RE: [XTalk] RE: The Mutilation of Mark's Gospel
- Kurt Noll wrote:
> Mark, I agree and disagree with your comment that I snipped above.is
> Your point about Matthew and Luke going their own ways after Mark 16:8
> important but, does it not cut both ways? They clearly did not have awrote
> Mark that continued past that verse, but was it the Mark that Mark
> or was it a mutilated text? I don't think that could be the mostit
> compelling argument for either side in the debate because, in my view,
> fits both sides.Kurt:
I suppose one might allow that Matthew and Luke could have used a
mutilated text. But for me, how likely is that? We know they used
Mark, and undoubtedly a Mark that ends with 16:8....but there is no
evidence that they know of any other text. This is an argument from
silence, and while it may be true, I wish there were evidence. Clearly
they were impressed enough with Mark "as is" to use it as the basis of
their revised gospels. Moreover one has to imagine how they accessed
this. They probably were not using an "original" codex that had some
pages lost. No, rather copying of the text must have already taken
place and been distributed to various places. Thus Luke and Matthew
used copies of a text that was already a shortened one. So this short
Mark was considered important enough to copy and distribute, perhaps
broadly. (and here I find Bauckham's argument that the gospels were
meant to be distributed broadly, not just products for a closed
community convincing). So for the mutilation hypothesis to work, the
mutilation must have happened in the original form, and yet in this
form it was copied and distributed and used elsewhere.
> On the other hand, I can't let go of the mutilation hypothesis because
> fits with some anomalies that have always bothered me: If Mark wasJohn).
> composed so early, why does no trace of him seem to appear in early
> Fathers? Ignatius knows Matthew (and a few scholars say he knows
> What about Mark? Then I note that Papias seems to make excuses forthe
> nature of Mark's text. Why? For this reason, I am not uncomfortablewith
> the issue you express discomfort over. Hypothetically, I can envisiona
> text that was circulated not at all until Matthew got hold of it.After
> his revision, the original (mutilated) text begins to circulate andlater
> Luke uses it.Well, Mark doesn't disappear. Matthew and Luke at least used it. And
it was always considered part of the early gospel canon. Granted,
Matthew becomes used far more commonly. But that probably comes about
because of the nature of Matthew's gospel -- as didactic instruction.
Mark, on the other hand, functions far more as an evangelistic text --
one which seeks to draw the reader into a self-examination: would I
react like this? Do I believe? Will I be more faithful than they?
Matthew as didactic instruction (more focused on the church), and Luke
as salvation history, both become more functional in the developing
church. But Mark is not lost -- it is just used less.
I guess I don't find the argument that Mark was unused until Matthew got
a hold of it convincing. And then Luke used it. Why? If Matthew's use
spurred on later use of Mark, well that would be great in one way, since
it would suggest that Luke knew and used Matthew (which I would agree
with). But even here, why then would Luke use Mark in addition to (or
instead of, in the two document hypothesis) if Matthew was available.
But if Mark used Matthew, there is ample evidence in this scenario that
Luke valued Mark over Matthew and thus utilized both. So why is Mark,
if it has been unknown and essentially sequestered, still valued and
used by Luke? Perhaps it was not that difficult or viewed that
negatively, despite Papias' later concern about it. Granted, Mark
stylistically is rough, and thus would cause some difficulty, and yet
was never totally shelved.
Again, for me the strongest argument for Mark's integrity as it stands
(at 16:8) is that it works so well internally as a narrative.
Mark A. Matson
- James McGrath wrote:
> For me, one of Croy's strongest arguments that Mark originally
> further is a comparison with Moby Dick. Apparently, a first printingone
> omitted the final chapter, with the result that "no one survived". As
> reviewer appropriately asked, if no one lived to tell the tale, thenhow
> am I hearing about it?!James:
I actually don't find that terribly convincing. Mark's story leaves
enough pointers in the story forward to a post-resurrection time, so the
fact that some were restored is implied in the story line. Hence, the
abrupt ending rather than being impossible only emphasizes the dilemma
to the reader -- "would you too run away?" It matches so well the
underlying story line that the disciples (including women) are all
potentially "outside" even when Jesus draws them in. It is a narrative
pattern throughout the story (cf. Mk 8:14-21, where midway despite being
included as hearers, they too fail to understand. This pattern is set
early in the gospel, and continues right through Peter's denial, all
leaving, and then the women too.) Thus the abrupt ending performs
magnificently, rather than being defective.
