The mystery of Mark 16: 8

RublevRublev Shipmate
'So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid' (Mark 16: 8).

The strangely abrupt ending of Marks gospel with its emphasis on fear has long been a problem. Three alternative endings are added later because it is seen as so inadequate.

Is it really the case that the original ending somehow got cut off on an early manuscript and was then lost?

Or is the silence of the three women Mark's response to the mystery of the resurrection?

What is the explanation of Mark 16: 8?

Comments

  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    What's yours? And why?
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    edited March 9
    I think that maybe Mark did want to end his gospel with the challenge of silence. But it is so mystifying that the other gospel authors redressed it with more inviting accounts of encounters with the Risen Christ.

    The alternative endings of Mark are really quite interesting. I like the one that promises believers will have power over snakes. It makes the early Christians sound like Slytherins. The author must have been thinking of St Paul in Malta (Acts 28: 3-6).

    (Edited to insert links. Mamacita, Host)
  • And of course it led the the snake-handling sects in America.
  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    Rublev wrote: »
    Is it really the case that the original ending somehow got cut off on an early manuscript and was then lost?

    There is evidence that this is what happened. The last word is γαρ There is no place else in Mark where a sentence ends with γαρ

    It means something like 'because', which suggests something follows.


  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    Whether the original ending of Mark was lost or not, having the gospel end at 16:8 strikes me as rather elegant. It reminds me of an Ellery Queen mystery, "Ellery Queen has all the clues needed to solve the mystery." Mark seems to be asking his readers to address the climactic question of his gospel: "Who do you say that I am?" with this abrupt ending. I find Mark the most powerful of the gospels in many ways, including this one.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    Might Mark have been unable to continue? Illness, arrest, death?
  • IMO it's been redacted.

    We can't have the first evangelists being women, now can we?

    AFF
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    :grin:

    Hi AFF.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Given how much of the Gospel of Mark is reproduced in the other Synoptics, it's possible that we already have the "lost" ending of Mark embedded in either Matthew or Luke. But that's no fun so here are some guesses at what was supposed to follow Mark 16:8 courtesy of Fred Clark:
    • Jesus meets two disciples on the road to Emmaus but they do not recognize him. They arrive at an inn and sit down to break bread together. Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” starts to play, then abruptly stops as the screen goes black for seven minutes.
    • Tom Sawyer arrives and hijinks ensue, mostly at Jim’s expense, which seems like a violation of everything we’d previously read.
    • The first 13 chapters of Mark are presented out of order, after which the rest of the Gospel is abruptly canceled by the Fox network.
    • A terse message informs readers that the Kickstarter campaign for a crowd-sourced 17th chapter failed to meet its goal.
    • After Jesus’ crucifixion and burial, Mark introduces two new disciples, played by Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish.
    • e dure questo pistolenza fino a
    • Mary Magdalene awakens and hears the shower running in the other room. It’s Jesus. She realizes the past three years were all a dream.
    • Instead of continuing the story of Jesus and his followers, Mark waits 20 years, then presents a trilogy of disappointing prequels focusing on the childhood and adolescence of Judas Iscariot.
    • “How’s Annie? How’s Annie?

    Anyone else want to add one?
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    I think that's totally brilliant Croesus.

    I'd like to hear AFF version of the mission of the first women evangelists.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Moo wrote: »
    Rublev wrote: »
    Is it really the case that the original ending somehow got cut off on an early manuscript and was then lost?

    There is evidence that this is what happened. The last word is γαρ There is no place else in Mark where a sentence ends with γαρ

    It means something like 'because', which suggests something follows.


    Very nice. It was lost. One way or the other. All other explanations are contrived. And the Holy Ghost wasn't fussed.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    I like Croesus' suggestion that it might have been preserved in Matthew or Luke.

    Which text would be the best fit with Mark 16: 8 ?
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited March 7
    Any of those that aren't there. That overlap in Matthew and Luke.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    I think it goes to the theme in Mark where Jesus would tell people he healed not to tell anyone but they did. In the case of the resurrection it was an event that should have been announced, but it wasn't.

    Also, I think it is a device which Mark uses to make the reader decide for himself/herself who is this Jesus. Was he raised or wasn't he? Mark demands an answer from the reader.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Rublev wrote: »
    I like Croesus' suggestion that it might have been preserved in Matthew or Luke.

    It seems like a good bet. According to this helpful Wikipedia graphic, there's only about 3% of the Gospel of Mark that doesn't appear in Matthew, Luke, or both.
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Any of those that aren't there. That overlap in Matthew and Luke.

