The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why It Makes All the Difference

James Tabor presents a new look at the original text of the earliest Gospel

This article was originally published on Dr. James Tabor’s popular Taborblog, a site that discusses and reports on “‘All things biblical’ from the Hebrew Bible to Early Christianity in the Roman World and Beyond.” Bible History Daily republished the article with consent of the author. Visit Taborblog today, or scroll down to read a brief bio of James Tabor below.


 

And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing.

Women-at-TombMost general Bible readers have the mistaken impression that Matthew, the opening book of the New Testament, must be our first and earliest Gospel, with Mark, Luke and John following. The assumption is that this order of the Gospels is a chronological one, when in fact it is a theological one. Scholars and historians are almost universally agreed that Mark is our earliest Gospel–by several decades, and this insight turns out to have profound implications for our understanding of the “Jesus story” and how it was passed down to us in our New Testament Gospel traditions.

The problem with the Gospel of Mark for the final editors of the New Testament was that it was grossly deficient. First it is significantly shorter than the other Gospels–with only 16 chapters compared to Matthew (28), Luke (24) and John (21). But more important is how Mark begins his Gospel and how he ends it.

He has no account of the virgin birth of Jesus–or for that matter, any birth of Jesus at all. In fact, Joseph, husband of Mary, is never named in Mark’s Gospel at all–and Jesus is called a “son of Mary,” see my previous post on this here. But even more significant is Mark’s strange ending. He has no appearances of Jesus following the visit of the women on Easter morning to the empty tomb!

Like the other three Gospels Mark recounts the visit of Mary Magdalene and her companions to the tomb of Jesus early Sunday morning. Upon arriving they find the blocking stone at the entrance of the tomb removed and a young man–notice–not an angel–tells them:

“Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing (Mark 16:6-8)

And there the Gospel simply ends!

Mark gives no accounts of anyone seeing Jesus as Matthew, Luke, and John later report. In fact, according to Mark, any future epiphanies or “sightings” of Jesus will be in the north, in Galilee, not in Jerusalem.

 


 
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This original ending of Mark was viewed by later Christians as so deficient that not only was Mark placed second in order in the New Testament, but various endings were added by editors and copyists in some manuscripts to try to remedy things. The longest concocted ending, which became Mark 16:9-19, became so treasured that it was included in the King James Version of the Bible, favored for the past 500 years by Protestants, as well as translations of the Latin Vulgate, used by Catholics. This meant that for countless millions of Christians it became sacred scripture–but it is patently bogus. You might check whatever Bible you use and see if the following verses are included–the chances are good they they will be, since the Church, by and large, found Mark’s original ending so lacking. Here is that forged ending of Mark:

Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it. After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them. Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover. So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.

Even though this ending is patently false, people loved it, and to this day conservative Christians regularly denounce “liberal” scholars who point out this forgery, claiming that they are trying to destroy “God’s word.”

The evidence is clear. 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 (marked respectively in red, blue, and purple above) and simply create a “proper” ending.

 


 
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Even though this longer ending became the preferred one, there are two other endings, one short and the second an expansion of the longer ending, that also show up in various manuscripts:

[I] But they reported briefly to Peter and those with him all that they had been told. And after these things Jesus himself sent out through them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.

[II] This age of lawlessness and unbelief is under Satan, who does not allow the truth and power of God to prevail over the unclean things of the spirits [or, does not allow what lies under the unclean spirits to understand the truth and power of God]. Therefore reveal your righteousness now’ – thus they spoke to Christ. And Christ replied to them, ‘The term of years of Satan’s power has been fulfilled, but other terrible things draw near. And for those who have sinned I was handed over to death, that they may return to the truth and sin no more, in order that they may inherit the spiritual and incorruptible glory of righteousness that is in heaven.

I trust that the self-evident spuriousness of these additions is obvious to even the most pious readers. One might in fact hope that Christians who are zealous for the “inspired Word of God” would insist that all three of these bogus endings be recognized for what they are–forgeries.

That said, what about the original ending of Mark? Its implications are rather astounding for Christian origins. I have dealt with this issue more generally in my post, “What Really Happened on Easter Morning,” that sets the stage for the following implications.

