Richard Carrier on the Ending of Mark

It’s an excellent and thoroughly-researched contribution to scholarship.  And the best part is, it is available for free on ErrancyWiki!  Check it out here!  Below I’ve included a snippet:

Honest Bibles will tell you (in a footnote at least) that in the Gospel according to Mark all the verses after 16:8 are not found in “some of the oldest manuscripts.” In fact, it is now the near unanimous agreement of experts that all those verses were either forged, or composed by some other author and inserted well after the original author composed the Gospel (I’ll call that original author “Mark,” though we aren’t in fact certain of his name). The evidence is persuasive, both internal and external. In fact, this is one of the clearest examples of Christians meddling with the manuscripts of the canonical Bible, inserting what they wanted their books to have said (and possibly even subtracting what they didn’t want it to have said, although I won’t explore that possibility here). For the conclusion that those final verses were composed by a different author and added to Mark is more than reasonably certain.

If Mark did not write verses 16:9-20, but some anonymous person(s) later added those verses, pretending (or erroneously believing) that Mark wrote them (as in fact they must have), then this Gospel, and thus the Bible as a whole, cannot be regarded as inerrant, or even consistently reliable. Were those words intended by God, he would have inspired Mark to write them in the first place. That he didn’t entails those words were not inspired by God, and therefore the Bible we have is flawed, tainted by sinful human forgery or fallibility. Even the astonishing attempt to claim the forger was inspired by God cannot gain credit.1 For it is so inherently probable as to be effectively certain that a real God would have inspired Mark in the first place and not waited to inspire a later forger. The alternative is simply unbelievable. And in any case, a lie cannot be inspired, nor can a manifest error, yet this material is presented as among that which is “according to Mark,” which is either a lie or an error.

via Legends2 – Errancy Wiki.

He has also blogged about it here: Mark 16:9-20.  From the blog:

A good long while ago I completed a contract job to produce a thoroughly researched and argued case against the authenticity of the verses in Mark 16:9-20, which the mainstream consensus has long since rejected as an interpolation but fundamentalists keep trying to rescue. The final product has now finally been published at Errancy Wiki (which years ago also published a concise summary of my case for the historical contradiction regarding the date of Jesus’ birth in Matthew and Luke: Luke vs. Matthew on the Year of Christ’s Birth).

The new article is: Mark 16:9-20 as Forgery or Fabrication. Like the earlier article, which decisively proves the bible historically errant, this article decisively proves the bible textually errant. It’s the most egregious and appalling case of doctoring the text of the New Testament on record. You may have often heard references to scholars having proved that the ending of Mark is an interpolation from manuscript and stylistic evidence. Well, if you are wondering exactly what that evidence is and how well it holds up, especially against any competent attempts to argue the contrary, this new article is for you. It is now the definitive treatment of the ending of Mark, being the most comprehensive summary of the evidence that I know. In fact when combined with the scholarship in its bibliography, it is the most complete treatment you’ll ever find.

Read what he has to say.  It’s quite astute, indeed.

2 Responses

  1. Well, let’s see here. Carrier clearly benefitted from Wieland Willker’s commentary. A quick read of Carrier’s essay reveals that he made only 38 mistakes.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  2. Name one and we will start with that.

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