Was the Gospel of Mark adjusted by Christians?

badger

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The New International Version translation of the Gospel of Mark warns readers if there is evidence that verses were adjusted, added to or cut. A typical example is in the very first verse of chapter one, where the reader is informed that 'the Son of God' was not present in earliest copies of G-Mark.

But as I read through this gospel in the King James version I see more verses still that cause me to be suspicious of edits.

I'm sad that this OP is long but I can't avoid that. Please review the following verses from the KJV Gospel of Mark:-
Mark {3:7} But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude
from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea, {3:8} And from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and [from] beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him. {3:9} And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him.

I don't believe that the underlined words in italics are genuine at all! The people of the Palestinian provinces were mostly poor........ Sakari Hakkinen writes about the Galilee:-
In the Ancient world poverty was a visible and common phenomenon. According to estimations 9 out of 10 persons lived close to the subsistence level or below it. There was no middle class. .........................Sakari Häkkinen, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria.

From North of Gennesaret to Jerusalem was about 100 miles, to Idumea a lot further, and Phoenicia and Decapolis were all long walks to Galilee as well......... all those hard-up folks leaving their livings and what security they had to go walking to Galilee? No! Not real!

And so I referred to the Gospel of Mark in the NIV translation and this is what I read:-
Mark 3:7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. 8 When they heard about all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. 9 Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him.

I noticed how verse 7 ends in a full stop, with no comma to allow a continuing list of other provinces, whereas in the NIV version the (to me) suspicious verse is popped in as the whole of verse 8.

I wondered how this story was converted in to the gospels of Matthew and Luke, maybe these authors were not quite happy with the original scenery? Oh dear.......

Matthew {4:25} And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and [from] Decapolis, and [from] Jerusalem, and [from] Judaea, and [from] beyond Jordan. {5:1} And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

Luke {6:17} And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;

Whilst I cannot be certain that these accounts above referred to the same occasion, the list of provinces that this crowd came from continues, but maybe Matthew and Luke didn't like the scene of Jesus making speech from a boat offshore? Not friendly enough for them?

I've often heard that a person's voice cannot be heard very far when surrounded by a crowd....fair enough, but I can tell you for fact that a person's voice over still water can be heard for many hundreds of yards, because I learned when a boy that you never tell secrets when in boats.....your quiet voice can be heard. (true!) And since Jesus had two young men with him who had very strong voices (typical boatmen anywhere in the world) his boat speeches make perfect sense to me.

And so I propose that the people of GALILEE followed Jesus in Galilee, and that he DID make speech from a boat, just offshore, relayed by the Zebedee brothers.

What do you think?
 

Ella S.

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As far as I'm aware, the earliest copy of Mark carbon dates to, at earliest, 430 CE. Given that our various versions of Mark have a fair bit of differences between them, who knows how much the text changed over 4 centuries after the death of Jesus?

And Mark is generally seen as the most authentic gospel, predating the others and being a source that the others are based on. Maybe someone can clear this up if it's inaccurate?
 

wil

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a figment of your imagination
When I was a Sunday school.teacher I had a dozen different bible versions for the kids to choose from. Any time we looked at a passage we went from the KJV and it's concordance to a NT manga. As well as the message and lamsa. The discussion among.the students reading.differences in the versions was always interesting.

And then of course the differences in the synoptic passages are varied as well with each author trying to correct the previous to satisfy their readers.

We would read as literal, as allegory, as how it applied in their times and search the MBD for ways that scripture effects their lives today. As to how they can utilize an interpretation to be analogous with or help with their trials and tribulations in school, at home, in relationships, with their peers...etc.

The exploration and discussion and their interpretations and connections with life was an education for me.
 

badger

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As far as I'm aware, the earliest copy of Mark carbon dates to, at earliest, 430 CE. Given that our various versions of Mark have a fair bit of differences between them, who knows how much the text changed over 4 centuries after the death of Jesus?

And Mark is generally seen as the most authentic gospel, predating the others and being a source that the others are based on. Maybe someone can clear this up if it's inaccurate?
That looks about right.
And translation makes it very difficult to 'clock' all changes in writing style, etc......
 

badger

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When I was a Sunday school.teacher I had a dozen different bible versions for the kids to choose from. Any time we looked at a passage we went from the KJV and it's concordance to a NT manga. As well as the message and lamsa. The discussion among.the students reading.differences in the versions was always interesting.

And then of course the differences in the synoptic passages are varied as well with each author trying to correct the previous to satisfy their readers.

We would read as literal, as allegory, as how it applied in their times and search the MBD for ways that scripture effects their lives today. As to how they can utilize an interpretation to be analogous with or help with their trials and tribulations in school, at home, in relationships, with their peers...etc.

