Christianity / Apocryphal gospels /
Also called: Synoptic Sayings Source
In Christianity, a theoretical, postulated gospel. No part of Q exists and there are no direct, nor indirect, historical sources to it. It is often listed among the apocryphal gospels.
The name comes from German for "source", "Quelle".
Q has been postulated because with it, Christian theologians have been better able to reconstruct the development of the gospels of Matthew and Luke.
Elements of Q have been reconstructed, based on priorities and style found in the synoptic gospels. Newer theories have promoted Q from being merely a 'source' into an independent gospel, although it is hard to see what would be the distinction between the two, since such a gospel still would have been used as a source, and the source was originally defined as a text, and there is no definition to what makes a gospel a gospel that that would exclude Q even in its simpler forms.
Q has been defined as originating in Galilee, where Judaism was largely independent from the authorities of the Temple of Jerusalem.
It is believed that Q did not contain elements regarding the birth and infancy of Jesus, nor did it contain any passion narratives. It is therefore a source believed to have transmitted principally the sayings and the actions of Jesus.
Judging from the reconstructed content of Q, Jesus was present among the believers through his sayings, whereas the synoptic gospels make Jesus present through resurrection.
The reconstructed Q has three dimensions. In the first, Jesus is a teacher of wisdom. In the second, there is a radical message to the disciples to abandon everything to follow Jesus, whether it be family or wealth. The third tells about the end of the world, involving threats to all those who do not convert.
In the reconstructed Q, the death of Jesus is not presented as an event of salvation, rather as martyrdom. In such a respect, Q indicates not the forthcoming Christianity as a religion independent from Judaism. Rather this places the message of Q well within the confines of Judaism, even if the group behind the gospel represented a very critical orientation in Judaism.