1. Since Mark is our earliest Gospel, written according to most scholars around the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE, or perhaps in the decade before, we have strong textual evidence that the first generation of Jesus followers were perfectly fine with a Gospel account that recounted no appearances of Jesus. We have to assume that the author of Mark’s Gospel did not consider his account deficient in the least and he was either passing on, or faithfully promoting, what he considered to be the authentic Gospel. What most Christians do when they think about Easter is ignore Mark. Since Mark knows nothing of any appearances of Jesus as a resuscitated corpse in Jerusalem, walking about, eating and showing his wounds, as recounted by Matthew, Luke and John, those stories are simply allowed to “fill in” for his assumed deficiency. In other words, no one allows Mark to have a voice. What he lacks, ironically, serves to marginalize and mute him!

2. Alternatively, if we decide to listen to Mark, who is our first gospel witness, what we learn is rather amazing. In Mark, on the last night of Jesus’ life, he told his intimate followers following their meal, “But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee” (Mark 14:28). What Mark believes is that Jesus has been “lifted up” or “raised up” to the right hand of God and that the disciples would “see” him in Galilee. Mark knows of no accounts of people encountering the revived corpse of Jesus, wounds and all, walking around Jerusalem. His tradition is that the disciples experienced their epiphanies of Jesus once they returned to Galilee after the eight-day Passover festival and had returned to their fishing in despair. This is precisely what we find in the Gospel of Peter, where Peter says:

Now it was the final day of the Unleavened Bread; and many went out returning to their home since the feast was over. But we twelve disciples of the Lord were weeping and sorrowful; and each one, sorrowful because of what had come to pass, departed to his home. But I, Simon Peter, and my brother Andrew, having taken our nets, went off to the sea. And there was with us Levi of Alphaeus whom the Lord …

You can read more about this fascinating “lost” Gospel of Peter here, but this ending, where the text happens to break off, is most revealing. What we see here is precisely parallel to Mark. The disciples returned to their homes in Galilee in despair, resuming their occupations, and only then did they experience “sightings” of Jesus. Strangely, this tradition shows up in an appended ending to the Gospel of John–chapter 21, where a group of disciples are back to their fishing, and Matthew knows the tradition of a strange encounter on a designated mountain in Galilee, where some of the eleven apostles even doubt what they are seeing (Matthew 28:16-17).

 


 
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The faith that Mark reflects, namely that Jesus has been “raised up” or lifted up to heaven, is precisely parallel to that of Paul–who is the earliest witness to this understanding of Jesus’ resurrection. You can read my full exposition of Paul’s understanding “the heavenly glorified Christ,” whom he claims to encounter, here. And notably, he parallels his own visionary experience to that of Peter, James and the rest of the apostles. What this means is that when Paul wrote, in the 50s CE, this was the resurrection faith of the early followers of Jesus! Since Matthew, Luke and John come so much later and clearly reflect the period after 70 CE when all of the first witnesses were dead–including Peter, Paul and James the brother of Jesus, they are clearly 2nd generation traditions and should not be given priority.

Mark begins his account with the line “The Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). Clearly for him, what he subsequently writes is that “Gospel,” not a deficient version that needs to be supplemented or “fixed” with later alternative traditions about Jesus appearing in a resuscitated body Easter weekend in Jerusalem.

Finally, what we recently discovered in the Talpiot tomb under the condominium building, not 200 feet from the “Jesus family” tomb, offers a powerful testimony to this same kind of early Christian faith in Jesus’ resurrection. On one of the ossuaries, or bone boxes in this tomb, is a four-line Greek inscription which I have translated as: I Wondrous Yehovah lift up–lift up! And this is next to a second ossuary representing the “sign of Jonah” with a large fish expelling the head of a human stick figure, recalling the story of Jonah. In that text Jonah sees himself as having passed into the gates of Sheol or death, from which he utters a prayer of salvation from the belly of the fish: “O Yehovah my God, you lifted up my life from the Pit!” (Jonah 2:6). It is a rare thing when our textual evidence seems to either reflect or correspond to the material evidence and I believe in the case of the two Talpiot tombs, and the early resurrection faith reflected in Paul and Mark, that is precisely what we have.2 That this latest archaeological evidence corresponds so closely to Mark and Paul, our first witnesses to the earliest Christian understanding of Jesus’ resurrection, I find to be most striking.

 


 
Interested in the Gospels’ authors? Check out the Bible History Daily post Gospel of John Commentary: Who Wrote the Gospel of John and How Historical is It?
 

 

Notes

1. Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 2nd edition, (Hendrickson Publishers, 2005), 123. Metzger also states: “The last twelve verses of the commonly received text of Mark are absent from the two oldest Greek manuscripts (? and B), 20 from the Old Latin codex Bobiensis, the Sinaitic Syriac manuscript, about one hundred Armenian manuscripts, 21 and the two oldest Georgian manuscripts (written a.d. 897 and a.d. 913).”