    That would seem like a good place to start. Unfortunately those bits in both Matthew and Luke don't really deal with events after the Crucifixion, so common sense doesn't really get us very far.
  • A Feminine ForceA Feminine Force Shipmate
    edited March 7
    Rublev wrote: »
    I think that's totally brilliant Croesus.

    I'd like to hear AFF version of the mission of the first women evangelists.

    Unfortunately if my memory serves me correctly I wasn't present for those events described in the gospels.

    But I frequently wish I had been.

    So I won't speculate. But I think it's sufficient it to say, the women who brought the first news of the resurrection to the rest of the disciples were the first evangelists.

    AFF
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    The Lost Ending to Mark's Gospel:

    With apologies to AFF (because I really couldn't resist).

    Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome... fled from the tomb... and they said nothing to anyone because they were afraid. The Risen Christ appeared before them and proclaimed: 'Behold, I appoint you as evangelists to the nations. I declare that henceforth only women shall be priests. And this shall be known as Resolution DD...

    No wonder that it got lost in antiquity!
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    Explanation of "Resolution DD", please?

    Is it a side-swipe at something to do with Brexit? Or a reference to bra sizes? (The latter would be...inadvisable...IMHO...)
  • Rublev wrote: »
    The Lost Ending to Mark's Gospel:

    With apologies to AFF (because I really couldn't resist).

    Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome... fled from the tomb... and they said nothing to anyone because they were afraid. The Risen Christ appeared before them and proclaimed: 'Behold, I appoint you as evangelists to the nations. I declare that henceforth only women shall be priests. And this shall be known as Resolution DD...

    No wonder that it got lost in antiquity!

    It's not so much about Christ appointing women the first evangelists.

    It's a matter of fact : eu-angelos = the good news. The fact is that it was a woman who discovered the empty tomb.

    So if the women had fled and said nothing then how do we know that Christ was risen from the tomb if the eyewitnesses hadn't been the first to proclaim the good news?

    It's simple logic.

    The end of the book reads to me like "Oh, oops. If we go any further then we have to admit that it was women who first witnessed the miracle of the resurrection and brought the news to the disciples. Women beat us to the punch ... better stop here before anyone notices."

    AFF

  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    In the C of E Resolutions A and B are passed by churches which will not accept the priesthood of women. Resolution C provides for the oversight of Flying Bishops who will not ordain women (the so-called theology of taint).

    So Resolution DD provides for the ministry of only women. As Jesus really intended when He made His first appearance to women.

    It's a bit of an Anglican thing, but of course Jesus was an Anglican. It's why the Bible was written in English :smile:
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Resolutions A, B and C no longer exist as such. Parishes in that situation now simply pass a resolution under the House of Bishops Declaration.
  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    Host hat on

    These last few posts have veered away from discussion of the Bible text. Such posts do not belong in Keryg.

    Host hat off
  • LatchKeyKidLatchKeyKid Shipmate
    Mark wasn't intended to have an ending. The description of the scroll is that it is "The Beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, Son of God." The Good News carries on after the reader has come to the end of the scroll.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    Hmmm...kind of like the film version of "Godspell": the disciples move out into the world.
  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    Psyduck had at one time the sig
    "Why can't we have a theory of inspiration that allows for the inspiration of the rodent that ate the last page of Mark?"
  • kmannkmann Shipmate
    IMO it's been redacted.

    We can't have the first evangelists being women, now can we?

    AFF
    Except that the first evangelists were women in both Matthew and Luke.
  • kmann wrote: »
    IMO it's been redacted.

    We can't have the first evangelists being women, now can we?

    AFF
    Except that the first evangelists were women in both Matthew and Luke.

    Yes. ISTM those two reinserted what had been left out.

    AFF
  • kmannkmann Shipmate
    kmann wrote: »
    IMO it's been redacted.

    We can't have the first evangelists being women, now can we?

    AFF
    Except that the first evangelists were women in both Matthew and Luke.

    Yes. ISTM those two reinserted what had been left out.

    AFF
    Or that Mark actually finished with the shorter ending. To assume some sort of 'plot' is just speculation.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    kmann wrote: »
    Or that Mark actually finished with the shorter ending. To assume some sort of 'plot' is just speculation.

    That in itself is a "plot", a.k.a. a deliberate plan executed to achieve a particular end. Books don't just happen. They're all "plots" by authors to convey certain things.
  • kmannkmann Shipmate
    Crœsos wrote: »
    kmann wrote: »
    Or that Mark actually finished with the shorter ending. To assume some sort of 'plot' is just speculation.

