Review of Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism

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Review of Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism

Post by JoeWallack » Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:48 pm

JW:
Review of Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism

The broad types of Textual Criticism are generally as follows:
  • Skeptical

    Liberal Christian

    Conservative Christian

    Fundamentalist Christian
Note that each type is progressively inferior and each type is most influenced by the superior type next to it. Here, the book is a product of
Conservative Christian Textual Criticism which has been influenced by Liberal Christian Textual Criticism and is written in order to influence
Fundamentalist Christian Textual Criticism.

Specifically, let's first jump to a relatively important part of the book:
CHAPTER TEN MYTHS ABOUT VARIANTS WHY MOST VARIANTS ARE INSIGNIFICANT AND WHY SOME CAN’T BE IGNORED
...
SOME DIFFICULT AND IMPORTANT VARIANTS
...
let us sample the most difficult and important variants in the New Testament. This should provide us with a more realistic sense of whether textual variants pose a serious threat to the Christian faith in general or inspiration in particular.
...
These three variants are certainly not the only ones in the Gospels, but they are illustrative. It is important to stress that most books of the New Testament have only a handful of variants that combine this level of importance and difficulty. Others we could mention in the Gospels occur at Matthew 12:47; 19:9; 21:29-31; 24:36; 26:28; Mark 1:2; 16:9-20;
It's surprising that the LE (16:9-20) was not one of the examples ("three variants") given since even Conservative Christian Textual Criticism (CCTC) generally considers it one of the most important Textual Criticism issues due to quality and quantity. The book's attempted defense:
That reason is that Christians do not base their theology on a single verse here or there, let alone a single word or two within them. Instead, theology at its best is built on a web of biblical evidence—that is to say, on the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). As theologian John Frame notes in discussing the impact of textual variants on theology, “Scripture is highly redundant, in a good way,” such that “the doctrines of the Christian faith are never derived from a single text.”59 In this way, when one passage on the Trinity is suspect, many others rush in to take its place. The thick web of theology is not destroyed for lack of one strand that turns out not to be silk.
...
Likewise, we may be content to say that the story of the woman caught in adultery (Jn 7:53–8:11) is not the only place where we see Jesus’ mercy on full display or that the key elements in Mark 16:9-20 are recorded elsewhere, but would any go so far as to say that these texts have no effect on our teaching, preaching, or Christian living? The very fact that they continue to draw so much interest tells against such a conclusion. Clearly, then, they have some effect, even if it is small when put in perspective of the whole of Christian faith and practice.
To summarize then the book's defense of textual variation for the ending of GMark is:
  • 1) The basic information in the LE is also in other parts of the Christian Bible.

    2) This textual criticism issue has no significant effect on Christian assertions.
From a Skeptical Textual Criticism (STC) standpoint we then have the common criticism here of the inferior CCTC =

The Textual Criticism issue of the ending of GMark is not a significant problem for Christianity but it should be for the following reasons:
  • 1. Degree of Importance. One of the most important assertions of Christianity is that there was historical witness to a resurrected Jesus which GMark lacks without the LE.

    2. Quality of where it is missing. As far as the defense of the missing information being elsewhere, even CCTC confesses that GMark is the original Gospel that the next two were based on, so where it is missing is a relatively bigger problem.

    3. Nature of the editing. Here the LE reverses the assertion of GMark from no historical witness to multiple historical witness.

    4. Quantity of the editing. Here we have an entire story that was either there or not there.



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Whosonfirst?

Post by JoeWallack » Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:47 pm

JW:
Review of Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism

Now let's look at one of the three examples the book gives that it confesses is significant:
CHAPTER TEN MYTHS ABOUT VARIANTS WHY MOST VARIANTS ARE INSIGNIFICANT AND WHY SOME CAN’T BE IGNORED
...
SOME DIFFICULT AND IMPORTANT VARIANTS
...
let us sample the most difficult and important variants in the New Testament. This should provide us with a more realistic sense of whether textual variants pose a serious threat to the Christian faith in general or inspiration in particular.
...
What we are interested in, then, is variants that are genuinely difficult to resolve and that have some level of bearing on the text in a way that might affect Christian claims. Let us now turn to a few illustrative examples.
Mark 1:1. In the very first verse of what is thought by most to be the very first Gospel, we find a difficult and significant variant. The Gospel opens with what reads like the title to the whole book: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of God.” The variant involves the words “Son of God,” as some important witnesses omit them.32
...
The issue, then, is not whether Mark presents Jesus as the Son of God but whether Mark wants us to read his account of the good news about Jesus with this in mind from the first line on."
The book's attempted defense:

"Mark 1:1 is a good example where the variant matters for how we read Mark’s Gospel, but the Sonship of Jesus himself is not riding on this variation, not even in Mark."

