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Reflections on The Last Twelve Verses of Mark: Original or Not?

Posted by on Apr 16, 2007 in scripture | 23 comments

Friday and Saturday (April 13-14, 2007), I attended “The Last Twelve Verses of Mark: Original or Not?” Conference at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. I discussed some of the fellowship surrounding the conference in a post called “Friday and Saturday with Mark and other friends…” In this post, I plan to reflect on the content of the conference itself.

Several people have already posted their reviews and reactions to this conference:

The conference was primarily a discussion of textual criticism. If you are not familiar with textual criticism, or with the terms and manuscripts associated with textual criticism, you might find this website helpful. I will provide links to this site when I first mention terms; however, I may miss a few here and there.

Internal Evidence
Textual critics examine both internal evidence and external evidence. For the most part, each presenter discussed both internal and external evidence. Dr. Black suggested that internal evidence is not probative, but is only corroborative. One of the things that was clear from the conference is that the longer ending of Mark can be identified as both Markan and non-Markan depending upon how the evidence is presented. Because of this, it seems that Dr. Black is correct. Determining authorship by studying the style, vocabulary, syntax, and grammar of a passage like Mark 16:9-20 is extremely subjective. I was not convinced by any of the arguments from internal evidence.

Vaticanus and Sinaiticus
Two of the presenters (Robinson and Elliott) suggested that we would not question the originality of Mark 16:9-20 (“the long ending of Mark”) if that passage was included in either Vaticanus or Sinaiticus. Dr. Bock, on the other hand, suggested that if the long ending of Mark was included in both Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, we would still be questioning its originality. Admittedly, Mark 16:9-20 is a text critical anomaly. However, I wonder if Dr. Bock is correct, and if this can be demonstrated with other textual variants. Are there other textual variants that are included in both Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, as well as the Byzantine manuscripts, ancient versions, and patristic fathers, which are not considered original, or which are highly questioned as to originality. I’ve asked around, and so far, no one knows of anything comparable. At this point, I have to believe that the only reason that we are having this discussion is because Mark 16:9-20 is not included in either Vaticanus or Sinaiticus. This demonstrates the importance that textual critics place on these two Greek manuscripts.

Patristic Evidence
I found the evidence from the pastristic fathers the least explained by the presenters. The patristic evidence for the ending of Mark is complex and confusing. However, I found that many of the presenters simply chose to present (or to emphasize) that part of the patristic evidence that favored their particular solution to the problem. From piecing together what was presented, it seems that early fathers (Justin Martyr and Irenaeus) recognized the long ending of Mark as original. Later fathers (i.e., Eusebius) recognized there were manuscripts of Mark that ended at 16:8 and other manuscripts that contained the longer ending in 16:9-20. These fathers seemed to prefer the shorter ending. Even later, the Byzantine authors also knew of manuscripts with both endings, but they preferred the longer ending of Mark. None of the presenters gave an adequate explanation for this evidence, in my opinion.

Similarly, Dr. Black recommended that text critics (and other scholars) should translate and interpret the patristic fathers for themselves. He gave a great example of how many scholars misquote Origen concerning the authorship of Hebrews. During the panel discussion, when Dr. Bock was asked about one of his quotations of Eusebius, he admitted that he had not translated the quotation himself.

Originality, Canonicity, and Preservation
Dr. Elliott presented an interesting solution to this problem. He suggested that the gospel of Mark did not originally end at Mark 16:8, but that the original ending was lost. Mark 16:9-20 was then added by a later (though very early) scribe in order to complete the gospel and to replace the missing piece. As several in attendance recognized, this brings up the question of how originality and canonicity are related. Does a passage have to be written by the original author in order to be canonical?

Also, this raises a question about preservation. Several presenters mentioned the doctrine of preservation. Did God promise to preserve his written word? Did God promise that he would protect the “Bible”?

