Bernh. Weiss: Das Matthäusevangelium und seine Lucas-Parallelen erklärt. Halle, 1876. Exceedingly elaborate.
Edw. Byron Nicholson: The Gospel according to the Hebrews. Its Fragments translated and annotated. Lond., 1879.
Commentaries on Matthew by Origen, Jerome, Chrysostom, Melanchthon (1523), Fritzsche, De Wette, Alford, Wordsworth, Schegg (R. Cath., 1856-58, 3 vols.), J. A. Alexander, Lange (trsl. and enlarged by Schaff, N. Y., 1864, etc.), James Morison (of Glasgow, Lond., 1870), Meyer, (6th ed., 1876), Wichelhaus (Halle, 1876), Keil (Leipz., 1877), Plumptre (Lond., 1878), Carr (Cambr., 1879), Nicholson (Lond., 1881), Schaff (N. Y., 1882).
Life of Matthew
Matthew, formerly called Levi, one of the twelve apostles, was originally a publican or taxgatherer at Capernaum, and hence well acquainted with Greek and Hebrew in bilingual Galilee, and accustomed to keep accounts. This occupation prepared him for writing a Gospel in topical order in both languages. In the three Synoptic lists of the apostles he is associated with Thomas, and forms with him the fourth pair; in Mark and Luke he precedes Thomas, in his own Gospel he is placed after him (perhaps from modesty). Hence the conjecture that he was a twin brother of Thomas (Didymus, i.e., Twin), or associated with him in work. Thomas was an honest and earnest doubter, of a melancholy disposition, yet fully convinced at last when he saw the risen Lord; Matthew was a strong and resolute believer.
Of his apostolic labors we have no certain information. Palestine, Ethiopia, Macedonia, the country of the Euphrates, Persia, and Media are variously assigned to him as missionary fields. He died a natural death according to the oldest tradition, while later accounts make him a martyr.
The first Gospel is his imperishable work, well worthy a long life, yea many lives. Matthew the publican occupies as to time the first place in the order of the Evangelists, as Mary Magdalene, from whom Christ expelled many demons, first proclaimed the glad tidings of the resurrection. Not that it is on that account the best or most important — the best comes last, — but it naturally precedes the other, as the basis precedes the superstructure.
In his written Gospel he still fulfils the great commission to bring all nations to the school of Christ (Mat_28:19).
The scanty information of the person and life of Matthew in connection with his Gospel suggests the following probable inferences:
1. Matthew was a Hebrew of the Hebrews, yet comparatively liberal, being a publican who came in frequent contact with merchants from Damascus. This occupation was indeed disreputable in the eyes of the Jews, and scarcely consistent with the national Messianic aspirations; but Capernaum belonged to the tetrarchy of Herod Antipas, and the Herodian family, which, with all its subserviency to heathen Rome, was yet to a certain extent identified with the Jewish nation.
2. He was a man of some means and good social position. His office was lucrative, he owned a house, and gave a farewell banquet to “a great multitude” of his old associates, at which Jesus presided. It was at the same time his farewell to the world, its wealth, its pleasures and honors. “We may conceive what a joyous banquet that was for Matthew, when he marked the words and acts of Jesus, and stored within his memory the scene and the conversation which he was inspired to write according to his clerkly ability for the instruction of the church in all after ages.” It was on that occasion that Jesus spoke that word which was especially applicable to Matthew and especially offensive to the Pharisees present: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” It is remarkable that the first post-apostolic quotation from the Gospel of Matthew is this very passage, and one similar to it (see below).
3. He was a man of decision of character and capable of great sacrifice to his conviction. When called, while sitting in Oriental fashion at his tollbooth, to follow Jesus, he “forsook all, rose up, and followed Him,” whom he at once recognized and trusted as the true king of Israel. (Luk_5:28; Mar_2:14; Mat_9:9) No one can do more than leave his “all,” no matter how much or how little this may be; and no one can do better than to “follow Christ.”
Character and Aim of the Gospel
The first Gospel makes the impression of primitive antiquity. The city of Jerusalem, the temple, the priesthood and sacrifices, the entire religious and political fabric of Judaism are supposed to be still standing, but with an intimation of their speedy downfall. It alone reports the words of Christ that he came not to destroy but to fulfil the law and the prophets, and that he was only sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Mat_5:17; Mat_15:24; comp. Mat_10:6) Hence the best critics put the composition several years before the destruction of Jerusalem.
Matthew’s Gospel was evidently written for Hebrews, and Hebrew Christians with the aim to prove that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah, the last and greatest prophet, priest, and king of Israel. It presupposes a knowledge of Jewish customs and Palestinian localities (which are explained in other Gospels). It is the connecting link between the Old and the New Covenant. It is, as has been well said, “the ultimatum of Jehovah to his ancient people: Believe, or prepare to perish! Recognize Jesus as the Messiah, or await Him as your Judge!” Hence he so often points out the fulfilment of Messianic prophecy in the evangelical history with his peculiar formula: “that it might be fulfilled,” or “then was fulfilled.”
In accordance with this plan, Matthew begins with the genealogy of Jesus, showing him to be the son and heir of David the king, and of Abraham the father, of the Jewish race, to whom the promises were given. The wise men of the East come from a distance to adore the new-born king of the Jews. The dark suspicion and jealousy of Herod is roused, and foreshadows the future persecution of the Messiah. The flight to Egypt and the return from that land both of refuge and bondage are a fulfilment of the typical history of Israel. John the Baptist completes the mission of prophecy in preparing the way for Christ. After the Messianic inauguration and trial Jesus opens his public ministry with the Sermon on the Mount, which is the counterpart of the Sinaitic legislation, and contains the fundamental law of his kingdom. The key-note of this sermon and of the whole Gospel is that Christ came to fulfil the law and the prophets, which implies both the harmony of the two religions and the transcendent superiority of Christianity. His mission assumes an organized institutional form in the kingdom of heaven which he came to establish in the world. Matthew uses this term (ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν) no less than thirty-two times, while the other Evangelists and Paul speak of the “kingdom of God” (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ). No other Evangelist has so fully developed the idea that Christ and his kingdom are the fulfilment of all the hopes and aspirations of Israel, and so vividly set forth the awful solemnity of the crisis at this turning point in its history.
