, Q 11:23 probably followed directly after the Beelzebul accusation (Q 11:14-15, 17-20). Matthew and Luke agree against Mark in placing Q 11:23 after the saying about looting a strong man's house. The logion in Q 11:23 is a follow-up comment after the Beelzebul accusation (cf. Piper 1989:122; Casey 2002:176). It implies that the accusers of verse 15 are against Jesus, in that they are colluding with Beelzebul, not Jesus (cf. especially Allison 1997:126-127; Casey 2002:176-177; Kloppenborg 1987:125-126; Kirk 1998:190; 2006:188, 189). Mark's version of this logion also occurs in a literary context that deals with the casting out of demons. More specifically, both Mark 9:38-39 and Q 11:19 deal with the existence and work of other exorcists (besides Jesus) (cf. Allison 1997:126). The fact that Mark also has this saying after a paragraph about exorcism strongly suggests that it followed the Beelzebul accusation in Q. On the other hand, this agreement between Mark and Q stoutly argues against the possibility that this saying ever belonged to Qi. It is difficult to understand how Q 11:23, which is utterly polemic and accusatory in nature, could ever have followed Q 11:13, which is about the loving support of God.18

2.5 The return of the unclean spirit (Q 11:24-26)

The artificiality of its association with its literary context in Q indicates that Q 11:24-26 originally circulated independently (cf. Kloppenborg 1987:126; Piper 1989:123). The Beelzebul accusation speaks about a "demon" (δαιμόνιον), whereas Q 11:24-26 mentions "unclean spirits" (το άκάθαρτον πνεύμα). In addition, if the Beelzebul accusation is read in conjunction with Q 11:24-26, it is likely that Jesus introduced, not the reign of God, but the reign of Satan, when he cast out the mute's demon, since more demons will inevitably return to their host. As such, Q 11:24-26 might in fact support the initial accusation against Jesus.

As Allison (1997:126-127) indicated, however, Q 11:24-26 should be read primarily in conjunction with Q 11:23 and Q 11:19a. These logia connect the story of Q 11:24-26 and the Beelzebul accusation in a way that impedes confusion. The point is that, whereas other exorcists typically leave the body of the possessed "empty" after casting out a demon, Jesus fills it with the kingdom of God. In the former instance, the person is left exposed to the same and other demons after the exorcism (cf. Fleddermann 2005:508). In the latter instance, however, the kingdom of God fills up all the remaining "space", thereby not only hindering unclean spirits, but also excluding them altogether. On the constructive side, Q 11:24-26 explains that only the exorcisms of Jesus are truly effective (cf. Allison 1997:127). On the polemical side, Q 11:24-26 teaches that the exorcisms of outsiders are ineffective, especially when it comes to aftercare (cf. Allison 1997:131).19 Hence, Q 11:24-26 intends to illustrate that rejection of Jesus' message about the kingdom of God is tantamount to opening oneself up to the infestation of evil spirits and the kingdom of Beelzebul (cf. Fleddermann 2005:508; Piper 1989:122-124; Kirk 1998:190-191, 330-331). As such, Q 11:24-26 clearly belongs with its current literary context in the main redaction.

The subject of demonology and exorcism unites this entire section (Q 11:14-26), including Q 11:24-26 (cf. Allison 1997:124). Like the previous logion (Q 11:23), it is difficult to understand how this passage about the defiling capabilities of evil spirits could ever have operated in the formative stratum, or have followed after Q 11:13. In this regard, we must conclude with Kloppenborg that not one of the sayings in Q 11:14-26 was ever part of the formative stratum.

2.6 Obscuring light and illuminating darkness (Q 11:33, 34-35)

Kloppenborg (1987:121, 147-148) rightfully attributed the block of Q material that deals exclusively with the proclamation of judgement against "this generation", including the Pharisees and the scribes, to the main redaction.20 Ostensibly, though, this block of material is rudely interrupted by Q 11:33-35 (cf. Sato 1994:171; Vaage 1994:119; Lührmann 1994:59-60). The prophetic small forms, polemical content and sombre atmosphere of this block of Q2 material are visibly at odds with the sapiential small forms, practical content and neutral tone of the two sayings in Q 11:33-34 (cf. Piper 1989:127; Allison 1997:165). This block of material would certainly have been more cohesive, both formally and thematically, if the woes against the Pharisees followed directly after Q 11:31-32 in the tradition (cf. Sato 1994:171). In my view, the best explanation as to why the main redactor would have inserted the sayings of Q 11:33-35 into this block of prophetic judgement material is that he found at least one of them in the formative layer.

