Today’s the day. I’ve spent weeks trying to dig deep on the debate of whether the last 12 verses of the Gospel of Mark are actually part of the Gospel of Mark. We will look at manuscript evidence, translations, church fathers, lectionaries, internal evidence from vocabulary and style, and consider the question of how all this weighs in on the fact that most Christians throughout time have had these 12 verses as their ending to Mark. I want to warn you of one issue that I slowly noticed in my research. Proponents of the vs. 8 ending (the short ending) have a habit of overstating their case and making some mistakes in accuracy while proponents of the longer ending have the same tendency, perhaps worse than the former. Yeah, this was hard to muddle through but I’ll share with you my own confusion and eventual clarity on the issue. I hope that you find it clear, thorough, and edifying.
I’m hoping today’s video will not only answer your questions but serve as a good launching point for those who want to do more research on the topic. For that reason, I’m including several links here for you to consider looking into:
- This is a book where 4 scholars each build a case for their different views on the ending of Mark. It’s a good introduction into the issues of the debate even if no one scholar has the space to fully flesh out their case.
“Perspectives on the Ending of Mark: Four Views”
- Nicholas Lunn recently wrote a book offering a very detailed case that the longer ending was always part of Mark’s Gospel. At first, I found Lunn’s book to be really helpful in challenging the scholarly majority. But after spending a lot of time with it, I’ve come to think that his work causes more confusion than clarity on the topic. Uneven standards in how evidence is handled make his work difficult to read without leading to important misimpressions.
“The Original Ending of Mark: A New Case for the Authenticity of Mark 16:9-20”
- Larry Hurtado offered three short reviews of Lunn’s book, all three at this link.
- James Snapp’s theory is that Mark wrote the longer ending but it was originally not part of the Gospel of Mark. It was taken from some other work from Mark and then added on to the end of the Gospel of Mark. He offers 5 different theories for why it is missing from some manuscripts. I respect Snapp’s tenacity, but I think his logic has regular logical problems. I mean no insult by this, I just want you to be prepared to think very carefully about what he says. His book, “Authentic: The Case for Mark 16:9-20,” is free HERE.
- The most helpful resource I found for dealing with the internal evidence in the longer ending of Mark is this article from Travis Williams.
- For those wanting to hear my verse-by-verse study of the longer ending of Mark, it’s HERE. It’s long, methodical, and shows that the passage doesn’t pose theological problems, even if it wasn’t written by Mark.
- For the 12th century Greek Codex 304, which is Byzantine in nature and ends Mark at 16:8, see the two links following; and you’ll need them because Snapp and Lunn have bad info on this and this is a really interesting piece of evidence showing not only a lack of the LE, but apparent debate on it from different owners of the codex! The text is viewable here.
- A helpful commentary, from Dr. Mina Monier, on the text and its significance can be found HERE.
- The MARK16 Project is awesome. Their website has a lot of helpful stuff, and I expect a lot more in years to come. This stuff isn’t easy to find elsewhere.
- Randall Booth’s paper on Mark’s use of “palin” is HERE.
- For a full list of Mark’s use of the historical present and how other Gospels tend not to, see pages 144-148 in this old book, “Horae Synopticae” HERE.
This is part 69 of the Mark Series, going verse-by-verse through the Gospel of Mark.
See the WHOLE Gospel of Mark playlist HERE.
I have live videos Mondays and Fridays at 1 p.m. Pacific Time. Monday is a Bible study and Friday is a Q&A.
Feel free to use my videos in your own gatherings as an aid to studying Scripture.
TIME STAMP MAP for this teaching:
0:00 – Introduction
- 3:45 Mike admits his bias
- 7:39 Why this research was so hard
- 10:04 Mike’s basic conclusions on the passage
- 11:21 Here begins the external evidence analysis
- 16:40 Codex Sinaiticus
- 22:38 Codex Vaticanus
- 33:55 How important are those 2 manuscripts really?
- 36:18 Codex 304; a Byzantine MS that ends at vs. 8
- 40:40 Other Greek manuscripts that weigh in on this
- 52:00 Syriac translations
- 54:30 Armenian translations
- 55:49 Georgian translations
- 56:42 Sahidic translations
- 58:03 Latin translations
- 1:00:13 Lectionary systems
- 1:01:38 What church fathers have to say
- 1:02:35 Irenaeus (c. 180)
- 1:04:01 Tatian (c. 170)
- 1:04:38 Eusebius (mid 300s)
- 1:10:45 Jerome (early 400s)
- 1:16:03 Victor of Antioch (5th or 6th century)
- 1:17:22 Clement of Alexandria
- 1:18:04 Origen
- 1:19:11 1st Clement (c. 95)
- 1:22:00 My thoughts on Lunn and Snapp
- 1:22:34 Conclusion on the church fathers
- 1:24:32 What is the “internal evidence”?
- 1:28:58 How vs. 9 doesn’t fit with vs. 8
- 1:33:16 Two common bad examples of internal evidence
- 1:36:45 Kai is not like Mark
- 1:41:29 The historical present
- 1:43:06 The demonstrative pronoun
- 1:44:46 Verbs for perception
- 1:45:57 The strongest piece of internal evidence
- 1:50:10 21 Markisms
- 1:55:00 The million-dollar question of scribal motives
- 2:03:55 Why I still want the longer ending in my Bible
- 2:06:46 Lingering issues