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


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13 hours ago, Canadiandude said:

It actually makes all the difference in the world in our case because the implications behind these respective arguments, furthermore you’re attempting to dodge your former concessions. 
 

I can’t physically change my ability to digest milk merely by saying whether I can or cannot do so. 
 

I have the gene which allows me to regardless of my opinion on the matter.

I’m quite aware you can get a temple recommend and disagree with church teachings. That doesn’t counter the tensions between the ontological commitments of postmodernism and the Church’s own exclusive truth and ethical claims which the church purports to be more correct or have primacy over than other kinds and particular claims.

Church leaders themselves have compared laws of god to laws of physics and plead for members to see things ‘as they really are’.

It doesn’t matter that many 2SLGBTQ+ people’s find value in the claims, the fact of the matter is the church went outside of its way to fight against our rights to marry, transition, etc., and continues this day to marginalize and persecute us.

Again. I do not concede to your postmodernist, ‘Ideas All the Way Down’ ontological commitments.

Feel free to take refuge in them, but as someone else said elsewhere on this forum: “I’m not really into video-games”.

Wordplay what you will but its not all that invigorating of a discussion once one’s argued defence is: ‘It’s all just people’s imperfect perceptions so nothing can be fully evidenced or made non-evident between peoples, therefore my claims are just as valid as any others.“

 

Yes, your ability to digest milk has nothing to do with your perceptions. It is not your creation; it is the effect of causes which do not include human mental states (other than perhaps indirectly with the decision to start domesticating sheep). Your description of your understanding of this ability to digest milk is a product of your experience and perception. Not everyone shares that ability or understanding.

Similarly, “God lives” irrespective of your experience and perception. You may not have perceived that, but some do and describe how you can also.

This is why the first bias I listed above allows for the second (e.g., bias for life experience values science as a tool), but the second bias does not allow for the first (scientific bias conflates the tool with life experience).

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I found this very interesting:

Quote

In regard to transcriptional evidence, it seems that the Longer Ending text reflects harmonization by scribes. Four sections of the appearance to the Magdalene (vv.9-11), the appearance of two men (vv.12-13), the appearance to the eleven disciples, the Commission (vv.14-18), and the Ascension (vv.19-20) have parallels in the endings of Matthew and Luke. In regard to intrinsic evidence, there are seventeen words and phrases in the Longer Ending that are not used elsewhere in Mark’s gospel and look like anomalies from stylistic viewpoint.

 

James Kelhoffer views the content of the Longer Ending as uncharacteristic of the first century, suggesting that it rather reflects second-century Christianity. He argues that this portion was added to a truncated Mark in the mid-second century, and is comparable to some of the second-century apocryphal fragments that have been discovered.

After evaluating the external and internal evidence of the endings of Mark, we find that the Longer Ending (16:9-20) is supported by 99 percent of the manuscripts whereas the Abrupt Ending (16:8) is attested only in Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, minuscule 304, some significant early versions and patristic citations. In the analysis of textual data, however, we do not count manuscripts, but we weigh them.

 

J. K. Elliott and other scholars have argued that the ending of Mark was simply lost before copies were made of it, whereas Bruce Metzger and Bart Ehrman have said that we simply do not know about how Mark ended his gospel. Proponents of the Longer Ending such as John Burgon, William Farmer, Maurice Robinson, James Snapp Jr, and others hold that Mark ended his Gospel at 16:20. This master thesis, however, suggests that the Longer Ending is not supported by the earliest witnesses, although an old Latin Western witness attest to the Intermediate Ending (without vv. 9-20).  The Abrupt Ending is supported by a variety of the earliest textual witnesses.

 

In conclusion, the Abrupt Ending (16:8) most likely represents Mark’s original ending. It is possible that the evangelist left the reader hanging – as J. Lee Magness has suggested, there are other examples in ancient literature that leave the reader hanging. The Longer Ending was probably added by a scribe to the text in the mid or late second century, and these verses have been accepted as canonical Scripture by many Churches.

 I started this post because it wanted to gain additional insight as to how the long ending of Mark, a subject I have been aware of for some time but had left sitting on my mental shelf...an ending that was not original to Mark, could have found its way into Mormon's supposed writings in the Book of Mormon. 

As I inferred in my OP, there is no logical way that the long ending of Mark, an ending that was an effort by some scribe to harmonize Mark's original manuscript's short abrupt ending with the other gospels of Mathew, Luke and John, whose ending were more dramatic and faith promoting.

