The hypothetical Q source,  precursor to the Sermon on the Mount?

Some theories for the origins of the synoptic gospels require a hypothetical collection of sayings, generally referred to as simply Q. Because of the presence of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew and the Sermon on the Plain in Luke, but the absence of any such sermon in Mark?s Gospel, many proponents of the Two Source Theory envisage that the Q source provided the basic framework of the two sermons. They envisage Luke having based the Sermon on the Plain on material from the Q source, then Matthew drawing on and re-arranging material from Luke. 

Deciding what Q might have contained is inevitably a matter of conjecture, however that has not stopped some very competent academics devoting their time to the problem. The following table takes a sermon incident specific look at what four scholars have envisaged in their Q source. From this it comparison it is immediately obvious that, as far as the sermon event?s teaching is concerned, these academics envisage the Q tradition as more-or-less equivalent to the Sermon on the Plain, with the odd variation her and there. Given the current state of scholarship, it is important to consider how the Sermon on the Mount might relate to such a source as Q. However, a detailed comparison of the Sermon on the Mount with the Sermon on the Plain reveals features that suggest that the Sermon on the Mount has to be the earlier of the two. Moreover, the evidence presented the commentary on this site, that the Sermon on the Mount was a coherent and tightly integrated address and directly addressed key issues of Jesus? early ministry, suggests that a hypothetical source such as Q did not play any part in the Sermon?s origin. 

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Summary of sections of the Sermon on the Mount assigned to Q.

Ch 5: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, Ch 6: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, Ch 7: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27.

In the above the verses in colour represent those included in Q by at least one of the authors considered below. The coding is as follows:

In terms of the Sermon on the Mount, the sections inferred to have come from Q are heavily dependent upon contents of the Sermon on the Plain (as versions of the Q hypothesis generally require the derivation of Matthew's Gospel from Luke’s). However, their scattered disbursal seems rather at odds with the coherently indivisible structure of the Sermon on the Mount, a construct whose rigidity comes from the intersection of three complementary structures, the one a midrash working sequentially through the Mosaic commandments, one a chiasmus centred on the Lord’s prayer, and the third defined by major stylistic blocks within the text. The idea begins to seem rather far fetched, that a collection of independent sayings could have conveniently fitted together quite so well.

Sections of the Sermon on the Mount assigned to the Q tradition

For the data used to produce the following summaries I am indebted to Peter Kirby's collation and summary of work on the contents of Q (Kirby 2001, n.p.).

Luke Matthew Thomas Mack (1993, 260-1, titles from 81-102) Kloppenborg (2000, 100) Miller (1992) Edwards (1976,xi-xiii)
Luke 6:20a Matt 5:1-2 ----x---- QS 7. Introduction Introduction to the Sermon, ----x---- ----x----
Luke 6:20b Matt 5:3 54  QS 8. On Those who are Fortunate  Beatitudes  Congratulations  Beatitudes
Luke 6:21 Matt 5:6, 4 ----x----
Luke 6:22 Matt 5:11 58, 68; 69
Luke 6:23 Matt 5:12 ----x----
Luke 6:24 ----x---- ----x---- ----x---- Woes (probably in Q) ----x----
Luke 6:25 ----x---- ----x---- ----x---- ----x----
Luke 6:26 ----x---- ----x---- ----x---- ----x----
Luke 6:27 Matt 5:44 ----x---- QS 9. On Responding to Reproach (part) On Retaliation; Generous Giving; Golden Rule Love of enemies (part) Love of enemies (part)
Luke 6:28 ----x----
Luke 6:29 Matt 5:39-40 ----x----
Luke 6:30 Matt 5:42 95
Luke 6:31 Matt 7:12 25
Luke 6:32 Matt 5:46 ----x----
Luke 6:33 Matt 5:47 ----x----
----x---- Matt 5:41 ----x---- Go the Second Mile (probably in Q) ----x---- ----x----
Luke 6:34 ----x----  [QS 9. On Responding to Reproach (part)]
62???
QS 9. On Responding to Reproach (part) [Conclusion] Conclusions [Love of enemies (part)] Love of enemies (part)
Luke 6:35 Matt 5:45
Luke 6:36 Matt 7:1 ----x---- [On making judgements] QS 10. On making judgements
[On mercy and judgement]
Luke 6:37 Matt 7:2 On judging Judging Judging
Luke 6:38
Luke 6:39 Matt 15:14 34 Teachers and students On self correction Blind guides
Luke 6:40 Matt 10:24-25  
Luke 6:41 Matt 7:3-5 26 On hypocrisy On pretense
Luke 6:42
Luke 6:43 Matt 7:17 43 On integrity Tree and fruit Fruits
Luke 6:44 Matt 7:16 45
Luke 6:45 Matt 7:18  
Luke 6:46 Matt 7:21 On Practical Obedience Why Do You Call Me Lord? Foundations House on rock House on rock
Luke 6:47 Matt 7:24-27 The Two House-Builders
Luke 6:48
Luke 6:49