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Do we have any surviving texts or references to texts with Romano-Celtic authors and how common were 'non-Greco-Italian' (I'm not sure of the best term for that) authors? Specifically within the Roman period, roughly 43 AD to 410 AD in Britain and 58 BC to 486 AD in Gaul. Not later writers that may have maintained a Romano identity such as Gildas (c. 500 - 570), but (St) Patricius (c. 385 - 461) being born prior to 410 would be fine even if he wrote post 410.
I remember seeing a reference to a Roman play write who was originally a Gaulish slave before being released but I was unable to find anything solid.
Since I have a good memory, I remembered and/or looked up a few names of Roman citizens who lived in Gaul or Britain or came from Gaul or Britain to other parts of the empire, and who wrote. These writers could be in ancestry anything from 100 percent Roman, or Spanish, or Egyptian, or Syrian, or Greek, or whatever, to 100 percent native Gauls or Britons descended from Celts. Probably most of them were of highly mixed ancestry.
Decimus or Decimius Magnus Ausonius (/ɔːˈsoʊniəs/; c. 310 - c. 395) was a Roman poet and teacher of rhetoric from Burdigala in Aquitaine, modern Bordeaux, France. For a time he was tutor to the future emperor Gratian, who afterwards bestowed the consulship on him. His best-known poems are Mosella, a description of the river Moselle, and Ephemeris, an account of a typical day in his life. His many other verses show his concern for his family, friends, teachers, and circle of well-to-do acquaintances and his delight in the technical handling of meter.
Gaius Sollius Modestus Apollinaris Sidonius, better known as Saint Sidonius Apollinaris (5 November of an unknown year, c. 430 - August 489 AD), was a poet, diplomat, and bishop. Born in Lugdunum (present-day Lyon, France), Sidonius is "the single most important surviving author from fifth-century Gaul" according to Eric Goldberg. He was one of four Gallo-Roman aristocrats of the fifth- to sixth-century whose letters survive in quantity; the others are Ruricius bishop of Limoges (died 507), Alcimus Ecdicius Avitus, bishop of Vienne (died 518) and Magnus Felix Ennodius of Arles, bishop of Ticinum (died 534). All of them were linked in the tightly bound aristocratic Gallo-Roman network that provided the bishops of Catholic Gaul. His feast day is 21 August.
Alcimus Ecdicius Avitus
Alcimus Ecdicius Avitus (c. 450 - February 5, 517/518 or 519) was a Latin poet and bishop of Vienne in Gaul. His fame rests in part on his poetry, but also on the role he played as secretary for the Burgundian kings.
Avitus was born of a prominent Gallo-Roman senatorial family related to Emperor Avitus.
Ruricius I (c. 440 - c. 510) was a Gallo-Roman aristocrat and bishop of Limoges from c. 485 to 510. He is one of the writers whose letters survive from late Roman Gaul, depicting the influence of the Visigoths on the Roman lifestyle. He should not be confused with his son-in-law, Saint Rusticus (Archbishop of Lyon).
Magnus Felix Ennodius
Magnus Felix Ennodius (473 or 474 - 17 July 521 AD) was Bishop of Pavia in 514, and a Latin rhetorician and poet.
He was one of four Gallo-Roman aristocrats of the fifth to sixth-century whose letters survive in quantity: the others are Sidonius Apollinaris, prefect of Rome in 468 and bishop of Clermont (died 485), Ruricius bishop of Limoges (died 507) and Alcimus Ecdicius Avitus, bishop of Vienne (died 518). All of them were linked in the tightly bound aristocratic Gallo-Roman network that provided the bishops of Catholic Gaul. He is regarded as a saint, with a feast day of 17 July.
Some of the above might possibly be ancestors of Charlemagne, and thus of millions of contemporary people.
Pelagius (c. AD 360 - 418) was a theologian of British origin who advocated free will and asceticism.
Because Palagius was accused of heresy, most of what is known about his teachings comes from hostile comments by his opponents.
One of the poems of Ausonius attacks a rival poet, Silvius Bonus from Britain, in a poem saying that it is a contradiction in terms for a Briton to be Bonus (good).
It has been suggested that Silvius Bonus could have been a relative of Vortigern.
Anyway, those are the first few names I remembered or could dig up.
There is a certain Rutilius Namatianus who lived in the early 5th century Gaul. I do not know how much Celtic ancestry he had.
He admired Rome and considered his family part of its "sacred Genius", but his poem clearly shows patriotic emotions to his narrower homeland:
Rather will you marvel, reader, that my quick return journey (to Gaul) can so soon renounce the blessings of the city of Romulus. What is too long for men who spend all time in venerating Rome? Nothing is ever too long that never fails to please. How greatly and how often can I count those blest who have deserved birth in that happy soil! Those high born scions of Roman nobility crown their honourable birth with the lustre of the Capital! On no other land could the seeds of virtues have been more worthily let fall by heaven's assignment. Happy they too who, winning meeds next to the first, have enjoyed Latin homes! The Senate-house, though fenced with awe, yet stands open to foreign merit, nor deems those strangers who are fittingly its own. They share the power of their colleagues in the senatorial order, and possess part of the sacred Genius which they revere, even as from ethereal pole to pole of the celestial vault we believe there abideth the council of the Deity Supreme. But 'tis my fortune that is plucked back from the well-loved land; the fields of Gaul summon home their native. Disfigured they are by wars immeasurably long, yet the less their charm, the more they earn pity. 'Tis a lighter crime to neglect our countrymen when at their ease: our common losses call for each man's loyalty. Our presence and our tears are what we owe to the ancestral home: service which grief has prompted ofttimes helps. 'Tis sin further to overlook the tedious tale of disasters which the delay of halting aid has multiplied: now is the time after cruel fires on ravaged farms to rebuild, if it be but shepherd's huts. Nay, if only the very springs could utter words, if only our very trees6 could speak, they well might spur my laggard pace with just complaints and give sails to my yearning wishes. Now that the dear city slackens her embrace, my homeland wins, and I can scarce feel patient with a journey deferred so late.
There are surviving excerpts and an epitome (summary) of the Gallo-Roman historian Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus who was active during the 1st century BC. He was of the Celtic Vocontii tribe in Gallia Narbonensis (southern Gaul, roughly modern day Languedoc and Provence).
According to this book review in Histos (2018) (pdf),
His grandfather apparently acquired Roman citizenship from Gnaeus Pompeius [Pompey the Great] (cf. Just. Epit. 43.5.11-12), which explains his 'nomen gentis', while the author's father probably served under [Julius] Caesar…
… Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus is known to have written at least two major works, a zoological work named De animalibus (which has not survived, but is referred to both by Flavius Sosipater Charisius,… and… Pliny the Elder in the Naturalis Historia: for the latter cf. M., ix n. 10) and the Philippic History… which mainly survives through the Epitome produced by Justin. The Philippic History essentially was a history of the known world down to the time of the Emperor Augustus and it appears to have been sufficiently well read for Trogus to be included in an (unofficial) canon of four great historians writing in Latin, together with Livy, Sallust, and Tacitus.
Pliny the Elder preserved a piece of Trogus' writing (on the subject of judging character from physical features) when he quoted him directly in his Natural History (Book XI):
Trogus, himself also one of the most critical authorities, has added some outward signs of character which I will append in his own words: 'When the forehead is large it indicates that the mind beneath it is sluggish; people with a small forehead have a nimble mind, those with a round forehead an irascible mind… When people's eyebrows are level this signifies that they are gentle, when they are curved at the side of the nose, that they are stern, when bent down at the temples, that they are mockers, when they are entirely drooping, that they are malevolent and spiteful. If people's eyes are narrow on both sides, this shows them to be malicious in character; eyes that have fleshy corners on the side of the nostrils show a mark of maliciousness; when the white part of the eyes is extensive it conveys an indication of impudence; eyes that have a habit of repeatedly closing indicate unreliability. Large ears are a sign of talkativeness and silliness.
Sources: Loeb Classical Library and Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, Paul: A Critical Life
There are also excerpts from some of the 44 volumes of the Philippic Histories in Vopiscus (in Historia Augusta), Jerome and Augustine of Hippo.
Marcus Junianus Justinus' Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus can be found here.
The English writer and Anglican cleric John Donne is considered now to be the preeminent metaphysical poet of his time. He was born in 1572 to Roman Catholic parents, when practicing that religion was illegal in England. His work is distinguished by its emotional and sonic intensity and its capacity to plumb the paradoxes of faith, human and divine love, and the possibility of salvation. Donne often employs conceits, or extended metaphors, to yoke together &ldquoheterogenous ideas,&rdquo in the words of Samuel Johnson, thus generating the powerful ambiguity for which his work is famous. After a resurgence in his popularity in the early 20th century, Donne&rsquos standing as a great English poet, and one of the greatest writers of English prose, is now assured.
The history of Donne&rsquos reputation is the most remarkable of any major writer in English no other body of great poetry has fallen so far from favor for so long. In Donne&rsquos own day his poetry was highly prized among the small circle of his admirers, who read it as it was circulated in manuscript, and in his later years he gained wide fame as a preacher. For some 30 years after his death successive editions of his verse stamped his powerful influence upon English poets. During the Restoration his writing went out of fashion and remained so for several centuries. Throughout the 18th century, and for much of the 19th century, he was little read and scarcely appreciated. It was not until the end of the 1800s that Donne&rsquos poetry was eagerly taken up by a growing band of avant-garde readers and writers. His prose remained largely unnoticed until 1919.
In the first two decades of the 20th century Donne&rsquos poetry was decisively rehabilitated. Its extraordinary appeal to modern readers throws light on the Modernist movement, as well as on our intuitive response to our own times. Donne may no longer be the cult figure he became in the 1920s and 1930s, when T.S. Eliot and William Butler Yeats, among others, discovered in his poetry the peculiar fusion of intellect and passion and the alert contemporariness which they aspired to in their own art. He is not a poet for all tastes and times yet for many readers Donne remains what Ben Jonson judged him: &ldquothe first poet in the world in some things.&rdquo His poems continue to engage the attention and challenge the experience of readers who come to him afresh. His high place in the pantheon of the English poets now seems secure.
Donne&rsquos love poetry was written nearly 400 years ago yet one reason for its appeal is that it speaks to us as directly and urgently as if we overhear a present confidence. For instance, a lover who is about to board ship for a long voyage turns back to share a last intimacy with his mistress: &ldquoHere take my picture&rdquo (Elegy V). Two lovers who have turned their backs upon a threatening world in &ldquoThe Good Morrow&ldquo celebrate their discovery of a new world in each other:
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,
Let maps to others, worlds on worlds have shown,
Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.
The poetry inhabits an exhilaratingly unpredictable world in which wariness and quick wits are at a premium. The more perilous the encounters of clandestine lovers, the greater zest they have for their pleasures, whether they seek to outwit the disapproving world, or a jealous husband, or a forbidding and deeply suspicious father, as in Elegy 4, &ldquoThe Perfume&rdquo:
Though he had wont to search with glazed eyes,
As though he came to kill a cockatrice,
Though he have oft sworn, that he would remove
Thy beauty&rsquos beauty, and food of our love,
Hope of his goods, if I with thee were seen,
Yet close and secret, as our souls, we have been.
Exploiting and being exploited are taken as conditions of nature, which we share on equal terms with the beasts of the jungle and the ocean. In &ldquoMetempsychosis&rdquo a whale and a holder of great office behave in precisely the same way:
He hunts not fish, but as an officer,
Stays in his court, as his own net, and there
All suitors of all sorts themselves enthral
So on his back lies this whale wantoning,
And in his gulf-like throat, sucks everything
That passeth near.
