The Last 12 verses of Mark

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Re: The Last 12 verses of Mark

Post by steve » Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:58 pm

I am pasting below the section of my notes on the introduction of Mark's Gospel. This information is covered in my lecture series on Mark (I think the evidence, on balance, supports the long ending):

Long or short ending?

Short ending has Mark abruptly cut off with 16:8; long ending includes verses 9-20.
Some 6th, 7th and 8th century manuscripts append a few additional verses to the shorter ending.

Arguments against inclusion of verses 9-20:

1. These verses are missing from the early Greek manuscripts, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus (early fourth century), as well as some early Latin, Syriac, Armenian, and Georgian manuscripts;

2. Some early fathers (e.g. Origen and Clement of Alexandria) did not seem to be familiar with them;

3. Eusebius and Jerome say that these verses are missing from most of the manuscripts available to them in their time;

4. Non-markan vocabulary (of the 183 words in the long ending, 53 are not found elsewhere in Mark; 21 are not found elsewhere in the New Testament);

5. The transition from verse 8 to verse 9 is rough, not smooth (subject of sentence in v.9);

6. Mary Magdalene is identified in more detail in verse 9 than in verse 1 (as if she had not been mentioned previous to v.9)

Arguments against ending at verse 8:

1. Mark would then end without recording any resurrection appearances;

2. Mark would then end with only women having heard the angels’ report, but left bewildered and frightened and not telling anyone else about it;

3. It would make Mark the only known book in Greek literature to end with the word gar (“because”);

4 Verse 7 predicts Jesus’ meeting the disciples in Galilee, but its fulfillment is unrecorded, making it the only prediction in Mark whose fulfillment goes unmentioned;

5. An alternative short ending adds the following after verse 8:
Then they briefly reported all this to Peter and his companions. Afterward Jesus himself sent them out from east to west with the sacred and unfailing message of salvation that gives eternal life. Amen. (NLT)

6. Yet another ending, found in one ancient manuscript, adds, after verse 14:
And they excused themselves, saying, “This age of lawlessness and unbelief is under Satan, who does not permit God’s truth and power to conquer the evil spirits. Therefore reveal your justice now.” This is what they said to Christ. And Christ replied to them, “The period of years of Satan’s power has been fulfilled, but other dreadful things will happen soon. And I was handed over to death for those who have sinned, so that they may return to the truth and sin no more, and so they may inherit the spiritual, incorruptible, and righteous glory in heaven.”

Arguments for inclusion of verses 9-20:

1. They are found in the Syriac Peshita (dated from mid-2nd to late-4th century);

2. They are included in the Old Latin Version (prior to the Vulgate), which dates from AD 150-170, the source of the Waldensian Bible;

3. The Gothic translation, from AD 350, includes the long ending;

4. Irenaeus (AD 170) quoted from the long ending, and Tatian (AD 175) included it in his harmony of the Gospels, the Diatessaron;

“Also, towards the conclusion of his gospel, Mark says: ‘So then, after the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up to heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God.’” (Ireneaus, Against Heresies, Book 3, chap.10.5 — quoting Mark 16:19)

5. Tertullian (AD 215) refers to Mark 16:19; Hippolytus (AD 235) twice quotes 16:18-19;

6. As for “non-Markan” terminology, all of the “unique” words are forms of words found elsewhere in Mark. Mark has 102 unique words outside the long ending.
Compare the other Gospels:
a. Luke 1:1-12 has 20 words not found elsewhere in the New Testament;
b. Matthew has 137 unique words; Luke has 312; John has 114

7. As for the rough transition from verse 8 to verse 9, Mark has other abrupt story changes in 14:53-55 and 14:65-66;

8. The more detailed reference to Mary in verse 9 does not prove that a later writer added it, since that later writer could see as easily as could Mark, that she had already been mentioned in verse 1.

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Re: The Last 12 verses of Mark

Post by Homer » Wed Jul 01, 2020 3:11 pm


You wrote:
Are you sure they were quoting from Mark 16: 9-20? How do you know that it was not the other way around? That the author of Mark 16:9-20 quoted those parts that are found elsewhere?
Couldn't a sceptic claim this of many other parts of scripture?

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Re: The Last 12 verses of Mark

Post by steve7150 » Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:21 pm

Couldn't a sceptic claim this of many other parts of scripture?

Yes, but in this case perhaps it was Peter writing with Mark later on adding to what Mark knew was an incomplete ending.

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Re: The Last 12 verses of Mark

Post by Paidion » Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:31 pm

Steve gave the following as one of the arguments against the gospel of Mark ending at verse 8 in Chapter 16:

3. It would make Mark the only known book in Greek literature to end with the word gar (“because”);

I find that argument weak indeed.
It is true that the book would then end in γαρ (gar), and this word does mean "because" or "for". It would indeed be strange to end an English sentence with this word, but in Greek words are often in an unexpected order.

The last two words in the Greek of Mark 16:8 are:
"εφιβοθντο γαρ" which when translated in the order in which they occur would be "they were afraid for" or "they were afraid because".
But every English translation of these words or which I am aware, translate them as "for they were afraid" or "because they were afraid".

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