The evangelists Matthew and Luke used, and from their point of view improved, a very archaic written Greek Sayings Gospel. Hence it was no longer copied by Christian scribes, who preferred to copy Matthew and Luke, for which reason no manuscripts of this lost Gospel have survived. But in 1838 its existence was postulated from a careful study of the sources of Matthew and Luke, which led to the nickname, Q, from the German word for a source, Quelle. Over the past decade a team of about forty scholars, with centers at the Institute, as well as in Toronto, Canada, and Bamberg, Germany, have worked at reconstituting this lost Gospel, word by word. For by observing how Matthew and Luke edited their other main source, the Gospel of Mark, which has survived, one can establish their editing policies. When these are then detected in Matthew or Luke, they can be discounted in Q sayings, and the text of Q behind Matthew and Luke can thus be reconstructed. 

The project has published with Fortress Press in the United States and Peeters in Belgium, in one volume, The Critical Edition of Q: A Synopsis including the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Mark and Thomas with English, German and French Translations of Q and Thomas. It has already begun publishing at Peeters in Belgium its rather massive database and evaluations in the series Documenta Q: Reconstructions of Q Through Two Centuries of Gospel Research Excerpted, Sorted and Evaluated. Five out of some 30 volumes have already appeared. 

Dr. James M. Robinson is Emeritus Professor of New Testament

at Claremont Graduate University. 

Recent Publications by James M. Robinson

curriculum vitae for James M. Robinson