Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? Casey on Jesus (3) – The Gospel of Mark’s Missing Ending

Casey - Jesus of NazarethReview of “Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?” in Maurice Casey, Jesus of Nazareth: An Independent Historian’s Account of His Life and Teaching. London and New York: T&T Clark (Continuum), 2010.

Part 3: The Gospel of Mark’s Missing Ending

One of the funny things about Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances in the earliest of the four Gospels, Mark, is that there aren’t any. Instead, what we read in Mark’s account of what happened after Jesus’ resurrection (Mark 16.1-8) is that a group of women find Jesus’ tomb already empty when they arrive there, an angel (described as a young man in a white robe) tells them that Jesus has risen, and then, suddenly, there is an abrupt ending which informs us that the women told nobody about their remarkable experience. The allegedly risen Jesus, despite being the hero of Mark’s story, fails to even make an appearance in it. A much later redactor tries to fix this awkward state of affairs by adding a more rounded ending (Mark 16.9-20) – but this longer ending is evidently derived at a later, secondary stage of development. For it includes elements from both Matthew and Luke, does not appear in the better, more reliable manuscripts, and is even marked as a later tradition in some manuscripts. So there is a serious problem: why does the Gospel of Mark finish so abruptly at chapter 16 verse 8?

Scholars have provided no end of speculative reasons for Mark’s “missing ending”; there is nothing like a complete absence of evidence to stimulate creative scholarly suggestions. Scholars ask: was this ending intended or unintended? If intended, for what scheme or purpose? If unintended, has the ending been lost or deliberately truncated? If deliberate, what would be the purpose in truncating Mark’s gospel? In turn, a plethora of scholarly answers has been offered for each question. In particular, a number of recent “literary” approaches have considered that the present ending of Mark 16.8 evidences such literary artistry and fearful symmetry, that we should recognise in the ending of this Gospel either an author whose talents rivalled Shakespeare’s own or the hand of God Almighty… or possibly both.

In contrast to such fertile, albeit often tenuous, procedures, Casey begins his analysis by taking note of a particular aspect of the problem with Mark’s “missing ending”. In Mark 14.27-28, Jesus predicts that after he is raised, he will “go before” the disciples – after they will have deserted him – “to Galilee”. Very unusually, Mark narrates Jesus’ prediction of his first post-resurrection appearance to the disciples in Galilee, but never gets around to narrating its fulfillment. This state of affairs makes it unlikely that the present, abrupt ending of Mark (at 16.8) was intended. In addition, as Casey notes, the angel’s speech in Mark 16.7 clearly alludes to Jesus’ prediction in 14.28. The angel commands the women, in 16.7, to tell the disciples and Peter, “He [Jesus] goes before you into Galilee, just as he said to you” (προάγει ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν• ἐκεῖ αὐτὸν ὄψεσθε, καθὼς εἶπεν ὑμῖν). As Casey notes, the angel’s words “just as he said to you” clearly refer back to Jesus’ own words in 14.28. Moreover, the angel’s description of Jesus going before them to Galilee in Mark 16.7 employs the same vocabulary used by Jesus in 14.28: “I will go before you into Galilee” (προάξω ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν). Yet, far from resolving the prediction in 14.28 or explaining the abruptness of the ending in Mark 16.8, the angel’s allusion to Jesus’ words further anticipates the missing Galilean appearance. Casey’s conclusion is, therefore, surely correct:

Mark cannot possibly have written these passages unless he intended to write an account of at least one Resurrection appearance of Jesus in Galilee. (p. 462)

 

According to Casey, the whole of the Gospel of Mark is incomplete, a "first draft"
According to Casey, the whole of the Gospel of Mark is incomplete, a "first draft"

