Saturday, November 19, 2016
Word Magazine # 63: Sermon Review: Ending of Mark.Part Four: Conclusion (Does Mark end at 16:8?)
I have recorded and posted WM # 63, the last in a four part series reviewing the 2012 sermon by Pastor Carey Hardy on the ending of Mark (see WM #60, WM # 61, and WM # 62). This episode covers the concluding arguments in Pastor Hardy’s sermon, including his contention that Mark was intended to end at 16:8.
I close with four objections to the contemporary argument that Mark was intended to end at Mark 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.”]:
First, this new consensus is relatively recent or novel.
It has only become the dominant position of modern critical text advocates since the 1980s. Prior to this time those who embraced the modern critical text suggested that the original ending had been lost or suppressed or that the author had died before completing the Gospel.
There is no historic tradition of such an interpretation. Lunn: “If Mark’s Gospel did originally close with 16:8 it is remarkable that no biblical scholar ventured an interpretation of this verse as the Gospel’s conclusion until relatively recent times” (The Original Ending of Mark, p. 14).
Second, there is a major grammatical problem with the suggestion that Mark fittingly ends at 16:8.
If Mark ends at 16:8 then the final word of the Gospel is the post-positive conjunction gar “for.” No other Greek work can be located that ends with this particle.
That Mark ends in this way, Lunn says, “is an extremely unlikely possibility” (p. 14).
Third, If Mark ends at 16:8 there is no narrative fulfillment of the resurrection predictions.
Compare the three passion predictions (Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:34). See also the Galilee predictions (Mark 14:28; 16:7). With no resurrection appearances the narrative is incomplete.
Fourth, most importantly, if Mark ends at 16:8 it offers a truncted presentation of the Christian gospel by excluding the resurrection appearances.
If Mark does not have resurrection appearance then it would be the only one of the four canonical Gospels to do so [cf. Matthew 28; Luke 24; John 20-21].
This would be in contradiction to the early Christian proclamation of the gospel. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 with its stress on four key historical facts: Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, AND his resurrection appearances. Would we really have an orthodox, canonical Gospel which omits this key element?