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Mark 16:9-20 - Continuation - Snapp and Wallack

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  • #31
    Further Comments on Tatian and Irenaeus (Part 1)

    [SIZE="2"]I must ask our readers’ pardon for the delay in moving along to the internal evidence. I will deal with my opponents’ baseless objections to the testimony of Tatian and Irenaeus swiftly. He began with five objections to the testimony of Tatian.

    The first objection was that Tatian “would be the first clear reference to the LE. Subsequently, except possibly for Irenaeus there are than no clear references to the LE until Eusebius.” This is not true; my opponent – who didn’t hesitate to put the silence of Clement and Origen on the scales – is once again attempting to smuggle in a dismissal of Papias, Justin, and Epistula Apostolorum, and the second-century patristic evidence that pre-dates Eusebius (such as Tertullian in Scorpiace ch. 15, Hippolytus, De Rebaptismate, Vincentius, and Porphyry).

    The second objection was that “extant copies” of the Diatessaron, and other references, “show exponentially more variation than the Gospels.” There are no extant copies of the Diatessaron in Greek or in Syriac, one of which is the original language of the Diatessaron. (Even top-level scholars disagree about which of the two it was.) A Greek fragment might be a scrap from a copy of the Diatessaron, but some specialists in Diatessaronic studies believe it to be something else. Also, the claim that we are dealing with “exponentially more variation” is not valid; the variations in the Diatessaronic evidence consist largely of conformations to variants in the Gospels-texts in the languages in which the Diatessaronic evidence exists.

    The third objection was, “It’s commonly thought that Justin had a Synoptic harmony with no LE.” That is false, for two reasons: first, it is not common knowledge that Justin used a Synoptics-Harmony. Second, Justin’s Synoptics-Harmony blended together Mark 16:20 and Luke 24:52, indicating that it contained Mark 16:1-20, and Luke 24:1-53.

    The fourth objection was that the Syrian bishop Theodoret (c. 458) branded the Diatessaron heretical for lacking canonical material, notably the genealogies, and that this “helped justify subsequent additions to the Diatessaron to conform to manuscripts of the time.” My opponent is partly right. When and where the Diatessaron was regarded as heretical, many copies of it were withdrawn and destroyed. But, just as some individuals saw value in compositions by alleged heretics, and cleverly preserved them by editing them, and/or by removing references to their author, the Diatessaron survived in the West – barely – by having its text conformed to Vulgate, in the Latin Codex Fuldensis (produced in the 540’s). For that reason, Codex Fuldensis, by itself, can be regarded as a clear witness to the Diatessaron’s wording only where Codex Fuldensis’ wording disagrees with the wording of the Vulgate. Similarly, the text of the Arabic Diatessaron was based on a Syriac copy (made in 873), the text of which had been extensively (but not entirely) conformed to the Peshitta, so the Arabic Diatessaron, by itself, can be regarded as a clear witness to the Diatessaron’s wording only where the Arabic Diatessaron’s wording disagrees with the Peshitta.

    But the question at hand is not about wording as much as it is about form. When we compare the arrangement of the text of Mark 16:9-20 in Codex Fuldensis to the arrangement in its far-distant relative, the Arabic Diatessaron, the arrangements are essentially the same. Here are the details; in the following list, “ArDi” = Arabic Diatessaron” and “Fuld” = Codex Fuldensis.”

    ArDi 53 has Mk. 16:9 after Jn. 20:2-17.
    Fuld 174 has part of 16:9 between Jn. 20:2-10 and 20:11-17.

    ArDi 53 uses Mk. 16:10 after Lk. 24:9.
    Fuld 176 uses Mk. 16:10 after Lk. 24:9.

    ArDi 53 uses Mk. 16:11 between Lk. 24:10 and Lk. 24:11.
    Fuld 176 uses Mk. 16:11 between Lk. 24:9 and Lk. 24:11.

    ArDi 53 uses Mk. 16:12 between Lk. 24:11 and Lk. 24:13.
    Fuld 177 uses Mk. 16:12 between Lk. 24:11 and Lk. 24:13.

