Thursday, November 29, 2007

SBL in San Diego VII: Gospel of Mark Session Two

The second session of the Mark group met under the general heading of Textual Beginnings and Endings in Mark to consider three papers:

a) Dean B. Deppe (of Calvin Theological Seminary) on Markan Christology and the Omission of yiou theou in Mark 1:1. I was interested in this paper because it argued for the inclusion of 'Son of God' into the first verse of Mark and included a lot of arguments against my article (NTS 1991) which argued the opposite. I had got to know Dean when he visited Tyndale House on sabbatical and he had kindly sent me an advance copy of his paper. Broadly speaking his argument was that 'Son of God' is so fundamental a concept in Markan Christology, and 'Christ' is such a nuanced one, that to begin with 'the gospel of Jesus Christ' would be a rather misleading summary of Markan Christology. On this basis 'Son of God' practically demands to be original, and the omission can be explained on accidental grounds. Dean's argument was both broadly based and detailed on the textual arguments about 1.1. I wouldn't say that I was persuaded to jettison my early argument, but I thought it was a good discussion.
One specific point he raised concerned the nature of the A corrections to Sinaiticus and whether their inhouse nature supported the idea that they were corrections against the exemplar, which would suggest that the absence of 'Son of God' form Sinaiticus was merely the result of a scribal slip. I pointed out that Milne and Skeat suggest there may be grounds for thinking that the A corrector had access to a different textual tradition (or even one with marginal variants noted). Some more research would be good on this question. Perhaps the Sinaiticus project will address this point.

b) The second paper was by Clinton Wahlen (of Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies and well known to me from his time in Cambridge doing his PhD) on The Freer Logion and Early Eschatological Reflection. This was a detailed discussion of the Freer Logion and an attempt to understand it as a piece of eschatological reflection. There was a useful discussion here too, and some suggestions made about the details of his paper.

c) The third paper was by Marie Noonan Sabin (of Bristol, ME) on A New Ending for Mark? This was not really about a new ending, more of a plea for taking the existing ending at 16.8 in a positive sense: the women were amazed by divine revelation and in awe. She made an impassioned presentation, but I snuck out before the questions so I'm not sure how the group in general received this one.


  1. Anyone know how I can contact Clinton Wahlen to see if he'll give me a copy of his paper?

  2. Hi Peter,

    Clinton's email is

    Tell "hi" from me. I met him a year and a half ago in Turkey BRI meeting (he'll know)