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Mark 16:9-20 and the Silence of Clement of Alexandria and Origen

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  • James Snapp, Jr.
    It is almost routine to find in commentaries on Mark, on the subject of 16:9-20, echoes of Bruce Metzger s statement, Clement of Alexandria and Origen show no
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 21, 2009
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      It is almost routine to find in commentaries on Mark, on the subject
      of 16:9-20, echoes of Bruce Metzger's statement, "Clement of
      Alexandria and Origen show no knowledge of the existence of these
      verses." This past week I finally got around to casually examining
      the contents of some of the major works of Clement of Alexandria
      (whom I will just call "Clement" in this post) and Origen, hoping to
      find some indication of how much of the Gospel of Mark Clement and
      Origen show that they know.

      In the Index of Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 2 – in the part that
      covers Clement's "Exhortation to the Heathen," "The Instructor," "The
      Stromata, or Miscellanies," Fragments, and "Who Is the Rich Man That
      Shall Be Saved?" – 41 verses are referenced. I sorted them out,
      using the same standard that is usually used (by Hort, for instance)
      when something in the writings of Clement or Origen looks like it
      could be based on Mark 16:9-20: where the Gospel of Mark is not
      specified as the writer's source, if parallel passages or non-unique
      phrases are involved, or if the reference is clearly wrong, I
      assigned the reference to other NT passages.

      1:6 – does not name Mark; assigned to Matt. 3:4.

      1:7 – does not name Mark; assigned to Luke 3:16.

      1:40 – does not name Mark: "Will, it is said, and thou shalt be
      able." Assigned to Matt. 8:2, or an allusion to a common proverb. A
      footnote admits that this is only a possible allusion.

      2:11 – does not name Mark: "Rise up, he said to the paralytic, Take
      the bed on which thou liest, and go away home. And straightway the
      infirm man received strength."

      4:11 – does not name Mark: "These things the Savior himself seals
      when he says, To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom
      of heaven." Assigned to Matt. 13:11 or Luke 8:10, especially in
      light of the phrase "to know."

      4:21 – does not name Mark: "No one lighteth a candle, and putteth it
      under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may give light to
      those who are regarded worthy of the feast." Assigned to a loose
      recollection of Matthew 5:15 and/or Luke 8:16.

      5:34 (x2) – the first reference does not name Mark: "And `Rebecca,'
      interpreted, means `glory of God,' and the glory of God is
      immortality. This is in reality righteousness, not to desire other
      things, but to be entirely the consecrated temple of the Lord.
      Righteousness is peace of life and a well-conditioned state, to which
      the Lord dismissed her when he said, Depart into peace." Assigned to
      Luke 8:48.

      The second reference does not name Mark: "When we hear, `Thy faith
      hath saved thee,' we do not understand him to say absolutely that
      those who have believed in any way whatsoever shall be saved, unless
      also works follow." Assigned to Matthew 13:22 or Luke 8:48.

      7:6 – does not name Mark: "This people honoreth me with their lips,
      it is said, but their heart is far from me." Assigned to Isaiah
      29:13 or Matthew 15:8.

      8:36 – does not name Mark: "For what is the profit, it is said, if
      you gain the world and lose the soul?" An exact quotation, assigned
      to Matthew 16:26 or Luke 9:25.

      10:2 – does not name Mark: "Vox autem non legistis, quod protoplasto
      Deus dixit: `Eritis duo in carne una? Quare qui dimittit uxorem,
      praeterquam fornicationis causa, facit eam moechari. Sed post
      resurrectionem, inquit, nec uxorem ducunt, nec nubunt." Assigned to
      Matthew 19:3?

      10:9 (x2) – The first reference does not name Mark. "Jam adulterium
      judicat Dominus ex cogitatione. Quid enim? Anon licet etiam
      continenter uti matrimonio, et non conari dissolvere, quod `conjunxit

      The second reference is illegible in my copy of ANF Volume 2, page

      10:17 – "et rursus cum dixit: Si vis perfectus esse, vende quae
      habes, et da pauperibus," refellit eum qui gloriabatur quod `omnia a
      juventute praecepta servaverat." Assigned to Matthew 19:16 or Luke

      10:17-31 (15 verses) – "These things are written in the Gospel
      according to Mark: and in all the rest correspondingly; although
      perchance the expressions vary slightly in each, yet all show
      identical agreement in meaning."

