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[XTalk] Croy and Mark's Ending

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  • McGrath, James
    Having reviewed Croy s book for _Teaching Theology and Religion_ recently, I am aware of the book s shortcomings, but on its basic point I feel that a couple
    Message 1 of 11 , Feb 15, 2006
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      Having reviewed Croy's book for _Teaching Theology and Religion_
      recently, I am aware of the book's shortcomings, but on its basic point
      I feel that a couple of the list members have simply engaged in special
      pleading rather than listen to what Croy (and many others before him)
      have said. Mark's Gospel, right at the "end", promises that Jesus will
      be seen, but it does not happen. The women are also told to speak (and
      not to keep silent), and yet we're told that they did not say anything
      to anyone. This leaves the question in the mind of the reader of how the
      author can be telling a story about something that no one was told
      about!

      I have nothing against making sense of a text in the form that it
      stands, but on what basis would one do that if there is much early
      evidence (two different endings added by scribes, and two more by other
      Evangelists, as was pointed out) to suggest that even early readers were
      aware that something was missing? On the same grounds one could argue
      that the Gospel of Peter should be treated as beginning "But of the
      Jews" and explain why the author consciously began that way.

      James McGrath


      *****************************
      Dr. James F. McGrath
      Assistant Professor of Religion
      Butler University, Indianapolis
      http://religion.sytes.net
      *****************************
    • Rikk Watts
      I m not sure I d put too much stock on early correctors of Mark. E.g. although admittedly on a smaller scale both Matt and Luke decide to omit Mark s enigmatic
      Message 2 of 11 , Feb 15, 2006
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        I'm not sure I'd put too much stock on early correctors of Mark. E.g.
        although admittedly on a smaller scale both Matt and Luke decide to omit
        Mark's enigmatic "For everyone will be salted with fire" (9:49). Presumably
        for Mark and his immediate readers it made sense, but for the larger
        audiences which I assume Matt and Luke had in mind it didn't. Likewise, IMO
        Mark's shorter ending is perfect for what he is up to, but without the
        insider knowledge of his immediate audience it doesn't work so well and
        hence the later attempts to "fix" a problem that originally didn't exist.

        Regards

        Rikk Watts (Cantab)
        Regent College, Vancouver




        On 15/2/06 7:09 AM, "McGrath, James" <jfmcgrat@...> wrote:

        > Having reviewed Croy's book for _Teaching Theology and Religion_
        > recently, I am aware of the book's shortcomings, but on its basic point
        > I feel that a couple of the list members have simply engaged in special
        > pleading rather than listen to what Croy (and many others before him)
        > have said. Mark's Gospel, right at the "end", promises that Jesus will
        > be seen, but it does not happen. The women are also told to speak (and
        > not to keep silent), and yet we're told that they did not say anything
        > to anyone. This leaves the question in the mind of the reader of how the
        > author can be telling a story about something that no one was told
        > about!
        >
        > I have nothing against making sense of a text in the form that it
        > stands, but on what basis would one do that if there is much early
        > evidence (two different endings added by scribes, and two more by other
        > Evangelists, as was pointed out) to suggest that even early readers were
        > aware that something was missing? On the same grounds one could argue
        > that the Gospel of Peter should be treated as beginning "But of the
        > Jews" and explain why the author consciously began that way.
        >
        > James McGrath
        >
        >
        > *****************************
        > Dr. James F. McGrath
        > Assistant Professor of Religion
        > Butler University, Indianapolis
        > http://religion.sytes.net
        > *****************************
        >
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      • RAnderson58@comcast.net
        For the reasons set forth by James McGrath, I have felt that the proposal put forth, by someone whose name escape me, and whose book I lent but it was never
        Message 3 of 11 , Feb 15, 2006
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          For the reasons set forth by James McGrath, I have felt that the proposal put forth, by someone whose name escape me, and whose book I lent but it was never returned, that the ending was a rhetorical device to get the audience to respond, We will tell the story.

