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Re: [XTalk] Question on Croy and Mark's Ending

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  • 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 1 of 4 , Feb 15, 2006
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      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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