To summarize then the book's defense of textual variation for Mark 1:1 is:
  • 1) The Textual Criticism issue is whether 1:1 refers to Jesus as God's son but the rest of GMark clearly does anyway as does the rest of the Christian Bible so whether 1:1 has this does not significantly affect the general Christian assertion that Jesus is God's son.
From a Skeptical Textual Criticism (STC) standpoint we then have the common criticism here of the inferior CCTC =

The Textual Criticism issue of 1:1 is not a significant problem for Christianity but it should be for the following reasons:
  • 1. Definition of "God's son." . One of the most important assertions of Christianity is in what sense was Jesus God's son. The Christian assertion is that Jesus was literally God's son before and at birth (this is like when people use to tap their cigarettes on the cigarette case before smoking it - don't ask why they believe it, they just do). GMark not only has Jesus identified as God's son at baptism but has nothing explicit that he was before and strong implication that he was not. A "son of God" editorial comment at the start could only help the argument that he was and/or help the argument that GMark was intended to be an abbreviation of the other Gospels where Jesus' original origins were given and "son of God" was intended to refer to them.

    2. Quality of where it is missing. Once again we have a situation of where it is missing, in GMark, which is likely the original Gospel.

    3. Measurement of Jesus' divine nature. Without "son of God" at the beginning of GMark, GMark's Jesus looks more similar to characters from The Jewish Bible that are merely human until they receive God's spirit, than the other Gospels Jesus who seem to have made the transition to more divine than human. Another critical assertion of Christianity is that Jesus is Massmathematically equal to God. Does not at all look like that in GMark.


So in the big picture CCTC has rightfully pointed out to FCTC that 1:1 is a difficult (original is unclear) variant and a significant variant (the original could be evidence effecting important Christian doctrine. What is has apologetically done though is lowered the Bar to a simplified, quantitative measurement, is Jesus God's son, and not an expanded, qualitative measurement, how and to what extent, as well as what does the timing of Jesus' sonship mean.


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Re: Review of Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism

Post by Paul the Uncertain » Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:36 am

Just discussion...

With regard to 16:9-20:
Degree of Importance. One of the most important assertions of Christianity is that there was historical witness to a resurrected Jesus which GMark lacks without the LE.
Maybe not important that way ...

Verses 16:9-14 concern three visionary experiences of the resurrected Jesus (that is, without any concern for the physicality of the revenant). This kind of encounter had already been claimed in Paul's letters. Within Mark, testimony to Jesus having been resurrected had been supplied by the anonymous young man in the tomb.

Verse 9 does allow the narrator character to confirm what the young man said. It also claims the fulfillment of the 'third day' timing of Jesus' predictions about the event, but does't commit to any physicality of the resurrection beyond what one might read into the absence of the body (which, of course, appears in uncontested Mark).

It is interesting that when the three encounters are retold in the later Gospels, physicality will be added, most dramatically in John 20 where Mary and Jesus 2.0 all but wrestle.

... maybe important in other ways

The chief importance of verses 15-20 seems to be the commissioning of the disciples as Jesus' franchisees for the remainder of days without any role for Paul. Similarly, verse 9 completes a figure of speech which, if left incomplete, rewrites verse 8 as seeming to condemn women as unfit for important church roles. These are not theological or christological issues, but church governance matters.

Mark 1:1 and the variable Son of God

Yes, that's a toughie, since there are good aesthetic arguments either way.

I favor the "tent pole build of three" argument, concluding without much confidence that there are exactly three announcements of divine sonship (early at baptism, middle at transfiguration and late at crucifixion), with a progessive expansion of the size of the audience for the anouncement (first a solo, then the three amigos, and finally anybody within earshot).

However, an author using that structure might easily have chosen to salt in one additional use of the phrase "up front" in order to prime the audience to notice its three structural recurrences in the body of the work. Equally, any performer might have seen this possibility for enhancing the audience's appreciation of the structural build-of-three whether or not the author had.

Mark makes no commitment to any specific meaning for the phrase, regardless of whether he uses it three or four times, and shows no concern for the issue of whether Jesus is the only SoG, or is a SoG in a sense unique to him.

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Re: Review of Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism

Post by Irish1975 » Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:16 am

Paul the Uncertain wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:36 am
Degree of Importance. One of the most important assertions of Christianity is that there was historical witness to a resurrected Jesus which GMark lacks without the LE.
Maybe not important that way ...