Deliberate Removal of the Long Ending
Dr. Robinson suggested several reasons why scribes may have deliberately removed the longer ending of Mark. Specifically, he said that some scribes may have removed the long ending because of liturgical purposes, and others may have removed the long ending because of excesses by groups such as the Montanists. I do not find either of these reasons persuasive. There are other troublesome passages that remain in the liturgical readings. And, there are certainly passages more easily abused (i.e., certain parts of Acts and 1 Corinthians). Perhaps there are other possible reasons that a scribe may have removed the long ending of Mark, but I did not find the reasons that were presented to be convincing.

The Synoptic Problem
Several presenters mentioned the synoptic problem. Dr. Black suggested that the ending of Mark is as much (if not more) of a synoptic problem issue as it is a textual criticism issue. Other presenters disagreed. However, it was interesting that during the panel discussion Dr. Bock admitted that he did not know any (except Dr. Robinson) scholars who hold to Markan priority and yet also hold to the long ending of Mark. Apparently, these two issues are more interrelated than some think they are.

Conclusion
When I came to the conference, I knew most of the evidence related to the ending of Mark. I have studied textual criticism (with Dr. Robinson) and the gospel of Mark (with Dr. Black). I have heard their solutions before, and I have read and heard of the other solutions as well. When I came to the conference, I leaned toward accepting the long ending of Mark as original, mainly because of my presuppositions – and I recognize that. Honestly, the conference did not persuade me one way or the other.

Please, do not take this to mean that the conference was worthless. It certainly was not! It was a great conference. I especially enjoyed hearing biblical scholars present their opinions regarding this text. Fortunately, I do not feel the need to come to a conclusion at this point. Similarly, I do not feel that my faith is in jeopardy if I do not answer a question that has been asked for over 1800 years.


23 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 4-16-2007

    Interesting! Thanks for a well written summary of the conference. Wish I could have been there too!

    I personally do not see any problem with the longer ending, and most of the people we work with would be surprised to hear that it is even questioned as being legitimate. Their viewpoint is simply, “if it is in the Bible, it is the Word of God.” PERIOD.

    For some good reason, the HS has allowed the longer ending to be part of the canon all these centuries. To question it would be to question the HS’s allowing it (whether original Mark, or not).

  2. 4-16-2007

    Great review, you should be a journalist! One of your concluding comments has sparked a thought “this issue has been debated for 1800 years.” Has this issue been debated for 1800 years? I mean, the geographical dispersion of the longer ending, along with the vast majority of the manuscripts supporting the longer ending seem to indicate that this wasn’t really debated, on any large scale at least. Maybe in the regions where aleph and B were copied, but not by and large. Just a thought, but it seems that the debate really only began after aleph and B were discovered.

  3. 4-16-2007

    Guy,

    For the most part, I would agree. However, we should always be willing to examine the evidence. I, for one, am glad that a few people started examining the evidence in the 16th century instead of trusting what their Bibles and leaders told them.

    Matthew,

    Unless the presenters were mistaken (because I have not looked this up myself), there have been multiple endings of Mark available from at least the 4th century. If those in the 4th century knew of the longer, shorter, and intermediate endings, I would assume those endings were older than the 4th century. I understand that most people in the later periods did not question the validity of the longer ending of Mark. However, that does not mean that the shorter ending did not exist before that time – apparently it did.

    -Alan

  4. 4-16-2007

    Alan,

    About internal evidence:

    You said that you were not convinced by any of the arguments from internal evidence. Here are three pieces of internal evidence to consider (which none of the presenters at the conference explored):

    (1) Why would Mark, having led his readers to anticipate post-resurrection appearances in Galilee (in 14:28 and 16:7), proceed to relate post-resurrection appearances which occurred in Galilee?

    I think the obvious answer, given Mark’s consistent pattern of overt fulfillments of Jesus’ predictions, is that Mark would not have done this.

