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The Long Ending of Mark


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#1 Evangelion

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Posted 02 January 2003 - 05:19 PM

The long ending is supported by a strong body of evidence – both internal and external. It is found in the majority of Old Latin texts as well as the Coptic Versions and other early translations. The legitimacy of the passage is also confirmed by many of the early Church Fathers - which would be impossible if it was a later interpolation.

Thus:

  • Irenaeus (202 AD) cites Mark 16:19 in Against Heresies (3.10.5):-

    Also, towards the conclusion of his Gospel, Mark says: "So then, after the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God;" confirming what had been spoken by the prophet.
  • Ambrose (397 AD) cites Mark 16:17-18 in The Prayer of Job and David (4.1.4):-

    Therefore, it was with good reason that the Lord became a stage, so that the word of the Lord might prepare such stages for Himself; of these He says, "In my name they shall cast out devils, they shall speak in new tongues, they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them."

    Indeed they took up serpents, when His holy Apostle cast out the spiritual forces of wickedness from their hiding places in the body by breathing on them and did not feel deadly poisons. When the viper came forth from the bundle of sticks and bit Paul, the natives, seeing the viper hanging from his hand, thought he would suddenly die. But he stood unafraid; he was unaffected by the wound, and the poison was not infused into him.

  • Augustine (430 AD) cites Mark 16:15 and then refers to verses 17-18 in Homilies On The Epistle of John To The Parthians (IV:2):-

    Ye heard while the Gospel was read, Go preach the Gospel to the whole creation which is under heaven. Consequently the disciples were sent everywhere with signs and wonders to attest that what they spake, they had seen.
  • Internal evidence supports the long ending. In Luke 10:19, Jesus says:

    Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

    These words were spoken to the seventy disciples, who were sent out after the twelve had received the Great Commission. (See Luke 9.) It makes sense for Jesus to repeat these words to the original disciples just before his ascension. Having first granted this blessing to the seventy, he now extends it to the eleven.
  • The parallel references to Christ's ascension (those which we find in the other Gospels and the book of Acts) confirm that the ascension took place. This gives further credence to the record of Mark 16:9-20.
  • Additional support for the long ending of Mark is found in Acts 14:3:

    Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

We see, therefore, that other the Gospels (and the book of Acts) all confirm that (a) Jesus spoke these words, and (b) Jesus did indeed ascend into heaven. This confirms the authenticity of the events and instructions found in the long ending of Mark.

Compelling arguments in support of the long ending have been advanced from the following authorities, on the basis of literary style:

  • Bruce Terry (Ph.D.), Professor of Bible and Humanities at Ohio Valley College (See here.)
  • Warren Gage (Ph.D.), Assistant Professor of Old Testament at Knox Theological Seminary. (See here.)
  • Robert Nguyen Cramer (See here.) Cramer personally concludes that the long ending is a secondary addition, but in weighing the evidence he presents a list of comparisons between Mark's Gospel and those of Matthew and Luke, which reveal their obvious dependence on verses 9-20. This dependence (particularly in Luke's use of the Emmaeus account) is not easily explained unless we accept (a) an early dating for the longer gloss, and (b) the veracity of same.

Finally, if we deny the veracity of the long ending, we must somehow account for the fact that it was known to (and cited by) the early church fathers.
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#2 Kremlin

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Posted 27 January 2004 - 04:10 AM

Just out of interest, Ev, have you seen this article before?

#3 Martyn

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Posted 27 January 2004 - 11:32 AM

Also, at the risk of Ev's wrath descending upon me, Harry Whittaker has a decent essay on the long ending of Mark at the end of Studies in the Gospels.

#4 Evangelion

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Posted 27 January 2004 - 07:18 PM

Just out of interest, Ev, have you seen this article before?


Yep. :ROFL:

And if it had been worth a response, he'd have received one by now. :ROFL:
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#5 Evangelion

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Posted 27 January 2004 - 07:21 PM

Also, at the risk of Ev's wrath descending upon me, Harry Whittaker has a decent essay on the long ending of Mark at the end of Studies in the Gospels.


Any chance of you posting a precis, m8? :ROFL:
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#6 Fortigurn

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Posted 27 January 2004 - 07:42 PM

Does Holding object to the longer ending because he doesn't like baptism? :ROFL:
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#7 Evangelion

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Posted 28 January 2004 - 12:38 AM

Does Holding object to the longer ending because he doesn't like baptism? :ROFL:

Yep. :w00t:

In fact, he relies on the "Long ending of Mark is spurious" argument in his little tirade against baptism (refuted elsewhere in the Armoury.) :ROFL:
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#8 Kremlin

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Posted 28 January 2004 - 05:42 AM

You can demonstrate the need for baptism without referring to Mark anyway. In fact, just to see if I can, I intend to write my whole upcoming lecture without referring to Mark 16:16. Then wait for the oldies to come up to me afterwards and talk to me... :ROFL: :sarah:

#9 Evangelion

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Posted 28 January 2004 - 05:59 PM

Very true. :ROFL: In fact, I made this clear in my refutation of Turkel. :ROFL:
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#10 Martyn

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 07:03 PM

Also, at the risk of Ev's wrath descending upon me, Harry Whittaker has a decent essay on the long ending of Mark at the end of Studies in the Gospels.


Any chance of you posting a precis, m8? ;)


As requested. It's chapter 259 of Studies in the Gospels.

HAW bases his analysis on Burgon's excellent but ascerbic rebuttal, 'The Last Twelve Verse of Mark', published in the 1800s.

Rebuttal of evidence against Mark 16.9-20

  • Whilst the Vatican MS (Codex B) doesn't include the verses, it has a blank column instead - the only folio like this in the entire MS (which contains almost all the OT and NT) like this. It appears to have been copied from an older codex which did contain the verses.
  • The Sinai MS (Codex Aleph) has a long arabesque to fill a similar space, obviously inserted to fill a space intended to be occupied.
  • Many of the bank of witnesses who dispute Mark 16.9-20 copied each other or wrote under different names, thus reducing a frightening number of early objections to just Eusebius and Euthymius. The latter wrote as late as the 12th century, so Eusebius is the only Early Father who rejected the verses.
  • Eusebius himself presents unconvincing evidence.
  • Claims that Clement of Rome and Clement of Alexandria, Cyprian and Tertullian didn't cite the verses is an unrealistic objection. For example, Clement of Rome never cited Mark's gospel at all, so his silence on the last section makes no odds.
  • Stylistic evidence is poor. For example, it is argued that 'everywhere' (v20) appears nowhere else in Mark. But it occurs nowhere in Matthew and John, and only once in Luke. Arguing from silence makes no sense here.
  • The supposed discontinuity between v8 and v9 is similar (for example) to that in Jn 21.19-20, and no one ever objects that the following verses in John 21 are spurious.


#11 Martyn

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 07:07 PM

Evidence in favour of retaining Mark 16.9-20

  • With a handful of exceptions, every single gospel MS, whether uncial or cursive, includes the 12 verses.
  • The ancient versions are equally emphatic - various Syriac versions, all but one of the Old Latin MSS, the Memphitic and Thebaic versions of Egypt, Jerome's Vulgate and the Gothic version (going back to the 4th century and beyond) all testify to the general acceptance of Mark 16.9-20 by widely separated branches of the early church.
  • Except for Eusebius, the Early Fathers unanimously accept the 12 verses, beginning in the first century with Hermas and Papias, then in the second with Justin Martyr and Ireneaus, and many more (Hippolytus, Ambrose, Chrysostom and others). The north African church demonstrated their acceptance of Mark 16.9-20 at the Council of Carthage (256).





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