Correction: In the original publication of this article, Bruce Metzger’s statement “Clement of Alexandria and Origen 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” (Metzger, 2005, p.123) was not appropriately referenced as a quotation from Metzger. We thank our careful reader James Snapp, Jr., of Curtisville Christian Church in Indiana, for bringing this to our attention. —Ed.

2.We offer a full exposition of these important discoveries in our recent book, The Jesus Discovery. The book is a complete discussion of both Talpiot tombs with full documentation, with full chapters on Mary Magdalene, Paul, the James ossuary, DNA tests, and much more. You can read my preliminary report on these latest “Jonah” related findings at the web site Bible & Interpretation, here, and a good account of the controversy here. During March and April, 2012 I also wrote a dozen or more posts on this blog responding to the academic discussions, see below under “Archives” and you can browse the posts by month.

 


 

Dr. James Tabor is Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he is professor of Christian origins and ancient Judaism. Since earning his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1981, Tabor has combined his work on ancient texts with extensive field work in archaeology in Israel and Jordan, including work at Qumran, Sepphoris, Masada, Wadi el-Yabis in Jordan. Over the past decade he has teamed up with with Shimon Gibson to excavate the “John the Baptist” cave at Suba, the “Tomb of the Shroud” discovered in 2000, Mt Zion and, along with Rami Arav, he has been involved in the re-exploration of two tombs in East Talpiot including the controversial “Jesus tomb.” Tabor is the author of the popular Taborblog, and several of his recent posts have been featured in Bible History Daily as well as the Huffington Post. His latest book, Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity has become a immediately popular with specialists and non-specialists alike. You can find links to all of Dr. Tabor’s web pages, books, and projects at jamestabor.com.

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  1. James says

    In response to “James” above, who is obvious “another” James, not me :-) I had a few quick comments. This is likely not the best place (comments on a blog page on BHD) to “debate” the issue of Mark 16:9-20 but I have to respectfully and strongly disagree–despite Mr. Snapp’s rather gracious granting of my honest ignorance. The problem here really is not one about manuscripts, though it remains that case that several early and important witnesses leave the text off with Mark ending at 16:8 and plenty of space on the page had one wanted to go further. The key issue is content. Those verses are self-evidently bogus, added by a rather clumsy scribe, and their style, content, and so forth is not Markan. I realize how dear these verses can be to Christian fundamentalists and evangelicals and their defense, even by certain scholars from those apologetic circles who want to defend “inerrancy” of the N.T, has been strong and spirited, but anyone who really looks at all three “supplied” endings can see what is going on here. Folks were just not happy with Mark’s ending, though most mainstream scholars are almost universally agreed that the ending at 16:8 makes perfect sense in view of Mark’s overall theology. Once would be hard pressed to find a single N.T. scholar at any major university who would defend this ending as authentic. I realize that “truth” is not taken by polling the status quo, even among scholars, but I do not believe that all of us have drunk some sort of “cool aid” and mysteriously agreed to this mistaken view. We have been persuaded by arguments. The percentage game does not work here, as 99% of Greek manuscripts say all sorts of bogus things, see Bart Ehrman’s work, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture for lots of examples.

    I quote here Bruce Metger’s conclusion, in the article cited above, and Dr. Metzger was considered a conservative scholar at Princeton:

    “It is obvious that the expanded form of the long ending (4) has no claim to be original. Not only is the external evidence extremely limited, but the expansion contains several non–Markan words and expressions (including ὁ αἰὼν οὗτος, ἁμαρτάνω, ἀπολογέω, ἀληθινός, ὑποστρέφω) as well as several that occur nowhere else in the New Testament (δεινός, ὅρος, προσλέγω). The whole expansion has about it an unmistakable apocryphal flavor. It probably is the work of a second or third century scribe who wished to soften the severe condemnation of the Eleven in 16.14.”

  2. James says

    P.S. to James Snapp…I forgot to thank James for noticing that I had failed to put quotation marks around the original blog post quoting Metzger. We have corrected this here and on my blog. I appreciate James’s sharp eye and gracious manner in private communications we have had in the past. I find him to be a great dialogue partner.

  3. Mike says

    Jerusalem Post June 2014

    Extra extra read all all about it. Complete text of gospel of Mark 1:1-16:20 discovered in Judea wilderness cave, Archaeologists date to 1st century A. D. (Just like so many other so called Bible blunders)

  4. James says

    You’re right that this is probably not the best place to debate about Mark 16:9-20 but I’ll take what I can get.