Yet instead of positing a missing ending, Casey offers a creative and indeed radical solution, proposing that the ending was never in fact written, because the Gospel as a whole is unfinished. For Casey, it is not merely the case that the author did not finish his Gospel – more radically, none of it was ever in a complete state. What we know as the Gospel of Mark should therefore, according to Casey, be regarded as “a first draft” (p. 76), a hypothesis which explains both the extensive mistakes which the Gospel contains as well as the frequent attempts of copyists to emend the text, and even its adaptation and development by Matthew and Luke. For example, Casey notes Mark’s purported quotation of “Isaiah” in Mark 1.2, which instead begins with Malachi 3.1 before proceeding to Isaiah 40.3. For Casey this is a mistake of someone who didn’t ever get to correct his mistakes (instead, it is corrected by both Matthew and Luke).

Although Casey’s proposal is worth much further consideration, I do not know if it is more persuasive than the immediate alternative: that Mark simply made a lot of mistakes. This alternative seems more attractive when we consider, as Casey does, that “Mark was not an author like Plutarch or Suetonius, well educated, experienced and writing another life of Someone Famous” (p. 77). A further point against Casey’s proposal is that, if the whole of Mark’s Gospel were incomplete, i.e. in “draft form”, it would be hard to explain why the earlier parts of Mark present a complete narrative, and don’t seem to have the sorts of abrupt lacunae that we find only at the end of the Gospel. In particular, Mark 14-16, which narrates Jesus’ last week and the empty tomb story, is particularly tightly narrated – and many would conclude that this is due to Mark’s own contribution as narrator here (working I think with received traditions) – which makes the absence of any prediction-and-fulfilment between Mark 14.27-28 and the ending of Mark look more like an exception than the rule of a “work in draft”.  These latter two factors, I think, tips the balance of explanation toward the Gospel being a final version rather than a “draft”. However, Casey’s argument regarding the predicted appearance of Jesus in Galilee and the missing fulfilment of that prediction does not allow us to accept the recent “literary” approaches to the text, which ironically seem to have neglected one of the most prominent literary features about the Gospel of Mark: it hasn’t got an ending.

So Mark’s missing ending remains a scholarly mysterion. Yet if we return to consider some of Casey’s other observations, discussed earlier, there may still be a more plausible solution. Casey argues, inter alia, that (1) 1 Corinthians 15 does not know of any “empty tomb story” but only of visionary appearances of Jesus who appears from Heaven; (2) Mark does not narrate the story of Jesus’ two-stage resurrection, from Grave to Earth and then from Earth to Heaven (which is narrated first only in Matthew, Luke, and John); and (3) Mark intended to compose a Gospel which featured at least one resurrection appearance at Galilee. Given the trajectory in the development of the post-resurrection traditions, from heavenly to earthly appearances, it is reasonable to posit that Mark, the earliest Gospel, also originally narrated a heavenly appearance of Jesus at Galilee. That is, we should expect that Mark’s missing ending would also have narrated that Jesus appeared in his glorified, heavenly state, in Galilee, an appearance experienced by his Galilean disciples in a genuine, historical visionary experience.

In contrast to Mark’s heavenly manifestation of Jesus, Matthew, Luke, and John each incorporate increasingly expansive traditions about Jesus appearing on Earth, before joining God in Heaven. These traditions about Jesus’ time on Earth before his ascent to Heaven continue to grow and expand, until Jesus is presented as spending an extensive period on Earth in slightly later second-century works such as The Epistle of the Apostles. In summary, therefore, Matthew, Luke and John are the first works to invent the two-stage resurrection, and this tradition becomes a central part of early Christian tradition – despite remaining discrepancies between the three Gospels on its particular nature (see also Luke 24.51, cf. Acts 1.2; Acts 1.3-9).

