Friday, January 29, 2010

When Does the Gospel of St. Mark End?

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My thanks to James E. Snapp, Jr. for the corrections!

Mk 16:9-20 is authentic and canonical. Although Mk 16:9-20 is not in B and Aleph, it is in all the other uncial manuscripts: A, C, D, E, F, G, H, K, M, N, S, U, V, X, Gamma, Delta, Pi, Sigma, Omega, and Beth.{1} It is in a great many cursive manuscripts,{2} all the Latin manuscripts except k,{3} all Syriac manuscripts except the Sinaitic version,{4} in most Coptic{5} and Gothic{6} manuscripts, and in most Armenian manuscripts.{7} It was probably used in the Liturgy of the Greek Catholic Church in the third century,{8} and was definitely used in the Liturgy in the fourth century.{9} Second century Church Fathers Bishop St. Irenaeus of Lyons [Against Heresies 3:10:5], and probably St. Justin Martyr and the Shepherd of Hermas, refer to Mk 16:9-20.{10} In the third century, Priest St. Hippolytus the Martyr of Rome quotes from the verses in question.{11} In the fourth century, the long version of Mark is cited or alluded to by Hieromonk St. Aphrahat the Sage of Persia [Demonstration 1:17 of Faith], Bishop St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Doctor), Bishop St. Epiphanius of Salamis, Bishop St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Caesarius of Nazianzus, Archbishop St. John I Chrysostom the Great of Constantinople (Doctor) [Homily 38:5 on First Corinthians], Bishop Macarius of Magnesia, Bishop St. Augustine the Great of Hippo (Doctor of Grace) [On Merit and the Forgiveness of Sins and the Baptism of Infants 3:3,6; On the Soul and Its Origin 2:17,23], Bishop St. Ambrose the Great of Milan (Doctor) [Concerning Repentance 1:18; Exposition of the Christian Faith 1:14:86; On the Holy Spirit 2:13:145], and many others.{11}
Notes & References
{1} MacRory, Joseph. "Gospel of Saint Mark." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 29 Jan. 2010 <>.
{2} Ibid. James E. Snapp, Jr., points out that the deteriorated quality of many cursive manuscripts falsifies the old Catholic Encyclopedia's outdated assertion.
{3} Ibid.
{4} Ibid.
{5} Ibid. Not all the Coptic manuscripts, as the old Catholic Encyclopedia says. James E. Snapp, Jr., points out that a 1972 Coptic manuscript falsifies the old Catholic Encyclopedia's outdated assertion.
{6} Ibid.
{7} Ibid.
{8} Ibid.
{9} Ibid.
{10} Ibid.
{11} Ibid.


James E. Snapp, Jr. said...

Greetings Will.

A few clarifications are in order about Mark 16:9-20.

It is not entirely accurate to say that Mark 16:9-20 “is in all the cursive manuscripts,” because some cursive MSS are so extensively damaged that they do not have the pages on which these verses were once contained.

It is incorrect to say that “all Coptic” manuscripts have the passage; in 1972 a Coptic Sahidic MS was published, with a palaeographically assigned date of around 425, in which Mark ends at the end of 16:8. This Sahidic copy is currently housed at Barcelona.

The Shepherd of Hermas does not clearly use any material from Mk. 16:9-20; it includes a strong affirmation that is consistent with, but not necessarily dependent upon, 16;16.

Instead of “Justin Martyr of Caesarea,” it’s better to just call him Justin Martyr.

I don’t know of any place where Gregory of Nyssa quotes from Mark 16:9-20. You may want to verify that claim before stating it again.

The Macarius who quoted from the passage is not “St. Macarius the Great of Egypt,” it is Macarius Magnes, a writer from the very early 400’s, whose surname means not that he was great but that he was from Magnesia in Asia (Turkey).

I agree that Mk. 16:9-20 is authentic and canonical. See my presentation at
for further details.

Yours in Christ,

James Snapp, Jr.

Will R. Huysman said...

Dear James,
Thank you for the corrections! Some reasons for my mistakes were that the old Catholic Encyclopedia apparently was in error about the unanimity of the cursive manuscripts, the old Catholic Encyclopedia predated the 1972 discovery of the Coptic Sahidic manuscript, I misread "Macarius Magnes" and "Macarius Magnus," and I misread the old Catholic Encyclopedia's syntax about the witness of the Shepherd of Hermas.

St. Gregory of Nyssa quotes Mk 16:19 as the words of St. Mark the Evangelist in his Second Oration on the Resurrection of Christ [PG 46:652B].

Thanks again for your learned input!

God bless you and yours,
Will R. Huysman

James E. Snapp, Jr. said...

Greetings again, Will.

I didn't mean that Mk. 16:9-20 is absent from *many* minuscules; if you have another chance to adjust your earlier comments, it'd be better to say that Mk. 16:9-20 is attested by all minuscules except those which have been damaged at the end of Mark. These include minuscules 1420, 2386, and probably 304, which doesn't entirely qualify to be listed as a NT manuscript since it is a commentary, with the text of Mt. and Mk. interspersed between the commentary-text. All *intact* minuscules - over 1,500 - support Mk. 16:9-20.

The treatise that is included in the works of Gregory of Nyssa is actually by Severus of Antioch. (John Burgon investigated this question in 1871; see pp. 40ff. of his book "The Last 12 Verses of Mark." Burgon thought that it was by Hesychius of Jerusalem, but since that time, other evidence points to Severus as the author.)

Yours in Christ,

James Snapp, Jr.