The Instigator
TheAdamb99
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Peili
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

This House Believes that Mark Purposely Ended His Gospel at Verse 8

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 0 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/28/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 385 times Debate No: 70819
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)

 

TheAdamb99

Con

"As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. "Don"t be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, "He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him just as he told you."" Trembling and bewildered, the women went and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid."

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.

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

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.

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!

In simple words - Mark died before he could finish his Gospel

[Sources: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org...]
Peili

Pro

Let"s begin with where we agree. Mark stopped writing his Gospel at 16:8. Chapter 16, verses 9-18, were not written by Mark. The earliest manuscripts don"t contain these verses, the early church father make no mention of these verses, and there is change in the style of the Greek writing (though I grant that the change is not a significant one). Mark 16:19-18 appears to be a summation of the endings of the Gospels of Luke and of John. It was probably added sometime early in the second century.
Source: http://www.bible-researcher.com...

As a side note, this has nothing to do with why Mark is the second Gospel in the Bible. Early scholars believed that Mark was written second and the Matthew was written first. This is because Matthew was referenced more by early church fathers than any other NT book, and because of the very "Jewish" nature of Matthew.
Source: http://www.usccb.org...

Now to the main issue. The suggestion that Mark died before finishing the Gospel smacks heavily of coincidence. It would mean that Mark had written nearly everything of importance about Jesus " his life, death, and even his resurrection " but then at such a critical time in his writing Mark died without discussing the events after Jesus" resurrection. It is exceedingly unlikely.

A more likely explanation is that Mark purposefully stopped writing at 16:8. Mark has written what we would call a cliffhanger. For another example of a biblical cliffhanger, see the ending to the book of Jonah.

Mark was writing to Christians who know the story of Jesus to encourage them in their faith and deeds. Mark intentionally stopped writing with the women who know that Jesus has risen from the dead paralyzed with fear. An angel has revealed to these women that "He {Jesus} has risen!" The angel has told the women to "go, tell his disciples and Peter," what they have seen. However, "Trembling and bewildered" They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid."

Mark is attempting to engage the audience in the events of his narrative. Will the women speak? Will they tell people what they have seen? Will they remain afraid and never tell anyone? What will happen next? Of course the reader can easily understand that eventually the women did overcome their fear. That is the only way that Mark could know about these events to record them.

However, the real goal of a cliffhanger is to bring the reader into the story. Mark is encouraging us to ask, "What would I do if I were one of these people? Would I go tell others, or would I remain silent?" And the even more important question Mark wants his readers to ask is, "What will I do in my current situation? Now that I have been told that Jesus has risen from the dead, will I remain silent or will I go out and tell others?"

Mark has purposefully ended his Gospel at 16:8 to create a cliffhanger, inviting his readers into the story and calling his readers to action in our daily lives.
Debate Round No. 1
TheAdamb99

Con

Some interpreters have concluded that Mark's intended readers already knew the traditions of Jesus' appearances, and that Mark brings the story to a close here to highlight the resurrection and leave anticipation of the parousia (Second Coming). Some have argued that this announcement of the resurrection and Jesus going to Galilee is the parousia (see also Preterism), but Raymond E. Brown argues that a parousia confined only to Galilee is improbable. Gospel writer Mark gives no description of the resurrected Jesus, perhaps because Mark did not want to try to describe the nature of the divine resurrected Jesus. Brown argues this ending is consistent with Mark's theology, where even miracles, such as the resurrection, do not produce the proper understanding or faith among Jesus' followers. Having the women run away afraid is contrasted in the reader's mind with Jesus' appearances and statements which help confirm the expectation, built up in 8:31, 9:31, 10:34, and Jesus' prediction during the Last Supper of his rising after his death. Richard Burridge argues that, in keeping with Mark's picture of discipleship, the question of whether it all comes right in the end is left open.

I seriously doubt Mark purposely ended his goslel just to create a cliff hanger for his readers. This ending does not portray the meaning if Jesus Christ and God. It is the complete opposite. Mark ended his gospel with fear instead of hope. This is why I think something happened to Mark in his time that prevented him from finishing his Gospel

[Sources: http://en.m.wikipedia.org...]
Peili

Pro

Hope is a central theme in Mark but we should not think of it as the only theme. The suffering of Christ is also an important theme, if not the dominant theme. Mark has been called the story of the cross with a long introduction. From the chapter 8, the halfway point in the Gospel, everything Mark discusses is aimed at the cross. In Mark, the way to glory for Christ is through the suffering of the cross.

Yes, hope is important to Mark, but to suggest that Mark would not end with a cliffhanger because it is not a hopeful enough ending completely misunderstands the nature of this Gospel. Mark does not describe a vague or open-ended hope. Mark describes a hope that comes through a changed life. Mark"s gospel offers great hope, but it also demands great commitment.

Hope does not come from sitting silently on the sidelines. Hope comes when we commit our lives to Christ. The women were overcome by fear, though we know that they did eventually overcome their fear. Mark wants us to ask if it will be fear or hope that rules our lives. This cliffhanger ending was intentional.

