The “Shorter End” To The Gospel Of Mark

It is written:

“So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” (Mark 16:8)

Some manuscript copies of the Gospel of Mark have some extra verses at the end of Mark, often called the “short end.” They say this after Mark 16:8:

“And everything that had been told to them, they reported to Peter and his companions. And after this, Jesus himself [appeared to them and], from east [even] unto west, sent forth through them the sacred and imperishable gospel of eternal salvation.”

What is the origin of these verses, and do they belong in the Bible?

“Although we have covered a lot, the case would be incomplete without a consideration of the “Shorter Ending….This two-sentence ending is found between 16: 8 and 16: 9 in Codex L (produced in the 700’ s, probably in Egypt), Codex Ψ (Psi), Codex 083, Codex 099, Codex 579, and in the lower margin of Codex 274. It is also found in 131 Ethiopic copies, and in some other non-Greek copies from Egypt….The evidence for the “Shorter Ending” can be traced back to the late 300’ s; there are no clear signs of its existence before that time. All the witnesses for its existence, in Greek and non-Greek copies alike, do not necessarily say anything about the history of the text of Mark before the late 300’ s; nor do they shed light upon the history of the text of Mark outside Egypt at that time.” (James Snapp, Jr., A Brief Defense Of Mark 16:9-20: Solving The Most Significant Textual Controversy In The New Testament, 255-269 (Kindle Edition))

Please notice that there is no evidence of the “shorter ending” of Mark’s Gospel before the fourth century A.D., nearly four hundred years after Mark composed his Gospel.

In another work, Snapp has well written:

“Before doing so, though, it will be convenient to become acquainted with the text that in this book is called the Short Ending. (It is also known as the Shorter Ending, and as the Intermediate Ending.) The Short Ending consists of the following text, with some variations among its supporting witnesses: Πάντα δε παρηγγελμένα τοις (Everything that had been told to them,) περι τον Πέτρον συντόμως εξήγγειλαν. (they related unto Peter and those with him.) Μετα δε ταυτα και αυτος ο Ιησους [εφάνη αυτοις] (And after this Jesus himself [appeared to them]) απο ανατολης [και] άχρι δύσεως εξαέστειλεν δι’ αυτων (to send forth through them, from east [even] to west) το ιερον και αφθαρτον κήρυγμα της αιωνίου σωτηρίας. [αμήν.] (the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. [Amen.]) 117 [117 -For a similar text see page 147 of the 27th edition of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece.] The Short Ending is found between 16: 8 and 16: 9 in the Greek manuscripts L, Ψ (Psi), 083 (the piece also known as 0112), 099, and 579, usually accompanied by notes and other interesting features. In 274, the Short Ending is in the lower margin; in the text, 16: 9-20 follows 16: 8 (with an abbreviated lectionary note intervening between the end of 16: 8 and the beginning of 16: 9, all on one line). These witnesses display, to varying degrees, a descent from the Alexandrian transmission-stream. Old Latin Codex Bobbiensis is the only witness that displays the Short Ending without also displaying at least part of 16: 9 to 20; it also has the most unAlexandrian text of all these witnesses….However, for reasons which shall soon be explained, it is unlikely that the copyist of Codex B was aware of the existence of the Short Ending….Codex Bobbiensis is the only known extant copy of Mark that ends with the Short Ending. Its production-date is generally assigned to the 400’ s, and to the first half of that century rather than the second half. Its Latin text of Mark (which is extant for 8: 8 to 11 and 8: 14 to 16 (with damage) and 8: 19 to 16: 9 with the Short Ending) is rather quirky….The evidence described by Dr. Metzger shows that all unmutilated Ethiopic manuscripts of Mark known to exist contain 16: 9 to 20. It also suggests that some time after the Gospel of Mark was translated into Ethiopic (with Mark 16: 9 to 20 immediately following 16: 8), the Short Ending intruded into the Ethiopic text-stream from somewhere else, and was adapted as a liturgical flourish to conclude a lection-unit which would otherwise conclude at the end of 16: 8; at first the Short Ending (in its later form, with the variant “appeared to them”) was in the margin, but it was inserted between 16: 8 and 16: 9 in the later Ethiopic manuscripts.” (James Snapp, Jr., Authentic: The Case For Mark 16:9-20, 2024, 2278, 3714, 4849 (Kindle Edition, emphasis added, M.T.)

The “shorter ending” of Mark’s Gospel takes nothing away from the truthfulness of Mark 16:9-20; indeed, it reminds us even more of the simplicity of the New Testament plan of redemption.

Have you obeyed God’s plan of salvation?

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