Scholarly Doubt about Q/First Gospel Contents is the Best Predictor of GMarc Attestation (LODLIB v2.03)

Lot’s of progress made in today’s upload. We’d specifically like to call attention to an expansion to our statistical proofs, especially in conversation with Daniel Smith’s 2019 chapter in BZNW 235 focusing on a statistical analysis of GMarc. In the interest of facilitating access for readers, we present the bulk of the content found on the page in our LODLIB that details our finding, building on Smith’s verse counts but nuancing them and challenging his starting goal (“On Not Dispensing with Any of Q”) and ultimate conclusions.


Smith Verse Count: GMarc Attested as a Percentage of Lk2

Tradition TypeGMarc Verses AttestedLk2 VersesGMarc Attested / Lk2

Even without questioning or changing any of the traditional contents considered secure for Q, according to Smith’s verse count approach, Q verses are the best attested of any tradition type. That is a highly significant finding on its own.

But what happens if we adjust our method to account separately for the 83 verses considered but doubted or rejected within CEQ? … [more below the fold]

Of these verses, 31 are Single, 27 Double, and 25 Triple traditions. And of those, a total of 50 are attested for GMarc: 18 Single, 14 Double, and 18 Triple traditions. Here we make use of Smith’s count of Roth’s edition of GMarc, adjusting the counts based on our own fresh tallying of Q verses in that edition.

Adjusted Smith Verse Count: GMarc Attested as a Percentage of Lk2

Tradition TypeGMarc Verses AttestedLk2 VersesGMarc Attested/Lk2
Q Secure11420455.9%
Q Doubted/Rejected508360.2%

For any given verse in Lk2, there is a 41.6% chance that it is attested for GMarc. But for verses that scholars have been considered yet doubted or rejected for Q, there is a 60.2% chance they will be attested for GMarc. How can this be? How can GMarc not only have a systematic surplus of Q traditions compared to all other kinds of traditions, but most of all a systematic surplus of dubious Q traditions? How can scholarly doubt about Q contents be the best predictor of verse attestation rates in GMarc?

The explanation is in our five hypotheses. Q as traditionally reconstructed is a construct far too beholden to scholarly subjectivity, yet even in that subjectivity there is valuable data. Traditional notions about the content of Q do not need to be defended as we scientifically relocate GMarc as prior to and the basis for Lk2. Instead, the entire Q project needs to be redone with GMarc as the primary basis for its reconstruction. This involves dispensing with much of Q, adding much to Q, and carefully updating all of our reconstructions of the wording of Q based primarily, though not exclusively, on GMarc.