On some textual variants in the Gospels


#1

No, not a question. I know I have a very bad track record in keeping threads up, but this is just something I’d like to introduce to you folks here.

To sum up, in this thread we’ll going to look at some of the more interesting textual variants that could be found in the gospels. Some of these may be noted in the footnotes of a regular Bible, while others might not be - and thus be new to a number of people here. Occasionally I might also introduce some more ‘mundane’ ones when I feel like it.

(Note: unless noted, Scriptural quotations are taken from the ESV)

Without further ado:


#2

01.) The Spear Thrust

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Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” And another, having taken a spear, pierced his side, and there came out water and blood. (ἄλλος δὲ λαβὼν λόγχην ἔνυξεν αὐτοῦ τὴν πλευράν, καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ὕδωρ καὶ αἷμα. / Alius autem accepta lancea pupungit latus eius et exiit aqua et sanguis.) And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

  • Matthew 27:45-50

This variant (BTW, not found in the ESV text - I took the liberty of inserting it) is found mainly in a number of manuscripts, like Codex Sinaiticus (א, c. 330-360), Vaticanus (B, c. 325–350), Ephraemi Rescriptus (C, c. 450), Regius (L, 8th c.), Nanianus (U, 9th c.), Tischendorfianus IV (Γ, 9th-10th c.), Minuscules 1010, 1293, Palestinian Syriac, Ethiopian, some Vetus Latina (such as Usserianus II*) and Vulgate manuscripts. It is omitted by all other manuscripts and even in late witness of the Alexandrian text (Minuscule 892). The diversity of witnesses supporting this verse should be noted: the best Alexandrian witnesses (א, B, L), mixed manuscripts (C, 2680) and fully Byzantine manuscripts (U, Γ, 33 minuscules) all carry the variant.

While this is one of the lesser-known variant readings of the NT (not too many Bibles mention it), this is one of the most difficult, because the placement of this sentence makes it appear that the spear thrust was the direct cause of Jesus’ death - which would contradict the more well-known version in John 19, where it is a precautionary measure performed post mortem. Because of this it is also one of the readings that were controversial since antiquity. The 5th century patriarch of Antioch, Severus, writes the following:

But that our Lord Jesus Christ our God was pierced in the side with a lance by that soldier after he gave up the ghost, and blood and water came forth from it in a miraculous manner, the divine John the Evangelist recorded, and no one else wrote about this. But certain persons have clearly falsified the Gospel of Matthew and inserted this same passage, when the contrary is the fact, in order to show that it was while he was alive that the soldier pierced his side with the spear, and afterwards he gave up the ghost.

This question was examined with great carefulness when my meanness was in the royal city [Constantinople], at the time when the affair of Macedonius was being examined, who became archbishop of that city, and there was produced the Gospel of Matthew, which was written in large letters, and was preserved with great honor in the royal palace, which was said to have been found in the days of Zeno (ca. 474-491) of honorable memory in a city of the island of Cyprus buried with the holy Barnabas, who went about with Paul and spread the divine preaching; and, when the Gospel of Matthew was opened, it was found to be free from the falsification contained in this addition, of the story of the soldier and the spear.

I do not know how and for what reason the holy John [Chrysostom] who became bishop of the same royal city and the admirable Cyril, bishop of Alexandria, did not test this question, and allowed the two passages to stand, in the two evangelists, neglecting the evidence to the contrary; but perhaps in order that this also might be known, that, while they speak and write everything under the operation of the Holy Spirit, and while these men are higher than we (for we are men who creep along the earth), as the heaven is higher than the earth, and that they themselves also might be known to be men, and to leave omniscience to God only, and that there is something in affairs which cannot be expressed, the complete revelation of which is not made known. …]


#3

(Continued)

Severus is referring to Chrysostom's Homily 88 on Matthew, wherein he seems to have knowledge of the textual variant:

But mark herein also their wantonness, and intemperance, and folly. They thought (it is said) that it was Elias whom He called, and straightway they gave Him vinegar to drink. (Matthew 27:48) But another came unto Him, and *pierced His side with a spear.* What could be more lawless, what more brutal, than these men; who carried their madness to so great a length, offering insult at last even to a dead body?

