How do you solve a problem' IDENTITY?

by Terry 19 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Terry

    We don't worship the historical Jesus as much as the Risen Christ, accessible in our present.

    This is really an excellent point!

    Historical Jesus doesn't mean salvation for anybody.

    You have to get the corpse out of the tomb and into heaven for any of it to matter!

    The earliest Gospel was probably MARK. The story ENDS at the tomb!!

  • PSacramento

    The issue of the end ing of Mark is problematic, with most scholars believing that it was longer. but probably lost.

    The oldest mention of Mark's ending is from Ireneaus in about 180 and he quotes the longer version.

    Since it ends rather suddenly, mots agree that the original ending, whatever it was, was lost.

  • Terry

    There is a part of Mark that tantalizingly talks about a nude boy whose garment came off!

    Remember, the so-called LORDS PRAYER was short, too until MORE was added later.

    As if a historical happening can be better recalled at a LATER date exactly word-for-word!!


    Ending Mark

    The Ending of Mark

    Ancient copies of the Gospel of Mark can have several different endings. The shortest ending is found in the oldest manuscripts, all of which stop at verse 16:8. Most later manuscripts contain some additional verses, not always the same, which were apparently added to the gospel at later points in time. Excluding minor variations, these later additions created three new endings. The authors of these new endings didn't identify themselves.

    Several theories have been put forward to explain the different endings:

    Theory 1. The original ending (beyond verse 16:8) was accidentally lost. Later readers noticed the abrupt cutoff in the story, and several of them tried to finish it by inventing new endings.

    Theory 2. The original ending was intentionally removed by cutting the manuscript at verse 16:8. Several later readers, unaware of what had happened, created new endings.

    Theory 3. The original author was interrupted or died before he could finish the gospel, and had reached verse 16:8 at the time of the interruption.

    Theory 4. The original author actually did intend to stop at verse 16:8, even though the story seems unfinished to most people.

    The possible loss of the original ending is especially unfortunate because many biblical scholars consider Mark to be the earliest and most reliable gospel. It's also unfortunate that the apparent cutoff of the original text occurs at a critical point in the story, early on the first Easter Sunday just after Mary Magdalene and two other women discover that the tomb is empty. These women had just been told that Jesus was alive and on his way to Galilee, and that the disciples would see him there. But any account of what happened next, if it ever existed, is now lost.

    One popular theory is that the original ending (beyond verse 16:8) was lost when part of a scroll accidentally broke off. In fact some scholars think that a portion of verse 16:8 itself is missing, with the extant text stopping in the middle of a sentence. If true, this would provide strong support for the theory of an accidental break off.

    But there is another way to interpret verse 16:8 in which the final sentence does come to a proper end. If this interpretation is correct, it would mean that the cutoff occurred between sentences, which goes against the theory of an accidental severing of the manuscript. Another argument against the accidental-loss theory is that an ancient scroll was normally rolled up with the ending on the inside where it would be unlikely to break off.

    Another theory is that someone intentionally destroyed the original ending because it was inconsistent with some basic Christian beliefs. Of course this is merely speculation, since there is no direct evidence to support such an idea. Also, if someone had decided to destroy the ending for this reason, he or she probably wouldn't have chosen verse 16:8 as the cutoff point, because that still leaves inconsistencies. For example, verse 16:7 indicates that the disciples will have to go to Galilee to see the risen Jesus, whereas the other gospels say that he was first seen in Jerusalem. And verse 16:8 says that the women didn't tell anyone about finding the tomb empty, but the other gospels say that they immediately went and told some of the male disciples.

    If the original ending really was lost or destroyed, it probably happened within a few years after the gospel was written. Otherwise the authors of Matthew and Luke, who most likely used copies of Mark as a source, would have included versions of his original ending in their gospels. Also, a longer time period would have allowed many copies of the gospel to be made, and this would increase the chance that the original ending would survive.

    Some scholars think that the author of Mark stopped at verse 16:8 on purpose, despite the abrupt cutoff in the story. This is certainly possible. But it would mean that the original version of the gospel didn't describe any post-resurrection appearances of Jesus.

    Another possibility is that the author was interrupted or died before he could finish writing the gospel. However, if this had happened, other people would have probably known about it, and someone likely would have mentioned it in other early writings. Still, this possibility can't be ruled out, even though it is basically speculation.

    The ending chosen for most modern bibles is known as the Longer Ending (or Apocryphal Addition). It consists of twelve additional verses (Mark 16:9-20) which are attached after verse 16:8. Because these twelve verses aren't in the oldest manuscripts, and are written in a different style, they almost certainly weren't part of the original gospel. But many people don't know this and therefore accept them as authentic.

    In one of these added verses (Mark 16:18), the resurrected Jesus says that believers "will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all." Although Jesus probably never said this, many Christians believe that he did, and a few congregations even include the handling of poisonous snakes in their church services.

    The Secret Gospel of Mark

    Some important new information about Mark's gospel may have been discovered in 1958 at the Mar Saba monastery near Jerusalem. The discovery is a possible copy of an ancient letter written by Clement of Alexandria, in which he quotes two passages from a previously unknown version of Mark. Although questions have been raised about the authenticity of this letter, most scholars believe that it is genuine.