But while Matthew wrote from the Jewish Christian point of view, he is far from being Judaizing or contracted. He takes the widest range of prophecy. He is the most national and yet the most universal, the most retrospective and yet the most prospective, of Evangelists. At the very cradle of the infant Jesus he introduces the adoring Magi from the far East, as the forerunners of a multitude of believing Gentiles who “shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven;” while “the sons of the kingdom shall be cast forth into the outer darkness.” The heathen centurion, and the heathen woman of Canaan exhibit a faith the like of which Jesus did not find in Israel. The Messiah is rejected and persecuted by his own people in Galilee and Judaea. He upbraids Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, wherein his mighty works were done, because they repented not; He sheds tears over Jerusalem because she would not come to Him; He pronounces his woe over the Jewish hierarchy, and utters the fearful prophecies of the destruction of the theocracy. All this is most fully recorded by Matthew, and he most appropriately and sublimely concludes with the command of the universal evangelization of all nations, and the promise of the unbroken presence of Christ with his people to the end of the world. (Comp. Mat_2:1-12; Mat_8:11, Mat_8:12; Mat_11:21; Mat_12:41; Mat_15:21-28; Mat_23:1-39 and Mat_24:1-51; Mat_28:19, Mat_28:20)
The mode of arrangement is clear and orderly. It is topical rather than chronological. It far surpasses Mark and Luke in the fulness of the discourses of Christ, while it has to be supplemented from them in regard to the succession of events. Matthew groups together the kindred words and works with special reference to Christ’s teaching; hence it was properly called by Papias a collection of the Oracles of the Lord. It is emphatically the didactic Gospel.
The first didactic group is the Sermon on the Mount of Beatitudes, which contains the legislation of the kingdom of Christ and an invitation to the whole people to enter, holding out the richest promises to the poor in spirit and the pure in heart (Mt 5-7). The second group is the instruction to the disciples in their missionary work (Mat_10:1-42). The third is the collection of the parables on the kingdom of God, illustrating its growth, conflict, value, and consummation (Mat_13:1-58). The fourth, the denunciation of the Pharisees (Mat_23:1-39), and the fifth, the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world (Mat_24:1-51 and Mat_25:1-46).
Between these chief groups are inserted smaller discourses of Christ, on his relation to John the Baptist (Mat_11:1-19); the woe on the unrepenting cities of Galilee (Mat_11:20-24); the thanksgiving for the revelation to those of a childlike spirit (Mat_11:25-27); the invitation to the weary and heavy laden (Mat_11:28-30); on the observance of the Sabbath and warning to the Pharisees who were on the way to commit the unpardonable sin by tracing his miracles to Satanic powers (Mat_12:1-50); the attack on the traditions of the elders and the hypocrisy of the Pharisees (Mat_15:1-39 and Mat_16:1-28); the prophecy of the founding of the church after the great confession of Peter, with the prediction of his passion as the way to victory (Mat_16:1-28); the discourse on the little children with their lesson of simplicity and humility against the temptations of hierarchial pride; the duty of forgiveness in the kingdom and the parable of the unforgiving servant (Mat_18:1-35); the discourse about divorce, against the Pharisees; the blessing of little children; the warning against the danger of riches; the parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard and the nature of the future rewards (Mat_19:1-30 and Mat_20:1-34); the victorious replies of the Lord to the tempting questions of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Mat_22:1-46).
These discourses are connected with narratives of the great miracles of Christ and the events in his life. The miracles are likewise grouped together (as in Mt 8-9), or briefly summed up (as in Mat_4:23-25). The transfiguration (Mat_17:1-27) forms the turning-point between the active and the passive life; it was a manifestation of heaven on earth, an anticipation of Christ’s future glory, a pledge of the resurrection, and it fortified Jesus and his three chosen disciples for the coming crisis, which culminated in the crucifixion and ended in the resurrection.
Matthew has a number of original sections:
Ten Discourses of our Lord, namely, the greater part of the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7); the thanksgiving for the revelation to babes (Mat_11:25-27); the touching invitation to the heavy laden (Mat_11:28-30), which is equal to anything in John; the warning against idle words (Mat_12:36, Mat_12:37); the blessing pronounced upon Peter and the prophecy of founding the church (Mat_16:17-19); the greater part of the discourse on humility and forgiveness (Mat_18:1-35); the rejection of the Jews (Mat_21:43); the denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees (Mat_23:1-39); the description of the final judgment (Mat_25:31-46); the great commission and the promise of Christ’s presence to the end of time (Mat_28:18-20).
2. Ten Parables: the tares; the hidden treasure; the pearl of great price; the draw-net (Mat_13:24-50); the unmerciful servant (Mat_18:23-35); the laborers in the vineyard (Mat_20:1-16); the two sons (Mat_21:28-32); the marriage of the king’s son (Mat_22:1-14); the ten virgins (Mat_25:1-13); the talents (Mat_25:14-30).
3. Two Miracles: the cure of two blind men (Mat_9:27-31); the stater in the fish’s mouth (Mat_17:24-27).
4. Facts and Incidents: the adoration of the Magi; the massacre of the innocents; the flight into Egypt; the return from Egypt to Nazareth (all in Mat_2:1-23); the coming of the Pharisees and Sadducees to John’s baptism (Mat_3:7); Peter’s attempt to walk on the sea (Mat_14:28-31); the payment of the temple tax (Mat_17:24-27); the bargain of Judas, his remorse, and suicide (Mat_26:14-16; Mat_27:3-10); the dream of Pilate’s wife (Mat_27:19); the appearance of departed saints in Jerusalem (Mat_27:52); the watch at the sepulchre (Mat_27:62-66); the lie of the Sanhedrin and the bribing of the soldiers (Mat_28:11-15); the earthquake on the resurrection morning (Mat_28:2, a repetition of the shock described in Mat_27:51, and connected with the rolling away of the stone from the sepulchre).
The Style of Matthew is simple, unadorned, calm, dignified, even majestic; less vivid and picturesque than that of Mark; more even and uniform than Luke’s, because not dependent on written sources. He is Hebraizing, but less so than Mark, and not so much as Luke 1-2. He omits some minor details which escaped his observation, but which Mark heard from Peter, and which Luke learned from eye-witnesses or found in his fragmentary documents. Among his peculiar expressions, besides the constant use of “kingdom of heaven,” is the designation of God as “our heavenly Father,” and of Jerusalem as “the holy city” and “the city of the Great King.” In the fulness of the teaching of Christ he surpasses all except John. Nothing can be more solemn and impressive than his reports of those words of life and power, which will outlast heaven and earth (Mat_24:34). Sentence follows sentence with overwhelming force, like a succession of lightning flashes from the upper world.
Patristic Notices of Matthew
The first Gospel was well known to the author of the “Didache of the Apostles,” who wrote between 80 and 100, and made large use of it, especially the Sermon on the Mount.