The exploration and discussion and their interpretations and connections with life was an education for me.
A commendable way of showing the bible to pupils, I think. :)

Your sentence ending with '.........each author trying to correct the previous to satisfy their readers.' caught my attention.
I have long noticed how some people will grasp to one possibility or another to satisfy their opinions, theists and atheists alike.
 

Thomas

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But as I read through this gospel in the King James version I see more verses still that cause me to be suspicious of edits.
To be fair, a translation is not the text on which to base such decisions.

I don't believe that the underlined words in italics are genuine at all!
Reasoning? Evidence? that His followers were poor does not preclude them from making long journeys.

I noticed how verse 7 ends in a full stop
That's the KJV, not the original text. In the Textus Receptus (15th century) on which the KJV is based, there's a comma, and the first word of v8 is 'and', but again, the ancient texts had no punctuation.

I wondered how this story was converted in to the gospels of Matthew and Luke, maybe these authors were not quite happy with the original scenery? Oh dear.......
That's an unfounded insinuation, really.

but maybe Matthew and Luke didn't like the scene of Jesus making speech from a boat offshore? Not friendly enough for them?
Well maybe their source materials made no comment about speaking from a boat?

Symbolically, surely Luke especially would have loved it! Jesus is the messiah, the boat is the ark ... an address from a boat offshore would be so theologically rich. I feel pretty sure that if the source material said He spoke from a boat, they would have utilised it.

(It's a scientific fact that sound carries and even amplifies over calm water, much more audibly than on land.)

And so I propose that the people of GALILEE followed Jesus in Galilee, and that he DID make speech from a boat, just offshore, relayed by the Zebedee brothers. What do you think?
I think:

A) You begin by suggesting there are dubious edits to the text.
B) You seek to discredit or at least cast doubt on the text, without any real evidence, then
C) You propose a thesis which at face value is an even greater edit?
 

Ella S.

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When I was a Sunday school.teacher I had a dozen different bible versions for the kids to choose from. Any time we looked at a passage we went from the KJV and it's concordance to a NT manga.

Was it the one by Siku?
 

Ella S.

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To be fair, a translation is not the text on which to base such decisions.

I agree, although I do still think it's worth pointing out that the gospels were written in Koine Greek, whereas Jesus supposedly would have spoken in Aramaic. It's possible that all we have are translations or texts built off of translations.

That obviously doesn't mean we can just use a 17th century English translation for accurate historical criticism in this context, but I do think that this translation from Aramaic to Greek makes interpretation a bit fuzzier.

(It's a scientific fact that sound carries and even amplifies over calm water, much more audibly than on land.)

It does! Water isn't just a decent medium for sound waves to travel through, but sound actually bounces off of water, whereas the ground is more acoustically absorbent.

Stone is also quite bouncy, too, but not so much soil and sand, especially if there's vegetation. Try shouting in parking garage, for instance, and the echo is a lot more noticeable than in a forest.

Added to this, water takes the form of its container, so it's flat. Sound waves don't get cut off by hills or banks or turns like they do on land; they're free to flow unhindered. The higher the sound source is above the water, the more the sound can propagate, too, for the same reason.

A) You begin by suggesting there are dubious edits to the text.

There is some textual variance between early copies of Mark. They're not the examples that the OP gives, though.

B) You seek to discredit or at least cast doubt on the text, without any real evidence, then

It is fairly speculative and, in my opinion, a bit specious. However, on this specific point, I will say that the "historical method" is itself not very rigorous. It relies heavily on inference and argumentation.

Such a hypothesis might not be entirely inappropriate, but you are right that it requires more evidence before it can be considered a justified claim.

C) You propose a thesis which at face value is an even greater edit?

On this point, I agree. It seems tantamount to cherry-picking.
 
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Ella S.

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I definitely think that, if Jesus actually had an important message from God to all of humanity, he would have written it down himself.
 

badger

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(It's a scientific fact that sound carries and even amplifies over calm water, much more audibly than on land.)

Excellent! You must have read what I said about that, thus:-
I've often heard that a person's voice cannot be heard very far when surrounded by a crowd....fair enough, but I can tell you for fact that a person's voice over still water can be heard for many hundreds of yards, because I learned when a boy that you never tell secrets when in boats.....your quiet voice can be heard. (true!)

I would never need a scientist to tell me that..... it was part of my life, once.
 

badger

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To be fair, a translation is not the text on which to base such decisions.
All there is for us is copied and translated material.
I base my decisions upon what I can perceive.
The original story was only there in hear-say, oral tradition.... we do our best.