So my original question remains, why would Mormon, assuming that he was a real actual person, add the long ending to his work, words that were not original to Mark, words that were not uttered by Jesus, words that were the creation of a scribe's attempt to harmonize Mark with the other gospels?  And then I also ask, assuming Mormon received these words through revelation, why would Jesus elevate words he had not uttered, words created by some early Christian scribe?  Honestly it makes no sense.

http://evangelicaltextualcriticism.blogspot.com/2021/01/an-master-thesis-on-endings-of-mark-by.html

Edited by Fair Dinkum
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26 minutes ago, Fair Dinkum said:

I found this very interesting:

 I started this post because it wanted to gain additional insight as to how the long ending of Mark, a subject I have been aware of for some time but had left sitting on my mental shelf...an ending that was not original to Mark, could have found its way into Mormon's supposed writings in the Book of Mormon. 

As I inferred in my OP, there is no logical way that the long ending of Mark, an ending that was an effort by some scribe to harmonize Mark's original manuscript's short abrupt ending with the other gospels of Mathew, Luke and John, whose ending were more dramatic and faith promoting.

So my original question remains, why would Mormon, assuming that he was a real actual person, add the long ending to his work, words that were not original to Mark, words that were not uttered by Jesus, words that were the creation of a scribe's attempt to harmonize Mark with the other gospels?  And then I also ask, assuming Mormon received these words through revelation, why would Jesus elevate words he had not uttered, words created by some early Christian scribe?  Honestly it makes no sense.

 

If you accept the working assumption of some Bible scholar set out in the OP, all things are present to God covers the timing issue.  

On what basis do you conclude Jesus never uttered those words?  Surely you don’t believe the original authors of the Gospels recorded all that Jesus said.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Fair Dinkum said:

I found this very interesting:

 I started this post because it wanted to gain additional insight as to how the long ending of Mark, a subject I have been aware of for some time but had left sitting on my mental shelf...an ending that was not original to Mark, could have found its way into Mormon's supposed writings in the Book of Mormon. 

As I inferred in my OP, there is no logical way that the long ending of Mark, an ending that was an effort by some scribe to harmonize Mark's original manuscript's short abrupt ending with the other gospels of Mathew, Luke and John, whose ending were more dramatic and faith promoting.

So my original question remains, why would Mormon, assuming that he was a real actual person, add the long ending to his work, words that were not original to Mark, words that were not uttered by Jesus, words that were the creation of a scribe's attempt to harmonize Mark with the other gospels?  And then I also ask, assuming Mormon received these words through revelation, why would Jesus elevate words he had not uttered, words created by some early Christian scribe?  Honestly it makes no sense.

http://evangelicaltextualcriticism.blogspot.com/2021/01/an-master-thesis-on-endings-of-mark-by.html

Maybe you are picking apart those responses that support the notion that these "words that were not uttered by Jesus," but that does not address the other arguments that show how these words were uttered by Jesus.

Moroni possessed knowledge of the sayings of Jesus to the Nephite disciples (Mormon 9: 22-25). He had access to many records. He included this passage after he had already complied / abridged 3 Nephi from them. Why did he wait? Who knows. He put the small plates in there well after his abridgement was complete also. Why would Jesus say the same thing to the Nephites as those in Jerusalem? That should be apparent. Why were these particular words not found in one version of Mark but a later one? Rather than being made up, perhaps they were restored from an even earlier version from which they had been removed, or added from earlier sources than those used for the earlier version of Mark under comparison.

Why do you keep referring to Mormon? Haven't you studied this enough?

Edited by CV75
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1 hour ago, let’s roll said:

If you accept the working assumption of some Bible scholar set out in the OP, all things are present to God covers the timing issue.  

On what basis do you conclude Jesus never uttered those words?  Surely you don’t believe the original authors of the Gospels recorded all that Jesus said.

 

 

I've long ago given up a literal interpretation of the scriptures, but now I find even a nuanced interpretation is problematic.  

No I do not believe that the gospels capture the exact words of Jesus. I'm no longer that naïve.  I suspect that whoever the authors of the gospel were, they relied on oral histories, which are problematic in and of themselves, to represent teachings perhaps of themes Jesus might have taught. But no, none of the gospels contain the word for word teachings of Jesus.

But right now my questions are not with the Bible, I will save them for another day, but with the Book of Mormon.  Other than God magic, there is not a logical way that a 5th century man named Mormon could have received the words of the scribe who wrote these words, elevated them to the level that he felt Jesus uttered them and placed them in the Book of Mormon.  The most logical solution is that Joseph Smith, not knowing of the problem with the long ending, merely copied them into his book when he was dictating the book.

For me this is just further evidence of the Book of Mormon not being an actual historical record of an actual people but evidence of its 19th century authorship.  The more I scratch away at the claims made by the book the more it points to this 19th century conclusion.

The ramifications for this conclusion are difficult for me to want to accept but I made the decision to go wherever the truth led me irrespective of where that truth might lead.