    Mark 16:9-20 is not “self-evidently bogus.” I realize how dear the abrupt ending at verse 8 can be to liberals and heretics, who want to attack inerrancy, or to dismiss the doctrine of the bodily resurrection of Christ, but anyone who carefully considers the evidence can see what’s going on here: Mark was compelled by some emergency to stop writing in 16:8, and his colleagues were unwilling to distribute the text in such an unfinished form, so they attached verses 9-20, which already existed at the time as a freestanding text. (Clearly verse 9 was not intended, when written, to form a continuation from 16:1-8.) Then someone, regarding the passage as a document in its own right, separated it from the end of Mark’s Gospel (perhaps with the understanding that John 21 wrapped up Mark’s otherwise unfinished narrative-thread). Mainstream scholars almost universally misrepresent the evidence about this passage, because they almost universally have drunk, not from a pitcher of kool-aid, but from the wide-flowing fountain of half-truths that is pages 122-126 of Bruce Metzger’s Textual Commentary on the GNT. The percentage-of-scholars game does not work here, as 95% of commentators say all sorts of bogus things about Mark 16:9-20: if they’re not misrepresenting Clement’s silence, then they’re claiming that some Ethiopic manuscripts end at 16:8, or that many manuscripts have asterisks alongside Mark 16:9-20 to indicate that it’s spurious, or they claim – as Bart Ehrman has claimed — that Mark 16:9-20 was added in the early Middle Ages!

    When you quoted from Metzger the statement that begins, “It is obvious,” you were quoting what he said about the Freer Logion. He was not referring to verses 9-20 there, was he. Metzger’s conclusion about verses 9-20 was that although they were attached by someone other than Mark, “The Committee decided to include verses 9-20 as part of the text.” And in “The Canon of the New Testament,” although the flaws in the evidence-presentations handed down to Metzger (some of which he detected, but certainly not all) persuaded him that the evidence conclusively shows that verses 9-20 did not come “from the same pen as the rest of the Gospel,” he then said, “The passage ought to be accepted as part of the canonical text of Mark.”

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  5. James says

    Oh no, the fangs have come out…it is only “liberals and heretics” who hold the view that Mark 16:9-20 is bogus and their only motive is to “deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus,”…here we resort to name calling and imputing of dishonest motives, not honest scholarly judgment. I will not indulge in such things. I am not labeling YOU as bogus, only the text. It is not part of Mark, it was not written by Mark, and you have not a shred of historical evidence to support your idea that Mark had to stop, and his “colleagues”(?? who would they be?) added the ending…how could you possible know such a thing? It is self-evidently taken from the compressed endings of Matt, Luke, and John…would you not agree? The Metzger quote is totally about the longer ending…no idea what you are reading here. On the “bodily resurrection” my argument is that Paul agrees with Mark…there is a “natural body” that is corruptible and a “spiritual” body that is a “live-giving spirit…” Do you really think that those who have “died in the sea” can not be resurrected unless their physical corruptive body parts are somehow reconstituted…or those turned to ashes, or God only knows all the other states of the physical bodies of countless good souls of the past. I have written a lot about this but the links are in the blog post…Enough is enough…for comments on the BAR site at least.

  6. James says

    Thanks for the response.

    I completely deny the charge that “the fangs have come out.” Such a claim is diversionary. I have not called you any names here. If you don’t like it when I say that a view that you support is dear to liberals and heretics (because, to you, it seems to suggest that your motive is being impugned), then you know how I felt when you said that a view that I support is dear to fundamentalists (because, to me, it seemed to suggest that my motive was being impugned).

    You asked how I could possibly know that Mark 16:9-20 was a short freestanding text that was attached to Mark’s unfinished text before copies of the Gospel of Mark began to be made. It’s a deduction, the entire basis for which would take too long to review here. You also asked if I would agree that Mark 16:9-20 is “self-evidently taken from the compressed endings of Matt, Luke, and John.” No; I do not agree; the “pastiche” theory is contrived; it only looks plausible at a distance, not up close.

    Regarding the Metzger quote: can you really imagine that the quotation that begins “It is obvious that the expanded form of the longer ending (4) has no claim to be original” is referring to 16:9-20? I guess you do. So open Metzger’s book and notice why that “(4)” is there. This item is part of a list. In that list, item (3) is “the traditional ending of Mark,” verses 9-20. The fourth item in the list is the usual 12 verses with an expansion (the Freer Logion) between v. 14 and v. 15. The quotation that you gave is certainly not “totally about the longer ending.” It is about the expanded form, which is why when Metzger listed O AIWN OUTOS, AMARTANW, APOLOGEW, etc., as words which appear in the expansion, he was listing words which appear in the Freer Logion. The Freer Logion, not verses 9-20, is the “whole expansion” to which Metzger refers in that paragraph. I am confident that this cannot elude you much longer.

