Although traditionally accepted by the church through the centuries, the longer ending of Mark’s Gospel (16:9-20) has been relegated by modern scholarship to the status of a later appendage. The arguments for such a view are chiefly based upon the witness of the two earliest complete manuscripts of Mark, and upon questions of language and style. The Original Ending of Mark shows that these primary grounds of argumentation are inadequate. It demonstrates that the church fathers knew the Markan ending from the very earliest days, well over two centuries before the earliest extant manuscripts. The quantity of unique terms in the ending is also seen to fall within the parameters exhibited by undisputed Markan passages. Strong indications of Markan authorship are found in the presence of specific linguistic constructions, a range of literary devices, and the continuation of various themes prominent within the body of the Gospel. Furthermore, the writings of Luke show that the Gospel of Mark known to this author contained the ending. Rather than being a later addition, the evidence is interpreted in terms of a textual omission occurring at a later stage in transmission, probably in Egypt during the second century.
2. External Evidence (1): Biblical Manuscripts
3. External Evidence (2): Patristic Citations
4. Linguistic Evidence (1): Vocabulary and Style
5. Linguistic Evidence (2): Other Features
6. Literary Evidence
7. Thematic Evidence
8. The Longer Ending and the Gospels: The Question of Dependence
9. Miscellaneous Issues
10. The Cause of the Problem
11. Summary and Conclusion
Endorsements and Reviews
Nicholas Lunn effectively throws a huge brick into the calm waters of the status of Mark 16. Looking at the matter from a multitude of perspectives, he makes a strong case for the authenticity of the last twelve verses. Lunn’s scholarship is impressive and this masterly book has to be compulsory reading for anyone dealing with Mark and/or the text of the New Testament.
Pieter J. Lalleman, Academic Dean and Tutor of New Testament, Spurgeon’s College, London
When did you last read a new book in biblical studies that was not a collection of articles or a minimally revised doctoral thesis? A book moreover that was substantial, systematic and lucid? A book that restored your faith that there are still some real scholars out there? Yes, I thought so. Well, here is the exception that proves the rule and, given that it tackles probably the most important textual crux in the New Testament, one that has long been assumed to have been settled, it is well worth a careful read.
Michael Tait, in Reviews in Religion & Theology, Vol 22:3
Those who take up its journey … find its insightful analytical techniques of scripture of enriching interest.
Mark Pullinger, in The Reader, Vol 115, No 1