I’ve been studying the Gospel of Mark on and off for my entire adult life.
I’m not going to pretend like I am all holy or that working on it has made me more holy. I’m not, and it hasn’t. I’m not going to pretend that my assessment of the disciples is that much different from Owen Meany‘s, although I do try not to swear when describing them. Many of you know that I’m working on the Mark volume for the BYU New Testament Commentary series. (True story: working on Mark 15:30 made me crazy because every time I read the words “save yourself,” I started humming R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” and thoroughly distracted myself. ) Most of the time, it’s the same kind of technical slog that I imagine I’d go through were I writing on any other topic. I spend a lot of time doing things like checking all of the occurrences of a certain verb and their contexts, or wading through article after article about a certain peripheral character’s motivation, or evaluating the evidence for which textual variant is most likely to have been the earliest reading. It’s mostly mundane.
But working on Mark 16, I was just overwhelmed by the reality of the resurrection, despite (or: because) Mark has no resurrection appearance. Every time I read that that young man says “look–he isn’t there. He’s been raised. See for yourself,” my heart bursts. I feel the power in those words because what they are describing is true. The holiness of this text touches the core of my being and every time I come across those words I am flattened by their power.
Yes. (Or “amen” if you prefer.)
Indeed. Thanks, Julie!
Looking forward to the volume, Julie.
I, too, like those verses in Mark 16, the minimalist account of the empty tomb. In fact, I read them verbatim from the pulpit on Sunday for my testimony, along with a selection from Luke 24 on the disciples on the road to Emmaus. I don’t care if it was fast and testimony meeting — in a Christian church, someone ought to give an Easter sermon on Easter Sunday, so I did.
Thanks, Julie. This year instead of taking a harmonized approach to Holy Week, we read strictly from Mark. Biblical studies neophyte that I am, I never realized that the ending of Mark is somehow different from the rest of the gospel. A different author? Later? Is it less reliable than the rest of the gospel? The edition I was reading indicated that there was some kind of textual junction after Mark 16:8, but didn’t explain further. Can you give me a thumbnail version of the textual issues there?
Rosalynde, this covers it:
Perfect, thank you!