Friday, June 30, 2017

Sabbath Musings for Adults: Why does Mark have NO good ending and John has TWO?





One of the most interesting realities found in the Gospels is that the Gospel of Mark has no good ending to the story of Jesus crucifixion, while the Gospel of John has TWO.
The true ending of Mark is found at Mark 16:8 which says...
1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. 2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulcher at the rising of the sun. 3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulcher? 4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 5 And entering into the sepulcher, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. 6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. 7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, (FOR THE FIRST TIME) as he said unto you. 8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulcher; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid."
(END OF ORIGINAL MARK)
Scholars agree that the rest of Mark was added later to correct this obvious problem of no real good ending that reflects the events in the Gospel of Mark. There is no real account of the resurrection, women telling anyone and certainly no story that has the disciples meeting Jesus for the very first time after the resurrection in Galilee. It also seems a story concerning Peter is missing, but it is interesting that the Angel makes a point of telling the women to tell the disciples AND PETER to be there. Since Peter was a disciple, it is obvious that Mark has a need for Peter specifically to be there. Why and why does the Gospel of Mark have no story ending this way with Peter specifically needing to be in Galilee to meet Jesus? There is none.
Mark 14:27 notes...
27 And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. 28 But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. 29 But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I. 30 And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice."
So here we have, in Mark, Jesus telling them that they will all be scattered but he will meet them for the FIRST time in Galilee after he is risen. Peter is told that, inspite of his bravado, he will deny knowing Jesus three times before the rooster crows twice.
What's going on here? A story that promises the disciples that after he rises, Jesus will meet them in Galilee, not in Jerusalem, for the first time, and yet, does not include such an ending having the women come to the tomb, not find Jesus body, panic and flee telling NO ONE. Not much inspiration of resurrection here! Mark plainly has a missing ending. Where is it?
First of all the idea that Jesus would meet the disciples for the first time after his resurrection is not unique to Mark. Matthew also has this tradition but also has an ending that includes it.
Matthew 28 says...
8 "And they departed quickly from the sepulcher with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. 9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me."
So as in Mark, there is not sighting in Jerusalem, but the women here at least afraid, did tell the disciples that Jesus said they were to go to Galilee to meet him the first time, minus Judas. Remember Mark said to be sure to bring Peter.
Matthew goes on to say...
16 "Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshiped him: but some doubted."
So, in fact, Matthew has a story of all these things happening as Mark said too, but Mark did not tell how it ended as Matthew did. Mark had no positive ending to his Gospel.
Luke edits the story a bit because he wants his story to take place immediately in Jerusalem after the resurrection and not in Galilee as Mark and Matthew said...
Luke 24 says...
5 "And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee.  ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words."
(Notice how Luke changes the message of Jesus meeting them in Galilee for the first time to the message of verse 7.  Luke then reminds us that they "remembered his words" to cement in his bait and switch of topics for his own writings.
 Here we see how Luke cleverly said in effect, not that Jesus said he'd meet them in Galilee after he was risen, but that the disciples should remember that Jesus told them in Galilee that they would see him risen in Jerusalem. Luke had stories in Jerusalem the others did not have that needed to be told evidently and going right to Galilee would not help him do that.
Now the interesting part. Mark has no ending to his Gospel, but the Gospel of John has TWO.
The first ending of John is in chapter 20.
24 "This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true. 25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen."
The "Amen" signifies the first end as does the wrap-up topic that more could be said but would take too many books.
But then we start again in John 21 with...
"After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. 2 There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. 3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee."
Here we have a story, a second ending of John that starts "after these things." After what things? Certainly not the things of John 20 as they don't fit. The "again" in verse 1, I believe to have been added to make this look like a second or third appearing when in fact it is the real first meeting but not in John as John doesn't need it. I believe that the 21st chapter of John is the original missing ending of Mark. "After these things" is really the women leaving the tomb perplexed and fearful, telling no one about Jesus rising. John 21 shows a disheartened group of men who simply went back to fishing not having seen Jesus at all! How soon they forgot the events and sightings of Jesus in John 20! The reason is that this ending is the second nonsensical ending of John that is really the missing ending of Mark!
John has no fishing motif until this last chapter, where Mark is nothing but a fishing motif. John had an ending already and doesn't need this second one. Mark needs this chapter to make sense of his whole Gospel non-ending!
Remember how the Angel made a point of telling the women to tell the disciples AND PETER to show up in Galilee? Well of all things, this second end of John has a story about Peter being restored by Jesus to the fold. Three times he denied Jesus and now three times, PETER, is sent to feed the sheep, meaning the Church and followers of Jesus. This also fits very well as an ending of Mark story as Mark made of point of being sure Peter was in Galilee where John doesn't need it.
John 21 says...
15 "So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs." In other words, Peter is forgiven and restored. It was important for Peter to be here in Galilee as Mark said, but never reported.
Let's just see how it fits.
Mark ends...
16:2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulcher at the rising of the sun. 3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulcher? 4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 5 And entering into the sepulcher, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. 6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. 7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. 8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulcher; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid."
Now add John 21 and continue...
1 "After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. 2 There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. 3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee....15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
John, the editor makes this an event that happens "again" or "the third time," but these are added to make it solve the problems it's being appended to John causes as it shows the disciples disheartened, dejected, depressed and just going back to fishing as if Jesus didn't rise and they forgot the sightings of John 20.
In all probability, the 21st Chapter of the Gospel of John is the missing ending of Mark! Now Mark, as Gospel with no good ending, has one that fits and John that needs only one ending and not two is restored to normal. 
This taking of the ending of Mark which contained a restoration and forgiveness of Peter for denying Jesus is added to John, which all through its pages compares Peter to Judas as in "Judas betrayed Jesus.  Peter denied him... Don't follow Peter!"  Later and evidently, someone thought it good to add this "Feed my sheep" ending to John to fix the problem of dissension in the ranks over Peter and John, smoothing it over, and making them look like the friendly to each other Apostles they evidently were not in life. This was done just as Acts was written to make the Apostle Paul more in tune with the Jewish Christian apostles than he actually was, by his own admission, in Galatians 1-2.   