> This logical problem, combined with the fact that so many differentearly
> ancient readers of Mark's Gospel (Matthew, Luke, and at least two
> scribes) felt that Mark's ending was abrupt, are sufficientindication,
> for me anyway, that something is indeed missing. The Gospel of Peteris
> also important evidence - it provides an ending that flows logicallyor
> continuing where Mark leaves off, and does not follow either Matthew
> Luke at this point, suggesting the author knew Mark's complete storyWell, granted the ending is problematic for an evangelist who is trying
> (which does not necessarily mean he had a complete text of Mark before
to instruct the church (Matt), or give a pattern of the role of the
church in the grand sweep of Israel to the new kingdom (Luke). But that
has more to do with the very different purposes these gospels have,
rather than simply seeing Mark as defective. Indeed, if they were so
troubled, why use Mark as their primary outline?
> What is more perplexing to me is that neither Matthew nor Luke seemsto
> have known the continuation of Mark's story. Whatever Mark originallyhad,
> whether this abrupt ending or a continuation that is now lost, Matthewand
> Luke did not know what happens next, except that the disciples sawJesus.
> They disagree on where and on most major details.Agreed. They didn't have an ending. Because one was never written. And
they didn't have a birth narrative, because one wasn't written.
> Research on oral tradition suggests that group testimony tends to bean
> outline. Would it not be a plausible explanation that the earlytestimony
> about the resurrection appearances was a list, perhaps resembling theoffer
> first part of that given in 1 Corinthians 15? What Matthew and Luke
> would then be an attempt to elaborate that list, in the absence ofmuch
> other information, into a flowing narrative.I am quite willing to assume the existence of oral traditions that Matt
and Luke may have drawn on / in addition to some creative work on their
own to tell the story that they felt needed to be told (for their own
Mark A. Matson
- At 06:03 AM 7/18/2007, Matson, Mark (Academic) wrote:
>[snip]But isn't it also possible that the shortened version was copied
>I suppose one might allow that Matthew and Luke could have used a
>mutilated text. But for me, how likely is that? We know they used
>Mark, and undoubtedly a Mark that ends with 16:8....but there is no
>evidence that they know of any other text. This is an argument from
>silence, and while it may be true, I wish there were evidence. Clearly
>they were impressed enough with Mark "as is" to use it as the basis of
>their revised gospels. Moreover one has to imagine how they accessed
>this. They probably were not using an "original" codex that had some
>pages lost. No, rather copying of the text must have already taken
>place and been distributed to various places. Thus Luke and Matthew
>used copies of a text that was already a shortened one. So this short
>Mark was considered important enough to copy and distribute, perhaps
because *no complete version was available*?
>(and here I find Bauckham's argument that the gospels wereNo, it need only to have happened to the *only extant copy,* whether
>meant to be distributed broadly, not just products for a closed
>community convincing). So for the mutilation hypothesis to work, the
>mutilation must have happened in the original form, and yet in this
>form it was copied and distributed and used elsewhere. . . . .
original or not. For example, other copies might have gotten lost
during the Jewish Wars of 70 C.E.
University of Hawaii
- At 03:26 PM 7/17/2007, K L Noll wrote:
>Mark wrote:I actually like the 'mutilated Mark' hypothesis. It comports well
>I found the argument that Mt. and Luke vary from Mark the most
>precisely after 16:8. Yes! To me this is a strong argument for
>the shorter original version of Mark. They didn't have it. Period.
>Much more satisfying than somehow a codex version lost the front and
>the back very early in its transmission.... and no-one copied it in
>its original form?
>. . . Mark, I agree and disagree with your comment that I snipped above.
>Your point about Matthew and Luke going their own ways after Mark
>16:8 is important but, does it not cut both ways? They clearly did
>not have a Mark that continued past that verse, but was it the Mark
>that Mark wrote or was it a mutilated text? I don't think that
>could be the most compelling argument for either side in the debate
>because, in my view, it fits both sides. . . .
with what we know about other ancient codexes, and with physical
realities. BTW, did any of the early codexes have true covers to
protect the first and last pages? That might be an important clue. If
Matthew and Luke knew only the 'mutilated Mark', and had physically
seen it and the evidence of missing beginning and end, would that not
have served as extra motivation to supply the "missing" information?
It also does not surprise me much that no complete (unmutilated)
copies survived, because if Mark wrote shortly before 70 BCE, the
Wars would have made it difficult to keep intact the small number of
I also like it because it combines two domains of knowledge: literary
analysis, and manuscript curation (I mean that part of textual
criticism that deals with actually handling and transcribing the
physical manuscripts themselves.) The trouble with much biblical
criticism is that these methods are too often conducted in isolation
from each other.
University of Hawaii