    ArDi 53 uses Mk. 16:13b between Lk. 24:13b-35 and part of Lk. 24:36.
    Fuld 178 uses Mk. 16:13b between Lk. 24:13-35 and part of Lk. 24:36.

    ArDi 55 uses Mk. 16:14 between Mt. 28:17 and Mt. 28:18.
    Fuld 182 uses Mk. 16:14 between Mt. 28:17 and Mt. 28:18.

    ArDi 55 uses Mk. 16:15 between Mt. 28:18 (with a variant from the Peshitta) and Mt. 28:19.
    Fuld 182 uses Mk. 16:15 between Mt. 28:18 and Mt. 28:19.

    ArDi 55 uses Mk. 16:16-18 between Mt. 28:20 and Lk. 24:49.
    Fuld 182 uses Mk. 16:16-18 between Mt. 28:20 and Lk. 24:49.

    ArDi 55 blends “And our Lord Jesus,” from Mk. 16:19, with Lk. 24:50.
    Fuld 182 does not.

    ArDi 55 uses “and sat down at the right hand of God” between Lk. 24:51 and Lk. 24:52.
    Fuld 182 uses “and sat down at the right hand of God” between Lk. 24:51 and Lk. 24:52.

    ArDi 55 uses Mk. 16:20 between Lk. 24:53 and Jn. 21:25.
    Fuld 182 uses Mk. 16:20 after Lk. 24:53 and ends there with “Amen.” (Jn. 21:25 appears in Codex Fuldensis at the end of 181.)

    The arrangements are almost identical. They both picture Jesus and the disciples proceeding from Galilee directly to Bethany, before returning to Jerusalem. They both picture the scene in Mk. 16:14 as occurring in Galilee. They both place “for they were sad and weeping” at the same point. This shows that the inclusion of Mark 16:9-20 in these witnesses was not the result of conformation to the Vulgate or to the Peshitta; both witnesses – one from the eastern church, and one from the West – share the same form and thus echo the original contents of the Diatessaron made by Tatian.

    My opponent’s fifth objection was that “Supposed early references to the LE” in the Diatessaron, “such as in Ephrem, may just be much lesser additions put in by Tatian only to harmonize rather than incorporate all of the LE.” This is complete speculation. None of the Diatessaronic evidence supports the idea that Tatian had a habit of inserting new phrases to make the Diatessaron’s contents more harmonious. In addition, the phrase in Ephrem’s citation serves no harmonistic purpose. Plus, other patristic writers who appear to have used the Diatessaron cite so much material from Mark 16:9-20 that it would be simply ridiculous to regard it all as “lesser additions” that just happen to correspond to the contents of Mark 16:9-20.

    Regarding what my opponent mentioned about the Pericope of the Adulteress, the Genealogies, and Luke’s Prologue: this is not pertinent to the question at hand. It just shows, as all Diatessaronic scholars affirm, that the reconstruction of the Diatessaron requires a careful comparison of sources.

    We now turn directly to the evidence from Ephrem, one of several Eastern witnesses to the contents of the Diatessaron. In one of Ephrem’s many hymns, he combined Mk. 16:15a and Mt. 28:19b, giving the sense of “Go into all the world [from Mark] and baptize in the name of the Father, and Son, and Spirit [from Matthew].” But this may be based on Ephrem’s recollection of a copy of the separate Gospels. For evidence about the Diatessaron, we turn to Chester Beatty Syriac MS 509, which was produced c. 500; it contains most of Ephrem’s commentary on the Diatessaron. In VIII:1, we find Ephrem’s words: “After they had crucified him, he commanded his disciples, ‘Go out into the whole world and proclaim my Gospel to the whole of creation, and baptize all the Gentiles’” – a clear combination of Mark 16:15 and 28:19, as I have already noted.

    My opponent, however, seems to think that this passage shouldn’t count because it does not appear near the end of Ephrem’s commentary! He also seems to object that this passage shouldn’t count because it is “a combination of post resurrection stories”! A combination, in the Diatessaron; imagine that?!