    Regarding the questions about the resurrection: I don’t believe that human physical bodies must be physically reconstituted in order for the people who occupied them to be resurrected. But this is tangential to the main question, about whether Mark 16:9-20 was attached during the production-stage, or at some later time, well into the transmission-stage.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  7. Joe says

    Enough already James Snapp, go to bed..3:47am..really?

  8. James says

    James Snapp: I will leave it to readers to judge whether your tone changed in your post to an aggressive name calling rather than staying with the facts.

    You are right, the portion of Metzger I quoted is the beginning of a conclusion that covers all the three additional endings, and yes, he begins his comment on (3) the Codex Washingtonianus (love that name–I have a copy of it, really interesting text), that includes the longer ending but then adds even more to v. 14, thus showing the process of scribal expansion. Metzger then goes on to talk about (3), the expansion you favor, and we could quote it all for readers but it essentially makes a similar argument, that vocabulary, style, and substance are non-Markan. Remarkably, you apparently agree with this–that the author of Mark did not write it. He stopped for some unknown reason and then others (unknown) added it but it is still the “genuine” ending.

    The words liberal and conservative are interesting here. I would say my position is actually not liberal but conservative. I am trying to get to the original text of Mark–that is, to stick to the text as it was written, which is surely a conservative move. That is the whole point of my blog post. I think we have something preserved in Mark that is most precious and that people find the ending so disturbing, since it records no resurrection sightings, is all the more telling. It tells us something vital about the earliest Christian traditions about Jesus’ resurrection, entirely separate from the Jerusalem tradition known to Luke and John…

  9. James says

    James Tabor: It should not be hard for readers to notice that the contents of the first paragraph in post #4 on this page, which you referred to as “aggressive name calling,” is your own rhetoric, from the first paragraph of post #1 on this page, turned against your view.

    I’m glad you now agree that the paragraph you had cited from Metzger refers to the Freer Logion.
    I do not agree with Metzger’s view that verses 9-20 “are the work of an author other than the evangelist;” he over-extrapolated. Mark probably did write these verses. (That explains why they were attached, instead of some freshly-written ending composed for the purpose.) But Mark did not write them as the ending of his Gospel-account, and he did not attach them to 16:8. Here’s the thing, though: Mark does not need to be the person who attached verses 9-20, or even the person who wrote them, in order for these 12 verses to be part of the original text. The verses just need to be present when the production-stage is over and the transmission-stage begins. Composite-authorship, or the involvement of a redactor, has never been a defining parameter of the form of the “original text.” Since you are trying to get to the original text of Mark, I encourage you to define the term “original text” consistently, without using different definitions for different books.

    I also encourage you to test the claims about the evidence that you have been spreading, and ask yourself if you have responsibly minimized the chance of promoting false impressions. Ask yourself: isn’t it misleading to use Clement’s non-use of Mark 16:9-20 as if it implies that Clement’s copies lacked the passage? Shouldn’t readers be told that Clement hardly ever specifically quoted from Mark outside chapter 10? Isn’t it misleading when you fail to mention that Jerome’s statement is embedded in Jerome’s own Latin abridgement of part of Eusebius’ composition (i.e., it is Jerome’s loose translation of something Eusebius wrote)? Shouldn’t readers be told that this is not an independent statement from Jerome, and that Jerome elsewhere casually used Mark 16:14 to explain where he had seen the Freer Logion in Greek copies? And so forth.

    Also, regarding your claim that “most mainstream scholars are almost universally agreed that the ending at 16:8 makes perfect sense in view of Mark’s overall theology” – this is an appeal to authority, not to evidence. But even as such, it is considerably diminished when one considers that (1) Hort, Metzger, Stein, Gundry, Witherington, Wright, Croy, and Edwards are on record against that idea, and (2) it is not much of an exaggeration to say that where you find five commentaries promoting the idea that abrupt ending at verse 8 was intentional, you will find five theories about what Mark’s intent was.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  10. Joe says

    I will say this..it is all a theory. Every last book, letter, sentence, word, is a theory. Just because we have ancient text laying around, does not prove anything. People can set around and debate till they are blue in the face, but at the end of the day each party must admit..we do not really know who God is, or how he deals with mankind. Religion lives and breaths nothing but theory’s. Personally I believe that we are limited with human words when we attempt to describe God. That is why God is given human attributes in the bible…we have no choice. All religion’s are attempts to know God, but they all fall short of knowing who God really is. When we debate about the bible, in all actuality we are debating what the bible is trying to teach, not who God really is. It seems like if I can prove my theory right, then I have proved who God is, but really, I have proven nothing, but how smart I think I am.

