Some Famous Textual Problems: Mark 16:9-20
The text of Mark 16:9-20 is most likely not part of the original inspired text of scripture, and v 8 is Mark's intended ending.
I. FIVE DIFFERENT ENDINGS TO THE GOSPEL OF MARK
A. Short Ending (SE)
B. Intermediate Ending (IE)
C. IE followed by Long Ending (LE)
D. Long Ending (LE)
E. LE with material added between vv. 14 and 15 (Freer Logion in Codex W)
II. SUMMARY OF EXTERNAL EVIDENCE
A. Three endings can be eliminated IE, IE followed by LE, Freer Logion)
B. Internal evidence: add or omit?
III. ARGUMENTS FOR LE
A. External evidence
1. At least 95% of all MSS, versions, and Fathers have the LE
2. Found as early as the late 4th/early 5th century
3. Found in all three text-forms with wide geographical distribution
4. Found early in the Fathers beginning no later than late 2nd century (with Irenaeus)
B. Internal evidence
1. Then why not drop just vv. 17-18?
2. The fathers did not have a problem with vv. 17-18
IV. ARGUMENTS FOR THE SE
A. Scribes would be strongly tempted to add a resurrection appearance (8:31, 9:9, 9:31, 10:34)
B. Only Gospel that doesn’t have a resurrection appearance by Jesus
V. EXTERNAL EVIDENCE
A. א (Sinaiticus: 4th century)
B. B (Vaticanus: 4th century)
C. Important when these two MSS agree (not form a common ancestor)
D. Blank column at the end of Mark in Vaticanus
1. Not enough room for LE
2. Mark at the end of the four Gospels (Western order: Matthew, John, Luke, Mark, Acts) and paragraph numbering
3. Blank page in Sinaiticus
E. Old translations (Syriac, Armenian, Georgian, Sahidic)
F. Origen and Clement (2nd and 3rd century) are silent about any material after v. 8
G. Eusebius (early 4th century): quantity and quality (Constantine)
H. Jerome (end 4th/beginning 5th century)
1. Support of Pope
2. “Greek” suggests the ending is in the Latin
I. Victor of Antioch (5th–6th century): thinks LE is accurate
J. Conclusion: how added?
1. Strong impulse for addition
2. Strong influence by Victor of Antioch
K. Alternative endings show LE not original
L. Marginal notes
M. Why does only this Gospel have major textual upheaval at the end?
N. Conclusion of external evidence
VI. INTERNAL EVIDENCE
A. Transcriptional evidence
B. Intrinsic evidence (stylistic, grammatical, and lexical anomalies)
VII. IS 16:8 THE END, OR IS THE ENDING LOST?
A. Three Arguments that Ending Was Lost
1. Last leaf could have been lost if written on a codex
2. Books don’t end in a γάρ (‘for’)
3. Open-ended conclusions are a modern Kafka-like invention
B. Three Counter-Arguments
1. Mark would have been written on a scroll
2. Books have been discovered that end in a γάρ
3. Open-ended conclusions are ancient (e.g., Jonah)
C. Mark 16:8 seems to foreshadow the ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ of 9:32
D. Why did no one in the ancient world understand Mark’s intention? Luke did.
A. The earliest and best manuscripts and versions, with the greatest geographical spread
B. Eusebius and Jerome
C. Multitude endings
D. Marginal notes
E. Linguistic uniqueness of the passage
F. Why does Mark complete his Gospel this way?