BIBLE HISTORY DAILY

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

James Tabor presents a fresh 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 first republished the article with consent of the author in April 2013. 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.


 
In our free eBook Easter: Exploring the Resurrection of Jesus, expert Bible scholars and archaeologists offer in-depth research and reflections on this important event. Discover what they say about the story of the resurrection, the location of Biblical Emmaus, Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb, the ancient Jewish roots of bodily resurrection, and the possible endings of the Gospel of Mark.


 
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.

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.


 
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?”


 
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).

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. Paul notably 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.

 


 
Dr. James Tabor is a professor of Christian origins and ancient Judaism in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. 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 and 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.
 


 

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. 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.
 


 

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166 Responses

  1. Steve says:

    Bruce Metzger was not fully represented in this article, so much so that one can say he was misrepresented. His full remark concerning was that Mark 16:9-20 is representative of a very early tradition of the church, possibly with apostolic roots. Metzger opined rather pointedly that the long ending of Mark should remain as a part of the canon of NT Scripture. That’s the rest of the story.

  2. Daniel Sharp says:

    Nice article, but a bit hyperbolic at points.
    After reading this, I consulted the following translations in print form: RSV, NRSV, NIV, ESV, NAS. Every one of them includes a footnote explaining that verses 9- 20 are missing from the earliest Greek texts, and early versions in other languages, as well. Some footnotes elaborate on this a bit more than others, but none of the ones I just read left me with the impression that these verses should be read with anything other than caution.
    The author’s assertion that these additional verses were added because the original ending was deemed deficient requires more than a little bit of speculation on his part, as I doubt anyone alive today knows why the text was altered or precisely when. Likewise, he leaves the reader with the impression that those silly Christians have, for centuries, glommed on to these additional verses, despite the fact that they are bogus. (His words.)
    While there might be some truth in that assertion, it strikes me as more than a little mean spirited.

  3. Tom Turowski says:

    To simply call the text in question bogus is bogus. You’re expressing opinion not fact.

    Both ancient Syriac and Coptic vesions that predate the 4th century Vaticanus and the Sinaiticus greek versions contain the aforementioned. Also these 2nd century authors, Iraneus, Justin Martyr, Taitian, either quote it or refer to it. As well as these 3rd. Tertullian, Cyprian and the gospel of Nicodemus.

  4. Woodrow Nichols says:

    If Mark is the earliest, do you think the author tried to free the story from the influence of James the Just, since Matthew has James written all over it?

  5. Woodrow Nichols says:

    Don’t you believe that the chevron over the tomb is a symbol for the group that worked behind the scenes in the story of Jesus, like Joseph of Arimathea, the owners of the donkey Jesus rode, the people behind the Upper Room of the last supper, etc.?

  6. George says:

    Mark tells the reader in short but clear fact that Jesus appeared to people after the resurrection. He sat and ate meat with the remaining 11…Judas took his own life…they did not have wine…Jesus is not going to drink of the vine until the day of the marriage of the Lamb to the Church…the feast.

  7. Eric says:

    James is no friend of Christians and has a bent to debunk Christian truths. The sign of a weak scholar is that after he presents a weak thesis (i.e., Mark was written first) he fortifies it with words that buttress his weak assertions “since, then, therefore,” and using words like “clearly, obviously” so as to bully weak thinkers into agreeing with him. (Like readers of Huffington Post.) But if your first thesis is wrong, all your other work is bogus. (Like erroneously citing Metzger. Sloppy!) Mark is for another audience, a synopsis of Matthew and witness of Peter. The truth resonates; this clangs like a poor cymbal.

  8. Timothy G Creamer says:

    You neglect to point out that Irenaeus and Tatian from the Second century quote directly from the added ending of Mark as scripture. Also Gospel of Nicodemus written prior to the codices, quotes the ending of Mark too. Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus of the fourth century, add and omit passages from each other thus we do not know how reliable those copies were in which these codices copied from. Passeges may have been damaged, torn, unreadable or lost and that is why they were not copied into the codices. Codex Alexandrinus, written just 50 years later, does include the ending of Mark and so does Textus Receptus and codex Washingtonius.

  9. I have concluded, before reading about the addition in Mark 16, that such an addition was made, without knowing it beforehand. And not just Mark, but the strategic there was my focus. Scribal additions are forbidden from ancient time (Deut 4:2; 12:32), though some would only limit that to Moses’. The gospels (and two other citations), present a phrase out of context that time wise, could never have occurred as the phrase would seem to indicate. That phrase, in Greek, has to do with the practice of the counting of the Omer, that is to begin the day of the wave sheaf offering. My contention is this: The day of the wave sheaf is to never occur DURING the feast of Unleavened bread, but follows it immediately. As such, the phrase that is commonly textually rendered as “the first (day) of the week” was strategically, even surgically, inserted into the gospels by editors at a later date. Originally it indicated the day of the wave sheaf, but Jewish practice, even back then, shows great controversy over this detail, producing arguments between Sadducees and Pharisees (both were wrong). It appears the editors wanted to force (rape?) the text to make it suggest a Sunday resurrection to fit their adopted point of view and practice. Paul warned against false gospels (Gal 1:6-9) and declared the gospel he preached (1 Cor 15:3-4) contains the detail that Messiah rose the third day, according to the Scripture. His intent, which is proven apologetically, is the third day of the week and no other. It was not Jewish practice to say “of the week” when intending it, from ancient time (Gen 1:13) and scholars and academics alike, who have never noticed this, or fail to reason from it, have swallowed the proverbial camel. The Apostles’ Creed contains this detail for this reason. Working from this understanding reconciles all chronologies of Yeshua’s death, burial, and resurrection (DeBuR) with no detail conflicting. But a consequence of such study, is that “first (day) of the week” is in direct conflict. It has been altered in translation, intends to mean something to Jews that is not conveyed at all in translation to non-Jews, as employed, and its very appearance where it does in the next, suggests it is an addition. This means that forcing the text has produced false gospel that brings a curse, that is directly effecting the world we live in today.

  10. David Wang says:

    This was a good read but I’m not sure about the logic. 1) You demonstrate that Mark 16.9-19 is an addition to the earliest extant versions. You call this section “bogus” on the strength that the Greek text is clearly not Markan. I get that. But the larger implication of what you are saying is that the endings of Matthew, Luke and John are also “bogus” — because they came later than Mark. Hence the contents of these segments are also subsequent additions, perhaps reflecting how spiritual eagerness among those early believers motivated them to fabricate encounters of “the resurrected corpse” of Jesus. The use of “corpse” in reference to the resurrected Christ is serious stuff. 2) So what exactly are you saying? If the post-resurrection scenes from the other three Gospels are not authentic, are you in fact saying that two millennia of the hopes of Christian believers are founded on exaggerations? 3) What does “raised up” mean in your understanding of things? You don’t really say. On the strength of what you do say, my sense is you do not accept a bodily resurrection; that somehow the post-resurrected Christ is some sort of spiritual substance at best, “actual” only in some ephemeral non-physical way. If so, it sounds like some variety of Docetism, perhaps dressed up as “progressive” Christianity. If Jesus Christ did not bodily rise from the dead, we are of all men most to be pitied.

  11. gary says:

    Who really wrote the Gospels; the core documents of the Christian faith?

    I don’t have a problem with conservative Christians claiming that a majority of conservative Protestant Christian scholars believe that eyewitnesses authored the Gospels, but when they state, “The majority of scholars believe that eyewitnesses authored the Gospels” this is disingenuous at best, and an outright lie at worst. The majority of ALL New Testament scholars absolutely do NOT believe that eyewitnesses wrote the Gospels. Even conservative scholar Richard Bauckham admits this in his book, “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”. He believes that this majority opinion is wrong, but he does not try to hide the fact that this majority scholarly opinion exists.

    Let’s keep the conversation honest, Christians. As respected scholar NT Wright has stated in a Youtube video: “I don’t know who the authors of the Gospels were, and neither does anyone else!”

    https://lutherwasnotbornagaincom.wordpress.com/2018/04/29/why-do-conservative-christian-scholars-and-apologists-repeatedly-lie-about-biblical-scholarship/

  12. Disciple says:

    He is but returned 21 June EY 1983 . Now living in Moscow; but of course one would expect him to be there. Paraised be the Lord-god. He shall “come” six years hence at the end of the Final Battle near the Euphrates.

  13. Lee says:

    Do you think Mark 16:1-8 is the original intended ending of Mark? What might it mean, if it is not the original intended ending?

  14. Jonathan says:

    Interesting read, until a gnostic gospel- the gospel of peter was referenced. The Gnostic gospels have been dispelled over and over , they lack historical validity and have not been found to be written close to the 1st century, not to also mention the very author is still in question. To use a gnostic gospel to correlate with the writings in Mark is bound to lead to a bogus outcome.
    Until they can investigate the ossuary boxes and provide DNA analysis to prove they found the actual body of Christ, the other accounts hold validity- there was no physical body in the tomb. We have found the potential remains of amelia Earhart along with other historical figures, and have take in depth photos of pluto and now understand genomes, but they have not definitively found Jesus. It only proves that the almighty Creator God is truly that, and is capable of raising someone from the dead. If he is perfect and able to speak life into existence, then he is smart enough to provide a comprehensive book that reveals his will and plan for mankind. And he can make a fool out of the most intellectual, brilliant human minds on Earth, such as Stephen hawking and Richard Dawkins, and Nietzsche.
    http://www.nelsonprice.com/the-gnostic-gospel-of-peter/

  15. William Smith says:

    But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. (Mark 16:7 KJV)

  16. William Smith says:

    But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. (Mark 14:28 KJV)

  17. D says:

    The scholars say Matthew, Luke, and John used Mark as a source text and maybe an additional source text and now they say Mark, using extraneous texts is bogus?
    As our Lord said, “We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ Wisdom is known by her children and most Biblical scholars are barren.

  18. Rich says:

    Author says

    “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.”

    How does a PhD professor think because the end of Mark may be a bogus addition that ALL three endings of the Gospel accounts to be forgeries? Where’s the logic? Shame!

  19. Shane says:

    That “adding an taking away” is only in reference to the book of revelations. When it was written it was not part of the 52 books we now call one book(the bible). But you are right, the vast majority of biblical scholars agree mark 16: 9-19 was added to the original.

  20. Ernesto G. Borunda says:

    It is amazing that our God would confirm Mark 16’s “spurious” [un-inspired] text with Paul’s venomous bite, the resurrection of the dead and healing of the sick, the speaking of tongues, etc in Acts (et al).
    Imagine the VIRTUE (power) in the TEXT that is INSPIRED.
    Your SOPHISTRY is too late for me to swallow! I have seen the Lord Jesus Christ confirm His Word (Mark 16 [all of it] in my humble ministry. The simple act of TOUCHING the sick—without the “formality” of praying!!!
    MARK 11:23-24 VALIDATE chp 16:9-20, and the Holy Spirit has VALIDATE, and continues to VALIDATE that “spurious” text. I’m sorry that your scholarship and “god” has blinded you (2 Cor. 4:4)
    I am an ignorant person (former, “recovering” intellectual). I pray that God opens your eyes as he did with Saul of Tarsus and as he did with me.)

    I now share with you one of the MANY citations of the Prophet of God, William Marrion Branham:

    “333 He said, “Mother, we learned over at the college that Mark 16 from the 9th verse on is not inspired.”
    334 The little mother said, “Oh, Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” 335 And he said, “Why, mother. Why, ridiculous. What’s happened to you?”
    336 She said, “Honey, I was just thinking. If you say Mark 16 is not inspired?”
    337 Said, “No, no, it’s not.”
    338 Said, “If God could heal me with uninspired Word, what could He do with That’s inspired?” Said, “If He could do that, what would He do with That was inspired?”
    339 That’s right. If uninspired Word will do that, well, what will That which really is inspired? What would Mark 11:24 do? What would That do? Oh, my. Sure. God is here and He’s with us.
    53-0611 – Show Us The Father And It’ll Satisfy Us
    Rev. William Marrion Branham

  21. John says:

    Mark 16:9-19 is certainly spurious, as you pointed out, and it certainly brings to mind what is record at Revelation 22:18, 19 concerning the adding or taking away from God’s Word.

  22. David Booth says:

    An interesting article and thought provoking. However, I agree that certain presumptions are made in this article, as a previous commenter said. These include:
    – “Paul notably parallels his own visionary experience to that of Peter, James, and the rest of the apostles” – Yes Paul does in a sense, “parallel” having seen the risen Christ, as the last of the apostles to have seen Him, but Paul doesn’t give any details as to the nature of Peter and James having seen the resurrected Christ. In other words, the nature of having seen the resurrected Christ, could be the same or entirely different! What we should note however, are Paul’s exact words instead of making a misleading paraphrase of them. Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15: are:
    3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.”

    …so we have:
    he was buried = Physical reference to his body
    he was raised = Physical reference to his body as Mark 16:6 says “And he said to 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.“…the absence of the body means that the reference to ‘risen’ indicates a Physical rising, not a spiritual or ghostly one.

    he appeared = Physical reference to his body
    most of whom are still alive – If Christ was executed around AD 33, this means that anyone who was approximately 20 years of age at the time, would only be 57 years old in AD 70, so on what basis does Tabor make the assumption:
    “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.”? While a certain degree of assumption could be acceptable, it should always have the weight of both rationality and plausibility. In this case, it doesn’t! This is because although the life expectancy of that culture may have been generally much less than ours, given that there were over 500 witnesses to the Resurrected Christ, and “most” were still alive when Paul was writing in AD 50, we can quite reasonably assume that a number of them lived until 2 or 3 decades after he wrote 1 Corinthians 15, which would mean that a number of the eye witnesses of the Resurrected Christ would still have been alive when Mark’s gospel was written. There is therefore no reasonable basis for Tabor to make this presumption.

    Tabor also makes a statement that is self contradictory:-

    ““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.” – In the first part of his statement he quotes Mark 14:28 in which Jesus speaks of his Physical resurrection of his body (“raised up”), which is later confirmed in Mark 16:6 through the absence of his body and in which Jesus said he will be Physically seen in Galilee (otherwise there is no point to Jesus’s statement if He were not to be physically seen in Galilee).

    ..so although Tabor’s article is thought provoking, it’s conclusions are based upon assumptions that lack any real weight to them and a preferential reading of selected texts. I think it also safe to assume that Tabor himself, does not believe that Christ was Physically resurrected in His body, but the problem that he creates with this “unbelief”, is that by that theory, he cannot explain why Jesus’s body was absent from the tomb (without inventing some get out clause, like someone stole the body etc). Neither can he believe in the redemption of the Physical Body in the general resurrection, nor by implication, the Redemption of the Earth, with a ‘New Heaven and a New Earth’, if in Tabor’s theology, everything physical is to be “spiritualised”.

  23. carlos says:

    honestly.
    im inclinded to use the word “crap” for the article. firstly, barely any evidence is presented against the cononized ending in the artcile. just a series of affirmations and assertions and ”
    worlds like “clearly” and “patently false” with little to no scholarship to back up the empty assertions. no real scholarly case is made.

    secondly. every link inside the article is a 404. so this reading has been a waste of my time. gonna chalk it up to tabloid “science”.

  24. Cody says:

    I agree they should have left it as it was. However, what they wrote wasn’t false, it was backed up by 3 Eye-witness testimonies. It’s not like they conjured up a story, they only filled in what the rest of the gospel writers gave us through their eye-witness accounts.

  25. lyall phillips says:

    I believe that it is all too late. The Canon of scripture is set for all time and endorsed throughout Christendom. It is imprudent and indeed michievious to now attempt to revise the scripture and negatively affect the faith of millions of believers. Leave it alone.- Lyall Phillips South Australia

  26. Jim Cerda says:

    I am an American of Mexican descent. My Grandfather’s has Jewish DNA. Is it possible that the Virgin Mary sightings were in areas where the Jewish people migrated because of the atrocities of the Spanish Inquisition?

  27. Brandon Collins says:

    Christianity become more convenient for humanity of Christ by the sins of Jesus death that was mistakenly God that died on the cross for virgin Mary kids in mistaken for people hearts to dexore to learn to go with eating for days and to be come weak for his mistaken for people to live and journey there soul of arise to be reborn sanyct to reborn freedom of Christ.

  28. Brian Holmes says:

    Is this guy even a Christian? I feel like I just entered a Jesus Seminar discussion!

  29. randomcat says:

    Perhaps the ’empty tomb story’ was fairly new around the time Mark was written. And the gospel ended with “they said nothing” to help explain why this story wasn’t known by many, until later.
    e.g. Perhaps there were disagreements among early Christians about whether or not the resurrected Jesus had a physical body. This led to the promotion of an empty tomb narrative(s), to bolster the idea of a physical resurrection. (?)

  30. Floyd Satterwhite says:

    When James Tabor used the word Easter a number of times, I was turned off from any explanation he gave. As an “educated” man he should research the word Easter to find out when and where the word comes from and what it means. It has nothing to do with the Passover season and is Pagan in origin. And Christ was not resurrected on Sunday as some believe. He died on Passover and was buried before Sunset [Wednesday} and was resurrected three days and three nights later
    on Saturday before sunset When Mary came to the tomb on Sunday morning Christ was not there. [John 19: 31 helps to understand the time sequence]. Thursday was the preparation day for the first day of Unlveaven Bread. Friday was the first day of unleaven bread and Saturday was the resurrection day, not Sunday [ishtar, pronounced Easter].

  31. Daniel says:

    1 Corinthian 15:6 states that the risen Jesus was seen by over 500 people most of whom were still alive at the time of the writing of 1 Corinthian accepted as AD 53-57

    Blessed are those who have not seen, yet believe.

  32. Clev says:

    If one has true faith, what difference does it make about what is written? One either believes or not. This whole “back and forth” seems ridiculous. It has become a focus that removes one from the TRUE focus. Jesus either is resurrected or not. It is an individual belief.

  33. John Owens says:

    There’s a very simple reason the original Mark didn’t tell of the appearances by Jesus.

    If it was written during the time of the 1st witnesses then it would be assumed knowledge already and covered by the writings of those witnesses. The Gospel for these people was the story of his missionary and death.

    It also makes sense that the 2nd witnesses would need to have it included because it’s not part of their story.

    You have to remember most writing is for the people at the time not for the people 2000 years in the future. Ultimately Religion is about faith.

  34. Robert says:

    Does anyone know what was the earliest church council to recognize the LE as part of Mark?

  35. Brad says:

    The concept of supernatural was a far different one in an age before science… there would be no difference between resuscitation and resurrection back then. Nor were there autopsies. So, some fluid came out of a spear wound… that does not mean he was clinically dead. I believe God works miracles, perhaps even supernatural ones, but one does not need to surmise that in this case.

  36. gary says:

    Two of the biggest assumptions that many Christians make regarding the truth claims of Christianity is that, one, eyewitnesses wrote the four gospels. The problem is, however, that the majority of scholars today do not believe this is true. The second big assumption many Christians make is that it would have been impossible for whoever wrote these four books to have invented details in their books, especially in regards to the Empty Tomb and the Resurrection appearances, due to the fact that eyewitnesses to these events would have still been alive when the gospels were written and distributed.

    But consider this, dear Reader: Most scholars date the writing of the first gospel, Mark, as circa 70 AD. Who of the eyewitnesses to the death of Jesus and the alleged events after his death were still alive in 70 AD? That is four decades after Jesus’ death. During that time period, tens of thousands of people living in Palestine were killed in the Jewish-Roman wars of the mid and late 60’s, culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem.

    How do we know that any eyewitness to the death of Jesus in circa 30 AD was still alive when the first gospel was written and distributed in circa 70 AD? How do we know that any eyewitness to the death of Jesus ever had the opportunity to read the Gospel of Mark and proof read it for accuracy?

    I challenge Christians to list the name of even ONE eyewitness to the death of Jesus who was still alive in 70 AD along with the evidence to support your claim.

    If you can’t list any names, dear Christian, how can you be sure that details such as the Empty Tomb, the detailed resurrection appearances, and the Ascension ever really occurred? How can you be sure that these details were not simply theological hyperbole…or…the exaggerations and embellishments of superstitious, first century, mostly uneducated people, who had retold these stories thousands of times, between thousands of people, from one language to another, from one country to another, over a period of many decades?

  37. Edward says:

    To those who think Dr. James Tabor has grounds for his anti Christian views. Checks this article out. Don’t settle for a one sided argument. Thanks. This was taken from carm.org Does the Gospel of Peter belong in the New Testament?

    by Ryan Turner

    The canon of the New Testament was reserved only for those writings that were either written by an apostle or an associate of an apostle. Since the Gospel of Peter was written in the mid second century, it is not a candidate for inclusion in the New Testament. The numerous embellishments in the Gospel of Peter clearly indicate that it was composed in the second century and was not written by the apostle Peter. This second-century date of authorship is in conformity with modern New Testament scholarship’s appraisal of the Gospel of Peter. Therefore, the early church rightfully rejected this Gospel which was falsely attributed to Peter.

    Background Information about the Gospel of Peter

    What is the Gospel of Peter?

    Though incorrectly ascribed to the apostle Peter, the Gospel of Peter is comprised of 14 paragraphs (or 60 verses), written around 150 A.D., which describes the events surrounding the end of Jesus’ life including his trial, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.1 This Gospel is only partially preserved in one 8-9th century manuscript, beginning and ending in mid sentence (Harris, 245).2 The Gospel of Peter contains many similarities with the New Testament Gospels including the basic outline of the end of Jesus’ life with His trial, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection, but it also contains a number of additions including, most notably, a description of the actual resurrection event with two giant angels, a super-sized Jesus, and a talking cross emerging from the empty tomb.

    When was the Gospel of Peter discovered?

    The Gospel of Peter was allegedly discovered in 1886-1887 during excavations in Akhmîm, upper Egypt. A ninth century manuscript was found in the coffin of a monk which is now known as the Akhmîm fragment. Interestingly, this fragment contains no name or title. However, since the manuscript had (1) alleged docetic3 overtones and was (2) found in the midst of other works attributed to the apostle Peter, such as the Apocalypse of Peter, scholars think that the Akhmîm fragment belonged to the Gospel of Peter.4

    Do any ancient writers talk about the Gospel of Peter?

    Prior to the discovery of the Akhmîm fragment in 1886-87, scholars knew very little about the Gospel of Peter. Their first main source was Eusebius of Caesarea (c. A.D. 260-340), the well-known early church historian, who noted that the Gospel of Peter was among the church’s rejected writings and had heretical roots.5 The second main source for the Gospel of Peter is a letter by Serapion, a bishop in Antioch (in office A.D. 199-211), titled “Concerning What is Known as the Gospel of Peter.”6 Bishop Serapion notes that the Gospel of Peter had docetic overtones and advised that church leaders not read it to their congregations. From Bishop Serapion’s statements we know that the Gospel of Peter was written sometime in the second century, but we are left with little knowledge of its actual contents from Serapion’s statements alone.7

    Is the Gospel of Peter a Gnostic Gospel?

    There is some debate among scholars regarding whether the Akhmîm fragment actually is a Gnostic document. There are two possible Gnostic examples in 4:10 [paragraph 4] and 5:19 [paragraph 5]. Paragraph 4 describes the crucifixion of Jesus and states, “But he held his peace, as though having no pain.” This may reflect the Gnostic view of Docetism which viewed Jesus as not possessing a phyiscal body. This would explain Jesus’ lack of pain on the cross. Furthermore, paragraph 5 describes Jesus’ death cry on the cross as, “My power, my power, thou hast forsaken me.” Some scholars see this as a reference to ” . . . . a docetic version of the cry of dereliction which results from the departure of the divine power from Jesus’ bodily shell.”8 However, some scholars dispute these references as referring to full-blown Gnosticism or Gnostic teachings at all.

    When was the Gospel of Peter written?

    Though this work was attributed to the apostle Peter (Par. 14), contemporary New Testament scholars rightfully note that the Gospel of Peter is a second century A.D. work. Most scholars would not date this Gospel before 130-150 A.D because of: (1) the numerous historical errors including a preponderance of legendary embellishments and lack of first century historical knowledge, and (2) the likely dependence which the Gospel of Peter has on the New Testament Gospels. For these reasons among many, most scholars today reject the Gospel of Peter as giving us as accurate of a portrait of Jesus as the standard New Testament Gospels and regard it as a late composition from the second century A.D.

    Historical Errors

    Error #1: The Guilt of Jews

    The confession of the Jewish authorities guilt (par. 7, 11) lacks historical credibility.9 The confession of the Jewish authorities makes more sense in a context after A.D. 70 where the Jews were blamed for the destruction of Jerusalem as a result of not accepting Jesus as the Messiah. Furthermore, the reference of the Jewish scribes and elders saying, “For it is better, say they, for us to be guilty of the greatest sin before God, and not to fall into the hands of the people of the Jews and to be stoned,” likewise reflects a period after A.D. 70 and is definitely not earlier than the Synoptic material.

    Error #2: The High Priest Spending the Night in the Cemetery

    Furthermore, the author of the Gospel of Peter (or Akhmîm fragment) possessed very little knowledge of Jewish customs. According to paragraphs 8 and 10, the Jewish elders and scribes actually camp out in the cemetery as part of the guard keeping watch over the tomb of Jesus. Craig Evans wisely notes, “Given Jewish views of corpse impurity, not to mention fear of cemeteries at night, the author of our fragment is unbelievably ignorant (Evans, Fabricating Jesus, 83).” Regarding the ruling priest spending the night in the cemetery, no ruling priest would actually do that. Due to these serious blunders, it is highly unlikely that this Gospel reflects earlier material than the New Testament gospels. Instead, the author is most likely far removed from the historical events surrounding Jesus’ death and burial.

    Error #3: Embellishment of the New Testament Resurrection Accounts

    There are a number of apparent embellishments in the Gospel of Peter, especially surrounding the guarding of the tomb and the resurrection. Regarding the guarding of the tomb, there are seven even seals over the tomb (8), and a great multitude from the surrounding area comes to see the sealing of the tomb. Though these are certainly historical possibilities, it appears to indicate that these are embellishments compared to the more simple accounts in the New Testament Gospels.

    The New Testament writers never describe exactly how the resurrection took place since presumably no one was there to witness it other than the guards. Perhaps the most fascinating part of the Gospel of Peter’s account is that it actually describes the resurrection of Jesus (9-10)!

    “9 And in the night in which the Lord’s day was drawing on, as the soldiers kept guard two by two in a watch, there was a great voice in the heaven; and they saw the heavens opened, and two men descend from thence with great light and approach the tomb. And that stone which was put at the door rolled of itself and made way in part; and the tomb was opened, and both the young men entered in. 10 When therefore those soldiers saw it, they awakened the centurion and the elders; for they too were hard by keeping guard. And as they declared what things they had seen, again they see three men come forth from the tomb, and two of them supporting one, and a cross following them: and of the two the head reached unto the heaven, but the head of him who was lead by them overpassed the heavens. And they heard a voice from the heavens, saying, Thou hast preached to them that sleep. And a response was heard from the cross, Yea.”10

    This resurrection account does not retain anything of the historical soberness that is in the New Testament resurrection accounts. Instead, this description of the resurrection of Jesus has a large angel whose head “reached unto the heaven” and a giant Jesus whose head “overpassed the heavens!” Finally, the best example is the talking cross. The voice from heaven says, “Thou has preached to them that sleep.” The cross responds by saying, “Yea.” While it is possible that there was a giant Jesus whose head surpassed the heavens and a talking cross, it is more likely that this story is probably an embellishment of the simpler empty tomb and resurrection accounts in the New Testament Gospels. It is probably just another attempt like some other Gnostic Gospels to “fill in the gaps” in the events surrounding Jesus’ life.

