The Unending Revelation: Mark 16:8 as a Theological Choice

Marie Noonan Sabin

in Reopening the Word

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780195143591
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834600 | DOI:
The Unending Revelation: Mark 16:8 as a Theological Choice

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Sabin argues that Mark 16:8 is the most appropriate ending to Mark's Gospel. She challenges the practice of printing in Christian Bibles verses 9–20, unanimously acknowledged to be a spurious ending, and of misleadingly ascribing it to Mark in the Christian lectionary, arguing that this practice undermines Mark's theology. She develops her argument for the fittingness of Mark 16:8 in terms of four different kinds of evidence, two external and two internal: (1) the textual or manuscript evidence; (2) the evidence from the canon; (3) the evidence from the literary structure of Mark's Gospel; (4) the evidence from Mark's theology. She compares Mark's ending at 16:8 with the endings of Matthew, Luke, and John, noting how the differences serve to highlight each evangelist's distinctive theological voice. She concludes that to add verses 9–20 to Mark's authentic ending is to blunt the voice that can reopen God's word for us today in many important ways: to the enriching Jewish context of the Christian Scripture; to lost traditions about the equality of women; to lost emphasis on the inclusiveness of the divine image in humanity; to a creative way of doing theology that allows God's revelation to be ongoing.

Keywords: authentic; canon; equality of women; inclusiveness of the divine; Jewish context; literary structure; manuscript; Mark's theological voice; revelation; spurious ending

Chapter.  10051 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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