Ehrman, Goodacre, and the $1,000 challenge over Q

A mysterious commenter on Bart Ehrman’s blog has offered him a $1,000 challenge regarding Q.

Mark Goodacre has taken up the challenge.

And this all came about because of Alan Garrow.

Here’s the short version:

Alan Garrow has put together a series of short videos that Evan declares prove beyond doubt that Q never existed (although see Garrow’s videos and the discussion of Q).

Evan told Ehrman that he’ll give him $1,000 for charity if Ehrman isn’t totally convinced by the evidence in the videos.

Today, Mark Goodacre took up the wager himself. Ehrman will post Goodacre’s response tomorrow.

In either case, Ehrman’s blog will get $1,000 for charity!


Here’s the actual exchange:

Evan to Ehrman:

The British scholar Alan Garrow has compiled an extremely compelling argument that Q never existed. In seven short videos totaling 52 minutes of viewing time he pretty much proves beyond any doubt that Matthew used both Mark and Luke, and what we imagine as the “Q source” was actually Matthew copying and reorganizing Lukan material directly. See these videos here: https://www.alangarrow.com/mch.html. It is virtually impossible to believe in the Q theory once you’ve seen this data. Bart, if you see any holes in his arguments I would be grateful to hear them.

Ehrman responds:

I’m afraid I don’t know him or his work. The problem is always that it is very hard for someone without advanced training in a field (whether neuro-science, astronomy, evolutionary biology, philosophy, or biblical studies!) to see the holes in an argument that an expert can see pretty quickly. So we’ll see if he convinces any scholars!  [NOTE: since I wrote this, Alan Garrow contacted me to remind me that in fact we met many years ago at a conference and have had a couple of back-and-forths since then.  Many apologies to him: I should have remembered, but hearing his name out of context I didn’t!]

Evan parries:

You are an expert. I will lay a wager that you cannot find any holes in Garrow’s argument, and that in fact you will be convinced of his resolution of the Synoptic Problem. If you are not convinced, document whatever holes you see on this page. If you are convinced, post a statement that you believe he may have a viable solution to the Problem. Either way, once your assessment is posted, I will donate $1000 to your blog as a thank you for the time you invested to view his presentation and formulate a response.

Ehrman counters:

Would you agree to the $1000 if another internationally known scholar and expert on the Synoptic Problem posted a refutation on the blog?

Evan concedes terms:

Yes, I have no problem with that, assuming Alan Garrow and/or I may be granted the right of a reply to whatever response is posted by the scholar you have engaged. Ultimately, I would be grateful to hear whether you are persuaded one way or another by the discussion that ensues, although I would not request of you a public statement on the blog as a condition of the agreement.

So that’s where things stand today.

Helpful Resources:

Now, if you aren’t up to speed on Q, then here are some resources that I recommend:

Mark Goodacre has himself written extensively on Q, and the Synoptic Problem, here:

Finally, here is the link to those videos by Alan Garrow again. Worth watching if you want to be prepared to judge for yourself after Goodacre has given his response tomorrow.

Stay tuned…

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Written by
Tavis Bohlinger

Dr. Tavis Bohlinger is the editor of Word by Word's Lecture Hall and Creative Director at Reformation Heritage Books. He holds a PhD from Durham University and writes across multiple genres, including academia, poetry, and screenwriting. He lives in Grand Rapids with his wife and three children.

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Written by Tavis Bohlinger