    How anyone could think of this resurrection account as more primitive than the Gospels seems quite unreasonable. Evans wisely states, “ . . . . can it be seriously maintained that the Akhmîm fragment’s [Gospel of Peter’s] resurrection account, complete with a talking cross and angels whose heads reach heaven, constitutes the most primitive account?” (Evans, 84).

    Dependence on the New Testament Gospels

    It is difficult to prove exact literary dependence by the Gospel of Peter on the New Testament Gospel, however, there are at least a couple instances in Peter which are best explained by the author having familiarity with the canonical New Testament Gospels. The Gospel of Matthew is a prime example with its guard at the tomb of Jesus. The Gospel of Peter author likely took this account and embellished it by having Jewish leaders come and camp out at the tomb overnight. This may have served the apologetical purposes of the author of the Gospel of Peter which reflected conditions after the destruction of the Jerusalem temple. Furthermore, the centurion’s confession (par. 11) appears to also reflect the Gospel of Matthew (Mt. 27:54, cf. Mk. 15:39, Lk. 23:47).

    Finally, the Gospel of Peter’s reference of the thief uses the same Greek words to reference the thief in paragraph 4 (4.10, 13), which likely reflects the Gospel of Luke (23:33, 39).

    Since the Gospel of Peter is likely a second century work due to the historical errors listed above, it is likely that the Gospel of Peter at least used similar traditions that are found in the New Testament Gospels–if not the Gospels themselves. This is a much more sober conclusion rather than basing our argument on source criticism alone, which is often bound with mere speculation of hypothetical sources and layers of editing and redaction. Anyhow, given the numerous embellishments and historical errors, it is likely that the author had some familiarity with the canonical Gospels and combined it with his own speculations. However, to what extent the author had knowledge of the New Testament Gospels, we may never know.

    Conclusion

    Despite the claims of some, the Gospel of Peter does not belong in the New Testament due to its serious embellishments and likely dependence on the New Testament Gospels. For these reasons among many, most scholars today reject the Gospel of Peter as giving us as accurate of a portrait of Jesus as the standard New Testament Gospels and regard it as a late composition from the second century A.D.

    A Summary of the Evidence for a Second Century Date of the Gospel of Peter

    Historical Errors and Embellishments
    •Seven seals are used to seal the tomb of Jesus (Paragraph 8).
    •A crowd from Jerusalem comes to see the sealed tomb of Jesus (Par. 9).
    •The Jewish leaders camp out at the tomb of Jesus overnight.
    •The Jewish leaders fear the harm of the Jewish people (Par. 8). This does not descibe the historical situation of the Jews before the destruction of the Jewish temple in A.D. 70.
    •The Resurrection story actually describes how Jesus exited the tomb with two giant angels, a super-sized Jesus, and a talking cross.

    Late References
    •Transfer of responsibility of Jesus’ death away from Pilate to Herod and the Jews.
    •“The Lord’s Day” reference (Par. 9) indicates a later time period (cf. Rev. 1:10, Ignatius’s Epistle to the Magnesians 9:1).

    Possible Gnostic Overtones
    •Silence during the crucifixion “as if he felt no pain.” This could be consistent with a docetic view of Jesus which was common in Gnostic circles.
    •Crucifixion cry is “my Power!” “my Power!” which likely indicates a supernatural being departed from him.
    •Jesus’ death is described as being “taken up,” implying that he was rescued without dying. This would be consistent with some Gnostic views that thought since Jesus was not fully a man, he could not actually die on the cross.

    Possible New Testament Parallels
    •The centurion’s confession (Par. 11) appears to reflect the Gospel of Matthew (Mt. 27:54, cf. Mk. 15:39, Lk. 23:47).
    •The posting of the guard at the tomb appears to reflect the Gospel of Matthew.

    Sources
    •Bock, Darrell L. The Missing Gospels: Unearthing the Truth behind Alternative Christianities. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2006.
    •Evans, Craig A. Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels. Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 2008.
    •Evans, Craig A. “The Apocryphal Jesus: Assessing the Possibilities and Problems.” 147-172. In Craig A. Evans and Emanuel Tov, eds. Exploring the Origins of the Bible: Canon Formation in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008.
    •Harris, Stephen L. The New Testament: A Student’s Introduction. Fourth Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002.
    •Head, P. M. “On the Christology of the Gospel of Peter,” Vigiliae Christianae 46 (1992), 209-224.
    •Strobel, Lee. The Case for the Real Jesus. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007.

  38. Edward says:

    The apostles were afraid and hiding. However, they became fearless even unto death NOT because they saw an empty tomb which after they seen the empty tomb still remain hiding. But because the saw Jesus stand before them. And turned the world up side down. To Dr. James Tabor, you relied on books the church DID NOT consider inspired. Athanasius never included them in the canons.

  39. herb basser says:

    Robert claims: What about the old Jewish law that says something like if you speak against the law or do something against the govt. you will have to be buried for 3 days & 3 nights without food & water as though you had died. Then when you come out you will be resurrected, forgiven & reborn a new person.

    where exactly did you find this? I strongly doubt any group said any such thing in antiquity. it makes no sense.

  40. Rupert G. Kennedy says:

    It is sort of strange how a few peasants could outwit the government officials of the time as well as the majority of clearly hostile public including even mothers who had preferred a criminal (Barrabas). I also wonder what could have fueled such obvious motivation in this small apparently defeated group. The accounts if they are all fabrications which could not be in all aspects of the story that clearly reveals some historicity, would have to be pure genius on the part of these peasants.

    Genuine aspects of the story are also the perceptions of these intimately involved persons. They were distraught about the outcome of events. How does this fit into the plot. So again what could have been their motivation to risk the same fate of their Master by “robbing a grave” and disposing of a body in an hostile public as well religious atmosphere (it was the Jews who largely instigated his death and incite the Roman authorities to secure the tomb).

    These questions I hope will set a more reasonable basis for this discussion. It appears the many hypotheses of modern scholarship are in many cases much more fantastic and problematic than their perceptions of the Gospel accounts. I also wonder why so called modern scholarship not only presumes intellectual superiority to earlier scholars, but also claim a propriety to the refuting this issue that they imagine contemporary parties or persons never had or were capable of.

    I am not saying there is not a legitimate place for doubt, this was also a issue in the group of disciples to the point, the term “doubting Thomas” is still a part part of verbal expression.

  41. Robert R. Gore says:

    W hat about the old Jewish law that says something like if you speak against the law or do something against the govt. you will have to be buried for 3 days & 3 nights without food & water as though you had died. Then when you come out you will be resurrected, forgiven & reborn a new person . This is exactly what happened to LAZARUS. Jesus was told he`d been in the burial cave 3 days & 3 nights, but Jesus figured he needed more punishment & left him in there one more day. But by then Lazarus was so weak Jesus had to help him come out….Robert R. Gore….March 28/2016 Monday

  42. John N says:

    The initial thrust of this article is correct – the ending of Mark is a later addition to the original text. The notion that this invalidates the text of the other gospels re the sightings of Jesus is not, and the notion that the additional text is a ‘forgery’ is itself dishonest. The notion that this undermines Christianity as a whole is farcical; the Copts, the early Christian writers he cites and other eastern traditions have only ever acknowledged the original ending. The excitement Mr. Tabor allows himself is predicated on very specific western traditions. Then there is the text itself. Perhaps Mr. Tabor has not thought about the ending very carefully; it is a literary paradox. If Mary and her companions ‘said nothing’ how did they writer come to hear their account? It is an extraordinary literary effect for the era in which it is written. The ending does not seem strange because it contradicts our understanding of the Resurrection, but because it doesn’t work as a coherent sentence, never mind the ending of a story. If indeed that’s where the text ends, and they ‘said nothing’ because they were seized ‘by trembling and astonishment’ how did the text he does accept ever come to be written? It doesn’t. Mary and her chums go home, and nothing more is said about the matter. Thus it is a literary paradox – something that is unwritten has to follow the text to release the paradox and end the story. The 16: 6-8 ending is written in such a way as to require explanation, an oral, unwritten narrative. At the time Mark was written Christian faith was a death sentence in Judea and Rome; in the run up to the Jewish revolt James the Greater was butchered, Paul was deported to Rome, Peter was betrayed and what remained of the nascent Christian community driven out of Jerusalem or slain in the revolt itself. To the Jews the notion of Jesus’ divinity was blasphemy punishable by death; it is no surprise that the writer of Mark should spare himself and his reader a death sentence by ending his text with a question mark that requires oral explanation to complete its meaning. The ending that isn’t written isn’t going to get your throat cut. Mr. Tabor is habituated to printed and digital text; it is not surprising that he should be unaware that when information was inevitably hand written by individuals, to be read by closely connected peer groups, that an oral component would not seem untoward either to the writer or his audience. Mr. Tabor has not added anything new to this debate.

  43. James Snapp, Jr. says:

    So here we are, after Easter 2016, and BAR is /still/ circulating Tabor’s half-truths? *Still* no acknowledgement of Irenaeus’ quotation of Mark 16:19? Still no mention of Tatian’s treatment of Mk. 16:9-20? Still no mention of the blank space after Mark 16:8 in Vaticanus? And still no mention of Sinaiticus’ cancel-sheet?

    And *still* no correction of the “they they” mistake. Or the reference to Mark 16:9-19.

  44. SIMON PITA says:

    THE TOMB WAS GUARDED. EVEN ORDINARY MEN GO ABOUT WITH SECURITY, SO IT IS INCONCEIVABLE THAT JESUS, THE KING OF KINGS, HAD NO GUARD! ANGELS WERE THERE ALL THE WHILE!

  45. Scott Mills says:

    Samuel Eusebius McCorkle must be rolling over in his grave.

  46. MICHAEL Snyder says:

    a) The presentation of the spurious edits to the earliest mss of Mark is well articulated and sound.
    b) However, statements like “strong textual evidence that the first generation of Jesus followers were perfectly fine with a Gospel account that recounted no appearances of Jesus.” represents a serious error in assumptive logic. Nothing presented here corroborates this claim except for additional subjective statements. The otherwise excellent points about textual issues are also clumsily cluttered with unnecessarily volatile and leading phraseology like “resuscitated corpse” and “revived corpse.” While the textual information is well-presented, there seems to almost be a desperation to somehow “prove” that the ancient claims of a resurrected Jesus are not worthy of consideration. There exist alternative explanations for the abrupt ending of the original account of Mark, but they are strangely omitted from this presentation.

  47. Theognostos says:

    It is NOT a requirement that an agel appears with wings. In fact many times angels appear in the form of a man i.e a Human Being. Jesus Himself took the body of Adam and sanctified it by becoming the Son of Man. The tomb was guarded. Jesus was resurrected. It is a done deal.
    Read http://www.fotobolostoxotis.blogspor.com

  48. Patricia Havens says:

    http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/guard.html. The tomb was guarded and sealed immediately. Mos historians agree.

  49. Patricia Havens says:

    http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/guard.html. The tomb was guarded. Most commentators and historians agree.

  50. Ephrem Hagos says:

    You are barking the wrong tree if you revisit the incarnate revelation, a.k.a., “one of the days of the Son of Man”, at the expense of looking at the immediately post-incarnate revelation of Christ, a.k.a., “the day the Son of Man is revealed”, according to the terms of the “new covenant”, and the teaching in the gospel which is sealed by Christ’s death on the cross. (Luke 17: 20-37)

  51. Prizm says:

    terry said: “It is worth considering why some early copies lack the final verses, but I think it’s going way too far to call them forgeries.”
    An interested point that wasn’t mentioned in this article is that the narrative of the common ending of Mark is disjointed. In Mark 16:1-2, Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James, and Salome bring spices to the tomb on resurrection morning. They see the empty tomb with the young man who tells them Jesus is not there. Then they ran off and were afraid. So the short version ends.

    Then Mark 16:9 begins (the common, longer ending), but it doesn’t pick up where verse 8 ended. It jumps back in the story and tells us that Mary Magdalene came to the tomb on resurrection morning and Jesus showed himself to her. Not only does it repeat what we thought we just read, but it now tells us that Jesus actually appeared to Mary Magdalene…whereas a few verse earlier, Jesus didn’t appear to any of them – they simply ran away after being told that he was risen.

  52. Gene R. Conradi says:

    Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, yes, that he has been raised up the third day according to the Scriptures; and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.”* Then Paul adds: “After that he appeared to upward of five hundred brothers at one time, the most of whom remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep in death. After that he appeared to James, then to all the apostles; but last of all he appeared also to me.”—1 Corinthians 15:3-8.

    Paul began with the confident statement that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was resurrected. What made Paul so sure of that? One reason was the testimony of many eyewitnesses. The resurrected Jesus appeared to individuals (including Paul himself), to small groups, and even to a crowd of 500, many of whom had no doubt been skeptical when they heard the news that Jesus had been resurrected! (Luke 24:1-11) Most of the eyewitnesses were still alive in Paul’s day and could be consulted to confirm those appearances. (1 Corinthians 15:6) One or two witnesses might be easy to dismiss, but not the testimony of 500 or more eyewitnesses.

    Notice, too, that Paul mentioned twice that the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus were “according to the Scriptures.” Those events confirmed that prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures about the Messiah had come true, thus proving that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah.
    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/pc/r1/lp-e/1200274870/151/2

  53. Elena says:

    Dear Professor — there is a HUGE difference betw “resuscitation” and “resurrection.” Jesus was resurrected, and so shall those who love and follow Him.

  54. Terry says:

    Besides if the gospel was intentionally concluded at 16:8, it’s rather confusing. The angel tells them that he is risen and to tell Peter and the disciples. And in verse 8 the women run away afraid and tell no one. I can’t imagine Mark, taking the time to write the whole gospel, ending it that way. I’d speculate that these copies that end at verse 8 are simply copies from an incomplete copy to begin with. But better to copy what you have then not copy it at all. And the ending we have in our Bible now makes much more sense then the two alternative endings. I’m confident that what we have is the original ending.

  55. dr howard davis says:

    http://www.khouse.org/articles/2000/201/
    Too bad most do not know math. I took Dr.Panis’ work on the NT/OT using gematria or numerics to the former Chief Engineer of the Rocket Div. at the former TRW. He told me he could not refute Dr.Panins’ conclusions(amateurs in math have tried and resort to word jugglery or taking the Constitution and attempt to show you can do the same thing with numbers which in the light of those who really know and understand Dr.Panin’s work to compensate for their lack of math training and skills and understanding Panin’s work some 50,000 tabulation pages) as presented in our terse article on Mark-but accepted them and was extremely impressed as well as his numeric work on the NT ,OT etc. . He knew ALL higher forms of math.
    Now the Greek language or each character stood for a number like Alpha for 1; Beta for 2,Gamma for 3 , etc.
    Same for Hebrew. Simple. But,Dr. Panin did all the hard work by hand as it were no computers, but can stand up and has to computer analysis-over a 50 year period using the Westcott and Hort Greek text. You will have to study his work on the internet. I will post more.

  56. Terry says:

    I wonder how many copies Eusebius and Jerome had to read from? Almost isn’t all, so some copies did have the final verses. Irenaeus quotes Mark 16:19 in his book (c. 184), so copies had it even earlier. It’s worth questioning why a few early copies are lacking the final verses, but it’s going way too far to call them forgeries. You haven’t proven it, just concluding from speculation.

  57. Terry says:

    Eusebius and Jerome say almost all are missing the long ending. I wonder how many copies they saw? But obviously some did have it. Irenaeus quotes Mark 16:19 in his book (c. 184). It is worth considering why some early copies lack the final verses, but I think it’s going way too far to call them forgeries. It’s not proven, but is rather mere speculation.

  58. Kurt says:

    Hail the Messianic King!

    Wehat happened in keeping with the prophetic words of Psalm 16:10?
    The Messiah would be resurrected. David wrote: “You [Jehovah] will not leave my soul in Sheol.” (Ps. 16:10) Imagine the surprise of the women who came to the tomb where Jesus’ body had been laid. There they encountered a materialized angel, who told them: “Stop being stunned. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was impaled. He was raised up, he is not here. See! The place where they laid him.” (Mark 16:6) To the crowd present in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost 33 C.E., the apostle Peter declared: “[David] saw beforehand and spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he forsaken in Hades nor did his flesh see corruption.” (Acts 2:29-31) God did not allow the physical body of his beloved Son to decay. Moreover, Jesus was miraculously raised to life in the spirit!—1 Pet. 3:18.
    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200273113

  59. Chavoux says:

    Gary, in both Matthew and Luke, it is clear that there were more women involved than just Mary. John simply focused on her personal experience. Since every individual who heard everything is not mentioned and which parts of the word everyone heard or what each one saw individually, it is most likely that not everyone saw and heard exactly the same thing. The time aspect also plays a role: Matthew, Mark and Luke tells the whole experience of the women at the tomb as happening when they first arrived (or at least without any indication of how much time passed, while John mentions that Mary (alone? or with the other women?) went to tell the other disciples (at least John and Peter) and then returned to the tomb.Did she leave to tell the disciples while the other women stayed at the tomb and heard the angels announce the resurrection? Or did she hear only part of what the angel said? It is totally possible that the other women heard the rest of the sentence, and Mary (having turned away crying) did not. To argue from missing facts that there is a contradiction, is not a convincing agrument IMHO. As for the tomb being unguarded the first night, I would assume that most Christians should be aware of this. However, I would also assume that the guards (and the Jewish leaders) would make sure about the tomb being undisturbed before sealing it… having a guard to prevent grave robbering while knowing that the robbery could have already happened, does not make a lot of sense, does it?

  60. The Nag Hammadi Codices and Gnostic Christianity – Biblical Archaeology Society | Mark Geoffrey Kirshner says:

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

  61. gary says:

    When did Mary Magdalene learn of a resurrection?

    Many Christian apologists state that it is impossible for the empty tomb to have been the result of a stolen body, even though the author of Matthew states that the guards were not posted until the second day, giving a least a short period of time that the tomb was not guarded. However, If the Stolen Body Hypothesis is impossible, why did Mary Magdalene believe that Jesus body had been stolen?

    Matthew is the only Gospel that mentions guards at the tomb. John’s Gospel says nothing about guards. If John was an eyewitness, as Christians claim, isn’t that a pretty important detail to leave out of your story? The missing Roman guards in the Book of John raises an important issue. Christians often contend that it would have been impossible for anyone to have surreptitiously removed Jesus’ corpse from the tomb because there were guards posted at the tomb who would have prevented such an occurrence. Therefore, they argue, without any possibility for the body to have been quietly whisked away, the only other logical conclusion is that Jesus must have truly arisen from the dead. A stolen body hypothesis is impossible.

    This argument completely collapses in John’s account, however, because according to the fourth Gospel, this is precisely what Mary thought had occurred! Mary clearly didn’t feel as though the scenario of Jesus’ body being removed was unlikely. In fact, according to John, that was her only logical conclusion. Clearly, Matthew’s guards didn’t dissuade John’s Mary from concluding that someone had taken Jesus’ body because Roman guards do not exist in John’s story. To further compound the problem of the conflicting resurrection accounts, John’s Gospel continues to unfold with Mary returning to the tomb a second time, only to find two angels sitting inside the tomb. Mary is still unaware of any resurrection as she complains to the angels that someone had removed Jesus’ corpse. As far as John’s Mary is concerned, the only explanation for the missing body was that someone must have removed it, and she was determined to locate it.

    But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying12 , one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” (John 20:11-13)

    Although in Matthew’s account the angel emphatically tells Mary about the resurrection (Matthew 28:5-7), in John’s Gospel the angels do not mention that anyone rose from the dead. The angels only ask Mary, “Woman, why are you weeping?” Mary responds by inquiring whether the angels removed Jesus’ body. Then, Mary turns and sees Jesus standing before her, but mistakes him for the gardener. Mary is still completely unaware of any resurrection, and therefore asks the “gardener” if he was the one who carried away Jesus’ body. It is only then that Mary realizes that she was speaking to the resurrected Jesus.

    When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” which means Teacher. (John 20:14-16)

    It is at this final juncture of the narrative that the accounts of Matthew and John become hopelessly irreconcilable. The question every Christian must answer is the following: When Mary met Jesus for the first time after the resurrection, had the angel(s) already informed her that Jesus had arisen from the dead? According to Matthew, the angels did inform Mary of the resurrection, but in John’s account they did not. As we survey the divergent New Testament accounts of the resurrection, we see that we are not just looking at contradictory versions, we are reading two entirely different stories!

  62. Should Christians Cast Out Devils and Take Up Snakes? | juliomiguel3 says:

    […] Here are some links you may want to look up – The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/the-strange-ending-of-the-gos… […]

  63. gary says:

    Jesus’ Tomb was not Guarded or Sealed the entire First Night!

    Holy Grave Robbers!

    I had never heard of this until today: How many Christians are aware that Jesus’ grave was unguarded AND unsecured the entire first night after his crucifixion??? Isn’t that a huge hole in the Christian explanation for the empty tomb?? Notice in this quote from Matthew chapter 27 below that the Pharisees do not ask Pilate for guards to guard the tomb until the next day after Jesus’ crucifixion, and, even though Joseph of Arimethea had rolled a great stone in front of the tomb’s door, he had not SEALED it shut!

    Anyone could have stolen the body during those 12 hours!

    The empty tomb “evidence” for the supernatural reanimation/resurrection of Jesus by Yahweh has a HUGE hole in it!

    “When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59 So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

    The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard[a] of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.”[b] 66 So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.”

    —Matthew 27

    If the guards did not arrive at the tomb until the late afternoon of the second day, that would mean that the tomb had been unguarded and unsealed for TWENTY FOUR hours!

  64. JXL says:

    This defense of the authenticity of Mark 16:9-20 has never been refuted.

    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/burgon/mark.pdf

  65. Sunday’s sermon: Needing Empty | Fearfully and Wonderfully Made says:

    […] Difference” from Bible History Daily, an online publication of the Biblical Archaeology Society, http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/the-strange-ending-of-the-gos…. Originally published April 2013, reposted 2 Feb. 2015, accessed 3 Apr. […]

  66. gary says:

    Which of these two stories has a higher probability of having occurred:

    Jesus of Nazareth is crucified in Jerusalem in circa 30 AD. As he draws his final breath, the entire earth goes dark for three hours, a violent earthquake shakes dead people awake in their graves, and rips the Temple veil down the middle. Jesus’ body is taken down off the cross and placed in the tomb of Joseph of Arimethea, a member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish governing body which the previous night had voted unanimously to execute Jesus. The tomb is sealed with a large stone and Roman guards placed in front of it. Three days later, a second great earthquake shakes Jerusalem, causing the dead who had been shaken awake in the first earthquake to now come out of their tombs to roam the streets of Jerusalem and reconnect with old acquaintances; an angel (or angels) comes and rolls away the great stone in front of the tomb, causing the soldiers to faint, and testifies to one, several, or many women that Jesus’ tomb is empty; that he had risen from the dead. Jesus later appears to the Eleven, and eight days (or forty days) later, ascends into heaven from a mountain in Bethany (or Galilee, or from the Upper Room in Jerusalem). The resurrection appearances of Jesus so emboldened the previously easily-frightened, doubting disciples that they now boldly preach the gospel of Jesus in the temple, Judea, and the world, dying martyrs deaths, refusing to recant their eyewitness testimony that they had seen the resurrected, walking/talking body of Jesus. These same disciples soon write the Gospels and several epistles which would soon become the New Testament of the Bible. The Gospel of Jesus spreads like wildfire, furiously persecuted by both the Jews and Romans, to become the dominant faith of the Western World for two thousand years.

    Or, is this what happened:

    Jesus of Nazareth is crucified. He dies. His body is left on the cross for days, as was the Roman custom, to warn any other “King of the Jews” pretender to think twice about stirring up trouble. After a few days have passed and the birds, dogs (Roman crosses were low to the ground), and other carrion have ravaged the body, the remains are taken down at night and tossed into an unmarked common grave—a hole in the ground— with the bodies of other criminals executed that week. The location of this common grave is known only to a few soldiers, as the Romans do not want to give the “King of the Jews” a proper burial nor do they want a known grave to become a national shrine where Jews can later come to pay homage to their “King”, possible inciting more trouble. Jesus disciples who were already in hiding, go home to Galilee to take up their prior professions—fishing and collecting taxes. The small band is devastated. Their beloved leader is dead; their hopes of reigning over the New Kingdom on twelve thrones with Jesus are dashed to pieces; there will be no overthrow of the hated Romans after all. All hope seems lost. Then…months or a few years after Jesus’ death…a couple of women disciples see a man in the distance, at sunset, and in the silhouette of the fading sun…he looks like Jesus. Is it Jesus? He turns to them, waves with his hand, and then disappears behind a hill. “It was Jesus!” they exclaim. They run and tell the disciples. Soon other disciples are “seeing” Jesus. “He is risen, just as he said he would!” The disciples are ecstatic! They WILL reign in the New Kingdom after all! They begin to preach the Gospel of Jesus, telling everyone how he has risen from the dead, as he had promised.

    …and forty years later, after Jerusalem has been destroyed and most of the disciples are dead, a Greek speaking Christian in Rome writes down the story of Jesus. However, the version of the oral story that this man hears circulating in Rome at the time tells of an empty tomb, the tomb of a member of the Sanhedrin…so “Mark” writes down the story. A decade or so later, “Matthew” in another far away location and “Luke” in another, write down the story of Jesus. They borrow heavily from “Mark’s” story, from another common source (Q), and from other sources that they do not seem to have shared. For instance, “Matthew’s” story contains incredible supernatural tales, such as an earthquake occurring when Jesus died, causing dead people to come back to life…but they don’t come out of their graves until three days later when Jesus walks out of his grave! One wonders what they were doing in their tombs for three days!

    And two thousand years later, every Christian on earth believes that the stories written by “Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John” are the historically accurate accounts of the life, death, and miraculous resurrection of Jesus, when all they are are legendary stories. No one lied. No one made anything up. It’s a legend. Now, dear Christian, how many supernatural events such as dead people coming out of their graves to walk around town chatting with friends and family have you seen in your life? Not many, have you? And how many times have you seen a simple story about a missing person or someone’s mysterious death, evolve within days, into the wildest tale, with all kinds of bizarre details and claims?

    So, honestly, friend: Which of the above two stories about Jesus is more probable to be true?

  67. Silverwolf says:

    “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)”

    Mike, care to give us a link to this find? I follow the latest digs very carefully and I never heard of it nor can I find a link to a Jerusalem post article about such a find. Can you provide more info as to where and how, what experts were on or privy to this news other then that the JP say s and Judean Desert. That tell us nothing other then wishful thinking.

  68. ALock says:

    “The longest concocted ending… but it is patently bogus… Here is that forged ending of Mark…”

    Such inflammatory and inequitable language is unbefitting scholarship. Make your argument, by all means… but do so properly and objectively.

  69. grant says:

    Just because someone publishes the first account of a story does not immediately make it the most accurate version. In fact, often just the opposite. Lot’s of speculation here.

