Photo courtesy of the artist, Diane Nelson Fine Art Gallery, Laguna Beach, Calif.

ON THE COVER: Mary Magdalene reaches out to touch Jesus in this 1989 painting, “Really Wanna Touch You,” by California artist Wayne Forte. The Magdalene, dressed in red and white, kneels at center. Jesus stands just to her left, in front of a tree. (For a detailed description of Forte’s work and the Titian painting that inspired it, see sidebar to “To Be Continued”) After his death and resurrection, Jesus appears first to Mary Magdalene, the last chapter of the Gospel of Mark relates. Or does it? In the shortest known version of Mark’s final chapter, the resurrected Jesus never reappears to anyone. In “To Be Continued,” Michael W. Holmes suggests that this short version is likely the earliest ending we have—although it’s not necessarily the original