    (2) If the author of the Long Ending knew the Gospel of Luke, why would he present appearances in and around Jerusalem as if they fulfilled Jesus’ prediction about an appearance in Galilee? Why would the author of the Long Ending have reported the two travelers’ report to the disciples as a separate event from Jesus’ appearance to the disciples? And why would the author of the Long Ending claim that the disciples did not believe the two travelers?

    I think the obvious answer is that the author of the Long Ending would not have done any of these things if he had been familiar with the Gospel of Luke.

    (3) If the author of the Long Ending knew the Gospel of Luke, why would he intentionally use Luke’s accounts about appearances in Jerusalem, instead of John’s account of an appearance to Peter and the disciples in Galilee?

    I think the answer is that the author of the Long Ending’s failure to use John 21 shows that he did not know of its existence, and that the author of the Long Ending’s use of appearances in the vicinity of Jerusalem shows that he was unaware of Luke’s placement of those events.

    These three considerations lead to a further deduction: that the author of the Long Ending had never read the Gospel of Luke. Which pretty much eliminates the idea that the Long Ending is a patchwork that relied heavily on Luke.

    About external evidence:

    Dr. Bock’s statement that we would still be questioning the originality of Mark 16:9-20 even if Vaticanus and Sinaiticus contained the passage was remarkable, since that is essentially another way of saying that we (or at least, he) would question the originality of Mark 16:9-20 even if it appeared in every non-mutilated Greek copy of Mark 16 known to exist.

    But equally remarkable was his statement that the versions and the fathers matter more than the manuscripts where Mark 16:9-20 is concerned. That is simply false. Overall, the versions and the fathers — Papias, Justin, Tatian, Irenaeus, Epistula Apostolorum, “Acts of John,” Porphyry/Hierocles, the Peshitta, Aphrahat, Ephraem, “Gospel of Nicodemus,” Augustine, the Vulgate, the Gothic Version, all non-mutilated Latin copies except Codex Bobiensis, and so forth — weigh in heavily in favor of Mark 16:9-20.

    You stated, “Later fathers (i.e., Eusebius) recognized there were manuscripts of Mark that ended at 16:8 and other manuscripts that contained the longer ending in 16:9-20. These fathers seemed to prefer the shorter ending.”

    No; that’s not the case. Eusebius preferred the abrupt ending at 16:8. Some other writers paraphrase Eusebius’ comments (such as Jerome, who repeats, with embellishments, not only this Q&A from “Ad Marinum,” but Three Other Q&A Segments as well — a fact which Dr. Wallace and Dr. Bock did not share) but this is not always the same as endorsement, as Hort explains.

    You stated, “Even later, the Byzantine authors also knew of manuscripts with both endings, but they preferred the longer ending of Mark.”

    No; it’s not the case that writers who used the Byzantine text, as a group, knew about both endings. The MSS with the margin-notes and/or asterisks next to Mk. 16:9-20 are either Alexandrian (such as L and Psi, with the Double-Ending) or Caesarean (such as 1 and 1582). The notes in the Caesarean MSS, btw, are essentially either summaries or re-statements of Eusebius’ statement in “Ad Marinum” or Vincent of Antioch’s statement in his catena/commentary. (I.e., they’re relatives; they boil down.)

    About Dr. Robinson’s suggestions about why the Long Ending was removed:

    I did not find any of his reasons to be convincing either. But they may explain why a Christian copyist with two available exemplars of Mark — one with the Long Ending, and one without the Long Ending — might have regarded the one without the Long Ending as the easier reading (easier to harmonize; easier to defend theologically, and not particularly troubling IF one were to treat John 21 as the continuation of the thread of Mark’s narrative).

    One more thing: Dr. Bock’s statement that questions have been asked about Mark 16:9-20 for 1800 years is not verifiable. Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 325) is the earliest extant example of someone who expressed a doubt about Mark 16:9-20. (Bock might have been assuming that Eusebius was quoting Origen in “Ad Marinum.”)