But mark thou, I pray you, how He made use of their wickednesses for our salvation. For after the blow the fountains of our salvation gushed forth from thence.

And Jesus, when He had cried with a loud voice, yielded up the Ghost. This is what He said, I have power to lay down my life, and I have power to take it again, and, I lay it down of myself. (John 10:18) So for this cause He cried with the voice, that it might be shown that the act is done by power. Mark at any rate says, that Pilate marvelled if He were already dead: (Mark 15:44) and that the centurion for this cause above all believed, because He died with power. (Mark 15:39)

It is not completely clear which evangelist Chrysostom is quoting here, since the wording is slightly different from the Matthean and Johannine version.

Matthew: ἄλλος δὲ λαβὼν λόγχην ἔνυξεν αὐτοῦ τὴν πλευράν
John: ἀλλ’ εἷς τῶν στρατιωτῶν λόγχῃ αὐτοῦ τὴν πλευρὰν ἔνυξεν
Chrysostom: ἕτερος δὲ προσελθὼν λόγχῃ αὐτοῦ τὴν πλευρὰν ἔνυξεν

On the one hand, since he is discussing Matthean material in its normal succession (27:48-50), it is possible that Chrysostom read the addition in his copy of Matthew. Note especially the heteros de (ἕτερος δὲ "and another"), which resembles the allos de (ἄλλος δὲ) of the textual variant. On the other hand, it could be argued that the second part of the quote agrees with John (λόγχῃ αὐτοῦ τὴν πλευρὰν ἔνυξεν "pierced His side with a spear"), and also that Chrysostom is saying that the piercing happened "to a dead body."

If this variant is an interpolation, we do not know when or why it was inserted into the text. One suggestion given is that some scribe was inspired by **eis* ex auton* ("one of them", 27:48) to add an allos ("another") and/or he remembered the **eis* tōn stratiōtōn* ("one of the soldiers") from John 19 when he read the eis in Matthew 27. Another idea is that someone had originally written the sentence in the margin meant to be inserted at some other point in a certain manuscript and a later scribe inserted it wrongly here, but the diverse support of unrelated manuscripts makes this improbable. A third idea is that the variant was inserted on purpose to combat docetism (which held that the body of Jesus was not real but is a sort of apparition or mirage): inserting the piercing before Jesus' death shows that He was a real flesh-and-blood human being who experienced real pain.

The wording of the variant is astonishingly fixed. One would have expected strong harmonization to John and more variants, but this is not the case. One witness adds the word euthys (εὐθὺς, "immediately") before exēlthen (ἐξῆλθεν, "came out") - in contrast to John's version, where euthys comes after exēlthen; half of the manuscripts have "blood and water" (in agreement with John) while the rest read "water and blood." All the manuscripts which carry the variant agree in the wording of the first half of the sentence, which is quite different from John's version. All in all, this rules out an independent origin due to a simple harmonization with John. This insertion, if it is one, must go back to one source.


#4

(Continued)

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An 11th century manuscript, Minuscule 72, contains a marginal note which says (in Greek): "Because, in the Gospel, according to a report of Diodore and Tatian and various other holy fathers, this is added: 'And another, having taken a spear, pierced his side, and there came out water and blood.' Chrysostom also says this."

It has been suggested that the scribe who wrote (or copied?) this comment mistook the words 'dia 4' (διά δʹ = Diatessaron; note that Greek uses letters to designate numbers) for the name 'Diodorus' (Διόδωρου, Diodorou). While the scholion traces this variant to Tatian, we have no evidence for the insertion of anything corresponding to John 19:34 at this point. On the contrary, the evidence we have of the Diatessaron shows the presence of the words after Jesus death. In Ephrem's commentary it can be localized somewhere between 27:53 and 27:58, while in the Arabic version it comes after 27:54. But even if the Diatessaron could be established as a source, it is still a puzzle why these diverse witnesses inserted the words here.

In narrative context, it could be argued that the placement of the variant is a bit awkward grammatically and narratively.

