Bishop N.T. Wright is an excellent Anglican theologian who has written some fine if massive tomes exploring how Jesus understood himself in his time and place. He also seems to have a hankering to be a modern C.S. Lewis, writing more popular-style books exploring Christianity in day to day life. These, to my mind, are far less successful than his scholarly stuff.
He does have a decent series of easy-reading Bible commentaries though, Mark for Everyone, Luke for Everyone, and so on. I was interested recently to read his take on the famously abrupt ending of Mark: the women fleeing the empty tomb. Though told of the resurrection, they are too fearful to spread the news–and that’s it. There are other endings sometimes tacked on, but they are much later additions.
Wright insists that the true end of the gospel has been lost. Mark’s too good a storyteller and the ending is too abrupt to fit, he says.
I’m convinced he’s right about this, but I don’t care. The truncated finale of Mark has always been my favorite resurrection story because it’s the most like life. We see the empty tomb but not the risen Christ, the unimaginable possibility but not the proof. We may have faith, but we’re also afraid. It’s a profound statement, taken overall, accidental or no.
Maybe the answer is that the loss of Mark’s original ending is the work of the Big Editor in the Sky.