    (I must decline to answer my opponent’s claim that Matthew 28:19's phrase “into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” is "probably a forgery/interpolation," so as not to diffuse this discussion. It has been refuted by other writers.)

    My opponent’s remaining grounds for resisting this clear evidence is that almost all of the words “Go out into the whole world and proclaim my Gospel to the whole of creation” can be found elsewhere in the New Testament. However, Ephrem explicitly says that he is quoting words that were stated by Jesus to His disciples after His crucifixion. This eliminates all references except Mark 16:15.

    Then my opponent says, “So for an offending verse that my opponent already confesses is a conflation, why not a conflation without the LE?”

    (Conflation – the combination of material from two or more sources – is the defining characteristic of the Diatessaron. There is no “confession” involved here; it’s a plain observation.) “Why not a conflation without the LE”? Easy: because without material from Mk. 16:15, Ephrem’s statement in VIII:1 would look like this: “After they had crucified him, he commanded his disciples, ‘Go out and baptize all the Gentiles.”

    Next, my opponent offered some general objections about the Diatessaron. First he noted that a majority of scholars believes that the Diatessaron was originally composed in Syriac, and proposed that “this reduces its weight as witness for an original Greek LE in “Mark”.” However, while the shift from Greek to Syriac can lessen the weight of witnesses regarding wording, that is not the case regarding the form of the text itself – that is, cases such as the one at hand, involving the inclusion or non-inclusion of a sizable portion of text.

    Second, he proposed that the “Gospel of Thomas” may have been a source of the Diatessaron. This speculative allegation has not received wide acceptance, and at any rate, the Gospel of Thomas was not the source of any of the parts of the Diatessaron pertinent to the subject at hand. Whatever non-canonical material Tatian used, he didn’t use it much.

    Third, he stated, “Per Dr. Richard Carrier, Ephrem references many non-canonical words and phrases in D. This is again evidence that the sources for D were not limited to the Canonical Gospels.” Frankly I have serious doubts about Richard Carrier’s competence to evaluate any text-critical evidence whatsoever. In the places where the Diatessaron contains anything not found in one or more of the canonical Gospels, the material is very brief (an extra word or phrase), never anything nearly as large as Mark 16:9-20.

    Fourth, my opponent, relying on analysis by Leslie McFall, stated that the Diatessaron omits 56 verses of the canonical Gospels. (The genealogy in Mt. = 17 verses, Luke’s prologue = 4 verses, the genealogy in Lk. = 15 verses, and the Pericope of the Adulteress = 12 verses; McFall provided further analysis which accounts for the remaining eight small omissions.) That observation has no direct impact on the question at hand. However, it helpfully illustrates and supports a couple of points in my case: it shows that Tatian used exemplars of the Gospels that did not contain the Pericope of the Adulteress; they were very early copies. It also shows that the Diatessaron’s non-inclusion of two large passages that were regarded as an integral part of the text – namely, the genealogies – was noted by those who had seen copies of the Diatessaron. Yet the authors who mentioned the Diatessaron’s non-inclusion of the genealogies do not mention that the Diatessaron did not include Mark 16:9-20, even though Mark 16:9-20 was in the standard text which they themselves used. This implies that Mark 16:9-20 was incorporated in the copies of the Diatessaron which they had seen; otherwise they probably would have mentioned its absence.

    Fifth, he seemed to say that even if the entire LE is original to the Diatessaron, “Tatian’s source may still have been his motivation to harmonize with the primary source being the post resurrection information of the Christian Bible and not the LE of “Mark”.” This is practically self-refuting, inasmuch as the Gospel-accounts are easier to harmonize without Mark 16:9-20 than when Mark 16:9-20 is included. My opponent is essentially suggesting that Tatian, in order to harmonize Matthew, Luke, and John, added material from some non-canonical source which added an extra layer of difficulty.

    Thus, my opponent’s whole case against the testimony of Tatian’s Diatessaron is not a case at all; it is simply reluctance hiding behind a series of baseless speculations and irrelevancies.

    We now turn to what my opponent stated about the testimony from Irenaeus.