Thus, today,  we have Mark with no good ending of faith in Jesus resurrection and instead,ending with fearful women telling no one anything (except the author of the Gospel evidently) and John with two endings the second one of which does not fit the context but restores Peter from his denials of Jesus so the later Church can get on with business all speaking the same thing that there be division between them as there really from the start. 

....and now back to the drama brought to us by the Splits, Splinters, and Slivers (Bob Thiel and Dave Pack) of  COGdom.



24 comments:

Gerald Bronkar said...

Dennis, are you trying to say there may be errors and contradictions in God's Word??

You may be unwelcome in any of the COG splinters.

DennisCDiehl said...

No, not in this discussion. Just a little study in the politics of the Gospels, the fact that most think all the gospels have the disciples seeing Jesus in Jerusalem first after the resurrection when it was in Galilee where he would first see them and why Mark , the first Gospel in sequence from which the others draw their material is missing the ending we'd all expect. It's not meant to be missing. It was taken and pasted on the end of John to restore Peter to a Gospel that made nothing but fun of him comparing him to Judas in the process called "Intercalation" because John's community of believers labeled Peter a Judas and not to be trusted or followed.

Let's just say it reflects edits to make the story better as time goes on. The fact that only Mark has an oblivious Mary, not the Mary of Matthew or Luke being visited by angels and told she will bare the Messiah etc, coming to fetch Jesus because she felt him insane. Obviously Mark's Mary was not the Mary of Matthew and Luke or if so, she had a very poor memory.

The "my son, my brother" is insane story appears only in Mark and was edited out quickly in later Gospels and replaced with the miraculous birth stories in Matthew and Luke neither of which agrees with the other.

It's just all interesting to me and will get little comment I'm sure. Just providing comic relief between "Fun with Bob and Dave"

God Is An Ancient Alien said...

The Bible Isn't A Perfect Book And Should Never Be Considered A "History" Book.