  70. Astrogirl59 says:

    The mistake that most 21st century Bible readers make is that the books appear in a linear order. However, the synoptic gospels document events that overlap each other during course of of Jesus’ 3 1/2 years of Rabbinical ministry. Parts that are not mentioned assume that the reader is familiar with the customs and practices of the 1st century assemblies/followers of Judaism. The writers also use 1st-century Judaic idioms which 21st century readers misunderstand as physical descriptions—due to Greek transliterations of the synoptic gospels. Thus a messenger becomes a “winged angel”, the temple crier becomes a “rooster”, an alms box becomes a “trumpet”, etc. These “sacred-cow” Greek misunderstandings prevent 21st century believers from knowing the actual accounts and cause them to get hung-up on arguments over details that were crystal-clear to 1st century Messianic readers.

  71. The Many Endings of Mark | Understanding the New Testament says:

    […] always been confused about why Mark has two endings, a long and a short. So I looked it up. Evidentally, Mark originally ended with verse 8 when the women don’t say anything because they are […]

  72. Day 51: Awestruck and Afraid | Sandie's Bible Blog says:

    […] James Tabor on the Original Ending of Mark […]

  73. AJ says:

    Does rejecting the last few verses of Mark necessarily mean rejecting the endings of the other three gospels? I don’t see why it should have to. Even if Mark ended his gospel at verse 8 or 9, everyone seems to assume that means he didn’t believe in the resurrection, and that any additional information in the later gospels must not reflect the earliest Christian teachings. I don’t see why that has to be the only logical conclusion. The fact of Christ’s resurrection is certainly mentioned in enough other places in the New Testament.

  74. Allan Halldorson says:

    Hi Andrew #34
    You sound like an honest, great guy with an analytical mind. You are correct, up to a certain point in most of what I hear you say. Please let me continue for your consideration.
    1.You….Bible is not infallible, but has truths mixed with untruths and mythology.
    Me…. the mythology. Yes the sumarians made the fables and makes it sound like the Hebrews copied them and just changed the names, ect in the bible. These fables were known many hundreds and hundreds of years before the bible accounts.
    WELL here is what I think really happened. back in the garden cain and abel grew up together until they became adults. Adam and Eve taught them all they knew and understood about creation. Cain killed Abel and was banished and sent east to nod. I think nod was the area of the summarians and Cain taught the summarians all the stories of the “biblical accounts” but changed their names and stuff in a more mytical evil way.
    It wasn’t until much later that adam and eve had seth, and even later before the real creation stories were correctly written down in our “Bible” This was satans way of trying to make the bible sound like a re-creation of the myths, rather than the true story.
    So I came to this conclusion and I believe that I am correct. Remember evil (satan) has always twisted the truth of God just so slightly, but just enough to cause doubt.
    So the bible is the true original story but the fables are Cains twist on the true accounts.
    2. You…The church killed many scientist who dared proclaim that the Earth was round .
    ME… this is so true and not only about the flat earth but in many other things. People then and even now are so afraid that any little or big deviation in thought will destroy Gods word. How strange that is. When the bible is thought to be in error, its because man has not understood the bible enough. It is mans intepretation that is ALWAYS wrong.
    3. YOU…If we cannot be honest with ourselves about the pagan origin of the holy trinity, the virgin birth, Christmas or Easter….also..It is a truth that modern Christianity is nothing like the early 1st century believers. Modern Christianity grew out of much bloodshed, funded by the spoils of unjust inquisitions, witch-hunts, punishments of so-called heretics, and bloody Christian crusades. Modern Christianity justified slavery and the brutal treatment of women with silence for hundreds of years as some sort of conscious liberation.
    ME…. OK this is a tough one. 1st one has to believe that satan has his own seed here on earth and they work against Gods plan for us while we are here on earth. A study of Genesis will substantiate this, but is contriversial (satans seed) When God wanted his people to have their land, God told them to kill every man woman and child in the cities God sent them to. Thats because God knew that they were evil. and not of God. God knew if they didn’t,kill all of satans seed, that they would always be a donkey or trouble. I know, we are not taught this, but that is the fault of the church, not God. We couldn’t understand why God wanted them all killed, but we can know now, if we study the bible and listen to what God says, not what mans doctrines say.
    4. YOU…There were other gospels that were destroyed and not included in the Bible because of religious doctrine and creeds were preferred over truth and righteousness.
    ME… Yes there were many other writings that could be part of the bible, but then it would be too much to read and understand. We have to trust that God made sure everything was in the bible that we needed to serve His purpose. Please remember..God wrote the bible, man just got to hold the pen, Man didn’t have choice of what to write.
    Always remember Man is fallible, NOT God.

    in Christian Love, Allan

  75. allan Halldorson says:

    God bless you “ME” (above statement). And for you Richard, with your “Q” and institutional study friends, watch out for the lightning bolts! and Joseph, I hope Richard will call on you for enlightenment. lol

    Anyway, discussion about the bible is good. I believe, when we pass on, we get to explain our belief’s with Jesus, and we will all be amazed at how little we all know.
    blessing’s to all that are willing to discuss or debate. It is all good.

    Allan

  76. Allan Halldorson says:

    Why do you think Marks ending is strange?

    Yes, they were written at different times, and you have to know they were written from different perspectives. Also you must know even though they were disciples, they were still not really sure what was happening. They were human beings. Remember in Matthew at the mount, Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus, why do you speak in parables?, and He answered because, it is NOT for everyone to JUST understand. It takes study to begin understanding God’s Word. It was not until later, when Jesus just “appeared” in the room to them, that they began understanding what happened.
    These were real people Mark, with normal human brains. writing about something they had seen that was not a normal occurrence. That’s what really makes the Bible real.

    Nitpicking has NO place in your preception to discredit the Word.

  77. Joseph says:

    I think it’s rather common knowledge that “lifted up” was and is an expression that refers to being crucified. How it is that Dr. Tabor is not aware of that is beyond me. It is wrong of him to force in “lifted up” as some “proof” that Mark was quoting Jesus speaking of his ressurrection. Dr. Tabor only hurts his case by attempting to pull that fast one. Mark lets the world know in chapter one, verse one that Jesus Christ is God Himself. Mark 1:1 “A beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, Son of God.” Mark I.D.’s Jesus as The “Christ” …and the prophecies concerning the Christ reveal that the Christ is God. That should be good enough for the believer, no matterr how Mark ended his gospel. There’s no need to bring in some bogus gospel of Peter or to twist “:lifted up” into an ascended pretzel. Mark was correct. The women told no one what they’d experienced. Instead, when they reached the disciples they reported only that the body was gone. And Peter and John ran to check it out. So what’s all the hub bub… bub?

  78. LA “EXTRAÑA” FINALIZACIÓN DEL EVANGELIO DE MARCOS Y POR QUÉ HACE TODA LA DIFERENCIA | EL BLOG DEL APOLOGISTA CRISTIANO/ INGº. MARIO OLCESE SANGUINETI (LIMA/PERÚ) says:

    […] el pasaje estaba ausente de casi todas las copias griegas de Marcos conocidas por ellos. ” 1 El lenguaje y el estilo del griego claramente es no de Marcos , y es bastante evidente que lo que […]

  79. Richard Chelvan says:

    I follow the Neo-Greisbachian thesis – as good as any and it pretty much destroys the credibility of the Markan priority theory and the need for hypothetical constructs like Q to bolster its tottering structure. I recommend “Beyond the Q Impasse, Luke’s Use of Matthew: A Demonstration by the Research Team of the International Institute for Gospel Studies,” edited by Allan J. McNicol, with David L. Dungan and David B. Peabody. I also recommend the follow-up book, “One Gospel from Two, Mark’s Use of the Matthew and Luke: A Demonstration by the Research Team of the International Institute for Gospel Studies,” edited by David B. Peabody, with Lamar Cope and Alan J. McNicol. So it’s Matthew first, then Luke and then Mark which explains why Mark ended it that way.

  80. Don Foy says:

    I don’t see why having another person or persons add on to the end of the Gospel is “bogus”. Who says for a piece to be Divinely inspired, it has to be written in one sitting, or by one person? The Church then chose its canon of what it considers Divinely inspired, and nobody can really prove or disprove it. All you can do is look at its impact on people and history, and go with a hunch. That’s called faith.

  81. Don Foy says:

    I don’t see why, if a fuller ending was supplied later by a different person or persons, it is “bogus”. Who says for material to be divinely inspired, it has to be written in one sitting, or even by one person. The Church made its decisions on what is divinely inspired canon, and there is no way to prove or disprove whether it is or not. All you can do is look at its impact on the world, and go with your hunch. That’s called faith.

  82. ME says:

    ME again, a P.S. of sort.
    If the entry prior to mine had been read, my entry would have initiated with: My whole Hearted Belief is in My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. ….. Then the above.

  83. ME says:

    Please excuse my oppositional ignorance, yet over and over it is widely presumed and propagated My Lord and Savior rose on Sunday, later, even being paganistically termed as easter (due KJV faulty transliteration of Passover).

    Please Believe, and if so, observe over and over again the Apostles and even My Lord Himself stated: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whales belly; so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. / Next: and shall kill Him; and the third day He shall rise again. / Pharisee’s even stated: remember the deceiver said; while He was yet alive; after three days I will rise again. Even if one wants to somehow depict three day propaganda legitimized by calling Friday one of them, No way no how can one get around the third night. If U honestly believe our Lords words are inerrant, then please respect His words. My continued research finds so many times catholicism has distorted and even outright altered, transposed, left out, added to, within their powerful allowances of The Holy Scripture. In my possession is a personal letter from the catholic church themselves, (dated 4-6-1929) last paragraph states: “We also say that of all the Protestants, the seventh day Adventists, are the only group that correctly and are consistant with their teaching. It is always somewhat laughable to see the Protestant Churches, in pulpit and legislature, demand the observance of sunday, of which there is nothing in their bible”. The writer of the letter is mr. petter r. kraemer, of the catholic church extention society, of the United States of America, 180 North Wabash Avenue, Chicago.(as stated dated:1929). (A Friends Grandfather’s inquiry answered)

    Please research for ones self, and not blindly say someone said therefore I believe. If all constantine’s blasphemies were listed, this would get overly lengthy. My Love is for Christ my Savior, my fear is of God Almighty. And God’s the one the dishonoring of His Sabbath is errantly placed, as My Holy Spirit just jumps every single time my eyes or ears come in contact with this exact issue. Please believe ME an absolute quack, and do U’r own research. No where other than the errant Passover transliterated into easter, in KJV, is any support backed. Yes the italic trash placed for “easy reading” continually errors, yet U give a pagan sun worshipper a minute, he’ll add, remove and replace as much as he can get away with. Find a Hebrew linguist, get to the bottom of it, and stop transgressing the Sabbath, by believing in some festive sunday, established by a sun worshipping roman.
    If this site has a reply person, and a copy of aforementioned letter is desired, it can be provided. Please have a Blessed God filled Day.

  84. Andrew says:

    If we take the religious bias out of the equation, it becomes more apparent that the Bible is not infallible, but has truths mixed with untruths and mythology. The quote from Clint Eastwood’s movie High Plains Drifter comes to mind, “It’s what people know about themselves inside that makes them afraid.” What truths made the Nicene Trinitarian Christian movement so uncomfortable that they murdered, tortured and oppressed so many hundreds of thousands of non-orthodox believers? The church killed many scientist who dared proclaim that the Earth was round and not flat, but turns out they they spilled innocent blood unjustly. The truth came out and I thank GOD the Earth is not flat. I grew up in the church since I was a baby; son of a Protestant Bishop. I notice most Christians become either polarized with anger or paralyzed with fear at the thought that their Holy Bible might not be so holy and might contain ungodly additions and myths. If we cannot be honest with ourselves about the pagan origin of the holy trinity, the virgin birth, Christmas or Easter then we will never heal the world or ourselves for that matter. We build houses out of straw and wonder why we are not sheltered from the strong winds of truth rising. It is a truth that modern Christianity is nothing like the early 1st century believers. Modern Christianity grew out of much bloodshed, funded by the spoils of unjust inquisitions, witch-hunts, punishments of so-called heretics, and bloody Christian crusades. Modern Christianity justified slavery and the brutal treatment of women with silence for hundreds of years as some sort of conscious liberation. There were other gospels that were destroyed and not included in the Bible because of religious doctrine and creeds were preferred over truth and righteousness. There were other sets of books not identical to the modern accepted books of Moses. Thomas Paine, Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln all recognized that the Bible was flawed but that didn’t stop them from trying to make the world a better place. Picking up ones cross and loving each other has nothing to do with any Holy Book or perceived infallibility. It has to do with conscious choice to pursue goodness with our whole heart. I don’t need to believe that someone died for my sins to want to live in a way that is of benefit to mankind and promotes righteousness and peace. I don’t need a blank ticket to live any way; feeling my sins will be covered by the blood of a religious made demi-god. It is just fine with me for Jesus to be 100% human because I am human, which means he was just like any one of us and chose to live upright of free-will. Many Christians cling to their belief in the infallibility of the bible, while at the same time clinging to things like pornography, bigotry, malice and deception. We owe it to ourselves to realize that we did not make ourselves and reach for a higher call in life of our own free-will. So called holy books can burn and never be reprinted, but the pleasure in doing good that fills the soul of man can endure forever if we so choose that path. Every religion boast of a demi-god but in 2000 years no savior has shown up to encourage mankind; not Krishna, not Jesus, not Mohammed nor Buddha. GOD is waiting for mankind to finally get it and choose not religion but love. Choosing any other path but love, peace and upright living creates a world full of darkness, pain and spiritual death; but that is what we have today, in spite of our holy books and world religions because man is choosing the written letter rather than the universal laws written in the DNA of mankind. We should love GOD with our whole heart and stay in that mind frame until we find the path that leads to loving strangers all over the world as ourselves. We must denounce paganism, idolatry and lies that stem all the way back to the Sumerians and Egyptians. Mythology and idolatry has blinded the world and kept us from finding the inner path that quenches all spiritual hunger and thirst. Once we find divine love then we find what compelled Jesus to serve mankind with an upright life and we become ourselves many Jesus-like beings living in a world starving for truth, joy, peace and love.

  85. blueget says:

    While I do find the issue with the “longer ending of Mark” interesting, I have to strongly object to Mr. Tabor misusing his authority as a scientist to promote his world view and the general unscientific approach in interpreting facts that is evident in this text. This begins with calling the ending “forged” (note the unsubstantiated use of that negatively connotated word, implying malicious intent) and goes on through the whole text, right to the very confuse ending (wouldn’t it be much more logical that the depiction is about the faith that the persons that are buried there will themselves be resurrected?)
    All this is symptomatic of most “liberal Theologians” – trying to bend the facts until they fit their personal presumptions, always on the lookout to destroy the faith of christians, and ignoring even the most basic scientific rules in the process.

  86. annese says:

    Everyone is approaching this as if it was a book written by a modern author. The fact that there are inconcistencies in the content of Mark (for example) is consistent with the scenario that the gospel of mark was complete in the collective of the oral tradition but not on an individual level. That is to say that not everyone involved in the production of Mark had the “complete” story or account. That’s it. That does nothing to deductively either persuade or dissuade one from believing that this was exactly what happened. It is entirely possible that this entire story happened and the account existed but was incomplete in its written form for some time. In fact it is mentioned that even the current written account of the events during Jesus Christs visitation in the flesh is incomplete.

  87. Bonnie says:

    Sounds like to me that this man needs to go pray that Jesus will send him the Holy Spirit, because he has no faith at all.

  88. Allison S. says:

    I like listening to intelligent people argue. And while I’m not capable of debating at this level, I don’t see why the original ending would prove that the other 3 gospels were not accurate. Your supporting evidence is Peter’s gospel which is not included in the bible, thus not the most convincing. I like the theory that Mark was unable to finish and went back later to add the other verses, but even if a scribe or other sort of meddler added these “bogus” verses, neither ending are in conflict with the other disciple’s stories. I think where you lost me was when you called the resurrected Jesus in His glorified state a “revived corpse.” That might have been the point I feel like you let the fangs out. I am but a humble bible reader, just wondering why Mark has so many optional endings and will continue my search for plausible scenerios. Thanks.

  89. Richard says:

    The fact that the author of this article continuously refers to Mark as “the author of the Gospel of Mark” leads me to believe that the author does not believe Mark wrote the Gospel of Mark.
    The author of this article also tends to use the CE abbreviation more than a Christian scholar stricltly should, since it is an attempt to take Jesus and the Ressurection out of history.
    The author of this article also fails to note that Mark was simply not present for anything that is in the Gospel of Mark; for centuries critical scholars have known that this is the account of Paul DICTATED to Mark.

    I don’t know who this hack is, but I don’t think I like the vibe he sets. I suppose that to the strictest letter he is not bastardizing the Bible, but he sure does allude to some pretty unbiblical thigns….

  90. tammy says:

    It’s the best time to make some plans for the future and it’s time

  91. Rick Carpenter says:

    Tabor writes about forged endings of Mark and then uses his speculation and non-gospel material to elucidate on the ‘missing’ ending.

    I wonder if there was an original ending that was lost? Could be, but not provable.

  92. lanzini pierluigi says:

    Dear D.Tabor, for many years I have studied gospels. I think there are evidence that Mark is the only one true gospel and not only the first. Not only because the story was that of a normal jew who at the age of 30 decides to do something, not only because the differences are very simple to find out so as the reasons of why. With the second we want transform the story of a normal man with some particular connection with God in the waited Messiah and then we add at beginning all the parts needed. Later we decide to transform this man in son of God and we do the necessary steps. And later we see the monotheism of new religion is in serious danger and then we add the fourth and later the explanation of trinity. But because were the verses have not been modified for the reasons to enlarging the story they are to much similar, with the same words (more evident in the copies precedent to vulgate) and sometimes with the same succession for three or four verses. Thing completely impossible for probability rules. For first gospel we must trust in a story of a man who seems to do some miracles and who says will
    do a resurrection. The story passed from mouth to mouth before to have been written step after step forget the military part of the adventure, also if remain strong a very clear the sword of
    Peter, something much expensive and without a serious explanation in hands of a poor fisherman who show to be able also to use properly but more of that remain the deliberately erroneous translation of nicknames of John and brother that is not sons of thunder but sons of revenge, name that marries very badly with men of peace. This man die and someone who the wife admits is unknown tell her is the risen man. Later this fact probably seems not enough strong and we add the other testimony. But the success is so great and someone decide to
    increase the story but the original was too much known and then we write another. You know better than me how the job was done in a very poor way. Beginning from the two genealogy
    different and both impossible, from the claim to move Quirinus census 12 years before, the invention of a sister of Mary with the same name to explain cousins of Jesus and when the excuse to call them cousins expired and became brothers in law the absurdity of two sister with same names each with for sons with same names, the evidences that the story was written from one or more people who were not from Giudea because unaware of Geography, History, Religion of that country and who did not know Hebrew or Aramaic as show the sentence Jesus says on the cross. So as the blind man and mad man who double, the star able to guide somebody for a distance of ten kilometer when should be seen in same shape from all the Mediterranean and all the other things. Thank you

  93. pearlman says:

    maybe they meant they took his body to give a proper burial in the Galil and to visit his burial site there?

  94. Jofus says:

    Big whoop! While it is wrong that anyone “added” this ending, as the Lord said Himself in scripture, it takes NOTHING away from the other gospels! The author of this article goes out of his way to imply that because Mark chose to leave out some historical accounts that the other writers of the gospels recorded that this somehow means this 1 account outweighs the other 4 that do document sightings of Jesus, post-resurrection. That is really reaching! Luke included some things the others did not, and being a physician he detailed some things none of the others did. They each emphasized what was important to them. Isn’t that what anyone does when telling their account of an event? Keep trying to debunk the Bible, you never will!

  95. Mickey says:

    Regardless of whether or not the ending is authentic, there is still early evidence of everything that took place in the other gospels. I’m talking about 1 Corinthians 15 of course! That letter by Paul was written in the 50s AD, same as Mark. We don’t even need the gospels to prove the physical resurrection.

  96. Mercedes says:

    It seems like an abrupt ending. Is this a plausible explanation?
    “(1341.4) 121:8.3 1. The Gospel by Mark. John Mark wrote the earliest (excepting the notes of Andrew), briefest, and most simple record of Jesus’ life. He presented the Master as a minister, as man among men. Although Mark was a lad lingering about many of the scenes which he depicts, his record is in reality the Gospel according to Simon Peter. He was early associated with Peter; later with Paul. Mark wrote this record at the instigation of Peter and on the earnest petition of the church at Rome. Knowing how consistently the Master refused to write out his teachings when on earth and in the flesh, Mark, like the apostles and other leading disciples, was hesitant to put them in writing. But Peter felt the church at Rome required the assistance of such a written narrative, and Mark consented to undertake its preparation. He made many notes before Peter died in A.D. 67, and in accordance with the outline approved by Peter and for the church at Rome, he began his writing soon after Peter’s death. The Gospel was completed near the end of A.D. 68. Mark wrote entirely from his own memory and Peter’s memory. The record has since been considerably changed, numerous passages having been taken out and some later matter added at the end to replace the latter one fifth of the original Gospel, which was lost from the first manuscript before it was ever copied. This record by Mark, in conjunction with Andrew’s and Matthew’s notes, was the written basis of all subsequent Gospel narratives which sought to portray the life and teachings of Jesus.”

  97. danny bee says:

    does it matter? their is enough proof of Jesus divine resurrection…and that the God Head is very much alive and well, your just looking to something to support your unbelief, its a relationship He came to bring and you cant get there by intellect but you have to believe that He is, you should go see the movie “Gods not Dead”, I don’t think Gods world is shaken by you finding, be cause if you look closely at Pauls writing you can see many of this teaching Paul spoke about this untruths. the big question here is Man god in is own eyes, or is God “the great I’am” and will you except Gods gift fro you, where He him self, became a man to reach all who would except Him, and die for you, that He would have a relationship with you, then rising from the dead, and giving you Him self threw the Holy Sprit, full filling to all that believe “I will never leave you nor forsake you” …. the Emmanuel … it only a fool that says that their is no God, all shall bend before Him, and only the blood of Christ is the door into a relationship with Father God….mans wisdom is as foolishness to God… im one that works in the science field but thank Jesus for every thing He’s done for …… yes He Lives

  98. 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.

  99. Native Americans and Christianity - Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Atheism, God, Universe, Science, Spirituality, Faith, Evidence - Page 7 - City-Data Forum says:

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  100. What are the contents of the Bible? | says:

    […] 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 […]

  101. Plausible Jesus And Simple Realities Of Jesus | The Buy-bull Journal says:

    […] http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/the-strange-ending-of-the-gos… […]

  102. Truth Preacher 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

  103. Jerry Wierwille 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.

  104. 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

  105. fred sigey says:

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

  106. 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.

  107. Hansie Louw 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.

  108. The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why It Makes All the Difference | KemboiKibet.com says:

    […] 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 […]

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  110. 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.

  111. Ingenjör 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.

  112. God's kingdom is not just talk, it is power! - Page 4 - Christian Forums says:

    […] […]

  113. Joe Davis 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.

  114. JamesS Snapp, Jr. 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.

  115. James D. Tabor 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…

  116. Joe Davis says:

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

  117. James Snapp, Jr. 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.

  118. Outremer says:

    Tabor does not use the language of thoughtful, responsible biblical scholarship: Anyone who using words like “concocted”, “bogus”, “forged” and “patently false” when discussing biblical texts has already forfeited any claim to legitimacy. Such theatrics — apart from any actual arguments Tabor may be making — belong in a different arena, one which BAS would do well to avoid in future. Re-posting this item off Tabor’s own web-log was a poor call, really. Ever hear of peer review?

  119. The Strange Ending Of The Gospel Of Mark And Why It Makes All The Difference | Hebrew Vision News says:

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  120. Rose Stauros says:

    Eugene makes a good point about emotional arguments. If the Bible was as free of conflicts and as explicit as some seem to believe, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.
    Scott> He has no proof that these “additions” were additions at all except the conjecture that the “original” ending was unsatisfactory to the early disciples. In addition, as stated above by other posters, earlier editions are not indicative of truer ones.
    Rose> What does that mean? If someone adds something for whatever reason it’s still an ‘addition’. Also what is the definition of ‘truer one’?
    The fact that Jesus’s promise is left unfulfilled in Marks gospel is proof and evidence that Marks gospel is incomplete at the very least.

    Mark 14:28 (this doesn’t happen in Mark 16)
    But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee.

    Most if not all scholars support Dr. Tabor’s position that there were different endings to Mark’s gospel.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_16

    Why does the oldest known complete copy of Marks gospel end at 16:8?
    http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscript.aspx?=Submit Query&book=34&chapter=16&lid=en&side=r&verse=2&zoomSlider=0

  121. Eugene Baker says:

    Evidently, some of those making comments are doing so from an emotional stance rather than knowledge. For instance, in the comment abot three days, trying to rationalize it as one 24 hour period and parts of two others it totally bizarre though I have often heard that given as an explanation. Rather, one should note the idiomatic express “three days” or “after three days” simply means that after a short period, something traumatic happens. In a similar fashion, 40 days o4r 40 years does not mean exactly 40, but rather is an idiomatic expression that denotes an indefinite period, usually consider to be of some length.

  122. Scott says:

    I have to agree with many of the posters here who have blasted the author as biased and wrong. The author makes more assumptions and speculations than he is saying that the author of the book of Mark made.

    Here is one speculation that I particularly find abhorrent: “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.”

    He has no proof that these “additions” were additions at all except the conjecture that the “original” ending was unsatisfactory to the early disciples. In addition, as stated above by other posters, earlier editions are not indicative of truer ones.

  123. Rose Stauros says:

    JAMES >> Dr. Tabor is willingly ignorant of the testimony of the patristic fathers.

    I disagree.

    Irenaeus wrote about 180 CE and mentions Mark 16:19. It just means that the Gospel of Mark was altered before 180 CE. Even if the gospel of Mark wasn’t written until 130 CE it still leaves 50 years to be altered. Irenaeus doesn’t know the source or history of the gospel of Mark, other than it was used by those who believed Jesus was separate from Christ (III, XI, 7). All Irenaeus proves is that Mark’s gospel was already altered by 180 CE.

    The bigger question is why doesn’t Irenaeus mention the 21st chapter of John’s gospel? He mentions John 1-20, but not 21. In fact Irenaeus says the only ‘fishing’ imagery was in Luke’s gospel meaning Irenaeus was totally unaware of John 21. Yet John 21 is the natural ending to Mark’s gospel.

  124. James says:

    Scott, like Dr. Tabor is willingly ignorant of the testimony of the patristic fathers. The wish is father to their conclusions. Irenaeus is witness against these unbelievers.

  125. Scott I says:

    I very much appreciate the observations of Dr. Tabor. Textual criticism is essential for credibility. Surely the word of God can stand up to close inspection! Problem is that many do not like uncertainty or contradiction. They are scared of its implications. They say, the Bible was supposed to be free of errors. Not so !!!!!!!!!! The bible is guaranteed to deliver us the truth and allow us to discern truth, as long as we apply careful study to what has come down to us. There were no promises of no mistakes. The mistakes are usually forgotten words or a variance in a letter. Still preserved is the essential parts of the message. no serious changes can be found, other than those of Mark, which dilemma can be solved by applying good common sense as Dr Tabor did. By requiring all scripture to harmonize, we weed out many errors of reasoning. The key is applying great diligence to careful study of all the word of God. Care will overcome any small defects.