Verses 16:9-14 concern three visionary experiences of the resurrected Jesus (that is, without any concern for the physicality of the revenant). This kind of encounter had already been claimed in Paul's letters. Within Mark, testimony to Jesus having been resurrected had been supplied by the anonymous young man in the tomb.

Verse 9 does allow the narrator character to confirm what the young man said. It also claims the fulfillment of the 'third day' timing of Jesus' predictions about the event, but does't commit to any physicality of the resurrection beyond what one might read into the absence of the body (which, of course, appears in uncontested Mark).
It seems as though you are minimizing the difference between Paul and gMark on relevance of the empty tomb to a resurrection kerygma. Paul saw Jesus, but he was nowhere near the empty tomb in Jerusalem, and had no associations with a pre-death Jesus. His account of resurrection in 1 Cor 15 is based on a new spiritual body, not a re-animated corpse (however glorified, transfigured). So gMark's LE narrative is, on the contrary, foundational (alongside other NT gospels) for the Christian resurrection kerygma.

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Re: Review of Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism

Post by Paul the Uncertain » Fri Nov 22, 2019 1:29 am

Irish1975 wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:16 am
It seems as though you are minimizing the difference between Paul and gMark on relevance of the empty tomb to a resurrection kerygma. Paul saw Jesus, but he was nowhere near the empty tomb in Jerusalem, and had no associations with a pre-death Jesus. His account of resurrection in 1 Cor 15 is based on a new spiritual body, not a re-animated corpse (however glorified, transfigured). So gMark's LE narrative is, on the contrary, foundational (alongside other NT gospels) for the Christian resurrection kerygma.
I was responding to Joe's hypothesis about Mark 16:9 ff. Except for the completion at verse 9 of the figure that begins in verse 8 and other brief transitional material, the entire empty tomb incident lies within uncontested Mark.

I don't see any hard conflict between Paul's 1 Corinthians 15:35 ff. "explanation" of the spiritual resurrection body using planted-seeds-disintegrate-to-become-something-else imagery and what we find in Mark 16 about a body being entombed and then supposedly becoming something else elsewhere. The former imagery has a similar relationship to the latter as an instructor's "writing prompt" bears to a creative student's dramatization of the idea as a homework assignment.

You raise an interesting point about whether there was a historical empty tomb and whether Paul knew about it (that is, when Paul was a persecutor, a phase of his career about which we know nothing except his emotional states before and after). Maybe the causal arrow points the other way, that Paul abstracted from concrete empty-tomb-followed-by-visions stories he'd heard to fashion his own abstract agricultural imagery to generalize for a larger congregation what had happened to one man.

Either way, then, Mark's contribution to anything foundational for later Christian doctrine is achieved within 16:1-8, and sits comfortably beside Paul. Joe's issue was what 16:9 ff. would add to that. Nothing happens in 16:9-14 that is inconsistent with Jesus having acquired a non-physical spiritual body in the style of Paul's explanation to his Corinthian followers. But nothing there is inconsistent with his having an entirely physical new body, either. Mark doesn't say, not in uncontested Mark, nor in the contested portion.

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Re: Review of Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:25 am

Daniel 9:26 in Hebrew - the Messiah will be killed and disappear. It was originally developed from scripture fulfillment.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Re: Review of Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism

Post by Irish1975 » Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:34 am

Paul the Uncertain wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 1:29 am
Mark's contribution to anything foundational for later Christian doctrine is achieved within 16:1-8, and sits comfortably beside Paul. Joe's issue was what 16:9 ff. would add to that. Nothing happens in 16:9-14 that is inconsistent with Jesus having acquired a non-physical spiritual body in the style of Paul's explanation to his Corinthian followers. But nothing there is inconsistent with his having an entirely physical new body, either. Mark doesn't say, not in uncontested Mark, nor in the contested portion.
I take your point that the difference between Paul and gMark on the core of the resurrection kerygma does not hinge on the LE. And of course the authors/editors of the NT believed that any such difference does not amount to a "hard conflict."
I don't see any hard conflict between Paul's 1 Corinthians 15:35 ff. "explanation" of the spiritual resurrection body using planted-seeds-disintegrate-to-become-something-else imagery and what we find in Mark 16 about a body being entombed and then supposedly becoming something else elsewhere.
I don't see anything in Mark that corresponds to Paul's account of a spirtual body.

5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.”

Here, the message is that JN's rising is attested to by the emptiness of the tomb. There is no claim by the young man, to have seen the risen Christ himself. The entire message turns on the absence in the tomb and the imminent presence in Galilee of crucified Jesus of Nazareth.