The next clear allusion to this Gospel is made in the Epistle of Barnabas, who quotes two passages from the Greek Matthew, one from Mat_22:14: “Many are called, but few chosen,” with the significant formula used only of inspired writings, “It is written.” This shows clearly that early in the second century, if not before, it was an acknowledged authority in the church. The Gospel of John also indirectly presupposes, by its numerous emissions, the existence of all the Synoptical Gospels.
The Hebrew Matthew
Next we hear of a Hebrew Matthew from Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, “a hearer of John and a companion of Polycarp.” He collected from apostles and their disciples a variety of apostolic traditions in his “Exposition of Oracles of the Lord,” in five books (λογίων κυριακῶν ἐξήγησις). In a fragment of this lost work preserved by Eusebius, he says distinctly that “Matthew composed the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew tongue, and everyone interpreted them as best he could.”
Unfortunately the Hebrew Matthew, if it ever existed, has disappeared, and consequently there is much difference of opinion about this famous passage, both as regards the proper meaning of “oracles” (λόγια) and the truth of the whole report.
1. The “oracles” are understood by some to mean only the discourses of our Lord; by others to include also the narrative portions. But in any case the Hebrew Matthew must have been chiefly an orderly collection of discourses. This agrees best with the natural and usual meaning of Logia, and the actual preponderance of the doctrinal element in our canonical Matthew) as compared with our Mark. A parte potiori fit denominatio.
2. The report of a Hebrew original has been set aside altogether as a sheer mistake of Papias, who confounded it with the Ebionite “Gospel according to the Hebrews,” known to us from a number of fragments. It is said that Papias was a credulous and weak-minded, though pious man. But this does not impair his veracity or invalidate a simple historical notice. It is also said that the universal spread of the Greek language made a Hebrew Gospel superfluous. But the Aramaic was still the vernacular and prevailing language in Palestine (comp. Act_21:40; Act_22:2) and in the countries of the Euphrates.
There is an intrinsic probability of a Hebrew Gospel for the early stage of Christianity. And the existence of a Hebrew Matthew rests by no means merely on Papias. It is confirmed by the independent testimonies of most respectable fathers, as Irenaeus, Pantaenus, Origen, Eusebius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Epiphanius, and Jerome.
This Hebrew Matthew must not be identified with the Judaizing “Gospel according to the Hebrews,” the best among the apocryphal Gospels, of which in all thirty-three fragments remain. Jerome and other fathers clearly distinguish the two. The latter was probably an adaptation of the former to the use of the Ebionites and Nazarenes. Truth always precedes heresy, as the genuine coin precedes the counterfeit, and the real portrait the caricature. Cureton and Tregelles maintain that the Curetonian Syriac fragment is virtually a translation of the Hebrew Matthew, and antedates the Peshito version. But Ewald has proven that it is derived from our Greek Matthew.
Papias says that everybody “interpreted” the Hebrew Matthew as well as he could. He refers no doubt to the use of the Gospel in public discourses before Greek hearers, not to a number of written translations of which we know nothing. The past tense (ἡρμήνευσε) moreover seems to imply that such necessity existed no longer at the time when he wrote; in other words, that the authentic Greek Matthew had since appeared and superseded the Aramaic predecessor which was probably less complete. Papias accordingly is an indirect witness of the Greek Matthew in his own age; that is, the early part of the second century (about a.d. 130). At all events the Greek Matthew was in public use even before that time, as is evident from the quotations in the Didache, and the Epistle of Barnabas (which were written before 120, probably before 100).
The Greek Matthew
The Greek Matthew, as we have it now, is not a close translation from the Hebrew and bears the marks of an original composition. This appears from genuine Greek words and phrases to which there is no parallel in Hebrew, as the truly classical “Those wretches he will wretchedly destroy,” and from the discrimination in Old Testament quotations which are freely taken from the Septuagint in the course of the narrative, but conformed to the Hebrew when they convey Messianic prophecies, and are introduced by the solemn formula: “that there might be fulfilled,” or “then was fulfilled.”
If then we credit the well nigh unanimous tradition of the ancient church concerning a prior Hebrew Matthew, we must either ascribe the Greek Matthew to some unknown translator who took certain liberties with the original, or, what seems most probable, we must assume that Matthew himself at different periods of his life wrote his Gospel first in Hebrew in Palestine, and afterward in Greek. In doing so, he would not literally translate his own book, but like other historians freely reproduce and improve it. Josephus did the same with his history of the Jewish war, of which only the Greek remains. When the Greek Matthew once was current in the church, it naturally superseded the Hebrew, especially if it was more complete.
Objections are raised to Matthew’s authorship of the first canonical Gospel, from real or supposed inaccuracies in the narrative, but they are at best very trifling and easily explained by the fact that Matthew paid most attention to the words of Christ, and probably had a better memory for thoughts than for facts.
But whatever be the view we take of the precise origin of the first canonical Gospel, it was universally received in the ancient church as the work of Matthew. It was our Matthew who is often, though freely, quoted by Justin Martyr as early as a.d. 146 among the “Gospel Memoirs;” it was one of the four Gospels of which his pupil Tatian compiled a connected “Diatessaron;” and it was the only Matthew used by Irenaeus and all the fathers that follow.
George Petter (the largest Com. on M., London, 1661, 2 vols. fol.); C. Fr. A. Fritzsche (Evangelium Marci, Lips., 1830); A. Klostermann (Das Marcusevangelium nach seinem Quellenwerthe für die evang. Gesch., Göttingen, 1867); B. Weiss (Das Marcusevangelium und seine synopt. Parallelen, Berlin, 1872); Meyer (6th ed. by Weiss, Gött., 1878); Joseph A. Alexander (New York, 1858, and London, 1866); Harvey Goodwin (London, 1860); John H. Godwin (London, 1869); James Morison (Mark’s Memoir of Jesus Christ, London and Glasgow, 1873, second ed., 1876, third ed., 1881, one of the very best Com., learned, reverential, and sensible); C. F. Maclear (Cambridge, 1877); Canon Cook (London, 1878); Edwin W. Rich (Philad., 1881); Matthew B. Riddle (New York, 1881).