  5. 4-16-2007

    James,

    Thank you for stepping through the internal and external evidence. I still stand by my statement that internal evidence is subjective. You are convinced of you assertions about the internal evidence; others are convinced of there assertions. However, any assertion as to Mark’s intent or another’s intent is purely conjecutre and subjective.

    Okay… so, instead of the longer ending being questioned for 1800 years, it has been questioned for 1682 years. I (and I think I was quoting Bock or Elliott) was off by 118 years.

    -Alan

  6. 4-16-2007

    Alan,

    That second “Galilee” in the first question about internal evidence should have been “Jerusalem” — i.e., I meant to ask why Mark would have written about two predictions (in 14:28 and 16:7) of appearances of Jesus in Galilee and then describe appearances in *Jerusalem.*

    Internal evidence is really really important and it’s not entirely subjective. Especially when it comes to those internal-evidence-driven questions that I asked.

    As you noted, I’m convinced that my conclusions are correct. But that’s because I consider them logical! There’s only one logic, it’s not subjective, and it only points one way where those questions are concerned.

    AK: “Any assertion as to Mark’s intent or another’s intent is purely conjecutre and subjective.”

    No it’s not! Two handy illustrations: anyone could deduce that I did not intend to write “Galilee” twice, and that you probably intended to type “conjecture” instead of “conjecutre.” Explanations of intent are equally speculative, but they are not all equally logical or equally probable.

    In other news: here are two questions I wanted to ask Dr. Wallace:

    (a) If Mark’s narrative ends at 16:8, we not only get no post-resurrection appearances of Christ, but our last glimpse of the apostles is as a bunch of cowards (one of whom is rather violent), and the statement in 16:8 that the women said nothing to anyone offers no hope that this situation changed. Do you think that this is the final picture of the apostles that Mark intended to give to readers who did not already know the story of Jesus?

    (b) If Eusebius’ knowledge of manuscripts was limited to a collection at Caesarea, it has limited significance. But if Eusebius knew about a lot of manuscripts, why does he seem unaware of the existence of the Short (“Intermediate”) Ending?

    There are subjective elements at work in both questions. But there’s some logic involved too.

  7. 4-16-2007

    Guy, you wrote:

    For some good reason, the HS has allowed the longer ending to be part of the canon all these centuries. To question it would be to question the HS’s allowing it (whether original Mark, or not).

    I’m not sure that these are our only options. Would you apply this same reasoning to 1 John 5:7, which is now relegated to a footnote in most recent translations?

    In other words, if examining evidence for the appropriate inclusion of a particular reading is questioning the Holy Spirit, then we should never do any textual criticism.

    I’m not sure that’s the point you’re making, though. Or is it?

  8. 4-16-2007

    James,

    Perhaps… but there is a difference between determining that an author intended to spell a word correctly, and determining how an author intended to end a book. Can you tell me how I intended to end this comment?

    -Alan

  9. 4-17-2007

    Alan,

    No; I can’t tell you how you intended to end your comment. But your comment is not analogous to the Gospel of Mark.

    For the reasons already provided (the consistent pattern of over fulfillment of Jesus’ predictions, the improbability of ending a narrative with “gar,” the inconsistency with Peter’s preaching as depicted in Acts, etc.), the abrupt ending at the end of 16:8 appears accidental rather than deliberate.

    I think it appeared accidental to people in Rome, too, after Mark was prevented from writing more. They wanted to publish the book, but not with such an abrupt and inconclusive ending. But they also wanted the whole book to have authority; they didn’t want to compose something themselves. So they took a short summary about Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances which either Mark or Peter had composed, and attached that to the end of the main section of the book, and then they disseminated the book for church-use.

    Thus all the internal evidence is explained.

    Shortly thereafter, one of two things happened: either the second piece of the two-piece autograph (consisting of Mark’s scroll and the page with the resurrection-appearances summary) was lost, or else someone recognized the resurrection-appearance summary as a separate composition and removed it from the rest of the text.

