b-greek-digest V1 #776

b-greek-digest              Sunday, 9 July 1995        Volume 01 : Number 776

In this issue:

        Re: End of Mark Possibilities


From: "David B. Gowler" <dgowler@minerva.cis.yale.edu>
Date: Sat, 8 Jul 1995 15:08:09 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: End of Mark Possibilities

On Fri, 7 Jul 1995 WINBROW@aol.com wrote:

> "4) Mark is the author of the long ending . . . . 
> I would agree with Carl Conrad that this is the least likely of the
> explanations of the textual data on the ending of Mark.  The reasons are
> clearly stated by Metzger in the Textual Commentary.
>The vocabulary and style speak against Markan construction.

Let me second Carlton Winberry's opinion of Carl's posting, as well as add
that the internal rhetoric of Mark supports the shorter ending also. 
Since I gave a more full argument on b-greek a few months ago, let me just
summarize a couple main points: 

The ending at 16:8 emphasizes the urgency and necessity of Mark's readers 
responding to the Gospel (as Mark sees it):  It's time to spread the word 
about Jesus' ministry, death and resurrection in the face of possible 
persecution, suffering, and even death -- and in face of an imminent 

The irony is that earlier in the Gospel, when Jesus told people "not to
tell," they went ahead and blabbed to everybody.  Now, ironically, they
are instructed to tell, and they don't (yet).  This forces the reader (or
tries to) to make a decision:  Jesus had talked over and over again about
what true discipleship was (it included suffering and possibly death). 
The reader had seen two paradigmatic examples of what can happen to
messengers from God (John the B and Jesus both suffered and died, and
Jesus had predicted similar treatment for his followers).  Now the reader
is being asked to follow their example (in a syllogistic pattern).  What
is the reader going to do?  Follow the example of Jesus, or not? 

I also would argue that the mixture of Jewish and Hellenistic patterns of 
teacher-disciple relations that Mark portrays indicates that the 
disciples are "rehabilitated," and that they will soon follow the example 
Jesus set for them (as Bartimaeus, healed physically and spiritually, 
had done earlier, when he "followed Jesus on the *way*").

This summary is nothing earthshattering or new, I know, but it's important
to add to the discussion that the internal arguments are also strong for
Mark ending at 16:8.  It's also understandable why some later Christians
would want to compose longer endings.  The external evidence seems to 
confirm this opinion.

Best wishes,


David B. Gowler
Associate Professor of Religion
Chowan College
Summer address (until Aug 11):


End of b-greek-digest V1 #776


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