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2 hours ago, Fair Dinkum said:

So my original question remains, why would Mormon, assuming that he was a real actual person, add the long ending to his work, words that were not original to Mark, words that were not uttered by Jesus, words that were the creation of a scribe's attempt to harmonize Mark with the other gospels?  And then I also ask, assuming Mormon received these words through revelation, why would Jesus elevate words he had not uttered, words created by some early Christian scribe?  Honestly it makes no sense.

Mormon (or Moroni per Kevin) didn't add the long ending to his work.  He used words that are similar to two verses in the long ending (Mark 16:17-18).  Yes, those verses aren't original to Mark (I agree with that), but that doesn't mean they were "not uttered by Jesus".  How are you getting that idea?  Mark 16:17-18 aren't in anything else so they can't be "harmonizing Mark with the other Gospels".  And we've shown that the long ending is almost as old as the Gospel of Mark and has been at the end of the Gospel of Mark in some versions since at least the 2nd century.

Edited by webbles
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20 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

So the original question remains, continuing to ignore the implications of Jeff Lindsay's detailed work.

And there is this problem too.  It wasn't Mormon.  Moroni wrote chapter 9 of Moroni.  Moroni says of himself.

And the 3 Nephi has this story of something that happened when the resurrected Jesus came:

The Jesus in the Book of Mormon is quite capable of encouraging scribes to add important messages that had not been properly recorded.  And Moroni, like his father, did not just have records, but occasional personal encounters.

The Gospel of John ends like this:

Despite some reasonable evidence Linday provides, that the long ending to Mark was legitmate, you act as though you can safely assume that the longer ending was the work of some "random scribe" acting entirely on his own.  What evidence do you actually have that this is the case, the only and proven by direct, unambiguous, uncontested evidence that such was the case?

All paradigm choice involves "which problems are more significant to have solved."   When a person constantly focuses on unsolved problems, or constantly looks away from potential solutions for existing problems, andn ignores much that offers not coercive proof, but as "cause to believe" invites faith and further experiements upon the word, that does imply something about what is really happening.  Which door are you trying to open here?  

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

Thanks, I stand corrected on that particular chapter's author.  I had seen other posters attribute those verses to Moroni, but when i double checked the first chapter of Mormon, it stated that Mormon was its author.  I did not go further into the chapters we are discussing.

 

Do you have a link to Lindsey's work on this subject.  I would like to read it. Thanks. 

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2 hours ago, Fair Dinkum said:

I found this very interesting:

 I started this post because it wanted to gain additional insight as to how the long ending of Mark, a subject I have been aware of for some time but had left sitting on my mental shelf...an ending that was not original to Mark, could have found its way into Mormon's supposed writings in the Book of Mormon. 

As I inferred in my OP, there is no logical way that the long ending of Mark, an ending that was an effort by some scribe to harmonize Mark's original manuscript's short abrupt ending with the other gospels of Mathew, Luke and John, whose ending were more dramatic and faith promoting.

So my original question remains, why would Mormon, assuming that he was a real actual person, add the long ending to his work, words that were not original to Mark, words that were not uttered by Jesus, words that were the creation of a scribe's attempt to harmonize Mark with the other gospels?  And then I also ask, assuming Mormon received these words through revelation, why would Jesus elevate words he had not uttered, words created by some early Christian scribe?  Honestly it makes no sense.

http://evangelicaltextualcriticism.blogspot.com/2021/01/an-master-thesis-on-endings-of-mark-by.html

Maybe you are picking apart those responses that support the notion that these "words that were not uttered by Jesus," but that does not address the other arguments that show how these words were uttered by Jesus.

Moroni possessed knowledge of the sayings of Jesus to the Nephite disciples (Mormon 9: 22-25). He had access to many records. He included this passage after he had already complied / abridged 3 Nephi from them. Why did he wait? Who knows. He put the small plates in there well after his abridgement was complete also. Why would Jesus say the same thing to the Nephites as those in Jerusalem? That should be apparent. Why were these particular words not found in one version of Mark but a later one? Rather than being made up, perhaps they were restored from an even earlier version from which they had been removed, or added from earlier sources than those used for the earlier version of Mark under comparison.

Why do you keep referring to Mormon? Haven't you studied this enough?

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1 hour ago, Kevin Christensen said:

The authorship is easy to miss because it attribution is in the previous chapter 8:1

"Behold I, Moroni, do finish the record of my father, Mormon. Behold, I have but few things to write, which things I have been commanded by my father.

