Original Research - Special Collection: Mag in die Nuwe Testament

Schipperen tussen twee rijken: Q en het Romeinse gezag

Mark R.C. Grundeken
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 68, No 1 | a1069 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v68i1.1069 | © 2012 Mark R.C. Grundeken | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 May 2011 | Published: 29 February 2012

About the author(s)

Mark R.C. Grundeken, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium


Compromising between two powers: Q and the Roman Empire. The study underlying this article investigated the attitude of Sayings Source Q towards the Roman authorities and their representatives. It primarily aimed at contributing to scholarly discussions on the relationships between early Christianity and the Roman Empire, but it also attempted to put the research in a broader context of present-day discussions on the issue of ‘church and state’. The first part of the study dealt with Q’s views on the government. The second part studied Q’s views on the emperor cult. The third and final part aimed at putting Q’s views on the authorities and on the veneration of the emperor in the right context. It concluded that Q compromises between idealism and realism. Its attitude towards the government is quite hostile. It portrays worldly power as demonic (Q 4:5–6; 11:18, 20), it regards God as the only true Lord of heaven and earth (Q 10:21) and rejects the legitimacy of the imperial cult (Q 4:5–8). It fully focuses on the completion of the kingdom of God (Q 6:20; 7:28; 10:9; 11:2b). Yet, as a relatively small community (Q 10:2), the Q people seem to have realised that there was no point in standing up against the Roman authorities and their representatives. Q’s propagated views on Roman power are not characterised by active resistance, but by passive dissidence (Q 6:22–23, 27–32; 12:4–5). Within the context of the Roman Empire, it was better to be a realist than a revolutionist.


Sayings Gospel Q; Roman Empire; emperor cult; kingdom of God; church and state


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