  11. Mauno says

    What a gnostic rubbish. Your view of God is really underestimated, if you think God couldn’t preserve His texts (Textus Receptus). Unfortunately we use now days gnostics texts from Egypt, where gnostics used to have habbit of removing certain texts, insteading of accusing Christians adding texts.

    You should rename the site to Gnostics Archaeology really. For some reason, people still fall on “hidden knowledge” offered by the Serpent.

  12. Milos says

    Interesting article. In my opinion, the single biggest hint to what really happened is this: why would the women not tell anyone (Mark 16:8)? To me it sounds like the writer is trying to justify the fact that no one has ever heard about the resurrection events he’s describing decades later. Simple as that – it never happened. He blames the women for not spreading the message so that his forgery is less transparent.

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  14. Hansie says

    Mike (post no 3) … what is your source please as it seems to refer to June 2014 which must still happen. Will be interesting to read that.

  15. Lila says

    Your style is very unique compared to other folks I’ve read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this web site.

  16. fred says

    Did I read somewhere of a curse to anyone who adds to or deduct from the holy scripture?

  17. Mike says

    Maybe those who agree with Dr. Tabor should watch this clip before they decide whether or not the last 12 verses of Mark are of divine origin.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aye8q9tIrws

  18. Jerry says

    I was curious about the illustration with the three women in this post. Do you know the artist’s name by chance? I greatly appreciate your help. Thanks.

  19. Truth says

    What is PATENTLY FALSE is not the Ending of Mark but all the ignorance and lies used to reject it, like this dumb article demonstrates. All anyone has to do is read John William Burgon’s THE LAST TWELVE VERSES OF MARK, written over 130 years ago. This textual scholar extraordinaire vindicated the reading factually from all the apostates who were trying to remove it from the Scripture. Nothing since has come that overturns Burgon’s evidence. Burgon was a REAL CHRISTIAN, born of the Spirit, and who knew the Scripture needed to be defended from all the unregenerate children of Hell, the wolves in sheep’s clothing who were attacking it

  20. Alan says

    The very fact that some of those oldest manuscripts supposedly left off those last verses in Mark is a testimony that they were originally there. It’s NOT a “problem with Mark”, it’s a problem with the thinking process that has not faith in God’s staying power and the importance God gives to his word.

    Plus there is no such thing as oldest “and” best. The first writings that got used the most also got USED UP, with the wear and tear. Only an academic or gnostic would frame the thing and ignore it so much that it would appear in the last days to send strong delusion to those that receive not the love of the truth, like Paul wrote to the Thessalonians.

    He esteemed his word above his name, and the Word was God.

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Continuing the Discussion

  1. The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why It Makes All the Difference | Sound Commentary linked to this post on April 24, 2013

    [...] evidence is clear. This ending is not found in our earliest and most reliable Greek copies of Mark.1 Clement of Alexandria and Origen (early 3rd century) show no knowledge of the existence of these [...]

  2. Was Jesus married and had children?? - Page 11 - Christian Forums linked to this post on April 25, 2013

    [...] assume what is not there, it gives someone opportunity to deceive…. That's already been done: The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why It Makes All the Difference – Biblical … __________________ Pastor Alpha& Omega Christian Gnostic Church(retired) To view links or [...]

  3. The Strange Ending Of The Gospel Of Mark And Why It Makes All The Difference | Hebrew Vision News linked to this post on May 1, 2013

    [...] James Tabor | Biblical Archaeology [...]

  4. God's kingdom is not just talk, it is power! - Page 4 - Christian Forums linked to this post on May 23, 2013

    [...] [...]

  5. The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why It Makes All the Difference | KemboiKibet.com linked to this post on November 5, 2013

    [...] 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 [...]

  6. What are the contents of the Bible? | linked to this post on April 8, 2014

    […] through the gospel that the disciples begin to piece together Jesus’ true identity (8:27-30). The original ending to the gospel ends at 16:8 with the women fleeing the empty tomb, too afraid to say anything to anyone; the reason for this […]


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