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John M Kight
5 Stars Out Of 5
May 11, 2016
John M Kight
Perspectives on the Ending of Mark: Four Views edited by David Alan Black is a tour de force into one of the most significant textual variants in the New Testament. Each of the chapters included in this volume originated from a conference entitled The Last Twelve Verses of Mark: Original or Not, held April 13-14, 2007, at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. For those familiar with the textual issues surrounding Mark 16:9-20, the enlisted contributors (Daniel Wallace, Maurice Robinson, J. Keith Elliott, and David Alan Black) inevitably stand within two major persuasions (as the title of the conference suggests) with varying degrees of distance between them.
Maurice Robinson and David Alan Black both argue that Mark 16:9-20 is the original ending of the Second Gospel. Still, of the two contributors, it is likely that the reader will find Robinson to have provided a much more persuasive presentation than Black. Robinson provides interaction with ancient sources concerning the Long Ending (LE), analyzes the vocabulary of the LE, displays an interesting set of parallels between various sections of the Second Gospel (1:32-39; 3:14-15; 6:7-13; 7:24-8:38) and the LE, and closes with fifteen points of conclusion concerning the originality of the LE. However, in my opinion, for many readers, while they may find the chapter by Robinson helpful, they will likely remain unconvinced by the external evidence witnessed in the earliest manuscripts.
Daniel Wallace and J. Keith Elliot both argue that Mark 16:9-20 is not the original ending of the Second Gospel. Similar to that witnessed above, I believe that the reader will find Wallace to have provided a much more persuasive presentation than Elliot. I would submit that the contribution by Wallace is worth admission alone. Wallace begins by delineating the inevitable existence of presuppositions when approaching this issue and provides a personal story of how his personal presuppositions had to be challenged before he was able to best analyze the data. The chapter by Wallace is also the most helpful chapter of the book by way of explanation of the textual issue. For Wallace, both the external and internal evidence suggest that the last twelve verses of Mark are indeed not original to the Second Gospela conclusion that Wallace skillfully guides the reader to recognize as the most likely scenario.
Perspectives on the Ending of Mark: Four Views concludes with a helpful summary by Darrell Bock. Indeed, Bock unashamedly sides with Wallace on the matter of the ending of Mark but does an excellent job evenhandedly outlining the implications of each of the preceding chapters. It must be stated here that the chapters by Black and Elliott are certainly worth reading, but are likely to find little outside adherence. In fact, in my opinion, this volume could have been more helpful had it actually eliminated Black and Elliott altogether and provided more interaction between Robinson and Wallace. The lack of direct interaction between the positions was a major downfall in my opinion, and had it been included, in my opinion, this volume would have been much better for the end user.
The lack of interaction that many readers have come to appreciate from the Perspective series is unfortunateespecially given the nature of the discussion and the inclusion of two peripheral views that could have been easily eliminated. Still, the contribution of Maurice Robinson and Daniel Wallace are well worth the cover price of this volume. If you are interested in textual criticism and/or looking to teach or preach from the Gospel of Mark, the issues detailed in this volume will need to be addressed, and I am confident that Perspectives on the Ending of Mark: Four Views edited by David Alan Black will provide you with much food for thought. It comes highly recommended!
I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Perspectives on the Ending of Mark: 4 views. Edited by David Alan Black. Nashville, TN: B&H Academics, 2008. 145 pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-080544762-0.
Biblical apologetics could be described as the act of giving a defense of the Christian scriptures. In order to give a reasoned critique of the Christian scriptures one needs to understand the methods, issues, and arguments surrounding the study of the biblical manuscripts, both interior and exterior critiques. One of the most important issues for the defense of the canonical Gospels is the question of the ending of the Gospel of Mark. Most textual issues have to do with word variation, or the occasional phrase, but with the Gospel of Mark we are dealing with textual variants which bring into question the entire ending of Marks Gospel (16:9-20). Of course the amount of reading that would be necessary to understand the issues is enormous, that it is important for anyone who wishes to begin researching these subjects to have access to a good introductory text which not only articulates the main difficulties, but also provides the necessary references that the interested researcher can use to further pursue his studies. This is why multiple view books, in general, are so important. This book review will be considering Perspectives on the Ending of Mark: 4 Views. Due to the nature of multiple views books I will not be able to interact with the arguments that are proposed by the individual authors. This review will begin be explaining the purpose of this book, and continue by providing an overview of the authors who collaborated in this book, their respective positions and the relative use of this book.
This book is the product of a conference that was held at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2007. The purpose of this book is to provide an introduction to the issues surrounding the final 11 verses of the Gospel of Mark (16:9-20). It seems that a number of early and reliable manuscripts do not include these verses, and the early church fathers, in general, seem to know nothing of them. However, the great majority of the extant manuscripts of Mark do include these verses, and many of the medieval theologians both accepted and argued for the authenticity of these verses. The questions that the authors of this book are attempting to answer are, "are these verses authentic (meaning, are they the original ending of Mark)? If so, among other things, why are there so many early manuscripts that don't include it, and why would all the variations? If not, then why, among other things, do almost all later manuscripts include them? The editor, David Alan Black, has done a wonderful job of providing four different perspectives on this issue.
The authors who participate in this book are, in the order that they appear in the book, Daniel Wallace, Maurice A. Robinson, J. Keith Elliott, David Alan Black, and Darrell L. Bock. Daniel Wallace, who is professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, presents arguments in favor of the claim that Mark intentionally ended his gospel at Mark 16:8. As such he argues that the long ending (vv. 9-20) and the other shorter variations are later non-canonical additions to the gospel. Maurice A. Robinson, who is professor of New Testament at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, presents, in what is probably the longest chapter of the book, a multitude of arguments in favor of the claim that Mark intended for his gospel to include vv. 9-20. J. Keith Elliott, professor of New Testament Textual Criticism at the University of Leeds, argues not only that vv. 9-20 are inauthentic (and therefore later non-canonical additions), but also, that the original ending of the gospel of Mark has been lost. The fourth position is presented by David Alan Black, professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Black's position is much more nuanced than the others in that he argues, based upon some elaborate theories concerning the history of the redaction of the gospels, that the original version of the gospel of Mark (which is, in fact, the testimony of Peter, as recorded by Mark) did not include vv. 9-20, but that Mark later wrote vv. 9-20 in order to present a completed gospel record in honor of the Apostle Peter. The final essay in the book is written by Darrell L. Bock, research professor of New Testament studies and professor of Spiritual Development and Culture at Dallas Theological Seminary, with the purpose of giving a critical overview and critique of the 4 views that are presented in this book.
The editor of this book, David Alan Black, has succeeded in providing the interested reader with a valuable introduction to the issues surrounding the questioned ending of the Gospel of Mark. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in biblical apologetics, textual criticism, or manuscript issues as a valuable introduction to a major textual difficulty. This book not only presents 4 very different views on the issue at hand, but also provides the reader with important reference material that will enable the reader to continue researching this issue. This book will be of use to anybody who is studying the gospel of Mark, or who is studying theology and desires to use the gospel of Mark in the development of their views.