Donne characterizes our natural life in the world as a condition of flux and momentariness, which we may nonetheless turn to our advantage.&rdquo The tension of the poetry comes from the pull of divergent impulses in the argument itself. In &ldquoA Valediction: Of my Name in the Window,&rdquo the lover&rsquos name scratched in his mistress&rsquos window ought to serve as a talisman to keep her chaste but then, as he explains to her, it may instead be an unwilling witness to her infidelity:
When thy inconsiderate hand
Flings ope this casement, with my trembling name,
To look on one, whose wit or land,
New battery to thy heart may frame,
Then think this name alive, and that thou thus
In it offend&rsquost my Genius.
Donne&rsquos love poetry expresses a variety of amorous experiences that are often startlingly unlike each other, or even contradictory in their implications. In &ldquoThe Anniversary&rdquo he is not just being inconsistent when he moves from a justification of frequent changes of partners to celebrate a mutual attachment that is simply not subject to time, alteration, appetite, or the sheer pull of other worldly enticements. Some of Donne&rsquos finest love poems, such as &ldquoA Valediction: Forbidding Mourning,&rdquo prescribe the condition of a mutual attachment that time and distance cannot diminish:
Dull sublunary lovers&rsquo love
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which elemented it.
But we by a love, so much refined,
That our selves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.
Donne finds some striking images to define this state in which two people remain wholly one while they are separated. Their souls are not divided but expanded by the distance between them, &ldquoLike gold to airy thinness beat&rdquo or they move in response to each other as the legs of twin compasses, whose fixed foot keeps the moving foot steadfast in its path:
Such wilt thou be to me, who must
Like th&rsquo other foot obliquely run
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end, where I begun.
A supple argument unfolds with lyric grace. The poems that editors group together were not necessarily produced together, as Donne did not write for publication. Fewer than eight complete poems were published during his lifetime, and only two of these publications were authorized by him. The poems he released were passed around in manuscript and transcribed by his admirers singly or in gatherings. Some of these copies have survived. When the first printed edition of his poems was published in 1633, two years after his death, the haphazard arrangement of the poems gave no clue to the order of their composition. Many modern editions of the poetry impose categorical divisions that are unlikely to correspond to the order of writing, separating the love poetry from the satires and the religious poetry, the verse letters from the epithalamiums and funeral poems. No more than a handful of Donne&rsquos poems can be dated with certainty. The Elegies and Satires are likely to have been written in the early 1590s. &ldquoMetempsychosis&rdquo is dated August 16, 1601. The two memorial Anniversaries for the death of Elizabeth Drury were certainly written in 1611 and 1612 and the funeral elegy on Prince Henry must have been written in 1612. The Songs and Sonnets were evidently not conceived as a single body of love verses and do not appear so in early manuscript collections. Donne may well have composed them at intervals and in unlike situations over some 20 years of his poetic career. Some of them may even have overlapped with his best-known religious poems, which are likely to have been written about 1609, before he took holy orders.
Poems so vividly individuated invite attention to the circumstances that shaped them. Yet we have no warrant to read Donne&rsquos poetry as a precise record of his life. Donne&rsquos career and personality are nonetheless arresting in themselves, and they cannot be kept wholly separate from the general thrust of his writing, for which they at least provide a living context. Donne was born in London between January 24 and June 19, 1572 into the precarious world of English recusant Catholicism, whose perils his family well knew. His father, John Donne, was a Welsh ironmonger. His mother, Elizabeth (Heywood) Donne, a lifelong Catholic, was the great-niece of the martyred Sir Thomas More. His uncle Jasper Heywood headed an underground Jesuit mission in England and, when he was caught, was imprisoned and then exiled Donne&rsquos younger brother, Henry, died from the plague in 1593 while being held in Newgate Prison for harboring a seminary priest. Yet at some time in his young manhood Donne himself converted to Anglicanism and never went back on that reasoned decision.
Donne&rsquos father died in January 1576, when young John was only four, and within six months Elizabeth Donne had married John Syminges, an Oxford-educated physician with a practice in London. In October 1584 Donne entered Hart Hall, Oxford, where he remained for about three years. Though no records of his attendance at Cambridge are extant, he may have gone on to study there as well and may have accompanied his uncle Jasper Heywood on a trip to Paris and Antwerp during this time. It is known that he entered Lincoln&rsquos Inn in May 1592, after at least a year of preliminary study at Thavies Inn, and was at least nominally a student of English law for two or more years. After sailing as a gentleman adventurer with the English expeditions to Cadiz and the Azores in 1596 and 1597, he entered the service of Sir Thomas Egerton, the lord keeper of England. As Egerton&rsquos highly valued secretary he developed the keen interest in statecraft and foreign affairs that he retained throughout his life.
His place in the Egerton household also brought him into acquaintance with Egerton&rsquos domestic circle. Egerton&rsquos brother-in-law was Sir George More, parliamentary representative for Surrey. More came up to London for an autumn sitting of Parliament in 1601, bringing with him his daughter Ann, then 17. Ann More and Donne may well have met and fallen in love during some earlier visit to the Egerton household they were clandestinely married in December 1601 in a ceremony arranged with the help of a small group of Donne&rsquos friends. Some months elapsed before Donne dared to break the news to the girl&rsquos father, by letter, provoking a violent response. Donne and his helpful friends were briefly imprisoned, and More set out to get the marriage annulled, demanding that Egerton dismiss his amorous secretary.
The marriage was eventually upheld indeed, More became reconciled to it and to his son-in-law, but Donne lost his job in 1602 and did not find regular employment again until he took holy orders more than 12 years later. Throughout his middle years he and his wife brought up an ever-increasing family with the aid of relatives, friends, and patrons, and on the uncertain income he could bring in by polemical hackwork and the like. His anxious attempts to gain secular employment in the queen&rsquos household in Ireland, or with the Virginia Company, all came to nothing, and he seized the opportunity to accompany Sir Robert Drury on a diplomatic mission in France in 1612. From these frustrated years came most of the verse letters, funeral poems, epithalamiums, and holy sonnets, as well as the prose treatises Biathanatos (1647), Pseudo-Martyr, (1610), and Ignatius his Conclave (1611).
In the writing of Donne&rsquos middle years, skepticism darkened into a foreboding of imminent ruin. Such poems as the two memorial Anniversaries and &ldquoTo the Countess of Salisbury&rdquo register an accelerating decline of our nature and condition in a cosmos that is itself disintegrating. In &ldquoThe First Anniversary&rdquo the poet declares, &ldquomankind decays so soon, / We are scarce our fathers&rsquo shadows cast at noon.&rdquo Yet Donne is not counseling despair here. On the contrary, the Anniversaries offer a sure way out of spiritual dilemma: &ldquothou hast but one way, not to admit / The world&rsquos infection, to be none of it&rdquo (&ldquoThe First Anniversary&rdquo). Moreover, the poems propose that a countering force is at work that resists the world&rsquos frantic rush toward its own ruin. Such amendment of corruption is the true purpose of our worldly being: &ldquoour business is, to rectify / Nature, to what she was&rdquo (&ldquoTo Sir Edward Herbert, at Juliers&rdquo). But in the present state of the world, and ourselves, the task becomes heroic and calls for a singular resolution.
The verse letters and funeral poems celebrate those qualities of their subjects that stand against the general lapse toward chaos: &ldquoBe more than man, or thou&rsquoart less than an ant&rdquo (&ldquoThe First Anniversary&rdquo).
These poems of Donne&rsquos middle years are less frequently read than the rest of his work, and they have struck readers as perversely obscure and odd. The poems flaunt their creator&rsquos unconcern with decorum to the point of shocking their readers. In his funeral poems Donne harps on decay and maggots, even venturing satiric asides as he contemplates bodily corruption: &ldquoThink thee a prince, who of themselves create / Worms which insensibly devour their state&rdquo (&ldquoThe Second Anniversary&rdquo). He shows by the analogy of a beheaded man how it is that our dead world still appears to have life and movement (&ldquoThe Second Anniversary&rdquo) he compares the soul in the newborn infant body with a &ldquostubborn sullen anchorite&rdquo who sits &ldquofixed to a pillar, or a grave / . / Bedded, and bathed in all his ordures&rdquo (&ldquoThe Second Anniversary&rdquo) he develops in curious detail the conceit that virtuous men are clocks and that the late John Harrington, second Lord of Exton, was a public clock (&ldquoObsequies to the Lord Harrington&rdquo). Such unsettling idiosyncrasy is too persistent to be merely wanton or sensational. It subverts our conventional proprieties in the interest of a radical order of truth.
Donne&rsquos reluctance to become a priest, as he was several times urged to do, does not argue a lack of faith. The religious poems he wrote years before he took orders dramatically suggest that his doubts concerned his own unworthiness, his sense that he could not possibly merit God&rsquos grace, as seen in these lines from Divine Meditations 4:
Yet grace, if thou repent, thou canst not lack
But who shall give thee that grace to begin?
Oh make thyself with holy mourning black,
And red with blushing, as thou art with sin.
These Divine Meditations, or Holy Sonnets, make a universal drama of religious life, in which every moment may confront us with the final annulment of time: &ldquoWhat if this present were the world&rsquos last night?&rdquo (Divine Meditations 13). In Divine Meditations 10 the prospect of a present entry upon eternity also calls for a showdown with ourselves and with the exemplary events that bring time and the timeless together in one order:
Mark in my heart, O soul, where thou dost dwell,
The picture of Christ crucified, and tell
Whether that countenance can thee affright.
The Divine Meditations make self-recognition a necessary means to grace. They dramatize the spiritual dilemma of errant creatures who need God&rsquos grace in order that they may deserve it for we must fall into sin and merit death even though our redemption is at hand yet we cannot even begin to repent without grace. The poems open the sinner to God, imploring God&rsquos forceful intervention by the sinner&rsquos willing acknowledgment of the need for a drastic onslaught upon his present hardened state, as in Divine Meditations 14:
Batter my heart, three-personed God for, you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend
That I may rise, and stand, o&rsquoerthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
The force of the petition measures the dire extremity of his struggle with himself and with God&rsquos adversary. Donne pleads with God that he too has an interest in this contention for the sinner&rsquos soul: &ldquoLest the world, flesh, yea Devil put thee out&rdquo ( Divine Meditations 17). The drama brings home to the poet the enormity of his ingratitude to his Redeemer, confronting him bodily with the irony of Christ&rsquos self-humiliation for us. In Divine Meditations 11 Donne wonders why the sinner should not suffer Christ&rsquos injuries in his own person:
Spit in my face ye Jews, and pierce my side,
Buffet, and scoff, scourge, and crucify me,
For I have sinned, and sinned, and only he,
Who could do no iniquity, hath died.
Donne&rsquos religious poems turn upon a paradox that is central to the hope for eternal life: Christ&rsquos sacrificing himself to save mankind. God&rsquos regimen is paradoxical, and in Divine Meditations 13 Donne sees no impropriety in entreating Christ with the casuistry he had used on his &ldquoprofane mistreses&rdquo when he assured them that only the ugly lack compassion:
so I say to thee,
To wicked spirits are horrid shapes assigned,
This beauteous form assures a piteous mind.
In Divine Meditations 18 he resolves his search for the true Church in a still bolder sexual paradox, petitioning Christ as a &ldquokind husband&rdquo to betray his spouse to our view so that the poet&rsquos amorous soul may &ldquocourt thy mild dove&rdquo: &ldquoWho is most true, and pleasing to thee, then / When she is embraced and open to most men.&rdquo The apparent indecorum of making the true Church a whore and Christ her complaisant husband at least startles us into recognizing Christ&rsquos own catholicity. The paradox brings out a truth about Christ&rsquos Church that may well be shocking to those who uphold a sectarian exclusiveness.