    According to the letter, this other version of Mark was called the "Secret Gospel of Mark", and only a small number of people had seen it. Because it contained extra passages, it was apparently a longer version of the gospel. In fact some scholars think that it was actually the original version. If so, the New Testament version could be a shortened form with some passages, including the ending, intentionally removed. Thus, if a complete text of the secret version could be found, it might reveal the true original ending.

    But unless new information is uncovered, questions about the gospel's ending will remain unanswered. All of the main theories involve conjectures, and all of them have deficiencies. As a result, the uncertainty about the true ending is one of the biggest unsolved problems in biblical scholarship.

  • PSacramento

    Lost of theories and opinions, but no one knows for sure.

    I am inclined to believe it was longer but beyond that...

  • Terry

    The Naked Young Man in Mark 14:51-52
    Then Jesus said to the posse [sent to arrest him], “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a guerrilla? Day after day I was with you in the Temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But let the scriptures be fulfilled.” All of them deserted him and fled. A young man was following him, wearing nothing but a linen [cloth]. They caught hold of him, but he left the linen [cloth] and ran off naked. (Mark 14:48-52)

    Who was this young man? Why was he not considered a disciple in the same category as Peter, James, and John, who couldn’t have been much older? Why was no one surprised that he was standing around in Gethsemane with Jesus’ inner circle of male disciples (and a huge posse of Roman soldiers) wearing “nothing but a linen” — when it was probably no warmer than 50o F.? Was the neaniskos of this passage the same neaniskos as in Mark 16:5, who in the meantime had found himself a nice stolén leukén (long, white robe) to cover his nakedness?

    Traditionally, scholars have agreed that because of the “embarrassment factor,” this incident may really have happened — i.e., it was so embarrassing that the

    original gospel, “intended for beginners, was written at Rome” in approximately 65 C.E., shortly before the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 C.E. Whether or not Secret Mark was written for advanced students by Mark (but notice the somewhat anachronistic references to Lazarus and Martha) or by Carpocrates for his own “carnal” purposes, it offers an intriguing glimpse into the story of the naked young man beyond what we get from the canonical gospel.

    The possibilities are:

    There really was a young disciple present at Gethsemane whose bizarre attire (or, rather, lack of attire) surprised no one; the traditional interpretation, that it was Mark’s way of saying “I was there,” is the right one.
    The young man of Mark 14:51-52 is the same neaniskos as in Mark 16:5-7. This would make him an angel, or something like an angel — at any rate, present in the story as a semeion rather than a historically accurate lunatic.
    Secret Mark is, as advertised, a fragment of a gospel written by Mark for “advanced” disciples, and Mark 14:51-52 is a canonical remnant of the original story. In this case, the naked young man was probably Lazarus, and the sindon has something to do with the lad’s initiation into a higher level of spiritual insight.
    Secret Mark is a fragment of a gospel written by some other person, perhaps Carpocrates, for “advanced” disciples, explaining the young disciple’s presence at Gethsemane and his bizarre attire in terms that seemed reasonable to second-century Christians. In this case, as with the second possibility, the naked young man was probably Lazarus, and the sindon has something to do with the lad’s initiation into a higher level of spiritual insight.

  • PSacramento

    There is a lot of controvery around secret Mark, not sure how to take that one to be honest.

    Got do more research on that one.

    As for hm being Lazarus, well....I think the "guy that was dead and Jesus brought back to life" would have probably been well known in that area.

    BUT there are reasons why they wouldn't have brought him "into the picture" and it is an interesting view that Lazarus was Mark and the companion of Peter.

  • Terry

    Yep. Velly interestink....

  • Terry

    This sentence (in the above snippet) really cracks me up! The wording is just too rich!!

    The young man of Mark 14:51-52 is the same neaniskos as in Mark 16:5-7. This would make him an angel, or something like an angel — at any rate, present in the story as a semeion rather than a historically accurate lunatic.

  • MrFreeze

    How can you really trust the Gospel accounts? You can't! Once again it all comes down to faith. How much faith do you have that none of the facts or events were fudged? Since they were written well after the events occurred (or maybe they didn't occur, we have no proof), it's all just second hand news. Is that what you want to base your life on? Second hand accounts of a man who the stories make into somebody who, if he were claimed to exist today, would be identified as a ficiticious character or a master of deception (like Penn and Teller) by anybody who has any sort of critical thinking ability?

  • cameo-d

    Very intriguing thread, Terry, and a good read.

    Terry: "To the folks around Nazareth (if such a place existed!) he was a carpenter's son."

    Actually, I heard that was a mistranslation and that his father was actually a very skilled architect in great demand! But that's another story.


    So I won't live forever because I don't believe in Jehovah as the one true god?

    So I won't live forever because I don't accept Jesus as part of a Triune god?

    Doesn't a triune godhead conflict with the first law of Moses; "thou shalt have no other gods before me"?

    Isn't it a pagan concept to deify human beings to the point of becoming legends, myths, gods? Aren't some people eulogized into being greater than what they really were?

    Some religions teach that Jesus was God incarnate.

    I suppose that after man allowed god to change his name from Yahwey to Jehovah that a lot of new concepts and doctrines crept in.

    "Without a living Jesus, there is no kingdom and no resurrection to heavenly bliss."

    You said a mouthful there. I would like to see you go farther with this direction. If you follow this line of reasoning, where does it go politically and spiritually?

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