    On further note, many of the additions, while having no excuse for being added, often do inject other testimonies, which were valid, such as John, Matthew, and Luke, so we can not say they are not true, but we do not need Mark embellished and we risk credibility to embellish. Only God can authorize embellishment by another author and those sorts of miraculous works have long disappeared from us.

    Mark was said to be approved by Peter, as a gospel that was used in Rome for the Romans. This was the purpose of its creation and circulation. As Dr. Tabor pointed out, the other 3 accounts relate the other stuff not revealed by Mark. Each writer had their goals and objectives in their works, which we have all taken to be derived form the spirit of God. So the 4 together should, by all being diligently compared, give us a clear picture, which I believe is the case.

  126. James Ashmore says:

    Irenaeus (177 AD) was a disciple of Polycarp who was a disciple of John and he wrote in “Against Herseies”:
    “Also, towards the conclusion of his Gospel, Mark says: “So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God;” [Mark 16:19] confirming what had been spoken by the prophet: “The LORD said to my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, until I make Thy foes Thy footstool.” [Psalm 110:1] Thus God and the Father are truly one and the same; He who was announced by the prophets, and handed down by the true Gospel; whom we Christians worship and love with the whole heart, as the Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things therein.(3:10:5).
    Irenaeus quotes “Mark” as writing this, so it could not have been part of a later addition to Mark’s Gospel as Mr. Tabor wrongfully pontificates! Thus, this author is way out in left field with his flawed reasoning!

  127. James Ashmore says:

    Why does this author NOT state that Ireneaus quotes verse (19) as being written by Mark in regard to Jesus sitting down at the right hand of God??? If it was added at a much later date, then Ireneaus would not have been able to quote Mark as writing it! Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of John. If the verse had not been accepted as genuine, then irenaeus would not have quoted it, and could nt have quoted it if it had been a much later addition!

  128. James says:

    My question is: What’s wrong with its being a forgery? We know of many other instances in Scripture where the Church has declared it to be Scripture, even though we can prove that certain things have been added or were the scribe’s interpretation on the side that got incorporated with time. What’s important is that the Holy Spirit has been working. John’s Gospel is written likely by a community, and not a single person. Shall we declare one person’s voice in the community to have more value than another? The Church has declared Scripture what is there – whether it be from the author, a forger, a random interpretation that snuck in. We accept what we are given and we use it. This is part of our faith. Sure, there is a revelation in the original text without the forgery, but there is also revelation in what has been added. We cannot call ourselves legitimate if we simply ignore it because we like it there or don’t like it there. That is not how the Church works.

  129. Mike says:

    Titus 1:9, Psalm 12:6-7

    Holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able,……

  130. Rose Stauros says:

    I like Dr. Tabor.

    Factually there is no record of any book in the New Testament before the, “Rylands fragment” which is from the Gospel of John and dated to about 125 CE. Papias died about 155 CE and we don’t know exactly when he wrote.

    The author of Mark’s gospel had knowledge of Josephus’ Antiquities (about 90 CE or so). The story of Herodias having her daughter ask Antipas for the head of John the Baptist (Mark 6:14-29) is directly taken from Antiquities XVIII, 5, 1-2. While Josephus’ version is the historical version, the version in Mark’s account is not historically plausible. Mark’s gospel relies on Josephus for us to understand Antipas and Pilate. Yet Josephus’s works stand just fine without the gospels.

    Paul wrote the first works of the New Testament and it’s documented here (Antiquities XX, 8, 9). These are the epistles that started the Jewish war according to Josephus. The gospel of John was probably the first gospel as it has Jesus crucified at the same moment as the Paschal lamb, and only John’s gospel declares the Lamb of God. This makes Jesus the sacrifice to end all future sacrifices (called the ‘sin offering’). There is no Last Supper in John’s gospel. Look at DaVinci’s Last Supper, there is no meat on the table, DaVinci paints John’s version.

    Mark, Luke and Matthew (the Synoptic gospels) have Jesus eat the Paschal Lamb at the last supper. Jesus is crucified the day after the Passover. The reason is because there is no Eucharist in John’s gospel, Christianity needed a replacement ritual for the Passover that didn’t involve animal sacrifice.

    The author of Marks gospel probably sat in the Library at Alexandria with a copy of Josephus, a copy of John’s gospel and a copy of the Didache.

    According to Eusebius the Christians who believed in John’s gospel (Polycarp) didn’t observe the Eucharist. The followers of the Synoptic gospels did. Polycarp observed it once out of respect, but never again.

    ^ ^ ^
    Eusebius, Church History, book 5 XXIV
    The Disagreement in Asia
    11. Among them was Irenæus, who, sending letters in the name of the brethren in Gaul over whom he presided, maintained that the mystery of the resurrection of the Lord should be observed only on the Lord’s day. He fittingly admonishes Victor that he should not cut off whole churches of God which observed the tradition of an ancient custom and after many other words he proceeds as follows:

    12. “For the controversy is not only concerning the day, but also concerning the very manner of the fast. For some think that they should fast one day, others two, yet others more; some, moreover, count their day as consisting of forty hours day and night.

    13. And this variety in its observance has not originated in our time; but long before in that of our ancestors.
    It is likely that they did not hold to strict accuracy, and thus formed a custom for their posterity according to their own simplicity and peculiar mode. Yet all of these lived none the less in peace, and we also live in peace with one another; and the disagreement in regard to the fast confirms the agreement in the faith.”

    14. He adds to this the following account, which I may properly insert:

    “Among these were the presbyters before Soter, who presided over the church which thou now rulest. We mean Anicetus, and Pius, and Hyginus, and Telesphorus, and Xystus. They neither observed it themselves, nor did they permit those after them to do so. And yet though not observing it, they were none the less at peace with those who came to them from the parishes in which it was observed; although this observance was more opposed to those who did not observe it.

    15. But none were ever cast out on account of this form; but the presbyters before thee who did not observe it, sent the eucharist to those of other parishes who observed it.

    16. And when the blessed Polycarp was at Rome in the time of Anicetus, and they disagreed a little about certain other things, they immediately made peace with one another, not caring to quarrel over this matter. For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp not to observe what he had always observed with John the disciple of our Lord, and the other apostles with whom he had associated; neither could Polycarp persuade Anicetus to observe it as he said that he ought to follow the customs of the presbyters that had preceded him.

    17. But though matters were in this shape, they communed together, and Anicetus conceded the administration of the eucharist in the church to Polycarp, manifestly as a mark of respect. And they parted from each other in peace, both those who observed, and those who did not, maintaining the peace of the whole church.”

  131. Mike says:

    So the evidence is not as clear as you want everyone to believe on the ending of Mark. As for Marks beginning with out a genealogy (As John), Is Marks statement “the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God” not enough as to who He is? God in the flesh, promised before, through the prophets, in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son? Read 7 things Paul mentions about the gospel in Romans 1:1-17.

    Papias refers to Mark 16:18. He wrote around a.d. 100
    Justin Martyr’s first Apology quotes Mark 16:20 (a.d. 151)
    Irenaus in Against Heresies quotes Mark 16:13 and remarks on it (a.d. 180)
    Hippolytus in Peri Charismaton quotes Mark 16:18 and 19. In his homily on the heresy of Noetus he refers to Mark 16:19. He wrote while he was Bishop of Portus (a.d. 190-227)
    Vicentius, Bishop of Thibari, quotes from 2 of the verses in the 7th Council of Carthage held under Cyprian (a.d. 256). Augustine, a century and a half later, in his reply, recited the words again
    The apocryphal Acts of Pilate contains Mark 16:15-18 (thought to be in the 200’s a.d.)
    The Apostolic Constitutions clearly allude to 16:15 in two places and quote Mark 16:16 outright (thought to be in the 200’s or 300’s a.d.)

  132. R. Betterly says:

    Sir:
    It is obvious your grasp on bible history was a slippery hold. Point one mark wrote his gospel while in Rome with Luke and Paul,who was a prisoner there. Point 2. Paul in one of his letters asks Mark to ‘bring the scroll” when he comes(Note scroll not SCROLLS). Since Paul was well versed in Jewish law it has been suggested it was Mathew’s scroll on the life of Jesus written in Palestine about 41 AD. Mark wrote his “Readers Digest” version in ROME about 63 AD Luke had written his version about 57 while in Caesarea.. John wrote his letters and Gospel on or near Patmos in 96-98

    Like most “educated” men you are more interested in self promotion than accuracy.

  133. Robin says:

    Ian, you make a good point. Tabor’s point of view is interesting, nonetheless.

  134. Ian Paul says:

    This is all a heap of nonsense. Apart from anything else, the central argument is illogical: Mark ‘knew nothing about appearances of Jesus’ (a very weak argument from silence) so the other gospels make it all up? Nonsense.

    I am unclear how this claims to be of any relevance to biblical archaeology.

  135. L SMITH says:

    Mark may have been the first to report the story of Jesus, but Matthew and John were there when Jesus appeared to the disciples, not Mark. All the gospels work together to give a complete story, a complete picture, of the life of Jesus Christ. They all work together….there’s no conflict that I can see. Quit making problems where there are none!

  136. Arthur Ramsey says:

    So, the age of Mark makes it the ‘true’ account, yet we lend it credence by using a passage from the Gospel of Peter?

    Mr. Tabor’s articles are a source of comedy; I’ll give him that.

  137. Rose Stauros says:

    >>> 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…

    Evan Powell pointed this out in his book, “The Unfinished Gospel” 1994. The so-called addendum to John’s gospel (the 21st chapter) is actually the missing ending of Mark’s gospel as it fulfills the unfulfilled promise made by Jesus in Marks gospel.

    Mark 14:28
    But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee.

    Powell suggests the text of Mark’s original gospel ends at 16:8 and John 21:1-19 is place there.

  138. mal says:

    Yeshua come to fulfilled Judaism as promised.
    There was no Christianity as religion.

  139. Robin says:

    I think Tabor’s observations are interesting. R.T. France, in his commentary on Mark, said there are so many speculations about the ending of Mark that further theorizing is pointless. But I have heard or read many explanations, or theories, about Mark–including that both beginning and ending are lost, that the gospel t was meant to be read aloud in one sitting, that Mark did not know how to end the gospel, that he died before he could end it, that Mark did not intend to end a story already well known, that it ended as it did because by the time of writing, everyone already knew that Jesus had gone ahead and met with the disciples in Galilee. The KJV “he is not here; he is risen….” is a statement of physical departure from the tomb. .

    Mark has been dated to the 50s and to the 60s and later by others, and Tabor is on the later end of things. By the mid-50s Paul had written his letter to the Corinthians reciting a statement of belief in the multiple sightings of a physically written Jesus–and in a format that some scholars believe was repeated by Paul as he had received it in his own earlier training.

    I did enjoy the opportunity to hear Tabor’s ideas, and he contributes as always to the field of debate.

  140. Peter Evans says:

    New Scientist, 1955 issue 6 I think, published an analysis of NT books as written down at dictation to professional scribes on standard sheets, folded, bought eight sheets at a time, lined and written at standard spacings. Author concluded that Mark’s amanuensis wrote tighter than standard, and the next or subsequent copyist got to the end of his sixteen or whatever pages with a bit left over, which he copied onto a single sheet which he gummed on, and which got detached and lost. The non-Markan endings reflect belief and practice of believers at the times and in the places where subsequent copies were made.
    Jesus appears to credible witnesses, who are not in an ecstatic state, in various ways, but mostly as solid, and sometimes in gardening clothes!

  141. David Sweet says:

    Cute theory regarding the spiritual resurrection and ascension of Christ and not the bodily one. I notice sometimes how easily some scholars sail through objections because their theory is more ‘enlightened’ (i.e. more skeptical and dismissive of tradtional Christianity) What happened to the source Q? It pre-dates Mark or is contemporary to Mark–and is a major source for Luke and Matthew? How about the church’s earliest preaching represented in Acts, written probably before the fall of Jerusalem since there is no mention of this fall. Jesus often spoke of being raise on the third day. The young man in Mark at the tomb is clearly an angel, and appears as angels always appear in the Bible when on earthly assignment, not with wings! but as young men (an angel appearing as a woman migth meet some resistance as a messenger of God in that culture) The ‘young man’ clearly had supernatural perspective. The gospel of Peter written in the 2nd or 3rd century supplies a missing puzzle piece for him? Paul is somehow a preacher of the spiritual resurrection of Jesus, really? Have you read the Pauline books, particularly 1 Cor? Have you seen the scorn Paul was given by the Athenians and others in the Greek world when he spoke of the bodily resurrection of Jesus?? Paul’s encounter with Jesus is somehow a refelction of the other Apostles encounters? Paul said he was like one born out of time, or literally in the Greek ‘like one who gestated too long’ so he missed the bodily encounter that the others had, before the ascension. Listen to Mark’s voice? Have you–heard what he says about Jesus doing only what God could do–command nature, command death, demons, etc? And Mark not interested in the birth of Jesus? Its clear the birth of Jesus was obscure, clearly localized event forgotten by the time of his baptism. Luke clearly consulted Mary his mother, and Matthew other sources. The early church proclaim him Lord and Messiah without knowning in the earliest years–about his exact origins. Matthew and Luke go back to fill in the gap. I could go on and on with the problems with this cute theory–but there’s no use. A scholar with a cute theory that undermines historica CHristianity gets a pass that no one else would get and call themselves careful scholars.

  142. Colin Johnson says:

    Mark 16:9-20

    D. A. Carson (et al) have agreed that Mk. 16:9-20 is an amendment to the Gospel of Mark (“An Introduction to the New Testament”, 1992). They have pointed out that the text under consideration is missing from what are generally considered the two most important Manuscripts (MSS) ( uncials X and B) as well as others.They also said that Jerome and Eusebius both state that the best MSS available to them did not contain Mk. 16:9-20).

    Carson (et al) have asked an impertinent question: If the Mk. 16:9-20 is not the original ending, what was? They have provided us with three possibilities:

    i. Mark had the intention to include the information in Mk. 16:9-20 but was prevented from doing so due arrest or death by the Roman authorities.
    ii. Mark may have written a longer ending to his Gospel, but it may have gotten misplaced in the course of transmission. Mk. 16:9-20 may have been torn off at some point in time.
    iii. Mark’s Gospel is typified by a degree of secrecy and understatement. That is,as the first gospel to have been written, it was not made public immediately (because of fear of persecution from Rome) during which Mk. 16:9-20 was displaced.

    The question we need to ask is: By amending the Gospel of Mark at the very end, was it illegal to have done so?

    First, the information in Mk. 16:9-20 was in the public domain by the time the amendment took place. The information was well attested by the time the amendment was attached. Second, it was not illegal to supply the information at the end since it was not an embellishment – it was historical and factual. Third, quite likely the early believers did it for preservation, so that wherever Mark’s Gospel was read, the audience would have the full detail of the post-resurrection events as provided in Matthew, Luke and John.The ending of Mark’s Gospel is a bit truncated without the amendment. The amendment probably took place in the late 1st century or sometime in the 2nd century.

    Conclusion. The amendment should not be referred to as forgery or false information. The early believers simply supplied the information that was already known throughout the Christian community – hence, we believe the amendment was done for the preservation of salvation-history; it was not done to mislead the public.

  143. George Brown says:

    I very much appreciate Williams comments as being worth serious consideration. I would refer interested readers to http://truthceeker.wordpress.com/tag/lukan-priority/ for an excellent discussion of issues raised here. I found it enlightening and worth reading…much more so than the writings of scholars overstating their suppositions as “clearly” established by a lack of awareness of contrary evidence. It is our tendency to allow our beliefs (or lack thereof) to fill our horizons, to the exclusion of contrary evidence. We also tend to treat our lack of awareness of evidence, as evidence. Lack of evidence proves nothing. To say or write “clearly” often undermines our credibility. In the case of synoptic priority I think the evidence for Luke is compelling…but there’s too much evidence supporting other views for me to ever say it’s “clearly” so, even if I am personally convinced.

  144. Jerry says:

    Why even mention the Gospel of Peter? It is rife with historical errors and came about much later. There are plenty of reasons it was rejected, as well it should have been. Luke wrote Acts after his Gospel, and Acts was most likely written around 62 AD or prior, since the deaths of James or Paul do not even come into view.

  145. Allan Richardson says:

    For those Christians who believe in inerrant inspiration of the ORIGINAL documents, given that even multiple copies made AT THE SAME TIME (e.g. Paul making 10 copies of a letter before distributing them to different couriers) inevitably have errors, and there are more discrepancies (most minor but some significant) between individual copies than the total word count of the New Testament, they must admit that we DO NOT HAVE the originals, only copies of copies of … for dozens or hundreds of copy generations. There are good technical readings for deciding which of two copies of a book is earlier and “better” which can be studied in detail by a curious reader, which is why, absent a determination not to let facts influence a preconceived theology, we can be sure that the ending of Mark was added by later scribes.

    I am not aware of any good, scholarly evidence that Mark is NOT the earliest Gospel of which copies still exist, but in any event, the presence of CONTRADICTORY Nativity stories in Luke and Matthew and NONE in Mark is problematical. Matthew says Joseph and Mary started out living in Bethlehem, Jesus was born there, and they were probably planning to stay in Bethlehem for life, but divine warning of Herod’s slaughter led them to Egypt until Herod died, then to Nazareth rather than back to Bethlehem. Luke, in contradiction, says they started out living in Nazareth, then took a short trip to Bethlehem (under dangerous conditions) where Jesus was born, and after 40 days (the presentation in the Temple), not being bothered by Herod, went back home to Nazareth, with no need to detour to Egypt. But Mark, written perhaps 20 years BEFORE these two, has no nativity story, and even in the one place where he could have corrected the assumption of Jesus being born in Nazareth with a parenthetical comment (Nathaniel’s initial remark about nothing good coming out of Nazareth), he lets that assumption stand.

    If the first generation of Christians CARED (theologically) about the Lord’s birthplace, that would have been mentioned (at least briefly) in at least ONE place in the pre-Markan epistles, i.e. mostly Paul’s, and in Mark itself. Perhaps there WAS a Nativity introduction in Mark, which stopped being copied sometime before Matthew and Luke? IF there was, and it corroborated Matthew’s story, it would have been kept in Mark and copied by Luke (since both of them did copy Mark’s material). IF it corroborated Luke’s story, likewise, it would have been kept in Mark and copied by Matthew. In either case, Matthew and Luke would have written stories that agree more closely with each other and with Mark. IF there was a third version of a Nativity story in Mark, which showed a Bethlehem birth, that would have been kept, and Matthew and Luke would have used THAT story rather than the versions they did use. BUT if there was a Nativity in Mark which DID NOT say that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, then by the time Matthew and Luke were writing, rather than leave a story that interfered with then-growing theological beliefs in place, scribes would have started to omit that beginning of Mark (before the oldest known copy of ANY N.T. book that is known to be still extant), which would have the same effect as Mark never having written those words.

    So the most reasonable conclusion is that for the original Apostles, and for Paul, and for the first 20-30 years AP (after Pentecost), Jesus was divine REGARDLESS of the place of birth, lineage or manner of conception, so they did not mention it, and they were STILL not mentioning it when Mark wrote his Gospel. But sometime in the NEXT 20 years a need to justify the divinity of Jesus to Jewish prospects with a Bethlehem birth and Davidic lineage, and to Gentiles (and Hellenistic Jews who only knew the Greek translation of the Scripture and were unaware of the mistranslation of ALMAH, young woman, to PARTHENOS, young woman who is a VIRGIN) arose, and the original story of a NAZARENE Savior would no longer win converts. So Matthew and Luke followed oral traditions that “guessed” at how the Bethlehem-or-Nazareth question could be resolved, and they followed different traditions. If there had been a reliable tradition supporting EITHER Matthew or Luke, both would have followed that tradition.

    None of this is to take away from the DEVOTIONAL value of both books, but it seems that historically, the most reasonable assumption (Occam’s Razor) is: born in Nazareth but divine ANYWAY, and two different born-in-Bethlehem stories created later to satisfy unnecessary theological premises.

    Additionally, AFTER the Christian Church became dominant, Jewish girls continued to hope that they would be blessed to give birth to the Messiah, even though the vast majority of them did NOT know for sure whether they (or their future husbands) were of the lineage of David, and did NOT live in Bethlehem or have any future prospect of moving or visiting there, and did NOT expect to conceive the Messiah before their weddings; therefore, none of these conditions was, except possibly in the first century, considered necessary by Jews for Messiahship. So, if those who are still waiting for the Messiah do not consider these conditions essential, why should the Messiah, whom we believe has already come, have had to fulfill them?

  146. John says:

    Dear Mr. Shanks,

    I have been away from BAR for awhile and upon my return this is the first article I read (actually from your twitter post). I feel very relieved to not have purchased as subscription. Furthermore, I feel very relived that none of my money went to support sophomoric and secular contemptuousness such as this. I’m breathing a sigh of relief.

    I don’t seem to remember the articles associated with BAR sometime back being this bad. Overlooking for a moment this man’s contempt for the Holy Spirit, his contempt for the authors of the cannon of scripture, and his contempt for Christians, his arguments based on logic do not stand up to scrutiny…on logic alone he fails.

    What I would like to know is: 1) Did you personally approve of this article? 2) Do you agree with what is being said by him? 3) Do you plan on running more articles of this nature in the future?

    I will be perusing the BAR websites a little more to see if other articles like this are here. If this is indeed the direction you are heading Mr. Shanks, I would respectfully request that you remove the “B” from the BAR.

    Thank you.

  147. Even If Ministries says:

    Not to be combative, but a theological supposition, built on top of another theological supposition based upon a hypothesis, an passed off as self-evident or fact leaves a lot to be desired.

    Assumptions affect our lives and spoken and written words create realities whether they are true or not. Did the ante-Nicene writers draw the same conclusion as Dr. Tabor?

    Are Matthew and Luke really just cut and paste jobs? What about the people that believe Lukan Priority or the priority of Matthew?

    One assumption that has to be addressed is whether the writings are strictly historical records or are also supernatural and inspired as well – thousands of tangents we could go down but it has to be considered.

    What do extant biblical writings say concerning priority? This has to be considered as well.

    And Dr Tabor says “the evidence is clear” because the earliest and most reliable copies show no knowledge . . . This supposition only works if Markan Priority and the Q document hypothesis

    I remember when scholarship also said Yeshua (Jesus) probably read from the Greek and called God Theos or Lord Kurios then we found Fouad 266 which had nestled among all that Greek the ashuri Hebrew script YHVH. We found this in Qumran too.

    Maybe I am out of my league here, but passing a supposition off as an undisputable fact has led to more error over the years – remember when the church was sure that the sun revolved around the earth? I realize Dr Tabor might be taking the stance that he is Galileo or Copernicus in this instance, but for that to be true, proof needs to be offered instead of supposition and hypothesis.

  148. Bradley Cobb says:

    If one believes in God, and that He is powerful enough to keep His word accurately preserved, then you have to take Mark 16:9-20 as part of the inspired word of God. The supposed “best manuscripts” that people like Tabor champion actually have a space where these verses would have been–the only such space in the entire codex!

    Of course, if you don’t believe in the inspiration of the Bible (which Tabor obviously doesn’t), and don’t believe in the power of God (again, which Tabor obviously doesn’t), then you will have no problem rejecting any part of the Bible that you want to.

    I happen to believe that God has the power to accurately preserve His word throughout the centuries. That includes Mark 16:9-20.

  149. Yehudit says:

    These thoughts about eating bread as divine flesh and wine as divine blood are clearly not Jewish concepts. Its becoming more clear to me that these are some of the reasons why the Jews of that time (as today) rejected these strange pagan ideas! Its interesting that this cannabalistic idea has been attributed historically to Jews through the disgusting accusation of the blood libel when it is clearly a pagan-christian concept and has nothing whatsoever to do with Judaism. Yet Jews have been massacred throughout Christian history during easter for this atrocious and weird belief held by Christians. Yet, the christian movement ultimately has the capacity to serve as an educational transition for pagan cultures to embrace a life of morality in acknowledgment of the omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent Creator who-alone- gives us life.

  150. textig says:

    The writer states, “This ending is not found in our earliest and most reliable Greek copies”.
    How do we know the earliest Greek copies are reliable?
    Earliest does not mean more reliable.
    What literature shows Eusebius and Jerome that the passage was absent from almost all Greek copies of Mark known to them?

  151. Petrus Montgomery says:

    Embora seja verdade que os dois manuscritos mais antigos que contêm Marcos 16 não incluem esses doze últimos versículos, existe vastíssima evidência externa que os apoiam como sendo originais. Mesmo não fazendo parte dos dois manuscritos gregos mais antigos, esses versículos são encontrados em virtualmente todos os manuscritos gregos restantes que contêm o final de Marcos. Todas as versões latinas e versões siríacas têm esses versículos, com pouquíssimas exceções. O mais importante é que os primeiros pais da igreja fazem citações deles e estão cientes deles (Justino Mártir, 150 a.D.; Ticiano, 175 a.D.; Irineu, 180 a.D. e Hipólito, 200 a.D.). Esses homens viveram 150 anos antes da composição do Códice Vaticano e do Códice Sinático, mostrando que esses versículos já existiam naquela época.

  152. Was Jesus married and had children?? - Page 11 - Christian Forums says:

    […] 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 […]

  153. Jim Datta says:

    While Dr. Tabor believes that Mark’s is the earliest gospel. However the late Dead Sea Scroll translator, Fr. Jean Carmignac, offers earlier dates for Matt. (Hebrew) 55-60, Mark 42-45 & Luke(Greek) a little after 50. This is summarized in his book “Birth of the Synoptics”. Assuming John’s gospel was pretty much completed by the yr. 70, it would appear that the Apostolic Fathers had no problem with Mark’s short ending. .

    It also could be the case noted by genealogists, looking at old photographs with no names. At the time everybody knew who it was, so why write it down.

  154. The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why It Makes All the Difference | Sound Commentary says:

    […] 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 […]

  155. Ron says:

    Mark says – he is risen and reports the tomb to be empty. Paul says he is risen and he appeared to 500 people. Not sure i see how this is fundamentally different from Matthew, Luke, or John, just less detail. If you think you found his bones now, why didn’t they bring it out later in the first century when Luke etal were claiming a physical resurrection. If you managed to find it 2000 years later they sure could have 50 or 60 years after the fact. Wouldn’t they just say – “hey Jesus is over here in a bone box with the rest of his family”. And why the big deal about the longer end of Mark. Conservative scholars have long accepted that it was not original. Few would argue otherwise.

  156. da Silva says:

    I strongly believe that giving voice to Dr. Tabor reduces the credibility of this media’s content.

  157. Enopoletus Harding says:

    @ Robin
    Don’t you mean “have gathered”? See http://www.kjv-only.com/acts12_4.html for a rebuttal of some of your claims. Also, the Bible clearly refers to a 24-hour period and a fraction of two days, not a 72-hour period. See http://www.bible.ca/d-3-days-and-3-nights.htm and Luke 24:46. I am an atheist.

  158. Robin says:

    Easter or Passover: Which Is for Christians?
    On April 24 this year, billions of people will celebrate Easter. About a week earlier, after sunset on Sunday, April 17, many Christians will gather to observe the biblical Passover. Does it matter which festivals you observe? The answer may surprise you!

    http://www.tomorrowsworld.org/node/4615

  159. Robin says:

    Since Easter is a Pagan custom I think you should do a little more studying. Did Christ stay in the tomb three days and three nights? Not if you have Him going in on good Friday and rising on Sunday at sunrise. Do the math then find the truth. You can’t change scripture to suit mans needs, not in any instance.