    In the transmission-stream in which the resurrection-appearance summary had been lost or excised, someone just couldn’t stand the abrupt ending, and composed the Short Ending. Then complete copies began to show up in that locale, and the Double-Ending thus originated (always with the Short Ending first, because it helped to conclude a liturgical lection on a positive note that would have otherwise ended at the end of 16:8).

    That pretty much accounts for the state of the external evidence.

    In the hypothesis I just offered, there is speculation every step of the way. But I think the speculations are logical (more logical than the alternatives, at least) and to some extent they are deductions more than they are speculations.

    Can you think of anything in the external or internal evidence that is left unexplained?

  10. 4-17-2007

    Steve- I should not speak for Guy but as an M in a foreign land without Textual Critics to rely on I hold to his sentiments. I am all for scholarship to tear into the evidence and produce the best possible text they can. But my faith in the Word is not based on my belief in their ability. I believe that the Holy Spirit has protected the Word for us and we can read it with confidence. That by the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit nothing that the text has to offer will lead us into error. This then does not hinder textual criticism but it should free it and empower it.

  11. 4-17-2007

    James,

    My comment is far from analogous to Mark… my question was toungue-in-cheek.

    Yes, your speculations explain the data. Others believe their speculations explain the data.

    Unfortunately, I’m still not convinced that any of the speculations explain what happened. Could it have happened that way you’ve speculated. “Perhaps.”

    Strider,

    Most NT scholars and textual critics do not think the long ending of Mark is original. So, if you follow the scholars’ “best possible text”, then you will not accept Mark 16:9-20 as part of Scripture. I’m not saying this is my view.

    -Alan

  12. 4-17-2007

    Well, I don’t know about ‘most’ I guess. It is included in every Bible on my shelf so I guess the scholars who count included it?

  13. 4-18-2007

    Steve (and Strider),

    Strider has expressed my views better than I could have done so myself!

    I remember a few years ago a new Spanish Bible translation was introduced to Latin America. They sent a critical Bible scholar to Ecuador to make the case for this new, superior translation. He painstakingly explained why certain verses, like the one you mention, Mark 16:9ff (and others) were best relegated to footnotes.

    After a couple of hours of this kind of explanations, one brother stood up and expressed what most were feeling, “If it’s in the Bible, it’s God’s Word. That’s enough for me!” Of course the invited scholar was dismayed that people were missing the point, but it does show that the HS is big enough to guide His people into all truth. It would be terribly confusing to our people to begin and say such and such verses are questionable due to the oldest manuscripts not including them…

    Our folks fully trust that the Bible they have (Reina Valera) is God’s Word. To begin fooling around with it would raise a lot of suspicion in our ranks.

  14. 4-18-2007

    Guy,

    There are those in the USA that hold the same view of the KJV. I’m not sure that’s a healthy view of Scripture.

    -Alan

  15. 4-19-2007

    You said, “During the panel discussion, when Dr. Bock was asked about one of his quotations of Eusebius, he admitted that he had not translated the quotation himself.” Actually, I was the one who said that I was using a published translation of Eusebius. The reason I like to use published translations is that they are accessible and cannot as easily be charged to the bias of author (since the publication is at least edited). The question was in relation to ‘my’ translation of Eusebius’s optatives as future indicatives. My response was that “I am too lazy to translate”–meant to be a mild rebuke to Black’s comment that he was the only one who translated these sources, because I immediately went on to discuss the Greek of Eusebius in the context. Obviously, I have examined the text in the original; Black is hardly alone in doing this.

    One other correction: Jim Snapp said that Bock thought the patristic evidence was more important than the manuscript evidence in this case. Actually, Bock simply said that the patristic evidence was more important than it usually is considered to be because patristic discussions of this particular textual problem are not in the same category of a bad memory or mild allusion to a text. Their voice needs to be heard, and when both Eusebius and Jerome say that the great majority of manuscripts of which they were aware ended at 16.8, this is a point that must be wrestled with.

