The Original Ending of Mark

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Although traditionally accepted by the church down through the centuries, the longer ending of Mark's Gospel (16:9-20) has been relegated by modern scholarship to the status of a later appendage. The arguments for such a view are chiefly based upon the witness of the two earliest complete manuscripts of Mark, and upon matters of language and style. This work shows that these primary grounds of argumentation are inadequate. It is demonstrated that the church fathers knew the Markan ending from the very earliest days, well over two centuries before the earliest extant manuscripts. The quantity of unique terms in the ending is also seen to fall within the parameters exhibited by undisputed Markan passages. Strong indications of Markan authorship are found in the presence of specific linguistic constructions, a range of literary devices, and the continuation of various themes prominent within the body of the Gospel.


Furthermore, the writings of Luke show that the Gospel of Mark known to this author contained the ending. Rather than being a later addition, the evidence is interpreted in terms of a textual omission occurring at a later stage in transmission, probably in Egypt during the second century.

Reviews:Pieter J. Lalleman, Academic Dean and Tutor of New Testament, Spurgeon's College, London, UK wrote:

''Nick Lunn effectively throws a huge brick into the calm waters of the status of Mark 16. Looking at the matter from a multitude of perspectives, he makes a strong case for the authenticity of the last twelve verses. Lunn's scholarship is impressive and this masterly book has to be compulsory reading for anyone dealing with Mark and/or the text of the New Testament.''

Maurice A. Robinson, Research Professor in New Testament and Greek, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC wrote:

''A well-written tour de force, interacting with contemporary critical viewpoints that support Markan termination at 16:8 while offering numerous plausible reasons--some totally new--that favor retention of the traditional 'Long Ending.' Highly recommended reading for anyone generally interested in textual criticism or this passage in particular. Even readers who differ regarding various elements of Lunn's discussion should be enticed into further study of this well-known textual crux by his work.''

Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada wrote:

''Nicholas Lunn has thoroughly shaken my views concerning the ending of the Gospel of Mark. As in the case of most gospel scholars, I have for my whole career held that Mark 16:9-20, the so-called 'Long Ending,' was not original. But in his well-researched and carefully argued book, Lunn succeeds in showing just how flimsy that position really is. The evidence for the early existence of this ending, if not for its originality, is extensive and quite credible. I will not be surprised if Lunn reverses scholarly opinion on this important question. I urge scholars not to dismiss his arguments without carefully considering this excellent book. The Original Ending of Mark is must reading for all concerned with the gospels and early tradition concerned with the resurrection story.''

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