You write that the more interesting question is, Why was have Mark at all?
The hypothesis I have worked with is that originally each of the gospels was
the sole one in use in some significant local component of the emerging
'Great Church' network: Antioch having one, Alexandria another etc.
And then as the Great Church network continued to strengthen itself through
communication between its local component churches, that there was a
sharing: each local cluster of churches accepting the gospels of the others,
and having its own gospel accepted by them.
For this to explain the survival of Mark, after Lk and MT became available
to everyone, would require that Mark had been the official gospel in use in
at least one important local component.
This idea is reinforced by the fact that Mark did not just survive but
became one of the four canonical gospels. For it simply to have survived it
would have sufficed for it to have been replaced everywhere by the 'new and
enlarged' 2nd editions of the gospel (Mt and Lk.); and, having failed to be
accepted universally, to have simply been preserved as a beloved 'relic' by
the local church cluster where it originated. (If sometime later only a
single copy survived in some dusty corner, then it could easily have lost
that famous last page.)
(As I wrote this, the following modification occured to me: Given that it
apparently predated the other gospels by a couple of decades, Mark's use
could have spread widely throughout the Great Church network. But as soon as
the others were brought into existence the various local components might
quickly have replaced it without any sense of loss--in every area except
where it originated. There it could have retained the status of Number One
gospel or at least the status of cherished gospel. This would have sufficed
to ensure its later canonization.)
P.S. While each of the gospels may have had an 'author', I do not
necessarily see these authors as autonomous. One or the other a) may have
written under commission by his church and b) only have had their gospel
accepted when it measured up to the requirements of the elders.
(Further imagining! Mark's writing abilities were originally limited to what
was needed to work for some large import/export business. He learned how to
write a gospel through having his first 6--or 12!--drafts refused by his
elders. None of them could have written a gospel by himself, but they knew
what they wanted a gospel to be!
----- Original Message -----
From: "Wieland Willker" <willker@...-bremen.de>
To: "Crosstalk" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tuesday, November 07, 2000 4:58 AM
Subject: [XTalk] Re: More on Mark 16:9-20
> I think, the most probable scenario is that for whatever reason the REAL
ending is lost
> (either Mk never wrote one, or it was lost very early in the transmission
> early on people felt uncomfortable with this strange ending. Now, knowing
the Gospels of
> Mt, Lk and John, it is not too difficult to prepare some ending. It is not
> that EVERYTHING is exactly copied from Mt, Lk or Jo, some freedom is
allowed here. And we
> have at least three different endings. This shows IMHO that these endings
> prepared later to make Mk conform to the other Gospels. As Kurt Aland has
> shown, the so called shorter ending seems to be the oldest.
> I think the even more interesting question is, why we have Mk at all. Why
was it included
> into the canon and not Q, too?
> It seems that Mk was seldom used and seldom copied and that they obviously
digged out one
> of the last existing damaged copies of Mk and added it to the canon. Why?
Why was it
> earlier neglegted, but then got canon status? Contrast Q.
> Best wishes
> Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany
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