But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.”
(οἱ δὲ λοιποὶ ἔλεγον, Ἄφες ἴδωμεν εἰ ἔρχεται Ἠλίας σώσων αὐτόν.)
**But* another, having taken a spear, pierced his side, and there came out water and blood.*
(ἄλλος δὲ λαβὼν λόγχην ἔνυξεν αὐτοῦ τὴν πλευράν, καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ὕδωρ καὶ αἷμα.)
But Jesus crying out again with a great voice, yielded up his spirit.
(ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς πάλιν κράξας φωνῇ μεγάλῃ ἀφῆκεν τὸ πνεῦμα.)

Without the piercing sentence everything flows smoothly: "'Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him,' - but Jesus crying out again with a loud voice..." If the variant is included, the last de (δὲ, 'and', 'but') is especially awkward. The reading also presents a jarring contradiction to what was just described: while the bystanders were waiting to see if Elijah would come and save Jesus, someone - in complete opposition to this sentiment - kills Him with his spear (!) We have at least two choices: either this is a very unskillful secondary insertion or it is original and has been eliminated to improve style and remove a difficulty. (Assuming that the variant is original, there is in fact a suggestion that the emphasis on eyewitness testimony in John 19:35 was meant with regard to the time of the piercing, to object to other accounts - like Matthew - who placed it before Jesus' death.) There is no convincing explanation for a secondary addition of this kind.

Finally, we should note that this variant was apparently still known in the West, at least up to the 14th century: Pope Clement V's declaraton of John's gospel as the one which preserved the proper chronological order at the Council of Vienne (1311-1312) is often taken as a condemnation of the textual variant.

Adhering firmly to the foundation of the catholic faith, other than which, as the Apostle testifies, no one can lay, we openly profess with holy mother church that the only begotten Son of God, subsisting eternally together with the Father in everything in which God the Father exists, assumed in time in the womb of a virgin the parts of our nature united together, from which he himself true God became true man: namely the human, passible body and the intellectual or rational soul truly of itself and essentially informing the body. And that in this assumed nature the Word of God willed for the salvation of all not only to be nailed to the cross and to die on it, but also, having already breathed forth his spirit, permitted his side to be pierced by a lance, so that from the outflowing water and blood there might be formed the one, immaculate and holy virginal mother church, the bride of Christ, as from the side of the first man in his sleep Eve was fashioned as his wife, in this way, to the determinate figure of the first and old Adam, who according to the Apostle is a type of the one who was to come, the truth might correspond in our last Adam, that is to say in Christ. This, we say, is the truth, fortified by the witness of that huge eagle which the prophet Ezechiel saw flying over the other gospel animals, namely blessed John the apostle and evangelist, who relating the event and order of this sacrament, said in his gospel: *But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness - his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth -- that you also may believe.*

We, therefore, directing our apostolic attention, to which alone it belongs to define these things, to such splendid testimony and to the common opinion of the holy fathers and doctors, declare with the approval of the sacred council that the said apostle and evangelist, John, observed the right order of events in saying that when Christ was already dead one of the soldiers opened his side with a spear.


#5

I like the Luke 2:14 variants–always good for creating some Christmas consternation :slight_smile: : “…peace among people of goodwill” versus “on earth peace, goodwill among people.”


#6

I was under the impression that it had been proven that blood and water would have flowed out of the side of Jesus Christ if pierced with a spear whether he was alive or dead at the time. It was not to check whether he was alive.

It is assumed that the heart needs to be pumping blood in order for blood to exit the wound. It has been researched and found that gravity would produce that on a cross so not necessarily the pumping of the heart.

It is significant and important that the side was pierced because it is from that side that produces the Church. Eve was created when Adam was in a deep sleep (an analogy would suggest Jesus was dead) and taken from the side. The creation of the Church is implied by that piercing.


#7

[quote="Dave_Noonan, post:5, topic:326833"]
I like the Luke 2:14 variants--always good for creating some Christmas consternation :) : "...peace among people of goodwill" versus "on earth peace, goodwill among people."

