Peter Head and James Snapp have a charade debate on the Mark ending

Steven Avery

My Posts on Snapp thread.

Steven Avery
James Snapp has done a fine job helping to compile the overwhelming external evidences. We might also mention the 99.9 of Latin and Syriac mss. with the traditional ending.
However, unlike Burgon and Hills and now Maurice Robinson, Wilbur Pickering, Nicholas Lunn, Jeffrey Riddle and Nick Sayers, James Snapp does not really defend authenticity!
James has a hybrid production and distribution and the text even went to Egypt missing the ending, the woman afraid, in the 1st edition. (James keeps changing conjectures, earlier he did not want any 1st edition distribution.)
In earlier days James had the “floating pericope” (sic) written by FOM (friends of Mark.) James arbitrarily changed that theory because it was far too obviously non-authentic, now it is a handy-dandy alternate writing Mark wrote somewhere that just happens to fit wonderfully for the ending.
The idea that Mark was prevented from finishing his Gospel just as he reached the resurrection has zero real evidence, and would have been a part of church history. And this is the first of many no-evidence special pleading conjectural absurdities from James.
And I will stop here, curious as how our learned textual critics have wrongly accepted the plea from James? Is it just because he pulls out the now meaningless word “authentic”? James is in the same boat as Tregelles and Metzger, just pretending, faux authenticity.
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Steven Avery

My posts on Peter Head thread

Steven Avery
Peter Head
“The lack of any meeting in Galilee predicted in Mark 14:28 and 16:7. This is a major problem with the Longer Ending of Mark—it doesn’t deliver what both Jesus and the angel promised would take place!"
This is only a problem due to the error of Markan priority. A careful examination shows Markan dependence on Luke, so Luke (written to the high priest Theophilus c. AD 41) was already published and circulating and is available for the Galilee details.
Pure Bible Forum
Mark's dependence on Luke - the end of Markan priority - plus support for the traditional ending
This builds on the excellent work of Ben C. Smith, but he did not have the Mark ending as an example.
This information is out of the league of James Snapp, who, like Peter Head, is actually against our traditional Mark ending being authentic and original.
And I would agree that this is a “major problem” - for those stuck in the muck of the Markan priority error!

Steven Avery
Note that the Markan dependence on Luke is also clearly shown in Mark 16:9, in an issue raised by Peter Head,
Mark 16:9 (AV)
Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
Luke 8:2 (AV)
And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,
Mark is using what was reported by Luke. No difficulty at all, unless you accept the false idea of Markan priority.

Steven Avery
Where Mark places the “seven demons” history of Mary Magdalene, from Luke, is his writing style. Makes sense to connect her supernatural, miraculous deliverance with the miraculous, supernatural resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Calling this “incongruous” is hyper-critical nonsense.

Steven Avery
Similarly, Mark 16:9 is giving the time for a different event than 16:2. In chronology studies such subtleties can be critical. To call it “unnecessarily repetitive” is simply sloppy reading. And throwing in a vague reference to 16:1 is more sloppiness.

Steven Avery
There is an Important reason to emphasize more than the Greek ms. when discussing the 99.8% of mss. supporting the traditional ending. It is not difficult for one or two of the major language lines to be off on a verse or section. (Although that would tend to be omission rather than addition.) However a full verse or section error in all three major lines is close to impossible. Even more so if you claim inspiration and preservation.
Thus the emphasis is much clearer and stronger when saying;
99.8% of the. …
Greek, Latin and Syriac ms.

Steven Avery
Peter Head
“The contents, vocabulary, and “awkward fit” of the Longer Ending in relation to Mark 16:1–8 suggests that this was not the authorial ending to Mark’s Gospel. This is a very important admission from Snapp, which I will take further below.”
This is why James Snapp is not a true defender of Mark ending authenticity, he is a Trojan Horse for the abrupt ending.
Why not have a true defender, who defends Markan authorship in one text?

Steven Avery
Jeff Cate - the James Snapp theory is convoluted special pleading. Of zero merit.
It is unfortunate that it is pawned off as the defemse argument, when Maurice Robinson, Nicholas Lunn, Wilbur Pickering, Nick Sayers, Jeffrey Riddle and various others could give a real defense of Markan authenticity. Following in the footsteps of Burgon and Hills.
A real way to confuse Text & Canon readers, who are wrongly given the impression that there is no defense of true Markan authenticity of the traditional ending.

Steven Avery
Bonar Lumban Raja -
Peter Head
“a quasi-canonical space”
Just throwing sand. If a person really believed the verses are not scripture they should black them out of their Bibles and try to have new versions that match their text.
If they really believed …

Steven Avery
The one Old Latin ms. does not end at 16:8. It has the short ending, as pointed out by Peter Head. Every other Old Latin, with similar 2nd century heritage, has the full ending.
The Curetonian Old Syriac has the ending, and is the same early era as the Sinaitic. Every Peshitta ms. with the Mark section has the ending.
The claim on the Christian Palestinian Aramaic needs a source and analysis, since some early CPA have the ending, and the Sinaiticus Rescriptus ms. is a palimpsest with little documentation.
The Armenian is the source for the Georgian.
Basically, all these singular extant omissions, except the Armenian-Georgian, were quickly overshadowed in the text line by the full traditional ending.

