Beyond Mere Christianity

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  • Beyond Mere Christianity

  • Appendix

    Q and the Qur’an



    Many modern scholars
    believe that what matches up between the Gospels of Matthew and Luke (once the
    earlier Gospel of Mark’s influence is removed) is so frequently in agreement
    that it suggests a common source.

    This hypothetical common source,
    designated Q, is believed to be even older than the Gospel of Mark, on which
    Matthew and Luke also clearly rely. The final version of Gospel of John dates
    from approximately 100 years after the birth of Jesus, and has no connection to

    The remnants of this early Gospel,
    imperfectly reconstructed by extracting parallel passages from Matthew and
    Luke, provide our best perspective on the ministry of the historical Jesus.

    The following excerpt is, I think, a
    responsible overview of modern Q scholarship. It is reproduced by permission.

    Ó Ó

    The Sayings Gospel Q

    (Q) comprises a hypothetical collection of Jesus’ sayings,
    hypothesized in accordance with the two-source hypothesis to be a source of the
    Gospels of Matthew and Luke. The symbol Q comes from the first letter of the
    German word for source, Quelle.

    The two-source hypothesis forms the most widely accepted
    solution to the synoptic problem, which posits that Matthew and Luke drew on
    two written sources, as shown by textual correspondences between their works.
    The Gospel of Mark forms one source, and Q the other. The existence of Q
    follows from the argument that Matthew and Luke show independence in the double
    tradition (the material that Matthew and Luke shared that does not appear in
    Mark). Accordingly, the literary connection in the double tradition is
    explained by an indirect relationship, namely, through use of a common source
    or sources.

    Arguments for Luke’s and Matthew’s independence include:

    Matthew and Luke have different contexts for the double tradition
    material. It is argued that it is easier to explain Luke’s ‘artistically inferior’ arrangement of the double tradition
    into more primitive contexts within his Gospel as due to not knowing Matthew.

    The form of the material sometimes
    appears more primitive in Matthew but at other times more primitive in Luke.

    Independence is likely in light of the
    non-use of the other’s non-Markan tradition, especially in the infancy,
    genealogical, and resurrection accounts.

    Doublets. Sometimes it appears that
    doublets in Matthew and Luke have one half that comes from Mark and the other
    half from some common source, i.e., Q.

    Even if Matthew and Luke are
    independent, the Q hypothesis states that they used a common document.
    Arguments for Q being a written document include:

    Exactness in Wording. Sometimes the
    exactness in wording is striking. For example: Matt. 6:24 = Luke 16:13 (27/28
    Greek words). Matt. 7:7-8 = Luke 11:9-10 (24/24 Greek words).

    There is commonality in order between
    the two Sermons on/at the Mount.

    The presence of doublets, where Matthew
    and Luke sometimes present two versions of a similar saying, but in different
    contexts. Doublets often serve as a sign of two written sources.

    Certain themes, such as the
    Deuteronomistic view of history, are more prominent in Q than in either Matthew
    or Luke individually.

    Source: Wikipedia (

    Ó Ó

    Modern reconstructions of Q make for important and fascinating
    reading for anyone interested in Jesus’ message; one text of the hypothetical
    Gospel appears in Robert J. Miller’s The
    Complete Gospels
    (HarperSanFrancisco, 1994.)

    Reading this book is not meant to be a
    substitute for reading Q. The following parallel passages of Q and the Qur’an
    will, however, give a good sense of Q’s remarkable compatibility with Islamic
    a compatibility that cannot, I think be
    dismissed as coincidence, and that has not, I think, been widely noticed.

    I do not
    believe that Q is the infallible Word of God, but I do believe it is an
    important step forward in Biblical scholarship of which all Christians should
    be aware. Most of the passages cited in this book are from Q. (Mark 10:18 is an
    exception to this.) All the Q passages I have referenced are cited below, followed
    by parallel passages in the Qur’an. Consider reading each Gospel passage out
    loud, and then reading the complementary teaching from the Qur’an. Do the
    passages sound as though they are issuing from the same Source … or from wholly different religious traditions?

    Ó Ó‘The
    light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole
    body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full
    of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not
    (Luke 11:34-35)

    ‘Clear proofs
    have come to you from your Lord to open your eyes
    so whosoever sees,
    will do so for the good of himself, and whosoever blinds himself, will do so
    against himself.’


