Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A New Conjecture on the Ending of Mark

In the most recent issue of Theology, Philip Oakeshott suggests his own solution to the unease raised by the abrupt εφοβουντο γαρ as the ending of Mark. He suggests that only the first part of the sentence has survived and that it must be amended along the lines of Mark 6:49-50a. There the disciples are terrified seeing Jesus walking on water and think that he is a ghost, a φαντασμα. The last sentence of the gospel might have read, according to Oakeshott, something like εφοβουντο γαρ, δοκουσαι οτι φαντασμα εστιν. Since the early church, as already seen in Matthew and Luke's reworking of Mark, did not think it the best of ideas to refer to the resurrection as seeing a ghost in the shadow of a tomb, the ending did not last very long.

Oakeshott, Philip. "The Wrong Conclusion: Mark 16.1-8 and Literary Theory." Theology 113, no. 872 (2010): 105-13.


  1. I probably mind conjectural emendation less than many critics, but I would reserve it to fix a clear anomaly in the transmitted text. I don't think that 16:8 qualifies. I'll have to read the full article, but I'm currenltly having difficulty seeing how that this conjectured lost ending is superior to other conjectures.

  2. Hmm. I'm reluctant to comment, not having read the article. But why would anybody amputate while healing was an option?

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  3. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess this was a pretty short article.