Monday, March 30, 2009

Mark 16:9-20 Available Online

For those who might be interested, I have made available my paper on the ending of Mark and the textual issues there. You can download it by clicking here. I encourage anyone interested to read it and think about the issues involved. But it should be noted that the paper was for a Greek class and therefore includes much about Greek, Greek grammar, without English transliterations.

Here is my basic argument:

1. There are a number of different endings to Mark

  • Shorter Ending: includes additional words of Jesus to his disciples. concluding with "the sacred and imperishable message of eternal salvation."
  • Freer Logion: this includes 89 additional words inbetween 16:14-15. The translation reads, "And they excused themselves, saying, ‘This age of lawlessness and unbelief is under Satan, who does not allow the truth and power of God to prevail over the unclean things of the spirits. Therefore reveal your righteousness now’ - thus they spoke to Christ. And Christ replied to them, ‘The term of years of Satan’s power has been fulfilled, but other terrible things draw near. And for those who have sinned I was handed over to death, that they may return to the truth and sin no more, in order that they may inherit the spiritual and incorruptible glory of righteousness that is in heaven,’"
  • Traditional Ending - these include 16:9-20 as it is found in the King James Version and most other versions. Most modern versions footnote, bracket, italicize, or make some other markings noting the textual issue.
  • Short Ending - Mark ends at 16:8

Each of these have their problems:

  • Shorter Ending - this doesn't sound like Mark and very few ancient manuscripts include this ending.
  • Freer Logion - very few reliable, major manuscripts include this text. Furthermore, like the Shorter Ending, it does not sound like Mark
  • Traditional Ending - I do not believe that this is original. First, these verses are ending in the best manuscripts. Although many reliable manuscripts include them, the best do not. Secondly, internal evidence speaks against it. For example, within these 12 verses, Mark introduces 14 new words that he had not used before. Likewise, the transition from vs. 8 and 9 is awkward; note the change in main character from Mary Magdalene to Jesus. Finally, these verses seem more like a summary of the other 3 Gospels than authentic Marcian.
  • Short Ending - I believe that this was the actual ending, although it creates some problems. For example, no work in ancient Greek writings ends with the word "gar" meaning "for." Furthermore, vs. 8 ends with the women fleeing in fear, rather than rejoicing or a commission as in the other Gospels.

I hope this helps as we think about this text.


James Snapp, Jr. said...

Hi Kyle,

I read your paper on Mark 16:9-20. It looks like you have been seriously misinformed on a number of important points. Some of your statements about the external evidence are simply incorrect. You are welcome to e-mail me for details at and I will gladly send you the paper I have written on the same subject.

Yours in Christ,

James Snapp, Jr.
Minister, Curtisville Christian Church (Indiana)

Kyle McDanell said...

Feel free to email me the paper. I stand my rejection of the long ending. Thanks for reading the paper.