As a result, the missing ending of Mark – which as hypothesized tells us that Jesus first made an appearance from Heavencame to contradict the later two-stage resurrection. Not only does Jesus first appear in Jerusalem in these later traditions rather than in Galilee (Matt. 28.8-10; Luke 24.15, 26; John 20.14, 19, 26), but he appears immediately after the finding of his empty tomb, unlike in Mark where the disciples had to travel to Galilee before seeing him (cf. Luke 24.15; John 20.14). In light of later tradition, Mark’s original ending would have been seen as a dangerous misrepresentation of accepted doctrine. This contradiction between Mark’s heavenly appearance of Jesus and the earthly appearances in the other Gospels cuts to the core of the nascent Christian faith – because it concerned the resurrection of Jesus, the core tenet on which early Christian faith rested (cf. 1 Corinthians 15.14). Therefore, I further propose that the most likely fate of Mark’s ending, with its account of Jesus’ appearance in Galilee forecast in Mark 14.28 and 16.7, was that it was excised from the Gospel of Mark, as inconsistent with later authoritative tradition. A plausible scenario (among many possiblities) would be that Matthew himself expurgated the copy of Mark’s Gospel which he relied on to write his own Gospel, and that it was such an expurgated copy which became also the authoritative version reproduced by later copyists. In his own Gospel, Matthew transformed Mark’s visionary appearance into an appearance of the not-yet-fully-resurrected Jesus at Galilee. With a nod to N.T. Wright, we might call the second resurrection in Matthew, Luke, and John “resurrection-after-resurrection-after-death”. Moreover, it is only in Matthew, Luke, and John that Jesus emerges bodily from the empty tomb and walks around in Jerusalem. In the original ending of Mark, by contrast, while Jesus’ body is gone from his tomb, Jesus himself is nowhere to be seen on Earth, his body is presumed to have been transformed into its heavenly state, and Jesus eventually makes himself seen to his disciples in Galilee, in his new spiritual form. Jesus is bodily resurrected to the heavens (after transformation of his body into a spiritual body), without any earthly interlude.

While it is admitted that the conclusion involves a risky reconstruction of a missing text, the risk is inherent to any analysis of the Gospel of Mark which is to take seriously a Gospel with a missing ending. What would be even more risky would be to deny that Mark has this clearly incomplete nature, by misreading Mark as though it were a self-contained unit like a brief modern poem, and then superimposing a New Critical-like “literary” analysis on Mark 16 instead of paying attention to its actual literary contours.

There are several indications that Mark has constructed Mark 16.1-8 (the narrative of the women finding the empty tomb) from a vision report
There are several indications that Mark has constructed Mark 16.1-8 (the narrative of the women finding the empty tomb) from a vision report

In addition to the reconstructed visionary nature of Mark’s missing ending, there are several indications that Mark has constructed Mark 16.1-8 (the narrative of the women finding the empty tomb) from a vision report – a view which, incidentally, was already espoused by D.F. Strauss. The tradition of women seeing an empty tomb is best explained as something originally seen in a vision, and which symbolically conveyed Jesus’ ascension to Heaven. Therefore, the whole of the original form of Mark 16 (with its missing ending on a mountain in Galilee, not dissimilarly to the transfiguration) derives from vision reports. It is significant that women visionaries were a quite prominent feature among early Christians (e.g. Acts 2.17-18; 21.9; 1 Corinthians 11.5; cf. Luke 2.36-37). Several second-century sources evidence a cultural memory of Mary Magdalene’s identity as a visionary disciple of Jesus (e.g. Epiphanius, Pan 26.8.1-3; Pistis Sophia) – and Mary Magdalene is the only woman named as present at the empty tomb in all four Gospels.