          Richard H. Anderson
        • Tony Buglass
          James wrote: ...a couple of the list members have simply engaged in special pleading rather than listen to what Croy (and many others before him) have said.
          Message 4 of 11 , Feb 15, 2006
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            James wrote:
            ...a couple of the list members have simply engaged in special
            pleading rather than listen to what Croy (and many others before him)
            have said. Mark's Gospel, right at the "end", promises that Jesus will
            be seen, but it does not happen. The women are also told to speak (and
            not to keep silent), and yet we're told that they did not say anything
            to anyone. This leaves the question in the mind of the reader of how the
            author can be telling a story about something that no one was told
            about!
            I have nothing against making sense of a text in the form that it
            stands, but on what basis would one do that if there is much early
            evidence (two different endings added by scribes, and two more by other
            Evangelists, as was pointed out) to suggest that even early readers were
            aware that something was missing?

            OK - I admit it: I haven't read Croy. I never said I had, and it isn't at
            all guaranteed that I will. I was responding to Ken's setting out of the
            issue, in the light of other stuff which I have read - especially Gundry.
            My point concerned the assumptions of the point that Croy was making. If
            Mk.16:8 *was* the end of his gospel, then no matter what Croy thought, or
            those who created alternative endings to Mark, there is little point in
            surmising what might have been in the bit which wasn't there, 'cos it wasn't
            there. If you get my drift.

            The arguments about the ending of Mk.16 have been well-rehearsed, I think,
            but are obviously not conclusive, since clever people line up on both sides
            of the argument. I'm a simple soul, and it looks to me as if there was no
            more to Mark. I know it's an abrupt ending, but that just means it's an
            abrupt ending. All of the hypotheses about what might have happened to
            whatever else he might have written founder on the lack of evidence: there
            are no MSS to show what might have been an original ending. There are
            alternatives, which appear to be derivative. If the original ending was
            lost or damaged, it had to be early enough for there to be no copies, or for
            there to be few enough copies not to have survived. If it were as early as
            that, why didn't Mark rewrite it? Gundry's theory was that there was an
            original ending which was the source of Matthew's tomb-Christophany.
            Matthew is generally accepted to be several years if not decades later than
            Mark - how many copies wold have been made in that time? I can't see it,
            I'm afraid. Metzger is clear that the best manuscript evidence suggests an
            ending at 16:8.

            As to others feeling something was missing - why did they think that?
            Because Mt & L were in circulation, and they did have "the next bit"? So
            why does that prove that Mark *must* have had it? It certainly sugegsts he
            could have, but in the face of more evidence, that's as far as we can go.
            If he didn't, then we need to account for the reasons why, and that's been
            the puzzle for a lot of folk. The silence of the women has been interpreted
            by some (eg Goulder) to argue that there were no resurrection appearances,
            and Matthew and Luke made them up. On the other hand, Mark doesn't say they
            *never* told anyone, does he? And would it matter if they hadn't - the
            appearance-tradition in 1 Cor.15 predates Mark, doesn't mention the women,
            but has a number of folk who saw him and presumably passed on the good news.
            Which might have encouraged the women to say their piece?

            Who knows? There have been lots of attempts to argue why Mark couldn't have
            ended there, and others to argue that he did end there, and therefore this
            is what he was trying to say. I like Rikk's word "enigmatic" - it's one of
            those words we use when we really mean "difficult to understand why he did
            it that way!" But until anyone can come up with a good explanation of the
            MSS evidence, I have to go with the enigma.

            Cheers,
            Rev Tony Buglass
            Superintendent Minister
            Upper Calder Methodist Circuit
          • Gordon Raynal
            ... Hi Richard, If I might add to this... endings like this are invitations to beginnings/ new beginnings and/ or continuings. The end of the story isn t
            Message 5 of 11 , Feb 15, 2006
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              On Feb 15, 2006, at 11:14 AM, RAnderson58@... wrote:

              > For the reasons set forth by James McGrath, I have felt that the
              > proposal put forth, by someone whose name escape me, and whose book I
              > lent but it was never returned, that the ending was a rhetorical
              > device to get the audience to respond, We will tell the story.
              >
              > Richard H. Anderson
              >
              Hi Richard,
              If I might add to this... "endings" like this are invitations to
              beginnings/ new beginnings and/ or continuings. "The end of the story"
              isn't about some satisfying conclusion from the author, but about
              living the story out... a part of which has to do with telling...
              sometimes, but more importantly showing such a story in the community's
              and one's life. Such as this shows up in the likes of James saying,
              "If any think they are religious and do not bridle their tongues, but
              deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless." Ep. James 1:26.
              Read/ performed in community such a story as this dramatic/ comedy
              invites and sustains participation. Lots of novels and in the modern
              world a number of really good movies in one way or another use this
              strategy. It is a quite powerful if righty done. Again, Matthew got
              it and added another dimension to help those who didn't quite get it!

              Gordon Raynal
              Inman, SC
            • Bob Schacht
              ... I am intrigued by this suggestion. Is there any parallel in Hellenistic or Jewish theater or literature for this type of rhetorical device? Bob Schacht ...
              Message 6 of 11 , Feb 15, 2006
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                At 06:14 AM 2/15/2006, RAnderson58@... wrote:
                >For the reasons set forth by James McGrath, I have felt that the proposal
                >put forth, by someone whose name escape me, and whose book I lent but it
                >was never returned, that the ending was a rhetorical device to get the
                >audience to respond, We will tell the story.
                >
                >Richard H. Anderson

                I am intrigued by this suggestion. Is there any parallel in Hellenistic or
                Jewish theater or literature for this type of rhetorical device?

                Bob Schacht




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              • peterson@austingrad.edu
                ... I find this precise suggestion implausible but pointing in the right direction. It s implausible because auditors in Christian communities ca. AD 70 are
                Message 7 of 11 , Feb 15, 2006
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                  > At 06:14 AM 2/15/2006, RAnderson58@... wrote:
                  > >For the reasons set forth by James McGrath, I have felt that the
                  > proposal
                  > >put forth, by someone whose name escape me, and whose book I lent but it
                  > >was never returned, that the ending was a rhetorical device to get the
                  > >audience to respond, We will tell the story.

                  I find this precise suggestion implausible but pointing in the right
                  direction. It's implausible because auditors in Christian communities ca.
                  AD 70 are going to know that in fact the story was told; they will have
                  been catechized along the lines of 1 Cor 15:1-11: Christ died, was raised,
                  and commissioned apostles to proclaim his impending royal advent. Those
                  apostles established and nurtured churches (whose members established yet
                  more), and that's how people came to be reclining in a triclinium or
                  standing in an atrium hearing this story rehearsed (perhaps in greater
                  detail than they had heard it before Mark was written, but in recognizable
                  outline).

                  The reaction of such a second-generation readership to the Marcan ending
                  would not be, "Was this message ever proclaimed?" but "How came the
                  message to be proclaimed?" Readers catechized in the way Paul says was
                  universal in the first generation would say, "Ah, the disciples were
                  faithful after all; the women overcame their fear and told them, and the
                  disciples must indeed have seen the risen Lord in Galilee, just as the
                  angelic young man said they would. They were willing to risk sharing
                  Jesus' fate and continued even when he was no longer on the scene to
                  proclaim the kingdom as he had."

                  Such a response would be pertinent to the situation of many
                  second-generation readers in the wake of the outbreak of open state
                  persecution in the imperial capital, the passing of one generation of
                  leadership (James in 62, Peter and Paul in 64), and the appearance of the
                  desolating sacrilege spoken of by Daniel and the Lord, which portended the
                  tribulation preceding Christ's royal advent. "God used the fallible and
                  imperfect disciples we see accompanying Jesus to establish the community
                  in which we have learned to surrender our life for the sake of Christ and
                  his gospel; he can use us to consummate his purposes if we will remain
                  steadfast and overcome our fears, as we know the first generation of
                  disciples learned to do."

