Why was Q named Q?

I have always taught, for I was always taught, that that the hypothetical source “Q” for material common to Matthew and Luke, took it’s name from the German word Quelle for “source”. However, this might not be the case. Over at Sheffield Biblical Studies I read this quote from R.H. Lightfoot:

It seems now to be assumed that the symbol Q originated in Germany, as being the first letter of the German Quelle, source. Dr Armitage Robinson, however, in conversation with the pesent writer maintained in all seriousness that he himself was the first to use the symbol, and for an enitrely  different reason. In lecturing at Cambridge on the sources of the gospels, in the ‘nineties of the last century, he was in the habit, he said, of alluding to St Mark’s gospel as P (reminiscences of St Peter), and so the presumed sayings-document as Q, simply because Q was the next letter after P in the alphabet. His contention, therefore, was that some of his hearers carried his method across the North Sea, and that German scholars, having adopted the symbol Q from him, soon found an explanation for it, which to them no doubt seemed both more satisfactory and more rational. Dr Robinson emphasized that no designation of the sayings-document by the symbol Q appeared in German writings until after the period of his lectures at Cambridge,and that the now common explanation of the symbol would be found to be still later. If, as Dr Burkitt informs me, Wellhausen was the first in Germany to use the symbol Q, it is possible to date accurately its appearance in print in that country, since the first edition of his Einleitung, in which it appears, was published in 1903. His commentaries on the synoptists began to appear in the same year. (R.H. Lightfoot, History and Interpretation in the Gospels, 27-28, n. 1).

Interesting!

  • Rick

    If true, it continues to show that sometimes answers are more simple that we assume, or even like.

  • Rick

    If true, it continues to show that sometimes answers are more simple that we assume, or even like.

  • Jan Krans

    I am sorry, but this cannot be correct. See James McConkey Robinson, The Sayings Gospel Q …, Leuven, 2005, p. 23.
    “Q.”, clearly meant as abbreviation of “Quelle” was introduced by Eduard Simons in 1880, and “Q” entirely as we know it by Johannes Weiss in 1890.

  • Jan Krans

    I am sorry, but this cannot be correct. See James McConkey Robinson, The Sayings Gospel Q …, Leuven, 2005, p. 23.
    “Q.”, clearly meant as abbreviation of “Quelle” was introduced by Eduard Simons in 1880, and “Q” entirely as we know it by Johannes Weiss in 1890.

  • Jan Krans

    I am sorry, but this cannot be correct. See James McConkey Robinson, The Sayings Gospel Q …, Leuven, 2005, p. 23.
    “Q.”, clearly meant as abbreviation of “Quelle” was introduced by Eduard Simons in 1880, and “Q” entirely as we know it by Johannes Weiss in 1890.

  • Jan Krans

    I am sorry, but this cannot be correct. See James McConkey Robinson, The Sayings Gospel Q …, Leuven, 2005, p. 23.
    “Q.”, clearly meant as abbreviation of “Quelle” was introduced by Eduard Simons in 1880, and “Q” entirely as we know it by Johannes Weiss in 1890.

  • Philip Seddon

    In which case it’s very likely that the same designation (Q) appeared at a similar time in different countries for different reasons with entirely different [scholarly] ‘legends’, as is frequently the case in all areas and aspects of research.

  • Philip Seddon

    In which case it’s very likely that the same designation (Q) appeared at a similar time in different countries for different reasons with entirely different [scholarly] ‘legends’, as is frequently the case in all areas and aspects of research.

  • Philip Seddon

    In which case it’s very likely that the same designation (Q) appeared at a similar time in different countries for different reasons with entirely different [scholarly] ‘legends’, as is frequently the case in all areas and aspects of research.

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  • Jan Krans

    Lightfoot on Armitage Robinson can be called a “legend”, but Simons’ 1880 book and Weiss’ articles are sources themselves.

  • Jan Krans

    Lightfoot on Armitage Robinson can be called a “legend”, but Simons’ 1880 book and Weiss’ articles are sources themselves.

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  • Brian

    In the U.S. we have the expression “Mind your Ps and Qs” and I have heard two different origins for this expression as well.

  • Brian

    In the U.S. we have the expression “Mind your Ps and Qs” and I have heard two different origins for this expression as well.