In Mark 16.1-8, we can find all of the major elements of a generic vision report are present, although incorporated secondarily into the genre of Mark’s Gospel. The vision occurs in a time of grief and lamentation, at the dawn of the day when hypnogogic visions are typically induced or produced. The narrative is filled with verbs of sight: ἀναβλέψασαι (having looked up; v. 4), θεωροῦσιν (they saw, v. 4), εἶδον (they saw, v. 5), ἴδε (look!, v. 6), ὄψεσθε (you will see, v. 7), typical of an account derived from a visionary’s vision report. Mark 16.1-8 describes the women as filled with feelings of astonishment and overwhelming fear, so much so that they become speechless – all frequent motifs of vision reports and frightening dreams. The women also have events explained to them by an angeles interpres (an interpreting angel), whose appearance is described in vague dreamlike terms, and who describes Jesus’ ascension (implicitly through the heavens). The angeles interpres features ubiquitously as a central figure of dream and vision reports (e.g. LAB 9.10; 2 Enoch 1.3-10; Josephus, Life 208-210; Matthew 1.20-25; 2.13-15, 19-23; Acts 16.9-10; 4 Ezra 3.1-5, 20; 5.21-6.13; 6.32-7.2; Ascension of Isaiah 7ff). Mark’s employment of a vision report is also consistent with his utlisation of vision reports elsewhere in his Gospel. Christopher Rowland detects Mark’s reliance on vision reports to compose earlier stories such as the baptism of Jesus, in which Jesus “sees” the heavens open; Jesus’ deprivation in the desert where he “sees” angels waiting on him; and the transfiguration, in which Jesus appears in heavenly white clothes alongside exalted dead people. Interestingly, when Luke summarises the experience of the women, he writes ὀπτασίαν ἀγγέλων ἑωρακέναι (“they had seen a supernatural vision of angels”). Luke interprets their experience using the term ὀπτασία, which is employed elsewhere in LXX Daniel and the New Testament to refer to mystical heavenly vision experiences. Therefore, the origin of the empty tomb tradition in the earliest Gospel is best explained as derived entirely from a woman’s account of her visionary experience. Both the story of the empty tomb and the accounts of post-resurrection appearances have their origins in vision reports by Jesus’ followers.

In summary, there are good grounds to conclude, with Casey, that the two-stage resurrection of Jesus – from Grave to Earth and from Earth to Heaven – is a secondary development. Casey also argues, as a way to explain its missing ending, that Mark’s Gospel is incomplete, that is, that it is wholly in “draft” form. While the suggestion is definitely worthy of further research, I suggest, following the line of some of Casey’s other arguments, that it is more likely that the missing ending was deliberately removed. Mark’s original contention that Jesus only ever appeared from Heaven, in glory, became “unorthodox” in light of later authoritative teachings about Jesus’ two-stage resurrection (i.e. Jesus’ “resurrection-after-resurrection-after death”), and the suspicion must be that Mark’s original ending was later excised from his Gospel.

Next part: (4) Inconsistencies and Deliberate Changes in the Gospel Resurrection Accounts
Previous part: (2) The Empty Tomb is not Historical

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29 thoughts on “Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? Casey on Jesus (3) – The Gospel of Mark’s Missing Ending

  1. Dear Deane, very good and INDEPENDENT MINDED review. Excellently incisive Otago style… You don’t discuss the reasons Maurice gave for Mark’s gospel being unfinished, eg. the state of the Aramaic etc. However, we hope this merely encourages reviewers of these reviews to read the BOOK and assess those arguments for themselves. ;) I find his arguments quite strong, and the conclusion plausible, however I am not completely convinced and it’s one of the things I remain deeply uncertain about. In fact I’m quite certain I’ll never be absolutely certain at all….

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  2. The impression created in this review is that Mark 14:28 and 16:7 constitute evidence which the “literary” approach to Mark’s “intended ending” has astonishingly failed to notice:
    “Mark cannot possibly have written these passages unless he intended to write an account of at least one Resurrection appearance of Jesus in Galilee. (p. 462)”
    As though if only the implications of these passages were noticed then the “literary” approach to an “intended ending” would have to be abandoned.

    Whether this is from Deane or Casey it seem to badly misunderstand a literary approach to Mark’s ending. Far from ignoring the implications of Mark 14:28 and 16:7, the literary argument that the ending is intended is actually based on the intention of these very passages being so unmistakably clear in themselves that Mark did not need to spell it out any further.

