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Is Mark 16:9-20 authentic?

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  • Originally posted by seanD View Post
    My question is, for those that reject the passage, do we still accept it as inspired since it was included in God's finished product?
    This:
    Originally posted by robrecht View Post
    ... I think most churches still consider it inspired and part of the canon even if it was not written by Mark.
    βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
    ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

    אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

    Comment


    • I don't about "most churches," sounds a bit arbitrary to me, but some of the comments I've read hear seem to suggest that we should disregard it as inspired.
      "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

      Comment


      • Originally posted by seanD View Post
        I don't about "most churches," sounds a bit arbitrary to me, but some of the comments I've read hear seem to suggest that we should disregard it as inspired.
        I don't think it's arbitrary--in fact I don't know of any churches that do not consider it canonical and therefore inspired. I've seen individual theologians argue that it should not be considered canonical, but not churches. Do you know of any churches that do not consider this canonical?
        βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
        ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

        אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

        Comment


        • That's why I asked the question here in this forum. We're not dealing with churches, we're dealing with individuals; and like I said, from some of the posts I read, I got the impression it's not inspired scripture. So that's why I asked.
          "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

          Comment


          • Originally posted by seanD View Post
            That's why I asked the question here in this forum. We're not dealing with churches, we're dealing with individuals; and like I said, from some of the posts I read, I got the impression it's not inspired scripture. So that's why I asked.
            Personally, I think the determination of the canon is a communal decision of the church, not left to any individual to make their own determination.
            βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
            ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

            אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

            Comment


            • I'm just curious what the opinions here are, sheesh. There is a lot of diversity in views here, a lot of which differ with official or orthodox church views as a whole.
              Last edited by seanD; 02-24-2014, 08:03 PM.
              "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

              Comment


              • Originally posted by JamesSnappJr View Post
                One Bad Pig,
                I can thing of some reasons why someone might excise Mark 16:9-20. But it's a cumulative and nuanced case; I think we would be better off rewinding a bit, before plunging into a new vein of argument. Let's revisit the external evidence. You mentioned that the testimony of Clement and Origen seems especially important to this subject, or something like that. Why?

                JamesSnappJr
                According to church tradition, Mark evangelized Egypt (in particular, Alexandria). Clement and Origen spent much of their lives there, yet don't reference it. Further, Origen was one of the first textual critics, compiling a hexameron for the LXX. If he knew of different readings in the NT canon, he would typically refer to both when exegeting a passage. In the case of the gospels, he would discuss parallel passages where appropriate. So if he didn't reference it, he probably didn't know about it.

                In the interest of full disclosure, I accept the passage as canonical even if it was not penned by Mark himself; it's in my church's lectionary, after all.
                Last edited by One Bad Pig; 02-24-2014, 08:15 PM.
                Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                sigpic
                I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                Comment


                • Originally posted by seanD View Post
                  I'm just curious what the opinions here are, sheesh. There is a lot of diversity in views here, a lot of which differ with official or orthodox church views as a whole.
                  That is why I told you my opinion. If I have upset you in some way I apologize, but let me know how I have upset you. I have merely given you my answer to your question.
                  βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
                  ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

                  אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

                  Comment


                  • Clement of Alexandria and Origen - Non-Testimony

                    One Bad Pig,

                    Metzger said that Clement and Origen show no knowledge of the existence of Mark 16:9-20. (Metzger said the same thing about Eusebius, but then removed that false claim in a later edition of Text of the New Testament.) But in the course of a comment on Jude verse 24 in Adumbrationes, preserved by Cassiodorus, Clement seems to refer to Mark 16:19.

                    But let's suppose that there is indeed no evidence that Clement of Alexandria or Origen ever quoted from Mark 16:9-20. Did you ever wonder how much of the Gospel of Mark Clement and/or Origen do show knowledge of? Clement, as far as I know, does not utilize twelve entire chapters of the Gospel of Mark. So what would the non-use of Mark 16:9-20 really say? Merely that Clement made about as much use of those 12 verses as he made of most 12-verse sections of Mark -- that is, outside of chapter 10, Clement of Alexandria hardly ever clearly utilized the Gospel of Mark. His silence - if he is silent - is a side-effect of his general non-use of the entire book. If we had dozens and dozens of quotations from Mark in Clement's writings, that would be different. But we don't.