It should be accepted without much doubt that Q 11:33 and Q 11:34-35 did not belong together originally (cf. Kloppenborg 1987:135; Piper 1989:127; Jacobson 1992:156; Robinson 2005a:592). Other interpreters have also observed the thematic disjunction between these two autonomous maxims (cf. Kloppenborg 1987:135; Kirk 1998:193). It is significant that both Matthew (5:15; 6:22-23) and Thomas (24, 33) separated the two sayings in their respective gospels (cf. Piper 1989:128). Even more significant is the fact that Mark (4:21) copied only the saying behind Q 11:33, without Q 11:34-35 (cf. Piper 1989:127, 246, note 146). On the other hand, there is evidence to suggest that these sayings were already joined in the pre-Lukan tradition (cf. Marshall 1978:488; Piper 1989:128; Zeller 1994:119; Allison 1997:167). Therefore, it seems likely that these two sayings were for the first time joined in Q (cf. Lührmann 1994:59; contra Robinson 2005a:591-592).

Of course, the main redactor may have found the maxim of verse 33 in the formative stratum after the pericope that ends in Q 11:13, and before the pericope that starts in Q 12:2 (cf. Zeller 1994:119; Sato 1994:171). Independent evidence of this original position is provided by Mark, whose parallel to Q 12:2 (Mark 4:22) appears directly after his parallel to Q 11:33 (Mark 4:21) (cf. Kloppenborg 1987:215). These two logia also appear together in the Gospel of Thomas 33 (cf. Jacobson 1992:173; Robinson 2005b:438, note 50). Both of these texts are highly significant as independent evidence of the earlier presence of Q 11:33 directly before Q 12:2 (cf. Robinson 2005a:591; 2005b:438, note 50). Q 11:33 follows neatly after Q 11:9-13. Both passages could be viewed as dealing with the ancient social value of reciprocal sharing. Q 12:2-3 also follows neatly after Q 11:33. Besides the obvious catchword connections (cf. Zeller 1994:119; Sato 1994:171), both deal with the subject matter of hiding and exposing wisdom (cf. Valantasis 2005:140).21

If Q 11:34-35 was also taken from Q1, its original placement would not be certain. There are a number of possibilities. A position in the inaugural sermon seems possible. Matthew situates this maxim in the heart of his Sermon on the Mount. Q 11:34-35 would have worked well as a transitional saying between Q 6:41-42 and Q 6:43-45. Like Q 6:41-42, Q 11:34-35 speaks about people's eyes. Like Q 11:34-35, Q 6:43-45 explains how good and bad people may be separated on account of their inner character, which is easily, albeit accidentally, revealed through external means. If one considers the placement of Q 11:34-35 in Matthew's gospel, an attachment to Q 12:33-34 or Q 16:13 is also a possibility. It is also possible that Q 11:34-35 was already combined with Q 11:33 when the main redactor took these logia over. If so, it would imply that Q 11:33-35 as a whole appeared between Q 11:13 and Q 12:2 in the formative stratum. Ultimately, these options are all conjectural. Nonetheless, the extensive thematic overlap between Q 11:34-35 and some Qi texts opens up the genuine possibility that this logion appeared in the formative stratum before it was incorporated into the main redaction (cf. Lührmann 1994:59; Vaage 1994:119).

These observations are admittedly not determinative, but they do point to the serious likelihood that the two sayings of Q 11:33-35 were discovered in the formative stratum by the main redactor, who then proceeded to incorporate them into the block of material that lashes out against the Pharisees, the scribes and "this generation". If these sayings were indeed taken from Qi and added to Q2, their new literary surroundings completely altered their original meanings (cf. Marshall 1978:487; Jacobson 1992:173, 174; Kloppenborg 1994:145; Vaage 1994:119; Allison 1997:167). Ultimately, substantiation of these suggestions requires a more comprehensive and focused study of these logia.

