Original or Not? (Darrell Bock)

Dr. Bock responds to the four speakers:

Where we agree (not necessarily presuppositions):
Both readings are old.
What is taught in this section, for the most part, is taught elsewhere.
What we all want to deal with is hard evidence.
Fact must control theory – not vice versa.

The question becomes – why is it that we can deal with the same data and end up in such different places? We are all connecting the dots differently.

We have to be careful of where the line about fact stops and the dot connecting starts.

Bock notes that most (or all) of the speakers started in one area of belief, but after checking their presuppositions they ended up changing their positions.

The evidence is a mixture of dots and lines that connect the dots.

Bock’s own view, Mark 16:8 is the ending of this gospel on the basis of external and internal evidence.
His next likely option was that the ending went missing.
His third option is that the long ending was original.

He believes this because internal evidence is just as important as external evidence, etc.
He holds to Markan Priority. He believes (probably correctly) that in the Early Church there were not only written traditions circulating among the Church but also verbal traditions circulating among the Church.

The synoptic evidence is a little bit peculiar. When Mark gives accounts in relationship to Matthew and Luke, he does it in a little more detail. But in the longer ending of Mark, he goes through a series of really short summaries, which is opposite to what normally happens to Matthew and Luke. But there are places where Mark gives other shorter summaries to Matthew and Luke.

Warning – we have to work with the text and with the history, and we have to be careful about talking about speculation with one another… when we are talking about connecting the dots, someone else could say that you are speculating.

We must be aware of brittle fundamentalism. Setting up a question in such a way that if it breaks it will shatter.

External Evidence:
This is a key element, not just counting manuscripts, or where they come from.
The external evidence that is really important are not Sinaiticus (Aleph) and Vaticanus (B). It is the versions and the fathers that are important in corroborating this problem.

There is evidence and the people working with the bible were aware of the fact that there were two endings of Mark.

What this evidence actually shows us is that these two readings were in competition with each other from the very beginning.

Gaps in the manuscript shows us that we do not know why the gaps are there.

You have to explain how we ended up with the long ending, and how we ended up with three variations OR you have to explain how we ended up with the shorter ending, and how we ended up with three variations.

What would create and ending at just verse 8 if I had 9-20?

Bock discusses some issues with the other speaker’s “evidence” – such as the denial of the group denial in other Gospel (other than Mark) – but there is another group denial in Luke… the only difference is that it was “women” who told of Jesus, not just Mary.

Bock still finds this longer ending as more than likely non-Markan than Markan… he finds it difficult to view this as something that Mark penned, originally or subsequently.

Other issues – Was Mark written on a roll or codex? Probably a roll. The issue of whether or not the Mark was rolled up or not, we don’t know… “some people rewind tapes, some people don’t.”

Virtually all of Mark is in the other Gospels, so you are going to get him whether you want to or not.

The most difficult question for those who holds to Markan Priority is the patristic evidence.

Bock believes there are numerous problems and questions with Black’s belief. Wonders whether or not Matthew, if written for the Jews would have been written in Greek. What actual evidence do we have for Paul using Matthew or Luke, or commissioning Luke’s Gospel?

Discusses Elliott’s view that there is a problem with priority view of Mary being in front of the list, versus Peter being in front of the list. In the ancient culture, women couldn’t be witnesses. A little less formal list would have Peter in front of the list.

How in the world did we get an ending in Mark that ended with gar. Why wouldn’t Mark finish by writing the fulfillment of the prophecies?

Mark is being subtle, you have the Word of God, you have the promises, you know what happens.

What happened with the elder son from the parable?
This can be found in Acts, what happened with the Jews? What happened with Paul?
But the story is about the expansion of the Word of God, not about Paul.
(he eludes to Lazarus – perhaps the fact that he was about to be stoned after being raised from the dead, but we do not find out what happens).

Everything about Mark is screaming that he is raised, so it was an intentional choice. All of Mark’s readers are faced with the same choice – there was no guarantee that Mark’s readers were going to wait until Jesus appeared to them.

We haven’t settled yet on this question – if the longer ending is not Markan, does that mean it is non-Canonical? Not necessarily. If we equate canonicity with an original level of writing, then it goes. But that is not necessarily a given.

What Bock does not think is going on is (David Parker’s solution) what happened with the ending of Mark is that radical theological interpretations that came to be stifled by later ecclesiastical interpretations.

It is a difficult problem to sort out and there are numerous forks in the road. Depending on what you do at the forks, takes you down certain roads.

Regardless of all those forks in the word. We agree on these things – Both readings are old, what is taught here is taught elsewhere. Where does this leave us? In a pretty good place, whether it is long or short, the content does not make that much of a difference.

Do not get too tied up in knots about whether or not 16:9-20 is there. Go and share the gospel.

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