Dr. Wallace passed around a hand-out. These notes are within his own outline. The title of Dr. Wallaceâ€™s presentation is â€œâ€˜From the End Spring New Beginningsâ€™: Mark 16.8 as the Conclusion of the Second Gospelâ€.
Presuppositions: Mark wrote first and John wrote last. John was not dependent on the Synoptic Gospels. Mark and John were creating a genre (Gospel) that would be followed by Matthew and Luke.
If Mark 16.8 is the ending, then Mark leaves the reader hanging, while John ends his gospel twice. Dr. Wallace compares John to a Baptist preacher who never seems to end his sermon.
Other presuppositions that need to be addressed in order to examine the ending of Mark:
1. Source Criticism
Matthean/Markan priority: If Matthew wrote first, then why would Mark end his gospel at 16.8? Accepting the Griesbach hypothesis (Matthean priority) will lead one to more easily accept the long ending of Mark. Source critical views affect textual criticism.
2. Textual Criticism
Text critical theories and approaches heavily dictate the answer to this problem. (i.e. Byzantine priority will answer the question without looking at the evidence at all.)
If you believe in the doctrine of preservation, then you will not be open to the view that the original ending of Mark is lost. You may be open to Mark ending at 16.8 or the longer ending, perhaps preferring the longer ending since you may feel you are on more solid biblical ground.
(Summary) We all bring a lot of presuppositions to the table which influences our answers in this area. (Dr. Wallace told the story of his introduction to textual criticism, including his teaching a class before knowing his own view. He was required to study on his own, and ending up abandoning many of the presuppositions that he was taught.)
I. External Evidence
â€œThere are curiosities concerning Markâ€™s ending that simply cannot be ignored.â€
A. The Long Ending
95% or more of all Greek manuscripts and ancient versions have the longer ending of Mark. But we should answer this question: Which is more likely, that scribes would intentionally add the long ending of Mark or that they would intentionally excise the long ending?
Wallace quotes Farmer as to several reasons for scribes to leave out the longer ending, then responds to those: 1) Differences with Matthew (why change Mark and not Matthew? Matthew is the â€œodd man outâ€ with relation to the time of the resurrection.) and 2) drinking of poison and handling of snakes (Why not just remove those verses? There is no evidence of this happening? Patristic writers refer to these verses more than the other verses. This causes Eta Linneman to conclude that vs. 15-20 were original, but vs. 9-14 were not original.).
2. Patristic Citations
Patristics are divided in their use of the ending of Mark.
B. The Short Ending
1. Greek Manuscripts
Why would a scribe add information to the end of Mark if the gospel ended at vs. 8? Jesus predicted his death and resurrection 3 times, yet Mark did not include the resurrection. This is enough reason for a scribe to add an ending.
Which manuscripts do not include the ending of Mark? Sinaiticus and Vaticanusâ€¦ relatively pure forms of the text that must be given priority. Since these two manuscripts include thousands of differences in the gospels alone, their common ancestor must be several generations previous. But, that common ancestor must not have included the long ending of Mark.
(The Gap in Vaticanus)
What about the gap at the end of Vaticanus? The gap is not large enough for the longer ending of Mark. There are at least four occasions when a new book does not begin at the top of the next column. The other three occurrences are larger than the gap after Mark.
Also, there are no umlauts to indicate variances at the end of Mark.
2. Ancient Versions
Several ancient versions do not include the longer ending of Mark. Syriacâ€¦ Armenianâ€¦ Georgianâ€¦ Sahidic (Coptic)â€¦ yet, few ancient versions lack Mark 16:8.
3. Patristic Citations
Clement and OrigenOrigen is silent about the long ending, though he had opportunity to mention these verses. Clement of Alexandria is silent about the long ending. There cannot be evidence for an absence of text, so silence must be examined. There is no way to verify whether Clement or Origen knew of the longer ending.
Eusebius mentions manuscripts that end at vs. 8 and manuscripts that end at vs. 20. He said the â€œaccurateâ€ manuscripts end with these words: â€œthey were afraidâ€. If Eusebius is quoting from an earlier source (as Farmer suggests), then this shows that those earlier than Eusebius thought that Mark should end at 16.8.