                    Origen, similarly, did not use the Gospel of Mark very much; on one occasion he mentioned that he had looked through the Gospel of Mark to see if it contained the Lord's Prayer. There are oodles of 12-verse sections of Mark that Origen does not utilize; if you were to pick a 12-verse section of Mark at random, the odds would be better that Origen shows no knowledge of its existence than that the contrary is true.

                    You mentioned that "Origen was one of the first textual critics." True; regarding his work on the Septuagint. But if you consult Metzger's essay that lists all the New Testament passages where Origen mentions a variant, you'll see that they are not many. Your claim, "In the case of the gospels, he would discuss parallel passages where appropriate" is pretty much made-up, isn't it -- unless one were to say that it was only appropriate in about 20 instances. 'Cause Metzger -- in New Testament Tools & Studies VIII, 1968, in chapter nine, "Explicit References in the Works of Origen to Variant Readings in New Testament Manuscripts" -- only listed about 24 variant-units mentioned by Origen. And only two of them clearly involve passage in the Gospel of Mark.

                    First, Origen displays some confusion in his comment; he says that Matthew was the only apostle who was a tax-collector, and then says (utilizing Mark 2:14 and/or 3:18), "Levi also, who was a follower of Jesus, may have been a tax-collector; but he was in no wise of the number of the apostles, except according to a statement in some of the copies of the Gospel according to Mark." Now, no matter how you slice it -- whether you prefer the Alexandrian Text or the Byzantine Text -- the flagship manuscripts of both the Alexandrian and Byzantine groups affirm that Levi was an apostle (because Levi = Matthew, of course).

                    Second, Origen displays a distinct preference for readings that solve objections when he utilizes Mark 6:3. He says, "In none of the Gospels current in the churches is Jesus himself ever described as being a carpenter." Apparently Origen was making a bloated exaggeration, inasmuch as manuscripts of all types exactly describe Jesus as a carpenter in Mark 6:3; the only other possibility is that Origen's favored manuscripts featured a variant in Mark 6:3 (found today in a only smattering of MSS, but they include papyrus 45 and MS 700) in which Jesus is not called a carpenter, and assumed that everyone else's manuscripts must be like his.

                    No matter how you slice it, when one considers the dozens and dozens of textual variants in the Gospel of Mark, and also considers that Origen only commented on two of them -- and, then, only to answer objections, not as part of any systematic review of the Gospel of Mark -- and also considers that no commentary by Origen on the Gospel of Mark is extant, what we really have from Origen on the question of the inclusion or non-inclusion of Mark 16:9-20 is non-testimony -- a side-effect of his relative non-use of the Gospel of Mark.

                    Yours in Christ,

                    James Snapp, Jr.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by JamesSnappJr View Post
                      One Bad Pig,

                      Metzger said that Clement and Origen show no knowledge of the existence of Mark 16:9-20. (Metzger said the same thing about Eusebius, but then removed that false claim in a later edition of Text of the New Testament.)
                      Your hostility toward Dr. Metzger is duly noted.
                      But in the course of a comment on Jude verse 24 in Adumbrationes, preserved by Cassiodorus, Clement seems to refer to Mark 16:19.
                      I have not yet had the pleasure of reading that material.
                      You mentioned that "Origen was one of the first textual critics." True; regarding his work on the Septuagint. But if you consult Metzger's essay that lists all the New Testament passages where Origen mentions a variant, you'll see that they are not many. Your claim, "In the case of the gospels, he would discuss parallel passages where appropriate" is pretty much made-up, isn't it -- unless one were to say that it was only appropriate in about 20 instances. 'Cause Metzger -- in New Testament Tools & Studies VIII, 1968, in chapter nine, "Explicit References in the Works of Origen to Variant Readings in New Testament Manuscripts" -- only listed about 24 variant-units mentioned by Origen. And only two of them clearly involve passage in the Gospel of Mark.
                      You're quick to sling accusations, aren't you? My claim is based on what I've read of Origen's works - which is not everything by a long shot, but I do recall him discussing parallel passages.
                      No matter how you slice it, when one considers the dozens and dozens of textual variants in the Gospel of Mark, and also considers that Origen only commented on two of them -- and, then, only to answer objections, not as part of any systematic review of the Gospel of Mark -- and also considers that no commentary by Origen on the Gospel of Mark is extant, what we really have from Origen on the question of the inclusion or non-inclusion of Mark 16:9-20 is non-testimony -- a side-effect of his relative non-use of the Gospel of Mark.
                      Your bias is showing. How many of those "dozens and dozens of variants" had been introduced in the first two centuries?

