Author Topic: Altering The Book Of Mark...  (Read 1231 times)

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Offline essgeeskee

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Altering The Book Of Mark...
« on: May 21, 2014, 12:26:22 AM »
I'm sure it is a known fact to many people here that the ALL of the earliest manuscripts of the Book of Mark ended at Mark 16:8. Mark is said to be the earliest of all the 4 Gospels so that would have caused a big problem. The problem is that the original Book of Mark ends with 3 ladies (Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome). They were supposed to go into Galilee and tell Peter and the other disciples that Jesus had risen from the dead, but the book states that they were afraid and told NO ONE! Some say that the last leaflet of the Book of Mark may have been lost, but that seems very odd for a Book that was supposed to be deemed sacred by God.

It is also said that the other Gospels could have very well been derived from Mark because all the Gospels had anonymous authors and came 15-30 years or even more AFTER the book of Mark. From the research I've done, I also found that verses 9-20 were added into the 16th verse of Mark MANY years later by scribes; possibly in the 2nd century some time!

I hear MANY Christians say that none of the Bible was ever altered. However, most of those people believe that on blind faith and have no clue behind the history outside of the Bible.

The following brief quote was taken from Bruce Metzger who is a leading Biblical Scholar:
"There seems to be good reason, therefore, to conclude that, though external and internal evidence is conclusive against the authenticity of the last twelve verses as coming from the same pen as the rest of the Gospel, the passage ought to be accepted as part of the canonical text of Mark."

I simply don't get that. If it is a known fact that those verses were penned in by another anonymous author scribes, why should they be included in a Book that had an anonymous author to begin with? What other Books were altered?

It seems to me the early church fathers knew that something had to be added to the ending because it would cause major contradictions with the Gospels if nothing was added.

Any opinion on this?
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Offline skeptic54768

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Re: Altering The Book Of Mark...
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2014, 12:45:58 AM »
The mere fact that it mentions a woman being a witness serves as evidence that it is a historical event. Women were seen as untrustworthy and unreliable, so if the story was made up, they would NEVER insert a woman as a main witness because that would seem way too unbelievable.

 So the fact that it did mention a woman can at least be used as evidence that the empty tomb is most definitely historical fact.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: Altering The Book Of Mark...
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2014, 12:58:40 AM »
I think most bibles clearly state that the earliest manuscripts end at 16:8, although I'm not sure for how long this has been the case.

I tend to believe the early church did its best to compile the writings which were deemed to be inspired. I don't accept there was any attempt at deception. If they sought to remove all apparent contradictions and controversies they seem to have missed a few.

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Offline One Above All

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Re: Altering The Book Of Mark...
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2014, 01:05:33 AM »
I think most bibles clearly state that the earliest manuscripts end at 16:8, although I'm not sure for how long this has been the case.

I tend to believe the early church did its best to compile the writings which were deemed to be inspired. I don't accept there was any attempt at deception. If they sought to remove all apparent contradictions and controversies they seem to have missed a few.

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Offline penfold

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Re: Altering The Book Of Mark...
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2014, 03:51:52 AM »

I simply don't get that. If it is a known fact that those verses were penned in by another anonymous author scribes, why should they be included in a Book that had an anonymous author to begin with? What other Books were altered?


Most serious biblical scholars recognize both alterations in the bible (eg the oft quoted opening of John (1:1-18)) and examples of pseud-epigraphia (eg the ongoing discussion around Paul's letters[1]) as well as recognizing the huge number of contemporary texts on Jesus which did not make it into the bible[2].

The defense traditionally has been this does not affect the central truth of the bible as they were part of legitimate attempts by the early Xian community to discern the spiritual truth of the life of Jesus.[3]

The notion that the gospels represent a literal, historical, truth is actually relatively modern, and it is really this view that most urgently requires an answer to the problems you raise. In my experience, most literalists have little or no exposure to historical biblical scholarship; and those who do tend to dismiss it by arguing that the coherency and authenticity of the bible is guaranteed by God and that we should 'not rest on our own understanding' (in other words they refuse to take part in the discussion).

The traditional defense that alterations etc... are justified by spiritual truth may be dumb, but the literalist position is definitely dumber.

Interesting OP.