                  Something like that is the effect I suggest Mark composed his gospel to
                  have. I expect it's a rather unfashionable reading in (inter alia) taking
                  the church universal rather than the Marcan community narrowly conceived
                  as the interpretive milieu. As I'm in the process of writing this up for
                  publication I would appreciate criticism of this summary all the more.

                  (c) Jeff Peterson
                  Austin Graduate School of Theology
                  Austin, Texas
                • RAnderson58@comcast.net
                  The name Main Author:of the book and author is Tolbert, Mary Ann, 1947- Title:Sowing the gospel : Mark s world in literary-historical perspective / Primary
                  Message 8 of 11 , Feb 15, 2006
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                    The name
                    Main Author:of the book and author is
                    Tolbert, Mary Ann, 1947-
                    Title:Sowing the gospel : Mark's world in literary-historical perspective /
                    Primary Material:Book
                    Publisher:Minneapolis : Fortress Press, 1989.
                    Richard H. Anderson


                    -------------- Original message --------------
                    From: Bob Schacht <r_schacht@...>

                    > At 06:14 AM 2/15/2006, RAnderson58@... wrote:
                    > >For the reasons set forth by James McGrath, I have felt that the proposal
                    > >put forth, by someone whose name escape me, and whose book I lent but it
                    > >was never returned, that the ending was a rhetorical device to get the
                    > >audience to respond, We will tell the story.
                    > >
                    > >Richard H. Anderson
                    >
                    > I am intrigued by this suggestion. Is there any parallel in Hellenistic or
                    > Jewish theater or literature for this type of rhetorical device?
                    >
                    > Bob Schacht
                    >

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Bob Schacht
                    ... Jeff, Good to see your thoughts on this. However, I wonder if you might be reading a bit too much of later praxis into the 70 C.E. scene? 1 Cor 15 is a
                    Message 9 of 11 , Feb 15, 2006
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                      At 10:17 AM 2/15/2006, peterson@... wrote:
                      > > At 06:14 AM 2/15/2006, RAnderson58@... wrote:
                      > > >For the reasons set forth by James McGrath, I have felt that the
                      > > proposal
                      > > >put forth, by someone whose name escape me, and whose book I lent but it
                      > > >was never returned, that the ending was a rhetorical device to get the
                      > > >audience to respond, We will tell the story.
                      >
                      >I find this precise suggestion implausible but pointing in the right
                      >direction. It's implausible because auditors in Christian communities ca.
                      >AD 70 are going to know that in fact the story was told; they will have
                      >been catechized along the lines of 1 Cor 15:1-11: Christ died, was raised,
                      >and commissioned apostles to proclaim his impending royal advent.

                      Jeff,
                      Good to see your thoughts on this. However, I wonder if you might be
                      reading a bit too much of later praxis into the 70 C.E. scene? 1 Cor 15 is
                      a good basis, but do we really know how widespread, or how uniform, this
                      catechesis was? I'm just a bit skeptical when I see statements about what
                      auditors in Christian communities ca. AD 70 are "going to know." Surely the
                      resurrection was a core doctrine for Paul, but wasn't he always a bit fuzzy
                      on exactly what it meant?

                      > Those apostles established and nurtured churches (whose members
                      > established yet
                      >more), and that's how people came to be reclining in a triclinium or
                      >standing in an atrium hearing this story rehearsed (perhaps in greater
                      >detail than they had heard it before Mark was written, but in recognizable
                      >outline).
                      >
                      >The reaction of such a second-generation readership to the Marcan ending
                      >would not be, "Was this message ever proclaimed?" but "How came the
                      >message to be proclaimed?" Readers catechized in the way Paul says was
                      >universal in the first generation would say, "Ah, the disciples were
                      >faithful after all; the women overcame their fear and told them, and the
                      >disciples must indeed have seen the risen Lord in Galilee, just as the
                      >angelic young man said they would. They were willing to risk sharing
                      >Jesus' fate and continued even when he was no longer on the scene to
                      >proclaim the kingdom as he had."