2.7 Good and bad weather (Q 12:54-55)

The existence of Q 12:54-55 in the Sayings Gospel is disputed (cf. Kloppenborg 1987:152, especially note 219; Kirk 1998:237). Yet, even if Q 12:54-55 did belong in Q, there would still be reason to doubt its attribution to the formative stratum. This logion is both formally and thematically dissimilar to the formative stratum. In fact, Q 12:54-55 is not even remotely comparable to any of the themes or forms in Qi. The application in verse 56 appears independently in the Gospel of Thomas and was undoubtedly added later to the maxim of verses 54-55 (cf. Kloppenborg 1987:152). Be that as it may, the application does not seem forced or out of place in its Q2 context. Although meteorology was a common sapiential (and proverbial) theme,22 the imagery of this logion, especially the references to the sky being "flame red" (πυρράΖω), suits a Q2 thematic context, where apocalyptic signs are an issue of considerable debate (cf. Kirk 1998:237-238).23 Finally, the references to "flame-red skies" should be viewed as a further development of the apocalyptic image in Q 12:49 of "fire" (πυρ) being "hurled upon the earth" (βαλεΐν έπί τήν γήν). Given all this, it is doubtful that this saying ever belonged to Qi, even if it can be shown to have belonged to the Q document.

2.8 Avoid the courts! (Q 12:58-59)

Kloppenborg (1987:152-153) acknowledges that Q 12:58 used to be a sapiential admonition. He argues that Q 12:59 "is more typical of a prophetic judgment statement". His first argument in favour of the latter is that the formula λέγω ύμΐν (σοιού μή ... έως / μέχρις occurs predominantly in apocalyptic and prophetic announcements (cf. also Fleddermann 2005:657).24 The "formula" in Q 12:59, however, is λέγω σοι, ού μή ... έως, not the mixed phrase put forward by Kloppenborg. None of the texts that Kloppenborg uses as examples of this prophetic and/or apocalyptic formula match the "formula" in Q 12:59 word for word.25 Surely, there should be complete verbatim agreement for something to be dubbed a "formula". Kloppenborg's second argument in this regard is that λέγω ύμΐν/σοι commonly introduces a statement about punishment, reward and judgement. Once again, the formalised prophetic introduction is λέγω ύμΐν, not λέγω σοι, as it appears in Q 12:59. Out of the 24 texts that Kloppenborg uses as examples of this prophetic-type introduction, only Luke 23:43 has the Q form λέγω σοι.

Differentiating between the plural and the singular forms of the second person personal pronoun might seem like nitpicking, but surely an author would rather adhere to the more recognised form of a prophetic formula when attempting to turn a sapiential saying into a prophetic one. Doing so would put the prophetic application and intent of the saying beyond serious doubt. As it stands, Q 12:59 does not need to be read as a prophetic saying at all (cf. Piper 1989:106; Kirk 1998:238). The Sayings Gospel Q uses the phrase λέγω ύμΐν in both the sapiential sayings of the formative stratum26 and the prophetic-apocalyptic sayings of the main redaction.27 Lastly, in Kloppenborg's statement that the formula in Q 12:59 "is more typical of a prophetic judgment statement", the word "judgment" is perhaps more pertinent than the word "prophetic". It would not be surprising to find the phrase λέγω ύμΐν/σοι in Q 12:58-59, as it clearly deals with judicial judgement. If λέγω σοι, ού μή ... έως functions as a formula in Q 12:59, it is rather the context of judicial judgement than the supposed implication of prophetic and/or apocalyptic judgement that determines its usage in this instance (cf. Piper 1989:106). It would appear that there are no definitive reasons to conclude that Q 12:59 is a prophetic text.

Kloppenborg's valuation of verse 59 determines his rendering of the whole saying in Q 12:58-59. In view of the use in verse 59 of the word "from there" (έκεΐθεν), Kloppenborg concludes (correctly) that verses 58 and 59 appeared together as a unified saying when added to the Sayings Gospel. As a result, Kloppenborg believes that, even though verse 58 used to be a sapiential admonition, Q 12:58-59 functions in the Sayings Gospel as a prophetic logion. However, if the inherently prophetic nature of verse 59 is denied, the only remaining argument in favour of the prophetic nature of the complete logion is its appearance in the literary context of the main redaction (cf. Kloppenborg 1987:153; see Kirk 1998:238-239; cf. Fleddermann 2005:657).28 Yet, it is not at all certain that the logion initially occurred in this literary context (cf. Piper 1989:105, 237, note 22, 23). Matthew (5:25-26) places the logion in the midst of his Sermon on the Mount (cf. Piper 1989:105). If this placement is due to Matthew and not Q, it still illustrates that a purely sapiential reading of Q 12:58-59 was possible at the time. However, if Matthew's literary context does go back to Q, it would mean that an unadulterated sapiential reading of Q 12:58-59 is preferable.