 1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorship_of_the_Pauline_epistles
 2. See for example Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Mary, Secret Book of John, Gospel of Judas, Gospel of Philip etc....
 3. My own view is that actually the process was much more driven by conflict than collaboration... see for example the anti-Gnostic propaganda in Against All Heresies by St Irenaeus
« Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 03:53:47 AM by penfold »
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Offline essgeeskee

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Re: Altering The Book Of Mark...
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2014, 05:37:57 AM »
as well as recognizing the huge number of contemporary texts on Jesus which did not make it into the bible[2]

I'm a little confused here. I looked into the second footnote you supplied. Why are the Books you mentioned such as the Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Mary, Secret Book of John, Gospel of Judas and Gospel of Philip considered "contemporary texts"? I haven't researched them all yet, but at least 3 of them were probably penned way after the death of Jesus. I'd think that they would have had to been written much closer to the life of Jesus rather than a century or more later to be classified as contemporary.

Just trying to understand.
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Offline penfold

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Re: Altering The Book Of Mark...
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2014, 06:38:34 AM »
as well as recognizing the huge number of contemporary texts on Jesus which did not make it into the bible[2]

I'm a little confused here. I looked into the second footnote you supplied. Why are the Books you mentioned such as the Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Mary, Secret Book of John, Gospel of Judas and Gospel of Philip considered "contemporary texts"? I haven't researched them all yet, but at least 3 of them were probably penned way after the death of Jesus. I'd think that they would have had to been written much closer to the life of Jesus rather than a century or more later to be classified as contemporary.

Just trying to understand.

Just to be clear I meant that the texts were contemporary with the canonical texts, NOT with Jesus!

How far people will agree with me depends on (a) when they date these texts and (b) when they date the canonical texts. Answers to both questions are highly contested and there is little compelling evidence either way. The reason I used 'contemporary' is that we can be reasonably sure they all come from an age of Xian writing which stretches from about 100 to 300 AD.

The 'standard' story has the earliest texts being Mark and parts of Thomas (c.80-120) followed by Matthew and Luke  & possibly Mary (100-150) followed by John, Secret book of John, Judas, Philip (180-250). The absurdly large range of the dates given by this 'standard picture' should already hint as to the accuracy of dating available to scholars; to take one example: Gospel of John, proposed dates for this by academics range from 70-300AD! The reality is we have no idea - it is, at best, informed guesswork.

Pretty much all NT authorship dates are disputed, for example:

Robinson[1] actually dates John as the earliest of the canonical gospels. Esther DeBoer[2] makes a tentative case that parts of Mary are earlier than much of the synoptics. Professor Koester of Harvard argues that Thomas is the earliest gospel[3]. etc...

For a really good discussion of all of this, along with translations of many of these texts I would recommend The Gnostic Scriptures by Bentley Layton[4]

My own view is that we should just see it all as a single phase of writing (c.100-300) followed by a phase of cannonisation and consolidation (c.300-500); rather than waste time trying to do the impossible and date these texts with any particular degree of specificity.

Hope that helps  :)
 1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Robinson_(bishop_of_Woolwich)
 2. http://www.amazon.com/The-Gospel-Mary-Magdalene-Testament/dp/0567082644
 3. see Ch on Thomas in http://www.amazon.com/The-Gnostic-Scriptures-Translation-Introductions/dp/0385478437
 4. ibid
« Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 06:53:22 AM by penfold »
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Offline OldChurchGuy

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Re: Altering The Book Of Mark...
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2014, 07:56:14 AM »
I'm sure it is a known fact to many people here that the ALL of the earliest manuscripts of the Book of Mark ended at Mark 16:8. Mark is said to be the earliest of all the 4 Gospels so that would have caused a big problem. The problem is that the original Book of Mark ends with 3 ladies (Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome). They were supposed to go into Galilee and tell Peter and the other disciples that Jesus had risen from the dead, but the book states that they were afraid and told NO ONE! Some say that the last leaflet of the Book of Mark may have been lost, but that seems very odd for a Book that was supposed to be deemed sacred by God.

It is also said that the other Gospels could have very well been derived from Mark because all the Gospels had anonymous authors and came 15-30 years or even more AFTER the book of Mark. From the research I've done, I also found that verses 9-20 were added into the 16th verse of Mark MANY years later by scribes; possibly in the 2nd century some time!