Paul's account rests entirely upon his authority as one who (a) saw Jesus/Christ, and (b) is a true apostle and as such does not misrepresent God, the one who raised Christ. No report of an empty tomb, and the authority for Paul's statement does not depend on what others testify that they saw, since Paul puts himself forward as one of the witnesses of Christ's resurrection.
You raise an interesting point about whether there was a historical empty tomb and whether Paul knew about it (that is, when Paul was a persecutor, a phase of his career about which we know nothing except his emotional states before and after). Maybe the causal arrow points the other way, that Paul abstracted from concrete empty-tomb-followed-by-visions stories he'd heard to fashion his own abstract agricultural imagery to generalize for a larger congregation what had happened to one man.
Perhaps. The mass vision experience of the 500+ brethren is another part of Paul's testimony that the gospel writers pointedly omitted to take up. For them, it was always individual followers of the earthly Jesus, some obscure, some women, etc. They would have had a hard time concocting a story about 500 disciples of Jesus all seeing at once.

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Re: Review of Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Nov 22, 2019 2:10 pm

Irish1975 wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:34 am
Paul the Uncertain wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 1:29 am
Mark's contribution to anything foundational for later Christian doctrine is achieved within 16:1-8, and sits comfortably beside Paul. Joe's issue was what 16:9 ff. would add to that. Nothing happens in 16:9-14 that is inconsistent with Jesus having acquired a non-physical spiritual body in the style of Paul's explanation to his Corinthian followers. But nothing there is inconsistent with his having an entirely physical new body, either. Mark doesn't say, not in uncontested Mark, nor in the contested portion.
I take your point that the difference between Paul and gMark on the core of the resurrection kerygma does not hinge on the LE. And of course the authors/editors of the NT believed that any such difference does not amount to a "hard conflict."
I don't see any hard conflict between Paul's 1 Corinthians 15:35 ff. "explanation" of the spiritual resurrection body using planted-seeds-disintegrate-to-become-something-else imagery and what we find in Mark 16 about a body being entombed and then supposedly becoming something else elsewhere.
I don't see anything in Mark that corresponds to Paul's account of a spirtual body.
I agree that Mark's conception of the resurrection is not necessarily the same as Paul's, and I certainly agree that Paul evinces no hint of an empty tomb narrative, but I think that Paul envisions the physical body being changed or transformed, not merely replaced by another, separate, and spiritual body:

1 Corinthians 15.35-37, 50-53: 35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?” 36 You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; 37 and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. .... 50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.

The analogy of the seed turning into a plant suggests continuity. So does the analogy of putting on immortality: it is as if the immortal body covers the mortal body in some transformative way. Also, Paul is clear that what happens to the dead also happens to the living ("we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed"). If we imagine living bodies being discarded in favor of some other kind of body, then it would seem that all will sleep, according to Paul, since the body being discarded has to be death. Rather, it looks like a transformation of physical matter into something nonphysical is in view.

Wells spells out the implications of this:

G. A. Wells, Who Was Jesus? page 33: As Fuller has noted..., if Paul believed that Christ’s physical body had been transformed he could not have accepted any tradition that Jesus rose in physical body and ate and drank. / Of course, if Jesus rose, he will have left his tomb empty even if his body had been transformed into something quite different. But whether Paul had any actual knowledge of an empty tomb is another matter. In 1 Corinthians he is writing to men who were denying that there was a resurrection of the dead, and had he known of an empty tomb, he would surely have been glad to adduce this as evidence of resurrection, instead of merely saying, as he does, that Jesus was buried and then raised.

YMMV.
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There's Something About Mary

Post by JoeWallack » Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:14 pm

Paul the Uncertain wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:36 am
Just discussion...

With regard to 16:9-20:
Degree of Importance. One of the most important assertions of Christianity is that there was historical witness to a resurrected Jesus which GMark lacks without the LE.
Maybe not important that way ...

Verses 16:9-14 concern three visionary experiences of the resurrected Jesus (that is, without any concern for the physicality of the revenant). This kind of encounter had already been claimed in Paul's letters. Within Mark, testimony to Jesus having been resurrected had been supplied by the anonymous young man in the tomb.

Verse 9 does allow the narrator character to confirm what the young man said. It also claims the fulfillment of the 'third day' timing of Jesus' predictions about the event, but does't commit to any physicality of the resurrection beyond what one might read into the absence of the body (which, of course, appears in uncontested Mark).

