•Mary Ann Beavis, Mark, Paideia Commentaries on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011), 22-23.
•John R. Donahue and Daniel J. Harrington, The Gospel of Mark, Sacra Pagina (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2002), 29-34.
•Elizabeth Struthers Malbon, In the Company of Jesus: Characters in Mark’s Gospel (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2000), 41-69.
2 thoughts on “Quora Questions w/the Amateur Exegete: #6 – The Ending of Mark and the Other Gospels”
Really interesting topic. I like what you have to say but I’m not sure on the ending of Mark myself. Could it be that there something there that was lost?
What do you think of the criticism that we as post-modern readers who are drawn to open-ended endings have imposed just such an ending upon Mark? Essentially that we like stories that are dark, ambiguous, and call readers to respond, and so find what we want to find in Mark. I don’t know, but an interesting thought.
Maybe Mark did in fact end the story with the frightened women but we have over-interpreted it as something more profound than it is…? Maybe the truth is that the women really didn’t tell anybody what they had experienced until much later—that Mark preserves an older and more accurate tradition about the women.
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It is conceivable to me that there could have been a longer ending now lost to us. But since we don’t know what that looked like, we deal with the text as we have it and try to understand it in relation to all that preceded. So I treat the ending of Mark like I do the ending of any narrative: with the belief that the author intended something by it. For me, given the way Jesus’ disciples/followers fail time and again, I think the women’s failure is intended to bring this to the forefront of the way we are to understand the significance of following Jesus.
It is also possible that Mark records an early tradition but given how he has so shaped the Passion for his own purposes, I find it hard to think he didn’t do the same with the empty tomb narrative. Moreover, we know from Paul that Peter and others experienced visions of the risen Jesus and it seems odd that Mark wouldn’t have included that in there in some way. Their omission, to me, speaks volumes.
But plenty of scholars would laugh me out of the room with my views 🙂
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