Life of Mark
The second Evangelist combines in his name, as well as in his mission, the Hebrew and the Roman, and is a connecting link between Peter and Paul, but more especially a pupil and companion of the former, so that his Gospel may properly be called the Gospel of Peter. His original name was John or Johanan (i.e., Jehovah is gracious, Gotthold) his surname was Mark (i.e., Mallet). The surname supplanted the Hebrew name in his later life, as Peter supplanted Simon, and Paul supplanted Saul. The change marked the transition of Christianity from the Jews to the Gentiles. He is frequently mentioned in the Acts and the Epistles. (Act_12:12, Act_12:25; Act_13:5, Act_13:13; Act_15:37; Col_4:10; 2Ti_4:11; Phm_1:24; 1Pe_5:13)
He was the son of a certain Mary who lived at Jerusalem and offered her house, at great risk no doubt in that critical period of persecution, to the Christian disciples for devotional meetings. Peter repaired to that house after his deliverance from prison (a.d. 44). This accounts for the close intimacy of Mark with Peter; he was probably converted through him, and hence called his spiritual “son” (1Pe_5:13). He may have had a superficial acquaintance with Christ; for he is probably identical with that unnamed “young man” who, according to his own report, left his “linen cloth and fled naked” from Gethsemane in the night of betrayal (Mar_14:51). He would hardly have mentioned such a trifling incident, unless it had a special significance for him as the turning-point in his life. Lange ingeniously conjectures that his mother owned the garden of Gethsemane or a house close by.
Mark accompanied Paul and Barnabas as their minister (ὑπηρέτης) on their first great missionary journey; but left them half-way, being discouraged, it seems, by the arduous work, and returned to his mother in Jerusalem. For this reason Paul refused to take him on his next tour, while Barnabas was willing to overlook his temporary weakness (Act_15:38). There was a “sharp contention” on that occasion between these good men, probably in connection with the more serious collision between Paul and Peter at Antioch (Gal_2:11 sqq.). Paul was moved by a stern sense of duty; Barnabas by a kindly feeling for his cousin. But the alienation was only temporary. For about ten years afterwards (63) Paul speaks of Mark at Rome as one of his few “fellow-workers unto the kingdom of God,” who had been “a comfort” to him in his imprisonment; and he commends him to the brethren in Asia Minor on his intended visit (Col_4:10, Col_4:11; Phm_1:24). In his last Epistle he charges Timothy to bring Mark with him to Rome on the ground that he was “useful to him for ministering” (2Ti_4:11). We find him again in company with Peter at “Babylon,” whether that be on the Euphrates, or, more probably, at Rome (1Pe_5:3).
These are the last notices of him in the New Testament. The tradition of the church adds two important facts, that he wrote his Gospel in Rome as the interpreter of Peter, and that afterwards he founded the church of Alexandria. The Coptic patriarch claims to be his successor. The legends of his martyrdom in the eighth year of Nero (this date is given by Jerome) are worthless. In 827 his relics were removed from Egypt to Venice, which built him a magnificent five-domed cathedral on the Place of St. Mark, near the Doge’s palace, and chose him with his symbol, the Lion, for the patron saint of the republic.
His Relation to Peter
Though not an apostle, Mark had the best opportunity in his mother’s house and his personal connection with Peter, Paul, Barnabas, and other prominent disciples for gathering the most authentic information concerning the gospel history.
The earliest notice of his Gospel we have from Papias of Hierapolis in the first half of the second century. He reports among the primitive traditions which he collected, that “Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter (ἑρμηνευτὴς Πέτρου γενόμενος), wrote down accurately (ἀκριβῶς ἔγραψεν) whatever he remembered, without, however, recording in order (τὰξει) what was either said or done by Christ. For neither did he hear the Lord, nor did he follow Him; but afterwards, as I said, [he followed] Peter, who adapted his instructions to the needs [of his hearers], but not in the way of giving a connected account of the Lord’s discourses. So then Mark committed no error in thus writing down such details as he remembered; for he made it his one forethought not to omit or to misrepresent any details that he had heard.”
In what sense was Mark an “interpreter” of Peter? Not as the translator of a written Aramaic Gospel of Peter into the Greek, for of such an Aramaic original there is no trace, and Peter (to judge from his Epistles) wrote better Greek; nor as the translator of his discourses into Latin, for we know not whether he understood that language, and it was scarcely needed even in Rome among Jews and Orientals who spoke Greek; nor in the wider sense, as a mere clerk or amanuensis, who wrote down what Peter dictated; but as the literary editor and publisher of the oral Gospel of his spiritual father and teacher. So Mercury was called the interpreter of the gods, because he communicated to mortals the messages of the gods. It is quite probable, however, that Peter sketched down some of the chief events under the first impression, in his vernacular tongue, and that such brief memoirs, if they existed, would naturally be made use of by Mark.
We learn, then, from Papias that Mark wrote his Gospel from the personal reminiscences of Peter’s discourses, which were adapted to the immediate wants of his hearers; that it was not complete (especially in the didactic part, as compared with Matthew or John), nor strictly chronological.
Clement of Alexandria informs us that the people of Rome were so much pleased with the preaching of Peter that they requested Mark, his attendant, to put it down in writing, which Peter neither encouraged nor hindered. Other ancient fathers emphasize the close intimacy of Mark with Peter, and call his Gospel the Gospel of Peter.
This tradition is confirmed by the book: it is derived from the apostolic preaching of Peter, but is the briefest and so far the least complete of all the Gospels, yet replete with significant details. It reflects the sanguine and impulsive temperament, rapid movement, and vigorous action of Peter. In this respect its favorite particle “straightway” is exceedingly characteristic. The break-down of Mark in Pamphylia, which provoked the censure of Paul, has a parallel in the denial and inconsistency of Peter; but, like him, he soon rallied, was ready to accompany Paul on his next mission, and persevered faithfully to the end.
He betrays, by omissions and additions, the direct influence of Peter. He informs us that the house of Peter was “the house of Simon and Andrew” (Mar_1:29). He begins the public ministry of Christ with the calling of these two brothers (Mar_1:16) and ends the undoubted part of the Gospel with a message to Peter (Mar_16:7), and the supplement almost in the very words of Peter. He tells us that Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration, when he proposed to erect three tabernacles, “knew not what to say” (Mar_9:6). He gives the most minute account of Peter’s denial, and — alone among the Evangelists — records the fact that he warmed himself “in the light” of the fire so that he could be distinctly seen (Mar_14:54), and that the cock crew twice, giving him a second warning (Mar_14:72). No one would be more likely to remember and report the fact as a stimulus to humility and gratitude than Peter himself.
On the other hand, Mark omits the laudatory words of Jesus to Peter: “Thou art Rock, and upon this rock I will build my church;” while yet he records the succeeding rebuke: “Get thee behind me, Satan.” The humility of the apostle, who himself warns so earnestly against the hierarchical abuse of the former passage, offers the most natural explanation of this conspicuous omission. “It is likely,” says Eusebius, “that Peter maintained silence on these points; hence the silence of Mark.”
