Jump to content

The Long Ending of Mark and it's Implications on the Book of Mormon


Recommended Posts

Biblical scholars have long known that the ending to the Book of Mark (Mark 16:9-20) is not found in the most reliable early manuscripts and other ancient witnesses and therefore conclude that this long ending is a late addition to the book and not part of the original manuscript.

Quote

"The evidence that shows these verse were not original to mark is similar in kind to that for the woman taken in adultery...it is absent from our two oldest and best manuscripts of Mark's gospel, along with other important witnesses; the writing style varies from what we find elsewhere in Mark; the transition between this passage and the one preceding is hard to understand (e.g. Mary Magdalene is introduced in v. 9 as if she hadn't been mentioned yet, even though she is discussed in the preceding verses; there is another problem with the Greek that makes the translation even more awkward); and there are large number of words and phrases in the passage that are not elsewhere found in Mark.  In short, the evidence is sufficient to convince virtually all textual scholars that these verses are an addition to Mark." -- Dr. Bart Ehrman

This doesn't necessarily pose any problems for the Bible but can the same be said for the Book of Mormon?

 

Take Mark 16:17-18 a late addition to the Book of Mark, words that were never uttered by Jesus but added centuries after by perhaps a well meaning scribe.

Quote

Mark 16: 17-18

17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

And yet we find Book of Mormon Jesus proclaiming these of same words through Mormon, words that had been added to the Book of Mark by a scribe. Words that were never uttered by Jesus in Jerusalem but were so important to Jesus that He decided to quote some random scribe and tell Mormon to pass them along to everyone reading the Book of Mormon.

See Mormon 9:24

Quote

24 And athese signs shall follow them that believe—in my name shall they cast out bdevils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay chands on the sick and they shall recover;

But why would Jesus quote some random scribe and deem their words so important that He needed to tell Mormon to include them in the Book of Mormon?

Edited by Fair Dinkum
Link to comment
43 minutes ago, Fair Dinkum said:

Biblical scholars have long known that the ending to the Book of Mark (Mark 16:9-20) is not found in the most reliable early manuscripts and other ancient witnesses and therefore conclude that this long ending is a late addition to the book and not part of the original manuscript.

This doesn't necessarily pose any problems for the Bible but can the same be said for the Book of Mormon?

 

Take Mark 16:17-18 a late addition to the Book of Mark, words that were never uttered by Jesus but added centuries after by perhaps a well meaning scribe.

And yet we find Book of Mormon Jesus proclaiming these of same words through Mormon, words that had been added to the Book of Mark by a scribe. Words that were never uttered by Jesus in Jerusalem but were so important to Jesus that He decided to quote some random scribe and tell Mormon to pass them along to everyone reading the Book of Mormon.

See Mormon 9:24

But why would Jesus quote some random scribe and deem their words so important that He needed to tell Mormon to include them in the Book of Mormon?

The only way out of this situation is to believe Joseph Smith added biblical teachings to the BoM.

Link to comment

Mark was written around 30-40 years after Jesus died, and the earliest manuscripts we have are around 250 years after Jesus died. I'm sure there are plenty of things Jesus said that didn't make it in. That doesn't mean that Nephite scribes didn't decide to keep them.

Edited by JustAnAustralian
Link to comment
10 minutes ago, JustAnAustralian said:

Mark was written around 30-40 years after Jesus died, and the earliest manuscripts we have are around 250 years after Jesus died. I'm sure there are plenty of things Jesus said that didn't make it in. That doesn't mean that Nephite scribes didn't decide to keep them.

Unless we find the first writing of Mark, it is all speculation. 

Link to comment
12 minutes ago, JustAnAustralian said:

Mark was written around 30-40 years after Jesus died, and the earliest manuscripts we have are around 250 years after Jesus died. I'm sure there are plenty of things Jesus said that didn't make it in. That doesn't mean that Nephite scribes didn't decide to keep them.

Can you explain why the long ending to Mark does not appear on the earliest copies of the manuscripts but does appear in the BoM??

Link to comment

Honestly, this is a tempest in a teapot. 