I hear MANY Christians say that none of the Bible was ever altered. However, most of those people believe that on blind faith and have no clue behind the history outside of the Bible.

The following brief quote was taken from Bruce Metzger who is a leading Biblical Scholar:
"There seems to be good reason, therefore, to conclude that, though external and internal evidence is conclusive against the authenticity of the last twelve verses as coming from the same pen as the rest of the Gospel, the passage ought to be accepted as part of the canonical text of Mark."

I simply don't get that. If it is a known fact that those verses were penned in by another anonymous author scribes, why should they be included in a Book that had an anonymous author to begin with? What other Books were altered?

It seems to me the early church fathers knew that something had to be added to the ending because it would cause major contradictions with the Gospels if nothing was added.

Any opinion on this?

The phrasing on the Metzger quote says to me this is a conclusion based previous paragraphs of research.  Which book are you quoting from?

Ever curious,

OldChurchGuy
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Altering The Book Of Mark...
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2014, 08:58:08 AM »
The mere fact ...definitely historical fact.

Wow, that took all of 1 post to go off topic and derail the thread. 

Skep, if you cannot keep on topic and coherently add to the conversation, please do not post.
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Altering The Book Of Mark...
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2014, 09:04:56 AM »
It is unfortunate that the OP did not include the full quote from Metzger[1] in which Metzger goes on to conclude,

"Already in the second century, for example, the so-called long ending of Mark was known to Justin Martyr and to Tatian, who incorporated it into his Diatesseron. There seems to be good reason, therefore, to conclude that, though external and internal evidence is conclusive against the authenticity of the last twelve verses as coming from the same pen as the rest of the Gospel, the passage ought to be accepted as a part of the canonical text of Mark."
 [See page 9 of http://static.squarespace.com/static/519b889fe4b01af80eda43d8/519b90c7e4b05d60bdfd9fc4/519b90c9e4b05d60bdfda076/1266571154000/02-FilNeot-XVII-M-A-McDill.pdf?format=original]

At http://www.bible-researcher.com/endmark.html there are other references.

The upshot seems to be that most are agreed that Mark didn't write it: the excuse is that "God inspired it." It is more likely that someone felt it ought to be there to agree with the other Gospels.

If it wasn't there in the original, the Resurrection is even more questionable as it seems that omitting the whole point "Victory over Death" and magical happenings.

Of course, all the versions of the discovery of the empty tomb are different anyway: clearly someone getting to the real end of Mark saw that the other versions had more in them and tried to make some sense of their discrepancies.

Back in the early 2nd century, Palestine was filled with forgers, get-rich-quick types and enthusiastic scribes all of whom wanted to turn a shekel and a dead man getting up is the stuff that best-sellers are made of.

Perhaps Mark was more academic and concluded that bringing Jesus back from the dead was "Jumping the Shark."
 1. B.M. Metzger, The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance (Oxford 1987) 269
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Re: Altering The Book Of Mark...
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2014, 10:32:32 AM »
The mere fact that it mentions a woman being a witness serves as evidence that it is a historical event. Women were seen as untrustworthy and unreliable, so if the story was made up, they would NEVER insert a woman as a main witness because that would seem way too unbelievable.

 So the fact that it did mention a woman can at least be used as evidence that the empty tomb is most definitely historical fact.

She wasn't the main witness. She was supposedly the first, not main

[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.
[10] And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.
[11] And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.
[12] After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.
[13] And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.
[14] Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.
[15] And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.


But you notice that he then appears to 2 men, who are not believed, so evidently men are not reliable either.

If it was important for the Mary to be a witness, they would have re-written the story as her being a man. They have no scruples, so you can be assured that having Mary being the first witness is for some symbolic reason, to do with it being inserted by a matriarchal sect, that believed that Mary Mag was another God, or something.

If Mary was the only witness, and the whole lot depended on her, then you would have a point.... a very small point.
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Re: Altering The Book Of Mark...
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2014, 10:47:13 AM »
Wait a minute... if it's so well known that women are useless, then why did Jesus appear to her first, knowing that she would fail? Maybe Jesus needed PR advice. The fact that this portrays Jesus as stupid, means that it must be genuine history.
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Re: Altering The Book Of Mark...
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2014, 10:50:37 AM »
Maybe Jesus went to Mary first, to see if the guys were still beer drinking sexist pigs.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Altering The Book Of Mark...
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2014, 11:08:15 AM »
A buddhist priest once told me a story the Buddha told.  I told him "Roshi, we know historically Buddha could not have said that."  He replied to me, "well, he should have said it, so he did."