    (Continued in Part 2)

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.
    [/SIZE]

    Comment


    • #32
      Further Comments on Tatian and Irenaeus (Part 2)

      [SIZE="2"](Continued from Part 1)

      Regarding my opponent’s additional statements about Irenaeus, so much of them are simply repetitions of his earlier specious claims, which I already answered thoroughly, that I hesitate to exasperate our readers by addressing them again. Eight brief statements shall suffice:

      (1) My opponent’s generalizations about interpolations in patristic writings have about as much force as the statement of a prosecutor who says to the jury, “The witness is not telling the truth, because the witness is a human, and humans sometimes lie.”

      (2) My opponent’s claim that Irenaeus “averages an embarrassing error about every 3 paragraphs” is irrelevant, particularly as he depends, at this point, upon the extant text of Irenaeus’ Demonstration of Apostolic Preaching, which was preserved in a different venue than the ultra-literal Latin translation in which Against Heresies III:10 has been preserved.

      (3) My opponent’s claims that “Even my opponent would concede that other than possibly Tatian, Irenaeus is the first clear reference,” and that “even my opponent would concede no clear reference until Eusebius” are both false. The evidence from Justin, and from other writers before Eusebius, while not as explicit as Irenaeus’ citation, is also clear.

      (4) The observation that Jerome, Victor, and Severus utilized Eusebius’ comments is not any sort of evidence of the contents of Against Heresies. Eusebius discussed the evidence that was in his manuscripts; Irenaeus did not. One could just as easily propose that because these writers did not mention the Vulgate – which was much more widely distributed than “Against Heresies” – the Vulgate must not have originally contained Mark 16:9-20!

      (5) The observation that Against Heresies III:10 exists only in Latin is true of almost all of the text of “Against Heresies” which did not happen to be quoted by Greek writers or be preserved in Syriac fragments. But, as I already explained, in Codex 1582, which is a replication of a copy from the late 400’s (with a text of Mark that is Caesarean), there is a margin-note beside the text of Mark 16:19 that says, “Irenaeus, who lived near the time of the apostles, cites this from Mark in the third book of his work Against Heresies.”

      (6) The observation that Irenaeus does not explicitly quote from Mark 16:9-20 elsewhere does not turn his citation of Mk. 16:19 into an interpolation. Like most other patristic writers, when citing from the Gospels, Irenaeus tended to use Matthew, John, and Luke much more frequently than Mark.

      (7) Regarding the placement of Irenaeus’ explicit citation of Mark 16:19, the citation is entirely appropriate to the context. No placement is safe from the assertion that the placement shows that the passage is an interpolation, when that is what the claim-maker wishes the passage to be.

      (8) My opponent mentioned that in Against Heresies II:22, Irenaeus does not explicitly cite from Mark 16:9-20 “when it would have clearly supported a different argument,” but myriad are the cases where patristic writers discuss a subject without using passages which are very relevant, and which appear, to us, to be natural passages to use to support their statements. In addition, in II:22, Irenaeus was answering the charge that the miracles performed by Jesus and His disciples only seemed to have physical effects. Although, as Irenaeus mentioned, the Scriptures abundantly oppose such a claim, it could be refuted most efficiently not by simply quoting from the New Testament, but by describing the physical miracles still being performed by Christians. So that is the main ingredient of the answer that Irenaeus gave. It is a very real possibility, however, that he modeled his description of physical miracles being performed by Christians upon his recollection of Mark 16:17-20, especially where he refers to driving out demons and healing the sick by laying hands upon them.

      The flimsy beams and boards of my opponent’s ramshackle case against the integrity of the testimony of Tatian and Irenaeus have now been broken into pieces and are altogether swept away. Although I could collect a few splintered remains and feed them to the wood-chipper of further analysis, I don’t think our readers will feel robbed as we now proceed to the internal evidence.

