The Christian scholarly majority hold at least two views: a) Mark is the earliest of the gospels to be written, and b) authentic Mark ends at 16:8.Would I be unreasonable to adopt those two views for myself?
My current thoughts about the ending of Mark is that the writer of the gospel left the story “unfinished” to make a dramatic point. All throughout the gospel people are in confusion about Jesus’ identity and mission; the only character who actually recognizes Jesus for who he is is the Roman guard who says, “Surely this man was the Son of God.”It’s a consistent theme in Mark’s gospel; therefore it makes perfect sense that at the end, the women are confused about Jesus’ identity and “tell no one what they saw.” It’s not that Mark didn’t believe Jesus was physically resurrected or that he didn’t believe there were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrected body (Jesus predicts His resurrection several times throughout the book of Mark, so Mark was obviously aware of the resurrection.); rather, he chose to end his gospel with the confusion of the women to wrap up a major theme of his gospel.I mean, c’mon. In the authentic portion of Mark 16 the angel literally relays a message from Christ — “I am going before you into Galilee.” Obviously Mark knew about the claims of post-resurrection appearances of Jesus; he just chose not to relay those stories in order to support his thematic point.Or maybe I’m reading too much into this and the original ending of Mark was just lost; that’s possible, too.Do you think Mark is trying to communicate that the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus never happened? Is Mark trying to tell his readers that he knows that the resurrection was just a hoax? Be more specific with what you’re claiming.
I think you are jumping the gun. Skeptics do not have any burden to explain why Mark ends the way it does. All we have to ask is DID Mark say anybody ever saw the risen Christ. If he didn't, then skepticism is going to be reasonable, since speculations about why Mark ends the way it does, are rampant, and none appear better than the others.
How do you know Mark intended "angel" when describing the man the women saw at the tomb? Did 1st century people find it impossible to create white colored robes?
Might there justification for skepticism from the fact that those women had been with Jesus prior to his death, and yet as they walk on the way to his tomb, they don't know how they will be able to move the stone from the tomb entrance? Sounds like the first people to the tomb did not expect Jesus to rise from the dead, which might suggest the "predictions" of resurrection Mark puts in Jesus' mouth, aren't what Jesus really said. And if the women are so unbelieving, they probably didn't see Jesus do any genuinely supernatural miracles before he died.
Don't you find it kind of funny that despite Mark's alleged access to Peter's preaching (the preaching the Roman church pestered Mark to preserve for posterity), Mark chooses to be vague about the historical facts documenting what he allegedly thought was the most important miracle god ever did?or maybe it's also reasonable to suppose that no Christian would likely be intentionally vague about such a thing, so if Mark is, it isn't by choice, but solely because the earliest resurrection story didn't say anything about anybody seeing the risen Christ?
Remember, Mark was that guy whom Paul wanted to dismiss from the ministry because Mark abandoned a prior mission. Acts 15. There is nothing about Mark's gospel that foists the least intellectual compulsion upon a non-Christian to read into Mark's mind and motives the other resurrection appearance details we get from the other 3 gospels. For all you know, Mark was a genuine apostate, he only wrote that gospel for the church which pestered him to do so, and he didn't say much about Jesus rising from the dead because Mark didn't personally believe it anymore. There's nothing unreasonable about a prosecutor using other known truths to fill in details that the suspect is choosing to avoid answering. So there's nothing unreasonable in using Mark's known apostasy to say he could have just as easily been an unbeliever when composing his gospel. For if he was as skippy about Jesus' resurrection as today's apologists think his source Peter was, he would surely not have found Jesus' pre-crucfixion acts more worthy of detailed description than the Resurrection.
What's unreasonable about the atheist who says the Markan texts showing Jesus predicted his own resurrection, are just a case of Mark doing a little bit of what apostle John did a lot of...putting in Jesus' mouth words Jesus never said, to "help" the reader "understand" the "true import"?