Kirsopp Lake and the Endings of Mark
- (Wrapping up)
I appreciate you taking time for the discussion too. The idea that Clement could be quoting Mk. 16:19 in the citation preserved by Cassiodorus is intriguing.
Kirsopp Lake was not only a textual critic; he was also a blazingly liberal theologian. In the course of his 1907 book "The Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ," he offered a number of speculations about what factually happened to the body of Jesus after the crucifixion, and appears to favor a naturalistic (non-miraculous) interpretation in which the women visited the wrong tomb. (He also expresses a rather sympathetic view of spiritualism/ghosts, but that's another subject.)
On pages 120-124, in a sub-chapter titled "The Spurious Conclusions of Mark," Lake makes some interesting statements. Since the book is available to download online at Google Books, I will focus only on the parts about the ending(s) of Mark that seemed especially interesting to me. They are especially interesting because they agree so completely with similar statements by John Burgon, even though the two men stood on opposite poles theologically. Burgon is sometimes shallowly dismissed as if his text-critical approach was an effect of his theology. But when Burgon and Lake agree . . . .
(1) How many endings of Mark are there? Lake says, "Of these there are two." Not "several." Not "various." Two. (This was 1907; probably Lake was just becoming aware of Codex W as the printer finished the book.)
(2) Do the scribes of Vaticanus and Sinaiticus indicate their awareness of 16:9-20? Lake says, referring to 16:9-20, "It is no longer seriously disputed that it is not an original part of the gospel, for it does not appear in the oldest Latin, Syriac, or Egyptian versions, or in the oldest Greek MSS., which, however, seem to betray a knowledge of its existence, and reject rather than omit it." Setting aside the claim about the versional evidence, Lake's statement regarding "the oldest Greek MSS" (that is, Vaticanus and Sinaiticus) is precisely what Burgon and Gwynn observed.
(3) Was the Longer Ending produced to conclude the Gospel of Mark? Lake says, "It must also be noted that the connexion of these verses" [that is, 16:9-20] "with the previous is so poor that they do not seem to have been written for its present place."
(4) Is the Longer Ending clearly dependent on the canonical Gospels? Lake lists the cross-references on p. 123, and says, "It is either based on the Third and Fourth Gospels, or represents the same tradition in a shorter and apparently inferior form," and, "There is between these passages no sufficient similarity to prove literary dependence, but it can scarcely be doubted that the traditions are the same."
Yours in Christ,
James Snapp, Jr.