Mark simply meant the women—per the angel’s command—feared gossiping first with family, female friends, or the many other bystanders along the way about what incredible thing they saw (something their society accused women of often doing). Instead, their fearful respect of God’s angel and the situation compelled them to say nothing to anyone while running straight towards the disciples to fulfill their assigned mission of telling them.1
• That’s what the phrase elsewhere means in Mk2
• That’s how Mt and Lk understood Mk3
• This renders the author an inept communicator.4
Parallel studies of the phrase “said nothing to anyone” suggests Mk simply means “anyone else” (i.e. anyone other than who they were told to go to). Notice how Mk 16:8 “said nothing to anyone” matches Mk 1:44 “say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself [to the priest]… and offer… a testimony to them”; the latter is not a contradiction, and so neither is the former. So:
• Christopher Bryan: “In other words, [regarding the healed disobedient leper in Mk] the true opposite of the silence that Jesus has enjoined is not talking to the priests, as he was bidden, but general public announcement, such as he actually made. There is no reason to understand Mark’s similar expressions at 16:8 in a different way, and every reason, in view of his implicit presentation of the women as witnesses, to understand them in the same way. The women did not rush out and immediately start chattering to everyone, thereby disobeying the angel’s command that they go to the disciples with their news: rather, they fled the angel’s presence in silence, greeting no one by the way, for they were filled with awe by both message and messenger.” [The Resurrection of the Messiah (Oxford, 2011), 79.]
• E. S. Malbion: “…the closest Markan comparison with ούδενί ούδέν εΐπαν at 16:8 is μηδενί μαδέν έίης at 1:44, and the earlier passage may help clarify the later one. At 1:44 Jesus charges the healed leper to ‘say nothing to any one (μηδενί μαδέν έίης); but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to the people’ (RSV). Surely in showing himself to the priest the former leper would say something to the priest; the priest, however, would not be just any one, but the very one the leper was instructed to inform. At the close of Mark, the disciples and Peter are not just ‘any one,’ but the very ones the women are instructed to tell. Thus ούδενί ούδέν εΐπαν, likeμηδενί μαδέν έίης, may mean ‘said nothing to any one else’ or ‘to any one in general.’” [“Fallible Followers: Women and Men in the Gospel of Mark” Semeia 28 (1983), 45.]
Matthew understood Mark to mean that the women went straight to the disciples. Luke did also.
• Mt 28:8 — And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples.
• Lk 24:9 — and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest This is relevant because they were in a far better position to interpret Mark than modern critics.
In the Gospel of Mark, the named women (Mary Magdalene etc.) are placed front and center as witnesses to Christianity’s key evidences, with their role as eyewitnesses being overtly emphasized.
• Mk 15 (buried) & 16:1 (emptied) re-list similar participants
• Mk 16:1 and Lk 24:10 emphasize (by naming) different members
• Mk 16:1 names them without introduction
• Mk 15-16 is loaded with witness-engendering terms
• Mk 15-16 portrays the women as being uniquely qualified as the witnesses
• Mk claimed to relay witness testimony (in general)
This telling (or version) of the empty tomb discovery by these women as narrated in Mk 16:1-8 dates back to c. AD 30-40.
• Specifically, these parts are early:…
• …“first day of the week” (AD 30-35)
• …“Women” and “Mary Magdalene” saw it (first)
• …“the crucified” “Nazarene”
• It is part of the Pre-Markan passion
• It lacks theological decoration
• The AD 30 church wans't saying Mary saw Jesus' tomb empty. [Forthcoming]
As an attempted excuse why no one has heard of this report, such a lie would be very obviously a lie.
• It’s too overtly irrational to expect the author to think the women chose to stay silent.1
• It’s too overtly self-contradictory.2
• E.L. Bode: “Could the women have been expected in reality, or have been said with verisimilitude, to have told nothing to anyone for ever? Such an unlikely impression is perhaps a clue that Mark has in mind another meaning he wishes to express…” [The First Easter Morning (Bible Institute, 1970), 43.]
The reader is expected to believe that the apostles did receive the angel’s message to go to see Jesus in Galilee.
• Mk puts this prophecy on Jesus’s lips 14:28 (and his prophecies never fail.
• In the passage in question, the angel says Jesus was going ahead to Galilee, where the disciples would see him “just as he had said”
• Dale Allison: “Near to hand, then, is the inference that the angel must after all have gotten his message through to the disciples via the women.” [Resurrecting Jesus (Continuum, 2005), 303-304.]