Wit becomes the means by which the poet discovers the working of Providence in the casual traffic of the world. A journey westward from one friend&rsquos house to another over Easter 1613 brings home to Donne the general aberration of nature that prompts us to put pleasure before our due devotion to Christ. We ought to be heading east at Easter so as to contemplate and share Christ&rsquos suffering and in summoning up that event to his mind&rsquos eye, he recognizes the shocking paradox of the ignominious death of God upon a Cross: &ldquoCould I behold those hands, which span the poles, / And turn all spheres at once, pierced with those holes?&rdquo (&ldquoGood Friday, 1613. Riding Westward&rdquo). An image of Christ&rsquos degradation is directly imposed upon an image of God&rsquos omnipotence. We see that the event itself has a double force, being at once the catastrophic consequence of our sin and the ultimate assurance of God&rsquos saving love. The poet&rsquos very journey west may be providential if it brings him to a penitent recognition of his present unworthiness to gaze directly upon Christ:
O Saviour, as thou hang&rsquost upon the tree
I turn my back to thee, but to receive
Corrections, till thy mercies bid thee leave.
O think me worth thine anger, punish me,
Burn off my rusts, and my deformity,
Restore thine image, so much, by thy grace,
That thou mayest know me, and I&rsquoll turn my face.
A serious illness that Donne suffered in 1623 produced a still more startling poetic effect. In &ldquoHymn to God, my God, in my Sickness&rdquo the poet presents his recumbent body as a flat map over which the doctors pore like navigators to discover some passage through present dangers to tranquil waters and he ponders his own destination as if he himself is a vessel that may reach the desirable places of the world only by negotiating some painful straits:
Is the Pacific Sea my home? Or are
The eastern riches? Is Jerusalem?
Anyan, and Magellan, and Gibraltar,
All straits, and none but straits, are ways to them.
By this self-questioning he brings himself to understand that his suffering may itself be a blessing, since he shares the condition of a world in which our ultimate bliss must be won through well-endured hardship. The physical symptoms of his illness become the signs of his salvation: &ldquoSo, in his purple wrapped receive me Lord, / By these his thorns give me his other crown.&rdquo The images that make him one with Christ in his suffering transform those pangs into reassurance.
In Donne&rsquos poetry, language may catch the presence of God in our human dealings. The pun on the poet&rsquos name in &ldquo&ldquo registers the distance that the poet&rsquos sins have put between himself and God, with new kinds of sin pressing forward as fast as God forgives those already confessed: &ldquoWhen thou hast done, thou hast not done, / For, I have more.&rdquo Then the puns on &ldquosun&rdquo and &ldquoDonne&rdquo resolve these sinful anxieties themselves:
I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore
But swear by thy self, that at my death thy son
Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore
And, having done that, thou hast done,
I fear no more.
For this poet such coincidences of words and ideas are not mere accidents to be juggled with in jest. They mark precisely the working of Providence within the order of nature.
The transformation of Jack Donne the rake into the Reverend Dr. Donne, dean of St. Paul&rsquos Cathedral, no longer seems bizarre. To impose such clear-cut categories upon a man&rsquos career may be to take too rigid a view of human nature. That the poet of the Elegies and Songs and Sonnets is also the author of the Devotions and the sermons need not indicate some profound spiritual upheaval. One reason for the appeal of Donne in modern times is that he confronts us with the complexity of our own natures.
Donne took holy orders in January 1615, having been persuaded by King James himself of his fitness for a ministry &ldquoto which he was, and appeared, very unwilling, apprehending it (such was his mistaking modesty) to be too weighty for his abilities.&rdquo So writes his first biographer, Izaak Walton, who had known him well and often heard him preach. Once committed to the Church, Donne devoted himself to it totally, and his life thereafter becomes a record of incumbencies held and sermons preached.
Donne&rsquos wife died in childbirth in 1617. He was elected dean of St. Paul&rsquos in November 1621, and he became the most celebrated cleric of his age, preaching frequently before the king at court as well as at St. Paul&rsquos and other churches. 160 of his sermons have survived. The few religious poems he wrote after he became a priest show no falling off in imaginative power, yet the calling of his later years committed him to prose, and the artistry of his Devotions and sermons at least matches the artistry of his poems.
The publication in 1919 of Donne&rsquos Sermons: Selected Passages, edited by Logan Pearsall Smith, came as a revelation to its readers, not least those who had little taste for sermons. John Bailey, writing in the Quarterly Review (April 1920), found in these extracts &ldquothe very genius of oratory . a masterpiece of English prose.&rdquo Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, in Studies in Literature (1920), judged the sermons to include &ldquothe most magnificent prose ever uttered from an English pulpit, if not the most magnificent prose ever spoken in our tongue.&rdquo
Over a literary career of some 40 years Donne moved from skeptical naturalism to a conviction of the shaping presence of the divine spirit in the natural creation. Yet his mature understanding did not contradict his earlier vision. He simply came to anticipate a Providential disposition in the restless whirl of the world. The amorous adventurer nurtured the dean of St. Paul&rsquos.
Beach Reading: Ten Easy Latin Works
Looking for something to read this summer? The best way to improve your fluency in Latin is to read a lot of Latin, and the simplest way to read a lot is to read Latin that’s easy. So, here is a list of ten Latin works that are interesting and easy — at least they’re easy relative to other Latin works. Some of these might not be on your bookshelves already, so I’ve also provided links to versions of each text available free online.
1. Ennius (c. 239–169 B.C.), Euhemerus
I know what you’re thinking. Ennius, that Ennius, easy? It’s true that Ennius’s most famous work, the Annales, has got some weird stuff in it. But in the Annales Ennius was trying to create an epic diction that would be as strange to Latin speakers as the Greek of Homer was to the Greek speakers of his own day. The Euhemerus is different. Sentences are short, words familiar. The Euhemerus presents the rationalistic argument that the gods are not actually divinities, but humans from long ago. We only have fragments: the surviving portions tell the story of Jupiter, who was apparently just some guy who went around trying to trick people into worshipping him. It’s a fun work but short, especially if you’re looking for extensive reading. The surviving fragments are only a few pages long. Consider it as your appetizer for the other works on this list. (You can read the old Loeb here.)
2. Cornelius Nepos (c. 110–24 B.C.), De Viris Illustribus
Nepos has been stuck with the unfortunate, undeserved reputation of being a bore ever since Catullus mock-praised his now-lost history as laboriosus — suggesting not only that Nepos had worked hard on it, but that getting through it was hard work for the reader. The fact is, Nepos wrote in a simple register that survives in very few works of the classical era. His biographies of Greek generals present engaging bits of classical history, in bite-sized pieces of a few pages each. Imagine Wikipedia-type articles for the major figures of Greek history, written in simple Latin. On top of that, his Life of Atticus provides a provides a marvelous thumbnail history of the Late Republic as told by someone who lived through it. (Latin text with a helpful commentary here.)
3. Suetonius (c. A.D. 70–122), De Grammaticis et Rhetoribus
Like Nepos, Suetonius wrote in a simple, straight-forward style. In addition to his more famous Vitae Caesarum, Suetonius also wrote a history of Latin teachers that has the good fortune of surviving.This work was part of his lost De Viris Illustribus, and it traces the origins and growth of formal, grammatical education in Rome by surveying prominent teachers. These teachers, many of whom were or had been enslaved, took on roles that would be familiar to many teachers and scholars today. They include the likes of Gaius Julius Hyginus, first librarian of the Palatine Apollo library Cornelius Epicadus, who ghost-wrote Sulla’s memoirs for him and Lucius Orbilius Pupillus, who wrote a regrettably-lost book called Unreasonable (Περὶ Ἀλογίας), which detailed the ways that students’ parents make the lives of teachers miserable. (Here is a link to the copy owned by President John Adams. If you have access to a research library, I highly recommend checking out Robert Kaster’s edition with text, translation, and commentary.)
4. Aulus Gellius (c. A.D. 125-180), Noctes Atticae
If you like Latin, and you’d like to see a native speaker riff on Latin vocabulary and usage, then the Attic Nights is for you. Gellius writes short chapters on miscellaneous Greek and Latin grammatical, literary, and historical topics, artfully arranged in no particular order, like a smartly curated Instagram account. What’s the difference between praeda and manubiae? Why do men swear by Hercules and women by Castor? How would you translate polypragmosyne into Latin? Gellius has answers to all the questions you were afraid to admit you never asked, arranged in an order that you will never make sense of. (Latin text available here, a lecture in praise of Aulus Gellius by Justin Slocum Bailey here, and an essay about teaching Gellius by Elizabeth Manwell here).
5. Perpetua (died A.D. 203), Passio
Perpetua was a noblewoman who fell in with an obscure religious sect that must have seemed to outsiders like a kind of death-cult. She was arrested with other practitioners, and she chose execution in the arena over leaving the group. The Passio, an account of her death, includes Perpetua’s prison diary, in which she recounts the journey of her radicalization, which divided her from her parents and the mainstream community. She also describes having a phantasmagoric vision of her own death, in which she strips off her clothes to reveal a changed gender (facta sum masculus) before fighting against an incarnation of pure evil. Transgressive, radical, and determined to face down a violent end: Perpetua is a riveting read. (Latin text available here, with facing Greek translation the Latin is the original, though the Greek is nearly contemporaneous.)
6. Egeria (wrote c. A.D. 380s), Itinerarium
In the late fourth century, a certain woman (Egeria? Aetheria? Silvia?) traveled to the biblical lands and wrote about her journey for her friends back home. Her account is the oldest description of a Christian pilgrimage, and it’s a monument in the history of travel literature. Some parts of the tourist experience never change. While modern-day guides in Troy will happily show you exactly where Achilles fought Hector, Egeria’s guides could point out the very spot near Mount Sinai where the Golden Calf was made. The Itinerarium is also a monument in the history of Latin: the language was starting to distinctly show changes that would be characteristic of the Romance languages. (Latin text available here. Take note that the text has gaps, including a large one at the beginning. The surviving portion begins with Egeria getting to the place where God spoke to Moses from the burning bush.)
7. Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim (c. 935–973), Dulcitius
Roman comedies have a general pattern: they are focalized through the perspective of a young man, and they follow his hijinks in pursuit of a woman, whose feelings on the matter are never considered. Then there is a happy ending: marriage. The Dulcitius turns this all on its head. It’s told from the perspective of three young women who are trying to avoid the pursuit of the title character, Dulcitius. Hijinks still remain, and a befuddled Dulcitius winds up groping a set of kitchen pots. The happy ending is that all three women escape Dulcitius’s advances and then are brutally murdered. Seriously, that’s presented as the happy ending. If you ask Hrotsvitha, marriage is out, martyrdom in. (Latin text of Dulcitius here)
8. Dante Alighieri (1265–1321), De Vulgari Eloquentia
While most famous as a pioneer of the vernacular, Dante’s most compelling work (to me!) is his history of language, written in Latin. Dante starts with the garden of Eden and continues to his own day, showing a surprising grasp of language change and language families. Dante correctly hypothesized that language might change over time in a way that is nearly imperceptible to any individual, but pronounced with historical hindsight. Dante puts a special focus on Latin, the Romance languages, and the dialects of Italian. (Text available here — there is a dropdown menu on the left to change the language from English to the original Latin.)
9. Bartolomeo Platina (1421–1481), De Vitis Pontificum, Vita Pauli II
At the height of Renaissance Rome, Pope Paul II arrested a prominent group of humanists on charges of conspiracy and heresy. They were imprisoned in Castel Sant’Angelo and tortured before ultimately being released. One of those humanists, Bartolomeo Platina, later wrote a Lives of the Popes that became the definitive history of the papacy for hundreds of years. The work included a Life of Paul II, which Platina used as an opportunity to defend himself and humanism — and to attack Paul II. It is a remarkable work of literature, in which the main conflict in the story plays out between the protagonist and the author himself. And Platina is nothing if not antagonistic. (Self-promotion disclosure: I co-edited an edition of the Paul II, the pdf is available for free here.)
