Friday, December 18, 2009

Resurrection in Vaticanus vs. Washingtonianus

At an upcoming international conference, "Resurrection of the Dead. Biblical Traditions in Dialogue" to be held at the Catholic University in Leuven, Belgium April 7-9, 2010, there is one paper is of particular interest:

"Absence and Ascendance: A Narrative Comparison of the Resurrection Scene in Codex Vaticanus and Codex Washingtonianus" by Tom Shepherd, PhD Professor of New Testament Interpretation Andrews University, USA.

Codex Vaticanus (B) and Codex Washintonianus (W) illustrate extremes in the ending of the Gospel of Mark. Whereas B has the famous abrupt ending at 16:8, W not only has the long ending of Mark, but also the Freer Logion included at 16:14. While relatively little time separates the copying of the manuscripts (B from the fourth century, W from the fourth to fifth), their text types are vastly different.

Recent research in textual criticism has focused attention not only on recovery of the earliest form of the text of the New Testament, but also on the history of the transmission of the text. Because narrative analysis illustrates the underlying emphases of a story, it is well suited to demonstrate how telling the story of the resurrection in different ways highlights distinctive theological themes.

Through a narrative analysis of the ending of Mark in B and W, this paper will elucidate their special theological emphases in connection with the story of the resurrection of Jesus. Whereas the open ending of Mark in B focuses attention on the failure to share the resurrection report and implies the need for the reader to go and tell, the much longer ending in W closes many of the gaps (but not all) and focuses attention on the cosmic role of Christ and the success of his emissaries in sharing the gospel. These directions in the resurrection narrative in the two codices will be tied to other themes in each codex and to trends in church history that they illustrate.

Other main speakers at the conference: Heikki Räisänen, Geert Van Oyen, André Wénin, John J. Collins, José Costa, Adela Yarbro Collins, Daniel Marguerat, Claire Clivaz, Tobias Nicklas, Gerd Lüdemann, and Odette Mainville.

There will also be a number of seminar papers, not yet announced. Read more here.


  1. That's interesting, sort of. Speaking of the ending of the Gospel of Mark, I've completed the latest revision of my 160-page essay on the subject (defending Mk. 16:9-20 as originally part of the Gospel of Mark). Would anyone like to proof-read it? Can anyone recommend a publisher?

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  2. James,

    I would be honored to proofread it!!

    Please send to my email address:

    Brett Williams

  3. Has anyone reviewed the theory of Lee W. Woodard to the effect that W is a first century AD manuscript?

    1. Lee’s work is astounding….. but an uphill struggle to convince scholars it is first century.
      I’d go with Lee and 1st century… just on the amount of text not in W but added later by V.
      Has anyone done a translation into English?