                      I don't think so. There were probably lots of "must haves," but probably
                      not much uniformity among them. The conclusions you write as definite would
                      have been questions, and would have provided an opportunity for the elders
                      of the community to answer those questions according to what they had seen
                      and heard.


                      >Such a response would be pertinent to the situation of many
                      >second-generation readers in the wake of the outbreak of open state
                      >persecution in the imperial capital, the passing of one generation of
                      >leadership (James in 62, Peter and Paul in 64), and the appearance of the
                      >desolating sacrilege spoken of by Daniel and the Lord, which portended the
                      >tribulation preceding Christ's royal advent. . . .

                      Your sentence starts out well, but ends with too much back-reading.

                      Here's another alternative: Mark had, indeed, material for a longer ending.
                      However, he had spoken to enough elders to know that others had different
                      experiences of the resurrection, and his own material was not definitive
                      enough, or had not been widely accepted. I suspect he stopped, not because
                      he didn't "know" what happened, but because he knew that there were too
                      many different accounts already, and none were definitive.


                      >Something like that is the effect I suggest Mark composed his gospel to
                      >have. I expect it's a rather unfashionable reading in (inter alia) taking
                      >the church universal rather than the Marcan community narrowly conceived
                      >as the interpretive milieu. As I'm in the process of writing this up for
                      >publication I would appreciate criticism of this summary all the more.

                      I wonder if the shorter ending has anything to do with the Markan Secret?

                      Bob Schacht
                      University of Hawaii

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • peterson@austingrad.edu
                      ... Paul says that Christ s death and resurrection was the substance of the gospel taught by every authority ( apostle ) who claimed a personal commission by
                      Message 10 of 11 , Feb 15, 2006
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                        > Good to see your thoughts on this. However, I wonder if you might be
                        > reading a bit too much of later praxis into the 70 C.E. scene? 1 Cor 15
                        > is
                        > a good basis, but do we really know how widespread, or how uniform, this
                        > catechesis was?

                        Paul says that Christ's death and resurrection was the substance of the
                        "gospel" taught by every authority ("apostle") who claimed a personal
                        commission by the risen Christ in the first generation of the church's
                        existence ("whether I or they, so we teach and so you believed"). He
                        states this (1) as the predicate of an argument he wants to win with those
                        who deny a general resurrection; (2) as a reminder of what he had taught
                        in the course of founding the Corinthian ekklesia, ca. AD 51, which he in
                        turn had received at his entry into the ekklesia, ca. 35; (3) one chapter
                        before inviting his converts to visit the Jerusalem church, either with or
                        without him accompanying them (16:1-2); (4) in a rhetorical situation in
                        which his authority is challenged on multiple fronts, so that to make a
                        readily falsfiable assertion would be to invalidate his authority.

                        If Paul knew that the faith of Peter and James and other Judean
                        authorities didn't center on Jesus' death and resurrection, then he was a
                        fool to put his converts in touch with them having maintained that it did.
                        And if he knew of venerable communities not committed to a resurrected
                        Christ whose representatives the Corinthians might have encountered or
                        heard of, he would have needed to say somewhere in chap. 15, "Now I know
                        there are followers of Jesus who are iffy on his resurrection, but they're
                        completely wrong and servants of Satan and you better stay the heck away
                        from them." That he doesn't suggests that he was unaware of such; and in
                        that case what reason do we have for supposing their existence?

                        The only teaching about Christ we have any positive evidence for in the
                        first generation is centered on his death and resurrection; and Mark
                        indeed presupposes this throughout his narrative, with the shadow of the
                        cross following over the narrative probably as early as 1:2-3 ("your way"
                        = "the Lord's way" = the way Jesus travels to to Zion, the cross, and the
                        emptied tomb), but certainly by 2:20, the resurrection is prefigured no
                        later than 5:41-42 (probably already in 1:31 and 2:9-12), and of course
                        the death-resurrection sequence becomes a major expectation in the
                        narrative in chaps. 8-10.

                        I'm just a bit skeptical when I see statements about what
                        > auditors in Christian communities ca. AD 70 are "going to
                        > know." Surely the
                        > resurrection was a core doctrine for Paul, but wasn't he always a bit
                        > fuzzy
                        > on exactly what it meant?