10. Anna Maria Van Schurman (1607–1678), Dissertatio De Ingenii Muliebris ad Doctrinam et meliores Litteras aptitudine
Van Schurman was a scholar, poet, and religious reformer. She published works in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and French (sometimes all within one book). After fighting to secure herself entrance in a university (becoming the first European woman to do so), she became an advocate for women’s access to higher education. She wrote her 1641 Dissertatio on the subject in scholastic Latin, which is a real shock if you’re not used to it. Yet as different as the scholastic Latin is from the classical paradigm (which she employed in letters and other works), it is remarkably comprehensible: you know what she means when she refers to some people as stupidiores. (Original edition of her 1641 Dissertatio is here.)
Any easy Latin works that you want to share? Have links to better online editions than the ones I linked to? Post them in the comments!
Tom Hendrickson teaches Latin and English at Stanford Online High School. His Ancient Libraries and Renaissance Humanism won the Iozef IJsewijn Prize.
General Book Club Discussion Questions
1. What did you like best about this book?
2. What did you like least about this book?
3. What other books did this remind you of?
4. Which characters in the book did you like best?
5. Which characters did you like least?
6. If you were making a movie of this book, who would you cast?
7. Share a favorite quote from the book. Why did this quote stand out?
8. What other books by this author have you read? How did they compare to this book?
9. Would you read another book by this author? Why or why not?
10. What feelings did this book evoke for you?
11. What did you think of the book&rsquos length? If it&rsquos too long, what would you cut? If too short, what would you add?
12. What songs does this book make you think of? Create a book group playlist together!
13. If you got the chance to ask the author of this book one question, what would it be?
14. Which character in the book would you most like to meet?
15. Which places in the book would you most like to visit?
16. What do you think of the book&rsquos title? How does it relate to the book&rsquos contents? What other title might you choose?
17. What do you think of the book&rsquos cover? How well does it convey what the book is about? If the book has been published with different covers, which one do you like best?
18. What do you think the author&rsquos purpose was in writing this book? What ideas was he or she trying to get across?
19. How original and unique was this book?
20. If you could hear this same story from another person&rsquos point of view, who would you choose?
21. What artist would you choose to illustrate this book? What kinds of illustrations would you include?
A Lifetime Tale in Pictures READING TASK
Draw the main character from a book you have recently read. Show them as a baby, middle aged and as an older person.
Underneath each picture write what you think they might be doing at that point of their life, and explain why they may be doing so.
For example if you drew Harry Potter as a baby, he might be casting spells on his mum to feed him lots of yummy food.
This activity is very easy for all age groups to adapt their skill level and text style.
Do we have any surviving texts by Romano-Celtic authors? - History
Wow, a lot of comments. Okay, so regarding your statement that “the language and style of the Greek is clearly not Markan.”
In 1869, John A. Broadus examined the twelve verses that precede Mark 16:9-20 (i.e., 15:44-16:8)—verses whose genuineness are above reproach—and applied precisely the same test to them.
Incredibly, he found in the twelve verses preceding 16:9-20 exactly the same number of words and phrases (seventeen) that are not used previously by Mark!
The words and their citation are as follows: tethneiken (15:44), gnous apo, edoreisato, ptoma (15:45), eneileisen, lelatomeimenon, petpas, prosekulisen (15:46), diagenomenou, aromata (16:1), tei mia ton sabbaton (16:2), apokulisei (16:3), anakekulistai, sphodra (16:4), en tois dexiois (16:5), eichen (in a peculiar sense), and tromos (16:8).
So it seems that at least this particular argument doesn’t hold much weight,
Bruce Metzger was not fully represented in this article, so much so that one can say he was misrepresented. His full remark concerning was that Mark 16:9-20 is representative of a very early tradition of the church, possibly with apostolic roots. Metzger opined rather pointedly that the long ending of Mark should remain as a part of the canon of NT Scripture. That’s the rest of the story.
Nice article, but a bit hyperbolic at points.
After reading this, I consulted the following translations in print form: RSV, NRSV, NIV, ESV, NAS. Every one of them includes a footnote explaining that verses 9- 20 are missing from the earliest Greek texts, and early versions in other languages, as well. Some footnotes elaborate on this a bit more than others, but none of the ones I just read left me with the impression that these verses should be read with anything other than caution.
The author’s assertion that these additional verses were added because the original ending was deemed deficient requires more than a little bit of speculation on his part, as I doubt anyone alive today knows why the text was altered or precisely when. Likewise, he leaves the reader with the impression that those silly Christians have, for centuries, glommed on to these additional verses, despite the fact that they are bogus. (His words.)
While there might be some truth in that assertion, it strikes me as more than a little mean spirited.
To simply call the text in question bogus is bogus. You’re expressing opinion not fact.
Both ancient Syriac and Coptic vesions that predate the 4th century Vaticanus and the Sinaiticus greek versions contain the aforementioned. Also these 2nd century authors, Iraneus, Justin Martyr, Taitian, either quote it or refer to it. As well as these 3rd. Tertullian, Cyprian and the gospel of Nicodemus.
If Mark is the earliest, do you think the author tried to free the story from the influence of James the Just, since Matthew has James written all over it?
Don’t you believe that the chevron over the tomb is a symbol for the group that worked behind the scenes in the story of Jesus, like Joseph of Arimathea, the owners of the donkey Jesus rode, the people behind the Upper Room of the last supper, etc.?
Mark tells the reader in short but clear fact that Jesus appeared to people after the resurrection. He sat and ate meat with the remaining 11…Judas took his own life…they did not have wine…Jesus is not going to drink of the vine until the day of the marriage of the Lamb to the Church…the feast.
James is no friend of Christians and has a bent to debunk Christian truths. The sign of a weak scholar is that after he presents a weak thesis (i.e., Mark was written first) he fortifies it with words that buttress his weak assertions “since, then, therefore,” and using words like “clearly, obviously” so as to bully weak thinkers into agreeing with him. (Like readers of Huffington Post.) But if your first thesis is wrong, all your other work is bogus. (Like erroneously citing Metzger. Sloppy!) Mark is for another audience, a synopsis of Matthew and witness of Peter. The truth resonates this clangs like a poor cymbal.
You neglect to point out that Irenaeus and Tatian from the Second century quote directly from the added ending of Mark as scripture. Also Gospel of Nicodemus written prior to the codices, quotes the ending of Mark too. Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus of the fourth century, add and omit passages from each other thus we do not know how reliable those copies were in which these codices copied from. Passeges may have been damaged, torn, unreadable or lost and that is why they were not copied into the codices. Codex Alexandrinus, written just 50 years later, does include the ending of Mark and so does Textus Receptus and codex Washingtonius.
I have concluded, before reading about the addition in Mark 16, that such an addition was made, without knowing it beforehand. And not just Mark, but the strategic there was my focus. Scribal additions are forbidden from ancient time (Deut 4:2 12:32), though some would only limit that to Moses’. The gospels (and two other citations), present a phrase out of context that time wise, could never have occurred as the phrase would seem to indicate. That phrase, in Greek, has to do with the practice of the counting of the Omer, that is to begin the day of the wave sheaf offering. My contention is this: The day of the wave sheaf is to never occur DURING the feast of Unleavened bread, but follows it immediately. As such, the phrase that is commonly textually rendered as “the first (day) of the week” was strategically, even surgically, inserted into the gospels by editors at a later date. Originally it indicated the day of the wave sheaf, but Jewish practice, even back then, shows great controversy over this detail, producing arguments between Sadducees and Pharisees (both were wrong). It appears the editors wanted to force (rape?) the text to make it suggest a Sunday resurrection to fit their adopted point of view and practice. Paul warned against false gospels (Gal 1:6-9) and declared the gospel he preached (1 Cor 15:3-4) contains the detail that Messiah rose the third day, according to the Scripture. His intent, which is proven apologetically, is the third day of the week and no other. It was not Jewish practice to say “of the week” when intending it, from ancient time (Gen 1:13) and scholars and academics alike, who have never noticed this, or fail to reason from it, have swallowed the proverbial camel. The Apostles’ Creed contains this detail for this reason. Working from this understanding reconciles all chronologies of Yeshua’s death, burial, and resurrection (DeBuR) with no detail conflicting. But a consequence of such study, is that “first (day) of the week” is in direct conflict. It has been altered in translation, intends to mean something to Jews that is not conveyed at all in translation to non-Jews, as employed, and its very appearance where it does in the next, suggests it is an addition. This means that forcing the text has produced false gospel that brings a curse, that is directly effecting the world we live in today.
This was a good read but I’m not sure about the logic. 1) You demonstrate that Mark 16.9-19 is an addition to the earliest extant versions. You call this section “bogus” on the strength that the Greek text is clearly not Markan. I get that. But the larger implication of what you are saying is that the endings of Matthew, Luke and John are also “bogus” — because they came later than Mark. Hence the contents of these segments are also subsequent additions, perhaps reflecting how spiritual eagerness among those early believers motivated them to fabricate encounters of “the resurrected corpse” of Jesus. The use of “corpse” in reference to the resurrected Christ is serious stuff. 2) So what exactly are you saying? If the post-resurrection scenes from the other three Gospels are not authentic, are you in fact saying that two millennia of the hopes of Christian believers are founded on exaggerations? 3) What does “raised up” mean in your understanding of things? You don’t really say. On the strength of what you do say, my sense is you do not accept a bodily resurrection that somehow the post-resurrected Christ is some sort of spiritual substance at best, “actual” only in some ephemeral non-physical way. If so, it sounds like some variety of Docetism, perhaps dressed up as “progressive” Christianity. If Jesus Christ did not bodily rise from the dead, we are of all men most to be pitied.
Who really wrote the Gospels the core documents of the Christian faith?
I don’t have a problem with conservative Christians claiming that a majority of conservative Protestant Christian scholars believe that eyewitnesses authored the Gospels, but when they state, “The majority of scholars believe that eyewitnesses authored the Gospels” this is disingenuous at best, and an outright lie at worst. The majority of ALL New Testament scholars absolutely do NOT believe that eyewitnesses wrote the Gospels. Even conservative scholar Richard Bauckham admits this in his book, “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”. He believes that this majority opinion is wrong, but he does not try to hide the fact that this majority scholarly opinion exists.
Let’s keep the conversation honest, Christians. As respected scholar NT Wright has stated in a Youtube video: “I don’t know who the authors of the Gospels were, and neither does anyone else!”
He is but returned 21 June EY 1983 . Now living in Moscow but of course one would expect him to be there. Paraised be the Lord-god. He shall “come” six years hence at the end of the Final Battle near the Euphrates.
Do you think Mark 16:1-8 is the original intended ending of Mark? What might it mean, if it is not the original intended ending?
Interesting read, until a gnostic gospel- the gospel of peter was referenced. The Gnostic gospels have been dispelled over and over , they lack historical validity and have not been found to be written close to the 1st century, not to also mention the very author is still in question. To use a gnostic gospel to correlate with the writings in Mark is bound to lead to a bogus outcome.
Until they can investigate the ossuary boxes and provide DNA analysis to prove they found the actual body of Christ, the other accounts hold validity- there was no physical body in the tomb. We have found the potential remains of amelia Earhart along with other historical figures, and have take in depth photos of pluto and now understand genomes, but they have not definitively found Jesus. It only proves that the almighty Creator God is truly that, and is capable of raising someone from the dead. If he is perfect and able to speak life into existence, then he is smart enough to provide a comprehensive book that reveals his will and plan for mankind. And he can make a fool out of the most intellectual, brilliant human minds on Earth, such as Stephen hawking and Richard Dawkins, and Nietzsche.
But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. (Mark 16:7 KJV)
But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. (Mark 14:28 KJV)
The scholars say Matthew, Luke, and John used Mark as a source text and maybe an additional source text and now they say Mark, using extraneous texts is bogus?