Steven Avery

Additional points for research and writing on Peter Head page


Hypocrisy of textcrits concerned with ECW in Mark ending
Yet not Pericope Adultera or Heavenly Witnesses

Are there others where ECW explain variants
(Amy Donaldson)

It is interesting to compare how the modern textual critics handle early church writer information. In the Pericope Adulterae Augustine and Ambrose explain the tendency to drop the verse, with explanations. In the heavenly witnesses, the Vulgate Prologue to the Canonical Epistles of Jerome (wrongly accused of being a forgery) similarly describes the tendency for the verse to be dropped. Yet, these are basically ignored by the textual critics, since they are not Vaticanus variants. When it comes to the Mark ending, all of sudden the mixed testimony of Eusebius through Jerome (who included the section in the Vulgate) becomes key. Almost all textual critic arguments are skewed to be in support of the Vaticanus-primacy Critical Text (the Westcott-Hort recension.)


Sinaiticus 4th century joke


Fallacy of deciding earliest based on one extant ms.


Little discussion of inclusion vs. omission! Omission much simpler, inclusion from nothing would lead to much wilder add-ons.

Finally, in terms of method, it is a general principle within New Testament textual criticism to work on the principle that the reading which explains the other readings is to be preferred. Snapp attempts to explain the ending at Mark 16:8 as an editorial emendation by “overly meticulous scribes,” that is, as a deletion of material within their exemplars.

But evidence for this sort of speculative conjecture is lacking. A stronger argument is that an ending at Mark 16:8 explains the origin of the other readings. It is an unusual and abrupt ending, which gave rise to a natural desire for a clearer ending, and this is evident in both the Shorter and the Longer endings to Mark. This is the tendency of the textual tradition as already noted.


But I think the internal issues go further than this in the case of both style and content. In relation to style, given that twelve verses are a small sample, two features suggest a different author: the frequent use of the pronoun “that” or “those” (ἐκεῖνος) referring to people (v. 10: ἐκείνη; v. 11: κἀκεῖνοι; v. 13: κἀκεῖνοι, ἐκείνοις; v. 20: ἐκεῖνοι), and the general shift in connectives away from a simple “and” kai (καί) to the post-positive “but” de (δέ; vv. 9, 12, 14, 17, 20 [in a μέν … δέ construction])—Mark generally uses de to signal a change of subject, but in 16:9–20 it becomes the default connective.


Ignores commentaries and scholars in favor of ending
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Steven Avery

These are covered in my posts, but more may be doable.

  • The reintroduction of Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene has already appeared three times in the latter sections of Mark: at the cross (15:40), at the tomb seeing where Jesus’ body was placed (15:47), and coming to the now empty tomb on Sunday morning (16:1). Because of this, it is incongruous to introduce her in 16:9 as “the one from whom seven demons had been expelled” (a phrase that comes from Luke’s introduction of her in Luke 8:2)
  • The restating of the day and time. Mark 16:1 states in emphatic manner that the women came to the tomb “very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen,” while 16:9 states the time of Jesus’ resurrection as “early on the first day of the week” in a way that is both unnecessarily repetitive and also in different wording to what was used in 16:1.
  • The lack of any meeting in Galilee predicted in Mark 14:28 and 16:7. This is a major problem with the Longer Ending of Mark—it doesn’t deliver what both Jesus and the angel promised would take place!

Steven Avery

These may give even more Luke to Mark confirmation ... see the Galilee one above,

review what I have in the dependence thread.

In relation to content there is a significant issue that the Longer Ending draws upon parallel material in the other Gospels.6 The individual appearance to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9–11) parallels John 20:14–18; the appearance to two people walking in the country (Mark 16:12–13) parallels the two disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24:13–35; the appearance to the eleven while reclining (Mark 16:14) parallels Luke 24:36–43; the commissioning (Mark 16:15) parallels Matthew 28:19–20; and the mention of the ascension (Mark 16:19) parallels Luke 24:50–51. This synthesizing feature of the content of the Longer Ending has long been recognized as reflecting a different relationship to the other Gospels than is reflected within Mark’s Gospel.7

(Mark 16:12–13) parallels the two disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24:13–35;

Mark 16:12-13 (AV)
After that he appeared in another form unto two of them,
as they walked, and went into the country.
And they went and told it unto the residue:
neither believed they them.

Luke 24:13-35 (AV)
And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

the appearance to the eleven while reclining (Mark 16:14) parallels Luke 24:36–43;

Mark 16:14 (AV)
Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat,
and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart,
because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

Luke 24:36-42 (AV)
And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.

and the mention of the ascension (Mark 16:19) parallels Luke 24:50–51.

Mark 16:19 (AV)
So then after the Lord had spoken unto them,
he was received up into heaven,
and sat on the right hand of God.

Luke 24:50-51 (AV)
And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.
And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.