 

OGHoosier mentioned Lindsay earlier, though without links.  Lindsay's two part work is here:

https://journal.interpreterfoundation.org/the-book-of-mormon-versus-the-consensus-of-scholars-surprises-from-the-disputed-longer-ending-of-mark-part-1/

And here:

https://journal.interpreterfoundation.org/the-book-of-mormon-versus-the-consensus-of-scholars-surprises-from-the-disputed-longer-ending-of-mark-part-2/

Lindsay is always worth reading.  He delves into interesting questions and sources.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

Mormon Chapter 8 also suggests some prompts that might have led Moroni into mentioning serpents in Chapter 9 as he mentally reviewed the scriptures:

12 And whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn it because of the imperfections which are in it …and were it possible, I would make all things known unto you.

20 Behold what the scripture says…

23 Search the prophecies of Isaiah. Behold, I cannot write them…

24 …in his name could they remove mountains; and in his name could they cause the earth to shake; and by the power of his word did they cause prisons to tumble to the earth; yea, even the fiery furnace could not harm them, neither wild beasts nor poisonous serpents, because of the power of his word.

Interestingly, Moroni upbraids non-believers much as Mark did (from Part 1, Table 1 and following commentary) from the end of Chapter 8 and well into 9.

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4 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

The authorship is easy to miss because it attribution is in the previous chapter 8:1

"Behold I, Moroni, do finish the record of my father, Mormon. Behold, I have but few things to write, which things I have been commanded by my father.

 

OGHoosier mentioned Lindsay earlier, though without links.  Lindsay's two part work is here:

https://journal.interpreterfoundation.org/the-book-of-mormon-versus-the-consensus-of-scholars-surprises-from-the-disputed-longer-ending-of-mark-part-1/

And here:

https://journal.interpreterfoundation.org/the-book-of-mormon-versus-the-consensus-of-scholars-surprises-from-the-disputed-longer-ending-of-mark-part-2/

Lindsay is always worth reading.  He delves into interesting questions and sources.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

Lindsey's articles are very interesting and I do recommended everyone read them.  It is heavily dependent on a book by Nicholas Lund, but Lund's arguments in support of the authenticity of the long ending are inconsistent. Lund is guilty of using uneven standards in how he uses the evidence.  For this reason,  I tend to discount his conclusions. And because Lindsay is so dependent on Lund, it also colors his conclusions as well.

At first read Lindsay has taken the same motivations to justify authenticity for the long ending that the early scribes took in writing it.  Both recognize that the abrupt ending causes problems for the faith.  As Lindsey stated:

Quote

According to the consensus of modern Bible scholars, Christ did not speak those words; they are a later addition. If so, this is a problem for the Book of Mormon. 

But Lindsay shares the same motivations for the apparent scribe who first wrote the long ending (assuming this is what happened)  that the long ending is authentic because it completes the story and pares well with Luke and Mathew's versions. Lindsay also agues the long Endings authenticity because nearly 99% of Mark manuscript have the long ending.  But this has never been a viable reason to accept its authenticity. In the analysis of textual data, it is not a popularity contest, the very veracity, tone, words used and consistency of language used matter more than how popular the long ending might have been among scribes.

Lindsay also proposes various unsupported theories  and conspiracies to support the authenticity of the long ending.  I got the feeling that he was throwing multiple ideas on the wall to see what might stick in spite of the multiple reasons that it should not be considered authentic and original. With these Lindsey merely waves his hand and dismisses them outright despite these being the very reason the majority of Biblical scholars have rejected the long ending.

Perhaps Lindsay's strongest argument in support of the authenticity of the long ending was use of external evidences.  but even here he conveniently left out the dubious nature of Tatian's Diatessaron, I wonder why? As a side note, I couldn't help but find it ironic that an LDS apologist who slam's the early church fathers for their part in the Great Apostacy find these same early Christian fathers useful when it serves his purposes in supporting the authenticity of the long ending.  So which is it?  Are they credible or not?

Some of Lindsay's argument were circular in nature.  The Book of Mormon is true because the Book of Mormon says so.

Over all this was an interesting read and I do recommend it to all interested in this subject.  I do wish he hadn't relied so heavily on Lund for support of his position. Was it convincing?  Probably not for me, but I will admit that for someone first being introduced to this subject, it could offer a safe harbor.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Fair Dinkum
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1 hour ago, OGHoosier said:

Nevertheless, I think I'm getting ahead of myself, defending a hill I don't particularly need to. I'm with @webbles: the existence of an early Christian tradition of these words and promises being said is all we need, and we have it. These words didn't have to be attached to Mark originally. Frankly, any sort of Ostlerite expansion model could also do it, or Jesus choosing to reference such with Moroni. Such 'God magic' is clearly less offensive to us. 

Yes there are SO many ways, even more than you have mentioned in this wonderful reply!

