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Re: The Ending of Mark - Blank Spaces (to EM Again)

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  • James Snapp, Jr.
    Eddie Mishoe: EM: My reading of the LE of Mark is that is just seems out of place, as do second century apocrypha works. Again, I wonder what second
    Message 1 of 18 , Apr 21, 2009
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      Eddie Mishoe:

      EM: "My reading of the LE of Mark is that is just 'seems' out of place, as do second century apocrypha works."

      Again, I wonder what second century apocryphal works you have in mind. What features in the LE force one to view it as a second-century work, instead of a first-century work?

      EM: "As I'm reading those final' verses, it just "seems" different to me."

      And to me too: the narrative backs up in 16:9, as if the stage has been suddenly reset. The narrative becomes more summarized (but this is not necessarily a non-Marcan feature; some things are summarized in ch. 1 also). Here we see more "that one" and "those ones" used more frequently than anywhere else in the Gospel of Mark. It is no wonder that these things register. But perhaps the power of suggestion on the part of the many authors who have repeated and distorted Metzger's comments on the passage also might have a lot to do with your subjective impression.

      Both the similarities and the differences between Mk. 1:1-16:8 and 16:9-20 are explained if 16:9-20 was initially written by Mark as a freestanding text.

      Meanwhile, there are oodles of problems with the theory that 16:9-20 was written by someone in the second century who had access to all four Gospels and cobbled together the LE, selecting phraseology from the Gospels some 60 times, only to insert material with no such parallels, and only to record several things which are not recorded in the other Gospels, and only to fail to create a smooth transition from 16:8, and only to invite puzzlement about how his narrative can be harmonized with the other Gospels.

      (To give just one example: in Luke 24, Jesus seems to appear to the disciples as the two travelers have finished their report about His appearance on the road to Emmaus (i.e., "As they were saying these things" in Lk. 24:36). So why did the author of the LE, if he was aware of this, state in Mk. 16:13-14 that Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples later, as they sat at table, sometime after the two travelers had reported and had been met with disbelief? This discrepancy is resolved if the disciples together with the two travelers conversed for a while about the two travelers' report, but while knowledge of such a thing could be possessed by Mark, it seems to collide with the "patchwork" theory in which the author depends on the other Gospels because he himself has no knowledge of the events.

      EM: "I have read an article where someone showed that the vocabulary (and syntax??) of the LE has way too many non-Marcan words, but I've never read someone scholarly respond to that."

      One of the best antidotes to the exaggerations and distorted claims that have been made about the style and vocabulary of Mk. 16:9-20 can be found in Bruce Terry's online article about it. I recommend that you read Metzger's Textual Commentary, pages 122-125, and then read Dr. Terry's analysis. It is available online, and it is included as a chapter in my research paper, too. It may help to remember that Hort did not think that the style and vocabulary of 16:9-20 precluded Marcan authorship, and that Harvard professor Helmut Koester has written that the vocabulary and style of Mark 16:9-20 is "fully compatible with the Gospel of Mark," and that J. K. Elliott -- whose comments I look forward to reading in the "Perspectives" book -- has stated that "In many ways the non-Markan character of Mark 1.1-3 is more pronounced than that of Mark 16.9-20."

      I've enjoyed interacting with your entirely welcome comments and questions. Perhaps now we should refocus upon Dr. Wallace's claims about the meaning of the blank space in B after Mark 16:8.

      Yours in Christ,

      James Snapp, Jr.
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