  16. 4-19-2007

    Dr. Wallace,

    Thank you for correcting my statement, and for clarifying your answer. As I told James Snapp earlier, I’m sure that I made several mistakes in the notes – there was a tremendous amount of information to record.

    -Alan

  17. 4-19-2007

    Alan, you said,
    “Two of the presenters (Robinson and Elliott) suggested that we would not question the originality of Mark 16:9-20 (“the long ending of Mark”) if that passage was included in either Vaticanus or Sinaiticus. Dr. Bock, on the other hand, suggested that if the long ending of Mark was included in both Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, we would still be questioning its originality. Admittedly, Mark 16:9-20 is a text critical anomaly. However, I wonder if Dr. Bock is correct, and if this can be demonstrated with other textual variants. Are there other textual variants that are included in both Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, as well as the Byzantine manuscripts, ancient versions, and patristic fathers, which are not considered original, or which are highly questioned as to originality.”

    I wonder if this is mixing apples and oranges: You are comparing the reading of Aleph and B here to other variants in which Aleph and B agree with ‘the Byzantine manuscripts, ancient versions, and patristic fathers.’ That is not exactly what is going on in Mark 16 (although it is the hypothetical situation that you were calling for). I think the real question you are asking is whether reasoned eclectics disagree with these two uncials ever–because you note that they are strongly emphasized by many textual critics. The answer is definitely yes. In several places, the testimony of Aleph and B is rejected for the testimony of other witnesses, but always because the external evidence from other sources is very strong or because the internal evidence is quite compelling, or both. See, for example, in Nestle-Aland 27 Rom 5.1; 11.31; Eph 1.15; Phil 1.14; etc. As well, I would enlist Matt 24.36; Mark 1.41; Rom 6.11; etc. (see my tc notes in the NET Bible for examples and discussions).

    At bottom, it seems that your question is directed at the importance of these two majuscules, with the assumption that certain textual critics would never adopt a reading that was against their testimony. That is certainly not the case. But more importantly, as I labored to show in my presentation, there are very important and early versional and patristic witnesses for the short ending that must be accounted for. And they are generally the best representatives of the Western and Caesarean texttypes. Even if Aleph and B did not end at 16.8, the Sahidic MSS have the intermediate ending; the Sahidic MSS are primary Alexandrian witnesses. It is a gross misrepresentation of the facts to say that the short ending’s credentials are dependent on Aleph and B alone.

  18. 4-19-2007

    Dr. Wallace,

    Thank you again for your comment. Yes, I have seen several places where the editors of the UBS text chose readings against Sinaiticus and Vaticanus.

    You said: “Even if Aleph and B did not end at 16.8, the Sahidic MSS have the intermediate ending; the Sahidic MSS are primary Alexandrian witnesses. It is a gross misrepresentation of the facts to say that the short ending’s credentials are dependent on Aleph and B alone.”

    I am not suggesting that the shorter ending is dependent on Aleph and B alone. I know that there is other evidence for ending Mark at 16:8 and for other intermediate endings. Instead, I am suggesting that if Aleph or B, or both, included 16:9-20, then the remainder of the evidence would not be enough to sustain this debate.

    -Alan

  19. 4-22-2007

    Dear Dr. Wallace:

    In my notes, I have the following statement written under “Bock” –
    “In this particular case, the external evidence that is really important is not Aleph and B.”
    I also noted his statement, following that statement, that “versions and fathers are more weighty.”

    So unless you can provide a transcript that shows that my notes are in error, I think I must insist that Dr. Bock did indeed say that the versions and fathers are more weighty than the Greek manuscripts Aleph and B.

    I certainly agree that patristic voices need to be heard. Second-century souces such as Papias, Justin Martyr, Epistula Apostolurum, Tatian, Irenaeus, and “Acts of John,” as well as third-century sources such as Hippolytus, Vincentius of Thibaris, and Porphyry (as quoted by Macarius Magnes) should be considered very carefully (especially when something as lightweight as the silence of Origen and Clement of Alexandria is placed on the scales). Fourth-century souces such as Aphrahat, Ambrose, and Augustine should be heard too.