The most compelling arguments against Matthew's placement of this logion are, firstly, that Luke generally preserves the order of his sources more devotedly, and, secondly, that the thematic content of this saying, if interpreted prophetically, is compatible with its literary context in the main redaction. The former is more suggestive than determinative. Against the latter, it could be reasoned that the literal thematic content of Q 12:58-59 better suits the intentions not only of the inaugural sermon specifically,29 but also of the formative stratum in general.30 Piper (1989:106-107) adds additional arguments against the Lukan placement. Firstly, the singular form of the second person personal pronoun (σοι) does not properly suit the literary context in Q 12:39-59, but it suits the Matthean literary context like a glove. Secondly, unlike Q 12:39-59, the language of this logion is not utterly polemic, but it certainly is sapiential.31

The respective redactional activities of Matthew and Luke support the sapiential language. There are three Q sayings in Matthew 5:17-26, namely Q 16:17 in Matthew 5:18, Q 12:58-59 in Matthew 5:25-26, and Q 16:18 in Matthew 5:32. The Matthean author has expanded each of these Q sayings, elaborating on their individual themes: Matthew 5:17-20 on the continued validity of the Torah; Matthew 5:21-26 on the theme of "brotherly reconciliation", and Matthew 5:27-32 on the subject of marriage and divorce.32 Two observations should immediately be made. Firstly, the three pericopes are thematically unrelated, and held together only by the fact that they represented the words of Jesus. A keen exegete could perhaps point to some degree of thematic relatedness between these three pericopes, but the truth is that three distinct ideas are basically mentioned side by side. Secondly, if one disregards the Matthean elaborations, Q 12:58-59 appears in Matthew between Q 16:17 and Q 16:18.

The first observation could act as yet another argument in favour of the Matthean placement of Q 12:58-59. The fact that these three unrelated themes appear together in Matthew's gospel fiercely suggests that the evangelist was following the sequential order of his source at this point. The latter is in stark contrast to Luke's handling of the saying in Q 12:58-59. Luke places Q 12:58-59 at the end of an elaborate section33 that originates in Q and specifically addresses the theme of Jesus' second coming.34 Two indications strongly suggest that Luke purposely took Q 12:58-59 from a different context and placed it in this specific context. Firstly, one would expect if the latter were the case, the saying appears at the end of the passage. Secondly, Luke found it necessary to add verse 57 as a redactional link between Q 12:58-59 and the material that precedes it. If Q 12:54-56 does stem from Q (which is all but certain), Luke's need to add verse 57 is all the more telling. It seems highly likely that Luke placed Q 12:58-59 at the end of a section that is prophetic and apocalyptic in nature in order to invite a novel interpretation of this Q logion. Against this, Matthew betrays no need to thematically tie Q 12:58-59 (and its elaboration in Matthew 5:21-26) to its literary environment. Rather, Matthew adheres to the disparity of his source, which, at this point, places unrelated sayings of Jesus side by side, as if simply listing them.

The second observation, namely that Matthew places Q 12:58-59 between Q 16:17 and Q 16:18, relates directly to, and affirms the first observation. Kloppenborg's sixth block of sapiential material is thematically the most disparate block of sapiential sayings.35 Although this block's logia (in toto) are not wholly unrelated, the sayings of Q 16 certainly are. Q 16:13 deals with God and mammon; Q 16:16-17 deals with the Torah, although Kloppenborg argues that verse 17 was added by the redactor of Q3,36 and Q 16:18 addresses divorce. In light of the preceding arguments, one could certainly suggest that Matthew's three unrelated pericopes derive from three equally unrelated, but successive, Q logia.37 It appears that Q 12:58-59 was never part of Q2. Luke should be indicted as the culprit who removed this saying from its correct placement in the Q document and attached it to Luke (Q) 12:54-56.