DennisCDiehl said...

I really enjoy the historical and political context of the scriptures. It took years to see that the Apostles, divided eternally between Jewish Apostle and their view of Jesus and Gentile Apostles like Paul did not get along, did not believe the same things and openly competed as today for member loyalty. Nothing new under the sun and all that. I am not a fan of the Sunday school version which is meek and mild compared to what was really going on and why. Mere Bible readers or those who read it emotionally and not critically are the ones who get upset at pointing these things out. Just watch.... :)

DennisCDiehl said...

...and while I understand Banned is NOT a place, in general, for theological challenges and explanations outside of standard Church of God topics in theology, the fact is that had I understood and been taught by actually credentialed, well trained, critically thinking and open minded theologians instead of WCG Booklet writers, as a naive kid, I would not have had to experience the ridiculous loses and wasted time thinking I was supposed to be in WCG doing what I was doing. I am sure I could have enjoyed other kinds of ridiculous loses and wasted time not related to religion, legends and myth. At least in paleontology, geology and cosmology, mistaken notions don't tend to stand the test of time and are updated as new information become available and it does. In religion, people really do love the old, old story of unseen things above so don't question, modify or challenge it.

amen...

Anonymous said...

Bart Ehrman on Mark 16.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1zmaVUUzMU


Gerald Bronkar said...

I understand Dennis. I remain amazed that so many Bible readers can continue to devote so much time and energy into trying to find meaning for their lives from a book written for people who lived fifty generations in the past.

My impression is that the Bible has become a false god that keeps people living in the past, and under the influence of nutty men who want to tell us its true meaning. It is an interesting book with some wisdom and truth, but should not be taken too seriously.

Anonymous said...

More videos by scholars (?) on the gospelus of Markus de la Bibleus.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYkPn2aXKds

Hoss said...

Anon 542, thanks. Misquoting Jesus was the first of Dr Ehrman's books that I read. As he points out, a number of scribal additions, copy errors, forgeries, etc, made it into the manuscripts used in the production of the inerrant KJV.
On the KJV, back in 2011, its 400th anniversary, I saw some research and BBC documentaries on the English Bible. Despite the claims that many scholars diligently studied manuscripts to produce the best translation, they mostly copied the work of William Tyndale and dumbed it down to make it more acceptable to the Church of England. For example, Tyndale correctly wrote "The Ten Words", not "The Ten Commandments", and when Jesus broke bread, he "gave thanks" not "blessed it (the bread)".

Michael said...

Not that it matters very much more than as an mild intellectual curiosity, but I'm not sure this explanation makes sense (that John contains the "missing" ending of Mark, which was originally in Mark but somehow got lost - if that is what you're saying Dennis...).

One would have to explain why the ending existed originally but is not in any of the oldest manuscripts of Mark, right? And how it got separately preserved apart from Mark over dozens of years until it could be incorporated into John.

By the way, one possibility that I haven't heard mentioned, is that the abrupt and surprisingly unsatisfying ending of Mark might just be for a more banal reason: since writing such works was painstaking and took lots of time over many years, it's possible that the author of Mark was working on it and just died or otherwise became debilitated and never got around to finishing it as planned, and the work got circulated as was...

DennisCDiehl said...

Anonymous Michael said...
Not that it matters very much more than as an mild intellectual curiosity, but I'm not sure this explanation makes sense (that John contains the "missing" ending of Mark, which was originally in Mark but somehow got lost - if that is what you're saying Dennis...)"

Yes and is well put forth in the book The Unfinished Gospel by Powell. It was not so much lost as transposed possibly to clean up John's aversion and aspersions on Peter all thru John which would show that in spite of John's problem with Peter, all is forgiven and Jesus reinstated and forgave him giving him the commission to "Feed my sheep" 3 times.

When it went missing from Mark is not known and may have never made it into an original copy of Mark to begin with perhaps. Even Ehrman tells us that the 21st chapter of John has nothing in common in its themes with John 1-20 . It has everything in common with Mark 14:8.................. As Ehrman also notes often, we only ever have copies of copies of copies of copies of copies. There are no originals and the Gospels don't really come on the scene until very late first and early to mid second century.