As our Lord said, “We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ Wisdom is known by her children and most Biblical scholars are barren.
“I trust that the self-evident spuriousness of these additions is obvious to even the most pious readers. One might in fact hope that Christians who are zealous for the “inspired Word of God” would insist that all three of these bogus endings be recognized for what they are–forgeries.”
How does a PhD professor think because the end of Mark may be a bogus addition that ALL three endings of the Gospel accounts to be forgeries? Where’s the logic? Shame!
That “adding an taking away” is only in reference to the book of revelations. When it was written it was not part of the 52 books we now call one book(the bible). But you are right, the vast majority of biblical scholars agree mark 16: 9-19 was added to the original.
It is amazing that our God would confirm Mark 16’s “spurious” [un-inspired] text with Paul’s venomous bite, the resurrection of the dead and healing of the sick, the speaking of tongues, etc in Acts (et al).
Imagine the VIRTUE (power) in the TEXT that is INSPIRED.
Your SOPHISTRY is too late for me to swallow! I have seen the Lord Jesus Christ confirm His Word (Mark 16 [all of it] in my humble ministry. The simple act of TOUCHING the sick—without the “formality” of praying.
MARK 11:23-24 VALIDATE chp 16:9-20, and the Holy Spirit has VALIDATE, and continues to VALIDATE that “spurious” text. I’m sorry that your scholarship and “god” has blinded you (2 Cor. 4:4)
I am an ignorant person (former, “recovering” intellectual). I pray that God opens your eyes as he did with Saul of Tarsus and as he did with me.)
I now share with you one of the MANY citations of the Prophet of God, William Marrion Branham:
He said, “Mother, we learned over at the college that Mark 16 from the 9th verse on is not inspired.”
334 The little mother said, “Oh, Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” 335 And he said, “Why, mother. Why, ridiculous. What’s happened to you?”
336 She said, “Honey, I was just thinking. If you say Mark 16 is not inspired?”
337 Said, “No, no, it’s not.”
338 Said, “If God could heal me with uninspired Word, what could He do with That’s inspired?” Said, “If He could do that, what would He do with That was inspired?”
339 That’s right. If uninspired Word will do that, well, what will That which really is inspired? What would Mark 11:24 do? What would That do? Oh, my. Sure. God is here and He’s with us.
53-0611 – Show Us The Father And It’ll Satisfy Us
Rev. William Marrion Branham
Mark 16:9-19 is certainly spurious, as you pointed out, and it certainly brings to mind what is record at Revelation 22:18, 19 concerning the adding or taking away from God’s Word.
An interesting article and thought provoking. However, I agree that certain presumptions are made in this article, as a previous commenter said. These include:
– “Paul notably parallels his own visionary experience to that of Peter, James, and the rest of the apostles” – Yes Paul does in a sense, “parallel” having seen the risen Christ, as the last of the apostles to have seen Him, but Paul doesn’t give any details as to the nature of Peter and James having seen the resurrected Christ. In other words, the nature of having seen the resurrected Christ, could be the same or entirely different! What we should note however, are Paul’s exact words instead of making a misleading paraphrase of them. Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15: are:
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.”
…so we have:
he was buried = Physical reference to his body
he was raised = Physical reference to his body as Mark 16:6 says “And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen he is not here. See the place where they laid him.“…the absence of the body means that the reference to ‘risen’ indicates a Physical rising, not a spiritual or ghostly one.
he appeared = Physical reference to his body
most of whom are still alive – If Christ was executed around AD 33, this means that anyone who was approximately 20 years of age at the time, would only be 57 years old in AD 70, so on what basis does Tabor make the assumption:
“Since Matthew, Luke, and John come so much later, and clearly reflect the period after 70 CE when all of the first witnesses were dead–including Peter, Paul, and James the brother of Jesus, they are clearly 2nd generation traditions and should not be given priority.”? While a certain degree of assumption could be acceptable, it should always have the weight of both rationality and plausibility. In this case, it doesn’t! This is because although the life expectancy of that culture may have been generally much less than ours, given that there were over 500 witnesses to the Resurrected Christ, and “most” were still alive when Paul was writing in AD 50, we can quite reasonably assume that a number of them lived until 2 or 3 decades after he wrote 1 Corinthians 15, which would mean that a number of the eye witnesses of the Resurrected Christ would still have been alive when Mark’s gospel was written. There is therefore no reasonable basis for Tabor to make this presumption.
Tabor also makes a statement that is self contradictory:-
““But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee” (Mark 14:28). What Mark believes is that Jesus has been “lifted up” or “raised up” to the right hand of God and that the disciples would “see” him in Galilee.” – In the first part of his statement he quotes Mark 14:28 in which Jesus speaks of his Physical resurrection of his body (“raised up”), which is later confirmed in Mark 16:6 through the absence of his body and in which Jesus said he will be Physically seen in Galilee (otherwise there is no point to Jesus’s statement if He were not to be physically seen in Galilee).
..so although Tabor’s article is thought provoking, it’s conclusions are based upon assumptions that lack any real weight to them and a preferential reading of selected texts. I think it also safe to assume that Tabor himself, does not believe that Christ was Physically resurrected in His body, but the problem that he creates with this “unbelief”, is that by that theory, he cannot explain why Jesus’s body was absent from the tomb (without inventing some get out clause, like someone stole the body etc). Neither can he believe in the redemption of the Physical Body in the general resurrection, nor by implication, the Redemption of the Earth, with a ‘New Heaven and a New Earth’, if in Tabor’s theology, everything physical is to be “spiritualised”.
im inclinded to use the word “crap” for the article. firstly, barely any evidence is presented against the cononized ending in the artcile. just a series of affirmations and assertions and ”
worlds like “clearly” and “patently false” with little to no scholarship to back up the empty assertions. no real scholarly case is made.
secondly. every link inside the article is a 404. so this reading has been a waste of my time. gonna chalk it up to tabloid “science”.
I agree they should have left it as it was. However, what they wrote wasn’t false, it was backed up by 3 Eye-witness testimonies. It’s not like they conjured up a story, they only filled in what the rest of the gospel writers gave us through their eye-witness accounts.
I believe that it is all too late. The Canon of scripture is set for all time and endorsed throughout Christendom. It is imprudent and indeed michievious to now attempt to revise the scripture and negatively affect the faith of millions of believers. Leave it alone.- Lyall Phillips South Australia
I am an American of Mexican descent. My Grandfather’s has Jewish DNA. Is it possible that the Virgin Mary sightings were in areas where the Jewish people migrated because of the atrocities of the Spanish Inquisition?
Christianity become more convenient for humanity of Christ by the sins of Jesus death that was mistakenly God that died on the cross for virgin Mary kids in mistaken for people hearts to dexore to learn to go with eating for days and to be come weak for his mistaken for people to live and journey there soul of arise to be reborn sanyct to reborn freedom of Christ.
Is this guy even a Christian? I feel like I just entered a Jesus Seminar discussion!
Perhaps the ’empty tomb story’ was fairly new around the time Mark was written. And the gospel ended with “they said nothing” to help explain why this story wasn’t known by many, until later.
e.g. Perhaps there were disagreements among early Christians about whether or not the resurrected Jesus had a physical body. This led to the promotion of an empty tomb narrative(s), to bolster the idea of a physical resurrection. (?)
When James Tabor used the word Easter a number of times, I was turned off from any explanation he gave. As an “educated” man he should research the word Easter to find out when and where the word comes from and what it means. It has nothing to do with the Passover season and is Pagan in origin. And Christ was not resurrected on Sunday as some believe. He died on Passover and was buried before Sunset [Wednesday> and was resurrected three days and three nights later
on Saturday before sunset When Mary came to the tomb on Sunday morning Christ was not there. [John 19: 31 helps to understand the time sequence]. Thursday was the preparation day for the first day of Unlveaven Bread. Friday was the first day of unleaven bread and Saturday was the resurrection day, not Sunday [ishtar, pronounced Easter].
1 Corinthian 15:6 states that the risen Jesus was seen by over 500 people most of whom were still alive at the time of the writing of 1 Corinthian accepted as AD 53-57
Blessed are those who have not seen, yet believe.
If one has true faith, what difference does it make about what is written? One either believes or not. This whole “back and forth” seems ridiculous. It has become a focus that removes one from the TRUE focus. Jesus either is resurrected or not. It is an individual belief.
There’s a very simple reason the original Mark didn’t tell of the appearances by Jesus.
If it was written during the time of the 1st witnesses then it would be assumed knowledge already and covered by the writings of those witnesses. The Gospel for these people was the story of his missionary and death.
It also makes sense that the 2nd witnesses would need to have it included because it’s not part of their story.
You have to remember most writing is for the people at the time not for the people 2000 years in the future. Ultimately Religion is about faith.
Does anyone know what was the earliest church council to recognize the LE as part of Mark?
The concept of supernatural was a far different one in an age before science… there would be no difference between resuscitation and resurrection back then. Nor were there autopsies. So, some fluid came out of a spear wound… that does not mean he was clinically dead. I believe God works miracles, perhaps even supernatural ones, but one does not need to surmise that in this case.
Two of the biggest assumptions that many Christians make regarding the truth claims of Christianity is that, one, eyewitnesses wrote the four gospels. The problem is, however, that the majority of scholars today do not believe this is true. The second big assumption many Christians make is that it would have been impossible for whoever wrote these four books to have invented details in their books, especially in regards to the Empty Tomb and the Resurrection appearances, due to the fact that eyewitnesses to these events would have still been alive when the gospels were written and distributed.
But consider this, dear Reader: Most scholars date the writing of the first gospel, Mark, as circa 70 AD. Who of the eyewitnesses to the death of Jesus and the alleged events after his death were still alive in 70 AD? That is four decades after Jesus’ death. During that time period, tens of thousands of people living in Palestine were killed in the Jewish-Roman wars of the mid and late 60’s, culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem.
How do we know that any eyewitness to the death of Jesus in circa 30 AD was still alive when the first gospel was written and distributed in circa 70 AD? How do we know that any eyewitness to the death of Jesus ever had the opportunity to read the Gospel of Mark and proof read it for accuracy?
I challenge Christians to list the name of even ONE eyewitness to the death of Jesus who was still alive in 70 AD along with the evidence to support your claim.
If you can’t list any names, dear Christian, how can you be sure that details such as the Empty Tomb, the detailed resurrection appearances, and the Ascension ever really occurred? How can you be sure that these details were not simply theological hyperbole…or…the exaggerations and embellishments of superstitious, first century, mostly uneducated people, who had retold these stories thousands of times, between thousands of people, from one language to another, from one country to another, over a period of many decades?
To those who think Dr. James Tabor has grounds for his anti Christian views. Checks this article out. Don’t settle for a one sided argument. Thanks. This was taken from carm.org Does the Gospel of Peter belong in the New Testament?
The canon of the New Testament was reserved only for those writings that were either written by an apostle or an associate of an apostle. Since the Gospel of Peter was written in the mid second century, it is not a candidate for inclusion in the New Testament. The numerous embellishments in the Gospel of Peter clearly indicate that it was composed in the second century and was not written by the apostle Peter. This second-century date of authorship is in conformity with modern New Testament scholarship’s appraisal of the Gospel of Peter. Therefore, the early church rightfully rejected this Gospel which was falsely attributed to Peter.
Background Information about the Gospel of Peter
What is the Gospel of Peter?
Though incorrectly ascribed to the apostle Peter, the Gospel of Peter is comprised of 14 paragraphs (or 60 verses), written around 150 A.D., which describes the events surrounding the end of Jesus’ life including his trial, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.1 This Gospel is only partially preserved in one 8-9th century manuscript, beginning and ending in mid sentence (Harris, 245).2 The Gospel of Peter contains many similarities with the New Testament Gospels including the basic outline of the end of Jesus’ life with His trial, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection, but it also contains a number of additions including, most notably, a description of the actual resurrection event with two giant angels, a super-sized Jesus, and a talking cross emerging from the empty tomb.