  160. Randall Buchanan says:

    I’m curious – what do you think are the theological implications of this?

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166 Responses

  1. Steve says:

    Bruce Metzger was not fully represented in this article, so much so that one can say he was misrepresented. His full remark concerning was that Mark 16:9-20 is representative of a very early tradition of the church, possibly with apostolic roots. Metzger opined rather pointedly that the long ending of Mark should remain as a part of the canon of NT Scripture. That’s the rest of the story.

  2. Daniel Sharp says:

    Nice article, but a bit hyperbolic at points.
    After reading this, I consulted the following translations in print form: RSV, NRSV, NIV, ESV, NAS. Every one of them includes a footnote explaining that verses 9- 20 are missing from the earliest Greek texts, and early versions in other languages, as well. Some footnotes elaborate on this a bit more than others, but none of the ones I just read left me with the impression that these verses should be read with anything other than caution.
    The author’s assertion that these additional verses were added because the original ending was deemed deficient requires more than a little bit of speculation on his part, as I doubt anyone alive today knows why the text was altered or precisely when. Likewise, he leaves the reader with the impression that those silly Christians have, for centuries, glommed on to these additional verses, despite the fact that they are bogus. (His words.)
    While there might be some truth in that assertion, it strikes me as more than a little mean spirited.

  3. Tom Turowski says:

    To simply call the text in question bogus is bogus. You’re expressing opinion not fact.

    Both ancient Syriac and Coptic vesions that predate the 4th century Vaticanus and the Sinaiticus greek versions contain the aforementioned. Also these 2nd century authors, Iraneus, Justin Martyr, Taitian, either quote it or refer to it. As well as these 3rd. Tertullian, Cyprian and the gospel of Nicodemus.

  4. Woodrow Nichols says:

    If Mark is the earliest, do you think the author tried to free the story from the influence of James the Just, since Matthew has James written all over it?

  5. Woodrow Nichols says:

    Don’t you believe that the chevron over the tomb is a symbol for the group that worked behind the scenes in the story of Jesus, like Joseph of Arimathea, the owners of the donkey Jesus rode, the people behind the Upper Room of the last supper, etc.?

  6. George says:

    Mark tells the reader in short but clear fact that Jesus appeared to people after the resurrection. He sat and ate meat with the remaining 11…Judas took his own life…they did not have wine…Jesus is not going to drink of the vine until the day of the marriage of the Lamb to the Church…the feast.

  7. Eric says:

    James is no friend of Christians and has a bent to debunk Christian truths. The sign of a weak scholar is that after he presents a weak thesis (i.e., Mark was written first) he fortifies it with words that buttress his weak assertions “since, then, therefore,” and using words like “clearly, obviously” so as to bully weak thinkers into agreeing with him. (Like readers of Huffington Post.) But if your first thesis is wrong, all your other work is bogus. (Like erroneously citing Metzger. Sloppy!) Mark is for another audience, a synopsis of Matthew and witness of Peter. The truth resonates; this clangs like a poor cymbal.

  8. Timothy G Creamer says:

    You neglect to point out that Irenaeus and Tatian from the Second century quote directly from the added ending of Mark as scripture. Also Gospel of Nicodemus written prior to the codices, quotes the ending of Mark too. Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus of the fourth century, add and omit passages from each other thus we do not know how reliable those copies were in which these codices copied from. Passeges may have been damaged, torn, unreadable or lost and that is why they were not copied into the codices. Codex Alexandrinus, written just 50 years later, does include the ending of Mark and so does Textus Receptus and codex Washingtonius.

  9. I have concluded, before reading about the addition in Mark 16, that such an addition was made, without knowing it beforehand. And not just Mark, but the strategic there was my focus. Scribal additions are forbidden from ancient time (Deut 4:2; 12:32), though some would only limit that to Moses’. The gospels (and two other citations), present a phrase out of context that time wise, could never have occurred as the phrase would seem to indicate. That phrase, in Greek, has to do with the practice of the counting of the Omer, that is to begin the day of the wave sheaf offering. My contention is this: The day of the wave sheaf is to never occur DURING the feast of Unleavened bread, but follows it immediately. As such, the phrase that is commonly textually rendered as “the first (day) of the week” was strategically, even surgically, inserted into the gospels by editors at a later date. Originally it indicated the day of the wave sheaf, but Jewish practice, even back then, shows great controversy over this detail, producing arguments between Sadducees and Pharisees (both were wrong). It appears the editors wanted to force (rape?) the text to make it suggest a Sunday resurrection to fit their adopted point of view and practice. Paul warned against false gospels (Gal 1:6-9) and declared the gospel he preached (1 Cor 15:3-4) contains the detail that Messiah rose the third day, according to the Scripture. His intent, which is proven apologetically, is the third day of the week and no other. It was not Jewish practice to say “of the week” when intending it, from ancient time (Gen 1:13) and scholars and academics alike, who have never noticed this, or fail to reason from it, have swallowed the proverbial camel. The Apostles’ Creed contains this detail for this reason. Working from this understanding reconciles all chronologies of Yeshua’s death, burial, and resurrection (DeBuR) with no detail conflicting. But a consequence of such study, is that “first (day) of the week” is in direct conflict. It has been altered in translation, intends to mean something to Jews that is not conveyed at all in translation to non-Jews, as employed, and its very appearance where it does in the next, suggests it is an addition. This means that forcing the text has produced false gospel that brings a curse, that is directly effecting the world we live in today.

  10. David Wang says:

    This was a good read but I’m not sure about the logic. 1) You demonstrate that Mark 16.9-19 is an addition to the earliest extant versions. You call this section “bogus” on the strength that the Greek text is clearly not Markan. I get that. But the larger implication of what you are saying is that the endings of Matthew, Luke and John are also “bogus” — because they came later than Mark. Hence the contents of these segments are also subsequent additions, perhaps reflecting how spiritual eagerness among those early believers motivated them to fabricate encounters of “the resurrected corpse” of Jesus. The use of “corpse” in reference to the resurrected Christ is serious stuff. 2) So what exactly are you saying? If the post-resurrection scenes from the other three Gospels are not authentic, are you in fact saying that two millennia of the hopes of Christian believers are founded on exaggerations? 3) What does “raised up” mean in your understanding of things? You don’t really say. On the strength of what you do say, my sense is you do not accept a bodily resurrection; that somehow the post-resurrected Christ is some sort of spiritual substance at best, “actual” only in some ephemeral non-physical way. If so, it sounds like some variety of Docetism, perhaps dressed up as “progressive” Christianity. If Jesus Christ did not bodily rise from the dead, we are of all men most to be pitied.

  11. gary says:

    Who really wrote the Gospels; the core documents of the Christian faith?

    I don’t have a problem with conservative Christians claiming that a majority of conservative Protestant Christian scholars believe that eyewitnesses authored the Gospels, but when they state, “The majority of scholars believe that eyewitnesses authored the Gospels” this is disingenuous at best, and an outright lie at worst. The majority of ALL New Testament scholars absolutely do NOT believe that eyewitnesses wrote the Gospels. Even conservative scholar Richard Bauckham admits this in his book, “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”. He believes that this majority opinion is wrong, but he does not try to hide the fact that this majority scholarly opinion exists.

    Let’s keep the conversation honest, Christians. As respected scholar NT Wright has stated in a Youtube video: “I don’t know who the authors of the Gospels were, and neither does anyone else!”

    https://lutherwasnotbornagaincom.wordpress.com/2018/04/29/why-do-conservative-christian-scholars-and-apologists-repeatedly-lie-about-biblical-scholarship/

  12. Disciple says:

    He is but returned 21 June EY 1983 . Now living in Moscow; but of course one would expect him to be there. Paraised be the Lord-god. He shall “come” six years hence at the end of the Final Battle near the Euphrates.

  13. Lee says:

    Do you think Mark 16:1-8 is the original intended ending of Mark? What might it mean, if it is not the original intended ending?

  14. Jonathan says:

    Interesting read, until a gnostic gospel- the gospel of peter was referenced. The Gnostic gospels have been dispelled over and over , they lack historical validity and have not been found to be written close to the 1st century, not to also mention the very author is still in question. To use a gnostic gospel to correlate with the writings in Mark is bound to lead to a bogus outcome.
    Until they can investigate the ossuary boxes and provide DNA analysis to prove they found the actual body of Christ, the other accounts hold validity- there was no physical body in the tomb. We have found the potential remains of amelia Earhart along with other historical figures, and have take in depth photos of pluto and now understand genomes, but they have not definitively found Jesus. It only proves that the almighty Creator God is truly that, and is capable of raising someone from the dead. If he is perfect and able to speak life into existence, then he is smart enough to provide a comprehensive book that reveals his will and plan for mankind. And he can make a fool out of the most intellectual, brilliant human minds on Earth, such as Stephen hawking and Richard Dawkins, and Nietzsche.
    http://www.nelsonprice.com/the-gnostic-gospel-of-peter/

  15. William Smith says:

    But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. (Mark 16:7 KJV)

  16. William Smith says:

    But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. (Mark 14:28 KJV)

  17. D says:

    The scholars say Matthew, Luke, and John used Mark as a source text and maybe an additional source text and now they say Mark, using extraneous texts is bogus?
    As our Lord said, “We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ Wisdom is known by her children and most Biblical scholars are barren.

  18. Rich says:

    Author says

    “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.”

    How does a PhD professor think because the end of Mark may be a bogus addition that ALL three endings of the Gospel accounts to be forgeries? Where’s the logic? Shame!

  19. Shane says:

    That “adding an taking away” is only in reference to the book of revelations. When it was written it was not part of the 52 books we now call one book(the bible). But you are right, the vast majority of biblical scholars agree mark 16: 9-19 was added to the original.

  20. Ernesto G. Borunda says:

    It is amazing that our God would confirm Mark 16’s “spurious” [un-inspired] text with Paul’s venomous bite, the resurrection of the dead and healing of the sick, the speaking of tongues, etc in Acts (et al).
    Imagine the VIRTUE (power) in the TEXT that is INSPIRED.
    Your SOPHISTRY is too late for me to swallow! I have seen the Lord Jesus Christ confirm His Word (Mark 16 [all of it] in my humble ministry. The simple act of TOUCHING the sick—without the “formality” of praying!!!
    MARK 11:23-24 VALIDATE chp 16:9-20, and the Holy Spirit has VALIDATE, and continues to VALIDATE that “spurious” text. I’m sorry that your scholarship and “god” has blinded you (2 Cor. 4:4)
    I am an ignorant person (former, “recovering” intellectual). I pray that God opens your eyes as he did with Saul of Tarsus and as he did with me.)

    I now share with you one of the MANY citations of the Prophet of God, William Marrion Branham:

    “333 He said, “Mother, we learned over at the college that Mark 16 from the 9th verse on is not inspired.”
    334 The little mother said, “Oh, Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” 335 And he said, “Why, mother. Why, ridiculous. What’s happened to you?”
    336 She said, “Honey, I was just thinking. If you say Mark 16 is not inspired?”
    337 Said, “No, no, it’s not.”
    338 Said, “If God could heal me with uninspired Word, what could He do with That’s inspired?” Said, “If He could do that, what would He do with That was inspired?”
    339 That’s right. If uninspired Word will do that, well, what will That which really is inspired? What would Mark 11:24 do? What would That do? Oh, my. Sure. God is here and He’s with us.
    53-0611 – Show Us The Father And It’ll Satisfy Us
    Rev. William Marrion Branham

  21. John says:

    Mark 16:9-19 is certainly spurious, as you pointed out, and it certainly brings to mind what is record at Revelation 22:18, 19 concerning the adding or taking away from God’s Word.

  22. David Booth says:

    An interesting article and thought provoking. However, I agree that certain presumptions are made in this article, as a previous commenter said. These include:
    – “Paul notably parallels his own visionary experience to that of Peter, James, and the rest of the apostles” – Yes Paul does in a sense, “parallel” having seen the risen Christ, as the last of the apostles to have seen Him, but Paul doesn’t give any details as to the nature of Peter and James having seen the resurrected Christ. In other words, the nature of having seen the resurrected Christ, could be the same or entirely different! What we should note however, are Paul’s exact words instead of making a misleading paraphrase of them. Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15: are:
    3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.”

    …so we have:
    he was buried = Physical reference to his body
    he was raised = Physical reference to his body as Mark 16:6 says “And he said to 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.“…the absence of the body means that the reference to ‘risen’ indicates a Physical rising, not a spiritual or ghostly one.

    he appeared = Physical reference to his body
    most of whom are still alive – If Christ was executed around AD 33, this means that anyone who was approximately 20 years of age at the time, would only be 57 years old in AD 70, so on what basis does Tabor make the assumption:
    “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.”? While a certain degree of assumption could be acceptable, it should always have the weight of both rationality and plausibility. In this case, it doesn’t! This is because although the life expectancy of that culture may have been generally much less than ours, given that there were over 500 witnesses to the Resurrected Christ, and “most” were still alive when Paul was writing in AD 50, we can quite reasonably assume that a number of them lived until 2 or 3 decades after he wrote 1 Corinthians 15, which would mean that a number of the eye witnesses of the Resurrected Christ would still have been alive when Mark’s gospel was written. There is therefore no reasonable basis for Tabor to make this presumption.

    Tabor also makes a statement that is self contradictory:-

    ““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.” – In the first part of his statement he quotes Mark 14:28 in which Jesus speaks of his Physical resurrection of his body (“raised up”), which is later confirmed in Mark 16:6 through the absence of his body and in which Jesus said he will be Physically seen in Galilee (otherwise there is no point to Jesus’s statement if He were not to be physically seen in Galilee).

    ..so although Tabor’s article is thought provoking, it’s conclusions are based upon assumptions that lack any real weight to them and a preferential reading of selected texts. I think it also safe to assume that Tabor himself, does not believe that Christ was Physically resurrected in His body, but the problem that he creates with this “unbelief”, is that by that theory, he cannot explain why Jesus’s body was absent from the tomb (without inventing some get out clause, like someone stole the body etc). Neither can he believe in the redemption of the Physical Body in the general resurrection, nor by implication, the Redemption of the Earth, with a ‘New Heaven and a New Earth’, if in Tabor’s theology, everything physical is to be “spiritualised”.

  23. carlos says:

    honestly.
    im inclinded to use the word “crap” for the article. firstly, barely any evidence is presented against the cononized ending in the artcile. just a series of affirmations and assertions and ”
    worlds like “clearly” and “patently false” with little to no scholarship to back up the empty assertions. no real scholarly case is made.

    secondly. every link inside the article is a 404. so this reading has been a waste of my time. gonna chalk it up to tabloid “science”.

  24. Cody says:

    I agree they should have left it as it was. However, what they wrote wasn’t false, it was backed up by 3 Eye-witness testimonies. It’s not like they conjured up a story, they only filled in what the rest of the gospel writers gave us through their eye-witness accounts.

  25. lyall phillips says:

    I believe that it is all too late. The Canon of scripture is set for all time and endorsed throughout Christendom. It is imprudent and indeed michievious to now attempt to revise the scripture and negatively affect the faith of millions of believers. Leave it alone.- Lyall Phillips South Australia

  26. Jim Cerda says:

    I am an American of Mexican descent. My Grandfather’s has Jewish DNA. Is it possible that the Virgin Mary sightings were in areas where the Jewish people migrated because of the atrocities of the Spanish Inquisition?

  27. Brandon Collins says:

    Christianity become more convenient for humanity of Christ by the sins of Jesus death that was mistakenly God that died on the cross for virgin Mary kids in mistaken for people hearts to dexore to learn to go with eating for days and to be come weak for his mistaken for people to live and journey there soul of arise to be reborn sanyct to reborn freedom of Christ.

  28. Brian Holmes says:

    Is this guy even a Christian? I feel like I just entered a Jesus Seminar discussion!

  29. randomcat says:

    Perhaps the ’empty tomb story’ was fairly new around the time Mark was written. And the gospel ended with “they said nothing” to help explain why this story wasn’t known by many, until later.
    e.g. Perhaps there were disagreements among early Christians about whether or not the resurrected Jesus had a physical body. This led to the promotion of an empty tomb narrative(s), to bolster the idea of a physical resurrection. (?)

  30. Floyd Satterwhite says:

    When James Tabor used the word Easter a number of times, I was turned off from any explanation he gave. As an “educated” man he should research the word Easter to find out when and where the word comes from and what it means. It has nothing to do with the Passover season and is Pagan in origin. And Christ was not resurrected on Sunday as some believe. He died on Passover and was buried before Sunset [Wednesday} and was resurrected three days and three nights later
    on Saturday before sunset When Mary came to the tomb on Sunday morning Christ was not there. [John 19: 31 helps to understand the time sequence]. Thursday was the preparation day for the first day of Unlveaven Bread. Friday was the first day of unleaven bread and Saturday was the resurrection day, not Sunday [ishtar, pronounced Easter].

  31. Daniel says:

    1 Corinthian 15:6 states that the risen Jesus was seen by over 500 people most of whom were still alive at the time of the writing of 1 Corinthian accepted as AD 53-57

    Blessed are those who have not seen, yet believe.

  32. Clev says:

    If one has true faith, what difference does it make about what is written? One either believes or not. This whole “back and forth” seems ridiculous. It has become a focus that removes one from the TRUE focus. Jesus either is resurrected or not. It is an individual belief.

  33. John Owens says:

    There’s a very simple reason the original Mark didn’t tell of the appearances by Jesus.

    If it was written during the time of the 1st witnesses then it would be assumed knowledge already and covered by the writings of those witnesses. The Gospel for these people was the story of his missionary and death.

    It also makes sense that the 2nd witnesses would need to have it included because it’s not part of their story.

    You have to remember most writing is for the people at the time not for the people 2000 years in the future. Ultimately Religion is about faith.

  34. Robert says:

    Does anyone know what was the earliest church council to recognize the LE as part of Mark?

  35. Brad says:

    The concept of supernatural was a far different one in an age before science… there would be no difference between resuscitation and resurrection back then. Nor were there autopsies. So, some fluid came out of a spear wound… that does not mean he was clinically dead. I believe God works miracles, perhaps even supernatural ones, but one does not need to surmise that in this case.

  36. gary says:

    Two of the biggest assumptions that many Christians make regarding the truth claims of Christianity is that, one, eyewitnesses wrote the four gospels. The problem is, however, that the majority of scholars today do not believe this is true. The second big assumption many Christians make is that it would have been impossible for whoever wrote these four books to have invented details in their books, especially in regards to the Empty Tomb and the Resurrection appearances, due to the fact that eyewitnesses to these events would have still been alive when the gospels were written and distributed.

    But consider this, dear Reader: Most scholars date the writing of the first gospel, Mark, as circa 70 AD. Who of the eyewitnesses to the death of Jesus and the alleged events after his death were still alive in 70 AD? That is four decades after Jesus’ death. During that time period, tens of thousands of people living in Palestine were killed in the Jewish-Roman wars of the mid and late 60’s, culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem.

    How do we know that any eyewitness to the death of Jesus in circa 30 AD was still alive when the first gospel was written and distributed in circa 70 AD? How do we know that any eyewitness to the death of Jesus ever had the opportunity to read the Gospel of Mark and proof read it for accuracy?

    I challenge Christians to list the name of even ONE eyewitness to the death of Jesus who was still alive in 70 AD along with the evidence to support your claim.

    If you can’t list any names, dear Christian, how can you be sure that details such as the Empty Tomb, the detailed resurrection appearances, and the Ascension ever really occurred? How can you be sure that these details were not simply theological hyperbole…or…the exaggerations and embellishments of superstitious, first century, mostly uneducated people, who had retold these stories thousands of times, between thousands of people, from one language to another, from one country to another, over a period of many decades?

  37. Edward says:

    To those who think Dr. James Tabor has grounds for his anti Christian views. Checks this article out. Don’t settle for a one sided argument. Thanks. This was taken from carm.org Does the Gospel of Peter belong in the New Testament?

    by Ryan Turner

    The canon of the New Testament was reserved only for those writings that were either written by an apostle or an associate of an apostle. Since the Gospel of Peter was written in the mid second century, it is not a candidate for inclusion in the New Testament. The numerous embellishments in the Gospel of Peter clearly indicate that it was composed in the second century and was not written by the apostle Peter. This second-century date of authorship is in conformity with modern New Testament scholarship’s appraisal of the Gospel of Peter. Therefore, the early church rightfully rejected this Gospel which was falsely attributed to Peter.

    Background Information about the Gospel of Peter

    What is the Gospel of Peter?

    Though incorrectly ascribed to the apostle Peter, the Gospel of Peter is comprised of 14 paragraphs (or 60 verses), written around 150 A.D., which describes the events surrounding the end of Jesus’ life including his trial, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.1 This Gospel is only partially preserved in one 8-9th century manuscript, beginning and ending in mid sentence (Harris, 245).2 The Gospel of Peter contains many similarities with the New Testament Gospels including the basic outline of the end of Jesus’ life with His trial, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection, but it also contains a number of additions including, most notably, a description of the actual resurrection event with two giant angels, a super-sized Jesus, and a talking cross emerging from the empty tomb.

    When was the Gospel of Peter discovered?

    The Gospel of Peter was allegedly discovered in 1886-1887 during excavations in Akhmîm, upper Egypt. A ninth century manuscript was found in the coffin of a monk which is now known as the Akhmîm fragment. Interestingly, this fragment contains no name or title. However, since the manuscript had (1) alleged docetic3 overtones and was (2) found in the midst of other works attributed to the apostle Peter, such as the Apocalypse of Peter, scholars think that the Akhmîm fragment belonged to the Gospel of Peter.4

    Do any ancient writers talk about the Gospel of Peter?

    Prior to the discovery of the Akhmîm fragment in 1886-87, scholars knew very little about the Gospel of Peter. Their first main source was Eusebius of Caesarea (c. A.D. 260-340), the well-known early church historian, who noted that the Gospel of Peter was among the church’s rejected writings and had heretical roots.5 The second main source for the Gospel of Peter is a letter by Serapion, a bishop in Antioch (in office A.D. 199-211), titled “Concerning What is Known as the Gospel of Peter.”6 Bishop Serapion notes that the Gospel of Peter had docetic overtones and advised that church leaders not read it to their congregations. From Bishop Serapion’s statements we know that the Gospel of Peter was written sometime in the second century, but we are left with little knowledge of its actual contents from Serapion’s statements alone.7

    Is the Gospel of Peter a Gnostic Gospel?

    There is some debate among scholars regarding whether the Akhmîm fragment actually is a Gnostic document. There are two possible Gnostic examples in 4:10 [paragraph 4] and 5:19 [paragraph 5]. Paragraph 4 describes the crucifixion of Jesus and states, “But he held his peace, as though having no pain.” This may reflect the Gnostic view of Docetism which viewed Jesus as not possessing a phyiscal body. This would explain Jesus’ lack of pain on the cross. Furthermore, paragraph 5 describes Jesus’ death cry on the cross as, “My power, my power, thou hast forsaken me.” Some scholars see this as a reference to ” . . . . a docetic version of the cry of dereliction which results from the departure of the divine power from Jesus’ bodily shell.”8 However, some scholars dispute these references as referring to full-blown Gnosticism or Gnostic teachings at all.

    When was the Gospel of Peter written?

    Though this work was attributed to the apostle Peter (Par. 14), contemporary New Testament scholars rightfully note that the Gospel of Peter is a second century A.D. work. Most scholars would not date this Gospel before 130-150 A.D because of: (1) the numerous historical errors including a preponderance of legendary embellishments and lack of first century historical knowledge, and (2) the likely dependence which the Gospel of Peter has on the New Testament Gospels. For these reasons among many, most scholars today reject the Gospel of Peter as giving us as accurate of a portrait of Jesus as the standard New Testament Gospels and regard it as a late composition from the second century A.D.

    Historical Errors

    Error #1: The Guilt of Jews

    The confession of the Jewish authorities guilt (par. 7, 11) lacks historical credibility.9 The confession of the Jewish authorities makes more sense in a context after A.D. 70 where the Jews were blamed for the destruction of Jerusalem as a result of not accepting Jesus as the Messiah. Furthermore, the reference of the Jewish scribes and elders saying, “For it is better, say they, for us to be guilty of the greatest sin before God, and not to fall into the hands of the people of the Jews and to be stoned,” likewise reflects a period after A.D. 70 and is definitely not earlier than the Synoptic material.

    Error #2: The High Priest Spending the Night in the Cemetery

    Furthermore, the author of the Gospel of Peter (or Akhmîm fragment) possessed very little knowledge of Jewish customs. According to paragraphs 8 and 10, the Jewish elders and scribes actually camp out in the cemetery as part of the guard keeping watch over the tomb of Jesus. Craig Evans wisely notes, “Given Jewish views of corpse impurity, not to mention fear of cemeteries at night, the author of our fragment is unbelievably ignorant (Evans, Fabricating Jesus, 83).” Regarding the ruling priest spending the night in the cemetery, no ruling priest would actually do that. Due to these serious blunders, it is highly unlikely that this Gospel reflects earlier material than the New Testament gospels. Instead, the author is most likely far removed from the historical events surrounding Jesus’ death and burial.

    Error #3: Embellishment of the New Testament Resurrection Accounts

    There are a number of apparent embellishments in the Gospel of Peter, especially surrounding the guarding of the tomb and the resurrection. Regarding the guarding of the tomb, there are seven even seals over the tomb (8), and a great multitude from the surrounding area comes to see the sealing of the tomb. Though these are certainly historical possibilities, it appears to indicate that these are embellishments compared to the more simple accounts in the New Testament Gospels.

    The New Testament writers never describe exactly how the resurrection took place since presumably no one was there to witness it other than the guards. Perhaps the most fascinating part of the Gospel of Peter’s account is that it actually describes the resurrection of Jesus (9-10)!

    “9 And in the night in which the Lord’s day was drawing on, as the soldiers kept guard two by two in a watch, there was a great voice in the heaven; and they saw the heavens opened, and two men descend from thence with great light and approach the tomb. And that stone which was put at the door rolled of itself and made way in part; and the tomb was opened, and both the young men entered in. 10 When therefore those soldiers saw it, they awakened the centurion and the elders; for they too were hard by keeping guard. And as they declared what things they had seen, again they see three men come forth from the tomb, and two of them supporting one, and a cross following them: and of the two the head reached unto the heaven, but the head of him who was lead by them overpassed the heavens. And they heard a voice from the heavens, saying, Thou hast preached to them that sleep. And a response was heard from the cross, Yea.”10

    This resurrection account does not retain anything of the historical soberness that is in the New Testament resurrection accounts. Instead, this description of the resurrection of Jesus has a large angel whose head “reached unto the heaven” and a giant Jesus whose head “overpassed the heavens!” Finally, the best example is the talking cross. The voice from heaven says, “Thou has preached to them that sleep.” The cross responds by saying, “Yea.” While it is possible that there was a giant Jesus whose head surpassed the heavens and a talking cross, it is more likely that this story is probably an embellishment of the simpler empty tomb and resurrection accounts in the New Testament Gospels. It is probably just another attempt like some other Gnostic Gospels to “fill in the gaps” in the events surrounding Jesus’ life.