    However, though this particular argument for dismissing a literary approach is therefore clearly false, it seems from Steph that Casey makes other arguments not mentioned in the review and so, as she wisely cautions yet again, I will suspend judgement until I have read the BOOK ;)

    Thanks again Deane for the series. Even if Casey’s arguments turn out not be entirely persuasive you’ve certainly given enough to show that it’s an interesting book.

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    • Well, disagreement is something rather different from “misunderstanding”. As I infer, the New Critical literary approach, which as Moore and Sherwood show has more than a little in common with the later American deconstructionist literary approach, like their Christian sensius plenior precedents, rests on some assumptions about the self-containedness, structural symmetry, and plenitude of the text which is significantly more imposed on this text than drawn from its nature. Their conclusions are possible, sure, but I conclude (not misunderstand) it as a forced fit that almost inevitably concludes completeness in even incomplete texts.

      Yes – it’s a most worthwhile book – putting historical Jesus studies back on track.

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      • OK, if your objection is to an unchallengeable assumption of textual completeness then I can understand that. However, most of those I’ve read who defend Mark’s ending as literarily intended argue that completeness is the assumption which must be brought to any text initially though they concede that this assumption must then actually be borne out by the text itself. They then find Mark 14:28 and 16:7 to support the initial hypothesis of completeness. i.e. These passages do not to seem to be a problem for Mark’s ending having been intended, as Casey seems to have argued, they are in fact the basis of the defence that it is.

        I’m curious as to why Casey (or you Deane) thinks that the presence of predictions without explicit narration of their fulfilment indicates incompleteness of the text. Does Casey develop this argument much? Mark 13, Matt 23 and Luke 21 all predict the destruction of the temple. By the same logic all these gospels must have been left in incomplete draft form or have had their originally intended endings deliberately removed from every manuscript everywhere simply because they do not explicitly narrate the fulfilment of the temple destruction prediction. Unless I misunderstand the logic here (a possibility I always concede) I’m not sure I’ll agree that this approach to Mark’s ending contributes to “putting historical Jesus studies back on track” :-)

        However, it certainly seems like both Casey and yourself are asking good questions, and that it is what piques my interest.

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      • I think that the assumption of completeness or consistency is wrong because inevitably what is assumed is a modern standard, formed from a literary criticism developed from the study of modern literature. I wouldn’t assume anything like that before reading an ancient text, not even as a rebuttable assumption – except maybe after appreciating the relevant ancient standard of completeness, which often allowed for much (in modern terms) incompleteness. Here, I think the better interpretation is of an incomplete prediction-fulfilment formula, not any modern irony, or invitation to the reader to complete the text. There is also a significant difference between this prediction and (missing) fulfilment of Jesus’ appearance at a certain place in the immediate future (and the author’s past), and the prediction of the end of the age (in the author’s future) – so I don’t think that Jesus’ prediction of the future destruction of the Temple helps the “literary” approaches which conclude intentional incompleteness. This is, rather, an unintended incompleteness.

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  3. I actually think you make the case for the ending having been intended better than I do what when you point to “the relevant ancient standard of completeness, which often allowed for much (in modern terms) incompleteness.” By expecting the fulfilment to have been explicitly narrated even though it is already clearly implied I suspect you are relying on a modern standard of completeness which is inapplicable to ancient historiography or biography.

    Also, the distinction you draw between the appearance and temple predictions only works for Mark if you assume a pre-70 completion date. I’m OK with that for Mark but I suspect (and I’m sure you would agree) that this not the case for Luke-Acts. Either all of Luke-Acts was completed before 70AD or it too includes a prediction the fulfilment of which lies in the author’s past but which he does not explicitly narrate. I suspect that he narrates the fulfilment implicitly as part of the prediction by including in Luke 21 more details of the actual Roman attack than did Mark 13 i.e. the audience is thereby left in no doubt about the prediction having met its fulfilment already yet without Luke having to depart from his main purposes to narrate it explicitly.