That's why I skip to the end argument: I let God speak for himself, in my heart and use the text as my own "catalyst", as in the Catalyst Theory from Ostler.

Of course I suppose we need to learn that path, the long and winding road, by slogging through the mud until the value of the quicker technique becomes self evident.

I don't care if a given prophet was  "translating" the wallpaper patterns on the wall, as long as a consistent and spiritually fruitful message from the Lord was the product.

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2 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

Nevertheless, I think I'm getting ahead of myself, defending a hill I don't particularly need to. I'm with @webbles: the existence of an early Christian tradition of these words and promises being said is all we need, and we have it.

If the scholarly consensus is correct that the Longer Ending was composed in the second century CE, that hardly counts as evidence that it conveys authentic words of Jesus from a century earlier. You and webbles seem to be implying that the author of the Longer Ending drew on an independent body of oral tradition that survived intact into the second century. Where is the evidence for that?

For what it's worth, James Kelhoffer, who has written the most influential study of the Longer Ending of the last 20 years, notes that "the thesis that the LE's miracle list ever existed in an oral form is suspect, for it is dubious that the second and fourth couplets—γλώσσαις λαλήσουσιν and χεῖρας ἐπιθήσουσιν ('in languages they will speak' and 'hands they will lay on')—would be intelligible as spoken statements" (Kelhoffer, Miracle and Mission: The Authentication of Missionaries and Their Message in the Longer Ending of Mark [Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2000], 202).

2 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

These words didn't have to be attached to Mark originally. Frankly, any sort of Ostlerite expansion model could also do it, or Jesus choosing to reference such with Moroni. Such 'God magic' is clearly less offensive to us.

I think this is a stronger position. The reality is that the Book of Mormon ascribes a number of statements to Jesus that he almost certainly didn't utter. For example, 3 Nephi 13:13 has Jesus ending the Lord's Prayer with "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen," which is clearly based on KJV Matthew 6:13. As Thomas Wayment candidly admits, "the passage . . . is not defensible on historical grounds as belonging to the most original text of the New Testament." He continues: "Initially, it may seem simple enough to propose that the Book of Mormon preserves a second historical event where the prayer was repeated in a new setting with different wording and potentially new meaning. That would be possible, theoretically, although such a solution would create difficulties in explaining how a late Byzantine (fourth to fifth centuries AD) passage from a Greek text made its way into the Book of Mormon historical setting. Strangely, in this situation the Book of Mormon would be the first text to record the reading, and then one would have to suppose that Byzantine copyists came up with the exact same reading several hundred years later" (Wayment, "Textual Criticism and the New Testament," 665).

Then there is the absurdity of other aspects of the Sermon on the Mount being transferred to a New World context. As Brant Gardner points out in his book, The Gift and Power: Translating the Book of Mormon, Mesoamericans would not have understood the reference to debts (there was no monetized economy); bread (there was no bread, or even tortillas); pigs (there were no pigs); lamps (there were no lamps); or doors that could be knocked (Mesoamerican doors were made of fabric). Indeed, "the majority of the text continues to depend upon Old World culture" (Gardner, 191–192), which suggests to me that we're looking at something other than a straightforward translation of Jesus' words.

Edited by Nevo
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2 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

In what ways are Lunn's comments inconsistent? 

Because it isn't dubious by the standards of textual reconstruction.

Actually, it does matter, because these scribes aren't pulling things out of thin air...unless you intend to accuse the vast majority of New Testament scribes of dishonesty. They're working with pre-existing textual traditions which cannot simply be dismissed. It should be noted that the manuscript evidence from the "oldest and most trusted manuscripts" isn't uniformly against the Long Ending either. The gold standard for New Testament textual studies are the four Great Uncial Manuscripts, the Codices Sinaticus, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, and Ephraemi Rescriptus. All of them occur within about 100 years of each other. We haven't heard much about the latter two in this discussion, because they contain the Long Ending. You aren't just looking at a bunch of late manuscripts here. The Long Ending was in there pretty early. 

Regarding word choice, the case against the Long Ending isn't that clear cut. Much hay has been made about the 17 words that don't ever recur in the Gospel of Mark. This doesn't mean too much when you realize that Mark 15:40-16:4, a 12-verse section preceding the Long Ending, contains 20 words that likewise do not appear anywhere else in the Gospel of Mark. Yet nobody doubts the originality of this passage. As it turns out, Mark's vocabulary is more varied than we realize. Here's a handy table from an old paper on the subject: The Style of the Long Ending of Mark. Below are the chapters of Mark and the incidences of unique words within them. "Number of Words Used Only Once" refers to incidence in the entire Gospel of Mark. 

So the "unique words" argument loses a lot of strength here. 