It is interesting that when the three encounters are retold in the later Gospels, physicality will be added, most dramatically in John 20 where Mary and Jesus 2.0 all but wrestle.

... maybe important in other ways

The chief importance of verses 15-20 seems to be the commissioning of the disciples as Jesus' franchisees for the remainder of days without any role for Paul. Similarly, verse 9 completes a figure of speech which, if left incomplete, rewrites verse 8 as seeming to condemn women as unfit for important church roles. These are not theological or christological issues, but church governance matters.
JW:
First, let's rightly divide "Christian Assertians", as in "Textual variation does not significantly effect any significant Christian assertion." Christian assertions consist of:
  • 1) Christian beliefs (interpretations based on the Text).

    2) Christian claims of evidence for their beliefs.
For starters, Christian Apologetics, including the CCTC version, will tend to duck back and forth between the two. They will invoke 1) for broad conclusions since it is more objective and easier to meet and only invoke 2) for specific points since it is more difficult to support in total. Regarding the endings of GMark, the basic Christian belief is that about 3 days after his death, post-death Jesus was, as King of Comedy David would say, "pretty, pretty much" the same as pre-death Jesus. The related Christian (asserted) evidence is that (supposedly) known historical witness saw and recognized post-death Jesus 3 days later, effectively communicated their observations and Christianity preserved the record of the observations.

So for the original Markan ending 16:1-8, what is the evidence for known historical witnesses:

16
1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the [mother] of James, and Salome, bought spices, that they might come and anoint him.
2 And very early on the first day of the week, they come to the tomb when the sun was risen.
3 And they were saying among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the tomb?
4 and looking up, they see that the stone is rolled back: for it was exceeding great.
5 And entering into the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, arrayed in a white robe; and they were amazed.
6 And he saith unto them, Be not amazed: ye seek Jesus, the Nazarene, who hath been crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold, the place where they laid him!
7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, He goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
8 And they went out, and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them: and they said nothing to any one; for they were afraid.
Summary=
Explicit evidence that known historical witness saw post-dead Jesus threeish days after death = nothing.
Implicit evidence that known historical witness saw post-dead Jesus threeish days after death = something. GMark has implication that all named disciples abandoned Jesus at arrest and some may have gone home to Galilee. Post-death Jesus goes back to Galilee so some disciples may have unintentionally run into Jesus at the Lord & Taylor store at Galilee Mall a few days later. Depends how fast Jesus got there ("Will preach for ride" sign).

Considering that if you have to start your related argument with "assume resurrections, well, only Christian ones, are possible", your following argument needs to be pretty, pretty tight. Being unclear about the who, what and when of historical witness observing post-death Jesus is a long way from tight.

Now let's see how the LE improves on this:
9 Now when he was risen early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons.
10 She went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.
11 And they, when they heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, disbelieved.
12 And after these things he was manifested in another form unto two of them, as they walked, on their way into the country.
13 And they went away and told it unto the rest: neither believed they them.
14 And afterward he was manifested unto the eleven themselves as they sat at meat; and he upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them that had seen him after he was risen.
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned.
17 And these signs shall accompany them that believe: in my name shall they cast out demons; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall in no wise hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken unto them, was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.
20 And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the signs that followed. Amen.
Explicit evidence = Mary Magdalene and all disciples except Judas see post-death Jesus sometime after 3 days.


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Re: Review of Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism

Post by Paul the Uncertain » Sat Nov 30, 2019 3:12 am

(Thanks to Irish1975 and Ben for their comments last week; we seem close enough to agreement that I just left things where they were.)

So, Joe:
1) Christian beliefs (interpretations based on the Text).

2) Christian claims of evidence for their beliefs.
It may well be true that some Christian apologists conflate fact claims with evidence bearing on the claims. There may also be confusion about how much a claim that evidence exists (the gospels say there were eyewitnesses to a historical Jesus who ...) can itself serve as evidence for the underlying fact claim (there was a historical Jesus who ...).

Plus, there is a further complication that the supposed existence of the eyewitnesses is itself a substantive Christian claim and belief. The claim confers authority on the living church which purportedly continues an organzised institutional effort to transmitted factual information in an unbroken chain beginning in the time of the events in question.

As for what various endings of Mark contribute to all that, there are apologists who are fully content with an ending at 16:8 (e.g. James Voelz of the Concordia Seminary of St Louis, to name one Mark-maven who accepts apostolic succession), both as religious source material and as literary performance.

You and I might move forward with how a specific concrete apology uses the two pieces of the "Long Ending." But in general, between us, we seem to have covered the most prominent abstract potential in the dozen verses.

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