Character and Aim of Mark
The second Gospel was — according to the unanimous voice of the ancient church, which is sustained by internal evidence — written at Rome and primarily for Roman readers, probably before the death of Peter, at all events before the destruction of Jerusalem.
It is a faithful record of Peter’s preaching, which Mark must have heard again and again. It is an historical sermon on the text of Peter when addressing the Roman soldier Cornelius: “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” It omits the history of the infancy, and rushes at once into the public ministry of our Lord, beginning, like Peter, with the baptism of John, and ending with the ascension. It represents Christ in the fulness of his living energy, as the Son of God and the mighty wonder-worker who excited amazement and carried the people irresistibly before him as a spiritual conqueror. This aspect would most impress the martial mind of the Romans, who were born to conquer and to rule. The teacher is lost in the founder of a kingdom. The heroic element prevails over the prophetic. The victory over Satanic powers in the healing of demoniacs is made very prominent. It is the gospel of divine force manifested in Christ. The symbol of the lion is not inappropriate to the Evangelist who describes Jesus as the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
Mark gives us a Gospel of facts, while Matthew’s is a Gospel of divine oracles. He reports few discourses, but many miracles. He unrolls the short public life of our Lord in a series of brief life-pictures in rapid succession. He takes no time to explain and to reveal the inside. He dwells on the outward aspect of that wonderful personality as it struck the multitude. Compared with Matthew and especially with John, he is superficial, but not on that account incorrect or less useful and necessary. He takes the theocratic view of Christ, like Matthew; while Luke and John take the universal view; but while Matthew for his Jewish readers begins with the descent of Christ from David the King and often directs attention to the fulfilment of prophecy, Mark, writing for Gentiles, begins with “the Son of God” in his independent personality. He rarely quotes prophecy; but, on the other hand, he translates for his Roman readers Aramaic words and Jewish customs and opinions. (Mar_3:17; Mar_5:41; Mar_7:1-4; Mar_12:18; Mar_15:6, Mar_15:35) He exhibits the Son of God in his mighty power and expects the reader to submit to his authority.
Two miracles are peculiar to him, the healing of the deaf and dumb man in Decapolis, which astonished the people “beyond measure” and made them exclaim: “He hath done all things well: he maketh even the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak” (Mar_7:31-37). The other miracle is a remarkable specimen of a gradual cure, the healing of the blind man at Bethsaida, who upon the first touch of Christ saw the men around him walking, but indistinctly as trees, and then after the second laying on of hands upon his eyes “saw all things clearly” (Mar_8:22-26). He omits important parables, but alone gives the interesting parable of the seed growing secretly and bearing first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear (Mar_4:26-29).
It is an interesting feature to which Dr. Lange first has directed attention, that Mark lays emphasis on the periods of pause and rest which “rhythmically intervene between the several great victories achieved by Christ.” He came out from his obscure abode in Nazareth; each fresh advance in his public life is preceded by a retirement, and each retirement is followed by a new and greater victory. The contrast between the contemplative rest and the vigorous action is striking and explains the overpowering effect by revealing its secret spring in the communion with God and with himself. Thus we have after his baptism a retirement to the wilderness in Judaea before he preached in Galilee (Mar_1:12); a retirement to the ship (Mar_3:7); to the desert on the eastern shore of the lake of Galilee (Mar_6:31); to a mountain (Mar_6:46); to the border land of Tyre and Sidon (Mar_7:24); to Decapolis (Mar_7:31); to a high mountain (Mar_9:2); to Bethany (Mar_11:1); to Gethsemane (Mar_14:34); his rest in the grave before the resurrection; and his withdrawal from the world and his reappearance in the victories of the gospel preached by his disciples. “The ascension of the Lord forms his last withdrawal, which is to be followed by his final onset and absolute victory.”
Mark has no distinct doctrinal type, but is catholic, irenic, unsectarian, and neutral as regards the party questions within the apostolic church. But this is not the result of calculation or of a tendency to obliterate and conciliate existing differences. Mark simply represents the primitive form of Christianity itself before the circumcision controversy broke out which occasioned the apostolic conference at Jerusalem twenty years after the founding of the church. His Gospel is Petrine without being anti-Pauline, and Pauline without being anti-Petrine. Its doctrinal tone is the same as that of the sermons of Peter in the Acts. It is thoroughly practical. Its preaches Christianity, not theology.
The same is true of the other Gospels, with this difference, however, that Matthew has a special reference to Jewish, Luke to Gentile readers, and that both make their selection accordingly under the guidance of the Spirit and in accordance with their peculiar charisma and aim, but without altering or coloring the facts. Mark stands properly between them just as Peter stood between James and Paul.
The style of Mark is unclassical, inelegant, provincial, homely, poor and repetitious in vocabulary, but original, fresh, and picturesque, and enlivened by interesting touches and flickers..
He was a stranger to the arts of rhetoric and unskilled in literary composition, but an attentive listener, a close observer, and faithful recorder of actual events. He is strongly Hebraizing, and uses often the Hebrew and, but seldom the argumentative for. He inserts a number of Latin words, though most of these occur also in Matthew and Luke, and in the Talmud. He uses the particle “forthwith” or “straightway” more frequently than all the other Evangelists combined. It is his pet word, and well expresses his haste and rapid transition from event to event, from conquest to conquest. He quotes names and phrases in the original Aramaic, as “Abba,” “Boanerges,” “Talitha kum,” “Corban,” “Ephphathah,” and “Eloi, Eloi,” with a Greek translation. (Mar_3:17; Mar_5:41 Mar_7:11, Mar_7:34; Mar_14:36; Mar_15:34) He is fond of the historical present, (Mar_1:21, Mar_1:40, Mar_1:44 Mar_2:3, Mar_2:10, Mar_2:17; Mar_11:1; Mar_14:43, Mar_14:66) of the direct instead of the indirect mode of speech, (Mar_4:39; Mar_5:8, Mar_5:9,Mar_5:12; Mar_6:23, Mar_6:31; Mar_9:25; Mar_12:6) of pictorical participles, and of affectionate diminutives. He observes time and place of important events. He has a number of peculiar expressions not found elsewhere in the New Testament.