This is unfortunately a false dichotomy. Whether or not a Church Father is correct on topics of theology and possess priesthood authority (the crux of the matter of the Great Apostasy) has nothing to do with whether or not they quote texts in their writings and thus provide support for their historical inclusion. What the Church Fathers do with those verses is what we might have a problem with, and that is of little consequence in this dispute. 

Though, for what it's worth, we actually don't have too much beef with the Church Fathers which we are discussing. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Polycarp aren't terribly objectionable. I think Augustine is really where we break theologically, and he comes later. 

But actually, while we're on the topic, let's talk Church Fathers. As I recall, you mentioned how Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Eusebius, and Jerome offer support for the hypothesis that the Longer Ending is not original? 

The following blog post offers interesting pushback on common arguments like these: Mark 16:9-20: Sorting Out Some Common Mistakes

As it turns out, Clement of Alexandria's silence is not significant. Why? Because he is similarly silent with regards to the vast majority of Mark. He just doesn't use it that much, besides chapter 10. In fact, Clement cites 1.3% of Mark outside of chapter 10. The absence of a Clementine citation of Mark is not terribly significant, unless I misunderstand the point Metzger is trying to make. 

Origen's silence is similar: like his fellow Alexandrine Clement, he didn't use Mark very much. He makes an oblique reference to the contents of the Longer Ending in Philocalia, though I wouldn't call it a knockdown reference by any means. I'd say his testimony is neutral. 

Eusebius is probably your best witness here, because he omitted the Longer Ending from his Canons. However, Eusebius's statement about the absence of the Longer Ending is qualified. It comes from his Ad Marinum, a letter to Marinus answering certain questions. Marinus asks how to respond to the differences in resurrection accounts between Matthew and Mark. Eusebius offers him two options: a) just deny Mark because it's disputed, or b) harmonize the two, which harmony he then offers. Notably, Eusebius does not encourage Option A, and at another point in the same letter, he quotes the Longer Ending three times while answering additional questions. Eusebius' relationship to the Longer Ending was complicated, I grant, but to say that he dismissed it outright is incorrect. He may have viewed it as not original to the Gospel of Mark, but it seems clear that he didn't view it as false or heretical. 

Jerome's comments on the matter are actually just an loose quotation of Eusebius' comments in this regard. Notably, Jerome included the Longer Ending in the Vulgate and also referenced Mark 16:14 in his Against the Pelagians, where he notes that he found the Freer Logion with it in numerous Greek manuscripts. It is difficult to fathom how he could find the Freer Logion with Mark 16:14 on Greek manuscripts without Mark 16:14 being on the Greek manuscripts.

I should note, as a cautionary tale, that none of these men had access to more than a few geographically-centered copies of the Gospel of Mark. There wasn't a massive database of Mark-copies for them to search. Make of that what you will. 

Nevertheless, I think I'm getting ahead of myself, defending a hill I don't particularly need to. I'm with @webbles: the existence of an early Christian tradition of these words and promises being said is all we need, and we have it. These words didn't have to be attached to Mark originally. Frankly, any sort of Ostlerite expansion model could also do it, or Jesus choosing to reference such with Moroni. Such 'God magic' is clearly less offensive to us. 

But also...the more I learn of biblical studies, the more I feel that the buyer must beware, and must always double-check. Pointing that out is always enjoyable. 

 

Impressive response. Well done. I enjoyed reading this. 

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9 hours ago, Nevo said:

If the scholarly consensus is correct that the Longer Ending was composed in the second century CE, that hardly counts as evidence that it conveys authentic words of Jesus from a century earlier. You and webbles seem to be implying that the author of the Longer Ending drew on an independent body of oral tradition that survived intact into the second century. Where is the evidence for that?

For what it's worth, James Kelhoffer, who has written the most influential study of the Longer Ending of the last 20 years, notes that "the thesis that the LE's miracle list ever existed in an oral form is suspect, for it is dubious that the second and fourth couplets—γλώσσαις λαλήσουσιν and χεῖρας ἐπιθήσουσιν ('in languages they will speak' and 'hands they will lay on')—would be intelligible as spoken statements" (Kelhoffer, Miracle and Mission: The Authentication of Missionaries and Their Message in the Longer Ending of Mark [Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2000], 202).

I think this is a stronger position. The reality is that the Book of Mormon ascribes a number of statements to Jesus that he almost certainly didn't utter. For example, 3 Nephi 13:13 has Jesus ending the Lord's Prayer with "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen," which is clearly based on KJV Matthew 6:13. As Thomas Wayment candidly admits, "the passage . . . is not defensible on historical grounds as belonging to the most original text of the New Testament." He continues: "Initially, it may seem simple enough to propose that the Book of Mormon preserves a second historical event where the prayer was repeated in a new setting with different wording and potentially new meaning. That would be possible, theoretically, although such a solution would create difficulties in explaining how a late Byzantine (fourth to fifth centuries AD) passage from a Greek text made its way into the Book of Mormon historical setting. Strangely, in this situation the Book of Mormon would be the first text to record the reading, and then one would have to suppose that Byzantine copyists came up with the exact same reading several hundred years later" (Wayment, "Textual Criticism and the New Testament," 665).