    Ó Ó

    I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him
    that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.’
    (Luke 19:26)

    ‘Whoever brings
    a good deed shall have ten times the like thereof to his credit, and whoever
    brings an evil deed  shall have
    only the recompense of the like thereof, and they will not be wronged.’
    (Qur’an 6:160)

    Ó Ó

    where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’
    (Matthew 6:21)

    ‘As for whoever
    has exceeded the limits and preferred the life of this world, surely his abode
    will be the Fire (in the hereafter); and as for whoever has feared to stand
    before his Lord and restrained the desires of his self, surely his abode will
    be the Garden (in the hereafter). (Qur’an

    Ó Ó

    ‘A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth
    forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart
    bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth
    (Luke 6:45)

    ‘From the land
    that is clean and good, by the will of its Cherisher, springs up produce,
    (rich) after its kind: but from the land that is bad, springs up nothing but
    that which is niggardly: thus do we explain the Signs (by various symbols) to
    those who are grateful.’ (Qur’an 7:58)

    Ó Ó

    are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’
    (Matthew 5:3)

    (peace be upon you) for that you persevered in patience! Excellent
    indeed is the final home!’ (Qur’an, 13:24)

    Ó Ó

    unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.’
    (Luke 6:25)

    ‘So let them
    laugh a little and (they will) cry much as a recompense of what they used to
    earn (by committing sins).’ (Qur’an 9:82)

    Ó Ó

    I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after
    that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear:
    Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say
    unto you, Fear him.’
    (Luke 12:4-5)

    ‘To Him belongs
    all that is in the heavens and (all that is in) the earth and perpetual sincere
    obedience is (due) to Him. Will you then fear any other than God?’ (Qur’an, 16:52)

    Ó Ó

    ‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth
    and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up
    for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt,
    and where thieves do not break through nor
    (Matthew 6:19-20)

    ‘O my people!
    Truly, this life of the world is nothing but a (quick passing) enjoyment, and
    verily, the Hereafter that is the home that will remain forever. Whosoever does
    an evil deed, will not be requited except the like thereof, and whosoever does
    a righteous deed, whether male or female and is a true believer, such will
    enter Paradise, where they will be provided therein (with all things in abundance)
    without limit.’ (Qur’an, 40:39-40)

    Ó Ó

    said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is
    fit for the kingdom of God.’
    (Luke 9:62)

    ‘Wavering between belief and disbelief! Belonging neither to this nor to that! Whom God allows to go
    astray, you have no ability to find a way for him.’ (Qur’an, 4:143)

    Ó Ó

    I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them
    that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you,
    that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh
    his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and
    on the unjust.’
    (Matthew 5:44-45)

    ‘Repel the evil
    deed of another with your good deeds. You will see that the one with whom you
    had enmity will become your close friend.’ (Qur’an

    Ó Ó

    it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company
    lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and
    the paps which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that
    hear the word of God, and keep it.’
    (Luke 11:27-28)

    ‘It is not
    (possible) for any human being to whom God has given the Book and Wisdom and Prophethood
    to say to the people: ‘Be my worshippers rather than God’s.’ On the contrary
    (he would say): ‘Be devoted worshippers of your Lord, because you are teaching
    the Book, and you are studying it.’ Nor would he order you to take angels and
    Prophets for lords. Would he order you to disbelieve after you have submitted to
    God’s will?’ (Qur’an 3:79-80)

    Ó Ó

    what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
    Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know
    how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father
    which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?’
    (Matthew 7:9-11)

    ‘How many
    creatures exist that do not carry their provisions along with them! God provides
    for them just as he provides for you.’ (Qur’an

    Ó Ó

    ‘Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him,
    O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me.
    Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had
    pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till
    he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father
    do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother
    their trespasses.’
    (Matthew 18:32-35)

    ‘... Let them
    pardon and turn away (overlook faults); What! Do you not wish that God should
    forgive you? And God is Oft-Forgiving, All-Merciful.’ (Qur’an 24:22)


    Ó Ó

    ‘Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and
    broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in
    thereat. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto
    life, and few there be that find it.’
    (Matthew 7:13-14)

    ‘And (have we
    not) shown him the two highways? Yet he does not pursue the uphill path. What
    will tell you what the uphill path is?’ (Qur’an

    Ó Ó



    the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking
    rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence
    I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.’
    (Matthew 12:43-44)

    ‘Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind, the King of mankind, the God
    of mankind, from the evil of the Sneaking Whisperer who whispers in the hearts
    of mankind…’ (Qur’an 114:1-5)

    Ó Ó

    with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any
    time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the
    officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no
    means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.’
    (Matthew 5:25-26)

    =‘To whomsoever then the admonition has come from his Lord, then he
    desists, he shall have what has already passed (as a profit), and his affair is
    in the hands of Allah; and whoever returns (to it) — these are the inmates of
    the fire; they shall abide in it.’ (Qur’an

    Ó Ó

    there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall
    not be known.’
    (Luke 12:2)

    ‘He knows very
    well whatever they conceal or reveal even when they cover themselves with their
    garments. God certainly knows the inner-most (secrets) of the hearts.’
    (Qur’an 11:5)

    Ó Ó Ó

    ‘And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me,
    Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only
    shalt thou serve.’
    (Luke 4:8)

    ‘Children of Adam, did We not command you not to worship Satan? He was
    your sworn enemy. Did We not command you to worship Me, and tell you that this
    is the straight path?’


    ‘O People of
    the Book! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter anything concerning God
    except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of God,
    and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in
    God and His messengers, and say not ‘Three’
    Cease! (It is) better
    for you!
    God is only One God. Far is it removed from His Transcendent
    Majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all
    that is in the earth. And God is sufficient as Defender.’
    (Qur’an 4:171)


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