Biblical scholars postulate the existence of a Source Q, from which the synoptic gospels drew much of their material.  It is entirely reasonable to assume that these verses come from Source Q, and were later added to the Book of Mark by a well-meaning scribe.  There's nothing in the scholarship to indicate WHEN these verses were first invented, only when they showed up in Mark. 

 

Edited by Stormin' Mormon
Link to comment
9 minutes ago, Fair Dinkum said:

Can you explain why the long ending to Mark does not appear on the earliest copies of the manuscripts but does appear in the BoM??

Because the source of the longer ending did decide to record what happened post resurrection, even if Mark didn't, and then the source was later tacked on to Mark.

Jesus quoting himself to the Nephites wouldn't be worrying what was going to be written by Jews 30 years later. Nephite scribes could easily have decided to record it all.

Then filtering though Joseph Smith it came out the same as the longer ending of Mark.

Link to comment
2 hours ago, Fair Dinkum said:

 

But why would Jesus quote some random scribe and deem their words so important that He needed to tell Mormon to include them in the Book of Mormon?

This is a good challenge.  Similar to other challenges based on anachronistic words.  The Bible has these problems as well.  

Link to comment
2 hours ago, Fair Dinkum said:

Take Mark 16:17-18 a late addition to the Book of Mark, words that were never uttered by Jesus but added centuries after by perhaps a well meaning scribe.

There's no way to know if those words "were never uttered by Jesus".  We can only say that they weren't in the earliest versions of the Gospel of Mark.

The earliest attestation of those words is from the 2nd century (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_16#Longer_ending_of_Mark_(verse_9-20)).  So, it is possible that Christ did say those words, they were recorded by someone, and then sometime in the 2nd century, they were appended to the end of the Gospel of Mark.  It is also possible that it was inspired by Christ to be added to the Gospel of Mark and then He inspired Mormon (who wrote after the 2nd century).  It is also possible that He didn't say any of the words in the Gospels and it is all made up :)

Link to comment
24 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

First, @webbles is quite right. To say that these words "were never uttered by Jesus" is to overstep the evidence considerably. Is it reasonable to declare that the Gospel of Mark contains all the sayings of Jesus? No, it is not. Therefore, a passage's absence from the Gospel of Mark is not grounds to say that Jesus never uttered it. Phrases and concepts from the Longer Ending are attested in the 2nd century. They were not invented whole-cloth by 4th-century scribes, as @Fair Dinkum's OP would suggest.  

I say 4th-century because the "earliest manuscripts" in question, the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus, date from 4th-century Alexandria. They differ from 95% of known manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark in their omission of the Longer Ending, and they contain multiple other deviations from otherwise-well-attested aspects of the Gospel of Mark, so the label "most reliable" is dubious, unless you equate "reliability" with "age" in a one-to-one comparison. This is dubious, as early Christian authors like Tertullian and Irenaeus record that manipulation and targeted editing of the Gospels was already rampant prior to the creation of these manuscripts. The Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus are not urtexts, they should not be given the authority of such. As it happens, at least four texts which are older than these codices attest elements of the Longer Ending. See the following, quoted by Jeff Lindsay from James Snapp Jr.'s Authentic: The Case for Mark 16:9-20: 

For my part, the evidences from Tatian and Irenaeus are most impressive. Tatian incorporated all 12 contested verses in the Diatessaron at least 130 years before the composition of the Codex Vaticanus and 160 years before the composition of the Codex Sinaiticus (which, incidentally, were composed by the same scriptorium and thus cannot be considered independent textual witnesses.) Irenaeus, at the very least, associated an ending with Mark which is closer to the Long Ending than the abrupt ending of the codices. If The Long Ending was associated with Mark before the codices were composed, then I fail to see how the codices are evidence of anything but a fourth-century textual drama regarding the Longer Ending. Then again, I am but a layman and do not possess the gnosis of the Bɪʙʟɪᴄᴀʟ Sᴄʜᴏʟᴀʀ (TM). 

Jeff Lindsay has done more thorough work on this than I could, I recommend his two-part essay on the subject for Interpreter. Part 1 can be found here and Part 2 here.

