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Mark 16

Mark 16 is a shorthand for the 16th and final chapter of the Gospel of Mark. The theory that the resurrection appearances in this chapter were added to the original text is one of the most famous examples of textual criticism in the New Testament. The original writer seems to have been responsible for verses 16:1-8, before verses 16:9-20 were added by someone different. Verses 16:8-9 run like this in the King James Bible:

16:8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid. 9. Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.

Note the way the subject changes abruptly from "they were afraid" to "Now when Jesus was risen". In Greek, "for they were afraid" is εφοβουντο γαρ, ephobounto gar, literally "they-were-afraid because". This is very odd Greek. Like its Latin equivalent enim, the Greek conjunction γαρ, gar, means "because" and takes second place in a sentence or clause. It almost never ends a sentence in this way and this is, indeed, the only example in the whole of the New Testament. In the rest of Mark, for example, gar is used in the conventional way:

3:10 Πολλους γαρ [gar] εθεραπευσεν ωστε επιπιπτειν αυτω ινα αυτου αψωνται οσοι ειχον μαστιγας.

3:10 For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues.

6:20 Ο γαρ [gar] Ηρωδης εφοβειτο τον Ιωαννην ειδως αυτον ανδρα δικαιον και αγιον.

6:20 For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy.

13:33 Βλεπετε αγρυπνειτε και προσευχεσθε ουκ οιδατε γαρ [gar] ποτε ο καιρος εστιν.

13:33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.

The suggestion is, then, that part of the original manuscript was lost or incomplete after 16:8, and that a later hand added 16:9-20, describing appearances by the resurrected Christ in a different style and using a different Greek vocabulary. Skeptics have therefore used the argument from silence to suggest that resurrection appearances and the virgin birth were not present from the beginning in Christianity, because neither is mentioned in Mark, the earliest Gospel.

See also: Gospel of Mark

External Link

For and against the authenticity of Mark 16:9-20 (http://www.bible-researcher.com/endmark)

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