Then there is the absurdity of other aspects of the Sermon on the Mount being transferred to a New World context. As Brant Gardner points out in his book, The Gift and Power: Translating the Book of Mormon, Mesoamericans would not have understood the reference to debts (there was no monetized economy); bread (there was no bread, or even tortillas); pigs (there were no pigs); lamps (there were no lamps); or doors that could be knocked (Mesoamerican doors were made of fabric). Indeed, "the majority of the text continues to depend upon Old World culture" (Gardner, 191–192), which suggests to me that we're looking at something other than a straightforward translation of Jesus' words.

Regarding "old world cultural" artifacts in the Book of Mormon: since it was translated into a language and culture 1400 years after Moroni last wrote, why wouldn't the ancient Mayan word (I'm not suggesting the Book of Mormon was written at all in ancient Mayan, but just to illustrate) “k'ak' nal-chan” (small fireplace) translate into “lamp”, and “k'onh / u-hol a’-nah-eh” (making a sound at the entrance) to door knock (sometimes bells or clapping were used anciently instead), just as the ancient Palestinian “buzina” and “delet” did, respectively, though these are very different objects and actions than what we conceptualize today (and earlier translators of these early texts conceptualized in their day) as lamps and doors?

Edited by CV75
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10 hours ago, Nevo said:

If the scholarly consensus is correct that the Longer Ending was composed in the second century CE, that hardly counts as evidence that it conveys authentic words of Jesus from a century earlier. You and webbles seem to be implying that the author of the Longer Ending drew on an independent body of oral tradition that survived intact into the second century. Where is the evidence for that?

For what it's worth, James Kelhoffer, who has written the most influential study of the Longer Ending of the last 20 years, notes that "the thesis that the LE's miracle list ever existed in an oral form is suspect, for it is dubious that the second and fourth couplets—γλώσσαις λαλήσουσιν and χεῖρας ἐπιθήσουσιν ('in languages they will speak' and 'hands they will lay on')—would be intelligible as spoken statements" (Kelhoffer, Miracle and Mission: The Authentication of Missionaries and Their Message in the Longer Ending of Mark [Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2000], 202).

I think this is a stronger position. The reality is that the Book of Mormon ascribes a number of statements to Jesus that he almost certainly didn't utter. For example, 3 Nephi 13:13 has Jesus ending the Lord's Prayer with "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen," which is clearly based on KJV Matthew 6:13. As Thomas Wayment candidly admits, "the passage . . . is not defensible on historical grounds as belonging to the most original text of the New Testament." He continues: "Initially, it may seem simple enough to propose that the Book of Mormon preserves a second historical event where the prayer was repeated in a new setting with different wording and potentially new meaning. That would be possible, theoretically, although such a solution would create difficulties in explaining how a late Byzantine (fourth to fifth centuries AD) passage from a Greek text made its way into the Book of Mormon historical setting. Strangely, in this situation the Book of Mormon would be the first text to record the reading, and then one would have to suppose that Byzantine copyists came up with the exact same reading several hundred years later" (Wayment, "Textual Criticism and the New Testament," 665).

Then there is the absurdity of other aspects of the Sermon on the Mount being transferred to a New World context. As Brant Gardner points out in his book, The Gift and Power: Translating the Book of Mormon, Mesoamericans would not have understood the reference to debts (there was no monetized economy); bread (there was no bread, or even tortillas); pigs (there were no pigs); lamps (there were no lamps); or doors that could be knocked (Mesoamerican doors were made of fabric). Indeed, "the majority of the text continues to depend upon Old World culture" (Gardner, 191–192), which suggests to me that we're looking at something other than a straightforward translation of Jesus' words.

Excellent post.  Again this is why I believe the Book of Mormon is a 19th century work.  Coming to this conclusion requires less mental gymnastics, jumps through hoola hoops and summer salts.

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10 hours ago, Nevo said:

If the scholarly consensus is correct that the Longer Ending was composed in the second century CE, that hardly counts as evidence that it conveys authentic words of Jesus from a century earlier. You and webbles seem to be implying that the author of the Longer Ending drew on an independent body of oral tradition that survived intact into the second century. Where is the evidence for that?