                      Pro-tip: Your quite evident hostility to the opposing view is not likely to win over those who have little stake in the argument.
                      Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                      Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                      sigpic
                      I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by robrecht View Post
                        So now you're abandoning the 'foul play' theory again?
                        It was Dr Pickering which I cited who presented the view the editor of Codex Sinaiticus deliberately removed Mark 16:9-20 when those 4 sheets were replaced. Using information provided by James Snapp Jr, I calculated the mean character count for the 15 of the 16 columns would be 652 characters, if the current existent text was evenly counted over the 16 columns that would make 614 characters per column. Adding 981 [A number I had counted for it] characters for Mark 16:9-20, placing the characters evenly over the 16 columns gives me about 676 characters each. So I have since concluded, that Mark 16:9-20 was probably not part of Codex Sinaiticus before those 4 sheets were replaced. Of course that does not mean it could not have been. At about 676 characters per column it just does not seem likely to me. I do believe Mark 16:9-20 was known to those who prepared the Sinaitius Codex. That its non-inclusion could be do to "foul play." But if so, I would like to know the reason. That it was "foul play" is a conjecture, made without giving the reason that it is. The modern reason is the denial that it was part of the original text of Mark.

                        As for canonacy of Mark 16:9-20, it is my view of canonacy of holy scripture it was holy scripture when it was written. And copies made and were handed down from the receiving church to other churches.
                        . . . the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; . . . -- Romans 1:16 KJV

                        . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: . . . -- 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 KJV

                        Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: . . . -- 1 John 5:1 KJV

                        Comment


                        • More about the Testimony of Clement and Origen

                          One Bad Pig,

                          Hostility? I'm not personally hostile toward Bruce Metzger. He was a prolific scholar. I simply noticed that in the 1964 edition of The Text of the New Testament, on page 226, Metzger wrote, “Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Eusebius show no knowledge of the existence of these verses,” and that he adjusted that sentence in later editions. I hope that you share such “hostility” toward the spread of blatantly false claims such as that one about Eusebius. You, like me, want such claims to be withdrawn and corrected . . . right?

                          Regarding Clement’s Adumbrationes on Jude verse 24: here’s Cassiodorus’ text, and an English rendering:

                          In evangelio vero secundum Marcum, (Now, in the Gospel according to Mark,)
                          interrogatus dominus (as the Lord was being questioned)
                          a principe sacerdotum, (by the chief of the priests,)
                          si ipse esset “Christus, (if He was the Christ,)
                          filius dei benedicti” (the Son of the Blessed,)
                          respondens dixit ; “Ego sum, (he said in response, “I am,)
                          et videbitis filium hominis (and you shall see the Son of man)
                          a dextris sedentum virtutis.” (sitting at the right hand of power.”)
                          “Virtutes” autem significat (But ‘powers’ signifies)
                          sanctos angelos. (the holy angels.)
                          Proinde enim cum dicit (Further, when he says)
                          “a dextris dei” (“at the right hand of God,”)
                          eosdem ipsos dicit propter (He means the self-same [beings], by reason of)
                          aequalitatem et similitudinem (the equality and likeness)
                          angelicarum sanctarumque virtutum, (of the angelic and holy powers,)
                          quae uno nominantur nomine dei. (which are called by the name of God.)
                          Cum ergo “sedere in dextra” dicit, (He says, therefore, that He sits at the right hand,)
                          hoc est: in eminenti honore et ibi requiescere. (that is, He rests in pre-eminent honor).

                          The implication is that when Origen says, ‘Further, when he says ‘at the right hand of God,’ he is talking about something said by Mark, not Jesus (inasmuch as Jesus never uses that phrase in the Gospels), and the only time the phrase is found in the Gospel of Mark is in 16:19. There is a smidgen of a chance that Origen had Luke 22:69 in mind instead, and paraphrased it, but I’d say that this excerpt qualifies at least as a probable reference to Mark 16:19 by Origen.

