Baker Academic

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Alan Kirk’s Q in Matthew—Chris Keith

Readers of this blog may be interested to know that Alan Kirk's Q in Matthew: Ancient Media, Memory, and Early Scribal Transmission of the Jesus Tradition is now available from the Library of New Testament Studies monograph series at Bloomsbury T&T Clark.  This study is a defense of the Two-Document Hypothesis to the Synoptic Problem, and thus a major (350 pages) contribution to Synoptic Problem and Gospels research.  But the volume is much more than that.  It defends the Two-Document Hypothesis by bringing studies of ancient media and memory to bear upon the issue, and is thus probably the most sustained application of the "memory approach" to an issue outside historical Jesus research in NT studies.  Several of us are big Alan Kirk fans, and we have been waiting for this book for several years now.  This promises to be a substantial contribution to the field, which will inspire debate and reconsideration.  Alan is particularly determined in this book to show that "memory" research is not simply theory-for-the-sake-of-theory, but that it allows us to get, in his words, "new leverage" on traditional problems in the field.  If any readers here are interested in current approaches to Gospels research based on orality/textuality, literacy, ancient book culture, and collective and cultural memory, this book sets the cutting edge of the discussion.  As the editor of the monograph series, I'm particularly happy to have it in LNTS and congratulate Alan on this major accomplishment.


  1. Does Kirk's "memory approach" give any insight into what the text of Q would have looked like: i.e. does it have any bearing on whether Matthew or Luke has a more faithful reading for certain verses/phrases?

    1. Since the book deals mostly with Matthew's reception of the Q tradition, the problem of reconstruction of the Q text comes up only rarely. For the most part I default to the CEQ (Critical Edition of Q) reading for the base Q text.