[/quote]

The variant in Luke 2:14 shows how a difference in a single letter could alter the meaning of a word, and with it the whole sentence. Are we to read ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκία (en anthrōpois **eudokia** "good will toward men" - eudokia is in the nominative), the reading found in most manuscripts, or ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας (en anthrōpois **eudokias*, "among men with whom he is pleased" - *eudokias is in the genitive), which is the more difficult reading?

Wieland Willker (from whom I learned what I'm writing here) goes into more depth on the issue for the interested.


#8

Yup; people are almost ready to kill or die over that final sigma.


#9

Here's a minor textual variant for now.

2.) "Today I have begotten you"

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22 ESV)

At this point several Latin manuscripts and Church fathers such as Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Methodius, Hilary and Augustine (although it is not always clear that they really cite from Luke) as well as one Greek manuscript - Codex Bezae to be exact - read: "You are my beloved Son; today I have begotten you." ( / Filius meus es tu, ego hodie genui te; cf. Psalm 2:7; Acts 13:33; Hebrews 1:5; 5:5) In a sense this reading, despite its presence in only a few witnesses, is the more difficult, since it could be read as a prooftext for Adoptionism (the belief that Jesus was simply a man who was adopted as God's Son at some point in His life - either at His baptism, His resurrection, or His ascension).

And when Jesus came to the Jordan, He was considered to be the son of Joseph the carpenter; and He appeared without comeliness, as the Scriptures declared; and He was deemed a carpenter (for He was in the habit of working as a carpenter when among men, making ploughs and yokes; by which He taught the symbols of righteousness and an active life); but then the Holy Ghost, and for man's sake, as I formerly stated, lighted on Him in the form of a dove, and there came at the same instant from the heavens a voice, which was uttered also by David when he spoke, personating Christ, what the Father would say to Him: "You are my Son: this day have I begotten you;" [the Father] saying that His generation would take place for men, at the time when they would become acquainted with Him: "You are my Son; this day have I begotten you."

...]

For this devil, when [Jesus] went up from the river Jordan, at the time when the voice spoke to Him, "You are my Son: this day have I begotten you," is recorded in the memoirs of the apostles to have come to Him and tempted Him, even so far as to say to Him, "Worship me;" and Christ answered him, "Get behind me, Satan: you shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve." (Matthew 4:9-10)

  • Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 103.8

We have ample means of encountering those who are given to carping. For we are not termed children and infants with reference to the childish and contemptible character of our education, as those who are inflated on account of knowledge have calumniously alleged. Straightway, on our regeneration, we attained that perfection after which we aspired. For we were illuminated, which is to know God. He is not then imperfect who knows what is perfect. And do not reprehend me when I profess to know God; for so it was deemed right to speak to the Word, and He is free. For at the moment of the Lord's baptism there sounded a voice from heaven, as a testimony to the Beloved, *You are my beloved Son, today have I begotten you.*

  • Clement of Alexandria, Paedagogus 1.25.2

But once more, with respect to that rendering which is contained in some codices of the Gospel according to Luke, and which bears that the words heard in the heavenly voice were those that are written in the Psalm, You are my Son, this day have I begotten you; although it is said not to be found in the more ancient Greek codices, yet if it can be established by any copies worthy of credit, what results but that we suppose both voices to have been heard from heaven, in one or other verbal order?

St. Augustine, On the Harmony of the Gospels 2.14


#10

3.) The only Son / The only God

No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known. (John 1:18 ESV)

No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known. (RSV)

The majority of manuscripts at this point here read "the only Son" (ὁ μονογενὴς υἱός ho monogenēs yios or some variant thereof). A few manuscripts, on the other hand - which includes some of the earliest witnesses to John's gospel such as Papyrus 66 (ca. AD 200), Papyrus 75 (ca. AD 175-225), Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Ephraemi - read at this point "the only God." (To be more exact, P75 has ὁ μονογενὴς θεός ho monogenēs theos, while the anarthrous - in other words, not having the definite article - μονογενὴς θεός monogenēs theos is found in P66, Vaticanus, Regius, and Ephraemi. Sinaiticus originally had monogenēs theos but a corrector had added ὁ ho.) Also attesting to this reading are Clement of Alexandria, Origen (cf. Commentary on John 2.29 - for the record they cite the variant with the definite article), the Bohairic Coptic version, and some of the Syriac versions.