For what it's worth, there are scholars who reject the association of the Longer Ending and Mark who nevertheless hold that, given the reoccurence of the themes of the Longer Ending over and over in the ancient world, at the very least it traces its origins to teachings of Jesus from the post-Resurrection ministry. N.T. Wright is an example of such. This would be satisfactory to me, as after all, Christ was addressing the Nephite in his post-Resurrection ministry as well. 

Likewise, there is debate about what the original ending of Mark should have been. Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are not taken as definitive in this issue, or in other words, even these codices can be regarded as incomplete. 

Long story short, the claim that "Jesus never uttered these words" based on their absence from the oldest texts of Mark is way out of evidential line. There's strong evidence that the words of the Longer Ending are rooted in very early Christian tradition derived from the words of Jesus; this alone gets the Book of Mormon off the hook. And it is indeed defensible to believe that the ending of Mark as presently constituted is in fact accurate. 

   The absence of evidence is the evidence of absence. 

Perhaps however you could simplify your analysis and quote word for word the text of something that is the best support for your position.  I am willing to be convinced.  

Link to comment
1 hour ago, The Nehor said:

Most likely the shorter version of Mark was short because the Resurrection story was the one part all the coverts knew already. It is what all the Christian missionaries were teaching. Some anti-Christians have advanced the idea that the resurrection was a late addition to the story but that is a hard pill to swallow since it seems that the man who died and rose again WAS the story.

The gospels were intended to edify believers and not to convert. The part about Jesus coming back to life was so well known that ending before it makes sense. At some point someone decided to add it and either made it up or pulled the text from some other account. I find it likely that the scribe pulled it from some other account rather then making up a number of signs at random. The text in the Book of Mormon is also not tied in with the rest of the story of Mark so Moroni is not suggesting Mark was always whole. I think assuming some scribe made it up is a dubious hypothesis. If God can quote or inspire the transmission of other biblical passages why not something from a possibly unknown source. It would also make me wonder if God does that in the Book of Mormon sometimes with sources we don’t have.

There is not just one but multiple early transcripts of Mark. The one thing each of these early transcripts have is the absence of the long ending. Only transcripts that were copied decades later have the long ending

Link to comment
1 hour ago, OGHoosier said:

First, @webbles is quite right. To say that these words "were never uttered by Jesus" is to overstep the evidence considerably. Is it reasonable to declare that the Gospel of Mark contains all the sayings of Jesus? No, it is not. Therefore, a passage's absence from the Gospel of Mark is not grounds to say that Jesus never uttered it. Phrases and concepts from the Longer Ending are attested in the 2nd century. They were not invented whole-cloth by 4th-century scribes, as @Fair Dinkum's OP would suggest.  

I say 4th-century because the "earliest manuscripts" in question, the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus, date from 4th-century Alexandria. They differ from 95% of known manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark in their omission of the Longer Ending, and they contain multiple other deviations from otherwise-well-attested aspects of the Gospel of Mark, so the label "most reliable" is dubious, unless you equate "reliability" with "age" in a one-to-one comparison. This is dubious, as early Christian authors like Tertullian and Irenaeus record that manipulation and targeted editing of the Gospels was already rampant prior to the creation of these manuscripts. The Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus are not urtexts, they should not be given the authority of such. As it happens, at least four texts which are older than these codices attest elements of the Longer Ending. See the following, quoted by Jeff Lindsay from James Snapp Jr.'s Authentic: The Case for Mark 16:9-20: 

For my part, the evidences from Tatian and Irenaeus are most impressive. Tatian incorporated all 12 contested verses in the Diatessaron at least 130 years before the composition of the Codex Vaticanus and 160 years before the composition of the Codex Sinaiticus (which, incidentally, were composed by the same scriptorium and thus cannot be considered independent textual witnesses.) Irenaeus, at the very least, associated an ending with Mark which is closer to the Long Ending than the abrupt ending of the codices. If The Long Ending was associated with Mark before the codices were composed, then I fail to see how the codices are evidence of anything but a fourth-century textual drama regarding the Longer Ending. Then again, I am but a layman and do not possess the gnosis of the Bɪʙʟɪᴄᴀʟ Sᴄʜᴏʟᴀʀ (TM). 

Jeff Lindsay has done more thorough work on this than I could, I recommend his two-part essay on the subject for Interpreter. Part 1 can be found here and Part 2 here.