      Yours in Christ,

      James Snapp, Jr.
      [/SIZE]

      Comment


      • #33
        Authority

        Authority

        We turn now to the final category of External evidence which is Authority. When I say “Authority” I mean modern authority such as professional Bible scholars. I have divided Authority into the following sub-categories:

        1) Critical apparatus

        2) Leading textual critics

        3) Professional consensus

        Critical apparatus
        1) Per Wikipedia wikipedia.org/wiki/Novum_Testamentum_Graece Nestle-Aland is “used as the basis of most contemporary New Testament translations, as well as being the standard for academic work in New Testament studies." Per Nestle-Aland the LE is not original.

        2) I have faith that the other major critical apparatus likewise say the LE is not original.

        Leading textual critics
        1) Bruce Metzger is generally considered the leading textual critic of all time and he thought the LE was not original.

        2) Bart Ehrman, Bruce Metzger’s protégé, while not having the consensus of Metzger, is likely considered the current leading textual critic and also thinks the LE is not original.

        3) I likewise have faith that while after Ehrman, there are no clear leading textual critics, the majority of recognized textual critics think the LE is not original.

        Professional consensus
        1) Per Wikipedia wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Mark#Ending there is a consensus that the LE is not original “Starting in the 19th century, textual critics have commonly asserted that Mark 16:9–20, describing some disciples' encounters with the resurrected Jesus, was a later addition to the gospel.”

        2) My opponent will readily confess to us that there is such a consensus.

        Since every reasonable sub-category of Authority is against LE it’s clear that Authority is against LE and my opponent will readily confess to this. My opponent and I would agree that Authority is the weakest category of evidence. Now to convert Authority into criterion. Some related observations by criteria:

        1) Credibility - Generally Authority is much more credible than any other Category here as we know exponentially more about the qualifications of Authority.

        2) Applicability – Applicability is also much higher for authority as we know the issue and rules for deciding the issue are the same as this debate’s.

        3) Age – The great weakness of Authority. The nature of evidence is that it gets weaker with age.

        4) Confirmation – A strength of Authority as there is a clear consensus.

        5) Direction – Clearly a change from LE

        6) Consistency – Agrees with every other category against LE.

        Comment


        • #34
          Weighting of Evidence for External Category

          [SIZE=3]We will now weight the evidence for the External Category, which consists of the sub-categories of Patristic, Manuscript, Scribal and Authority. We have already seen that all of these Categories individually are against LE so the Conclusion here will be no surprise. Regarding the importance of the following formal methodology for determining a conclusion, every article I saw in the research of this debate, for or against, would have been summarily rejected by any peer reviewed publication in any other major profession due to lack of organization, including lack of a formal methodology. The attempt at a methodology here is intended to move the profession of religion towards standards employed by other professions. [/SIZE]

          [SIZE=3]For purposes of comparing evidence for and against LE the weighting will be as follows:

          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3] High advantage = 3[/SIZE]

          [SIZE=3] Medium advantage = 2[/SIZE]

          [SIZE=3] Low advantage = 1[/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]
          Criteria ranked in order of relative weight to each other:

          Qualitative:

          1 - Credibility of source.

          Patristic
          The 3 outstanding scholars and textual critics of the early Church, Origen, Eusebius and Jerome, all witness against LE. Compare to the sole star witness for LE, Irenaeus, who's scholarship in general is exponentially worse and lacks the evidence of those against here, that he even was any type of textual critic. 3 against.

          Manuscript
          N/A

          Scribal
          We've seen that the Scribal evidence is relatively light compared to the other categories. Scribes would have more credibility in general than Patristic or Manuscript as they are not limited to what their specific text says. They are specifically reacting to what the text says, presumably based on what the evidence says. 2 against.

          Authority
          The leading modern authority is against and it is generally accepted that modern authority is more credible than ancient authority. 3 against.

          Credibility of source than is 3 against.

          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]2- Common sense.

          Was it more likely that LE would be added or deleted:

          Patristic
          What would a Patristic prefer if there was evidence for both? Clearly the LE. 3 against.

          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]Manuscript
          The LE always follows the SE. Evidence that the LE was recognized to be later. 1 against.

          Scribal
          N/A

          Authority
          N/A
          [/SIZE]

          [SIZE=3]Common sense is 2 against.

          [/SIZE][SIZE=3]3 - Direction (of change).

          Helps explain the relationship.