      10:23 – does not name Mark: "Wherefore also the Word says that the
      tax-collectors shall be saved with difficulty." Assigned to Matthew
      19:23 or an allusion to Luke 18:24-27.

      10:25 – does not name Mark: "But if not [i.e., if a rich man does
      not exercise moderation and piety], sooner shall a camel enter
      through a needle's eye, than such a rich man reach the kingdom of
      God." Assigned to Matthew 19:24 or Luke 18:25.

      10:29-30 (2 verses) – Despite inexactness, this must be a loose
      quotation of Mark, considering that shortly before this Origen states
      explicitly that he is using the Gospel of Mark, "And Jesus answering
      said, Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall leave what is his own,
      parents, and children, and wealth, for my sake and the gospel's,
      shall receive an hundredfold." But this case is already counted as
      part of 10:17-31.

      10:31 – "The first shall be last, and the last first." Here Clement
      concludes his use of Mark 10:17-31.

      10:45 – (missing from my copy of ANF Vol. II.)

      11:23 – Does not name Mark: "This Gnostic . . . makes up for the
      absence of the apostles, by the rectitude of his life, the accuracy
      of his knowledge, by benefiting his relations, by removing the
      mountains of his neighbors, and putting away the irregularities of
      their soul." A slight allusion, assigned to Matthew 21:21 or Matthew
      17:20 or First Corinthians 13:2.

      12:17 – Does not name Mark: "And of civil government: Render to
      Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things which
      are God's." Assigned to Matthew 22:21 or Luke 20:25.

      12:23 – This is the same statement as the one given for 10:2. "Jam
      adulterium judicat Dominus ex cogitatione. Quid enim? Anon licet
      etiam continenter uti matrimonio, et non conari dissolvere,
      quod `conjunxit Deus?'" A footnote mentions Matthew 19:6.

      12:39 – Does not name Mark, and simply uses the word "protokathedra,"
      also used in Luke 20:46. Clement describes the destiny of a diligent
      deacon: "And although here upon earth he be not honored with the
      chief seat, he will sit down on the 24 thrones, judging the people,
      as John says in the Apocalypse."

      13:17 – (Illegible in my copy of ANF Vol. 2.)

      14:61-62 – Names Mark: "Now in the Gospel according to Mark, the
      Lord being interrogated by the chief of the priests if he was the
      Christ, the Son of the blessed God, answering, said, I am; and ye
      shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power."
      But `powers' mean the holy angels. Further, when he says, `at the
      right hand of God,' he means the self-same beings, by reason of the
      equality and likeness of the angelic and holy powers, which are
      called by the name of God. He says, therefore, that he sits at the
      right hand, that is, that he rests in pre-eminent honor."

      16:25 – non-existent (indexing error).

      The number of verses in Mark that Clement of Alexandria clearly uses
      is 17.
      10:17-31 = 15 verses.
      14:61-62 = 2 verses.

      I didn't feel like taking the time to investigate the Latin passages
      in ANF or the passages that are illegible or are on missing pages in
      my copy of ANF-II. There are six indexed verses that fall into one
      of those categories: 10:2, 10:9, 10:17, 10:45, 12:23, and 13:17. To
      save time, I unjustifiably placed all Latin, illegible, and missing
      citations in the category of "Clear use of Mark," with the result
      that the number of verses of Mark that Clement of Alexandria clearly
      uses = 23. Of those 23 verses, 19 are from chapter 10, and 15 of the
      23 = Mark 10:17-31.

      So how significant is it that Clement of Alexandria does not use Mark
      16:9-20? About as significant as it is that Clement of Alexandria --
      in "Exhortation to the Heathen," "The Instructor," "The Stromata,"
      Fragments, and "Who Is the Rich Man That Shall Be Saved?" -- does not
      use any text from Mark chapter 1, chapter 2, chapter 3, chapter 4,
      chapter 5, chapter 6, chapter 7, chapter 8, chapter 9, chapter 11,
      chapter 12, and chapter 16.