For what it's worth, there are scholars who reject the association of the Longer Ending and Mark who nevertheless hold that, given the reoccurence of the themes of the Longer Ending over and over in the ancient world, at the very least it traces its origins to teachings of Jesus from the post-Resurrection ministry. N.T. Wright is an example of such. This would be satisfactory to me, as after all, Christ was addressing the Nephite in his post-Resurrection ministry as well. 

Likewise, there is debate about what the original ending of Mark should have been. Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are not taken as definitive in this issue, or in other words, even these codices can be regarded as incomplete. 

Long story short, the claim that "Jesus never uttered these words" based on their absence from the oldest texts of Mark is way out of evidential line. There's strong evidence that the words of the Longer Ending are rooted in very early Christian tradition derived from the words of Jesus; this alone gets the Book of Mormon off the hook. And it is indeed defensible to believe that the ending of Mark as presently constituted is in fact accurate. 

@OGHoosier "Original Gangsta" Hoosier, ;) :D

Duuuuuuuuuude!!!

Not Worthy Waynes World GIF - Not Worthy Waynes World Bow GIFs

Geeezzzzzz!!!!

What do you want to be when you grow up?  Which of the many worthy pursuits that would benefit from your brilliance (No, I'm not exaggerating, no, I'm not taking that back, and no, I can't think of another word that's more appropriate; live with it! ;) :D) will end up being the beneficiary thereof???

:D ;)

Link to comment
7 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

@OGHoosier "Original Gangsta" Hoosier, ;) :D

Duuuuuuuuuude!!!

Not Worthy Waynes World GIF - Not Worthy Waynes World Bow GIFs

Geeezzzzzz!!!!

What do you want to be when you grow up?  Which of the many worthy pursuits that would benefit from your brilliance (No, I'm not exaggerating, no, I'm not taking that back, and no, I can't think of another word that's more appropriate; live with it! ;) :D) will end up being the beneficiary thereof???

:D ;)

Lol, you flatter me. Jeff Lindsay did more than me on this, I'm just summarizing my favorite parts of a few sources I've found. No more, no less. 

Link to comment
4 hours ago, Tacenda said:

The only way out of this situation is to believe Joseph Smith added biblical teachings to the BoM.

The same God, the same teachings. These are not Biblical or Book of Mormon teachings, but “Eternal Truths”, as passed down to all the Prophets. 

Link to comment
32 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

Good thing we don't have absence of evidence, eh? There's pretty clear evidence that the Long Ending of Mark is part of an exceedingly ancient Christian tradition that rivals the Gospels themselves in age...and that presumes that it wasn't a part of the Gospel of Mark to begin with. The evidence that it was invented whole-cloth by a 4th-century scholar is frankly nonexistent. 

CFR that the long ending of Mark is part of an exceedingly ancient Christian tradition that preceded the oldest manuscripts 

32 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

Also, for what it's worth, absence of evidence is simply that...absence of evidence. I'm afraid I cannot accept the aphorism which you provide. 

For a full text of Tatian's reconstructed Diatessaron, see here. For a verse-by-verse highlighting of the quotations of Mark 16:9-20 in the Diatessaron, see here. For those who are further interested in the Diatessaron and its implications for the Longer Ending, see this book-length treatment here. Bear in mind that this is only one of the attestations of the Longer Ending prior to Vaticanus and Sinaiticus.

If you glance at the book-length source I provided, you will see for yourself that we're dealing with rather complex issues. I'm not sure I can simplify it further without doing violence to the issues. I'll just say this: the Sinaiticus  and Vaticanus are considered significant because they are the oldest New Testament manuscripts which we have, and they don't have Mark 16:9-20. However, we know that the scriptures were being tampered with from both scriptural (Book of Mormon) and contemporary sources (Tertullian and Irenaeus), and we know that both Sinaiticus and Vaticanus came from the same place, meaning that they represent just one scriptural tradition rather than two witnesses to an original text. We also have good evidence that Mark 16:9-20, or at least a tradition with the content of Mark 16:9-20, was widely known from very early on, and was associated with Mark by some of the earliest scriptorians of the Christian faith. 