    How anyone could think of this resurrection account as more primitive than the Gospels seems quite unreasonable. Evans wisely states, “ . . . . can it be seriously maintained that the Akhmîm fragment’s [Gospel of Peter’s] resurrection account, complete with a talking cross and angels whose heads reach heaven, constitutes the most primitive account?” (Evans, 84).

    Dependence on the New Testament Gospels

    It is difficult to prove exact literary dependence by the Gospel of Peter on the New Testament Gospel, however, there are at least a couple instances in Peter which are best explained by the author having familiarity with the canonical New Testament Gospels. The Gospel of Matthew is a prime example with its guard at the tomb of Jesus. The Gospel of Peter author likely took this account and embellished it by having Jewish leaders come and camp out at the tomb overnight. This may have served the apologetical purposes of the author of the Gospel of Peter which reflected conditions after the destruction of the Jerusalem temple. Furthermore, the centurion’s confession (par. 11) appears to also reflect the Gospel of Matthew (Mt. 27:54, cf. Mk. 15:39, Lk. 23:47).

    Finally, the Gospel of Peter’s reference of the thief uses the same Greek words to reference the thief in paragraph 4 (4.10, 13), which likely reflects the Gospel of Luke (23:33, 39).

    Since the Gospel of Peter is likely a second century work due to the historical errors listed above, it is likely that the Gospel of Peter at least used similar traditions that are found in the New Testament Gospels–if not the Gospels themselves. This is a much more sober conclusion rather than basing our argument on source criticism alone, which is often bound with mere speculation of hypothetical sources and layers of editing and redaction. Anyhow, given the numerous embellishments and historical errors, it is likely that the author had some familiarity with the canonical Gospels and combined it with his own speculations. However, to what extent the author had knowledge of the New Testament Gospels, we may never know.

    Conclusion

    Despite the claims of some, the Gospel of Peter does not belong in the New Testament due to its serious embellishments and likely dependence on the New Testament Gospels. For these reasons among many, most scholars today reject the Gospel of Peter as giving us as accurate of a portrait of Jesus as the standard New Testament Gospels and regard it as a late composition from the second century A.D.

    A Summary of the Evidence for a Second Century Date of the Gospel of Peter

    Historical Errors and Embellishments
    •Seven seals are used to seal the tomb of Jesus (Paragraph 8).
    •A crowd from Jerusalem comes to see the sealed tomb of Jesus (Par. 9).
    •The Jewish leaders camp out at the tomb of Jesus overnight.
    •The Jewish leaders fear the harm of the Jewish people (Par. 8). This does not descibe the historical situation of the Jews before the destruction of the Jewish temple in A.D. 70.
    •The Resurrection story actually describes how Jesus exited the tomb with two giant angels, a super-sized Jesus, and a talking cross.

    Late References
    •Transfer of responsibility of Jesus’ death away from Pilate to Herod and the Jews.
    •“The Lord’s Day” reference (Par. 9) indicates a later time period (cf. Rev. 1:10, Ignatius’s Epistle to the Magnesians 9:1).

    Possible Gnostic Overtones
    •Silence during the crucifixion “as if he felt no pain.” This could be consistent with a docetic view of Jesus which was common in Gnostic circles.
    •Crucifixion cry is “my Power!” “my Power!” which likely indicates a supernatural being departed from him.
    •Jesus’ death is described as being “taken up,” implying that he was rescued without dying. This would be consistent with some Gnostic views that thought since Jesus was not fully a man, he could not actually die on the cross.

    Possible New Testament Parallels
    •The centurion’s confession (Par. 11) appears to reflect the Gospel of Matthew (Mt. 27:54, cf. Mk. 15:39, Lk. 23:47).
    •The posting of the guard at the tomb appears to reflect the Gospel of Matthew.

    Sources
    •Bock, Darrell L. The Missing Gospels: Unearthing the Truth behind Alternative Christianities. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2006.
    •Evans, Craig A. Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels. Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 2008.
    •Evans, Craig A. “The Apocryphal Jesus: Assessing the Possibilities and Problems.” 147-172. In Craig A. Evans and Emanuel Tov, eds. Exploring the Origins of the Bible: Canon Formation in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008.
    •Harris, Stephen L. The New Testament: A Student’s Introduction. Fourth Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002.
    •Head, P. M. “On the Christology of the Gospel of Peter,” Vigiliae Christianae 46 (1992), 209-224.
    •Strobel, Lee. The Case for the Real Jesus. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007.

  38. Edward says:

    The apostles were afraid and hiding. However, they became fearless even unto death NOT because they saw an empty tomb which after they seen the empty tomb still remain hiding. But because the saw Jesus stand before them. And turned the world up side down. To Dr. James Tabor, you relied on books the church DID NOT consider inspired. Athanasius never included them in the canons.

  39. herb basser says:

    Robert claims: What about the old Jewish law that says something like if you speak against the law or do something against the govt. you will have to be buried for 3 days & 3 nights without food & water as though you had died. Then when you come out you will be resurrected, forgiven & reborn a new person.

    where exactly did you find this? I strongly doubt any group said any such thing in antiquity. it makes no sense.

  40. Rupert G. Kennedy says:

    It is sort of strange how a few peasants could outwit the government officials of the time as well as the majority of clearly hostile public including even mothers who had preferred a criminal (Barrabas). I also wonder what could have fueled such obvious motivation in this small apparently defeated group. The accounts if they are all fabrications which could not be in all aspects of the story that clearly reveals some historicity, would have to be pure genius on the part of these peasants.

    Genuine aspects of the story are also the perceptions of these intimately involved persons. They were distraught about the outcome of events. How does this fit into the plot. So again what could have been their motivation to risk the same fate of their Master by “robbing a grave” and disposing of a body in an hostile public as well religious atmosphere (it was the Jews who largely instigated his death and incite the Roman authorities to secure the tomb).

    These questions I hope will set a more reasonable basis for this discussion. It appears the many hypotheses of modern scholarship are in many cases much more fantastic and problematic than their perceptions of the Gospel accounts. I also wonder why so called modern scholarship not only presumes intellectual superiority to earlier scholars, but also claim a propriety to the refuting this issue that they imagine contemporary parties or persons never had or were capable of.

    I am not saying there is not a legitimate place for doubt, this was also a issue in the group of disciples to the point, the term “doubting Thomas” is still a part part of verbal expression.

  41. Robert R. Gore says:

    W hat about the old Jewish law that says something like if you speak against the law or do something against the govt. you will have to be buried for 3 days & 3 nights without food & water as though you had died. Then when you come out you will be resurrected, forgiven & reborn a new person . This is exactly what happened to LAZARUS. Jesus was told he`d been in the burial cave 3 days & 3 nights, but Jesus figured he needed more punishment & left him in there one more day. But by then Lazarus was so weak Jesus had to help him come out….Robert R. Gore….March 28/2016 Monday

  42. John N says:

    The initial thrust of this article is correct – the ending of Mark is a later addition to the original text. The notion that this invalidates the text of the other gospels re the sightings of Jesus is not, and the notion that the additional text is a ‘forgery’ is itself dishonest. The notion that this undermines Christianity as a whole is farcical; the Copts, the early Christian writers he cites and other eastern traditions have only ever acknowledged the original ending. The excitement Mr. Tabor allows himself is predicated on very specific western traditions. Then there is the text itself. Perhaps Mr. Tabor has not thought about the ending very carefully; it is a literary paradox. If Mary and her companions ‘said nothing’ how did they writer come to hear their account? It is an extraordinary literary effect for the era in which it is written. The ending does not seem strange because it contradicts our understanding of the Resurrection, but because it doesn’t work as a coherent sentence, never mind the ending of a story. If indeed that’s where the text ends, and they ‘said nothing’ because they were seized ‘by trembling and astonishment’ how did the text he does accept ever come to be written? It doesn’t. Mary and her chums go home, and nothing more is said about the matter. Thus it is a literary paradox – something that is unwritten has to follow the text to release the paradox and end the story. The 16: 6-8 ending is written in such a way as to require explanation, an oral, unwritten narrative. At the time Mark was written Christian faith was a death sentence in Judea and Rome; in the run up to the Jewish revolt James the Greater was butchered, Paul was deported to Rome, Peter was betrayed and what remained of the nascent Christian community driven out of Jerusalem or slain in the revolt itself. To the Jews the notion of Jesus’ divinity was blasphemy punishable by death; it is no surprise that the writer of Mark should spare himself and his reader a death sentence by ending his text with a question mark that requires oral explanation to complete its meaning. The ending that isn’t written isn’t going to get your throat cut. Mr. Tabor is habituated to printed and digital text; it is not surprising that he should be unaware that when information was inevitably hand written by individuals, to be read by closely connected peer groups, that an oral component would not seem untoward either to the writer or his audience. Mr. Tabor has not added anything new to this debate.

  43. James Snapp, Jr. says:

    So here we are, after Easter 2016, and BAR is /still/ circulating Tabor’s half-truths? *Still* no acknowledgement of Irenaeus’ quotation of Mark 16:19? Still no mention of Tatian’s treatment of Mk. 16:9-20? Still no mention of the blank space after Mark 16:8 in Vaticanus? And still no mention of Sinaiticus’ cancel-sheet?

    And *still* no correction of the “they they” mistake. Or the reference to Mark 16:9-19.

  44. SIMON PITA says:

    THE TOMB WAS GUARDED. EVEN ORDINARY MEN GO ABOUT WITH SECURITY, SO IT IS INCONCEIVABLE THAT JESUS, THE KING OF KINGS, HAD NO GUARD! ANGELS WERE THERE ALL THE WHILE!

  45. Scott Mills says:

    Samuel Eusebius McCorkle must be rolling over in his grave.

  46. MICHAEL Snyder says:

    a) The presentation of the spurious edits to the earliest mss of Mark is well articulated and sound.
    b) However, statements like “strong textual evidence that the first generation of Jesus followers were perfectly fine with a Gospel account that recounted no appearances of Jesus.” represents a serious error in assumptive logic. Nothing presented here corroborates this claim except for additional subjective statements. The otherwise excellent points about textual issues are also clumsily cluttered with unnecessarily volatile and leading phraseology like “resuscitated corpse” and “revived corpse.” While the textual information is well-presented, there seems to almost be a desperation to somehow “prove” that the ancient claims of a resurrected Jesus are not worthy of consideration. There exist alternative explanations for the abrupt ending of the original account of Mark, but they are strangely omitted from this presentation.

  47. Theognostos says:

    It is NOT a requirement that an agel appears with wings. In fact many times angels appear in the form of a man i.e a Human Being. Jesus Himself took the body of Adam and sanctified it by becoming the Son of Man. The tomb was guarded. Jesus was resurrected. It is a done deal.
    Read http://www.fotobolostoxotis.blogspor.com

  48. Patricia Havens says:

    http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/guard.html. The tomb was guarded and sealed immediately. Mos historians agree.

  49. Patricia Havens says:

    http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/guard.html. The tomb was guarded. Most commentators and historians agree.

  50. Ephrem Hagos says:

    You are barking the wrong tree if you revisit the incarnate revelation, a.k.a., “one of the days of the Son of Man”, at the expense of looking at the immediately post-incarnate revelation of Christ, a.k.a., “the day the Son of Man is revealed”, according to the terms of the “new covenant”, and the teaching in the gospel which is sealed by Christ’s death on the cross. (Luke 17: 20-37)

  51. Prizm says:

    terry said: “It is worth considering why some early copies lack the final verses, but I think it’s going way too far to call them forgeries.”
    An interested point that wasn’t mentioned in this article is that the narrative of the common ending of Mark is disjointed. In Mark 16:1-2, Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James, and Salome bring spices to the tomb on resurrection morning. They see the empty tomb with the young man who tells them Jesus is not there. Then they ran off and were afraid. So the short version ends.

    Then Mark 16:9 begins (the common, longer ending), but it doesn’t pick up where verse 8 ended. It jumps back in the story and tells us that Mary Magdalene came to the tomb on resurrection morning and Jesus showed himself to her. Not only does it repeat what we thought we just read, but it now tells us that Jesus actually appeared to Mary Magdalene…whereas a few verse earlier, Jesus didn’t appear to any of them – they simply ran away after being told that he was risen.

  52. Gene R. Conradi says:

    Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, yes, that he has been raised up the third day according to the Scriptures; and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.”* Then Paul adds: “After that he appeared to upward of five hundred brothers at one time, the most of whom remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep in death. After that he appeared to James, then to all the apostles; but last of all he appeared also to me.”—1 Corinthians 15:3-8.

    Paul began with the confident statement that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was resurrected. What made Paul so sure of that? One reason was the testimony of many eyewitnesses. The resurrected Jesus appeared to individuals (including Paul himself), to small groups, and even to a crowd of 500, many of whom had no doubt been skeptical when they heard the news that Jesus had been resurrected! (Luke 24:1-11) Most of the eyewitnesses were still alive in Paul’s day and could be consulted to confirm those appearances. (1 Corinthians 15:6) One or two witnesses might be easy to dismiss, but not the testimony of 500 or more eyewitnesses.

    Notice, too, that Paul mentioned twice that the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus were “according to the Scriptures.” Those events confirmed that prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures about the Messiah had come true, thus proving that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah.
    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/pc/r1/lp-e/1200274870/151/2

  53. Elena says:

    Dear Professor — there is a HUGE difference betw “resuscitation” and “resurrection.” Jesus was resurrected, and so shall those who love and follow Him.

  54. Terry says:

    Besides if the gospel was intentionally concluded at 16:8, it’s rather confusing. The angel tells them that he is risen and to tell Peter and the disciples. And in verse 8 the women run away afraid and tell no one. I can’t imagine Mark, taking the time to write the whole gospel, ending it that way. I’d speculate that these copies that end at verse 8 are simply copies from an incomplete copy to begin with. But better to copy what you have then not copy it at all. And the ending we have in our Bible now makes much more sense then the two alternative endings. I’m confident that what we have is the original ending.

  55. dr howard davis says:

    http://www.khouse.org/articles/2000/201/
    Too bad most do not know math. I took Dr.Panis’ work on the NT/OT using gematria or numerics to the former Chief Engineer of the Rocket Div. at the former TRW. He told me he could not refute Dr.Panins’ conclusions(amateurs in math have tried and resort to word jugglery or taking the Constitution and attempt to show you can do the same thing with numbers which in the light of those who really know and understand Dr.Panin’s work to compensate for their lack of math training and skills and understanding Panin’s work some 50,000 tabulation pages) as presented in our terse article on Mark-but accepted them and was extremely impressed as well as his numeric work on the NT ,OT etc. . He knew ALL higher forms of math.
    Now the Greek language or each character stood for a number like Alpha for 1; Beta for 2,Gamma for 3 , etc.
    Same for Hebrew. Simple. But,Dr. Panin did all the hard work by hand as it were no computers, but can stand up and has to computer analysis-over a 50 year period using the Westcott and Hort Greek text. You will have to study his work on the internet. I will post more.

  56. Terry says:

    I wonder how many copies Eusebius and Jerome had to read from? Almost isn’t all, so some copies did have the final verses. Irenaeus quotes Mark 16:19 in his book (c. 184), so copies had it even earlier. It’s worth questioning why a few early copies are lacking the final verses, but it’s going way too far to call them forgeries. You haven’t proven it, just concluding from speculation.

  57. Terry says:

    Eusebius and Jerome say almost all are missing the long ending. I wonder how many copies they saw? But obviously some did have it. Irenaeus quotes Mark 16:19 in his book (c. 184). It is worth considering why some early copies lack the final verses, but I think it’s going way too far to call them forgeries. It’s not proven, but is rather mere speculation.

  58. Kurt says:

    Hail the Messianic King!

    Wehat happened in keeping with the prophetic words of Psalm 16:10?
    The Messiah would be resurrected. David wrote: “You [Jehovah] will not leave my soul in Sheol.” (Ps. 16:10) Imagine the surprise of the women who came to the tomb where Jesus’ body had been laid. There they encountered a materialized angel, who told them: “Stop being stunned. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was impaled. He was raised up, he is not here. See! The place where they laid him.” (Mark 16:6) To the crowd present in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost 33 C.E., the apostle Peter declared: “[David] saw beforehand and spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he forsaken in Hades nor did his flesh see corruption.” (Acts 2:29-31) God did not allow the physical body of his beloved Son to decay. Moreover, Jesus was miraculously raised to life in the spirit!—1 Pet. 3:18.
    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200273113

  59. Chavoux says:

    Gary, in both Matthew and Luke, it is clear that there were more women involved than just Mary. John simply focused on her personal experience. Since every individual who heard everything is not mentioned and which parts of the word everyone heard or what each one saw individually, it is most likely that not everyone saw and heard exactly the same thing. The time aspect also plays a role: Matthew, Mark and Luke tells the whole experience of the women at the tomb as happening when they first arrived (or at least without any indication of how much time passed, while John mentions that Mary (alone? or with the other women?) went to tell the other disciples (at least John and Peter) and then returned to the tomb.Did she leave to tell the disciples while the other women stayed at the tomb and heard the angels announce the resurrection? Or did she hear only part of what the angel said? It is totally possible that the other women heard the rest of the sentence, and Mary (having turned away crying) did not. To argue from missing facts that there is a contradiction, is not a convincing agrument IMHO. As for the tomb being unguarded the first night, I would assume that most Christians should be aware of this. However, I would also assume that the guards (and the Jewish leaders) would make sure about the tomb being undisturbed before sealing it… having a guard to prevent grave robbering while knowing that the robbery could have already happened, does not make a lot of sense, does it?

  60. The Nag Hammadi Codices and Gnostic Christianity – Biblical Archaeology Society | Mark Geoffrey Kirshner says:

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

  61. gary says:

    When did Mary Magdalene learn of a resurrection?

    Many Christian apologists state that it is impossible for the empty tomb to have been the result of a stolen body, even though the author of Matthew states that the guards were not posted until the second day, giving a least a short period of time that the tomb was not guarded. However, If the Stolen Body Hypothesis is impossible, why did Mary Magdalene believe that Jesus body had been stolen?

    Matthew is the only Gospel that mentions guards at the tomb. John’s Gospel says nothing about guards. If John was an eyewitness, as Christians claim, isn’t that a pretty important detail to leave out of your story? The missing Roman guards in the Book of John raises an important issue. Christians often contend that it would have been impossible for anyone to have surreptitiously removed Jesus’ corpse from the tomb because there were guards posted at the tomb who would have prevented such an occurrence. Therefore, they argue, without any possibility for the body to have been quietly whisked away, the only other logical conclusion is that Jesus must have truly arisen from the dead. A stolen body hypothesis is impossible.

    This argument completely collapses in John’s account, however, because according to the fourth Gospel, this is precisely what Mary thought had occurred! Mary clearly didn’t feel as though the scenario of Jesus’ body being removed was unlikely. In fact, according to John, that was her only logical conclusion. Clearly, Matthew’s guards didn’t dissuade John’s Mary from concluding that someone had taken Jesus’ body because Roman guards do not exist in John’s story. To further compound the problem of the conflicting resurrection accounts, John’s Gospel continues to unfold with Mary returning to the tomb a second time, only to find two angels sitting inside the tomb. Mary is still unaware of any resurrection as she complains to the angels that someone had removed Jesus’ corpse. As far as John’s Mary is concerned, the only explanation for the missing body was that someone must have removed it, and she was determined to locate it.

    But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying12 , one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” (John 20:11-13)

    Although in Matthew’s account the angel emphatically tells Mary about the resurrection (Matthew 28:5-7), in John’s Gospel the angels do not mention that anyone rose from the dead. The angels only ask Mary, “Woman, why are you weeping?” Mary responds by inquiring whether the angels removed Jesus’ body. Then, Mary turns and sees Jesus standing before her, but mistakes him for the gardener. Mary is still completely unaware of any resurrection, and therefore asks the “gardener” if he was the one who carried away Jesus’ body. It is only then that Mary realizes that she was speaking to the resurrected Jesus.

    When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” which means Teacher. (John 20:14-16)

    It is at this final juncture of the narrative that the accounts of Matthew and John become hopelessly irreconcilable. The question every Christian must answer is the following: When Mary met Jesus for the first time after the resurrection, had the angel(s) already informed her that Jesus had arisen from the dead? According to Matthew, the angels did inform Mary of the resurrection, but in John’s account they did not. As we survey the divergent New Testament accounts of the resurrection, we see that we are not just looking at contradictory versions, we are reading two entirely different stories!

  62. Should Christians Cast Out Devils and Take Up Snakes? | juliomiguel3 says:

    […] Here are some links you may want to look up – The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/the-strange-ending-of-the-gos… […]

  63. gary says:

    Jesus’ Tomb was not Guarded or Sealed the entire First Night!

    Holy Grave Robbers!

    I had never heard of this until today: How many Christians are aware that Jesus’ grave was unguarded AND unsecured the entire first night after his crucifixion??? Isn’t that a huge hole in the Christian explanation for the empty tomb?? Notice in this quote from Matthew chapter 27 below that the Pharisees do not ask Pilate for guards to guard the tomb until the next day after Jesus’ crucifixion, and, even though Joseph of Arimethea had rolled a great stone in front of the tomb’s door, he had not SEALED it shut!

    Anyone could have stolen the body during those 12 hours!

    The empty tomb “evidence” for the supernatural reanimation/resurrection of Jesus by Yahweh has a HUGE hole in it!

    “When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59 So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

    The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard[a] of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.”[b] 66 So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.”

    —Matthew 27

    If the guards did not arrive at the tomb until the late afternoon of the second day, that would mean that the tomb had been unguarded and unsealed for TWENTY FOUR hours!

  64. JXL says:

    This defense of the authenticity of Mark 16:9-20 has never been refuted.

    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/burgon/mark.pdf

  65. Sunday’s sermon: Needing Empty | Fearfully and Wonderfully Made says:

    […] Difference” from Bible History Daily, an online publication of the Biblical Archaeology Society, http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/the-strange-ending-of-the-gos…. Originally published April 2013, reposted 2 Feb. 2015, accessed 3 Apr. […]

  66. gary says:

    Which of these two stories has a higher probability of having occurred:

    Jesus of Nazareth is crucified in Jerusalem in circa 30 AD. As he draws his final breath, the entire earth goes dark for three hours, a violent earthquake shakes dead people awake in their graves, and rips the Temple veil down the middle. Jesus’ body is taken down off the cross and placed in the tomb of Joseph of Arimethea, a member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish governing body which the previous night had voted unanimously to execute Jesus. The tomb is sealed with a large stone and Roman guards placed in front of it. Three days later, a second great earthquake shakes Jerusalem, causing the dead who had been shaken awake in the first earthquake to now come out of their tombs to roam the streets of Jerusalem and reconnect with old acquaintances; an angel (or angels) comes and rolls away the great stone in front of the tomb, causing the soldiers to faint, and testifies to one, several, or many women that Jesus’ tomb is empty; that he had risen from the dead. Jesus later appears to the Eleven, and eight days (or forty days) later, ascends into heaven from a mountain in Bethany (or Galilee, or from the Upper Room in Jerusalem). The resurrection appearances of Jesus so emboldened the previously easily-frightened, doubting disciples that they now boldly preach the gospel of Jesus in the temple, Judea, and the world, dying martyrs deaths, refusing to recant their eyewitness testimony that they had seen the resurrected, walking/talking body of Jesus. These same disciples soon write the Gospels and several epistles which would soon become the New Testament of the Bible. The Gospel of Jesus spreads like wildfire, furiously persecuted by both the Jews and Romans, to become the dominant faith of the Western World for two thousand years.

    Or, is this what happened:

    Jesus of Nazareth is crucified. He dies. His body is left on the cross for days, as was the Roman custom, to warn any other “King of the Jews” pretender to think twice about stirring up trouble. After a few days have passed and the birds, dogs (Roman crosses were low to the ground), and other carrion have ravaged the body, the remains are taken down at night and tossed into an unmarked common grave—a hole in the ground— with the bodies of other criminals executed that week. The location of this common grave is known only to a few soldiers, as the Romans do not want to give the “King of the Jews” a proper burial nor do they want a known grave to become a national shrine where Jews can later come to pay homage to their “King”, possible inciting more trouble. Jesus disciples who were already in hiding, go home to Galilee to take up their prior professions—fishing and collecting taxes. The small band is devastated. Their beloved leader is dead; their hopes of reigning over the New Kingdom on twelve thrones with Jesus are dashed to pieces; there will be no overthrow of the hated Romans after all. All hope seems lost. Then…months or a few years after Jesus’ death…a couple of women disciples see a man in the distance, at sunset, and in the silhouette of the fading sun…he looks like Jesus. Is it Jesus? He turns to them, waves with his hand, and then disappears behind a hill. “It was Jesus!” they exclaim. They run and tell the disciples. Soon other disciples are “seeing” Jesus. “He is risen, just as he said he would!” The disciples are ecstatic! They WILL reign in the New Kingdom after all! They begin to preach the Gospel of Jesus, telling everyone how he has risen from the dead, as he had promised.

    …and forty years later, after Jerusalem has been destroyed and most of the disciples are dead, a Greek speaking Christian in Rome writes down the story of Jesus. However, the version of the oral story that this man hears circulating in Rome at the time tells of an empty tomb, the tomb of a member of the Sanhedrin…so “Mark” writes down the story. A decade or so later, “Matthew” in another far away location and “Luke” in another, write down the story of Jesus. They borrow heavily from “Mark’s” story, from another common source (Q), and from other sources that they do not seem to have shared. For instance, “Matthew’s” story contains incredible supernatural tales, such as an earthquake occurring when Jesus died, causing dead people to come back to life…but they don’t come out of their graves until three days later when Jesus walks out of his grave! One wonders what they were doing in their tombs for three days!

    And two thousand years later, every Christian on earth believes that the stories written by “Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John” are the historically accurate accounts of the life, death, and miraculous resurrection of Jesus, when all they are are legendary stories. No one lied. No one made anything up. It’s a legend. Now, dear Christian, how many supernatural events such as dead people coming out of their graves to walk around town chatting with friends and family have you seen in your life? Not many, have you? And how many times have you seen a simple story about a missing person or someone’s mysterious death, evolve within days, into the wildest tale, with all kinds of bizarre details and claims?

    So, honestly, friend: Which of the above two stories about Jesus is more probable to be true?

  67. Silverwolf says:

    “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)”

    Mike, care to give us a link to this find? I follow the latest digs very carefully and I never heard of it nor can I find a link to a Jerusalem post article about such a find. Can you provide more info as to where and how, what experts were on or privy to this news other then that the JP say s and Judean Desert. That tell us nothing other then wishful thinking.

  68. ALock says:

    “The longest concocted ending… but it is patently bogus… Here is that forged ending of Mark…”

    Such inflammatory and inequitable language is unbefitting scholarship. Make your argument, by all means… but do so properly and objectively.

  69. grant says:

    Just because someone publishes the first account of a story does not immediately make it the most accurate version. In fact, often just the opposite. Lot’s of speculation here.

  70. Astrogirl59 says:

    The mistake that most 21st century Bible readers make is that the books appear in a linear order. However, the synoptic gospels document events that overlap each other during course of of Jesus’ 3 1/2 years of Rabbinical ministry. Parts that are not mentioned assume that the reader is familiar with the customs and practices of the 1st century assemblies/followers of Judaism. The writers also use 1st-century Judaic idioms which 21st century readers misunderstand as physical descriptions—due to Greek transliterations of the synoptic gospels. Thus a messenger becomes a “winged angel”, the temple crier becomes a “rooster”, an alms box becomes a “trumpet”, etc. These “sacred-cow” Greek misunderstandings prevent 21st century believers from knowing the actual accounts and cause them to get hung-up on arguments over details that were crystal-clear to 1st century Messianic readers.