Mark inserts many delicate tints and interesting incidents of persons and events which he must have heard from primitive witnesses. They are not the touches of fancy or the reflections of an historian, but the reminiscences of the first impressions. They occur in every chapter. He makes some little contribution to almost every narrative he has in common with Matthew and Luke. He notices the overpowering impression of awe and wonder, joy and delight, which the words and miracles of Jesus and his very appearance made upon the people and the disciples; (Mar_1:22, Mar_1:27; Mar_2:12; Mar_4:41; Mar_6:2, Mar_6:51; Mar_10:24, Mar_10:26, Mar_10:32) the actions of the multitude as they were rushing and thronging and pressing upon Him that He might touch and heal them, so that there was scarcely standing room, or time to eat. (Mar_3:10, Mar_3:20, Mar_3:32; Mar_4:1; Mar_5:21, Mar_5:31; Mar_6:31, Mar_6:33) On one occasion his kinsmen were about forcibly to remove Him from the throng. He directs attention to the human emotions and passions of our Lord, how he was stirred by pity, wonder, grief, anger and indignation. He notices his attitudes, looks and gestures, his sleep and hunger. (Mar_4:38; Mar_6:31; Mar_11:12)
He informs us that Jesus, “looking upon” the rich young ruler, “loved him,” and that the ruler’s “countenance fell” when he was told to sell all he had and to follow Jesus. Mark, or Peter rather, must have watched the eye of our Lord and read in his face the expression of special interest in that man who notwithstanding his self-righteousness and worldliness had some lovely qualities and was not very far from the kingdom.
The cure of the demoniac and epileptic at the foot of the mount of transfiguration is narrated with greater circumstantiality and dramatic vividness by Mark than by the other Synoptists. He supplies the touching conversation of Jesus with the father of the sufferer, which drew out his weak and struggling faith with the earnest prayer for strong and victorious faith: “I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.” (Mar_9:21-25. Comp. Mat_17:14-18; Luk_9:37-42) We can imagine how eagerly Peter, the confessor, caught this prayer, and how often he repeated it in his preaching, mindful of his own weakness and trials.
All the Synoptists relate on two distinct occasions Christ’s love for little children, but Mark alone tells us that He “took little children into his arms, and laid his hands upon them.” (Mar_9:36; Mar_10:16; comp. with Mat_18:2; Mat_19:13; and Luk_9:48; Luk_18:16)
Many minor details not found in the other Gospels, however insignificant in themselves, are yet most significant as marks of the autopticity of the narrator (Peter). Such are the notices that Jesus entered the house of “Simon and Andrew, with James and John” (Mar_1:29); that the Pharisees took counsel “with the Herodians” (Mar_3:6); that the raiment of Jesus at the transfiguration became exceeding white as snow “so as no fuller on earth can whiten them” (Mar_9:3); that blind Bartimaeus when called, “casting away his garment, leaped up” (Mar_10:50), and came to Jesus; that “Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately” on the Mount of Olives about the coming events (Mar_13:3); that the five thousand sat down “in ranks, by hundreds and fifties” (Mar_6:40); that the Simon who carried the cross of Christ (Mar_15:21) was a “Cyrenian” and “the father of Alexander and Rufus” (no doubt, two well-known disciples, perhaps at Rome, comp. Rom_16:13).
We may add, as peculiar to Mark and “bewraying” Peter, the designation of Christ as “the carpenter” (Mar_6:3); the name of the blind beggar at Jericho, “Bartimaeus” (Mar_10:46); the “cushion” in the boat on which Jesus slept (Mar_4:38); the “green grass” on the hill side in spring time (Mar_4:39); the “one loaf” in the ship (Mar_8:14); the colt “tied at the door without in the open street” (Mar_11:4); the address to the daughter of Jairus in her mother tongue (Mar_5:41); the bilingual “Abba, Father,” in the prayer at Gethsemane (Mar_14:36; comp. Rom_8:15; Gal_4:6).
The natural conclusion from all these peculiarities is that Mark’s Gospel, far from being an extract from Matthew or Luke or both, as formerly held, is a thoroughly independent and original work, as has been proven by minute investigations of critics of different schools and aims. It is in all its essential parts a fresh, life-like, and trustworthy record of the persons and events of the gospel history from the lips of honest old Peter and from the pen of his constant attendant and pupil. Jerome hit it in the fourth century, and unbiassed critics in the nineteenth century confirm it: Peter was the narrator, Mark the writer, of the second Gospel.
Some have gone further and maintain that Mark, “the interpreter of Peter,” simply translated a Hebrew Gospel of his teacher; but tradition knows nothing of a Hebrew Peter, while it speaks of a Hebrew Matthew; and a book is called after its author, not after its translator. It is enough to say Peter was the preacher, Mark the reporter and editor.
The bearing of this fact upon the reliableness of the Synoptic record of the life of Christ is self-evident. It leaves no room for the mythical or legendary hypothesis.
Integrity of the Gospel
The Gospel closes (Mar_16:9-20) with a rapid sketch of the wonders of the resurrection and ascension, and the continued manifestations of power that attend the messengers of Christ in preaching the gospel to the whole creation. This close is upon the whole characteristic of Mark and presents the gospel as a divine power pervading and transforming the world, but it contains some peculiar features, namely: (1) one of the three distinct narratives of Christ’s ascension (Mar_16:19, “he was received up into heaven;” the other two being those of Luk_24:51 and Act_1:9-11), with the additional statement that he “sat down at the right hand of God” (comp. the similar statement, 1Pe_3:22) (2) an emphatic declaration of the necessity of baptism for salvation (“he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved”), with the negative clause that unbelief (i.e., the rejection of the gospel offer of salvation) condemns (“he that disbelieveth shall be condemned”); (3) the fact that the apostles disbelieved the report of Mary Magdalene until the risen Lord appeared to them personally (Mar_16:11-14; but John intimates the same, Joh_20:8, Joh_20:9, especially in regard to Thomas, Joh_20:25, and Matthew mentions that some doubted, Mat_28:17; comp. Luk_24:37-41); (4) an authoritative promise of supernatural powers and signs which shall accompany the believers (Mar_16:17, Mar_16:18). Among these is mentioned the pentecostal glossolalia under the unique name of speaking with new tongues.
The genuineness of this closing section is hotly contested, and presents one of the most difficult problems of textual criticism. The arguments are almost equally strong on both sides, but although the section cannot be proven to be a part of the original Gospel, it seems clear: (1) that it belongs to primitive tradition (like the disputed section of the adulteress in Joh_8:1-59); and (2) that Mark cannot have closed his Gospel with Mar_16:8 (γάρ) without intending a more appropriate conclusion. The result does not affect the character and credibility of the Gospel. The section may be authentic or correct in its statements, without being genuine or written by Mark. There is nothing in it which, properly understood, does not harmonize with apostolic teaching.