Of the two, "the only God" is the harder reading, since the phrase is unique (monogenēs is found in the gospel either as a standalone word or paired with yios) and is hard to understand in context. The fact that John doesn't pair monogenēs with theos except possibly for this instance, coupled with the fact that this is the reading found in earlier manuscripts (many of which are, admittedly, witnesses to the Alexandrian text) and one known to a couple of early writers might tip the scales in favor of this version. It could be argued that since "the only Son" is a more common Johannine expression, it is more difficult to imagine scribes altering "son" to "God" than the other way around.

But in defense of "the only Son," one could use the difficulty as an argument against the former reading by phrasing it like this: John is known to use monogenēs in connection with yios, but never theos. (Ho) monogenēs theos, therefore, isn't a very Johannne phrase. There is also a possibility that yios was confused with theos because the two words are often abbreviated in Christian manuscripts (a practice called nomina sacra): theos (θεός = ΘΕΟϹ) was written as ΘϹ and yios (υἱός = ΥΙΟϹ), ΥϹ, but this cannot be the (full) explanation since besides the ΘϹ/ΥϹ variation an article has also been added to monogenēs.

http://img839.imageshack.us/img839/6716/john118.jpg

Ho monogenēs theos is thought to be almost certainly a scribal emendation of the anarthrous monogenēs theos; apparently the missing article was a problem. The Byzantine tradition added it unanimously (ho monogenēs yios). Bruce Metzger says, "There is no reason why the article should have been deleted, and when υἱός supplanted θεός it would certainly have been added."

There is, for the record, a third and a fourth variant. One is ὁ μονογενὴς (ho monogenēs "the only one" / "the only-begotten"), which, while attractive because of internal considerations, is only attested in a few sources (Ephrem's commentary on the Diatessaron, the Syriac Palimpsest, and a few Vulgate manuscripts). The other (ho monogenēs tou theou "the only (Son) of God," another minor reading) is most likely a simple harmonization of the two main conflicting readings.


#11

How are we to understand monogenēs theos then? A common answer is that theos should be understood as appositive to monogenēs, in effect yielding: "the only one, (who is) God" or "the only one, (who is) divine." Many modern translations who follow this reading usually understand and render the passage in this way. (cf. 1970 NAB and NRSV "God the only Son"; NET "the only one, himself God"; CEV "the only Son, who is truly God"; NLT "the unique One, who is himself God"; TEV "the only Son, who is the same as God"; NIV "the one and only Son, who is himself God." Also note 1986 NAB/NAB-Re "the only Son, God"; ESV "the only God"; NASB "the only begotten God.")

The NET footnote for the verse states:

As for translation, it makes the most sense to see the word θεός as in apposition to μονογενής, and the participle ὁ ὤν (ho ōn) as in apposition to θεός, giving in effect three descriptions of Jesus rather than only two. (B. D. Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, 81, suggests that it is nearly impossible and completely unattested in the NT for an adjective followed immediately by a noun that agrees in gender, number, and case, to be a substantival adjective: “when is an adjective ever used substantivally when it immediately precedes a noun of the same inflection?” This, however, is an overstatement. First, as Ehrman admits, μονογενής in John 1:14 is substantival. And since it is an established usage for the adjective in this context, one might well expect that the author would continue to use the adjective substantivally four verses later. Indeed, μονογενής is already moving toward a crystallized substantival adjective in the NT [cf. Luke 9:38; Heb 11:17]; in patristic Greek, the process continued [cf. PGL 881 s.v. 7]. Second, there are several instances in the NT in which a *substantival adjective is followed by a noun with which it has complete concord: cf., e.g., Rom 1:30; Gal 3:9; 1 Tim 1:9; 2 Pet 2:5.) The modern translations which best express this are the NEB (margin) and TEV. Several things should be noted: μονογενής alone, without υἱός, can mean “only son,” “unique son,” “unique one,” etc. (see 1:14). Furthermore, θεός is anarthrous. As such it carries qualitative force much like it does in 1:1c, where θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος (theos ēn ho logos) means “the Word was fully God” or “the Word was fully of the essence of deity.” Finally, ὁ ὤν occurs in Rev 1:4, 8; 4:8, 11:17; and 16:5, but even more significantly in the LXX of Exod 3:14. Putting all of this together leads to the translation given in the text.


