Above and beyond

Mark 16:1-8

We will have to deal with the question sooner or later, so we might as well get it over with: Where does the Gospel of Mark end? There are four possibilities. The ending with the least support among ancient Greek manuscripts of Mark is the one comprising 16:8 and a short summary statement. This “shorter ending” is obviously non-Markan. The longest ending, verse 8 plus verses 9-20 plus a lengthy insert, is also suspect (the insert after verse 14 is especially lacking in manuscript support). The third candidate, verse 8 plus verses 9-20 without the insert, has more manuscript support, but the verses are not in the oldest and most reliable texts of Mark, and some of them are found in the other three Gospels and Acts. These verses can best be read as the work of a Christian scribe seeking to overcome the awkwardness of ending at verse 8.


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