          Patristic
          Big advantage to against as there is a definite movement from against to for. We not only have the earliest Patristic evidence against LE but the Patristic evidence for LE gradually becomes stronger. 3 to against.[/SIZE]


          [SIZE=3]Manuscript
          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]Big advantage to against as there is a definite movement from against to for in every significant language. 3 to against.

          Scribal
          N/A

          Authority
          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]Clearly a change from for to against. 3 against.

          Direction of change is 3 against.
          [/SIZE][SIZE=3]
          [/SIZE][SIZE=3]4 - Applicability (general vs. specific).

          Does the source refer to the issue or just a reference to a text?

          Patristic
          Eusebius, Jerome, and Severus all identify the issue and are against. Victor is the only one for who identifies the issue. Note especially that Eusebius is the first to identify the issue and the lone father for here, Victor, is contradicted by near contemporary Severus. 3 against.[/SIZE]


          [SIZE=3]Manuscript
          N/A

          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]Scribal
          The Scribal comments, which tend to be against are based on the Scribes general knowledge. 3 against.

          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]Authority
          Authority is looking at this from a general viewpoint. 3 against.

          Applicability is 3 against.

          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]5 – Age.

          Patristic
          The oldest Patristic evidence is “Matthew”, Gospel of Peter, “Luke”, “John”, The Epistula Apostolorum and Justin which are all against. Irenaeus, is the oldest evidence for. I no longer think Tatian is evidence for. 2 against.

          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]Manuscript
          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]The oldest Manuscript evidence against is Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Sinaitic Syriac and Bobbiensis which are 4th century. The oldest evidence for is Codex Alexandrinus, Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus and Codex Bezae which are 5th century.[/SIZE][SIZE=3] 2 against.

          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]Scribal
          Relatively late. 1 against.

          Authority
          N/A

          Age is 2 against.

          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]6 - Confirmation – width. The context is geographical.

          Patristic
          Advantage to for as there is a concentration of against in the East., specifically Alexandria and Ceasarea. 2 to for.[/SIZE]


          [SIZE=3]Manuscript[/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]Big advantage to for as there is a concentration of against in the East combined with relatively few manuscripts in total. 3 to for.

          Scribal
          Relatively few with many of these Armenian. 1 to against.

          Authority
          Every branch of authority is against. 3 against.

          Confirmation - width is 1 to for.

          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]7 - External force.

          Patristic
          Big edge to against as all Patristic believe in a resurrection sighting creating an expectation of one in related narrative. 3 against.[/SIZE]

          [SIZE=3]
          Manuscript
          N/A

          Scribal
          For same reason as Patristic, 3 against.

          Authority
          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]For same reason as Patristic, 3 against.

          External force is 3 against.
          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]
          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]8 – Consistency. Does the evidence for the category coordinate with the evidence for other categories?

          The evidence for all four sub-categories here is against. 3 to against.

          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]Quantitative:

          1 - Confirmation – quantity.

          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]Patristic[/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3] Advantage to for as it has a few more supporters. 1 to for.[/SIZE]

          [SIZE=3]Manuscript
          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]Huge advantage to for based on numbers. 3 to for.

          Scribal
          Almost all are against. 3 to against.

          Authority
          Consensus against. 3 to against.

          Confirmation - quantity, how to weigh, 3s for and against? Giving Patristic and Manuscript more weight here, 1 to for.

          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]2 – Variation. What is the quantity of variation in the category?

          Patristic
          Advantage to against as the Patristic is unanimous that without any resurrection sighting the ending is always 16:8. With a resurrection sighting it is usually LE but not always and there are several alternatives. 2 to against.

          Manuscript
          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]Big advantage to against as the ending of "Mark" after 16:8 probably has more variation than any other section of the Christian Bible. 3 to against.

          Scribal
          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]N/A

          Authority
          N/A

          Variation is 2 to against

          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]3 – Directness.

          Patristic
          Against has clarity of often being described with the specific words that end 16:8. For has more uncertainty because a partial/limited referral to has doubt as to the total. 2 against.[/SIZE]

          [SIZE=3]
          Manuscript
          N/A

          Scribal
          Same as Patristic. 2 against.

