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Re: Open Letter to Craig A. Evans

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  • james_snapp_jr
    George, And I find Dr. Evans promotion of false statements objectionable. That s why I m objecting to them. But I have not called them lies. They are false
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 4, 2012

      And I find Dr. Evans' promotion of false statements objectionable. That's why I'm objecting to them. But I have not called them lies. They are false statements, and they do not reflect well upon the quality of his research. It looks very much like Dr. Evans has simply attempted to rephrase Metzger's comments, and distorted them in the process. But one can conduct shoddy, sloppy, negligent, appallingly shallow research, and still be very sincere about it. So, while Dr. Evans' statements have the same effects as lies, it is entirely possible that they are not lies in the sense that they are not deliberately misleading statements. Only if he knowingly continues to spread those false statements, after being shown that they are false, would he be obviously lying.

      GFS: "While I will grant that Irenaeus contains a passage referencing the LE of Mark (although I would attribute it to the addition of the Latin translator of a later period), where do you find any support in Justin or Tatian?"

      First of all, how can you possibly still adhere to such a view about Irenaeus when I have shown in clear terms that it is ludicrous, in light of the nature of the citation and the evidence from 1582 and 72, to attribute the citation in "Against Heresies" 3:10 to anyone other than Irenaeus? Do you have any answer at all to the evidence I gave you about that?

      Secondly, if you simply go to
      and download the 2012 special edition of "Authentic: The Case for Mark 16:9-20," you will find therein details about the evidence from Justin and Tatian.

      Metzger, in TCGNT, was not certain about the strength of Justin's testimony (in TOTNT, he acknowledges that it is "probable" that Justin knew the passage), but I think that anyone who compares his comments to those of Hort (whose "Notes on Select Readings" were a source of some of Metzger's argumentation regarding Mk. 16:9-20, as well as a source of his very words at some points) will see why: Hort (and Metzger, following Hort's approach) observed that Justin's comment in First Apology ch. 45 emphasizes that the disciples went forth *from Jerusalem* preaching everywhere -- thus fulfilling Psalm 110:1-2, which Justin is allegorically interpreting -- whereas Mk. 16:20 does not explicitly name Jerusalem.

      But Hort, in 1881, had not seen the Arabic Diatessaron. That was not Hort's fault; at that time, it was barely accessible, in a very obscure Armenian translation; Ciasca brought it to light for Western scholars in 1888. When J. Rendel Harris and F. Chase saw it, they immediately realized its implications, when, at the point where Mark 16:20 is used, Luke 24:52-53 is also used. (An English translation of the Diatessaron can easily be found online; the pertinent part is in ch. 55.) The implications are (1) that Justin cited Synoptic Gospels-passages not from the separate Gospels, but from a Synoptics-Harmony, and (2) that Tatian's Diatessaron is based on the framework of Justin's Synoptics-Harmony, into which the text from John has been added. (Again, see the downloadable book for details.) Which implies, in turn, that when Justin draws on the language of Mark 16:20 in First Apology 45, he is also drawing on language from Luke 24:52-53 -- i.e., in Justin's Synoptics-Harmony, the reference to going forth *from Jerusalem* /was/ present. That's why Harris concluded that Hort could take away the question-mark from Justin's name in the list of evidence for Mark 16:9-20. Justin was more than merely aware of the passage; the passage was in the Synoptics-Harmony which Justin used.

      That Synoptics-Harmony, by the way, was also used by Justin when he wrote "Dialogue with Trypho," which is set in the 130's. So unless the extant text of "Dialogue with Trypho" was reworked by Justin after the 130's, his Synoptics-Harmony represents evidence for Mark 16:9-20 that is contemporary with P52 (which is, for the time being, probably the earliest published manuscript of any NT text). In chapter 32 of "Dialogue with Trypho," Justin briefly interprets Psalm 110 in a way similar to the interpretation he expresses in First Apology 45.

      And, in First Apology chapter 50, after quoting from Isaiah 53, Justin states, "After his crucifixion, even those who were acquainted with him all denied and forsook him. But later, when he had risen from the dead, and was seen by them, and they were taught to understand the prophecies in which all of this was foretold," etc. The phrase "And afterwards, when he had risen from the dead and appeared to them" resembles verbiage from Mark 16:14 (a resemblance which is enhanced by the variant "from the dead" that is displayed there in an impressive array of manuscripts, including Codex A).

      As for Tatian, the contents of Mark 16:9-20 are incorporated into the Diatessaron in an important Western witness (Codex Fuldensis) and an important Eastern witness (the Arabic Diatessaron). (The evidence thus meets the requirements of "Petersen's Rule.") In terms of the text, each has been conformed to a large extent to its ancestral text-form: Fuldensis, to the Vulgate, and the Arabic Diatessaron, to the Peshitta. But in terms of their *arrangement* of the text, their treatment of Mark 16:9-20 matches up very well. Given the unlikelihood that they both would independently happen to possess the same arrangement -- especially since the arrangement that they share is one which some readers would naturally consider problematic, inasmuch as it involves a sudden scene-shift from Galilee to Bethany -- this demonstrates that the arrangement of Mark 16:9-20 that they share is an echo of the original Diatessaron.

      I hope this answers your questions. I also hope that Dr. Evans stops spreading false statements in his books.

      Yours in Christ,

      James Snapp, Jr.
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