Date: Tue, 30 Dec 1997 17:10:25 -0500
To: "Mahlon H. Smith" 
Subject: Re: the meaning of the ending of Mk

On Mon, 29 Dec 1997, Mahlon H. Smith wrote:


> I agree with Koester (and Yuri)
> that our oldest ms. evidence for Mark is embedded in Matthew's & Luke's
> redaction.


Thanks for the vote of confidence on this.

> Granting your contention that Mark fell into early disuse

Well, this is not just Jack who thinks so, of course. The manuscript
evidence makes it pretty clear that Mk was superseded very early on by Mt
and Lk, and was not widely known. It may be a really lucky break for us
that it somehow managed to join the canon in the second half of the second


>         4. Mark originally ended at 16:8 = pink (probable).

I must say I find this ending unsatisfying. It's not optimistic enough, it
seems to me, for a gospel that could really impress the audience. I agree
with Crossan that the centurion's confessions (15:39) seeems like the best
bet. In this case, Crossan also agrees with Loisy. Here's Loisy:

"The centurion's profession of faith is the evangelist's; the witness also
which the Gentiles render to Christ the divine. At the beginning, and for
some time afterwards, this must have been the conclusion of the Gospel
legend. Admirable conclusion and of high significance when rightly
understood! It means that the Christ, freed from his earthly covering of
flesh, enters immediately into the glory of his eternal life. His
resurrection is spiritual; it coincides with the moment of death; death
and resurrection may be commemorated simultaneously: the glorious death
that saves mankind, the last sigh of Jesus, and the exaltation of the
Lamb; the three coincident." (ORIGINS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, 1962, p. 123) 

So Loisy thinks that the spiritual Resurrection in Glory at the moment of
death was the way the Resurrection was seen in the earliest tradition.
Minus the tomb, and the 3 days in the tomb.

And Loisy continues:

"What we now go on to read (xv, 40 -- xvi, 8) corresponds, in general, to
the later concept of a material resurrection of the body verified the
third day after the death of Christ." (ibid.)

In this book, Loisy writes plenty more about why the tomb, the 3 days in
it, and the material understanding of the Resurrection in general were all
later additions to the Faith. His arguments have to do with the John's
Gospel being quartodeciman, the Easter controversy, the sign of Jonah, and
a few other related matters. The biggest problem with the 3 days in the
tomb is of course that there are simply not 3 days between Friday evening
and Sunday morning. Less than 2 days in fact. 



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