On the Ending of Mark (revised)

The link below concerns the Ending to Mark’s Gospel.  Does that Gospel end with the words of verse 8, “for they were afraid”?  Were the last verses somehow lost?  Or has the methodology of Textual Criticism, with its preoccupation with “the oldest and most reliable manuscripts” ignored large amounts of textual evidence for these verse?

Call me naive (many will), but I am convinced of the authenticity of the last twelve verse of Mark as traditionally understood – i.e. verses 9-20.  I have read the works on Textual Criticism by Metzger (his Handbook, his Textual Commentary, and his fascinating Chapters in the History of NT Textual Criticism).  I have read the Aland’s and Comfort and essays by Dan Wallace, as well as the older works of Souter (Text and Canon) and Gregory (Canon and Text), and Lake, and Streeter (Four Gospels).  Despite all this reading I remain unconvinced that our Critical NT Texts, strengthened as they are with the evidence from Egyptian deserts, more accurately represent the “original text” than the so-called Majority Byzantine Text.

I still believe that the work done by Burgon and others toward the end of the 19th century, which was more self-consciously faith-driven than the so-called neutral “eclectic method,” more accurately reflects the Biblical Worldview.  My reading of Harry Sturz’s The Byzantine Text and NT Textual Criticism, together with three works by John W. Burgon (especially The Revision Revised) and the huge Plain Introduction by F. H. A. Scrivener convince me that we must have a methodology which comports with the testimony of Scripture rather than with the Enlightenment.

Anyway, here is a response in two parts to a critical paper on the last 12 verses.  The response is by Maurice Robinson, whose writing I always find clear-headed: Part 1; Part 2

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3 comments

  1. Whenever Mr. Butler would like to offer specifics, rather than call names, I would be happy to reply to whatever reasons he has for calling me a bad source. In the meantime, I would be glad to share my research — which is abundantly documented — with whoever would like to read it.

    I would add that Fred Butler may not have an entirely disinterested approach to this subject, inasmuch as he is connected to Grace To You Ministries, which continues to promote the false claims that Dr. John MacArthur made about Mark 16:9-20 in his June 5, 2011 sermon “The Fitting End to Mark’s Gospel,” to which, after writing to Grace To You to ask them to withdraw the sermon from circulation, I made a three-part video-response, “The Fitting End of Some False Claims About Mark 16:9-20,” which can be viewed at YouTube.

    Yours in Christ,

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

    1. James, as you see I have removed the part in my post about Fred B. calling you a poor source. I have no interest in getting involved in a personal disagreement. In the interest of charity you are no longer named. As for whether Dr MacArthur should remove his sermon from circulation, well, that is his view whether you or I agree with it or not. I am content to leave things there.

      God bless,

      Paul H

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