Reasoning? Evidence? that His followers were poor does not preclude them from making long journeys.
Yes it did....... the poor were hand to mouth, day by day. That's why many would be pressed to attend the feasts.
I often wonder if people like Saul were contracted to harass non attendence. I seem to remember that Josephus wrote about Temple enforcement.

That's the KJV, not the original text. In the Textus Receptus (15th century) on which the KJV is based, there's a comma, and the first word of v8 is 'and', but again, the ancient texts had no punctuation.
Like more recent legal documents...... very little punctuation.
The Textus Receptus is a translation. Please refer to your first sentence in your post, 'a translation is not the text on which to base such decisions.'
But I do read translations and do my best with them.

That's an unfounded insinuation, really.
That was a question....two questions.

Well maybe their source materials made no comment about speaking from a boat?
Wrong. Both Matthew and Luke made comment about speaking from ships, just not in this scene.
Both authors had G-Mark to copy from but both decided to split up the account. I just cannot see why.

Symbolically, surely Luke especially would have loved it! Jesus is the messiah, the boat is the ark ... an address from a boat offshore would be so theologically rich. I feel pretty sure that if the source material said He spoke from a boat, they would have utilised it.
For me, what really happened rather than what married up with ancient scripture is the truth. And Yes, talking from a boat was more effective and more safe.

(It's a scientific fact that sound carries and even amplifies over calm water, much more audibly than on land.)
I've known this all my life. Won't need to be told by a scientist.

I think:

A) You begin by suggesting there are dubious edits to the text.
B) You seek to discredit or at least cast doubt on the text, without any real evidence, then
C) You propose a thesis which at face value is an even greater edit?
I don't seek to discredit........ The GOspel of Mark is the best deposition that we have.
 

Ella S.

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All there is for us is copied and translated material.
I base my decisions upon what I can perceive.
The original story was only there in hear-say, oral tradition.... we do our best.

Here's a copy of Mark in Koine Greek:

https://bibletranslation.ws/trans/markwgrk.pdf

I do recommend learning the grammar structure of Koine Greek and referencing a Koine Greek dictionary so that you can interpret the original verses yourself. A lot of your points about punctuation or specific wording don't make sense when you keep the oldest manuscripts in mind.

Just because all of the material is copied and translated doesn't mean that using a more modern English translation isn't probably less accurate.

I don't seek to discredit........ The GOspel of Mark is the best deposition that we have.

This does confuse me a bit. Your OP seems to argue against what verses in the Gospel of Mark say, based on your opinion about the character of the figures described in the book.

I think, if you weren't seeking to discredit the gospel, you would take the text as-is and interpret the characters based on all of their actions rather than pick-and-choose which actions of theirs seem more in character to you.
 

badger

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Here's a copy of Mark in Koine Greek:

https://bibletranslation.ws/trans/markwgrk.pdf

I do recommend learning the grammar structure of Koine Greek and referencing a Koine Greek dictionary so that you can interpret the original verses yourself. A lot of your points about punctuation or specific wording don't make sense when you keep the oldest manuscripts in mind.

Just because all of the material is copied and translated doesn't mean that using a more modern English translation isn't probably less accurate.
Thank you

This does confuse me a bit. Your OP seems to argue against what verses in the Gospel of Mark say, based on your opinion about the character of the figures described in the book.

I think, if you weren't seeking to discredit the gospel, you would take the text as-is and interpret the characters based on all of their actions rather than pick-and-choose which actions of theirs seem more in character to you.
I can't agree. I don't discredit the gospel, I discredit known additions and additions which I perceive to be.
For example, the words 'Son of God' in the first verse of the first chapter, but the rest of the verse is fine for me.
By 'discredit' I mean that I don't believe those. For example I don't believe many verses at the end of G-Mark.

Do you believe in all of the Gospel of Mark?
 

Ella S.

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Do you believe in all of the Gospel of Mark?

Any text that contains clearly mythical elements like miracles or resurrection is one that I regard with deep suspicion. If there is anything in the Gospel of Mark that I agree with, I didn't get it from the Gospel of Mark. I think the source is incredibly unreliable.

I know that many historians disagree with me on this point, and I am open to hearing their rationale as to why, but I think that looking for any nuggets of truth in a work with clear and dramatic falsehoods is... odd. As far as I'm concerned, I completely discount Mark as a source for anything, aside from maybe understanding the languages it's written in.
 

badger

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Any text that contains clearly mythical elements like miracles or resurrection is one that I regard with deep suspicion. If there is anything in the Gospel of Mark that I agree with, I didn't get it from the Gospel of Mark. I think the source is incredibly unreliable.

