While there is no clear quotation of Mark 16:9-20 in Clement’s writings, there is also no clear quotation from chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 15 and 16 of Mark. Aside from one large and loosely quoted citation from chapter 10, Clement hardly ever used the Gospel of Mark. Clement’s testimony does not mean anything about Mark 16:9-20 that it does not mean about 12 entire chapters of Mark.
Origen, similarly, did not use the Gospel of Mark nearly as much as he used the other Gospels. In his major works, Origen quotes nothing from 3:19-4:11 (28 consecutive verses), from 5:2-5:43 (41 consecutive verses), from 8:7-8:29 (22 consecutive verses), or from 10:3-10:42 (39 consecutive verses), or Mark 1:36-3:16 (54 consecutive verses). So why, when Origen does not use Mark 16:9-20, should this indicate anything special? If Origen did not use Mark 16:9-20, that only means that Mark 16:9-20 has something in common with 33 other 12-verse segments of the Gospel of Mark.
But it is possible that in Philocalia, chapter 5, Origen alluded to Mark 16:15-18. In the course of linking together a series of Scripture-citations, Origen stated, right after alluding to Luke 10:19, “Let a man observe how the apostles who were sent by Jesus to proclaim the Gospel went everywhere, and he cannot help seeing their superhuman daring in obedience to the divine command.” While this is not a direct quotation, Origen may have been referring to the instructions to preach the gospel in Mark 16:15, and to the spread of the message everywhere in 16:20, and to the apparently daring actions described in 16:18. The thematic parallel between Luke 10:19 and Mark 16:18 renders this a real possibility.
Considering Origen’s general tendency to neglect the Gospel of Mark, and considering that it is difficult to refute the idea that Origen alluded to Mark 16:15-20 in Philocalia, his testimony should be considered neutral.
Since the names of Clement and Origen were thrown into the textual apparatus of both the Novum Testamentum Graece and the Greek New Testament of the United Bible Societies, as if they clearly testified against Mark 16:9-20, generations of commentators have misrepresented their non-testimony as if it is some sort of thunderous declaration. In 2007, author Stephen Miller was spreading the completely false claim (in Barbour Publishing’s The Complete Guide to the Bible) that Clement of Alexandria had written a commentary in which he confirmed that Mark ends at 16:8.
Furthermore, research on the Ethiopic version has not stood still since 1980: the Garima Gospels, an Ethiopic manuscript which was previously thought to have been written around A.D. 1000, was tested via carbon-dating, and its production-date was reassigned to 430-540. The Garima Gospels contains Mark 16:9-20 immediately after 16:8.
A footnote in the NET Bible correctly locates the Freer Logion “between vv. 14 and 15” but erroneously describes it as “a different shorter ending.” The late Robert Grant wrote that Codex W “contains a different ending entirely.” Although this claim is easy to demolish by consulting Codex W, several preachers and commentators (and Bible footnote-writers!) continue to echo this legend of “various endings,” as if verses 9-20 face a host of competitors besides the Shorter Ending.
|MS 274, with Mark 16:6-15 in the text,|
and the Shorter Ending in the lower margin,
with explanations of the meta-text.
Because mistakes of this sort have not been corrected, the claim that “Mark 16:9-20 is contained only in later manuscripts” has been allowed to circulate for over 20 years in a footnote in Eugene Peterson’s The Message. Such a claim is succinctly refuted by a consultation of the early manuscripts Alexandrinus, Bezae, Ephraemi Rescriptus, and Washingtoniensis.
Mark 16:9-20, or part of it (sometimes parts are lost due to incidental damage), is included in the Old Latin copies Corbeiensis (ff2, from the 400’s – although most of verses 15-18 have been extensively damaged), and the combined fragmentsn and o (from the 400’s) together contain the passage up through verse 13, and then the rest, respectively. In addition, some manuscripts of the Vulgate contain Old Latin chapter-summaries which originated as features of Old Latin manuscripts; the final entry in these chapter-summaries (which have several forms) fits the contents of Mark 16:9-20.
The Latin manuscripts Aureus (aur, 600’s/700’s), Colbertinus (c, made in the 1200’s, but unquestionably perpetuating an early non-Vulgate text after chapter 6), Rhedigerianus (600’s/700’s), and Monacensis (q, from the 500’s or 600’s) also include Mark 16:9-20.
|Asterisks in MS 264 -- at Mk. 16:9,|
but also at Mk. 11:12 and 14:12.