Edit: By way of introduction, the Diatessaron is a Gospel harmony written by Tatian the Syrian, a 2nd-century Christian theologian and chronicler. Basically, he took lines from all the canonical Gospels and weaved them together into one story. The work has no extant manuscripts but it is quoted in several different additional works dating from the 4th-century onward to the point that it can be reconstructed to a high degree of confidence, and said reconstruction was done by Theodor Zahn in 1881. 

This ending is not found in our earliest and most reliable Greek copies of Mark. In A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Bruce Metzger writes: “Clement of Alexandria and Origen [early third century] show no knowledge of the existence of these verses; furthermore Eusebius and Jerome attest that the passage was absent from almost all Greek copies of Mark known to them.”1 The language and style of the Greek is clearly not Markan, and it is pretty evident that what the forger did was take sections of the endings of Matthew, Luke and John  and simply created a “proper” ending.

 

Link to comment
1 hour ago, OGHoosier said:

Lol, you flatter me. Jeff Lindsay did more than me on this, I'm just summarizing my favorite parts of a few sources I've found. No more, no less. 

 

@OGHoosier

Okay, but you didn't answer what, for me, is the burning question, even if it isn't germane to the topic: What do you want to be when you grow up? ;) :D

Link to comment
1 hour ago, Fair Dinkum said:

There is not just one but multiple early transcripts of Mark. The one thing each of these early transcripts have is the absence of the long ending. Only transcripts that were copied decades later have the long ending

So what?

Seriously.  Tired of these nothing burger criticisms.

If it turns out there's more than a little Joseph Smith in the Book of Mormon text that does nothing to change its message.  If it turns out that not every element is historical it doesn't change the teachings.

I swear, it's like critics expect stuff like this to make us throw our hands up, toss the Book in the trash and move on.

  • 28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.
    29 Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.
    30 Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.
    31 O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?
    32 May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite! O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I may walk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road!
    33 O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way—but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy.
    34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.
    35 Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.

I don't care whether Joseph wrote this, Nephi wrote this, whether it came from 600 BC or 1830 AD.  It is manna from heaven.  Nitpicking the source makes zero difference.  Elder Holland was completely right on this one.

Edited by JLHPROF
Link to comment
53 minutes ago, Fair Dinkum said:

CFR that the long ending of Mark is part of an exceedingly ancient Christian tradition that preceded the oldest manuscripts 

Mate, the quote box directly below this question literally contains links to the references you're asking for ...

Link to comment

The Diatessaron as we have it today was reconstructed in 1881 from medieval sources which drew upon canonical books. This means that your source post dates the placement of Mark in the canon.  No doubt there was a Diatessaron in early circulation but we have lost that.  

Canon fodder indeed. 

What is your next best evidence? This dog doesn't hunt.  Can you quote the text rather than send me impenetrable links?

Edited by Bob Crockett
Link to comment
11 hours ago, The Nehor said:

Most likely the shorter version of Mark was short because the Resurrection story was the one part all the coverts knew already. It is what all the Christian missionaries were teaching. Some anti-Christians have advanced the idea that the resurrection was a late addition to the story but that is a hard pill to swallow since it seems that the man who died and rose again WAS the story.

Totally agree. 

11 hours ago, The Nehor said:

The gospels were intended to edify believers and not to convert. The part about Jesus coming back to life was so well known that ending before it makes sense. At some point someone decided to add it and either made it up or pulled the text from some other account. I find it likely that the scribe pulled it from some other account rather then making up a number of signs at random. The text in the Book of Mormon is also not tied in with the rest of the story of Mark so Moroni is not suggesting Mark was always whole. I think assuming some scribe made it up is a dubious hypothesis. If God can quote or inspire the transmission of other biblical passages why not something from a possibly unknown source. It would also make me wonder if God does that in the Book of Mormon sometimes with sources we don’t have.

There are obvious examples of that in the Book of Mormon when Nephi cites Neum, Zenock and Zenos, who were clearly OT prophets whom we only know from their mention in the BoM. Unfortunately, we don't have actual passages from the writings of these prophets, just citations that they spoke of this and that. But I don't doubt that there may have been uncited passages from all three that made their way into the text. 

Edited by Stargazer
Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...