As much as I'm loving it, I do have some minor criticisms. In this post I want to mention one of them. I'll be developing what I present here in future papers, but I would love to get some feedback from any other scholars out there.
In a few places the authors in this monograph seem to fall prey to a presuppositional view which I think is utterly mistaken and wrong-headed. What is that view? To sum it up, here it is: scholars seem to conclude that material consistent with the narrative or theological interests of redactors constitutes evidence against authenticity. Going on, scholars seem to assume that redactional activity represents evidence of in authenticity. Indeed, this line of thought appears rather commonly in historical Jesus work.
It seems to appear in Key Events in the Life of the Historical Jesus as well. Take for example Craig Blomberg. He writes:
“Jesus’ compassion for outcasts of many different kinds―women, lepers, other sick persons, Samaritans, Gentiles, and the poor―forms of a major emphasis within Luke’s writing. So we cannot argue that the specific pericopae of Jesus’ meals with sinners in this Gospel fail to fit the Evangelist’s redactional tendencies. But there are plenty of other signs of authenticity.”It seems here that the assumption is that material that coincides with Luke’s larger narrative interests must be seen as historically suspect.
Clearly it is entirely possible―I think even probable!―that “redactors” included authentic material in their editorial work.
In fact, this very point is made by Robert Webb in the introductory essay to this compilation of essays:
“Often in historical Jesus studies, if something is identified as redactional material contributed by a Gospel author, it is usually discounted as not being historical with reference to Jesus. In many cases this may be appropriate, but sometimes it is applied in a heavy-handed manner that misses the point.”Indeed, Mr. Q himself, John S. Kloppenborg, makes this point: “It is indeed possible, indeed probable, that some of the materials from the secondary compositional phase are dominical or at least very old, and that some of the formative elements are, from the standpoint of authenticity or tradition-history, relatively young.”
Likewise, Gundry explains, “. . . artistic composition does not imply lack of traditional data, for artists often use raw materials given to them rather than spinning material out of their own heads.”
Kloppenborg goes on to make a point that I wish I could put into a frame and give to all of my graduate students: “Tradition-history is not convertible with literary history.” Kloppenborg makes the point plainly in another work on Q: “It should be stressed that the assignment of a set of sayings to the framing [of Q] implies nothing about their ultimate tradition-historical provenance or their authenticity; it is a literary observation.”
The point is often overlooked, especially among those still convinced by the Q theory―i.e., what is from Q is largely assumed to be historical, but what is seen as stemming from the redactional activity of Matthew and Luke is not.
Such an approach however is hugely problematic! Even in his work on Q Kloppenborg cautions:
“Redaction criticism, in particular the ground-breaking work of Werner Kelber (1983), should also have taught us that the choice of genre and the organizational patterns employed by the written Gospels are the choices of the authors involved; they cannot be used as indices by which to characterize the historical Jesus. The literary choice to feature sapiential and prophetic sayings and to ignore the miracle and passion traditions tells us in the first place about Q, not about the historical Jesus. It renders evidence of the persons who collected and framed its sayings. Their interests must be probed and their techniques analyzed. . . . To be sure, Q is an important source for the historical Jesus, but it is only one of several. It is neither complete nor is it unalloyed.”So let’s get it clear: we must decouple the questions of redaction history and historicity. Indeed, whatever one thinks about his conclusions about dating the New Testament documents, John A.T. Robinson’s discussion of the uncritical use of redaction criticism ought to receive more attention than it has.
So now let me ask: what do you think?
 Craig Blomberg, “The Authenticity and Significance of Jesus’ Table Fellowship with Sinners,” in Key Events in the Life of the Historical Jesus, 232.
 Webb, “The Historical Enterprise and Historical Jesus Research,” in Key Events in the Life of the Historical Jesus, 59.
 See John S. Kloppenborg, The Formation of Q: Trajectories in Ancient Wisdom Collections (SAC; Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, 2000), 244. See “. . . artistic composition does not imply lack of traditional data, for artists often use raw materials given to them rather than spinning material out of their own heads.” See also Meyer, Aims of Jesus, 71–72.
 Robert H. Gundry, Mark: A Commentary on His Apology for the Cross (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993), 723–24. See also Meyer, Aims of Jesus, 71–72.
 Kloppenborg, The Formation of Q, 244.
 John S. Kloppenborg, “The Formation of Q Revisited: A Response to Richard Horsely,” Society of Biblical Literature 1989 Seminar Papers (ed. D. J. Lull; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1989), 206 [204–15].
 Excavating Q: The History and Settings of the Sayings Gospel (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000), 351–52
 John A. T. Robinson, The Priority of John (London: SCM Press, 1985; repr., South Humphrey: Meyer Stone Books, 1987 ), 28–33.