Note on the Disputed Close of Mark, Mar_16:9-20
I. Reasons against the genuineness:
1. The section is wanting altogether in the two oldest and most valuable uncial manuscripts, the Sinaitic (א) and the Vatican (B). The latter, it is true, after ending the Gospel with Mar_16:8 and the subscription kata mapkon, leaves the remaining third column blank, which is sufficient space for the twelve verses. Much account is made of this fact by Drs. Burgon and Scrivener; but in the same MS. I find, on examination of the facsimile edition, blank spaces from a few lines up to two-thirds and three-fourths of a column, at the end of Matthew, John, Acts, 1 Pet. (fol. 200), 1 John (fol. 208), Jude (fol. 210), Rom (fol. 227), Eph. (fol. 262), Col (fol. 272). In the Old Testament of B, as Dr. Abbot has first noted (in 1872), there are two blank columns at the end of Nehemiah, and a blank column and a half at the end of Tobit. In any case the omission indicates an objection of the copyist of B to the section, or its absence in the earlier manuscript he used.
I add the following private note from Dr. Abbot:, “In the Alexandrian MS. a column and a third are left blank at the end of Mark, half a page at the end of John, and a whole page at the end of the Pauline Epistles. (Contrast the ending of Matthew and Acts.) In the Old Testament, note especially in this MS. Leviticus, Isaiah, and the Ep. of Jeremiah, at the end of each of which half a page or more is left blank; contrast Jeremiah, Baruch, Lamentations. There are similar blanks at the end of Ruth, 2 Samuel, and Daniel, but the last leaf of those books ends a quaternion or quire in the MS. In the Sinaitic MS. more than two columns with the whole following page are left blank at the end of the Pauline Epistles, though the two next leaves belong to the same quaternion; so at the end of the Acts a column and two-thirds with the whole of the following page; and at the end of Barnabas a column and a half. These examples show that the matter in question depended largely on the whim of the copyist; and that we can not infer with confidence that the scribe of B knew of any other ending of the Gospel.”
There is also a shorter conclusion, unquestionably spurious, which in L and several MSS. of the Ethiopic version immediately follows Mar_16:8, and appears also in the margin of 274, the Harclean Syriac, and the best Coptic MS. of the Gospel, while in k of the Old Latin it takes the place of the longer ending. For details, see Westcott and Hort, II., Append., pp. 30, 38, 44 sq.
2. Eusebius and Jerome state expressly that the section was wanting in almost all the Greek copies of the Gospels. It was not in the copy used by Victor of Antioch. There is also negative patristic evidence against it, particularly strong in the case of Cyril of Jerusalem, Tertullian, and Cyprian, who had special occasion to quote it (see Westcott and Hort, II., Append., pp. 30-38). Jerome’s statement, however, is weakened by the fact that he seems to depend upon Eusebius, and that he himself translated the passage in his Vulgate.
3. It is wanting in the important MS. k representing the African text of the Old Latin version, which has a different conclusion (like that in L), also in some of the best MSS. of the Armenian version, while in others it follows the usual subscription. It is also wanting in an unpublished Arabic version (made from the Greek) in the Vatican Library, which is likewise noteworthy for reading ὅς in 1Ti_3:16.
4. The way in which the section begins, and in which it refers to Mary Magdalene, give it the air of a conclusion derived from some extraneous source. It does not record the fulfilment of the promise in Mar_16:7. It uses (Mar_16:9) πρώτῃ σαββάτου for the Hebraistic τῇ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων of Mar_16:2. It has many words or phrases (e.g., πορεύομαι used three times) not elsewhere found in Mark, which strengthen the impression that we are dealing with a different writer, and it lacks Mark’s usual graphic detail. But the argument from difference of style and vocabulary has been overstrained, and can not be regarded as in itself decisive.
II. Arguments in favor of the genuineness:
1. The section is found in most of the uncial MSS., A C D C G D S, in all the late uncials (in L as a secondary reading), and in all the cursive MSS., including 1, 33, 69, etc.; though a number of the cursives either mark it with an asterisk or note its omission in older copies. Hence the statements of Eusebius and Jerome seem to need some qualification. In MSS 22 (as Dr. Burgon has first pointed out) the liturgical word τέλος denoting the end of a reading lesson, is inserted after both Mar_16:8 and Mar_16:20, while no such word is placed at the end of the other Gospels. This shows that there were two endings of Mark in different copies.
2. Also in most of the ancient versions, the Itala (with the exception of “k,” or the codex Bobbiensis, used by Columban), the Vulgate, the Curetonian Syriac (last part), the Peshito, the Philoxenian, the Coptic, the Gothic (first part), and the Aethiopic, but in several MSS. only after the spurious shorter conclusion. Of these versions the Itala, the Curetonian and Peshito Syriac, and the Coptic, are older than any of our Greek codices, but the MSS. of the Coptic are not older than the twelfth or tenth century, and may have undergone changes as well as the Greek MSS.; and the MSS. of the Ethiopic are all modern. The best MSS. of the old Latin are mutilated here. The only extant fragment of Mark in the Curetonian Syriac is Mar_16:17-20, so that we cannot tell whether Mar_16:9-20 immediately followed Mar_16:8, or appeared as they do in cod. L. But Aphraates quotes it.
3. In all the existing Greek and Syriac lectionaries or evangeliaries and synaxaries, as far as examined, which contain the Scripture reading lessons for the churches. Dr. Burgon lays great stress on their testimony (ch. X.), but he overrates their antiquity. The lection-systems cannot be traced beyond the middle of the fourth century when great liturgical changes took place. At that time the disputed verses were widely circulated and eagerly seized as a suitable resurrection and ascension lesson.
4. Irenaeus of Lyons, in the second half of the second century, long before Eusebius, expressly quotes Mar_16:19 as a part of the Gospel of Mark (Adv. Haer., III. 10, 6). The still earlier testimony of Justin Martyr (Apol., I. 45) is doubtful (The quotation of Mar_16:17 and Mar_16:18 in lib. viii., c. 1 of the Apostolic Constitutions is wrongly ascribed to Hippolytus.) Marinus, Macarius Magnes (or at least the heathen writer whom he cites), Didymus, Chrysostom (??), Epiphanius, Nestorius, the apocryphal Gesta Pilati, Ambrose, Augustin, and other later fathers quote from the section.