When was the Gospel of Peter discovered?
The Gospel of Peter was allegedly discovered in 1886-1887 during excavations in Akhmîm, upper Egypt. A ninth century manuscript was found in the coffin of a monk which is now known as the Akhmîm fragment. Interestingly, this fragment contains no name or title. However, since the manuscript had (1) alleged docetic3 overtones and was (2) found in the midst of other works attributed to the apostle Peter, such as the Apocalypse of Peter, scholars think that the Akhmîm fragment belonged to the Gospel of Peter.4
Do any ancient writers talk about the Gospel of Peter?
Prior to the discovery of the Akhmîm fragment in 1886-87, scholars knew very little about the Gospel of Peter. Their first main source was Eusebius of Caesarea (c. A.D. 260-340), the well-known early church historian, who noted that the Gospel of Peter was among the church’s rejected writings and had heretical roots.5 The second main source for the Gospel of Peter is a letter by Serapion, a bishop in Antioch (in office A.D. 199-211), titled “Concerning What is Known as the Gospel of Peter.”6 Bishop Serapion notes that the Gospel of Peter had docetic overtones and advised that church leaders not read it to their congregations. From Bishop Serapion’s statements we know that the Gospel of Peter was written sometime in the second century, but we are left with little knowledge of its actual contents from Serapion’s statements alone.7
Is the Gospel of Peter a Gnostic Gospel?
There is some debate among scholars regarding whether the Akhmîm fragment actually is a Gnostic document. There are two possible Gnostic examples in 4:10 [paragraph 4] and 5:19 [paragraph 5]. Paragraph 4 describes the crucifixion of Jesus and states, “But he held his peace, as though having no pain.” This may reflect the Gnostic view of Docetism which viewed Jesus as not possessing a phyiscal body. This would explain Jesus’ lack of pain on the cross. Furthermore, paragraph 5 describes Jesus’ death cry on the cross as, “My power, my power, thou hast forsaken me.” Some scholars see this as a reference to ” . . . . a docetic version of the cry of dereliction which results from the departure of the divine power from Jesus’ bodily shell. However, some scholars dispute these references as referring to full-blown Gnosticism or Gnostic teachings at all.
When was the Gospel of Peter written?
Though this work was attributed to the apostle Peter (Par. 14), contemporary New Testament scholars rightfully note that the Gospel of Peter is a second century A.D. work. Most scholars would not date this Gospel before 130-150 A.D because of: (1) the numerous historical errors including a preponderance of legendary embellishments and lack of first century historical knowledge, and (2) the likely dependence which the Gospel of Peter has on the New Testament Gospels. For these reasons among many, most scholars today reject the Gospel of Peter as giving us as accurate of a portrait of Jesus as the standard New Testament Gospels and regard it as a late composition from the second century A.D.
Error #1: The Guilt of Jews
The confession of the Jewish authorities guilt (par. 7, 11) lacks historical credibility.9 The confession of the Jewish authorities makes more sense in a context after A.D. 70 where the Jews were blamed for the destruction of Jerusalem as a result of not accepting Jesus as the Messiah. Furthermore, the reference of the Jewish scribes and elders saying, “For it is better, say they, for us to be guilty of the greatest sin before God, and not to fall into the hands of the people of the Jews and to be stoned,” likewise reflects a period after A.D. 70 and is definitely not earlier than the Synoptic material.
Error #2: The High Priest Spending the Night in the Cemetery
Furthermore, the author of the Gospel of Peter (or Akhmîm fragment) possessed very little knowledge of Jewish customs. According to paragraphs 8 and 10, the Jewish elders and scribes actually camp out in the cemetery as part of the guard keeping watch over the tomb of Jesus. Craig Evans wisely notes, “Given Jewish views of corpse impurity, not to mention fear of cemeteries at night, the author of our fragment is unbelievably ignorant (Evans, Fabricating Jesus, 83).” Regarding the ruling priest spending the night in the cemetery, no ruling priest would actually do that. Due to these serious blunders, it is highly unlikely that this Gospel reflects earlier material than the New Testament gospels. Instead, the author is most likely far removed from the historical events surrounding Jesus’ death and burial.
Error #3: Embellishment of the New Testament Resurrection Accounts
There are a number of apparent embellishments in the Gospel of Peter, especially surrounding the guarding of the tomb and the resurrection. Regarding the guarding of the tomb, there are seven even seals over the tomb (8), and a great multitude from the surrounding area comes to see the sealing of the tomb. Though these are certainly historical possibilities, it appears to indicate that these are embellishments compared to the more simple accounts in the New Testament Gospels.
The New Testament writers never describe exactly how the resurrection took place since presumably no one was there to witness it other than the guards. Perhaps the most fascinating part of the Gospel of Peter’s account is that it actually describes the resurrection of Jesus (9-10)!
“9 And in the night in which the Lord’s day was drawing on, as the soldiers kept guard two by two in a watch, there was a great voice in the heaven and they saw the heavens opened, and two men descend from thence with great light and approach the tomb. And that stone which was put at the door rolled of itself and made way in part and the tomb was opened, and both the young men entered in. 10 When therefore those soldiers saw it, they awakened the centurion and the elders for they too were hard by keeping guard. And as they declared what things they had seen, again they see three men come forth from the tomb, and two of them supporting one, and a cross following them: and of the two the head reached unto the heaven, but the head of him who was lead by them overpassed the heavens. And they heard a voice from the heavens, saying, Thou hast preached to them that sleep. And a response was heard from the cross, Yea.”10
This resurrection account does not retain anything of the historical soberness that is in the New Testament resurrection accounts. Instead, this description of the resurrection of Jesus has a large angel whose head “reached unto the heaven” and a giant Jesus whose head “overpassed the heavens!” Finally, the best example is the talking cross. The voice from heaven says, “Thou has preached to them that sleep.” The cross responds by saying, “Yea.” While it is possible that there was a giant Jesus whose head surpassed the heavens and a talking cross, it is more likely that this story is probably an embellishment of the simpler empty tomb and resurrection accounts in the New Testament Gospels. It is probably just another attempt like some other Gnostic Gospels to “fill in the gaps” in the events surrounding Jesus’ life.
How anyone could think of this resurrection account as more primitive than the Gospels seems quite unreasonable. Evans wisely states, “ . . . . can it be seriously maintained that the Akhmîm fragment’s [Gospel of Peter’s] resurrection account, complete with a talking cross and angels whose heads reach heaven, constitutes the most primitive account?” (Evans, 84).
Dependence on the New Testament Gospels
It is difficult to prove exact literary dependence by the Gospel of Peter on the New Testament Gospel, however, there are at least a couple instances in Peter which are best explained by the author having familiarity with the canonical New Testament Gospels. The Gospel of Matthew is a prime example with its guard at the tomb of Jesus. The Gospel of Peter author likely took this account and embellished it by having Jewish leaders come and camp out at the tomb overnight. This may have served the apologetical purposes of the author of the Gospel of Peter which reflected conditions after the destruction of the Jerusalem temple. Furthermore, the centurion’s confession (par. 11) appears to also reflect the Gospel of Matthew (Mt. 27:54, cf. Mk. 15:39, Lk. 23:47).
Finally, the Gospel of Peter’s reference of the thief uses the same Greek words to reference the thief in paragraph 4 (4.10, 13), which likely reflects the Gospel of Luke (23:33, 39).
Since the Gospel of Peter is likely a second century work due to the historical errors listed above, it is likely that the Gospel of Peter at least used similar traditions that are found in the New Testament Gospels–if not the Gospels themselves. This is a much more sober conclusion rather than basing our argument on source criticism alone, which is often bound with mere speculation of hypothetical sources and layers of editing and redaction. Anyhow, given the numerous embellishments and historical errors, it is likely that the author had some familiarity with the canonical Gospels and combined it with his own speculations. However, to what extent the author had knowledge of the New Testament Gospels, we may never know.
Despite the claims of some, the Gospel of Peter does not belong in the New Testament due to its serious embellishments and likely dependence on the New Testament Gospels. For these reasons among many, most scholars today reject the Gospel of Peter as giving us as accurate of a portrait of Jesus as the standard New Testament Gospels and regard it as a late composition from the second century A.D.
A Summary of the Evidence for a Second Century Date of the Gospel of Peter
Historical Errors and Embellishments
•Seven seals are used to seal the tomb of Jesus (Paragraph 8).
•A crowd from Jerusalem comes to see the sealed tomb of Jesus (Par. 9).
•The Jewish leaders camp out at the tomb of Jesus overnight.
•The Jewish leaders fear the harm of the Jewish people (Par. 8). This does not descibe the historical situation of the Jews before the destruction of the Jewish temple in A.D. 70.
•The Resurrection story actually describes how Jesus exited the tomb with two giant angels, a super-sized Jesus, and a talking cross.
•Transfer of responsibility of Jesus’ death away from Pilate to Herod and the Jews.
•“The Lord’s Day” reference (Par. 9) indicates a later time period (cf. Rev. 1:10, Ignatius’s Epistle to the Magnesians 9:1).
Possible Gnostic Overtones
•Silence during the crucifixion “as if he felt no pain.” This could be consistent with a docetic view of Jesus which was common in Gnostic circles.
•Crucifixion cry is “my Power!” “my Power!” which likely indicates a supernatural being departed from him.
•Jesus’ death is described as being “taken up,” implying that he was rescued without dying. This would be consistent with some Gnostic views that thought since Jesus was not fully a man, he could not actually die on the cross.
Possible New Testament Parallels
•The centurion’s confession (Par. 11) appears to reflect the Gospel of Matthew (Mt. 27:54, cf. Mk. 15:39, Lk. 23:47).
•The posting of the guard at the tomb appears to reflect the Gospel of Matthew.
•Bock, Darrell L. The Missing Gospels: Unearthing the Truth behind Alternative Christianities. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2006.
•Evans, Craig A. Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels. Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 2008.
•Evans, Craig A. “The Apocryphal Jesus: Assessing the Possibilities and Problems.” 147-172. In Craig A. Evans and Emanuel Tov, eds. Exploring the Origins of the Bible: Canon Formation in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008.
•Harris, Stephen L. The New Testament: A Student’s Introduction. Fourth Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002.
•Head, P. M. “On the Christology of the Gospel of Peter,” Vigiliae Christianae 46 (1992), 209-224.
•Strobel, Lee. The Case for the Real Jesus. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007.
The apostles were afraid and hiding. However, they became fearless even unto death NOT because they saw an empty tomb which after they seen the empty tomb still remain hiding. But because the saw Jesus stand before them. And turned the world up side down. To Dr. James Tabor, you relied on books the church DID NOT consider inspired. Athanasius never included them in the canons.
Robert claims: What about the old Jewish law that says something like if you speak against the law or do something against the govt. you will have to be buried for 3 days & 3 nights without food & water as though you had died. Then when you come out you will be resurrected, forgiven & reborn a new person.
where exactly did you find this? I strongly doubt any group said any such thing in antiquity. it makes no sense.
It is sort of strange how a few peasants could outwit the government officials of the time as well as the majority of clearly hostile public including even mothers who had preferred a criminal (Barrabas). I also wonder what could have fueled such obvious motivation in this small apparently defeated group. The accounts if they are all fabrications which could not be in all aspects of the story that clearly reveals some historicity, would have to be pure genius on the part of these peasants.
Genuine aspects of the story are also the perceptions of these intimately involved persons. They were distraught about the outcome of events. How does this fit into the plot. So again what could have been their motivation to risk the same fate of their Master by “robbing a grave” and disposing of a body in an hostile public as well religious atmosphere (it was the Jews who largely instigated his death and incite the Roman authorities to secure the tomb).