Buddhists do not have qualms about whether buddha actually said this or that because for them, it does not matter.  What matters is what is said. 

The tradition of a student of a particular philosopher writing an argument in his teacher's name was common in ancient Greece and Rome.  It appears early xians also adopted that tradition.  Only they seem to have failed to grasp the importance of historical accuracy in their religion.  If jesus did not say xyz or do abc, then a lot of xianity falls apart.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: Altering The Book Of Mark...
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2014, 05:39:28 PM »
I think most bibles clearly state that the earliest manuscripts end at 16:8, although I'm not sure for how long this has been the case.

I tend to believe the early church did its best to compile the writings which were deemed to be inspired. I don't accept there was any attempt at deception. If they sought to remove all apparent contradictions and controversies they seem to have missed a few.

Few... Right...


Have you looked all those up? I looked up to at random and see no evidence of contradictions in them.

In any event, my point remains that it is highly unlikely the church attempted to eliminate inconsistencies from the bible or add things at random to help the narrative.
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Offline penfold

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Re: Altering The Book Of Mark...
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2014, 03:25:21 AM »
In any event, my point remains that it is highly unlikely the church attempted to eliminate inconsistencies from the bible or add things at random to help the narrative.

The thing is MM, we do have some compelling examples of latter additions to the Gospels, not just the ending of Mark. To give two more examples: (1) the peculiar 'little apocalypse' of Mark 13 which, apart from being a break to the narrative structure of the gospel, includes many Greek words found nowhere else in Mark, which may imply different authroship. (2) The Prologue of John's gospel which many biblical scholars see as a later addition[1].

I don't think anyone suggest that these were added 'at random', as you put it, but were additions made to help clarify ambiguity in what the compilers saw as the central spiritual truth of the Gospels. 
 1. an excellent discussion of the case for and against as well as possible motives for its inclusion https://journals.lib.byu.edu/spc/index.php/StudiaAntiqua/article/viewFile/11708/11719
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Re: Altering The Book Of Mark...
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2014, 04:16:06 AM »
Have you looked all those up? I looked up to at random and see no evidence of contradictions in them.

Look through this. How many do you want?

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/by_name.html

Quote
In any event, my point remains that it is highly unlikely the church attempted to eliminate inconsistencies from the bible or add things at random to help the narrative.

Is that because the church didn't really exist until after all the forging had been done? After all, why have a religion about a man who didn't resurrect?

I think the church got lumped with certain texts, which it had to resolve by "spin". The book of John was one of the earlier spins that changed the theology.
When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be bleedn obvious.

Offline essgeeskee

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Re: Altering The Book Of Mark...
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2014, 04:26:37 AM »
Which book are you quoting from?

Ever curious,

OldChurchGuy

I got it from this link:
http://www.bible-researcher.com/endmark.html
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Offline essgeeskee

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Re: Altering The Book Of Mark...
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2014, 04:30:10 AM »
It is unfortunate that the OP did not include the full quote from Metzger[nb]B.M. Metzger, The Canon of the New Testament: Its

My bad. I thought it was a bit much to read. I just wanted to point out how some Biblical Scholars know that the inclusion of verses 9-20 are not authentic, but they feel they still should be included. It still doesn't make much sense though. LOL!
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Altering The Book Of Mark...
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2014, 08:48:26 AM »
The only real thing that all the Gospels agree on is that someone went to the tomb and Jesus's body wasn't there.


What happened subsequently is also filled with discrepancies.

For saying that this is the cornerstone of Christianity, you think that the writers would get it right. All it seems to indicate is that nobody was "inerrantly inspired by God" and that one main story (the empty tomb) was there, and around this, the Gospel writers made it up as they went along.

What is amazing is that nobody tried to bring this together. In the OT, it is clear that a redactor/editor is at work trying to get the story straight. Perhaps it was the case that that Nicaea simply thought that the manuscripts were "too holy" to touch?
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