      Now let's consider Origen's use of Mark. ANF-IV presents "De
      Principiis," "To Africanus," "To Gregory," and "Against Celsus." In
      the ANF-IV Index, 41 references to Mark are listed. But when
      filtered to account for parallel passages, tangential references to
      Marcan passages in footnotes, overly vague allusions, and
      miscitations, these 41 references listed in the ANF Index, when
      filtered, yield only five verses of Mark which are clearly quoted by
      Origen in ANF Volume 4 (in "De Principiis," "To Africanus," "To
      Gregory," and "Against Celsus").

      1:1, 1:2 – refers to Mark: "Even one of the evangelists, Mark,
      says, `The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as it is written
      in the prophet Isaiah, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face,
      who shall prepare thy way before thee,' which shows that the
      beginning of the gospel is connected with the Jewish writings.

      3:18 – refers to Mark: "It is manifest to us all who possess the
      Gospel narratives, which Celsus does not appear even to have read,
      that Jesus selected 12 apostles, and that of these Matthew alone was
      a tax-gatherer; that when he calls them indiscriminately sailors, he
      probably means James and John, because they left their ship and their
      father Zebedee, and followed Jesus; for Peter and his brother Andrew,
      who employed a net to gain their necessary subsistence, must be
      classed not as sailors, but as the Scripture describes them, as
      fishermen. The Lebes also, who was a follower of Jesus, may have
      been a tax-gatherer; but he was not of the number of the apostles,
      except according to a statement in one of the copies of Mark's

      4:12 (x2) – The first reference makes use of material unique to
      Mark: "And let us look also at the passage in the Gospel – the
      answer which the Savior returns to those who inquired who he spoke to
      the multitude in parables. His words are: `That seeing they might
      not see; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest they
      should be converted, and their sins be forgiven them."

      The second reference also makes use of material unique to
      Mark: "There was after this the passage from the Gospel, where the
      Savior said, that for this reason did he speak to those without in
      parables, that `seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not
      understand; lest they should be converted, and their sins be forgiven

      6:2-3 – does not name Mark: "Now who is there . . . that would not
      laugh at Celsus, on hearing that Jesus, who was born and brought up
      among the Jews, and was supposed to be the son of Joseph the
      carpenter, and who had not studied literature – not merely that of
      the Greeks, but not even that of the Hebrews – as the truth-loving
      Scriptures testify regarding him, had read Plato." Assigned to
      Matthew 13:54-55 and especially John 7:15.

      6:3 – the reference to Mark 6:3 occurs in a footnote. Origen's own
      statement is: "He [Celsus] says, `For this reason the tree is
      introduced, either because our teacher was nailed to a cross, or
      because he was a carpenter by trade,' not observing that the tree of
      life is mentioned in the Mosaic writings, and being blind also to
      this, that in none of the Gospels current in the churches is Jesus
      himself ever described as being a carpenter."

      10:8 – Does not name Mark: "More truly indeed of this than of any
      other can the statement be affirmed, `They shall both be in one
      flesh, and are no longer two, but one flesh." Assigned to Genesis
      2:24 or Matthew 19:5-6.

      10:18 – Does not name Mark: "Our Lord and Savior, hearing himself on
      one occasion addressed as `Good Master,' referring him who used it to
      his own good Father, said, `Why callest thou me good? There is none
      good but one, that is, God the Father." Assigned to Luke 18:18-19 or
      a variant-form of Matthew 19:16-17. None of the Gospels
      includes "the Father" in the text. Origen may have been making a
      recollection on the spot.

      10:44 – Uses material found only in Mark: "Perhaps it is the
      following passages which have led Celsus to suppose that Jesus
      forbids ambition to His disciples: `Whoever of you will be the
      chiefest, shall be servant of all.'"

      13:31 – Does not name Mark: "For we desire to listen to him who
      said, `Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass
      away." Assigned to Matthew 24:35 or Luke 21:33.

      That's it. The 41 references listed in the ANF Index, when filtered,
      yield only five verses of Mark which are clearly quoted by Origen in
      ANF Volume 4 (in "De Principiis," "To Africanus," "To Gregory,"
      and "Against Celsus"). They are: 1:1, 1:2, 3:18, 4:12, and 10:44.

