I have a question regarding to the ending of Mark. I understand that the evidence for Mark’s ending is scant, however I don’t understand why the scribe that wrote the passage would insert this statement “he appeared first to Mary Magdalene” when clearly in Matthew and Luke Jesus appears to others before Mary Magdalene. The only gospel it states that Jesus appeared to Mary first is John and this is after Peter and John had reached the tomb. If the author knew about the other gospels why would he insert this passage that contradicts the other endings? Wouldn’t it be easier to just summarize the rest of the resurrection accounts? I know the response for this question would be mere speculation but I wanted to see what your thoughts were on this question. Thanks!


I agree with you that questions about whether Mark 16:9-20 as found in most Bibles were in the original Mark does affect how we should think about this to some extent. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to ask if the accounts are consistent or whether there might be an apparent contradiction. In this case, there is definitely not a contradiction. In fact, I do not see why you believe there is a possible apparent contradiction. Matthew 28:1 clearly has Mary Magdalene being the first to the tomb on Sunday morning–at least she and “the other Mary” are the first ones mentioned. Mark has Mary Magdalene also being the first at the tomb. Luke has a group of women being the first at the tomb (Luke 24:1) and later identifies the women, including Mary Magdalene (Luke 24:10). I simply see no reason to even infer that there is a possible disagreement between the three accounts. By the way, John agrees with the other three. John 20:1 it cleary says that Mary Magdalene ws the first to go to the tomb. The author of Mark, and more specifically the author of Mark 16:9-20, as opposed to the author of the rest of the book (assuming they are different, which is not proved) is absolutely consistent with Matthew, Luke and John that Mary Magdalene was in the group which was first to come to the tomb and to find the stone removed.

John Oakes


Comments are closed.