          Authority
          N/A

          Directness is 1 against.

          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]Summary of Patristic evidence separated by Qualitative and Quantitative and in order of weight:

          Qualitative:

          1 - Credibility of source. Against = 3

          2- Common sense. Against = 2

          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]3 - Direction (of change). Against = 3[/SIZE]

          [SIZE=3]4 - Applicability. Against = 3[/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]
          5 - Age. Against = 2

          6 - Confirmation – width. For = 1

          7 - External force. Against = 3

          8 – Consistency. Against = 3.

          Quantitative:

          1 - Confirmation – quantity. For = 1

          2 – Variation. Against = 2

          3 – Directness. Against = 1

          Totals:

          Against 3 = 5 criterion

          Against 2 = 3 criterion

          For 1 = 3 criterion

          Conclusion = The Patristic category of evidence is strongly against LE due to:

          1 - 8 of 11 criteria favoring Against.

          2 - 5 of these 9 criteria being 3

          3 - 3 of the top 4 qualitative criteria all being 3 Against.

          [/SIZE]
          [SIZE=3]Note that at this point in the debate my opponent still has no formal methodology to support his conclusion. Therefore, his conclusion has no significant weight. In contrast I have provided my methodology above which my opponent is welcome to critique.

          One advantage of a formal methodology is that conclusions can be measured relative to each other based on differences in accepted evidence. Even though I think that Irenaeus did not refer to LE, I think the extant evidence supports that he did. For someone though who did not accept Irenaeus as evidence for LE, or especially reduced its weight because of doubt, the overall conclusion based on my methodology would not change much. Similarly, I am now convinced by the extant evidence that Tatian did not refer to the LE, but even if I accepted him as evidence for LE it probably would not change the weight of my overall conclusion at all.

          Unlike the supposed resurrection of Jesus I think it entirely possible that my opponent could raise a formal and professional methodology and based on accepting evidence much different than I did, support a radically different conclusion from me. But I need to see it first in order to properly critique it.

          Alas, I fear there is no such hope for my opponent regarding the category of Internal evidence which we shall look at next as the careful and careless reader will note that here my opponent will be totally defensive.

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          • #35
            Authority, Methodology, and Evidence

            [SIZE="2"]As this part of the debate concludes, my opponent’s comments about "Authority" may be briefly reviewed.

            The errors and ambiguities in the UBS apparatus for Mark 16:9-20 have rendered it a shape-shifting chimera. From the 2nd edition to the 4th, readers can observe over a dozen changes. The apparatus in the 27th edition of the Nestle-Aland NTG has fewer errors but it also has less detail. Neither apparatus provides an adequately detailed display of the pertinent evidence. (For instance, Vaticanus' blank space and Sinaiticus' replacement-pages are not mentioned or acknowledged in any way. Nor are Augustine's Greek copies.)

            Bruce Metzger was a very good textual critic. But his comments about Mark 16:9-20 are ambiguous and misleading at some points. When Metzger wrote the first edition of Text of the New Testament, he relied heavily upon Hort, and wrote some things about Mark 16:9-20 (and some other passages) which he later withdrew. Metzger also regarded Mark 16:9-20 as canonical Scripture.

            Bart Ehrman hasn’t written any detailed analysis of Mark 16:9-20, being content to permit his readers to view the evidence from a convenient distance, so to speak. I think it is not unfair to describe Ehrman’s descriptions of the evidence as tricky. He has given no real indication that he has studied this variant-unit in-depth. After becoming co-author of the fourth edition of Metzger’s Text of the New Testament, Ehrman retained the false claim about Ethiopic MSS that was in earlier editions, even though Metzger had withdrawn the claim in 1980. That’s not a promising indication of the depth of Ehrman’s research about this particular passage.