These questions I hope will set a more reasonable basis for this discussion. It appears the many hypotheses of modern scholarship are in many cases much more fantastic and problematic than their perceptions of the Gospel accounts. I also wonder why so called modern scholarship not only presumes intellectual superiority to earlier scholars, but also claim a propriety to the refuting this issue that they imagine contemporary parties or persons never had or were capable of.
I am not saying there is not a legitimate place for doubt, this was also a issue in the group of disciples to the point, the term “doubting Thomas” is still a part part of verbal expression.
W hat about the old Jewish law that says something like if you speak against the law or do something against the govt. you will have to be buried for 3 days & 3 nights without food & water as though you had died. Then when you come out you will be resurrected, forgiven & reborn a new person . This is exactly what happened to LAZARUS. Jesus was told he`d been in the burial cave 3 days & 3 nights, but Jesus figured he needed more punishment & left him in there one more day. But by then Lazarus was so weak Jesus had to help him come out….Robert R. Gore….March 28/2016 Monday
The initial thrust of this article is correct – the ending of Mark is a later addition to the original text. The notion that this invalidates the text of the other gospels re the sightings of Jesus is not, and the notion that the additional text is a ‘forgery’ is itself dishonest. The notion that this undermines Christianity as a whole is farcical the Copts, the early Christian writers he cites and other eastern traditions have only ever acknowledged the original ending. The excitement Mr. Tabor allows himself is predicated on very specific western traditions. Then there is the text itself. Perhaps Mr. Tabor has not thought about the ending very carefully it is a literary paradox. If Mary and her companions ‘said nothing’ how did they writer come to hear their account? It is an extraordinary literary effect for the era in which it is written. The ending does not seem strange because it contradicts our understanding of the Resurrection, but because it doesn’t work as a coherent sentence, never mind the ending of a story. If indeed that’s where the text ends, and they ‘said nothing’ because they were seized ‘by trembling and astonishment’ how did the text he does accept ever come to be written? It doesn’t. Mary and her chums go home, and nothing more is said about the matter. Thus it is a literary paradox – something that is unwritten has to follow the text to release the paradox and end the story. The 16: 6-8 ending is written in such a way as to require explanation, an oral, unwritten narrative. At the time Mark was written Christian faith was a death sentence in Judea and Rome in the run up to the Jewish revolt James the Greater was butchered, Paul was deported to Rome, Peter was betrayed and what remained of the nascent Christian community driven out of Jerusalem or slain in the revolt itself. To the Jews the notion of Jesus’ divinity was blasphemy punishable by death it is no surprise that the writer of Mark should spare himself and his reader a death sentence by ending his text with a question mark that requires oral explanation to complete its meaning. The ending that isn’t written isn’t going to get your throat cut. Mr. Tabor is habituated to printed and digital text it is not surprising that he should be unaware that when information was inevitably hand written by individuals, to be read by closely connected peer groups, that an oral component would not seem untoward either to the writer or his audience. Mr. Tabor has not added anything new to this debate.
So here we are, after Easter 2016, and BAR is /still/ circulating Tabor’s half-truths? *Still* no acknowledgement of Irenaeus’ quotation of Mark 16:19? Still no mention of Tatian’s treatment of Mk. 16:9-20? Still no mention of the blank space after Mark 16:8 in Vaticanus? And still no mention of Sinaiticus’ cancel-sheet?
And *still* no correction of the “they they” mistake. Or the reference to Mark 16:9-19.
THE TOMB WAS GUARDED. EVEN ORDINARY MEN GO ABOUT WITH SECURITY, SO IT IS INCONCEIVABLE THAT JESUS, THE KING OF KINGS, HAD NO GUARD! ANGELS WERE THERE ALL THE WHILE!
Samuel Eusebius McCorkle must be rolling over in his grave.
a) The presentation of the spurious edits to the earliest mss of Mark is well articulated and sound.
b) However, statements like “strong textual evidence that the first generation of Jesus followers were perfectly fine with a Gospel account that recounted no appearances of Jesus.” represents a serious error in assumptive logic. Nothing presented here corroborates this claim except for additional subjective statements. The otherwise excellent points about textual issues are also clumsily cluttered with unnecessarily volatile and leading phraseology like “resuscitated corpse” and “revived corpse.” While the textual information is well-presented, there seems to almost be a desperation to somehow “prove” that the ancient claims of a resurrected Jesus are not worthy of consideration. There exist alternative explanations for the abrupt ending of the original account of Mark, but they are strangely omitted from this presentation.
It is NOT a requirement that an agel appears with wings. In fact many times angels appear in the form of a man i.e a Human Being. Jesus Himself took the body of Adam and sanctified it by becoming the Son of Man. The tomb was guarded. Jesus was resurrected. It is a done deal.
http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/guard.html. The tomb was guarded and sealed immediately. Mos historians agree.
http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/guard.html. The tomb was guarded. Most commentators and historians agree.
You are barking the wrong tree if you revisit the incarnate revelation, a.k.a., “one of the days of the Son of Man”, at the expense of looking at the immediately post-incarnate revelation of Christ, a.k.a., “the day the Son of Man is revealed”, according to the terms of the “new covenant”, and the teaching in the gospel which is sealed by Christ’s death on the cross. (Luke 17: 20-37)
terry said: “It is worth considering why some early copies lack the final verses, but I think it’s going way too far to call them forgeries.”
An interested point that wasn’t mentioned in this article is that the narrative of the common ending of Mark is disjointed. In Mark 16:1-2, Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James, and Salome bring spices to the tomb on resurrection morning. They see the empty tomb with the young man who tells them Jesus is not there. Then they ran off and were afraid. So the short version ends.
Then Mark 16:9 begins (the common, longer ending), but it doesn’t pick up where verse 8 ended. It jumps back in the story and tells us that Mary Magdalene came to the tomb on resurrection morning and Jesus showed himself to her. Not only does it repeat what we thought we just read, but it now tells us that Jesus actually appeared to Mary Magdalene…whereas a few verse earlier, Jesus didn’t appear to any of them – they simply ran away after being told that he was risen.
Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures and that he was buried, yes, that he has been raised up the third day according to the Scriptures and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.”* Then Paul adds: “After that he appeared to upward of five hundred brothers at one time, the most of whom remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep in death. After that he appeared to James, then to all the apostles but last of all he appeared also to me.”—1 Corinthians 15:3-8.
Paul began with the confident statement that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was resurrected. What made Paul so sure of that? One reason was the testimony of many eyewitnesses. The resurrected Jesus appeared to individuals (including Paul himself), to small groups, and even to a crowd of 500, many of whom had no doubt been skeptical when they heard the news that Jesus had been resurrected! (Luke 24:1-11) Most of the eyewitnesses were still alive in Paul’s day and could be consulted to confirm those appearances. (1 Corinthians 15:6) One or two witnesses might be easy to dismiss, but not the testimony of 500 or more eyewitnesses.
Notice, too, that Paul mentioned twice that the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus were “according to the Scriptures.” Those events confirmed that prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures about the Messiah had come true, thus proving that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah.
Dear Professor — there is a HUGE difference betw “resuscitation” and “resurrection.” Jesus was resurrected, and so shall those who love and follow Him.
Besides if the gospel was intentionally concluded at 16:8, it’s rather confusing. The angel tells them that he is risen and to tell Peter and the disciples. And in verse 8 the women run away afraid and tell no one. I can’t imagine Mark, taking the time to write the whole gospel, ending it that way. I’d speculate that these copies that end at verse 8 are simply copies from an incomplete copy to begin with. But better to copy what you have then not copy it at all. And the ending we have in our Bible now makes much more sense then the two alternative endings. I’m confident that what we have is the original ending.
Too bad most do not know math. I took Dr.Panis’ work on the NT/OT using gematria or numerics to the former Chief Engineer of the Rocket Div. at the former TRW. He told me he could not refute Dr.Panins’ conclusions(amateurs in math have tried and resort to word jugglery or taking the Constitution and attempt to show you can do the same thing with numbers which in the light of those who really know and understand Dr.Panin’s work to compensate for their lack of math training and skills and understanding Panin’s work some 50,000 tabulation pages) as presented in our terse article on Mark-but accepted them and was extremely impressed as well as his numeric work on the NT ,OT etc. . He knew ALL higher forms of math.
Now the Greek language or each character stood for a number like Alpha for 1 Beta for 2,Gamma for 3 , etc.
Same for Hebrew. Simple. But,Dr. Panin did all the hard work by hand as it were no computers, but can stand up and has to computer analysis-over a 50 year period using the Westcott and Hort Greek text. You will have to study his work on the internet. I will post more.
I wonder how many copies Eusebius and Jerome had to read from? Almost isn’t all, so some copies did have the final verses. Irenaeus quotes Mark 16:19 in his book (c. 184), so copies had it even earlier. It’s worth questioning why a few early copies are lacking the final verses, but it’s going way too far to call them forgeries. You haven’t proven it, just concluding from speculation.
Eusebius and Jerome say almost all are missing the long ending. I wonder how many copies they saw? But obviously some did have it. Irenaeus quotes Mark 16:19 in his book (c. 184). It is worth considering why some early copies lack the final verses, but I think it’s going way too far to call them forgeries. It’s not proven, but is rather mere speculation.
Wehat happened in keeping with the prophetic words of Psalm 16:10?
The Messiah would be resurrected. David wrote: “You [Jehovah] will not leave my soul in Sheol.” (Ps. 16:10) Imagine the surprise of the women who came to the tomb where Jesus’ body had been laid. There they encountered a materialized angel, who told them: “Stop being stunned. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was impaled. He was raised up, he is not here. See! The place where they laid him.” (Mark 16:6) To the crowd present in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost 33 C.E., the apostle Peter declared: “[David] saw beforehand and spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he forsaken in Hades nor did his flesh see corruption.” (Acts 2:29-31) God did not allow the physical body of his beloved Son to decay. Moreover, Jesus was miraculously raised to life in the spirit!—1 Pet. 3:18.
Gary, in both Matthew and Luke, it is clear that there were more women involved than just Mary. John simply focused on her personal experience. Since every individual who heard everything is not mentioned and which parts of the word everyone heard or what each one saw individually, it is most likely that not everyone saw and heard exactly the same thing. The time aspect also plays a role: Matthew, Mark and Luke tells the whole experience of the women at the tomb as happening when they first arrived (or at least without any indication of how much time passed, while John mentions that Mary (alone? or with the other women?) went to tell the other disciples (at least John and Peter) and then returned to the tomb.Did she leave to tell the disciples while the other women stayed at the tomb and heard the angels announce the resurrection? Or did she hear only part of what the angel said? It is totally possible that the other women heard the rest of the sentence, and Mary (having turned away crying) did not. To argue from missing facts that there is a contradiction, is not a convincing agrument IMHO. As for the tomb being unguarded the first night, I would assume that most Christians should be aware of this. However, I would also assume that the guards (and the Jewish leaders) would make sure about the tomb being undisturbed before sealing it… having a guard to prevent grave robbering while knowing that the robbery could have already happened, does not make a lot of sense, does it?
[…] The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why It Makes All the Difference […]
When did Mary Magdalene learn of a resurrection?
Many Christian apologists state that it is impossible for the empty tomb to have been the result of a stolen body, even though the author of Matthew states that the guards were not posted until the second day, giving a least a short period of time that the tomb was not guarded. However, If the Stolen Body Hypothesis is impossible, why did Mary Magdalene believe that Jesus body had been stolen?