    This same literary technique of implicit narration of fulfilment within the prediction itself is one which Mark’s text as it comes to us seems to use also. The audience is left in no doubt that Jesus did appear to his disciples in Galilee for the prediction of 14:28 is fully and explicitly reaffirmed by 16:7. However, by not narrating the appearance explicitly Mark gets to end his gospel with a focus instead on one of his main themes: the continued failure of the disciples (16:8) which the intended audience is expected to react against with a commitment to much better discipleship. Mark obviously uses relatively sophisticated literary techniques throughout his gospel (e.g. the famous “sandwich” technique) and so it is not at all surprising to him using one at the end of his gospel also.

    I think when the text turns out to make sense like this there is no rational basis to posit another ending deliberately removed. I also think that if you regard Matthew or Luke-Acts as not completed until after 70AD then to be logically consistent you have to posit that originally they did explicitly narrate the temple destruction but it has been deliberately removed.

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  4. Deane,

    This may be a bit off-topic (and these are very good reviews, incidentally), but I just don’t think that you are enough of a badass to justify using the Bunk as your photo.

    Eric

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      • Eric – be grateful he hasn’t served up his frightful apparition of that pagan willie lane craig – a facebook infection. Gave me a heart attack that did. Bring back the tosser Zizek! More becoming of a giant. And ditch the pansies if you know what I mean, Deane. Other people sticking tongues down throats is just a little nauseating.

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  5. I’m with Jeremy on this one. While there isn’t any detail given of later earthly reappearences in the “abrupt ending” version there is certainly enough allusion to it in the rest of the text that in my view there is no necessity to regard the Gospel of Mark as “incomplete” without it.
    The addition of the “longer ending” in my view raises greater uncertainty… Jesus is said to appear to two people but they didn’t recognise him because he had changed his appearance? Miracle or mistaken identity?

    There are lots of mysteries in the resurrection narratives:
    Who is the mysterious Joseph from Animathea? What did Jesus mean by “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani”? How did he sneak out past the guards (not that there is any mention of the guards in Mark).. did he teleport? If so why didn’t he teleport straight to Galilee rather than appearing to a couple of randoms on the way? Given he had told his disciples he was coming back why did some of them (according to some narratives) take so much convincing?

    “Why did the writer of Mark wrap up the book with a tight ending?” is the least of the mysteries.

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  6. And then there was the fact that it’s all greek. And look what he did with the Aramaic – or didn’t do. But of c0urse you’d have to read the book.

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    • Because you’re arguing against the traditional arguments for an unfinished Mark, not the arguments of Maurice which are about Aramaic, which affects the gospel of Mark all the way through.

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  7. Thanks for this interesting approach to the problem. It’s an issue that I’m not really resolved on myself.

    But if “Matthew himself expurgated the copy of Mark’s Gospel which he relied on to write his own Gospel, and that it was such an expurgated copy which became also the authoritative version reproduced by later copyists” – wouldn’t it have made obvious sense to remove the references to Galilee, or change them to “Jerusalem”? Seems like a glaring thing to leave in the text if you’re bothering to excise the rest of the ending for theological reasons.

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    • Matthew places the main appearance to the disciples in Galilee as well. The main and glaring problem with the original ending of Mark was, on my hypothesis, that it placed Jesus in Heaven not on Earth. Leaving out the ending dealt with this glaring problem.

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  8. Oy, “Mark” has a primary theme that the Disciples did not witness a Passionated Messiah and the ending is Explicit. 14:27 lacks Scope and is Implicit. Therefore, the question should be what does the Ending tell us about 14:27 and not vice verses. Unlike the theory that “Mark” is unfinished which has no evidence what so ever, there is evidence that 14:27 is not original. This should be the starting point for the related discussion. The next question is if 14:27 is original, WHAT does it mean. The offending verb is intransitive meaning Jesus got to Galilee before the Disciples but did not lead them there. This fits well with “Mark’s” ironic style of unexpected prophecy fulfillment and GP. They went to Galilee in their failure, not to see Jesus.

