Another follow-up to my debate with James White on Mark 16:9-20:
Evangelicals who reject the authenticity of Mark 16:9-20 are
left with a dilemma.
One option is to argue that the original ending was lost or
that the Gospel was unfinished for some unknown reason. This view would not only
challenge the integrity of Mark but also deny the doctrine of preservation.
Another option would be to argue that Mark was originally
meant to end at Mark 16:8. James White embraces this view, following the
reasoning of Dan Wallace [see Dan Wallace, “Mark 16:8 as the Conclusion to the
Second Gospel” in David Alan Black, Ed., Perspectives on the Ending of Mark:
Four Views (B&H Academic, 2008): 1-39].
One of the major problems with the idea that Mark might have ended
at Mark 16:8 is what might be called the “grammatical objection.”
Namely, this would mean that the entire Gospel would end with
the post-positive particle gar
[γάρ]. This would be the
equivalent of ending a Gospel with “for….” Or “therefore….”
N. Clayton Croy’s The Mutilation of Mark’s
Gospel (Abingdon, 2003) provides what I believe is a devastating critique
of the idea that Mark might have originally ended at Mark 16:8 (though Croy
does not affirm the authenticity of the TE).
In the debate I shared several quotes gleaned
from Croy on the grammatical problem inherent in the idea that Mark might have ended
at Mark 16:8, including Norman Perrin’s assessment that such an ending would be
“grammatically barbarous” (see Croy, 31, n. 18).
Another quote I did not get the chance to work in
is this one from J. K. Elliott, another notorious TR advocate (smiles): “I
conclude that no author would have chosen to end a piece of writing, sentence,
paragraph and even less a book, with a postpositional particle….” (Perspectives,
How did James White respond to this argument? He ignored
it altogether and never responded to it.
This, however, is a foundational objection to the
idea that Mark might have been meant to end at Mark 16:8. Anyone who takes this
view must respond to this objection. Surely, James White gave this serious
consideration and study before embracing his position, right?
Maybe James White will take a future DL and
respond to this challenge in detail…..