I have a theory regarding the passages in John 8 & Mark 16 not being in
the Codex Vaticanus & Sinaiticus I would like you to comment on. Isn’t it
possible that the previous version, from which these were copied, had John
8 & Mark 16 torn out, resulting in incomplete manuscript copies?;Maybe
younger Codex like Bezae & Alexandrinus were copied from more complete
versions (ie: these sections weren’t torn out/missing)? Bezae &
Alexandrinus didn’t have to be based on Sinaitcus & Vaticanus, yes?

My answer to your question will differ depending on which passage you are
talking about. In the case of Mark 16:9-20, there is some evidence that
this was in the original Mark. One piece of evidence which supports this
is the fact that the Vaticanus manuscript you refer to has a blank column
left, apparently on purpose, after Mark 16:8 and before Luke 1:1. There
are different possible interpretations of this. Perhaps the scribe in
this case was aware of these verses, but did not think they were part of
the original, but left a blank space anyway. This would indicate that
even if these verses were not in the original Mark, they predate Vaticanus
(about AD 350). Further evidence in support of Mark 16:9-20 being
original, or at least very old, is a direct quote from this passage being
found in the writings of Irenaeus. The quote is from his work titled
“Against Heresies”, from AD 180 (Book 3, 10:5-6). The quote from Irenaeus
is, “Also, toward the conclusion of his gospel, Mark says, ‘So then, after
the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was received up into heaven and
sits on the right hand of God.'” Eusebius, the first church historian,
confirmed the genuineness of Mark 16:9-20 in the second half of the 300’s
AD. On balance, I believe it is fair to say that whether this passage was
in the original Mark is debatable. For this reason, I would not base an
argument for a particular important biblical teaching solely on Mark
16:9-20. Fortunately, there is no need to, as there is no important New
Testament teaching which relies solely on this passage.

The case with John 7:53-John 8:11 is different. As with the Mark
passage, only the Codex Bezae of the very early manuscripts includes this
passage. However, it does not have the corroborating evidence in its
support as do the Mark verses. None of the early Christian authors quoted
from this passage, implying that it was part of the book of John. The
other manuscripts which have this beautiful story of Jesus and the woman
caught in adultery place it in different locations in the gospel. For
example, other manuscripts put it at the end of John, after John 7:36, or
even after Luke 21:38. Based on the evidence, I believe it is reasonable
to assume that the story of the woman caught in adultery is a genuine
tradition from the life of Jesus, but that it was not in the original
letter by John. Perhaps early disciples were so enamored with this
wonderful, probably genuine story, that they included it into different
manuscripts in a place which seemed appropriate to the scribe.

In conclusion, your thought that these passages were accidently removed
from the original cannot be dismissed. Our conclusion should be based on
the other available evidence. In one case (Mark 16:9-20), the evidence
leaves me believing this just might be the case. In the other (John
7:53-8:11), I believe this is almost certainly not what happened.

John Oakes

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