#12

“If anyone does not receive as sacred and canonical the complete books of sacred scripture with all their parts, as the holy council of Trent listed them, or denies that they were divinely inspired : let him be anathema.” - First Vatican Council, Canon 1:2

“Now this supernatural revelation, according to the belief of the universal church, as declared by the sacred council of Trent, is contained in written books and unwritten traditions, which were received by the apostles from the lips of Christ himself, or came to the apostles by the dictation of the holy Spirit, and were passed on as it were from hand to hand until they reached us. The complete books of the old and the new Testament with all their parts, as they are listed in the decree of the said council and as they are found in the old Latin Vulgate edition, are to be received as sacred and canonical.” - First Vatican Council, Session 3, 2:5-6

All of the verses as contained in the Latin Vulgate at the Council of Trent are Holy Scripture. The Church has spoken. :wink:


#13

Which copy of the Old Latin Vulgate? I would love to take a look at the manuscript the First Vatican Council is referring to if you tell me where it is.


#14

The Clementine Vulgate was published shortly after Trent. You can read about the Clementine Vulgate here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sixto-Clementine_Vulgate You can read the Clementine Vulgate here: veritasbible.com/vulgate2005


#15

Complicated stuff.

Patrick, tell us about the added ending in Mark. What's up with that?


#16

Wasn’t the Old Vulgate the Bible that Jerome was supposed to fix?


#17

That is the Vetus Latina.


#18

The Sistine Vulgate doesn’t get too much love, doesn’t it? :wink:

As Zekariya said, that is the Vetus Latina (which isn’t really one version, but a collective term for different local translations of biblical books into Latin that were made before St. Jerome’s time). Or to be more exact, the Latin translation of the New Testament and the Psalms used at that time in Rome.


#19

That there, sir, is one of the famousest, yep. :wink:

4.) The endings of Mark

And the sabbath having passed, Mary the Magdalene, and Mary of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that having come, they may anoint him. And very early in the morning of the first of the sabbaths, they come to the tomb, at the rising of the sun, and they were saying to each other, “Who will roll away for us the stone out of the door of the tomb?” And having looked up, they see that the stone has been rolled away - for it was very large - and having entered into the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right, dressed in a long white robe, and they were thunderstruck. And he says to them, “Do not be thunderstruck! You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, the crucified one. He has been raised up; he is not here - see the place where they laid him! But go, say to his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to the Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And, having come out, they ran from the tomb, and trembling and bewilderment was gripping them; and they said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

It is now widely agreed that the original gospel ends at this point in a cliffhanger-like sort of way, although there is a huge mass of different, conflicting opinions as to whether Mark intended to end here on purpose, or was prevented from finishing, or whether he wrote an ending which was somehow subsequently lost. The way 16:8 ends is more striking in the original Greek, since it finishes with the conjunction γάρ gar (‘for’, ‘because’): literally translated the text would run, “they were afraid because.” While we do have some examples from Greek literature where gar may end a sentence (it was not a common construction, but although gar is never the first word of a sentence, there is no rule against it being the last word), Mark’s gospel would be the only narrative in antiquity to do so, if he did intend to finish here.

It isn’t just us moderns who are unsatisfied with this abrupt ending. In fact, we actually have a number of ‘endings’ attached to the gospel from antiquity which attempt to provide the rest of the story, the longest of which is familiar to many people as verses 9-20.

Before we go on, I should point out that Mark is probably the worst-attested of the four gospels among the early papyri, most likely because it was eclipsed by Matthew (which is the second best-attested gospel, after John’s). We only have three fragmentary papyri of Mark, two of which (Papyrus 45 from ca. AD 250 and the 4th century Papyrus 88) are early. Since the page(s) containing Mark 16 has not survived in these three copies, we have no way of knowing how the chapter went in them.


#20

How do we know which translation and which manuscript of the translation the First Vatican Council was referring to? Where is the inerrant Bible located?


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