On the possibility that these are two of the 50 manuscripts that the Emperor Constantine requested from Eusebius of Caesarea, see T.C. Skeat, “The Codex Sinaiticus, the Codex Vaticanus, and Constantine,” Journal of Theological Studies 50:2 (1999), pp. 583–625.
Manuscript 304. There are two other manuscripts, 1420 and 2386, which appear to end at 16:8, but in each case it seems that the last leaf of these two copies of Mark is missing.
From Gospel Questions and Solutions Addressed to Marinus, a lost work of which only a few excerpts, preserved in a manuscript in the Vatican Library, are known. See J. Quasten, Patrology, vol. 3, The Golden Age of Patristic Literature (Utrecht: Spectrum, 1960; reprint, Westminster, MD: Christian Classics, 1983), p. 337.
Jerome, Letter 120.3 (to Hedibia).
Justin Martyr, Apology 1.45, where he uses five words that also occur (in a different order) in 16:20.
Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3.10.6.
Jerome, Against Pelagius 2.15.
This variant appears in the eighth-century Codex Regius, in two unnamed Greek manuscripts dating to the seventh and eighth centuries and in one Sahidic Coptic translation.
The tension between Mark 16:8 and the addition is relieved somewhat in Codex Bobbiensis by the omission of the phrase “they said nothing to anyone.”
For this argument see William R. Farmer, The Last Twelve Verses of Mark (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1974), pp. 70–72.
See Mark 16:9: cf. Luke 8:2; Mark 16:9–11: cf. John 20:11–18, Luke 24:10–11; Mark 16:12–13: cf. Luke 24:13–35; Mark 16:14–16: cf. Matthew 28:16–20, Luke 24:36–38; Mark 16:17–18: cf. Luke 10:17–20; Mark 16:19: cf. Luke 24:50–53.
As James A. Kelhoffer has recently demonstrated, “The numerous allusions to Matthew, Luke and John—especially to the ends of these writings—demonstrate…that the author of Mark 16:9–20 wrote in conscious dependence on one or more MSS [manuscripts] of the NT [New Testament] Gospels” (Kelhoffer, Miracle and Mission: The Authentication of Missionaries and Their Message in the Longer Ending of Mark [Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2000], p. 150). In this regard, it should also be noticed that whereas Matthew and Luke, in passages where they parallel Mark 1:1–16:8, consistently abridge Mark, it is the other way around in 16:9–20: The long form of Mark offers an abridgement of material from the other gospels.
For a detailed discussion see J.K. Elliott, “The Text and Language of the Endings to Mark’s Gospel,” Theologische Zeitschrift 27 (1971), pp. 255–262; reprinted in Elliott, ed., The Language and Style of the Gospel of Mark (Leiden: Brill, 1993), pp. 203–211.
For a detailed and sophisticated presentation, see Robert H. Gundry, Mark: A Commentary on His Apology for the Cross (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993), pp. 1009–1021.
Although the grammatically unusual ending is rare, it is not unparalleled. For the evidence and details, see Andrew T. Lincoln, “The Promise and the Failure—Mark 16:7, 8, ” Journal of Biblical Literature 108 (1989), pp. 283–300.
Donald H. Juel, A Master of Surprise: Mark Interpreted (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994), p. 107.
See Frank Kermode, The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967), pp. 3–31, 58–59.