2.9 Vultures (Q 17:37)

Thematically, the morbid and gruesome scene of vultures flying around a corpse suits the main redaction, and not at all the formative layer. Although "death" is mentioned on occasion in Q1,38 it is never in any of these texts an thoroughgoing theme or focal point. Instead, "survival" and "life" are developed in greater detail as themes in the formative stratum.39 Conversely, the main redaction persistently and continuously develops themes such as "death", "destruction" and "final judgment".40 The latter context suits Q 17:37 well (cf. Fleddermann 2005:833-834).

The latter is not only true of the main redaction as a whole, but also of the saying's most immediate literary context within the main redaction (cf. Catchpole 1993:252-253; Fleddermann 2005:829-837).41 Like its immediate literary context, this logion is concerned with both the heavenly Son of Man figure and the swiftness and certainty of the eschatological event (cf. Kloppenborg 1987:161, 162; Piper 1989:138-142). Besides, if Q 17:37 were part of Qi, it would not only have followed the saying about having "faith like a mustard seed" (Q 17:6), but it would also have been the stratum's concluding logion. Both of these factors argue against the presence of Q 17:37 in the formative layer.



By and large, this article reaffirmed Kloppenborg's stratigraphy. Of the nine "proverbial" clusters considered, seven were merely confirmed to have originated, not in the formative stratum, but in the traditional material of the main redaction.42 It was found that one saying (Q 12:58-59) never formed part of the main redaction. In fact, of the nine passages examined, the two logia behind Q 11:33-35 were the only cases where the main redactor could be shown (with some measure of persuasiveness) to have inserted a proverbial saying from Q1 into prophetic Q2 material. This type of redactional activity is well attested in chreia collections, which tended to absorb all kinds of genres into its own structure (cf. Kloppenborg 1987:323). The result of this redactional process was not only the assimilation of the Q1 maxim to its new literary context in the main redaction, but also the (quite significant) transformation of its initial meaning. Hence, of all the sayings considered, only three should probably be moved from Kloppenborg's main redaction to his formative stratum.43



