Christian Palestinian Aramaic (Codex Sinaiticus Rescriptus) - correcting the Peter Head misattribution - A Case Against the Longer Ending of Mark

Steven Avery


Peter M. Head
Text and Canon
A Case Against the Longer Ending of Mark

"The earliest evidence we have for the Christian Palestinian Aramaic version of Mark (Codex Sinaiticus Rescriptus in St Petersburg, Syr. No. 16) ends at 16:8."


Steven Avery:

Not really.
We are in lacuna-land.

Manuscript Room - Mark 16

In 1855, Tischendorf brought 109 folios from the Sinai monastery to the library of St-Petersburg, catalogued as “St-Petersburg Syr. n°16,” and all belonging to the Codex Sinaiticus Rescriptus (CRSP). They have been overwritten in Georgian script by John Zosimus in 964-965 CE at “la Laure de S. Saba” (Judean desert), according to Brosset (1859, p. 264, 266 and 280). The Georgian folios are underwritten in Christian Palestinian Aramaic (CPA) writing, dated between the 5th and the 8th century CE. In its earliest form, CPA shares characteristics with Jewish Palestinian Aramaic and Samaritan Aramaic (Morgenstern, 2012, p. 628). CRSPC f. 103/40r-40v is the most ancient CPA witness for Mk 16:1-8a. The f.40v ends after kwlm, “and to anyone,” and cannot be counted as a witness of an end in 16:8, the next folio being missing. All the later CPA lectionaries have the longer ending (ECM of Mark, vol. I.2, p. 106). The three marginal notes show liturgical indications or canons numbering (Brock, 1999, p. 765-766). The transcription has been edited in 1998 by Christa Müller-Kessler and Michael Sokoloff (Groningen: Styx; copyright granted by Brill). The transliteration and translation have been prepared by Mark Geller (UCLA, London). © Claire Clivaz, MARK16, SNSF, CC-BY 4.0

Has this error been pointed out?
(I found it today when I saw it quoted on CARM and my spidey sense tingled.)

Shouldn't the article be corrected?

There are other problems with the Peter Head article and manuscript summary, but this one is quite a doozy. Apparently the Christian Palistinean Aramaic is a solid witness for the long ending.

On the Syriac, Peter includes Old Scratch -
Syriac Sinaiticus or Codex Sinaiticus Syriacus (syrs), known also as the Sinaitic Palimpsest, of Saint Catherine's Monastery
but omits the Syriac Curetonian manuscript which is virtually the same age.

On the Peshitta it is hundreds of manuscripts with the pure Bible ending. Some date the Peshitta early, some later. The missing five books point to early.

As for Sinaiticus ....


Tischendorf took various stuff in 1844 and 1853 before he put his attention to making Sinaiticus "yellow with age".
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Steven Avery


Peter Head
Yes. I didn't check the information that I cited well enough. What I said was factually correct. And the sources I refered to didn't give full transcriptions. In fact, CPA C is cited in the ECM Mark as supporting the omission of 16.9-20 (Mark, p. 828). I did look at a published photo of the palimpsest page, but didn't attempt to read the underlying text. Anyway, I now note that in the ECM commentary on the versions (Mark 2/2, p. 278) it states re C that 'the text breaks off with OUDEN'. .... 'No statement about additional text is possible.' This coheres with what Claire Clivaz has noted (above).
So, a) it is factually true to say what I did say that "the earliest evidence we have for the Christian Palestinian Aramaic version of Mark (Codex Sinaiticus Rescriptus in St Petersburg, Syr. No. 16) ends at Mark 16.8";
But b) that is not evidence for or against how much more text followed on the next (lost) page.

Peter Head
Praise the Lord!

Peter Head
So that is good. It is always helpful to get a more accurate picture of the full range of evidence through proper consideration of all the details.
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Steven Avery

Steven Avery
Thanks, Peter.
It is distressing that you use the phrases
“factually correct”
“factually true”
for the totally misleading data.
Not a good look.
Factually speaking, we then see you have an errant conclusion that is “factually” false:
“ … Christian Palestinian Aramaic … moves from an original, shorter Mark towards incorporating a version of Mark with the Longer Ending.”
Since there is no CPA “original, shorter Mark”!
So ECM contradicts itself, commentary correct, apparatus wrong, and needs correction? Who makes the correction? Do they publish an errata sheet online?
How does Text & Canon make the corrections?

Steven Avery

There is a quote from Metzger about stopping a page on verse 8.

For this?
Or an Arabic ?


Authentic: The Case for Mark 16:9-20
James Snapp, Jr.
May 2015

(16) Arabic Lectionary 13 (Date: around 800.) This Arabic lectionary-text stored at the Vatican Library was cited in the 1800’s by Scrivener, Hammond and others as a witness for the non-inclusion of 16:9 to 20. However, Metzger explains: “Since, however, through an accidental loss of leaves the original hand of the manuscript breaks off just before the end of Mark 16.8, its testimony is without significance in discussing the textual problem.”298n C. R. Williams likewise concludes, after reviewing the details about this witness that were brought to light by J. P. P. Martin, that is it merely a damaged manuscript, and it actually shows that before the manuscript was damaged, the text of Mark continued after 16:8, on a page that is now lost.299n

298n - See page 123 (footnote) in Bruce Metzger’s Textual Commentary, © 1971 by the United Bible Societies, Stuttgart, Germany.

299n - See pages 398 and 399 of C. R. Williams’ article The Appendices to the Gospel According to Saint Mark, in Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vol. 18, Feb. 1915, Yale University Press.
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Steven Avery

ETC comment - June 4, 2024

"Text & Canon Institute posted two new articles this month on the Longer Ending. The first, by James Snapp, gives a condensed version of his argument in favor of authenticity and the second, by our own Peter Head, gives a rejoinder."

An important correction involves the Peter Head article.

""The earliest evidence we have for the Christian Palestinian Aramaic version of Mark (Codex Sinaiticus Rescriptus in St Petersburg, Syr. No. 16) ends at 16:8."

However this ms. is lacuna for the ending of verse 8, it has part a but not b, going on to the next page. So it is more likely evidence FOR the long ending, as they would probably have squeezed in the verse rather than start a new page with just half a verse. At any rate, it is NOT evidence for the short ending.

The article is here:

A Case Against the Longer Ending of Mark
Peter Head

Peter indicated that the ECM apparatus is wrong, although the commentary is correct, in our discussion on the NT Textual Criticism forum, where he thanked me for the correction.

And I am trying to contact ECM, first through Gregory Scott Paulson, to check and fix their apparatus, and hopefully the Text & Canon page will have the correction shortly.


Steven Avery