  71. The Many Endings of Mark | Understanding the New Testament says:

    […] always been confused about why Mark has two endings, a long and a short. So I looked it up. Evidentally, Mark originally ended with verse 8 when the women don’t say anything because they are […]

  72. Day 51: Awestruck and Afraid | Sandie's Bible Blog says:

    […] James Tabor on the Original Ending of Mark […]

  73. AJ says:

    Does rejecting the last few verses of Mark necessarily mean rejecting the endings of the other three gospels? I don’t see why it should have to. Even if Mark ended his gospel at verse 8 or 9, everyone seems to assume that means he didn’t believe in the resurrection, and that any additional information in the later gospels must not reflect the earliest Christian teachings. I don’t see why that has to be the only logical conclusion. The fact of Christ’s resurrection is certainly mentioned in enough other places in the New Testament.

  74. Allan Halldorson says:

    Hi Andrew #34
    You sound like an honest, great guy with an analytical mind. You are correct, up to a certain point in most of what I hear you say. Please let me continue for your consideration.
    1.You….Bible is not infallible, but has truths mixed with untruths and mythology.
    Me…. the mythology. Yes the sumarians made the fables and makes it sound like the Hebrews copied them and just changed the names, ect in the bible. These fables were known many hundreds and hundreds of years before the bible accounts.
    WELL here is what I think really happened. back in the garden cain and abel grew up together until they became adults. Adam and Eve taught them all they knew and understood about creation. Cain killed Abel and was banished and sent east to nod. I think nod was the area of the summarians and Cain taught the summarians all the stories of the “biblical accounts” but changed their names and stuff in a more mytical evil way.
    It wasn’t until much later that adam and eve had seth, and even later before the real creation stories were correctly written down in our “Bible” This was satans way of trying to make the bible sound like a re-creation of the myths, rather than the true story.
    So I came to this conclusion and I believe that I am correct. Remember evil (satan) has always twisted the truth of God just so slightly, but just enough to cause doubt.
    So the bible is the true original story but the fables are Cains twist on the true accounts.
    2. You…The church killed many scientist who dared proclaim that the Earth was round .
    ME… this is so true and not only about the flat earth but in many other things. People then and even now are so afraid that any little or big deviation in thought will destroy Gods word. How strange that is. When the bible is thought to be in error, its because man has not understood the bible enough. It is mans intepretation that is ALWAYS wrong.
    3. YOU…If we cannot be honest with ourselves about the pagan origin of the holy trinity, the virgin birth, Christmas or Easter….also..It is a truth that modern Christianity is nothing like the early 1st century believers. Modern Christianity grew out of much bloodshed, funded by the spoils of unjust inquisitions, witch-hunts, punishments of so-called heretics, and bloody Christian crusades. Modern Christianity justified slavery and the brutal treatment of women with silence for hundreds of years as some sort of conscious liberation.
    ME…. OK this is a tough one. 1st one has to believe that satan has his own seed here on earth and they work against Gods plan for us while we are here on earth. A study of Genesis will substantiate this, but is contriversial (satans seed) When God wanted his people to have their land, God told them to kill every man woman and child in the cities God sent them to. Thats because God knew that they were evil. and not of God. God knew if they didn’t,kill all of satans seed, that they would always be a donkey or trouble. I know, we are not taught this, but that is the fault of the church, not God. We couldn’t understand why God wanted them all killed, but we can know now, if we study the bible and listen to what God says, not what mans doctrines say.
    4. YOU…There were other gospels that were destroyed and not included in the Bible because of religious doctrine and creeds were preferred over truth and righteousness.
    ME… Yes there were many other writings that could be part of the bible, but then it would be too much to read and understand. We have to trust that God made sure everything was in the bible that we needed to serve His purpose. Please remember..God wrote the bible, man just got to hold the pen, Man didn’t have choice of what to write.
    Always remember Man is fallible, NOT God.

    in Christian Love, Allan

  75. allan Halldorson says:

    God bless you “ME” (above statement). And for you Richard, with your “Q” and institutional study friends, watch out for the lightning bolts! and Joseph, I hope Richard will call on you for enlightenment. lol

    Anyway, discussion about the bible is good. I believe, when we pass on, we get to explain our belief’s with Jesus, and we will all be amazed at how little we all know.
    blessing’s to all that are willing to discuss or debate. It is all good.

    Allan

  76. Allan Halldorson says:

    Why do you think Marks ending is strange?

    Yes, they were written at different times, and you have to know they were written from different perspectives. Also you must know even though they were disciples, they were still not really sure what was happening. They were human beings. Remember in Matthew at the mount, Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus, why do you speak in parables?, and He answered because, it is NOT for everyone to JUST understand. It takes study to begin understanding God’s Word. It was not until later, when Jesus just “appeared” in the room to them, that they began understanding what happened.
    These were real people Mark, with normal human brains. writing about something they had seen that was not a normal occurrence. That’s what really makes the Bible real.

    Nitpicking has NO place in your preception to discredit the Word.

  77. Joseph says:

    I think it’s rather common knowledge that “lifted up” was and is an expression that refers to being crucified. How it is that Dr. Tabor is not aware of that is beyond me. It is wrong of him to force in “lifted up” as some “proof” that Mark was quoting Jesus speaking of his ressurrection. Dr. Tabor only hurts his case by attempting to pull that fast one. Mark lets the world know in chapter one, verse one that Jesus Christ is God Himself. Mark 1:1 “A beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, Son of God.” Mark I.D.’s Jesus as The “Christ” …and the prophecies concerning the Christ reveal that the Christ is God. That should be good enough for the believer, no matterr how Mark ended his gospel. There’s no need to bring in some bogus gospel of Peter or to twist “:lifted up” into an ascended pretzel. Mark was correct. The women told no one what they’d experienced. Instead, when they reached the disciples they reported only that the body was gone. And Peter and John ran to check it out. So what’s all the hub bub… bub?

  78. LA “EXTRAÑA” FINALIZACIÓN DEL EVANGELIO DE MARCOS Y POR QUÉ HACE TODA LA DIFERENCIA | EL BLOG DEL APOLOGISTA CRISTIANO/ INGº. MARIO OLCESE SANGUINETI (LIMA/PERÚ) says:

    […] el pasaje estaba ausente de casi todas las copias griegas de Marcos conocidas por ellos. ” 1 El lenguaje y el estilo del griego claramente es no de Marcos , y es bastante evidente que lo que […]

  79. Richard Chelvan says:

    I follow the Neo-Greisbachian thesis – as good as any and it pretty much destroys the credibility of the Markan priority theory and the need for hypothetical constructs like Q to bolster its tottering structure. I recommend “Beyond the Q Impasse, Luke’s Use of Matthew: A Demonstration by the Research Team of the International Institute for Gospel Studies,” edited by Allan J. McNicol, with David L. Dungan and David B. Peabody. I also recommend the follow-up book, “One Gospel from Two, Mark’s Use of the Matthew and Luke: A Demonstration by the Research Team of the International Institute for Gospel Studies,” edited by David B. Peabody, with Lamar Cope and Alan J. McNicol. So it’s Matthew first, then Luke and then Mark which explains why Mark ended it that way.

  80. Don Foy says:

    I don’t see why having another person or persons add on to the end of the Gospel is “bogus”. Who says for a piece to be Divinely inspired, it has to be written in one sitting, or by one person? The Church then chose its canon of what it considers Divinely inspired, and nobody can really prove or disprove it. All you can do is look at its impact on people and history, and go with a hunch. That’s called faith.

  81. Don Foy says:

    I don’t see why, if a fuller ending was supplied later by a different person or persons, it is “bogus”. Who says for material to be divinely inspired, it has to be written in one sitting, or even by one person. The Church made its decisions on what is divinely inspired canon, and there is no way to prove or disprove whether it is or not. All you can do is look at its impact on the world, and go with your hunch. That’s called faith.

  82. ME says:

    ME again, a P.S. of sort.
    If the entry prior to mine had been read, my entry would have initiated with: My whole Hearted Belief is in My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. ….. Then the above.

  83. ME says:

    Please excuse my oppositional ignorance, yet over and over it is widely presumed and propagated My Lord and Savior rose on Sunday, later, even being paganistically termed as easter (due KJV faulty transliteration of Passover).

    Please Believe, and if so, observe over and over again the Apostles and even My Lord Himself stated: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whales belly; so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. / Next: and shall kill Him; and the third day He shall rise again. / Pharisee’s even stated: remember the deceiver said; while He was yet alive; after three days I will rise again. Even if one wants to somehow depict three day propaganda legitimized by calling Friday one of them, No way no how can one get around the third night. If U honestly believe our Lords words are inerrant, then please respect His words. My continued research finds so many times catholicism has distorted and even outright altered, transposed, left out, added to, within their powerful allowances of The Holy Scripture. In my possession is a personal letter from the catholic church themselves, (dated 4-6-1929) last paragraph states: “We also say that of all the Protestants, the seventh day Adventists, are the only group that correctly and are consistant with their teaching. It is always somewhat laughable to see the Protestant Churches, in pulpit and legislature, demand the observance of sunday, of which there is nothing in their bible”. The writer of the letter is mr. petter r. kraemer, of the catholic church extention society, of the United States of America, 180 North Wabash Avenue, Chicago.(as stated dated:1929). (A Friends Grandfather’s inquiry answered)

    Please research for ones self, and not blindly say someone said therefore I believe. If all constantine’s blasphemies were listed, this would get overly lengthy. My Love is for Christ my Savior, my fear is of God Almighty. And God’s the one the dishonoring of His Sabbath is errantly placed, as My Holy Spirit just jumps every single time my eyes or ears come in contact with this exact issue. Please believe ME an absolute quack, and do U’r own research. No where other than the errant Passover transliterated into easter, in KJV, is any support backed. Yes the italic trash placed for “easy reading” continually errors, yet U give a pagan sun worshipper a minute, he’ll add, remove and replace as much as he can get away with. Find a Hebrew linguist, get to the bottom of it, and stop transgressing the Sabbath, by believing in some festive sunday, established by a sun worshipping roman.
    If this site has a reply person, and a copy of aforementioned letter is desired, it can be provided. Please have a Blessed God filled Day.

  84. Andrew says:

    If we take the religious bias out of the equation, it becomes more apparent that the Bible is not infallible, but has truths mixed with untruths and mythology. The quote from Clint Eastwood’s movie High Plains Drifter comes to mind, “It’s what people know about themselves inside that makes them afraid.” What truths made the Nicene Trinitarian Christian movement so uncomfortable that they murdered, tortured and oppressed so many hundreds of thousands of non-orthodox believers? The church killed many scientist who dared proclaim that the Earth was round and not flat, but turns out they they spilled innocent blood unjustly. The truth came out and I thank GOD the Earth is not flat. I grew up in the church since I was a baby; son of a Protestant Bishop. I notice most Christians become either polarized with anger or paralyzed with fear at the thought that their Holy Bible might not be so holy and might contain ungodly additions and myths. If we cannot be honest with ourselves about the pagan origin of the holy trinity, the virgin birth, Christmas or Easter then we will never heal the world or ourselves for that matter. We build houses out of straw and wonder why we are not sheltered from the strong winds of truth rising. It is a truth that modern Christianity is nothing like the early 1st century believers. Modern Christianity grew out of much bloodshed, funded by the spoils of unjust inquisitions, witch-hunts, punishments of so-called heretics, and bloody Christian crusades. Modern Christianity justified slavery and the brutal treatment of women with silence for hundreds of years as some sort of conscious liberation. There were other gospels that were destroyed and not included in the Bible because of religious doctrine and creeds were preferred over truth and righteousness. There were other sets of books not identical to the modern accepted books of Moses. Thomas Paine, Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln all recognized that the Bible was flawed but that didn’t stop them from trying to make the world a better place. Picking up ones cross and loving each other has nothing to do with any Holy Book or perceived infallibility. It has to do with conscious choice to pursue goodness with our whole heart. I don’t need to believe that someone died for my sins to want to live in a way that is of benefit to mankind and promotes righteousness and peace. I don’t need a blank ticket to live any way; feeling my sins will be covered by the blood of a religious made demi-god. It is just fine with me for Jesus to be 100% human because I am human, which means he was just like any one of us and chose to live upright of free-will. Many Christians cling to their belief in the infallibility of the bible, while at the same time clinging to things like pornography, bigotry, malice and deception. We owe it to ourselves to realize that we did not make ourselves and reach for a higher call in life of our own free-will. So called holy books can burn and never be reprinted, but the pleasure in doing good that fills the soul of man can endure forever if we so choose that path. Every religion boast of a demi-god but in 2000 years no savior has shown up to encourage mankind; not Krishna, not Jesus, not Mohammed nor Buddha. GOD is waiting for mankind to finally get it and choose not religion but love. Choosing any other path but love, peace and upright living creates a world full of darkness, pain and spiritual death; but that is what we have today, in spite of our holy books and world religions because man is choosing the written letter rather than the universal laws written in the DNA of mankind. We should love GOD with our whole heart and stay in that mind frame until we find the path that leads to loving strangers all over the world as ourselves. We must denounce paganism, idolatry and lies that stem all the way back to the Sumerians and Egyptians. Mythology and idolatry has blinded the world and kept us from finding the inner path that quenches all spiritual hunger and thirst. Once we find divine love then we find what compelled Jesus to serve mankind with an upright life and we become ourselves many Jesus-like beings living in a world starving for truth, joy, peace and love.

  85. blueget says:

    While I do find the issue with the “longer ending of Mark” interesting, I have to strongly object to Mr. Tabor misusing his authority as a scientist to promote his world view and the general unscientific approach in interpreting facts that is evident in this text. This begins with calling the ending “forged” (note the unsubstantiated use of that negatively connotated word, implying malicious intent) and goes on through the whole text, right to the very confuse ending (wouldn’t it be much more logical that the depiction is about the faith that the persons that are buried there will themselves be resurrected?)
    All this is symptomatic of most “liberal Theologians” – trying to bend the facts until they fit their personal presumptions, always on the lookout to destroy the faith of christians, and ignoring even the most basic scientific rules in the process.

  86. annese says:

    Everyone is approaching this as if it was a book written by a modern author. The fact that there are inconcistencies in the content of Mark (for example) is consistent with the scenario that the gospel of mark was complete in the collective of the oral tradition but not on an individual level. That is to say that not everyone involved in the production of Mark had the “complete” story or account. That’s it. That does nothing to deductively either persuade or dissuade one from believing that this was exactly what happened. It is entirely possible that this entire story happened and the account existed but was incomplete in its written form for some time. In fact it is mentioned that even the current written account of the events during Jesus Christs visitation in the flesh is incomplete.

  87. Bonnie says:

    Sounds like to me that this man needs to go pray that Jesus will send him the Holy Spirit, because he has no faith at all.

  88. Allison S. says:

    I like listening to intelligent people argue. And while I’m not capable of debating at this level, I don’t see why the original ending would prove that the other 3 gospels were not accurate. Your supporting evidence is Peter’s gospel which is not included in the bible, thus not the most convincing. I like the theory that Mark was unable to finish and went back later to add the other verses, but even if a scribe or other sort of meddler added these “bogus” verses, neither ending are in conflict with the other disciple’s stories. I think where you lost me was when you called the resurrected Jesus in His glorified state a “revived corpse.” That might have been the point I feel like you let the fangs out. I am but a humble bible reader, just wondering why Mark has so many optional endings and will continue my search for plausible scenerios. Thanks.

  89. Richard says:

    The fact that the author of this article continuously refers to Mark as “the author of the Gospel of Mark” leads me to believe that the author does not believe Mark wrote the Gospel of Mark.
    The author of this article also tends to use the CE abbreviation more than a Christian scholar stricltly should, since it is an attempt to take Jesus and the Ressurection out of history.
    The author of this article also fails to note that Mark was simply not present for anything that is in the Gospel of Mark; for centuries critical scholars have known that this is the account of Paul DICTATED to Mark.

    I don’t know who this hack is, but I don’t think I like the vibe he sets. I suppose that to the strictest letter he is not bastardizing the Bible, but he sure does allude to some pretty unbiblical thigns….

  90. tammy says:

    It’s the best time to make some plans for the future and it’s time

  91. Rick Carpenter says:

    Tabor writes about forged endings of Mark and then uses his speculation and non-gospel material to elucidate on the ‘missing’ ending.

    I wonder if there was an original ending that was lost? Could be, but not provable.

  92. lanzini pierluigi says:

    Dear D.Tabor, for many years I have studied gospels. I think there are evidence that Mark is the only one true gospel and not only the first. Not only because the story was that of a normal jew who at the age of 30 decides to do something, not only because the differences are very simple to find out so as the reasons of why. With the second we want transform the story of a normal man with some particular connection with God in the waited Messiah and then we add at beginning all the parts needed. Later we decide to transform this man in son of God and we do the necessary steps. And later we see the monotheism of new religion is in serious danger and then we add the fourth and later the explanation of trinity. But because were the verses have not been modified for the reasons to enlarging the story they are to much similar, with the same words (more evident in the copies precedent to vulgate) and sometimes with the same succession for three or four verses. Thing completely impossible for probability rules. For first gospel we must trust in a story of a man who seems to do some miracles and who says will
    do a resurrection. The story passed from mouth to mouth before to have been written step after step forget the military part of the adventure, also if remain strong a very clear the sword of
    Peter, something much expensive and without a serious explanation in hands of a poor fisherman who show to be able also to use properly but more of that remain the deliberately erroneous translation of nicknames of John and brother that is not sons of thunder but sons of revenge, name that marries very badly with men of peace. This man die and someone who the wife admits is unknown tell her is the risen man. Later this fact probably seems not enough strong and we add the other testimony. But the success is so great and someone decide to
    increase the story but the original was too much known and then we write another. You know better than me how the job was done in a very poor way. Beginning from the two genealogy
    different and both impossible, from the claim to move Quirinus census 12 years before, the invention of a sister of Mary with the same name to explain cousins of Jesus and when the excuse to call them cousins expired and became brothers in law the absurdity of two sister with same names each with for sons with same names, the evidences that the story was written from one or more people who were not from Giudea because unaware of Geography, History, Religion of that country and who did not know Hebrew or Aramaic as show the sentence Jesus says on the cross. So as the blind man and mad man who double, the star able to guide somebody for a distance of ten kilometer when should be seen in same shape from all the Mediterranean and all the other things. Thank you

  93. pearlman says:

    maybe they meant they took his body to give a proper burial in the Galil and to visit his burial site there?

  94. Jofus says:

    Big whoop! While it is wrong that anyone “added” this ending, as the Lord said Himself in scripture, it takes NOTHING away from the other gospels! The author of this article goes out of his way to imply that because Mark chose to leave out some historical accounts that the other writers of the gospels recorded that this somehow means this 1 account outweighs the other 4 that do document sightings of Jesus, post-resurrection. That is really reaching! Luke included some things the others did not, and being a physician he detailed some things none of the others did. They each emphasized what was important to them. Isn’t that what anyone does when telling their account of an event? Keep trying to debunk the Bible, you never will!

  95. Mickey says:

    Regardless of whether or not the ending is authentic, there is still early evidence of everything that took place in the other gospels. I’m talking about 1 Corinthians 15 of course! That letter by Paul was written in the 50s AD, same as Mark. We don’t even need the gospels to prove the physical resurrection.

  96. Mercedes says:

    It seems like an abrupt ending. Is this a plausible explanation?
    “(1341.4) 121:8.3 1. The Gospel by Mark. John Mark wrote the earliest (excepting the notes of Andrew), briefest, and most simple record of Jesus’ life. He presented the Master as a minister, as man among men. Although Mark was a lad lingering about many of the scenes which he depicts, his record is in reality the Gospel according to Simon Peter. He was early associated with Peter; later with Paul. Mark wrote this record at the instigation of Peter and on the earnest petition of the church at Rome. Knowing how consistently the Master refused to write out his teachings when on earth and in the flesh, Mark, like the apostles and other leading disciples, was hesitant to put them in writing. But Peter felt the church at Rome required the assistance of such a written narrative, and Mark consented to undertake its preparation. He made many notes before Peter died in A.D. 67, and in accordance with the outline approved by Peter and for the church at Rome, he began his writing soon after Peter’s death. The Gospel was completed near the end of A.D. 68. Mark wrote entirely from his own memory and Peter’s memory. The record has since been considerably changed, numerous passages having been taken out and some later matter added at the end to replace the latter one fifth of the original Gospel, which was lost from the first manuscript before it was ever copied. This record by Mark, in conjunction with Andrew’s and Matthew’s notes, was the written basis of all subsequent Gospel narratives which sought to portray the life and teachings of Jesus.”

  97. danny bee says:

    does it matter? their is enough proof of Jesus divine resurrection…and that the God Head is very much alive and well, your just looking to something to support your unbelief, its a relationship He came to bring and you cant get there by intellect but you have to believe that He is, you should go see the movie “Gods not Dead”, I don’t think Gods world is shaken by you finding, be cause if you look closely at Pauls writing you can see many of this teaching Paul spoke about this untruths. the big question here is Man god in is own eyes, or is God “the great I’am” and will you except Gods gift fro you, where He him self, became a man to reach all who would except Him, and die for you, that He would have a relationship with you, then rising from the dead, and giving you Him self threw the Holy Sprit, full filling to all that believe “I will never leave you nor forsake you” …. the Emmanuel … it only a fool that says that their is no God, all shall bend before Him, and only the blood of Christ is the door into a relationship with Father God….mans wisdom is as foolishness to God… im one that works in the science field but thank Jesus for every thing He’s done for …… yes He Lives

  98. 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.

  99. Native Americans and Christianity - Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Atheism, God, Universe, Science, Spirituality, Faith, Evidence - Page 7 - City-Data Forum says:

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  100. What are the contents of the Bible? | says:

    […] 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 […]

  101. Plausible Jesus And Simple Realities Of Jesus | The Buy-bull Journal says:

    […] http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/the-strange-ending-of-the-gos… […]

  102. Truth Preacher 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

  103. Jerry Wierwille 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.

  104. 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

  105. fred sigey says:

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

  106. 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.

  107. Hansie Louw 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.

  108. The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why It Makes All the Difference | KemboiKibet.com says:

    […] 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 […]

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  110. 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.

  111. Ingenjör 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.

  112. God's kingdom is not just talk, it is power! - Page 4 - Christian Forums says:

    […] […]

  113. Joe Davis 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.

  114. JamesS Snapp, Jr. 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.

  115. James D. Tabor 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…

  116. Joe Davis says:

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

  117. James Snapp, Jr. 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.

  118. Outremer says:

    Tabor does not use the language of thoughtful, responsible biblical scholarship: Anyone who using words like “concocted”, “bogus”, “forged” and “patently false” when discussing biblical texts has already forfeited any claim to legitimacy. Such theatrics — apart from any actual arguments Tabor may be making — belong in a different arena, one which BAS would do well to avoid in future. Re-posting this item off Tabor’s own web-log was a poor call, really. Ever hear of peer review?

  119. The Strange Ending Of The Gospel Of Mark And Why It Makes All The Difference | Hebrew Vision News says:

    […] James Tabor | Biblical Archaeology […]

  120. Rose Stauros says:

    Eugene makes a good point about emotional arguments. If the Bible was as free of conflicts and as explicit as some seem to believe, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.
    Scott> He has no proof that these “additions” were additions at all except the conjecture that the “original” ending was unsatisfactory to the early disciples. In addition, as stated above by other posters, earlier editions are not indicative of truer ones.
    Rose> What does that mean? If someone adds something for whatever reason it’s still an ‘addition’. Also what is the definition of ‘truer one’?
    The fact that Jesus’s promise is left unfulfilled in Marks gospel is proof and evidence that Marks gospel is incomplete at the very least.

    Mark 14:28 (this doesn’t happen in Mark 16)
    But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee.

    Most if not all scholars support Dr. Tabor’s position that there were different endings to Mark’s gospel.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_16

    Why does the oldest known complete copy of Marks gospel end at 16:8?
    http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscript.aspx?=Submit Query&book=34&chapter=16&lid=en&side=r&verse=2&zoomSlider=0

  121. Eugene Baker says:

    Evidently, some of those making comments are doing so from an emotional stance rather than knowledge. For instance, in the comment abot three days, trying to rationalize it as one 24 hour period and parts of two others it totally bizarre though I have often heard that given as an explanation. Rather, one should note the idiomatic express “three days” or “after three days” simply means that after a short period, something traumatic happens. In a similar fashion, 40 days o4r 40 years does not mean exactly 40, but rather is an idiomatic expression that denotes an indefinite period, usually consider to be of some length.

  122. Scott says:

    I have to agree with many of the posters here who have blasted the author as biased and wrong. The author makes more assumptions and speculations than he is saying that the author of the book of Mark made.

    Here is one speculation that I particularly find abhorrent: “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.”

    He has no proof that these “additions” were additions at all except the conjecture that the “original” ending was unsatisfactory to the early disciples. In addition, as stated above by other posters, earlier editions are not indicative of truer ones.

  123. Rose Stauros says:

    JAMES >> Dr. Tabor is willingly ignorant of the testimony of the patristic fathers.

    I disagree.

    Irenaeus wrote about 180 CE and mentions Mark 16:19. It just means that the Gospel of Mark was altered before 180 CE. Even if the gospel of Mark wasn’t written until 130 CE it still leaves 50 years to be altered. Irenaeus doesn’t know the source or history of the gospel of Mark, other than it was used by those who believed Jesus was separate from Christ (III, XI, 7). All Irenaeus proves is that Mark’s gospel was already altered by 180 CE.

    The bigger question is why doesn’t Irenaeus mention the 21st chapter of John’s gospel? He mentions John 1-20, but not 21. In fact Irenaeus says the only ‘fishing’ imagery was in Luke’s gospel meaning Irenaeus was totally unaware of John 21. Yet John 21 is the natural ending to Mark’s gospel.

  124. James says:

    Scott, like Dr. Tabor is willingly ignorant of the testimony of the patristic fathers. The wish is father to their conclusions. Irenaeus is witness against these unbelievers.

  125. Scott I says:

    I very much appreciate the observations of Dr. Tabor. Textual criticism is essential for credibility. Surely the word of God can stand up to close inspection! Problem is that many do not like uncertainty or contradiction. They are scared of its implications. They say, the Bible was supposed to be free of errors. Not so !!!!!!!!!! The bible is guaranteed to deliver us the truth and allow us to discern truth, as long as we apply careful study to what has come down to us. There were no promises of no mistakes. The mistakes are usually forgotten words or a variance in a letter. Still preserved is the essential parts of the message. no serious changes can be found, other than those of Mark, which dilemma can be solved by applying good common sense as Dr Tabor did. By requiring all scripture to harmonize, we weed out many errors of reasoning. The key is applying great diligence to careful study of all the word of God. Care will overcome any small defects.

    On further note, many of the additions, while having no excuse for being added, often do inject other testimonies, which were valid, such as John, Matthew, and Luke, so we can not say they are not true, but we do not need Mark embellished and we risk credibility to embellish. Only God can authorize embellishment by another author and those sorts of miraculous works have long disappeared from us.