    Your trying to explain the Ending in light of 14:27 is a Theological reaction, not a Literary one. It’s 14:27 that needs explaining, not the Ending.

    Joseph

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  9. Corrected version (sorry again):

    Hi Deane
    I have just discovered this review and I am loving it. I must say my eyes tend to glaze over a bit when I come across seriously tendentious “conservative” attempts at rescuing as historical fact material long demonstrated as mythical and tend to just hit the delete option. It is nice to see that there are some charitable folk out there who take the time and trouble to answer them.
    I have difficulty with the ingenious suggestion that Matthew truncated Mark. I have always thought that the main reason that Matthew and Luke failed to displace Mark entirely (the way they did Q, for instance) was because that by the time they came into wide circulation Mark was already too deeply entrenched in use and too widely venerated to be considered made redundant; the best they could achieve was to supplement Mark. It seems implausible to me that Matthew could circulate a truncated Mark that could displace the version of Mark that was already in circulation.
    If I am wrong, and Matthew held one of only a handful of copies of a Mark, a text that was not held in particularly high regard, why then, did Matthew not just suppress Mark entirely, since the text of Mark had now been corrected and supplemented, rather than circulate it in a truncated but otherwise uncorrected form?
    Regards
    Deane (also)

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    • Hi Deane,
      Yeah, the explanation certainly needs to be developed before it can be quite convincing. But there are a number of different possible scenarios which we could imagine, not necessarily involving Matthew’s own decision to distribute his copy of Mark – he might only have retained it in his local community before it was used by others including Luke. I think I got the idea from Kurt Noll’s suggestion about the books of the “Deuteronomic History” existing in a single copy for centuries. It’s a bit different with a common movement rather than an exclusive priesthood, but it’s worth thinking about. I don’t know how popular Mark would have been, given the lack of interest in Jesus’ life in other books and letters before the Gospels got going – more probably it was the main written resource available without any clear rival, so used out of necessity. Q, by contrast, is too diverse a collection of materials to be considered a single composition that could be “displaced”. I don’t blame you for not being convinced – it’s just the beginning of an idea for the moment.

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  10. There’s allo an apearance toJames in one of the Hebrew Jewish Gospels, which seems to be independant.
    On the ending of Mark, theres an argument that it was part of an oral teaching, that is, the newly converted Christians would have heard the resurection accounts during their training, and the gospel gave them the story of what happened beforehand.

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  11. Hi Paul

    “There’s allo an apearance toJames in one of the Hebrew Jewish Gospels, which seems to be independant.” – This is very interesting. Do you know which text this is from, or is this a reference to a remark by one of the Church Fathers?

    Deane Stuart

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  12. Deane: It might be worth your consideration to restore the missing ending for the possessive of the name Jesus as being “Jesus’s”, and not preserve the unfinished draft form of Jesus’. There’s nothing to fear from the double “s’s” ending.

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    • Man, I never did get the hang of apostrophes much less those damn esses. Thanks Roo Bookaroo. So, know anything about the alleged appearance to James?

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  13. The thought occurred to me that the writer of the Acts of the Apostles provided a solid basis for the emerging Christian annual liturgy by having the descent of the Holy Spirit coincide with the Jewish Festival of Weeks (Shavuot) fifty days after Passover. The Spirit is thus shown to supersede the Law, a notion anticipated by Philo.The forty days during which Jesus appeared to believers in bodily form did much to tide over this long waiting period though Mark and even Luke himself seem to depict the ascension as an event that occurred on Easter Sunday at Bethany on the Mount of Olives. Luke’s accent on Temple worship and Mary’s punctilious observance of Jewish rituals (purification, the sacrfice of doves, circumcision) do not indicate any Judaizing intention but rather the institution of a new Church order modeled on the traditional Jewish year.

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