Were the last 12 verses of the Gospel of Mark in fact taken from Luke?

Here it states that in the Gospel of Mark there is an added portion (Mark 16:9-20)

In this reference I didn't find the following match, but I wonder if the added portion to the Gospel of Mark was taken from Luke.

And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, Luke 8:2

Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. Mark 16:9

  • See Mark 16.
    – Lucian
    May 8, 2021 at 20:44
  • Textual criticism can be cringe sometimes. May 8, 2021 at 21:25

2 Answers 2


This question really doesn't deal with hermeneutics, so I'm not sure why it was passed over here. The question has everything to do with one's choice of Biblical manuscripts.

There are thousands of Biblical manuscripts. Most manuscripts agree, but there are a minority of manuscripts, especially those of the codex sinaiticus, codex vaticanus, and codex alexandrinus, and others originating from Egypt, which differ considerably from the Majority Text. Edits and corrections to those manuscripts were made in the centuries that elapsed from the time of Christ, and well after they were originally written.

Due to the work of Westcott and Hort in the late 19th century, the variances were brought into better agreement, and they succeeded in persuading the academic community that these minority manuscripts were more original by virtue of having been found to be older. (They ignore the fact that good manuscripts would be copied until worn out, and replaced by fresh writing material--these "older" ones may have been shelved owing to problems with them.)

Virtually all Bibles since the start of the 20th century have been translated from the minority manuscripts. The King James Version was translated from a particular set of Majority Text manuscripts which later became popularly known as the "Received Text" (Textus Receptus).

In the minority text manuscripts, Mark 16:9-20 is missing. But due to the influence of the KJV translation, most translators of the modern versions continued to include it, while adding a footnote that this portion was not in the "oldest manuscripts," or something of that nature.

Luke does not write in the same style as Mark does; and the passage cannot easily be claimed to have been borrowed from Luke. It seems unexplainable, however, that someone would have wished to remove this portion from Mark. Perhaps, as they are the last verses of the book, the last page or column of text simply went missing in one of the copies. I am not among those who wish to attribute these verses to some other writer in place of Mark. I believe he wrote this passage, and that it properly belongs in the Bible.


The last 12 verses of Mark have long been a subject of debate, with 3 viewpoints emerging as most common:

  1. They represent the original ending of the Gospel, as written by Mark

  2. They were written by another author who was considered sufficiently authoritative to speak on the matter

  3. They represent a later addition to the text

For my part, I do not believe Mark intended to end his Gospel at 16:8--the word γάρ (for/since) would be a very unusual way to end a book. If Mark really did end with the word γάρ, it would be the only document of its kind from all of Greco-Roman literature to do so--there would be 0 corroborating evidence for such a practice. Further discussion on the problems with 16:8 as the originally intended ending of Mark's Gospel is found here on my channel.

Whatever Mark may have intended, however, does not in fact answer the question you have raised. Let’s take a look at the implications using each of the three scenarios outlined above.

The last twelve verses are original

In this case the answer to the OP depends on one’s solution to the Synoptic Problem--if Mark is dependent upon Luke, such as is proposed by the Two-Gospel Hypothesis, then the entirety of Mark, including the last 12 verses, was influenced by Luke. If Mark is not dependent upon Luke (e.g. Two-Document Hypothesis, Farrer Hypothesis), then no, the last 12 verses of Mark do not derive from Luke.

This possibility is examined in depth by Peabody in “One Gospel from Two--Mark’s Use of Matthew and Luke” (pp. 328-335), who considers the originality of the last twelve verses possible.

The last twelve verses are written by a second authoritative author

The answer in this case differs very little from the previous section--the last 12 verses could be derived from earlier Gospels (if that’s how we solve the Synoptic Problem), or it could be based on separate eyewitness testimony.

This view is supported by a 10th century Armenian manuscript naming Aristion as the author of the last 12 verse (see here). This has been taken by many to refer to the same Aristion noted by Papias as an eyewitness disciple of Jesus.

The last 12 verses are a later addition to the text

In this case it does indeed look possible for almost everything in these 12 verses to have been derived from the other Gospels + Acts--but not from the Gospel of Luke alone.

As noted in the OP, the reference to Mary having 7 devils cast out of her could come from Luke, and verses 11-12 may well be based on the appearance to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.

Here’s a summary of plausible sources for the material in the last 12 verses, which could be read as a very concise summary of much more extended narratives in the other Gospels and Acts.

Verse 9: appearance to Mary first - John 20:1; that Mary had 7 devils cast out - Luke 8:2

Verse 10: John 20:2, loosely from Matthew & Luke as well

Verse 11: Luke 24:11

Verses 12-13: Road to Emmaus, Luke 24:13-32

Verse 14: Luke 24:33-43

Verse 15: Matthew 28:19-20

Verses 16-20: These are a little harder to place directly, though nearly everything in these verses is also found in Acts


I have no difficulty believing that the Gospels are based on eyewitness testimony, though that is an extensive question in and of itself (my thoughts here). I would not be surprised if the last 12 verses of Mark were influenced by the other Gospels, but that doesn't rule out eyewitness source material at all. I personally believe the Gospel of Mark used both Matthew & Luke as sources, making the question of reliance upon them in the last 12 verses moot.

My own view on the Synoptic Problem is described here, wherein the entire Gospel of Mark, not just the last 12 verses, presuppose knowledge of the Gospels of Matthew & Luke.

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