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1 This is true, even though there is relative consensus that the Sayings Gospel Q went through a complex process of redaction prior to the start of this final redactional stage (cf. Horsley 1992:179).
2 One could view this final stage as the compositional stage of Q's redaction.
3 Throughout this article, the 'redactor' of Q will be referenced in the singular, even though it is assumed that more than one person could have been (and probably were) involved when Q was being edited.
4 I.e., Q 6:23c; 10:12, 13-15; 12:8-10; 13:25, 26-29, 34-35; 14:16-24; cf. Tuckett (1996:70, 72); Kloppenborg Verbin (2000:120-121, 128, 147-150).
5 Or perhaps the same redactor, but at a different stage of the Q people's sociological and theological development.
6 I.e., Q 4:1-13; 11:42c; 16:17.
7 Once again (cf. footnote 3), the singular form "redactor" could represent more than one individual. The term "main redactor" seems appropriate for a number of reasons. The material added by this redactor was dubbed the 'main redaction' by Kloppenborg. This redactor added more material at one stage than any other. The material added by this redactor had more impact on the content of the document than any of the material added by others.
8 Given the prevalence of gender-based discrimination in antiquity, the main redactor was in all probability a man (or a group of men). To use gender-inclusive language in this instance would be anachronistic. In this article, the use of the masculine personal pronoun is not a reflection of my own prejudices, but of the unfortunate prejudices of the ancients.
9 The current article is not the first attempt to reposition Q2 material into the formative layer. As criteria for relocating certain Q2 passages to Qi, Vaage (1994:107-120) pointed not only to certain thematic tensions and seams in the text, but also to the social history of some of the sayings. These indicators fail to convince, particularly his use of social history and cynicism as criteria (cf. Kirk 1998:43). Surely, the social history of a saying or layer should be extrapolated only after and not before the editorial history of the document has been determined. Instead of improving the structural flow of the formative stratum, Vaage's proposed emendations seem to disrupt the overall structure of Qi (cf. Kirk 1998:43). Similarly, the proposed relocations do not properly fit in with the genre and content of Qi (cf. Kirk 1998:43). Vaage's attempts to move material back into Qi do not seem to be motivated by a true concern for the
10 Cf. Allison (1997:41); Kirk (1998:77); Kloppenborg Verbin (2000:380); Edwards (1976:71-73); Piper (1989:137-155); and Sato (1995:141-142).
11 "Every kingdom divided against itself is left barren, and every household divided against itself will not stand. And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?" (
πασα βασιλεία μερισθεΐσα [καθ'] έαυτη[ς] έρημοϋται και πάσα οικία μερισθεΐσα καθ' έαυτης ού σταθήσεται. και εϊ ό σατανάς έφ' έαυτον έμερίσθη, πως σταθήσεται ή βασιλεία αύτοΰ;)
12 Unless otherwise specified, I follow the text of the Critical Edition of Q (cf. Robinson et al. 2000).
13 "Every kingdom divided against itself is left barren, and every household divided against itself will not stand." (
πασα βασιλεία μερισθεΐσα [καθ'] έαυτη[ς] έρημοϋται και πασα οικία μερισθεΐσα καθ' έαυτης ού σταθήσεται.)
14 Cf. also Horsley (1992:191).
15 All alternative readings are taken from Nestle et al. (1993).
16 From the evangelists' perspective.
17 Cf., e.g., Q 6:35-36, 41-42; 11:2-3, 13; 12:22-31; 17:3-4; Horsley (1995:44); Cotter (1995:127); Kirk (1998:340, 343, 357); Arnal (2001:175); Fleddermann (2005:450); Mack (1993:136, 139-141); Schottroff (1995); Jacobson (1995); Moxnes (2003:54-55, 91, 115-121, 152).
18 Cf. Kloppenborg (1987:125).
19 In Q, polemic and didactic meanings often appear side by side in the same text as flipsides to the same coin (cf. Fleddermann 2005:501).
20 I.e., Q 11:16, 29-32, 39, 41-44, 46-52.
21 I.e.,
ούδείς; κρύπτη & κρυπτός.
22 Cf. Kloppenborg (1987:152).
23 Cf., e.g., Q 11:16, 29-32.
24 Cf. Piper (1989:106); Kirk (1998:238).
25 I.e., Mark 9:1; 13:30; 14:25; Matthew 5:18; Luke 13:35.
26 Cf., e.g., Q 11:9; 12:22, 27; 15:10.
27 Cf., e.g., Q 3:8; 7:26, 28; 10:12, 24; 12:44; 13:35; 17:34.
28 I.e., Q 12:39-59.
29 Cf., e.g., Q 6:22, 27-30, 35-42; Piper (1989:107); Fleddermann (2005:658).
30 Cf., e.g., Q 10:3; 11:4; 12:4, 11, 22-34; 16:13; 17:3-4.
31 Cf., e.g., Proverbs 6:1-5; 25:7-10; Sirach 18:20.
32 Whether this was done by adding inherited traditions or by creating new material ex nihilo is irrelevant for our current purposes.
33 I.e., Luke 12:35-59.
34 In Luke, that is, not necessarily in Q (cf. Horsley 1992:182)!
35 I.e., Q 13:18-21, 24; 14:26, 27, 34-35; 15:4-5, 7, 8-10; 16:13, 16, 18; 17:1-4, 6, 33.
36 Cf. Kloppenborg Verbin 2000:152-153; Mack 1993:173; Cromhout 2007:264.
37 I.e., Q 12:58-59, 16-18.
38 Cf., e.g., Q 9:59-60; 10:3; 12:4-5; 17:2.
39 Cf., e.g., Q 6:21, 35; 10:2, 7-9; 11:3, 4, 11-13; 12:6-7, 22-31.
40 Cf., e.g., Q 3:7, 9, 17; 10:12, 14-15; 11:19, 29-32, 44, 47, 49-51; 12:8-10, 40, 46, 49, 51, 53; 13:28, 34-35; 17:24, 26-27, 34-35; 22:28, 30.
41 Cf. Q 17:24, 26-27, 34-35.
42 I.e., Q 7:35; 11:17b-18, 20; 11:21-24-26; 12:54-55; 17:37.
43 I.e., Q 11:33-35; 12:57-58.

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