      In Philocalia, four additional citations of Mark by Origen are
      indicated in the footnotes:

      Footnote 2: Mark 13:9 (Matthew 10:18)
      Footnote 290: Mark 3:1
      Footnote 358: Mark 4:11 and Mark 4:34.
      Footnote 452: Mark 4:20. (Luke 8:10)

      A close consideration reveals the following:

      13:9 – does not name Mark: "For Jesus taught with all authority and
      persuasiveness that the word would prevail, so that one may
      reasonably regard his utterances as prophetic. For instance, `Before
      governors and kings shall ye be brought for my sake, for a testimony
      to them and to the Gentiles.'" Clearly Origen is using Matthew

      3:17 (not 3:1) – does not name Mark but seems to allude to Mark. The
      ANF's Index's reference to 3:1 probably embodies a typographical
      error; if Mark 3:17 is considered to be the intended reference-point,
      then in Origen's statement, "Other see it thus also, men who have
      been born of words with a great voice, such as have the full tones of
      spiritual thunder," there is a highly probable allusion to Mark
      3:17's description of James and John as the "sons of thunder."

      4:11 – uses material unique to Mark. "If you come to the books
      written after the time of Jesus, you will find the crowds of
      believers who heard the parables regarded as `without,' and worthy
      only of the popular arguments." This suits the word "without" as
      found in Mark 4:11, but not Mark 4:34.

      Mark 4:12 (not 4:20 which appears in the Index) – this footnote turns
      out to be connected to a quotation of Mark 4:12, not 4:20. Thus it
      does not add to the number of verses of Mark used by Origen.

      So, in the works of Origen in ANF Vol. 4 and in Philocalia, the
      number of verses of Mark which are used by Origen = seven. They are
      1:1, 1:2, 3:17, 3:18, 4:11, 4:12, and 10:44.

      I now turn to the remains of Origen's Commentary on John and
      Commentary on Matthew, which are presented in ANF Volume 9. The
      Index for these compositions lists 55 references to the contents of
      Mark. Here they are, reviewed:

      1:1-3 – A use of Mark: "There is also this to be considered about
      the Gospel, that in the first instance it is that of Christ Jesus,
      the head of the whole body of the saved; as Mark says, `The beginning
      of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.'" A few sentences later: "For the
      same Mark says, `The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as it
      is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold I send my messenger before
      thy face, who shall prepare thy way. The voice of one crying in the
      wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."

      1:2 – does not name Mark. Assigned to Malachi 3:1 (or Matthew
      11:10): "Those who hold this view will say that since persons are
      styled angels who are manifestly men . . . as it is written of John
      the Baptist, `Behold I send my messenger before thy face.'"

      1:6-7 – A use of Mark: "Mark, again, says, "John preached, saying,
      There cometh after me he that is mightier than I, the latchet of
      whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I baptized
      you with water, but he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

      1:9 – A use of Mark: [We learn from Matthew that Jesus came from
      Galilee,] "And Mark adds the place in Galilee; he says, `And it came
      to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and
      was baptized by John in Jordan." (Note: Origen may have been
      recollecting the passages that he cites here. Origen proceeds to
      state that "Luke tells us what we do not learn from the others, that
      immediately after the baptism, as he was coming up, heaven was opened
      to him, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a
      dove." Would he have stated this with Matthew 3:16 in front of him?)

      1:11 – does not name Mark: "When the words are addressed to
      him, "Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee,' this is spoken
      to him by God, with whom all time is today." Assigned to Psalm 2:7,
      or a "Western" form of Luke 3:22.

      1:14 – A use of Mark: "Matthew and Mark also state a certain reason
      why he departed thither, namely, that he had heard that John was cast
      into prison."

      1:13-15 – A use of Mark: "Mark has the following: `And he was in
      the desert 40 days and 40 nights tempted by Satan, and he was with
      the wild beasts, and the angels ministered unto him. But after John
      was delivered up Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of
      God, that the time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand;
      repent ye, and believe in the gospel."

      1:21 – A use of Mark: "Then after the narrative about Andrew and
      Peter and James and John, Mark writes, `And he entered into
      Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he was teaching in the

      1:14-27 – A use of Mark: "And Mark, starting in his narrative from
      the temptation by the devil, relates that after John was cast into
      prison, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and
      after the call of the four fishermen to the apostleship, "They enter
      into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath day he taught in the
      synagogue, and they were astonished at his doctrine." And Mark
      records an action of Jesus also which took place at Capernaum, for he
      goes on to say, "In their synagogue there was a man with an unclean
      spirit, and he cried out, saying, `Ah! What have we to do with thee,
      thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? We know thee
      who thou art, the Son of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, `Hold
      thy peace and come out of him,' and the unclean spirit, tearing him
      and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all
      amazed." And at Capernaum Simon's mother-in-law is cured of her
      fever. And Mark adds that when evening was come all those were cured
      who were sick and who were possessed with demons."