I know that many historians disagree with me on this point, and I am open to hearing their rationale as to why, but I think that looking for any nuggets of truth in a work with clear and dramatic falsehoods is... odd. As far as I'm concerned, I completely discount Mark as a source for anything, aside from maybe understanding the languages it's written in.

That's the difference between our opinions, then.

I discredit what I believe to be insertions, edits and manipulations....how did you put it , thus:-
'I think, if you weren't seeking to discredit the gospel, you would take the text as-is.'

Whereas you discredit the whole book. Correct?
 

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Hi @badger

All I'm saying is you have not made your point:

You can't warn of 'adjustments' as reason for doubt, and then adjust the text on the grounds that it makes more sense to you.

(And in the case of the comma, the KJV inserted it, so your suspicion is misplaced. Verses 7 and 8 are linked by 'and'.)
 
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RJM

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The scriptures are the shell of the nut. The ancient words protect the truth within. The monks and church institutions protect the scriptures from light-handed alteration by anybody who wants to come along and fix them to suit themselves. When Luther added one word to the New Testament, there was an uproar. Kings and rulers may abuse the scriptures for their own material purposes, but they cannot easily change them, imo
I discredit what I believe to be insertions, edits and manipulations....
These things are studied by people who hold lifetime university tenures and read and compare thousands of original documents and manuscripts and scraps of manuscripts in the original languages of Hebrew, Greek, Coptic and Aramaic and so on, comparing studies and confusions with others around the world

Have you compared your funding with some of theirs?
.
 
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badger

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Hi @badger
All I'm saying is you have not made your point:
I made my point, but have yet to satisfy you that it is reasonable..... yes?

You can't warn of 'adjustments' as reason for doubt, and then adjust the text on the grounds that it makes more sense to you.
I'm not warning anybody, I'm writing down what I believe is the case, given the information that I have.
Only the people around Galilee were there, imo.
Mark 3:7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. 8 When they heard about all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. 9 Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him.

(And in the case of the comma, the KJV inserted it, so your suspicion is misplaced. Verses 7 and 8 are linked by 'and'.)
I've just quoted the NIV bible, a much more careful translation, which puts a clear full stop after Galilee. and then on to some new message altogether..... My suspicions are red hot.
....from places like Idumea, to Galilee? Or up around Tyre and Sidon? Just going to Galilee?

See how the (MARK NIV)verse kicks in to a whole different message, from:- and a large crowd from Galilee followed. (Fair enough..... ) on to :- 8 When they heard about all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. ........
No thank you...... I'll stick with 'and a large crowd from Galilee followed'.

You know about the Jewish people and their classes in that time. Yes?
You know how far Idumea is from Galilee? 120-150 miles...... Could you walk it? Have you ever walked 150 miles just to get somewhere?
You know what kinds of home did the working classes live in. Itinerants used tents (very popular) and communities near clay or mud used brick dwellings.
If you left home to go to Galilee, who would look after your home and work?
How would you feed yourself?

I'm not trying to convince you of the fact that those areas are too far for folks to just come to Galilee, I'm more interested in offering the questions to anybody else who would want to read these posts.
You've already told me that it is 'science-fact' that voices carry over water. Yes they do, a low voice can carry a couple hundred yards, and Jesus had the Zebedee brothers to call out his messages......... to a large crowd from Galilee.... yes.

So come on....... let's see what you think about numbers. How many people do you think were there from and a large crowd from Galilee followed. (Fair enough..... ) on to :- 8 When they heard about all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. ........ as many as a Temple Great Feast?

Can you guess to the numbers that you think were there, based upon all those verses?
 

Thomas

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I made my point, but have yet to satisfy you that it is reasonable..... yes?
Yes. You have not shown the text to be tampered with, just your incredulity. Two different things.

So according to the OP: 'Was the Gospel of Mark adjusted by Christians?'
I'd have to say, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary ... no, the text you cite is most probably authentic.

So come on.... let's see what you think about numbers.
This is what I think:

Mark is making a point that although facing opposition in Galilee through five 'conflict' narratives (Ch2 3:1-3:6) He is drawing a larger gathering from the broader population. This theme runs throughout the Gospel, which breaks into two sections, the first part (Ch 1-8) in Galilee, the second (8-16) to and in Jerusalem.

I tend to look at the bigger picture, the theological narrative, and what that is saying; at the scholarship and the available evidence. How many were involved, I don't know. Was it many, yes, it would appear it was. And did they come from afar, yes, they most probably did.

To me, it is you who seeks to 'adjust' the reading of the text.
 
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