We don't even know if the rest of the Gospel of Mark conveys authentic words of Jesus.  So where's the evidence that we have any of His words? :)

Mark 16:17-18 is the specific versus that we are dealing with and they really aren't found anywhere else.  So where does the author of those versus get those ideas?  Either the author made them up or the author received them from some other source.  Both of those are equally valid since we have no proof for either of them.  And we do know that there were other writings and oral traditions that did not make it into the Gospels.

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44 minutes ago, Fair Dinkum said:

Excellent post.  Again this is why I believe the Book of Mormon is a 19th century work.  Coming to this conclusion requires less mental gymnastics, jumps through hoola hoops and summer salts.

The simplest explanations are not always the most correct (or most likely, or the best, etc.). Our minds and the world independent of them are more complex than that. Certainly, bias always plays a role in scholarship, but a bias for simplicity often undermines the best discoveries.

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9 hours ago, webbles said:

We don't even know if the rest of the Gospel of Mark conveys authentic words of Jesus.  So where's the evidence that we have any of His words? :)

Mark 16:17-18 is the specific versus that we are dealing with and they really aren't found anywhere else.  So where does the author of those versus get those ideas?  Either the author made them up or the author received them from some other source.  Both of those are equally valid since we have no proof for either of them.  And we do know that there were other writings and oral traditions that did not make it into the Gospels.

So, if I understand you correctly, you're saying that you don't have any evidence that the Longer Ending drew on an independent body of oral tradition that survived into the second century, but you don't see that as a problem because, in your view, all positions are "equally valid" since there is no "proof" for any of them.

In that case, all of the scholarly arguments on this subject can be thrown in the bin, as none of it makes any difference.

Edited by Nevo
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39 minutes ago, Nevo said:

So, if I understand you correctly, you're saying that you don't have any evidence that Longer Ending drew on an independent body of oral tradition that survived into the second century, but you don't see that as a problem because, in your view, all positions are "equally valid" since there is no "proof" for any of them.

In that case, all of the scholarly arguments on this subject can be thrown in the bin, as none of it makes any difference.

We don't have any evidence of the providence of Mark 16:17-19.  The other parts of the long ending might be an attempt to harmonize the other Gospels or to give an ending to Mark, but Mark 16:17-19 doesn't have any known origin.  So, it could have been from an oral tradition, it could have been from a written tradition, it could have been made up by some scribe in the early 2nd century or even the late 1st century.  We just don't have anything to explain where Mark 16:17-19 comes from.  I don't think that all the scholarly opinions can be thrown in the bin.  I don't know why you think that.  If I thought that, I would just say that the long ending was originally part of the Mark :)

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11 hours ago, Nevo said:

Mesoamericans would not have understood the reference to debts (there was no monetized economy)

Just a little diagreement here, I have been married to a mesoamerican for the last twenty years and have a lot of experience living and interacting with them (Mixtec from the autonomous mixtec zone in Oaxaca).

These people understand quite will the concept of indebtness without money.  Almost everything you do creates some sense of indebtness that has to be repaid, mostly in kind.   It took me a while to realize that almost all "Gifts" came with an expectation of repayment and a sense of indebtedness.   They are remembered years later and I have even had to repay (with gifts) on behalf of debts from other family memebers.  Even the taxes in that region are paid in kind, usually with labor, rather than in money. 

The system is quite complicated, but the sense of indebtedness is real and the expectation for repaymet is real.  I have even found when trying to contact less active members of the church from that region that I can show up with a Gift and they will be obligated to come to my house with a gift.

In oaxaca they have a word for it "Guelaguetza"  

"La tradición de la Guelaguetza define al pueblo oaxaqueño, desde tiempos históricos hasta hoy. La palabra deriva del zapoteco y esta misma significa "intercambio de regalos y servicios" y se refiere a las relaciones recíprocas que unen a la gente. "

Sorry for the spanish quotation, the english Wikipedia only talks about the festival witth the same name. 

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9 hours ago, webbles said:

We don't have any evidence of the providence of Mark 16:17-19. . . . We just don't have anything to explain where Mark 16:17-19 comes from. 

Kelhoffer's book is 530 pages long, with over half of it dedicated to attempting to reconstruct the Sitz im Leben of Mark 16:17–18. So it's not as though nothing can be said about those verses.

Kelhoffer considers the possibility that they derive from a first-century oral tradition, but ends up concluding that the verses fit better into a second-century context. You may disagree with that conclusion, but we shouldn't suppose that there is no evidence to consider or that all arguments are equally valid.

Edited by Nevo
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18 minutes ago, Nevo said:

Kelhoffer's book is 530 pages long, with over half of it dedicated to attempting to reconstruct the Sitz im Leben of Mark 16:17–18. So it's not as though nothing can be said about those verses.

Thanks for linking that book.  I'll read through it.

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