    That in itself is a "plot", a.k.a. a deliberate plan executed to achieve a particular end. Books don't just happen. They're all "plots" by authors to convey certain things.
    Yes, but to claim that it really included the longer ending but that this was removed to deny that the first evangelists were women is just pure speculation with not root in history. And the fact that it wasn't removed from either Matthew or Luke counts against this speculation.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    edited March 12
    kmann wrote: »
    Yes, but to claim that it really included the longer ending but that this was removed to deny that the first evangelists were women is just pure speculation with not root in history. And the fact that it wasn't removed from either Matthew or Luke counts against this speculation.

    How so? Part of your analysis comes from modern ideas of the Bible as a book. It's not. It's more like an anthology, or possibly a library. A series of books written (and possibly edited) at different times and places by different people and only later collected into the volume we have now. Any process of composition of any of the Gospels is speculative at this point, and the underlying premise that Matthew and Luke were organized by the same editorial group as Mark is equally, if not more, speculative.
  • A Feminine ForceA Feminine Force Shipmate
    edited March 12
    kmann wrote: »
    kmann wrote: »
    IMO it's been redacted.

    We can't have the first evangelists being women, now can we?

    AFF
    Except that the first evangelists were women in both Matthew and Luke.

    Yes. ISTM those two reinserted what had been left out.

    AFF
    Or that Mark actually finished with the shorter ending. To assume some sort of 'plot' is just speculation.

    No plot necessary.

    Just a transcriptionist with a certain mindset and not a very good grasp of logic.

    I mean think about it - either Mark is a dummy who leaves the narrative off with the question "Well if they didn't tell anyone then how do we know they didn't tell anyone, in fact how do we know at all?"

    Or some other dummy just left off the rest of the narrative for whatever reason ... (insert your own).

    And in this case I don't think Mark was the dummy.

    AFF



  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    Umm...given the way women have been treated throughout Christian history, misogyny is hardly out of the question when women were dropped out of an account.

    Not saying that's what happened, but it's not unreasonable.

    Could also be that mice feasted on the manuscript, or it came apart, or someone had a sudden need for something to write a shopping list on.
  • kmannkmann Shipmate
    Just a transcriptionist with a certain mindset and not a very good grasp of logic.
    Or that the longer ending did not actually exist at the time and was not written by Mark.
  • A Feminine ForceA Feminine Force Shipmate
    edited March 13
    F
    kmann wrote: »
    Just a transcriptionist with a certain mindset and not a very good grasp of logic.
    Or that the longer ending did not actually exist at the time and was not written by Mark.

    Sorry come again? Having trouble making sense of the logic, esp if you consider what I just wrote.

    The ending makes no sense. At all.

    If Mark is giving a faithful account of events then how could he know the women wre afraid and told nobody if they were afraid and told nobody?

    There is either more to the story that relates how we came to know these events in spite of the fact that the women told nobody.

    Or Mark is just making it all up like the author of a story that can see everything his charaters do and think and is telling us from the authors perspective, and we don’t have to ask ourselves how the author knows these things because the story is all in his head.

    I am OK with the story being a work of fiction in this case, but it seems to me other gospel writers probably were asking themselves the same question, and either restored the narrative or changed it so that it would reflect more as an historical account.


    AFF
  • A Feminine ForceA Feminine Force Shipmate
    edited March 13
    The question then becomes if the other evangelists were reading and drawing from Mark, and they were working from a “good copy” that answered those questions then why do their versions say the women ran and delivered the news to the disciples and Marks version doesn’t?

    Did they alter the facts? Sure that’s possible. But its also possible they just shortened Marks version because clearly the women DID tell the disciples eventually, otherwise we would have a completely different account in all three books.

    None of it makes any sense at all unless you have some later editing of Mark, IMO.

    AFF
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    There is a bit of irony in that in a number of places in Mark, Jesus tells people not to say a thin-to keep it a secret yet the people told the story far and wide. The only person he invited to share the story is the person formally possessed by demons. Yet, here is the story that Jesus has risen and yet the women were so afraid that they told no one.

    In time, they must have, But we are left with a tension here. Why did they not say a thing?
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Their leader had been crucified and died a horrible death. What would be the fate of any followers? The crucifixion had a deterrent effect on their speaking out, putting themselves in the public eye. (And they did tell other followers and not too far down the track either).
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    Stetson has flagged up the Mar Saba letter of Clement which refers to the Secret Gospel of Mark - a second longer, mystic and more spiritual version of his gospel. It had some strange episodes in it and was 'very securely kept' in the church in Alexandria.

    If the original ending of Mark's gospel was also a bit bizarre then perhaps it was cut at an early date - leaving a rather abrupt and mysterious conclusion.
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