Darrell Bock is the fifth presenter for the conference “The Last Twelve Verses of Mark: Original or Not?” He is scheduled to present a response to the other presenters. Dr. Bock is a professor of New Testament Studies and professor of Spiritual Development and Culture at Dallas Theological Seminary. He publishes a blog at “http://dev.bible.org/bock/“.
All agree that both readings of the ending of Mark are old. The have been contested from a very early point. What is taught in the longer ending for the most part is taught elsewhere. What we all want to deal with is hard evidence â€“ facts must control theory and not vice-versa.
We are all connecting the dots differently. (Alan: I wonder if he reads my blogâ€¦) Many times how we connect the dots is dependent upon our presuppositions. Most presenters admitted that their view of the ending of Mark has changed over time. This happens as their thinking and their presuppositions changed. Our presuppositions are not fixed; they are all under some degree of pressure based upon what we have been exposed to.
Evidence is actually a mixture of facts and interpretation, or dots and the lines that connect the dots.
Dr. Bockâ€™s View
Mark 16:8 is the ending of his Gospel on the basis of internal and external evidence. His next likely option is that the ending is missing. Third, he would take the longer ending as original.
Synoptic problem: Bock holds to Markan priority. He believes there is something like Q out there, whether or not that is a single document â€“ presence of written and oral traditions are important to the early church.
Synoptic evidence in this case is a little peculiar. Mark usually gives more detail, but the ending is less detailed.
It is helpful â€“ whether we agree or disagree â€“ to examine how someone else connects the dots differently that the way we connect the dots. We must aware of a brittle fundamentalism, such that if we set this up in a certain way, and if it breaks, then the whole thing shatters.
This is a key element, and we are not just counting manuscripts. The external evidence that is really important is not only Sinaiticus and Vaticanus. The fact that we have them gave everyone pause. But, if we only had those two manuscripts, we would not be here. But, the versions and the fathers corroborate that we have a problem. This is a different kind of problem that most text critical problems. Most text critical problems deal with words and phrases, but here we are dealing with an entire section â€“ a mass of material. In this particular case, we must take Eusebius and Jerome serious, because they were serious about the manuscript evidence. For 1800 years we have had a discussion of what the ending of Mark is. These two readings were in competition from a very early period. Youâ€™ve heard various solutions to that today. As to the gaps, we do not know why the gaps are there. There are many explanations, but we really donâ€™t know why the gaps are there.
You have to be able to explain either 1) how we went from the longer ending to no ending and the other intermediate endings or 2) how we went from no ending to the other endings.
If I had a perfectly satisfying ending, why would I produce a document that ended at verse 8. To Dr. Robinsonâ€™s credit, he presented an explanation. If you hold to the longer ending as original, then you must be able to explain why we have documents with no ending, and why these documents persist.
At this point, Dr. Bock spends much time refuting Dr. Robinsonâ€™s internal evidence in favor of the longer ending of Mark.
Mark was probably written in roll form than in codex form. We donâ€™t know if it was rolled up properly or not.
Mark is the least popularly used gospel in the early church. Explanation: Virtually all of Mark is in the other gospels.
The most difficult question for those who hold to Markan priority is the patristic evidence. We must deal with the patristic evidence.
Concerning Dr. Blackâ€™s view that Matthew was written early to the Jerusalem church: The early Christians considered themselves Jews. They continued in the synagogue. They did not leave the synagogue until they were forced out. What actual evidence do we have of Paul or Peter actually using Matthew? What actual evidence do we have of Peter commissioning Lukeâ€™s gospel? The evidence of the fathers in this area is very difficult to deal with. When a patristic father writes, it is very difficult to pick out which gospel they are citing, or if they are citing a gospel.
Concerning Dr. Elliottâ€™s view that there is a problem with the priority of Peter or Mary as witness to the resurrection: A cultural answer is better than a textual problem. Mary was actually the first one to see Jesus, but in a formal list it would be better to show Peter as the first.
How did we get a Mark that ends with gar without a resurrection account? Though uncommon, there are books that end in gar. Prophecy and fulfillment almost always happen in the gospels. Mark is doing something that is subtle but is not postmodern. If you have been given the promise of God and the prediction of God concerning the resurrection, then that is all you need.
Other famous â€œnon-endingsâ€: parable of the prodigal son, the ending of Acts.
If the longer ending of Mark is unoriginal, it still may be canonical.
Dr. Bock does not care for the solution of David Parker at all. Parker suggests that what happened with the ending of Mark is that we had radical theological interpretations that came to be stifled by later ecclesial interpretations. “This is hogwash.” You can’t wedge in alternative Christianities here.
This is a difficult problem because it is a difficult problem.
(Dr. Bock is also a very engaging presenter. Bock said, â€œIf this were crystal clear, we would not have to be here. We could be at the lake contemplating general revelation instead of discussing special revelation.â€ Dr. Bockâ€™s â€œprolegomenonâ€ was great, and worth the conference. Unfortunately, I think Dr. Bock spent too much time refuting the longer ending than responding to all of the presenters. I wonder why he had nothing negative to say about Dr. Wallace’s position – a position to which he holds.)