      1:16 – does not name Mark: "There is a difference in thought,
      perhaps, between Simon who is found by his own brother Andrew, and
      who is addressed, "Thou shalt be called Cephas," and him who is seen
      by Jesus when walking by the sea of Galilee, along with his brother,
      and is addressed conjointly with that brother, `Come after me, and I
      will make you fishers of men.'" Assigned to Matthew 4:18.

      3:17 – does not name Mark, but alludes to the unique contents of Mark
      3:17: "Some of those who stand by Jesus are deemed worthy of this
      honor, if they be either a Peter against whom the gates of Hades do
      not prevail, or the sons of thunder, and are begotten of the mighty
      voice of God who thunders and cries aloud from heaven."

      4:30 – a use of Mark: "Now a similitude differs from a parable, for
      it is written in Mark, `To what shall we compare the kingdom of God,
      or in what parable shall we set it forth?'"

      4:34 – does not name Mark but uses material unique to Mark: "We
      ought to think in a general way about every parable, the
      interpretation of which has not been recorded by the evangelists,
      even though Jesus explained all things to his own disciples

      5:1 – does not name Mark, but in a discussion of the location of the
      Legion-exorcism, mentions the Evangelists as a group: "In the matter
      of proper names the Greek copies are often incorrect, and in the
      Gospels one might be misled by their authority. The transaction
      about the swine, which were driven down a steep place by the demons
      and drowned in the sea, is said to have taken place in the country of
      the Gerasenes. Now, Gerasa is a town of Arabia, and has near it
      neither sea nor lake. And the Evangelists would not have made a
      statement so obviously false, for they were men who informed
      themselves carefully of all matters connected with Judaea. But in a
      few copies we have found, "into the country of the Gadarenes," and
      regarding this reading, it is to be stated that Gadara is a town of
      Judaea, in the neighborhood of which are the well-known hot springs,
      and that there is no lake there with overhanging banks, nor any sea.
      But Gergesa, from which the name Gergesenes is taken, is an old town
      in the neighborhood of the lake now called Tiberias, and on the edge
      of it there is a steep place abutting on the lake, from which it is
      pointed out that the swine were cast down by the demons."

      5:13 – Does not mention Mark; the allusion is too generalized to pin
      to one Gospel-account.

      6:1 – A use of Mark: "And Mark says, `And he came into his own
      country and his disciples follow him."

      6:5-6 – A use of Mark: "Matthew and Mark, wishing to set forth the
      excellency of the divine power, that it has power even in unbelief,
      but not so great power as it has in the faith of those who are being
      benefited, seeom to me to have said with accuracy, not that he did
      not `any' mighty works because of their unbelief, but that he did
      not `many' there. And Mark also does not say, that he could not do
      any mighty work there, and stop at that point, but added, `Except
      that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk and healed them.'"

      6:14 – An allusion to Mark: ""At that season Herod the tetrarch
      heard the report concerning Jesus and said unto his own
      servants, `This is John the Baptist.'" In Mark it is the same, and
      also in Luke." The text quoted by Origen is from Matthew 14:1.

      6:15 – A use of Mark: "The opinion of those who said that Jesus
      was `a prophet even as one of the prophets' has no bearing on the

      6:39-41 and 8:6 – A use of Mark: "Mark says, `He commanded them all
      to sit down.'" And, "There, the three evangelists say in the very
      same words that `He took the five loaves and the two fishes and
      looking up to heaven he blessed,' but here, as Matthew and Mark have
      written, `Jesus gave thanks and brake.' There, they recline upon the
      grass, but here they sit upon the ground."

      6:39-40 – A use of Mark: "Let us not pass by without exposition the
      words, `He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass, and he
      took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he
      blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the
      disciples to the multitudes. And they did all eat.'" And, "Mark has
      written, `And he commanded them that they should all sit down by
      companies upon the green grass; and they sat down in ranks by
      hundreds and by fifties."

      6:41 – A use of Mark: "Mark says, `He commanded them all to sit
      down,' but here he does not command but proclaims to the multitudes
      to sit down."

