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Question on Croy and Mark's Ending

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  • Ken Olson
    In _The Mutilation of Mark s Gospel_, N. Clayton Croy argues that Mark s Gospel is not intended to end at 16.8. He allows that the so-called long-ending of
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 14, 2006
      In _The Mutilation of Mark's Gospel_, N. Clayton Croy argues that Mark's Gospel is not intended to end at 16.8. He allows that the so-called long-ending of Mark (vv.16-20) is inauthentic, but suggests that because, along with other less important reasons, it leaves some of the narrative expectations it generates unmet in not narrating Jesus' post-resurrection appearances to the disciples even though these are predicted in the text (pp. 57-60). He borrows the argument from Robert H Gundry that "Mark has _repeatedly in detail_ narrated the fulfillments of Jesus' other predictions, so far as those fulfillments occurred during Jesus' time on earth" (Gundry, _Mark_, 1009). I find Gundry's limitation of "during Jesus' time on earth" a bit arbitrary, as Mark's gospel certainly contains unfulfilled prophecies and what exact period Mark considered to be "Jesus time on earth" is an open question. I would like to leave that aside for the moment and pose another question.

      In response to J. L. Magness, _Sense and Absence_ Croy argues that the ending of Acts might be considered an open ending in some sense, but it is not primarily a story about Paul, Paul's arrival in Rome provides thematic closure to the book, and, unlike Mark, the ending of Acts is "unmistakably triumphant in tone" (95). He does not address the fact that Paul's trial before Caesar has been foreshadowed many times in the book (20.25, 23.11, 25.11-12, 26.32, and especially 27.23) and yet goes un-narrated, thus failing to meet narrative expectations. Can anyone think of any other prediction in Acts made by Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Christian prophets, or the Angel of the Lord, that is fulfilled during Paul's lifetime but is not narrated in Acts?

      It seems to me that in this case, as many times elsewhere throughout his book, Croy is adapting his criteria to meet his present needs and to exclude counterexamples. Here he seems to require that the ending of Mark ought to be "unmistakably triumphant." I have not seen much in Mark's text that would suggest, let alone require, that. The resurrection of Jesus does take place within the confines of the story, though it is not actually narrated either in Mark or in any of the other canonical gospels. Those who can understand will understand. Throughout his gospel, Mark is constantly aware that some who are given the message will fail to grasp it, and I think the ending at 16.8 is very much in keeping with that theme.

      Best,

      Ken

      Kenneth A. Olson
      MA, History, University of Maryland
      PhD Student, Religion, Duke University


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Stephen C. Carlson
      ... Well, by definition, Paul s death did not take place during Paul s lifetime. If we remove the limitation of Paul s lifetime (I m not sure why it is
      Message 2 of 4 , Feb 14, 2006
        At 11:55 AM 2/14/2006 -0500, Ken Olson wrote:
        >In response to J. L. Magness, _Sense and Absence_ Croy argues that the ending of Acts might be considered an open ending in some sense, but it is not primarily a story about Paul, Paul's arrival in Rome provides thematic closure to the book, and, unlike Mark, the ending of Acts is "unmistakably triumphant in tone" (95). He does not address the fact that Paul's trial before Caesar has been foreshadowed many times in the book (20.25, 23.11, 25.11-12, 26.32, and especially 27.23) and yet goes un-narrated, thus failing to meet narrative expectations. Can anyone think of any other prediction in Acts made by Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Christian prophets, or the Angel of the Lord, that is fulfilled during Paul's lifetime but is not narrated in Acts?

        Well, by definition, Paul's death did not take place during
        Paul's lifetime. If we remove the limitation of Paul's lifetime
        (I'm not sure why it is there), the predicted destruction of
        the temple is never narrated in Luke & Acts. Aside from that,
        how many predictions are there in Acts to begin with?

        As for Acts, I don't see the problem with its ending. Acts
        is about the spread of the Gospel, and it closes with Paul
        preaching freely in Rome for two years. Sure, Acts does not
        narrate Paul's subsequent execution, but why end the text on
        a disappointment?

        >It seems to me that in this case, as many times elsewhere throughout his book, Croy is adapting his criteria to meet his present needs and to exclude counterexamples. Here he seems to require that the ending of Mark ought to be "unmistakably triumphant." I have not seen much in Mark's text that would suggest, let alone require, that. The resurrection of Jesus does take place within the confines of the story, though it is not actually narrated either in Mark or in any of the other canonical gospels. Those who can understand will understand. Throughout his gospel, Mark is constantly aware that some who are given the message will fail to grasp it, and I think the ending at 16.8 is very much in keeping with that theme.

        I think that this reasoning might be so strong as to justify
        any possible ending. For me, the strongest evidence that
        Mark's ending at 16:8 fails contemporary expectations of a
        proper ending are the four different attempts to end it (the
        Longer Ending, the Shorter Ending, Matthew's Ending, and
        Luke's Ending).

