At 05:04 PM 2/16/2006 -0500, Ken Olson wrote:
>KO: I seem not to have made the context of the question clear here. Gundry
>and Croy argue that it is Mark's habit to narrate the fulfillment of Jesus'
>predictions if those fulfillments occurred during 'Jesus' time on earth'.
>Gundry gives as an example the fact that Mark has Jesus tell two disciples
>to go into the city where a man with a jar of water will meet them and then
>they will be shown an upper room in Mk. 14,13-15, and then narrates the
>fulfillment of this in the following verse (Gundry, p. 1009). Thus, it would
>be against Mark's habit to end at 16.8, without narrating Jesus' promised
>appearance to the disciples. Naturally, there are many predictions Jesus
>makes which are not fulfilled in Marl, such as the destruction of the
>temple, which Gundry sets aside by limiting his claim to those fulfillments
>which take place "within Jesus time on earth."
OK, I've reviewed both Gundry and Croy, as well as the piece by
Kurt Aland that Gundry was responding to, and it seems to me that
Gundry chose the wrong issue to contest in Aland's argument.
Contrary to Gundry's characterization, there's no actual disagreement
between them on the need for the text to tie up the loose ends--
they just disagree on whether the text actually did so.
For Aland, he sees Mark 16:1-8 as affirming all the necessary
key elements and completely so ("Für Markus ist . . . das
Entscheidende und zwar vollständig ausgesagt") with the
the rolled-away stone, the empty tomb, and the *angel's* message
("mit dem Faktum . . . der Botschaft des Engels") that he is
risen. Specifically, Aland understands 16:7 as "closing the
circle" ("den Kreis schließend") regarding the prediction of
14:28, so he has no problem stating that the completed resurrection
stories belong to a later epoch.
Though Gundry takes Aland to task for missing the qualification of
a fulfillment in Jesus's time on earth, Aland's understanding of
that fulfillment does take place in Jesus' time on earth: with the
"angel's" message that Jesus has risen in 16:7. What Gundry missed,
and is the actual point of disagreement in my view, is the role of
16:8. Unlike Gundry and Croy, Aland does not think that 16:8
frustrates the narrative's completion of the prediction in 16:7.
Indeed, Aland specifically asserts that all four gospels, including
Mark 16:8, has the women do execute the order to tell the disciples
("die zwei Engel beauftragen die Frau[en], die Jünger zu unterrichten
. . . die Frau[en] führen diesen Auftrag aus (auch Mark. 16,8 ist
so zu verstehen, vgl. u.)").
If I could assent to Aland's reading of 16:8 that the women do
indeed carry out their order to tell the disciples, I would have
little problem affirming Aland's conclusion that Mark's narrative
has sufficient closure so that the 16:8 ending is unproblematic.
But I don't see how to understand 16:8 in that way, nor could I
find where else in Aland's article, notwithstanding the "vgl. u.,"
that Aland explained how 16:8 should be read that way. Now, Croy
cites other interpreters who take 16:8 to mean--not that the women
didn't say anything to anyone--but that the women didn't say
anything to anyone *other than the disciples* they were ordered
to inform. But try as I might, I just cannot figure out how to
get the Greek of 16:8 to mean that.
The other problem in Aland's argument is that it is not so clear
from Mark's text alone that the young man dressed in a white robe
is an *angel* as Aland assumes, and therefore has the narratival
authority to reassure the audience that the resurrection is a
foregone conclusion and need not be explicitly narrated. Certainly,
the other gospels do have angelic epiphanies, but not Mark itself.
Thus, Aland is relying on the parallel accounts to augment the
authoritativeness of 16:7 beyond what Mark's description of the
young man actually bears and what 16:8 undercuts.
If I could understand the Greek text of Mark 16:1-8 as Aland did,
I would have little problem affirming that there is sufficient
closure in Mark 16:1-8 of the prediction of 14:28, notwithstanding
Gundry and Croy's point about fulfilling predictions in Jesus's
time on earth. The problem I have with Aland's case is that I
cannot understand 16:7 followed by v. 8 as closing the circle.
Instead, v. 8 sets up a tension by denying that women carried out
the order and ends before that tension is ever resolved. The
audience is left wondering, well, how did the disciples learn to
go to Galilee to see Jesus. I'm sure the audience would have no
problem that Jesus would keep his side of the deal by showing up
in Galilee, but what about the disciples' part of the deal? Even
putting aside that the disciples fail time and time again when
they are explicitly told what to do, Mark 16:8 keeps them in the
dark. To the extent that Mark 16:7 may appear to fulfilled the
prediction of 14:28 that it is immediately rescinded in 16:8 with
a tension that is never resolved in the text.