Jerome says most Greek manuscripts do not include the longer ending. But, Jerome was working with both Greek and Latin manuscripts, and it is assumed that the Latin manuscripts included the longer ending. Jerome was aware of the various endings of Mark because he had access to many different manuscripts. Jerome probably included the longer ending in the Vulgate for the same reason that the longer ending is included in Bibles today.
Victor of Antioch stated that many manuscripts ended at verse 8 and that many manuscripts
ended at verse 20. Victor said that the more accurate manuscripts ended at verse 20. Thus, by the time of Victor, a minority view had become a majority view.
4. The Intermediate Ending
Does not have the â€œlonger endingâ€, but has the â€œintermediate endingâ€ â€“ adding another sentence after 16.8 as a way to conclude the Gospel. Obviously the Gospel manuscript that the scribe had before him ended at verse 8, so the scribe added an ending.
The intermediate ending is found in other manuscripts. It is never found after the long ending, but instead it contradicts the longer ending.
No scribes who had vs. 9-20 available would have replaced them with the â€œintermediate endingâ€. Scribes were not satisfied with the ending â€œfor they were afraidâ€.
5. MSS that Indicate Doubt about the Long Ending
There are several ways that scribes indicated doubt as that the longer ending of Mark was original. It seems the principle was â€œif in doubt, donâ€™t throw it outâ€.
C. Summary of External Evidence (and Scribal Motivation)
Vast majority of manuscripts include vs. 9-20. But the diversity and antiquity of other endings have to be taken into account. What would scribes do if they were not comfortable with the Gospel ending without a resurrection appearance and that the Gospel came to a close too abruptly? The answer should be obvious. Scribes did not amputate a leg because of athleteâ€™s foot. (Wallace said, â€œThat was supposed to be a joke.â€)
II. Internal Evidence
If the internal evidence looks at all suspect, then we should recognize that the matter is closed. (Wallace says he is not going to deal with internal evidence in detail because Elliott is going to do that.)
A. Cumulative Argument
There is not a single passage in Mark 1:1-16:8 comparable to the stylistic, syntactical, and grammatical anomalies found in 16:9-20. Source criticism should be taken into account as well. The best reason for Matthean and Lucan endings to look so different is because their source did not have an ending.
B. Markanisms in the Long Ending?
It should be expected that a scribe copying Mark could create a passage including several Markan phrases. Smith created a hoax (â€œSecret Markâ€) that was closer to Mark than the longer ending.
C. Markanisms in the Other Endings?
The other endings (even those that are not considered original) also have Markanisms, sometimes more often than in the longer ending.
III. Irony in the End
Mark intended to end his gospel with â€œfor they were afraidâ€ (16:8).
A. (Response to) Arguments against Mark Intentionally Ending the Gospel at 16:8
1. Open-ended Conclusion a Modern Literary Technique
Suspended endings can be found in Geco-Roman endings, in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament. Such endings were rare, but they existed and they were effective.
2. Final Leaf Lost
It is likely that Markâ€™s gospel was written earlier than the use of codex, so it would have been written on scrolls. The end of the gospel would be the most protected â€“ on the inside of the scroll. It is hard to imagine how the ending could have gotten lost (or destroyed) before any copies would have been made.
3. Books Donâ€™t End in Gar
In 1972 a book was found that ended in the Greek word gar. However, this evidence is not necessary. If a sentence or paragraph can end in gar, then a book can also.
B. Creation of a New Literary Genre
Because Mark was creating a new literary genre, he wanted to capture the readersâ€™ attentions â€“ to draw them into the story such that they would have to decide for themselves what they would do with Jesus. A shocking ending would do just this.
Mark intended to end his gospel with â€œfor they were afraidâ€ (16:8).
(Alan: I found Dr. Wallace to be very engaging and entertaining. His presentation was informative and humble. He recognized both the strengths and the weaknesses of his position. Similarly, he recognized that this â€œproblemâ€ will not be solved in a weekend, and that those who hold a high view of Scripture should not be afraid to deal with â€œdifficultâ€ texts. This is a great reminder to all of us. We should never be afraid to test our presuppositions.)