Source:
http://www.theologynetwork.org...
Debate Round No. 2
TheAdamb99

Con

Although the vast majority of later Greek manuscripts contain Mark 16:9-20, the Gospel of Mark ends at verse 8 in two of the oldest and most respected manuscripts, the Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus. As the oldest manuscripts are known to be the most accurate because there were fewer generations of copies from the original autographs (i.e., they are much closer in time to the originals), and the oldest manuscripts do not contain vv. 9-20, we can conclude that these verses were added later by scribes. The King James Version of the Bible, as well as the New King James, contains vv. 9-20 because the King James used medieval manuscripts as the basis of its translation. Since 1611, however, older and more accurate manuscripts have been discovered and they affirm that vv. 9-20 were not in the original Gospel of Mark.

In addition, the fourth-century church fathers Eusebius and Jerome noted that almost all Greek manuscripts available to them lacked vv. 9"20, although they doubtless knew those other endings existed. In the second century, Justin Martyr and Tatian knew about other endings. Irenaeus, also, in A.D. 150 to 200, must have known about this long ending because he quotes verse 19 from it. So, the early church fathers knew of the added verses, but even by the fourth century, Eusebius said the Greek manuscripts did not include these endings in the originals.

The internal evidence from this passage also casts doubt on Mark as the author. For one thing, the transition between verses 8 and 9 is abrupt and awkward. The Greek word translated "now" that begins v. 9 should link it to what follows, as the use of the word "now" does in the other synoptic Gospels. However, what follows doesn"t continue the story of the women referred to in v. 8, describing instead Jesus" appearing to Mary Magdalene. There"s no transition there, but rather an abrupt and bizarre change, lacking the continuity typical of Mark"s narrative. The author should be continuing the story of the women based on the word "now," not jumping to the appearance to Mary Magdalene. Further, for Mark to introduce Mary Magdalene here as though for the very first time (v. 9) is odd because she had already been introduced in Mark"s narrative (Mark 15:40, 47, 16:1), another evidence that this section was not written by Mark.

Furthermore, the vocabulary is not consistent with Mark"s Gospel. These last verses don"t read like Mark"s. There are eighteen words here that are never used anywhere by Mark, and the structure is very different from the familiar structure of his writing. The title "Lord Jesus," used in verse 19, is never used anywhere else by Mark. Also, the reference to signs in vv. 17-18 doesn"t appear in any of the four Gospels. In no account, post-resurrection of Jesus, is there any discussion of signs like picking up serpents, speaking with tongues, casting out demons, drinking poison, or laying hands on the sick. So, both internally and externally, this is foreign to Mark.

While the added ending offers no new information, nor does it contradict previously revealed events and/or doctrine, both the external and internal evidence make it quite certain that Mark did not write it. In reality, ending his Gospel in verse 8 with the description of the amazement of the women at the tomb is entirely consistent with the rest of the narrative. Amazement at the Lord Jesus seems to be a theme with Mark. "They were amazed at his teaching" (Mark 1:22); "They were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves" (Mark 1:27); "He healed the paralytic, and they were all amazed and were glorifying God saying, "We"ve never seen anything like this"" (Mark 2:12). Astonishment at the work of Jesus is revealed throughout Mark"s narrative (Mark 4:41; 5:15, 33, 42; 6:51; 9:6, 15, 32; 10:24, 32; 11:18; 12:17; 16:5). Some, or even one, of the early scribes, however, apparently missed the thematic evidence and felt the need to add a more conventional ending.

I would also like to ask my opponent this question. If Mark purposely ended his gospel at verse 8, why did scholars add to the end of his gospel. The answer? Because the message was not fully given. Mark died before he could have finished his gospel. The idea that hope will come after fear and the, "...women were overcome by fear," is absolute nonsense. I believe that sadly Mark died before he could finish it. For these reasons I think my opponent's argument is futile!

VOTE CON!

[Sources:http://www.gotquestions.org...]
Peili

Pro

Con spent more than 80% of his final post repeating things that we both agreed on in our first posts and which have never been contested in this debate. Mark did not write the final verses of his Gospel.

Con stated that he would like to ask me a question, so I will answer it. Why did scholars add to the end of Mark"s gospel?

The most likely explanation is that people wanted to expand how they were using Mark"s Gospel. Mark was original written for gentile Christians. (1) As Christianity grew and copies of Mark were spread around, people wanted to use Mark"s Gospel to educate others who knew little to nothing about Jesus. So an unknown scribe wrote a short summary of the endings of Luke and John and attached that summary to the end of Mark"s Gospel. While this epilogue had its function, we can still use Mark"s original ending as it applies to our lives today.

The suggestion that Mark intended to write more but died before he could, while not impossible, relies on a giant coincidence. Why cling to this coincidence when we have a perfectly reasonable explanation for why Mark would purposefully end his Gospel at 16:8? The original ending of Mark is a cliffhanger, a call to action, and an encouragement to hope instead of being overcome by fear. Mark purposefully ended his Gospel at 16:8.

Source:
1. http://www.theopedia.com...
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by TheAdamb99 2 years ago
TheAdamb99
Peili, yes I believe that Mark did not intend to end his Gospel at verse 8. I am arguing that he wanted to write more but couldn't possible due to death
Posted by Peili 2 years ago
Peili
You place yourself in the Con position, but most of your arguments seem to be Pro for this resolution. Is your argument that Mark intended to writer more but died before he could? If so, I will take the Pro position because I think Mark did purposefully end his gospel at 16:8. If not, what are you trying to say?
No votes have been placed for this debate.