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Mark 16

Mark 16 is a shorthand for the 16th and final chapter of the Gospel of Mark. There is evidence that verses 16:9-20 are not part of the original document, but an ancient completion of it. It has been suggested (by C.H.Roberts) that the original was in fact a codex, and the last leaf or leaves were lost. Some ancient scribe then added a brief summary from other sources; but not all manuscripts were so amended, and patristic writers were aware of the issue.

Table of contents
1 Internal Evidence
2 Textual Evidence
3 External Link

Internal Evidence

The main writer appears to have been responsible for verses 16:1-8 alone, while verses 16:9-20 were added by someone different. Verses 16:8-9 run like this in the King James Bible:

16:8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid. 9. Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.

Note the way the subject changes abruptly from "they were afraid" to "Now when Jesus was risen". In Greek, "for they were afraid" is εφοβουντο γαρ, ephobounto gar, literally "they-were-afraid because". This is very odd Greek. Like its Latin equivalent enim, the Greek conjunction γαρ, gar, means "because" and takes second place in a sentence or clause. It almost never ends a sentence in this way and this is, indeed, the only example in the whole of the New Testament. In the rest of Mark, for example, gar is used in the conventional way:

3:10 Πολλους γαρ [gar] εθεραπευσεν ωστε επιπιπτειν αυτω ινα αυτου αψωνται οσοι ειχον μαστιγας.

3:10 For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues.

6:20 Ο γαρ [gar] Ηρωδης εφοβειτο τον Ιωαννην ειδως αυτον ανδρα δικαιον και αγιον.

6:20 For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy.

13:33 Βλεπετε αγρυπνειτε και προσευχεσθε ουκ οιδατε γαρ [gar] ποτε ο καιρος εστιν.

13:33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.

Textual Evidence

The language of the gospel suggests, that part of the original manuscript was lost or incomplete after 16:8, and that a later hand added 16:9-20, describing appearances by the resurrected Christ in a different style and using a different Greek vocabulary. Textual variations between the older texts support this conclusion.

1. The solution of this question is twofold. One deletes the head of the matter itself, that is the section in which it is narrated, says that it is not present in all exemplars of the gospel according to Mark. For the accurate codices end the history according to Mark in the word of the young man saying to the women "Do not be afraid: you seek Jesus of Nazareth" and the rest which likewise follows, "...". For in this place all the exemplars of the Gospel of Mark finish.

However the things that follow occasionally in some, not in all, are seen to be superfluous, especially if they disagree with the words of the other gospels. Thus perhaps says someone, avoiding and entirely killing the question.

But another indeed which daring to delete nothing entirely of that which the evangelical scriptures have entrusted [to us], says that the reading is double, as repeatedly elsewhere; and on both sides is to be received; of which the judgement of the believing and religious rather holds to this than that.

See also: Gospel of Mark

External Link

For and against the authenticity of Mark 16:9-20