5. A strong intrinsic argument is derived from the fact that Mark cannot intentionally have concluded his Gospel with the words ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ (Mar_16:8). He must either have himself written the last verses or some other conclusion, which was accidentally lost before the book was multiplied by transcription; or he was unexpectedly prevented from finishing his book, and the conclusion was supplied by a friendly hand from oral tradition or some written source.
In view of these facts the critics and exegetes are very much divided. The passage is defended as genuine by Simon, Mill, Bengel, Storr, Matthaei, Hug, Schleiermacher, De Wette, Bleek, Olshausen, Lange, Ebrard, Hilgenfeld, Broadus (“Bapt. Quarterly,” Philad., 1869), Burgon (1871), Scrivener, Wordsworth, McClellan, Cook, Morison (1882). It is rejected or questioned by the critical editors, Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Alford, Westcott and Hort (though retained by all in the text with or without brackets), and by such critics and Commentators as Fritzsche, Credner, Reuss, Wieseler, Holtzmann, Keim, Scholten, Klostermann, Ewald, Meyer, Weiss, Norton, Davidson. Some of these opponents, however, while denying the composition of the section by Mark, regard the contents as a part of the apostolic tradition. Michelsen surrenders only Mar_16:9-14, and saves Mar_16:15-20. Ewald and Holtzmann conjecture the original conclusion from Mar_16:9, Mar_16:10, and Mar_16:16-20; Volkmar invents one from elements of all the Synoptists.
III. Solutions of the problem. All mere conjectures; certainty is impossible in this case.
1. Mark himself added the section in a later edition, issued perhaps in Alexandria, having been interrupted in Rome just as he came to Mar_16:8, either by Peter’s imprisonment and martyrdom, or by sickness, or some accident. Incomplete copies got into circulation before he was able to finish the book. So Michaelis, Hug, and others.
2. The original conclusion of Mark was lost by some accident, most probably from the original autograph (where it may have occupied a separate leaf), and the present paragraph was substituted by an anonymous editor or collector in the second century. So Griesbach, Schulthess, David Schulz.
3. Luke wrote the section. So Hitzig (Johannes Marcus, p. 187).
Godet (in his Com. on Luke, p. 8 and p. 513, Engl. transl.) modifies this hypothesis by assuming that a third hand supplied the close, partly from Luke’s Gospel, which had appeared in the mean time, and partly (Mar_16:17, Mar_16:18) from another source. He supposes that Mark was interrupted by the unexpected outbreak of the Neronian persecution in 64 and precipitously fled from the capital, leaving his unfinished Gospel behind, which was afterward completed when Luke’s Gospel appeared. In this way Godet accounts for the fact that up to Mar_16:8 Luke had no influence on Mark, while such influence is apparent in the concluding section.
5. It was the end of one of the lost Gospel fragments used by Luk_1:1, and appended to Mark’s by the last redactor. Ewald.
6. The section is from the pen of Mark, but was purposely omitted by some scribe in the third century from hierarchical prejudice, because it represents the apostles in an unfavorable light after the resurrection, so that the Lord “upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart” (Mar_16:14). Lange (Leben Jesu, I. 166). Unlikely.
7. The passage is genuine, but was omitted in some valuable copy by a misunderstanding of the word τέλος which often is found after Mar_16:8 in cursives. So Burgon. “According to the Western order,” he says (in the “Quarterly Review” for Oct., 1881), “S. Mark occupies the last place. From the earliest period it had been customary to write τέλος (The End) after Mar_16:8, in token that there a famous ecclesiastical lection comes to a close. Let the last leaf of one very ancient archetypal copy have begun at Mar_16:9, and let that last leaf have perished; — and all is plain. A faithful copyist will have ended the Gospel perforce — as B and א have done — at S. Mar_16:8.” But this liturgical mark is not old enough to explain the omission in א, B, and the MSS. of Eusebius and Jerome; and a reading lesson would close as abruptly with γάρ as the Gospel itself.
8. The passage cannot claim any apostolic authority; but it is doubtless founded on some tradition of the apostolic age. Its authorship and precise date must remain unknown, but it is apparently older than the time when the canonical Gospels were generally received; for although it has points of contact with them all, it contains no attempt to harmonize their various representations of the course of events. So Dr. Hort (II., Appendix, 51). A similar view was held by Dean Alford.
For full information we refer to the critical apparatus of Tischendorf and Tregelles, to the monograph of Weiss on Mark (Das Marcusevang., pp. 512-515), and especially to the exhaustive discussion of Westcott and Hort in the second volume (Append., pp. 29-51). The most elaborate vindication of the genuineness is by Dean Burgon: The Last Twelve Verses of the Gospel according to S. Mark Vindicated against Recent Critical Objections and Established (Oxford and Lond., 1871, 334 pages), a very learned book, but marred by its over-confident tone and unreasonable hostility to the oldest uncial MSS. (א and B) and the most meritorious textual critics (Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles). For other able defences see Dr. Scrivener (Introd. to the Criticism of the New Test., 3d ed., 1883, pp. 583-590), Dr. Morison (Com. on Mark, pp. 446 and 463 sqq.), and Canon Cook (in Speaker’s Com. on Mark, pp. 301-308).
Lachmann gives the disputed section, according to his principle to furnish the text as found in the fourth century, but did not consider it genuine (see his article in “Studien und Kritiken” for 1830, p. 843). Tischendorf and Tregelles set the twelve verses apart. Alford incloses them in single brackets, Westcott and Hort in double brackets, as an early interpolation; the Revised Version of 1881 retains them with a marginal note, and with a space between Mar_16:8 and Mar_16:9. Dean Burgon (“Quarterly Rev.” for Oct., 1881) holds this note of the Revision (which simply states an acknowledged fact) to be “the gravest blot of all,” and triumphantly refers the critical editors and Revisionists to his “separate treatise extending over 300 pages, which for the best of reasons has never yet been answered,” and in which he has “demonstrated,” as he assures us, that the last twelve verses in Mark are “as trustworthy as any other verses which can be named.” The infallible organ in the Vatican seems to have a formidable rival in Chichester, but they are in irreconcilable conflict on the true reading of the angelic anthem (Luk_2:14): the Pope chanting with the Vulgate the genitive (εὐδοκίας, bonae voluntatis), the Dean, in the same article, denouncing this as a “grievous perversion of the truth of Scripture,” and holding the evidence for the nominative (εὐδοκία) to be “absolutely decisive,” as if the combined testimony of א* A B D, Irenaeus, Origen (lat.), Jerome, all the Latin MSS., and the Latin Gloria in Excelsis were of no account, as compared with his judgment or preference.