There is first-century fragment from Mark’s Gospel. Before the discovery of the fragment, the oldest manuscript that had Mark in it was P45, from the early third century (c. AD 200–250). This new fragment would predate that by 100 to 150 years.

We actually have no clue what was in the original four Gospels chosen from many competing ones that didn't make the cut. Ehrman's "Forgery" is a great read and puts some authority behind how we got the Gospels and Epistles and who did and did not write them.

It helps immensely just to understand that the actual order of the New Testament is

Paul's authentic letters come first
Paul dies

Then Mark...Matthew...Luke ....John (There is a possibility that John,being more Gnostic in nature came first for some good reasons but it is not widely accepted at this time. It is clearly different from the synoptic Gospels.

Then Acts to bridge the gap between Paul and the Gospels...between Paul's Cosmic and Hallucinatory Christ with Gospel Jesus who comes down to earth in story form . As I have often noted, Paul never quotes any earthly Jesus of the Gospels nor uses the Jesus story in the Gospels when it would have served him well to do so. His Jesus simply was not alive on earth nor was crucified on earth but in the heavens by daemons and spiritual powers. Acts makes Paul look more cooperative with Peter, James and John when in reality he was not. The later church needed Acts

Then come the pseudopigraphic epistles written in the names of the Apostles, Peter, Paul long after they died but are written as an author imagines they would be written by them.

The Seven Authentic Letters of Paul

1 Thessalonians, Galatians, Philemon, Philippians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, and Romans

These are the seven letters that scholars all agree were written by Paul. Disputed letters are Ephesians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus. Acts is written a half century after Paul. The Paul of Acts is a legendary character that serves the purpose of the author of Acts. Paul contradicts much in Acts about him in Galatians.

Minimalist said...

The Dutch have a long history of skepticism, questioning the NT over 100 years ago:
wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_criticism (Dutch School of Radical Criticism 1878)

Michael said...

Dennis wrote:
"When it went missing from Mark is not known and may have never made it into an original copy of Mark to begin with perhaps. Even Ehrman tells us that the 21st chapter of John has nothing in common in its themes with John 1-20 . It has everything in common with Mark 14:8.................. As Ehrman also notes often, we only ever have copies of copies of copies of copies of copies."

I don't doubt that John 21 was added, being different from what comes before in that book, and betters meshes as an ending for Mark, but I just find it hard to believe that it would have been the original ending of Mark, that got erased out of Mark's gospel (and all subsequent copies of it), and then reinserted later into John.

If it got removed from Mark, who was doing the ongoing preservation (recopying) of that section, until it got added to John?
Just seems more likely that later editors of John, at some point chose to insert (=make up) a scenario at Chap. 21 that helped it jive better with Mark.

I've actually "read" most of Ehrman's audiobooks that are out "Forged", "Jesus Interrupted", and some of his Teaching Co. courses on Lost Christianities and such -all of which are pretty fascinating.

Which just leaves one wondering how anyone becoming aware of how hodge-podge and mished-mashed and made-up the NT is, could still believe it's "divinely inspired" (Ehrman doesn't of course, but some other scholars do...)

DennisCDiehl said...

The impression given in the chosen order of the NT books is that first Jesus lived and four disciples wrote about him, his life, teachings, death and resurrection.

Next we have Acts telling us mostly about how the Apostle Paul came to be and how the early Jewish Christian Apostles put their blessing on him going to the Gentiles with the Gospel story of Jesus.

Then we move on to various Epistles and Letters written by Peter, James, John, Paul to all the established churches defining the meaning of Jesus and warning time was short and that he'd return "soon" and in their lifetimes.

Then he didn't and we have the Book of Revelation to Pre-dict what all must next happen for it all to come in full which includes , for the Churches of God,made up meaning and "ERA's" the type of which is found in the letters to the 7 churches which spreads out the "soon" 2000 years with the idea found in 2 Peter that to question is to scorn and that people were foolish not to understand "a day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day" and the Lord does not count time as does a man.