        Stephen Carlson
        --
        Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
        Weblog: http://www.hypotyposeis.org/weblog/
        Author of: The Gospel Hoax, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1932792481
      • Tony Buglass
        Ken Olsen writes: In _The Mutilation of Mark s Gospel_, N. Clayton Croy argues that Mark s Gospel is not intended to end at 16.8... it leaves some of the
        Message 3 of 4 , Feb 15, 2006
          Ken Olsen writes:
          In _The Mutilation of Mark's Gospel_, N. Clayton Croy argues that Mark's
          Gospel is not intended to end at 16.8... it leaves some of the narrative
          expectations it generates unmet in not narrating Jesus' post-resurrection
          appearances to the disciples even though these are predicted in the text

          In his commentary on Matthew, Gundry argues that Matthew's tomb-Christophany
          (28:9f) is dependent on a lost ending of Mark in which the women have a
          command from Jesus which enables them to break their silence. The problem
          for me is that the manuscript evidence for Mark ending at 16:8 is clear. If
          it was an accidental loss of the ending it must have happened early enough
          for there to be no copies available, which begs the question why Mark didn't
          replace what was lost. Others certainly attempted to, hence the inauthentic
          endings. OK - the other possibility is that there were subsequent repaired
          or undamaged copies which haven't survived (accident of history). But if
          something survived long enough and far afield enough for Matthew to have
          seen and used it, that would suggest it would be more widely available and
          more likely to have survived. The fact that it appears not to have done so
          is more likely to indicate that it wasn't there to have survived, and
          Matthew got his story from somewhere else. No, that isn't conclusive, and
          it is possible for Gundry to be right, but I wouldn't place bets on the
          possibility of a version of Mark surviving for Matthew but copies of it not
          surviving widely enough to negate the need for the composition of the
          inauthentic endings. And that's not just 'cos I'm a Methodist! :)

          I think Croy is doing what a lot of others have done, and working around
          what he thinks Mark "must have been", rather than accepting that what we
          have is what Mark is, and looking for literary and theological reasons for
          the ending.

          Cheers,
          Rev Tony Buglass
          Superintendent Minister
          Upper Calder Methodist Circuit
        • Gordon Raynal
          ... Hi Ken, I rather find it fascinating that the conclusions some make about the 16:8 ending of Mark are that it is somehow incomplete or unsatisfactory to
          Message 4 of 4 , Feb 15, 2006
            On Feb 14, 2006, at 11:55 AM, Ken Olson wrote:
            > It seems to me that in this case, as many times elsewhere throughout
            > his book, Croy is adapting his criteria to meet his present needs and
            > to exclude counterexamples. Here he seems to require that the ending
            > of Mark ought to be "unmistakably triumphant." I have not seen much in
            > Mark's text that would suggest, let alone require, that. The
            > resurrection of Jesus does take place within the confines of the
            > story, though it is not actually narrated either in Mark or in any of
            > the other canonical gospels. Those who can understand will understand.
            > Throughout his gospel, Mark is constantly aware that some who are
            > given the message will fail to grasp it, and I think the ending at
            > 16.8 is very much in keeping with that theme.
            >
            Hi Ken,

            I rather find it fascinating that the conclusions some make about the
            16:8 ending of Mark are that it is somehow incomplete or unsatisfactory
            to either Mark's plot or for theology. If one will consider the Hebrew
            tradition about fear/ terror and relate this to Mark's plotting, then
            the ending not only makes complete sense in relationship to Mark's
            narrative arc, it also contains a profound theology. To see this I
            would suggest folks look at that most important messianic Psalm 2,
            verse 11... that begins: "Serve the Lord with fear...." Many other
            Psalms will affirm this, but Psalm 111:10 nicely sums this up: "The
            fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it
            have a good understanding. His praise endures forever." Proverbs 1:7,
            of course, ends the prologue with a such a call. And Ecclesiastes ends
            in 12:13 with such a call: "The end of the matter; all has been heard.
            Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of
            everyone." These calls, are shall we say, not unclear:)!

            Now to Mark's plot. At the outset of Jesus activity he tells the demon
            who knows who he is to hush up and not blab (1:25). At the healing of
            the deaf man in Mark 7 he orders that they tell no one (7:36). After
            Peter's messianic confession in 8:30, "and he sternly ordered them not
            to tell anyone about him." And after the Transfiguration and that
            heavenly testimony to Jesus' true identity where the Father said,
            "...listen to him!", Jesus again said to not blab (9.9) Peter, of
            course, will go on to proudly say he'll never deny his Lord and we know
            how well that turns out:)! But at the very end... the women hear the
            angelic testimony... are terrified and flee in silent terror. Finally,
            finally in this plotting someone actually "gets it" and obeys the
            admonitions of the heritage and Mark's Jesus. Running is silence into
            the world when understood in terms of this heritage and this story arc
            are anything but unsatisfactory or somehow a negative theology. Per
            good old Eccl. 3... there's a "time to keep silence and a time to
            speak" (Eccl. 3:7). Mark's ending rightly ends on that time to
            faithfully keep silence.

            I think Matthew knew exactly what Mark was doing and what texts he was
            relying on. Notably to get to the other side of this equation... "the
            time to speak"... he went for connections to Psalm 2. Again: "Serve
            the Lord with fear, with trembling kiss his feet...." In Mt. 28:8-10
            he connected fear with joy with foot kissing with worship... with
            Jesus' "do not be afraid, go and tell my brothers." This is the other
            side of the coin, so to speak. Far from being incomplete or
            unsatisfactory, Mark's ending is "terrific:)!" And Matthew got it and
            provided that other side of the coin. Whoever wrote those two other
            endings of Mark were really rather hack writers who messed up Mark's
            nice work:)! And that bit about poison and snake handling really shows
            it:)!

            Gordon Raynal
            Inman, SC
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