Correcting TC-related Mistakes: Whose Job Is It?
- A while ago I mentioned the case of Dr. Bob McCartney, who, with two graduate degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, managed to tell his congregation at First Baptist Church of Wichita Falls, Texas on July 17, 2011, that Clement "stated" that his manuscripts of Mark 16 had nothing after verse 8, and that "Until you get to about 800 or 900 A.D., you can't find a manuscript that contains these verses of Scripture." As of today, as far as I can tell, the sermon in which he made those claims has not been withdrawn, or adjusted, or clarified; it is still online and available to download at the First Baptist Church of Wichita Falls website.
Now I introduce Dr. Mark Krause, who has told his blog-readers at
that "Many of the earliest copies of this book do not have Mark 16:9-20, or have a different ending."
This was only stated in a tangential way, so you'd think that correcting it would not be a big deal. Ten minutes of research should be enough to reveal that only two of the earliest Greek copies of Mark end at 16:8; only six Greek copies (of any age) have the Shorter Ending, and if we consider all copies of Mark 16 (Greek and non-Greek) produced before 700, only five of them don't support verses 9-20 and only one of them (Codex Bobbiensis) has the Shorter Ending. Dr. Krause's claim that many of the earliest copies of Mark don't have 16:9-20 or have a different ending is demonstrably false.
But although I've tried to convince Dr. Krause to adjust his claim, he has said that he will stand by that statement.
From where comes such adamant dedication to spread a false claim about Mark 16:9-20? Rather than resulting from a lack of education, I think that it's a result of his education. Dr. Krause studied at Emmanuel School of Religion, and at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he was a graduate assistant for D. A. Carson. He worked on his dissertation at Tyndale House. He currently teaches at Nebraska Christian College.
When graduates of a seminary or Bible college publically promote a false claim about the Bible, their former professors should advise them to correct that claim. I don't mean that every questionable opinion or interpretation should be contested (an endless task!) but when someone simply gets the facts wrong, and is generously sharing their mistake, that should be corrected. And who is better situated to do this than professors?
Professors should be the first to undertake this task, not only because they want facts to be promoted instead of fiction, but also because their schools are invested in the quality of the scholarship their graduates display. Every time someone else points out that errors are being promoted by their former students, it is likely to reflect poorly on the quality of the education which those professors have given to their students. People are not likely to flock to a restaurant where people are known to get sick; similarly potential students are not likely to flock to seminaries where people are known to be misinformed.
If professors decline to correct their former students when they publically spread false claims, some bystanders are sure to do so, and in the process, those bystanders will identify not only the individuals who are spreading the false claims, and the schools where false claims are being taught, but they will also identify the schools where those individuals studied, so that prospective students of the future will know where to go if they want to receive the same kind of misinformation and develop the same strong attachment to it.
Is anyone here who is affiliated with TEDS, Emmanuel School of Religion, or Tyndale House willing to drop Dr. Krause a line to gently suggest that his recent description of the external evidence might be inaccurate, and to encourage him to look into the facts about Mark 16:9-20 in more detail?
Yours in Christ,
James Snapp, Jr.