Matthew is the only Gospel that mentions guards at the tomb. John’s Gospel says nothing about guards. If John was an eyewitness, as Christians claim, isn’t that a pretty important detail to leave out of your story? The missing Roman guards in the Book of John raises an important issue. Christians often contend that it would have been impossible for anyone to have surreptitiously removed Jesus’ corpse from the tomb because there were guards posted at the tomb who would have prevented such an occurrence. Therefore, they argue, without any possibility for the body to have been quietly whisked away, the only other logical conclusion is that Jesus must have truly arisen from the dead. A stolen body hypothesis is impossible.
This argument completely collapses in John’s account, however, because according to the fourth Gospel, this is precisely what Mary thought had occurred! Mary clearly didn’t feel as though the scenario of Jesus’ body being removed was unlikely. In fact, according to John, that was her only logical conclusion. Clearly, Matthew’s guards didn’t dissuade John’s Mary from concluding that someone had taken Jesus’ body because Roman guards do not exist in John’s story. To further compound the problem of the conflicting resurrection accounts, John’s Gospel continues to unfold with Mary returning to the tomb a second time, only to find two angels sitting inside the tomb. Mary is still unaware of any resurrection as she complains to the angels that someone had removed Jesus’ corpse. As far as John’s Mary is concerned, the only explanation for the missing body was that someone must have removed it, and she was determined to locate it.
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying12 , one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” (John 20:11-13)
Although in Matthew’s account the angel emphatically tells Mary about the resurrection (Matthew 28:5-7), in John’s Gospel the angels do not mention that anyone rose from the dead. The angels only ask Mary, “Woman, why are you weeping?” Mary responds by inquiring whether the angels removed Jesus’ body. Then, Mary turns and sees Jesus standing before her, but mistakes him for the gardener. Mary is still completely unaware of any resurrection, and therefore asks the “gardener” if he was the one who carried away Jesus’ body. It is only then that Mary realizes that she was speaking to the resurrected Jesus.
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” which means Teacher. (John 20:14-16)
It is at this final juncture of the narrative that the accounts of Matthew and John become hopelessly irreconcilable. The question every Christian must answer is the following: When Mary met Jesus for the first time after the resurrection, had the angel(s) already informed her that Jesus had arisen from the dead? According to Matthew, the angels did inform Mary of the resurrection, but in John’s account they did not. As we survey the divergent New Testament accounts of the resurrection, we see that we are not just looking at contradictory versions, we are reading two entirely different stories!
Translations of 'Beowulf'
Originally written in Old English, the first translation of the poem was into Latin by Thorkelin, in connection with his transcription of 1818. Two years later Nicolai Grundtvig made the first translation into a modern language, Danish. The first translation into modern English was made by J. M. Kemble in 1837. In total, it is estimated that the epic poem has been translated into 65 languages.
Since then there have been many modern English translations. The version done by Francis B. Gummere in 1919 is out of copyright and freely available at several websites. Many more recent translations, in both prose and verse form, are available today.
The relation of speech to writing
Because writing is an additional register to speech, writing’s advent has an important influence on speech. Writing’s effects have been dramatic on society generally, but, for much of the vast span of recorded history, writing and reading were confined to a small, elite minority of a population, while a large proportion of people continued to depend on oral communication alone. In many cases these two traditions existed side by side. Such a combination creates problems for the analysis of the various genres or oral literature, for there is a tendency today to read back the characteristics of literate literature (such as the use of a narrative structure) into purely oral genres. Written literature is never simply a matter of writing down what already exists a myth or story is always changed in being “transcribed” and takes its place among a set of new genres as well as among modifications of old ones.
The term folklore generally refers to certain of the spoken (or nonwritten) activities of complex literate cultures where only a minority can read and write and where the rest are illiterate, a frequent situation of the peasantry in the post-Bronze Age cultures of Europe and Asia especially. While these activities have some links with parallel ones in purely oral cultures, they are inevitably influenced by the always-dominant literary modes, especially those related to the major (written) religions. (Folklore is largely confined to the exposition of peripheral beliefs.) But even the forms taken by genres such as the epic can influence folklore.
It is clear that, in societies with writing, a great deal of communication—including communication that takes literary forms—is still done by word of mouth. Not only is this an aspect of all human intercourse, but it was inevitably the case until near-universal literacy was achieved in Europe during the last quarter of the 19th century. Until that time, literature had to be oral for the large part of the population. That did not mean oral literature was uninfluenced by the written word. Indeed, some of the oral communication consisted in the repetition of written texts, as when lessons from the Bible were preached to an unlettered populace. A written epic, as was the case with the Hindu Vedas or the works of Homer, might be learned by heart and recited to the population at large, by priests in the former case and by the rhapsodes in the latter. Of course a society with writing might inherit some genres, such as folktales, largely unchanged from an earlier, purely oral culture whereas other genres, such as the epic, would undergo a sea change.
Part of the influence of the written word on speech consisted in the development not of oratory but of its formal counterpart, rhetoric, with its explicit body of rules. Specialists in the spoken word might achieve fame and be rewarded for their appearance in presenting a case at court. More directly in the field of the arts, specialist reciters, especially of praise songs but also of epics and other lengthy recitations, might be recompensed for their contributions, either as freelance performers or as professionals.
Many early written forms, such as the Breton lays, draw their subject matter from spoken genres, though inevitably transformations take place in the face of the new media. There has also been a good deal of exchange between coexistent folk and written (elite) literature. Homer’s poems incorporated “popular” tales, for example, as did the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf, although these transfers are as much between genres as between the registers of speech and writing, akin to when popular melodies, such as the bourrée of rural France, were taken up by those composing elite music in the urban courts of 17th-century Europe.
What Do Our Oldest Books Say About Us?
There are four original manuscripts containing poetry in Old English—the now-defunct language of the medieval Anglo-Saxons—that have survived to the present day. No more, no less. They are: the Vercelli Book, which contains six poems, including the hallucinatory “Dream of the Rood” the Junius Manuscript, which comprises four long religious poems the Exeter Book, crammed with riddles and elegies and the Beowulf Manuscript, whose name says it all. There is no way of knowing how many more poetic codices (the special term for these books) might have existed once upon a time, but have since been destroyed.
Until last week, I had seen two of these manuscripts in person and turned the pages of one. But then I visited “Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War,” a new show of artifacts at the British Library in London. It’s a vast exhibition, covering the art, literature, and history of the people whose kingdoms spread across Britain between the sixth and the eleventh centuries. The impetus for the show came from the library’s 2012 acquisition of the St Cuthbert Gospel, the “earliest intact European book,” in the words of the show’s catalog.
Seeing the earliest European book alone would be the event of a lifetime, for a certain kind of museum-goer. But for this viewer, the main attraction lay in a quiet little vitrine: all four Old English poetic codices, side by side. They don’t look that impressive to the casual eye. The exhibition room is dark and cold, to keep the books safe from damage. The manuscripts are brown, small, almost self-effacing. There’s no outward sign of how important they are, how unprecedented their meeting.
So why are these four books so special? It has to do, I think, with the concept of the original—a concept we have almost entirely lost touch with. The Beowulf Manuscript is not just composed of words that serve as the basis for every translation of the epic poem. It’s foremost an object, the only one of its kind. It is not merely a representation of a story it is the story. In this respect, the manuscript resembles the Crown Jewels more than any document written in today’s world, any word that moves through the crazy fractal of the internet. The manuscripts confront us with a former version of our literary selves identities that we barely recognize, and which estrange us from ourselves.
Each of the poetic codices has a specific history engraved into the text’s physical form. The very space they occupy on earth is meaningful. The Vercelli Book is named for Vercelli, a town in Northern Italy whose cathedral library holds the manuscript. Nobody knows for sure how the book got there, although the prevailing theory is that a pilgrim left it behind or gave it away on his travels. Who? Why? When? Unknown.
The Beowulf Manuscript’s permanent home is the British Library. Unlike Vercelli, we know exactly why it’s there. The manuscript’s pages have been remounted onto new ones, because the book was singed around the edges in a library fire in 1731. The fire consumed much of the collection of Robert Cotton—his unburned books were later all given to the British Museum, forming its foundational collection—but Beowulf only suffered a little. (The original Cotton collection was kept, with a horrible kind of accuracy, in a building called Ashburnham House.)
If we compare the Vercelli Book to the Beowulf Manuscript, we see different kinds of mysteries. The Vercelli Book is in fabulous condition, its English lines neatly written and sitting, inexplicably, in a region of Italy famous for its rice. The Beowulf Manuscript is a half-burned thing whose survival is a miracle. Its provenance is unknown: It was probably written down in the tenth or eleventh centuries, but it’s impossible to tell when it was actually composed.
Where did the fire come from? Where did the poetry come from? We do not know the identity of the authors of any Old English poems, any more than we know where the first spark flew. Why are these the manuscripts that have survived, and what wandering spirit has guarded them down the centuries? The mysteries start to pile up into a mountain, intimidating in its inaccessibility.
Our current relationship to the written word could not be more different. We remain in the age of mechanical reproduction, the name famously given by the theorist Walter Benjamin to the way that works are replicated via photography, the printing press, and film. In his 1936 essay on the subject, Benjamin wrote, “Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.”
Our concept of authenticity is derived from the “presence of the original,” he writes, such as “proof that a given manuscript of the Middle Ages stems from an archive of the fifteenth century.” Without such proof, an original becomes a forgery. But when we reproduce a work (via a photocopy or an ebook, say), we create not a forgery but something new. We can “put the copy of the original into situations which would be out of reach for the original itself”—the manuscript can leave the cathedral and enter our own homes.
Benjamin argued that this process of reproduction inevitably diminishes the artwork’s presence. He calls that quality an aura: “that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art.” That withering kills our connection to tradition, to the ineffable magic of the original, and—in short—to the entire history of how humans once related to art.
In 2018, we are in a much more elaborate and abstracted phase of Benjamin’s reproduction theory. We are accustomed to reading without reference to any physical object specific to the act of reading. We might have a romantic association with libraries, or prefer to turn real pages rather than electronic ones, but those are tastes borne of nostalgia. They have no real meaning for our experience of literature’s power.
This is why the reunion of the Old English poetic codices is so overwhelming. We have no mental equipment—or, at best, a very rusty apparatus—to process the existence of a physical original. Even our encounters with paintings in a museum are ultimately filtered through mass media and the devices with which we read the written word. It is difficult even to summon in our minds the circumstances of Benjamin’s 1936 essay the technology has simply moved too quickly.
If we are that disconnected from 1936, but the Old English poetic codices predate Benjamin by an entire millennium, then it is no wonder that being confronted by these manuscripts leads to a feeling of numbed, startled astonishment. I’ve spent years dreaming of these books, but when all five of us finally met I couldn’t do anything but cry. I thought I knew them, through digital replicas. These books should have been a mirror, some kind of catalyst to self-recognition. But when I looked at them I saw nothing. I only saw the yawning void of everything in human history that I cannot understand, everything that has been taken from our culture by the incredible acceleration of technology over the course of my lifetime.
There are too many miracles to count inside the British Library’s exhibition. You can see the Codex Amiatinus, the earliest surviving complete Christian Bible in Latin. It’s enormous, weighing over 75 pounds. Here you will see the Domesday Book, the earliest public record in existence. Here is the River Erne horn, an eighth-century trumpet found in the waters of its name in the 1950s. Here is gold from the sixth century.
But as I walked out of this dazzling exhibition, I also realized the miracle that is the survival of Old English itself. If all we share with the Anglo-Saxon literature is language, then that is a remarkable consolation. The words are difficult to understand, but—miracle of miracles—we can translate them all.
Historians might care more about the singeing of the Beowulf Manuscript, the unknown pilgrim who walked through Italy. For the student of literature, however, Beowulf’s existence on the internet is as startling as the single book sitting by its sisters in a London library. If the book burned today, then the poem would still survive. The new permanence that reproduction gives us is the hope contained in Benjamin’s dirge. But it might be worth putting a replica in a bunker, just in case.
Do we have any surviving texts by Romano-Celtic authors? - History
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