Question:

Mr. Jim Snapps,

I have read your article about the various endings for the book of Mark. Since you mentioned the possibility of the deliberate removal of Mark 16:9-20 due to heretical tampering, isn't it also possible that the Freer Logion could have been also removed by heretics? The Freer Logion also suffers from mentioning the physicality of Jesus, which would have offended the Gnostics who believed that Jesus did not have a physical body but only "appeared" to be physical. I think they were known as Cerinthians, but I could be wrong. Let me know what you think of this idea.

Thank you.


Answer:

Greetings in Christ!

The Gospel of Mark was circulated by the Christian community in Rome for many years; from there it was taken to the far reaches of the Roman Empire. If the Freer Logion had been part of the original text, it is extremely unlikely that any localized group of heretics would have the ability to remove it from the text that was used in other places. In addition, in terms of internal evidence, the Freer Logion looks like just the sort of thing that someone might insert to make the transition from 16:14 (where Jesus is rebuking the eleven disciples) to 16:15 (where Jesus is commissioning the disciples) less drastic.

Also, the Freer Logion does not explicitly mention Christ’s physicality; it merely mentions that Christ “was delivered over to death,” which would be unobjectionable to a heretic who accepted the rest of the text of Mark as it stands in Codex W (the lone manuscript-witness for the Freer Logion).

So, the short answer to your question is: No. Such a theory has no historical or textual foundation.

Yours in Christ,

James Snapp, Jr.