                          You asked, “You’re quick to sling accusations, aren’t you?” – Having read Metzger’s article on Origen’s references to textual variants, and also having read Amy Donaldson’s more thorough dissertation on the subject of patristic references to textual variants, I think I have the right, when anyone suggests that Origen’s writings are brimming with text-critical comments about the Gospel of Mark, or that Origen made so much use of the Gospel of Mark that it is remarkable and surprising that he never commented about Mark 16:9-20, to say that the person is speaking from ignorance. So does anyone who is well-informed on the subject.

                          No matter how you slice it, when one considers the dozens and dozens of textual variants in the Gospel of Mark, and also considers that Origen only commented on two of them -- and, then, only to answer objections, not as part of any systematic review of the Gospel of Mark -- and also considers that no commentary by Origen on the Gospel of Mark is extant, what we really have from Origen on the question of the inclusion or non-inclusion of Mark 16:9-20 is non-testimony -- a side-effect of his relative non-use of the Gospel of Mark.

                          You asked, “How many of those “dozens and dozens of variants” had been introduced in the first two centuries?” If P45 is any indication, hundreds of textual variants had been introduced into the Greek text of Mark by the time of Origen.

                          I hope you are not missing my point, which is that Origen’s non-use of Mark 16:9-20 is no more remarkable, and is no more of an indication of the contents of the manuscripts of Mark that he used, than is Origen’s non-use of Mark 1:36-3:16 (54 consecutive verses), Mark 5:2 to 5:43 (41 consecutive verses), Mark 9:7 to 9:32 (25 consecutive verses), Mark 10:3 to 10:42 (39 consecutive verses), Mark 12:29-13:30 (46 consecutive verses), Mark 13:32-14:47 (63 consecutive verses), or Mark 15:22-16:8 (33 consecutive verses) – to list just some of the many substantial chunks of text in Mark of which Origen makes no use in his extant writings.

                          If someone were to propose that because Origen did not utilize Mark 13:32-15:47 and 15:22-16:8, his manuscripts of Mark must not have contained those verses, people would consider that ridiculous. But multiple commentators (and Metzger was not the first) have presented Origen’s non-utilization of Mark 16:9-20 as if it somehow implies that his manuscripts did not contain these 12 verses. That’s why it is important, when considering such arguments from silence, to view them in light of the patristic writer’s general utilization of the Gospel of Mark as a whole. Unfortunately hardly any commentators do this, because they are so dependent upon Metzger’s Textual Commentary.

                          Regarding my “quite evident hostility to the opposing view” – Hostility, schostility; my mood is not the issue.

                          Yours in Christ,

                          James Snapp, Jr.

                          Comment


                          • 37818,

                            Let's revisit the cancel-sheet in Codex Sinaiticus when/if the discussion reaches the discussion of fourth-century evidence. In the meantime, I just clarify that something closer to 630 is the main copyist's rate of letters per column; it's not valid to use the cancel-sheet (produced by a different copyist) to gauge the main copyist's rate of letters-per-column.

                            Yours in Christ,

                            James Snapp, Jr.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by JamesSnappJr View Post
                              37818,

                              Let's revisit the cancel-sheet in Codex Sinaiticus when/if the discussion reaches the discussion of fourth-century evidence. In the meantime, I just clarify that something closer to 630 is the main copyist's rate of letters per column; it's not valid to use the cancel-sheet (produced by a different copyist) to gauge the main copyist's rate of letters-per-column.

                              Yours in Christ,

                              James Snapp, Jr.
                              The number of characters on the 4 cancel sheets are about 9824 (you have the actual counts). Mark's 16:9-20 is as I have counted using the TR at 981 characters. As I understood Dr Pickering's argument, he seemed to contend that Codex Sinaiticus had the reading of Mark 16:9-20 being removed and replaced by the cancel sheets. see Identity of the New Testament Text , Appendix E and foot note. http://www.walkinhiscommandments.com/pickering3b.htm
                              . . . the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; . . . -- Romans 1:16 KJV

                              . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: . . . -- 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 KJV

                              Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: . . . -- 1 John 5:1 KJV

                              Comment


                              • The Cancel-Sheet for Mk 14:54-16:8 and Lk 1:1-56 in Codex Sinaiticus

                                37818,

                                Pickering is not correct to call the pages that contain Mk. 14:54-16:8 and Luke 1:1-56 a "forgery." They were not written by the main copyist, who wrote the surrounding pages. But that does not make them forged pages. These four pages are a cancel-sheet, made when the manuscript was still in production. These four pages were written by another copyist to replace pages that the main copyist -- committing some significant error -- had written, on a single sheet of parchment, folded in the middle so as to produce four pages (like a four-page church-bulletin). (There are a few other such cancel-sheets in Codex Sinaiticus; this one just happens to be the most well-known -- although somehow, for some reason, Metzger never mentioned it in his discussions of Mark 16:9-20.)

