Over the past few months, I have been using thinklikeaquinas.com to post content for my undergraduate theology students. So far we have been working our way through Aquinas’s Compendium of Theology, and I have posted short introductions to the chapters.
Our past two classes have been devoted to particular themes in the Gospel of John. Today, I posted a half-hour lecture offering a general introduction to John’s Gospel, together with a .pdf of my outline of how I think the text is organized. Some of you may be interested, so I thought I’d link to it from this, my main blog:
While Mark’s beginning is strange to those who think about it carefully, his ending is strange to anyone who reads. In the oldest and best manuscripts, Mark’s Gospel ends like this:
And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.
That’s it. No meeting the resurrected Jesus, no moment of glory, not even a moment when the petrified women actually tell someone what happened. “They were afraid”—and the curtains drop.
The longer ending printed in our Bibles was written very, very early on, so early that it is canonical and considered an inspired text in its own right. But the very fact that the longer ending is so ancient demonstrates that even the earliest Church found Mark’s ending strange. No resurrection scene? We gotta fix that.