                        In 1 Cor 15:35ff, Paul is perhaps a bit unclear or paradoxical on the
                        nature of Christ's resurrection body (although in light of work like Dale
                        Martin's in THE CORINTHIAN BODY I think the charge of unclarity is
                        overdone; a "PNEUMATIKOS body" is a body composed of PNEUMA or rarified
                        etherial matter and freed from corruption for eternal existence). But he
                        is quite clear that Christ, after being executed as an enemy of the Roman
                        order, received from God a glorified postmortem existence in which he
                        commissioned emissaries (the aforementioned "apostles") to announce his
                        exaltation and empowered his followers with his Spirit. While hard to
                        believe, that claim doesn't seem fuzzy to me.

                        Dissent from death-resurrection as founding mythos does enter the
                        Christian community in the second generation, but I can't see evidence for
                        it earlier than the opponents in 1 John (or maybe in some passages of the
                        Gospel). In the absence of evidence, and given Paul's insistence that this
                        teaching was uniform in the first generation, I don't see a reason to
                        think otherwise. (Note that this is not a claim to absolute doctrinal or
                        ecclesiastical uniformity in the golden age of the church; it's a claim
                        that Jesus' death and resurrection was the central cult narrative in the
                        first generation.)

                        Jeff Peterson
                        Austin Graduate School of Theology
                        Austin, Texas
                      • Stephen C. Carlson
                        ... Well, the entire point of Croy s book is to reopen the issue of whether Mark 16:8 was the author s ending of the gospel. One thing the textual critics are
                        Message 11 of 11 , Feb 16, 2006
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                          At 09:50 AM 2/15/2006 +0000, Tony Buglass wrote:
                          >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.

                          At 04:28 PM 2/15/2006 +0000, Tony Buglass wrote:
                          >OK - I admit it: I haven't read Croy. I never said I had, and it isn't at
                          >all guaranteed that I will. I was responding to Ken's setting out of the
                          >issue, in the light of other stuff which I have read - especially Gundry.
                          >My point concerned the assumptions of the point that Croy was making. If
                          >Mk.16:8 *was* the end of his gospel, then no matter what Croy thought, or
                          >those who created alternative endings to Mark, there is little point in
                          >surmising what might have been in the bit which wasn't there, 'cos it wasn't
                          >there. If you get my drift.

                          Well, the entire point of Croy's book is to reopen the issue of
                          whether Mark 16:8 was the author's ending of the gospel. One
                          thing the textual critics are good for reminding us is that the
                          "Mark as we have it" is not necessarily the "Mark as it is/was."
                          To ask whether and for whom Mark ended at 16:8 is text-critical
                          question that cannot be avoided.

                          Magness refers to the mutiliation issue in an interesting way
                          as follows (p. 11): "Third, even if we should accept the theory
                          of damage or loss or mutilation or suppression, we must again
                          affirm that, at least for those who read Sinaiticus or Vaticanus,
                          Mark did end at 16:8 and they had to made sense of the Gospel
                          on that basis."

                          This is an astute observation, because, regardless of whether
                          Mark originally ended at 16:8, it did end right there for the
                          people who produced and read those codices. So, Magness is
                          right to probe what does it mean for Mark to end at 16:8.

                          However, I've been intrigued by C. Kavin Rowe's article in the
                          latest JSNT ("History, Hermeutics and the Unity of Luke-Acts")
                          making the point that, for most early Christians, Luke and Acts
                          were not read as a literary unity; rather, Luke was read as part
                          of a fourfold gospel collection, and Acts did circulate separately.
                          Similarly, the people who produced Sinaiticus and Vaticanus did
                          not read Mark in a vacuum, the way we exegetes like to interpret
                          Mark, because Mark had been part of that gospel collection for at
                          least a hundred years. Their reading of a Mark that ends at 16:8
                          would be different from the one who did not have the benefit of
                          Matthew and Luke and John, would it not?

                          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
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