      6:45 – a use of Mark, citing Mark by name.

      7:3-4 – a use of Mark, citing Mark by name and using material unique
      to Mark.

      7:19 – a use of Mark, citing Mark by name.

      7:24 – a use of Mark, citing Mark by name and quoting the passage

      8:6 – (see above, on 6:41)

      8:30 – a use of Mark, citing Mark by name.

      9:1 – does not name Mark but used material unique to Mark: "They saw
      the kingdom of God coming with power." And, "It is written in the
      three Evangelists, `They shall not taste death.'"

      9:2 – Mark is named: "Now after six days, according to Matthew and
      Mark, he taketh with him …" (quotation of Matthew 17:1 proceeds.)

      9:3 – Mark is named: "It will be necessary to expound the passage as
      given in Mark, `And as he was praying he was transfigured before

      9:5 – Assigned to Matthew 17:4.

      9:6 – Mark is named: "Mark, in his own person, has added, `For he
      knew not what to answer.'"

      9:33-37 – Mark is named: "Mark, then, says that the Twelve reasoned
      in the way as to which of them was the greatest." . . . "Wherefore he
      sat down, and called them" . . . "and taking him in his arms" . . . .

      10:2 – Mark is named: [After a quotation of Matthew 19:3] "Mark also
      has written to the like effect."

      10:18 (x2) – Mark is not named in either case: "The Savior praises
      him, saying, `None is good but one, God the Father." And, "For as
      none is good but one, God the Father, so among rivers none is good
      but the Jordan." Assigned to a variant-form (Diatessaronic?) of
      Matthew 19:17.

      11:1-12 and 11:15-17 – Mark is named and is cited.

      11:24-25 – Mark is not named but unique material from Mark is
      used: "If ye stand praying, believe that ye receive, and ye shall

      12:17 – Mark is not named: "Let him, then, who has the things of
      Caesar render them to Caesar, that afterwards he may be able to
      render to God the things of God." Assigned to Matthew 22:21 or Luke

      12:20 – (incorrect citation; the passage used by Origen = Mk. 12:26)

      12:26 – Mark is not named but material unique to Mark is
      used: "'Have you not read,' he says, `what is said by God at the
      Bush, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of
      Jacob; he is not the God of the dead but of the living.'"

      12:28 – Mark is not named, but the allusion is sufficiently strong,
      running parallel to Mt. 22:34.

      14:5 – Mark is not named, and the context shows clearly that the
      passage that Origen is using is John 12:4-6.

      14:49 – Mark is not named; the passage cited by Origen is Matthew
      26:56 – "That the things spoken through the prophets might be

      14:58, 14:60-61 – Mark is named and quoted.

      15:21 – Mark is named: "Jesus according to Matthew and Mark and Luke
      does not bear it [i.e., the cross] for himself, for Simon of Cyrene
      bears it."

      If we condense all that into a list, we may present the verses of
      Mark which Origen uses in the remains of his Commentaries on John and
      Matthew chapter-by-chapter as follows, with verses of Mark used by
      Origen in ANF Vol. 4 and Philocalia in parentheses:

      Chapter 1: 1-3, 6-7, 9, 13-27 (1, 2)
      Chapter 2: none
      Chapter 3: 17 (17, 18)
      Chapter 4: 30, 34 (11, 12)
      Chapter 5: 1
      Chapter 6: 1, 5-6, 14-15, 39-41, 45
      Chapter 7: 3-4, 19, 24
      Chapter 8: 6, 30
      Chapter 9: 1-3, 6, 33-37
      Chapter 10: 2 (44)
      Chapter 11: 1-12, 15-17, 24-25
      Chapter 12: 26, 28
      Chapter 13: none
      Chapter 14: 58, 60-61
      Chapter 15: 21
      Chapter 16: none

      In addition to these references, in chapter 8 of "On Prayer," Origen
      uses Mark 1:35.