    Mark was said to be approved by Peter, as a gospel that was used in Rome for the Romans. This was the purpose of its creation and circulation. As Dr. Tabor pointed out, the other 3 accounts relate the other stuff not revealed by Mark. Each writer had their goals and objectives in their works, which we have all taken to be derived form the spirit of God. So the 4 together should, by all being diligently compared, give us a clear picture, which I believe is the case.

  126. James Ashmore says:

    Irenaeus (177 AD) was a disciple of Polycarp who was a disciple of John and he wrote in “Against Herseies”:
    “Also, towards the conclusion of his Gospel, Mark says: “So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God;” [Mark 16:19] confirming what had been spoken by the prophet: “The LORD said to my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, until I make Thy foes Thy footstool.” [Psalm 110:1] Thus God and the Father are truly one and the same; He who was announced by the prophets, and handed down by the true Gospel; whom we Christians worship and love with the whole heart, as the Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things therein.(3:10:5).
    Irenaeus quotes “Mark” as writing this, so it could not have been part of a later addition to Mark’s Gospel as Mr. Tabor wrongfully pontificates! Thus, this author is way out in left field with his flawed reasoning!

  127. James Ashmore says:

    Why does this author NOT state that Ireneaus quotes verse (19) as being written by Mark in regard to Jesus sitting down at the right hand of God??? If it was added at a much later date, then Ireneaus would not have been able to quote Mark as writing it! Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of John. If the verse had not been accepted as genuine, then irenaeus would not have quoted it, and could nt have quoted it if it had been a much later addition!

  128. James says:

    My question is: What’s wrong with its being a forgery? We know of many other instances in Scripture where the Church has declared it to be Scripture, even though we can prove that certain things have been added or were the scribe’s interpretation on the side that got incorporated with time. What’s important is that the Holy Spirit has been working. John’s Gospel is written likely by a community, and not a single person. Shall we declare one person’s voice in the community to have more value than another? The Church has declared Scripture what is there – whether it be from the author, a forger, a random interpretation that snuck in. We accept what we are given and we use it. This is part of our faith. Sure, there is a revelation in the original text without the forgery, but there is also revelation in what has been added. We cannot call ourselves legitimate if we simply ignore it because we like it there or don’t like it there. That is not how the Church works.

  129. Mike says:

    Titus 1:9, Psalm 12:6-7

    Holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able,……

  130. Rose Stauros says:

    I like Dr. Tabor.

    Factually there is no record of any book in the New Testament before the, “Rylands fragment” which is from the Gospel of John and dated to about 125 CE. Papias died about 155 CE and we don’t know exactly when he wrote.

    The author of Mark’s gospel had knowledge of Josephus’ Antiquities (about 90 CE or so). The story of Herodias having her daughter ask Antipas for the head of John the Baptist (Mark 6:14-29) is directly taken from Antiquities XVIII, 5, 1-2. While Josephus’ version is the historical version, the version in Mark’s account is not historically plausible. Mark’s gospel relies on Josephus for us to understand Antipas and Pilate. Yet Josephus’s works stand just fine without the gospels.

    Paul wrote the first works of the New Testament and it’s documented here (Antiquities XX, 8, 9). These are the epistles that started the Jewish war according to Josephus. The gospel of John was probably the first gospel as it has Jesus crucified at the same moment as the Paschal lamb, and only John’s gospel declares the Lamb of God. This makes Jesus the sacrifice to end all future sacrifices (called the ‘sin offering’). There is no Last Supper in John’s gospel. Look at DaVinci’s Last Supper, there is no meat on the table, DaVinci paints John’s version.

    Mark, Luke and Matthew (the Synoptic gospels) have Jesus eat the Paschal Lamb at the last supper. Jesus is crucified the day after the Passover. The reason is because there is no Eucharist in John’s gospel, Christianity needed a replacement ritual for the Passover that didn’t involve animal sacrifice.

    The author of Marks gospel probably sat in the Library at Alexandria with a copy of Josephus, a copy of John’s gospel and a copy of the Didache.

    According to Eusebius the Christians who believed in John’s gospel (Polycarp) didn’t observe the Eucharist. The followers of the Synoptic gospels did. Polycarp observed it once out of respect, but never again.

    ^ ^ ^
    Eusebius, Church History, book 5 XXIV
    The Disagreement in Asia
    11. Among them was Irenæus, who, sending letters in the name of the brethren in Gaul over whom he presided, maintained that the mystery of the resurrection of the Lord should be observed only on the Lord’s day. He fittingly admonishes Victor that he should not cut off whole churches of God which observed the tradition of an ancient custom and after many other words he proceeds as follows:

    12. “For the controversy is not only concerning the day, but also concerning the very manner of the fast. For some think that they should fast one day, others two, yet others more; some, moreover, count their day as consisting of forty hours day and night.

    13. And this variety in its observance has not originated in our time; but long before in that of our ancestors.
    It is likely that they did not hold to strict accuracy, and thus formed a custom for their posterity according to their own simplicity and peculiar mode. Yet all of these lived none the less in peace, and we also live in peace with one another; and the disagreement in regard to the fast confirms the agreement in the faith.”

    14. He adds to this the following account, which I may properly insert:

    “Among these were the presbyters before Soter, who presided over the church which thou now rulest. We mean Anicetus, and Pius, and Hyginus, and Telesphorus, and Xystus. They neither observed it themselves, nor did they permit those after them to do so. And yet though not observing it, they were none the less at peace with those who came to them from the parishes in which it was observed; although this observance was more opposed to those who did not observe it.

    15. But none were ever cast out on account of this form; but the presbyters before thee who did not observe it, sent the eucharist to those of other parishes who observed it.

    16. And when the blessed Polycarp was at Rome in the time of Anicetus, and they disagreed a little about certain other things, they immediately made peace with one another, not caring to quarrel over this matter. For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp not to observe what he had always observed with John the disciple of our Lord, and the other apostles with whom he had associated; neither could Polycarp persuade Anicetus to observe it as he said that he ought to follow the customs of the presbyters that had preceded him.

    17. But though matters were in this shape, they communed together, and Anicetus conceded the administration of the eucharist in the church to Polycarp, manifestly as a mark of respect. And they parted from each other in peace, both those who observed, and those who did not, maintaining the peace of the whole church.”

  131. Mike says:

    So the evidence is not as clear as you want everyone to believe on the ending of Mark. As for Marks beginning with out a genealogy (As John), Is Marks statement “the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God” not enough as to who He is? God in the flesh, promised before, through the prophets, in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son? Read 7 things Paul mentions about the gospel in Romans 1:1-17.

    Papias refers to Mark 16:18. He wrote around a.d. 100
    Justin Martyr’s first Apology quotes Mark 16:20 (a.d. 151)
    Irenaus in Against Heresies quotes Mark 16:13 and remarks on it (a.d. 180)
    Hippolytus in Peri Charismaton quotes Mark 16:18 and 19. In his homily on the heresy of Noetus he refers to Mark 16:19. He wrote while he was Bishop of Portus (a.d. 190-227)
    Vicentius, Bishop of Thibari, quotes from 2 of the verses in the 7th Council of Carthage held under Cyprian (a.d. 256). Augustine, a century and a half later, in his reply, recited the words again
    The apocryphal Acts of Pilate contains Mark 16:15-18 (thought to be in the 200’s a.d.)
    The Apostolic Constitutions clearly allude to 16:15 in two places and quote Mark 16:16 outright (thought to be in the 200’s or 300’s a.d.)

  132. R. Betterly says:

    Sir:
    It is obvious your grasp on bible history was a slippery hold. Point one mark wrote his gospel while in Rome with Luke and Paul,who was a prisoner there. Point 2. Paul in one of his letters asks Mark to ‘bring the scroll” when he comes(Note scroll not SCROLLS). Since Paul was well versed in Jewish law it has been suggested it was Mathew’s scroll on the life of Jesus written in Palestine about 41 AD. Mark wrote his “Readers Digest” version in ROME about 63 AD Luke had written his version about 57 while in Caesarea.. John wrote his letters and Gospel on or near Patmos in 96-98

    Like most “educated” men you are more interested in self promotion than accuracy.

  133. Robin says:

    Ian, you make a good point. Tabor’s point of view is interesting, nonetheless.

  134. Ian Paul says:

    This is all a heap of nonsense. Apart from anything else, the central argument is illogical: Mark ‘knew nothing about appearances of Jesus’ (a very weak argument from silence) so the other gospels make it all up? Nonsense.

    I am unclear how this claims to be of any relevance to biblical archaeology.

  135. L SMITH says:

    Mark may have been the first to report the story of Jesus, but Matthew and John were there when Jesus appeared to the disciples, not Mark. All the gospels work together to give a complete story, a complete picture, of the life of Jesus Christ. They all work together….there’s no conflict that I can see. Quit making problems where there are none!

  136. Arthur Ramsey says:

    So, the age of Mark makes it the ‘true’ account, yet we lend it credence by using a passage from the Gospel of Peter?

    Mr. Tabor’s articles are a source of comedy; I’ll give him that.

  137. Rose Stauros says:

    >>> 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…

    Evan Powell pointed this out in his book, “The Unfinished Gospel” 1994. The so-called addendum to John’s gospel (the 21st chapter) is actually the missing ending of Mark’s gospel as it fulfills the unfulfilled promise made by Jesus in Marks gospel.

    Mark 14:28
    But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee.

    Powell suggests the text of Mark’s original gospel ends at 16:8 and John 21:1-19 is place there.

  138. mal says:

    Yeshua come to fulfilled Judaism as promised.
    There was no Christianity as religion.

  139. Robin says:

    I think Tabor’s observations are interesting. R.T. France, in his commentary on Mark, said there are so many speculations about the ending of Mark that further theorizing is pointless. But I have heard or read many explanations, or theories, about Mark–including that both beginning and ending are lost, that the gospel t was meant to be read aloud in one sitting, that Mark did not know how to end the gospel, that he died before he could end it, that Mark did not intend to end a story already well known, that it ended as it did because by the time of writing, everyone already knew that Jesus had gone ahead and met with the disciples in Galilee. The KJV “he is not here; he is risen….” is a statement of physical departure from the tomb. .

    Mark has been dated to the 50s and to the 60s and later by others, and Tabor is on the later end of things. By the mid-50s Paul had written his letter to the Corinthians reciting a statement of belief in the multiple sightings of a physically written Jesus–and in a format that some scholars believe was repeated by Paul as he had received it in his own earlier training.

    I did enjoy the opportunity to hear Tabor’s ideas, and he contributes as always to the field of debate.

  140. Peter Evans says:

    New Scientist, 1955 issue 6 I think, published an analysis of NT books as written down at dictation to professional scribes on standard sheets, folded, bought eight sheets at a time, lined and written at standard spacings. Author concluded that Mark’s amanuensis wrote tighter than standard, and the next or subsequent copyist got to the end of his sixteen or whatever pages with a bit left over, which he copied onto a single sheet which he gummed on, and which got detached and lost. The non-Markan endings reflect belief and practice of believers at the times and in the places where subsequent copies were made.
    Jesus appears to credible witnesses, who are not in an ecstatic state, in various ways, but mostly as solid, and sometimes in gardening clothes!

  141. David Sweet says:

    Cute theory regarding the spiritual resurrection and ascension of Christ and not the bodily one. I notice sometimes how easily some scholars sail through objections because their theory is more ‘enlightened’ (i.e. more skeptical and dismissive of tradtional Christianity) What happened to the source Q? It pre-dates Mark or is contemporary to Mark–and is a major source for Luke and Matthew? How about the church’s earliest preaching represented in Acts, written probably before the fall of Jerusalem since there is no mention of this fall. Jesus often spoke of being raise on the third day. The young man in Mark at the tomb is clearly an angel, and appears as angels always appear in the Bible when on earthly assignment, not with wings! but as young men (an angel appearing as a woman migth meet some resistance as a messenger of God in that culture) The ‘young man’ clearly had supernatural perspective. The gospel of Peter written in the 2nd or 3rd century supplies a missing puzzle piece for him? Paul is somehow a preacher of the spiritual resurrection of Jesus, really? Have you read the Pauline books, particularly 1 Cor? Have you seen the scorn Paul was given by the Athenians and others in the Greek world when he spoke of the bodily resurrection of Jesus?? Paul’s encounter with Jesus is somehow a refelction of the other Apostles encounters? Paul said he was like one born out of time, or literally in the Greek ‘like one who gestated too long’ so he missed the bodily encounter that the others had, before the ascension. Listen to Mark’s voice? Have you–heard what he says about Jesus doing only what God could do–command nature, command death, demons, etc? And Mark not interested in the birth of Jesus? Its clear the birth of Jesus was obscure, clearly localized event forgotten by the time of his baptism. Luke clearly consulted Mary his mother, and Matthew other sources. The early church proclaim him Lord and Messiah without knowning in the earliest years–about his exact origins. Matthew and Luke go back to fill in the gap. I could go on and on with the problems with this cute theory–but there’s no use. A scholar with a cute theory that undermines historica CHristianity gets a pass that no one else would get and call themselves careful scholars.

  142. Colin Johnson says:

    Mark 16:9-20

    D. A. Carson (et al) have agreed that Mk. 16:9-20 is an amendment to the Gospel of Mark (“An Introduction to the New Testament”, 1992). They have pointed out that the text under consideration is missing from what are generally considered the two most important Manuscripts (MSS) ( uncials X and B) as well as others.They also said that Jerome and Eusebius both state that the best MSS available to them did not contain Mk. 16:9-20).

    Carson (et al) have asked an impertinent question: If the Mk. 16:9-20 is not the original ending, what was? They have provided us with three possibilities:

    i. Mark had the intention to include the information in Mk. 16:9-20 but was prevented from doing so due arrest or death by the Roman authorities.
    ii. Mark may have written a longer ending to his Gospel, but it may have gotten misplaced in the course of transmission. Mk. 16:9-20 may have been torn off at some point in time.
    iii. Mark’s Gospel is typified by a degree of secrecy and understatement. That is,as the first gospel to have been written, it was not made public immediately (because of fear of persecution from Rome) during which Mk. 16:9-20 was displaced.

    The question we need to ask is: By amending the Gospel of Mark at the very end, was it illegal to have done so?

    First, the information in Mk. 16:9-20 was in the public domain by the time the amendment took place. The information was well attested by the time the amendment was attached. Second, it was not illegal to supply the information at the end since it was not an embellishment – it was historical and factual. Third, quite likely the early believers did it for preservation, so that wherever Mark’s Gospel was read, the audience would have the full detail of the post-resurrection events as provided in Matthew, Luke and John.The ending of Mark’s Gospel is a bit truncated without the amendment. The amendment probably took place in the late 1st century or sometime in the 2nd century.

    Conclusion. The amendment should not be referred to as forgery or false information. The early believers simply supplied the information that was already known throughout the Christian community – hence, we believe the amendment was done for the preservation of salvation-history; it was not done to mislead the public.

  143. George Brown says:

    I very much appreciate Williams comments as being worth serious consideration. I would refer interested readers to http://truthceeker.wordpress.com/tag/lukan-priority/ for an excellent discussion of issues raised here. I found it enlightening and worth reading…much more so than the writings of scholars overstating their suppositions as “clearly” established by a lack of awareness of contrary evidence. It is our tendency to allow our beliefs (or lack thereof) to fill our horizons, to the exclusion of contrary evidence. We also tend to treat our lack of awareness of evidence, as evidence. Lack of evidence proves nothing. To say or write “clearly” often undermines our credibility. In the case of synoptic priority I think the evidence for Luke is compelling…but there’s too much evidence supporting other views for me to ever say it’s “clearly” so, even if I am personally convinced.

  144. Jerry says:

    Why even mention the Gospel of Peter? It is rife with historical errors and came about much later. There are plenty of reasons it was rejected, as well it should have been. Luke wrote Acts after his Gospel, and Acts was most likely written around 62 AD or prior, since the deaths of James or Paul do not even come into view.

  145. Allan Richardson says:

    For those Christians who believe in inerrant inspiration of the ORIGINAL documents, given that even multiple copies made AT THE SAME TIME (e.g. Paul making 10 copies of a letter before distributing them to different couriers) inevitably have errors, and there are more discrepancies (most minor but some significant) between individual copies than the total word count of the New Testament, they must admit that we DO NOT HAVE the originals, only copies of copies of … for dozens or hundreds of copy generations. There are good technical readings for deciding which of two copies of a book is earlier and “better” which can be studied in detail by a curious reader, which is why, absent a determination not to let facts influence a preconceived theology, we can be sure that the ending of Mark was added by later scribes.

    I am not aware of any good, scholarly evidence that Mark is NOT the earliest Gospel of which copies still exist, but in any event, the presence of CONTRADICTORY Nativity stories in Luke and Matthew and NONE in Mark is problematical. Matthew says Joseph and Mary started out living in Bethlehem, Jesus was born there, and they were probably planning to stay in Bethlehem for life, but divine warning of Herod’s slaughter led them to Egypt until Herod died, then to Nazareth rather than back to Bethlehem. Luke, in contradiction, says they started out living in Nazareth, then took a short trip to Bethlehem (under dangerous conditions) where Jesus was born, and after 40 days (the presentation in the Temple), not being bothered by Herod, went back home to Nazareth, with no need to detour to Egypt. But Mark, written perhaps 20 years BEFORE these two, has no nativity story, and even in the one place where he could have corrected the assumption of Jesus being born in Nazareth with a parenthetical comment (Nathaniel’s initial remark about nothing good coming out of Nazareth), he lets that assumption stand.

    If the first generation of Christians CARED (theologically) about the Lord’s birthplace, that would have been mentioned (at least briefly) in at least ONE place in the pre-Markan epistles, i.e. mostly Paul’s, and in Mark itself. Perhaps there WAS a Nativity introduction in Mark, which stopped being copied sometime before Matthew and Luke? IF there was, and it corroborated Matthew’s story, it would have been kept in Mark and copied by Luke (since both of them did copy Mark’s material). IF it corroborated Luke’s story, likewise, it would have been kept in Mark and copied by Matthew. In either case, Matthew and Luke would have written stories that agree more closely with each other and with Mark. IF there was a third version of a Nativity story in Mark, which showed a Bethlehem birth, that would have been kept, and Matthew and Luke would have used THAT story rather than the versions they did use. BUT if there was a Nativity in Mark which DID NOT say that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, then by the time Matthew and Luke were writing, rather than leave a story that interfered with then-growing theological beliefs in place, scribes would have started to omit that beginning of Mark (before the oldest known copy of ANY N.T. book that is known to be still extant), which would have the same effect as Mark never having written those words.

    So the most reasonable conclusion is that for the original Apostles, and for Paul, and for the first 20-30 years AP (after Pentecost), Jesus was divine REGARDLESS of the place of birth, lineage or manner of conception, so they did not mention it, and they were STILL not mentioning it when Mark wrote his Gospel. But sometime in the NEXT 20 years a need to justify the divinity of Jesus to Jewish prospects with a Bethlehem birth and Davidic lineage, and to Gentiles (and Hellenistic Jews who only knew the Greek translation of the Scripture and were unaware of the mistranslation of ALMAH, young woman, to PARTHENOS, young woman who is a VIRGIN) arose, and the original story of a NAZARENE Savior would no longer win converts. So Matthew and Luke followed oral traditions that “guessed” at how the Bethlehem-or-Nazareth question could be resolved, and they followed different traditions. If there had been a reliable tradition supporting EITHER Matthew or Luke, both would have followed that tradition.

    None of this is to take away from the DEVOTIONAL value of both books, but it seems that historically, the most reasonable assumption (Occam’s Razor) is: born in Nazareth but divine ANYWAY, and two different born-in-Bethlehem stories created later to satisfy unnecessary theological premises.

    Additionally, AFTER the Christian Church became dominant, Jewish girls continued to hope that they would be blessed to give birth to the Messiah, even though the vast majority of them did NOT know for sure whether they (or their future husbands) were of the lineage of David, and did NOT live in Bethlehem or have any future prospect of moving or visiting there, and did NOT expect to conceive the Messiah before their weddings; therefore, none of these conditions was, except possibly in the first century, considered necessary by Jews for Messiahship. So, if those who are still waiting for the Messiah do not consider these conditions essential, why should the Messiah, whom we believe has already come, have had to fulfill them?

  146. John says:

    Dear Mr. Shanks,

    I have been away from BAR for awhile and upon my return this is the first article I read (actually from your twitter post). I feel very relieved to not have purchased as subscription. Furthermore, I feel very relived that none of my money went to support sophomoric and secular contemptuousness such as this. I’m breathing a sigh of relief.

    I don’t seem to remember the articles associated with BAR sometime back being this bad. Overlooking for a moment this man’s contempt for the Holy Spirit, his contempt for the authors of the cannon of scripture, and his contempt for Christians, his arguments based on logic do not stand up to scrutiny…on logic alone he fails.

    What I would like to know is: 1) Did you personally approve of this article? 2) Do you agree with what is being said by him? 3) Do you plan on running more articles of this nature in the future?

    I will be perusing the BAR websites a little more to see if other articles like this are here. If this is indeed the direction you are heading Mr. Shanks, I would respectfully request that you remove the “B” from the BAR.

    Thank you.

  147. Even If Ministries says:

    Not to be combative, but a theological supposition, built on top of another theological supposition based upon a hypothesis, an passed off as self-evident or fact leaves a lot to be desired.

    Assumptions affect our lives and spoken and written words create realities whether they are true or not. Did the ante-Nicene writers draw the same conclusion as Dr. Tabor?

    Are Matthew and Luke really just cut and paste jobs? What about the people that believe Lukan Priority or the priority of Matthew?

    One assumption that has to be addressed is whether the writings are strictly historical records or are also supernatural and inspired as well – thousands of tangents we could go down but it has to be considered.

    What do extant biblical writings say concerning priority? This has to be considered as well.

    And Dr Tabor says “the evidence is clear” because the earliest and most reliable copies show no knowledge . . . This supposition only works if Markan Priority and the Q document hypothesis

    I remember when scholarship also said Yeshua (Jesus) probably read from the Greek and called God Theos or Lord Kurios then we found Fouad 266 which had nestled among all that Greek the ashuri Hebrew script YHVH. We found this in Qumran too.

    Maybe I am out of my league here, but passing a supposition off as an undisputable fact has led to more error over the years – remember when the church was sure that the sun revolved around the earth? I realize Dr Tabor might be taking the stance that he is Galileo or Copernicus in this instance, but for that to be true, proof needs to be offered instead of supposition and hypothesis.

  148. Bradley Cobb says:

    If one believes in God, and that He is powerful enough to keep His word accurately preserved, then you have to take Mark 16:9-20 as part of the inspired word of God. The supposed “best manuscripts” that people like Tabor champion actually have a space where these verses would have been–the only such space in the entire codex!

    Of course, if you don’t believe in the inspiration of the Bible (which Tabor obviously doesn’t), and don’t believe in the power of God (again, which Tabor obviously doesn’t), then you will have no problem rejecting any part of the Bible that you want to.

    I happen to believe that God has the power to accurately preserve His word throughout the centuries. That includes Mark 16:9-20.

  149. Yehudit says:

    These thoughts about eating bread as divine flesh and wine as divine blood are clearly not Jewish concepts. Its becoming more clear to me that these are some of the reasons why the Jews of that time (as today) rejected these strange pagan ideas! Its interesting that this cannabalistic idea has been attributed historically to Jews through the disgusting accusation of the blood libel when it is clearly a pagan-christian concept and has nothing whatsoever to do with Judaism. Yet Jews have been massacred throughout Christian history during easter for this atrocious and weird belief held by Christians. Yet, the christian movement ultimately has the capacity to serve as an educational transition for pagan cultures to embrace a life of morality in acknowledgment of the omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent Creator who-alone- gives us life.

  150. textig says:

    The writer states, “This ending is not found in our earliest and most reliable Greek copies”.
    How do we know the earliest Greek copies are reliable?
    Earliest does not mean more reliable.
    What literature shows Eusebius and Jerome that the passage was absent from almost all Greek copies of Mark known to them?

  151. Petrus Montgomery says:

    Embora seja verdade que os dois manuscritos mais antigos que contêm Marcos 16 não incluem esses doze últimos versículos, existe vastíssima evidência externa que os apoiam como sendo originais. Mesmo não fazendo parte dos dois manuscritos gregos mais antigos, esses versículos são encontrados em virtualmente todos os manuscritos gregos restantes que contêm o final de Marcos. Todas as versões latinas e versões siríacas têm esses versículos, com pouquíssimas exceções. O mais importante é que os primeiros pais da igreja fazem citações deles e estão cientes deles (Justino Mártir, 150 a.D.; Ticiano, 175 a.D.; Irineu, 180 a.D. e Hipólito, 200 a.D.). Esses homens viveram 150 anos antes da composição do Códice Vaticano e do Códice Sinático, mostrando que esses versículos já existiam naquela época.

  152. Was Jesus married and had children?? - Page 11 - Christian Forums says:

    […] 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 […]

  153. Jim Datta says:

    While Dr. Tabor believes that Mark’s is the earliest gospel. However the late Dead Sea Scroll translator, Fr. Jean Carmignac, offers earlier dates for Matt. (Hebrew) 55-60, Mark 42-45 & Luke(Greek) a little after 50. This is summarized in his book “Birth of the Synoptics”. Assuming John’s gospel was pretty much completed by the yr. 70, it would appear that the Apostolic Fathers had no problem with Mark’s short ending. .

    It also could be the case noted by genealogists, looking at old photographs with no names. At the time everybody knew who it was, so why write it down.

  154. The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why It Makes All the Difference | Sound Commentary says:

    […] 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 […]

  155. Ron says:

    Mark says – he is risen and reports the tomb to be empty. Paul says he is risen and he appeared to 500 people. Not sure i see how this is fundamentally different from Matthew, Luke, or John, just less detail. If you think you found his bones now, why didn’t they bring it out later in the first century when Luke etal were claiming a physical resurrection. If you managed to find it 2000 years later they sure could have 50 or 60 years after the fact. Wouldn’t they just say – “hey Jesus is over here in a bone box with the rest of his family”. And why the big deal about the longer end of Mark. Conservative scholars have long accepted that it was not original. Few would argue otherwise.

  156. da Silva says:

    I strongly believe that giving voice to Dr. Tabor reduces the credibility of this media’s content.

  157. Enopoletus Harding says:

    @ Robin
    Don’t you mean “have gathered”? See http://www.kjv-only.com/acts12_4.html for a rebuttal of some of your claims. Also, the Bible clearly refers to a 24-hour period and a fraction of two days, not a 72-hour period. See http://www.bible.ca/d-3-days-and-3-nights.htm and Luke 24:46. I am an atheist.

  158. Robin says:

    Easter or Passover: Which Is for Christians?
    On April 24 this year, billions of people will celebrate Easter. About a week earlier, after sunset on Sunday, April 17, many Christians will gather to observe the biblical Passover. Does it matter which festivals you observe? The answer may surprise you!

    http://www.tomorrowsworld.org/node/4615

  159. Robin says:

    Since Easter is a Pagan custom I think you should do a little more studying. Did Christ stay in the tomb three days and three nights? Not if you have Him going in on good Friday and rising on Sunday at sunrise. Do the math then find the truth. You can’t change scripture to suit mans needs, not in any instance.

  160. Randall Buchanan says:

    I’m curious – what do you think are the theological implications of this?

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