    Regarding Eusebius and Jerome: again, certainly their voices need to be heard. I have no doubt that their testimony shows that almost all of the MSS at Caesarea which Eusebius considered the best copies did not contain Mark 16:9-20. But their voices also need to be carefully analyzed. For instance, instead of figuring that Jerome’s reference to Greek copies is based on an independent observation by Jerome, another possibility is that Jerome assumed that Eusebius was referring to Greek copies, and inserted this assumption into his paraphrase of Eusebius’ comments. (Also, it should be emphasized that inasmuch as Jerome echoes the substance of four answers and four questions which appear in Ad Marinum, there can be any serious doubt that either Jerome was echoing Eusebius, or they both were borrowing material from the same earlier composition.)

    We should hear Jerome when he echoes four of Eusebius’ Q&A segments (and gauge the likelihood or unlikehood that he would pass along such a statement even if he had no evidence that it was true); we should also hear Jerome when he includes the Long Ending in the Vulgate. This brings me to something that was mentioned at the conference: the idea that Jerome included the Long Ending because he did not want to deviate too far from a popular text. That proposal only works if one assumes that the Long Ending was, in 383, a popular text. If it was not in the hands of many others, and if it was not used in the liturgy of many congregations, caution and timidity on Jerome’s part would tend to work in the opposite direction, i.e., against the inclusion of a text that depicted Jesus telling his disciples about snake-handling and poison-drinking, and which introduced harmonization-difficulties.

    On a related point: no one who was at the conference said that the short ending’s (i.e., the abrupt ending at 16:8) credentials “are dependent on Aleph and B alone.” Such a “gross misrepresentation of the facts” is imaginary. But if we did not have Aleph and B, the lack of 16:9-20 in 304 (the text of which is otherwise 96% Byzantine, according to Wieland Willker), would surely be considered a meaningless quirk. Those who argue for the non-originality and non-canonicity of Mark 16:9-20 would essentially be advocating a reading not found in any extant Greek manuscript.

  20. 4-22-2007

    If it’s worth anything, I actually came away with the same impression of Bock’s statement that Dr. Wallace presented here: namely, that the weight of the patristic evidence is greater than usual in this case.

  21. 4-23-2007

    Steve S.,

    Maybe someone could just ask Bock what he said and what he meant to say. If I were to speculate about what he meant to say, it would be that even if Aleph and B did not exist, the versional and patristic evidence would still pose a problem with which textual critics would have to grapple. Eusebius’ comments in “Ad Marinum” are particularly significant.

    Dr. Wallace,

    A little earlier here I mentioned a couple of questions I was wishing I could have asked you:

    (a) If Mark’s narrative ends at 16:8, we not only get no post-resurrection appearances of Christ, but our last glimpse of the apostles is as a bunch of cowards (one of whom is rather violent), and the statement in 16:8 that the women said nothing to anyone offers no hope that this situation changed. Do you think that this is the final picture of the apostles that Mark intended to give to readers who did not already know the story of Jesus?

    (b) If Eusebius was commenting about manuscripts from different locales, why does he seem unaware of the existence of the Short (“Intermediate”) Ending? Shouldn’t his comment be understood as a description of manuscripts at Caesarea c. 320? (Unless he was borrowing material from a lost composition by Origen, in which case it should be understood as a description of MSS In Egypt (and taken to Caesarea) c. 230?)

  22. 1-14-2013

    Just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to write these blog posts on the conference, I’ve really appreciated reading all of them, even five years on. You seem to have recorded and summarised differening opinions very helpfully such that those wishing to consider these issues later on (such as myself) can do so. I’m certainly more clued up on the issues at hand which will help me in considering if I should curtail my preaching series at 16:8 or carry on to 16:20! I’m tending towards the former!

  23. 1-14-2013

    Jonny,

    I’m glad that you found these posts helpful!

    -Alan