Tuesday, February 25, 2014

NT Pod 71: Was the ending of Mark's Gospel lost?

NT Pod 71 discusses the ending of Mark's Gospel. It is just under fifteen minutes long.

NT Pod 71: Was the ending of Mark's Gospel lost? (mp3)

Key texts: Mark 16.1-8

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Thanks to Ram2000, "Me and You", for the opening theme, released under a Creative Commons agreement.


  1. Great episode as usual. I always enjoy the entertaining sound clips.

    One tiny argument that I prefer in favor of Mark intending the gospel to end at 16:8 is that if so, Mark begins and ends his gospel with a divine proclamation. Mark 1:1 begins by quoting Isaiah (and Malachi) which are divine proclamations and Mark 16 ends with the angel proclaiming that Jesus is risen. In this way, Mark wants to show that the entire gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, is of heavenly origin and did not originate by men but was proclaimed by divinity.

  2. I don't think it's necessarily the case that the"book-ending" theory is just a case of modern scholars reading genius into the Gospel of Mark. Mark allegedly does this bracketing elsewhere. David Ulansey (Professor of Philosophy and Religion at the California Institute of Integral Studies), for example, pointed out in "The Heavenly Veil Torn: Mark's Cosmic 'Inclusio'" (in the Spring 1991 edition of Journal of Biblical Literature) that Mark brackets off the two pivotal events of Jesus' baptism and Jesus' death by including imagery of something important being torn at both. I don't know if you would agree with his interpretation, but it's worth some thought.

  3. No mention of Irenaeus' citation of Mark 16:19. No mention of Tatian's use of Mark 16:9-20. No mention of Vaticanus' blank space and Sinaiticus' replacement-pages and letter-spacing shifts. Sigh.

    Has anyone ever actually taken a poll of scholars to see what the majority view is on the question of whether or not Mark 16:8 looks like an intentional stop? Or do writers just claim, "This is the majority view" and "This is the consensus," and if there's no revolt, it's assumed to be true?

    Istm that to whatever extent that's the consensus-view (and I don't grant that it is), it is only a /piece/ of a view, because the people who say that it's intentional are all over the map on the question of what the intention was.

    I would like to raise a question: if Mark never finished his Gospel-account, and his colleagues at Rome realized this, would they have released his Gospel-account in the obviously incomplete form, if some other option -- such as wrapping up the narrative via the addition of an already-existing Marcan account of Jesus' post-resurrection appearances -- existed?

  4. I recommend inspirational study from prof. Petr Pokorný "From Gospel to Gospels" (from BZNW series) which deals with this topic.

  5. Hi,

    Interesting talk. Great accent!

    The "vast majority of manuscripts" with the traditional ending is actually 99.9% of the Greek, Latin and Syriac New Testament manuscripts. That is .. 999 out of 1,000 mss.

    On top of overwhelming ECW (early church writer) evidences and the simple logic and sense of internal evidences.

    On top of this, even the modern scholars have finally begun to catch up to the simple truth that omissions were much easier than additions. However they are slow to apply that truth when it goes against the Westcott-Hort recension text.

    Against this, Mark Goodacre simply rehashes some weak, tepid arguments that arose at the time of the Westcott-Hort recension.

    Ironically, after 8:00 Goodacre tries a defense of the "dark" element of the modern theory, the existential angst approach. Then he at least has the honesty to consider the difficulties in the modern exuberance over the deformed and mangled ending. Including "didn't get around to finishing it". One of the modern joke approaches.

    Overall, this is a fine example of the irrelevance of the ivory tower, the academy, to Bible believers. Even when the academy representative is articulate. And often a good writer. Like Mark Goodacre.

    Fee free to read John William Burgon and many other excellent writings to see the actual evidence not given in this talk.

    Steven Avery