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Q Document

Comparison of Matt 3:7-10 and Luke 3:7-9. Common text highlighted in red. Text is from 1894 Scrivener New Testament which is in the public domain - Alecmconroy

In Biblical studies the Q in ‘Q Document’ stands for quelle, meaning “source” in the German.

Many talk about Q as a source document for subsequent documents that include some or all of its content.

But there’s a catch. The Q Document is purely hypothetical. If Q did exist in the ancient world, it’s been lost to the sands of time.

Scholars in support of a lost Q document contend that it would account for the common material found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke but not in Mark.

This common material is written in Greek, and comprises the sayings and quotations of Jesus.

According to adherents of the Q hypothesis, Jesus spoke in Aramaic; therefore the translation of this common material into nearly identical Greek points to the existence of Q.

Elaine Pagels¹ elaborates on this position, saying that if two people were to independently translate a group of sayings from another language, they surely would use slightly different words, phrases and sentence structures in the final translations. But again, the sayings of Jesus are presented in a near identical format for both Matthew and Luke.

Still undiscovered by archeology, Q remains nothing more than an imaginative scholarly hypothesis although some tend to talk about it as if it were real.

While no one really knows exactly how the Gospels came into being, a rival theory to Q (there are several) called the Farrer hypothesis suggests that the author of Matthew borrowed from Mark, after which time the author of Luke borrowed from Matthew and Mark.

The Farrer hypothesis would also account for the nearly exact elements that many scholars suppose are best explained by Q.

¹ See From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians, online at

On the Web:

The history and complexities of this (so far) imaginary document can be found in these excellent Wikipedia entries:

» Bible

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Quine, Willard

Methods of Logic by Quine

Methods of Logic by Quine: brewbooks / J Brew

Willard Quine (1908-2000) was an influential American mathematician and philosopher who rejected Kant’s analytic-synthetic distinction and advocated a form of holism.

Quine argues that empiricism contains “two dogmas.” One dogma is the distinction made between intellectual constructs and facts. The second dogma is reductionism; that is, the belief that naming and meaning are the same.

Quine’s thought has been variously championed and critiqued. It seems that whatever way we look at the problems Quine addresses, we fall into the same trap: Language (and arguably all symbols, to include numbers) has conceptual and descriptive limits and can never be precise and complete.

In fact, the problem of the relation between symbols and reality is an age old one with no definitive answer.

On this point Heraclitus wisely said that we cannot step into the same river twice.

In sociology, Quine’s thought crops up in discussions about reification and the also about the relation between scientific truth claims on the one hand, and ideology, the profit motive and social power on the other hand.

» Science

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february eucharist: + Alan  / Alan Creech

february eucharist: + Alan / Alan Creech

Quiddity (Latin: quidditas = whatness) is a medieval scholastic term referring to the alleged primary substance of a thing (i.e. essence) in contrast to its secondary substance (i.e. observable form).

This kind of distinction can be confusing but goes back to both Plato and Aristotle¹ (the latter doing away with the former’s idea of eternal Forms), and plays an important part in understanding the Catholic Sacrament of the Eucharist, said to change in essence but (obviously) not in observable form.

That’s why Catholics can believe that Holy Communion is not just a memorial service but a sacrament in which one partakes of the living body and blood of Christ.

What differentiates the Catholic Eucharist from others is that, while taking the transformed host, one becomes more a part of the mystical body of Christ.

Here the eater becomes part of the eaten, this acting in reverse of purely natural eating, where the eaten becomes part of the eater.

It’s important to understand that, in the Catholic distinction between essence and form, essence is not to be understood as mere “energy”–i.e. the energy of the universe.  For Catholics essence is a spiritual term, thus denoting something qualitatively different than the mere energy behind the apparent duality of matter/energy.

This is an important point so often overlooked by New Age / New Physics enthusiasts who think they have it all figured out when recasting the old myth of naturalistic pantheism in the latest scientific lingo, which really is just another set of mythic constructs.

¹ Thomas Aquinas’ philosophy owes a lot to Aristotle, and therefore to Plato. He uses the Aristotelian concept of substance to develop a rational basis for theology. For Aristotle, substance is what exists of itself, not depending on anything else for it to exist. For example, colours depend on the object in which they inhere for their existence, but not vice-versa. But how can this hidden substance of things be explained?

Read more at Suite101: Aquinas’ First Cause Argument: Thomism Builds on the Platonic and Aristotelian Traditions

» Consubstantiation, Transubstantiation

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Quakers: BinaryApe / Pete Birkinshaw

The Quakers (a.k.a. The Religious Society of Friends) are a Protestant religious movement founded in England by George Fox (1624-1691).

The Quakers rejected the Sacraments, advocated plain speech and clothing, and were persecuted for their nonconformity.

Pockets of Quakers exists around the globe, often in economically disadvantaged places where they engage in charitable works geared toward social improvement.

Quakers emphasize an Inner Light and personal revelation and have generally been regarded as a well-meaning but misguided “sect” by orthodox Catholicism.¹

¹ See for instance »

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