            Regarding the view of a “majority of recognized textual critics” and the scholarly consensus that Mark 16:9-20 is a scribal accretion: many of the scholars who have written commentaries or articles on this passage have made errors of various kinds: apparent lack of awareness of early patristic evidence, failure to perceive Jerome’s use of Ad Marinum, mischaracterization of the silence of Clement and Origen (if Clement is silent in his Adumbrationes on Jude 24 and if Origen is silent in Philocalia 5:5), careless citation-errors of all sorts, exaggerations, distortions, and robotic repetition of Metzger’s statements. In the course of my research I have collected such mistakes in the writings of over 70 authors. Nobody’s status as an “authority” – as a professor or textual critic or commentator – automatically ensures careful research, accurate claims, or correct conclusions.

            My opponent has referred to me as “the foremost authority the world has ever known now on the argument for the originality of the LE” but that does not make my view true or false. If there were twelve legions of high-quality scholars who agreed with me, that would not make my view true or false. Nor does the fact that so many scholars have uncritically absorbed the statements about Mark 16:9-20 in Metzger’s Textual Commentary make his conclusions true or false. So let us move along from this rather superfluous category, to examine some of my opponent’s repeated claims.

            My opponent claimed that “The 3 outstanding scholars and textual critics of the early Church, Origen, Eusebius and Jerome, all witness against LE.” With enemies like these, who needs friends? Except for a possible allusion to Mk. 16:20 in Philocalia 5:5, Origen does not use Mark 16:9-20, but he does not use 33 of the other 57 12-verse sections of Mark. Such a vast non-use of Mark has no meaningful implications about the content of Origen’s copies of Mark. Eusebius, although he rejected the passage because it was not in his most cherished copies, was content to explain to his contemporary Marinus how to harmonize, and thus retain, the passage. Jerome used Eusebius’ material in his letter to Hedibia, and instructed her to harmonize the passage likewise. Jerome also included Mark 16:9-20 in the Vulgate, and used 16:14 to locate the “Freer Logion” for the readers of his composition Against the Pelagians.

            My opponent’s claim about Irenaeus’ scholarship has already been addressed; he is just repeating an already-refuted position.

            Next, my opponent asked, “Was it more likely that LE would be added or deleted”? and this is a question which I shall engage later in the discussion of internal evidence.

            My opponent’s claim that the SE’s position before 16:9-20 is “evidence that the LE was recognized to be later” has already been answered. Again, he is just repeating an already-refuted claim.

            My opponent’s repeated claim that “there is a definite movement from against to for” is false, and I have already shown this to be the case. The favorable and widespread attestation for the inclusion of Mark 16:9-20 became more favorable and mor widespread. If the score of a football game is 21-3 at half-time, and the final score is 120-12, what happened? The team that was in the lead has remained in the lead. Likewise, there was no shift from "against" to "for."

            My opponent’s claim that we “have the earliest Patristic evidence against LE” is false; there is no patristic evidence against Mark 16:9-20 until the 300’s. As my opponent himself said, “Eusebius is the first to identify the issue.”

            My opponent’s claim that “Eusebius, Jerome, and Severus all identify the issue and are against” is mostly false; Jerome and Severus both used Ad Marinum, but both retained Mark 16:9-20 and independently used it elsewhere in their works.

            My opponent’s statement, “I no longer think Tatian is evidence for” is interesting but it provides no real ground to stand upon against the force of the testimony of Codex Fuldensis, the Arabic Diatessaron, and Ephrem’s Commentary VIII:1.

            And, I believe our readers will agree, I could continue down my opponent’s lists, pointing out its various errors and baseless bare denials. It may be good “methodology” to organize one’s claims in an outlined form, but what real good is that when so many of the claims are either false or inaccurate? And if one’s claims are true, do they become truer by being re-listed? This prolonged “methodology” is partly clutter, and partly an attempt to obscure and/or skew the evidence. False claims do not become true by being methodically enumerated. One might as well assign colors to the individual pieces of evidence, as assign them the “weight” that my opponent has bestowed upon them. Such “weighting” is an exercise in groundless assertion, not analysis. My opponent resorts to such lists because if he didn’t thus speak for the evidence, the evidence would be allowed to speak for itself.

            Speaking of evidence, it is time to proceed to the Internal Evidence.

            Yours in Christ,

            James Snapp, Jr.
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