The Last Twelve Verses of Mark
Publisher Cambridge University Press
A study of the authenticity and interpretation of the last twelve verses of St Mark's Gospel. These verses are omitted from at least one important manuscript tradition and queried in most modern translations (though not from the NEB). Professor Farmer traces the history of the text tradition for omission back to Egypt, and argues that one important factor contributing to their omission was the dangerous teaching they seemed to contain: they appear to encourage Christians to handle deadly snakes and drink poisons to prove their faith, a practice which has been revived today by some Christian sects who accept the scriptural authority of these verses. The teaching of these verses has, however, never become established in orthodox Christianity and indeed most Christians are unaware of their doctrinal significance. Professor Farmer reviews all the textual and patristic evidence and examines the most plausible solutions that have been canvassed. This is another substantial contribution to a series that has set the highest standards of scholarship in biblical and New Testament studies.