Actually this order of events is false and does not square with reality. Most tell me they never thought of Paul having lived, written and died before the Gospels ever came into being and whose ideas about Jesus were FIRST with the earthly Jesus to follow after his death and spoken of in the Gospels by anonymous authors who were not eyewitnesses to anything they wrote about.

Most don't realize that no Gospel is written in the first person and contains content such as "And then I said to Jesus" "And then Jesus told us" "And we all fled" "It was amazing when I saw Jesus and he spoke to me after his resurrection..." It's more a passion play . In the correct order, one can also see the next author correcting perceived mistakes in the last. It is obvious the author of Matthew never read Luke's birth account or Luke his etc.

It's all fascinating and any good theological training would have include these issues for consideration for students. I never found and do not to this day find any COG ministers remotely understanding these issues or even knowing they exist. It's not how they understand the origins and content of the Bible. Rod Meredith, who taught "Harmony of the Gospels" for years, never understood one thing about the issues and origins in the Gospels. It was not in WCG Booklets so it was not worth knowing :)

Hoss said...

Hmmm, Bob Thiel started a sermon series on Mark, but only discussed the first two chapters. Stay tooned...

While correctly informing us the he (Bob) is not Jesus, he made a few goofs in his explanations. For example, after discussing wine skins, new and old, it was clear he didn't understand what Jesus meant.

RSK said...

Lifting the ending from one to add it to another? Anythings possible, but that sounds like it presupposes a collection of Gospels.

Dennis Diehl said...

The son of man..humans...are more important than the Sabbath if you go by the context in Mark and Matthews upgrade of same story not Jesus saying he was Lord of it. Strike one Bob

Dennis Diehl said...

Lots that didn't make the cut available

RSK said...

Yes, but then you'd think we'd have references to an ending that didnt fit, or copies where some area didnt go along with the codification. Dumb luck? Maybe.

Hoss said...

In the Peshitta (an Aramaic version of the NT) Mark has an even longer ending.
There is an argument that the Gospels were originally written in Aramaic, which would give an additional explanation for differences in Greek manuscripts, translation errors. An explanation for the different endings in Mark was that the author of the Aramaic document was interrupted, and another author completed it; some Greek translations were based on the incomplete Aramaic original.

Ed said...

If indeed the bible is Gods instruction book to mankind wouldn't you think that he would have inspired a collection of writings that wasn't such a mish-mash of material that we interpret in so many ways. The bible is filled with so many contradictions and inaccuracies that its hard to believe that a God that created the vast universe just couldn't put simple instructions to us in a clear way that is not open to many different interpretations.

Michael said...

Ed wrote:
"If indeed the bible is Gods instruction book to mankind wouldn't you think that he would have inspired a collection of writings that wasn't such a mish-mash of material that we interpret in so many ways. The bible is filled with so many contradictions and inaccuracies that its hard to believe that a God that created the vast universe just couldn't put simple instructions to us in a clear way that is not open to many different interpretations."

Yep, seems like a no-brainer to me...
And the corollary being, of course, that this is exactly, precisely, perfectly what you would expect if a group of human believers, all disagreeing amongst themselves in the first place, wrote up their own ideas, tried to pass them off and promote them, with errors in drafting, logical inconsistencies (since history wasn't being documented but rather stories were being made up), copying errors and every other result you'd expect with human activity.

Hoss said...

Bob Thiel decided to jump in on this argument, and seems to support that the longer ending to Mark is not a forgery. Rather than comment on his reasoning, here is his BNP video. It was put on YouTube on July 31 - Happy Birthday, HWA!

Bob has been doing a sermon series on Mark on the CCOG channel. Perhaps he'll go over his ending argument again.

Hoss said...

Just to follow up on Bob's take on the ending to Mark, he did touch on that again in his final sermon on the Gospel of Mark.
I had to listen to that part several times because in his convoluted style it sounded like he was contradicting his previous position. But no, he still holds that the way Mark ended is the real deal.