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2779Re: Jesus Dynasty and the Ending of Mark

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  • James Snapp, Jr.
    Jan 1, 2007
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      Greetings DRP, and Happy New Year,

      Okay; I will demonstrate how Dr. Tabor has been deceptive. But
      first, I should explain what I mean by "deceptive." By the terms
      "deceptive" and "deceiver," I don't mean that Dr. Tabor is
      necessarily lying. I chose these terms (instead of "lying" and
      "liar" and "incorrect" and "erroneous") because (a) they don't
      involve judgments about the sincerity, motive, and competence of the
      writer, and (b) they describe material that was written to instruct
      others in a teacher-to-student way. By these terms, I mean that
      people who believe what the writer says will be deceived; they will
      end up believing something that is not true.

      Here is how Dr. Tabor's statements are deceptive.

      (1) Dr. Tabor said that pious scribes invented the contents of the
      Long Ending sometime in the fourth century. That is not true.
      Irenaeus quoted from Mk. 16:19 and described it as part of Mark's
      gospel-account. Tatian incorporated the Long Ending into the
      Diatessaron. There is ample evidence for the existence of the Long
      Ending of Mark before the fourth century. So, Dr. Tabor's statement
      that pious scribes in the fourth century invented the contents of the
      Long Ending is deceptive.

      (2) Dr. Tabor said that the Long Ending "is not found in any of our
      older more reliable copies of Mark." That is not true. It is absent
      from Vaticanus, and it is absent from Sinaiticus, but all other Greek
      MSS of Mark which contain material from Mark 16 also contain at least
      part of the Long Ending. To validate Dr. Tabor's statement, one
      would need to define ALL of our older, more reliable copies of Mark
      as ONLY those copies which lack the Long Ending -- which would be
      ludicrous. So, Dr. Tabor's statement that none of the older, more
      reliable copies of Mark contain the Long Ending is deceptive.

      Dr. Tabor's statement also deceives by what it does not say: he
      failed to mention that Vaticanus has a long blank space after 16:8,
      and that Sinaiticus has a blank page after the Gospels. He also
      leaves readers completely uninformed about the scope of pertinent
      patristic evidence which supports the Long Ending.

      (3) In his footnote, Dr. Tabor stated that the Long Ending does not
      appear in the Old Latin version. It does not appear in Codex
      Bobbiensis -- but Bobbiensis has a downright freakish text of Mark
      16; it's not representative of the Old Latin version at this point.
      Burkitt's view was inasmuch as these verses are present in D and in
      n, "There is therefore no doubt that they are part of the European
      Latin text." (Texts and StudiesVol. IV, #3, 1896, "The Old Latin and
      the Itala," p. 50) Against Burkitt's evidence (to which the
      testimony of aur, c, ff2, l, and q may be added), Tabor offers

      (4) In his footnote, where Dr. Tabor stated that "copies of Mark
      that contain the ending often include notes from the scribe pointing
      out that it is not in the oldest manuscripts," he uses the term
      "often" deceptively, inasmuch as the percentage of MSS which have
      such notes is pretty low. Readers will be get a false impression
      from his statement. An occurrence rate in the neighborhood of 3-in-
      150 is not "often." Also, he failed to communicate that most of
      the MSS which have notes like what he described are fairly closely
      related (in the Ferrar group), or that some of them are derived from
      material in the Commentary/Catena of Victor of Antioch. Thus, his
      statement about notes which occur "often" is deceptive.

      (5) Dr. Tabor wrote, "Two other "made-up" endings were later put
      into circulation, as shorter alternatives to this longer traditional
      ending." In this case, Dr. Tabor's statement is deceptive in two
      ways. First of all, there was only one other ending which was
      composed to be attached to 16:8 -- the "Short Ending." There is no
      evidence of any other ending being put into circulation at the end of
      Mark, following 16:8, besides the Short Ending and the Long Ending.
      Dr. Tabor's other made-up ending has never existed. Secondly, the
      Short Ending was not composed as an alternative to 16:9-20; it was
      composed in a transmission-stream where the Long Ending was not known
      or was unavailable.

      (If I may go Sherlock for a moment: Dr. Tabor's fantasy about two
      other endings besides 16:9-20 might have something to do with where
      he went to school. He graduated from the University of Chicago. As
      I recall, one of the more influential teachers at the Univ. of
      Chicago was Dr. Robert Grant, who in "A Historical Introduction to
      the NT" alluded to the Freer Logion as another ending of Mark. Dr.
      Tabor's phantom Third Ending may be a contorted memory of Grant's
      inaccurate description of the Freer Logion, combined, perhaps, with a
      vague awareness of the double-ending in L and similar MSS.)

      So, in light of all this, it is obvious that anyone who believes Dr.
      Tabor's statements about the ending of Mark will be deceived. The
      deception is worsened as Dr. Tabor, at the "Jesus Dynasty" discussion-
      forum, has appealed to his experience as a scholar (saying "I am well
      aware of the arguments for accepting Mark 16:9-20 as authentic," and
      mentioning that he has taught Mark "for over 25 years") to augment
      the persuasiveness of his statements, in a book intended for a
      readership of non-specialists.

      Dr. Tabor may sincerely think that all his false statements are
      true. He may sincerely think that he has thoroughly researched the
      subject of the ending of Mark. But he is incorrect. In terms of
      results, it doesn't really matter if he is deceiving people because
      he wants to deceive people, or if he is deceiving people because he
      did not perform competent, responsible research before writing about
      the endings of Mark. His readers will be deceived all the same.

      I hope the folks at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte
      realize that there's a difference between a policy of free expression
      and a policy of free deception.

      Yours in Christ,

      James Snapp, Jr.
      Curtisville Christian Church
      Indiana (USA)
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