      Some observations:

      (1) Origen does not use Mark 1:36-3:16, which consists of 54 (10 +
      28 + 16) consecutive verses.
      (2) Origen does not use Mark 3:19-4:11, which consists of 28 (17 +
      11) consecutive verses.
      (3) Origen does not use Mark 4:13-4:30, which consists of 17
      consecutive verses.
      (4) Origen does not use Mark 5:2-5:43, which consists of 41
      consecutive verses.
      (5) Origen does not use Mark 6:46-7:2, which consists of 13 (11+ 2)
      consecutive verses.
      (6) Origen does not use Mark 7:4-7:19, which consists of 15
      consecutive verses.
      (7) Origen does not use Mark 7:25-8:5, which consists of 18 (13 + 5)
      consecutive verses).
      (8) Origen does not use Mark 8:7-8:29, which consists of 22
      consecutive verses.
      (9) Origen does not use Mark 9:7-9:32, which consists of 25
      consecutive verses.
      (10) Origen does not use Mark 10:3-10:42, which consists of 39
      consecutive verses.
      (11) Origen does not use Mark 11:26-12:25, which consists of 32 (7 +
      25) consecutive verses.
      (12) Origen does not use Mark 12:29-14:57, which consists of 110 (16
      + 37 + 57) consecutive verses.
      (13) Origen does not use Mark 14:62-15:20, which consists of 31 (11
      + 20) consecutive verses.
      (14) Origen does not use Mark 15:22-16:8, which consists of 33 (25 +
      8) consecutive verses.

      Origen fails to use 14 chunks of text from Mark which each contain
      more than 12 verses (including a 39-verse chunk, a 41-verse chunk, a
      54-verse chunk, and a 110-verse chunk). If we chop those 14 chunks
      of unused text into sections of 12 verses each, ignoring whatever
      number of verses is left over, then some additional observations can
      be made:

      Mark 1:36-3:16 includes 4 12-verse sections.
      Mark 3:19-4:11 includes 2 12-verse sections.
      Mark 4:13-4:30 includes 1 12-verse section.
      Mark 5:2-5:43 includes 3 12-verse sections.
      Mark 6:46-7:2 includes 1 12-verse section.
      Mark 7:4-7:19 includes 1 12-verse section.
      Mark 7:25-8:5 includes 1 12-verse section.
      Mark 8:7-8:29 includes 1 12-verse section.
      Mark 9:7-9:32 includes 2 12-verse sections.
      Mark 10:3-10:42 includes 3 12-verse sections.
      Mark 11:26-12:25 includes 2 12-verse sections.
      Mark 12:29-14:57 includes 9 12-verse sections.
      Mark 14:62-15:20 includes 2 12-verse sections.
      Mark 15:22-16:8 includes 2 12-verse sections.

      Thus, Origen did not use 34 12-verse sections in Mark 1:1-16:8. If
      Origen's failure to use a 12-verse chunk of text is taken to mean
      that Origen had no knowledge of those verses, then one must conclude
      not only that Origen had no knowledge of Mark 16:9-20, but he also
      had no knowledge of these other 34 sections.

      To put it in statistical terms: Mark 1:1-16:20 (in the Byzantine
      Text) has 678 verses. The 34 12-verse sections unused by Origen in
      Mark 1:1-16:8 consist of 412 verses, that is, 62% of Mark 1:1-16:8.
      (This does not include leftover verses which do not fit into tidy 12-
      verse sections.) The suggestion that Origen failed to use Mark 16:9-
      20 because these 12 verses were not known to him is shown to be
      specious by the observation that Origen likewise fails to use 34
      other 12-verse sections which constitute over 60% of the Gospel of

      In 1881, Hort wrote (referring to the non-use of Mark 16:9-20 by
      Clement and Origen), "The evidence from the silence of both these
      writers is of the casual rather than the special kind." In 2001, Dr.
      Michael Holmes chimed in about the use of the silence of Clement and
      Origen as evidence for the Abrupt Ending: "This is an argument from
      silence, so not too much weight can be placed on it." Possibly these
      evaluations may be altered by an analysis of texts by Clement or
      Origen other than the ones covered here, such as Origen's Homilies.
      Barring such a thing, though, these statements seem correct.

      Readers of Metzger's Textual Commentary (and its many echoes in
      various commentaries) should view the statement that "Clement of
      Alexandria and Origen show no knowledge of the existence of these
      verses" with the awareness that Clement shows knowledge of no more
      than 23 of Mark's 678 verses, and that Origen shows no knowledge of
      34 other 12-verse sections of Mark, until evidence is presented to
      the contrary.

      Yours in Christ,

      James Snapp, Jr.
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