Monday, April 09, 2012

Women at the Tomb 2

... continued from yesterday.
We do not really learn about the empty tomb from Paul. However, he does seem to presume some sort of continuity between the body in which we die and the body in which we rise. "The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable" (1 Cor. 15:42). The body with which we are raised is not made up of flesh and blood (15:50), but it is somehow in continuity with our earthly body. So for Paul to believe that Jesus rose from the dead would seem to imply that Jesus' earthly body would no longer be located in the earth.

But it is in the gospels that we hear explicitly about the empty tomb. Mark is again the earliest gospel account. In the final hours of Friday before sundown, before the beginning of Sabbath, they place Jesus' body fairly quickly in someone else's tomb, someone named Joseph of Arimathea. Then early Sunday morning, after the Sabbath is over, some of the women who followed Jesus want to anoint his body with burial spices. Mark mentions Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and a woman named Salome (16:1). [1]

When the women get there, they find the stone in front of the tomb rolled away and the body is gone.  In Mark's account, two remarkable things then happen. First, they are told by a young man in a white robe to tell the disciples to go to Galilee. There the disciples and Peter will see him again, as he promised them. The second remarkable thing is that the women do not tell the disciples, at least not initially, "because they were afraid" (16:8).

This is where Mark as we have it ends. True, many versions go on to print twelve more verses, but they are not likely the way Mark originally ended. The earliest copies of Mark that have survived--and the earliest statements about the ending of Mark up until the early 300s--do not have these verses. Perhaps even more convincing is that these verses don't fit here. Mark 16:9 seems to start all over again as if the first eight verses didn't even exist. Accordingly, the vast majority of experts on the biblical text do not think Mark 16:9-20 were the way Mark originally read.

[insert text box on textual criticism]

However, it does seem quite reasonable that the original version of Mark did have something here. We do actually find another, shorter ending in some ancient manuscripts (hand written copies). No one thinks it was the original ending either, but it demonstrates the early sense that something was missing from the ending at verse 8. Indeed, Mark 16:8 as it stands ends with the word "for," a strange way to end a book.

I think it is quite possible that the original ending of Mark went on to tell of an appearance to Peter or the disciples in Galilee, perhaps some earlier version of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20. Matthew was based on Mark, so perhaps in Matthew 28 we catch some small glimpse of the original ending of Mark. Some have mistakenly claimed that Mark does not believe Jesus rose from the dead. This is quite incorrect, since Mark 16:6 clearly proclaims that Jesus is risen. Mark as we have it simply doesn't narrate any of the resurrection encounters...

[1] Matthew seems to identify Salome as the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee (27:56). Additionally, the other Mary is said in Matthew to be the mother of James and Joseph. Luke 24:10 additionally mentions a woman named Joanna. John 20 only mentions Mary Magdalene.


Angie Van De Merwe said...

Matthew 28:19 was a later addition to the text.

The later addition is due to political, as well as a theological agenda.

Ken Schenck said...

I assume you mean a later addition to the story. All the evidence indicates it was part of the original text of Matthew.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

The Trintitarian "formula" for baptism was a formula used under the political power of the Church to expand its mission (Constantine being "blamed" for its Trinitarian emphasis, by Eastern Orthodox Churches). It is the question of who Jesus is/was.

The Church's political power was long before the Enlightenment,when natural processes were understood to be "first causes", not God, or when individuals could worship/or not, according to conscience, and not as defined by a religious authority, or text.

The push for "political correctness" is what transcentdental truth is according to the Church. Whether one believes that Jesus died for our sins as an "ultimate sacrifice" or if Jesus was THE moral example that all Christians have to emulate, both seek power over individual minds, lives and purposes.

Our country is at a crossroads as to how our country will be defined. Will a power elite establish themselves as the new "Magesterium" where individuals must "pay their dues" to please "god's authority" sacrificing their liberty and lives for a "greater good", or "higher authority"?

I agree that our country must have leadership, which must be educated and informed as broadly as possible, to pragmatically govern to protect and promote liberty, which does not expand government's power, but limits it and holds it accountable to the checks and balances in our Constitution.

Liberty is self government, where individuals choose values, define their lives and seek to live in peace with others, even when they differ as to religious and political philosophy.

Ken Schenck said...

We can debate what the three part formula of Matt. 28:19 meant originally, but no one questions that it was part of the original document of Matthew.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

I suppose I am so "sensitized" to "social" (media) attempts at controlling people, using "social justice" that it makes me reel...Justice has to be defined in individual terms, IF the individual means anything at all, otherwise, we have "the social" power groupings at war with WHO will win the ear and heart...and it is not what our Founders had in mind, this is why they allowed for liberty of conscience concerning religion, because of the conflict religion creates. But, it also means that they did not forbid religious liberty, either, if the individual chose that as a value!!!

The women at the tomb in our "poltically correct" society has been useful to promote "equal rights" for women. But, this isn't the only "politically correct" position that has been promoted in "conditioning the masses"....for "group think"....

Scott F said...

I, too, have seen the originality of the Trinitarian formula in Matt 28 questioned. I think I read it in Ehrman, so you will probably draw your own conclusions ;)

Scott F said...

My bad: I was thinking of 1 John 5:7

Ken Schenck said...

You beat me to the response, Scott. I was going to say that I accept the possibility in theory that all the existing manuscripts might be off from their original, but the burden of proof is massively on the person arguing for that. There are no manuscripts of Matthew I've heard of that don't have the formula.

James E. Snapp, Jr. said...

Hi Ken,

(Coming in late, but at least I'm here now.)

I've researched about Mark 16:9-20 quite a bit in the course of my text-critical work. I think it was in the autograph.

Your statement, "The earliest copies of Mark that have survived--and the earliest statements about the ending of Mark up until the early 300s--do not have these verses" does not induce confidence. The two Greek manuscripts in which Mark's text stops at 16:8 were made in approximately 325 and 350. In the 100's, Justin (c. 160) made a strong allusion to Mk. 16:20; the anonymous author of Epistula Apostolorum (150/180)used the narrative framework of 16:9-11; Tatian incorporated the whole passage into the Diatessaron (c. 172), and Irenaeis specifically quoted Mk. 16:19.

So how can you credibly say that "the earliest statements about the ending of Mark up until the early 300s" do not have these verses? The facts are the exact opposite: no one says anything about copies of Mark that end at verse 8 until Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 325).

I hope you are not just gullibly absorbing Metzger's claims from his Textual Commentary like so many other commentators have. If you would like, I can send you a digital copy of my work on this.

Yours in Christ,

James Snapp, Jr.
Minister, Curtisville Christian Church