>What I am arguing is that one could make a similar argument that Acts could
>not have ended at 27.31. The author of Acts has repeatedly narrated the
>fulfillments of predictions he has recorded as well, in so far as they were
>fulfilled during Paul's 'time on earth'. For instance, when the risen Lord
>strikes Paul blind, he tells him to go into the city and he will be told
>what to do. Then the Lord appears to Ananias and tells him where to find
>Saul, who has had a vision that a man named Ananias will come and lay hands
>on him and he will regain his sight." After some initial balking, Ananias
>does got to Paul, lays hands on him and his site is restored (Acts 9). So
>the author of Acts does narrate the fulfillment of predictions he has made,
>as does the author of Mark, though naturally we could quibble over the
>details in either account. Yet the author of Acts does not narrate Paul's
>trial before Caesar, which he has repeatedly foreshadowed.
>My question is: why would the predicted-but-not-narrated 'ending' be a
>problem for Mark and not for Acts?
Well, there are lots of differences between Mark and Acts, beyond the
obvious difference in authorship. Foreshadowing is not really a prediction.
Mark has a lot more of the real predictions than Acts. Mark is about
Jesus Christ; Acts is not about the life of Paul, it is about the spread
of the gospel, and it ends with the gospel being spread in Rome. Paul's
conviction and execution is a negative that detracts from the message of
Acts; Jesus's reunion with his disciples is a positive point that reinforces
the message of Mark. So, I don't think the analogy between Mark and
Acts holds up.
>SC: >>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?<<
>KO: OK. So the fact that an author has repeatedly foreshadowed an event (as the author of Acts has with the Paul's trial before Caesar) does not obligate him to narrate that event?
No, it's the fact that Paul's conviction before Caesar and subsequent
execution are shameful is why Acts did not end it there on that note.
There is nothing shameful about Jesus's reunions with his disciples.
>(KO)>>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.<<
>SC>>: I think that this reasoning might be so strong as to justify any possible ending.<<
>KO: And I think that your counter-argument is so broadly stated that it does not really engage with the specific argument I made.
I was reacting to your "Those who can understand will understand" which I
see as so powerful as to justify any obscurity in the ending, whether
intentional or not.
>The resurrection of Jesus, though it is not narrated in Mark's gospel, nor any other canonical gospel, does take place within Mark's gospel and is reported by the young man at the empty tomb. The text also suggests that the women see the empty place where Jesus had been laid. Contra Croy et al. I do not think 16.8 brings the resurrection report in 16.6 into doubt. God has done his part. The only think which is in doubt is the human reaction to what God has done with/through Jesus, and that is typically Markan. The women react improperly to the revelation given to them just as the disciples do in Mk. 6.51-52, 8.32-33, 9.5-6 et al.. But in none of these cases is the revelation itself brought into question.
Mark 16:8 brings into doubt that the promise that Jesus will see the
disciples in Galilee will be fulfilled. If the young man--not angel
as Aland has it--cannot be trusted on his promise in v.7, why should
he be believed on what he says in v.6?
>SC:>>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).<<
>KO: And I think that is a weak of the argument. Firstly, because there are many examples of people providing new endings to stories with which they were dissatisfied, both in modern and ancient literature. In some cases, these spurious endings might indeed be added because an original ending was lost, but this is not the case in all or even most instances.
Evidence that people in antiquity provided a new ending for a text
because they were dissatisfied with its extant ending helps me more
than it helps you.
>Secondly, many have supposed that Mark, if he did intend to end his gospel at 16.8, probably expected his audience to realize the end of the text is not the end of the story. If he expected that his audience would be able to supply for themselves (from the Christian tradition and the hints he had given) the fact that Jesus appeared to his disciples after his death, the examples you give show his faith was not misplaced.
The issue is whether Mark did enough to reasonably expect his audience
to supply it for themselves? The nice thing about about the ancient repairs
to Mark, is that we don't have to risk applying a standard that is
anachronistic (because we today are very much used to supplying endings
to all sorts of novels). The ancient repairs indicate that significant
people in Mark's audience did not realize that the end of the text was
sufficient to the end of the story by their standards, not ours.
>Thirdly, Matthew and Luke, in fact (if I may call it that), rewrote all of Mark's gospel. That may indicate that they felt the text of Mark had many shortcomings. It does not indicate that there must have been a lost version of Mark's text that did not have those shortcomings.
No, it indicates that Mark's ending at 16:8 has such a shortcoming
in their view. This too favors the position that Mark's ending at
16:8 failed contemporary expectations of a proper ending.
>Fourthly, I would even take the manuscript evidence, the theory that Luke used Mark, and the oft-noted parallels between Jesus' final journey to/in Jerusalem and Paul's to Rome to suggest not only that Luke's copy of Mark ended at 16.8, but that he understood what Mark was doing and adapted his technique of the foretold-but-not-narrated "ending" to Paul.
The parallels fail because nowhere in Acts does the author promise a
resurrection appearance for Paul, realized or not. Even in the case
of Paul's ignomious execution, which Acts has very good reasons not
to explicitly relate, Acts does not frustrate the audience's expectation
of what will happen in the way that Mark 16:8 does for the Galilee
Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
Author of: The Gospel Hoax, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1932792481