                                When the main copyist was writing the pages that contain Mark 14, before the cancel-sheet, he was making columns that contain 645 and 626 letters -- about 13.25 letters per line. So: a column containing lines averaging 13.25 each would contain 636 letters. Ten such columns would contain 6,360 letters.

                                The text of Mark 14:54-16:8 in Sinaiticus' cancel-sheet contains 5,614 letters. So, in the original pages which the cancel-sheet replaced, if this exact text were written by the main copyist at the rate of 13.25 letters-per-line, the text would conclude before the end of the ninth column.

                                So if we figure that the cancel-sheet displays exactly the text which the main copyist had intended to write, then in the pages produced by the main copyist, the text of Mark stopped in column 9, and the text of Luke either began at the top of column 10, or else column 10 was blank and the text of Luke began at the top of column 11.

                                However, that calculation depends on the assumption that the producer of the cancel-sheet didn't make any mistakes. But when we look at his work, it looks very much like he did make mistakes: he accidentally skipped 76 letters in 15:57-16:1 (when he skipped from the second MARIA in 15:47 to the second MARIA in 16:1). He also omitted 12 letters in 16:6 (when he skipped from one TON to another one which followed nearby). In an attempt to fill space, he did not contract the name IHSOUN in 16:6. If we figure that these unusual features were introduced by the copyist, then we can reasonably deduce that his exemplar contained 84 (76 + 12 - 4) more letters than what we see in the cancel-sheet.

                                This indicates that Mark 14:54 -16:8, in the pages made by the main copyist, contained 5,698 (5,614 + 84) letters. When such a text is written in the main copyist’s normal lettering, they almost fill nine columns of 636 words each: the text of 16:8 would end with enough leftover space in column nine to hold 26 letters – that is, two lines’ worth.

                                Now, if we picture the next column filled with material written by the original copyist at the rate of 13.25 letters per line – i.e., a column of 636 letters – and if we added to it 26 letters from the bottom of column 9, then all together the material would contain 662 letters. Mk 16:9-20 contains, depending on textual variants, 971 letters. Even if the copyist accidentally skipped eight lines lines (106 letters), he could not fit the remaining 886 letters into space which would normally occupy 662 letters. So it is safe to conclude that the original pages did not contain Mk 16:9-20.

                                In our attempt to discern which column held the beginning of the Gospel of Luke, we must begin with a careful look at the cancel-sheet’s arrangement of the text of Mark and Luke:

                                Mark: Column 1: 635 letters. Column 2: 650 letters. Column 3: 639 letters. Column 4: 707 letters. Column 5: 592 letters. Column 6: 593 letters. Column 7: 604 letters. Column 8: 605 letters. Column 9: 552 letters. Column 10: 37 letters.
                                Total: 5,614.

                                Luke: Column 11: 681 letters. Column 12: 672 letters. Column 13: 702 letters. Column 14: 687 letters. Column 15: 725 letters. Column 16: 679 letters.
                                Total: 4,146.

                                If the original pages had contained extra material in Luke, and the corrector had removed the extra material, this would require the corrector to fill the space with fewer letters than the original pages had contained. But what we see in columns 11-16 is a staggering increase in the rate of letters-per-line, not a decrease: instead of 636 letters per column, columns 11-16 contain 4,146 letters; in six columns: an average rate of 691 letters per column. Clearly, therefore, the corrector was adding material in Luke that was omitted by the main copyist -- unless the main copyist’s original pages began Luke in column 10.

                                If the main copyist wrote the text of Luke at the rate of 636 letters per line, then the text of Luke 1:1-56a would have contained approximately 3,816 letters – but this is 330 letters less than what we see in columns 11-16 in the cancel-sheet.

                                Let's momentarily picture the original pages formatted in such a way that the Gospel of Luke begins at the top of column 11. The text of Luke 1:1-56a, minus a part that the copyist accidentally skipped, fit snugly into six columns. Now then: what was that missing part? Are there any passages in Luke 1:1-56 which are vulnerable to major parableptic error and which are approximately 330 letters long? Yes.

                                Luke 1:34 and 1:38 begin identically with “ΕΙΠΕΝ ΔΕ ΜΑΡΙΑΜ” and the text in between consists of 311 letters. There are 4,146 letters from Luke 1:1-56a on the cancel-sheet. If we subtract 311 letters from in between ΕΙΠΕΝ ΔΕ ΜΑΡΙΑΜ in 1:34 and ΕΙΠΕΝ ΔΕ ΜΑΡΙΑΜ in 1:38, we are left with 3,835 letters. At the main copyist’s last-seen rate of 13.25 letters per line, 3,835 letters fill 290 lines, just two more than 288, which is the number of lines in six columns.

                                There is another possibility: Luke 1:5 and Lk. 1:8 both begin with ΕΓΕΝΕΤΟ. In between, when one accounts for the contraction of nomina sacra, 1:5-7 consists of 319 letters. If we subtract the number of letters between ΕΓΕΝΕΤΟ and ΕΓΕΝΕΤΟ in Luke 1:5-8 (i.e., 319) from the number of letters in Luke 1:1-56 on the cancel-sheet (i.e., 4,146), then we may deduce that the number of letters on the original pages, in Luke 1:1-56a, was 3,827. 3,827 letters divided into lines of 13.25 letters = 288.83 lines, which is only slightly imperfect, and certainly acceptable, to fit the proposed format, in which the text of Luke 1:1-56a minus a large skipped passage filled six columns of 636 letters apiece (i.e., 288 lines).

                                This could imply some things about the original pages:
                                (1) The text of Luke began at the top of column 11, just as it does in the cancel-sheet.
                                (2) The main copyist accidentally skipped 319 letters in Luke 1:5-8 (or, slightly less likely, 311 letters in Luke 1:34-38).

                                The only other possibility, istm, is that the main copyist began the text of Luke at the top of column 10, and accidentally repeated a large segment of text. But this seems less likely to me, though it can't be ruled out altogether.

                                Now let’s consider the text of Mark.

                                The text of Mk on the cancel-sheet contains 5,614 letters; the text of Mark 14:54-16:8 on the replaced pages probably contained 5,698 letters; divided into lines of 13.25 letters, this = 430 lines. 48 x 9 = 432 lines, so the text of Mark, if it had ended at 16:8, would have fit tidily into 9 columns, with a little room for the subscription.
                                But if the text had ended at 16:8, and had fit tidily into column 9, we would expect the text of Luke 1:1 to begin at the top of column 10, instead of in column 11.

                                So we face essentially four possibilities:
                                (1) On the original pages, as the original copyist approached the end of Mark, he slightly extended his lettering in order to conclude the Gospel of Mark in column 10. This is quite possible when we compare his treatment of the end of Matthew, where only three letters (NOS) are present in the top line of the final column, followed by the subscription.
                                (2) On the original pages, the original copyist retained his rate of letters-per-line, ended Mark in column 9, left column 10 blank, and began Luke at the top of column 11.
                                (3) On the original pages, the original copyist very slightly increased his rate of letters-per-line, ended Mark in column 9, began Luke in column 10, and accidentally repeated most of Lk. 1:5-8 (or most of Lk. 1:34-38).
                                (4) On the original pages, the original copyist retained his rate of letters-per-line, and added the Short Ending after 16:8. As a result, the text of Mark extended into column 10. (I consider this fourth possibility extremely unlikely, on the grounds that Sinaiticus was almost certainly produced at Caesarea in the mid-300’s, and Eusebius of Caesarea, a couple of decades earlier, displayed no knowledge of the Short Ending when he discussed the ending of Mark in Ad Marinum. Nevertheless I included it in this list of possibilities because it is not technically impossible.)

                                Now I'd like to present some deductions about how the proof-reader of Codex Sinaiticus wrote the text on this cancel-sheet. In another post.

                                Yours in Christ,

                                James Snapp, Jr.

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